Would you be OK if your child decides to become a Bartender? Freaky Fridays – Blog #4

Folks, this week’s topic for the weekly blog is interesting yet touchy. It’s a topic which most of us will have an opinion on. It’s related to children. OUR children. Let me start by asking all parents/soon-to-be parents/couples planning a child in future a simple question. Would you be OK if your child DECIDES to become a “Bartender”? If the immediate answer in your mind is NO, then YOU are screwing up your child’s future. Read on to find out why and how.

The biggest mistake our middle-class society has done is lay disproportionate focus on education and more specifically, higher education. The importance given to education by our Indian society is so high that sometimes it becomes an obsession and in turn, we forget that there are other things to do in life. Many a time, we forget that there’s more to education than our child becoming a great doctor/engineer/MBA/techie. For most of us, higher education means higher and higher degrees. Even if this comes at the cost of compromising our child’s aspirations, interests, dreams, quite a few of us are fine with this.

Let me elaborate further. Most of the Indian society thinks that the only way their child can have a great future/ secure future is by becoming either a doctor/engineer/MBA/techie. Coming from South India, I have seen this attitude in quite a few parents.  To me, this notion of a doctor/engineer/MBA/techie becoming an extremely successful individual is a big myth. Ask yourself this question – is every doctor/engineer/MBA/techie financially super successful? My definition of financially super successful is someone earning at least 75k per month at the start of his/her career after graduating from either of these professions. In my view, less than 10% of the working population of urban India earns this salary at the start of their career. I have not done a lot of consumer research but looking at people around me, I don’t think there’s more than 10% in this bracket.

Just because a few doctors/MBAs/techies/engineers have been successful, the typical Indian parent thinks that is the best career path for their child. Therefore, without understanding the child’s interests, passion and skills, quite a few parents decide to enroll their kids for IIT coaching from a ridiculously early class 6 onwards. The kid wouldn’t even know the full form of IIT at that age and wouldn’t even want to know.  We look at Engineering /Medical State Topper front page newspaper ads and get inspired. We want our child’s photo to come in this ad and make us proud. It’s a great feeling of pride for us, isn’t it? “US” … But does the child feel so? Have we had an honest discussion with our kid after class X, XII whether “S/HE” will feel proud if his/her photo comes in the front page? Is THIS his/her aspiration? Or is their aspiration something else? For all you know, becoming a world-class guitarist may be their aspiration. Or representing India in kabaddi. Or a chef.  Or a violinist. Or a singer…

My hunch is many of us parents will

 a) not have had this conversation with their child on his/dreams/aspirations

 b) not have understood what their child’s strength in terms of skill sets are.

If a) and b) would have happened with most parents, then we would not have had

  1. A staggering number of parents enrolling their kids in IIT coaching from class 6,7,8
  2. a zillion engineering colleges in the country with many of them struggling to get students placed
  3. a few thousands of MBA colleges in the country but only a few colleges in which the average CTC is more than 10 lacs per annum
  4. the number of medical and engineering test applicants running into lakhs for every state but only a few getting seats in reputed institutes
  5. coaching centers for higher education running akin to a parallel MAFIA where they send a few good students who get good ranks to good colleges, but majority of the students would have fallen by the wayside

Why is this happening? Isn’t it BUT obvious that both parent and child are NOT on the same page in terms of what makes them happy? In my view, Indian parents have the biggest herd mentality. Just because they have seen some doctor/engineer/IIT/MBA become successful, all Indian parents want all their children to follow this. And then we complain about lack of jobs, lack of skilled labour etc. The problem is WITHIN us parents. Not WITH the child. If a child is not interested in pursuing engineering/medicine, then S/HE will not make a successful career out of it. Period…

Just because our societal fabric doesn’t allow disagreement or difference in opinion to be seen in positive light, many of our poor kids conform to their parents in class 12 or beyond and do not rebel against their parents’ decision. They have too much love and don’t want to see their parents’ dreams shattered. If they raise their voice against this decision, our great Indian society and even greater neighbors/relatives will label the child as a brat/rebel etc., So they take up their parents’ dreams and end up in mediocrity. They spend the whole life regretting the fact that they were cut out for something better. This explains the fact that only a handful (less than 2%) of the people score high marks in engineering/entrance exams. The significant majority have just wasted money, their time, energy and been an also-ran. And I will NOT blame this significant majority of students. I will blame their great parents for this. Just to satisfy their vision without understanding the true strengths, passions, likes/dislikes, they have blindly decided that IIT/IIM/doctor etc. will be the best fit for their child.

Very few parents give the freedom of choice for the child to decide at an early age. I was one of those lucky few. My parents empowered me to make my independent career choices post class 10. Seeing others around me, I took the call of becoming an engineer. I decided to go with the herd and decided to take up Electronics engineering as it was considered as an evergreen course. I did reasonably well, scoring 79%. Was not the class topper but would have been in between 15 to 20 in a class of 60? But I realized that this is not something I wanted to do. So, I decided to pursue my MBA. MY MBA. MY DECISION. I didn’t want to go abroad as I wanted to serve my parents when they retired. I passed out of XLRI Jamshedpur. Again, every decision was left to me and my parents offered me financial, moral and emotional support. Nothing beyond. Unlike many other parents, they backed my independent decisions and they knew if I am doing something out of my own calling, then the probability of me being successful is higher.  Therefore, I have done well for myself at age of 31 and today in my age group, I must be in the top 10% ile of salaried people thanks to my efforts. I have done this for myself. Not because of parental force. But I am pretty sure there are so many ALSO-RANs who regret their decision to do an MBA/become a doctor/become a software engineer. I feel sad for these folks as they have no choice now but to continue.

