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


Relearning from childhood…


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


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

Love your parents and not their wealth

My son called me the other day and he was down and out. He told me he was with a school classmate, who lost his father that day. He was shattered and he had no words to console him. Losing your mother or father at any age is difficult to bear. Losing them at a young age is unbearable.

While birth and death are not under our control, what lies in between them is very much in our control. Our parents sacrifice everything in their lives to give us the best possible education. They provide us the best comforts even much beyond what they can afford. Then they are around till we settle down in our lives. They are our life long mentors and coaches. They live a life of austerity to make our life joyous.

What do we do in return ? We move away from home at the first opportunity. It could be because we get admission in a prestigious academic institution or due to an exciting career break. Our parents do not mind that as they feel that their happiness lies in our success and not the other way around.

We study well and also become successful in our career. Then our parents want us to get married and settle down in life. When they look for a suitable partner, we tell them we are capable for finding our own partner. Years pass by and neither do we choose a partner nor accept our parents’ choice. We almost make them feel as if we are doing an obligation listening to their advice on marriage or any other issue in life.

They continue to guide us and are around to support us when we are in trouble. They are the first to respond when we are in a crisis. However, we neither have the time nor the patience to spend quality time with them and enquire about their well being. Even when they call us, we behave as if we are drowning with work pressure and do not have the time to listen or call them back if we are genuinely busy.

Years pass by and we get married and settle down. Our parents get older and still care for our well being. On the other hand, we are so busy with the rat race of life that we do not have the time to even visit them once a year and care for their welfare. If we are in a different city or country, we think sending money to them on a regular basis is enough to show our love and care for them.

We do not realise that most elders today manage their finances well and are capable of taking care of themselves. They are not dependant on us. Rather, in some case, we may be dependant on them as job redundancies or inadequate financial planning may some times put us in a mid life crisis. We do not realise that they look for quality time with us and our love. On the other hand, we give them the impression that we love their wealth more than their well being.

Then one day, we lose one of them and we suddenly realise that the daylight has gone out from our lives. We cannot rewind life and take care of them all over again. It is like our final exams in school or college. Once we have done the exams – its over. Whether we do well in our exams or not will determine our future. We may not get a chance to re-write the exams again to have a better career in the future.

Life is no different. The earlier we realise, the better for us. At every stage of life, the definition of happiness may differ. But our ability to make people happy will depend on us and not on others. If we think we have the time, we do. If we think we are busy, we are. If we cannot find time for our parents, we need to ask “Is it a life worth living ?” What is use of a career or business that does not ultimately make you a happier person in life. We cannot take our career success or wealth to our graves.

It is time to reflect. It is time to realise that the clock is round. After 24 hours, the time repeats itself. Our life clock is no different. We are young today and will be old tomorrow. We are sons and daughters today and will be parents and grandparents tomorrow.

Time to reset our clock is now ? Better late than never. Have you planned your next visit to your parents ? Or at least pick up the phone and tell them – “How much you love them and miss them ? – you will make their day beautiful.

S Ramesh Shankar

14th Sep 2021

Living life on my own terms…


I have always wondered if it is possible to live life on our own terms. My life experience teaches me that we can if we want to. I have come across people from different walks of life who live life on their own terms. They may not be the rich and the famous or the outlaws of society. But they determine what they want to do in life and how they want to do it.

I recall my childhood. I lived in a Army campus and always dreamt of becoming an Army officer. Then we moved cities and my school was inside an Air Force campus and it was my dream to become a pilot. As I grew older I realised that I neither wanted to join the Army nor become a pilot. Then my father prevailed on me to study science, which I did at the graduation level. It is at this stage I decided what I wanted to and how I will achieve it.

I pursued my post graduation in personnel management on my own volition and after convincing my parents that this is what I wanted to do. Then I started my career in Human Resources as I started enjoying working with people.

Similarly, I hail from a middle class family. I had my own dreams and aspirations. I was fascinated by nature, loved travelling and visiting places. I enjoyed photography and videography. So even at the early part of my career I managed to live my dreams within my limited financial capabilities.

As I progressed in my career, I could buy my own second hand car in 1987 and then my first video camera in 1997. Many of my friends and well wishers thought it was a luxury I could ill afford. May be they were right but I had a dream and wanted to live life on my own terms, so I did what I always dreamt to do.

Although I bought things which I dreamt and aspired for , I was always financially prudent. I never took money on credit from anyone or took a loan from any individual( except for rare emergency situations) or financial institutions ( except to buy my car and house). Even the loans I took, I repaid well before the due dates. So, I realised that it is possible to live life your way if you are grounded and prudent about your spends.

