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Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Broken Heart

A broken heart is a terrible thing. If that was not bad enough, consider the impact when you rewind a set of events that make you heartbroken; each time it kind of amplifies its impact. With time, the intensity of the final outcome in terms of sadness heals, the events themselves become slightly obscure, but the rewind and the amplification effect last and seem to become stronger and more pronounced with time.

But the funny part of heart is that it never learns. The desire to be happy is so overwhelming that the dangers of the corresponding sadness on heart break seems to be a risk well to the taking. However, unfortunately each time you pass through this cycle, as a person you change. You would become more withdrawn, skeptical and less giving. The depth of any consecutive relationship becomes lesser, the activities in it, become more transactional less transformational. The impact of inconsequential activities that used to be pleasurable becomes just existential in nature. Pause here, if you are reading, retrace, reflect (strongly if you are a structurally conformal female). There was never the getting back to the first level of bliss was it? There was only an attempt to fill the gap with some plaster which just would not stay? Why was it? Can you at the best be only a second rate version of what you wanted to be? Answer: No

Consider a visual in your mind. I will try to make it graphic. There is a heart, the iconic candy floss version. There are a set of bandages all over it. It sees solace; a very appetizing morsel of indulgence in the emotional domain. The pain, the bandages notwithstanding, it gravitates towards it. Every fiber in it cautions against it. Enter in the visual a very straight forward and a stern looking Mr. Head. There is a look of military frown on its face and the equivalent of a weary but stern disapproval. A leash suddenly materializes on it and it is lassoed on the heart. There is barely hint of a grimace on the heart. It is in a trance. It moves towards indulgence, the pace however is slow. Confused, it looks back and sees a leash with the handle on its nemesis Mr. Head. They start to fight. The age old struggle begins between the heart and the head. There is no respite in sight. There are 2 thoughts and 2 ends of the spectrum, there seems to be no possibility of a negotiation.

This is because of compartmentalization. It is sought to call for a cease fire in the above fight. The generally used compartment is called the realm of friendship and is a domain perfected and used extensively by females. But it rarely works. When you put a name or a boundary on a relationship there is a pressure on all the parties involved to live up to it , do it justice and also a subtle hint that it cannot be extended or expanded. When you start putting definitions on non rational behavior you are indulging in a cosmic mismatch. How can you define, monitor & control a non rational feeling with a rational definition?

So what to do? Answer: Live in the moment, flow with the time. But never hold back because you are scared of hurt because then you compromise your essence of existence.

PS: Thanks, to a friend who shared her life stories with me , that sparked this post. I am not sure if  I was able to do much justice to the sentiment as it sounded too much English, when I read back. Observant may notice I have deliberately not given a gender to “heart”; I really could not assign it one!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dacw 'Nghariad - There Is My Love

This song/poem/rendition is just too good. I came across it via stumbleupon. I thought it was some ancient war cry and I searched for the translation. Much to my surprise it actually turned out to be a love thing !!

I am re-posting here the link on youtube: & the  English translation of lyrics.

There’s my love down in the orchard
Oh, how I wish I was there myself...
There’s the house and there’s the barn
There’s the cowshed door open...

There’s the great branchy oak
It’s got a pleasant look
I’ll wait in its shade....
Until my love comes, my love comes....

There’s the harp, there the strings
What am I with no one to play it?..
There’s the lively, careful maiden
How much closer am I to winning her?..

If you liked it visit for more such tunes.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I have always been an output focused person,a Machiavellian who believes ends justifies means.Maybe I am wrong , or my approach on the borderline ethical but nobody can be the judge of that.

A couple of weeks earlier some events transpired that were very  insightful.

I bumped into someone during lunch who seemed to be in the vicinity of my age. I am forever, seeing people in this place whose experience spans more than the time I have been on this earth so I was kind of curious to know what this guy did as he was definitely not looking like a misguided research associate or a tired doctoral student.

And rightly so, he was neither

He was an opportunist like me who was hired to set up a new initiative within the system. The system where I work is smart enough to realize that any new work of setting and running something cannot come from a resource within so they hire fixers (like me and him).

I could relate to an organization on the outside that would be of use to this guy and also benefit themselves, so I patched them up for a meeting.

The meeting was confirmed and I was not informed of it. However the guy inside told me about it. 

I was a trifle surprised as to why I wasn’t informed byt the organization  about the interaction which I initiated but I let it pass. In my place at the system I get to know of everything mostly sooner than later.

I however have a good friend who is presently doing pro bono work for the organization( the reason why I referred them in the first place) I set the meeting for, so I causally called him and passed on this information and also made evident my surprise at not being intimated about it.

Anyway the meeting was concluded and I again wasn’t in the loop. Worse the organization head did not feel it worth the while to even call me up and have a round of tea discussion. I let it go this time as well.

The guy inside however was smart and he immediately intimated me about the success of the first round of discussions with the organization I referred.

I dutifully pushed this information out to my friend the social servant .Then I called him up again and asked as to why there seemed to be an obvious lack of business sense and in the organization he was working for. If I could help set up a meeting, I could also influence decision pre or post the meeting. He was at a loss but he promised to get me in the inside soon.

Now, the serendipitous part of it, I was informed by my boss that I need to create a mechanism for this new initiative to function. I am used to getting these mandates from him; after all I am the man Friday he hired.

