What’s Good, Is What’s Bad!

Featured Image: Courtesy NDTV – The political dilemma of ordinary people when we see these faces!

The strange headline is only a teaser. Blog is about confusion in minds of people nowadays, whether learning should come from books and teachers or our politicians and their tuition staff for history and social development. I address the subject through (A) Politics (B) Education and (C) the media, arts, music, films as in recent news. My writing is definitely not as boring as this statement, is a promise at the outset. English is incidental, though I do not know tough words.

Blog starts with what I do not like and why? How does it affect my choices? Finally what I would like to say to Mr. Modi, like “Man ki Awaaz”. Brace up for The Good, The Bad & The Ugly! How will you do it, is your take if you just trust your imagination and park it on to my roller-coaster.

In childhood we saw, read about and even followed people of grandeur, splendour and awe – legendary leaders, saints, musicians, rock-stars, artistes and even administrators, policemen, policewomen, just like now. What is alarming about now is that power is once again showing signs that ‘absolute’ power is once again attainable.

In fact, the world over, politicians and cronies can randomly strike off as many heroes from past and replace with fresh ideas – what was actually good 50 or 5000 years ago, it doesn’t matter. The reach via over excited news media fanatic over TRPs or just social media, is phenomenal and fool proof.

Politics, Society or Education, we had thought that pre 1940 ideas would have been eradicated, but as we read and see everyday, we are looking the demonic or zombie phase in-the-face; reasons perhaps why horror films and crime serials even on TV being actually loved, not to forget that TV serial writers are openly and brazenly having a fun time distorting scripts on daily whim of their producers and adverts are more than content to tell us – “Public, you are a tool and fools to lap whatever we will give; to hell with any kind of creative genius and creativity anywhere”. Why is nobody complaining? Is there an active I&B ministry, still, or is everything commercially buyable?

Suddenly, the school teachers of our 60’s and ’70s now seem bloody liars who fooled us. People born that time are at loss to judge how to believe a BJP, RSS or what have we world over, many recruits born much later, and some, who just never saw it all are the ones spreading messages – that’s where my confusion is directed. Then to even utter this, I must fear if I might be seen as a Congressman, when truly I have never known what myself – ever!

I just love good people do and open to point out negatives in black and white – an ill I have retained just the way Padman or Toilet might have been scripted – by default of times we live in (2018). Those who could not afford pads or toilets did not love what they did ever! So if Modiji, took step forward to make them affordable too to those it mattered, the signs are positive. If people still won’t and use money to marry daughters to anybody faster than before, it paint does paint him a Saint for giving a chance, right? Remember ‘Rang de Basanti’? Did it stop corruption? Nobody knows. The hero got bigger, producers made bigger budget movies to ‘educate our people’. Good or Bad?

Now, Rahul Gandhi born much after me could be right in explaining people in Singapore and round the world, what’s happening in India. Inadvertently he is matching Modiji’s schedules while telling the world what’s happening in India too. Both are saying the same thing giving way to my ticklish interpretation of what they actually mean to say – “our public is always stupid. Show them huge cut outs of leadership that looks visually good, elite, strong; coin fantabulous phrases, know how to stifle public outbursts with calm smiles and some home-bred nautanki, arrange strategic gathbandhans and they shall ‘hail’ with ‘Jai Ho!’ “.

Honestly, I have always nurtured a deep-hearted desire to join politics which should be evident in passion with which I write, I imagine. Problem is that soon as I start having faith, in a leader or party to be doing something right, we see something very stupid and old school returning and we say “oh, not again!”. Then there are reminders by ‘friends’ who were in ‘thick’ of politics – “how much money you have and who do you know?” – Money & Power equations (M&P).

I have come to realize that anyone today who follows beelines to local political honchos, always has a second question too, “okay, if I spend and I take all my time on somebody’s victory, what will I get?” A personal plus peps in, though it may not strike immediately. From ‘service’ to falling in traps of more M&P is a short road; but a politician can turn me wrong any day and “salaam” to their kind of grit, though I am not sure if a blog-writer will imbibe it soon enough.

All with political tilt are not bad; perhaps none. There are many in our country and elsewhere, who work selflessly in public transformation. We know all so many heroes through SRK’s TED TALKS, Amir Khan’s talk shows that bring tears to our eyes. I have personally seen and met some too.

Usually these people who did real-time Good, were mostly underdogs, did not live in influential big-gate colonies. It is my feeling that those less fortunate are always ready to lead or follow a good man or idea. But usually also these people were only rectifying a situation in their core trade and things just happened in succession; they had a character to just keep going!

Mostly through social media I notice people who feel they have done everything they ever wanted, are happy and satisfied with what they have They have a particular way of showing nationalism and care for the world. I notice them each day through blogs, groups of WhatsApp. I love their ‘good mornings’ and say, “just like me – he is reaching out, great!” The fallout is that writing or sending a post does not make us that “thought” and teaching anybody does not make us a better citizen.

I am always looking for people who may have enough, but are still hungry as I am today, to do the next thing the next best they did than to say “once upon a time”. We see too many of those, right? But if you are a parent to today’s youth, is it even relevant? My dream team is still far ahead in a haze, I guess, to make a political or socially out-reaching pitch.

I will use another bizarre simulation. The education sector just last week loved the inclusions and formatting of the English, Hindi, Physics and possibly other subject exam papers of ongoing CBSE board exams – they were easy but very lengthy! The student may be dumb, but can he sustain interest?

So for all those who might read my blog to the end – thank you, “you passed” and you can message those who don’t that they “flunked”!

