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Archive for June, 2019

My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

Our rich repertoire of films boasts of many kinds of unique song picturizations which have kept the songs as well as the artistes associated with them alive in our hearts. Take for instance the innumerable songs picturized on different modes of transport- from bullock cart and horse cart to cycle, car, jeep, bus, train, plane and even helicopter- the vehicle in all these songs imparts a special character to the songs and thus help the actors in conveying their emotion in a distinctive manner in the concerned situation .

The very conception of such ideas requires tremendous imagination that definitely needs to be lauded. The director who thinks of the apt situations to insert such songs in the narrative, the dance director or choreographer who translates this idea into reality, the lyricist who writes the words, the music director who turns them into catchy songs and finally…

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When the silver rays of a refined full moon descend upon Blandings Castle, the ancestral home of Clarence, ninth Earl of Emsworth, queer things start happening.

Would-be brides find themselves quarantined, so obdurate mothers may breathe easy. Romantic aspirations get into a jumble. Phantom faces keep popping up, proving the theory advanced by Dr E. Jimpson Murgatroyd that excess consumption of tissue restoratives results in such hallucinations. A diamond necklace goes missing, thereby creating conditions which could lead to a nasty divorce.

But Gally is there to set things right, acting like an elderly Christopher Robin, leaving everybody happy, loving young hearts united, and nothing for anyone to worry about.

Here are some of the gems from Full Moon which fans of P G Wodehouse may relish.

 

When clotted cream becomes audible

Her reverie was interrupted by the opening of the door. The pencil of light beneath it had attracted Colonel Wedge’s eye as he started forth on his mission. She raised her head from the pillow and rolled two enormous eyes in his direction. In a slow, pleasant voice, like clotted cream made audible, she said:
‘Hullo, Dad-dee.’

Some basics of Cardiology

To say of anyone’s heart that it stood still is physiologically inexact. The heart does not stand still. It has to go right on working away at the old stand, irrespective of its proprietor’s feelings. Tipton’s, though he would scarcely have believed you if you had told him so, continued to beat. But the illusion that it had downed tools was extraordinarily vivid.

The proceedings at reunions

Few things are more affecting than these reunions of old buddies after long separation, but they involve too many queries as to what old What’s-his-name is doing now and whatever became of old So-and-so to make good general reading.

When business magnates behave like Roman Emperors

You don’t know my father-in-law, of course. He’s a bird who looks like a Roman emperor and has a habit of hammering on the table during conferences and shouting: “Come on, come on, now. I’m waiting for suggestions.”

 

 

Einstein and Gally

There were men in London – bookmakers, skittle sharps, jellied eel sellers on race-courses, and men like that – who would have been puzzled to know whom you were referring to if you had mentioned Einstein, but they all knew Gally.

A beleaguered garrison in India

It was with something of the emotions of the beleaguered garrison of Lucknow on hearing the skirl of the Highland pipes that he came at long last out of a sort of despairing coma to the realization that the dressing gong was being beaten, and that for half an hour he would be alone.

When a gnat bite depreciates radiant beauty by between sixty and seventy per cent, Sugg’s Soothine helps

As Veronica Wedge stood gazing at Tipton Plimsoll with her enormous eyes, like a cow staring over a hedge at a mangel-wurzel, no one could have guessed that a few brief hours previously the nose beneath those eyes had been of a size and shape that had made her look like W. C. Fields’s sister.

Uninspiring dinners at English country homes

Too often, in English country houses, dinner is apt to prove a dull and uninspiring meal. If the ruling classes of the island kingdom have a fault, it is that they are inclined when at table to sit champing their food in a glassy-eyed silence, doing nothing to promote a feast of reason and a flow of soul.

 

The Thinker (Auguste Rodin)

 

A meditative state

He went back to the bed and sat down again, his chin on his hand, motionless. He looked like Rodin’s Penseur.

When an ex-fiancé spoils the fun

Ex, one says, for where he had once beheld in Frederick Threepwood a congenial crony and a sidekick with whom it had been a pleasure to flit from high spot to high spot, he now saw only a rival in love, and a sinister, crafty, horn-swoggling rival at that, one who could be classified without hesitation as a snake. At least, if you couldn’t pigeon-hole among the snakes bimbos who went about the place making passes at innocent girls after discarding their wives like old tubes of toothpaste, Tipton was at a loss to know into what category they did fall.

Trouser seats

The face which now looked up into his was one which harmonized perfectly with the trouser seat. It was the face, as the trouser seat had been the trouser seat, of a tortured soul.

