The Boiling Frog Syndrome

5 06 2013

Out of those many and many thoughts in forwarded wisdom, this story stuck. And may be it did echo to some thought that I read last month. How do you tell a difference between a sacrifice and a compromise? At the cost of sounding trite, let me quote their definitions: Sacrifice is an act of offering something up for a higher purpose, whilst compromise is something that we give up as an act of appeasement for a lower purpose. I just wonder about the many times when we confuse both of them and let a compromise masquerade in the cloak of sacrifice.

Life is all about going with the flow. There are times that demand us to be flexible, responsive and adaptable to change. Be it a new relationship in life where you make those little concessions or be it at work where you get attuned to the change of winds or mandates. How to tell whether to give in or to give up? Read on..

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Human Beings and frogs are the two creatures in nature who have tremendous power to adjust. Put a frog in a vessel of water and start heating the water. As the temperature of the water rises, the frog is able to adjust its body temperature accordingly. The frog keeps on adjusting with increase in temperature. Just when the water is about to reach boiling point, the frog is not able to adjust anymore. At that point the frog decides to jump out. The frog tries to jump but is unable to do so, because it lost all its strength in adjusting with the water temperature. Very soon the frog dies.

What killed the frog? Many of us would say the boiling water.

But the truth is what killed the frog was its own inability to decide when it had to jump out.

We all need to adjust with people and situations, but we need to be sure when we need to adjust and when we need to face. There are times when we need to face the situation and take the appropriate action. If we allow people to exploit us physically, emotionally or financially, they will continue to do so. We have to decide when to jump. Let us jump while we still have the strength.

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.





Blind Men And The Elephant..

9 02 2008

This is a story from my Granny’s collections. One of those fond memories of childhood and yet such a lifetime lesson to practice. A little googling helped me locate this story and saved me from recreating its fondness from memory. For the trading with memories involves dealing with interpretations and perceptions which may not let you remain true to the original. 🙂

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Once upon a time there were six blind men. They lived in a town in India. They thought they were very clever. One day an elephant came into the town. The blind men did not know what an elephant looked like but they could smell it and they could hear it. ‘What is this animal like?’ they said. Each man touched a different part of the elephant.

The first man touched the elephant’s body. It felt hard, big and wide. ‘An elephant is like a wall’ he said. The second man touched one of the elephant’s tusks. It felt smooth and hard and sharp. ‘An elephant is like a spear’ he said.

The third man touched the elephant’s trunk. It felt long and thin and wiggly. ‘An elephant is like a snake’ he said. The fourth man touched on of the legs. It felt thick and rough and hard and round. ‘An elephant is like a tree’ he said.

The fifth man touched one of the elephant’s ears. It felt thin and it moved. ‘An elephant is like a fan’ he said.

The sixth man touched the elephant’s tail. It felt long and thin and strong. ‘An elephant is like a rope’ he said.

The men argued. It’s like a wall! No, it isn’t! It’s like a spear! No it isn’t! It’s like a snake! They did not agree. The king had been watching and listening to the men. ‘You are not very clever. You only touched part of the elephant. You did not feel the whole animal. An elephant is not like a wall or a spear or a snake, or a tree or a fan of a rope’.

The men left the town still arguing. A little girl heard them and said ‘Each of you is right but you are all wrong … but I know what you are talking about.’

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A nice illustration of this story in poem is available here. This story leaves me with a lingering echo that sounds like this.
“O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim
For preacher and monk the honored name!
For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such folk see only one side of a thing”

Well, thats the thought that stayed with me since carefree days.





Two Choices..

25 09 2007

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What would you do? You make the choice! Don’t look for a punch line; There isn’t one! Read it anyway. My question to you is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fund raising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children,the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

“When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?”

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. “I believe,that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child.”Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked,”Do you think they’ll let me play?” Shay’s father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay’s father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and said, “We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.”

Shay struggled over to the team’s bench put on a team shirt with a broad smile and his Father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father’s joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored agai n. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible ’cause Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the other team putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over, but the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first baseman, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, “Shay, run to first! Run to first!” Never in his life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, “Run to second, run to second!”
Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to second base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions and he too intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-base man’s head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, “Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay”

Shay reached third base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, “Run to third! Shay, run to third” As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those watching were on their feet were screaming, “Shay, run home! Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the “grand slam” and won the game for his team.

That day, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.

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Am quite touched by this story.





A Real Life Experience..

