Que Sera Sera

Que Sera Sera is a fifties song by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans, sung by the actress Doris Day. A few lines from the song went as below.

Que Sera, Sera

Whatever will be, will be

The future is not ours, to see,

Que Sera, Sera

Whatever will be, will be

In Hindi movies of old, there was an actor called Asit Sen. His famous by-line used to be जब जब जो जो होना है, तब तब सोसो होता हैं. It roughly got translated to Que Sera, Sera, Whatever will be, will be! When Nandu, my dear friend, recently wrote an e mail to me about health episode in his life, somehow these lines came to my mind. On one side, I was happy to see that my recent blog “Life’s Speed breakers” helped my friend Nandu to open out and talk about his health episode. On the other hand, I shuddered to think what would have happened if Nandu’s misjudgement had gone awfully wrong! He was really on thin Ice! Or was he humming Que Sera Sera!!

Nandu of ages back, from our Elphinstone days and Nandu of today are hardly different in their attitude. Ever smiling, articulate, smart, bubbling and what have you! Nandu is all that you can look for in a human being! As the life’s quirks go, we were not in touch for a long time. But last year when we spoke on phone, it was as if we were just continuing from our previous evening’s conversation. Nandu lives a retired life in Sydney where he made his career in a large MNC, in IT field. He has retired from his “work” life but he is a person who will never retire from life! His retirement will only be the Almighty’s call! On his last call also he might tell Him, “Boss, can you give me a few minutes, wanted to share something with Panya” (or any of his many friends!)

In my blog shttps://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2015/10/18/lifes-speedbreakers , I had shared with all how to handle life’s tough calls with speed, alacrity and positivity. Nandu’s episode, a major health issue, is typical “How not to handle tough episodes”!! He tried to avoid telling his family about his health condition, travelled during the episode, played various sports and tried to delay things as much as possible. Now why did Nandu do this? His only thoughts at that time were, his in-laws should not get unduly worried and his daughter Swati’s exams should not be disturbed! Or was it Que Sera Sera, whatever is going to happen, is going to happen anyway! Friends you will be surprised to read the chronology of Nandu’s health events, I was not only surprised but shocked. The moment his issue was known, there should have been a non bailable warrant to arrest my dear friend!

Here it goes!

  1. Nandu had chest pain while playing squash, he refused an ambulance (and the hospital) drove home
  2. He silenced his 13 year old son, who was with him, went home and went out again for cultural activity. (His son was smarter and took God’s promise from Nandu, of a Doctor’s visit the next day!)
  3. To keep his promise to his son, Nandu visited the doctor’s office on the way to work (It was not about Nandu’s health but was about the promise given to Sandeep!!) after giving blood went to office.
  4. His blood tests showed severe heart attack. (Of course our friend was busy in meetings)
    • The ever fit Nandu was playing
      • Cricket Match on Sunday
      • Badminton on Monday
      • Tennis Wednesday
      • Cricket practice on Saturday
      • Squash on Sunday
      • Was in meetings whole day on which heart attack was confirmed!
    • Both Physicians and Pathologists were Nandu’s friends; on confirmation they tried to locate our missing friend and left message at home that he should be tied to bed as soon as he comes home.
    • At 6 pm Nandu arrives home driving his car; Anand is already there to move him to hospital.
    • Of course Nandu refused to take Angiogram and waited for ten days more after a lot convincing by another friend Dr. Avi.
    • Results of course as expected
      • One artery 100% blocked & needed plumbing.
    • Now the beautiful part (Nandu how this world will run without you!!!)
      • Nandu was totally convinced that if he did not go to the office, the MNC will collapse immediately.
      • So he went to office and drove for his own angioplasty at noon!
      • Angioplasty was done the next day afternoon.
      • But in the evening, his artery in groin burst open and blood was spewing all over. Doctors struggled for about 15 minutes to control it and finally succeeded. Next morning, he was released and went home on his own (this was Friday). On Monday, he had a meeting with an important Client in Brisbane – where he went for the day & flew back in the evening.
      • See what I mean! The fear of MNC closing down made him do all this! He never wanted to do it! Nandu, am I right?
      • All this happened in 1992
  5. Circa 2001 Frame 2 same movie!
    • During this period his tennis and badminton was going on but now he started getting tired a lot! And lo! Nandu decided to go for stress test and angiogram immediately.
      • During Angiogram, on the table itself, the cardiologist told him that Nandu was in deep trouble and all three main arteries were 95+ % blocked. The Doctor was shocked to know how Nandu played badminton till the previous day.  Triple bypass was conducted the next day that was Nov 2001

Situations were serious both the times, but the first time was, to use very mild expression, Nandu took decisions on his own which I am sure he will never do again and he is not proud of. Second time he was a little wiser and I am sure his family and friends, his eco system had taken away decision making authority away from Nandu!

