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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…

IMG_2188

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

Featured

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

The silence of the new workplace

New office

Man is a social animal. We realise it today more than anytime in our lives in the past. We are humans and we need to be socially connected to survive and grow. Loneliness can be killing and it can be the worst punishment for any person at home or at work.

If we recall all the days we are staying alone at home, we realise how difficult it is when we get back home from work. We cannot speak to the TV, laptop or the fridge. We yearn for people to be around us. It is then we realise the value of our family members, who are there for us all the time and surround us with warmth and good emotions, unconditionally without expecting anything in return.

Now, as we enter the new workplace after the lockdown, we realise that there are less people around at work. Further, they seem to be avoiding each other and hardly speak to one another. The scare of the virus is taking away our natural urge to interact with each other. What should we do in such a scary environ ?

We could have meetings around a table maintaining the physical distance, covering our faces with masks, sanitising our hands and still talking to each other. While we need to take all necessary precautions to prevent the virus from infecting us and we infecting others, we need not stop talking to people around us. If not anything else, we can smile at one another.

Here I would like to share a real life story to emphasise that if our intent is good and we want to help others no virus can attack us ever. One of my close friends is an orthopaedic surgeon. He was detected with cancer some years back and the oncologists had predicted that even after the best treatment he may not survive for long. This doctor apart from serving his patients volunteers his time training students, professionals and others on “how to live life ethically ?”. He has survived his cancer for many years now and has defied all predictions by his treating oncologists.

I am not for one saying that we can neglect the virus or the cancer, which may endanger our lives. I am only professing that if we continue to take precautions, we can still continue to relate to people and interact with them. If we cannot walk across to everyone at work, nothing prevents us from picking up the phone and enquiring someone’s well being. If our intent is good and we are there to help our customers, suppliers or employees or society at large, no virus can touch us. Our body will produce nature immunes to deal with any virus including Covid.

Having said that, a virus or cancer can attack any of us irrespective of all our precautions and good intentions. In that case, we have to go for treatment and deal with it like any other disease.

I would say the new workplace provides us a great opportunity to build on our strengths and get over our weaknesses. Our strength is relationships and we need to continue to thrive on it to get things done. Our limitation is our productivity as we tend to waste a lot of time in gossip or unnecessary interactions. This is a welcome change to get over those weaknesses and improve our productivity to compete with the best in the world.

A new office meeting room may look like the photo above. That may be the new normal and we need to adapt to it

I personally feel that if we build on our relationships and create the most productive workplace in the world, no country in the world will be able to compete with us.

Opportunity is knocking at our doors today. Let us grab it with both our hands.

S Ramesh Shankar

Addiction or de-addiction – choice is ours always ?

All the liquor shops were closed across the country during the lockdown and the lovers of the spirit had a difficult time.  They had stocked enough but it was not good enough as they could not anticipate the two extensions.  This may be equally true for the smokers.  While I am told that both alcohol and cigarettes were available in the black market but it was almost unaffordable for the common man.

The question I ask myself as to why people get addicted to alcohol or cigarettes ?  Being a teetotaller and a non smoker, some may wonder whether I am competent to write on this subject. Luckily for me there are many in my family and friends’ circles who swear by alcohol and the cigarette.  My wife has been a counsellor in a de-addiction centre at the beginning of her career.

I would like to reflect on why people get addicted to alcohol, cigarettes or drugs ?  It is not that people who are born in families addicted to any of these only fall victims to this addiction.  It is common people coming from all walks of life who fall prey to this disease called addiction.

We all go through crests and troughs in life.  Some of us are able to cope with it while others get stressed out.  It may be for reasons beyond their control or their ability to bear the stress.  It is not easy to deal with stresses of life at different stages.  As an adolescent, one tends to be rebellious and wants to prove to the world how one is different and can stand out in society.

