Ek Dooje Ke Liye

(Title translation: Made for Each Other)

As part of the second anniversary celebrations of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Assam headed by Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union home minister Amit Shah distributed appointment letters to 44,703 newly recruited candidates of various state government departments at an event last week in Assam.

What better way could there be to celebrate the second anniversary of the BJP-led government in Assam headed by Himanta Biswa Sarma than the distribution of 44,703 appointment letters to jobs in the state government.

Whichever way you look at it, it was a remarkable feat.

It is remarkable that the appointments, if these positions were existing in the organization structure of the state, could be held back so that the Home Minister could grace the momentous occasion of the announcement of releasing all 44,703 at once. That the state, and its various departments, could function without a hitch for the period these positions were not filled waiting for the Home Minister to grace the occasion of the announcement. After all, it amounts to 9 percent of the state’s employee headcount estimated at around 500,000 in November 2022. Since we can function without 9 percent of our employees, we need them back when the Home Minister comes calling. All at once. NOW!

If not, it is remarkable that the government created these positions overnight. Imagine conjuring up 44,703 roles and designations, and a work profile, even though these are government jobs, without there being a need. The best HR Manager will be tested in such a situation. In doing so, the government has reaffirmed its primary role in a free market as a leader in creating jobs in the government machinery.

It is remarkable that the government has created such a streamlined machinery that it did not even need the Prime Minister to come and grace the occasion of distributing 44,703 employment letters. It is remarkable that the government created a hullaballoo for jobs that were part of the state structure and would have been filled as per process. If they were not, it is even more remarkable that the government created a hullaballoo for appointing people to 44,703 jobs that did not exist, at least till those appointments were made.

Even more remarkably, these 44,703 people will get salaries.

In case it was not clear, salaries cost money to the payer. Assuming a conservatively low salary of Rs. 20,000 per month, it will amount to an expense of Rs. 894,060,000, or 89.4 crore Rupees, equivalent to $11 million, per month.

How much is that per person?

For a population size of 1.41 billion, about 64 paise, or 0.8 cents, per person per month.

Just as I was about to push this development out my mind as being insignificant, came the remarkable news that the state of Madhya Pradesh would pay Rs 1,000 every month to one crore women. My eyes lit up as I devoured the news.

Now we are talking. Go Madhya Pradesh. Down Assam. How is that for impact?

For a nation of 141 crore, it is almost Rs. 7 per person.

So, these one crore women, in addition to the remaining out of the 141 crore odd people in the country, will shell out 64 paise each for the salary of the newly appointed government employees in Assam.

Then, or is it at the same time, the newly appointed people in Assam, in addition to the remaining out of the 141 crore odd others in the nation, will shell out Rs. 7 to pay for the Rs.1000 to be paid to 1 crore women in Madhya Pradesh.

I hope I have got the math right.

I wonder if these one crore women were told that they will be paying 64 paise each to the 44,703 people who have been appointed by the state government of Assam. I also wonder if these 44,703 knew that RS. 7 will be taken away from the salary they receive as a part of their new job to fund the one crore women in Madhya Pradesh?

But that is beside the point. When on a mission to do good, one does not stop to ask for permission.

Soon, doubts came creeping back into my mind. Two schemes? With 28 states and hundreds and thousands of divisions of caste, faith, occupation, gender, age, height, weight, colour, food-habits, and a billion votes, is that the best the nation could do?

The issue was still rankling me when I woke up the next morning. I need not have worried. With responsible political leaders, one rarely needs to. The state of Telangana had come to the party. The visage of the Telangana CM smiled at me from the front page of the newspaper, announcing a slew of support measures for Brahmins. The neglected Brahmins, who had been bypassed in all schemes as they were seen to be at the top of the social pecking order. Based on the newspaper ad, the total amounted to around Rs. 250 crores.

So, now, the 44,703 new jobholders of Assam and one crore women of Madhya Pradesh, will need to shell out an additional two rupees to support the Brahmins of Telangana. While the supported Telangana Brahmins will need to shell out different amounts to support the 44,703 jobholders of Assam and the one crore women of Madhya Pradesh.