A perspective on future sons-in-law

There are fathers, not a few of them, who tend to regard suitors for their daughter’s hand with a jaundiced and unfriendly eye, like shepherds about to be deprived of a ewe lamb.

A bad bit of casting

His eyes rested on Prudence and in them now there was nothing but affection, gratitude, and esteem. It amazed him that he could ever have placed her among the squirts. An extraordinarily bad bit of casting. What had caused him to do so, of course, had been her lack of inches, and he realized now that in docketing the other sex what you had to go by was not size, but soul. A girl physically in the peanut division steps automatically out of her class if she has the opalescent soul of a ministering angel.

The perks of wearing a false fungus

Every young man starting out in life ought to wear a false beard, if only for a day or two. It stiffens the fibre, teaches him that we were not put into this world for pleasure alone.

Of Clarence and jellyfish

‘My dear boy, I have been closely associated with my brother Clarence for more than half a century, and I know him from caviare to nuts. His I.Q. is about thirty points lower than that of a not too agile-minded jellyfish.’

 

 

Poet Robert Burns

It is a truism to say that the best-laid plans are often disarranged and sometimes even defeated by the occurrence of some small unforeseen hitch in the programme. The poet Burns, it will be remembered, specifically warns the public to budget for this possibility.

The density of face fungus

Too little, the chronicler realizes, has been said about that beard of Fruity Biffen’s, and it may be that its concealing properties have not been adequately stressed. But reading between the lines, the public must have gathered an impression of its density. The Fruities of this world, when they are endeavouring to baffle the scrutiny of keen-eyed bookmakers, do not skimp in the matter of face fungus. The man behind this beard was not so much a man wearing a beard as a pair of eyes staring out of an impenetrable jungle; and, try as she might, Lady Hermione was unable to recall any more definite picture than just that.

A puma of the Indian jungle

Throughout this well-phased harangue Lady Hermione had been sitting with twitching hands and gleaming eyes. It had not occurred to the speaker that there was anything ominous in her demeanour, but a more observant nephew would have noted her strong resemblance to the puma of the Indian jungle about to pounce upon its prey.

The Aunt, the whole Aunt, and nothing but the Aunt

Lady Hermione was still sitting behind the teapot, as rigidly erect as if some sculptor had persuaded her to pose for his Statue of an Aunt. In all the long years during which they had been associated it seemed to Freddie that he had never seen her looking so undisguisedly the Aunt, the whole Aunt, and nothing but the Aunt, and in spite of himself his heart sank a little. Even Lady Emily Finch, though her mental outlook was that of a strong-minded mule, an animal which she resembled in features as well as temperament, had been an easier prospect.

An unbridgeable gulf

The Hon. Galahad snorted sharply. Himself a bachelor, he was unable to understand and sympathize with what seemed to him a nephew’s contemptible pusillanimity. There is often this unbridgable gulf between the outlook of single and married men.

When equanimity gets ruffled

‘She’ll divorce me.’

‘Nonsense.’

‘She will, I tell you. American wives are like that. Let the slightest thing ruffle their equanimity, and bingo! Ask Tippy. His mother divorced his guv’nor because he got her to the station at ten-seven to catch a train that had started at seven-ten.’

 

 

Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There is a widely advertised patent medicine which promises to its purchasers a wonderful sense of peace, poise, neural solidity and organic integrity, and guarantees to free them from all nervous irritability, finger-drumming, teeth-grinding, and foot-tapping. This specific Tipton Plimsoll might have been taking for weeks, and the poet Coleridge, had he been present, would have jerked a thumb at him with a low-voiced: ‘Don’t look now, but that fellow over there will give you some idea of what I had in mind when I wrote about the man who on honeydew had fed and drunk the milk of Paradise.’

The omelette gag

‘But you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. Not Shakespeare,’ said the Hon. Galahad. ‘One of my own. Unless I heard it somewhere. Besides, Freddie’s agony will be only temporary.’

Of lovers’ impulses

The primary impulse of every lover, on seeing the adored object on a balcony, is to shin up and join her.

Cactus in a trouser seat

What urged him to retreat was the thought of having to meet Lady Hermione again. It stimulated him to action like a cactus in the trouser seat.

A family’s average of mental anguish

It is fortunately only very rarely that in any given family in the English upper classes you will find two members of it who have drained the bitter cup in a single afternoon. The average of mental anguish is as a rule lower.

