Mind as boss by Eknath E.


I like to think of the mind as the big boss, and the senses as his five secretaries. In any bureaucracy it’s difficult to go directly to the boss. If he is a busy man, and the mind is surely that. With lots of appointments and lots of high level negotiations on his hands, you are wise to start by winning the goodwill of his secretaries.

For a long time the situation resembles those movies from 1930s, where Spencer Tracy breezes into the office, flings himself onto a corner of receptionist’s desk and turns on the charm= Hey honey, how is the bossman today. She gives him the icy look. But gradually the ice melts and the secretary becomes a strong ally.

To win over the senses, when they are clamouring for the second piece of pie, or a cigaraette and a stiff drink, you will need more than Hollyword charm. You will need systematic practice of meditation and the other spiritual disciplines. If you want to be admitted to the boss’s office, you will have to persevere over a long period of time. And if you want to be boss’s boss, that will require lots of hard, hard work on the spiritual path.


Social Intelligence by Daniel G.


During the early days of Iraq invasion, a group of soldiers set out for a local mosque to contact the town’s chief cleric. Their goal was to ask his help in organizing the distribution of relief supplies. But a mob gathered, fearing the soldiers were coming to arrest their spiritual leader or destroy the mosque, a holy shrine.
Hundreds of devout muslims surrounded the soldiers, waving their hands in the air and shouting, as they pressed in toward he heavily armed platoon. The CO, Lt Col C Hughes, thought fast.
Picking up a loudspeaker, he told his soldiers to take a knee, meaning to kneel on one knee. Next he ordered them to point their rifles toward the ground. Then his order was smile.
At that the crowd’s mood morphed. A few people were still yelling, but most were now smiling in return. A few patted the soldiers on the back, as Hughes ordered them to walk slowly away, backward still smiling.
That quick-witted move was the culmination of many split-second social calculations. Hughes had to read the level of hostility in that crowd and sense what would calm them. He had to bet on the discipline of his men and the strength of their trust in him. And he had to gamble on hitting just the right gesture that would pierce the barriers of language and culture

Power of passion by Eknath E.


I once had a physicist friend who would gladly discuss electric power, but harnessing the
power of a passion or a craving-well, that was not dynamics, that was poetry. Power, he told me sternly, is the capacity to do work. Work is the energy required to move a definite mass a definite distance. No movement, no work. No work, no power.
Day or night, I had never seen my friend far from the desk. Then late one evening I came out of a movie theatre and saw him striding along like an athlete, several miles from his office. What got you up from your desk-I asked, you are breaking the habits of a lifetime.
Coffee, he muttered, I ran out of coffee.
Here, I said, a very definite mass has been propelled at least three miles, simply by one little desire for a cup of coffee. He got my point.

Mind and elephant trunk by Eknath E.


Mind and elephant trunk by Eknath E. Purity of heart is to will one thing. –Soren K. There is a Hindu story comparing the mind to the trunk of an elephant-restless, inquisitive, always straying. In our villages in India, elephants are sometimes taken in religious processions through the streets to the temple. The streets are crooked and narrow, lined on either side with fruit and vegetable stalls. Along comes the elephant with his restless trunk, and in one sinuous motion, it grabs a whole bunch of bananas. He opens his cavernous mouth, and tosses the bananas in – stalk and all. From the next stall he picks up a coconut and tosses it in after the bananas. No threats or promises can make this restless trunk settle down. But the wise mahaout will give that trunk a short bamboo stick to hold. Then the elephant will walk along proudly, holding the bamboo stick in front like a drum major with a baton. He does not steal bananas and coconuts now, because his trunk has something to hold on to. The mind is the same way. We can keep it from straying into all kinds of situations if we just give it a mantram.

AHA moment


I was probably the reason for AHA moment of a teamer Ann.
It was only a small thing really, and I was not expecting her to feel so good. But she did and told me, which made me feel good also.
Actually we get some cards printed on Diwali (Indian festival of lights) for office. Every year the job is done in rush, at the last moment. So we end up giving the job to one of the many advertising agency, which charges higher rates knowing our urgency. She borught an approval note to me for doing the same this year. I told her why don’t you invite bids from all agencies. She said, it is done like this every year, and we don’t have much time. I told her, let us try it. She said the agency whose design has been selected will not agree. I called up the agency and asked, if we pay you for design as per rate card, and then invite bids from printing from all agencies, will you be okay with that. The agency agreed.
So Ann came to me with a draft note, which I corrected and asked her to send email to all agencies and invite bids within 3 hours, so that printing order can be placed to the lowest rate agency. She did, and one of the agencies quoted 1/3rd of last year’s rate. She was thrilled.
Today, she thanked me three times, and said I discussed this at home also. I was also pleased that I could contribute something. Though a friend told-she may be buttering.
God only knows.

Victory by Sun Tzu


Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory.

He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.

He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.

He will win whose Army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.

He will win who prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.

He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War.


Strategic Lubrication


I was stumped with a term ” strategic lubrication” coming from a close friend, also known for his sycophancy. ” What’s that?” I inquired.” As I go up the ladder, I realize the futility of oiling all and sundry. So I concentrate my lubrication power on a few key persons having a bearing on my career, ignoring the lesser mortals. That is the source of this term” he replied with a naughty smile.

Above lines are from the FB wall of a friend. But the truth in these lines is not far from reality. There are people who do all this. Though I avoid doing this, but I can understand if other people do it to their seniors. I am not sure though where to draw the line between genuine relation-building with boss and sucking up.

