I have stopped reading! 

Have I stopped reading? I feel as if I have done so. You must have smiled knowing what I am going to say. I miss the smell of the new book, and I miss the smell of old books. I miss my dogeared books. Pramod is getting nostalgic and is using the wellearned right to use the phrase, “in my young days”! It is nothing of the sort! I keep on churning my blogs on various subjects, almost every alternate day. You can describe my yearly output as high! Without reading a lot, I cannot write regularly. 

But then why am I making this statement? Here is what is happening. Except for newspapers, I read everything on a screen. I write everything on the screen. Sometimes I am afraid that I may not be able to write on a paper with a pen. I am scared that my bank may not accept my signature because it does not match with their records– luckily, I do not write too many cheques these days.  

Let me explain. When I am reading digitally, I am not able to concentrate the way I used to in olden days. There are too many interrupts. I keep getting intimations of WhatsApp messages, SMS messages; e-mail received, and so on. I get lured to that ping which interrupts my thought processes. After great efforts, finally, my mind is interrupted, and I read that message or the email. The interrupts do disturb me, but I get lured to that text. The thought process that got created in my mind while reading got interrupted. If the interrupt is such that I need to act on it immediately, I do that.  

In my olden days, when I used to read that book curling down in that corner, the only interruptions would be from my mother or Jaya. They knew better and gave that look or a lecture when I went to the table for a meal or a coffee. Job done, I would be back with the book and went back to nirvana pose.  

What do the interrupts do? One day, I was reading a book, and I had decided that I would complete at least one chapter. It was an exciting book, and I was confident that I would easily accomplish my task. My phone was near me, and I had kept my kindle away. Within thirty minutes, I got many “interrupts” on the phone. I had become Vishvamitra and interrupts were the Menaka luring me from my Tapasya. I could not continue reading the book for more than fifteen minutes. Menaka won, and I picked up the phone. I saw many things that could have easily waited. In one message, there was a link. I clicked on that link which gave me three more links. I went into the loop, click the links, and after spending more than forty minutes on things unrelated to what I was reading, I stopped. I was sitting, twiddling my thumbs with different thoughts in my mind. I almost picked up the book, but suddenly that remote came in my hand and started going through the list on Netflix! That my friends is the power of interrupts.   

Now I am used to reading in the interrupt mode. I am not saying that I read less than what I used to read before. Maybe I read much more than I used to read, but not necessarily from a book, I have selected. I switch to read my book on my kindle. When I switch from screen to screen, I feel less disturbed. Once I change my mind to “interrupt” reading, I am okay.  

Nowadays, I hear that kids use the internet for studies in certain areas. They do not buy books. I thought undergrad courses had specific syllabi. So how do you do your studies using the internet? There are so many distractions, many links; there is a lot of additional information and data available. How do you learn only specific information from your syllabus?  

The speed with which the information reaches you is unbelievable. It is impossible to keep track of the same. It is not only about keeping track, but it is also about filtering out the specific information which you need. When the internet came initially, I did not understand the effects it will have on humanity. I thought, how I will change my life-long habit of reading printed books.  How will I change my habit of reading the weekly and monthly magazines? I could never imagine myself reading on my phone and the kindle. Even today, I prefer the large screen of the laptop as against reading on a kindle or my cell phone. I have got myself a small foldable table which can adjust as per my position sitting or lying down. It only changes the comfort but not the basic change from the printed book to the screen. 

I feel that we have become more intolerant of things. Further to this intolerance, there is continuous addition of more stimuliThe relentless data and information that keeps on coming to you make one feel as if we are on an assembly line which never stops. The situation does not allow you to assimilate the information you have processed. We get a feeling of a never-ending process.  

I will share an example. On our WhatsApp group, a friend asked some information about passport rule. Our friend must have become dazed after other friends shared relentless information and experiences. That was classic example of information overload.  Whether he got the information he needed, I am not sure.

But one thing will never come back. When I studied, I had to give full (and I could give) attention to what read. I could get fully immersed in reading love stories. I could delve deep into what I was reading. I could give full attention to the classics that I read. While in school, there was a specific way of learning the poems. Some of those poems, I know by heart even today! With the switchover to digital media reading, that feeling of getting immersed in reading will never come back.   

