Saturday, 6 April 2019

Valedictory Speech: Convert the Sparks of possibilities into Flames of Achievements

Dear well- wishers,

Some portion of my speech as a chief guest at Annamalai university commerce dept which received a standing ovation this week. People appreciate when we link the speech to the personal experiences than text book experiences, I realized. 

Just shared with u as I always believe in sharing good things with my well-wishers.

Here is this extract -
“You may ask me v r used to listening to great people’s story. But we are
ordinary people. 
No every one is a specialty. Only yr attitude determines your altitude. I give my own example since u may prefer live examples:

  - I proudly declare in any forum i am a product of a rural town Mayiladuthurai. My father was a humble teacher. நேர்மையும் ,நம்பிக்கையும், கடவுள் 
பக்தியுமே என் தந்தை எனக்கு அளித்த 
அழிக்க முடியாத அசைவில்லா சொத்து. அனுபவத்தால் உணரவேண்டிய ஒன்றை..., 
ஆயிரம் தத்துவ ஞானிகளாலும் உணரவைக்க முடியாது.மூக்கு பிடித்து மலை பல கடந்து 
முனிவர் பலர் பெற்ற தத்துவத்தை, ஒட்டியும் 
ஒட்டாமலே வாழ்ந்த வாழ்க்கையால் எனக்கு கற்று தந்தவள் என் தாய்

- I read at Tamil medium since our school where my father was a teacher did not have English medium. I studied my BCom in madras university but from same rural town. Even though v study college in English medium v speak in Tamil between friends there. I studied my ca from another rural town Thanjavur. I did not want to spend money of my father given our position. But i never wanted  my father to feel the stigma of not being able to educate me in popular branded schools. I just spent 700 rs for ca and 500 rs for college. I told my father that coming top rank will negate my not being taught at public schools/ branded schools. 

   I came in the top ranking my school, went on to rank no 3 in the whole of madras university amongst 12000 students. I was amongst the top 20 all India rank holders in ca and top rank 1 in all India in post graduate in mg accountancy of ca. All from rural background with no  expense To my father. 

But he taught me “ try to reach the moon but be happy even if u reach the tree top. Courage in a crisis and calmness in success are the mantras he taught me”

   In graduation only top three rank holders will be called for graduation in those days as madras university had more than 125 colleges across Tamil Nadu. While i went for convocation due to my top rank, my batchmate of the same year from chemistry division who did not make  even within top 25, later became the most powerful woman on the planet. She went to USA after her graduation/ IIMC. That is a history. She is none other than indra nooyee for you. Now i never can blame it to my bad luck or my father’s fault of not sending me abroad. But  both my daughters went to Stanford/ Harvard/ Kellog business school today. They always tell me everyday “ dad, you should have come to usa at a young age. You would have reached the highest altitude” but i have no regrets. What i could not do i could make my daughters do. 

When I came to the city of madras after my CA, the first interview of mine was at MNC Unilever. There was a group discussion on “ role of Russians in Afghanistan” 
I knew quality stuff. But due to my inability to communicate fluently in English,  I lost to Doon school & Lvodale guys. They were short in substance but strong in english communication. I started with my first failure even after top ranks but due to rural background. 

  I never gave up. I decided to take my first job in Mumbai. Bought “ write better & speak better” book from readers digest. Deliberately moved in the company of IITs & IIMs. In two years i could get over my initial disadvantage. 

 Today when i sign in literary festivals in Dubai, i do see my Doon school friends getting autographed on my book. One Englishman standing in a queue to get my signature in my book which he bought,  asked me” oh, 1 lakh words in your book. How come u write this English when as an Englishman I struggle!”

   I went closer to his ears and said "sir, you listen to more surprise. I studied my schooling at tamil medium from a rural town in south india. Even today i think in tamil first and then convert to english. I am a proud rural product."

Count your blessings, not your curses. Convert the sparks of  “possibilities” in you into flames of “ achievements”

  I am just sharing this not boasting but for boosting the confidence of those who feel they r under- achievers.  

I make sure i see only share positvity and share only positive aspects on the public domain. The negative feelings do cross at times. But i prefer to deal with it at my own level and try to kill such negative feelings with spritual support all alone. 

God bless u all

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

You see only what you want to see

One day a wealthy person took his son on a trip to the country side to let him see how poor country people lived. They stayed one full day and night in the house of a humble farmer. At the end of the trip father asked his son-
“What did you think of the trip? Did you notice how poor they are?”
The son replied-
“I learned we have one dog in our house and they have four. We have a fountain in our garden, but they have a stream that has no end. We have imported lamps in our garden, whereas they have stars! Our garden goes to the edge of our property, while they have the entire horizon as their backyard!”
He concluded- “ thank you dad for showing me how poor we really are”.
All depends on the lens that we use to see our life?
Have a lens that fits your eyes.

