Uncertainty of Nostalgia

Uncertainty is the calling card wWord art nostalgia lge all look for when we plan our future. We look at the uncertainty of the loan scheme we opt for, we look at the uncertainties when we take up a new job and we certainly look at the uncertainties when we are deciding on our partner. It was no surprise that when it came to choosing the partner to head our country it was the one with the least uncertainty. We chose Modi.

And we live with that decision everyday. Some people recall the congress regime and nostalgically remember the better times or better for some worst for everyone else. Since Modi has come to the political scene, he has not only increased his brand value nationally but also globally. It was seen in Maharashtra, then in Madison Square Garden and then in all the conventions he has been to. It is clear that we have chosen the partner with the least uncertainty. However, now comes the interesting choice of choosing another leaderless state – the state of Delhi.

Moreover, here we hit the interesting roadblock of whether it be Bhartiya Janta Party or Arvind’s disintegrating one man party. I say one man because while he was what we may say the modern face of atyagraha, he only did nothing but burn himself down to ashes and hope to rise like the phoenix.

We chose Arvind Kejriwal with all the hope in the world. We started the relationship and in the beginning, we had the torrid passion, the sleep less nights in the anticipation of the next morning and the butterflies in the stomach for the next word coming out of that sweet killer. What happened was a total bust. After a few weeks of the torrid love affair, the symptoms that we were most scared of surfaced and unfortunately, he was exactly in the office what he was outside of it – a satyagrahi.

The unfortunate part of nostalgia is that while we forget the reason we left him, we do not forget the reasons we chose him but can we really go back to Arvind and allow the phoenix to rise again. The question then really comes down to whether things will be different because he said they would be or we thought we they would be or we collectively want them to be but the problem is that this combination is just not the one that will take us forward.

It is such chance meetings that make us both doubtful and feel betrayed in our own wrong choice. Many supporters feel that that was one decision backfired in one too many ways and while we thought it would lead to a fruitful affair, all it has caused is a strangulation and frustration and eventual death of the affair.

While the love lasted as long as it did, the question of returning to the same affair might seem tempting. But the problems which existed earlier remain today too since neither the expectations of one party have changed nor the ability of the other side. While we considered honestly to be the best policy, but in every step we were given excuses, the benchmarks were played with for instance in the case of Somnath Bharati and just to use the wave to his advantage Kejriwal just moved to Varanasi dreaming of a future which was being built on sand castles. He had not even strengthened the foundations of the air castles he had built in his election speeches and he went onto build a castle somewhere else. While it was a castle, after Delhi, we knew that it was not breathable air but just toxic fumes of an overzealous, underachieving and pompous leader who started as a revolutionary, became a public servant and has ended up being a politician.

While most relationships can work on a return but we should just remember that what was it that we felt, that bothered us and as morbid as it sounds maybe the decision to move on was probably the best one if not the most obvious initially.


The Day Manishankar Aiyar beat Steve Jobs!!

Do youMani-Shankar-Aiyar know that am an elitist? And you can get the status too if you know the meaning and usage of the word “dichotomous”. This was inducted into the Indian Lutyen Entry System by Manishankar Aiyer who had the simple theory that Ajay Maken, who as a matter of fact is “”just”” a B.A (Pass) from Hansraj College( one of the truly elite colleges in India) — could not have used the word dichotomous in a letter Maken wrote back during the Commonwealth days since he was not from a college ending with –ford, -bridge,-vard or even St.Stephens. The dictionary given to the lowly mortals just does not include these words. Hence, by knowing this word I and, by now, even you have become elitists. Congratulations, we formally now have the right to denigrate!

It’s an interesting view and maybe advantageous too since the UPA cabinet had some of the most idiotic, stupendously ignorant and power hungry people India has ever seen. Harvard Graduate Kapil Sibal says that there was no loss in 2G scam, it was a zero-loss situation according to him. Our other elitist Chidambaram has left behind a 1000 crore debt that has to be paid immediately by the new government. Then we had Mr.Manishankar Aiyar who thinks that the son of a tea stall owner cannot have any other purpose or ambition or even abilities besides the ability to make tea and maybe if he is a good marketer sell some of that tea too.

Mr.Shashi Tharoor (St.Stephens) and Mr. Murli Manohar joshi (Allahabad University) left behind a human resource development (HRD) ministry that was shades lighter than what was hoped during the independence. The mid-day meal system is in tatters, schools do not have basic amenities due to which the drop out rate amongst girls is sky rocketing and our craftsmen who have century old art waiting to be sold to the world are losing to Chinese, yes Chinese mechanized work. I mean these people are world-renowned personalities in their fields and they lack such common sense as to pursue such simple objectives.

