“When a man has put a limit on what he will do, he has put a limit on what he can do.” – Charles M Schwab.
We talk of political freedom, religious freedom, economic freedom, gender freedom, freedom from corruption, freedom from discrimination, freedom ‘from’ and freedom ‘to’ many things. But have we ever thought what are we doing with the freedom that we already have ? We are curbing it many a times, because we are imprisoned in our own limitations, perceptions, narrow understandings and shallow thoughts of boundaries, boxes, circles. The limitless energy and power within us is untapped, unchartered, clamped and smothered because we don’t believe in ourselves. The free spirit of enquiry and imagination as a child suddenly gives way to lame acceptance, fear of failure, false sense of security and success as an adult. We are afraid to exercise the freedom we have because we fear risking. We start setting caps that limit us from doing what we can.
Can we unshackle ourselves and utilize the freedom that we already have ? Can we start believing in the infinite power of the self and see the difference it makes to our lives and others around us ?
A couple of days back, I met a senior citizen walking in to an ayurvedic therapy centre for a body massage. Nothing unusual ? An older body needs it the most ? You will be surprised to know that he was a grand old man, not just a senior citizen. He walked erect with no support, was well attired, did not have dentures or spectacles. He even refused help to cross the road. He threw a challenge at me to guess his age. I put it at 80s but was taken aback when he proudly declared that he was all of 96 and hoping to score a 100 ! The zest for life, the pride in being independent and his expectation to live a full life struck me. At an age when most people crib about being alive, complain about the pains, brood over the past, moan the lost companion and keep glorifying the good old days, it was refreshing to see a young 96 year old who was looking forward to yet another bright, sunny day. The secret was his positive outlook and hope for tomorrow.
Despite the setbacks we may have had this year, let us welcome 2014 with fresh hope, fresh ideas, thoughts and action plans. Our team wishes you all a wonderful New Year ahead !
“Believe. Become.” is the tagline of a cricket gear, clothing & accessories company (SG) in India that caught my attention. My cricket-enthusiast son had proudly displayed it on his Whatsapp. With Sachin’s life and times being all over the place on social media as well as print and television, I couldn’t help but reflect on whether he ‘became’ what he is only because he ‘believed’ or was there something else in between. You will agree while the ‘belief’ in himself gave him loads of confidence it was the sheer passion, complete commitment, persistent hard work, strict discipline, deep determination, sharp focus, relentless practice, love for the game and the desire to excel every time he went out to bat was what helped him ‘become’ the iconic cricket star !
Believe. Become – after this what else ? Is it not important to also ‘Be’ – stay and sustain the position of excellence and eminence for extended periods ? Legends from various fields are made of sterner stuff so that they “Believe. Become. Be.” Let’s take this path to excellence and make it a habit !
Life is full of ups and downs – much like our Bangalore roads made interesting or worse (as you see it) with unexpected one-ways, traffic clogged intersections, fly-overs with signals, abrupt dead-ends, blockades due to some social or political events, broad crosses and narrow mains, unwanted humps et al. This is so true of so many other Indian cities as well. Perhaps the uncertainty and chaos makes life so resilient and interesting. Add to this the innumerable festivals and celebrations all through the year and you are bound to be pepped up despite negative sentiments all around. Economy is not complaining either during these short bouts of heightened activity.
As we bid farewell to the 10 day long Dussehra celebrations, we look forward to the festival of lights in a few weeks from now. Falling stock indices, fluctuating currency, lower growth rates, shrinking job markets, shooting inflation, natural or man-made calamities – nothing can dampen the human spirit.
Life continues to be celebrated amidst small little joys and smiles !
“It is a mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” said Aristotle. What sort of a mind is it that neither accepts nor rejects a thought ? For that matter, is there a thought at all in some minds ? The minds that thoughtlessly take refuge in God GOOGLE when besought with a question and reproduce are surely not educated minds. Education is not merely being able to read, access information from publicly available resource, copy and paste without application of mind. With or without degrees this can be achieved but true education happens when the curiosity and inquisitiveness is kindled, is triggered and the quest for answers begins.
Be that as it may, remembering 5th September as Teachers Day in memory of Dr. S Radhakrishnan, our second President and all those that have taught us over the years. Not to forget 15th September as Engineers Day in memory of Sir M Vishweshwariah, the Engineering marvel of Karnataka.
Ministry of Company Affairs seems to be making up for lot of lost ground – numerous Rules and Regulations have been put in the public domain for comments. The overzealous bureaucracy has begun implementation of the Act in phases, with the notification of select 98 sections which is bound to reign in confusion and chaos.
‘Kar Lo Duniya mutthi mein’ (get the world in your fist) was a slogan coined by a leading Indian Telecom company in the last decade when they launched mobile services and vowed to empower every Indian with connectivity. From ‘around the world in 80 days’ to anywhere in the world in less than 80 seconds, technology has brought the world to our fingertips. From the comfort of your home you can access different places across the world but unless you set foot you cannot experience a place, its culture, its people, its language, its cuisine, its weather, its history, its geography etc. Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves. Therefore while technology can ease travel, it cannot replace it. As Burton Homes said “To travel is to possess the world”. Why this prelude to travel? Because 30th September was World Tourism Day.
As for tax professionals and corporates here in India, September is a busy time with tax returns filing, tax payments, accounts finalization, audit, annual general meetings etc. To top it, this season we have had a deluge of notifications enforcing parts of the new Companies Act as also draft Rules to review. Needless to say we are facing piquant situations trying to figure out if a provision is applicable from the old Act or the new one, always hoping the new one is not yet effective.