God bless. 


Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Conviction or Compromise?

Many a time, I have had to say ‘Yes’ when the need is to say ‘No’! I have had to make such compromises as part of my daily routine. I cannot be ruthless in getting things done. If I need to achieve results, I also need to compromise, cajole people to walk along with me. The art of taking people along with you is the art of management. This calls for making regular compromises in the corporate world. After all, popular sayings such as George Herbert’s ‘A lean compromise is better than a law suit’ is one such. Also the one that says, ‘The swift wind of compromise is a lot better than the sudden jolt’, support my view.
In the words of E.E.White, ‘I arise in the morning between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day’.
I am faced with the confusion, Conviction or Compromise?
People feel that by going to temples and purely by performing religious rites they can attain communion with God. But spirituality truly lies in being devoted to your duty, your work, to be content and above all, being true to yourself and to all the other people who have faith in you. One who has the courage to be honest and positive under adverse circumstances is truly spiritual”, says music maestro Jagjit Singh, Padma Bhushan and Sahitya Kala Academy Award winner.
The mind is restless, forceful and strong, it is more difficult to control the mind than the wind.
Bhagwat Gita says, ‘You have the right to do your duty. Don’t think that you can create the benefits of duty. Don’t seek happiness in not doing your duty’.
While performing your duty, do not try to do something for others, because you want them to do certain favors to you. The easiest trap in the world is to begin to renegotiate your principles just a little bit to pay back a friend or do something nice for someone, who has done something nice to you.
Conviction is the conscience of the mind. Mahatma Gandhi  had once said that it is worthless unless it is converted into Conduct. A ‘No’ uttered with deep conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered just to please someone or worse to avoid trouble.
We should never for the sake of peace and quietness of mind, deny our conviction. Always remember that the height of your accomplishment will equal the depth of your convictions (William F. Scolavino).
If you stand, stand. If you sit, sit. But, do not wobble (Zen Master Umman). Be absolutely clear about who you are and what you stand for. Refuse to make petty compromises.
Great leaders made choices that were self-consistent and those that brought them fulfillment. They may not make popular choices, but they always follow their inner conviction.
Courage and conviction are the powerful weapons. It will be sweeter if you hear about your convictions through other’s lips.

God bless


Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Cut-throatness is emerging as smartness today...

In our own corporate world, we have to show quarterly growth, irrespective of constraints. Then we tend to pursue victory at any cost. Recently, I was surprised to read the results of a survey.
The question was: ‘When no one is watching and you find a suitcase with a million rupees on the road, what will you do?’ Majority of the respondents said they will silently take the money with them. However when the same question was slightly twisted with a new condition being that there is 25% chance that someone is watching you - the majority of them answered that they would report the case to the police.
We can see from this that people do not want to be clean on their own. They do not mind in diluting their values when they know that they will not be caught red-handed. This kind of cut-throat behavior is viewed as smartness today. Ethics is what you do when no one is watching. However, today when no one is watching, wr try to exploit the situation. This is emerging as the new mantra. No more do people hesitate to make money by machinations that ensure they will not be caught. The situation is very unfortunate.

Let me tell you a few stories on this subject ..

-An industrialist who was on his death bed, called his sons and said he would divide the property he owned between the two of them. However, he wanted the liquid cash (money) that he had earned to come with him. Hence, he requested each of his sons to deposit Rupees one hundred thousand along with his body. After the old man’s death, his elder son returned from the burial ground saying he had made a mistake by only placing Rupees ten thousand in his father’s grave as he thought his father would not be able to count anymore. On the other hand, the younger son said he would never ever cheat his father dead or alive and had left behind a cheque for one hundred thousand rupees in his father’s grave, as had been requested.
Do you realize that the younger son is not exactly straight as it may seem. He has kept his promise only because he knows that the dead man would never visit the bank to present the cheque! In today’s world, if you see, most of us tend to behave like the second son and then go around calling ourselves straight. This in my opinion is cut-throat behavior.