On the positive side, what we lose in feeling, we will get the benefit of the tremendous amount of information that is available by clicking and clicking. In olden days research was an arduous task, especially in India because many international books and journals were not quickly available. Now, you can get a lot of information and data by free or paid subscriptions. You get an email update link for the latest information.  

Whether the old way of reading books or using a screen to read is the correct way, only time will tell. Take care and don’t ask me to publish some of my blogs in book form. I will send you a link, click it and read whatever and whenever you want!  

The chain reaction to improvement!

No human interaction is independent; generally, each action is the interaction of something that has happened before. Some people have the habit of not being neat and tidy. I know of a lady who never made her bed till she became a professional and started working independently, living on her own. She would make her bed and tidy up her room a bit whenever someone was going to drop in. Else things would be, helter-skelter! Somewhere within her, things were brewing up. She made her bed for four consecutive days, after waking up. Then on the fifth day, after making her bed, she picked up the clothes lying around and put them on the hangar or in the cupboard. Tiding up happened for a week, and then one day she got herself a basket to collect her laundry.

One thing led to another. The lady took the neatness drive to the kitchenette, washing her cups and dishes immediately after use. Once her mother came to visit her, without informing, on a Sunday morning. Our lady was fast asleep; she was happy to receive her mother. Her mother was pleasantly surprised to see everything spic and span. When her mother asked her about the change; the lady said, “The small act of making my bed made me realise the importance of not having clutter. But I always felt that doing so many chores was going to be tough; hence, I avoided doing even the basics. I know that I am a good professional, but now I feel that I am a good human being too!” One act of tidying up the bed led to another, like a Domino Effect. The result was being in a charming home was very pleasing and did not involve too much effort, as she had initially thought.


Domino effect definition is – a cumulative effect produced when one event initiates a succession of similar events. Though this has nothing to do with the current subject, I will share with you the real meaning of the Domino effect. In the game of Cricket, a team is batting well, and they are almost cruising towards victory. A wicket falls against the run of the play, and suddenly the all remaining batsmen get out as if by Domino effect!

Getting into a habit of following routines leads to a domino effect. After I went into semi-retirement, my daily routine had changed. I had more time on hand. So, I added the activity of going to the gym and for a walk in my daily to-do list. While working, these activities were intermittent, but with time on hand, I set up my routine. As far as possible, I don’t change my timings. It took a couple of months, but then these small acts led to a domino effect, and my routine fell in place. I have also added reading activity as a regular activity besides blogging. For the Domino effect to succeed, consistency is very important. Yes, I have also added taking a nap, in my to-do list.emrgency1

Friends, don’t forget that the domino effect takes place in forming bad habits too! Social media is a prime example of how bad habits can also be a part of the Domino effect. Cell phones came in our lives; then came Facebook, followed by WhatsApp in our lives. Where are we today? People are already facing problems of addiction, depression, and what have you? How did it start? It probably started with being able to see emails on a cell phone; then FB and WA. From that small jump, we took the next jump in the precipice of social media. People got hooked and addicted to social media; this addiction may be worse than alcohol and cigarettes! At least people avoid smoking and alcohol consumption in front of elderly, but social media has almost become a socially accepted addiction.

As always, anything good needs a bit of discipline and adhering to specific steps, sequencing and rules. If these are not followed, success could be delayed. The important thing that can happen is that you will be able to analyse yourself, the reasons for failure. The reason may be that the step where you failed was too big a task. Break the task into easily doable steps, and you will succeed.

Start with something which you are most motivated to do. Start with something small and do it consistently. Initially, you may not feel that fall of a Domino! But it will fall. That fall may change your thinking, your way of doing things. But when the Domino falls, it will enthuse you to take up the next step.

Maintain the momentum and immediately move to the next task you are motivated to finish. Let the energy of completing one job, carry you directly into the subsequent behaviour. With each repetition, you will become more committed to your new self-image.

When in doubt, break things down into smaller chunks. As you try new habits, focus on keeping them smooth and manageable. The Domino Effect is about progress, not results. Maintain the momentum. Let the process repeat as one domino automatically knocks down the next.