SAD because our great hypocritical society will not allow them to change their career track. If a software engineer after 3 years of work and wants to become a singer because he found out his true passion, our stupid society will again pass a judgement saying this bloke is confused, he’s gone nuts, ACCHI KHAASI NAUKRI CHOD RAHA HAI, GAWAARA HAI. The poor software engineer may not find girls for marriage as the girl’s family mostly will think this guy cannot secure their daughter’s future. But the same hypocritical Indian society will pay a 1000 + bucks to see a Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan perform. These folks understood their strengths, passion and decided to pursue a career of their choice. Not become a doctor/engineer/MBA. Our great Indian society will applaud all these artistes but if their child comes up with such an idea, the typical risk-free Indian parent mentality will be “BETA, Padhaai pey dhyaan do. Ye sab as a HOBBY kar lena?” Who the HELL is the parent to kill the child’s aspirations? The role of a parent is to enable the child to find his/her strengths and help in achieving the child’s dreams. Let me tell you how this stupid parental behavior affects India as a nation.

  1. We Indians are not the physically fittest in relative to others. Our society neither encourages sports as a career nor stresses on physical fitness at early stage. Therefore, our Olympic performances are abysmal compared to the likes of China, Russia, Brazil.
  2. We continue to churn truckloads of mediocre engineers/doctors/MBAs every year and cry for jobs when those poor kids never wanted to be one in the first place.
  3. Barring a few musicians and actors, we have very few artistes who perform at the world stage and are famous across the world. This is because our risk-averse society does not encourage global exposure at a young age. Most parents think their child may not adapt to such lifestyle and are afraid to take a financial risk. They want to see their child growing in front of them even after class 12. Nothing wrong but check if THE CHILD also has the same thought process
  4. We have very few MICHELIN STAR Chefs coming out of India.

For us, a CHEF means somebody who could not be a successful DOCTOR/ENGINEER. Many of us think that alternate professions like being a chef etc. will not help our child find a suitable life partner.

  • Our script writing quality in movies still has tremendous scope for improvement. Why can’t an Indian filmmaker make movies like INCEPTION, MINORITY REPORT. Because we don’t have a strong enough ecosystem which appreciates alternate professions and backs them. Lot of our Bollywood stars are still scared to experiment with off-beat movies thinking our audience will trash them.
  • Our world football rankings continue to be outside 100 because we parents feel there’s no money in Indian football and even though our child wants to pursue football, we just clip the child’s wings.
  • Our health ratings as a country are poor, we continue to have high degrees of stress related illnesses because we don’t have a focus on fitness since childhood and this sedentary lifestyle with an excessive academic focus takes a toll on our lives

At the core bottom line of this irrational parental behavior is a very poor risk-free mindset of Indian society. Our society doesn’t appreciate risk-taking behavior. Classic example is when someone says s/he wants to quit his job and start a business; our first reaction typically is “ARE YOU SURE”? The intent of asking this question is right but we should stop being risk-averse as a society. We should start believing in ourselves, our child’s abilities. Just because we took the safe path doesn’t mean the CHILD has to take the same SAFE path.  Times have changed and we thankfully now live in a society where many alternate professions are respected.

Take the case of hairdressing for example. My friend Gaurav Gupta, quit his job as a Sales rep in a Pharma company, decided to enroll in a hair dressing academy 8 years ago and today he’s one of the top hairdressing trainers in India. To many typical parents, he’s a barber, not a hairdresser. This mindset needs to change. And who’s going to CHANGE this? YOU …and me. Not our neighbors, not our relatives.

Most important, our tutoring system of bringing up our children is flawed. I would bring my child up in the following manner.

I would make him/her enroll in all kinds of activities in early childhood – not only academics. In the initial few years, I will enroll my child in various activities like swimming classes, dance, crafts, singing. I will check what the child is liking and taking an interest to. I will make a few assumptions and periodically ask my child whether s/he is liking what she’s doing and what else can I do to help. I will continue to have these conversations till the child tells me it has found its true calling. Let’s assume the child tells me that it is really interested in kabaddi, I will act as the biggest enabler for him/her. I will find out good mentors, take the child  to watch kabaddi matches and ensure that his/her passion is not lost. I will be a super proud DAD if my child represents India in the kabaddi World Cup and if this gives happiness to the child. To me, seeing my child fulfilling HIS/HER dreams is more SATISFYING than making him/her achieve my unfulfilled dreams. For me, Academics is not everything. I will ensure that my child gets access to the basic education needed to survive. Beyond this it’s HIS/HER’s wish on how much he/she wants to move academically. If EVERY Indian parent can do this, I think our motherland will fare much higher on all the above-mentioned points.

Coming back to my question at the start of the blog, if your child aspires to become a bartender, try and enable him/her to achieve this. There are some excellent coursers offered and lot of countries which value this skill. Some top 5-star hotels across the globe need exceptionally talented bartenders. It is not something which should be LOOKED DOWN by YOU as a parent. Your child will travel the world over and entertain people with amazing skills. It’s not an easy skill. You need the right mixing skills, the right jugglery skills. This could lead the child to pursue related line extensions like Jugglery, Cooking etc. So, it’s not a bad financial choice as supply of good bartenders is few. More importantly, your CHILD is happy with this choice.

My final message to all parents/future parents is – Parenting is a great opportunity to make a difference to your child. Understand the child’s strengths, weaknesses, skills, aspirations, dreams and help the child achieve his/her aspirations. Be an ENABLER, not a DREAM-KILLER.

Every child is special. TRULY SPECIAL.

Jai Hind

Wrestle Mania 2019 – Hari vs the “Corporate” Meal Pack and the Aluminium Foil-sealed Rotis Freaky Fridays – Blog#3

This Friday’s blog is about my struggle encountered last week. I was at a job interview. There was a lunch break between 12 30 and 1 30 pm. Multiple rounds of Interviews were happening pre and post lunch in a single room. In order to save time, the HR person had organized for a packed lunch which would be served inside the room at “sharp” 1 pm. As expected, the lunch arrived at an even sharper 1:20 pm. (Being from Hyderabad, any time given to me, I would discount it by at least 15 to 20 minutes). I was super hungry. To add to my woes, my next interview was supposed to start in 10 minutes time. Therefore, I was expected to be a Bakasur and gobble everything within 10 minutes. This Looked difficult but I told myself – “Impossible is Nothing Hari… Nothing! I will finish lunch in 10 minutes come what may.”