-Let me tell you another interesting story. A village once initiated a milk collection drive for its poor children. It was agreed that before daybreak every family in the village would contribute a glass of fresh milk to the collection. One villager thought that since the whole village is to contribute, it would do no harm if he put in water instead of milk. Nobody would find out and they would have collected enough milk from others anyway whereas he would have more for his family. In the darkness of early next morning the villagers poured their contributions into a common container. At the appointed time when the container was opened in the presence of all the villagers it was filled to the brim. But guess with what! WATER! So, Arjun, are you like the villagers? Would you like to live in a village where you have such neighbors? Irresponsible people are most interested in individual profits than individual responsibility.
Now, where do we go from here? This is the kind of success that we enjoy. This is the reality. In the words of Ayn Rand, ‘You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of reality.’ We are in a race between co-operation and catastrophe and the threat is overrunning our response (Sam Nonn). If we respect each of our stakeholders, then we will be operating in a fair manner. Cut-throat behavior is clearly nothing but winning through unfair means, while real smartness is winning through fair and just means. We should demonstrate conviction towards our value framework, instead of compromising on our priorities just for attaining victories.

Be smart but a cut-throat.,. Stay blessed


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Can Character and Competence Coexist?

Here is a lively story from the Great Epic “Mahabharata”. I fondly recollect this particular recital – ‘
‘Dronacharya, the great Guru taught skills of archery to the Pandavas and Kauravas, the two royal family groups. Arjuna of the Pandavas was his favorite student. In the modern days, we talk of the inter-continental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads and all that. In those days the missiles in the form of arrows, backed by proper chanting of hymns would annihilate the targets. These chants to go with the astras were taught only to a select few by the Guru.  The yardstick to identify the deserving was far different from what that our children face today as entrance tests.
The guru’s son Aswathama also studied with the royals and was as skilled in archery as Arjun. These classes used to be conducted at the Guru’s home, as these young students had to stay with the guru on a 24 by 7 basis and learn.
During one such practice sessions, Guru Dronacharya took Arjuna separately to a nearby forest and started teaching him the most powerful ‘Brahmastra’. It was the most powerful archery tool ever.
Dronacharya’s favoritism towards Arjuna aroused lot of curiosity in the Guru’s friend, ‘Why would he not teach of Brahmastra to his own son, Aswathama who demonstrated equal skill, perception and speed in learning?’ Unable to resist, the friend asked Drona the reason for his action.
What was interesting was Drona’s reply.  He said, ‘My dear friend, I am not surprised that such a thought occurred to you. My son has all my competence too. But that is not just enough to use this astra. A balanced mind alone makes the astra work. Aswathama, in my humble opinion, lacks such balanced mind and ability to time.

Character without competence is an empty paradise, competence without character is a crook’s paradise. Charater with competence alone is the real paradise.
God bless


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Results may crown you or crucify you...

We hear this too often..
work is virtue, work is worship, do your duty without any attachment thereof. Does that mean that we have a right to our duty and not to its fruits thereof?
A student works hard to get a top rank. A farmer works hard to get a good harvest. An executive works hard to go up the corporate ladder. Without an objective there is no incentive to work hard. How is it possible to work without attachment?

Please note that the verse does not say that you have no right to the fruits of labor! It urges you to do your duty but learn to accept the result. You may expect but you should have the realization to accept the result of whichever nature. You cannot control the result. Hence give priority to your duty and not to the result. The same thing was said by Confucicus (551 BC – 479 BC), ‘The mind of the superior man is conversant with righteousness, the mind of the mean man is conversant with gain’.

Being dedicated to work has to mean ‘working for the sake of work, generating excellence for its own sake’. If we are always calculating the date of promotion or the rate of commission before putting in our efforts, then such work is not detached. It is no ‘generating excellence for its own sake’, but working only for the extrinsic reward that may (or may not) come by. Working with an eye on anticipated benefits, means that the quality of performance of the current job or duty suffers – through anxiety for the future. In fact, events may not always respond positively to our calculations and hence expected fruits may not always be forthcoming. We should not mortgage our present commitments to an uncertain future.

It has been held that this principle of detachment leads to lack of incentive for effort, striking at the very root of work ethics. To the contrary, concentration on the task for its own sake leads to the achievement of excellence – and indeed to the true mental happiness of the worker. Thus, while commonplace theories of motivation may be said to lead us to the bondage of extrinsic rewards, the detachment principle leads us to the intrinsic rewards of mental and indeed moral satisfaction.

