Category Archives: thinkspace

The photocopy guy


As I enter into corporate world again, I and many of my friends, we know and sense the worry. The worry of not having some work that matches the expectation of young blood. On few days all we end up doing is photocopying some material for the seniors. Probably this is the reason that informally in few of the companies there is even a term for interns and freshers– photocopy guy.

The blog I am writing is more relevant to the people who have faced this situation or are facing this now. It is from the experience of one of the very senior leaders in my organization. Though the prior permission has been taken to write this experience lets name that person Ram- mainly because he was also like a common guy that we come across in our everyday life.

Ram’s career was growing at slow pace. In his career of around 15 years, now he was heading a small division of a firm which was part of one of the biggest and reputed conglomerates in India. The firm wanted to get some new projects and hence they decided to prepare a brochure of their own. All division heads were asked to highlight their work and some of their achievements. There was a lady coordinator Reena, who was leading this activity. From the inputs of all the divisions, Reena prepared a draft brochure and sent it to everyone to check it prior to printing it. The copy came to Ram after few other divisions gave their nod. As anyone else would have done Ram directly went to his division’s write up. He checked if there was any flaw, there wasn’t any. Everything was perfect, neither any grammatical error nor any aesthetics issue. Everything seemed good and so he gave his nod to Reena. Ram kept one copy for himself.

In the evening when Ram wasn’t occupied with any work, his eyes fell on the brochure again and he developed a desire to check out about other divisions. They had also written it well, but what ram noticed distinctively was that everyone started writing it in the same way. The first few lines were repetitive that – ‘we at this firm do this and that….’ He talked to Reena and conveyed that even though individual division’s work looks fine but looking at the overall brochure from reader’s point of view there are some changes that shall be made. In turn, Reena discussed this with everyone and they decided to redesign few of the things in it. This time she was taking help of Ram at every step. The brochure that came out was appreciated by everyone, mainly the customers.

After few months looking at previous experience, the company thought of publishing few results in a fashion the previous brochure was made. By this time Reena was working with some other firm. So, the printing guy was given some instruction by the central team to take inputs and design it on his own. But he felt need to get help and conveyed to the central team that ‘some guy named Ram was helping last time we were making it.’ The team asked Ram if he can help and Ram happily agreed to lend a hand even though he was pre-occupied himself. He worked on it with the printer. The result came out well again.

As we know, once you help someone, next time the person will come to you when he or she is in need. Now every time there was something to disclose outside or publish, it was going to Ram for review. The central team from conglomerate got to know about this and they started involving him in publication for the group before it gets published. To do all this, Ram had to know more and more about the group, the group companies and he made his genuine efforts in it so that none of his work is substandard. Over the period he got to know each and every nerve of the organization.

Now, this was the time when conglomerate was looking for opportunities of oversea expansion. In one such potential opportunity, high-level officials of other country invited the conglomerate to come and discuss the possibility of any synergy. The team that was supposed to go had no specific assignment, they had to represent the firm and explore the possible opportunities. Hence the team included: COO, CFO, head of two of the biggest firms in the conglomerate and a fifth person unknown to most of the people eying this meeting. This person was Ram. Ram was not in the team by luck, but because of the fact that he knew organization so well by then, that he could represent it well.

The meeting was successful. Ram’s career took flight after this meeting and he headed various big departments; he even reached to CEO level of few companies. All that he had to do was own some part of other’s work and help them. As we hear from many new joinees, that they mainly find themselves doing some work like photocopying documents or furnishing some document or ppt which is hardly adding any value. Maybe we never know, or can not foresee, which work is going to take that flight for our career.

PS: Even I am waiting for that one page which while photocopying gets me to the work I truly deserve and take flight for my career. 🙂

Man – the social animal

SocietyWith so many of gadgets and apps, the man has been socializing more or are they really socializing? Sometimes he has to be social forcefully though; anyways there is hardly any Jungle left.

I have always been in love with what we call small town life. I think in the end, people here are really who make society what it is, they just don’t live in the adjacent building they do socialize in real. But to what extent that surprised me when I see incidences taking place here.

One of my relative (my grandmother or my mother’s aunt to be precise) died in her 80s. She was severely ill for more than 5 months. Hence the family was investing whatever they had for her. After giving more than 4 warnings where every relative assumed that she would be dying, she left this world at the 5th warning just a fortnight back.

Even though every single relative was present there, I was not able to find her ‘Anmol Ratan’. At first, I thought he was busy preparing for the last rituals but then all the ritual preparations were done already. I was wondering how anyone could go missing when he has to fulfill his ultimate duty as a son.

When he finally arrived, I went near him but had no guts to ask him anything. I observed his face; it was bit tensed rather than being sad.

