Archive for April, 2015


The art of managing people has been analysed in great detail by theorists in the past, and commendably so. McGregor was bang on target when he came up with the X and Y approach to managing people. Also, Robert R. Blake and Jane Mouton came up with their Management Grid concept, where the X-axis has ‘Concern for Production’ and the Y-axis has ‘Concern for People’. This proved to be a very useful tool to classify leadership styles.

With due respects to the brilliant work done by those mentioned earlier, one would like to make the concept of a Management Grid more contemporary by adding a new dimension, Z. This axis covers our ‘Concern for Ethics and Values’.

Based on the concept of this grid, leadership styles may well be categorized as follows:

1,1,1: Charmless Charlies
One can only wish their organizations the best of luck.

9,1,1: Road Rollers
They would achieve a target by ruthlessly crushing anything that comes in their way.

1,9,1: Sponge Comforters
As long as employees have an identity crisis, they are in high demand, ready with a bucket and a towel to listen to their woes and comfort them.

9,9,1: Arsonist Achievers
Under them, short-term goals would get achieved. Means be damned.

1,1,9: Missionary Zealots
Saint-like souls who have willy-nilly ventured into the business world.

9,1,9: Crazy Conformists
Those working under them could soon get referred to a lunatic asylum.

1,9,9: Armchair Revolutionists
They could be assets to political outfits owing an allegiance to some outdated doctrines.

5,5,5: Incompetent Chiefs
A middle-level successful manager on whom greatness has been thrust by a benevolent fate.

9,9,9: Super Leaders
A balanced Chief Executive Officer who leads his team successfully in the long run. To be spotted, head-hunted, and hired without further delay.

When it comes to corporate governance, most businesses are driven more by greed than by the norms of propriety. Compliance with statutory provisions and indulging in tax avoidance rather than blatant tax evasion are given a short shrift. As a repercussion, we end up having more controls and complex laws, thereby making non-compliance even more attractive.

The good news is that there are indeed enlightened businesses and right thinking managers who score high on the Z-axis as well. Such businesses have been around for more than a century and have done well for themselves; they have also given back to society in terms of advanced medical facilities, support to fine arts and sports, and several other Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. The Tata group of India is a shining example of the same.

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O Divine,
I often dream of you,
I wrap these dreams in a soft illumined air,
Which lies in between the violet and the red colours.

Help me to make a colourful highway,
Connecting the Earth and the Heavens above,
Help me to plant seeds of the Infinite,
On this finite lump of dancing mass we call the Earth.

Over time these seeds would grow into powerful creepers,
Gently opening the new life’s doors of bright white hue,
Giving us a peek into a magnificent palace,
Of an ornamental roof and gleaming floors.

These dreams of a new race I do believe in,
With Your grace, these would surely manifest on Earth,
Eventually, these would become the living truth,
Making humanity experience unalloyed joy and infinite bliss.

(Contributed by Usha)

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Like in so many other realms of knowledge, P G Wodehouse displays great expertise in being a meteorologist as well.

Here is yet another delightful post from the inimitable Honoria Plum. Enjoy!


1939 Uncle Fred in the SpringtimeIt is commonly understood that, far from representing a bygone age, P.G. Wodehouse created an  idealised England that never really existed. Personally, I remain determined to find fragments of Wodehouse in reallife, and last October I immigrated to England in search of Plumtopia.

I arrived in time for a glorious Autumn –  my favourite season. Surprisingly, Wodehouse sets only one novel in Autumn (that I can recall).

I reached out a hand from under the blankets, and rang the bell for Jeeves.
‘Good evening, Jeeves,’
‘Good morning, sir’
This surprised me.
‘Is it morning?’
‘Yes, sir.’
‘Are you sure? It seems very dark outside.’
‘There is a fog, sir. If you will recollect, we are now in Autumn – season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.’
‘Season of what?’
‘Mists, sir, and mellow fruitfulness.’

The Code of the Woosters (1938)

Autumn 2012 in Berskhire

After a stunning Autumn – mellow and…

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No one grudges producers of Bollywood or elsewhere laughing all their way to the bank. But when the social responsibility aspect yields to commercial pressures, it hurts. Given the reach and the influence of movies, one shudders at the blatant use of vulgarity and profanity in movies – particularly the ones which are churned out by some of our highly respected production houses.

