Adventure Sport

Our city leaders don’t often get the credit they deserve. While one might try to excuse it by saying that there is only so much credit one person can give; and with the central government after every ounce of it, what can state and city leaders expect, the truth is that we are a bunch self-serving, selfish, entitled people. It is a harsh indictment, but the truth.

We have seen the days when city leaders had to explain to us, logically and patiently, upon our wanting to know where the footpaths were for people to walk on, that if footpaths were left for people to walk on, where would the same people park cars and put-up electricity distribution transformers? Did we need to ask? Could we not have put two and two together ourselves?

In all fairness, we may be self-serving, selfish and entitled, but we do agree when a logical argument is presented. And, in the face of one, that was that with footpaths and the desire for footpaths to walk on.

It was, therefore, a surprise when a few months back my good friend Rohin said that he had been walking on a footpath on the city.

But there is a back-story to that.

One fine day Rohin announced that he was in hospital as a result of injuries sustained in a dangerous adventure sport.




Now Rohin is a peripatetic traveller if ever there was one. If he is not in Slovenia he is probably in Japan and if he is not in Aurangabad he is probably in Masai Mara. He writes extensively on his travels and if someone wants travel guidance from me, for whatever reason, I merely point them to his blog.

Believing he had discovered some new destination for adventures sport, I excitedly asked him those three detailed questions. In the excitement of talking about adventure sport, rarely does one worry about the condition the participant is in.

I am a nature enthusiast, at least to a degree. I have a great regard for people who test their physical limits against nature, in a respectful manner. Whether it is mountain biking, or rock climbing, or open-ocean swimming, or white-water rafting. Like Rohin. In an ocean of push-button, or picture-postcard, or even hired adventure, such examples stand out.

“In Gurgaon, where else?”

My face fell, realizing that it was not another exotic locale that I could aim for. But then, on realizing that I did not have to spend money to get to Gurgaon, as I was already there, I brightened up.


“Outside Max Hospital,” he said, responding to my fourth detailed question. Perhaps realizing that that did not satisfy my curiosity, he added, “on the footpath.” Perhaps realizing that I was still not satisfied with his answer, he added, “I was walking on the footpath outside Max Hospital with my daughter. After some distance the footpath ended.” My ears had perked up when he said he was walking on the footpath, but I could only say, “Ended?”

“Yes. Ended.”

“Ended like…?”

“Ended like ended. Finished. Ceased. Concluded. Stopped.” He paused as if to ask if I needed more synonyms.

“I felt the breeze in my hair as I descended six feet into the gutter when the footpath ended, with a thud. It was more exciting than a bungee jump. In a bungee jump you deliberately jump, here the ground vanished from under your feet suddenly. Can you beat the sense of that thrill? You will not get such broken bones and bruises them so easily even at the best adventure sites in the world, that too for free.”

I nodded. I have done some adventure sport in my time, and I could understand what he was saying. It was beginning to make sense. While we had been mocking them, city leaders had been quietly turning the city into an adventure park.

An adventure park not like Appu Ghar, the water park, where one needs to strive for adventure, and one is conscious of it. But an adventure park where adventure can come from anywhere.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I now knew that one could walk on the streets once again, at least in some places. Seeking adventure for free, I set out immediately after hearing about Rohin’s adventure, to seek mine.

After not having found adventure on Golf Course Road, M G Road and even on the Old Delhi Road, I finally found my adventure yesterday, just when I was beginning to lose hope. Or, perhaps, my adventure found me.

It found me on the humble stretch between my home and the South City-1 colony market, less than half a km away, on the way back.

The footpath having been consumed by parking and an electricity distribution transformer as per the vision of the founding fathers, the road flooded after ten minutes of light rain, I was making my way through a dump yard that, I believe, was meant to be a park. My adventure found me as I tripped on a wire stretched across the path, barely above ground level, at the exit point of that park.

Thank you, city leaders. Together, we can make our city a popular destination for adventure sport. On second thoughts, why together; you have it in you to do it all by yourself.

My trophies from the adventure are displayed here:

Golf with CEO

I recently got the opportunity to participate in an out-of-town golf meet arranged by a popular travel company, as part of their efforts at promoting a beautiful part of the country as a tourist destination. In my post-Corporate life, since I now do not have influence over spending a large company’s large budget and resources in favour of a particular service-provider, for valid reasons of course, such opportunities are few and far between. Being a considerate person, I considered whether it would be fair to accept the offer or not, since I may not be in a position to influence the movement of a large corporate’s large budget towards a particular vendor, for valid reasons of course. And since, like any normal self-respecting male, I don’t suffer from debilitating diseases like scruples and morality, after due reflection, I grabbed it eagerly.

