Archive for June, 2016

VACATIONSAh….the unbearable pangs of separation from Blogsville!


Dear Fellow Bloggers, Followers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The high and low tides of life are finally about to take their toll,

For some time I am likely to be off the Blogsville radar, sorely missing you all.

Continue with your voracious readings, have fun, enjoy your time,

Yours truly would soon be back on board with prose and verse that rhyme.

I shall be sorely missing the inner joy of writing and its associated pleasure,

Rewards of your valuable feedback I shall relish on return at my leisure.

AWOL I do not aspire to be, hence this request,

Do please grant me a short leave of absence in right earnest!

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LEADERSThere is something unique about managers from India. Apparently, they have a Western mind and an Eastern heart. In other words, a unique combination of analytical prowess and intuitive faculties.

Here is a thought-provoking guest post from Mr K V Rao, Resident Director – ASEAN, Tata Sons Ltd , Singapore.

“I was born and raised in India in small towns, and started reflecting how is it that so many of my compatriots make it to global leadership positions ?

Many of our ilk have left the shores, for distant foreign lands. Have studied and imbued the best of cultures, but retained some of some of that inner rusticity, and native eclectic personalities. They have made it to the top jobs of Google, Microsoft, Mastercard, or a Pepsi, and the list is endless and still more to surface. All have been exceptional fighters, who seem to compete fiercely but fairly, often guided by their simple inner compass. All have had their roots in Middle Class India. What is the magic that’s at work ?

Typically, in a middle class family, that typifies some common basics – a high dose of personal values with low resources, what in a South Indian phrase is termed as “high thinking and simple living” hard work, education, discipline are the key mantras drilled into young minds, to help them break through the glass ceiling. Exceptionally strong personal family bonds, and a natural willingness to put oneself down for the other, compassion and care seem to naturally flower

What are those simple things that make them such effective leaders. Here are some reflections:

  1. There was never enough ….’   If one grew up in my generation in middle class India, life was always on the edge. Just about balancing ends with limited means. That meant, living happily and contented with what you have, than to aspire for what you don’t. Realism, practicality. But, also have the uncanny ability to stretch the buck – unbelievable value engineers, we are naturally. No wonder, hard to beat an Indian at cost cutting. !. Defining needs vs wants was deeply embedded in the frontal lobe of the mind, filtering away desires 🙂
  2. “We always ate together….” . Families would wait for each other to eat together. (Also the fact that there were hardly fridges then, and you ate hot and fresh !). There was sharing and caring. The bonds built were deep that lasted a life time, and giving and serving each other, imprinted that quality of care for a lifetime for another member of the family.
  3. “We celebrated together, we mourned together …” Families, lived as communities, extended with relatives, friends and neighbours. Much to the chagrin of modern nuclear families, there was little private and personal space  ! … All celebrations were shared, and so were the strains of illness or misfortune. Jumping in to help, give someone a shoulder was so very natural. That was the normal thing to do, not an act of valor or sacrifice. Your loss was mine, your success too was mine. Empathy a natural flow.
  4. Maths and English, are important…. “. Our fathers simply emphasized on 2 subjects, Maths and English, particularly in South India, as if they were meant to train the left and right brains, and eventually spur some whole brain activity. In hindsight, they seem to make sense. English opened the doors to global opportunities, the computational abilities pushed forward analytical thinking.
  5. “ We laughed a lot, joked, and pulled each others leg…Families, neighbors, and community living provided the best of entertainment, and a source of immense comedy. Radio and cinema were the only companions, and Black & White TV just came in with one or two long running serials. Sense of humour was valued, and we learnt to laugh, when nothing else could be done. Being sportive and getting the rough edge, is so normal, no big deal. It built great resilience and forbearance, for there were many things we could not change but had to live with.
  6. We prayed together….. . There was always a routine of prayer, whether you liked it or not. Before you start the day, go to college, go to exam, go to an interview. All of which, reinforced the positive belief, that no matter what, there is something more powerful and higher that resides above you, and cares for you should you make the effort to reach out. It ingrained the simple truth of focusing on the effort and leaving the ultimate result to the forces that be. It also made one more prepared to take risks, and face failure – a trait that today people struggle with, to fail, and yet to rise and be innovative.
  7. “ There is always a fix ….”  Last but not the least, there was never a “no” to be taken. There is always a fix, a ‘Jugaad’ if you may, or a work around. Hard to accept and give up. Persistence, thinking upside down, creativity or sheer street-smart tactical reflexes. Or the ability to bow, and accept failure honestly and humbly. It’s a potent combination of inner strength and outer smartness, to craft a strategy that works in the face of adversity.
  8.  “ You are not the smartest .. “. When you grew up, you always had someone much smarter than you, much better than you. You often wonder you were blessed or damn lucky to be where you are. There is a common streak of simplicity and most importantly humility. Go back to point 6, above – there was also someone “above” there who wished you well. Humility reinforced. !

