At the end of the day!


Pramod somehow managed to make Internet Genie run at the high speed that was expected of him. Genie as usual started narrating a story. He started with a question, “At the end of any day what will you consider as your greatest achievement?” Pramod knew that if he uttered a word, Genie would slip out of his control and system will hang! So Pramod did not give any reply to the question asked.

As usual Genie kept on talking. Pramod, I know that life is full of great many options. You can be a great businessman, or you can be a great professional or a great sports person, or an artist. But what would you call your real achievement? Will you be happy if people say that Pramod is very smart guy, but he is an even better human being? What have been your targets in life? What have been your goals in life?

Pramod, today during at an event for a book release, about overcoming the loss of a spouse, a speaker said that between spouses four things are very important love, faith, humility, gratitude. That is succinct way of putting things across. These four words define the closest relationship in the world where you are friends, lovers; you fight and make up! You sacrifice for each other and you are proud of each other. You give tit for tat in anger and love in equal measure! If similar thoughts can be extended to other relationships in life, Pramod, I would add empathy!

How are the relationships formed and sometimes broken in life, Pramod? When the deficit of any of the five points starts on a regular basis, relations can sour but Pramod there is no reason to break any relationship. People may drift apart but reaching a breaking point is not necessary. One can agree to disagree but what is the point in breaking a relationship. There is only one life to live.

Pramod, I have seen how you have managed the relationship in life! I have been tracking you, though you may not know! Once I remember your son asked you if summer training was possible in Cummins. You told him, “Let me call someone”.  Next day it was arranged. Your son asked you the next day, “Hey dad! How come you always say, let me call someone for any and everything?” You just smiled.

Pramod the other day an old business friend of yours read your recent blog and after a brief exchange of messages, you phoned him. He was so happy that at the end of your chat, he said, “Will it be ok if I barge into your office right away? After listening to your voice, so many old memories kicked in, I feel that I must come and see you right away.” He came to your office in 15 minutes for a cuppa!

Pramod, you have always managed to keep professional and personal relationships in the right perspective but with your attitude and natural friendliness, even you also did not know when professional relationships changed into personal respectful relations. You have become a sounding board for many, people simply share anything and everything with you. You have unknowingly or maybe knowingly applied all the five principles of life in a beautiful way. This has made you a natural aggregator of friends. Pramod, I remember once you had told me about your mother’s opinion about you. She had told someone, “Pramod does not need alcohol to get drunk. Meeting or talking to a few friends is enough for him!”

Genie continued. He said, Pramod you should be proud that this continues well and true in the next generation; and this transition augurs well for the world, if your way of thinking becomes part of inheritance! Yesterday, you met your new neighbour in the lift (elevator). In that one minute, as only Indians can do, you knew details about each other. One thing led to another and you invited him for a cuppa to your home. I know how you managed to convince a person, you had met only for one minute, to come over to your home. He happened to work with your son Sachin, in a company called PTC, about ten years back.  Sachin lives in the US and his friend was working for Pune office of PTC. After half an hour, his friend got up to go home and took a promise from you to visit them over a weekend. While going he said, “Pramod, Sachin was my manager in PTC. When he decided to change his job and move to Microsoft, many of us reporting to him cried!” They were all young professionals, in thirties! You asked him to explain more about this. He said, “Pramod, Sachin is a rare person, who is very smart and he has love, faith, humility, gratitude and empathy. He carried his team together in a beautiful way. I never knew that this is possible in a professional relationship.”

Pramod, I want your reply on this as I know you have strong views!! Pramod just could not keep quiet. He said, “Genie you seem to in mood to praise me and for a change I really do not know what to say! I am happy that you like what Sachin and I are doing in a natural way. I have never tried to form a relationship, they just happen. I could switch to first name basis, in first or second meeting with most, though it was not so popular in late 80’s and early 90’s. I could keep separation of work and personal relationship easily, so at the end of a tough meeting, I would enjoy a cup of tea as if nothing had happened. Come to think of it, my mother had a very easy way of knowing new people and had her friendly relationships with many. It is probably HIS way of passing the right genes down the generations. So, my greatest achievement in life is long list of people who are my friends!”