The lunch was served to me in a corporate meal pack. The office staff smiled and placed the corporate meal pack at the table along with a closed packet which was made of aluminium foil. I smiled back and the office staff left. That’s the end of his role in today’s blog. He reminded me of Anil Kapoor in Mission Impossible 4. Anil came and left in a jiffy in the movie. Sorry for the brief digression. Back to the corporate meal pack. I had 10 minutes left to devour the food. I stared at the corporate meal pack for a minute. It was a plastic plate with various compartments having dal, salad, curry, rice and some sweet. It was wrapped by a transparent plastic sheet. I wondered why an annoying plastic plate wrapped in an even more annoying plastic sheet is termed as a “corporate” meal.  What’s so corporate about this meal… It looked plain… shitty packaging. Corporate I thought meant classy. This was more sleazy than classy. Instead of being a classy Kal Ho Na Ho song, this was a cheap Sheila Ki Jawani. Why the hell do people call this a “corporate “meal man? Some idiot would have coined this term and without thinking, we blindly follow this idiot like a herd of cattle and call this a corporate meal. I lost about a minute in these thoughts. I only had 9 minutes left.

I looked at the aluminium foil packet. At first, I thought it was papad sealed in an air-tight packet. I touched it to reconfirm but I found out that it was soft and mushy ,unlike a papad. I continued pressing this soft part for a few seconds. Before I could drift further into fantasy land, I saw that 2 minutes were gone. I guessed that this was chapatti and not papad and I tried tearing the packet. To my surprise, it just refused to give in. I tried inserting the plastic fork and making a tear. The bloody packet would just not break down. I tried another time. As I was at an interview, the idea of tearing the packet with my teeth didn’t sound appealing. I was scared that if I got caught doing this, the HR would have seen it through an imaginary web-cam and docked some points thinking this was an indication of violent behaviour. So, I gave up on the rotis temporarily. I focused on the “low-hanging fruit” – the CMP (Corporate Meal Pack).

I first tried to open the transparent plastic top cover by the edges. I tried really hard but I guess the CMP had seen my Wrestle Mania match with the rotis and must have understood that I was pretty lame. It decided to make life miserable for me. The plastic cover would just not break. I guess some joker pasting this cover on the CMP would have used all the available Fevicol in the world, having got inspired by its tagline – “Tootega Nahi”. BC- Toota Hi Nahi.  Cover todney key chakkar mey Goti Muh mey aa gaye the. Ravi Shastri will be proud of this Goti comment. I tried an alternate strategy of trying to tear the cover. I took the plastic fork, and decided to launch a brutal attack. I used all the weight of my elbow to punch a hole in the middle of the CMP. This was the exact mid-point. The intersection of the two diagonals. My maths teacher would have been proud of the way I arrived at the midpoint and applied her concept in a real-world application. I punched the hole and Yo – it was first strike. I had found an opening. Hari 1 – CMP 0. I felt overjoyed. Having found an opening, I decided to go for the kill. I tried tearing away the rest of the cover. For a couple of seconds, I succeeded but then again, the Fevicol overpowered me. The bloody sheet was just not willing to tear open further. Even the fork could not go beyond this. Only a small hole had been created in the middle of the CMP. Nothing beyond this. I gave up with the Fork strategy. Hari 1 – CMP 1. I took a time out. I had only 6 minutes left.

This time, I decide to use the “Attack from the Corners – strategy”. A more abusive corporate jargon for the same would be “Flanking strategy”. I used to tear open the four corners one by one with my hand. This started to work. I took the extreme bottom left corner, used all my fist strength and found an opening. The cover started to tear from the corner. All the corners were part of the square shaped compartment. So, I tore two sides of the L shaped bottom right corner. I thought I had cracked the code. The score was about to become Hari 2 – CMP 1. Alas. The Fevicol started showing its strength again. While I had pierced the outer sides, the inner sides of the square shaped compartment just refused to give in…. just refused! I guess they were inspired by the Wall- Rahul Dravid. I used the flanking strategy for the other corners as well but same result. The two outer sides of the square shaped compartment would open but not the inner sides. My Frustration levels skyrocketed. I had only 2 minutes left. In 8 minutes, I had not able to open a simple CMP. Me– a so called MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur. What’s the point of a fancy MBA degree if you can’t open a corporate meal box??……

Hari 1 – CMP 2. At this point, I decided to use a more realistic approach. Make use of the available opportunities. I realized that the middle part of the cover, which I had cracked open had jeera rice. With a half open CMP, I started gobbling the jeera rice through the small opening. I only used to get 1/4th of the spoon in every serving but I thought I will repeat this action a million times and fill my stomach. After all, small actions create a big multiplier effect. This is what my boss had told me. I started cramming morsel-after-morsel. Hari 2 – CMP 2.

Suddenly I realised that in one of the corners which was half opened, there were items I could lay my hands on. So, like a street dog , full of heat, which wants to hump every other dog which it sees on the street, I decided to eat whatever I could grab from the corners. I could fill 10% of the spoon with the dal but that was good enough. I used the same strategy to pull out a few salad pieces of cucumber, two or three pieces of aloo from the other half-opened corners. I was now able to eat most of the compartments. Yes, I felt that I was eating an actual plastic compartment. It was 1:35. I guess the HR would have peeped through the window and thought – “Wrestle Mania ka interesting match chal raha hai. Launde ka match khatam honey do. Fir interview start karenge”. As most of the food was getting emptied despite the cover being half open from most of the sides, I could pull out the entire food and finish the entire CMP. I guess the CMP had given up. The CMP had mentally disintegrated. The collapse of the CMP reminded me of the “Sachin out- TV off” era where the other Indians would just collapse after Sachin’s wicket. The Fevicol, who was the Sachin of the CMP team, also gave up. I could tear open the entire cover and finish the food.