It is not the top management schools that honed the skills alone, but the middle class homes of India that gave many of our generation, that inner compass and embedded CPU that makes one see life with a set of different lenses.

Leadership today, hinges on the ability to inspire, share, care, lead with empathy. Inflect clarity, sharpness, and fight the forces of competition with courage and tenacious persistence, never to give up. The ability to remain cheerful, spread laughter and joy around the work place. The training school of which is located in middle class Indian homes, that have often produced top class international business leaders.”


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On the occasion of the upcoming International Yoga Day, managers of all sizes and shapes are all of a twitter, shuddering at the prospect of being called upon to celebrate the day by performing some complicated asanas, that too at the crack of dawn, on a day which, unfortunately, happens to be a Sunday.

It is not that people who pride themselves to be managers are any less patriotic. Nor are they any less health conscious. Those who believe that managers are forever thinking only of evading taxes while leading a sedentary life full of fun and frolic at star rated joints could not be more wrong.

The reason managers need not earmark a particular day for practicing yoga is rather simple. This hapless overworked breed is already devoting much of its time and energy to following yogic pursuits. This alone helps them to retain their sanity while riding…

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Mehboob_Ki_MehndiBollywood often showcases Muslim culture with much elan. Here is an analysis of this genre and a look at some of the movies which fall in the category of ‘Muslim Socials’.


Including some recommendations, and some warnings.

This post was sparked off by a comment, by blog reader and fellow blogger Ava, on my review of the Sunil Dutt-Meena Kumari starrer, Ghazal. Like me, Ava ‘adores’ Muslim socials, and in her comment, suggested that I make a list of ten of my favourite Muslim socials. A great suggestion, I thought. And then thought some more. Were there ten Muslim socials I loved to bits? Were there some which were fabulous when it came to certain aspects, and horrendous on other counts? Were there some, perhaps, that I wouldn’t watch again (except possibly at gunpoint)?

All that thinking, I decided, had to be shared. Also in the hope that it might elicit some responses from those reading this blog post—please do comment, share your thoughts, and feel free to disagree. With the tameez and tehzeeb one would expect in a Muslim…

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seagullHere are some gems of wisdom which can help you soar in your career:

  1. The more you analyse, the higher the state of inaction attained. Use intuition more often.
  2. Be unreasonable and deliver extraordinary business results.
  3. Always meet the boss halfway through.
  4. Call back yourself and be in for a surprise.
  5. Cultivate the art of Creative Dissatisfaction.
  6. Delegation without benchmarking and monitoring of targets amounts to abdication.
  7. Ethics and Values are important. Be smart. Steer your business using not only a Business Compass but also a Moral Compass.
  8. It always pays to have a credit balance in your interpersonal relationships.
  9. The only fire in the belly to be avoided is the one generated by ulcers and cysts.
  10. ‘Yes-men’ could be harmful to your career progression in the long run.
  11. Keep your learning batteries always charged up.
  12. Kiss frequently. The term ‘Kiss’ here stands for ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’!
  13. Encourage dissenters to speak up; be a smart leader.
  14. While taking decisions, use your heart as well as your mind.
  15. Every five years, retire yourself. This would ensure you never get chucked out of a job.
  16. CEOs who succeed in the future would be the ones having a Western mind and an Eastern heart.
  17. Packages have a short shelf-life. Keep reinventing them.
  18. People are not spares of a machine, to be replaced once their utility is exhausted. Groom them for higher responsibilities, or out-place them.
  19. Always praise in public but reprimand in private.
  20. Keep your Propensity to Procrastinate under check.
  21. Being a ‘yes-man’ is a risky proposition. The higher you are in the pecking order, the higher the responsibility you carry on your shoulders – that of registering dissent.
  22. Keep your hormones under check. Love blossoming within the confines of office space can also turn into litigation and expensive lawsuits.
  23. A good way to kill an otherwise brilliant idea is to first convey it over mail.
  24. Pressure is an external stimulus. Stress is what we experience.
  25. Stress is inversely proportional to your inner resilience, which can be built up by forgiveness, a dash of humour, and meditation.
  26. Create a culture of observing, judging, and unleashing talent.
  27. Cultivate your underground cable connections. Things get done better when the informal organization gets going.
  28. Plan your vacations well. The absence of a good manager is never felt.
  29. It pays to build up and protect your own brand value.
  30. Strike the right balance between the following three: Concern for Production (read Results), Concern for People and Concern for Ethics.