With this statement Pramod broke the golden rule of silence that Genie had locked him in.  At that instant Genie slipped out of Pramod’s grasp, Genie’s speed became equivalent of 2 G and system hung!  Genie could not help but make a passing remark before escaping. ” I am sure if the world is full of persons like you and your son, and of course your mother, all is well. 9/11 and 26/11 are just blips!”



Transient State of Life!

I wrote a blog about Indices of Life and tried to analyze how we can define our status in life and our well-being. However, a friend Jay felt that we cannot define this so easily, as life is much more complex than the way I have tried to analyze it. Yes, it is not only complex but various states discussed are transient. When I said that if the sum total of life’s indices is nearer to 30, the highest number as per my definition, that number is over a period. It is not an absolute number and is transient like our life. The aim of Indices blog was to analyze all things in one basket at my today’s age and find where I stand. In this blog, I am trying to review,  at what stage I got the “feel” of the various indices.

Till the age of 20 only two Indices come into picture Happiness and Sadness but I somehow remember that Empathy was peeping out from the age of 10 or 12! Empathy probably is not so much related to age, as we think. I remember an event, I had gone for lunch at a family function. One kid from our family, all of ten years old, was standing at the counter with the serving staff. He was handing over the plates to each guest; with everyone he would make appropriate conversation! Pramodji make sure you will have Rasmalai, you will love it. Jayaji make sure that you don’t eat that so and so subji, it’s a bit too hot for your taste! He was talking with each guest appropriate things and let me tell you there were about 200 guests! Imagine a ten-year-old kid waiting, doing this for almost an hour and a half! He could do it only because he had tenderness, kindness and sensitivity within him, which is the hallmark of a person with Empathy. He has taken up  dentistry course now and I am sure he will be a great doctor, with 6.0 in empathy index!

Around the age of 30, I started my own business. In the initial phase of business everything was new to me. During that phase there were many friends who gave me orders just because I was Pramod! I started getting the feel of gratitude as well as humility. I am sharing one experience with you because it happened with a stranger! I was given a big order by a friend of mine working in a large organization. He specifically told me that he will place an order on me which will benefit his organization by about 15%. The item that I was to supply was a hardware item, it was not in my normal business lines. But my friend said, “Pramod, you supply for three months, the original vendor will fall in line during that time, and reduce rates drastically; Pramod you won’t ever be able to match the new rate”. That was my friends aim! So far so good! I went to the market and randomly went to a shop and met the owner, who was an experienced old man. He offered me tea; I explained to him my requirement; the rate he quoted was more than our Purchase Order rate. He smiled when he looked at my face. When I told him the quantity, he reduced the rate drastically. I smiled but again there was a problem. I did not have money to pay advance. When I told him the problem, he said I know that young man! But I believe in you. You pay me the day you get money from your customer! This incident activated the feelings of gratitude and humility in me. The owner also told me that these are my baby steps in the world of business and he felt that I would do ok in business. He said that my personality is that of an honest human being! Over a period, I meandered into different things in life, but this incident started thoughts about gratitude and humility in my mind!

In next ten years, I needed to adapt to various changes that were taking place and I developed an attitude to learn and use new things and techniques. Even though my Master’s Degree was in Metallurgical engineering, I ended up running my own software business. This was the result of  combination of attitude, adaptability and agility. Probably by another five years or so current persona had evolved in me and then remained stable. I did go through a major medical treatment when I was treated for cancer about four years back. But with my stable persona, I could take it in the right spirit and handle it as if was just one more serious incident in life!

Friends I started with a theoretical definition of life’s indices in my last blog and ended up finding how I evolved over a period. This is another self-analysis going into some  details of life, of my own experiences, and the things that I observed during the journey! I am sure you will also attempt to visualize the same and realize how fascinating our life’s journey is!

Life’s Indexes !