I was overjoyed. What a victory. Hari had played well in the finale and finished the match 3-2. Unlike the South African cricket team which chokes in most of the important matches, I had held my nerve when it mattered most. I was overjoyed. I stood victorious. In the WWF days of the 1990s, the Rock would win the World Championship and raise the WWF belt by standing on top of the ring. The crowd would give a standing ovation. I felt like standing over the chair and lifting the battered CMP and showing the world outside that I had conquered it. All these thoughts were going in my head until suddenly, the HR knocked at the door. He said he would send someone to clear the plates and start my next interview at 1: 50. I got back to reality. I had spent 30 minutes trying to eat a CMP. However, I was still satisfied that I had got the better of the CMP in a closely contested match 3-2. A feeling of pride was running all through me. This time, another Anil Kapoor came to clear the food. He smiled at me and said- “Saab, aapko roti pasand nahi hai kya? Aap toh roti khaya hi nahi?”

I looked at the unopened sealed in aluminium foil with rotis. Damn !!! Hari 3 – CMP 3.

Life’s a bitch.

P. S : Next Friday’s blog : Will YOU be OK if your child wants to become a bartender?

Laakhon Mey Ek – Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Horn effect and learnings for leaders . Freaky Fridays Blog #2

Folks- this is my second blog. Caution: Long post ahead.

As promised, every Friday, you will see a blog from me. The genre will alternate between sarcasm and inspiration every week. My first blog last Friday was a sarcastic take on my 30 minute daily bath routine. Read it in case you have missed it and directly landed it here. This week, it’s going to be a piece of inspiration, about a man who has been understood only by a few… “Ek aisa insaan… Jo Laakhon Mey Ek Hai… Laakhon Mey Ek

A vast Majority of Indians… wait, let me first define vast majority ;they are THE cricket crazy Indians who always have an opinion on all things cricket – trust me it’s a vast majority.  Out of 133.92 crore Indians, I am assuming 80% (4 in every 5 Indians cutting across race, religion, age, gender, caste, location) have an opinion on all things cricket which is 107 crore; which equals the sum total of the population of Europe and USA.

A significant proportion of this vast majority  doesn’t understand this man’s actions and thinks this man is a brat, he’s arrogant, he’s above everybody, he doesn’t always play in an ideal manner, he works on his whims and fancies,  he takes the game too deep in a run chase, he more often than not puts the team under pressure in a run chase, which in turn ends up screwing India’s chances of winning a game, he’s an ultra-defensive batsman  who only attacks when the situation turns extremely critical, he’s overstaying his days as a keeper-batsman, he should pave the way for Rishab Pant in WC 2019 and hand over the keeper’s role immediately, he’s stopping young blood etc. etc… No points for guessing who this Friday’s blog is all about. It’s about one of the most Inspirational Indians produced by our motherland – Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Let me prove this significant proportion wrong through a few data points, insights and inferences based on incidents.

Before I get into talking about why MSD is a once-in-a-lifetime legend, let me digress for a moment and explain a phenomenon called Horn effect. I heard about this Horn effect from my dear friend Sandeep Somisetty. He prides himself in showing off and throwing off such MBA jargons which bamboozles aam junta like us. Just like how the Aussies were bamboozled by Kuldeep Yadav’s wrong’uns in the recent final Test at Sydney, he too bamboozles us with such jargons.  We have a college WhatsApp group called “XL Bakchods” (All the Bakchods of 2011 batch of XLRI Jamshedpur) and while there was a heated discussion on MSD’s approach of taking the game deep in the recent Ind-Aus ODI series decider in Melbourne, Somi pulled off a wrong’un and said “I guess because of The Horn Effect, we are being extremely critical of MSD”.  When in doubt, I don’t just Google – I Wiki; the “I” here being me and not Somi. Wikipedia defines Horn effect as a form of negative bias that causes one’s perception of another to be unduly influenced by a single negative trait. It’s a poor cousin of the Halo effect. Wiki quotes a simplified example of the halo effect; “when an individual notices that the person in a photograph is attractive, well groomed, and properly attired, s/he assumes that the person in the photograph is a good person. The halo effect is an evaluation by an individual and can affect the perception of a decision, action, idea, business, person, group, entity etc. etc.” Having defined Horn and Halo effect through Wiki, let me come back to MSD.

MSD to me is one of the most self-aware individuals the game of cricket has ever produced. When he started his career in the early 2000s, he was aware that India had Sachin, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Sourav, and Rahul still going strong. He knew he could not be a replacement for them as a batsman. He also must have smartly realized that the Indian team was missing a strong wicketkeeper batsman similar to the likes of Adam Gilchrist. That was his best chance of realistically getting into a star studded batting team. I guess he realized very early that he had a better skill set as a batsman than a bowler. Wicket-Keeping skills, I think he acquired. The reason I am hypothesizing this hunch of mine is because I don’t think anyone wanting to play cricket for India would dream of being a wicket keeper batsman for India in the 90s. Nayan Mongia was a good keeper but If I am a 90’s kid wanting to play for India, I would want to be Sachin, Kris Srikanth, Kapil Dev, Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath etc. but neither Syed Kirmani nor Nayan Mongia. After Mongia, there was a huge void. We dabbled with quite a few over a period of 5 years from ‘99 to’04– Sameer Dighe, MSK Prasad, Vijay Dahiya, Ajay Ratra, and Dinesh Karthik.

Fed up of this, one day, Sourav Chandidas Ganguly (my favourite cricket leader on the parameter of taking bold decisions based on gut and making it work) must have thought “enough is enough. Let’s make Rahul Dravid do this job for World Cup 2003 and later find a long-term replacement for Mongia”. Wicket keeping was a pretty thankless job therefore talented Indian boys never took up wicket-keeping as aspiration until Romesh Kaluwitharana started changing this perception. Adam Gilchrist came over and revolutionized the concept of a wicket-keeper batsman.