Having good habits has many advantages. You get a good feeling because of the lack of clutter. I had attended one course of 5S, the Japanese techniques. The tutor asked a senior manager from a large company, “Where do you waste your time in office?” The manager gave a bit of thought and  said, “65% of our time is wasted in locating things.” The department obviously had bad habits, and the boss allowed the shoddy way of working. By not being into good habits, efficiency gets drastically reduced. Performance becomes poor. But such things cannot be changed overnight. A small beginning needs to made and then let the Domino effect take its own course.

Good habits are not for someone else, they are for your own good. You become a better person, you become an efficient individual. All these things are needed to improve your persona. Many times we don’t change because we do not allow the domino effect to take place. We try to reach Mount Everest without even trying to reach the top of your local hill. But to reach the top of a local hill, start with climbing four floors in your condo using a staircase!

Emergency, Emergency!

Some of you may consider this as the second part of my blog 996 or else! Possible, but it is a comment on modern working methods not restricted to any specific field.


I read an article about school teachers in the UK. With WA groups and email, parents of the children started getting in touch with them regularly and expected an instant reply from teachers.  The late response caused anger in parents and anxiety in teachers. Teachers perform many more activities other than teaching in the class. They set exam papers; they correct the answer sheets. They check essays and have some administrative work too! They have a personal life like you and me! On top of this modern communications have created such pressure in some teachers in that particular school, that some of them wanted to resign and some protested strongly to the management. A parent finds time to communicate at 10.30 pm and expects a reply immediately.

I will tell you about the procedure followed in my granddaughter Rhea’s school. They do not allow the parents to communicate with teachers at all either by meeting or by electronic communication. They have a group of administrators who are available to meet the parents. Parents can meet them, and in most cases, problems get resolved at administrator level itself. Parents can have one meeting with teachers once every term and group meeting every quarter. I was delighted to see that at the end of lower KG this year, Rhea was analysed for twenty different personality points with details. They have a WA group for parents where circulars etc. are sent. Half the parents have no time even to read these circulars.

The same thing happens in other professions. Colleagues send you an email at 6 a.m. and expect a reply asap. WA has made matters even worse! You also know whether your message is read or not. One tends to read the boss’s note right away. But is it right?

First and foremost, there is a need to create a set of WA etiquettes. Secondly, every organisation should give a rethink and decide policies based on previous experience! What did they all do when modern methods were not available? Emergencies were handled even in those days. Years back in Jaya’s office a mainframe computer was being installed. Nobody had previous experience in this field. A call came from her office at 1.30 am, and Jaya mumbled some reply on a minor issue. Next day Jaya and I talked about this while having our morning cuppa! I told her that there would be a call again tonight but let me handle it. When the call came at 2.30 am, I, said, “Please make calls at night only when the fire alarm goes off.” No calls came ever again.

But then some people want to keep and show their importance to the organisation. I know of a guy who got married in the ’80s of the last century. Before marriage, his director called him and said, “Please, don’t travel out of Pune for Honeymoon; we will sponsor your stay in a five-star hotel, in Pune.” The guy did not travel. Later in his life, I have seen people calling him to find out if the knob on a panel is to be turned clockwise or anticlockwise!


Are things moving in the right direction? As usual, the answer is Yes and No. Every few minutes some hot shot guy is born and wants to change the world yesterday! He goes into midnight email mode. The credit for starting this trend or you may say discredit, should go to Blackberry phone. Blackberry was the first cell phone which brought professional emails on the phone smoothly. Blackberry became a status symbol! People in those days would not say, let me check the mail. They would say, “Let me check my Blackberry!”

I won’t go into details of how email usage on cell phones has become routine, but now this usage is pretty standard. There is some discussion going on about rules and regulations that need to be followed. Unless some infrastructure is created and an attempt is made, things will not change. Some companies are doing their bit, and others are not doing anything. But it is not about the organised sector, but also in the unorganised sector, the change in thinking has to take place.

I will share an anecdote from very early days of email, about limitations of the fundamental knowledge of the systems, about usage, etiquettes. In a large organisation, people would mark a cc to many people. All the emails were replied as “reply all”. The storage made available to individuals was meagre. When I was talking to a friend, he said that his capacity is full every two hours. He did not do anything, no more emails for some time! Nobody had told people how to use email, as the IT people’s knowledge was also limited.

