He seemed to be in his late Seventies...

...Wee hours of a sudden chilly Calcutta morning...A busy traffic signal...I had donned the usual ear phones listening to the Radio....I glanced at the traffic lights and started crossing the road on seeing it glow red, when suddenly an SUV (I used to be pretty good with the different makes of cars when I was young, but they suddenly started changing at a rate at which I could no longer keep up) while taking a U-turn slowed down a couple of feet away from me...I took a closer look to find an aged man tepidly crossing the road...His pace was slow and there were two reasons...One, he seemed to be in his late seventies and two, he was carrying a thick chunk of plywood of the size of a table top - pretty heavy and awkward shaped...

A spotlessly clean white Kurta-pajama, an Olive Green half-sleeved sweater and an off-white shawl...he belonged to a well-to-do family. Then why was he......? I crossed the road with him thinking that he would be somebody's father...probably of a girl child who got married and is well-settled with her husband away from her city or country....or of a boy...who made his parents proud by making it big in life...so big that it keeps him away from an aged father who has to buy his own medicines when he falls sick, has to regularly visit the market to buy vegetables, has to (may be) depend on a rickshaw, a bus, a taxi or a driver for a transport.

There is a saying in Hindi which goes :-
Samajhdaar ke liye ishaara kaafi hai 

which means, A hint is enough for someone who is intelligent...

Ami joto boli tobe...ebar je jete hobe...
Duware daraye bole...Na na na...
O je mane na mana     

A Leader should know how to manage failure - APJ Abdul Kalam

(Former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam at Wharton India Economic forum, Philadelphia, March 22,2008)

Question: Could you give an example, from your own experience, of how leaders should manage failure?

Let me tell you about my experience.
In 1973 I became the project director of India's satellite launch vehicle program, commonly called the SLV-3. Our goal was to put India's 'Rohini' satellite into orbit by 1980.

I was given funds and human resources -- but was told clearly that by1980 we had to launch the satellite into space. Thousands of people worked together in scientific and technical teams towards that goal.

By 1979 -- I think the month was August -- we thought we were ready. As the project director, I went to the control center for the launch. At four minutes before the satellite launch, the computer began to go through the checklist of items that needed to be checked. One minute later, the computer program put the launch on hold; the display showed that some control components were not in order. My experts -- I had four or five of  them with me -- told me not to worry; they had done their calculations and there was enough reserve fuel. So I bypassed the computer, switched to manual mode, and launched the rocket. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket system plunged into the Bay of Bengal. It was a big failure.

That day, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, Prof. Sottish Dhawan, had called a press conference. The launch was at 7:00 am, and the press conference -- where journalists from around the world were present -- was at 7:45 am at ISRO's satellite launch range in Sriharikota [in Andhra Pradesh in southern India]. Prof. Dhawan, the leader of the organization, conducted the press conference himself. He took responsibility for the failure -- he said that the team had worked very hard, but that it needed more technological support. He assured the media that in another year, the team would definitely succeed. Now, I was the project director, and it was my failure, but instead, he took  responsibility for the failure as chairman of the organization.

The next year, in July 1980, we tried again to launch the satellite -- and this time we succeeded. The whole nation was jubilant. Again, there  was a press conference. Prof. Dhawan called me aside and told me, 'You conduct the press conference today.

I learned a very important lesson that day. When failure occurred, the leader of the organization owned that failure. When success came, he gave it to his team. The best management lesson I have learned did not come to me from reading a book; it came from that experience.

Source: http://faisalmb.com/blog/post/A-Leader-Should-Know-How-to-Manage-Failure-Management-Lesson.aspx

Weak in the knees - Series

With this post, I start a new series,
About things that make me go weak in the knees....

It is my dream to have an entire cupboard full of STILETTOS.....

Aaj rang hai...

The first time I heard this song back in 2004, I was still in college or had just enrolled myself into my Masters and I vividly remember standing spellbound in front of the stereo set throughout the entire rendition and towards the end of the song, couldn’t hold back my tears.

The song is like a live story but with two sides. One side of it is being happily expressed by Sadhna Sargam and the contrast being narrated by Ustad Sultan Khan. I haven’t seen the movie hence I do not know about the situation of the song, the female voice is all excited but confused about a certain change in life she’s going through (probably that of being in love or getting married) and the vocals along with the accompaniments show that passionate merrymaking all around. 

