Saturday, July 22, 2017

Monday Musings 288: The season of Gods is.. Rains!


Monday Musings 288: The season of Gods is.. Rains!

Just before the monsoons hit us here in Mumbai, in one of the conversations during a car journey, we got to asking each other what was our favourite seasons. The popular choice in the car was winter  – I was surprised no one chose.  Here is my heart on this. Needless to say that all seasons have their charms and necessity and sometimes choosing a favourite is as futile as asking a young kid as to whom does she love more – Ma or Pa – and yet we do ask her and derive great joy in the banter that it generates.

Summer is oppressive overall. The heat burns the skin and the eyes and if you are in plains of India then even after sun down you feel the earth throwing back the heat in anger for its torment during the day – the air has been sucked dry of its life and vitality. Trees maintain a brave face, tendrils have their back broken, stray animals become introverts – and humans search for islands of shade, cool and air-conditioning, depending upon what they can afford.

The winter is dull and depressing overall. The fog and the overcast skies hang over us like a pale of gloom does like right before a catastrophe or right after it. The lack of sun and brightness in not only the state of the world but in a strange way also the state of the soul – as if someone has robbed us of the shine from us, as if we have watched a infinitely depressing movie. The sartorially experimental enjoy winters for what they could flash and show off but in many ways that is actually an attempt to compensate for the lack of brightness within and around.

At a very aggregate level, both summers and winters are takers not givers. Rains are like grandparents – infinitely large hearted and net givers.

As the skies open up their benevolence upon us, the first reaction is of relief. The first rains are a balm for the earth and its inhabitants, comforting the blisters that they had acquired through the many months of summer. The first rains are therapeutic for it teaches us to hang on just a few more weeks through the torment and oppression that the summer causes. The symbolism and similarity to life is uncanny.

As the clouds change colour and flirt with the sun, we pick up playfulness from the weather. Rains are not like the constant hammering of the furnace of summer or the constant bite of the chill, but a child like game – sometimes the tease of a drizzle, sometimes the unimaginative cadence of a snore and sometimes the aggression of a heavy downpour. There is no predictability of the rains, a refreshing contrast with the utter constancy of its character in the summers and winters. Rains are playful and flirty like an adolescent romance. It hurts sometimes but mostly it is warm and mushy – and for no reason at all it adds a spring to the steps and some songs to the lips.

Rains provide not only succour but also enables life to exist and flourish. There would be practically no food and life without rains. We owe life and its myriad manifestations to rains.

The essential nature of rains is being moderate. Regions that are lucky to have the bounty of rains aplenty usually pass on those characteristics to the life forms that live there. Deserts and frozen snowy peaks are extreme and pass on that ruggedness to the life forms that inhabit them. 

Rains are a metaphor for abundance. Scarcity is the nature of the arid – both of the extreme hot and extreme cold type. The tropics are givers. The arid are hoarders.

Rains make you feel like going out and dance like no summer or winter will ever be able to make you feel. It is not a coincidence that it will be difficult to recollect even a single song that has been written on summers or winters in Indian cinema, but we hum at least a dozen or so that have been written on rains. We don’t go out to sing and dance in summers and winters – but we intuitively feel like dancing and singing in the rains, with the rains and for the rains - and I rest my case.

 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Monday Musings 287 - Age is not just a number


Monday Musings 287 - Age is not just a number

There are some dates on the calendar that are very prone to deep philosophical angst – new years and birthdays being particularly notorious one. Many, if not all of us become especially serious and susceptible to grumbling and growling voices from within, which find utterances that can safely be called deep stuff in contemporary parlance. Thankfully both the New Year and the birthday last for just a day and hence those philosophical musings also have a half life of 24 hours. Things are prone to becoming more ‘normal’ thereafter. This musing must hence be read in that perspective, in that it is being written exactly one day after my birthday and hence has the likelihood of suffering from what can be loosely called the equivalent of post partum depression – that it is a foetus born to the tumult induced by such post 40 birthdays; we shall see what fate awaits it.