Even today, in the corporate email setups, there is a lot of limitation about storage etc. People when in difficulty, ask for details on personal emails and then download them! Now people have enough technical prowess; systems have understood limitations and discrepancies. But it is the management team that does not form policies where even during “out of office hours time,” communication goes on. It is simple. The system can always “not allow” communication beyond certain times. People should be given “right not to reply” after office hours! Same rules should be made to be rigorously applied for WA and telephonic communications. As usual, these things need to start from the top! There is a saying in the corporate world. If the chairman of the company asks about some delay in a project, the last guy in the value chain gets threatened of losing his job!

A good beginning is already made. France has passed a law, a couple of years back, on the right to disconnect after office hours. Daimler and Volkswagen have a facility where emails sent to employees on holidays get auto-deleted so that after coming back to work employees do not face a flooded email box. Our NCP MP Supriya Sule has introduced the “Right to disconnect” bill in Loksabha. In a small way, attempts are being made to make life easier.

But what about small sectors, professional individuals in business? Doctors get a call from patients at an inconvenient time, and people are upset when they do not respond. It is ok in an emergency but what is an emergency? A good idea would be to send the doctor a message. (They do check messages as all of us do, and respond when needed. They do not return if they are in Bali on holiday) They will decide and act if they feel it is an emergency. I am also told that these same patients do not call doctors if they are getting late for an appointment.

Every work, every profession has its standard timings for doing work. Each individual fixes his/her schedule based on the requirements for personal and social activities. Availability of technology does not mean that the communications channels should be used in “the personal timing” of any individual. Do you call your grocer at 10 pm? Do we call our milk vendor at 9 pm? Yes, I know of someone who went to wine sellers’ home on a dry day!emrgency1 No, I don’t think so. Why? Because in the case of these service providers there is no emergency! Thank god!


Frenzy or the Bench?

Work style and ethics have been changing over a period. Life was much more straightforward in historical times, until as late as before the industrial revolution. The revolution has started new products, new facilities, new systems, and modern ethics. Round the clock availability of electricity has changed everything upside down. In olden days, one was required to go home before it became too dark. Dependence on sunlight decided many things including lighting and heating needed in winter. We take for granted many things that support the workplace to run round the clock. Hence, we have started thinking that work must be done 365/24/7 by individuals.  Looks like time has come to take a relook at how we handle these changes.


From olden times there have been people who were very efficient and extremely sharp. There have been others like you and me. The super smart or go getter-gang can do things maybe 50% better or faster than others. They rise up in the hierarchy quickly. The people reporting to them are fascinated and tend to hold back. The downside of this is that “others” don’t grow because they never get the opportunity to develop; the boss has already done their work. There is a line of people for getting instructions from the boss. The boss never waits for others, the task is rarely delegated.  

A typical example is that of a Banyan Tree. When Indira Gandhi died, it was said that no other leaders developed under her. All were followers, they became good party workers. Indira Gandhi helped many people to survive, somewhat like the Banyan Tree provides shade to many. The earth beneath the tree does not allow anything else to grow. 

There are other fruit and flower trees like Banana Trees, Apple Tress, and some Berries, which start giving fruits and flowers in six months to one year. These trees have a minimal cycle of production, but they also help many birds and others like butterflies. This quick recycling creates a clump of such trees around. Unlike the Banyan tree, other trees are allowed to grow in their vicinity. 

The Banyan tree type of leaders create many followers or support people, but no leader is allowed to grow, there is no successor. This is because they do not enable the generation of leaders. But when the time to replace Banyan tree comes, there are no candidates.  

I have known of an organisation chief who observed a Banyan Tree type leader in her organisation. The leader was giving tremendous results, and his area showed promising results. But the boss realised that under him, no new leaders were coming up. Another aspect she observed was that the leader would always go home late, sometimes as late as 9 pm. He would drag all the group to work in this fashion. A couple of smart people resigned and went elsewhere. In exit interviews, they wrote that they could not handle the daily routine of 9 am to 9 pm work. People started depending too much on the leader and work would suffer in his absence. The leader forgot the principle that the efficiency of your department is really seen when you are absent. The owner felt that such a status was not good for the organisation as well to the individual.  