(Picture courtesy Pixabay)

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In a world that is inhabited by Bertie Wooster, Jeeves, Aunt Agatha, Bingo Little, 23-odd cats and many other sterling characters, can laughter ever fade away?!

Allow me the pleasure of sharing yet another juicy piece from the stable of Plumtopia.


The Inimitable Jeeves 1st edition (1923) image courtesy of wikipedia The Inimitable Jeeves 1st edition (1923) image courtesy of wikipedia

I’m not much of a ladies’ man, but on this particular morning it seemed to me that what I really wanted was some charming girl to buzz up and ask me to save her from assassins or something. So that it was a bit of an anti-climax when I merely ran into young Bingo Little, looking perfectly foul in a crimson satin tie decorated with horseshoes.

The Inimitable Jeeves was one of the first Wodehouse books I ever read, and one I often  recommend  to new readers. It has been included in several serious lists of ‘classic books you must read’, but don’t let that put you off – it’s terrific! The Inimitable Jeeves is a great introduction to Wodehouse’s best known characters, Bertie Wooster and his valet (or gentleman’s gentleman) Jeeves. Although it’s not the first Jeeves story –…

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With the advent of spring, the fancy of our young ones would lightly turn to thoughts of love. Mother Nature would wholly approve. In the upper reaches, snow would have just started melting. Plants and shrubs would have started springing back to life. Green shoots would have started becoming visible. Flowers would be in full bloom. Birds and bees would be going about their daily chores. Sun would be shining through, albeit a little gently. A pleasant breeze laced with the sweet fragrance of flowers would be caressing our physical frames. Streams would be flowing with their gentle murmur. God may or not be in Heaven but a clear sky would be providing a perfect backdrop for the couples who happen to be in love.

In Ritusamhara, Kalidasa mentions that during this season, women are more enchanting. Sandal paste and other substances are often used to contain the spring fever. The earth shines like a well decked bride in a red bridal costume. Those who happen to be lonely suffer the most in this pitiless season, as they happen to be missing the company of their beloved.

Bollywood celebrates the spring season with much ado and fervour. Dashing heroes, on their way to a new destination, would be soaking in the grandeur of nature. Sprightly heroines would be becoming aware of their own flawless beauty, often comparing it to different elements of nature. 

Madhumati (1958, Bimal Roy)

Shagird (1967, Samir Ganguly) 

Elsewhere, lissome heroines would be getting wooed by ardent heroes who would be praising their charms no end. Lovers would be teasing each other, running around trees and shrubs. Couples would be busy romancing in lush green valleys and gardens.

Suraj (1966, T Prakash Rao)

Buddha Mil Gaya (1971, Hrishikesh Mukherjee)

Aap Aaye Bahaar Aayee (1971, Mohan Kumar)

Here are some couplets from the Sixth Canto of Ritusamhara, and some Bollywood songs which these remind us of.

“Oh, dear, vernal trees are full with flowers, waters filled with lotuses, breezes loaded with their fragrances blowing agreeably, thereby both the eventides and daytimes are pleasant with those fragrant breezes, whereby the women are with concupiscence, and thus everything is highly pleasing now. [6-2]

Mamta (1966, Asit Sen)

Aradhana  (1969 Shakti Samanta)

Abhinetri (1970, Subodh Mukherjee)

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998, Karan Johar)

“The impassioned male koel, black singing bird, gladdened on savouring the invigorative essence of just grown mango flowers is now kissing his love passionately; so also this honeybee, abiding in lotuses savouring their nectar, is passionately mating with his love to her complaisance, sequestered in the petals of lotuses. [6-14]

Jewel Thief (1967, Vijay Anand)

Ghar (1978, Manik Chatterjee)

Chashme Baddoor (1981, Sai Paranjpye)

Chandni (1989, Yash Chopra)

“Passion is surging out in male kokila -s, singing birds, as they obtained jollity in this springtime on chewing mango flowers, thus they are singing inexplicably; honeybees, when drunk with the flowery nectar of those flowers, they are also droning hums murmuringly as their drinking song; with these hums and drones the hearts of new brides are flustered in a trice, even if they are in the service of their in-laws, where certain docility and prudishness are in demand.  [6-21]

Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955, V Shantaram)

Guide (1965, Vijay Anand)

Chupke Chupke (1975, Hrishikesh Mukherjee)

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…! (1994, Sooraj Barjatya)

“These days the pleasure gardens are brightened up with whitely jasmines similar to the toothy grins of sprightly brides, and hence they are heart-stealing even for saints or sages that have neutralised their materialistic indulgences long back; as such, these gardens must have stolen the hearts of youths that are already tainted with seasonal sensualities. [6-23]

Teesri Manzil (1966, Vijay Anand)

Bobby (1973, Raj Kapoor)

Mausam (1975, Gulzar)

Chitchor (1976, Basu Chatterjee)


“On seeing a flowered mango tree, the frame of mind of any itinerant is overly woebegone, for he is dissociated with his ladylove; thus he shuts his eyes unable to behold that ladylike mango tree with her hairdo overlaid with flowers; obstructs his nose, for the fragrance of this ladylike mango tree is akin to that of his ladylove; thus he goes into a state of woefulness, and even he bewails and shrieks loudly… thus pitiless is this season, vasanta , spring, for singletons. [6-26]

Saranga (1961, Dhirubhai Desai)

Mere Mehboob (1963, H S Rawail)

Mehbooba (1976, Shakti Samanta)

Filhaal (2002, Meghna Gulzar)


“Delightful is this flowery month with the racketing of lusty honeybees and kokila-s around; with flowered mango trees that fruit sweet mangos; with karniakra flowers; each of which is becoming as though an acute of arrow of Love god, that ecstasies and even cleaves the hearts of self-respectful women, who cannot explicitly explain their pangs for love, nor can suffer them, implicitly… [6-27]

Akhri Khat (1966, Chetan Anand)

Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam (1962, Abrar Alvi)

Anand (1971, Hrishikesh Mukherjee)

Khushboo (1975, Gulzar)


Just before the spring season ends, Holi, the delightful festival of colours, comes about and heralds the onset of summer. Kalidasa does not speak of this, but Bollywood loses no opportunity of showcasing this festival. Here are some of the ways in which it depicts the playful splash of colours.

Mother India (1957, Mehboob Khan)

Silsila (1981, Yash Chopra)

Darr (1993, Yash Chopra)

Baghban (2003, Ravi Chopra)


There is no doubt as to the evocative manner in which the poet has captured the affairs of the heart across all seasons. The manner in which he has captured the beauty of nature in all of his works, let alone in Ritusamhara, is exemplary.

Our dream merchants also follow the romantic affairs of love birds with equal alacrity. However, over the past few decades, the importance attached to nature has declined. Just as the social mores have changed, our lyricists have tried to keep pace with the commercial demands placed on them. The role of poetry has regrettably declined, leading to soulless and inane songs which have limited shelf life.

Hopefully, this is part of a cyclical phenomenon, just like all our seasons happen to be. A renaissance of sorts and a meaningful evolution is what one looks forward to.

Post Script: 

Throughout this series of posts on Kalidasa, movie buffs could be excused for lamenting the overbearing presence of old songs and a relative absence of recent songs. This has possibly come about because of the manner in which the presentation techniques of our directors and cinematographers have evolved over the years.

In the older songs, the camera used to be relatively stable and the whole song presented against the backdrop of a single season. At the most, the dresses worn by the main protagonists would keep changing from one scene/stanza to the next.

In recent times, with crisper editing and a far more dynamic camera, the hero and the heroine often get captured in different seasons and at different locations in a single song, thereby making the task of identifying a song with a single season rather challenging.

[Note: Translation of ‘Ritusamhara’ courtesy Mr. Desiraju Hanumanta Rao: http://www.sanskritdocuments.org/sites/giirvaani/giirvaani/rs/rs_6.htm]


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After the 2008 economic meltdown, the management world has discovered that CEOs need to follow not only a Business Compass but also a Moral Compass to steer the enterprises they happen to head. Improving one’s Spiritual Quotient is now a sheer business necessity, and shall be more so in the decades to come.

It is here that Indian scriptures and sages provide a ready template for managers of all sizes and shapes. Let us consider a few facets of some of the pearls of Indian wisdom which find ready application in the realm of management.

