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Role of HR post Covid crisis

Work from anywhere

What could be the role of HR in the post Covid scenario ? This is a question, which may be lurking in the minds of many people. I would state that HR could evolve their “Ten Commandments” post the Covid crisis is over and employees gradually trickle back to the workplace.

1. Job Security : In the post Covid scenario, most employees would be worried about their jobs. This would mean a lurking fear that their organisations would have lost revenue for more than a few months and this could result in job losses for many. So, the first duty of HR could be to make the CEO communicate to all employees how they plan to get over this crisis and assure employees at all levels that they would not lose their jobs.

2. New Workplace : The new workplace will have a new normal. It will not be the same place of work like in the past. Apart from physical sanitisation of everything, there would be silence and loneliness at the workplace. There is need to make people adapt to this new work environment through effective communication and counselling by the managers and leaders at all levels.

3. Cost optimisation : While HR leaders should try their best to save jobs, they could be the champions of cost reduction efforts in the organisation. They could engage with employees at all levels and enable formation of teams so that cost reduction is in everybody’s radar and the organisations are able to make up for the losses incurred by this pandemic.

4. Employee engagement : In the post Covid scenario, employee engagement actions become all the more critical. It is important to make employees adapt to the new workplace and at the same time realise that we need to continue to serve our customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders and all other stakeholders as we did before.

5. Work from anywhere : While the Covid crisis forced organisations and employees to adapt to the work from home option, it may be an opportunity for HR in organisations to enable employees to work from anywhere. This means no fixed workstations, laptops for everyone and they could work from any office or any place of their choice in the future.

6. Re-engineering processes : This is a great opportunity for HR to facilitate all the functions in the organisation to challenge all their existing processes and eliminate unwanted ones, simplify those needed and automate wherever possible. The shop-floor could also be digitised and automated so as to minimise human interface in routine operations and use employees for human value addition, which robots or machines cannot do like listening to and attending to customer grievances.

7. Rewrite the HR manual : Just like the Constitution of a nation gets amended from time to time based on the needs of the nation, this is a great opportunity in the history of the organisation to re-write its HR manual. It may be helpful to keep it simple, eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy and all paper work if possible.

8. Productivity : While many of us may not realise that India still has one of the lowest labour costs in the world but our productivity is not on par with the best in the world. This reset post Covid gives us an opportunity to rejig our productivity levels at the shop floor, in our offices and also in all our processes with suppliers and customers. For eg. is it possible for all employees to deal with all HR processes through their mobile phones and eliminate all paper work in the future.

9. Digitalisation : The ability to go digital in all aspects of work is a real possibility in the new workplace. Sales can happen online and service can be remotely handled. This means manufacturing can be digitilalised and automated and so can be all other processes. If banks can provide all their services through digital means so can all other organisations and this is the best time to transition and go digital, wherever feasible.

10. Employee Health & Safety : This crisis provides the best opportunity for organisations to rewrite its health and safety standards. It is not only physical health but mental and emotional health and wellness, which will get tested post this crisis. So , it is the best time for organisations to prepare for similar unknown crises in the future.

While I may not have listed down all possible things, which HR leaders could do post this crisis, I have focussed on the most important and called them the “Ten commandments for HR”.

Do let me know if I have missed out anything ? You can make your own “Ten commandments for HR” based on the needs of your own organisation.

S Ramesh Shankar

12th May 2020

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Relearning from childhood…

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Learning is a life long journey. I was sitting with my grandson, who is 7 years old. He asked me if I knew how to use Instagram on my phone. I said yes. He asked me if I could take a photo of his with the whiskers of a rabbit. I told him that I did know how to do it. He readily agreed to teach me.

He advised me to open the app on my phone. He then showed me as to how change the setting on the phone and then take a selfie as in the photo above. I was quite stunned. It was great learning to use a mobile app from a 7 year old.

