All about an Idea

It was all about an idea;
Thought of it,
Dreamt of it,
Just nurtured it like a plant.

I was happy –
It was growing.
But alas – one day,
The water dried out.

The leaves were yellow;
Some fell on the mud.
I cried out to my heart:
Wish I would have asked someone for water.

(Background of this poem: I wrote this poem while attending a workshop on Ideas and Innovation. One of the key learnings there was about sharing the idea with others and collectively building upon it, so that it can be duly taken forward and implemented. )

First day at a new job

About the post: I had written the below thoughts a year back on my first day of joining my present job. The writing process ended when the HR representatives entered the room for starting the joining formalities.


It was a strange feeling, but not new. I had experienced this before – the first day in a new employment. While the rest of the herd moves on with their daily work, you are sitting or standing in a corner, bewildered, with anticipations – good and bad. Even though you want to avoid, subconsciously your mind keeps preparing a table of comparison; between your old job and the new. And somehow, your old job wins many points (not all, but many) .Then you realize that you had been on an irreversible path for the past certain days.

Anticipations are like those small sandstorms, per se, harmless. But if you do not remember your path properly, you will lose your way. But if you know your way well, and are not likely to get astray, they are good fun on the way. Besides, they also give you an idea which way the wind is blowing.

Coming back to the first day blues, the most important people, or better put the most popular figures for you, are the support staff – the security, the receptionist, maintenance group, junior staff, etc who guide you and (more often, than not) misguide you.

And if it is not your first job, you will be missing a very important component of your work life – WORK. You feel that suddenly out of a scene full of action, you have landed up in a still picture frame, where nothing moves. (For me, expect for the pencil with which I am jotting down these thoughts, everything else is pause-still). The two guys sitting next to me (new joinees like me) are wondering what I am writing so much. Is it a part of joining formalities? Are you supposed to be writing/preparing for something on joining???? So, now you know what I meant by ‘anticipations’. These guys are freshly made friends, although right now I don’t even know (or remember?) their names. A new herd forming to counter/merge into the old herd.

One more thought, as I am waiting here. Human mind never learns to relax. Here I am, given an hour to relax (authorized by all possible moral values, terms of termination of the previous company and terms of employment of the new company), but I am cursing my luck that I did not carry in my bag the paperback fiction that I have been reading these days. And so, when I did not find anything to read, I started to write…

About the title

About the title – This is just an endorsement of the principle – Small is Big. Life is made up of small things – like listening a song, a walk in the rains, a hearty laugh with friends, an evening by the sea, and such endless small beautiful things. Such small things blend together and form a beautiful experience called life.
…and we always thought life was about achieving something Big.

Beautiful Morning

When the first golden sun rays fall on the earth,
their magic makes this place a lot more worth.

Birds welcome the morning chirping all the way –
if this is so great, how beautiful would be the entire day.

Plants and bushes sway to the gentle breeze,
it’s pleasant when the sunlight filters through the trees.

Some are going to their schools; some going for tread;
Some are busy praying, while some still prefer the bed.

Mornings are like the newborn – glowing and pure.
Breathe them with your soul – the day’ll be good for sure.

(A short poem I wrote about mornings, partly during my morning walk.)

A view on qqqqqqqqq

After a quick lunch, I rushed to the ATM in our office premises. To my surprise, there was no queue outside the ATM. Instead of labeling it a ‘pleasant’ surprise and getting into the ATM, I checked out its glass door for an ‘Out of Order’ placard. There was none – and to end the story I was able to successfully complete the transaction and to get back to my work.

However, a point to note here is the way we have internalized the psychology of anticipation of queues, i.e. we in India. There is a queue for almost everything. Be it for railway tickets, bank counter, school admissions, movie hall, and even public toilets; Indians are used to stand in queue. If there is no queue, we suspect something’s wrong – e.g. if there is no queue outside a movie hall, then definitely the movie is not good, or if there is no queue outside a railway ticket counter, may be the railway employees are on a strike.

The reason behind this whole queue thing is the demand-supply mismatch in a country like India with its vast population. But let’s not summarize this interesting ‘Queue’ phenomenon with a boring Economics statement like this. Even if it does not seem so, there are a lot of advantages of having a queue. You can have a look at them:

1. Building National Unity
Nothing gets people into unity and action as does a person trying to crash into a queue, or an officer servicing the queue at a snail-slow speed. People get together putting aside all differences like race, cast, creed, financial status, etc to uphold the queue ‘principles’.

2. Stress Relieving
In a busy world where no body gets time for himself, a queue offers a person free time without a feeling of guilt for wasting time. One can use this time for ‘Open-eyes-meditation’, ‘Mini-Power nap’ and many more such stress relieving activities.

3. Validating Forms
While standing in a queue for submission of any kind of forms, a person can always check with others whether the form which he has filled up is correct, whether any extra documents are required, etc. This avoids last minute embarrassment before the Form accepting officer.

4. Improving Relationships
Standing in a long queue, trying to kill time, you are forced to make calls to all possible friends or relatives, whom you have not called since months.

5. Cross-functional information
If you are standing in a long railway ticket queue, you will read everything around you; be it Counter timings, Name of the officers, Rules and regulations, the year of inauguration of the Railway station and the person who had done the honors. You are thus enlightened about a lot of non-work related aspects.

So, a queue is a symbol of great national importance and should not be looked down upon or criticized.

Improving Managerial Skills

A manager was traveling from Mumbai to Pune to attend training on Managerial Effectiveness. The topics for the training were:

1. Negotiation Skills
2. Winning a deal
3. Fear Management
4. Goal-aligned performance

His day was full of theoretical concepts, case studies and group exercise. Though the training was quite comprehensive, he really couldn’t find it interesting. After his training, he got busy attending a call from his friend. In this delay, he missed his pickup bus to Pune station. Therefore, he decided to take an auto-rickshaw.

The only auto-rickshaw in sight quoted him 400 Rs. for a trip to the station. He finally managed to convince him for Rs. 150. But the auto-guy drove like crazy. He even tried to sneak through a small gap between two trucks. He was almost driving at an average speed of 90. The manager was initially afraid, but somehow started getting used to it. Suddenly, the auto-driver started taking a very different route. The manager remembered his way, so he directed him to stick to the usual route. Finally, his journey was over and he reached the station.

Then a thought struck him – he had used his ‘negotiation skills’ with the auto-driver, managed to ‘strike a deal’ with him, overcome his ‘fear of speed’ and ensured that his journey was ‘aligned’ to his destination.

(A short story I wrote about auto-rickshaws in Pune.)

Living Life

You call it the beauty of life, or its cruelty, but you are down there on the face of the earth – smiling, enjoying and living your life without even knowing what lies in the store for you the next hour, or even the next moment. And when the unforeseen cometh, you are completely taken aback. This is because while living your life, you have cultivated a habit to plan and expect. You want to conquer a time frame called ‘the future’, which unfortunately is never yours. Life has allowed you to enjoy your present, but sadly has not given you any ownership rights over the future.

Life makes you believe that you own your entire life, since the time you were born, till the time you die. But if you try to see closely, you do not own the past. For, it is just like the letters engraved on stone, which you may treasure or reminisce, but you cannot change. And your future is like a cloud far away, sailing your way. But by the time the cloud reaches you, it is completely in a different form, and worse you cannot hold it or own it. You can just feel the cloud as it comes and let it pass.

So when we spend most of our time recalling the stones buried deep down, or observing the clouds lying far away, we seldom find time to breathe and feel the air, which is around us right now…