As I begin writing the last editorial for 2020, the radio is playing out a beautiful old movie song in Kannada “Nenne nennege, naale naalege, indu nammade, chinte yetake” (translated loosely “Yesterday is yesterday’s, Tomorrow is tomorrow’s, Today is ours, why worry”. Easier said than lived. Well, the Year 2020 definitely makes us want to forget not just yesterday but almost the whole year. What a paradox – 2020 was supposed to be the Year of the Decade, Milestone Year, Vison Year etc. It was all of this and more (or less !!??). Indeed an unforgettable year in our lifetime that sent the whole world back to ‘School’ with Mother Nature being the ‘Universal Teacher’ cutting across nations, genders, geographies, age, income levels, occupation, position, power and what have you ! Didn’t she teach us these ?
That learning need not happen only at a formal school ?
That a school need not mean a ‘place’ where you go to learn ?
That a school can come home to your ‘lap’ or into your ‘hand’?
That the entire world can be schooled simultaneously ?
That while the ‘Teacher’ can be patient and benign for years, she can become unpardoning & punishing too ?
That she can tether and ground us if we live lives of greed beyond our need ?
That we can work from anywhere anytime (well most jobs) ?
That we must respect work-home balance to retain our sanity ?
That technology can be both an enabler as well as an addictive destroyer ?
That simple things in life like breathing unmasked, meeting people, shaking hands, giving a hug, getting food to eat, moving freely are precious and can become a premium ?
That good health is the biggest asset ?
That everyday-people in our lives like a maid, nanny, caretaker, press-wallah, cook etc. are critical stakeholders in our lives ?
That many of us have family, money, food, shelter, clothing and health that the less fortunate do not ?
That a home-maker’s job is never-ending, least-appreciated, completely undervalued but most difficult ?
That people are not what they appear to be – remember how you pulled off a virtual meeting with a formal shirt and tie over boxer shorts or pyjamas ??
That there is compassion and humanity around – corona warriors, soldiers, donors of food, clothing, strangers that reached out, doctors that delivered a baby mid-air ?
That marriages are made in heaven but can be performed virtually ?
That humankind is resilient, innovative and adaptive – schools and colleges continued, exams conducted, job interviews held, new joinees onboarded, new businesses launched, old ones shut down, funds raised and lost, stocks listed, board meetings held ….all virtually?
That even amidst a pandemic celebrations can continue, weddings need not be lavish, entertainment and outings can go virtual, new lives can be added even as existing ones are taken away ?
Hasn’t She played the Master Stroke of her life ? I am sure each of you can add to this list from your experience but ultimately what the School of 2020 has taught us all is this –
Life is a ‘Balance Sheet’ that balances in its own way (we may not be aware of the standards it applies) !
Life is a ‘Going Concern’ come what may !
Life is a ‘Continuum’ to be journeyed !
Life is to be enjoyed with restraint & responsibility, else ‘Mother Nature’ has her own checks and balances to punish ‘trespassers’ !
Heavy-duty lessons learnt the hard way. It is time to move on and wish everyone a Safe, Healthy & Happy New Year 2021 – the first year of a new decade as we Forget Yesterday, Look Forward to Tomorrow and Live for Today !!
On the release of our 250th issue of Samhita, I got the best response ever. That too from a leading Company Law expert and Special Editor of the magnum opus “Guide to the Companies Act” (A. Ramaiya-19th edition). He simply wrote “Refreshing read. Best wishes”. While I felt happy to receive this from such a senior member of our profession, I was on cloud nine when he almost instantaneously wrote back “I shall contribute an article for your next edition”. Incredible ! What more could I ask for as a validation for all my efforts. An erudite scholar like Mr. Ramaswami Kalidas (an author of several professional books and authority in law) offering to write for my humble publication ! Friends, with immense humility I accept Kalidas’s scholarly article and carry it with joy and pride in this last issue of Samhita for the year 2020.