In the first ten years or so birthdays are welcomed with an innocence characteristic of those years – they are looked forward to. Every year the day gives us an impression that we are going somewhere meaningful. We are becoming someone worthwhile – adults who can take their decisions and who can do things that they can. The next decade we celebrate birthdays almost in competition with the birthdays that others celebrate – so that ours turns out to be more fun filled than others. It is the beginning of comparison that will haunt us for the rest of our lives, where even an infinitely personal celebration such as our own birthday acquires the overtones of comparison with the Jones (or Joshi’s if you want a more Indian metaphor!) Very few will ever be able to come out of it, if at all. The third decade of our lives birthdays are liberating – for we have now either the licence or resources or perspective to chose how the birthday shall be celebrated and what should they mean to us. Perhaps for the first time we know what we want and have the liberty to exercise that choice.

It is the fourth decade birthdays that things start becoming really interesting or poignant – the way you look at it. This is the first time euphemisms, utterly misleading at that, that start worming their way into conversations. I find two of them particularly misleading ‘’40s is the new 30s’ and my personal favourite ‘Age is just a number’. My apologies to the eternal optimists – Age is certainly not just a number – it’s a depressing reminder of what has passed and many a times a frustrating reminder at that.

Most human stories are of stories of regret – of what did not happen or what got missed or what could have been. Sometimes I feel overt expression of optimism is a giant cover up – a means to masquerade gnawing regrets with sugar coated homilies. The louder the jingoism of optimism is, the shriller the underlying agony of regret there is. If the first birthdays were of reassurance of growing up to become something, it is here onwards that the we start questioning the point of growing up; that if all that we had imagined as the fruits of growing up have indeed materialised; that if the contours of our lives have kept pace with the contours of our imagination.

The irreversibility of age must not be camouflaged with these optimistic euphemisms. It does a greater damage to the world of possibilities that still remain unborn with whatever time we are left with. We must begin with acknowledging that ageing is real, that its perilous grip over us is real – that the knees are increasingly becoming wobbly, and the girth is forever expanding; that climbing stairs is no longer the joy that used to be, that we cannot take as much liberties with our bodies as we could have taken, that the gap between what our bodies can do and what our mind wants to do is only increasing and finally that we might be only able to postpone the inevitable but not reverse it. The body is like an old fabric, it is fraying at its ends, slowly but surely.

The other dimension of ageing that must be looked squarely in its eyes is the question of meaningfulness. Life explodes at a certain stage for all us – and the rest of the years are spent collecting the shreds that are left behind; and each shred is splitting into its own shreds. We are getting so consumed with picking these pieces that for most of us, that itself is the central point of life; collecting the shreds has become the raison d’etre; the purpose, the be all and end all. Ageing brings back these vital dilemmas back to the fore. It’s like a holiday trip which is coming to an end and one knows that there are so many places that were on the list that have still not been attended to-compounded by the chilling reminder that you won’t come to this destination again. This is not the rant of an overambitious, materialistic, consumeristic cry of a hoarder; but a silent cry of a seeker. Ageing beckons like a wakeup call. It is asking us of our notion of what a fulfilling life is – whatever it is.

This reflection can either be a deeply anguishing or a stunningly liberating one. Age induced pause has the potential to provide energy and purposefulness; to make slight detours but powerful ones, to make minor modifications but deeply significant ones, to begin new things and stop the old ones, to rediscover old flames and flush out current toxins.  The rest of our lives are pregnant with infinite possibilities – if only the implication of ageing is experienced in its essence.

Age is not a peck of dirt to be brushed under the carpet; it’s a rusted bronze statue that needs polishing so that it reclaims its essential glow again. Age has to be first seen as it is – in the cruelty of its truth. 

So here is to those who rubbish age as a mere number – even numbers have significance. It’s a very unique and personal significance for sure, but significance enough to stop us from rubbishing it as a mere number.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Monday Musings 286...Of Same Feathers!

So what kind of team members do you attract?