And dear Modiji, I know neither you, nor Rahul, nor his predecessors would find any rationale in supporting a fundamental rationalist (you never have), you will all look at your relevance in the western world, outside India, than care for the Indian in the India or outside it if he fails you in election process. It’s not just me, even TV media has made a show “har shaakh pe ulloo baitha hai” on Star Plus. Creativity loved in titillation is what is bothering some of my young friends doing Indian classical music too!

But honorable PM is really bringing the public examination of BJP to a climax, we will all be part of you in 2019; just change a few remaining mind sets as I can see you are doing somewhat these days. Then count me in, to join you. I propose the same to Rahulji, Kejri bhai, with folded hands….from the latest owl ‘on the block’ who is very democratic.

Lastly about another news item today, “half of engineering seats lie vacant” in Indian colleges; every youngster firmly trusts “best, be an owl”.

Modiji, just who will do projects you announce, but never get finished? China, benefits from our every stupidity – a strategy to create only owls that would follow just beliefs of being BEST will not keep the dragon away from Brahmaputra and PoK, nor will the US come to fight our wars.

Even Shah Rukh Khan is spreading his arms for more colourful ways to learn. Beavers of my school days have new Avataar,  “do not stress the child”. Rightly so, for all I got then was dementia after too much tutoring by my “good” friends, associates, parents and elders make me smart enough to be the owl who shares my mind with you so openly and blatantly fearlessly to. No secrets here, just ask me, provide feedback thumbs up or down – say it!

Beaver or Owl – I have imbibed both in rotation – got it? Media must not make public “ordinary” our worthy leaderships, please value ‘the rationalist’, if not his vote, because to overcome China, every branch cannot have only that – Ulloo!

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Please do not forget my music on YouTube, especially Holi HuddDhangg 2018, link below..

 

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The Power of Concentration

I have borrowed the title from my video and song posted yesterday on YouTube where I followed this elephant, which has been so well captured by my son on his safari at Serengati, Tanzania. What I couldn’t present was that he was brimming with newfound learning from the basic rules of humanity, creativity, life and its various manifestations – which is what animals in the jungle too can teach you. Else why would Discovery Channels and National Geographic be at all, sites and forums where the highest of investments go, be so popular; presumably at par with entertainment. The young will learn and the older ought to be wiser enough to exemplify, if “to teach” be not such a good word in times of “Lord Google”.

The elephant grows with the herd, then he learns a lot, gets wiser and wiser and then he starts moving away at a distance from the herd. His big bulky frame and the mystic ‘yogi’ (our Lord Ganesha is he too) in him makes him sway as he trudges, sometimes closer to the carnivores than rest of the herd. His big ears are flapping to catch the slightest of sound and subsonic frequencies of sound. He has experience to catch on to where the big cats, the lions, the wolf packs and angry soaring birds could charge out of nowhere. His thick skin, the experience gives him confidence, the long trunk some expression too besides the obvious power to smell trouble.

The Zebras will never leave their herd or family. They will position so that their eyes in combined formation are covering eight directions N-S-E-W-NE-NW-SE-SW or close to that.

Each one must eat, yet constantly improvise as natural resources too never stay around forever in one place. It’s a constant strife and effort for survival, yet to enjoy life, scenery and blessings of the God’s immense creativity.

Many years ago, after a fabulous career and jumping to entrepreneurship, I started my music albums, business and learning in many directions. It was to be a complete hotchpotch; only that I was learning to be that elephant perhaps. Me and my wife spent some memorable moments at the Tirumala Balaji temples in Chennai and Tirupati.

At these temples, there were goose pimple moments, like when I was staring into the same idol as the featuring image of this blog, where the Lord is reclining, relaxing with his soulmate Lakshmi massaging his feet. Suddenly a learned priest came from behind and said “that is the Lord relaxing” and he joked “that is his Misses doing what misses do” and explained that was Balaji and Mrs. Balaji. Okay wives are not supposed to do that, but to accomplish big things or when chips are down one needs to relaxed and focussed needs solitude and full concentration. Lord Vishnu gave “birth” to creator of universe, Brahma; we can accomplish our miniscule goals pethaps.

In Chennai too, exactly a decade ago I followed very closely, a unique man, who did not exemplify to me, a typical Indian in the business of Music, as I knew until then. Later he was titled “Mozart of India”, but what I was keen to know was why he sat in his solitary one man studio when we know that he used big band orchestra to create those fabulous melodies and thumping statements of national pride. In fact I spent my entire earnings till that time to live myself in solitude on 12th floor of an apartment complex and attempt the same and the results are somewhat in my YouTube posts but the better part hidden from you all because of many reasons.

People like Mr. A. R. Rahman and so many great musicians and creative genius of this country and the world are elephants and everyone will tell you, that ‘destiny’ is never written, but the path is. That’s where the “Elephant” comes in. The carnivores are those who might typically mock, scorn and advise how to hit the nail on the head, but like the advert of Ambuja Cements, people who make cement do not make the nails, meaning we need to learn to swim before we leap and like for every field, nothing comes easy. So I toil whenever there is time at hand.

But today I will reveal something about me and this path. Not Mozart of India, but decades ago, when a young executive in a US shipyard, they did name me “Kolkatta Cowboy” for the way I hoarded ammunition (titbits of knowledge) and openly expressed my views or deemed solutions that were often bizarre for the times. “Creativity” and “Innovation” are a HRM tagline, but have limited value to give you the rightful value is what I learned.

More importantly, when the good Lord wants you to be better, it is only He who will decide when our time is right and if Hinduism has given the world anything, it is the simplicity of “Om Bhoor Bhuvah Swahah” to just keep doing your best, keep those big years open, position yourself in the best way for protection, preservation; so that if the demons of adversity ever come face to face, you already have the path that you know better so as to ward off the negativities.