27 05 2007

This article is written by Sudha Murthy. Sudha Murthy is a widely published writer and chairperson of the Infosys Foundation involved in a number of social development initiatives. Infosys chairman Narayan Murthy is her husband. I must have gone through it many times, yet everytime I go through it, it never ceases to inspire me. The humility of the Tatas and how it impacted Sudha’s life is so evident…

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It was probably the April of 1974. Bangalore was getting warm and gulmohars were blooming at the IISc campus. I was the only girl in my postgraduate department and was staying at the ladies’ hostel. Other girls were pursuing research in different departments of Science.

I was looking forward to going abroad to complete a Doctorate in computer science. I had been offered scholarships from Universities in the US . I had not thought of taking up a job in India .

One day, while on the way to my hostel from our Lecture-hall complex, I saw an advertisement on the notice board. It was a Standard job-requirement notice from the famous automobile company Telco (Now Tata Motors). It stated that the company required young, bright engineers, Hardworking and with an excellent academic background, etc.

At the bottom was a small line: “Lady Candidates need not apply.”

I read it and was very upset. For the first time in my life I was up against gender discrimination.

Though I was not keen on taking up the job, I saw it as a challenge. I had done extremely well in academics, better than most of my male peers. Little did I know then that in real life academic Excellence is not enough to be successful.

After reading the notice I went fuming to my room. I decided to inform the topmost person in Telco’s management about the injustice the company was perpetrating. I got a postcard and started to write, but there was a problem: I did not know who headed Telco.

I thought it must be one of the Tatas. I knew JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group; I had seen his pictures in newspapers (actually, Sumant Moolgaokar was the company’s chairman then). I took the card, addressed it to JRD and started writing. To this day I remember clearly what I wrote.

“The great Tatas have always been pioneers. They are the people who started the basic infrastructure industries in India , such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and locomotives. They have cared for higher education in Indiasince 1900 and they were responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science. Fortunately, I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as Telco is discriminating on the basis of gender.”

I posted the letter and forgot about it. Less than 10 days later, I received a telegram stating that I had to appear for an interview at Telco’s Pune facility at the company’s expense. I was taken aback by the telegram. My hostel mate told me I should use the opportunity to go to Pune free of cost and buy them the famous Pune saris for cheap! I collected Rs 30 each from everyone who wanted a sari. When I look back, I feel like laughing at the reasons for my going, but back then they seemed good enough to make the trip.

It was my first visit to Pune and I immediately fell in love with the city. To this day it remains dear to me. I feel as much at home in Pune as I do in Hubli, my hometown. The place changed my life in so many ways. As directed, I went to Telco’s Pimpri office for the interview.

There were six people on the panel and I realised then that this was serious business. This is the girl who wrote to JRD,” I heard somebody whisper as soon as I entered the room. By then I knew for sure that I would not get the job. The realisation abolished all fear from my mind, so I was rather cool while the interview was being conducted.

Even before the interview started, I reckoned the panel was biased, so I told them, rather impolitely, “I hope this is only a technical interview.”

They were taken aback by my rudeness, and even today I am ashamed about my attitude. The panel asked me technical questions and I answered all of them.

Then an elderly gentleman with an affectionate voice told me, “Do you know why we said lady candidates need not apply? The reason is that we have never employed any ladies on the shop floor. This is not a co-ed college; this is a factory. When it comes to academics, you are a first ranker throughout. We appreciate that, but people like you should work in research laboratories.”

I was a young girl from small-town Hubli. My world had been a limited place. I did not know the ways of large corporate houses and their difficulties, so I answered, “But you must start somewhere, otherwise no woman will ever be able to work in your factories.”

Finally, after a long interview, I was told I had been successful. So this was what the future had in store for me. Never had I thought I would take up a job in Pune. I met a shy young man from Karnataka there, we became good friends and we got married.

It was only after joining Telco that I realized who JRD was: the uncrowned king of Indian industry. Now I was scared, but I did not get to meet him till I was transferred to Bombay . One day I had to show some reports to Mr Moolgaokar, our chairman, who we all knew as SM. I was in his office on the first floor of BombayHouse (the Tata headquarters) when, suddenly JRD walked in. That was the first time I saw “appro JRD”. Appro means “our” in Gujarati. This was the affectionate term by which people at Bombay House called him.

I was feeling very nervous, remembering my postcard episode. SM introduced me nicely, “Jeh (that’s what his close associates called him), this young woman is an engineer and that too a postgraduate.