And now we have Mr.Rahul Ganhdi who filed a wrong affidavit stating he is from Harvard and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi who initially said that she studied in Cambridge and then later corrected the statement that she meant the city of Cambridge and not the University of Cambridge!! Come on what is this Congress party talking about when they say that HRD minister is not even a graduate. Winston Churchill was not, Indira Gandhi was not, Steve Jobs was not and neither was Bill Gates. Maulaza Azad would be just considered a scholar if we assume that only formal education system encapsulates the definition of being a graduate. Not only are these comments from Ajay Maken, the man who once was on the receiving end of such ridicule, unfortunate and below the belt, they are fast becoming a self goal simply because the electorate does not care about it.

We need people who have seen real India, who have struggled through the gallows to come out shining in the brightest shade of hope, effort, intent and skills and most of all empathy for the other men & women who will be going through the same pressures since in the last ten years Manmohan Singh has brought this country to its possible standing both nationally and internationally.

Coming to Smriti Irani and the simple fact that she is not even a graduate. We do not need a graduate, we need someone who understands the problems of the country and India is at a stage where the fundamentals are the biggest issue of our nation. You do not have to be the graduate of a super high falootan university to understand that majority of India does not get clean water, they do not have proper civic amenities, there is a lack of electricity and in some places complete absence, there are price rise issues and policing issues. Corruption does not need a university degree for its squashing. All it needs is the grit and the will to do it and we have seen in Manhmohan Singh 3650 ways of not doing it. Smriti Irani was at the top of her field when she joined BJP. She excelled in acting and if anyone has not really read her way up then one owes it to her and themselves to understand the struggle she is coming through. She has the organizational skills, the communications skills and most of all the empathy to do some good. Most of us who can read and write English might not really feel the effects of her efforts but trust me many of our folks do and let her perform. Lets judge her on performance and not on the words of some elitists who believe the the fact that they have an audience entitles them to have opinions unworthy of any discussion in the public domain.

On a parting note, I must confess that if Aiyar could not have surpassed Steve Jobs in intelligence or ambition or achievements or name, he did surpass him in eevrything else, the question what else is truly left!!


So You Thought Reputation Doesn’t Matter! Ask Kejriwal

arvind-kejriwal-may-not-contest-lok-sabha-2014-elections-hints-manish-sisodiaIf you have noticed, job openings are coming by rather sluggishly and even those that do come up are looking for over qualified but under-paid employees. Now wonder in such a scenario either a referral or a special mention as you like it and reputation based on word of mouth have started to matter enormously. Any job you apply to, people look at your prior – maybe a big brand or a famous person in the field or a lucrative project or meteoric rise through the ranks.

Mr. Kejriwal fulfills most of these criteria. He came from IIT and then joined the bureaucratic service, you have the leverage now to prove that I have some credentials. He used these credentials and not to forget his Magsaysay Award to prove that he has a clean conscience and clear vision regarding what public life and social endeavors must be about. He used this position to catapult himself into the mainframe via Anna Hazare movement, formed AAP and formed the government in Delhi.

Here is the simple analogy with the rest of us. You study and study and study, develop credentials and then land a job and you know your degree is as good as the first job after which your performance is evaluated for the next job and so on and so forth like a Fibonacci series. For Kejriwal, his public qualification was his contribution to the anti corruption movement and his selling point for the Delhi top job was his sales pitch.

The fellow ran away in 49 days. Worst everything he implemented was superficial, applied in specific areas, applied half-heartedly and in such a light headed manner that once he quit nothing really changed and others had to be reversed for the system to keep functioning. The problem in an organization is that if you suggest some new ways, either you see it to completion or you leave no option but for the organization to revert to old ways, leaving them wit ha bad taste in their mouth and worse off than before. I say worse off because in terms of structure it is all same but psychologically there is a sense of betrayal and this is what leads to the formation of a bad reputation.

Many like Kejriwal might believe that sales pitch is enough, but eventually one has to deliver and deliver with high standards. The reputation hit was not enough that he jumped to Varanasi for another new job but his sales pitch never changed. Most sectors have become super specialized and the role media played in Kejriwal’s debacle in the public eye is the same role the inter-company & intra-company networks are playing.

Why did you quit?

If you could not perform there why do you want us to believe you would here?

What would ensure that you will not dump us in the middle for what you consider to be greener pastures?

The whole point is that one can form a mirage of one’s professional and personal journey, but in an age where verification is key and trust at its lowest, do you really believe that  you can take a chance with your reputation in the same manner Kejriwal has.