The other day after I woke up, I sat in our balcony enjoying lovely weather. I was wondering what kind of life I have lived. I came to a conclusion that I have lived a reasonably happy contented life. I was wondering why do I think the way I am thinking. Life’s journey starts with birth and ends with the death. The quality of life that we live, depends on the value of various indices in our lives. What is the Life’s index ?  

Life’s index is my term and  I thought why not define my own indices in life? I am grading them 0 to 6, from worst to the best. I have chosen the scale of 0 to 6 because I have chosen six indices. Total of 30 will be the best and –6 will be the worst because while adding I am going to deduct sadness index!  It is equally important to give different weightage to each index according to my judgment how important each index is! I am not going into a complex weighted average based formula, as I don’t want this blog to be mathematical treaties! These indices depend on good things, bad things, exciting things and boring things that happen during the journey of life. The whole journey ultimately depends on sum total of various values that can be assigned to indices. Some of these indices are not in our control and some are in our control. We can “handle” those in our control and we have to “manage” those which are not in our control. I think that the way we feel, is a combination of various factors. In our lives, only one event or one person does not decide the feeling of fulfillment.  

Which are these indices? Happiness, Gratitude, Humility, Attitude, Sadness and Empathy are the indices that we will consider; there are many more indices that we can look into. But we will consider only these indices. It is not the index value in our life that is important, but index values in lives of others from our ecosystem, are equally important. Happiness and Sadness are two indices that are dependent on the ecosystem. If a person is sad because of ill health, the spouse also will be sad. Similarly happiness is also a shared index. But other four indices are totally independent of environment, you and only you are responsible for the performance of these indices.

Let us start with happiness! Happiness and Sadness complement each, so I thought it will be a good idea to club them together. Happiness index and Sadness index directly decide our good life, when Happiness index is a plus sum game! But happiness does not really depend on any specific thing or event because it is the state of mind. Sadness can be due to specific events like deaths or major events like financial loss. Whereas births are specific events that give us joy and happiness. Other than such external events, everything is controllable. To make the sum of happiness and sadness index positive,  is in our hands! My weightage is 15% to each of these indexes. 

Second index is Gratitude index! Humans are generally good in nature and do things for each other! But how many of them display the gratitude, I am not really sure. You don’t need to express gratification in words but actions can show gratitude. It is not necessarily about something very big but we should always show gratitude especially about things very small . The workers who do the job of taking away trash, those who do the job of cleaning washrooms, those who clean the floors! These are not fancy jobs which everyone wants to do. But people do these jobs. We need to show gratitude to such people who are silently working in background. Of course, we should be gratified that HE has brought us in this lovely world. My weightage is 15% for Gratitude Index! 

Humility index is equally important index, especially from the persons who have succeeded in life, have reached pinnacle in their career. Any person’s success is due to support of colleagues, team and many others in background. Humility shown by successful persons brings a special aura to their persona! Persons who do not show humility may be respected but not out of love. Those who display humility will be both respected and loved! Such person’s team will go out of their way to support them. Person showing humility is always a couple of steps ahead in life’s respect ladder! My weightage for humility index will be 20%. 

Attitude includes openness, adaptability, accepting new things and courage of convictions.  This type of attitude gives satisfaction in life. In the world, things change very fast and if one does not have right attitude to adaptability and/or accepting new things, person may not be successful in whatever work is being done. This can lead to less happiness and /or  increase sadness. My weightage for Attitude is 10%. 

Last but not the least is empathy. Empathy plays a major role in our lives. An empathizer will always look at every situation with correct attitude. Do not mix up empathy with sympathy! In a tough situation, say of worker’s strike, decision has to be taken with empathy! Nobody expects sympathy! If one has the ability to understand worker’s issue, solution will always be just! Person with empathy always handles life’s situations in a smooth manner without disturbing the feathers!  To me weightage for empathy is maximum, 25%. 

Where am I on the index scale of 30? Maybe around 24 to 25! I am not really sure! I have written the blog but I have not seriously analyzed myself! But if the figures above are my correct analysis then I would like the figure to be near 27 to 28!  Where are you my friends on this scale?