Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Be the Change

I came to India armed with the knowledge of management principles, an optimistic outlook, and maybe a dash of ego [that rarely lets go of me]. As the plane began its descent, the lush green forests underneath almost made me croon: “Mere desh ki dharti…”! However, the view transformed into a sea (no exaggeration!) of shanties as we approached the airport. It made me wonder: ‘Seriously, what was I thinking?!!!’

I have been observing every detail closely to analyze how this can be made better. While waiting for my sandwich as the sandwich-wala struggled with demand overkill, I resisted the urge to offer lessons in volume management and LEAN standardization of the ‘vegetable slicing’ process. Quality control is a different issue altogether- as a mosquito got sliced and included along with the cucumber in a ‘Jain’ sandwich!

Likewise, navigating through the traffic, I realized the helplessness of a situation if a person had an emergency health condition. Almost took me back to Abhishek Bachchan’s reaction in Delhi-6 where the only way his grandma could be rescued in the middle of traffic was through the auspicious birth of a goat! It is insane the way the faith and belief structure operates in India. For a moment,I believed too that divine intervention was the only way out. Maybe it is the impossibility of challenges put forth on a daily basis that reinforces the faith that there better be someone up there who will take care of it all. Does it then also give rise to the apathy and lack of desire for change that I have observed in the common man? Have we so given in to the circumstances that we don’t even realize the crappiness of it? Or is just the lack of awareness of what life can be- having seen life outside India and how productive and constructive it can be maybe makes me feel differently.

The magnanimity of the lack of structure in every aspect of the environment brings in not just fear of what am I out to attain, but also the humility to focus on just one aspect and work diligently at it. I am not responsible for, nor capable of the change required. During my school and college years, I was an environment protection fanatic- neither would I throw trash carelessly, nor let anyone do so. But this time around I have seen myself change. I don’t command people to behave as I desire. But have just been reiterating Gandhiji’s mantra over and over: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I take care of my actions without demanding or expecting. In some way feel I that it is a very powerful way to lead, and maybe just less distressing to your soul!


  1. Social consciousness is apparently safe only as long as you keep it contained to your actions.

    This article talks about the impact of volunteering during adolescence. Social service and Scout training were treated as a lark in our school days. Maybe it is time for schools to be more responsible and mould social consciousness into the moral fabric of tomorrow's adults.

  2. Yup, I do fact have come to think on the lines of 'Adopt a village'...every well-off person can just adopt and work for the development of a single village in a lifetime and that in itself can bring a huge change.