She called the leader for a one on one meeting and discussed everything threadbare. The leader was a nice man and agreed that the things on the home front were not so good for him; he had two kids. He was rarely present for any programs, celebrations or sometimes on weekly offs too! The boss explained to him the issues surrounding the methods of the leaders work. The boss told him about the possibility of burnout. Then a plan was chalked out. It took almost six months, but it worked out in the end. 

The master plan started with a delegation of work, but that was obvious and essential. Slowly the leader started reducing the time spent in the office. Well, he started going home on time, began delegating work. In the initial phase, he would check if his colleagues managed things well. One more thing the leader started was letting things go. He realised that some meetings were not very important; so he started excusing himself from such a meeting for 15 minutes, to attend another quick meeting. While doing this, a colleague would cover him in the original meeting.   With this tactic, he became available to more people;  colleagues also started going home on time.

One more important thing he started, was finding out from his colleagues about the area where they wanted his help. One of the colleagues told him that she wished for his suggestions on new projects. For running and routine projects, he started getting updates on email. Additional time was now available to him.  

The top boss also realised after his discussion with the leader that, the leaders never complain of overload. They just keep on accepting the load and doing it. But many times they just go away without any hint. Overload does affect lives is a fact of life. It is for the senior management to track the fast-rising stars and nurture them carefully so that they don’t burn out.  

Infosys had a great leader in Narayanmurthy, who had formally written to all employees against working more than regular stipulated hours. If you get a customer call late, the organisation should decide the cut-off point, beyond that time, the call should be handled on the next working day. Of course, there can be an exception. Exception handling should be a transparent and fast process.  

There is a downside to the frenzy. Service and Support organisations in the IT field started a new system. When taking up projects, they commit, say, 100 people. The contracts are made such that an additional 20% of people are held in reserve. These (20%) poor souls have no work. When projects are completed, sometimes it takes months for people to get the next project. Obviously, there is no work. There is a pay cut. But the employee must complete their xx hours every day in the office doing nothing! This is the other extreme of the frenzy I was talking about. Some people start getting used to the “Bench.” The most important aspect is that these are humans, individuals first and the company employees later! These matters need to be handled with sensitivity; I am aware that there are commercial matters involved. But for all companies human assets are vital.  

I read a case study of a lady, who was really a go-getter; she was smart and a bit abrasive. She was extremely efficient, so she started going up the ladder fast. She did everything very fast and every day at 4.30 pm would call a meeting of her team. She was ready with the “To Do” list for all. At the end of the session, she would update the lists, if required. She expected others to complete their work. But she would leave the office every day at 5 pm because she had finished her work. Senior management found it difficult to handle her. She now runs her own business.   

Superstars need to remember that they should not try and take over every project, learn to say no, extend work hours as not all can handle these hours, force ideas on others. At least once in a while, use someone else’s opinion though it may be second best.  

Superstars also should prioritise demand on their time, avoid overwork and burnout, and most important remember that there is a  team; you are not the only one!

A different view of looking at go-getters!

Managing Moods!


Our life is about managing things, managing the boss, managing the wife and managing finances. If we can handle these things then probably we do not have to manage our mood. Yes, the mood is another crucial thing that we need to manage. Can we manage our mood? Is the mood control in our hands? Yes, it is! In our lives, nothing lasts forever. There could be a financial loss, there could be a death in the family, there could be a heartbreak; the human brain is designed to overcome such issues over some time.

Our mood changes on day to day basis! Serious events could catch you in a melancholy mood for some days. But on day to day basis, our mood can be good, bad and the average of good and bad. It can be nasty for a short period. Similarly, it can be boisterous too. Nobody would like to be in bad or a sad mood. If we attempt to come out of it, we can do it.

We generally think that we are disturbed because another individual said something to you, or thought you were doing your things correctly, but still, you have been wronged. You passed through when the green signal was turning yellow, but you were given a ticket because you jumped the signal. Yes, there will be annoying people or events, but that is always not the case. It is not others all the time who spoil our mood.