I was beginning to breathe a little easier. It was all coming together. As I dug deeper, I realized that from Brahmins to Other Backward Castes, from water to waste, from artisans to museums, from teachers to students, from housing to careers, government schemes cover a vast remit. The 44,703 jobholders in Assam, the one crore women in Madhya Pradesh and the Brahmins in Telangana, will be supporting these schemes by contributing a few paise here and a few rupees there, while getting g the benefit of contribution of 64 paise here and 7 rupees there from the beneficiaries of those schemes.

Can there be a better example anywhere of common people helping each other out so unselfishly, since they are giving without ever being asked, anywhere in the world? Is there a better example of political leaders orchestrating such interdependence anywhere in the world?

Isn’t it admirable that successive governments have been able to create a fair, equitable, just, rule-based, enforcement-oriented society where everyone can lead a life determined by his/her means, ability and desire, where people need to strive, think, work hard, take risks to create a future for themselves as they have a government that can conjure up jobs and schemes.

It is a gift that keeps giving; the political leaders I mean. With three schemes in three weeks, there is no limit to the interdependence that can be achieved.

The rest is history

I do remember the steely voice of the history teacher of Kevin, the little boy of The Wonder Years TV serial fame, droning “If you forget the lessons of history you will be condemned to repeat it.”

But this is different. Or, could it be the same?

Could it be that we are forgetting history, not merely its lessons, which is why life, providence, and our central government, are contriving to give us more and more of it?

This thought was uppermost in my mind as I clicked on the email received from the email ID “no-reply@sampark.gov.in,” with the subject line:

Witness History: Join PM Modi’s 100th Episode of Mann Ki Baat LIVE!

For the benefit of my overseas readers, Mann ki Baat is a talk show initiated by the current Prime Minister, held I think once a month, in which he holds forth on various subjects that he believes are relevant.

When I clicked on the email, I could see the smiling face of the Prime Minister with “Mann Ki Baat’s Century is dedicated to people’s efforts in Nation Building & promoting the idea of Ek Bharat, Shreshta Bharat.”

It even invited me to “be a part of history” by watching the “100th episode of Mann Ki Baat.”

Why is it historic?

I suppose because it is the first time that the 100th episode is being aired. The next one will be the 101st. Never before has there been, and never again will there be, another 100th episode of Mann ki Baat.


I tried but could not stop the goosebumps from bursting out.

My brain fogged over, yes, once again, as I started thinking about all the other historic occasions wrought by the PM over these past few years. Like the 99th episode of Mann ki Baat? You may not have realized that before the 99th episode was aired, there had never been a 99th episode of Mann ki Baat aired. We now also know that never again will there be another 99th episode of Mann ki Baat aired.


And then there was the 98th episode of Mann ki Baat. Never before, and never after. Historic!

You get the picture, don’t you? Or, should we move to the 97th?

It remains the responsibility of great leaders to show others the way. It is a relief knowing that our great leaders are not shying away from their great responsibility, of showing the path to greatness to others. After all, if being a part of historical moments is not greatness, what is?

A friend has invited me over tonight for a drink (or two). What would have been an ordinary evening of drinking, ribbing, and fun between a few friends now holds the promise of being a historic evening of drinking, ribbing, and fun between a few friends.

Did someone ask how?

Never before has this group of friends gotten together at the house of this friend on the 29th of April, 2023, for an evening of drinking, ribbing and fun. And that is not all. Never again will this group of friends get together at the house of this friend on the 29th of April in 2023, for an evening of drinking, ribbing and fun. Yeah, it is a first!

If that is not historic, I don’t know what is? And if being a part of a historic occasion is not greatness, again, I don’t know what is?

