Fixated not with the TARGET, but for the OBJECTIVE

I invited a family friend over for a dinner as a welcome gesture for his transfer. As a self-proclaimed DECENT home cook, I thought I’ll do the cooking myself. Like every professional, my prowl for the game starts with cerebral dimensioning. I start with a mental snapshot of what I’m going to cook, which is influenced by two things. First, those cook shows I’ve recently watched and secondly ingredients which are available in my house and the nearby vegetable market. My freezer has a nice block of pork thigh which was gifted and so the only thing left out was a new impressive flavor. The other day, I breezed past fresh gingers with green shoots in the market, so picture of pork in a sauce of tender ginger with green shoots flashed back and I thought that has to be the winner recipe.

I went to the nearby vegetable market to get those tender ginger with long green shoots. The market is spread across three blocks and all blocks sell almost similar types but with slight variations. The first one has more commercial stuffs and the middle has pedestrian non-vegetarians (chicken, fish & mutton) and the last one has more leaves & herbs. As I stroll around, I could not find a single strand in the first block but the hope was still one. Hope started to diminish a bit when the second block gave me the same result and by the time I walk passed the third block, shoots of disappointments started over flowing as I could not get what I was looking for. My face started to wrinkle and so was my mood, but then the invitation was confirmed hence there was no way of backing out atleats for the sake of self-esteem. So, I quickly reorganized my thoughts for some alternative. As I started buying those new set of recipes, a sense of composure started to surface. I quickly got all the stuffs I needed and hurried back to my house. As I walk back in my hasty little steps, some lateral views struck me (happens quite often) … “Fixated not with the target, BUT for the objective”

Thought it’s an outcome of some trivial cooking episode but I thought it connects well to our day-to-day lives in a large way. Be it at work place or any other space, one tends to define success basis realization of certain specific task or so call “targets”. If we don’t nail that specific task or targets we tend to assume we failed. And this feeling of failure is one debilitating heck that it starts to build negative halo and makes us believe that we are much lower than what we are really capable of.

Now think about the following:

  1. Your mom bought you a micromax canvas as your first smartphone after clearing your class XII, but you were hoping for a samsung galaxy…
  2. Despite having the necessary marks in Class XII, somewhere you could not get a seat in St. Stephen, but you got selected in all other reputed colleges…
  3. After saving up enough money for buying a flat, unfortunately that particular apartments just got sold off, but you get a good deal from a comparable builder in a comparable society…

I know those above instances sounds unrelastic melodrama!!! Nevertheless, i’m sure you would have come across similar instaces with lesser melodram. And if you continue whining and feel a loser, then you are simply cooking a recepie for self-destruction. I understand there may be some momentary sense of disappointment as you didn’t get the exact replica of what you have in mind, but the fact is that you have achieved the bigger objective, owning a nice smartphone phone or being part of reputed college or owning a nice flat. So what is there so much to fuss if you don’t get those replica you have created inside your head…Isn’t the objective lager than the target…

Everything on this earth is a function of TIME & CHANGE and hence nothing remains permanent. Therefore getting fixated with specifics will only makes you miserable and disappointed. As long as you have the resource, there are equally good alternative which can give you similar sense of achievement. An individual can tread only one road at a time and to think that one road is the best among all others, when you have not experienced the rest, is just a rustic MYOPIA.

What makes Amrish Puri utter those words ‘Ja Simran Ja’ in Dilwale Dhulhania Le Jayge? it is that same realization that unless the objective is met, achieving the target is unworthy. Something like, Mugambo finally realized that his objective of getting Simran married was to make her happy and not having a son-in-law of his choice.

As for the pork dish, I chose a fresh turmeric & ginner sauce with mountain herbs. It was aromatic and succulent and so was the evening.


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An interesting take on “Matriarchal Social System”

…I don’t think I’m a male chauvinist or a feminist, thought I may exhibit some leaning either ways at different points based on context and rationality, but seriously I don’t want to choose any of them…

While I’ve heard of the existence of “Matriarchal Social System” since childhood because of my home town proximity to Meghalaya, which have majority of its population (Khashi & Garo) practicing Matriarchal Society, however I’ve never seen it happening in front of my eyes or never been detailed about the same.