If one looks closely, it will be easy to decode a pattern in the kind of team members all leaders appear to attract. There shall be distinct signs of common threads that will run through the team members, particularly over a period of time. It is the managerial equivalent of ‘birds of the same feather flock together’ – only that it is not that benevolent. Let us explore this phenomena a little bit more.

Inadvertently and subconsciously we want to be surrounded by people who are a lot like us. It is pontification of a very idealistic kind that suggests that we should have team members who can challenge us, hold a different opinion, tread the contra path and so on and so forth; however the cabins and cubicles are littered with the debris of how most leaders deal with contrary viewpoints and team members who can resolutely challenge their positions on matters small and large. The reasons are far and many – from a sense of insecurity to a perceived sense of affront, from bruised egos to fleeting but distinct possibility of being proven wrong – the ability of a common leader to deal with opinions and personalities radically different to his/her own is woefully scarce. In odds so fundamentally and dramatically stacked against the person who is ‘different’, it is not a surprise that inadvertently and subconsciously every leader seems to attract and breed more of his/her kind at worst and at least not radically differently from him/her at best.

So what kind of team members you attract? At a functional level the scenario is bad but not tragic, at least immediately. The worst that can happen is that the leader and the subordinate have pretty similar experiences and methods – their exposure is of similar kinds of industries, companies, functions and projects. They may have beliefs on similar kinds of business models, assumptions of what works and what does not and finally in possessing very similar ‘tricks of success’. Last but not the least they will tend to bet on people who are of their kind and the entire system appears to look like one homogenous monolith. The small flickers of contra opinions, alternative hypothesis, different viewpoints asphyxiates itself to a premature and tragic death. No one needs to do anything dramatic or violent – the murder appears like natural death.

It is at the level of what kind of human beings come together where the real crises brews- unseen but insidious. The gregarious and the extrovert might have a preference of that kind. The pensive, thoughtful and the introvert might show an inclination of their kind too. However this is still a generalisation – the real ones are in the layer beneath this. The political will attract the political. The brownie point collector will attract the ones whose interest is in collecting precisely those. The one who is a closet individualist, who believes that personal gains and individual credit always overrules the team and the function, will attract only those kinds. The survivor-at-all-costs will only beget the ones like him.

In many ways the attraction of others of the same kind is fact a case of survival – that is to say that only those kinds will actually survive with that kind of leader. Others who are not like that or whose operating philosophies are different or who put emphasis and importance of other values will just be like fish out of water in the culture such a leader will foster. Over a period of time only the political will survive with a politician isn’t it?

Ecosystems require favourable circumstances to survive. The ingenious and the innovative cannot survive with leaders who themselves are status quosits and recyclists- irrespective of what noises they make to the contrary. The team players enjoy and give their best for the team where the captain lives the values of team work – where what happens on the ground and the dressing room are not contrary to each other but are perfectly aligned! The paper pusher alienates the decisive. The sloth frustrates the fast. The need for validation in some creates a fertile ground for sycophants that the independent minded find nausaceous. The sloganeer denies the actual worker his joy and glory.

I must hasten to add that most of this is inadvertent and subconscious. No one in his/her right mind would do this deliberately. I shall leave the incidence and prevelance of this phenomena to our individual observation around. Look for patterns and see if the hypothesis has merit in it or is it mere scaremongering. Finally a word of caution in this research - look at things as they are and not as they should be!

(First Published in Peoples Matter - June 2017)
 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

monday musings 285: Inspiration in the skies


Monday Musings: Inspiration in the skies

It would be a lie if I claimed that I did not notice the dimples on the fellow passenger as I took my seat on the rather long flight. The long haul flight took off and everyone got busy in the routine – food, reading, relaxing. She was struggling to plug her mobile in the charging point between the seats and asked for help. I obliged although could not accomplish the simple task as there was something wrong with the plug point. We called the air hostess and struggled together, finally realising that it could not be done – the faulty plug point had however had managed to break the ice. As is the wont of two travellers, we got talking.

