Monday 22 June 2015

Art of driving a car

Few months back a handful of us were asked to suggest a topic for our blog and then write
few hundred words on it. Well the topic needed to be interesting and end of all leave the readers with something to ponder on.

As it turned out with all my sanity (reads insanity) put together, I suggested ‘Art of Driving a Car’! and I had hoped to be able to pen down something, that is intelligent and correlated with the industry we work in. 

What? was I thinking! And why didn’t I think of topics like Leadership? Teamwork? Communication Skills?... considering that one has been making a living in this field for more than a decade. Then I thought that I have also been driving a car on Delhi roads for close to a decade now. Which actually stood synonym to my years of working (prior to that I rode a scooty… a moped… hmm let it go).

I still recall my first drive to office, thinking that the roads will be empty on a Saturday and with no traffic I will manage the drive as smooth as an ice cream, without realizing that the damn ice cream had nuts and raisins added to it… that Saturday happened to be the first weekend of India International Trade Fair… roads were infested with people needless to say the other living beings followed…I somehow managed to office and the feeling….that feeling actually was incomparable. The truth, however is that it wasn’t the feeling as much as the challenge, confidence and of course the belief that (yipeeee) I can drive all by myself surpassed everything. So my friends, nothing as the old saying goes is impossible.

Many of us go through this (you can choose to say no, but Mr. Einstein we all have) …could be with family, friends and of course not to miss the place where we spend 8 x 5  per week(quite a few spend less or maybe more… but I am not judging here) … office! I have often noticed that at work, we tend to miss feeling the feeling and give up very easily; stop taking challenges and even more stop believing in ourselves, so here are few tips that you may want to ponder on

  • I do understand that the environment today is quite challenging and the hurdles it presents are not uncommon at all. But then we complex it further by believing in the environment. Take the challenge! All we need to do is to understand and get the basics right. If we know what our deliverable are, align your efforts then hurdles by themselves disappear
  • I believe that I can fly, I believe that I can touch the sky (not a Bette Midler song). What is key here is, for you to believe in your efforts and that you too can achieve it. It is important that you are true to your task and what you are doing to achieve it is in the right direction, if you are unsure then ask, someone is there to guide you (for sure) and then nothing is impossible
  • Learn from experience; don’t let it wither away. Pick brains of those who have been there, done this and that. Gather as much understanding on learning from others, even mistakes that they had committed and how they resolved it…. Interestingly these will give insights and perspective which will come handy….. Try it. Never fails.

At the end you would be wondering, what has, ‘Art of Driving a Car’ got to do with the blog written above…. Well I drove you till the end of the article.. didn’t I?
J So till we meet next, drive safe.

- Deepika Bansal

Monday 8 June 2015

An Interesting World of Contradictions

I read a few days ago about India getting its first transgender principal at a women’s college
in West Bengal - this is definitely a massive leap for us as a society but the bigger achievement lies in the fact that this news comes from a state that is known to many to be mostly conformist and laidback, albeit of course not to forget the land of intellects, writers and poets as well. What makes this even more radical is that this move has the full support of the state government without which even conceiving such an idea would probably not have been possible! 

Interesting to note is that while some in India are taking bold steps towards slow but sure transformation, the military of one of the world’s biggest superpowers defines gender nonconformity as a psychological disorder (!) forcing those serving to do so under constant fear of being revealed! 

We live in an interesting world of contradictions where in many cases social boundaries are defined by the strata of society we live in, or the gender we belong to, or maybe even what we eat and what we don’t – the list is endless. But we have to admit that we are infact a very privileged lot to be part of a generation that is privy to, and in some cases even the driving force behind social change.

Manabi Bandopadhyay’s (the newly appointed transgender principal) victory is only one such instance but it can spark many-a debate that could free many-a communities from the shackles of social stereotypes we could happily do without.

And while the press is playing its own part in mobilising this change, it’s refreshing to see brands too becoming bolder in what they say to their audiences. So is evident from campaigns like Ariel’s share the load, Red Label’s surprise visit, Airtel’s boss wife, Fastrack’s move on and’s ShaadiCares which are attempting to bust traditional norms and offer a leg up to sections of society that have long lived ‘by the rules’. 

Special mention again is most deserved by’s ShaadiCares – not only have they boldly taken up against one of the most prevalent ills in our society but they’ve done so at the risk of antagonising their own client-base. Absolutely commendable and honourable move!

On a more personal note, for those of us who come from traditional families where conformism is highly rewarded, altering the way our lives were planned for us is a matter of great debate and judgement. But it’s refreshing to see more and more families and some sections of society putting their weight behind unconventional choices and bringing change in the most unexpected quarters.

In the midst of all the social turmoil that we read of every day, it’s heartening to hear of students in a neighbouring land protecting those of another religion as they celebrate a festival of another country! At the same time it is heart-rending to see the plight of refugees unwanted despite their worsening agony – it’s a big question mark on ideologies around humanity to say the least!

But contradictions continue and that’s what makes our society the interesting pot-boiler that it is today. And the more we open our minds to change, the more welcoming some of these will be, even for those of us who don’t necessarily subscribe.  

- Naina Shetty