The result can crown you with a kingdom or can crucify you on a cross. You should have the readiness to accept the result, while doing your duty.
Chase as far as the input / effort phase is concerned, and learn to face as far as the result phase is concerned. To put it in another way – ‘Do your duty and be prepared to face the result of whatsoever nature, don’t give up!’ Since there always seems an affirming view coming from the Western world on anything that the East propagates, let me quote from William Shakespeare. He said, “Three sentences for achieving success: know more than others; work more than others; expect less than others.” Therefore you should stay focused on the purpose not on outcome.”
Stay on purpose, not on outcome

God bless


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Count your blessings , not your curses

When we face successive failures, it is difficult to regain optimism. The lectures on positive thinking may have a soothing effect for a day. The shelf-life of a lecture on positive thinking can be at best one or two days. Many could not even get out of the bad phase till their death despite intensive efforts. Only 1% of them end up being successful. Is that destiny?

“Dwelling only on your destiny deprives you of your dues . The unexamined life is not worth living (Socrates). The problem with most of us is that we always brood over the closed doors of opportunities. We never see so many windows of opportunities open for us. A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity: an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty (Winston Churchill). We need to have the courage and conviction to face adversities.
Don’t jump to conclusions on destiny and give up. You might have faced difficulties, Premature pregnancy is dangerous for the baby. A prolonged pregnancy is dangerous for the mother. Hence don’t jump to conclusions too fast nor delay your realization. Evaluate yourself calmly.

We forgot the flower’s aroma amidst the perfumes we developed. We forgot the full moon’s light amidst our mercury lamps. Devoid of courage, we stay content at safe positions and face unseen retardation. Without doing things with full conviction, we call ourselves unlucky and brood over our failures.

When the world was believed to be flat, Galileo challenged it. In the same way, the Wright brothers proved that humans could also fly like birds. Any society operating with an urge to grow will always look ahead.
You are what your deepest nature is.
As your nature, so is your will.
As your will, so is your deed.
As your deed, so is your destiny.

Difficulty is a part of life. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

One day a software engineer travelled in a first class compartment of a train from Chennai to Bangalore. He used to grumble that as Project Manager he had too many things to do. Looking at his brand new hi-tech laptop and highly casual attire, his co-passenger asked, ‘Are you from the software industry, sir?’ The co-passenger greatly admired the software industry. The software engineer irritatingly replied that they have to go through several complicated processes in their field and it is not easy. He also complained that as Project Manager he had to face ever-changing requirements from customers, users always cribbing about information deficiencies and the boss always complaining about overruns. “You don’t know my friend, what it is to be in the line of fire!” he blurted.

The co-passenger patiently listened and said, “I definitely know what it is to be in the line of fire, young man! There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture point 4875 in Kargil during the war between India and Pakistan – in the cover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top. There was no knowing where the next bullet would come from and hit whom. In the morning when we finally hoisted the tri-color flag at the top, only four of us were alive. In the army we took the first pledge – the safety of the nation first followed by the safety of the men we commanded, and lastly our personal safety. I have surely faced the line of fire in the army too often sir,” he said. The software engineer felt ashamed of his constant cribbing and bowed to the Army man.

There are so many people around us who face harder battles than us; we should understand this. When something negative happens, we need time and support to deal with the consequences. With time, things heal and we move on. We should not keep brooding on the wounds and failures, as we need energy to move in a positive direction. Nurturing the wounds would only buttress our failures.

When one works for a goal, even if victory is not achieved, he will be happy for having made honest attempts. Mental fatigue and the loss of drive to achieve are the foes that kill us.

Stay hungry,stay fresh, chase your passion unmindful of the outcome
God bless


Thursday, 27 December 2018

Don’t Deny Yourself the Life Blaming your Destiny..