Just to give a brief heads up, matriarchal society system is a rare social system throughout human history and society. Today, there are less than handful society that still practice, Khasis & Garos of Shillong (Meghalaya), the Nairs & Menons of Kerela used to follow which is fading and couple of societies in other continents(Some Island near Australia and some in Peru…maybe few more pockets). As the name suggest, women run the family, they inherit the family property and children retain the mother’s title which in turn comes from the maternal grandma…

Fate would have planned; on fine evening I happened to have a discussion on this matriarchal society with certain strong (female) personalities from Shillong. I thought they would have been psyched and bored with my many uncanny questions, thankfully they were quite passionate and proud about their social system, which I thought, was kind of COOL!!!. Apart from the fact that it’s new to me, I thought their perspective were really different and worth penning it down.

She started off “I’m very lucky to be born a Khasi woman and given a chance I will choose to be born a Khasi woman again”…Well, initially it did sound a tad pompous or a plain “Too Much!!!” but the course of the conversation kind of gave meanings to the reason for such an arrow straight declaration…

FIRST SPIN – “We khasi women got our women rights way before the world” was what she proudly declared. Considering the Khasi community would have been in existence for centuries, she was actually making sense. Women rights (apart from maybe States) would have come to the fore sometime around 20th century only. The topic gained more relevance, juxtaposing against the current national issue which have women related up there on the list

  • The women rights break-out post the Delhi rape episode
  • Fetal homicide – a chronic case dating back to pre-independence and continues to strongly lingers on
  • Women population in work force which is a favorite rhetoric for corporate honchos but I don’t know how much of field implementation would have happened

Not that I’m prophesying a “Matriarchal Social System” is The Panacea, but I thought it’s worth a ponder.    

SECOND SPIN – The female continues her family title which comes from her mother and if a son marries outside the community; he has the right to continue his family title, the system of which is called “Tangkur”. Now this I thought was a very claver strategy by their forefathers for expansion of their small community. This way, the population addition to the society is like “Chain Reaction” unlike the vanilla “Patriarch Social System” which add population in a linear line (only the sons get to retain the family). If you are not from a community with endangered population, you may not understand the beauty of the strategy. Maybe even the Parsis would appreciate it…I don’t know. But at least I do!!!        

THIRD SPIN – A woman with children from more than a man ends up in a dilemma on what title to be given and according to her; such dilemma is washed off by this system as the woman gives her name to all the children. Some may say scandalous, but I thought it’s quite bold and straight forward. This I thought has some rational sense in context to the Indian society, considering many men (especially in the lower strata) deserted their wives with their children for better pastures. The closest example I could think of is my house maid, whose husband ran away and hence she has to take care of her children, educate them despite her minimal income (She works for 3 to 4 houses which pay her just about 1000-1500 bucks per month per house)

Every matter in this world is made up of yin-yang and hence I’m sure this system too will have its own challenges (My next conversation will be with the Khasi men). While I may not endorse on the system nor do I want to have an opinion for I’ve never been thrown into such experience. But I thought the perspective were refreshing and nice. If you are born with such privileges which most other female in the nation are inherently deprived off, I think there is no harm in being vocal of the BLESSINGS…



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A dinner with “Bong-Bash” in the menu!!!

…I need to start with a disclaimer FOR I don’t have any bias view or ulterior motive against any community or individual…I brand myself a global citizen…and I also know I’m self-sufficiently endowed with inherent complexities that I don’t need to create any additional complexities by giving unnecessary opinion on any person or community…

Somewhere or somehow I’ve been intertwined with the Bongs in some form or the other. As you would have observed, there are many interesting facet about them which made me coined this word “concentrated being”. In the sense, it doesn’t take too much time to find out if a person is a bong or not…the bongoness just exudes instantly (not from the physical appearances). While I’m not trying to write something on bongs nor impose some opinion, but I thought I’ll share this little excerpt from an official dinner table conversation of bong bashing by a Bong…I thought it’s worth sharing for two reasons:

  • Time and again Bong bashing Bongs seems to be one of the more common “Own Community Bashing” I have come across. Maybe it’s a fluke or maybe my network has high concentration of bongs…
  • Be it as it may, I also find quite insightful most of the time, thought it might not be useful at times…and this is one such moment

It started off with…“Out of Frustration”…

“If IDEAL is important, so is pragmatism” was a phrase he used for a bong government officials who have been a pain in our business for quite some time. This official has been literally sticking to each and every word on the book of law/policy even if it does not make rational sense. His adherence or compliance goes to the extent of absurdity and extraterrestrial, which create unnecessary and unwarranted blockages for business to functioning and continue. One analogy used to describe was of a driver caught in catch 22 situation where the traffic light (without timer) just turned red while the driver is in the middle of crossings and a policeman stopped him for fine. From the perspective of LAW, the policeman has every right to fine the driver for the driver could not complete the crossing while the light was green. At the same time, from the driver point of view the light was still green when he started off and hence he is also rightful from his perspective.

Hence, what will an ideal policeman who believes in “JUSTICE” do in such situation?

Maybe at times, one need to be more sensitive and juxtapose the context along with the rule and make judgment rather than read the law like parrot. Law/Rule needs to be taken by the spirit and not just the literal meaning. Laws/rules are fundamentally made not to give authority to punish people but to instill obedience or adherence. Hence, law/rule becomes petty if an innocent person with genuine and sincere intent becomes a victim of the literal translation.  

The discussion moved to the discarded Tata-Nano project in Singhur, West Bengal as to whether Ms Banerjee will be successful in returning the land to the farmers? And it goes on as to whether West Bengal benefitted from the Project moving to Sanand in Gujarat? The crowd who were mostly non-bongs were in unison of the fact that West Bengal lost a huge opportunity which Gujarat gained. After all, Sanand became a hot property after Tata-Nano project came. Land prices exploded like never before as commercialization started and all landowners (mainly farmers) in and around Sanand were multiplying the worth of their assets without their efforts. I’m sure any normal person would also come to the same conclusion.

However, an academically and critically chronic bong can cook up a different perspective …If Sanand was so successful, then why did the Sanand electoral seat went to the Congress?



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My Home Town…First official visit!!!

One FB update kinda encapsulates my first official tour to my home town:

– Electric Condition for tonight: Excellent
– Mobile Network Condition: Uisu (The closest translation would be “Dog’s Poop”)

My home town Churachandpur (aka Lamka), is the second largest town in Manipur in population, economic activities and infrastructure. Since childhood, electricity has been one abstaining necessities. Anything which I have come across in life has out-paced the progress and growth of electricity despite a 105 M Watt Hydro Project is just about 40KM away, commissioned way back in 1983 (The year I started schooling).

Coincidentally or incidentally, Idea’s network was down since the last two days. In all the few retail shops we visited, the vibe was just about customers not able to make call and hence it’s a bit difficult to really get feedbacks on the marketing aspects – how our products are performing vis-a-vis competition and what are consumers perception on our brands, etc. Some retailers have gone to the extent of refraining from selling Idea connections during those distress time. As a marketing guy, I could not help much on the technical aspects and hence I told them I’ll take it up with the network department once I go back and then conclude with some morale boosting spice “the organization has a huge plan for improving network in the coming days!”

After spreading ourselves across the length and breadth of Imphal, I asked the Area Manager to head towards my home town though the sun was still atop. I rationalized by doing some market visit on the way and it’ll also be better if the cab returns early to its base station as there was rumor of Bandh from that night. On the way, the manager and I were checking the network signals from time to time to find out the impacted areas of this fiasco. While both of us could hardly get network in the entire 60KM stretch, our driver (who use competition network) was receiving calls at every intervals, which bugged me more than the fact that he was speaking while driving…

As usual, the next day was just another typical “bandh” day and hence movement was restricted. However, I could catch up with few relatives and family friends who came to visit due to some family engagement. Post lunch, I was just hanging around for some general chit-chat. I decided to just take some feedback and asked them how many of them have Idea connections and what are their experiences. Since, Idea was not dominant, I was not expecting much from the crowd. However, I was surprised to know that about 50% of the 7/8 people were using Idea…but the ensuing comments were quite insightful –  

On the positive and boring front – They were quite happy with Idea as the pricing is more competitive than others. And it was nice to hear for a marketing guy and infact they have more Idea connections in their household than competition. Either my kins were discount hunters or they were trying to make me feel comfortable…But fine with me.