Here is a thought-provoking post on the ‘loo’ mania in some of our Bollywood flicks.

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/can-we-have-some-decency-please)

My Views On Bollywood

By  Sharada Iyer

One fails to fathom the current obsession of Hindi films to include Loo scenes/Urinating scenes under some pretext or the other in most of their films.It is one thing to have newcomers or side-kicks doing such scenes to grab attention but it is shameful to watch our established stars and talented actors resorting to such inexcusable and atrocious gimmicks.   

In the last few years, there has been a steady increase in the number of movies purposely incorporating such scenes which not only seem totally unnecessary to the story of the film but are also unleashing blatant vulgarity on the unsuspecting audience…

PK, Shamitabh, Gunday, Besharam, Humshakals, Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani, etc., are some of the recent examples of films which had some of our top stars flagrantly being part of these nauseating scenes and had the audience squirming in the seat out of sheer disgust.

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LEADERSLet us say that you happen to be a very successful CEO. A spate of rewards, tons of recognition and loads of adulation has left you with an after-glow of inner contentment. Entrapped by the spoils of success, have you started taking life easy? Have you started believing that you are infallible?

It is perhaps a good time to introspect. Here are seven habits which highly successful CEOs never get addicted to. Let us check our present score and evaluate where we stand.

1. Being partial or dishonest

You would always find them transparent and fair in their dealings. Never would you find them cheating. They set high standards in conduct of business, based on values and principles they cherish and believe in.

2. Dwelling on the past

It is not that they have not made their share of mistakes in the past. But they have learnt from them and marched on towards the future. Never would you find them gloating about their past companies and victories. They live in the present, never allowing their past to define them.

3. Letting down their team members

They would never let down a team member. Praising in public and firing in private is one of their key personality traits. They identify, nurture and mentor talent. They take good care of their people, earning life-long loyalty. Those who have hung onto their coat tails would be willing to make important sacrifices for them.

4. Being conformists

They know what they want. They are willing to get off the beaten track and achieve what they have set their hearts and minds on. They know how to manage controversies. They have the requisite skills to bring even their worst critics on board.

5. Saying ‘Yes’ when they mean ‘No’

They tend to be good listeners. Whether they agree or disagree with you is entirely a different matter. They can argue out their case well. They have mastered the art of putting across a disagreement without breaking a relationship.

6. Being surrounded by sycophants

They encourage dissent. They believe that healthy disagreements form the bedrock of good decision-making. Listening to – or indulging in – gossip or lose talk is never one of their favorite activities. Attention to detail is one of their key characteristics.

7. Being late

Unless they have a very good reason to have got delayed, highly successful CEOs are downright punctual. And we are not talking of client meetings alone. We are also speaking of internal meetings, with their own team members. This trait keeps others in the company on their toes, invariably following the dictum of punctuality.

Are we guilty of having cultivated any of these habits? If so, can we make a conscious attempt at overcoming these?

Which are the habits you try not to form, so as to sustain your progress in life?

Would you like to add some more habits to the list above?!

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Bertie imageAs one of the foremost champions of true blue chivalry, Bertie Wooster might have never suspected that the f of the s could even be disliking it. It transpires that some of the delicately nurtured find it stifling. They resent it. They detest it.

Here is a juicy post which draws our attention to this aspect of chivalry. Members of the so-called sterner sex stand warned.

There Are So Many People in the World

These days denizens of India are smarting in the aftermath of the airing of the documentary ‘India’s Daughter’, and crimes against women in general. However, this post is not about rapes, molestations, domestic violence and other kinds of harsh slings and arrows of life the female of the species face. Instead, it is about the softer kind of harassment we, the f of the s, beget from some of the members of the so-called sterner sex. It is the harassment of chivalry – feigned or otherwise. I believe it is equally discriminatory in nature.

