Thursday, March 26, 2009

Twist to the tale

Indian history is a testimony to Rajput warrior, Prithviraj Chauhan’s commitment towards his lady love. When her marriage was arranged to someone else by her parents, he came riding in a horse and took her away from the place where the marriage was to be solemnised. This spoke of his true love for his beloved.

In the Ramayana, a great Indian epic, we have heard of Ravana who in his unstoppable fury came in the form of a deer and enticed Sita, and took her away to Lanka. That led to the battle which finally ended in Ravana being defeated, and Sita being rescued and brought back to Ayodhya. This symbolizes the victory of good over evil

In the Mahabharata, another great Indian epic, we have heard of Draupadi, who was wedded to the five Pandava brothers, being disrobed. This amongst other things led to the fiercely led battle at Kurukshetra between the the Pandavas and Kauravas, all of them brothers. Again, victory of good over evil.

The Indian system of arranged marriage calls for eligible men to visit the would be bride’s home and approve of her after a fleeting glance at her. We have heard of men in such situations being besotted by the would be bride’s beautiful younger sister, and finally getting married to her. Love is not always blind.

A recent press insertion in the local newspaper was rather interesting. The marriage rituals were on, and the couple had to exchange garlands to signify their acceptance of each other. Amidst much fanfare, the bride groom garlanded the bride, and when it was the turn of the bride, she turned around and garlanded the photographer. There was utter shock, dismay and disbelief but the marriage was solemnized with the photographer who happened to be her earlier boyfriend. Scientifically looked at, this was ‘photochemistry’ whereas in the Rajput warrior’s case, it was ‘horse power’.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Never say die

In the last week of January, 2009, a matter that was posted for final hearing at the Madras High Court was adjourned due to a one day strike by the Advocates. The matter was thus posted, once again, for final hearing on 19th February, 2009. Unfortunately, I was unavailable on this date due to my commitment to attend a seminar.

I had mentally given up attending the seminar since the matter at the High Court was an important matter for our Company. I shared my predicament with my facilitator, Srikumar, who matter of fact but powerfully told me that there was no way that I am going to miss the seminar on 19th February, and also reminded me of the commitment I had made to attend the same. I tried to explain to him the situation and that the Judge would not change the date even if I asked the Judge to advance the date of hearing. He retorted ‘ when there is a will, there is a way’ and posed a question ‘ do you want to honour your commitment and your word’?.

I got enrolled to his powerful statement and got touched, moved and inspired. That probably was the moment of truth and I decided to put in my best efforts to attend the seminar and also persuade our company’s advocate to get the date advanced. From then on, I was unstoppable and literally on a daily basis I have in more than one way convinced my advocate as to why I should attend the seminar and that I had a commitment to keep. After a lot of persuasion for around ten days and cajoling on my part, my advocate agreed to meet the Judge in her chamber and persuade her for a change in the date of hearing. As bad luck would have it, the advocates at the Madras High Court struck work from the 10th February to 18th February, and the Court was to reopen on 19th February, the date of our hearing. Due to this strike, my advocate expressed his inability to meet the Judge in her chambers as it would go against the decision of his brethren not to attend court.

I was at my wit’s end and for sometime had given up even trying to attend the seminar. But the words of my facilitator started ringing in my ears and I told myself I will not give up. There were several rounds of discussions with my advocate between 10th and 18th and I tried all tricks available in the book to convince my advocate that attending the seminar was important. However, I booked my flight tickets since a change in the date was still uncertain. On 18th night, the daily cause list of the Court arrived and our matter was not listed. My advocate informed me that the Judge was on casual leave and I need not attend the court.

Looking back, I realize that I had been so powerful those two weeks and had put in my best to ensure that I attend the seminar. So powerful was my commitment to attend the seminar that, like it is said, ‘the whole universe conspired for me’. Let me humbly submit I realized that it was always the reasons and justifications that we give ourselves that stop us and that we can be persuasive , if we want to be. Later my advocate told me that he had never seen me so powerful and engaging. I have learnt a lesson that whatever may be the situation, I will put in my best and never ever have a lingering conversation within myself that something is not possible.

Thank you, Srikumar, for enabling me honouring my word and being unstoppable.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Clarity of Distance

Children surprise parents. I had this unforgettable experience in a seminar that my daughter recently attended. My wife and I were invited as her ‘graduate guests’ since both of us had attended this seminar earlier organized by the Landmark Forum.

The forum leader asked the participants to share their learning and experience of the forum and our daughter’s hand went up. She was invited to the podium to share. With a lot of confidence and nonchalance she stood before the audience numbering around four hundred and literally created magic. The entire audience listened to her in rapt attention and both of us were dumbstruck and overwhelmed.

She spoke eloquently about her vulnerability in life and as to how the seminar had opened her mental windows and made her present to the ‘present’ and the beautiful moments around. Her concluding remarks still ring a bell in our ears – “I thank you, Papa, for enrolling me to join the seminar. Papa and Mamma, kindly stand up. I want to acknowledge both of you for being such wonderful parents, and Shashank for being a wonderful brother. I thank you for trusting me and believing in me. I love you both”. There was thunderous applause in the auditorium and we were in tears. The forum leader looked at her and remarked ‘very powerful, keep it up’.

We never realized that our daughter had so much potential. Probably, we had always looked at her as a child. This was our moment of truth and we realized she had grown up to be a very confident human being. As the forum leader had remarked, we realised she had always been powerful but that both of us required the clarity of distance to spot her competence.

We congratulate you Shraddha, and may you continue to be powerful, self expressed and extraordinary.