Some of the reasons for your foul mood can be

  • You have not slept well during the night
  • Weather is nasty
  • Traffic snarls due to which you almost missed your flight
  • You have to deal with an idiot at the workplace
  • You are unnecessarily insulted by a salesman or a clerk

These things are bound to happen. These incidents happen to healthy, wealthy or happy people all the time; such events occur in case of all the people. Before we can improve anything by way of correcting the process, we must understand what the problem is. We should not avoid things that destroy our mood. In life sometimes we need to confront people or situations. Human weakness is to avoid such things, but that does not solve the issue. So we must give priority to understand the problem first.

The event or the situation is not harmful, it is the human reaction to the situation, is what creates the foul mood. Many times adverse events can generate a response in us which can lead to improving the situation and getting into a better spirit. The good idea is to keep a log of such events for a period and analyse why it is happening. Keeping a record can help us understand ourselves better. There is no point in trying not to confront such situations.

Now that you know a bit about getting into the foul mood, it will be a good idea to know how to come out of it.

It’s simple. Come out of a lousy mood! Ok, it is not that simple. First and foremost is shrug off and don’t react. Let things cool down for at least some time. Why this needs to be done is because our first reaction to such situations is always emotional and not rational. Emotional response can further aggravate the situation rather than diffusing it. But at the same time, do not leave things open; there has to be a closure otherwise we stay in a foul mood for a long time.

We keep on getting text messages, emails which can create a tough situation. I will share an example. I had received an email from a business associate who was very unfair and nasty. There was no fault from my side. I wrote a nasty email which I did not send. I saved it in the draft folder. I slept over the email. Next day, I reread the mail. I realised that considering long term relationship, my original mail would have cost us dearly. I diluted my mail by 95% and sent it. Of course, I mildly registered my protest and also wrote how it was not our fault. Two things happened because of this. The gentleman called me and said that he was forced to write that mail due to some awkward situation in their organisation but he did not mean it. He made up for our loss in the next project. Secondly, since I had written a nasty mail and stored it in the draft file, I had blown up steam and had cooled down considerably. Two things together gave the situation a proper closure.

There are situations when you react, and in some cases, you don’t respond. You need to consider what is involved. Does this affect your integrity? Is your relationship with someone close and dear at stake? In such cases the action is necessary.


The relationship may involve your girlfriend or a boyfriend. If some angry words are used there can be overall disappointment with girlfriend refusing to talk to you. You get angrier because she does not speak to you and the situation may get out of control. It is a good idea not to let emotions take control of the situation. If you value your relationship, it is better not to say something harsh, though it might make you feel better at that time.

Managing your moods is tough, and you need to practice it. First few times you may not handle it well. But over a period you do!

But something is bound to trigger your bad mood. Try not to get soaked in that mood. Try to come out of it. Getting stuck in that lousy mood is a recipe for situation worsening. Overcome it, move on!

Life is about moving on! Try and set “Time Out T” like in a basketball game! Give yourself ten minutes, thirty minutes! Never allow yourself into foul mood indefinitely. Ultimately life has to go on!

It’s your life and unfortunately the only one you have. Try and enjoy it but remaining in a foul mood is not going to help.

भातुकलीचा खेळ-Winding down!

भातुकलीच्या खेळामधले राजा आणिक राणी is a lovely song sung by veteran Marathi singer Arun Date, who died last year. भातुकलीचा खेळ is the game kids play with the toy kitchen set. Children play with this set in childhood and are the favourite game of the girls. I have the pleasure of playing the game currently with my granddaughter. There is so much fun. The girls exactly follow what their mothers do. Mothers be careful; your babies are watching you. I won’t be surprised if I am told to look after the baby while their “Mumma” checks her WhatsApp messages. My granddaughter Rhea plays different roles, sometimes she is cooking, and sometimes she is making tea for the guests. Sometimes Rhea goes out to the clinic while I look after her baby. After “coming home,” she checks if the baby had eaten well and slept well. How realistically they play such games.

Sometimes her play-acting is over in ten minutes, and at other times she is done in thirty minutes. The minute the game is over, her mind switches over completely, 100%. If I ask her something about her previous playacting, she says, “Now don’t ask. I am painting,”. How quickly the children can switch over. To me, this is an art. Are we adults able to make this switch so quickly? Can we entirely withdraw from what our children and grandchildren are doing? Do we stop playing भातुकली? Are we ready to retire 100%? No, we are not able to do so!