Some pearls of Indian wisdom 


  • The entire narrative highlights the importance of values in our lives.Ramayana 1 Businesses which follow a policy of righteousness and conduct their operations in an ethical manner enjoy tremendous brand equity in the market. This rubs off on their products as well as on their employees.
  • Lord Rama decides to leave his comfort zone for fourteen years and ends up connecting with lesser mortals better. Likewise, CEOs and marketing honchos of today who travel through the hinterland to get a better first-hand feel of the customer’s pulse do a far better job of servicing the market.
  • An alliance with Sugreeva, coupled with an out-of-the-box unconventional army, eventually leads to Sita getting traced and Ravana getting vanquished. Mergers and alliances based on mutual respect and trust leads to better market share. Mighty objectives can be achieved even based on frugal resources.
  • Beware of sycophants. A couplet in Sundara Kanda of Ramcharitmanasa clearly advises us to ignore the advice of a paid deputy, a doctor and a teacher who speak positively out of either fear or expectation of a gain. A king who acts upon such motivated advice loses his kingdom, his body and his righteousness (dharma) as well.
  • When Sita gets banished from the kingdom, Rama’s role is not much different from that of a true-blue CEO whose loyalty to the company’s overall welfare is unflinching.
  • CEOs and managers who entertain amorous intentions in respect of women team members and managements which look the other way just because they accord a higher priority to business goals than to the character of their top honchos could take a leaf out of Rama’s conduct.


  • The attachment of Dhritarashtra, the blind king, to his evil son, Mahabharat Draupadi_and_PandavasDuryodhana, proves to be highly destructive in nature. The entire Kuru clan gets eliminated. CEOs who promote their kith and kin without assessing the overall welfare of an organization get doomed likewise. Same holds true for many a political outfit.
  • Arjuna’s skills in archery are well-known. He achieves mighty feats based on his power of intense concentration on the job at hand. Multi-tasking, a misleading buzzword in current business parlance, has no place in his dictionary.
  • The perseverance of Pandavas eventually pays off. Repeated setbacks do not deter them from seeking their share in the kingdom. War follows only when even a settlement with five villages only gets turned down by Duryodhana. The tenacity of bouncing back in the face of adversity that Pandavas display is worth emulating by MNCs which try to penetrate the Indian market.
  • The unity of purpose amongst the five Pandava brothers is exemplary. Theirs is a unified and invincible family which goes through its trials and tribulations as a single unit. Likewise, large conglomerates like Tatas draw their strength from a set of core values. Each company within the group’s fold has a unique place in the market. The companies operate in fields as disparate as salt and software. Yet, all of them are connected by a common value system and a similar business philosophy.
  • The manner in which Krishna persuades a demoralized Arjuna to take up his arms by enunciating the basic principles of life in the Bhagavad-Gita is exemplary.


  • One of the basic concepts enunciated by Krishna in the Bhagavad-Krishna_Arjuna_GitaGita is that of the everlasting nature of the soul. The concept of a soul now finds a resonance even in modern management literature. In ‘The 8th Habit’, Stephen Covey urges professionals to pay heed to their ‘inner voice’. While proposing the whole person paradigm, he speaks of the four dimensions of a person – spirit, body, heart and mind.
  • Over its eighteen chapters, Krishna propounds the intricacies of different forms of Yoga, a philosophical system which treats all life as a management enterprise. It exhorts managers to be impartial, not favouring any one goal, any one mode any one or group of persons.
  • A manager’s goal is the total overall good, in keeping with environmental necessities and societal requirements.
  • He is not swayed by happiness or sorrow, ego or nepotism, greed or desire.
  • He is not swayed by external temptations of tangible, material success and thus attains a state of happiness, peace and contentment. He radiates positivity and his decisions bring happiness sooner or later to maximum number of people.
  • In other words, detachment is the key takeaway from Bhagavad-Gita. Detachment from the rewards of any work or action taken results into a neutral state of mind.


This is a classic Tamil ‘sangam’ (3rd century BC to 4th century AD) literature



composition. It has 1,330 couplets or ‘kurals’. It was authored by the renowned poet Thiruvalluvar. It is replete with words of wisdom. It is simple and contains profound messages.

Thirukkural has 133 chapters, each containing 10 couplets. Broadly speaking, all the 133 chapters can be divided into three sections: Righteousness, Wealth and Love. Even though the contents are meant for kings of yore, many of the messages are equally relevant for CEOs of business world.

