October 29, 2011

My innocent thoughts on Ra One...

This is not a movie review. I have never felt intelligent or qualified (if needed) enough to clinically assess any movie. Also especially when it comes to a SRK starrer I struggle to remain objective as I am his die hard fan.

Let me just attempt to share a few thoughts on the movie 'Ra One' and also 'SRK'.

I feel 'Ra One' is a landmark movie.

A true entertainer right from the outset. Every frame of the movie is an ode to the paragon of entertainment in itself as I have never watched any Bollywood movie which packs so much of entertainment in varied & engaging forms like the visual delight of VFX/ 3 D, the action sequences, a few tersed & emotional poetry in the midst of kick a@# action, Kareena's thumkas, the foot tapping music, the promising kid, the hideous villian and so much more.

There are those initial scenes in the movie like the ones where Shahrukh speaks in Tamilglish
(Tamil + English) which can be a bit disturbing to the extent of being amusing for someone who has stayed 7 years in Chennai. However, these scenes give me an oppurtunity to laugh at
SRK and in other instances I laugh along with him. Either ways I am left entertained.

Rajnikant's guest appearance
creates an impact on the audience even in a Kolkata cinema hall. Many might argue that the timing and logic of Rajnikant's guest appearance was not sensible 'enough'. Can those critics name a single bollywood movie where a guest appearance was sensible 'enough'?

However, what caught my imagination completely was the sheer investment SRK has done in this movie. Investment in terms of money, passion, time and effort.

The movie actually personifies his core philosophy:
"Even if you are not hungry, be greedy. "

The 'Greedy' bit can be a little misconstrued but he had once explained this bit many years back in an exclusive and very candid interview with Vir Sanghvi. In that interview, he very beautifully articulated that he has greed for 'life' and in his last 10 years then (read it as 'at that point of time') he had put in 20 years, in his last 1 film then
(read it as 'at that point of time') he had pushed in 3 films, in his last shot then (read it as 'at that point of time') he had pushed in 18 shots.

Hence, Ra One is a very inspring spectacle for me.

It inspires to try something new with logic, intent, passion, ownership, courage and above all 'heart'.

And when you try something new then critics who are either intellectuals or pseduo intellectuals (majority) might all point their guns at you shamelessly waiting to pounce & defame you. In that case you follow SRK's recent tweet which says "
New things make us uncomfortable cos they fall beyond the scope of our usual habits. Allow it to breathe & soon it becomes One with us..."

You might be 'some' 'one' or 'the' 'one' or 'any' 'one' but do not ignore 'Ra One'. Give it an innocent try, not an intelligent one. You will be left delighted.....

June 19, 2011

Seven years in Chennai...

It was year 2000 when I watched a movie called 'Seven years in Tibet' starring Brad Pitt. Even as a kid I liked the movie, there was sense of serenity in the movie which I was drawn towards. As I grew up and so did my candor (quite an unlikely progression :-P), I told my parents about how much I wanted to do something similar to what Brad Pitt did in the movie.

As expected they did not endorse my crazy and adventurous ways. My pursuit of being 'Brad Pitt' ended there.

The last few years at school in Delhi just passed by without much of significant memories . In 2004, I came to Chennai and I 'lived' there. Yes!!! I lived every bit of it.I lived every bit of the 'Chennai' experience.

Those action packed experience in the moments of nothingness in Madras Christian College brought me closer to myself. It blessed me with a sharp sense of awareness, whether it was mindfully observing the scenic beauty hurtling by on either side of that mystic road inside the 350 acre of flora and fauna inside the campus or exploring the facets of friendship with some wonderful people. In the little spare time I could manage, I would also study a bit. Whatever little study I did, I actually enjoyed it. My priorities in life were very clear. Studying BBA in MCC also made me determined that I wanted a career in Human Resource.