Yesterday, it was the Elephant who reminded me the path. Six months ago, it were these big stitches on my chest and long time in hospital and bed. where I lay down like the Lord himself in the image, to think, ponder, re-strategize and all the things that creators and leaders might have done to shape humanity, for I can only trudge the way I can and use all I have learnt.

It is also to mention what my dear friend, a great Musician and Sound Engineer from Bollywood, my age too, told me a year back “Yogesh, we are now Dinosaurs! The younger musicians are doing things….” which is saying the obvious and what I hear every now and then, but my reply to that was “but how can that be? I started learning my music and found my lyrics AFTER my dinosaur age and all my teachers, friends and well-wishers are decades younger than me…(so how can I not be what is relevant??)”. 

The sharpness to listen to, recognize and finetune a wide range of  frequencies is called “Equalizing”, the equalizer on your HiFi system. The power of concentration exemplified by music makers is largely a product of the complete knowledge of the musician, the sound designer and the production team. By default I have had to wear all those hats myself, so that college time “losty” tag could be properly understood by my mates through this blog as well. Why I cannot market to Bollywood, is because I will kill my path where new compositions, new ideas are getting born within days and hours…..if YouTube is saturated to have me heard, YouTube has to beaten by “Likes” and Views, but do I have time to coax it out of you…no, I must get better just for my love of you, isn’t it?

With this and a fews 😉 ‘s, I welcome Bollywood and who have we into my little temple of concentration for I have done my bit to learn from their own. And all those who know of better ways to do what I can’t the invite is open as well with warmth that only the amazing concentration camp of my personal belonging can give..ha ha!!!

With thanks to all my friends and relatives…..and the elephants, zebras; yes, any potential lions and wolves as well. And yes, thanks to Lord Ganesha, twice I lost or left with complete strangers, my belongings, even once my laptop with all my work and music at the Siddhi Vinayak temple in Mumbai while praying for my own success in my endeavors, but found it waiting at the security gate…so the power in the elephant Lord does exist!

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Indian Classical Music is now “World Music”?!

Technology has not only made lives easier or complex as we experience now in every area, it has given a new lease to aspiring musicians of today to understand all what we waive aside as complex Indian classical with ‘aaa aaaa wale alap-taan’ that got on nerves with some; it is even being applauded as ‘wow man’ and music of today. But we will keep the superficial applause of what ‘goes’ today (jo aajkal chalta hai), to dwell deeper into mind-sets of proponents of Indian classical music within popular culture today. There have been brilliant efforts through Bollywood and now the ‘band culture’ as well. Nevertheless, the purists are as relevant or more sought after now, than my childhood times is a ‘claim’ I am trying to bring forward here, which can be debated of course (my aunties, uncles listening?).

Last evening while attending a talk show by the legendary duo Pdt. Rajan Sajan Mishra, the moot point arising from this discussion attended by many students of music like myself was that God resides in the swara, the notes. The notes too are not the smallest fragments. The sub-notes, called shruti, which do not appear in written formats make for completion of a musical composition sung with a certain discipline, which makes music – Music! The philosophy is same in every kind of music round the world, but the ability to define what learned gurus have attempted through evolution is documented through the ages and within the Vedas and spiritual texts. This is what makes Indian Classical Music special and those who love it – ones with God always!

The whole issue is more generic and relevant for everything that has changed with modernity. Just when we begin to feel that old traditions have died out or are likely to disappear, there will be somebody, somewhere quietly wrapping tradition in fresh packaging, often leveraging technology and reading into prevailing mind-sets to have his or her own final word over standard lines of thinking.

Since this is a blog, there is a personal side to understanding this sense of modernity in music as one born by default into a family with passion for music and some grounding in Indian classical music and dance. As such, quite unknowingly I have carried a balancing act through an eventful career in shipping and international business to collect all these poppy seeds of diverse music and cultural ethos from India, past, present and futuristic; as well as from remote corners of the world during my nomadic career and times in these seemingly leisurely pursuits.

So blessed am I, that thanks to my overloaded computer which does my business commerce and technics to music and video with many accessories of course; I never dropped any of those valuable titbits of musical knowledge and endeavour as often I hear people say with that awkward halo around their heads when justifying such loss victoriously with that quip “oh, those were our days; where is the time now?!”

To be never too busy to nurture talents and passions inside of our impressionable minds is the key to feel alive and well. As we age, many look towards spirituality and God but here too my default has been to find Him or Her within the swara, even as friends and relatives, close ones at that too would often mock me for trying to be a Rock-star in my age! Gotcha now, right hey!?

But even with that belief, I dropped so much, so many times until last year when a stroke put me in bed for several months. Then it was YouTube and social media, which helped me recapture much of what had trickled out from my goody sack of passions. So there is also now a desire to share what I have learnt during this grand opportunity to actually work it all out first hand from listening to all kinds music up to actual practice and sharing my experiments in music with you all through social media.

So what’s the story of this transformation of Indian classical music to World Music as a term I see being used so often. Is this about some white or black man or lady playing sitar in Saree or Kurta? Is it about Indian Ocean or metal bands playing electronic sitar?

No – debatable, but my view is that it is not even the term “Fusion” that we have known from what Pandit Ravi Shankarji gave to the world. It is a more ready access that technology in music has given even to cusp musicians where the basic knowledge of learning classical Indian music can be adapted by anybody to a kind of music that everybody can understand and here’s the story in short.

Living in New Delhi, a public euphoria surrounding cultural circuits blanked out for what seem were decades. But actually it was all there, hidden just for me. The schools were thriving the world over and something was going on that would uphold tradition and perhaps one day enable peace and tranquillity to prevail over decaying moral values of the fast developing world. I pray!