Last night I spoke to my son who is overseas. When it happened, it was an ordinary call between father and son, part serious and part fun, part questions and part answers, part concern and part advice. Probably the 100th, or 85th, or 120th time it has happened. Today I know better. I know that it was a historic 100th or 85th or 120th call between father and son, part serious and part fun, part questions and part answers, part concern and part advice. After all, never before has this father-son duo confabulated a 100th or 85th or 120th time on the 28th of April, 2023 at around 10 PM IST. And never again will they, either.

And what about the lunch planned with a visiting friend on Tuesday of the coming week? What was going to be an ordinary lunch between friends catching up on life after a gap of a few years and bouncing around ideas for work and leisure has turned into a historic lunch between friends catching up on life after a gap of a few years and bouncing around ideas for work and leisure.


You guessed it.

Never before have these two friends gotten together on Tuesday, the 2nd of May, 2023, for lunch, to catch up on life after a gap of a few years and bounce around ideas for work and leisure.

Will they ever do so in the future? Get together on Tuesday, the 2nd of May, 2023, for lunch, to catch up on life after a gap of a few years and bounce around ideas for work and leisure

Not a chance.

I wonder if I should let the media in on this historic occasion.

With the pace at which history is being made, future history students are staring at a lot of history to study.

The Magic of Cappadocia

My favorite travel writer, my good friend Rohin, decided to switch allegiance from Blogger to WordPress. Sharing stories from his latest adventures in Turkiye. Hope you can access it more easily now and like it as much as I did.

Travel with Rohin

Turkey is easily accessible from India. Direct flight to Istanbul and hassle-free visas make it into a tempting destination. If you have a US or Schengen visa, then you can easily apply for E-Visa and get it immediately. But do carry your US or Schengen visa when you travel. The swanky new Airport of Istanbul is huge and one had to walk quite a bit to transit into the domestic terminal. We were transiting to Cappadocia which is just about an hour’s flight away from Istanbul. The city is approachable by two Airports – Nevsehir and Kaysari. We entered the city through Nevsehir and exited through Kayseri. There was a few hours of wait at Istanbul so I used my ‘priority card’ to access the lounge and had a beer and my first taste of Turkish food…

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#AtoZChallenge: Genres–Business Memoir

Long-time blogging friend Jacqui Murray invited me to contribute to her A to Z challenge with the theme of writing genres with an article on the genre of ‘business memoirs.’ This is how it came out. Thank you Jacqui!

The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post 26 articles on a themed topic in the month of April, every day except Sundays. I find that too busy and decided to post mine ‘about’ once a month. Yes, it’ll take me a couple of years. Sigh.

My topic, like the last time, will be writing genres.

Business Memoir

To help with this article, I’ve asked blogging efriend, Ankur Mithal, for assistance. Ankur is the author of a humorous and personal take on office life, What Happens in Office Stays in Office(click for the buy link on Amazon), an insider’s account of what goes on behind closed doors in a cutthroat corporate office.



Connected as it is with reminiscence and memory, the word ‘memoir’ has a nostalgic ring to it. It is also one of the most popular genres of writing. Grammarly describes it as “a…

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Tag, you’ve had it!

“7208052999 on call missed a giving by balance Fastag Bank HDFC your check can you now customer dear.”


No, this is not a new language I am promoting.

Try calling my favourite HDFC Bank’s service numbers and I assure you that you will be able to hear, read, repeat a sentence backwards, as I was able to, after hearing the same message 23 times (OK I could be off by a few percentage points) during a 6-minute call. And when I say call, what I actually mean is “call” in the widest sense of the term. Because I did not speak a word.

The first time the message was voiced, what I heard was, ““Dear customer, now you can check your HDFC Bank Fastag balance by giving a missed call on 7208052999.”

And thereafter it all went south.

Now, mind you, this is HDFC Bank we are talking about. One needs to be pretty sharp and alert when one initiates a call to them. It is not for the weak. Your intelligence will be assaulted from multiple sides.

Like mine was.

Just about a minute into the call I was told that I was 3rd in the queue and my wait time was expected to be 1 minute.

