We for Earth…We for future!!

April, 2020

Dear Friends

3rd issue post Lockdown, I intend to carry the positive outcomes of this New Normal because there is just too much negativity around it. While I am not turning away from the reality, it is time to notice the goodness in people too that is healing all of us. Just as the Earth is healing herself thanks to our forced ‘self-imprisonment’. After several decades, Earth Day has not been limited to only 22nd April – it has spanned the last several weeks when our Mother Earth and her other children have enjoyed freedom from our ‘oppressive ways’. Childish and silly it may seem but I imagine how good Mr.Road must be feeling too? ….no one to stamp on him, walk on him, rough-ride on his chest, bruise and wound him multiple times by multiple teams, dig and carve him out, create craters of death, barricade him mindlessly, give him a shabby and hurried tar-face lift, throw garbage on his painted face irresponsibly, spit and pee on him shamelessly, stress him out for hours with long traffic jams, abandon his parts with half-completed construction rubble…..imagination can run wild……OMG, how peaceful and rested the poor Mr. Road must be feeling now ! With cities never sleeping, vehicular traffic and noise was so high that my heart would always go out to the helpless Mr. Road which was silently bearing all the atrocities along with the plants, trees, birds, insects and animals. True or not, I visualise the much-needed healing all around us, alongside ill-health, death, migration, shutdown, lockin, social distancing, loss of jobs, assets, people etc…..birth of a New Way of Life amidst the Dance of Death !

Watching Ramayana and Mahabharata, I may have got carried away a bit philosophically but surely not distracted from my opening statement about the goodness of people. A few weeks back, when the first of my customers asked me to consider a fee cut, I was taken aback and disturbed about why he should be asking a sacrifice from a small player like me. But then it set me thinking. Why don’t I do this voluntarily when I know the liquidity crunch in the market. And this is what I did – offered reduced fee to the really deserving customers for a few months and existing fee to the rest without the annual increment. It worked. Each one of them appreciated my ‘squirrel seva’ and agreed to continue with our firm. I got appreciative emails about my team’s work as well.

Surprisingly some of the customers were gracious enough to refuse the reduced fee and continue with the full amount itself. One overseas customer assured that without waiting for the due date, he would release the amount ……reciprocating my gesture of support since it would help ease the overall liquidity in the ecosystem. What a beautiful thought ! For the first time I noticed all business emails beginning with a “Hope all of you are fine” and ending with a caring “Stay Safe. Stay Home. Take Care” message. The world is passing through turmoil, going through a churn and the common goal is to emerge stronger, resilient and caring. Unless we deal with issues and people with compassion and empathy, the shared vision will not be achieved.

The seed for my action was sown long back, when I received a surprising email from the Founder of a hugely successful and reputed food company whom we service. A ‘rags to riches’, self-made, entrepreneur and sought-after speaker, he had emailed asking if we needed any financial assistance during these trying times. The self-assured tone of his email that extended a hand of support to his ‘valued partners and family members’ (no, he didn’t say vendors), despite his scaled down production and services touched and inspired me. Only a matured leader who has seen the worst side of life can bring himself to offer support and emphasise the need to stay connected during these unprecedented times. While I didn’t need to take his offer thankfully, I did feel connected and grateful to be part of his value chain. Friends, I know all business transactions cannot be viewed like this through the lens of humanity, but unusual problems require unusual solutions. Wherever possible, can we adopt the philosophy of “I for You. You for Me”. This will undoubtedly result in “We for Earth. We for Future”.

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