On the other front –

First voice “Seems from the time you’ve joined North East, Idea connections have been going bad, otherwise it used to be quite good”…and goes the mass laughter

Another voice “I also use Idea, therefore I’m not able to talk to him for the past 2 days” pointing at another fellow mate…another volley of laughers…

The smart one “I’ve been and am a very good customer of Idea, you have to give me a free smart phone, I recharge 1 GB of data every month”…I cornered him “if you have still leftover from 1GB recharge in a month, I really doubt you are a good customers”…again the mass laughter…he tried to sanitize his stance by saying “I’m a married man, unlike youngsters, 1 GB ought to be a decent size for people like me”…laughter again though a bit listless by now…

That’s what my home town and folks are. We criticize but to generate laughter. We look for opportunity to laugh at every moment despite electricity and mobile network is still considered a luxury. I don’t seen more existential angst or sense of disappointments in them than people in more developed places.

These are moments which makes me think who define what “living a life” is…TO EACH HIS/HER OWN!!!



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Lateral Views : So much of being a rational being?

The disadvantage of having a black car is the conspicuousness of anything un-black on it. I bruised my black car heavily on the right side. The sight of heavy scratches with white stains breaks my heart every morning. So, I decided to get some quick job done in one of the local garage. I don’t go to garage except for the time-bound servicing and hence I don’t know much about service charges. The only thing I know is that car dealers make maximum money out of servicing charges than by selling. Hence the presumption that car servicing is expensive.

One Sunday afternoon, I drove to one local garage and asked them how much they will charge to re-work those patches. I conversed in hindi thinking the gentlemen was a local. He pulled out his cell and began to phone an expert. I was amused to hear him talking in Manipuri on the phone. All I could hear him asked was whether “thunder black” is for fludic verna and whether the stock is available? But nothing on the price. After the call, he told me he will need a day to complete the job, but he was not telling me the charges, which was my primary question. I repeated the question point blank. He fiddled around and started giving reasons but without the answer I was looking for. Finally, he conceded and told me 3 grants and again following up with explanations of why that paint is expensive… inflation, stock market, crude oil price, bla bla bla…

Two shots volleyed my mind:

On the lighter side – My shenanigans almost made me prank him by surprising him in the same language he just spoke and make him feel scandalized. Well, you don’t spook your folks in foreign land, so I choose anonymity to bring some grace to the scene.

On a serious note – I initially thought 3K is not bad as I was prepared for higher spending. But as usual, the rationale mind sprang up to do some scene investigation to evaluate whether the costing quoted was indeed the right price. The reluctance and reticent demeanor of the guy made me think that I was being played and that I’ve to negotiate hard for the right price or I should try the next garage which might give better rate. As usual, rationality got the better off; this can’t be the best deal, I have to scout for the next cheaper garage. The market was dry as it was Sunday, I couldn’t find other shops. Either I have to go back to the same garage or come looking for other garage on working days. I thought I’ll be better off some other day and in the meantime, to save me from morning heartache I thought of fixing some temporary solution myself. On my way back, I bought a fabric black ink and painted those scratches myself.

Few weeks have passed; I still don’t know where the other (right price) garage is located nor do I have the bandwidth and time to go garage hunting. Fabric paint on metal is bound to wane soon and so the scratches are slowly coming back. The thought of “What if I shell out those 3K that day?” start to come back. I mean, 3K at that moment & backdrop might have been a pinch but it would have been long forgotten by now. A dinner out cost as much and how many dine outs do I remember which keeps haunting back?
In retrospect, had I chosen the irrational path of just spending 3K, then today I will be with a completed job and also I would have already adjusted those money in my system. But because of that rationale sense which convinced me to procrastinate with the reason that the deal is not the optimal one available in the market and I can find better deal some other day…I’m now still stuck in the moment which perhaps is a year back and is not able to escape.