As we grow up as adults, we are ashamed to share our stress with anyone and thus find it difficult to cope with it.  In today’s world, where joint families have paved their way to nuclear families and neighbourhoods are no longer a wall of social support, it the the individual alienation in society which is the root cause of the problem.  While we have become comfortable to go to a doctor to discuss all our medical issues, it is still a stigma to go to a psychiatrist or a counsellor to discuss about our stresses and strains in life.

In today’s digital world, human connections are diminishing.  We do not even know our neighbours leave alone distant friends or relatives.  We do not live in joint families and hence do not have parents, elders, uncles or aunts to share our agonies.  The virtual world is a make believe world and we do not realise it unless reality strikes us hard.  We are proud to think that we have hundreds of friends on social media but realise that there is nobody around us when we get admitted to a hospital to attend to us.

It is in this state of mind, we believe that alcohol, cigarettes or drugs can cure us of depression.  We imagine that a drink in the weekend or a smoke at the end of a stressful day will relive us of all pains in life.  This may be psychologically true for the individual concerned but the reality is different.  The best of alcohol or cigarettes or drugs do not have any magic properties to help us get over our miseries in life.  We take time to realise that we are the creators of own miseries in life.

It is our attitude to life and living, which can make a difference.  The day we realise that we do not need spirits to lift us up in life, we can bring a change.  All of us go through similar trials and tribulations in life.  While some of us are able to cope with it, others succumb to the addiction of these artificial support systems.  The spirit, cigarette or drug is like a ventilator to a patient in distress.  The day the patient realises that their life is over the day the ventilator plug is pulled out is the day, they are willing to fight back in lie.

The day we are willing to give up any form of addiction in life is the day we realise that we are the makers of own destiny.  No force on earth can make us happy or sad in any situation.  No stress in life can make us crumble like ashes.  It is our attitude to life, which makes all the difference.  The day anyone realises the harmful effects of any addiction is the beginning of their journey to freedom from addiciton.

I am not trying to be a moralist here.  I have nothing against people drinking or smoking.  What I am against is the belief that drinking or smoking can cure us of all our stresses in life.  It never can.  It is our ability to face a crisis head on and deal with it, which will make all the difference to our lives.  It is like a smoker can give up smoking one day in a fraction of a second when they decide they want. to.  On the other hand, a smoker who pledges to give up slowly and gradually ends up smoking all his life.

It can be addiction to coffee or tea as in the photo above and not necessarily cigarettes or alcohol.

So, it is upto us to decide what we want to be.  Every human being is capable of dealing with their own stresses and strains in life.  It is upto us to wake up one morning and say that ” I am in control of myself and I can lead a life of my own”.  It is then addiction can transform into de-addiction.

The day to start is today and the time is now.

Why delay ?

S Ramesh Shankar

6th May 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

The plight of decision makers in a crisis

Pond Heron

I have always wondered how difficult it would be for decision makers to make decisions in a crisis. The current Covid crisis is not an exception. Every country is trying to deal with the crisis in their best possible way. However the citizens are unhappy with the decisions being taken by their respective governments.

In a democracy, it is much more difficult to take decisions as compared to other forms of governments. Here, if you decide you are criticised and if you don’t, you are criticised. Either way, there will be people waiting for you to take a decision and then they are ready to pounce on you as to how bad a decision it was.

I sometimes wonder if these critiques ever put themselves in the shoes of those who decide. If there is a lockdown, they say livelihood is lost and if there isn’t one they say lives are lost. Those in governance are finding the right balance between protecting lives and saving livelihoods.

The beauty of a situation like this is that everyone becomes an expert on everything. We have common men and women advising us on how to deal with preventive health to deal with the virus. Whereas, even doctors and health workers are finding it difficult to deal with an unknown virus.

We have arm chair economists advising us on how to revive the economy and save livelihoods at the cost of lives. Some business honchos have even gone to the extent of saying that the economic downturn will result in more loss of lives than the Covid crisis.