“Good ol’ HDFC,” I said to myself as I gulped down my coffee waiting for a call executive to address me over the phone any moment.

I swatted away a few of the identical messages while I waited for the executive. I would have swatted away 4 or 5 of them when I was told that I was 6th in the queue and that my wait time would be 1 minute.

I had a suspicion that even though 6 was a bigger number than 3, the movement was not in the right direction. But good ol’ HDFC took care of that for me by telling me that my wait time had not changed. Solid as a rock HDFC. Never waver in their statements. More than a minute after they told me that my wait tome would be one minute, they had made sure it was still one minute, position in queue be damned.

After another minute my position had become 3rd once again. Reassuringly, my wait time was still one minute. The repeated message was beginning to get jumbled up by this time.

Another minute plus and, guess what?

My position in the queue? It was 2nd.

And wait time? One minute, what else? Surely you could guess that.

And just as I had begun to clear my throat in anticipation of speaking to a human, the call ended.

Yes, ended.

I checked my phone; the total duration had been about 6 minutes.

What is a loyal customer to do in such a case?

What else, call again. I called their number 1-800-120-1243, that appeared listed as ”Shopnservice” on my phone. This call was made at about 4:50 PM on the 9th of March.

And HDFC Bank did not disappoint.

At the 1 minute 20 second mark, I was told that my queue position was 1, with a wait time of…you will not believe it; 1 minute.

At 2 minutes and 32 seconds I was 3rd in the queue.

At 3 minutes 43 seconds I was 3rd once again.

At 4 minutes 58 seconds I was still 3rd.

And at 6 minutes and 8 seconds I was 1st in the queue.

And each time my wait time was advised to me as 1 minute.

Is there any wonder that HDFC Bank is identified as a systemically-important institution in the nation today. Solid as a rock. Wait time…always 1 minute.

Just as I was preparing to do a celebratory lap around the house for reaching the 1st place in the queue, the call disconnected.

Before I forget, Fastag is the universal stored value card for paying road toll in the country and can be issued by multiple organizations, one of them HDFC Bank, all linked to the national system.

Why would I need to call the Fastag helpline?

Because I needed to ask them to refund the value in the card as I sold the car on which it was affixed.

Should I call a third time?

My hands are trembling. Can I handle more excitement for the day?

“Tag, you’re it” is passe.

Update on 19th March:

The world is changing. Last weekend I received a call from someone (sorry I have forgotten the name) apologizing for the inconvenience, explaining that other customers also faced similar issues (not sure how that helped me?) and assuring me that the account would be closed and the money refunded soon. He was also quite specific and said by Thursday. Brave man! He asked if I could confirm once I had received the credit.

I was out of town and said I was not in a position to take down his number and make a note. He offered to call back to recheck.

Looks like HDFC Bank now hires people who can converse and even understand what a customer says. As opposed to people dumping their apologies and vanishing. Are they trying to take the fun out of banking with them??

I received a call yesterday from the gentleman once again. He apologized for not calling on Friday and asked if I had received the money. I check my account and voila, it was there! What is one to do now?

HDFC Bank does seem to have some sensible people is what I can make out.

Very Important Persons

It is time once again for the residents of the bustling city of Gurgaon to be given the importance they deserve. The realization dawned as I tried to ignore the intermittent whirring noise of an apparently big machine during breakfast. Me during breakfast.

Immediately after breakfast I went looking for the source of the sound and traced it to a JCB trying to uproot the cracked pieces of tar on the road just across from our building so that, presumably, it could be relaid.

“Right next to the liquor store,” I said when trying to explain the location of the work to a friend, also in Gurgaon, on the phone. “You know we live right next to this big liquor store.”

“But doesn’t everyone in Gurgaon live right next to a big liquor store?” he asked, apparently unable to place the location. “Anyway, once you are next to a big liquor store you don’t need to know any other location,” he added in jest.

I mentally crossed out liquor stores as a possible landmark while giving out directions to any location in Gurgaon. I could only say “Hmmm” in response.