The four-ball (a group of four people who play a game of golf together) groupings were decided based on handicap (indicator of competence, or incompetence in my case, in golf), as they normally are for such a motley collection of people. My four-ball included some people. I mean regular folks. Like me. And, it included the CEO of a large company, controlling revenues of over a billion dollars which, by any standard, is BIG.

I was, obviously, thrilled to be playing with the CEO of a large company. You don’t do that every other day. I was also equally apprehensive. I had to be on my best behaviour lest he put me in his proverbial “little black book” effectively ruling out future employment with a large corporation.

He apparently had the same handicap as me which is why we had been clubbed together in the same four-ball. I was surprised at first, me sharing a handicap with a CEO, but I am sure stranger things have happened. Rather than worry about the how and why of it, I figured it would make more sense to look at the positive aspects of the situation. I made a mental note to make a mention of this on my Resume as soon as I got back home, so that potential hirers would know that with a handicap like that, I could also be in the running for the next CEO role becoming available.

But back to the game.

I was looking forward to valuable golf lessons on the course. Everyone knows golf lessons are expensive and cost an arm and a leg which is why I have stayed away from them, and from driving-ranges of all shapes and sizes, lest a roving coach coax me into believing that I need lessons. Here was an opportunity to get lessons for free. Even though the level of his game was the same as mine, I was looking forward to all the great tips he would give me on the course. CEOs, we all know, are good at telling others what to do without having a clue of how to do it themselves. I emptied a full packet of earbuds cleaning out my ear-wax so that I did not miss any of his tips through a stray collision of his nuggets with lingering ear-wax before they reached the eardrum.

On my part, I was planning to give the CEO lessons in counting. Quid pro quo. Fair deal. He gives me golf lessons. I give him counting lessons. One to eight, since beyond eight in golf it ceases to count, or matter. As CEOs have people for doing most of the mundane and menial tasks for them, it has been reported that they sometimes become deficient in basic areas of human knowledge. Like counting. This becomes more evident on the golf course where they have to count the number of strokes they took to complete the hole and normally forget to count a few. I was certain the CEO would need help with counting and I was eager to show my knowledge by helping him count correctly and make a lasting impression with my counting prowess.

Besides, we would not need to worry about having to wait for the four-ball ahead of us to finish a hole so that we could tee-off. Surely the CEO would have important business to conduct which can only be done when he is on a golf-course, while informing the caller about that fact (of him being on the golf course). This would clearly open up a distance between us and the four-ball ahead. Of course the group behind us might complain but surely they would see the need for the CEO to conduct business on the course. The benefit for me was that we could take our time over shots and walk slowly. Since I was just getting over a bout of fever it was a big benefit, especially since carts were not available.

Anyone who has strayed onto a course (different from straying on a course which most of us do between tee and pin), and who has played the game knows that at any point there are probably a million things one needs to keep in mind while addressing the ball. Like “keep your head down”. Like “take a slow backswing”. Like “complete your follow through”. Like “keep the left elbow straight”. And, at any time, any one of these million can go wrong, leading to unintended consequences for the ball. The ball either going anywhere but where intended, or stubbornly not going anywhere at all.

To this was added item no. one million and one, “ignore the ringing mobile phone”. Of the CEO naturally. Conducting business on the golf course. Though a challenge to handle the one million and oneth item, the eternal optimist in me was looking forward to this opportunity as a learning experience which would stand me in good stead in future life when I would be playing with more CEOs. Most people get stuck at the million. I was boldly going to go where few had gone before. I was whistling a joyful tune and striding boldly.

By the end of the game, I was thoroughly disenchanted and in a foul mood. I did not once get an opportunity to correct his counting. He could count correctly upto eight. Not just eight, but, can you believe it, he could count well into two digits, which is what he did on three holes and had to be told to stick to eight. He did not seem very happy about being told what to do. While readying to strike the ball, I was providing for ignoring the last-minute mobilephone ring as I was preparing to hit a shot, and I was distracted because that ring never rang. How do you ignore something that is not there? I got no lessons on the course. On the contrary he asked for help with his swing after a few mishits. We had to walk fast and keep playing as he did not do any business on the course. In fact, to rub salt into my wounds, he said that he had not brought his mobile along as it might be a disturbance on the course, and had left it in the locker.