Consider these ‘kurals’:

  • It is not good to forget the benefit received; but it is good to forget then and there the injury done by another. (108)
  • Those who alienate friends by back-biting may have forgotten the art of making friends through suavity of speech. (187)
  • Entering an assembly without sufficient knowledge is like playing at a dice board without its knowledge. (401)
  • Men of foresight who guard themselves against coming events know no distress. (429)
  • A king must act after measuring the strength of his plan, his own resources, the strength of the enemy and that of the ally. (471)
  • Let men be chosen with deliberate care; when once the choice is made, let no suspicions crawl into your soul. (509)
  • Strict enquiry and impartial justice mark the rule of a just monarch. (541)
  • The greatness of a person is proportionate to the strength of his will power. (595)
  • What you have clearly decided to do, do it without hesitation and delay. (668)
  • An unfinished deed and an unfinished fight will, like a half-extinguished fire, cause ultimate harm. (674)

Each ‘kural’ is complete in itself. It deserves to be meditated upon, one at a time, and imbibed in our day-to-day lives. One wonders at the keen observations of the poet, his sagacity and the effort he has taken to collate and compile this beautiful work, replete with words of wisdom which continue to be as relevant today as they were in the days of yore.

Chanakya Neeti 

Chanakya is a well-known Indian teacher, philosopher, economist, jurist and chanakyaroyal advisor. He is said to have lived from 350-275 BCE. He authored the ancient Indian political treatise, the Arthshastra. He is considered a pioneer in the field of political science.  He assisted the first Mauryan emperor, Chandragupta, in his rise to power. He is widely credited for having played an important role in the establishment of the Mauryan Empire.

One of his seminal works happens to be Chanakya Neeti, or Chanakya’s Aphorisms. It is a treasure trove of wisdom and speaks of the criteria to be used to judge people, the need for keeping one’s intentions confidential, the value of continued learning, situations wherein it pays to be a hypocrite, the supremacy of one’s duty, and the like.

He draws an interesting analogy between the animal kingdom and those who waste their time criticizing others. He holds such persons to be worse than the crows amongst birds and dogs amongst animals.

Sri Aurobindo

Profound thoughts of one of the prominent Indian seers of modern times, Sri Aurobindo, could be interpreted to propose a different paradigm of management. Sri_aurobindo

Whereas the Western model of management thought is based on such functions as Marketing, Finance, Production and People, the Eastern model, so to say, could be said to comprise four pillars of management: Perfection, Harmony, Power and Wisdom. Collectively, this paradigm could be called Integral Management.

Analyze the conduct of any business leader and one is apt to find the underlying presence of all these elements. It does not matter whether a manager handles marketing, finance, production or human resources.

  • It is by striving for perfection that one achieves excellence in results. Being perfect implies putting our best foot forward and doing our best under the given circumstances. It is the striving for perfection which assumes significance.

When Apple launches a new product, the whole market is abuzz. The toil and hard work which goes into creating and launching a new product is exemplary indeed.

  • A harmonious conduct with respect to all key stakeholders is essential for sustained success in business. Relations with financial institutions, regulatory authorities, customers, distributors, suppliers, staff and labour need to be based on a harmonious blend of business needs and the principles of natural justice.

The manner in which the Taj Hotel management responded after the 26/11 terror attack is a shining example of harmonious conduct of business.

  • Use of power with a sense of responsibility, that too for the greater good, leads to higher brand equity for a business. Marketing prowess can influence customers’ decision making, and has to be directed at their needs and not wants. Financial strength can also be leveraged to do something useful for the society. Administrative authority comes with a great deal of responsibility.

The case of Dr Pachauri being shown the door by TERI in a sexual harassment case is just one of the several examples of how the high and mighty should not exercise the power at their command.

  • Wisdom in decision-making leads to a sustainable business, which gives back to the society and the environment what it draws from the same.

In September 1898, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata decided to set aside half of his wealth as an endowment to establish a university of science. His donation was worth Rs. 30 lacs in those days. The other half he left for his two sons. The Indian Institute of Science eventually came up in 1911, paving the way for quality research and teaching in India.

This is the kind of unique learning which an aspiring manager receives in her formative years in the Eastern world.

Managers with a Western Mind and an Eastern Heart

Successful CEOs and managers of the future would need to be those who have a Western Mind and an Eastern Heart.

The success of the likes of Satya Nadella (currently the CEO of Microsoft) and Sundar Pichai (currently the CEO of Google Inc) goes on to show the growing importance of managers who are not only exposed to the Western models of management but also steeped in Eastern wisdom in the realm of management.

(Presented as a talk to the members of the Pondicherry Chapter of Madras Management Association during June 2016)

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In Ritusamhara, Kalidasa uses the season of winter to give his readers a sneak peek into the inner chambers of houses where couples are eager to get reunited. Given his flair for romance, he does not disappoint. He touches upon the use of intoxicants and the amorous intentions of women of age. He speaks of the agony of the air trapped between intimate body parts of a couple who are in a tight embrace. He talks of the dressing behavior of women in the mornings after they have experienced intense love-making during the preceding night.