Then I got recruited in TCS BPO as a process associate. Idealism was at its peak then with little room for patience. I wanted to get into their HR team in a jiffy. I could not get into the HR team for variety of reasons and all of them were reasonable. But it was a significant experience where I understood what it feels like to be on the other side as a customer of the HR guys. It made me more grounded than ever (I assume so).

The third phase of my life was in Madras School of Social Work studying MA-HRM. It was wonderful to study the subject of my passion. It was fun. It was fulfilling. I enjoyed my HR field works the most. It was a contrast to my MCC experience. I was more engaged in my academics here and in my spare time I hanged around with my MCC friends who suffused me with a joy that was exclusive to the days spent in MCC.

TCS came for campus hiring and I did not appear for the interview this time. Honestly there was no ego involved as my TCS experience humbled me in many ways. But I did not feel connected enough to let the marriage between me and HR happen in TCS. It was an emotional decision.

This was followed by another emotional decision of appearing for the Cognizant interview which was my first interview in Campus. I felt connected to Cognizant then and I feel so even now after one year.

Most of my decisions in life have been in the midst of emotions. I dont regret any decision. My experience in Chennai taught me that the deepest of my emotions originated from the bottom of my heart. And when the heart is fine then the the emotions cultivating from it are also fine.

The above para is indeed the best lesson I have learned in Chennai.

Also the last 6 months in Chennai was the most defining period of my life as I literally became part of a big family. As a Campus Talent Manager in Cognizant I was able to meet many trainees who became my friends and at times my teachers.

As I type this post in Kolkata sitting in my drawing room, I realize that the seven years spent in Chennai did not help my childhood (or rather teenhood) persuit of becoming Brad Pitt even an iota bit. Yet it helped me to become 'Saikat Saha'.

There are many more experiences waiting to embrace me in Kolkata and i am ready for it. But the 'seven years in Chennai' shall remain ethched in my memory....in my heart....

It's time to switch off my lappie and make further sense of this ethereal connection........

April 3, 2011

In conversation with my mentor....

There are few people who influence,impact and inspire your life as a student and continue to do so in your formative period as a professional. Rajesh Kamath is one such mentor I found during my final year in MSSW. He not only enriched my learning curve as a student but provided me various oppurtunities during my association with SHRM India and MTHR Global which I deeply value till date.
My conversations with him has always been scintillating and invaluable. Please read on as I capture one of my recent conversation with him:

Saikat: Since the time I have known you, you have been very passionate about the student community. What fascinates you the most about 'Youngistan'?

Rajesh: Too many things fascinate me about Youngistan but I am most excited at how different they are from the earlier generation, in terms of lifestyle, work style and interpersonal characteristics. I feel that it is extremely complimentary and creates opportunity to learn and enjoy.

Saikat:What is going to be the New Age HR ethos which will be fostered by upcoming young HR leaders?

Rajesh:You’ll know better Saikat. Yet, my observation is that young HR leaders (mostly) are characterised by more openness to ideas and transparency in communication. I also find them more energetic.

Saikat:The first few years of any professionals life is very eventful? What is your advice to young professionals so that they can fully leverage their early years with greater clarity?

Rajesh:I am sure that young professionals have more advice to offer me than me to them. The principle I follow is what comes to Youngistan rather easily: “Question every Answer” (this was prominently displayed in Northpoint Learning Center years back). One advice I can offer is respect age and experience.

Saikat:You are one of the founding members of MTHRG. MTHRG has been associated with very engaging and knowledge intensive seminars where the members are not even charged a penny. How do you and your team manage it?

Rajesh:Its rather simple: It has no business or even a basic not-for-profit commercial model because its powered by passion for learning. Partners who are equally passionate about knowledge and community fund the Events. The partner benefits by way of visibility and the community and facilitators, by way of unbridled learning.

Saikat:What has been your most defining moment in professional and personal life?

Rajesh: This is an impossible question since I truly have many such moments each year. I can share that they have one common factor: the moments are always caused by great men and women, from day to day life.