My family and friends supported me in all my dreams. Ofcourse, there were some critics too, who felt that it was not worth spending so much on a car or a camera. But, they did not know that having food in a five star hotel or buying luxurious pens etc was not my cup of tea.

So, it is upto us to dream the way we want to live life and how we want to live it. Then plan your life and fulfill your dreams when you are ready for it. What you aspire may be quite different than what others do. It does not matter as long as you are independent and are able to thriftily balance your income and expenditure in life.

I do realise that sometimes we may end up fulfilling our dreams at the cost of more important things in life. It is here we need to prioritise for ourselves and make our own judgements. We may go wrong sometimes but as long as we do not depend on anyone else to sustain our living, it is fine.

It is fun to live life on your own terms and realise your dreams. It is gratifying to buy your first car or build your first home using your own savings. It is good to realise that no two individuals may have similar dreams and aspirations and that is the beauty of life.

Lets learn to live and enjoy life in own way from today.

S Ramesh Shankar

29th August 2021

Do I know myself ?

I am not sure. Every time I think I know myself I am wrong. I find I have discovered something new which I did not know. Life is full of possibilities and and I am no different than life. I do believe that human beings have unlimited potential and I am not an exception.

Let me recall the events of my life from my childhood. At school, I had never participated in any debate or elocution competition. My english teacher called me one day and encouraged me to participate in a hindi poetry recitation competition. I was nervous since I had never done so. But he said I will do well and that I should try. I did and not only did well but got a prize.

I was always keen to contribute my little bit to society. At college, I was in the first year of my graduate course. My chemistry professor nominated me as the president of the Rotaract club. I was nervous again since we had members who were senior to me from the second and third year of the graduate courses. But, I did serve the full term and contributed my best to the social causes, together with all the other members of the club and with support from all.

Then at the work place, it has happened many a time. My managers have made me volunteer for many projects and even made me lead projects where I thought I was not capable of. I remember I was asked to lead a SAP HR project, where I did not know much except a bit of HR. But It was executed in time and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

I had successfully completed my corporate career and returned to Bangalore to settle down and enjoy life. This time my community elected me as the President of the residents’ association. Again through the difficult years of the pandemic, there were many challenges but we did succeed as a team and executed more than 26 projects successfully during our term of two years.

All the above instances prove that I still do not know what I am capable of ? Every time I get into some project or activity or lead a team, I realise I still have some potential to discover in myself. We possibly grow up in a society where realising one’s potential may be left to ourselves. I was lucky to have teachers in school and college, managers and leaders at the workplace to enable me to realise my talent. Everyone may not be as lucky as I have been. But I do realise that I also may have put in some efforts to discover my latent potential.

Today when I look back at my life so far, I realise that may be I am still discovering myself. The journey of life may be filled with crests and troughs. But, it is upto us to sail through these challenges and realise our potential. If I give up when I am down and out or if I do not grab opportunities coming my way at different stages of life, I have nobody else to blame except myself.

The most auspicious day to start is today and the time is now. Lets just do it.

S Ramesh Shankar

12th August 2021.

How to make life and work fun everyday ?

I have enjoyed my work life right through my career. I worked in public sector, private sector, joint ventures and multinationals but always found ways and means to enjoy my work. I have been asked by many of colleagues the secret of my enjoying work under all circumstances.

I would say the answer has been simple for me. Every day I used to think that I will try out something new. We have so many issues to deal with in life and at work. We always struggle to find solutions to all the problems we face in life. But the day we decide that we can always try something new to solve a problem, life and work is fun. We may succeed in our efforts or we may fail. Either way, it makes work and life more interesting for us.

Many of us feel that we do not have the freedom to experiment. We forget that we are the CEOs of our life, so nothing can stop us from experimenting in our own lives. Similarly at the workplace, if we want to try out a new way of solving a problem, nobody is going to stop us. Most of the time, it is our own lack of will which comes in the way. Like Albert Einstein said “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

The “will” is within us and it is upto us to set the fire to try out new things every day in our lives. It is like if we cannot get up early for a morning walk or job, nobody stops us from cycling or playing badminton in the evening. Similarly, there is no problem at work, which does not have multiple solutions. Generally, we try one or two and then tend to give up. If we try out something new, it not only makes life interesting but fun too.