The governments in the centre and the states are trying their best to decide what they think is in the best interest of its citizens. However, we all are restless and are ready to pounce on any decision taken by the state or the centre in our country. We do not realise that the people we have elected to take decisions supported by smart and knowledgable bureaucrats have more information than we have to decide on matters to deal with this crisis.

While we all have become public health experts, economists, administrators and futurologists, we forget our duties as citizens. We are the first to violate a guideline set by our local government on the pretext of being educated and knowing what we are doing. We go out to buy things which are not essential or demand for services from others risking their own lives for our comfort.

We do not realise how difficult it is for the urban and the rural poor. The situation is tough especially for the urban poor and most developed cities today run on the work of the migrant labourers. As citizens, we need to find ways to support these people during this crisis and not sit back and blame only the government in power for not doing anything. Are we capable of taking care of our security staff, our maids, our gardener’s, housekeeping staff and so on. If each of us commit to take care of people who touch our lives every day then the problem is simpler for the government to handle.

In a crisis, the most important factor to remember is that there is only one leader and all of us have to be diligent followers. Like in the Army they say, the word of the commander is their religion. So, we need to behave. We have elected governments at the centre and the states and we need to trust our people in power including politicians and bureaucrats to deal with this crisis effectively.

Let us learn to be trusted followers rather than quack experts in every field especially in a crisis. If I can put myself in the shoes of those in governance, I may realise how difficult it is to decide. I am an office bearer in our community association and can tell you that it is very difficult to deal with community decisions in a crisis like this. We have only 25 families living in my community. Imagine someone deciding on behalf of a billion people or even a few millions in a state.

As in the photo above, it is wiser to sit at home and admire the pond heron eating fish in your pond rather than sit in your arm chair and criticise the decision makers in a crisis.

Trust is key in a crisis. Follwership is our duty. Let us empathise and appreciate the difficult role of the decision makers by being self disciplined and following whatever guidelines are given to us.

Let us make a difference by being positive always and being enablers rather than detractors in a crisis situation.

S Ramesh Shankar

2nd May 2020

How to reduce employee cost without reducing employee numbers ???

I have always wondered as to why organizations tend to focus on employee cost reduction at the first instance under any crisis situation! While employee cost in most organizations especially in manufacturing sector will be a negligible as compared to material cost, the tendency is to focus on how to reduce employees in order to tide over any crisis.

    I was reminded of the famous British management thinker Charles Handy.  He once spoke in Delhi for the Economic Times summit and shared a beautiful formula, which can be depicted as follows :

                                              Business Success = ½# x 2*x 3$

Note ; # reduce employees by half, * double your sales and $ profits will treble.

He explained that most CEOs believe that in any crisis situation if they are able to reduce employees by half, their sales will double and their profits will treble.  He further went to state that as long as CEO’s remember that they could also fall in the half of employees who are let go, they would take the right decisions for their organizations.  This is the bitter truth even today.

     The Covid crisis will impact businesses adversely.  Many CEOs would think of ways and means of cutting employee numbers so that they can tide over this business downturn.  While that may be an easy way out, CEO’s may have to realize that employees win customers and employee loyalty sustains organizations.  With this premise in mind, I thought I could share ideas of how employee cost could be optimized even without having to reduce employee numbers.

    In this article, I will attempt to share a few ideas of employee cost reduction without having to reduce manpower :

a.     Employee Salary reduction :  While many organizations may consider this a taboo, it is fine in a crisis situation to reduce salaries rather than people losing jobs.  It has to start from the CEO and go downwards and not the other way around.  If possible, we should spare the lowest level of employees in this exercise.  

b.     Salary structure review :  This could another way of linking salary more to performance than level or designation.  Further looking at fixed to variable pay, review increments, promotions linked to role, salary bands etc.  There are multiple ways to do this and can be done without employees losing jobs.