This information again was relayed to my friend, and on the basis of this he managed to secure a first discussion with the organization head.

We had a quick lunch discussion. I had some insights on the proposed association which I wanted to share offline; however it wasn’t clear to me if the first meeting would be the right platform, so I did not get it out.
I was right; the organization head wasn’t relay gung ho about the entire thing. I did not intend to push it either and now I am clear that I will do no more free work for them so the chapter is closed.

This is the second time in my tenure at this organization that I am seeing a lack of focus on output or to use modern colloquialism a lack of the drive “to getting it done” in non-manufacturing sectors. 

I someone had given me a lead, I would have pushed pulled, coaxed, cajoled to get the initiative moving. First of all before meeting the recommended contact I would have called the person referring conveyed my thanks and asked his views about what it was all about. His perspective from the periphery of the system would have been much valued. That perspective coupled with history on the person I was supposed to meet would have decided the agenda of my discussion. The day of the meeting, I would have again patched up with the contact and conveyed the highlights. It pays to have a lobbying resource inside. Meanwhile, I would have then given an interim update to the contact of the progress of our discussion and tried to get him into an informal setting for an informal discussion.

The above entire cycle of events is what develops business. Presentations, mails are useless. Competency as a critical ingredient for getting business or being successful is highly overrated.60% competency and 40% relational impact is what drives business on a subjective. No organization can thrive only on the basis of superior competency as a differentiators.

I guess when you are in the business of services the subjectivity of the service rendered kind of lowers the focus on getting it done. 

For instance consider a manufacturing entity. There is a final product which you can feel and touch at the end of all the process of presentations, meetings, and spreadsheet (yeah… the entire arsenal of the MBA constructs). Since the output is measurable, tangible there seems to be a mental drive on the subconscious level on getting it.

On the other hand consider a services entity, say for instance a consulting firm. The output is a thought often hidden under a bunch of shiny papers and charts. But it is just a thought, you may or not relate to it but you definitely can’t feel it.

Maybe in both the cases I had seen, the association on offer was not an immediate requirement of the external organization. Somehow that does not sound like a convincing argument. Who does not want some brand association or better still money from a good government brand? And for services firms isn’t perception more important than an output?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Who are You?

I saw these lines on the board of a DRDO lab…

Some people see a closed door and turn away.
Others see a closed door and try the knob. 

If it doesn't open... they turn away.
Still others see a closed door and try the knob.

 If it doesn't open, they try to find a key.

 If the key doesn't fit... they turn away.

A rare few see a closed door and try the knob.  

If it doesn't open, they find a key.

If the key doesn't fit... they make one.  We are the key makers.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The illusion of Completeness

The powers that were to be once made a decision that was to define humanity in times to come.

They decided that a society was essential for a dignified way of life.

Hence the powers decided that we need some rules to abide by that separate us from our less evolved counterparts.

So once we had rules, it was a given fact that we needed rulers. Rulers in turn needed rule enforcers and rule enforcers needed rule interpreters.

In this entire scheme of rulers, enforcers and interpreters there came in an unofficial, however highly ubiquitous species of rule fixers.

The emergence of fixers was to a certain extent an evolutionary certainty. I was reading an interesting piece on the incompleteness theorem by Godel. Now the mathematics behind this theorem is not very comprehensible the basic premise of it is very interesting. He says that within any system there exist statements which can’t be proved or disproved by using data from within the system.

For a moment, consider the theorem to be valid and binding.

Then it implies that within the boundaries of a system, there will be situations or problems that cannot be solved using resources from within the system. Now replace system with society and resources with the broad categories of rule makers, rulers, enforcers and interpreters.

Hence naturally there will be situations that cannot be solved or closed using these internal resources only.

As a proof, to the above theorem think for a moment of your workplace.

There would be plenty of work which you think could be done easily and would certainly benefit the people, but there is somewhat of a reluctance or inability of people within the system to do that work. This reluctance or inability is often captured in a singular statement of “This is how things are done around here”. (I am not implying that inefficiency in an organization is a certainty, given the evolutionary mandate, I am merely giving an interesting interpretation to world in general)

Now rule fixers facilitate the scheme of work in the ruling world. You see every rules interpretation could be facilitated or delayed, every enforcer could be persuaded either way, and every ruler could be pleased or be displeased.

Consider the role of a fixer in real world. 

Again I take the example of a workplace.

There would be situations or problems you would have encountered at your workplace when you felt it to be prudent to be confide in the one person whom you believe could help. Now this person could be very well a friend, any gender, but if you pause for a moment and consider the personality trait(s) I am certain you could spot these. Firstly, there would be a complete lack of ego or pride, and secondly an average capability and performance.

Miraculously once you confide to a fixer, things seem to be less burdensome. A part of the relief maybe due to the emotional aspect of getting it out of your system, but there is now a faint belief that now it could be resolved.

It may seem that Godel’s theorem is contradictory considering the above example as the fixer in this case comes from within the system. Actually it is not, I leave it to you to figure out why. (Clue I missed on personality trait of a fixer, - a very elastic nature and a highly checkered past)

Fixers are essential to any society, organization or institution’s survival.

This is because work cannot be completely linear-ised & output cannot be completely quantified. And that in turn is because when you deal with people there are always emotions to handle and they are not always rational.