He lost elections in Varanasi by a huge margin. But, three days before the election he had the audacity of saying we are going to win 100 seats. Thanks to the bad rule of Akali Dal in Punjab they could manage 4 else they scored a duck in most constituencies. If that was not enough the AAM AADMI of AAP wanted VIP treatment in a standardized legal process, where in all he had to do was sign a bond. He committed to sign but at the last moment, he did a 360 on his own word to gather some media exposure. At the end of the day, if you consider this a second chance interview for this candidate he tried to pull a fast one on the judge/public. In the end the simple fact is that just like in an interview or a political election, the public and interviewee know exactly what you are selling and what they are buying but despite all leeway’s and concessions, bad reputation not only follows you, it haunts you.

While I concede Mr.Kejriwal has wrapped himself in a situation that was total uncalled for because he was trying to create a supply where there was no demand. He tried to cater to the need of the public on the scale of nation when people felt he had not proved himself anymore than any other protester at Jantar Mantar. This is his chance to recreate his image and make another attempt at the Delhi ministry. He has that shot and maybe all of us do but the question to begin with is that is it ever worth it to ruin your reputation and burn the bridges that have led you to this point. Sometimes its not only the bridge that falls, you fall along with it too and then there can really be no telling.

The Zen of Modi


Human life is a collection of troughs and crests and in one such personal low point, I started reading a lot about the concept of “Zen” to simplify my life and maybe also view my own problems from a simplified and yet focused perspective. In this quest, Narendra Modi and UPA rules inadvertently inspired me.

My personal zen has come down to a few aspects and I hope you identify with it too.

1)Do one thing at a time.

Narendra Modi opened his campaign in September last year with a blast in SRCC addressing not only the students but also the nation and in a single speech he catapulted himself to the prime candidate for the post of prime minister. Simple as it may sound, it is simply focusing on one thing and one thing at a time. For 12 years or so he concentrated on only his CM-ship and after proving his mettle there he moved to the PM-ship and pursued it with single minded perseverance.

2)Do it slowly and deliberately.

Who did not oppose his candidature? A faction of BJP, congressmen, media, elitist intellectuals, opportunist media anchors and then definitely the sheer magnitude of the dream is enough to daunt anyone. Modi strategically and slowly charted his strengths and started conquering territories in the mind of his electorate. He knew his voter and with deliberation on one front he tackled the rebels and the opposition while on the other hand he tapped into his electorate. Detractors said he had lesser time and attributed the lack of Modi wave to his past and provided the evidence of it in the loss of BJP in Karnataka. Clearly two unrelated matters.

It simply shows that by focusing, moving slowly while deliberating, Modi was able to garner the public support despite the popular opposition to him and gain the majority.

3)Do it completely.

This is more a non-Modi and more Rahul point. Rahul Gandhi, born with the right opportunities and the right name puts out the vibe that he just does not want the job as much as Congressmen believe he does or rather they want you to believe. Now, that was evident in his own efforts. While the two centers of power in the government was not enough, his tearing apart stunt ensured people that the fate of the nation would lie in the hands of two people, too centric a functioning paradigm for the benefit of any democracy. Where as on the other hand he was completely unwilling to participate in the country when he was among some of the worst performing members of parliament.

The fact is simple one cannot achieve anything or reach anywhere with a half hearted effort. Either you want it or not. There is never a maybe.

4)Designate time and stick to it.

Again taking a leaf from the UPA rule, how many policies can you count, which took shape in the last few quarters of UPA rule, be in 2009 or 2013. While the policies themselves had some major issues but the implementation, the sheer carnality as exposed by the time did not impart much trust into the ruling members. Most simple policies were marked but never implemented, laws left in fray and then censorship laws passed in a jiffy. Environmental clearances not coming through.

The simple point of planning is to ensure things are prepared for, catered to in terms of mental acumen development and on the ground organization development. I cannot dream of buying a car if I have not the steady income or cannot move into a house whose land does not exist. These simple principles and rather obvious consequences of existence are what ensures that from poorest to the richest know that you cannot reap what you do not sow!! Hence, designation of time and persevering through that process is of utmost importance.

5 )Live simply and develop rituals.

This was probably the most important aspect. Most important leaders you will read about always woke up early morning. Modi also follows a strict regime of Yoga and meditation and follows this simple routine like a sacrosanct ritual. They say this has been brought about from his training in RSS where the motto is smile and serve. Some people wonder if something is wrong but let us also appreciate the simple fact that our lives in this present age are so full of distractions that such a routine can often put in that simple edge which we have been trying to find on websites, self-help books and even magazines.

I do know that the simple routine helped me in gaining back the focus I needed and the simple fact is that after MMS, if we have a PM who can smile and serve us and does so with grace, we can maybe all learn something from his good and maybe something from his bad too. Eventually we all have to decide what really is necessary and what is not. Our times here are limited and much lesser for those who want their names to outlast them.