 

Full Moon is only one example of the virtuosity of Plum, whose narratives are littered with similes, literary allusions and insights on human behaviour. These amuse, entertain and educate.

 

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/some-juicy-quotes-from-stiff-upper-lip-jeeves)

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Honoria Glossop pulls it off yet again, spreading sweetness, light and joy all around!

Plumtopia

My Man Jeeves was published 100 years ago in May 1919.

Jeeves–my man, you know–is really a most extraordinary chap. So capable. Honestly, I shouldn’t know what to do without him. On broader lines he’s like those chappies who sit peering sadly over the marble battlements at the Pennsylvania Station in the place marked “Inquiries.” You know the Johnnies I mean. You go up to them and say: “When’s the next train for Melonsquashville, Tennessee?” and they reply, without stopping to think, “Two-forty-three, track ten, change at San Francisco.” And they’re right every time. Well, Jeeves gives you just the same impression of omniscience.

my man jeevesMay 2019 marks 100 years since the publication of My Man Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse’s first Jeeves story collection.

Well, sort of. It’s complicated.

Wodehouse chronology always is, because many of his works were published in magazine format on both sides of the Atlantic before appearing…

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“Little did I imagine that someday Professor Rao will do an empirical study and bring out a book on this subject. The book brings out leadership mindsets so clearly and analyses these based on research and experiential wisdom. The thing that struck me most was the linkage of these styles with the three gunas in Hindu scriptures: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. The book does not prescribe any style but makes the reader think through what his style is and what he would like it to be. Then, it provides the reader with a pair of new glasses and suddenly one starts seeing things in a different perspective.”

Satish Sekhri

Formerly Managing Director

Bosch Chassis Systems Ltd,

Pune, India

(An excerpt from the Foreword to the book)

“I think the leader mindset proposed in the book is “Indian tinted”. As someone from the “West”, I am pleased to enrich my understanding with “your views”. You make a good contribution to enlarge our perspectives on how you see the leader mindset.

Very few of us are internally STRONG to accept negativity; also, the contexts that most of us live with is toxic. So, “I Am Something” approach can be extremely healthy.

When you try to explore the role of human values in the face of Industrial Revolution 4.0 (AI, Robotics, etc), you may consider the fact that the drivers of technology ARE weak in terms of human values.

I think that we are headed towards a phase of self-inflicted extermination, possibly leading to the emergence of a new species. Before the end of this century, we will have ourselves and the others species. We will be creating living beings among us and, little by little, we (little and fragile creatures) will fade away, hopefully graciously. We do not wish to change ourselves. We also do not have the collective will power to change the context in which we operate. So, the next evolutionary step of our civilization may get taken much earlier than most of us may think.”

Marco Paulo Abrunhosa Cardoso 

Serving in boards in different jurisdictions

Finland

“The writing is excellent. As the editor of a journal, I rarely see papers with no errors. Your book is thus a rarity. I initially wondered why some words like “Student” and “Maternalistic” are capitalized. I now realize that there is a meaningful reason behind it.

I see that the style is half-way between a discourse and a scholarly
paper. If you are positioning it as a scholarly paper (like a journal
article or academic book), it certainly needs more references. The book has some quotations which too need references.

This book is obviously positioned as to not tap into management
literature on leadership a lot (at least in part 1). Rather, it offers another way to look at leadership.”

Ram Mohan Pisharodi 

Marketing Professor/Chief Editor, Alliance Journal of Business Research at Oakland University

Greater Detroit Area, USA

“From an Australian’s point of view, I found that the thesis of the book provides a fresh perspective on the issue of leadership – a very sub-continental perspective and interpretation.

It appears that the intent of the book is to provide aspiring (or current) leaders with a way for them to become a happier and more contented person. Greater contentment would lead to a warmer and more positive individual. The thesis is supported by research and empirical observation.