Bollywood is not far behind in giving its viewers a sneak peek into the private moments of a couple. In fact, with each passing year, the envelope only gets pushed further and bedroom scenes become bolder and steamier. But to do so, our dream merchants do not necessarily depend upon the winter season alone. For them, any season is good enough for passionate love-making. In fact, they capitalize on the winter season by capturing the scintillating outdoors on celluloid. A vast snow-covered landscape forms the perfect backdrop for a scantily clad heroine and a well-groomed hero to profess their love for each other.

Here are some of the couplets from Canto Five of Ritusamhara, followed by few songs which come to one’s mind.


“Sandal-paste cool like moonbeams, building tops pleasant with immaculate moonshine, or sleet chilled dense breezes…  presently none of them is delightful for the people. [5-3]

Aman (1967, Mohan Kumar)

Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1973, Manmohan Desai)

Phir Kab Milogi (1974, Hrishikesh Mukherjee)

Roja (1992, Mani Ratnam)


“Taking betel leaves and their enclosing material like lime, areca-nut parings, and other fragrant material for chewing, besides handling body creams and tassels of flowers, for it is cool to wear them on, women folk with their lotus-like faces that are fragranced with delightful recreational drinks are enthusiastically entering their bedchambers that are desirably fragranced with the fumigation of aloe vera resin. [5-5]

Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne (1964, V Shantaram)

Chandni (1989, Yash Chopra)

Parineeta (2005, Pradeep Sarkar)


“On entering bedchambers seen are the irritant husbands irritating for the arrival of their wives; but these husbands were at fault once for which they were daunted repeatedly earlier, for which they are now wavery as hesitation ciphered their hearts; on looking at such husbands who are now longing for lovemaking, the lustful women overlooking their faults are joining them, lest time and opportunity fritters away… thus this season unites couples, though they are at loggerheads… [5-6]

Suhagan (1964, K S Gopalakrishnan)

Anubhav (1971, Basu Bhattacharya)

Mausam (1975, Gulzar)

Darr (1993, Yash Chopra)


“With their discoid faces just cleansed with water looking more like golden lotuses, on which wide and medially whitish eyes whose edges touch the edges of ears, and with just cleansed hair dangling and clasping their shoulders, those women of age that are snugly in the heart of their houses in these days, appear to be many a personified prosperity, goddess Lakshmis, amidst her golden lotuses. [5-13]

An Evening in Paris (1967, Shakti Samanta)

Saudagar (1973, Sudhendu Roy)

Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995, Aditya Chopra)

Fanaa (2006, Kunal Kohli)


“In this season, new sugar-candies and their modified sweetmeats will be abundant, new rice relishable, new sugar-cane juice delightful, disport of lovemaking intensified for the hauteur of Love God occasions anew, but this season alone will be the cause for scorching the hearts of those that are devoid of their loved ones; however, let this winter season be always bring propitiousness to you all.  [5-16]

Junglee (1961, Subodh Mukherjee)

Sangam (1964, Raj Kapoor)

Maachis (1996, Gulzar)

Veer-Zaara (2004, Yash Chopra)


Here is a medley of Bollywood winter songs entitled ‘Bollywood’s Winter Wonderland’ which some of you may like.

Writers and poets enjoy much greater degrees of freedom in expression when they decide to depict romantic affairs. Their vision can touch intimate spaces where even sun rays cannot aspire to reach.

Kalidasa is often referred to as the supreme poet of the senses and of aesthetic beauty, and rightly so.

Over the past few decades, Bollywood has willy-nilly evolved into a money-making arena, where style often rules over substance, where glamour invariably overrides content, where a loud orchestra often dominates inane lyrics and where raw displays of an erotic nature mostly take precedence over a depiction of refined sensuousness. The ‘success’ of a movie is now measured in terms of money and not in terms of either its content or its artistic orientation. Once in a while, one does come across some sensible and exceptional movies, but these remain mere exceptions.

One hopes that Bollywood would soon come out of this phase of its thematic and lyrical winter and enter into an exciting new spring of fresh ideas, richer content, soulful lyrics and soothing music.