As children, we are inquisitive and curious. We learn continually by observing others and things around us. When I asked him as to how did he learn it – he said that he saw my son doing the same on his phone. As we grow up in life, we possibly forget to be curious. Our inquisitiveness is buried within us. We feel shy to ask questions and thereby our learning retards.

It is time to look back and learn from childhood. If we cannot turn the clock back, we can observe young kids around us and learn from them. Another incident made me realise how simple observation can be of great learning value. My grand son was at home for his school vacation. We were playing with each other. Then he wanted to download a few games on my iPad.

I gave him my iPad and enquired which games he would like download. He glanced through the app and shortlisted a few. When I was about to download, he told not to do so. He informed me that every app has a preview. We should preview the game and only if it is interesting, we should download the app. It would otherwise be waste of money. I could not believe that a young kid of 7 years could be so knowledgable on how to carefully download game apps from the internet without wasting money.

To be honest I was not aware of it. This helps learn an important lesson in life. We all are good learners as kids. We observer everything around us and learn. We do not hesitate to ask questions when in doubt. As we grow up our observations skills fades away and hence may be our learning ability also diminishes. We are scared of asking questions when we do not know so as to hide our ignorance rather than learn from others who know.

It is time to reflect. It is time rekindle the child in us. It is time ask questions of curiosity from everyone around us including kids. It is never too late to change. It is also never too late to unlearn, learn and relearn.

Time to restart is today ?

S Ramesh Shankar

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Joy of giving…

I have always be in awe of our festivals in India. Diwali is no exception. Apart from lights and crackers, one recalls Diwali with fond memories because the entire family got together once in a year and celebrated together. We got up early at dawn and had an oil bath before sunrise and enjoyed all the sweets and savouries all day.

Today I got a new insight on Diwali. It is celebrated in India with two different beliefs in the northern and southern part of the country. In the north, people believe that Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after his 14 years in the forests and hence is welcomed back with lights and crackers. In the South, it is believed that Lord Krishna killed a ghost by name Narakaasura on this day in Dwaraka Yuga.

The new insight I got today is from a forward about the story of Narakaasura and the lessons for all of us. It is believed that Narakaasura is the “I” or ego residing in all of us as humans. When Lord Krishna killed Narakaasura, he eliminated our ego and released more than 16000 evils in us. So the next day on amavasya we pray to Godess Lakshmi to lead us to the right path.

Every ritual in Hindu religion and so in other religions has a deep insight for all of us. We generally get swayed by the rituals and start believing that they are of no use and most of us including me give up rituals because they serve no human purpose. I have been no exception. Now that I have all the time in the world, I am able to reflect and get new insights into these rituals.

Another interesting belief that we should clean our home and get rid of all the unwanted things. This is also symbolic that God wants us to give up all that is not necessary and take up the good things in life.

It is also enshrined in our religions that the best way to serve God is to serve the human kind. If we give more, we get more. If we are content with what we have, God always gives us more than what we need. This is the challenge for all of us. How much is enough – is a question difficult to ask and answer for oneself ?

I have admired people who give away without expecting anything in return. Recently another friend forwarded a message with a great insight. It was a couplet from Rahim. When Tulsidas looked at Rahim donating, he found his eyes looked at the ground and so asked him ” O great person, where have you learnt this amazing way of giving ? “. As your hands rise ( to give), your eyes look down. “. Rahim replies – “. The Giver is someone else ( God Almighty), giving day and night. The world has a misconception that I am the giver. So, I lower my eyes in embarrassment. ”

The best people I have met in life are those who give unconditionally. They are anonymous most of the times and recipient does not know that they are the donors. They give because they have a surplus and they are grateful to the Almighty for it and want to thank him for the generosity bestowed on them.

It is like the exotic orchid in the photo above, given my colleagues at work, which are blooming because of their unconditional love.

This blog a salute from my side to all the wonderful people who have made me what I am today. They have given me support, advice, money and love unconditionally. I can never ever return their favour in any form. I promise to give back without expecting anything in return as I bow in gratitude to them.

