Friday, December 30, 2011

We don’t remember days, we remember moments !

We don’t remember days, we remember moments – Pavese, Cesare ( 1908-1950), Italian, Poet, Critic, Novelist and Translator
2011 had many such moments. Beginning of the year, I commented upon start of the new decade bringing new promises along with it. Even though, in general, 2011 was a very tough year, especially people connected with the finance world, I still hold on to my earlier comment.

Each year when we look back and evaluate, we end up looking at our failures, at things which turned out contrary to our expectations or liking. And what that inferno of thought does, is further depresses us, building a kind of negative spiral, which engulfs and ends up strangulating us. Unless one makes a conscious attempt to stay positive, it’s very difficult to remain so given the surrounding ecosystem is so much volatile and uncertain. The coming decade will be a decade with ‘new normal’ - the earlier extreme / tail positions becoming the norm of the day.

So let me sit back, relax and look at the moments which buoyed me up, experiences which brought smile and satisfaction - those beautiful moments. The beauty is that when you start thinking you will suddenly discover many. That’s true with me as well. Starting with elevation at the beginning of the year, opportunity to learn a new line of business ( also helped me forge new relationships and build networks across the globe), Dad’s graceful retirement (July 2011 after 25 years of glittering service with Indian Diamond Institute taking both the industry and IDI to newer heights), a family vacation to US (something I had been dreaming for years), bought a house and more importantly staying in it, Aadi obtained his golf handicap, Nav improved her tennis skills, Anu’s untiring dedication to make it happen for kids – to count a few ! I urge each of you to do the same.

At a national level, countrymen got together to chop off the ugly head of corruption. Whether the movement was successful or not, it did bring out the issue of corruption in the forefront. It did give the confidence that masses which have stayed agnostic so far to the pressing issues can come together for a worthy cause. I personally do not subscribe to certain proposals of Team Anna or believe that a bill can cure all the ills, but to me the whole run-up was a beautiful moment which further strengthened our democratic set up.

Internationally while US and Europe tripped, Arab spring brought out the thirst for democracy.

2012 – the world is not going to end, as Mayans predict. That prediction is only good for the moviemakers. For the rest, it will bring new possibilities. The context is changing so fast, that we need to continually retool ourselves at a faster pace and shorter intervals. And if we keep doing that, we will be in a position of advantage to exploit the opportunities it will throw. Staying 'agile' and 'collaborating' will be the key to staying successful and happy.

One will need to learn to enjoy not only the 'destination' but also the 'journey'. The journey will be full of those ‘moments’.

We all have our time machines. Some take us back and they are called memories. Some take us forward, they are called dreams – Jeremy Iron, British Actor
Let’s take our time machine forward ( or may be fast -forward ) and dream. And work towards translating those dreams. Welcome 2012 !

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Start of the New Decade 2011-2020

Its not only the end of the year but also the end of the decade. 2000-2010 will be remembered as one of the decades where India underwent transformatory changes. The good part is that we all got an opportunity to lead and manage it while its still mild. The next decade will be much more virulent. Well this decade (2011-2020) will differentiate winners and losers at every stage. It will be much less tolerant. Mediocrity will have no place and will be much severely punished than the treatment it got so far. So tighten your seat belts, or should I say wear your space suits, the journey will be tough and exciting, certainly eventful.

So how does one prepare for it? I believe that being 'agile' and 'adaptive' will be two most important qualities, that will allow you to succeed and survive the next decade. Well, doesn't it sound deja-vu, very Darwinian :-). I also believe that all those who will choose to be in constantly in 'learning' mode will reflect the above qualities and will have a better chance of getting it right. And this learning could take various forms - seeking right experiences, going back to college, books, seminars, peer discussions, teaching etc.

Towards end of 2010, I got an opportunity to visit 'Nalanda', a world heritage site. Its near Badagaon, a mofussil town near Patna, capital city of Bihar, a northern state of India. This place was a learning centre of excellence, site of worlds first residential university. It has a fascinating history running over centuries, between 6th-5th century BC and 5th century AD. At its peak, it housed 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students from all over the world. Can you think of subjects being taught ? Students came here to learn Logic, Grammar, Astronomy, Theology, Medicine, Metaphysics and Philosophy. The architecture and plan of the university is a marvel of sorts. The ruins even in present form looks stunning and speak volumes of the mind and inspiration behind this thought. The temples, the stupas (monastery sites ) along with residential sites - all of them so well laid out, so perfect.

Spending hours at this ancient centre of higher learning, I felt so overwhelmed. I experienced a certain calmness and the same time felt very confident and energised. Couldn't have asked for a better 'learning' start for 2011.

I extend my best wishes to one and all.