I looked at him, aghast. Who was this guy? Was this a CEO I just played a round of golf with? What right did he have to play with the persona and image of CEOs that has been so carefully constructed, polished and maintained by a long sequence of legendary CEOs before him.

If this is what CEOs are like, I don’t want to play with them ever again. It is like playing with a person. I may as well play with any person.

Immediately after the game I invited the other “persons” at the meet for a beer and a discussion. This was important. I narrated the events on the course to the group. There was disbelief at first, then widespread condemnation of his behaviour, followed by concerns that this was a disease that could spread and destroy the ideals set by his illustrious predecessors. One person in the group wanted to know if it was a contagious disease in which case we would need to take immediate steps as the CEO in question was interacting with others at the meet. Another expressed that our youngsters will not have any role-models to look up to. We will have a generation bereft of direction.

At a personal level, I was also concerned that the reputation I have built as a writer of corporate satire, will be in tatters. I will have nothing to write about.

Back from the meet, we, as a group of responsible citizens with the interest of society at heart, have petitioned our local councillor for setting up some basic standards for CEO hiring, for the sake of the development of the nation. The councillor came across as a reasonable man and joined us in expressing concern. He was a golfer himself. He has promised to take up the matter at the right forum.

I am also planning to send the CEO an invoice for the advice he asked for on the course.

More suggestions are welcome. This is important.

Book release

Dear friends,

My book “What Happens in Office, Stays in Office” is now available online.

In India, on:, on the following link:

and, on:

In the US, on

The book is a satirical/humorous account of situations in a corporate environment created by the domineering boss, the whining employee, the counter-productive policy-making, the people jockeying for visibility, the decisions that get taken despite not being required, and many others. It is an extension of the theme followed in my blog

Thank you for your support to my blog. In case you get to reading the book, I hope you enjoy it. And, of course, I would love to get your feedback on it.

Warm regards

Do unto others….

(Introduction: “Bachche” is a Hindi word which is equivalent to the English word “child”)

Manager A to Supervisor P, his team-member, on the phone: Bachche, what are you doing?

Supervisor P: Nothing much sir. Clearing up my emails.

Manager A: Can you come over to my workstation please, bachche?

Supervisor P: Of course. Be there right away.

Manager B, who was with Manager A when he spoke to the Supervisor, to Manager A: What are you doing? That’s no way to talk to a person, even if he is your team-member. Show him some professional respect at least.

Manager A: What do you mean? Of course I showed him respect. Did I not say “can you come over….please?”

Manager B: Not that. I mean you called him “bachche”. Isn’t it derogatory, calling him a child? After all, this is a professional relationship. And he is a qualified professional in a different role. Him reporting to you does not mean you should not show him professional courtesy.

Manager A: Don’t worry mate, you don’t understand. He likes it. It is like a term of endearment. He knows I am his senior, more qualified, more capable, hence he is happy to have me call him “bachche”. I think you should try it with your team-members. They will like it.

Thirty minutes later

The phone on Manager A’s workstation rings. Manager B is still with him as they were working on an issue together. Their common boss, the Senior Manager, is calling.

Manager A signals to Manager B to keep quiet by placing a finger on his lips, presses the speakerphone button and says: Yes sir?

Senior Manager to Manager A: Bachche, what are you doing?

Manager A: Just finishing the project discussion with Manager B.

Senior Manager: OK. As soon as you finish, can you please come over bachche?

Manager A, a little ruffled: Sure. Be over in ten minutes.

After disconnecting the phone, Manager A says to Manager B in an agitated voice: What does he think of himself? Is this any way to talk to a professional and a colleague? Just because he is senior to me and more qualified does not mean he can treat me this way. He needs to learn how to conduct himself professionally.

Manager B: But what did he say? I heard him on the speakerphone. I don’t think he said anything offensive.

Manager: Didn’t you hear him call me “bachche”?

Quake with benefits

The northern parts of India were rocked by an earthquake around 1 PM on 5th March, 2012. Almost immediately after, the event was on the news, with channels outdoing each other in bringing meaningful and informative coverage to viewers.

The Daily News channel reported :

The earthquake was felt by people. People in cities and towns across the length and breadth of the impacted area felt the earthquake. People felt the earthquake in both offices and homes. In fact, the earthquake was felt even in tea-shops and restaurants and malls. The quake lasted for ten seconds. People felt the earth shake for close to ten seconds. The shaking felt by people lasted between eight and twelve seconds in most places. Not only did it last for ten seconds inside offices and homes, even on the road it could be felt for eighth to twelve seconds. The quake was felt in Delhi and adjoining states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The quake was also felt in Haryana and adjoining states like Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

This broadcast was repeated every five minutes so that the many different messages could sink in.

