The sky is grey today and so are the shades of my life; or is there anything more beyond the grey? Or maybe there is just a black and white. I wonder what mystery beholds beyond the world of grey that I am surrounded by.  Soon it started raining and I could feel it pounding my face. Rain and tears mingle on my face, salty tracks blending into the fresh sky-fallen trickles. Only the pinkness in my eyes gives a clue to my pain.

There is a vast expanse between us that even though bound by matrimony is not good enough to bind us together. Time has passed by dragging us in between day and months. You are at an arms space from me, but you only seem to be widening the distance from me because I am not your choice? Don’t you wish to walk with me hand in hand just I chose you. You are the ray of hope that I cling upon. I left my bygones that were bruised and tattered; don’t I deserve a chance again? Then why do you forsake me? Will my heart withstand the burden of this pain? The cold rain pierces my pale wet skin. Will it ever glow in love; ‘in your love’? I stood there motionless unperturbed by the heavy downpour that sounded like the sky grumbling for reasons unknown.

The sound of emptiness was disrupted by your footsteps closing in towards me. I stood  weakened by the weight of soaked clothes. The harsh rain now obliterated the crystal reflection of the sky and turned it into a disoriented chaos. You moved closer towards me looking straight into my eyes which were now heavy, laden with the rain striking my face. My feet wouldn’t move, though my mind kept telling me to move away from your sight. You stood there drenched and motion-less, a look on your face that never could tell what was running through your mind.

Beginning to turn away from you, I realized you weren’t running for cover. I turned only to be stopped by your voice saying “wait”. I could see your lips curving into the most beautiful smile. This was ‘providence’; my prayers were answered.

Holding my hands and bringing me closer to you, you gently whispered into my ears, “I love you”. Those drops striking our faces weren’t just magical but divine. Each one seemed to be wiping away my pains, anxieties, questions. Moving in closer for the first time our lips were locked together – the world ceased to exist, blurred and indistinct as a wet painting left out in the torrent. When we pulled back, the sparkle in your eyes were like every fantasy I’d ever had of you.

The kiss, the look, a stolen moment that could have just washed away but instead was now set, color-fast and indelible. Though there was no rainbow to paint the sky after he relentless pouring, my life now definitely has more of the colorful shades than just the black and white or the “in between”.



208 Seconds that make or break!

Re-blogged from another source.

I recently watched the movie Sully. Released September 2016.

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It is the story of a real life pilot who landed a plane on Hudson river after twin engine failure with all passengers surviving, and yet faces an enquiry committee that is almost determined to pin him down on count of ‘wrong judgement’. In a brilliant portrayal of what the captain and the co-pilot go through before the hearing, both decide to go for a jog in a cold winter night at a still-busy Times Square. And in a moment of profound realization during that jog, the captain (played by Tom Hanks), says something to the co-pilot, that stayed in my mind:

” Over 40 years in the air, but in the end I am going to be judged on 208 seconds”

That was the time it took for the plane to land on the river.

We all have that 208 seconds, that everything about us gets judged on, irrespective of and despite anything we may have done otherwise. It could be that one “no” you said to someone, despite having said a hundred “yes”. It could be that one occasion you slipped on something despite having done something well most other times. It could be that one person you don’t get along with despite having a rapport with so many others. It could be that one phase you couldn’t quite keep up despite being present most other times.

208 seconds is the metaphor for that one behavior, trait or worse just one incident which overrides everything else the person does or is, in deciding the judgement people have of that person.

In cognitive science, these come under the gamut of Halo or Horns effects. That you are blinded by some good or bad aspect of a person that you overlook any negative in the ‘haloed’ person and ignore any good quality in the person with ‘horns’. I was watching some video which said that apparently human mind remembers a negative experience with a person much more than a positive experience. This could be why people are cautious (sometimes to the extent of lunacy) in saying or doing something unpleasant, even if that might be necessary. “Why get into anybody’s bad books?” “People need to say good things about you”.

I think somewhere the focus shifted to being “seen as right” rather than actually doing the right thing.