Travel companionship is a strange phenomena – no one can predict if it will blossom and if it does blossom then to what extend will it go. It can range from meaningless ‘’my name is- I work/live in-I grew up in-state of Indian politics-Indian businesses to slightly deeper exploration of ‘’what are you reading-favourite authors-books-movies-philosophies’’. Sometimes you just don’t strike the conversation as you want to be left alone to your own means to brood or reflect as the case might be. Sometimes the co-passenger does not give you good vibes and you want to withdraw. Sometimes the vibes are good, conversations starters are aplenty but sheer hesitation nips in infancy what could have been a great possibility. I wondered what would be this one. Thankfully the plug point came to the rescue.

It took an hour or so to wrap up the basic information exchange – of who we were, why were we going to where were we going and other such banalities which forms the basic foundation of what can be termed as ‘sizing each other up’ stage between total strangers – the result of this exchange decides if there is anything whatsoever in common, if there is a chemistry of comfort, an unsaid faith in the vibes, that will decide if the conversation will move to deeper realms or not. I call this the anatomy of conversation between strangers. The half life of such conversations and relationships usually is the duration of the flight. Not always though.

I had a thick Leo Tolstoy, ‘Anna Karenina’ in my hands and she asked me what the book was about. I told her whatever impressions I had about the book – that it was about love, relationships, class and the futility of high society pretentions as described in it. Something changed in her eyes as I spoke – I don’t know which part had that impact. I described Anna the lead protagonist of the novel to her – that she was fiery and beautiful, courageous and iconoclast, fragile and strong, all at the same time. She smiled and said ‘’..Looks like she is a lot like me’’. I asked her to explain.

I have always wondered why sometimes it’s so easy to share our vulnerabilities, our angst and our deepest wounds and hurts to strangers – maybe we just want to be heard or maybe we do not fear being judged. Proximity muddles perspectives – distance sharpens it. May be Anna was just an excuse – she just wanted to share. I had not bargained for the privilege of being ushered into her life in such matter of fact manner – as if there was no fuss in it. The fact that we were strangers was beside the point – inconsequential in the scheme of connectedness.

She tells her story like grannies do – to the point, with a certain detachment that only wisdom has the capability to achieve. She shares that she fell in love at an early age and decided to marry much against the wishes of the family. Youth has a mind of its own. Soon the dream sequence turned into a nightmare as the scourge of domestic violence and mental harassment raised its head. It was difficult to deal with the twin trauma of the situation – of the tyranny of the circumstance on hand and of the corroding pain that it was brought upon her by her own error of judgement. I could imagine her helplessness as a young person tormented by the burden of a choice horribly gone wrong; of her hesitation in seeking help from family who might have said that one thing that a person in trouble wants to hear the least -‘’told you so’’. So one day she gathers courage, calls in the cops, breaks free, reaches out to her family and puts an end to this misery. A few years later love comes calling again when a colleague evinces interest in her. After seeking parental consent she agrees. I ask her if it was difficult to give love another chance. She says it was not very difficult, particularly after a very encouraging discussion with her father. ‘’Just because one choice has gone sour does not mean we stop making choices – we must not lose faith in our instinct to search happiness despite knowing that at the end of the day it’s a roll of dice. Just because it’s a roll of dice does not mean we don’t play the game’’- she paraphrases. In the manner in which she is recounting the story I see neither regret, not pain, neither anguish nor grief – just a recollection of events as they occurred. The nonchalance with which the story is being recounted is so refreshing in times when it is quite normal to parade our version of the story as the only truth. I thought she was courageous and wise beyond her years.

As the plane taxied on the runway a few hours later we bid goodbye to each other like strangers do at the end of the journey – knowing very well this was it. It ends here. The story remained with me though – of courage, of optimism, of dusting off the fall and getting up again to give life another chance. As she smiled with the goodbye, the last thing I remember seeing were the dimples – dimples that dared!!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Monday Musings 284 -The many faces of solution givers!


Monday Musings 284 -The many faces of solution givers!