“Listen to the inner voice that allows you to be you.” said Elvis Stojko. 250 fortnights ago, that is what I did – write my first editorial thoughts for this e-newsletter (earlier named Lexspeak). Now it has become a habit to write every fortnight wherever I am and whatever I am busy with – work, family wedding, vacation, my own illness, some other event, a family tragedy, other professional responsibilities et al. I am being me. Just listening to my inner voice. Can you find the inner voice talking to you ? Do you listen to it ? Are you able to declutter, cut through the din to listen ? Many a times it is so feeble that it may die as a whimper. Why allow that to happen when it is your life and you have only one opportunity to LIVE IT fully ?
Apart from writing, my inner voice has been prompting me to go, find a platform to moderate events. Events different from the ones I normally speak at or moderate – company secretaries, students, startups, business forums, corporates, cancer awareness etc. However, last week when I got a call from my good friend and author Tony Francis asking me to moderate a literary talk with 3 different authors at a Book Club, I hesitated. Should I say yes or should I say no ? Am I competent to handle this ? I have never been in such unfamiliar setting with a new audience – all extremely well-read senior citizens who were eager to attend a live session after 9 months of pandemic. Will I be able to match their expectations ? The usual devil of doubts started dancing in my head. But somewhere, deep within was my inner voice telling me to go for it. Take a chance. Try. Try to give my best. Go beyond my comfort zone. On the other hand was my ‘practical voice’ reminding me of the umpteen number of work-related activities at hand, the utter lack of time due to many commitments. The usual internal tussle in my mind played out but Tony’s persistent voice saying “Yes, you can do it” and my inner voice adding “Hey, what are you waiting for ? Carpe Diem, seize the opportunity !” were overpowering enough to drown the devil saying No. I said Yes and plunged into the preparation for the event with just 3 days notice. I am glad I heard to the inner voice and took on the challenge. To begin with, I set the theme and redrew the event agenda. I made sure the 3 authors representing 3 different genres of writing – Abhijit Bhaduri (#Dreamers & Unicorns – How Leadreship, Talent & Culture are the new growth drivers), Maitreyee Chowdhury (#The Hungryalists – the poets who sparked a revolution) & Tony Francis (#The Autograph Seeker) got ample time to speak about their books, their writing experiences, their thoughts & lives through a lively conversation. I managed to also accommodate an enthusiastic club member who was insistent on asking a few questions to the authors despite the tight time schedule. The event evoked good response from the audience with one 85 year old member sharing her insights from the life of her late husband who was a war veteran and her son talking about his book on the 150 years history of his school. During the audience Q and A and post the event, I saw how connected everyone felt – to the authors, to each other, to the joy of writing and reading books. I thanked my ‘inner voice’ when quite a few walked up to me and said “You made the session lively and interactive. Liked the natural flow of thoughts and words”. The authors were happy that it went well and so was I. Best part was the physical event (yes there was mask and social distancing in seating) which had its own charm and allowed a lot of ‘small talk’ amongst the members and authors. I realised how much we miss all of this in a virtual world. The Big Joy we experience, the Deep connects we make, the Invaluable insights we draw from such Small Talks in a real world are incredibly invaluable. Hope 2021 allows us to reclaim such a life back !
Whether it is a literary event or publishing 250 issues of Samhita since 2009 – nothing can ever be achieved alone. I would like to thank CA Naveen Bhat (for promptly confirming the Statutory Calendar month after month), CA Krishnamurthy (for religiously sharing the tax summary since the advent of GST) and the English Teacher Balaji Ramaswamy (for his series “Let’s Excel in English”). Last but not the least is our own team member Poornima Jayarao who brings a professional project approach to the fortnightly publication ensuring coordination with several internal and external stakeholders – reminding, chasing, checking, verifying, rectifying and confirming until the final version is ready to be published. Her job for the next issue begins the day an issue is released. Big thanks to you dear readers for being with me through the journey – I never felt I was alone. I have had my ‘small talk’ with all of you through Samhita, which incidentally reflects my ‘inner voice’ many a times.