While I don’t have any studies to quote (maybe there are few out there), but most subconscious hard-wiring of humans usually pertain to safety: physical in stone age and psychological in today’s times. Is it possible that we are tuned to remembering bad experiences much more than good experiences so that we can “steer clear” of a repetition next time, thereby keeping us safe physically and psychologically?

Stay away from this person in office, he is usually too blunt; or let us not risk this project for this person, she didn’t do well last time. Or like in the movie, it appeared that the committee was almost scared to admit that a pilot’s judgement in such a critical juncture was more reliable than machine simulations – after all, you can predict results with machines, but how do you do that with humans?

So all these signals from our brains, to stay away from people and situations, keeps us safe, but in a primitive sort of way. Unfortunately, they also keep us away from life’s best gifts.

Would you lose a friend who was with you in the worst and best of times, just because you hit one rough patch; just because that phase was unpleasant you will give up on the very amazing times you can spend together when things are better? Would you lose an employee who has one quality at loggerheads with the organization, but many others that contribute so much?

I don’t know if we can stop anyone else from judging us by our 208 seconds. But we can change things by changing the way we judge others.

Next time we write-off someone, maybe can we pause and ask ourselves these questions..

  1. What about this bothers me so much?
  2. Is it really that big an issue, or am I exaggerating it in my mind?
  3. What are “bests” of that person, and are they far more than this one quality, which is overwhelming me at this point in time?
  4. Am I also fallible to the same fault? So can I forgive the other person?
  5. Am I unable to distinguish between what the person “did” and who the person “is”?

It appears to me that the universe wanted all of its creation to survive and therefore we have these in-built “safety” rules that help us play it “safe”. But the universe has also reserved prized treasures for those who can go beyond these “safe zone” and risk breaking hard-wired patterns of thinking. Treasures of great adventure, real trust, true friendship and boundless happiness.

The choice is clear. I can stay safe from hurt. Or I can risk getting hurt to get something much deeper – a true, though sometimes eccentric soul-mate, a creative – though sometimes maverick employee, a solid – though sometimes irritating friend.

Choice is ours. 208 seconds can get us a safe water-landing.

To fly, we need to go beyond.

This is a very old incident narrated below that happened years back when I was pursuing my MBA. Every year our university hosted an interstate/ inter university sports tournament for basketball, football, volleyball and some more games. Being a volleyball player I never missed the girls team from Kerala..ohh they were such a team and what game. It was a delight watching them play.. or rather I should say fight it out in the court.

During my final year our MBA boys were included in the university football team and had qualified for the semis. Now this was a game which I thought, I should definitely watch to support the boys. I like this game of football; except for the kicks that are between players…oouch.. the kick on the shin hurts…

All excited I dragged my roomie too for the match and we reached the playground late by 15 minutes. Now that was because I gladly slept in the afternoon and forgot the alarm. The match had begun at 4 pm sharp and all I could see was a huge swarm of boys from various engineering streams and a group of girls in one corner of the seating area. Our boys were playing against a team from Kerala and football in Kerala is a mad sport.

Squeezing myself through the crowd i managed to fins some place and sat down. I asked one of the boys next to me what the score was… and he was definitely from the same institute/ university as the defending team. With a smile, he replied; they are leading us 3-0. And I said, REALLY. Now my excitement grew knowing that our boys were leading.

I thought he would have been discouraged. I looked at him and asked, “enda veshamikkane..kali innuyum undalo” (ohh.. he was a malayalee, so my conversation was in Malayalam. So what I meant is, “are you disappointed/ discouraged, the game is still remaining”) “Veshamam” (disappointed) the boy replied with a puzzled look. “Njan endinu veshamikkande.. iduvere referee final whistle adichitillelo? Ennikkya orappa njangal goal adikkum.” (Why should I be disappointed when the referee has not blown the final whistle? I have confidence in the team; we will definitely overcome and hit goals.) I thought otherwise!!

Truly, the match ended 5-4 in favor of the boy’s team. After the match, he waved at me with a beautiful glee and left. I was amazed, mouth wide open. I admired his confidence; such beautiful and immense faith. As I got back to the hostel that night, his question kept coming back to me….. Why should I be discouraged when the referee has not blown the final whistle?