For example, I have seen people giving sweet packets to their bosses, when they are promoted or have some good news to share. I am not able to make myself do that, if I have to share sweets, I will give equal to all-seniors and juniors. Not party-pack to boss and single-pack to others.

There is this colleague whose husband is working abroad. I asked her to get some material on payment basis. She did not. but I saw her getting things for others. At that time, she was not reporting to ,me. After some months, she started reporting to me, then when her husband came to India, she gave me gift.  I politely refused but she insisted. I could not make myself tell her about her two faces.

I have seen people opening car doors, carrying boss’s luggage, serving them meals. But I can’t.

Rather I deliberately avoid giving any gifts to seniors lest they think I am sucking up. There is one senior to whom I am grateful for what he did for me personally. So I go to his house every year for gifting sweets in festive season. But that again I started when he had left our department, and now he has retired also. Till the time he was our head, I never gave him any sweets and gifts.

As for promotion or holidays, I don’t see any reason for specially bringing gifts for bosses, other than for sucking up, which I can’t.

What say you?

Photo shoot mis-planning


We have been facing a lot of problem as we don’t get good quality, high resolution photographs for communication collaterals like calendar, diary, brochure, poster etc. So we thought of engaging a professional photographer for the job. He quoted exorbitant amount so we were not able to engage him. So I suggested that we can organise a photo contest among our employees, and reward them with cash award and photo courtesy mention. The idea was accepted and boss was after me to send contest details to all. I wanted to get precise so I spoke to few photographers I knew and formulated contest guidelines. Boss checked it and suggested some changes. I made the changes and moved a note for launching the contest. I also cross-checked with Finance department whether we can launch such a contest and they said yes we can.  So we were almost there. As told by boss, I told another teamer that she should send the details to regular photo contributors to our inhouse magazine. So we were all set with 2-page approval note, detailed guidelines, and I was almost going to send the mail for circulation.

Another teamer I shared the info with, commented-Sir, but can employees take cameras into factories, won’t that be difficult. Boom. It was right, I asked boss, she called up a factory PR head and he bluntly refused.

So the whole preparation, boss’s time was all gone. And the idea was dropped at the last moment. A dampener. But better than the contest being launched and we facing the camera entry issue, or worse receiving no entry at all.

Saved just in time.

Smart thinking


An old man lived alone in Minnesota. He wanted to spade his potato garden, but it was very hard work. His only son, who would have helped him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and mentioned his situation:
Dear Son,
I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my potato garden this year. I hate to miss doing the garden because your mother always loved planting them. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me, if you weren’t in prison.
Shortly, the old man received this telegram:
‘For Heaven’s sake, Dad, don’t dig up the garden!! That’s where I buried the GUNS!!’
At 4 a.m. the next morning, a dozen FBI agents and local police officers showed up and dug up the entire garden without finding any guns.
Confused, the old man wrote another note to his son telling him what had happened, and asked him what to do next.
His son’s reply was:
‘Go ahead and plant your potatoes, Dad. It’s the best I could do for you, from here.’



Relation velation


Last week attended a marriage of a cousin’s daughter.

It all started with a discussion on whether we should go or not. Parents advised us not to, though cousin being from mother’s side, mom was okay if we went. I took a high pedestal and bragged to wify that we will go because the cousin is not well-off, and it’s a girl’s marriage, we should go. Wify snubbed me for the superiority complex and asked to be realistic. If we will go, we will go, don’t talk in terms of poor or rich, it’s all relative.

So we went. It was a working day with ceremony in a distant town, and we wanted to be in time. So we took leave from our office and drove to the place. While on the way, mom called and said no one has gone and we should go straight to the engagement in the afternoon. Bro also called. We were shocked as mom and bro live in same town. Still no one went and they wanted us to go. We talked over phone what do we give. Father advised that we should all pool the monies and give as family and not separately. I somehow don’t understand this funda, but out of respect to father I normally agree. So we wanted to give 500 each to bride and groom, alongwith a gift during engagement. Father said no give only 100 each, and no gift. He gave the argument that there are many marriages in the family, so we should restrain ourselves. We did not like it but we ag reed. The time was 11 am, we reached at 12-30 still the function had not started.  We met all relatives. And we gave 100 to groom and gift to bride. That was our midway solution. Strangely two-three of our relatives gave us lectures on adopting child. The host family never bothered about us earlier, but they started complaining why we did not come earlier and all that.

In the evening a cousin met and started asking obvious question. Which car you drive, what is your designation, your house is rented and all that. I hate it when relatives start asking these mean questions.  Aniways we met many more relatives and exchanged usual questions. Our effort of specially coming out and attending marriage was worth it since we could meet so many relatives.

We were discussing how friendships and relations are gradually becoming weaker, because we do not take the trouble to go to such occasions and revive the memories. BTW wify was right and the host family had really made excellent decoration and food arrangements, which we did not expect. So I stand corrected and agree that richness is relative.

Though somehow I felt awkward as I had expected better welcome and reception from the host, which was ofcourse wrong of me. I did think of myself special, which I am not. They were instead giving more time to their maternal relatives who had helped in making arrangements for marriage, which was justified. But human nature being human nature, knowing very well that I was wrong in expecting anything else, I kept thinking in that direction.

Father who was not in mood of going at all, went because we were going. Brother who also was in two minds did come to attend the ceremonies. So our going did help in this way also.

Relations need maintenance, as do friendships.

Don’t you think so?