So, here as I lay recuperating my health, an array of brilliant young Indian classical and semi-classical musicians was retrieved from strings of old recordings that were never earlier made public and new ones too, where quality of music astounds me exponentially. Seeing hundreds of thousands of “likes” beneath the YouTube and posts on other form of social media, I am noting that the discussions are increasingly by the youth and the passion seems no less than my own times. Only the mattress, pillows and white-sheet baithaks are generally replaced by Hi-Q sound at studios and concert halls. The synths and electronica added by some bands too are only adding to keep the traditions live in my view, though they may not always appeal to the connoisseur.

We all tend to listen to legends of yore or those very few who are famous. But once again I see incredible performances by first generation of classical singers, instrumental soloists, a wide range of percussionists, tabla players, specialists in sound, arrangers, event managers along with diverse sponsors and investors; the whole paraphernalia that goes Into staging great musical concerts and bringing them to reach of millions for free via social media.

Gharanas are alive with remarkable upscaling of nuances with singers like Kaushiki Chakravarty, daughter of Pandit Ajoy Chakravarty groomed under lineage of legendry Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Sons of Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, messrs Ayan and Aman, Shujat Khan son of Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar’s internationally famous sitarist daughter Anushka, Rakesh Chaursia wIth flute and Usad Zakir Hussain now a senior with tabla are some of the other names but there are also many from lesser known lineage.

Then there are unique displays of innovative fusion between Indian classical music and others from remote Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa and Latin America which are all hugely tasteful enough not to disturb the essence and ethos of Indian classical music forms, of of the others – this is where excellence matters!

When I look at all this, one thing seems to hold out in common though as we see sustenance and even superlative excellence of emerging artistes. That is, the essence and growing relevance of collaboration and looking openly at all forms of music to cross boundaries along with inherent talent, hard work and strenuous efforts irrespective of any lineage or fame. Everyday I am learning so much from young Ustads too!

These young artistes are not just singing and playing their music, they are also talking and explaining the nuances in live display of their entire range of deep knowledge and “feel” for the art and its evolution through history past centuries.

Ultimately it is deep passion too of legends who have taken Indian classical music to international heights and fame, as also creative genius of those known for their popular music, but surely have always used Indian classical music as base for songs and background scores for blockbuster movies. Credit Is due too, to genius of likes of Mr. A. R. Rahman, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shankar Mahadevan and Anu Malik to name a few from this era and many others of yore.

This blog was itself inspired from efforts of the dancer and musician Madam Uma Sharma who has been organizing events with Sangeet Natak Academy and organizes the now hugely attended Haridas Tansen Music and Dance festival in New Delhi held each winter. What she has achieved in enthusing youth to listen to, learn and perform Indian Classical music Is indeed commendable and very touching when she speaks about her passion. Then there have been legends like Girija Devi and Pandit Chhannulal Misra who have sustained the Thumri and more expressive forms.

Oh yes, there are many doing amazing work and against distraction of so much music competing for space nowadays. But me and you have this great opportunity to relearn where we left off and to carry the torch in our own unique ways, utilizing technology and fusion to best effect but definitely with no intent to reinvent the wheel in a form that is loud, vulgar, titillating and video-ready to excite that certain kind of production houses (though temporary profit is guaranteed in bang-bang ang posts).

Indian classical music’s purity may lie in treating every syllable and swar with utmost Godly devotion, but it has no religion to boast of through its evolution, other than people came from Persia to India to become a new India, which has gone to US and world to become “World Music” – wow, isn’t it?!!

But here comes my question. As World Music takes over, what will male artistes presently always “Ustad” or “Pandit” be called? The young geniuses may be better off giving away the ‘tags’ is a personal view to let it all flourish as destiny would have it.

It’s only the HEART that needs to be pure and love in abundance for “swara” which captures hearts to flow. To aspire, just drop ‘chalta hai’ by the way-sides as the greats of today will tell ya’ll!

I…TRY! 🙂

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‘Modicare’ is not Insurance Company: Budget 2018

Yes, this was my first concern but got cleared up very soon as I read varied reactions from sections of society pertaining to Indian Budget as revealed yesterday. Also this blog is definitely not a critical look at the budget per se or an incisive attack on its orchestrators. Over the years, we have come to realize that ‘a budget is a budget’; the real thing comes only when we are to feel its impact on our daily lives and work. The opposition will reject every clause with vehemence that we are now accustomed to and the Finance Minister will stand tall just this day after we all know that it is the PM, or the PM’s boss (yes, we have had such occasions too) to lead him on into the formulation process to what was at the apex of agenda – somewhere between next election and ‘India shining’, depending on how close it was to next general elections.

Back in mid ‘90s just after Narsimha Rao era of liberalization and privatization, as a business development head of a energy infrastructure company, I would read each and every clause because then what I wrote the next day was not a mere blog; it was my idea to leverage from any knowledge, the benefits to the organization. Those were days when we stuck newspaper cuttings on A4 paper along with our write ups and notes. Now we can just attach links to the news itself. But what happened over the years of doing that was that I now don’t have to read it all. The textual reasoning from FM’s speech is very much ingrained within my psyche. I am sure that FM’s team too has the same psyche, for Ministers may change, but the bureaucrats do not.

With those personal notes above, I applaud the ‘Modicare’ tag of 2018 budget for its health-care sops, because this aspect was never part of our Indian psyche. I remember living in America and where governments can fall if the healthcare focus is lacking, just as much as the taxation aspects. Truly, returning to India in the same mold of business development and marketing too, I remember back in 90s and even later it was just for “taxation” and focus on infrastructure projects that my post agenda reports found meaning within the organizational context of multinational companies.