S Ramesh Shankar

27th October 2019

Celebrate what’s right in the world…

I have met many people in my life who are born to crib. They start their complaining process from sunrise and don’t stop till they sleep. Everything appears wrong in the world for them. Interestingly they do not realise that although birth or death is not in our hands but “choice of the way we live” is in ours.

Imagine a world full of possibilities. A world full of hope and aspirations. If one can enjoy the sunrise, the song of birds, the greenery around us, the smile of family and friends, life would be joyful. Why do many of us look at life the other way around. I honestly do not know why but some of us choose to be unhappy even when there are reasons to be happy.

I have always believed life is full of opportunities and it upto us to open them up for ourselves. Of course, there would be challenges along the way but if we are afraid of them, then life would not be wholesome. It is like a trekker to Mount Everest has to go through a lot of hardship – physical and mental but is always looking forward to scale the peak and launch her or his national flag on top of the world.

On the other hand, the world of cribbers is full of doom and gloom. They see no light at the end of the tunnel as they believe the sun would set before they reach there. They forget that the same sun will rise red and bright the very next day if they are willing to spend the night over at the tunnel enjoying the darkness.

I have met fascinating people around the world in all walks of life. They make every day enjoyable for them. They may not be the wealthiest or the happiest in the true sense of the word but they know how make life fun for them. Even when you are on a highway with a flat tyre, we have a choice. We can curse everyone saying “why me ?” Or celebrate the change of stepnee with a hot cup of coffee and a well deserved break on a long haul.

God has given us enough reasons to celebrate life. It is we who have not tapped all the resources around us or enjoyed every moment the way we could. If we recall our childhood, we did celebrate every day as if it was our last day on earth. They why can’t we rekindle the child in us to enjoy every moment every day.

Why do we need to find fault and increase our blood pressure rather than laugh it out and be healthy ? We always have a choice in every phase of life. It is upto us to live the way we want to. Why do we need to blame the rains for missing a game ? Why cannot we enjoy a steaming cup of coffee and enjoy the rains and take a well deserved break from our game.

As in the photo above, I have celebrated life during the lockout by playing badminton, watching record movies, serials, learning photography and doing what I enjoy most nowadays – writing endless blogs or watching the sun rise and enjoying its splendour in the hills.

The positive attitude to life and living is upto us. We can create infectious hope in people or pour water over high aspirations of others. Our positivity not only makes us healthy but also ensures that everyone is looking forward to our company.

Let us resolve to celebrate every minute of our life from today.

S Ramesh Shankar

17th August 2020

 

Living for others is a rule of “Nature”

I am a great admirer of nature. I believe we have so much to learn from nature. A friend sent me a small video on nature with a lot of life lessons and that video inspired this blog.

We can look all around us in nature and learn life lessons every day. Everything in nature is in a way living for others. The rivers run from the hills to the ocean providing water to everyone who needs it without asking anything in return for itself.

The trees provide shade for others while bearing the brunt of the heat of the sun themselves. We cannot imagine the trees asking for anything in return. Even in the monsoon, the trees are like nature’s umbrellas for us when it pours. The trees do not eat their own fruits nor do they consume their leaves. They share their fruits and leaves with humans and animals without any bias .

The flowers bloom in colourful ways to brighten the lives of all living beings around them. They spread their fragrance and allow bees to carry their pollen from one flower to the other without asking for any compensation.

The sun shines all days of the year for everyone. The moon is also around to help us wade through the night. Neither the sun nor the moon send us any monthly bills for their generously spreading light in our lives.

On the other hand, we as humans are living life selfishly day in and night out. We consume nature in all its forms and give trash and junk in return. We not only destroy nature in all its forms but regrettably are not concerned about our own future generations.

We may think we are happy if we live life full of material comforts. We may be happy temporarily. But true happiness is only when we make others happy. We realise that money cannot buy everything in life. It can definitely not buy health or happiness. Thus one of the best ways to lead a happier life is by making others happy.