Let’s go back to the street-smart, highly self-aware MSD. Even though he might have wanted to be like the Master Blaster, I assume he felt his most realistic chance was blasting his way into the team as a keeper-batsman. Ganguly was wanting to complete the Indian team with this one gap. Dhoni must have figured out that neither could he play the most elegant offside cover drive like Sourav, nor play the most beautiful straight drive like Sachin. He was highly self-aware. Yet, given these constraints, he dreamt of making it big. When an individual assesses his strengths and weaknesses at such a young age, rest assured he’s destined to glory. MSD knew that he had a far higher probability of bludgeoning the ball out of the park, playing a cut and a pull well. He knew that with this three shots in his armoury, and a good solid defence, he could go places. He believed this was the approach.  He only decided to focus on these strengths – pure strength of swinging his arms, a good cut, a fearless pull, a strong defence. The fundamental key to long term success in sports or in professional life is physical fitness. So he just kept good at these 5 aspects and decided to back himself. At the age of 22, he had very bold, uncomplicated thinking and amazing execution. No great strategy… Just executing 4 or 5 basics consistently… Like Glen McGrath…

So, early years of MSDextremely self-aware, excellent execution, superb fitness and above all – calmness /composurepersonified with a flexible attitude (flexible as he was OK to get in as a keeper and not as a successor to Sachin- a very realistic dream).  To me these are the 4 or 5 adjectives which define any successful person in life. Flexible attitude is the key. Attitude is everything. With the right attitude, every problem can be converted into an opportunity, every challenge can be overcome, every idea can be executed, and any goal can be achieved. MSD personifies attitude – flexible attitude. If “attitude is everything” is to be attributed to any one individual in my sphere of life, I would put MSD at the top right now, even above Sachin.

So, MSD bludgeoned his way into the Indian team in the early 2000s by smashing bowlers out of the park. I first watched MSD live in 2003 when he along with Irfan Pathan had screwed Pakistan A while playing for India A. It was literally a brutal attack for Pakistan A team bowlers in that match. Ball after ball, went either over long on, mid-wicket or deep square leg. The Pakistani bowlers were flummoxed. This no-holds barred approach earned him a call up to the national squad as a keeper-batsman.

Ironically, the first ball MSD faced in ODI cricket, on the 26th of Dec 2004 in Dhaka, he got run out. It was against Bangladesh. Dhoni was up against left arm spinner Mohd. Rafique. Mohd. Kaif was at the non-striker end. Dhoni pushed the ball to short fine leg and started running. Kaif sent him back but it was too late. Khaled Mahmud, one of the better fielders from Bangladesh, made him run out. It’s only fitting to this legend that 12 years later,  on March 23rd 2016, a mind-blowing MSD run out with his gloves taken off , knocked Bangladesh out in the last ball of the T20 World Cup semi-final at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore . It was a chaotic match. Bangladesh was 1 stroke away from knocking out India. Bangladesh was at 145/6 in 19.3 overs. Hardik Pandya was bowling. 4 balls left, 2 runs to win with 4 wickets in hand.  Mushfiqur Rahim the wicket keeper of Bangladesh thought he could finish it off with a 6 and emulate MSD’s 6 to finish off World Cup 2011. He did not calculate risk vs cost of failure unlike MSD and let the chaos get to him and got out. Then, chaos started . Mahmuduallah the next batsman also fell trying to go for the winning six and holed out to Sir Jadeja. 2 wickets in 2 balls. 1 ball 2 runs to win

With one ball two runs to win, MSD had the balls and guts to do what no other wicketkeeper /captain/leader in the world had ever done before in a similar situation. He , Ashish Nehra and Pandya would have had  a more than 5 minute discussion before the last ball was bowled. MSD anticipated a run off the bye. He took his gloves off before the ball was bowled because he knew that a run out was a very practical scenario in this context. Again, EXTREMELY SELF – AWARE, EXTREMELY COMPOSED, EXTREMELY GOOD EXECUTION, EXTREMELY FIT and above all a FLEXIBLE ATTITUDE. BACK YOUR IDEAS. FUCK OTHERS. Fuck the Critics. Fuck the junta. Fuck everyone. Let the world go take a flying fuck. Be practical. Back your strength. MSD’s biggest strength is his intuition. Killer intuition. “Think one step ahead of your opponent.”  The last ball of the match got scripted exactly the way MSD wanted.  The batsman missed the ball, went for a run. MSD was one step ahead. He had taken his gloves off. Again, he dint throw the ball at the stumps. He knew there was a probability that the stumps could be missed. Instead he decided to do this by running all through to the stumps. He ran as fast as he could. He knew he was a good runner. He backed his fitness. He ran and took the bails off. He knew the non-striker would start off the blocks quickly. It was Hardik Pandya’s zippy medium pace. He still decided to take his gloves off, ran and took the bails off. He wanted to control all the controllables, like Virat mentions. He did not care about the uncontrollables. He took the bails off. He knew that if he did his job well, God would reward him for it. And yes the last ball of this match was exactly scripted the way MSD wanted it to be. The runout decision went to the third umpire and yes, Mustafizur was run out by MSD. India won by a run, pulling out victory from the jaws of defeat. That to me is the hallmark of a true legend. Read this cricinfo article where MSD talks about how he managed absolute chaos and came out with his head held high.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/icc-world-twenty20-2016/content/story/988505.html

The vast and significant majority of world population cannot disagree on this. These are very rare leadership traits. And MSD has demonstrated these qualities time again. This is just one example. He really does his risk vs cost of failure calculation very well.  Look at his career graph.  I feel he started as a swashbuckling batsman who could also keep wickets but never showed it to the world. With each passing day, having entered as a batsman, he continued to work on his wicket-keeping skills so that even if his batting failed, he would always be a part the squad only for his keeping skills.  Despite not scoring highly in his first 4 international matches, he knew that his daring approach was right in the initial part of his career. He anticipated that the bowlers would not expect an Indian wicketkeeper batsman to explode like Gilchrist. Always one step ahead. So for the first 3 years, he continued to be fearless, play his cricket the Gilchrist way. It took I guess 3 years for bowlers to figure him out. By this time, he figured out that this approach could not continue so he decided to use controlled aggression. He decided that for the rest of his life, he would make bowlers earn his wicket. He would not gift his wicket away.  For the initial few years, his batting theme was aggression. Then it was controlled aggression. Now it is dogged aggression. He’s extremely self-aware of his role in the side at different points in his career.