The great Peter Senge said something to the effect - “Today’s problems are a result of yesterday’s solutions”. I believe it must be taught, reminded and hammered ad nauseam in all leadership development journeys- from the management classes of an MBA to the rarefied galleries of CXO development.

The irony is that there are more leaders who are trigger happy in their zeal for offering solutions however poorly thought through they might be. This unabashed exhilaration of being known as an idea factory makes them a believer of the brilliance of each one of these ideas. We must be fearful of them. In a way, we must question the way this folly of equating quality of talent to his ability to shoot from the hip a-solution-a-minute, and take a reflective pause to ascertain how have we come to this brink. There must have been a systemic fault line that would have allowed things to come to the precipice of mistaking quantity of solutions for the quality of it.

Let’s step back for a minute- Lets look around in spaces that we occupy – teams, functions and organizations. Let’s list down the top 3 problems that plague us and go back in time to ascertain the genesis of those challenges. The pursuit is to find what did we start doing that created a ripple effect of consequences that has led us to what we have on our hands now - a root cause of sorts but a deeper philosophical one. For instance if we reward for how fast have we answered a customer call, it is not tantamount to how fast we have solved a customer problem. The former is a turnaround time to a "part of the process" while the latter is about a credible customer problem solving. However the system which would have put the former as its metrics would have done so in all earnestness to solve the problem they would have been grappling. There is no reason to doubt that they deliberately short changed the system so as to favor a lower order metric instead of a higher order one. May be that choice made eminent sense then – and may be the urgency of the problem blinded the individual who proposed the idea in the first place. The individual blindness to foresee the second and third order consequence to a well meaning solution powered by genuine intent is understandable even though one can take a philosophical position that good leadership is being sensitive to such consequences and may be even predict it – what is not only difficult to understand but is actually unpardonable is when a group of people, a team, a management think tank suffers from such myopia. The whole idea of a bunch of competent people coming together is to be able to see through the consequences of such solutions. Some of those consequences may be difficult to predict and we must live with these – the tyranny of unintended consequences – but those which a group of reasonable minds must have seen, ought to have seen are grossly unpardonable. Such myopia is bad for the organization.

I am fast coming to the conclusions that misplaced, half-baked and myopia of solutions givers are a greater curse than perhaps a lack of solutions - because hopping from one half- baked solution to the next half- baked one lulls us into believing that credible work is happening while all that is happening is pretence of deep work.

 

Let me attempt humor to tell the rest of the story. Here are some peculiar archetypes around on the subject of solution providers. - Enjoy with your tongue firmly in cheek.

1.       The solution factory- He has a solution for everything – sometime for even what is not yet a problem. He rattles an idea an hour – which would be quite tolerable but what is travesty is his firm belief in the inherent brilliance in each one of those ideas. Non-acceptance of his solutions does not deter him from proposing his next.

2.       The fundamentalist – He is the deadliest of all. Like all fundamentalists his trouble is that he not only believes in his solution- but he believes that it is the only solution that will solve the problem. Any other solution is the child of a lesser God. His resolute belief in the brilliance of his own mind is scary if not irritating. Organizations must be most wary of such loose cannons for they wreak the greatest havoc on its future – They might solve the imminent problem and in the process become heroes of the year but they unleash such devastating forces that with time leaves only debris on its way. There is a thin line between passionate evocation of a solution and its fundamentalism – the same way that there is a very thin line that separates a benevolent believer and a destructive fundamentalist.

3.       The nonchalant – This one is the other extreme – equally dysfunctional but much less devastating. His curse is that he has no skin in the game. His solutions, the quality of which notwithstanding, suffer from no escape velocity – because the author himself cares too little in whether they are accepted or not, in whether they worked or not. He gives his two bits and lets it be there. If only he put in a little more of himself in his solution that we come to know if the author himself believed in his story.

4.      Lets Discuss – This is a solution avoider possibly.  Cometh the moment – runneth the man! His pet response at the altar of a problem is to bide more time, ask for more data, and suggest one more rework- basically avoid suggesting a solution. He does not want to author a solution for reasons that could range from plain incompetence to lack of conviction, from intellectual lethargy to fear of failure. He is the second worst- just behind the fundamentalist.