Nature gives us opportunities to learn every single day in every possible way to make others happy. But we are so much engrossed in our own happiness that we are oblivious of making others happy. The day we wake up from this slumber, we may kindle our own conscience.

The most important lesson nature teaches us is that “change begins with me”. If we need to change the world, we need to first learn to change ourselves. Last month I learnt thirty one different ways of making life more sustainable every day.

It is like our gardener who designed this colourful art piece did not put her name on the photo nor wanted publicity for herself. Serving others is her nature too.

If each of us are willing to learn from nature, we possibly will give back to nature much more than what we take from nature. We will not only make ourselves happy but possibly make others happy too. Nature teaches us that making others happy because of us is the true meaning of happiness.

Let us learn from nature every day and in every possible way.

S Ramesh Shankar

5th August 2022

 

Ode to my most adorable aunt

Today I would like to dedicate this blog to my most adorable aunt Ms Jayalakshmi, who died at the age of 98 at Trivandrum. She was a human being par excellence. I have had the privilege of learning from her entire life.

Born to a humble lower middle class family in Trichy, she grew up in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka during her childhood. After marriage she settled in Salem, Tamil Nadu. She moved to Trivandrum with one of her sons after the demise of her spouse and decided to settle there for the rest of her life.

A person who taught us more by her silence than her words. An epitome of patience like her elder brother who was my father who was a reservoir of patience and kind heartedness himself.

She taught us invaluable lessons on life and living and I would like to summarise some key learnings from what I could assimilate over the years :

A. Live life with a smile always : She had gone through multiple crisis in life but I have never seen her cribbing about anything in life and her smile was ever present despite all the troubles in her life.

B. Compassion & kindness : In her lifetime, she may have dealt with many people who were unkind and unfair to her including friends and relatives but her compassion and kindness for the members of her family and all her relatives and friends was unparalleled.

C. Patience : Her patience was unlimited. I have never seen her frown or get angry at any instance or any person. Her ability to absorb the most difficult of life challenges with a smile was worth imitation.

D. Power of silence : Like my father she had this innate and enviable ability to communicate more through her silence than her words. Both the brother and sister taught invaluable lessons in life through their silence. They proved to all of us silence is more powerful than words and we often talk much more than we listen.

E. Listening : Her ability to listen to all generations was worth emulation. She had the ability to be affectionate and actively listened and acknowledged through her smiles and her eyes. This made us realise as to how important it is to listen than to speak.

F. Self dependant : I have seen her doing all her chores by herself almost till the age of ninety. She cooked her own food, washed her own clothes and even cleaned her own space. She never depended on anyone to take care of her even at old age.

G.Live for others : She sacrificed her life for the welfare of her family and relatives. She gave everything she could without expecting anything in return. A life dedicated to the well being of others is expression of love unconditionally and true service to God.

I can write a book on my aunt and what I could learn from her. But today, I want to pay my last respects to her by promising to myself that I will try my best to practise what she preached through her actions rather her words.

May her soul rest in peace. Om Shanti.

S Ramesh Shankar

10th September 2022

How do you define success in life ?

Success in life could mean different things to different people and that is absolutely fine. It is like beauty could be defined differently by everyone based on their own perceptions in life. While some of us may think that creating wealth is success, there could be others who define success as helping as many people in their lives.

Each one of us look at the world through our own lenses and define success in our own ways. In my view, an individual has a right to define or redefine success the way they want to as long as they do not decry the definition of success by others.

The word success is defined by us based on our own life experiences and perceptions of the world. We are born in a family which is the basic social unit of society. Our family moulds us in a particular way and we form our idea of success.

Then as we grow up, go to school and college, our teachers help us in refining our concept of success. This further gets reimagined when we enter our career as a professional or an entrepreneur. Our journey in life adds to this definition and we keep re-inventing ourselves as we grow up.

Our friends and colleagues also influence our thoughts, deeds and actions. Certain life events impact our world view and we keep reflecting on “ what success and happiness means to us in life ?”