There are multiple instances of MSD’s astute mind. In the 2007 T20 world cup league match vs Pakistan, in a bowl-out tie breaker, he only decided to use spinners instead of fast bowlers as the probability of a spinner hitting stumps is higher. All his spinners hit the stumps. Pakistan’s fast bowlers missed the stumps. And mind you, this was MSD’s first international tournament as captain. Sachin, Sourav, Rahul and Zaheer decided to opt out of T20 2007 World Cup. MSD took over a team of very few stars, mostly rookies and won the World Cup for India. Gambhir, Rohit, Uthappa, Joginder Sharma, RP Singh, DK, Yusuf Pathan, Sreeshanth were not household names that time. Only Sehwag, Yuvraj, Bhajji and MSD were the famous names. Still he took his team to glory. HIS team. Not the critics’ team. Not the BCCI’s team. Not the Indian fans team. HIS team. Dhoni’s team. In the final over when Misbah-ul-Haq had blasted every bowler- Bhajji, Pathan, Sreeshanth, he decided to give the ball to the most unlikely choice – Joginder Sharma. It was risky but smart. The other choice was Bhajji who anyways was getting tonked in the previous over by Misbah. So the probability of this repeating was high. Joginder, on the other hand, was unconventional. No pace. So Misbah had to work up pace. MSD backed himself as well as Joginder. One of the great qualities of a leader is to visualize positive outcomes in high pressure situations and work with a rational mind to help achieve those outcomes. MSD visualized Misbah falling to Joginder and India winning the World Cup. When you wish for something to happen very badly, and give 200% effort with a rational mind to make it happen, then the Almighty and the Entire Universe will make it happen( Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist and Rhonda Byrne – The Secret have written this but you can’t get a better example than this ).  God scripted Misbah’s wicket to Joginder Sharma exactly the way MSD had planned. It was no fluke.

Success once can be termed as fluke. Success twice or thrice can be termed as luck. But success consistently cannot be fluke or luck. There’s something more, something deep, yet something uncomplicated. EXTREMELY SELF – AWARE, EXTREMELY COMPOSED, EXTREMELY FIT, EXTREMELY GOOD EXECUTION and above all a FLEXIBLE ATTITUDE. BACK YOUR IDEAS. FUCK OTHERS.  This is beyond fluke, freak, luck, fortune. Critics thought that after Sachin, Sourav, Rahul and Anil’s departure, Indian cricket would struggle for a few years of transition to find a similar level of class. But that was the opinion of the fucking critics. MSD did not give a fuck. He knew what resources he had, he had a plan, and he backed himself and achieved success.  Retirement years of a few Indian legends of the Golden Generation – Sourav 2008, Rahul 2011, Anil 2012, VVS 2012 and God 2013. Let’s look at India’s performance between 2007 and 2013.  2007- T20 World Cup champions,2008-12 – Test series wins abroad in New Zealand and West Indies and Tied test series in South Africa. 2013- Under his captaincy, India became the first team to whitewash Australia in a Test series after a gap of more than 40 years. India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008, 2010 and 2013. 2009- Dhoni led the Indian team to number one position for the first time in the ICC Test rankings. All these when Indian cricket was expected to transition and take time to reach the heights set by the Golden Generation. Dhoni did not allow it to happen. And it was not a fluke. It was planned. The phasing of seniors to give way to young blood was not done in a single year (the mistake which Steve Waugh’s Aussies committed when McGrath, Warne, Langer and a few greats retired after an Ashes series Down Under). Street –smart Dhoni. The popular decision is not always the best decision in the context of a team. MSD has taken a few bold calls in this context like continuing to back Sir Jadeja to be a full time Test bowler, Shikhar Dhawan’s comeback at age 29 etc. Fittingly, MSD was the first captain to win all 3 limited overs trophies (World Cup, Champions Trophy, and T20) and also the No.1 Test ranking. All of this cannot be fluke.

Critics will argue that he was lucky to have talented players. My retort is that talent is always available. Either you are born with it or you can develop it. But what you do with talent is what matters most. In Azhar’s time also, we had talented players coming through. But we couldn’t win abroad.  Ganguly changed it and made Indians believe we could win abroad. Young talent was backed and they revolved around the experienced Golden Generation. Ganguly knew that Sachin, Rahul, Anil, Srinath, VVS and himself couldn’t continue forever. So he groomed Sehwag, Yuvraj, Kaif, Zaheer, Bhajji and Dhoni. Dhoni took it to another level. Under him, he groomed Virat, Rohit, Suresh Raina, Dhawan, Ashwin, and Jadeja. Critics always say he had favourites but it’s always giving someone a full chance and backing your instincts. Rohit Sharma was failing after multiple chances but Dhoni decided to send him to open and boy-o-boy that’s one of the best decisions. Again risk vs cost of failure analysis .Extremely high. Again… EXTREMELY SELF – AWARE, EXTREMELY COMPOSED, EXTREMELY FIT, EXTREMELY GOOD EXECUTION and above all a FLEXIBLE ATTITUDE. BACK YOUR IDEAS. FUCK OTHERS.

Like all humans who make mistakes, MSD also made a few mistakes. MSD resigned in the middle of a Test series Down Under in Dec 2014. His decision was right but I felt the timing could have been after the Test series. He figured out that Test cricket required aggressive captaincy and his style was not working any more. He decided not only to just end captaincy but also retire from test Cricket with immediate effect. Again, self-awareness… He wanted to focus for 5 or 6 more years in limited overs cricket. His instinct must have told him that Virat is ready and it won’t be a big void for Indian cricket. Later, he abruptly resigned from ODIs in 2017 to make way for Virat to be captain of all 3 formats. He wanted a smooth leadership transition. He wanted to play with Virat and mentor Virat. ZERO EGO. He realized it was time to groom and move on. Amazing leadership qualities.