Someone finally came close to him and asked, “Did you get any caterer?”

He said, “I have asked a cook to come and prepare, he will do it well.”

The person again told him, “Everyone will call you stingy if anything goes wrong, just go and get a good caterer.”

He again went and came after half an hour.

After three days I went for a ritual. Just like the first day, there was a meal prepared for many people.

At lunch, many people from village arrived and to my surprise, there was a sweet as a part of the meal.

I asked about it when I came back home to my mother and she replied,“You have to prepare a sweet for these 12 days.”

My immediate question was, “But it wasn’t a celebration”

And to my surprise she already knew what m going to ask, she immediately replied, “but then it’s a social ritual that they can’t avoid”

Here’s another incident, a few months back one of my relatives got married. The uncle and aunty were known for their behavior in and outside our family, but somehow they were always deprived of the love or care that they deserved.

It was finally their son’s marriage and they thought finally they will have a happy family.
Even when they had seen so many wrong examples of lesser fortunate marriages in this so called society, they had decided they will give their best to their daughter-in-law.

I even got to know that after one of the small fight between the couple before marriage, they had said to their son, “Sorry but that girl is giving up on the family and everything that she has, so we will give her all the love, even the part which belongs to you.”

Finally, they had a perfect wedding, aunty used to treat the girl as if she is the daughter-in-law trying to do everything to please her. The girl also used to tell everyone that she doesn’t feel as if she is at her in-laws. But God had something else written for them. And the marriage suddenly took a U-turn and came under the testing radar.

The aunt and uncle couldn’t do anything but cry for three days. The uncle even skipped his service for few days and to give him competition aunty had skipped the meals. Both of them being physically weak already had only one support – that was of Zandu balm.

But even he was not ready to live with them and used to die twice a day. The drama was unfolding more than a sad Tamil movie.

And in one of incidence, I told the aunt,
“I am going to the district place, do you want me to take you to the doctors.”

She refused, “Can you bring one of the items that we had distributed as a return gift?”

I was shocked to listen to that and asked, “Why that thing now when everything is at such stage? You should take care of your health first”

Her reply was, “It’s a social ritual. Only one was short and hence I couldn’t give that to Reena, what will she think about me?”

These are such incidences when I wonder that is the kind of socializing our generation do is right or the way of such places where importance to society is given more than individual self is correct. All these incidences made me move on a bit more towards city life. Let’s see who I do love more finally – a city life or a village life?

Why branding matters

Brandingbranding godWhen I was in Indore,I visited Omkareshwar, on one of the weekends. Before visiting this place I had read about it and got to know that there are two temples of Lord Shiva which are considered important. So as we reached there I tried to locate those two. One was clearly evident from its structure I could see across the river and as per books the first one had to be on the same side of river that we were standing. So I tried to locate it but couldn’t really find second one. There was one temple on the hill top. We went there and it was indeed a Lord Shiva’s temple but from its condition that it was in, I didn’t think it was that important. The absence of even a priest was supporting this thought. That time I couldn’t find any other temple so when I returned I searched more about it and found that the temple which we saw in miserable condition was the important temple. But when 1000s of people were gathered in crowd to see Shiva on the other (main) temple, hardly anyone noticed this even though it fell first on their way to the other one. There were so many priests competing aggressively in the ‘Main’ temple but none thought of being in this temple.

I thought may be the condition it was in was the reason for this. But it was for the branding, I understood only after I came to B school.I happen visited Varanasi two days back.

In Varanasi, which is known for a number of temples, thousands of people come in this season but mostly with the purpose to visit the Kashi Vishwanath temple (main temple). In the premise of the main temple, there are more than hundred statues of Lord Shiva. But there are three statues which are located in the center of three different temples which are especially made for them. These temples separated hardly by 15 meters. I visited the main temple and felt that the condition in which the Lord was, he was disrespected. It was very crowded too and hence everyone was aggressive to have his few seconds in front of the God. The queue to see the Lord was growing continuously. As I came out I saw another temple similar to the first one, I thought maybe it was of another god. We went inside to find out it too was of Shiva. The temple was in a proper condition and the priest even yelled at someone who tried to disturb “Shringar” of the Lord. Yet the crowd here was less.

Just outside this temple there was a third temple and this one was in much better condition and you would actually feel the calmness and peace which you tried to find when you pray to the god. But the crowd was null.

Being a believer in god and knowing few of the thought processes behind the statue that after a proper process of pooja god resides in a statue, I respected all those statues. I questioned myself; why there is a difference in the attention they were getting; may be the main temple had been successful in branding themselves. They got loyal devotees for them. They even associated complete Varanasi to it. For the temples who were having exactly same god and were created later, they were not able to give differentiating factor to the Devotees