You know, I chose the rational path and here I’m, a man with unaccomplished job with a nagging thoughts every now and then seeing those faded fabric paints…So much of those rational thoughts, it’s kind of funny that this same rational thought which made me procrastinate is now questioning whether that same rational thought was really rational?



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If you don’t solve…It ain’t count!!!

I came to know of my flight delay from the display board in the airport. Since I was done checking in early I tried to proceed for security check-in immediately as the security lounge area has better seating arrangement than the check-in lounge area. The security guy told me that the flight is delayed and security check will start sometime later so I have to wait for a while until the announcement. At that point a ground executive from the airline came to check out if I need some help. I casually asked him if I can check in as there is not much place to hang out in the lounge area; the casual conversation went a bit unscripted. As I’m in my hay days of sarcasm and nasty-ism, seeing the executive trying to act smart cookie, the casual conversion quickly turned verbal banter though it was never intended…I mean I don’t want to travel heavy either outside or inside.

This is how the conversation went, when I told him I should have been informed about the delay – 

  • Me – “I never got an SMS intimation of the delay in the flight”
  • Executive – “You should update your latest mobile number”
  • Me – “Dude, I just booked my ticket couple of days, what do you mean I need to update my latest mobile number?”
  • Executive – “Most of our passengers got the SMS…What can we do if you don’t get” (I’m sure he won’t have checked the SMS delivery repot and even if he does, there is no way he will know whether the SMS actually  reached every customers unless it’s a non existing mobile number)
  • Me – “Then what should I do so that I get SMS from you (I was tempted to say – Do I need to buy specific handset so that I get SMS from your airline next time I fly?)

 Knowing I’m one of those smart cookie slayers or maybe he felt cornered…Finally 

  • Executive – “Why don’t you go and check at the ticketing counter and find out why you didn’t get SMS intimation?”
  • Me – “What’s the point in checking now, will it undo anything?”
  • Executive – “I don’t want to argue, what do you want me to do”
  • Me – “I just want you to shut up if you don’t know what you’re talking”…

 And so I went for some coffee to burn my tongue…!!!

 While I may sound the villain here, but things would have been different had the executive simply acknowledged the fact that I was the aggrieved party who was deprived off an expected service/solution which I was supose to get. I mean flight delay is nothing new to anyone and I seriously would not have any qualms adjusting myself for a while in the check-in lounge.

As a consumer, the most irksome thing when there is solution/service lapse is when the solution provider trying to wash off their participation from the failure and blaming some irrelevant matters and then behaving as if he/she has fulfilled his/her responsibilities and that consumer should be happy about his/her efforts…Bollocks!!!   

Somewhere it is inherent in us that the moment we sense we are in the losing party or someone talks about the failure we are part of, the natural instinct seems to be trying to splinter off our part from the system and proving we didn’t fail, either by passing buck or manufacturing reasons why the failure was not because of us. Even if we know our task failed, we still believe that our individual contribution to the task didn’t fail. Come on, what good is a section brilliance when the entire chapter is garbage?         

The Americans were second to the French in the men’s 4*100 swimming freestyle relay in the just concluded London Olympics, despite the Americans were star studded with Phelps and Lochte of the world. The simple reason was that the French were collectively faster than the Americans and which is the task in a relay race. Though Michael Phelps did well in his heat/row, but he can’t credit himself as London Olympics GOLD medalist in swimming relay by dissociating himself from the team and neither does he has the right to claim Gold Medal Bonus for that event. In the same manner, until and unless the task at hand is not completed, you cannot claim yourself to be a winner because your bit was done on time. The fact is that, until the goal is achieved, irrespective of how good you’ve done your part, you are just part of the unfinished project.

A quote from the movie Moneyball goes like this “I hate losing much more than I want winning”. Somewhere this line from Brad Pitt seems to be innate in most of us. Most of us by nature just hate being a failure or we just don’t accept that fact that we do make mistakes. We are so much focused on not being “WRONG” that we end up forgetting about winning the game. By the way, mistakes are sometimes the ladder to success.