My conclusions include the following issues:

  1. As relevant as is the thesis and its accompanying discussion, the esoteric nature of the discussion, notwithstanding the empirical support provided, will struggle to resonate with Western audiences who are both unfamiliar with some of the philosophers and others cited.
  2. The “I am Something”, in my view, rests on the concept of profound empathy. One of the principles of Spandan is the “belief in innate divinity.” Implied in this is that someone who does not possess “a belief in an innate divinity”, can’t be empathic and therefore can’t develop superior leadership. If that is not so, then why must one have “a belief in an innate divinity” if one can be empathic without it?
  3. That of course highlights a view of leadership through a “religious” lens, which will be problematic for many people who separate organizational leadership from religion, spirituality or personal belief. There are effective and humanist leaders in every spiritual dimension, including atheism.
  4. It depends what the leader is leading. Altruism, another axiomatic dimension of Spandan, implies that to be a “good” leader, you need to be altruistic. One can be driven by one’s own well-being and still have empathy and still be a good and effective leader – it’s just that the person knows what the objective is and what will help them achieve it. Is that wrong? A leader of a commercial enterprise may pursue a financial reward for shareholders (or self) and treat staff and other stakeholders empathically and responsibly.
  5. Individuals, as noted in the book, find it hard to change themselves – because they’re human and self-change is difficult.
  6. Leaders within organizations are not only at the head of the organization; they are also found throughout the organization. People who have even one person for whom they are responsible are leaders. Therefore, the lower in the organization a leader is located, the harder it will be to make the systematic and operational changes suggested in the book, even if they want to. Even if the leaders can effectively change themselves, the organization may not be willing to cooperate.
  7. Some people can’t achieve an empathic capability because of the way they are; they may have an authoritarian approach to the business. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will fail, but it might lower the chances of “effective and humane success.”
  8. A leader is not necessarily a leader in every aspect of their existence, nor is a follower, a follower in everything. Every individual is both a leader and follower in a diversity of contexts throughout their lives.
  9. In relation to “Maternalism” I have found that men can also act, behave and care maternalistically in organizations (and elsewhere). They inevitably possess strong empathic skills, values and attributes. The stories abound of strong leaders who were loved by their staff for their capable, caring and empathic attitudes.
  10. The nature of empathy may be uniform, but the level of empathy needed to make a noticeable difference will vary. Where an organizational culture is strongly empathic and positive, a leader who “ups” their level of empathy may not even be noticed by those who are affected. That same level of additional empathy will act as a massive change stimulus if occurring in a brutal and savage culture.
  11. I Am Something’ believes that I am neither above you, nor below you. I am neither in front of you, nor behind you.” The issue here is that if someone possesses empathy, they don’t need to “pull their rank” to get things done. But to say that leaders believe they are neither above nor below is unrealistic. The effective, empathic leader knows they have the authority but don’t need to exercise it.
  12. For any meaningful change to take place, leaders themselves have to take the initiative.” For most people, such a change is a serious threat to their self-image. They may need the change, but it’s not as easy as just stating it.
  13. Facilitating others remake themselves along similar lines.” Philosophically, it sound nice, but it may not be necessary. It is not true that everyone in every organization needs to be empathic and “nice” for the leader to achieve. Everyone benefits if they are, but it’s not a truism that they must be transformed for the leader to be effective and for the organization to achieve its KPOs. Sad but true.
  14. The research undertaken appears to have a fairly small sample size to be statistically significant.
  15. On the topic of A.I., robotics and similar, I am of the view that “leadership” and “followship” will still be with us for many years to come. I am also of the view that the nature of leadership and followship will inevitably evolve. Notwithstanding predications of A.I. being able to eventually emulate Man in some areas, I believe that such advances are inevitable, but Man will still call the shots. And the importance of effective human interaction will be as vital and important as ever. And it may be that the attributes (“I am Something) of the book will be more important then, than they are now. In other words, the quality of the human interaction and the leadership that directs it, will be elevated to a higher level because much of the “low-level” stuff will be provided by machines.
  16. In my line of work, I reckon I’ve pretty much seen it all – brilliant leaders through to outright destructive maniacs, and everything in between. Over 35 years of being and working with and talking to leaders has generated mixed emotions: from being inspired and in awe, to turning around and running as fast as I could. What I see in this community of the ‘number 1 citizens’ of their organizations, are mistakes that are repeated over and over again. Things that corporate rhetoric and intellectualization would speedily deny, but things that I see and hear from those affected and things that I see with my own eyes.
  17. I can’t recall any relationship I have had with a leader, where their motivation wasn’t ‘to do the best for their organization,’ and therefore for themselves by so doing. Unfortunately, though, subjectivity and self-interest get in the way. This article is not intended to explore this point, since I’ve done it before, but rather to identify the categories of behaviours that trap many leaders and subvert effective leadership.