Now, much older, I myself went through a very sudden heart operation recently and it is seeing the huge growth in India’s healthcare capabilities, facilities and what all insurance provides that I can see how India would potentially progress a lot faster when each and every person in whatever socio-economic status, would have access to healthcare. In fact I saw Indian healthcare at par with what I experienced in America, where people actually manipulate healthcare insurance and benefits just to take break from their stressed work life; no issues with anyone, no eyebrows raised!

Confidence instilled in any individual that my ailing mom or dad will be taken care of, my wife can have a safe delivery, my troubled mind or a tooth-ache will not take me away from my job focus exponentially adds up and certainly no pretentious nationalism, religious bents, flag color need be exercised to demonstrate patriotism if one is thankful to its government for taking care of his family.

At the same time, there is great need for governments today to tackle corruption in medical professionals, callousness of the officials right down to the ward boys who have committed horrendous crimes. After all, there has to be a way to close the huge gap between salaries and earnings of doctors and their support staff who too, are coming from modern India’s training schools and colleges as I learnt during my own hospitalization. They find highest demand amongst all nationalities overseas in middle-east and Africa; but in India they must live in crowded clusters, devoid themselves of health-centric and cleanliness environment.

In fact I take this opportunity to thank and congratulate Modiji for these two aspects of his governance, whatever opposition may shout off; the “Clean India” movement and now “health-care”.

Even if I compliment these aspects, as a follower of budgets and development while going back many years I am also reminded that free clinics for poor were always there. But then at that time minds were not corrupt and we as kids were not afraid of the doctor, who had a nice word, even lollipops to make us love him Question is “where did all that “disappear”? More importantly he came home without any airs at any time and charged according to the ‘pocket’. Was it due to any government, or society’s own fall from grace as my blogs are now generally having in common to trigger me to write.

Modiji seems still far away from having true and correct feedback on ‘implementation’ aspects. But no denying his greatness as a world leader and man whom the world over I see people talking about with respect sans awkward initiatives. Clean India has done decently, women are getting ‘padman’ focus but no reduction in crimes for rise in enforced morality, redefinition of patriotism with gung-ho release to goons within society as caretakers for Namo’s vision. This is the only grouse of rationalists; who stand on wrong side of the shooting range suddenly despite valiant attempts to rationalise India’s “shining” status.

But then Modiji is a firm reformer to a more progressive India within his own vision. One can criticize aspects of giving sops to textile mass producers but keeping the handloom and crafts producers aside is perhaps Mr. Modi’s way of justifying that traditional arts and crafts are fine but country needs to cover every man from head to toe in ‘chadar’ before buying those expensive ethnic stuff at Suraj Kund mela! Yes, isn’t that what our chic societies have made out of handicrafts. Seen price levels at Janpath and Handicraft emporiums. Who gets the profits? The madams in farmhouses, who will talk chic at their glam parties, right?

In the end, I am finding many similarities between Donald sir and Namoji. They are okay at all times, by being just “different” and learning on job, may be for varying reasons that may get us to understand the simple fact – else how would a top-class profit mongering businessman and a young boy who rises out of a tea stall learn to find their place at the apex of their country’s governance when the world is so chaotic, filled with so many challenges. The Hit and Trial process too may bring demonetization as some might argue; but I am beginning to believe that somewhere there is strong inherent vision born out of personal circumstances that each of these two great leaders of world’s biggest democracies have found their relevance.

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When Sportsmen Take to Crime

My Blogs, as I have said before take birth with the morning newspaper where I have been taking up issues of decaying morality, intolerance upturns – trends that need moderation from public at large for correction within society, as has been for the world to be preserved this far. So in my limited way, I coax you to dwell a bit into psyche of talent that gets glorified and suddenly finds the dark alleys, just to find wealth, for talent may or may not realize wealth and fame, the way it is expected to.

The society is never inherently bad or seeking highest returns by hook or by crook. In fact it is a lot better. The bitter truth is that it is above average intelligence, desire to excel, some mental steel to break barriers – all qualities that schools preach and aim to instill in youth for success, and to spur people on, without giving in to the burdens of their own assets, talents and those very qualities that put them over and above the rest.

After all, except for the fact that goons are usually depicted as big, heavy muscular and dumb make us laugh in certain variety of cinema, comic books and even the ‘don’ depiction of criminal leaders; the ‘dumb’ aspect, I think may be only limited to their inability to tread the ‘right path’ when at crossroads of their lives and careers.

Typically, sportsmen, talented actors, musicians, comics, even spiritual leaders and big-time politicians have found themselves at crossroads when the world seems to take too much away out of their hard work, standard beliefs for personal or family uplift.

So, today’s paper has this headline “Ex-sportsmen excel at crime”. Truly, in recent months, just in and around New Delhi, we are reading about police capturing dreaded gangsters who are found to be ex-sportsmen – anybody from dangal groomed bright young wrestlers to sharp-shooters, cricketers and even aspiring film-makers or actors!

Okay, so me and you would have faced that silent jeering that is never in-the-face in our seemingly learned society, but that ‘back-stabbing’ aspect due to which some of our peers would leave for USA at one time; this typical Indian phenomena of ‘pulling you down’ if you rise within your circles at young age. But is this phenomena only Indian? I think, in its many variations it is global; else why would self-development books and cinema always emphasize that jeering from public is your asset, just like your own desires, hard work and zeal to excel.