“Do you think it could have anything to do with the G20 meeting scheduled to be held at the Leela Hotel in Gurgaon between the 1st and the 3rd of March?” he asked.

“No way,” I said confidently. “When the Gurgaon administration barred locals from stirring out of their houses when the President of India visited a meditation centre in town, was it done for the G20 summit? Of course not. It was for the deserving common man.”

“And when the Delhi Police forbade citizens from stepping on to most of the roads in Delhi when the Interpol conference took place in the city a few months back, where was the G20 summit then? Was that too not for the important people of Delhi and surrounding areas?”

“How could he even think that the government will go to such lengths for the G20 summit?” I said to myself as the call ended. There was no past evidence of the government bending over backwards for the G20 summit, even if this was the first time it was being hosted here. I go by data.

It feels good to know that the government has you, the common man, in mind.

Driving past the Galleria market in the afternoon, signs of the common man’s importance to the decision-makers were evident. A footpath had been constructed on the side of the road, all the way down to the road above which runs the Delhi metro. And not a footpath where one parks cars, but a footpath where people can walk. And that too without the need to dodge installations like electric substations and bus stops built for the benefit of the common man. Even more surprisingly, there were no vehicles parked in the no-parking area on the side of the road abutting the Galleria market.

“Do you think it could have anything to do with the G20 meeting scheduled to be held at the Leela Hotel in Gurgaon between the 1st and the 3rd of March?” My friend’s voice rang in my ears. How wrong was he.

It feels good to know that the government has you, the common man, in mind, even after the elections.

The reason we crossed Galleria was that we had to go to Camera Museo, the private camera museum cum exhibition centre cum art gallery cum restaurant which has made a name for itself as a reasonably eclectic gathering place in Gurgaon. My wife was putting up a stall to showcase the handmade stuff she makes and teaches making. 

It was a revelation. The footpath construction did not end with the Galleria road. It extended to the right towards Camera Museo. In a space where one would have struggled to squeeze through on foot was now a broad thoroughfare, with a metalled surface, with a neat footpath on one side. And even the section cordoned off for the protection of traffic coming in the opposite direction on a one-way road that has been there for several years, had been removed, resulting in me driving the wrong way on a one-way road without any protection. Anyway, this post is proof that I survived. Removal of the cordoned section without notice, random gates inside colonies being locked, what more does a common man need?

It is amazing when you have a government that has the common man at the centre of their development plans. And to think that some believe it might have something to do with the G20 meeting scheduled to be held at the Leela Hotel in Gurgaon between the 1st and the 3rd of March.

Even more commendable when you consider this was done despite Camera Museo being on the itinerary of the G20 delegates coming to Gurgaon, as part of the state’s noble objective of exposing the visitors to the culture, history and traditions of the state of Haryana. Always a good idea to include a barely 5-year-old establishment primarily displaying foreign-built cameras and photography collections to expose visitors to the culture, history and traditions of the state.

As is Cyber Hub, Gurgaon’s 10-year-old mecca of eateries and drinkeries juxtaposed with the thick jungle of modern office towers of Cyber City, that visitors often use the “could be anywhere in the world” remark for. If this is not Haryanvi culture, history and tradition, what is? Inspired choice.

We did not swing by Cyber Hub but I am certain that roads and footpaths in the area would have been spruced up for the benefit of the common man and not for the G20 meeting scheduled to be held at the Leela Hotel in Gurgaon between the 1st and the 3rd of March?

As are the roads to the Sultanpur Bird Park. Not one, but three of them; roads I mean, stated by the Gurugram deputy commissioner (DC) Nishant Kumar Yadav. Who knows which way the common man might go? Yadav said, “The road will be ready by Monday and this will bring huge relief to commuters.”

He said it in so many words. It is for us, the commuters, the common people.

But I am surprised, even disappointed, why any of the many lush golf courses around Gurgaon, or the well-stocked modern liquor stores that are just a stone’s throw away from each person in the city, or the brightly lit shopping malls lining the major roads, have not been included for exposing the guests to the culture, history and traditions of the state of Haryana to.