As I said earlier, there can be no right or wrong answers to this fundamental question of life. Each of us have a right to look at it the way we want to and keep changing our definition as we experience life over the years.

The only caution could be that we should not look at others from our world view of success. A sportsperson may look at an Olympic medal as their ultimate success in life. A career professional may want become a CEO. On the other hand, a social worker may be interested in saving human lives in every possible way.

We cannot say one is more successful than the other. If we look at so many ordinary women and men, who have been conferred with national and international awards, we realise that success can and will mean different things to different people.

I would go one step further. Let us define and redefine success with every learning in our lives. It is evolutionary and has to be so. There can never be a beginning or an end to success. It is like excellence. Success is a moving target in life and it can best be defined by the individual only. The moment others try to define success for an individual, it becomes redundant for that individual.

Let us learn to experience life in our own way and define success the way we want to see the world. It is like some people may like to see the sun rise, while some others may enjoy the sun set. Neither of this group is right or wrong.

If you do not like to see sun rise or sun set but want to enjoy only the moon, it is your choice and you have the absolute right to ignore the sun and only watch the moon. Success is indeed ephemeral and it is up to us to make it tangible the way we would want it to be.

As in the photo above, success could mean “capturing the right moment” for a professional photographer.

We need to learn to live life in absolute and not in relativity. As long we want to compete with everyone around us and live life vying with others, success will always elude us.

Let us evolve success in life our own way on every single day in our lives.

S Ramesh Shankar

9th August 2022

Life is beyond brands

We all grow up in our childhood from different socio-economic backgrounds. Values are instilled in us by our parents, family and society around us. We grow up aspiring to do better in our lives than what our parents achieved through their grit and determination.

We realise that life is not a cake walk. As we finish our schooling and enter college, we experience the competitiveness of life. As we graduate out of college, we get clearer on what we want to do in life. Today, we have the opportunities to pursue what we want and aspire for. The world is an open playground for us.

We dream big and as we begin our career we realise that life is not an easy drive. We dream of acquiring all the best material things in the world, which we only dreamt of in our childhood. However, as we move on we realise that we cannot get everything we want in life the moment we dream of it.

Today everything in life is signified by a brand. We end up living and breathing brands. Aspiring from small brands to big brands is a natural evolution of human aspirations. However, in the process we sometimes may forget that we need to first build our own life brand before we acquire other brands.

We need to realise that brands we possess do not reflect our personality. Nobody in life remembers which suit you wore or which hand bag you carried for a meeting. What people remember is how you treated them and what is the lasting impressions you left in their mind as a good human being.

Human values are beyond brands. We need to realise that we have to first build our brand by living human values of gratitude, humility, respect and trust. This may be a difficult lesson to learn in life. It may be easier to acquire materialistic brands in life but more challenging to live human values.

At a young age, we all believe that the best brands we possess reflects our personality. We tend to believe that people admire us for the car we drive, the suits we wear or the watch we possess. This may be an illusory belief. It is natural and all of us have gone through this stage in life. However, the earlier we realise that human values are more valuable in building our brand in life than all the best materialistic brands we possess, it is better for us.

Life is a journey of continual learning. We all make mistakes and learn from them. This learning journey is no different. There may be nothing wrong to aspire for the best brands in life the day we have earned them through our own sweat and blood. But it is important to realise that the best brands we possess do not reflect our true personality as a person.

As in the photo above, this young girl is looking pretty in a simple white dress, which may not even be branded.  So is life.  You are not valued by the brands you wear or possess in life but the values you live and the way you treat people around you.

Let us learn to first build our own unique brand in life by living our values and then we may realise that all other brands in life fade away in the background.

Life is learning journey.

S Ramesh Shankar

23rd June 2021

Life is all about attitude & gratitude

I have always been wondering as to how I could define life in simple terms. The other day a friend of mine summarised my article and stated that “Life is all about attitude & gratitude”. I felt it was a great insight and so this blog is an attempt to understand life from this beautiful perspective.