Coming back to MSD’s quality of taking the game deep into the death overs, playing slowly and making the required rate climb up in the end overs. Critics say it’s not necessary. It puts unnecessary pressure in the end. But what critics do not realize is the context. Context gives meaning to anything and everything. In the recent series decider, the pitch was not easy. India had lost few wickets and it had an experienced finishing line up. In today’s T20 era, if a team needs 80 runs or less in last 10 overs with 6 to 7 wickets in hand, there’s an 80% probability that the team wins. This would not hold true in the Sachin era where teams would just struggle under pressure. This is precisely the same reason why Virat King Kohli backs his team to chase better and more importantly, himself. He also comes from the MSD school of thought. Calculated risks vs cost of failure and probability of success. Given that the Indian middle , lower order in the last 2 or 3 years doesn’t have Yuvraj, Raina, Harbhajan etc. in their prime, it makes sense for someone to hold up one end of the innings, keep wickets in hand in the end when bowlers are under pressure. Even to this date, I can hardly think of 2 or 3 death bowlers in world cricket who can bowl Yorkers consistently and scare the shit out of batsman. Not easy. Batsmen have figured out scoop shots etc. . . . After Wasim, Waqar, I think the closest we can get in world cricket for death over yorkers is Bumrah and Bhuvi . Name 5 such bowlers and I will give it to you critics. MSD and Kohli are aware of this. Aware that there are very few world class bowlers today who cant crumble under the pressure of bowling consistent yorkers. Even if a Yorker is coming, MSD has a helicopter shot waiting in his armoury. Freddie Flintoff realized this quite a few years ago the hard way. And MSD knows 8 out of 10 times, if he’s there in the end, he will end up on the winning side. And this approach works only for MSD. Not for anyone else. Kohli comes close. MSD has Jadhav, DK, and Hardik to play the aggressive strokes around him. He knows after Rahul Dravid, Indian cricket doesn’t have a WALL in ODI cricket . A wall who’s wicket is not very easy to get. He’s trying to fill in that role till 2019 WC so that he can get them home. Again, extremely SELF AWARE. This approach has worked for MSD. He took 15 runs off the last over vs Sri Lanka. He plays out the best bowlers and goes after the weaker ones. Even in the 2011 WC final, he got himself ahead of Yuvi as he wanted to block Murali and prevent fall of more wickets. EXTREMELY SELF – AWARE, EXTREMELY COMPOSED, EXTREMELY FIT, EXTREMELY GOOD EXECUTION and above all a FLEXIBLE ATTITUDE. BACK YOUR IDEAS. FUCK OTHERS.

To conclude, the word “Thailava” in Tamil means Leader.  Only two famous Indians have been conferred this Title by Tamil Fans. One is “Thailavar” Rajnikanth and the other is “Namma Thala Da”- Dhoni.  Truly deserving. A once-in-a lifetime leader. To all those useless critics, most of whom haven’t picked up a fucking bat all their life and played in a stadium, just shut your asses up and watch MSD unfold his final script till World Cup 2019 the way he wants. I don’t know what script MSD is playing in his mind for WC 2019. I only pray and hope that he is scripting the final moments  of the finals of World Cup 2019 ( Sunday, the 14th of June at cricket’s Mecca – Lord’s ) and scripts hitting a winning 6 to bring the Cup home for India, like in 2011.  If MSD decides to use this script, even God can’t stop it from unfolding itself. Indian cricket is lucky to have an amazingly outstanding leader like him.

No management book can teach leadership better than MSD.

You know why?

Why?

Why?

Kyun…

Kyun…

Kyun…

Kyunki …Mahendra Singh Dhoni…. Laakhon Mein Ek Hai…  Laakhon Mein Ek

My first blog – the 30 minute bath – every Friday is going to be a Freaky Friday

Folks – my first blog for you Who am I ? I am a random somebody, who is going to publish my first book ” Memoirs of a Sarcastic Fool” within the next 12 months. I wish to pursue my hobby of writing into a professional passion in the long run. Other interests include travel, fitness, tech, movies, sports. Basis my wife’s advice. I think I have finally found purpose in life.. which is to inspire people around me.. might sound a bit gassy ( I am an MBA and MBAs are known to gas a lot; so i am no different) but it took me 31 years to truly find and define my true purpose of existence ,which is to INSPIRE people and hence the title of my website -Inspirational Indian Hari and the profile photo is one of my most favourite Inspirational Indian- Swami Vivekananda…. I have decided to blog so that it helps me fine-tune my writing skills. So its purely a selfish reason. Therefore, here goes my first blog on Friday,the 18th of January 2019. Ok Hari stop… Enough of a plain and drab boring introduction. Do the things you are good at. Making fun of yourself and bringing a smile on others faces. Sarcastic fun…

So here you go folks. This blog is dedicated to all those vella people who have had the time to read my blog patiently so far and still its worth spending a few precious minutes of their precious life and are vella enough to continue to read this in the end. Please don’t stop after having read this far. Go on till the end and please give me constructive feedback on what you feel.

The topic for my first blog can be termed weird, interesting, foolish, sarcastic, innovative, off-beat, silly, random, queer ( hope the meaning of queer is weird.. had learnt this word by rote in school days but never used it).. Its titled ” The 30 minute bath”

What does it mean ? It means that I take minimum 30 minutes to take bath daily. Yes you are right. Dont jump out reading this. It’s true. You can ask my wife, parents, in laws, whoever has seen going into the bathroom. I am a 31 year old male who has short hair unlike a Kareena Kapoor or a Deepika Padukone. Despite this , it takes 30 minutes for me at bare minimum to take bath. Let me tell you how and why.

Today, Friday the 18th of Jan 2019, i went inside the bathroom at “sharp” 2 pm IST . I have seen lot of people using the word, be there at 2 pm sharp. I dont know why the adjective sharp is used. If you dont use the word sharp, will it mean different ? Why cant it be – be there at 2 pm blunt?? Anyways, I am trying to drift from the topic let me come back as to why I take 30 minutes.

To give a background, I work with a beauty company and we sell premium shampoos to consumers. I was having a dandruff issue before I joined this organization. So I am using an anti dandruff shampoo for the last 1 year. I have been instructed to apply this shampoo and leave it for 5 minutes and then rinse my hair. This is step 1.