So, this is a natural outcome of ingraining excellence in us could be reminiscent of our own travails in youth where there will always be a time when we feel down and out and lost out to the world for all our knowledge, talents and the damned CV, which nobody actually understands after some point, where we seem to have run across the finishing line, with nobody cheering. What then?

But all this aspect of ‘people’ saying things behind the back could be just one of the reasons; the simple fact that sportsmen and talent of any kind have rarely ever been supported by society and government officials forever twist constitutional and humanistic agenda is key to frustrating youth.

Yes, sportsmen are adulated from the time they win their first medal in school, then college. There are admirers and even your whole family is smiling, egging you on to go reach those glorious heights. You are apple of the eye of your parents and few best friends might just be beginning to feel uncomfortable at those little victories, while there will be those who truly care and stand by you, just the way we see in the movie on cricketer par excellence, Mr. M. S. Dhoni.

I do revere stories, biopics and movies that demonstrate the power of resilience, oneness, the path from talent, hard work, desire to excel and reaching the pinnacle of success in some legend’s personal triumphs against a jeering world. Yet, even at that height there will be those ready to say, “man, you have had your best days and now you are done!” You can actually see the scorn on that perpetrator’s face, isn’t it? You identify with that and imagine your own scowler(s),  as the celluloid phases through its colorful frames.

For imagination, let’s say that this gangster who is caught, jailed and is now, out of jail. What might he want to see? Will it be his fellow gangsters to plot the next heist or murder for money or would it be his parents, his wife, his loved ones and who will enforce a grand change?

I somehow tend to think that he would like to see those who jeered and those whom he could only answer the way that he did then, when he was sentenced to jail. I think those would be the only people whom he thought of at times he was in the jail too. Won’t you tend to believe that if he sees society unchanged, he will not bathe in a bucketful of cow milk, nor will his disgust enthuse re-creation of old talents? What triggered us to change for better or for worse, once upon a time – can they be easily forgotten?

I think that the time of reconciliation lies in people other than those who are convicted for diminishing from their own inherent excellence to become criminals or in extreme cases, mental wrecks, to change themselves. And that ‘people’ is society at large.

Remember that scene in “Mary Kom”, the movie on India’s great female boxer from ‘north-east’ where the government official jeers obnoxiously, or that bureaucrat in “Chak de India” who condemns girls for playing international hockey; for the coach, played by SRK to spur them to glory of winning the world cup (this was not a biopic though).

But why are we making these movies and why are writers once again writing about what went past and is gone. I think it is for the same reason that many are wanting to change history text books and Indian literature because they feel that their heroes somehow became lesser – the equal and opposite reaction that stabilizes society!! Yes, the case of ‘Padmavat(i)’ is typical of what some people see in a movie and what my kinds just may not! As one award winning film-maker from Kolkatta said last night at an event “people tend to get divided when we adapt stories (like above) and getting offended has become a national pastime”.

So, to end this blog, I take continuity from my previous blog on “intolerance upturn”. Intolerance cannot be countered by intolerance and if you who read this is on path to excellence and are at crossroads, tolerate that jeering ass****, take those dips and go on with renewed vigor to where your folks were smiling with you, than to bring sadness to those who mattered most.

More glory to bloggers and TED Talks please (LOL?!!).

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Employability? You must be a HR sleuth :)

PS: A Modern mindset makes long emails and reading viewpoints, stories, reports a big BORE unless there’s spice. My challenge is for you….to judge if you are employable…really!

Yes, that’s the title pertaining to job scenario and this huge “Human Resource” magnum opus on websites, the world over coming to scams. The newspapers are howling, PM Mr. Modi’s own promise of jobs is making experienced people redundant and it becomes duty of “experience” to reign in some sense. Politics will only do what it is supposed to do. The youth are jobless for reasons in the papers, but what about the ‘experienced’ who too are becoming marginalised for reasons of bizarre corporate calculations arising out of constant uncertainties in core sectors.

If you have not lately followed the unimaginably growing number of websites for jobs please see for yourself, like I have in past few weeks – the deep interlinks to each other, even via more popular ones like Linkedin and Naukri.com, especially for “senior appointments” that are grossly misleading – a dangerous trend! Those unable to hold their chairs or those in modest enterprise who have in their employed status been paying everything ‘highest’ from taxes to family dividends in overwork, disdain of ownerships at times  – now actually have to pay for their next job too. This is like highway robbery, with vultures on the prowl; where an experienced eye can easily spot the “scam”; from Africa to India…the ham outfits are out to get you.

On the other side, “Excellence” is being quashed at least in Indian corporate world as egoistic and heavily moneyed ownerships from “India shining’ are finding their right in being ‘choosy’ and to ‘do what they can be content with’ and would anyday hire 20 zombies in preference to one with experience and vision as egos are just not matching anywhere with anybody and whatever they may say, interviews nowadays are to spot that vulnerable streak in you AND your aptitude to work ‘with others’ as a flock. No leaders are needed.

Modiji, if you are listening, please be warned that the “jobs for all” wagon is going off-track like our trains on British era railway tracks because it’s not about the poor and the farmers only; the country’s intellectual property is in deep distress “enclosed in the box” though the job advert said “out-of-the-box” (Lol!). There are sleuths everywhere determined to make us dinosaurs, especially the many of us who will drop in from overseas with international jobs world over in a turmoil….those you see as your HOPE, will be no use once all their money to invest under your plans, too is gone!

Yes, that’s what today’s ownerships, most of them without a clue to any trajectory to follow, except the critical path or through fire fighting just for the reason “oh wow, we still exist!” are looking for – vulnerability as against superiority!