She is the first woman to work on the Telco shop floor.” JRD looked at me. I was praying he would not ask me any questions about my interview (or the postcard that preceded it).

Thankfully, he didn’t. Instead, he remarked. “It is nice that girls are getting into engineering in our country. By the way, what is your name?”

“When I joined Telco I was Sudha Kulkarni, Sir,” I replied. “Now I am Sudha Murthy.” He smiled and kindly smile and started a discussion with SM. As for me, I almost ran out of the room. After that I used to see JRD on and off. He was the Tata Group chairman and I was merely an engineer. There was nothing that we had in common. I was in awe of him.

One day I was waiting for Murthy, my husband, to pick me up after office hours. To my surprise I saw JRD standing next to me. I did not know how to react. Yet again I started worrying about that postcard. Looking back, I realise JRD had forgotten about it. It must
have been a small incident for him, but not so for me.

“Young lady, why are you here?” he asked. “Office time is over.” I said, “Sir, I’m waiting for my husband to come and pick me up.” JRD said, “It is getting dark and there’s no one in the corridor.

I’ll wait with you till your husband comes.”

I was quite used to waiting for Murthy, but having JRD waiting alongside made me extremely uncomfortable.

I was nervous. Out of the corner of my eye I looked at him. He wore a simple white pant and shirt. He was old, yet his face was glowing. There wasn’t any air of superiority about him. I was thinking, “Look at this person. He is a chairman, a well-respected man in our country and he is waiting for
the sake of an ordinary employee.”

Then I saw Murthy and I rushed out. JRD called and said, “Young lady, tell your husband never to make his wife wait again.”

In 1982 I had to resign from my job at Telco. I was reluctant to go, but I really did not have a choice. I was coming down the steps of Bombay House after wrapping up my final settlement when I saw JRD coming up. He was absorbed in thought. I wanted to say goodbye to him, so I stopped. He saw me and paused.

Gently, he said, “So what are you doing, Mrs Kulkarni?”
(That was the way he always addressed me.) “Sir, I am leaving Telco.”

“Where are you going?” he asked. “Pune, Sir. My husband is starting a company called Infosys and I’m shifting to Pune.”

“Oh! And what will you do when you are successful.”

“Sir, I don’t know whether we will be successful.”
“Never start with diffidence,” he advised me. “Always start with confidence. When you are successful you must give back to society. Society gives us so much; we must reciprocate. I wish you all the best.”

Then JRD continued walking up the stairs. I stood there for what seemed like a millennium. That was the last time I saw him alive. Many years later I met Ratan Tata in the same Bombay House, occupying the chair JRD once did. I told him of my many sweet memories of working with Telco. Later, he wrote to me, “It was nice hearing about Jeh from you. The sad part is that he’s not alive to see you today.”

I consider JRD a great man because, despite being an extremely busy person, he valued one postcard written by a young girl seeking justice. He must have received thousands of letters everyday. He could have thrown mine away, but he didn’t do that. He respected the intentions of that unknown girl, who had neither influence nor money, and gave her an opportunity in his company. He did not merely give her a job; he changed her life and mindset forever.

Close to 50 per cent of the students in today’s engineering colleges are girls. And there are women on the shop floor in many industry segments. I see these changes and I think of JRD. If at all time stops and asks me what I want from life, I would say I wish JRD were alive today to see how the company we started has grown. He would have enjoyed it wholeheartedly.

My love and respect for the House of Tata remains undiminished by the passage of time. I always looked up to JRD. I saw him as a role model for his simplicity, his generosity, his kindness and the care he took of his employees. Those blue eyes always reminded me of the sky; they had the same vastness and magnificence.





The classic Indirect Proposal..

8 11 2005

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BOY: I need someone to talk to ..
GiRL: I`m alwayz here for you.
BOY: I know.
GiRL: Whatz wrong?
BOY: I like her *s0o* much..
GiRL: Talk to her.
BOY: I don`t know.. she`ll never like me.
GiRL: Don`t say that. You`re amazing.
BOY: I just wanna tell her how I feel ..
GiRL: Then tell her.
BOY: She won`t like me.
GiRL: How do you know that?
BOY: I can just tell.
GiRL: Well, just tell her.
BOY: What should I say?
GiRL: Tell her how much you like her.
BOY: I tell her that daily.
GiRL: What youu mean?
BOY: I’m alwayz with her. I love her.
GiRL: I know how you feel. I have the same problem. But he`ll never like me.
BOY: Wait. Who do you like?
GiRL: Ooh, some boy..
BOY: Ooh, she won`t like me either.
GiRL: She does.
BOY: How do you know.. ?
GiRL: Because who wouldn`t like you?
BOY: You..
GiRL: You`re wrong. I love you.
BOY: I love you too.
GiRL: .. so are you going to talk to her?
BOY: I just did.