The softer variety of discrimination robs us ladies of the kind of equality we secretly yearn for. It is the persecution of the “parfait gentle knights”, who abound in our society. Fuelled with a misplaced sense of chivalry, they are determined to serve the fairer sex, come what may. In a milder form, it…

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Winds of hope and change appear to be sweeping the skyline of Pondicherry these days.Sydney_Opera_House

Here is my humble take on what the denizens of this quaint little territory can wish for by way of reinventing Pondicherry.


1. A Sydney-like Opera House could come up at the Old Distillery on the Beach Road. The terrace could be designed in such a way so as to serve as an open air theater. An exhibition hall and a food park could be planned.

2. A sound and light show devoted to the rich history of Pondicherry, starting from the Roman connection and endingAgasta with its independence from French rule. The narration could include the story of Sage Agastya, Ayi, Subramaniam Bharati and Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The show could be in three languages every day – Tamil, English and Hindi. Can be planned either at the Old Distillery or at the Botanical Garden.

3. Developing Arikamedu into a heritage walk park.

4. An Oceanarium could be set up. People could walk in and have a look at the rich diversity of undersea marine life.

4. A special tourism circuit showcasing the locations where ‘Life of Pi’ was shot.

5. An annual event of international importance, concerning theater, movies or literature could be planned. Can also capitalize on Ashram and host an international spirituality event where well-known personalities from diverse streams of spirituality could be invited.

6. Existing museums to be upgraded. Interactive museums to be set up, dedicated to our oceans and the Bay of Bengal.

7. A Planetarium would add immense value to the education of young and adults alike.


8. A six-lane highway bye-passing city areas, starting from near PIMS and ending near Kanniakoil.pondy movie Life_of_Pi_2012

9. Railway link to Chennai via Mahabalipuram.

10. Introduction of Shatabdi-like trains to and from Chennai, with a journey time of less than two hours.

11. A mini golf link near Auroville.

12. Battery operated vehicles in the White Town area.

13. Closure of shops jutting on to Ambour Salai.

14. Convex mirrors at corners of all street junctions in the White Town area.

15. Beautification of the twin canal roads.

16. Feasibility of (a) Metro connecting the General Hospital to far-flung reaches of the territory and (b) An elevated monorail within the boulevard area.

Smart City Project

17. A broadband roll out, backed by IT infrastructure which is designed to assist citizens from cradle to grave. Appsinternet image 2 for traffic conditions, crime reporting and for all other citizen services.

18. All public services to be available on-line, with system being managed by an organization like TCS, just like the Regional Passport Offices.

19. Introduction of re-chargeable Parking Fee cards which can be swiped by vehicles entering such areas as J N Street, M G Road and Mission Street.

20. A new Master Plan for Extended Pondicherry Region (EPR), comprising Villupuram, Tindivanam, Cuddalore and Marakkanam, along the lines of NCR around Delhi.

21. All schemes to include EPR, wherever feasible.

22. Implementation of a scientific garbage disposal plan for EPR.

Would you like to add a few more ideas to this list? Go ahead!

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/puducherry-2025-a-traveller%E2%80%99s-memoirs)

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Leaders break the rules with aplomb. Famous authors also do it all the time. They have the courage of conviction to think out-of-box in matters of themes they choose, the structure of the narrative they come up with, or the language as well as expressions they use. P G Wodehouse is no exception. Literary agents of today, upon receiving one of his manuscripts, might end up twiddling their delicate thumbs and deciding to junk it without any remorse, thereby depriving us of some delightful stuff.
Here is a highly illuminating post on this subject from the inimitable Honoria Plum.


“I am no stranger to butterfly belly. A man who has had to pass himself off as Gussie Fink-Nottle to four aunts in a chilly Hampshire dining room with only orange juice in the carburettor knows the meaning of fear.”