I remember I used to have a white board in my office to note down all the crazy ideas I got every day. I would then try them one by one as I could experiment or would request my team members to help me try out these ideas. Jokingly, many of my team members refrained from entering my room for fear of getting new ideas to try out every day. On a serious note, I found most of my team members enjoyed experimenting as much as I did and together we had a lot of fun.

It can be as mundane as ideas for a fencing in our home garden. My wife was fed up with shrubs outgrowing and the need to trim them regularly to keep them under check. She suggested that we try laying brick separators. I went ahead and explored wooden and pvc partitions. When we went around our community garden, we realised that the options were many. We could use stones or even old bottles as separators. So the choice before us is limitless if we are willing to experiment and try out.

Life is fun when we are willing to look at every problem as an opportunity to find innovative solutions. On the other hand, if we look at work or life as a series of obstacles to make our life challenging, then we may be losers. It is upto us to try and fail or succeed. If we succeed, we could celebrate and if we fail, we can learn and move on to try out another idea.

Let us view life and work as full of possibilities every single day from today.

S Ramesh Shankar

6th August 2021

Social Media & Relationships


We all live and breathe in the “WhatsApp world” today. Everything in life is like 2 minute noodles. We neither have the time nor the patience to listen or communicate for more than a few minutes. The social media is like an instant fix for everything in life today.

People started with facebook and then moved to WhatsApp. Now its snapchat and Instagram. We do not want to waste time writing a few lines to post on social media. We have moved on from words to pictures and reels. We want minimum effort but maximum impact.

Today if we look at our life, it is something like this. We post on social media and if nobody reacts or responds, we get negatively impacted. We may not react to what others post but when nobody reacts to our posts we go crazy. Like someone beautifully said – “You will be the most successful person in your life, if you follow all the advices you give to others”

I am reminded of a very old quote in communication which I heard way back in 1989. It reads as – “ I know, you believe, you understand, what you think I said. But I don’t know whether you realise that what you heard is not I meant. “. This was not only prophetic but well ahead of the time.

We need to realise that everyone is just like us. Nobody has the time or the patience to react to every post of ours. Most of us are members of multiple groups on social media. If we have the courage to post something and not worry if nobody reacts, we should continue to post or else, we should back off. Nobody is waiting in the wings to react to every post of ours. Neither do we.

Life is not different. We need to live life on our own terms. We need to be self dependant and self reliant. We can do whatever we want in life as long as we do not expect anyone else to do what we want. We need to realise that everyone has a right to live life their way. As long we are independent and harmless to others, it is fine. Of course, if we can help people along the way, it is great, if not let us not interfere in others affairs too.

While all forms of social media has helped us technologically to connect with people, it cannot help us express our emotions in real life. Meeting a friend in real or calling a near or dear one cannot be replaced with any number of virtual hugs or kisses or emoticons.

As long as we are willing to accept social media as a means to an end and not an end itself, it is fine. The day we think social media is an end in itself and will transform our lives forever, we are mistaken. Technology can at best be an enabler to human kind and not a substitute for human interactions.

Let us learn to communicate with or without social media but with real emotions in life.

S Ramesh Shankar

1st August 2021


Respect the person or position

Many of us fall in love with the position we hold in life be it in the family, community or at work. We think our position gives us status, pride and respect. While it is true that many people respect the position more than the person, but when you leave a position, you are respected only for the person you are.

It may be invaluable to realise early in life that people respect the person in you more than the position you hold. Position may come and go but the person remains forever. You may be the President of your country or the CEO of your business but tomorrow, you remain only the person behind the position.

Some of us get away with unpardonable behaviour when we are holding positions of authority. We may wield our power and get away with whatever we say or do. But as soon as we vacate the same position of power, people either ignore us or forget us.

On the other hand, if you are grounded and live a life loving everyone around you and respecting them irrespective of the position you hold, then people remember you forever. They remember the way you treated them even if they forget the position you held while you treated them that way.

Our behaviour is permanent while our positions are ephemeral. We tend to get stuck to positions and forget the person in us. We tend to believe that the position we hold will take care of us and insulate us from the repercussions of bad conduct.

While this may be partially true till we hold that position of power, it fades always as soon as we move on. People do not remember the positions we held forever. Positions are static and temporary while persons are dynamic and live their life time.

It is important for us to realise that people respect our behaviour because of the person we are. They may continue to respect us for our behaviour even if we move on from the positions of power as long as our behaviour continues to be endearing. The day we think position and power can get us everything in life and we can get away with all our actions , we may be misled.

This basic tenet of life is true for family, community, society or even organisations. We love our parents since they are caring in nature and treat us with love and dignity. We love our teachers because they have nurtured us, irrespective of our tantrums and never wielded power to guide us.