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Got this as a forward. Somehow I feel that this conversation depicts the hesitation, self-doubt and love quite convincingly.





Love Stories..

21 10 2005

Its nice to read some love stories at times.. They give such nice hope and they talk of so much optimism. I like the idea that there is someone who cares for you, even if it can be a myth. Its just that feeling,”Pal bhar keliye koi hame Pyaar karle, Jhoota hi sahi!”

This is a good story which I have received today as a forward. Hope you like it too.

A SWEET LOVE STORY

He met her on a party. She was so outstanding, many guys chasing after her, while he was so normal, nobody paid attention to him. At the end of the party, he invited her to have coffee with him, she was surprised, but due to being polite, she promised.

They sat in a nice coffee shop, he was too nervous to say anything, she felt uncomfortable, she thought, please, let me go home.. Suddenly he asked the waiter: “would you please give me some salt? I’d like to put it in my coffee.”

Everybody stared at him, so strange! His face turned red, but, still, he put the salt in his coffee and drank it. She asked him curiously: why you have this hobby?

He replied: “when I was a little boy, I was living near the sea, I liked playing in the sea, I could feel the taste of the sea , just like the taste of the salty coffee. Now every time I have the salty coffee, I always think of my childhood, think of my hometown, I miss my hometown so much, I miss my parents who are still living there”. While saying that tears filled his eyes. She was deeply touched.

That’s his true feeling, from the bottom of his heart. A man who can tell out his homesickness, he must be a man who loves home, cares about home, has responsibility of home.. Then she also started to speak, spoke about her faraway hometown, her childhood, her family. That was a really nice talk, also a beautiful beginning of their story.

They continued to date. She found that actually he was a man who meets all her demands; he had tolerance, was kind hearted, warm, careful. He was such a good person but she almost missed him! Thanks to his salty coffee!

Then the story was just like every beautiful love story, the princess married to the prince, then they were living the happy life… And, every time she made coffee for him, she put some salt in the coffee, as she knew that’s the way he liked it.

After 40 years, he passed away, left her a letter which said: “My dearest, please forgive me, forgive my whole life lie. This was the only lie I said to you—the salty coffee. Remember the first time we dated? I was so nervous at that time, actually I wanted some sugar, but I said salt. It was hard for me to change so I just went ahead. I never thought that could be the start of our communication!

I tried to tell you the truth many times in my life, but I was too afraid to do that, as I have promised not to lie to you for anything.. Now I’m dying, I afraid of nothing so I tell you the truth: I don’t like the salty coffee, what a strange bad taste.. But I have had the salty coffee for my whole life!

Since I knew you, I never feel sorry for anything I do for you. Having you with me is my biggest happiness for my whole life. If I can live for the second time, still want t o know you and have you for my whole life, even though I have to drink the salty coffee again”. Her tears made the letter totally wet.

Someday, someone asked her: what’s the taste of salty coffee?
It’s sweet. She replied.

love is not 2 forget
but 2 forgive
not 2 c but understand
not 2 hear but 2 listen
not 2 let go but HOLD ON !!!!

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends with a tear. Being loved by someone gives u strength, being in love with someone deeply gives u courage!!!





The Story of a Woodcutter…

20 01 2005

Hey today I read a good story in the Tata Motors employee magazine…

Its about a wood cutter who works under a timber merchant. On the first day he fells 18 trees and the boss is quite pleased. Next day he tries very hard but could fell only 15 trees, the next day 10…and the number keeps on decreasing. He feels bad and incompetent but he can’t understand the reason . So he goes to his boss and complains of his failure. Then his boss questions him, when did u last sharpened your axe? His reply was well, I was so immersed in cutting trees that I got no time to sharpen my axe…

This story hit a nerve. Many times I resolve myself to the pattern of work out here that I really forget to sharpen my axe, to use my brain and to think differently. May be everyone needs a shelter to save oneself from the tensions of the day and to unwind too. Did u sharpen your axe today?