The Now or Never channel reported :

People ran out of their offices. People also ran out of their homes. In fact, people ran out of wherever they were to someplace else. People in offices ran into homes. People inside homes ran onto roads. People on the road ran into offices. Not only did they shake themselves, people could also see things shaking. In offices people could see that things that were normally stationary were shaking. What finally convinced them that this was a quake was that all the old stuff inside the office, like ceiling fans, old furniture, cabinets, etc. which creak and shake in daily use, stopped creaking and shaking all of a sudden. The emergency preparedness of the local government, last tested less than two weeks back, should be lauded. People ran here and there as soon as the earthquake struck.

In keeping with the information that was being provided at different levels of detail, and in view of the informative nature of the content, this broadcast was repeated every three minutes.

In a remarkable demonstration of maturity and restraint, religious leaders of different faiths, in places where the quake caused destruction and damage, otherwise always at loggerheads, spoke in one voice and blamed it on people’s lack of reverence for God and their habits of wanton greed and excess. According to them this act of God had been unleashed to punish them that even they, leaders of faith with a hotline to God, were powerless to control.

In places where the temblor did not cause any damage, religious leaders of different faiths have claimed that death and destruction had been averted because of the proactive measures they undertook and their invocation of divine help. As leaders of different faiths have claimed credit for the non-destruction to their own measures, communal riots have broken out between followers of different faiths in support of their leaders’ claims. The death and destruction toll in these places is far higher than any place damaged by the earthquake.

In a news conference called by The Fictitious Company Ltd., their spokesperson has lauded the vision and decision-making skills of their CEO who has managed to save hundreds of lives of employees and millions in damage to company property.

This momentous saving has been achieved by not deciding to move the headquarters of the company, where a large number of people work, from Mumbai to Bahadurgarh, a small dusty town in the state of Haryana where the epicentre of the temblor lay and where damage has been caused by the quake, almost a thousand miles away from the glitz and glamour of Mumbai, the country’s financial services and movie-making capital.

This large saving assumes special significance in view of the fact that it has been realised despite the move to shift to Bahadurgarh never ever having been considered by The Fictitious Co. Ltd.

The Fictitious Company has also announced the relocation from Bahadurgarh of the factory that was never going to be set-up there. The company has also promised shareholders to not take even more decisions, considering that not deciding to move to Bahadurgarh has been such a game-changer.

Other companies, including competitors, have complimented The Fictitious Co. on their achievement and far-sightedness. In fact, after this announcement, many other companies have also discovered their own savings in the form of the factory they did not locate in Bahadurgarh, the Research Centre they located elsewhere, and the Board meeting that was held overseas.

In a late development, it is learnt that the Chamber of Commerce and Industry has planned a celebration on account of the tremendous savings that have accrued to business on account of not having moved anything to Bahadurgarh. The CEO of The Fictitious Company Ltd. will be felicitated at this function for his contribution to industry. The Chamber is said to be considering setting up a high-powered special sub-group with responsibility for petitioning and invoking the wrath of the Gods more often so that more such catastrophic events may be unleashed leading to improvement in companies’ financial position.

Leadership assessment questionnaire

This self-assessment questionnaire has been designed to help you assess your readiness to assume a leadership role in the company. A significant amount of research has gone into each of the questions detailed below. It is suggested that you consider the options carefully before you make a choice.

1. Are you willing to lie shamelessly to your colleagues and subordinates to save your skin in times of trouble for yourself or for the business ?

Always Mostly Occasionally Rarely Never
€          €          €          €          €         

2. How willing are you to keep changing your requirements without assigning any reason ?

Always Mostly Occasionally Rarely Never
€          €          €          €          €         

3. How would you rate yourself on your ability to give vague and misleading instructions

Very high High Moderate Low Very low
€          €          €          €          €         

4. When you see a colleague who has been considered, alongwith yourself, a contender for promotion to the next senior role, in trouble because he has failed to deliver on promised commitments and is under scrutiny from senior management, you will

Feed rumours about his bad habits openly Covertly spread rumours about him Mind your own business Mind your own business, but stop any unfair comments about him Jump to his assistance
€          €          €          €          €         

5. How long can you keep subordinates waiting for a meeting that you have called ?

>2 hours 1 – 2 hours 30 – 60 mins < 30 mins Not at all
€          €          €          €          €         

6. How often do you call a meeting of your subordinates that is urgent ?

Daily Once a week Once a month Once a year Never
€          €          €          €          €         

7. Would you have pangs of guilt if you had to sack an employee without assigning any reason whatsoever ?

What does guilt mean ? Rarely Occasionally Mostly Always
€          €          €          €          €         

8. How often will you ensure that employees work on their day off either because of your slip-up or without there being a need to do so ?