The G20 folks are certainly a lucky bunch. They will get to visit a city at its best, lovingly spruced up for the common men and women who live and work here.

It is good to note that as members of a proud and ancient civilization, we are doing the right thing by our citizens, without worrying much about the G20 meeting scheduled to be held at the Leela Hotel in Gurgaon between the 1st and the 3rd of March or the President visiting a meditation centre in Gurgaon or an Interpol conference being held in Delhi.

Enough is not enough

One cannot change the past.

But you did not need me to tell you that.

The decisions we take today will influence our future.

That neither.

A lone gunman killed six people last week in northern Mississippi, including his ex-wife and stepfather.

What could the authorities have done?

Could any decision taken by any of the authorities after this incident have made any difference to the shooting at Michigan State University in East Lansing on the 13th of February in which four people died, including the shooter?

What could the authorities have done?

Could any decision taken by them after this incident have made any difference to the seven people who died when a man opened fire at two farms in Half Moon Bay, California on the 13th of January?

Obviously, no. Each successive event happened in the past.

On 8th July, 2003, a man opened fire at his workplace in Meridien, Mississippi, killing six and wounding eight before committing suicide.

What could the authorities have done?

Should someone have taken a decision then that would have prevented a 23-year-old student from killing thirty-two students and teachers at Virginia Tech, and wounding seventeen others on 16th April, 2007?

What could the authorities have done?

Should someone have taken a decision after this event that would have made it difficult for a 20-year old to kill his mother before shooting and killing twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, before committing suicide on 14th December, 2012?

Should someone have taken a decision after this tragedy that would have prevented the East Lansing tragedy on the 13th of February, 2023, or the norther Mississippi incident on 16th February, 2023?

Who can say? We cannot see the future, can we? We can only take decisions for the future.

But decisions have been taken. People can carry arms.

And we can give homilies.

“Enough,” said the President of the United States.

Presumably someone else, probably many, would have said ‘Enough” on 8th July, 2003 in Meridien, Mississippi, and on 16th April, 2007 at Virginia Tech and on 14th December, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

What other decision could have been taken?

Make it mandatory for children and adults to move around in full armour as they are not safe at home, or at school, or in a public place?

Guns and assault rifles are failing to protect people, so should we upgrade the personal armament to Sherman tanks and F-22s?

Take away guns?

Who knows what is the right thing to do. Maybe a different decision taken a hundred years ago would have led to worse outcomes.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, in early February 2023, the body of a young woman suspected to have been strangled by her boyfriend is found in a fridge in a restaurant owned by the boyfriend’s family, apparently to clear the way for his marriage to another woman.

What could the authorities, or anyone, have done?

Could any action taken by anyone have prevented, in late 2022, a woman from being strangled to death by her live-in partner, body sawed into 35 pieces, stored in a fridge (where else!) before the pieces were dumped in a jungle over several days?

What could the authorities, or anyone, have done? Obviously, nothing, apart from possibly trying refrigerators as accomplices in crimes against women. The second incident happened before the first one.

The brutal rape and murder of a young woman in 2012 in Delhi, commonly known as the Nirbhaya case, shook a population inured to crimes against women.  

Should someone have taken a decision then that would have prevented another gruesome incident from happening in Mumbai in August 2013?

Who can say? We cannot see the future, can we? We can only take decisions for the future.

But, who says decisions were not taken? The government painted autos pink and launched a women-only bank. Private companies introduced a women-only washing powder and a financial advisory service only for women.

And we gave homilies.

Mostly saying “women are precious.” Like things.

What other decision could have been taken?

Like addressing parochial attitudes?

Like addressing parental differentiation between a girl and a boy during upbringing?

Who knows what is the right thing to do. Maybe a different decision taken a hundred years ago would have led to worse outcomes.

But it is certainly not a good advertisement for the society we have created.

Top Ten Things Not to Do if You Want to Remain an Unhappy Grump

Satire, as I like it!