A tuneful Shehnai ushers in the more mature part of the lyrics and the not-so-happy part that talks about “Mere mehbubi ke ghar rang hai ri”.

Just like a smile reaches a high-pitched laughter, like a choking throat leads to severe weeping, like all tiny things in life reach a crest with time, this song also arrives at its crescendo. 

Then there is submission at its peak.
Allah ka pyaara wo toh
Jag ujiyaara wo toh…”

When you pray and when you call upon God, you need not know the language, you need not know the religion, you just surrender (Strange, but you also don’t need to know how to surrender).

People die in the name of religion. The Crusades, The Jihads and the likes keep telling us that same story…but is Thanking HIM any different in any religion? Is crying in front of Him any different?

One of my favorite songs:

Movie: Maqbool
Vocals: Sadhna Sargam and Ustad Sultan Khan
Music Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Lyricist: Gulzar

Just a little bit more....

I know it's not fair to expect someone to feel someway for me, to expect that HE would understand when I don't even know where HE is and what HE is cooking up for me...but as I continue to make the same unfair mistake over and over and as I continue to stick my head out of the window trying to look at what is coming ahead, ignoring the lamp posts in the way, I can only sit back and think lazily about the strange number....ticking behind my mind and continuously whining to HIM..."Why me...When me (and louder still)...Why can't I see?"

It is like looking at a beautiful chocolate syrup dripping from an unseen container at the top and falling on the freshly iced chocolate cake, kept right beside a few dollops of heavenly-white vanilla ice-cream ready to be pounced upon and then realizing that you are sitting on the wrong side of the TV.

I couldn't decide on a Title for this one

I have been watching a lot of movies lately and quite a couple of them have been about real incidents from the Holocaust (Greek word, meaning "whole burnt". It was the bureaucratic, state sponsored persecution and murder of approximately 6 million Jews during the Nazi regime).
Infants to the old, sick to the healthy, rich to the poor, almost about two-thirds of all Jews residing in Europe were massacred during that time.
While searching for "What happened to the children?" I found this over the net:-
 In Holocaust Testimonies, edited by Joseph J. Preil, the survivor Aaron Schwartz recalls Plaszow and the slaughter of the Cracow ghetto:

"When I came to Plaszow the first day, they put me in a group where we were digging a huge grave .. they brought in trucks, with children, from infant to twelve years old. They were all killed .. when the children were brought in, they were shot, right in that grave ..
A little girl, a beautiful blond girl, sat down in the grave, dressed in an Eskimo white fur coat, was all bloody, and asked for a little bit of water .. this child swallowed so much blood, because it was shot in the neck. And then it started to vomit so terribly. And then it lay down and it says, "Mother, turn me around, turn me around." ..
This child did not know what happened to it. It was shot, it was half-dead after it was shot. And this child sat down in the grave, among all the corpses, and asked for water .. it was still alive. There was no mother, just children brought from the Cracow ghetto.
So this little girl lay down, and asked to be turned around. What happened to it? I do not know. It was probably covered alive, with chlorine .. I am sure, because they did not give another shot to that girl .."

Over one million children under the age of sixteen died in the Holocaust - she was one of them ...

Oh God!! I love movies...

At 1 in the morning today, I had this strange realization, that fantasy and/or period movies are far better when compared to any other genre movies, particularly Hollywood flicks. Well, here’s my take on it.

Warning: Do not attempt to watch back-to-back Hollywood movies if you are staying away from home and living in a hostel.

I mean, they are always EATING in films. WHY?

In case it is a romantic movie – They obviously eat out on dates.

In case it is an action movie – They are eating when they are not taking part in action.

In period or fantasy movies, they show kings burdened with the ruling of a country which is at war or the central protagonist (usually, for whatever reasons – unclean) on some quest and in each of those cases either do not get the time or the suitable environment to dine properly and even if they are shown to be eating food, it is usually a large, fat roasted pig/chicken/some other animal, which would be eaten in the most unmannerly of fashions and you would rather prefer watching it being eaten than wanting to eat it yourself.