Every week Once a month Once in 6 months Once a year Never
€          €          €          €          €         

9. If you can break rules, without fear of being discovered, for a financial benefit to the company or to yourself, will you do it ?

Always Mostly Occasionally Rarely Never
€          €          €          €          €         

10. How often do you check your Blackberry for messages ?

< 1 min 1 – 2 mins 2 – 3 mins 3 – 5 mins 5 mins
€          €          €          €          €         

There is no answer-sheet for this questionnaire. None is required. As a future leader, you should by now be aware of the traits required for senior leadership. If, after answering this questionnaire you have assessed yourself to be ready, step forward and take a place at the leadership high-table. If your assessment was inaccurate, you will know when you are sacked unceremoniously.

The Very Important Person – how to find him in Office

It is normally difficult to tell the very important from the less important people in office, as the very important ones tend to go about their business in a no-fuss, even self-deprecating manner, letting their work “speak” for itself. Should one, however, need to find such a person at the workplace, even if it is for no reason other than the opportunity to observe and learn from him, a few pointers that may be of help in this pursuit are produced here.

You walk into his office just as he sinks the twelve foot putt into the waste paper basket lying on its side. You need to discuss the project that you are working on. He says “not now, I am busy”. You want to know when you could come back. He says “check with Jenny (his secretary)”.

He is a Manager and his team is working with the team of Manager B, a peer working in another department, on a Project. When he needs to communicate a project related message pertaining to the successful completion of a deliverable by his team to Manager B, he will call up Senior Manager B, Manager B’s Boss, and communicate the message with a request for the same to be passed on to Manager B.

If Manager B calls to give him (Manager A) a similar communication, he will ask him to call up Supervisor A, one of his team-members, and communicate the message.

He can be seen talking loudly into the mobile phone when he is outside his office, especially when he is on the move outside his office. On occasion he will be found to be cradling the mobile phone between his head (craned awkwardly to one side) and shoulder and writing something on a piece of paper likely to be a tissue.

In many cases he can be seen talking to himself. Loudly. He is actually talking on an earpiece connected to the mobile.

He is an effective communicator. In face to face discussions he makes productive use of his hands, flailing them wildly while talking. He also ensures people who don’t need to be part of the conversation hear him talk. His speech is slow, deliberate. If he has to communicate “Eastern is a very big company” he will say “Eastern is a company. Eastern is a big company. Eastern really is a big company. Eastern is a really big company. Eastern is a very big company.” And there will be a pause after each sentence so that the message has sunk in.

His conversation with the Security Guard will be peppered with words like “contract”, “transaction”, “price”, “revenue”, “deal”, “turnaround time”,” target”, “competition”, “market”, etc. interspersed with four-letter words.

He can often be seen holding four simultaneous conversations on four different topics with four different people.

Art of misusing company resources – 1. Call urgent meeting

The Boss should call a meeting of his team, that is, of people who report to him.

The meeting needs to be designated as urgent so that people who need to attend have no choice but to drop whatever they are doing and rush for the meeting. This will permit the effort they had already put into the task to be wasted, requiring the task to be restarted from scratch.

Care should be taken that the subject of the meeting not be specified. This will create intrigue and interest and get people, who may have skipped the meeting if the subject did not pertain to them, to attend in the belief that something of importance for their area may also be discussed. Otherwise, some may have skipped the meeting and spent the time doing work.

The call for the meeting should be given at a time when a significant number of the intended participants are expected to be engaged in meetings with their own teams. This will create a powerful multiplier effect as many other meetings involving many other people will be disrupted.

Care should be taken that the Boss does not invite peers and seniors to participate. The Boss’ successful conduct of these meetings is likely to spark jealousy amongst peers leading to a campaign of misinformation against him.

In the meeting, the Boss could either sing the company song in chorus, announce the introduction of a new vendor in the cafeteria, give a sneak preview of the new policy on cars to be only parked backed-up in the office compound, or any other important and urgent matter, puff out his chest, and say that the CEO wanted that information to be personally disseminated by him to his team and that he would like each of the participants to “go forth” and do the same with their teams within the next two hours. He should then thank them for their participation and close the meeting.