We respect colleagues at work who have always guided us and led us to behave well through their actions more than their words or positions. We tend to follow what we see in them rather than what they say or what position they hold.

Let us mould our behaviour and shape our personality to be loving, caring and endearing always, to everyone around us.

Positions will come and go but person remains the same

S Ramesh Shankar

1st August 2021

I versus We

Our world today seems to be revolving around “I”. The day we grow from “I” to “We”, we may have arrived. While it may look simple, it is possibly the most difficult and challenging transition in life. While it looks like a single alphabet to a double alphabet, it is is not as simple as that.

The first and foremost hurdle in this change process is our “ego”. Our ego prevents us to subsume the “I” in our thinking and move towards the “We”. We are worried all the time about ourselves and our family members. The first step could be to think of our community and our society at large, wherever we live.

If every individual is selfish enough to care for self and not worry about others well being, the world evolves into a cruel place to live in. The day we are able to sacrifice selfish needs to the larger good of others, our journey of transition begins.

One may wonder where this all begins. In my view, the family is the basic social unit of society, where it all begins. As parents and elders, it is our duty to inculcate the right values amongst children so that they are able to see beyond themselves always.

I remember my school days, wherein sharing our tiffin was such a source of joy. Today parents advise children not to share and think it is unhealthy for everyone. Ofcourse during the pandemic days it may be better not to share. But in normal times, sharing is caring.

Our schools and colleges also need to re look at the curriculum to promote the “We” rather than the “I”. Everyone is encouraged to excel as individuals whether in academics or otherwise. We need to possibly redesign our academic courses to promote peer learning and enabling each other to succeed.

I realise that countries which promote “We” more than “I” are better in team sports than individual games. Team spirit not only enables this crucial transition in life but also enables growth of individuals, teams, communities and societies, at large.

Even organisation cultures and performance management systems tend to promote “I” over “We”. It is time to challenge all of these and ensure that we promote team work more than individual excellence. I am not for one stating the individuals should not strive for excellence. What I am suggesting that individual brilliance should not be at the cost of others.

Lastly, as a community, society and nation also we need to promote this change. We need to enable each other to succeed every day in our lives. We need to support other families and communities to be successful. Even states need to enable each other to move forward.

The current pandemic is a great opportunity for the developed world to enable the developing world to face this crisis together. We need to remember that humanity will survive only by collective efforts and not by individual brilliance of nations.

Let us together resolve to move from”I” to “We”.

S Ramesh Shankar

10th May 2021

“Me time” versus “We time”

I got married 37 years back and live with my life partner and travelled around India and the world. One of the questions many people have asked me as how do we maintain individuality even in a harmonious partnership like ours.

I am not sure if I have perfected this art but I can say confidently that both of us have found our own paths. We are different personalities. I am an extrovert and my partner is more of an introvert. I enjoy driving, playing with gadgets and meeting people of different genres, while my spouse is the other way round.

Our ability to find “me time” and “we time” helps us strike the right balance in life. We both enjoy walking, travelling to places, yoga and music. So every day we have been going for a walk for almost three decades. We have been doing yoga together daily for more than five years. We have travelled around the country and some parts of the world and enjoyed our time together.

However, I do enjoy my “me time” exploring new gadgets and visiting business schools or engineering colleges to share my experience. On the other hand, my wife loves to learn new arts and crafts and write poems when she wants to express her emotions. This is our way of giving space to one another. Similarly, I enjoy sports, while she enjoys gardening and we are perfectly fine with each others varied interests.

We need to find ways to supporting each other in both frames. There may be times when we want to be together and there could be other times when we want to be left alone. Each of us needs to find ways and means of respecting each other’s time.

We may sometimes feel that our partner is not interested in what we want to do and that is perfectly human to feel so. Our partner may feel the same about us too. In such situations, good communication between us may help us prevent any misunderstandings.

It may be sometimes worthwhile to transition from “me” to “we” and then “us”, as we also need to remember that we are part of a bigger family and hence our ability to balance our time share between self, partner and family folks becomes important.

One of the challenges we face while juggling between me, we and us is our ability to manage time. We may at times get carried away by our own personal or joint interests and in this process may hurt our partner or other family members.

It is important to realise that “me time” is as important as “we time” to build and sustain a relationship. The ability to understand ,when and where which one is more important than the other makes one an endearing partner in life.

We need to respect others “me time” as much as we would want them to respect ours. Similarly, we need to find ways and means to have a “we time” together so that it helps us build and endure our relationship.