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells

Sebastian Faulks presumably knows the feeling pretty well too. As the author of Jeeves and the Wedding Bells, Faulks has risked the ire of Wodehouse fans (already disgrunted after the BBC Blandings fiasco) and potentially his own reputation as a writer. For one of the problems with imitating Wodehouse in the 21st Century is that his style runs somewhat contrary to prevailing ideas about ‘good writing’. For an idea of the depths to which modern writing has sunk, consider these Ten rules for writing fiction:

1933 Heavy Weather cropped1 “Never open a book with weather.”

If Wodehouse were starting out today, he could expect to…

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Mahabharat Krishna ArjunaHad Lord Krishna been around, this is how he might have advised a clueless and gloomy blogger Arjuna:


What you have already blogged, you have blogged well,

What you are blogging, you are doing fine, you can tell,

What you will blog, will also get blogged well,

Live in the present, your heart-felt ideas would eventually sell.


Never beseech someone for a ‘like’, a ‘reblog’ or for a ‘comment’,

Let your soul never be in torment,

For writing what you are passionate about alone you are meant,

Read more, get inspired, get cracking, never get bent.


At times, you may get upset for not having been ‘Freshly Pressed’,

Well, it is not the end of the world, do not feel unduly stressed,

Escaping a deluge of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ instead leaves you feeling blessed,

You are not in a short sprint but in a marathon, you have already guessed.


Be contented, know that pain follows pleasure,

Keep up the frequency, even though you blog at leisure,

Your faith and passion in what you blog is the only measure,

Let each post of yours be a fragrant flower which one can treasure.


Write from your heart, do not copy-and-paste,

Time spent savouring a temporary surge in viewership and ‘likes’ could be a waste,

Your sins could soon catch up with you, leaving you repenting in haste,

Well thought-out juicy comments alone dish up a success you can taste.


Do not worry for awards and rewards which make you raise a toast,

Be more anxious for the quality of what you post,

Write for posterity a message that would never be lost,

Receive criticism with equipoise, those alone shall teach you the most.


The effort you put in to blogging is alone your right,

The result may or may not come, even though you push with all your might,

Continue to blog in a detached manner, hold on to your path tight,

Simply enjoy the journey, be happy and scale the desired height.


Life will keep happening, ups and down will keep coming,

Resolve to remain steadfast, view them with an attitude which is welcoming,

Free from fear, free from anger, free from desire, keep blogging,

Like a tortoise, withdraw within yourself, ultimately winning.


Which idea really does belong to you?

In Blogosphere, you are apt to find somewhere a similar view,

You just propose your own perspective, fresh as a drop of dew,

The reality, as you see it yourself, presented anew.


Just like your indestructible soul,

The spirit with which you blog shall survive even a black hole,

Let the novelty of ideas put forth by you remain your goal,

Others may imitate and flatter you, but they make you play a worthy role.


Fire shall not kill your ideas, water shall not sully those ever,

Air shall not dry, ether in cyberspace shall support those forever,

Like a wave in the universe, these shall continue to travel, dying never,

These would never decay, built upon further by those who are equally clever.


Like your soul, your ideas are also unborn,

You and the universe you inhabit are neither divorced nor torn,

Like a well-tuned antenna you catch, your mind sounds a horn,

You manifest these, but believe you alone are the cause for their being born.


Grow attached to your blog posts and you may become addicted,

Disappointment and anger will follow, your mind getting confused and conceited,

Lessons learnt from your own experiences getting forfeited,

The power of discrimination lost, the very purpose of life defeated.


Smart bloggers bring a fresh perspective, all the time aiming for a perfect post,

Doubts they double-check, keeping the post simmering, achieving a delicious roast,

Text they spell-check, the inner glow of satisfaction they host,

Read thoroughly, hit the ‘publish’ button, and raise a self-toast.


Most of their posts are wedded to the welfare of others, rich values these sustain,

From undue ridicule, criticism and offensive content their posts normally abstain,

Howsoever controversial the topic, a high degree of self-control they retain,

Their outpourings are merely to amuse, educate and entertain.


Be humble, be harmless, have no pretension,

Be upright, tranquil, steadfast, blogging will never give you any tension,

Master your ego, relish the joy of expression and retention,

Be aware of the weakness in mortal nature, keep your senses in wilful detention.


This is the supreme knowledge, above all other,

Purified, made plain, easy its virtue for you to gather,

Its practice easy, you may resolve to follow it rather,

It is the blogging truth eternal, imbibe it, do not bother.

