Saturday, February 26, 2011

Can something happen over Chai ?

I took a U-turn from Sarjapura junction. It was dark and cloudy. A sudden evening rain had created a kind of traffic mess on the outer ring road.

Somewhere before Bellandur my phone rang; I took left and stopped the car to attend the call.

By the time I finished the call, I heard a thud at the rear left side. For once I thought someone had hit my car. Pissed off, I looked behind. A girl stood with an umbrella, holding the door half open.



“Will you go to Marathalli”?

The genius friends I had dropped at Sarjapura junction had left the doors open. She was almost inside the car, possibly a little desperate too, due to rain and traffic situation.

“Ok. But ...” I tried to speak.

“Koi baat nahi..extra le lena..ab chalo”, she sat in the car.

I don’t think I looked like a driver. But wearing beard and a dirty white t-shirt; driving an iron-age Alto in a dull evening; there was a remote possibility that she might have misunderstood.

“I am coming. Please wait. Lot of traffic today” She spoke over the phone. “Bhaiya..aap thora jaldi le lo please”.

The ‘Bhaiya’ insult was too difficult to bear. It killed whatsoever little hope of romance I was left with.

I kept driving ahead. My CD played the next song 'O re piya' (from Aaja Nachle). Saw her hearing the song quietly. “Hindi samajh bol lete ho"? She obviously liked that song.

“Haan”. I saw her trying to see my face. I switched the gear and looked out.

“Tum aur log nahi bithaoge"?

“Nahin. Aapnay bola na..jaldi chalo..”

“Theek hai. I will pay you extra..tum Rohan Vasantha apartment tak drop kar doge kya”?

“Theek hai”.

Rohan Vasantha is just opposite to my apartment. My phone rang again. I had to pick up. I had to reply to the caller that I will be in Mumbai next Monday.

She got a little suspicious; but by that time we had reached Rohan Vasantha. She came out..and saw my face.

“I am sorry”, came with a blush.

“But I thought you’ll say thanks”. I could not stop smiling. “Don’t worry I stay in the apartment the other side of the road”.

“Thanks. Actually I have to go out in few minutes. Will it be possible to catch up over an evening tea someday”?

“Sure”, I smiled and took the reverse gear.

They say a lot can happen over coffee. Does that apply to chai as well ?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Raj Dharma..

Over the years I grew up with an unsettling thought, something that actually made me dislike (the God) Rama.

How could he leave (the Goddess) Sita; as if she was just another property that he could dispense with; and that too when she was on the family way? What was so compelling that he, who followed all the dharmas in his life, had to leave his beloved wife in such stage?

The answer came, few months back when I saw an episode of Uttar Ramayana, the story that narrates the events after Rama’s accession as the king of Ayodhya. The story goes on till the battle for the Ashwamedha Yagya horse.

Before battling with his father, Luv asks the same question to Rama.

And Rama replies, “Raj Dharma”.  The duties of a leader, took primacy over all the dharmas.

While it may remain a debate at several forums but for the first time, I saw the reason that ‘King’ Rama couldn’t have ignored, even if the decision was as cruel to Rama himself, the husband.

But unfortunately the message of Raj Dharma is lost, and is sorely missed in many of the leaders today.

In my personal view, what they fail to do is - to detach themselves and decide.

To be able to detach means to treat all subordinates equally. Perhaps the most important trait of a leader but hardly found these days.

There is always a blue-eyed boy or a June Pinto (DTBHJ) that leaders find comfortable to go to. Unfortunately in long run, it proves to be disastrous - to other co-workers' output, to leader’s credibility and also to such favorite’s overall effectiveness.

The second most important attribute is to be able to decide. Our experience is replete with situations when leaders ask for ‘all the information’ before they decide.

The issue is when all the information is available; we don’t need a leader anymore; then a computer or an interpreter is good enough.

An informed decision is qualified with maximum 50% of information. Beyond that, the probability theories provide better reference. Therefore a leader should always be ready to decide with an element of risk.

A decision may finally prove to be right or wrong but inability to decide means the person can only fake to be a leader but s/he can’t actually lead.

Rama may not be a great husband, but I think he certainly was a great leader. And a king who managed to follow the most difficult dharma known to us...the Raj Dharma...