To err is human and to forgive is divine. Hence, there is nothing wrong in being the wrong or being part of the failing party as long as we call ourselves human. Mistakes are not mistakes if the intention is right and if one doesn’t repeat the same mistakes the next time.  However, mistake becomes a shame when one tries to unnecessarily reason it out with the purpose of cleansing the association because he/she has done her bit.        

Just then, somewhere some voice came “We apologize for the inconveniences caused due to the delay in flight. However, the delay was on account of the flight getting delayed in Kolkatta airport because the runway…bla bla bla” …Senorita, I know the flight is delayed and it doesn’t lighten the anger whether it was due to Kolkatta or Timbaktu or Mr. Patel’s daughter wants to reduce the flight speed so that she has a clearer view of the empty space mid air!!!



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An idea if remains an idea is not worth an Idea!!!

Freshly brewed from business schools, most corporate beginners consider themselves to be wearing some kind of CXOs hat. They love to talk languages of board rooms like perspective, paradigm shift, strategic intent, laddering, top-down/bottom-up, collaborations, synergy, etc. without actually knowing the practical implications. With the waning of the honey moon period as time flies and when the rubber began to really hit the hard tarmac, they began to loath such fully loaded words because they realized that those are stratospheric level which is not required when you’re just limited to the atmospheric level.

I still remember in my first year as corporate freshers, how I send a proposal to our VP-Marketing on how to change the brand positioning of one of our promising brand. You know, things like what should be the tag line, what the ads should look like, et al, when in reality there were armies of managers between him and me sweating out day-in, day-out trying to make the brand a mega deal.

 In retrospect and after spending a decade in consumer business, I understand why my mail would have be treated as another junk mail because stuffs like “brand positioning” requires in-depth understanding of consumer nature, consumer behavior of the target segment, the competitive landscape, the organization goal, regulatory environment and so on and so forth. In one of our recent review, during a quick ping-pong on one of our product proposal, our COO commented saying that such decisions have to be taken mostly by gut, but the question is whose gut? This kind of reinforced the fact that ideas are plenty but the right to realization lies with few and which I think is very frank yet factual which young executives needs to understand… It’s fine, I was naïve and full of only enthusiasm and I’m sure my VP – Marketing would have taken in the same spirit.

Through years of being not listened and only being delegated to execute, somewhere you are forced to realize that in any organization functioning (work or non-work) it is not just about ideas or innovative thoughts, rather it’s more of execution and less of ideating and lip services. The strength of an idea doesn’t lie in the depth of the thoughts; rather it is in the excellence and efficacy of the execution. To put it simple – What good is a noble thought of leading a healthier life through practicing yoga in the morning when you continue to be a late riser?

Until we execute those ideas or thoughts, which pass by in our day to day life, we continue STATUS QUO because there is no value addition to our system. As a superior species, human being inherently wants progress or value addition every time and everywhere. Hence we stereotypically use lines like “change for the better” or the universal banter “he/she is such a big mouth” which we loathe to death. It is for that same reason that politicians are smudges to wall by anyone (small or big, young or old) anytime like those horrific pans stains available in any walls in India for the simple reason that they don’t execute what they say. I mean, they are fully loaded on manifestos before elections and which continues to remain manifestos even long after they are dislodged from their seats. Hence, Modi and Nitish is hailed as crusaders for progressive India because they execute developmental works which is tangibly available for anyone to see (putting aside their individual self).

On a lateral spin, let’s try to bring the world famous story of “the hare and the tortoise” into this conundrum. While the story composer wrote it from the perspective of “slow and steady wins the race”, however it does have some connotation on execution…HOW? Because, the concept of being fast continues to remain a concept with the hare as it fails to execute the task at hand, which is finishing the race, while the slow tortoise industriously took every single step that was required to complete the race irrespective of how slow it moves. I’m sure, in the evening over a pitcher; the hare would have bitched like crazy on how the obese tortoise doesn’t deserve to win or how it can run 100 times faster than the immovable tortoise. But the fact is the result is already declared and there is nothing much the bitchy hare can really do.

Therefore the adage “action speaks louder than words” should be extended to “execution shouts louder than idea”.

Thou shall absolve and pledge to execute…For an idea, if it remains an idea is not worth an idea becsue idea is the most available and cheapest commodity in this planet.

Carpe diem!!!


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