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Some residents of Plumsville may like to join me in recalling our pre-adolescence days. Our first ever encounter withVeryGoodJeeves Cupid’s arrows. The time when innocence slowly started giving way to half-baked romances of a transient nature. The neighborhood crush and the chance encounters. The classroom and the furtive glances. The one-sided affections. The attempts at showcasing gallantry and modesty. The unfulfilled desire to share tips on demystifying Romeo and Juliet. The relentless yearning for companionship. The possibility of a picnic where the presence of a certain person made our hearts go all of a twitter.

A more sinister restlessness crept in when we got infatuated with someone within the dark confines of a cinema hall. Posters of an upcoming movie featuring the adored person invariably got more attention than any text-book at hand. Sneaking off to a matinée, while giving a skip to the homework assigned, was also attempted at times. This, despite the grave risks involved – either getting ticked off at home for errant behavior, or getting some of the juiciest ones on the soft spots by the Miss Tomlinsons and the Rev. Aubrey Upjohns in our lives.

In ‘The Love that Purifies’ (Very Good, Jeeves), we come across boys of a tender age who happen to be infatuated with Hollywood divas. We have Thos, who is besotted with Greta Garbo. We have Bonzo, who is in awe of Lilian Gish. Then, we have Sebastian Moon, whose affections are focused on Clara Bow.

How these infatuations transform the behavior of young boys is the nub or crux of the story. We are reminded that even menaces to society in general assume a saintly disposition when under the influence of the charms of their transient heart throbs.

Thug Thos, Pest Bonzo and Candid Moon

Greta Garbo

Greta Garbo

Many of us would recall that Thos, son of Aunt Agatha, happens to be a juvenile thug. When a Cabinet Minister reports him for smoking, he ends up getting marooned on an island, that too, when it is raining, and with no company but that of a nasty-minded swan. But when Thos comes under the spell of a Hollywood diva, his benevolent self emerges. He thinks nothing of walking a couple of miles, just to fetch a newspaper for Bertie Wooster.

Bonzo, the son of Aunt Dahlia, has a sound reputation as a pest. But if Thos sets a gold standard in devilry, Bonzo is merely a good, ordinary mischief-maker. His proud mother compares the two as follows:

‘Whenever it comes to devilry, Bonzo is a good, ordinary selling-plater. Whereas Thomas is a classic yearling.’

When Bonzo is in love, his nature gets altered. He tries to lead a finer, better life. When tempted to climb on the roof and boo down Mr Anstruther’s chimney, he refuses to oblige. When prompted to burst a paper bag below the chair of a resting old man, he merely walks off in a huff.

Jeeves is not wrong when he avers that ‘Love is a very powerful restraining influence at the age of thirteen.’

Sebastian Moon has goggle eyes and golden curls. He has a breezy candidness about him. Few years junior to both Thos and Bonzo, he happens to have long nourished a deep regard for Miss Clara Bow.

The Good Conduct Competition and the Wager

Lilian Gish

Lilian Gish

Bertie lands at Aunt Dahlia’s place without Jeeves, who is off on his annual vacation to Bognor for shrimping. He meets Mr. Anstruther, a moth-eaten septuagenarian, who had been a close friend of Aunt Dahlia’s late father. He is an agreeable cove but often suffers from nervous breakdowns. Also visiting are Aunt Dahlia’s son, Bonzo, and Aunt Agatha’s son, Thomas.

Anstruther, in an effort to get peace and quiet, has instituted a Good Conduct competition between the boys. The winner will earn a prize of five pounds.

Aunt Dahlia tells Bertie that she has entered a wager that if Thomas wins the prize, Aunt Dahlia will exchange the services of her chef Anatole for those of Lady Snettisham’s kitchen maid. Aunt Dahlia tries to persuade Bertie to get his man Jeeves down to Brinkley Court to ensure that Thomas does not win the contest, but Bertie claims he has a plan to accomplish this result.

He tries to get Thomas to lose control by making snide remarks, which are promptly laughed off by Thos. Soon, things take a sinister turn when Thos is found walking around six miles at an early hour, merely to fetch the Sporting Times for Bertie. This unselfish act of kindness gets him a bonus of twenty marks.