In such situations the question that always comes to my mind is why?  Why? And Why? Naturally Nandu also does not have an easy explanation about why he took such decisions. His thoughts that he did not want his In-laws to get anxious & protect his daughter from stress during her exam time, were not a very convincing answers. Nandu, how did you not think about the plight of your wife Anuradha!

Why a smart, articulate person like Nandu did take such decisions? Need of the hour was to act fast and he had a terrific eco system of his family, friends like Anand, Dr. Avi and best of the infrastructure available. Why does the mind waiver? Did Nandu at that point, not think of what could have happened in the worst case scenario? When I discussed with him recently, he said that he was never worried about his own death but was definitely worried how his family will suffer in such an event! Does it mean we that humans are fallible and take decisions like we have never taken before or maybe we will never take in future?  Every professional always decides anything, taking pros and cons of the situation into consideration. First time around there were not many pros, in hiding the event. But Nandu did hide.

A thought just came my mind, do accidents happen this way? Does the mind waiver a bit at the last moment? Is it a momentary lapse? That split second waiver or lapse can cause serious damage!

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=volkswagen+car+advertisement+about+not+using+sms+while+driving&FORM=VIRE8#view=detail&mid=6055583738A74B00C5DE6055583738A74B00C5DE

This video gives the result of split second lapse caused by 0ur wavering mind! Nandu my friend, your catch was dropped by the destiny and you were lucky! I know, now you are doing justice to the second opportunity you got! Thanks for sharing your experience openly so that others will learn from it, hopefully!!

(if the video does not work by clicking, please copy and paste it in your browser)

Et Tu VW? You Too VW?

CarSketches

Human nature is an extremely complex thing to understand and this has been proven so many times but it always comes up with something most unexpected. Here I am talking of human thought in the business scenario. We have seen companies like Apple, from almost going down to coming up with something brilliant that has taken them to the top of the world, in a matter of a decade. We have seen brilliant thinking like totally new way of doing things in the market place. Look at Amazon. All these changes happen these days, in a very short duration. In both these example we see brilliance shown by minds of individuals.

But there are businesses which are long haul businesses like Steel making, Car making, Aero planes. These are businesses where companies have been around for decades, coming up with incrementally better and better products. Of course there is natural survival of the fittest process, closing certain organizations. These long haul companies achieve their name and fame over decades. They achieve the glory in such a way that in India when someone wants to buy a Chocolate, she will say go and ask for a Cadbury! When you want to drink a soft drink she will say let’s have a Coke! (Variants thereof) Company names become synonymous with products they make. Such achievements are real long-term. In such a scenario the VW issue that has suddenly cropped last week, at least to me was a big shock. How they got into such a big mess! What made them do what they did?

I remember from childhood days in Mumbai, there was a restaurant famous for its thick Lassi. (It’s a sweet thick shake like drink made out of yogurt, where thickness is achieved by adding thick milk cream topping) One fine day there was story in newspapers that these guys were adding thick ink blotting paper in place of the milk cream. This made Lassi look original & thick but it was cheating. Luckily the paper was not harmful to health. WHY was this done? Motive was to make a few Rupees more on each Lassi served! What was the harm? Honestly I don’t know but hopefully nothing serious!!

These days I hear of snack vendors adding thinly cut Cabbage in place of Onion in the snack, as the Onion prices have hit the roof. These are usually added to stuff like Batata wada (Potato Patti with some mixes of vegetables) or in Bhel, an Indian fast food, which is made by adding assortment of stuff! WHY this is done? Motive was to retain profits to reasonable level by replacing Onion by Cabbage. What was the harm, there was no real harm!

There was a case of a Theatre owner who rented out some areas in his theatre for people to use as a warehouse. These areas came in the way of emergency exits, which are used well, only in emergencies. The emergency did arise, as there was a fire during one show. The emergency exits could not be opened due to the stuff stored; end result 50 to 70 people died in the fire. WHY was this done? Motive was to make additional money by selling non-existent place for a warehouse and of course make money! What was the harm; a great harm there were deaths!

But the Lassiwala was a small restaurant, Snack vendors are small time businessmen, theatre guy was a big businessman and they all cheated for money! But what about these giants like GM &VW??

A few years back GM in India fudged their records for their SUV while offering vehicles to Government agencies for emission testing. What could have been their motive? Why did they do it? It was definitely not for money but what could be the motive to cheat? This act was restricted to only India operations and did not cover many vehicles. End result many senior people were thrown out possibly with one suicide! Harm, of course there was harm as additional NO was pumped out in the atmosphere.