No sir, I am not against them, no bag-loads of grouses, but I am still searching a middle path of reconciliation between the ownerships and experienced, intellectuals, globally wide thinking ex-blue eyed boys of your corporate honchos whose sons and head honchos now probably sit on the dias nowadays at seminars and conferences as we are made to listen to them in audience. For applauding they get loads of trainees and students, just like politicians bring crowds from villages!

So if you are looking for a ‘good job’, then the Q’s are – are you vulnerable, manipulative, will fight your colleagues to sit in your chair, swear even in your sleep that your boss and owner are the brightest stars that shine – chances are you are not employable! And yes, as I have become a perpetual R&D genius after my multinational, international and multi-sectoral career, just to keep updated for a next assignment, I am an entrepreneur just to catch the ownerships and their HR sleuths weak at their game and the time is now! Else that ‘job’ will never come again; such is the need to get this point across for everybody’s sake.

Last few days, even Naukri.com expressed concern at the small issue of my showing some interest in their ‘paid’ services for whatsoever, which I believe, only ‘inept’ people automatically fall for. And I am not paying them to make a resume just with key-words they are used to! Well, the job sites need to earn to make money too. The world wants to listen to music free, jokes are free on whatsapp each day and your creativity and videos for bizarre and the ugly is what’s in vogue, damn talent and forget ‘striving for excellence’ – you can’t be ‘holier than the king’ mate! Yes even your best employees, for the ego I sadly see many young corporate leaders imbibing at large (though I cannot generalize); sadly you want to club them all as a ‘service providers’ so even respect for experts, consultants, advisors, special change effectors has become redundant.

But yes, you can taunt me – am I getting old? I am of the Hippie age, world travelled and a rocking musician on sides who does my own digi-design stuff; really pal, my gen can only go ‘haywire’ but not old. Then why do the job adverts for highly experienced people like us put age 45 and 99% jobs do NOT want experience more than 20-25 years? Erectile disfunction is now a movie with a young actor, man!

Does Sylvestor Stallone get old? Does our own Rajnikant get old and do you have the social support to tell Mr. Amitabh Bachchan he is old or Dhoni to sit out of ODIs? And hey, is SRK too old to romance or is the Sultan of Bollywood ever getting old? Yes, you can make great singers and composers of music and some filmmakers go old because crappy music videos are in vogue – solid justification of times for crappy businesses in certain core sectors to be in vogue too! But all this does not mean that the good guys evaporated. No, there will be competition always and one great cinema or piece of music is enough to highlight the differential. This is my motivation in fact, for writing such Blogs.

All kinds of SLEUTHS are everywhere making the best of India’s corporate world, music and arts get old at will and with enormous wealth, Indian corporates have accumulated in ‘India Shining’ and ‘Make in India’ times of last decade, they could now hire 100 colorful youngsters (defined as those who have a nice looking CV and can also feign vulnerability and/or resource colorful cover-ups with glee), as against maybe just a few with knowledge and experience to add to India’s cause in these challenging times. But in 2017 even this formula of hiring en masse just to excite banks has gone kaput as the Balance Sheets even out one day; that’s what’s happening. But with overcrowding now in even HRM and Finance circles, ‘good jobs’ are hard to find; desperation and fast money is what’s causing bank employees to take commissions, HR guys to affect some enterprise in prepaid mode (even commissions). Fact that, it was the corporates who nurtured the art of ‘colorful coverups’ to everything in last decade or so – who are to blame!

 

This Blog may be motivated from Narayan Murthy of Infosys telling off his own appointee that he is “only suitable as a CTO not a CEO” only now – after just his exit will lose thousands of millions on bourses. I have heard all kinds of sermons from my employers said through the mouths of this breed of HRM that has been groomed in MBA institutes in recent decades, who have inculcated an unseen science in everything, but will not see any ‘differentials’ in actual human endeavor. The fact that Excellence can only be FELT, not proven; was never a chapter in MBA grooming today’s HRM experts. So many have openly admitted, “what can I do ‘sir’; only what my boss will tell me!” Then young man, why do an MBA or your legal degree for that?

In a career of 35 years in India and overseas, one will get to see everything if he just has his eyes open, keeps his silence when his own onslaught is ON (Lol!). If I had been a zombie, I will not be writing this because I would have noticed nothing. I have seen this whole process of excellence bashing everywhere. I think it’s human mind that has done it since Gods themselves lived to do similarly.

Mahabharata has said it, Ramayana has said it; but it was always up to our own interpretation on what’s right or wrong. Bhishma Pitamhas of this world always got their bed of arrows. In my experience, present status and actually what my most recent interactions with the young and the old are showing, whom we respect is whom we tread to find victory in demonstrating our own prowess to the world.

This is also the reason why I call all this “SKILL development initiatives” of our government, humbug that probably even the PM is unaware of. Some of the people active in these are past associates who have they won their seats from the experience in keeping the “chair”. And yes, the government departments are supporting just these kinds who can use their “experience” to sell humbug to unsuspecting youngsters who will pay to get educated in skill-set development and after gloomy old government offices now they have color in the office, pretty receptionists and a young gungho force who will gradually get smarter and then wearier of the job….sad, as that’s the feedback I get from the young turks everywhere.

It is anybody’s guess that with NO REGULATION JOB related websites, businesses and even redundancy of CII and Chambers of Commerce in social media age; how much harm they are doing in name of SKILL DEVELOPMENT and overseas jobs that have major potential to land you in the heartland of terrorist and cult outfits who are on look out for the ‘exceptionally smart’ people – a parallel industry gone amok!