c.     Benefits Review :  There are various benefits which organizations evolve over a period of time.  This is the time to review the same and monetise wherever possible or eliminate them.  It could range from leave, holidays, copay in medical insurance and so on.  There are again varied ways of dealing with this without impacting employees in any direct way.

d.     Review Organization structure:  It is the right time to make the organization leaner and more effective.  Invariably, in most organizations, layers get added just to create positions for people to be promoted or someone’s ego to be satisfied.  Every part of the organization can be reviewed and all unnecessary levels can be eliminated.  This will make it more efficient and responsive to customers.

e.     Employee involvement & engagement :  This is the best time to harness the full potential of employees.  Those who do the work know best where we could improve and reduce cost.  So, if we are able to find ways and means of involving employees in idea generation and execution, cost reduction can easily be achieved in different aspects of work in all functions.  We need to suitably reward employees for the same linking it to the savings accrued and the benefits to the organization.

f.      Hidden subsidies :  Organizations tend to build a lot of hidden subsidies which are neither visible to the employees nor to the organization.  It may be time to review all of them and again monetise them or eliminate them if they don’t serve the purpose for which it is created.  This could include canteen, transport, concierge, travel allowances etc. 

g.     Review office spaces :  Real estate is one of the biggest cost amongst all overheads.  Now that even the sceptics have accepted “Work from Home” as an option, it may be worthwhile to review the need for large office spaces and reduce cost.  We could consider 50% of field sales and service staff to work from home and visit offices may be once a week to submit claims or follow up on issues.  We could review offices, factories, guest houses and the like and rationalize the same.  We could also eliminate fixed seats for employees and make flexible offices spaces as a way of life. 

Employee will not mind any of these changes provided we communicate effectively and authentically.  Any employee will appreciate that it is better to take a cut in salary or benefits rather than lose a job.  If employees are told that all these measures will ensure job security for all, it will be highly appreciated.  The success of all these measures will lie in effective planning, communication, execution and rigorous reviews.

I thought about all this with only one objective of saving jobs.  I will be happy to consult with any organization pro-bono to plan and execute any or all of the above ideas.  I can detail them out for you in consultation with your internal teams so as to customize it for your organization.

I need not be paid a single rupee for this service.  If the organization is able to save jobs, my mission is accomplished.  If the organization saves employee cost without reducing its number of employees and is able to quantify savings, I will be delighted.

At the end, if organizations achieve their goals, we can find ways and means of contributing to my social cause of “Eradicating preventable blindness amongst children” and I will be highly indebted to them always.

I have committed to find ways and means of giving back to society in the second innings of my life and saving employee jobs in a crisis could be one way of accomplishing my mission.

Locked in because of the lockout

We always have a ready excuse in life for everything. When people ask me, why were you not able to complete a task, I may say there was a lockout and you know how you feel lonely and left out in such a situation.

We may blame the rains for coming in late to office or the sun for not going for a evening walk. It is possibly human to invent reasons for not doing something. But, if we dig deep, we will find, we do not have an excuse for anything.

It can be as simple as promise made to my kid to take her for a circus or as official as a commitment to send a presentation to a customer on a particular date. While we always find excuses to justify our behaviour but deep down in our hearts we know we have none.

While this may look simple, it is possibly one of the most difficult things to achieve in life. What I find interesting is that the simplest things in life are the most challenging. It may easier to fix a machine under breakdown than to change a simple habit of ours every day.

I learnt it the hard way to be punctual in life after I missed an important event in my school days. Since then, I have been punctual in all my personal and official engagements. What I find interesting is that late comers to work are never late to miss a train or a plane during vacations. This means that if we are passionate about something, we can make the change.

This is equally true in life. The lockout is beyond our control. It is possibly one of the best ways to prevent the unknown virus to spread. However, to keep our mind locked in and blame the lockout for that is not justifiable. I know people in life who will always find a reason for things going wrong for them. They are never happy. On the other hand, you find people, who are always happy irrespective of the fact that they may not have all the luxuries of life with them.