Before step 1, there is an important step – step 0. Whats it ? Having a playlist on my mobile through Amazon Music and keeping my phone inside the bathroom. The music plays in full volume. Most of the time, its a Bollywood Party Hits playlist playing . Some times, it is Top Bollywood. Sometimes it is Daler Mehndi lists. Kabhi SRK hits, kabhi Anu Malik hits. I listen to chartbusters in full volume. Crazy dude right ? Even I feel so. Let me tell you why. The bathroom is one place I feel that I am completely by myself without any distraction. Nobody can take me away from here, no office calls, no escalations, no giving water to my wife, no jhaadoo poncha, no timeline pressure, no sales pressure, no friends, no enemies, no kids, no adults, Main aur sirf main.. I can do whatever I want without being judged. I feel like I am the King of the Jungle. My friend Manan Agarwal, whom we all call Mama, must be immediately thinking about some other place being referred to as the Jungle. I mean I feel like a Lion inside the bathroom listening to Bollywood chartbusters. Nobody judging me, nobody asking me ” aisa kyuun kiya, waisa kyuun nahin kiya, ab kya hoga, fir kya karega, why,what, how, this, that …brrr.. brrr… brr brr brr…

So i dance like crazy in the bathroom while applying my favourite “Mysore Sandal Soap”. I am very particular about this soap brand as I feel this is my soulmate since birth. Only my parents and my wife come close to Mysore Sandal in terms of my favourite companion. So I rub my Mysore Sandal Soap all over my body, dance along, hum along, shake my zooty ( deliberately changed it to a similar rhyming word so that I am not using foul language in my first blog) and go on and on. I repeat this till 2 songs are done. I realize that assuming 3 minutes are gone in a song, 6 minutes have passed by. I then wash my hair. The songs continue to buzz. Even while washing my hair, I pull off a few amazing dance moves which Shakira, MJ, HRX will be proud of . I feel like no body can come close to me and I am on top of the world. I wash my hair. Another 2 songs get done. I have now exhausted a bucket of water already. 4 songs done and 12 minutes gone. Now, I change track. Its interval time.

The hero in phase 1 – my anti dandruff shampoo is killed in the interval. He’s placed back on the shampoo holder. Then comes hero no.2 , my favorite – Mr. Conditioner. The conditioner I use is super smooth. It has an amazing fragrance like smell to it. Its Sebastian Penetrait. The first I used it, it was Love at first sight or rather Rinse at first sight. As I work in the same parent company, I get it at a small employee discount. The people around me think I own the company and think I get this at 50% discount. Our company would close down if it offers its products at 50% discount always to everyone. Anyways thats beside the point. So I admire myself in the mirror when I apply the conditioner. I think I am some top supermodel who has won Mr. India , Mr World. So this routine of applying the conditioner, continues for 5 minutes. I like lacing through my hair. One more song exhausted. Couple of more Shakira moves done. This multitasking comes naturally to me. 15 minutes done.

I have been told that having applied the conditioner, you need to allow it to dry for 5 to 10 minutes and then wash it off. So having applied the conditioner, I need to kill 5 to 10 minutes now. What do I do now ? I cant dance with my body not wet. So I have figured out a smart logical way to break down my entire bathing process.

Till the interval, thats till the time Hero 1 of the movie, Mr. Shampoo is being used, I only use my upper half of the body above my hips. Below the hips including the feet is reserved post interval, which is when hero 2 of the movie, mr. conditioner has arrived. And boy oh boy My Hips Don’t Lie… A few more chartbusters like Kaali Kaali Ankhen, Proper Patola, Akh Lad Jaave by badshah go down. Its 20 minutes now. 6 to 7 songs down.

Then having finished washing my lower half of the body, I go back to wash my hair . I feel bad that my favourite 30 minutes of every day is about to come to an end quickly. I also feel bad that no longer will I have the awesome fragrance of mr. conditioner on my hair. I spend about 5 minutes washing the conditioner off as I am scared my family will notice a ” white liquid” on my hair and connect it to something else. To all the perverted whose minds have already running in a different direction when I mention white liquid, what I meant was milk. Not fasturbation. I am scared to use the word masturbation in my first blog so hence have used fasturbation. Perverted souls – please stop acting like one . Anyways, lets come back to the 5 minutes of washing. About 25 minutes done, 8 songs belted, good muscle exercise completed due to my groovy dance steps. There’s a mixture of emotions which keeps going on in my head. The emotions are similar to watching Koffee With karan. I feel sad that I have had an enjoyable time for 25 minutes and woh pacchees minut mere zindagi mey waapas nahi aayenge …like SRK tells in Chak De… but I also feel happy that the next day, I can look forward to a new episode. In between I also get slightly philosophical that nothing in life is permanent, you are born naked and will go to heaven/hell/middle earth naked. However, the self doubting individual that I am, I am not sure if I have washed myself completely. Any traces of white liquid or soap if found out by my family, then I feel its a matter of national shame for me and I should jump into the polluted Bellandur lake in Bengaluru and die of intoxication ( I hope the Govt authorities do not read this and sue me for defaming the lake.. Secretly, I hope they do as I feel it will give me free publicity that a budding writer has voiced his concern and people will Google my book). Anyways, 5 minutes is lost while I rewash myself with water all over and rid myself of all the sins committed in the previous 24 hours. I towel-dry myself for2 minutes. 30 minutes of my life are gone.. The most enjoyable 30 minutes of my day..the most carefree.. the most fun.. the most critical. Complete peace of mind. I come back rejuvenated. 3 buckets of water have been drained. My wife complains that I have been responsible for all the water problems of Jayanagar, Bangalore, Karnataka, India, World , Earth and Solar System and Milky Way because of this…

This ,my friends, is how I spend 30 minutes taking a bath daily . If you havent done this, try this. Its fun . Just live free, Just do it folks..

Thats my first blog for you.. Constructive feedback awaited. Please share it and promote this if you have enjoyed it.

Yours truly

Hari Hara Subramanian

Soon – to – be writer of ” Memoirs of a Sarcastic Fool” ( tentative title of my book)

Every Friday, you will see me writing a blog.. Freaky Friday for you.

Amen. Jai Hind. Hari Om.

P.S Next Friday’s blog title : Laakhon Mein Ek : MS Dhoni , the Horn Effect and learnings for leaders