Fiction Favorites

Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

The inspiration for this list is my friend Tom. He sent me an e-mail with a list of ten things to do to be happy. Of course, my schtick is “things not to do,” so I turned it around a little. I hope you enjoy the list.

Top Ten Things Not to Do if You Want to Remain an Unhappy Grump

10 If you want to remain unhappy, do not take care of your health. If you don’t take care at best, you’ll have a lot to complain about. At worst, we will all be glad to be rid of you. (Not a nice thing to say at the memorial service, eh, Ralph?)

9 If you want to remain unhappy, do not engage in a hobby that you are passionate about. If you don’t engage, at best, you’ll have nothing to talk about with others…

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New Book – Organizational Development Essentials

I am happy to announce the release of my new book: “Organizational Development Essentials You Always Wanted to Know.”

This book is a ready reckoner for people who would like to know more about the subject of Organizational Development (OD) but do not know where to start.

It seeks to provide an understanding of the still relatively new and evolving discipline along with its key characteristics, core values, and goals. In order that it is not confused with some other disciplines like Change Management and Human Resource Management, a distinction is also drawn between them.

The book builds the theory of OD around the concept of constant change and suggests that organizations need to move from change that is thrust upon them to change that is planned, with the help of OD interventions.

The book also discusses the 5 stages of OD interventions – Entry, Diagnosis, Implementation, Evaluation, and Institutionalization in detail. The discussion is rounded off by discussing the OD practitioner’s core competencies, skills, ethical issues, and knowledge required as well as the expectations the organization has.

The book is an ideal pick for managers and leaders in organizations who wish to acquaint themselves with all the aspects of OD. It will be a useful guidebook for students and help them explore the field of OD for a prospective career.

This book is produced in collaboration with Vibrant Publishers and constitutes a part of their Self-Learning Management Series designed to help students, managers, career switchers, and entrepreneurs learn essential management lessons.

As a reminder, my earlier books, that also appear on the top right section of this blog, are:

a collection of satirical stories set in the workplace,


a detailed guide to the world of business process outsourcing (BPO).

Thanks to the valuable insights provided by my longtime blogging friend Jacqui Murray on her blog, the URL behind these images should take you directly to your local Amazon bookstore where you can know more about the book and, of course, buy it if you find it interesting.

If you get to read any of them, please do try and leave your comment/review/feedback either on this post or on the online bookstore where you bought it.

Thank you!

Return of the Native

It has been an open secret all these years.

One that the Microsofts, Citibanks and Googles of the world, as well as the Londons, Singapores and Dubais, are unlikely to ever catch on to.

That Indians migrate overseas for the well-being and development of the nation, India, and not for seeking better opportunities for themselves and prospering in a jurisdiction with equal opportunity and an effective rule of law.

The secret came to light during the speeches made by leaders at the recently concluded Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, or Overseas (or Non-resident) Indians Day when they exhorted NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) to do their duty for the nation. The nation that allowed them to go forth and succeed. You don’t get such opportunities in many places. In countries like the US, Sweden and New Zealand, one could even contemplate staying back and succeeding.

Held on the 9th of January, it is now one of the key events in the Indian national calendar, and a pivotal strategy in the nation’s development ever since independence, even though the official marking of the day only began in 2003.

The day chosen is the return date of arguably the nations’s most famous overseas Indian, Mahatma Gandhi, from South Africa in 1915. Gandhi had become an NRI in 1893 to do service to the nation, by representing Dada Abdullah Jhaveri, the Durban-based private merchant of Indian origin, in a legal matter, as a lawyer. It is another matter that, stung by the treatment meted out to him by the British government, and to Indians in South Africa in general, he stayed on to fight for the rights of the Indian community, returning to India only in 1915.

The day celebrates the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India by asking them to contribute to development. It seeks to strengthen the bond between India and the global Indian community. It is a day celebrated with great pride and enthusiasm by the government as well as the diaspora, the ones who get invited to attend.