But what about VW? 11 million vehicles are affected world over as already accepted by VW. What’s going on? Who ordered this cheating? What was achieved? Could this have happened without clearance from Senior Management Group? It’s embarrassing to compare Laasiwala, Wadawalla with VW!! Small timers, all cheated for money and the Giants cheated for God Knows What!! But from what has come out till date VW & GM are the worst culprits. When GM issue occurred GM was the world’s largest vehicle manufacture of cars and so is VW when the cheating issue broke out. Do such companies become so large by cheating? I don’t think so! They do it by sheer hard work, perseverance, and passion. They are here for long haul stay in the market. Their products have been known for both quality and performance. So why they did what they did? What was the motive? Were they never worried that this cheating is bound to come out at some stage? What effect will this have on their name in the global market? Did they think that public memory is very short and companies will easily override the ripple effect? Can one of the waves become a tsunami?  Is VW prepared for a Tsunami? I don’t think so.

How will VW matter close? It’s anybody’s guess as on today. There will be action from Governments leading to large fines, there will be costs of replacements of components on the car or there will be hit on the performance. There will be class action suits in America and these can be really expensive! VW says they have already set aside US $ 7/ billion to handle the matter. As I understand this amount can only handle public relation costs; what about cost of VW’s tarnished name?

I started the blog with discussion on human mind. What sort of mind created this problem? In this world there are people like Bill Gates who have given Billions of Dollars for charity and are encouraging others to do the same. How does this successful mind think differently from VW mind-set? How is the human DNA created? If it is created by circumstances what better example can there be than German nation. What event changed this superb mind-set in Germany to cheat so blatantly! It is a classic case for psychologists. I as an engineer cannot fathom the reasons for such change in the mind. I could have also accepted some cheating, though not justified it, if it were done for a small duration because the launch of that specific product got delayed! Then cheat and launch so-called good product and then switch over to really good products after a small delay, good products has been VW specialty anyway.

Germans are proud about their quality products and German mind focuses on work, work and work in the good sense. Results are seen in Germany’s phoenix like rise post World War II. How current events will affect German psyche? How will German mind overcome this blatant cheating? I am sure they will do it by more work and more focus!

For those who want to read about this issue here is the link.

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1100125_vw-diesel-emissions-recall-what-you-need-to-know-in-10-questions/page-2

Why Look Back?

Life goes on and we humans always look forward to the next sunrise. Wisdom says that you look back and learn from mistakes and make sure we don’t repeat them. These wise thoughts are always helpful in doing better in life. I have known and heard of a few people who say “Why look back?” What is the meaning of this statement? Are these people belligerent or thoughtful? Overconfident or just plain pragmatic? How do people manage to take major events in stride? What gives them the courage? Are they created differently by Him?

My good old friend Hemant, god bless him, is one such person. He is an engineer by profession, smart, pleasant and what have you. He is a good techno marketing guy. He succeeds in his work by good engineering knowledge and marketing & persuasive skills. Somehow during a certain period we lost touch. Those were 80’s and communication was bad. One day he called me and said, “I am coming to Pune on Sunday and will come to your place for breakfast.” He arrived at nine and when I saw him, it was a shock of my life for me and my family. But knowing him, I did not say anything. He just said there was an accident two months back but “now I am ok.” I knew that he will tell details over a period. We had our breakfast, of course nothing had changed!! He managed everything expertly with one hand. After breakfast he said lets go out. When we came out, I asked him about his driver, so that driver could also have breakfast. He said he had driven the car himself, alone from Mumbai. Again, no comments from me, only stunned silence!! We went to a place where two of us could sit peacefully. I knew he wanted to smoke, I was wondering how he was going to handle this. Nothing special, he just held the matchbox in his knees and there he was smoking. After that he recited the whole sequence as a matter of fact.

Back then he had sold an equipment to an organization. Successful trials were done. Then it was decided to start full operation on an auspicious day. That day, he along with his technicians went to that factory. Usual things like Pooja were performed and at the hands of CEO, the equipment was started. After sweets distribution, tea was circulated. Couple of hours later big handshakes took place and they started moving away from the equipment. He took a couple of steps, and somebody called, “Hemant, can you come for a moment?” Hemant went back replied to queries and turned to go back. While doing so he just extended his right hand to explain things better. This misjudgment cost him his right hand upto the elbow. Somehow it was just sucked in the equipment and rest as they say is history. But the story does not end here in fact it begins. He was taken to hospital and being fit and young recovered quickly under the circumstances. On eighth day he started learning to write with his left hand. In the third week his signature with left hand had become stable. Here he was 150 km from home, after two months,driving the car all on his own!!

When he was done, I asked him a question, “Looking back, would you have done things differently in those last few minutes before the accident?” He said,” Pramod, Why look back?”