Rhea never takes any help from me. She is very clear about what she wants to on that day. Sometimes Rhea has two kids, and sometimes one. She does not like interference from me. I have to sit there and play-act as per her wishes. While setting up her भातुकली, she sometimes makes errors; sometimes she can set up things the way she likes. But she does not allow me to interfere.

Are you getting what I am saying? Our children grow up, start working, get married, and start leading their own lives. They may or may not seek your advice. But are we able to handle this and remain away from suggesting a few things to them? My son got married before both of them were 25 years of age. We had sent them a formal email, even in those days. We said in the mail, “Now that both of you have crossed the age of 25, we feel that you have matured well. In the future, we will not give you any unsolicited advice. Now that you are gaining your world view, we may seek some suggestions from you if it is ok with you!” In this way, we expressed that our भातुकली was over as far as they were concerned. We have continued to follow the method we had suggested, and I feel that it is a great success.

Each person or a couple gets their own experience in life, once they start their life. I had mentioned in one of my blogs about concentric circle theory about our lives.


We begin in a circle with our parents. Once we marry, our parents go to the outer circle. If and when children are born, they come in our inner circle. Children create their circle when they marry, and we go in the outer circle. So life goes on! Shifting to the outer circle is a changing point in our lives, that is when our भातुकली should taper off and over as early as possible. We should create our new circles, and life will go on!

Each generation has its way of living life. No two generations live the same experience. How many of us can switch our thoughts 100% to modern times? If we can’t do it, then is it not our way of thinking that we are carrying forward as baggage? How does this baggage help us? If we do not interfere in our children’s affairs, the worst thing that can happen is they might get a setback, but they will learn from mistakes. We also had our setbacks when we were young. The current young generation is a bit lucky that some of us were in similar fields as them, during our working days. We never had that advantage.

At some stage, we need to take a call about the storage of unused but perfectly usable stuff that we have at home. Give things away to whoever wants, your children, or maybe some needy people. I am sure your cellar is full of them. Let the needy enjoy things. Your children may want them for emotional reasons. In many homes, children live in distant countries and have spent half their life abroad. What relevance will an old study table have to them? Do they need your भातुकली? Do they have a connection to even modern homes or cars we may have?

While writing this blog, I thought about Wordsworth’s poem “My heart leaps up when I see the rainbow in the sky” has a line, “The child is the father of the man”! One of the meanings of this line is

  • The exact nature of a person doesn’t change with time or age.
  • The conduct of a child indicates what he will become when he grows up.

These two meanings of the line are clear, but why is the human not able to withdraw from his भातुकली as he grows older. Girls do it beautifully while play-acting. Does it mean that Wordsworth misjudged human nature? I am sure that Wordsworth must have suggested this to be a general statement, but a substantial percentage of people are not able to practice what they did so well in childhood!

I feel that it makes sense to be practical about our life. After a certain age, when HIS call will come for us to shut our भातुकली, we do not know! Why not make it easy for others by winding down in time?


काल करे सो आज कर, आज करै सो अब | 
पल में परलय होयगी, बहुरी करेगा कब ||

This is a famous Doha (couplet) by Sant Kabir. He has said that if you have to perform some important task, why wait for tomorrow, do it today; then why wait for today, do it just now. But the modern Doha would be, if you have to perform a task just now, do it later today. If you have to perform a task today, then do it tomorrow; what is the hurry buddy, there is day after too!  This picture below is the perfect definition of procrastination.


What Kabir has implied is that for some important work, if you delay it, then what will you do, if some catastrophe takes place and your important work could get delayed or you may never get the opportunity to do it again. In Hinduism, there is a concept of rebirth. If some things remain pending at the time of your death then, one’s soul will remain dissatisfied and will not be able to transcend into the next yoni. Procrastination can be bad for both body and soul!

See the slide show below which throws further light on what I am trying to say.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There are of course funny sides and serious sides to this problem. We assume that people procrastinate simply because they are lazy but it is not as simple as it looks. There many reasons for this issue and of course there are solutions. But we need to decide that we WANT to do it.