Does this difference in the lives of human beings arise due to what the East calls Karma and the West calls the Golden Rule and Justice. The Karma theory says, ‘What goes around comes around’ and ‘What you give is what you get’. How do we explain this
These are works of nature. I do not wish to enter into the spiritual dilemmas of the Karma theory. Let me make it simple. Though growing on the same earth and same soil, two plants from the same mother plant have different characteristics. Even if the seed of the same plant is sown with the same fertilizer and the same water, there will still be some difference between them. Water is not the same H2O everywhere. The same paddy seed grown in the waters of Godavari produces a different grain when nourished with the waters of Kaveri or Narmada or Ganges given the same soil and inputs. Water is the main ingredient for the paddy crop. So for man: the way one absorbs the same knowledge from the same teacher and same parents and the way one assimilates and utilizes it, is what distinguishes one person from the other. A living thing is not a plastic piece of mass production. A living thing goes through changes from time to time. These are works of nature. These are nature’s wonders.
Man is made by his own beliefs. ‘As he believes, so is he.’ (Bhagvat Gita). The same is stated in the West in different words – ‘What a man thinks of himself: that is what determines, or rather indicates his fate.’ (Henry David Thoreau). Unless you perceive yourself to be worth, you cannot achieve.
Two men look through the prison bars. One sees the mud, the other sees stars. Your thoughts are the architect of your destiny. A positive mind emits harmonious waves of thoughts, a negative mind sends out discordant thoughts.
The lock is outside the prison while the lock is inside the house for many. It is ‘thoughts’ that lock you in. When you want to reach the top of a mountain, your attention should be focused at it even when you cross the foot of the hill. If you get irritated by the garbage at the foothill your focus is not on reaching the top of the mountain
Your Attitude determines your altitude
The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitudes of the mind. It is 85% attitude; the rest covers knowledge, facts and figures. Everyone has talent. Everyone on the planet is a wonder of the world! Everyone has the potential for extraordinary achievement! Even the great wonders of the world were built block by block, one day at a time. Small achievements lead to great victories. Positive habits create results. Opportunity is under one’s feet. We do not have to keep brooding that we are less fortunate. All we need is to recognize the opportunity.
Many a time, people complain of noise without knowing that it is actually opportunity that is knocking at the door. They recognize the opportunities only when these are leaving rather than when these are coming. It is similar to the story of a person having diamonds buried deep in his own land which he sold and then searched for the diamonds everywhere else and then blamed his fate when he couldn’t find them. This is life. We need to build a positive attitude rather than complain about temporary stress and uncertainties of change. We dig the gold mine for gold and not dust. We dig the land deep, unmindful of the dust but focusing on gold.

How do we know that there is gold if we keep on collecting the dust? Till when do we keep digging? Will we not lose our patience at some time? Can we keep digging the dust till the end of our life?
My worry is for those who put in their best efforts but do not succeed. We all talk about heroes who are less than 1% of the global population. There are so many unsung heroes in history who toiled but never found glory. They never made it big in the world. What is their sin? They tried in earnest and even worked hard, but did not make it big.
Many were born to win but conditioned to lose. If an eagle’s egg is placed in the nest of a chicken, the eagle will grow thinking it is a chicken. The conditioning of the mind is catastrophe for many. If you don’t try you will never know. You may be disappointed if you fail, but you will be doomed if you don’t try (Beverly Hills). Most people give up at the last minute, just a foot from a winning touchdown. Count your blessings, not your troubles as many of our blessings are hidden treasures. The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed as Lloyd Jones once said.
What we do to chase our goals?
Galileo Galilei is famous for having said ‘You cannot teach a man anything — you can only help him to discover it himself’. Whether a man makes it or not is a matter of his application. Nobody can do it for him.
Let me state a few tips for you to discover yourself: Realising your dream will be based on your awakening.
- Great minds have purposes; others have wishes – be a man of purpose.
- The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of expertise; hence he has to remain committed.
- The only limit to our realization tomorrow will be our doubts of today (Franklin D. Roosevelt). Hence don’t doubt your own self, learn to be positive.
- When you want success as intensely as you want air under water, then you will have it (Socrates). Therefore be focused on your success.
- Bernard Shaw says ‘Some men see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’. Be a person with unceasing intellectual curiosity.
- What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us (Oliver Holmes). Hence look inwards and realize yourself.
- Life is strife, if you rest you rust, if you rust you wear out. So shed your laziness.
- The only limits on your life are those that you set for yourself. Hence you should come out of your comfort zone and explore the unknown.
- Interest, Enthusiasm, Positive, Optimistic and Co-operative attitude will take you to dizzying heights.
- Keep trying without slack or being half-hearted.
- Abundance of will power and discipline offer you the inner power to achieve.
- God has put, for example, inside the sugarcane - both juice and energy. The sweet sugar-based juice provides tremendous energy to man and when the juice is sucked out, the cane still leaves bagasse – which is capable of generating energy of different kind. It is man who has to bring the energy out of the sugarcane. The same way God has put enough energy into the man and he has to bring the best out.
- The uniqueness of each individual has to be recognized. You cannot live the other man’s life. Your life should be based on your own uniqueness. You cannot live like the cat that applied hot strips to its body to aquire stripes to look like a tiger – the cat never became a tiger. Do not try to live like others, be yourself. Live your life.
Take these tips and discover your own inner self. No one can teach you how to reach your goals , but they can only enable you to reach them yourself. You should attempt to do so.
Your awakening is a matter of your own inner engineering..
Finally i can only request you ..
“Don’t Deny Yourself the Life Blaming your Destiny”
God bless