If we reflect and rewind our life, we may realise that life is indeed all about attitude and gratitude. The difference between the best and the rest is always attitude. We can look at any walk of life from academics to sports, art to culture and music and we find that the best of talents master that area because of their attitude to learn and share with others. The day they feel that have reached their peak, their decline begins. But the best never rest and hence always conquer newer heights of excellence every day in their lives.

The second quality of masters of all crafts is that they are always grateful to the people who have made them what they become in life. They will never forget their gurus, parents or friends who were with them in the arduous journey of life before they become icons in their respective fields.

We thus can easily summarise that life is after all about attitude and gratitude. If we recall our own lives, we realise that the best people we have met so far have always had a positive and infectious attitude. They spread positivity through their thoughts and their actions. Secondly, they never forget the people on their way to success in life. They remember the people, who supported them through the thick and thin of their life journey.

It may be worthwhile to understand these two key terms – “attitude” and “gratitude” in life. “Attitude” is our way of looking at life in every way. We all have a choice at every stage of our life and almost every single day. We can choose to be happy, sad or mad. It is upto us to convert every crisis as a learning opportunity. It is upto us to be grateful for all that we have rather than keep cribbing about some things we don’t have.

If we start believing in ourselves and think life is a journey of multiple possibilities, then we have varied options to choose from. On the other hand, if we we think that life is an endless journey of despair moving from one crisis to another, then our life seems that way. After all we need to realise that everyone goes through ups and downs in life. There is always a sun rise after every sunset. It may be worthwhile to learn from our failures as much as we may bask in our successes.

The second term to understand is “gratitude”. I would say “gratitude”is our ability to bow in reverence to every single person who has contributed to our journey of life. If we remember all the people who have supported us directly or indirectly in our lives especially after we have reached our peak of success, it will help us understand the meaning of gratitude in life. While many of us are willing to share our success as our gift of hard work, we may forget the silent contributors, who stood by us when the world looked the other way.

If we have a positive attitude in life and are grateful for all that we are blessed with, God will keep us smiling always as in the photo above.

The essence of life is our ability to look at life as full of choices we can make and our eagerness to be indebted to the people who made us what we are today. The day we realise these two basic tenets of life, we may have arrived. There can be no peak we cannot surmount and no goal we cannot achieve in our lives.

Life is all about attitude and gratitude.

Let us realise it today.

S Ramesh Shankar

5th August 2022

Valuation versus Value creation

One of my friends, who heads HR of a large start up group  suggested that I should write about this topic. At first, I felt that I had no experience of a start up and hence may not be qualified to write. But later realised that life is no different than a start up in its own way. So I agreed to make an attempt.

Many start ups around the world are born out of a great idea and then the promoters convert that idea into reality and try to commercialise it so that they can make money. Most enterpreuners have succeeded in life this way. However, it is important to remember that not every start up succeeds and not every idea fails in the market place.

If we look at the Indian IT and services industry, they all started as service providers and are growing up the value chain. In the services sector, cost of operations is the competitive edge for the organisation. So , we have seen in our life time that many shared services have already moved away from high cost countries to lower cost countries. Similarly, IT services will also transcend to markets, which can provide the same service at a lower cost.

One of the reasons many IT companies have focussed on product development is because products create value to the customer and cannot be replaced by lower cost products unless they can create the same or higher value to the customer. This is possibly the reason why a high quality product always sells at a premium and cannot be easily replaced in the market by competitors.

However, in the start up eco system, the competition today is not to create better value to customers but more value for their own brand to later sell it in the market place. This is the “key difference” between value creation and valuation. Many start ups are vying with each other to create better valuation so that they can make a fast buck when the market is hungry and they can disappear from the competitive landscape. However, the start ups which focus on value creation for their customers are the sustainable ones and will always sell at a premium. In short, “Valuation” could be creating value for self while “Value Creation” could be considered as creating value for others.

