Saturday, January 15, 2011
Pretty normal, one would think. But, when we reached the station and the train arrived, we learnt from my cousin that Mr. N.R.Narayana Murthy had gotten off the same train in the previous station! Now, NRN travelling in the Indian Railways was news enough. But, the fact that he got into the train in the middle of nowhere (Mantralaya) was even bigger news. I mean, the man could easily fly down in a helicopter to Bangalore; or hire a Merc or a BMW and get back home by road.
But, he chose Indian Railways. I guess that talks about the character of the man - the simplicity, the practical way of looking at his life i.e. Indian Railways has the best transport network in the country & he was able to use the time in the train for himself; as against his regular schedule of being perenially busy and surounded by a slew of people. Apparently (according to my cousin), NRN was clad in white kurta-pyjama and was scheduled to leave to London on Monday.
For my own satisfaction, I saw the ticket chart outside the bogie that my cousin & NRN were travelling in. Sure enough, both their names were there. Only that, the famous scion of the Indian IT industry had his name printed as NARAYANA. Nobody would have guessed - by looking at the chart - that it was the name of the face of the Indian IT industry. I guess, it is pleasant to say, Narayana, Narayana, as in the old epics.
Good experience - for my cousin. And great insight into the practicality of the great man.
But 2011 is different. We are not going to get too many long weekends. Worse, we are not going to get too many public holidays as well, given that many holidays this year fall on weekends. Hence, it is going to be tough to club that weekend getaway with a Friday or a Monday and make sure that you cover that many more places than before.
Such scheduling in a calendar year only means that one needs to be extremely well planned in chalking out one's holiday plan. Remember, you plan on the handful of long weekends, are going to be the same periods in which many others would be making similar holiday plans. Hence, you need to be sure that you are smarter in the planning of your holidays, and quicker than the rest.
The other great thing about calendars is that, while one year(like 2011) will make all of us feel miserable at the paucity of public holidays, there will be other years when long weekends will be the norm, rather than the exception. So, bide your time, save money, and plan for those particular years, starting now. After all, inflation and calendars(long weekends) will come and go. But the number of places you want to see is endless. So, plan for the long weekends in maybe 2014, starting now!
But, that success seems to have gone to their heads for sure, albeit in different ways. Some of them are still in India (and hugely successful), while others have ventured abroad and made it big. Fair enough. However, their success has changed them in ways that I had not fathomed or expected. They have become people who find immense thrill in ridiculing India, while others seem to be living the life of a foreigner, living right here in India.
Imagine this - you are invited to somebody's house and you tell them that you will be there after a particular time on a Sunday evening. Now, given the traffic conditions, almost every Indian I know understands a delay. The least you expect is an sms reminder at the designated time, saying that they are expecting us! How ridiculous is that for an Indian living here in India? Maybe, I cannot blame the person, as the expectation in foreign countries is to be on time, even for social visits. However, our host conveniently forgot the travails of getting through tough traffic that make our best attempts to be on time, rudderless. And this person I am referring to, goes abroad every month on projects etc and hardly lives in India. As far back as I can remember, he was NOT like this before he became the big shot that he is today. But, at what price?
Or, take the example of folks abroad who now hold senior executive positions that I know personally. This person has totally forgotten his roots, in the sense, that, he has the audacity to say, 'some bloody Indian stuff', and has changed his very Indian name to a totally anglicised version, speaks in a tone that makes you wonder whether he has even seen India, and even manages to be nasty with other Indians I know who may not be that successful (YET). Again, a person who made it big, but lost all Indian values (and my respect thereof).
I write this blog in wonderment, at the price many Indians I know are ready to pay, for their success. Is it even worth it? I can only compare a person like Tendulkar (who I don't know personally). But, the great man - based on ALL his stupendous achievements on a cricket field - appears to be humane, and grounded. And, in parallel, these folks I know personally who are not even half way to where Sachin is, have so much attitude.
Just not worth it. The biggest takeaway for me in all this, is to never forget my roots. If & when I become successful, I will make sure that I take extra precaution to be humane, approachable and courteous; rather than being, rude, arrogant and a person full of attitude. To hell with such people and their attitude!