5.       What are the Jones doing –This one only wants to do what others are doing – either the market leader in the industry or his previous company. Aping the market leader is the closest he comes to being the best in a roundabout surrogate way and in replicating what he did in the past company is his way of keeping his past glory warm and alive. His solutions have a stench usually – of irrelevance and imitation.

I only hope behind this tongue in cheek archetype of solution givers described above, you see the dark underbelly of the phenomena. Organizations need decision makers and people who solve problems for sure – but great teams and great organizations are built by not pursuing solutions for the sake of solutions, but the ones which are coherent, deliberate, thought through, not only for their intended consequences but also for unintended consequences. Good solutions must solve – for today and tomorrow. There is no redemption in solving for today and messing the tomorrow. Leader must pay heed to Mr. Senge wisdom - that today’s problems are a result of yesterdays solutions – So beware and watch for what you offer as a solution - they are in all likelihood going to cause the problems of tomorrow!
PS: first published in Peoples matter.



 

Monday Musings 283 – The Lost Summer


Monday Musings 283 – The Lost Summer

The summer as looked down from the 15th floor window, from behind the artificially maintained temperature is just not the same as experienced on the ground floor of dusty mohallas of mofussil India. Of course I am indulging in the most virile or the most impotent of human activity, depending upon what kind of use it is put to, called nostalgia.

Summer in the heartland of Indian plains, away from either from the cool indulgence of the mountains or the moderating caress of the shores, can be oppressive. I never found it oppressive then, when the notion of an AC had yet not corrupted my comforts. More than three decades ago there was poetry in even the heat. It had its own rhythm, its own festivities, its own celebration.

The mornings would often take birth in the ever cool flowing waters of the stream nearby which would end with the Bael (Bengal quince)l sherbet done gloriously through the thin cotton cloth. As the clock reached 10, the world would start to recede. The charpoy beneath the mango tree would come out for a few hours. The sunlight would shimmer through the thick maze of leaves, not tormenting but ever present – the heat not yet violent but threatening to be so. The crows and the cuckoo would be active in fairly loud conversations without a care for who might be evesdropping.

The mother would offer thin butter milk made from the slightly tangy curd of the night before taken out from the earthen pot. The afternoons would be a tussle between angry parents on one hand, who would want a reprive from the long days – and the recalcitrant children who would want to use the peace to creative use. Tiptoeing to sneak out to go back to the fields, climb up trees or do absolutely nothing was a daily attempt – many times caught red handed, after which it would be difficult to ascertain what contributed to hot cheeks more, the weather or the slaps.

The evenings were often long hours of running in the dry fields which would now be open to alternative uses before the next crop is sowed. Playing indigenous games in the rough terrain of erstwhile paddy fields is an experience difficult to imagine for those who have not done it. Marbles were played with gusto and an increase in the evening count would make the day very well spent. The joys of kite flying would only be matched by the joy of the process of making the kites and sharpening the threads. The kite making often happened in the cool shade of a fruit that would be used as adhesive (i don’t remember its Indian or English name any longer but never seen it outside Jharkhand ever), failing which fresh boiled rice be used as an adhesive(ingenuity and jugaad at its best!!)

The wilderness of Jharkhand has much benevolence – the roads, fields and the desolate lands is laden with tamarind, custard apple, jujube, jamun, and indigenous varieties of mangoes. Summer was associated with a band of vagabonds going in search of these, aim at the fruits with stones and then admire our own accuracy as the fruit would fall down. The spoils would of course be shared. Sometimes the tree would belong to some household and hence the entire act would acquire the seriousness of a covert operation – a kind of surgical strike in the middle of the hot afternoon when everyone would be sleeping. For the longest time I thought mangoes are to be sucked rather than cut and eaten because of the ones we got there – thin peeled, juicy and syrupy. A bucket full of mangoes a person would normally not raise eyebrows.

The bath would often be at the well and the mother would sprinkle Nycil (remember that?) quite liberally.