Who exactly is an NRI?

The narrow definition is an Indian citizen residing overseas.

The broad definition includes a citizen of any country other than Bangladesh or Pakistan who had (a) at any time held Indian passport or (b) he or either of his parents or any of his grandparents was a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955 or (c) the person is a spouse of an Indian citizen or a person referred to in (a) or (b).

Phew! Anyone left? That is broad as broad gets.

To keep things simple, the broad section of the definition was carved out into a separate category known as a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) which was later merged with another category known as the Overseas Citizen of Indian Origin (OCI) created later for the same reason – simplicity.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the official theme of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2023 was “Diaspora: Reliable Partners for India’s Progress in Amrit Kaal.” The theme focuses on the importance of the Indian diaspora in the development of the country. It is important to note that for every edition a new theme is chosen to celebrate the day.

Undoubtedly a staggering amount of effort must be going into developing the theme for such an important event every year, or every two years now since 2015!

The results are visible. The theme for the virtual event in 2021 was “Contributing to Atmanirbhar Bharat”.

See what I mean.

In order to fully appreciate the effort and creativity, as well as the wide subject coverage while determining the theme of each edition, it is necessary to go further back.

For the 2019 edition, held in Varanasi, in the Prime Minister’s electoral constituency, the theme was the out of the ordinary “Role of Indian Diaspora in building New India”.

This was a revolutionary change from the “Redefining Engagement with the Indian Diaspora” that had been agreed upon as the theme for the 2017 edition hosted by Bengaluru.

I will not be surprised if the topmost minds in the country, or in any of the 110 countries where NRIs live, have already put on their thinking caps and are hard at work to decide the theme for the next version of the event scheduled for 2025.

At the latest edition, Pravasi Bhartiya Samman awards were conferred by the President to chosen NRIs for their distinguished service to India as well as their countries of residence. It was not immediately clear if the country of residence agreed that the service provided to them was, indeed, distinguished.

The Prime Minister commented on people emigrating in earlier years owing to the stifling policies of previous governments run by other political parties and marveled at the resilience of NRIs as they continued to emigrate owing to the stifling policies of a new government and a new party.

I went into a trance listening to the PM and found myself fondly recollecting the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in the Prime Minster’s electoral constituency in 2019. Inaugurating it he had said, “People of Indian origin are in leadership roles in country, such as Mauritius, Portugal and Ireland.” To put this in perspective, Shri Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, the PM of Mauritius, a person of Indian origin, was the chief guest for the edition.

I had swelled with pride at the thought of how we would never let such a thing happen in India. We will never allow a person of any foreign origin to even settle down peacefully, leave alone handling a public office. It is a testament to the tenacity and courage of the diaspora, I had added to myself, that they have been able to assume leadership roles in other nations who did not have ancient civilizations they had to protect from the corrupting influence of foreigners.

He even sought out the ‘hotel motel Patel wallas’ who run more than half of America’s motels and suggested, “Whenever you get a guest in your hotel or motel, why don’t you put a few slides of India on TV. When the guests turn on the TV they will be able to see what India is.”

I am not privy to the impact this had on the business of the ‘hotel motel Patel wallas’ but it has revolutionized business in India. Each time someone in India switches on his South Korean TV, he/she gets to view, for free, a one-minute video on the achievements of the nation. Whenever someone sits in a Japanese car, the display panels are all aglow with Japanese script. Only after a minute they transition to English or Hindi. No extra charge.

His appeal to every NRI to persuade five non-Indian families to visit India with a visa on arrival waiting for them, seems to have been taken up widely. Foreign tourist arrivals in 2019 went up by almost 3.5% over 2018. In each of the previous 10 years, they had been going up by a larger percentage over the previous year. Isn’t it unfortunate that we don’t have Italian neighbours asking us to visit Italy with a visa on arrival waiting for us instead of waiting in the long queues for a Schengen visa? If only previous governments had had the foresight…

Dear NRIs, whatever else you may or may not do, at least give us your money.