(Note: Translation of ‘Ritusamhara’ courtesy Mr. Desiraju Hanumanta Rao:http://www.sanskritdocuments.org/sites/giirvaani/giirvaani/rs/rs_5.htm)


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In Ritusamhara, Kalidasa paints a highly romantic picture of the pre-winter season. Given the lower temperatures, metallic embellishments get avoided by the delicately nurtured. The fabric chosen for clothing undergoes a subtle change. The pastes and lotions to be applied to the body are different. Liquors come into play. Passions get aroused by the sheer promise of the winter season which is yet to arrive.

When it comes to capturing different shades of passion and putting across suggestions of love-making, Bollywood is never found wanting. Snow-covered mountains, gently murmuring rivulets, enchanting lakes, flying birds and lotuses in bloom form the perfect backdrop for romantic songs. Heroes can be seen aggressively pursuing lissome heroines clad in figure-enhancing dresses.

Here are some of the couplets from Canto Four of Ritusamhara and the kind of songs which could possibly do some justice to the poet’s evocative portrayal of nature and romance.

“Delightful are trees and fields with the outgrowth of new tender-leaves and crops; Lodhra trees are with their blossomy flowers, crops of rice are completely ripened, but now lotuses are on their surcease by far, for the dewdrops are falling. Hence, this is the time of pre-winter that drew nigh. [4-1]

Hamraaz (1967, B R Chopra)

Jewel Thief (1967, Vijay Anand)

Silsila (1981, Yash Chopra)

Veer-Zaara (2004, Yash Chopra)

“Unbearable is the touch of metallic circlets on wrists and bicep-lets on upper-arms of the couple of arms of vivacious women, or the touch of new silk cloths on the discoid of their waistline, or fine fabric on their robust breasts. [4-4]

Madhumati (1958, Bimal Roy)

Bees Saal Baad (1962, Biren Nag)

Chandni (1989, Yash Chopra)

“Overspread with abundant rice crops and ornamented with herds of she-deer, and delightfully reverberated by the ruddy geese, with their calls and counter-calls, the complacent corridors of confines are captivating hearts. [4-8]

Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke (1969, Dulal Guha)

Aradhana (1969, Shakti Samanta)

Prem Pujari (1970, Dev Anand)

Saathiya (2002, Shaad Ali)


“Now the lakes are adorned with fully blossomed black-lotuses, and elaborated with swan-like water fowls in their excitement, and sheeted with considerably coldish waters that are depurated, thus these lakes are stealing the hearts of men, for men look up to them as the visages of women that are with black-lotus-like hairdo, with swan like eyes, and whose bodies are cold, wanting a warm hug. [4-9]

Hum Dono (1961, Amarjeet, Vijay Anand)

Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962, Raj Khosla)

 Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963, Biren Nag, Vijay Anand)

Who Kaun Thi? (1964, Raj Khosla)

Sangam (1964, Raj Kapoor)

Kabhie Kabhie (1976, Yash Chopra)


“Oh, dear, the Priyangu plants that give fragrant seeds are ripened by the snow caused coldness, and they are frequently wobbled by the snowy winds, and they now appear like the fragrant and frisky women gone into paleness and wobbliness by their dissociation from their lovers. [4-10]

Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965, Suraj Prakash)

Prem Pujari (1970, Dev Anand)

Aandhi (1975, Gulzar)

“Let this season hemanta, dew fall, pleasant with many an attribute, a stealer of the hearts of women, fields of villages abundantly overspread with rice-crop, sky overlaid with garlands of ruddy geese flights, and which always is a heart-pleasing season, endow comfort to all of you passionate people. [4-18]

Waqt (1965, Yash Chopra)

Dil To Pagal Hai (1997, Yash Chopra)

Saathiya (2002, Shaad Ali)

Veer Zara (2004, Yash Chopra)

Lakshya (2004, Farhan Akhtar)


During this season, the sky is a clear blue, the water is sparkling clean and the trees are lush green. Flowers are in full bloom and fields are about to deliver a bountiful harvest to humanity. Snow has just started reminding us that winter is not too far away.

Kalidasa captures the pre-winter season in all its glory, interspersed with some details of passionate love-making. Bollywood strives hard to catch up with the poet and, quite understandably, leaves much to the imagination of the viewers. Poets obviously enjoy certain degrees of freedom which our dream merchants lack, though they often make up for it by bringing in lewd lyrics and suggestive body gyrations in what are euphemistically referred to as ‘item numbers.’

[Note: Translation of ‘Ritusamhara’ courtesy Mr. Desiraju Hanumanta Rao:http://www.sanskritdocuments.org/sites/giirvaani/giirvaani/rs/rs_4.htm]


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