Sunday, September 20, 2009

Forgetting is a heinous crime

Don't you know about 9/11?

Of course you do. If you are technologically savvy to read my blog, you have heard about 9/11.

Given that I am an Indian, chances are that, you might be from India.

Do you remember the day of the Mumbai blasts? Which one, you ask me? Good question. What about any of them? And I am assuming that none of your near or dear ones got directly affected by it.


I don't either.

It is funny, isn't it? Almost 3000 people died in 9/11, in a country where most of us will not eventually end up living. Still, We all remember that. How many Indians died in terrorist attacks in India? Let us take the Kashmir insurgency also into account, if you will.

I have no idea. Neither does Google.I however, found this little gem in wikipedia.

Fifteen attacks in the last nine years. Which averages to a minimum of one attack every year. Has the frequency of the attacks numbed us? Is that why we do not care?

Is that why I do not care?

You can always point out that the US Government retaliated with brute force, striking out at someone. We did not. But that is no reason for us to forget our dead.

And I plead guilty of the gravest crime - forgetting the shock, forgetting the dead and the living, those who had the misfortune to be in the right places, at the wrong time.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

A step at a time...

Walking is the best way to discover Helsinki.

When you walk, you look around you, and see that behind the bush you pass in a tram is a small urban garden that you have never seen. You see the dogs with the soulful eyes inside cars and outside supermarkets waiting for their owners. You even get to pet them, if their owner happens to come by.

You look up, and you see the architecture of Helsinki. Many have complained about the Helsinki buildings looking too sterile, but they have not seen the peacocks, spiders, mermaids and imps that adorn the apartment buildings. They have definitely not seen the micro gardens that hang on their hooks from the balconies, small rebellions against a space limitation which prevents one from having a garden.

You look sideways when crossing the road, and you see a beautiful sunset on one side and magnificent clouds on the other. You look back and straight ahead and see the sea and the ghosts of hills who fell to the power of machinery.

You feel eyes on you, and you look up to meet the big green eyes of a cat staring at you from a window. You look down and a see a blond, blue eyed little face with surprise written all over it, who just realized that humans come in dusky and black too. You stare back in both cases, share a moment, and walk on.

You get waylaid by dogs who feel entitled for affection. You talk in sign language with the driver of the car when there are no signals to cross and you both need to continue your journeys. You catch men people looking at you, and like it, love it, and sometimes feel creeped out by it.

You press your nose to the front windows of the shops which stay closed, and marvel at the beauty, the uniqueness and sometimes the ugliness of things for sale.

And you realize that, the best thing about walking to your destination is the freedom to stop and enjoy the possibilities of the journey, be it walking alone or with a friend.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Once upon a time in a company...

The more virtual means and ways we have to communicate with each other, the more I love story telling.

Stories are powerful. They are emotional. Great stories inspire and spur you to action. Logic helps you to convince your brain, but if your heart is not in it, you are not going to follow through with your decisions or realizations.

Civilizations nurtured stories that talked about their beliefs and ways of living. Religions use stories as examples of what can and may happen. The movies are popular across the world not just because of the stories they create on screen, but the stories that they build around their key players off-screen too. Games, which are stories which we act out or influence, are also another lucrative business.

So tell stories in your organization. Share and tell stories - inspiring stories of how people risked and succeeded. How people took a stand and it worked for the company in the long run. Of how people looked beyond silos to come together. Of how even the CEO is human. Share the passion. Share the humor. Share the love. Share the doubts, the insecurities, the fears - and go ahead and work in spite of them, anyway.

And share them in the form of stories. Stories about the heroes, heroines, adventurers, healers and comedians who work in the cubicle next to you. You would have just inspired someone.