Bertie loses no time in reporting the matter to Aunt Dahlia.

She was stunned. Aghast, you might call it.
‘Thomas did that?’
‘Thos in person.’
‘Walked six miles to get you a paper?’
‘Walked six miles and a bit.’
‘The young hound! Good heavens, Bertie, do you realize that he may go on doing these Acts of kindness daily – perhaps twice a day? Is there no way of stopping him?’
‘None that I can think of. No, Aunt Dahlia, I must confess it. I am baffled. There is only one thing to do. We must send for Jeeves.’

Golden Curls and Despondency

Jeeves, when called upon to offer a solution, suggests bringing in Master Sebastian Moon, the boy with golden curls.

Clara Bow

Clara Bow

Jeeves thinks that strongest natures are sometimes not proof against long golden curls. He goes on to elaborate as follows:

‘I do not think I am too sanguine, sir. You must remember that Master Moon, apart from his curls, has a personality which is not uniformly pleasing. He is apt to express himself with a breezy candour which I fancy Master Thomas might feel inclined to resent in one some years his junior.’

However, the plan to let Thos and Moon be alone somewhere and let Nature do the rest comes unstuck. Upon Moon getting a nail in his shoe, a saint-like Thos carries him on his back in hot sunshine all the way back home. After all, Thos’ idea is to spend the remainder of his life trying to make himself worthy of Greta Garbo.

Depression sets in. This is how Bertie confesses his skepticism towards taking things for granted.

You know, the older I get the more firmly do I become convinced that there is no such thing as a pip in existence. Again and again have I seen the apparently sure thing go phut, and now it is rarely indeed that I can be lured from my aloof skepticism.

Anatole’s cooking streak fails to lift the spirits of the members of the Wooster clan. Food melts in the mouth but eyes are invariably full of unshed tears. The prospect of losing Anatole is too much to bear.

The Thug succumbs to Jeeves’ cunning!

Then, on the very last afternoon of Mr Anstruther’s stay, Thos, who gets the top slot in Bertie’s Rogue’s Gallery of repulsive small boys, succumbs to Jeeves’ cunning.

It is a warm, drowsy and peaceful afternoon. The birds are hopping, the butterflies are fluttering, the bees are buzzing and the old Mr Anstruther is enjoying his afternoon siesta in the garden when all hell breaks loose.

While playing together in the stable-yard, Thos is stirred to his depths by some brutally disparaging remarks made by Master Sebastian in respect of Miss Garbo. Prompted by Jeeves, Sebastian apparently conveys his opinion that Greta Garbo is definitely inferior to Clara Bow – both in beauty and talent!

Predictably, an altercation follows. In the ensuing melee, the old man gets rudely woken up and somehow gets drenched in a bucketful of water. Moving adroitly for his age, he picks up a stick which is lying around and goes into action like a two-year old, chasing Thos round the house.

Marie Lloyd

Marie Lloyd

Thanks to Jeeves, Bonzo wins the Good Conduct Contest, Aunt Dahlia wins the bet and Anatole continues to churn out his lavish spreads at her place at Worcestershire.

Bertie remarks thus:

‘Jeeves, this Younger Generation is hot stuff.’
‘Yes, sir.’
‘Were you like that in your day?’
‘No, sir.’
‘Nor I, Jeeves. At the age of fourteen I once wrote to Marie Lloyd for her autograph, but apart from that my private life could bear the strictest investigation.’

Jeeves wins an extended holiday at Bognor, obviously giving a tough time to all the shrimps which attempt to pit their feeble cunning against him.

Cupid’s arrows happen to be democratic in nature. These do not discriminate based on religion, sex, ethnicity or age. One could be of an advanced age. One could have attained adulthood. One could even be of a very tender age.

These also have an uplifting effect on the soul. One aspires to lead an exemplary life. One wishes to rise in the esteem of the beloved. One aspires to be worthy of the adored person.

Unluckily, such infatuations happen to be transient in nature. Were these to last long, there would perhaps be no need to have reformatory systems in place for the kind of heinous crimes pre-adolescents appear to commit at times!

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