Saikat:You recently went for a brief spiritual journey What were your key learning from this spiritual journey?

Rajesh:I took a short 4 day break to Rishikesh, Dehradun and Haridwar. I do this every alternate year though I wish I could do it more frequently. These are with a Spiritual (neutral to religion) Group called Ananda Sangha. Learnings were too many but I would pick two:

1. Certain places and people carry a phenomenal energy about them which rubs on you.

2. As one Swamiji at Doon shared – “There is unrest, strife and disharmony around because everyone is right”

Saikat:Please share a few quickies:

  • Your life philosophy: Respect every person for what each one is, something to learn from everyone
  • Blog or Twitter: Twitter
  • An evening with Dalai Lama or an evening with Jack Welch: Morning with Dalai Lama
  • I Phone or Blackberry: I’m a Blackberry Boy
  • All rounder or specialist (Who is a more promising future talent?): Specialist

March 6, 2011

My learnings from Robin Sharma's workshop 'Leader without a title'

Last week I was fortunate to attend Robin Sharma's Live workshop on 'Leader without a Title'. Three hours of listening to Robin Sharma was incredibly enlightening. I paid Rs 3000 (the cheapest ticket available) for the ticket which I felt was an investment.

It's a privilage to share a few of my key learning from the session:

  • Most of the times we get busy being 'busy'. We keep climbing the wrong mountain and realize the same much later. Do not live the life of regrets. We deserve the best and not 'mediocrity'.
  • 2.1 hours are wasted on distractions and it takes 25 minutes to refocus at your work. Ensure distractions at work are completely removed.
  • Three duties of a leader: Creating impact, Influencing, Inspiring.
  • You double your income at triple the rate of your learning.
  • The king and the begger would be buried next to each other's grave. What matters towards the end is not the car you drove or the castle you lived in. What really matters is how much value did you add in others lives.
  • Ideation without lazor sharp execution is only dillusion.
  • Your behavior broadcasts your values.The way you do one thing, the way you do 'everything'. Disipline is indeed the key.Get rid of silly excuses.Get addicted to results.
  • If you lead only by the virtue of your title, then when you loose the title , you loose the people.
  • Lead yourself first before leading others. Aim at being a great human being.
  • When you were born, you cried and others rejoiced. Live such a life that when you die, others cry.
  • Always learn and embrace change. Successful people are inspired by change.
  • Unsuccessful people are the ones who are impressed by celebrity, by people's names and titles. Shift your focus from entertainment and gossip to education.
  • Find a cause bigger than yourself and give your soul to it.
  • Secret of passion is purpose.
  • Leadership comes from bringing passion to the workplace by making each person realise his true potential. You can be the Lady Gaga of autodrivers or the Mick Jagger of the mailroom. Be a rockstar at work.
  • Managers develop organisations, leaders develop people.
  • Connecting and collaborating is what Leadership 2.0 is about. You need to remind people at your workplace that each of them has a purpose and can be a leader if they work with focus and passion.
  • Consistency is the mother of mastery.
  • The little acts of risk taking, authenticity and kindness REALLY matters.
  • Secret to genius is specializattion. Geniuses are really good at FEW things and not everything.
  • Make sure when people leave you they feel better than the time they met you. They should become the brand ambassadors of your company and not brand vampires.
  • Edit + Amplify: Nothing fails like success. Ensure the growth is purposeful. Let's not grow for growth sake.
  • Keep your video in sync with your audio: Walk the talk...Practice what you preach...
  • Pleasing everyone and being liked by everyone is a major hinderance to innovation.
  • Successful people want to make history with their work and not money. They want their work to remain alive even after their last breath.
  • 8 traits of a leader without a title:
  1. APR: Absolute Personal Responsibility
  2. OAD: Obsessicve Attention to Details
  3. LBE: Lead By Example
  4. ABBOU: Always Be Delivering Outrageous Value
  5. NSI: Never Stop Improving
  6. BIW: Best In World
  7. BRBO: Put you Best Resource in Best Oppurtunities
  8. KMF: Keep Moving Forward
  • High productivity practicees:
  1. Get up early- You will have enough time to sleep when you die ;-)
  2. Do not check e mails in the morning. Creativity appears best in morning. Spend some quite time in solitude.
  3. Learn to say 'No' with respect.
  4. No gossips and critisicm. Truly world class people talk about ideas.
  5. Clarity provides focus and creativity.
  6. Eat less and in a purposeful manner.
  7. Drink lots of water and super hydrate yourself.
  8. Be aware of your environment. The external environment inspires internal creativity.
  9. Practice & preparation are the key as all of us are in show business.
  10. Ensure you make 5 daily wins. They need not be revolutionary in nature, but should be evolutionary.
  11. Develop 'leadership language'. Your words energise you and others.
  12. Leave your ego today
Hope this helps :-)