I realise that our life is no different. Whether as individuals or as professionals, if we focus on our valuation based on our income or wealth, we are in the race for valuation of ourselves as a commodity. It does not matter if we are selling ourselves as commodities in the marriage market or in the organisation market place. On the other hand, if we evolve as balanced individuals creating value to our family members and society at large by contributing more than what we get from the communities around us, we create value and that becomes sustainable and invaluable.

So, it does not matter if we are a start up or an individual growing up in our respective space. We need to learn to create value to our customers or family or community around us. If we focus only on accumulating wealth without any value addition to others, we may fade as fast as we made an impact. The choice is ours always. It is upto us if we are interested in value creation or not. Either way one can make an impact. One is positive and sustainable when you create value for others and other is negative since wealth does not necessarily create positivity and value for others always.

Just as in the photo above, the time we spend with our friends is value creation as long as we do not evaluate it in terms of return on time spent with them. As otherwise, it would become valuation.

Life is like a start up. Let us focus on value creation and not be swayed away by the ephemeral cycle of valuation.

S Ramesh Shankar

27th July 2022

Choosing your life partner…

One of the most difficult decisions in life is choosing your life partner. It may look simple from a distance but grows complex as one experiences it. In traditional Indian families, the parents took the responsibility of finding partners for their children. This was based on horoscope matching and other family considerations. After all the astrological and horoscope matching process, some marriages clicked and others failed. This is when one realises that selecting a life partner is not that easy as it may appear.

Let us look at what makes it so challenging. We all grow up in our families and societies with certain value systems. While some of us, are privileged to experience different cultures and societies as we grow up, others may not be. This makes our adaptability to different cultures and personalities difficult.

If we look at the Indian system of choosing a partner for life – there are generally two types. In the traditional system, our parents put in the efforts on choosing a partner for us based on horoscope matching , astrological predictions and family compatibility as they see it. The other is when one partner meets the other in school, college or a the workplace and choose each other.

If I look back at my own life, I realise that neither the traditional match making by parents guarantees cent percent success nor the individual choosing their own partners ensures life long partnership for all. If this this the. case, we can neither say the traditional is better nor the modern is a recipe for success.

Then what could be the best way to choose a partner. I have all the questions in my mind and I am still searching for an answer. I would give my “Take 5” for building life partnerships. My life experiences teaches me that while choosing a partner some of the factors, which may help in moving in the right direction could be :

A. Mutual interests and compatibility : It is important for both partners to explore mutual interests and likes and dislikes. It is better to know what works and what does not before we venture out into a life long partnership with each other.

B. Family Values : While many may say that family values may or may not match. I personally vouch for similarity in value system as it helps in mutual compatibility. Family values is like the glue or culture in an organisation. It definitely helps to build relationships

C. Mutual respect : One of the most important factors which may help is mutual respect. Is is important to realise that the other partner is an equal partner in joy and sorrow in the future. We need to earn each other’s mutual respect through our actions and not our words. My true value is tested in challenging times and not in sharing joy.

D. Give and take : It is worthwhile to realise that we may not be able to find a partner in life, who is going to be hundred percent match in every aspect of life. Hence, our ability to adapt to each other is important. Our ability to give and take is critical for success in our partnership. First give and then take and not the other way around.

E. Financial independence & mutual trust : In today’s day and age, it is critical for both partners to be financially independent. It is equally important for establishing mutual trust through our speech and actions. Unflinching trust leads to trustful and life long partnerships.

My list may not be complete. It is neither a guarantor for success nor a recipe for failure. But, it may be worthwhile to try out these tips as I have failed many times and succeeded some times in my life partnership over the last three and half decades.

Time to try your luck when you are ready for it.

S Ramesh Shankar

15th Nov 2020

 

When will I be happy ?

I have always wondered as to why do I remain unhappy most of the time. I regret my past, crib about the present and dream about the future. I do not realize that neither can I change the past, nor redefine the present. If I only dream about the future, it is likely to become the present sooner than I realize it.

Life is a journey. We need to learn to live each day as if today is the last day of our lives. Why waste time in regretting the past, which is far behind us. Why wonder and dream about a future which is still uncertain ? Is it not a good idea to live the present to the full. Enjoy each day as if it was made to be that way.