Contrary to this, the other genre movies are ALWAYS showing the central protagonist or whoever is visible on screen gorging in awesome food. From the clink-clink of the cutlery to the greens and the reds and the browns of the food stuck on them to the steam issuing out of it followed by the completely satiated expressions on their faces screams at you – “Mmm, I am eating and you are either paying or staying awake to watch me eat (and probably feeling hungry at the same time)”. How’s that? Are these eating scenes specifically added into the movies for the Cineplex audiences, such that they feel the urge to munch and order for food at the theatres? I do not know.

The first movie I watched tonight was The Holiday, where the characters would eat occasionally and the second movie was Oceans Eleven – Brad Pitt was shown to be eating, in nearly ALL the scenes. While searching for the above picture over the net, I found a comment thread on “Why is Brad Pitt always eating in all the Oceans movies?”

So, what did I do as a result (of the terrible frustration accompanied by the massive appetite it caused me)? At precisely 12:45 a.m. I pressed the pause button on my laptop (just as Julia Roberts was about to devour something delicious from the white Chinaware in a Las Vegas restaurant), went to the kitchen on the third floor carrying with myself a packet of Maggi Vegetable Sweet Corn Soup and made myself a part of it.

On my way down the dark staircase, I met this love-stricken young lady, whispering sweet nothings into her mobile phone, cursed her for almost tripping down along with the bowl of hot soup in my hand on her plugged-in charger coil. She reminded me of having crossed that age when I could sit on the staircase, oblivious to the number of buzzing and biting mosquitoes swarming around me and going on talking or listening to my “Prince Charming”….

Oh God! I love movies, or do I?

আমি আর স্পীচলেস, স্পীচলেস এর শততম পোস্টটিতে আপনাদের স্বাগত জানাই।

এটি রচনা করার আগে আমি কিছু সময় পোস্ট টির বিষয় সম্বন্ধে ভেবেছি, আর বিষয় যেহেতু “বাংলা ভাষা” তাই স্বদেশীয় ভাষা তেই পোস্ট টি সম্পূর্ণ করব বলে মনস্থির করেছি। বিগত দুই বছর আমি কলকাতা ছেড়ে রাজস্থানে পড়াশোনা করছি, এখানে এসে হিন্দিতে একটু পাকাপক্ত হয়েছি আর যত বাঙালির সাথে কথা বলেছি, ততই অবাক হয়েছি এই দেখে, যে তারা বাংলা ভাষার থেকে দূরে বহু দূরে চলে যাচ্ছে। গতকাল টেলিফোনের মাধ্যমে আমার দুই বান্ধবীর সাথে কথা বলছিলাম, একজনের একটি প্রশ্নের উত্তরে আমি “ক্রমশ প্রকাশ্য” বলাতে দেখলাম যে সে, সেই কথাটি উচ্চারন করতে গিয়ে দুবার হোঁচট খেলো। কনভেন্ট স্কুলে আমরা সকলেই পড়াশোনা করেছি কিন্তু ভেবে খারাপ লাগে যে বাংলা ভাষাটি, যেটি কি না আমাদের মাতৃভাষা, সেটি’র থেকে নিজেকে বিচ্ছিন্ন্প্রায় করতে বসেছি ভেবে আরও ভয় করল যে আমার এই বান্ধবীটি একটি সদ্য-জাত শিশুর মা। আমাদের আগামী প্রজন্ম বাংলা ভাষা বলতে পারবে তো? বঙ্কিমচন্দ্র না হয় নাই বা পড়ল, সুকুমার রায় পড়বে তো?