Let “Me” lead to “We” and also the other way around.

Lets try from today.

S Ramesh Shankar

15th May 2021


Sleeping under the stars

As a kid I hailed from a lower middle class family. During the summer days especially in a city like Chennai, it was very hot and humid. We used to run to the terrace and sleep under the night sky to cool ourselves. Life was blissful admiring the sparkling stars and the moon too.

Then as we grew up, finished our formal education and started our career, we split from our families and started life on our own. As a bachelor, I never had the time to go to the terrace to see the night sky again.

We then moved to bigger cities and the stars almost disappeared from the sky. It was not because the stars were not around but we as human beings had polluted the environment so much that there was a layer of dust and pollution hiding the stars from our naked eyes.

The air coolers and then the air conditioners entered our homes making us cosy indoors and we moved further away from the beautiful night sky. Literally we found ways and means to run away from nature. We neither got the clean air to breathe nor the sights of stars and planets.

We have become materialistic human beings. We are happy accumulating wealth and not realising that money cannot buy health or happiness for us. There may be nothing wrong in satisfying our material needs as long as we can afford it. But to forget the laws of nature and respecting nature can be catastrophic for us.

We realise how much we miss our connect with nature only when we visit a hill station or a forest for a vacation. Unfortunately most of the holiday destinations have also become as crowded as a city nowadays. We need to find destinations where we can connect with nature and wander around listening to the song of birds, admiring the movement of the clouds, the sound of the wind or gazing at the stars.

We need to strike the right balance between technological advancement and the preservation of nature. One cannot be at the cost of the other. While technology and development have definitely made life more comfortable for us, it cannot and should not be at the cost of nature. After all nature bestows us with unlimited resources and gives life to our living. We have a responsibility to respect and sustain it.

This pandemic is a wake up call for all of us. We suddenly realised that we have destroyed nature for fulfilling our selfish human wants. A symbolic illustration was recently seen by many of us. We cut trees from the forests and destroyed nature in the name of modernisation and today we are in need of oxygen from cylinders because nature may be teaching us lessons on sustenance.

Life comes a full circle. I would love to go back to the open terrace and have a good night’s sleep on a natural fibre mat under the stars. I would like to commit that I will respect nature in all ways I can. I will give back to nature at least as much as I take from her.

Let us commit to respect nature in all ways possible from today.

S Ramesh Shankar

15th May 2021

Sharing your emotions…

Many people think that is it mature and manly not to share emotions with others. I should confess that I was also very reluctant to share my feelings with others. I always felt I could suppress my emotions and get away with it. The first time I ever cried with tears in my eyes was only when I lit my father’s pyre on his death.

Today when I look back I feel I have neither been fair to myself nor to others. It is better to share your emotions with others all the time. The best teacher for us are our own children. Have we ever seen a child hide their emotions ? I am yet to see one. They cry or laugh without worrying what the world thinks of them.

We may not be very different. However our own values and beliefs may prevent us from sharing our emotions with others. This happens in the family, community and even in organisations. The senior members feel a bit reluctant to share their true emotions in the presence of junior members.

Today I realise that the more I am able to share my emotions, the more balanced and relaxed I feel in my life. The more I suppress my emotions, the more it expresses itself in psychological or physiological disorders.

If you talk to psychologists or psychiatrists they will say that most children are healthy because they never suppress their emotions. They are spontaneous and express themselves the way they feel inside all the time. On the other hand, as adults we regulate our behaviour since we are constantly worried how others will perceive us.

One interesting learning after working in organisations for decades is that leaders whose emotions are predictable are more liked by their team members than those whose emotions are unpredictable. Employees feel comfortable when their leaders express their emotions openly than they suppressing them.

This may be true for all of us too. Even as adults in the family, our next generation is more comfortable to interact with elders who are predictable in their emotions than those who are not. They confide their own emotions with others who share theirs openly.

It may be true that under certain circumstances, we may need to guard our emotions. For eg, we cannot laugh and joke around when we are attending a funeral. Similarly, we may appreciate and applaud people in public while refrain from pulling them up or getting angry in front of others.

Emotions to human beings is like blood to the body. The more it flows the better it is for us. Every time we donate blood, it is good for our health. Similarly, every time we share our emotions with others, we lighten ourselves and spread joy around us.

Life is all about emotions. The more we share, the more we care. The more predictable we are in expressing our emotions, the more endearing we are to others around us.

Let us learn to express our emotions authentically from today.

S Ramesh Shankar

10th May 2021