February 13, 2011

The reminder - A (Very) short love story

Love can make us do crazy things...Love unleashes our smarter self...Love makes us look gullible & meek...Love is mature...Love is kiddish...

Love makes us feel empowered...Love is intimidating...Love is charming...Love is suffocating....Love is liberating....

So many contradictions yet thats what keeps us going....

It's been 40 years since we grew in this relationship and will continue to grow. Times have changed since we met. Our love has been witness to the changing times. The changing times has been witness to our love.

As I sit next to your grave, I understand you will not be with me. But your love has always been much larger than your own sweet self. Your love has been selfless. Your love will continue to grow in your physical absence and it will help me to enrich my life.

But I am feeling incomplete.I feel like a lesser being.I don't feel any amount of optimism will ever fill the vacum that has been created by your absence.

[The cell phone rings. It's a reminder message which reads "Water the flowers in the garden or else honey shall scream ;-)".]

I guess I should make a move. A move from 'this graveyard' to 'our garden'.

January 22, 2011

Dhobi Ghat- A cine painting with grey shades....

Dhobi Ghat(Mumbai Diaries) is a piece of Cine art...a painting that captures the shades of Bombay with all the colours it offers to its inhabitants...

Colours which are seemingly bright but as we delve further it appears grey...colours that often suffuses our hearts with joy and in other times haunts us to the point we feel ridiculously intimidated.

The movie revolves around the lives of 4 characters-Arun (Aamir Khan)- a painter,divorcee,loner middle aged man; Shai (Monica Dogra) is an Indian banker who is in Mumbai on a sabbatical to pursue her passion 'Photography'; Munna (Prateik Babbar) is a washerboy by the morning & rat killer by the night who dreams of being a bollywood superstar one day and Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra) is a lower middle class migrant from UP who is newly wed.

Inspite of the disparities in their social status, views and circumstances, their lives are intertwined. Shai (Kriti Malhotra) gets fascinated by the art work of Arun (Aamir Khan) and progresses into an intense relationship which lasts only for an iota of times. Shai (Monica Dogra) meets Munna (Prateik Babbar) and gets besotted by Munna's charm and innocence. Along with Munna she captures the lesser known essence of Bombay through her camera lenses.

Arun increasingly gets drawn towards the video diaries of Yasmin which encapsulates her delightful fascination with Bombay yet exudes her conflicted & gullible relationship with her husband. This inspires (as well as depresses) Arun to capture the elements of his interpretation of Yasmin's video diaries and her short yet impressionable relationship with Shai in a painting.

To what extent these relationships between the four characters are interwined?

Only the fifth character of the movie 'Bombay' which closely witnesses their lives getting interwined can answer the question.

As mere viewers of this Cinematic genius we can only make an effort to interpret the multitudes of possibilities yet not seek the answer.