Summer nights would often also be absolutely still but starry. The roofs would become community bedrooms and it on those still nights when even whispers would sound stereophonic, the children would giggle helplessly and without reasons. There is great joy in community laughter particularly when the only reason is to irritate parents who want you to sleep. Mosquitoes added to the charm. No one had yet heard of dengue, chickegunia and having malaria was like an annual pilgrimage – everyone had it.

Summer then was a season that i experienced – and so did everyone else around me. It was embraced like life, with all its folly and all its prickliness. I experience the summer now from a distance, from the 15th floor window pane, from the temperature controlled comfort of the room - as if its someone else’s summer. My summer is lost. Not sure if i will get it back ever – and even if i do get not sure if i will enjoy it as much.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Monday Musings 282: Of canine bites and the rest!


Monday Musings 282: Of canine bites and the rest!

The funny just does not stop being funnier by the day. The recent issue of The Economist (no less!) reports ‘’...that the number of canine attacks on postal workers in America climbed from 5581 in 2013 to 6755 in 2016.... In response to such occupational hazards the post office has apparently launched an app on the postal workers hand held scanners that warns of dogs in certain houses... owners of repeat offenders are told to pick up posts a nearby post office....If a loose dog plagues a postman, delivery to an entire neighbourhood can be suspended”

I wonder what an Indian equivalent of this news story that inched its way up from weekly tabloids to the hallowed pages of such a reputed publication would look like!! I wonder what would be a funnier more Indian examples of occupational hazard appear to be. Let me try my hands at some story telling.

  1. The Indian sales association reports that the number of cases of nose breaks on its sales persons because of doors being shut on them has shown an alarming rate of increase. As a safety measure it has recommended its members to observe the following – a) Wear a nose guard at all times while ringing the doorbell. b) Maintain a one feet distance from the doors c) always maintain a lean back posture to be double sure. They have been issued a handbook of red zones in every city where such cases of nose breaks have been reported in the past. A predictive index of what kinds of doors cause the maximum nose breaks is in the making – it is reported that wrought iron doors are the worst perpetrators. The association is firming up its mind to demand a ban on all wrought iron doors with the government. It is also rumoured that they might ask for tax breaks for the treatment cost on such broken noses as business expense.
     
  2. The Indian doctors particularly the junior doctors and the ones with the government hospitals have been facing the threats of manhandling and physical assaults in the recent past. The governing body responsible for doctor’s education has recommended a mandatory paper on physical education in the MBBS course – with special emphasis on protection against mob violence and ability to run faster than aggrieved relatives. They have also been advised to wear helmets and other sundry elements body armour (either cricketing or paramilitary origins depending upon the history of the hospitals that they are currently serving) during ward rounds, operating theatres and particularly OPDs. An additional certificate in hurdle racing is being mulled to further strengthen the precautionary measures.
     
  3. The judges of courts usually associated with equanimity and composure are on tenterhooks given the number of shoes that come their way. They have been advised to attend training course of building reflex actions – which will help them avoid leather bases flying objects often worn on the feet. Sometimes one is able to tolerate the shoe but not its smell, but that is an altogether different issue. Being at the receiving end of a shoe is not justice, poetic or otherwise by any stretch of imagination.
     
  4. Indian sportsperson association has created a special induction programs for all players who play for the country to develop very thick skins. They are being advised to build a 15 feet high walls around their houses to protect themselves against abuses, agitations and other cases of poster burning in case they lose a match, and particularly against one specific country.
     
  5. Last but not the least, Indian National Maid Association has asked its members to report all cases of mental harassment. The number of cases of work overload, mental torment, threat of violence against maids by very lazy, feudal home owners are on a rise. They have recommended that repeat offenders will be boycotted and in extreme cases the whole housing society will be avoided. There is frenzy and panic in most households that this threat might indeed be executed. Maids in Manhattan or Mumbai are equally revered – and it has been proved beyond doubt that households can function without everyone else but not without maids.
     

Humour – all around us!!