  18. Some leaders just aren’t ethical and condone (or even initiate) unethical behaviour. These days, it’s enough to merely say ‘Volkswagen” to prove this point. And if you think that they are the only ones, then you’re kidding yourself. I personally know of companies where the leader fired staff to capture their share entitlements; where a major multi-national milked the balance sheet to avoid showing an operating loss; leaders who condone deceptive advertising; and so on and on and on. These are not nice people.
  19. The corporate rhetoric is about delivering for shareholders (in a for-profit organization) or for members (in an NFP organization). The reality is that executives define what shareholders will get (or should I say ‘what the executives are prepared to give them’) and then define their own benefit by the KPIs set against the criteria they have set for themselves – screwing shareholders in the process. See the research in my book Corporate Crap. Not one single listed corporation in 2015 asks all its shareholders what they want from their investment – they merely (and incorrectly) assume an outcome or use institutional shareholders as a proxy for all shareholders.
  20. Almost all leaders miscalculate (i.e. underestimate) the complexity of change.
  21. Many leaders communicate by issuing edicts and believe that just because they have said or written something, that is what is heard, understood and accepted or adopted. What they don’t understand is that every communication requires both a sender and a receiver. What is said does not necessarily get interpreted the way the sender intended – the receiver absorbs the communication through their own filters, perceptions, subjectivities and contexts – always. And then leaders wonder why instructions, visions and intentions aren’t complied with.
  22. Too many leaders rely solely on their own interpretation or judgment. Many leaders can’t talk with people down the organization because issues or plans once discussed will generate thoughts and actions in those who were party to the discussion. Sometimes, those issues get resolved and plans don’t get adopted, yet people still have feelings, fears and need for security. These feelings ignite the moment the matters are discussed. Sometimes they lead to more severe reaction in the organization – an IR backlash or even organizational sabotage. Conversely, the leader can’t take every issue to the board as the leader was employed to have most answers. Therefore, leaders rely on their own judgment. What they should be doing is networking with independent and non-competitive peers with whom they can bounce ideas and gain the benefit of others’ experience.
  23. Many leaders suffer from the Devil Ego: not the Good Ego that ignites their passion and drives them to excel, but the negative one that poisons relationships and destroys self-confidence in others.
  24. Leaders must have a keen radar for identifying individuals worthy of their trust. When you don’t trust anyone, then no one will trust you – and you will not be a very nice person to be around. To be able to trust others, you must have mature emotional intelligence, a strong sense of self-worth and therefore self-confidence (but not arrogance), and an ego that is not in a permanent ‘self-defense’ position. If you are unable to trust, then you’re unable to delegate effectively, and if you can’t delegate effectively, then you can’t lead a large organization.
  25. I constantly see leaders who are unable to straddle the right and left-brain hemispheres of leadership – they must be able to envision an effective and fulfilling future for their corporation/organization, yet simultaneously watch over their shoulder how the organization is performing to deliver that vision. Being able to envision without managing performance is as fruitless as watching performance but not knowing where you’re going.
  26. Many leaders don’t walk their talk. And when they do, “many walk funny and talk crap” as quoted by a well-known commentator on leaders and leadership.
  27. It is tragic to encounter leaders who believe that the only people in the organization who can come up with good ideas is the leader themselves or their ‘C’ suite executive team. Not only is this detrimental to the organization, but one hell of an insult to its people – particularly when people within the business who are ‘down the organization’ often understand the mechanics and detail of their operational responsibility better than the managers at the top.
  28. Too many leaders look for someone to blame. Instead they should seek the learning from the issue to grow. Leaders who blame will find that mistakes are hidden, truth is guided by self-interest and evolution is subservient to revolution. Poor leaders ‘put down’ a peer or subordinate in front of others or even in private. Instead they should identify the issue, identify the better path, and give the ‘culprit’ a chance to redeem themselves (within reason). The blame culture is toxic.
  29. Poor leaders often think simplistically – and they are lousy at managing nuance – and after all, that’s what management is all about. As an example, it is easier to believe that everyone is motivated by money, than it is to acknowledge that different people are driven by different motivations and that to build a culture that works with that knowledge is difficult – yet worth doing (or at least worth trying.)
  30. Poor leaders talk a lot and really listen infrequently.
  31. Poor leaders never show gratitude to those who provide extra effort, extra performance, extra consideration, extra support to others, and who share their knowledge and experience. That’s because the leader interprets gratitude as a sign of their own failure to do that which they should be grateful for.
  32. Lousy managers pursue the status quo because they are afraid of the unknown, of the future, and of their ability to deal with it.”

Dr Jack Jacoby

Executive Chairman

Jacoby Consulting Group, Australia

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