So the simple lesson to be learnt is that we need not feel locked in even in a lockout. We can find hundred and one ways of keeping ourselves engaged and innovating and thriving in this environment. I put my thinking cap on and got so many ideas to write about, which I never got during the normal days of the year so far. So, it is upto us to change any situation to our personal advantage.

If we believe the lockout has not only physically kept us indoors but also mentally, we have none to blame than ourselves. Our mental potential is unlimited. Irrespective of your field of interest or work, you could discover new things everyday even within the confines of your home. There is so much to learn, so much to observe, so much to read and reflect and so much to change.

The sooner we realise this phenomenon, the better it is for us as evolving human beings. If not, we get stuck like the snail in its shell. We may be putting our head in the sand like the Ostrich and thinking that the world has come to an end. We need to realise that we have sunk our head and the world around us is still alive and kicking.

As in the photo above, we innovated on the cap and the mask to have fun even during the lockdown.

Time to get up and awaken ourselves is now. Are we ready ?

S Ramesh Shankar

20th April 2020

Life is what you make out of it….

Srs

I sometimes wonder as to why the street side vendor is happy and smiling always and on the other hand, wealthy businessmen spend sleepless nights. I am also surprised as to how some people are smiling and happy always while others crib all the time.

Life is what you make out it. In every situation in life, we have a choice. We can be happy or sad. We can give in or we can stand up. We can face a challenge head on and move on or cry for the rest of our lives. Life is full of challenges but it is upto us to decide how we are going to deal with it.

Nobody or no instance can make us happy or sad. It is upto us to choose what we want to do. Imagine, one has missed a promotion in your career. Of course all of us feel bad and we should feel so as we are all human. The choice before us is to feel bad for a day or two and then move on and bounce back in your career or crib for the rest of your life and backtrack in one’s career.

Every aspect of life always gives us a choice to make. A man on the street is content and never looks at the millionaires and cry. Some millionaires are looking at billionaires and crying every day. So choice is ours. Do we want to be content or do we want to be greedy for the rest of our lives. There is nothing wrong to be ambitious and desire to want things. But once we get all that we want for a healthy and happy life, are we happy or are we sad ? That is question we need to ask ourselves.

I can share an incident which happened to me just now. I completed the whole blog and there was crash in the iPad and everything got deleted. Now too I have a choice. Should I curse my bad luck and keep crying or should I say I get another opportunity to write again and may be newer thoughts come to my mind. I chose the latter and it made me happy again.

During these days of the lockdown, all of us are holed up in our homes. Some of us are cursing ourselves that we are not able to travel, play or entertain ourselves everyday. On the other hand, I see many of us are exploring our best creativity every day and express it in social media and other channels. My spouse and me decided that we will do house keeping all over our home and pursue our hobbies and believe me it was fun. We disposed off a lot of our junk and have identified things we can donate, which we do not need anymore. So, life is a choice every day. What we make out of it is in our hands not in anybody else’s hands or even God.

Nowadays, I get inspired by the stories I read. I am grateful to each one of them who are exemplifying their bravery and sacrificing their personal lives for the welfare of others. You hear a pregnant lady working on a Covid vaccine and delivering that first before taking care of her kid. You hear a poor farmer giving away all his produce to daily workers so that they survive and not go hungry. All these people also had a choice. They took the choice of making others happy rather than themselves since that gives them more happiness in their lives.

I get inspiration from the common people I meet every day. The bus conductor who is always smiling even when the students get rude and tend to misbehave. Or the traffic cop who uses dance forms in the middle of the road standing in pollution so that he can make his job entertaining and bring smile in the faces of the passer by.

In every situation of life, we have a choice. I have voted to remain happy all the time and try to make others happy. You can also make your choice.

As in the photo above, I also tried my hand at photography, which is one of my passions and hobbies.

What is the choice you have made today ?

S Ramesh Shankar

12th March 2020