While it may be easy to state the obvious, I wonder why many of us live life this way. We spend most of the time regretting about our past or wondering about the future. In this process, we forget to live the present. Is it worth spending time on things we cannot change. Is it not better to enjoy today and create a future of our choice.

The day I realise that my past may not help me create my future, I may be one step towards enjoying the present. Living life every day my way will make me happier. I need to realise that I am wasting my life worrying about my past or wondering about my future.

I also have to realise that life is not joyful if I live in relative terms. I need to learn to live life in absolute terms. I have to be happy and grateful for what I have rather than what I don’t have. I spend most of the time wondering why some others have more than me. In this process I sometimes forget what all I have which many others don’t have in life.

I need to live life on my own terms. I have a right to dream and work hard to make that dream a reality. Just dreaming is not good enough. The harder I work, the chances of my dreams becoming a reality is more. Most of the time I dream of the future and wonder why I cannot be like someone else. My life is wasted in envying others and feeling negative about life without living it and enjoying it myself.

We can achieve what we want in life, the day we are willing to forget the past, be grateful for the present and be willing to toil for the future. We could be happy and content in life.

I also need to realise that my life is in my hands. If I spend time blaming my family, friends or fate for my destiny, it is my problem. I cannot blame anyone for my life and the way I live it. This is my biggest lesson to live life happily every day.

As in the photo above, a child can teach you to enjoy life every moment without regretting the past or wondering about the future.

Today I realise that I need to live life one day at a time. I need to learn to forget the past, enjoy the present and create my future through my dreams followed by working hard towards my goals.

Time to start enjoying life is today. What do you think ?

S Ramesh Shankar

31st January 2021

Some things are best left unsaid…

Vidhur shastra says that we should never give advice to anyone, unless asked for ? I think its a brilliant piece of advise to follow in life. Today I heard my wife saying that some things in life are best left unsaid. This is equally a great insight.

We spend a lot of time talking than listening. We also believe in giving unsolicited advise to everyone around us. The need to speak is more than the ability to listen. This makes us more vulnerable in life. I have met people in life, who speak less and listen more.

The best people I have met are those who give you great insights just by not stating the obvious but making us realise it. It is like admiring a setting sun above. If you are enjoying a beautiful sunset and someone joins you, it may not be necessary to tell that person how beautiful the sun is as it is setting. Let that person realise and enjoy the beauty of nature by herself.

Similarly in life, the best advices are the ones not given but experienced. The expressions on a mother’s face makes a child realise their mistake . Is it necessary for the mother to scold the child by using harsh words ? It may not be necessary at all.

Similarly, a teacher can make a student more insightful by making their students realise their errors rather than scolding them. This experiential learning could be much more insightful than a dressing down in front of the class or the group.

The best bosses in the workplace do this very well. They do not try to verbalise your mistakes. They articulate your success well but make you experience your errors at work. They even tend to ignore genuine failures and look the other way as if they have not noticed what wrong we did.

The best friends in life support you by just being around. They may not necessarily be around you physically or talk to you often. But if they are around, you feel assured in life. Their physical absence or presence does not matter. Even if they don’t speak to you for months, you are not impacted. You experience them in life through their actions and not words.

Kinesics or the science of body language teaches us that more than 70% of human communication is done non verbally than verbally. We tend to focus on what is being said to us rather than what is not. May be it is time to learn the art of listening to the unsaid.

I have experienced better listening when I sit in front of the sea during a sunset all alone. The sound of the waves and the miracles of nature teach me more than the words of a thousand people on the beach. We not only listen to nature but sometimes listen to our own inner voice.

Let us learn life by listening to words unsaid more than those which are said. Our ability to listen to silence may make us wiser. We may be able to focus on what is not being said but meant rather than what is being said and not meant.

Let us learn to listen to the unsaid in life.

S Ramesh Shankar

29th July 2021