The joy is encapsulated in making the effort to interpret the possibilities. Possibilities which might be promising...depressing...bright...dark...but most certainly with shades of grey....At times a darker shade of grey ...and in the other times mercifully lighter...

January 10, 2011

The Royal Ganguly snub and a few lessons...

These are hard times for Sourav Ganguly. Similarly, these are hard times for me to keep my objectivity intact for purely cricket reasons.

Tough to understand why Sourav, who displayed one of the best batting performances in the last IPL edition (Amongst the top 5 run getters with an impressive strike rate) get ruthlessly snubbed in the IPL auction.

First inference is that he was snubbed not on the basis of performance.

Was he snubbed because of his age?

Not really!! Warnie, Gilchrist, Dravid & Laxman also found place in the auction.

Was it because of his larger than life approach to cricket?

Naaah!!!! Remember his performance in the Sri Lanka tour after his comeback from a considerable break due to a spat with Aussie Dimwit 'Greg Chappel'. He integrated with the team fabric in an effortless manner and even won the 'Man of the series' award.

Was it because he doesnot gell well with Aussie coaches (Most of the team coaches in IPL are from the Aussie land)?

Maybe Yes!!!

Whatever be the reason, here are a few lessons one can learn from the 'Royal Snub':
  • Be careful of your image: His 'Prince of Kolkata' image probably went against him. Team management might have found him tough to be handled.

  • There is nothing like 'over-communication': Ganguly is an honourable man, yet he should have seeked complete information from various teams to gauge their interest in buying him.Only after that he should have made himself available for the auction.(He could have also gone the Kumble way)

  • Honour versus Idealism: Shahrukh Khan extended the olive branch to him offering a chief mentor role in KKR. He has not been very kind to the request. But if he truly cares about KKR then he might just accept the role of a mentor and play an integral role in fulfilling KKR's mission of 'Korbo..Lorbo..Jeetbo Re!!!(We will do..fight & win)' .Of course with KKR in context, there would have been too many mentors and there is certainly nothing official about it.Saurav is intelligent and let him decide the rest.

  • Keep the passion on!!!: If the intent and passion is right then many seemingly significant (otherwise insignificant) outcomes do not matter in long run. His fans will always love him. His critics will always make ridiculous judgements. But he will be respected by all forever and beyond. Till now his batting did the talking. It's time his silence does the talking. And if he ever gets the bat he will ROAR!!! In the true ROYAL BENGAL STYLE!!!!

January 2, 2011

Do you have enough HEROes (Dabanggs) in your team???

There are two places in Chennai where you can locate me on a Sunday late morning:

My room or Landmark Bookstore!!!

While surfing the books I came across '
Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business'.

A few random turning of the pages & I found an insightful matrix:

The X axis signifies 'the quantum of empowerment one feels at work' and Y axis signifies 'quantum of resourcefulness with which one acts in his workplace'.

It's depressing to know that only 20 % of US Information workers fall under the category of 'HERO-Highly Empowered Resourceful Operatives'.

So who has a greater onus in ensuring that the employees fall under the 'top right hand quadrant of the matrix'??? Employees themselves or employers???

I would not recieve any brownie point for giving the lucid answer. But the answer is 'Both'. In the age of Co-creation, it's both the employee and the employer who have to work in an ever inclusive manner to 'co-create' many Heroes.

However, the most conflicting issue is that when companies want to create more 'HEROes' and employees themselves desire to become 'HEROes' then why dont we have enough HEROes (Based on the above matrix)?

According to my ever innocent opinion, I feel the conflict often arises when it comes to paying the right price for either enabling or becoming an 'HERO-Highly Empowered Resorceful Operatives' from both the employee & employer's end.

The singlemost important attribute in creating enough 'HEROs' at workplace would be the 'mutual confidence' in 'co-creating HEROs'.

I wish everyone a Glorious & Dabangg('Fearless' in Hindi spoken in Uttar Pradesh, India) new year in the persuit of finding the 'super heroes' within & around themselves.