The reasons for procrastination are

  1. Perfectionism
    1. Perhaps you are worried you might make a mistake in your work and expose a weakness. The fear of making mistakes is a real thing, and it can cause people to put off some of their important obligations for another day.
  2. People forget that they can learn from mistakes. Why not try?
    1. This means that they avoid doing certain tasks because they fear the risk of making a mistake and looking anything less than perfect. They want their work to be perfect. Because they believe that they will inevitably fail if the task is not in line with their given talents, it is best to set it aside for another time.
  3. Fear of the unknown
    1. This is a natural reason and sometimes valid, but we must not forget that it is not going to be helpful
    2. One might see a growth or a mole somewhere on the body. The person is afraid to get it checked from the doctor for the fear that it may turn out to be cancerous. But will postponing or delaying going to help?
    3. This can happen due to half or lack of knowledge too! Somebody might tell you that cancer is hereditary; nobody has cancer in my family so why bother? Cancer is not curable hence the fear but there are some cancers which are curable if treated on time.
  4. A similar thing can happen in a relationship also. It could be in love, it could be with friends or the boss. There are some issues which need to be resolved, by delaying them, the issues are not going get resolved.
  5. I will do it later
    1. One always thinks, “Oh, I am little tired just now, let me do this task, two days late.”
    2. But it may so happen that after two days you really be tired and one will go in an endless loop
  6. Working on small tasks because they are easier
    1. This is pretty obvious
    2. Humans look for a path of least resistance
    3. We might look for small pending tasks to perform instead of the one which needs to be done.
    4. More the time and effort the task is going to take, the more the thoughts of procrastination will come in mind
  7. Lack of Motivation
    1. Lack of motivation has many reasons. But we need to check the priority of the task you are trying to do; and the effects of not doing it or delaying it
    2.  Fatigue
    3. Lack of confidence
    4. Negative surroundings
    5. Wrong environment
    6. Other priorities
  8. No clarity as to how to get started
    1. Sometimes problems are too complex so one gets confused
    2. Try and put things down on paper point by point
    3. See which are the points you are confident about
    4. Take help or guidance from someone for points which you think are tough
    5. Remind yourself that putting off things is not going to complete the task, in fact, the delay might lead to some more cascading problems
  9. You get distracted
    1. In modern times following distractions come in the way. According to the study, people spend 35/40% of the productive time on distractions
      1. Email
      2. Text Message
      3. Social Media
      4. Phone Meetings
      5. WhatsApp
      6. Others ……………
  10. The knowledge that task is hard work and will require efforts
    1. Working on a long project can be really difficult because of the amount of effort that it takes to finish. There are also opportunity costs along the way where you have to give up something you would rather be doing to get some work done on your project. This often leads people to lose their motivation and choose to set aside their projects for a later time.

There can be many reasons for postponing things that need to be done. One of the most important would be to judge the risk of postponing a particular task. If the risk analysis says that it should be done, then it needs to be done. In my first job after a few years of good work, my boss tried to make a contract with me which was unfair. I had to act immediately or I would have got stuck. I met a professional contact who was a big boss in another factory. He immediately offered me a job! I saw the risk of not acting quickly. When my voice tone changed suddenly five years back, I went by the guidance of my ENT surgeon and within a few weeks, my cancer was detected and successfully treated. The fear of the unknown would not have helped.

How to correct Procrastination issues?

How do we correct this problem of Procrastination? Experts say Change Your Outlook, Stop punishing yourself for procrastinating. Tackle your most important task for 15 minutes. Break tasks down into small chunks. Start your day with the hardest tasks. Give yourself a pep talk for motivation. Promise yourself that you’ll get a reward when it’s done.

I am going to give highlights of what can be done to overcome anxiety causing procrastination.

  1. Break your work in little steps
  2. Change your environment and be with positive people, have someone close for discussing things with
  3. Identify when you feel like procrastinating
  4. Talk to someone who has already achieved similar goals
  5. Don’t wait for the perfect time to do it. It may too late
  6. Share with someone what you want to achieve, it will help you to go ahead with the task.
  7. Just do it

There will be many ways to achieve the final goal besides what I have suggested. Similarly, there will be many more reasons to fall into this trap. But to me, point number 7, “JUST DO IT” is the real solution! So friends just do it!