Undoubtedly the passing of the long standing Companies Bill, 2012 by the Rajya Sabha on the 8th of August, 2013 is the most prominent news for both the professionals as well as the corporates, hailed as it is as a panacea for many of the ills plaguing the corporate world ??!! Whether it is or it isn’t, it surely calls for a lot of unlearning and learning for many of us along with wide opportunities. Watering down of many restrictive conditions for setting up and operation of SEZs, easing of FDI norms in select sectors and the Government’s desperate efforts to bridge the Current Account Deficit in its bid to uplift the sagging Rupee are the other important headliners.
But, do spare a thought that amidst the grey, black and white of the dooming economy there are some wonderful colors and hues of flowers to be admired and cherished – a visual treat at Bangalore’s Annual Lalbagh Flower Show to mark our Independence Day.
On this occasion, I cannot resist but share this short patriotic poem roughly translated from Hindi:
“I don’t have the desire to be an ornament for a damsel;
I don’t have the desire to be a garland to woo a lover;
I don’t have the desire to on an emperor’s corpse;
I don’t have the desire to adorn the head of some God;
O Gardener, pluck me and scatter me on the path
taken by many courageous men who sacrifice their lives for the motherland !”
That was the ‘Desire of a Flower (Phool Ki Abhilasha)’ by the famous Hindi poet Makhanlal Chaturvediji. What is your desire on the eve of the 67th Independence Day?
In the present fast paced world, where we talk of burn outs and exhaustion leading to frequent job-hopping and pre-mature retirements in the quest for the ‘missing family-work life balance’, it was interesting to read about Dr. S Padmavati, India’s first woman heart specialist who at the ripe age of 96 is perhaps the oldest practicing doctor too ! There seems to be no slowing-down or shifting gears for the Padma Vibhushan awardee who works for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. Swimming and walking have kept her fit but it is her supreme dedication to her profession that has kept her going. You can read more about her in the Economic Times dated 30th June, 2013.
In my own personal circle, there is this grand old uncle of mine who at the advanced age of 97 is so full of life, hope and positivity that he inspires all of us with the exemplary balanced life he has led, the people he has touched and the latest updates he always has to share. No regrets, no despondency, no cynicism, no ‘in my-days talk’, no ‘why doesn’t God take me away sighs’ ! He lives in the ‘here and now’ and enjoys every moment. He is keen to publish a paper on Nuclear Geology and is working at it, being one of the oldest living Geologists / Uranium specialists. Obviously he loves his profession as much as he does his life. I think it is ‘Hope’ and the forward-looking attitude which is helping such adorable elderly lead a life of dignity, independence and purpose.
Can we take a cue from them and reorganize ourselves to lead a more fulfilling and meaningful life ?
Gone are the days when opening a bank account was easy. All that you had to do was to submit a simple, hand-filled form to the Manager of your neighborhood bank with 2 existing account holders signing to confirm that ‘you’ are ‘YOU’. Thanks to technology, bank websites now scream that it is even simpler – just click a button and the Relationship Manager will be there at your doorstep like a genie to complete the seemingly simple but elaborate paper work. Establishing your identity and place of stay – Know Your Customer or KYC – is a show-spoiler though. Especially if you belong to the politically-attractive but economically-ugly, bottom most strata of the society. Without a PAN or an Election ID card or an Aadhaar or its competitor National Population Registry number, you simply do not exist in the eyes of law.
A couple of months back Anita, my former servant maid came wailing to me complaining that the bank was not allowing her to withdraw the meager sum left in her bank account. Pointing to her chemotherapy pricks and a bald head, she said she needed money to buy food and medicines. Though her pass book showed a balance she was shooed away with some strange demand for documents. She was convinced somebody had instructed the bank to block her account. I was flummoxed and knew something was amiss. Only when I accompanied her to the bank did I realize the bank was fulfilling the KYC requirements. The poor woman had nothing to show. Fortunately, the Manager of the Nationalised Bank, an elderly, considerate and experienced man took pity on her plight, and allowed her to close the account based on my declaration that she was staying with me. A swanky private sector bank would never have allowed this. After about 2 hours of running around from counter to counter, Anita’s account was closed and she could withdraw her money.
Another incident was with my current maid. She had tears of happiness as well as helplessness – her daughter would get a Rs. 500 scholarship every month from the Government for her academic achievements but the rider was the mother needed to have a bank account. As usual, KYC played the spoil sport. This time the Government School Headmaster walked the extra mile and stepped in to issue a letter to make up for the missing proof of identity and residence. Lakshmi’s account was opened and now she is after me to get her a PAN number ! Not for a moment am I trying to undermine the KYC requirements.
The point I am trying to make is in the wake of terrorism, money laundering and other scams, every person seems a suspect, unless proved otherwise. Mundane life has been hit the hardest, more so with the multiplicity of ID cards and passwords.
Leaders are of several hues and come in an array of shapes and sizes, ideas and imaginations, attitudes and aptitudes, inspirations and innovations, aspirations and actions, competencies and conflicts, expectations and eccentricities……. They could be a servant leader, an authoritative leader, an influential leader, an inspiring leader, a born leader, a made leader or the reluctant leader. However a leader who can transform people subtly through his influence is the one to stay. He needs to have the “Butterfly Effect” to impact his people, organization and society. It is said ‘a butterfly could flap its wings and set molecules in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air – eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet’.
Who would think an ugly, creepy, slimy caterpillar would turn into a breathtakingly beautiful, brilliant butterfly with such immense potential as to challenge the forces of nature and turn its fury on ! If a delicate butterfly can why can’t we ? I think each one of us has a leader hidden in us. We need to unhide, unravel and unleash the “IL” (Influential Leader”) in us by deploying the “BE’”(Butterfly Effect) in our own spheres of life.