A young lady yesterday told me through “LinkedIn”, she is on a sabbatical; so did many ex-CEOs told me in recent years. It’s through websites I am meeting other glorified CEOs of Indian corporate world, like me who are invited now only to fill halls of our “Chambers of Commerce” conferences and seminars as “corporate think-tanks” of India, whereas the few employer head honchos will sit on the dais for sponsoring these shows, as they praise the PM and government leaders who are chairing the events – a Indian story ready to bubble out, it seems.

In earlier days, the word “corruption” and “making money” in the corporate board rooms was never actually used; definitely not in my core field of infrastructure and energy. Now with 99.99% of them who seem to believe there is no other way to do above board business in India, have hitherto opted to go overseas, since dollar earnings are never ever questioned, or making KRAs to actually show “individual profit at any cost”. You may ask, so how do these guys create this capital of “cost”. Well, I tried by holding “FINGER” of some bigger corporate houses; like one wise politician of earlier regime advised my kind of soft-pocket seniors utilizing just ‘experience’ for enterprise more than a decade ago – deceit is logical fallback and cuckoos will fly the coop.

A huge renaissance is possible only through people of experience realizing their foolishness because what the corporate leaders and ownerships are sure of is, that the ‘intellectual’ and knowledge guys can never work together with mutual appreciation and willingness to work together; for it was ‘them’ that groomed us to FIGHT for the chair. Da da di da…..tu tara rara rara 😦 Nobody listens to good music anymore!

This is it for PART 1 of this series. Jai Hind (since I did not write a Blog for Independence Day, which I did last year)!

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To ‘fret’ or not to!?

Dil ko rouun, ke’ ya jigar ko hasoon

Apni dono se aashnayee thi

 Which is an urdu couplet from one of the famous Ghulam Ali Ghazals and translates to,

                                          Should I cry to my Heart, or laugh for my courage?

                                           I have been always friendly to BOTH!

 Since readers of B-grade blogs, from unceremonious writers from common world, have to be exclusively bright folks, I will assume you have understood the context to the title of this ‘blog’. Of course the reason I write is that modern postulates of social media (numbers and ‘likes’ – Lol) some day will step me up a grade and I am too proud to go down further than that on my self-grading.

The first time I came to know I wrote ‘well’ was a project report I wrote at my first job with a shipyard in Newport, Rhode Island, USA and the management showered praise so I have been doing it more and more often and now here I am!

Here in Newport was also my first tryst with my writer-thinker and analyst kind of ideology (now I claim to be a business strategist for so much practice) versus masses as gradually this township of rich and the famous, mansions, beaches, luxury yachts and high life of the land of fortunes brought a little Indian guy o just have a ‘say’ that would bring unimaginable emotion that was to shape my life for all times to come.

I acknowledge an awkward start in an unknown world, but ever since that time my learning curve has been seriously jittery, though steeply up. As such, many of the later ownerships, associates, friends, even my own family may not appreciate or fathom a trajectory as ‘courageous’ but we fret when we fail to understand that people do not just condemn good or bad; they condemn and mock what in unimaginable. In India, ‘hearsay’ being an acceptable pastime, I would now grade Americans as a lot more realistic and forgiving.

We ‘fret’ or complain, crib, get angry when things go against us and we will joke, find humor even in our own onslaught by somebody in our ‘up’ times. But I will say this that I would not be alone in a domain where we have had an eye to eye on ideology, our beliefs of what ought to be right and wrong, fair and unfair. I have come to understand that it is our positive euphoria in face of downturns which throws all kinds of ‘powers’ that are, out of sync with their emotions when we stand for ourselves or even somebody else.

Problem for fretting is more cumbersome when we will not know when we got bombed and for what, assuming we were honest in our actions and not stooping to mockery or to cheat. This is what insecurity or status does to human beings at any strata of society.

It is our continuous growth through knowledge, quest and jigar but it is always the heart (the dil of the couplet) that gives us the upswings or downswings of emotion. It will always be our courage (the jigar which, in urdu has multiple meanings, directly translating to ‘liver’ in our body), which gets us past these up-downers. This is also called ‘DEMOCRACY”, else if all were to remain status quo same and grow by dictat; where anybody could be right if and only if he/she will also face all the consequences…Amen!

 Like for over two years I have been literally clobbered by a much younger business associate, who seems to go on and on with an ideology of ‘everything fair in love and war’ brought into him by businessmen of higher net worth (anybody, really!), but today I was fretting at his callousness until my fabulous jigar took over. And you might have guessed, this is the man who is the latest contributor to add to my life other kinds of beauty too and hence I stop fretting and write this funny blog, right??!!

So well here’s the cover couplet to the same Ghulam Ali (sung) Ghazal..

Jaan mein meri jaan aayi thi

                        Kal saba kis ki baas layee thi?

 Which translates to..

There was a fleeting influx of life into my (living) being

                        What kind of odour was that, which the breeze brought to me?

So this idea of a blog is the breeze and my strategy to counter the very reasons and origins of fretting!

But people, especially businesses fighting new ways to counter GST or get infra contracts in a chaotic world order are not anymore valuing the wonders of a few lessons of revision into ‘Humanities’ even as the world will curse PMs or ‘Trump-sir’ (what can I say!).

So I will finish off with another couplet from my favorite Jagjit Singh ghazal and it is the cover..

                                    Shola hoon, bhadakne ki guzarish nahin karta

                                    Sach moonh se nikal jaata hai, koshish nahin karta

 Which translates to

I am a Fireball, so I don’t make requests to light-up J

                                    The truth inadvertently comes out, without even my trying

 And this my dear friends is where I am coming out from project and technical reports to some real HARDCORE ‘written’ stuff as a mighty grown-up writer-musician and businessman and I am certain that the grades in all subjects will change UPPY… but grade me the way you wish…..will face consequences (wink!)…and cheers!