মানছি, যে রবীন্দ্রনাথ সহস্র তে একজন, কিন্তু ভেবে দেখুন তো, যে সময় মিডিয়া র এত দৌরাত্রি ছিল না, সেই সময় তেও তিনি বাংলা ভাষায়ে গদ্য, কাব্য, সংগীত ইত্যাদি রচনা করে বিশ্ব-জোড়া ক্ষ্যাতি অর্জন করেছিলেন। আজ রবীন্দ্রনাথের দেড়শত জন্মজয়ন্তী উপলক্ষে এই যে এত ধুমধাম, এত কর্মযজ্ঞ, তারই সৃষ্টির মাধ্যমে এই যে তার স্মৃতি-চারণ করা, সেটি বাংলা সাহিত্যের প্রতি তার অসামান্য অবদানেরই পরিচয় মাত্র। সত্যজিৎ রায় এর কটি ইংরাজি কাজ আছে বলুন দেখি, তাও তাকে আবাল-বৃ্দ্ধ-বণিতা সকলে একবাক্যে নমন জানায়। উপেন্দ্রকিশোর রায় চৌধুরী বাংলা ভাষায় শিশু সাহিত্যের সৃষ্টি করেছিলেন আর সেই ধারা পরবর্তি প্রজন্মের লেখক/লেখিকারা অব্যাহত রেখেছেন। অবনীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর, সুকুমার রায়, রাজশেখর বসু, লীলা মজুমদার ইত্যাদি আরও বহু রচয়িতার অনুদান অপরিসীম।

এই স্বল্প পরিসরের মাঝে যাঁদের উল্ল্যেখ বাদ পড়ে গেলো তাঁরা এবং তাদের অনুগামী’রা আমায় নিজগুণে ক্ষমা করবেনতবে এখানে আমার এক বান্ধবী’র কথা না লিখে পারছিনা। নাম তার প্রিয়াঙ্কা, বাবা অবসরপ্রাপ্ত উচ্চপদস্থ বেসরকারী কর্মচারীবাবা’র কর্মসূত্রে প্রিয়াঙ্কা কখনও কোলকাতা আবার কখনও বা হায়দেরাবাদ এ থেকে পড়াশুনা করেছে, এবং প্রথম পত্র ইংরিজি হলেও দ্বিতীয় পত্র হিন্দি নিয়ে পাশ করেছে, কিন্তু তথাকথিত অনেক এই-প্রজন্মের-বাঙ্গালীর চাইতে অনেক বেশি বাংলা ভাষায়ে সে স্বচ্ছন্দ্যবলতে বাধা নেই, যে বিভূতিভূষণ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় এর “চাঁদের পাহাড়” আজ থেকে চার বছর আগে ওই আমার হাতে তুলে দিয়েছিল। আর সবশেষে যাকে ধন্যবাদ না জানালে আমার এই সামান্য প্রয়াসটি বৃথা থেকে যাবে, তিনি অতি অবশ্যই আমার মা, যিনি হাতে ধরিয়ে এই ভাষাটি’ র সঙ্গে আমার পরিচয় করিয়ে দিয়েছিলেন, যিনি এই অতলস্পর্শি সাহিত্য সম্ভারের সাথে আমার যোগসূত্র ও ভালোবাসা স্থাপন করে দিয়েছিলেন হয়ত সেইজন্যই স্বদেশীয় ভাষাকে মাতৃভাষা বলা হয় (মাদারস ডে তে আমার মায়ের উদ্যেশ্যেও এই লেখাটি উৎসর্গিত)আর সেই সকল গুরুজনদের, যারা কোনও না কোনও অনুষ্ঠানে আমার হাতে একটি-দুটি করে বাংলা বই তুলে দিয়েছিলেন।

আজকের দুনিয়ায় বন্ধুর বড় অভাব। ছোটদের হাতে তাই বন্ধুরূপী গল্পের বই তুলে দিন। দুটি ইংরিজি বই এর ফাঁকে একটি “চাঁদের পাহাড়” অথবা একটি “রাজ কাহিনী” অথবা একটি “প্রফেসর শঙ্কু” তুলে দিন। বঙ্গ সাহিত্যের এই মনি-মুক্তা খচিত সুবিশাল ভাণ্ডারের সাথে তাদের পরিচয় করিয়ে দিন। বড় হয়ে আপনাকেই ধন্যবাদ জানাবে তারা।

Looking back...

I have no regrets..because whenever I loved or liked...I always said so...
Whenever I saw others happy...I was equally happy,
Whenever I saw others sad...I understood...
Whenever I was hurt...my parents always said "Think again, may be you were wrong"....so I got sad and complained that they did not understand...but I also got a chance to better myself.....

I hope people who love, who have less hatred in their hearts and HE would understand...

Image source: http://v-imagine-l.deviantart.com/art/White-flowers-125098943