Today this question strikes me again. Why am I getting discouraged? It’s not the end?

At work I’ve been having a tough time since last 5 months. I am a recruiter and seriously I’ve been man-hunting/ headhunting for some of the most niche and complex profiles for some of the major pharma brands. And trust me, it’s tough, recruitment at times can simply suck life out of you. The situation is such that I get the so called most suitable/ best candidate, he goes for an interview at the client’s office and…. Then the most dreaded thing happens.. the position is placed on hold..!! Or even best they find someone internally… seriously what’ve you been doing while I was wasting my efforts for you..? Okay now that’s company discretion.. don’t have much to argue on that point. Phew, my efforts gone for a toss and then the saga continues.. client says we’ll let you know, we keep waiting to hear by dropping in reminders every fortnight, candidate keeps following up and we don’t lie but rather tell them the truth because it’s very important to be transparent in any profession. And this is the case with 8-10 odd good profiles with high earning potential (I could’ve earned a good incentive).

Totally disheartened with the trend that’s going on since 5 months, I decided to quit working on niche profiles and rather take up small profiles with a shorter TAT (Turnaround time) and sure shot closures, but then I realized that would be ok for a short while.. then I would again crave for senior profiles, rather I would need to wait for such profiles to work on. Client hasn’t yet pulled back the position. I still have the data plus my candidates are ever ready.. then why be discouraged? Let’s wait for time to strike. And if lady luck is on my side.. Bingo I should definitely strike a huge jackpot.

So, I am not giving up. I am not going to blow the whistle myself.

Life is like a game….

Why be discouraged, when there is still life. Why be discouraged when your final whistle has not sounded.

The truth is that many people blow the final whistle themselves…. But as long as there is life, nothing is impossible and it is never too late for you. 

And… Half time is not full time…..



Her past was like shattered mirror, that had innumerable cracks; but it stood there intact displaying a strong woman that she was, broken at heart and clear at mind; who was otherwise vulnerable. 

I admired her for the way she carried herself – calm, serene, bold, elegant and beautiful in a way and in the simplest of attires that I fell head over heels for her much to her obliviousness.

I encountered ‘n’ number of situations just to look at her, watch her talk, teach, laugh, read and smile, but never did I imagine what lay behind the smile much to the dismay of understanding what lay in store.

I one day mustered the courage, walked up to her and spoke of what was in my heart and she walked away in much shock only to be drawn back into a cocoon, scared and ready to crumble as if love were a nightmare for her.

Unable to understand the reason for her absence, I learnt of her bitter shaken past to realize that I had stepped into a zone that she had recoiled away from, as the smile she carried and cheerfulness was only to put back her past, but never had the courage to let anyone pass through those doors closed to her aching heart.

Abilene Paradox

What is The Abilene Paradox ?
Context : Corporate World.
On a birthday, a family decided to go out for dinner. Husband asked wife, where to go?
Thinking that he likes Gujarati food, she said: “Let’s go to Agashiye – The Terrace Restaurant!”
His son and daughter nodded in agreement. 
On their return, the son remarked, “I wish Papa had taken us to Mainland China, as he loves Chinese food. Or at least to Shere-E-Punjab for the wonderful tandoori chicken.”added his daughter. 
“Yes, I too would have loved to go Mainland China!”,  the man said. 
Wife looked surprised: “But didn’t we all unanimously agree to go to Agashiye,” she asked.
He said sheepishly “I didn’t want you to feel bad.” And both children nodded in agreement. 
Here were four people who of their own volition would not have gone to ‘Agashiye – The Terrace Restaurant, but collectively agreed to go there. 
This also happens in the corporate world. This is the Abilene Paradox. 
Prof Jerry Harvey calls it ‘The Inability to Manage Agreement.’
The Abilene Paradox occurs when a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is contrary to the preferences of most of the individuals in the group.
Prof Harvey states in his paper ‘The Abilene Paradox’, “Organizations frequently take actions in contradiction to what they really want to do and therefore defeat the very purpose they are trying to achieve”.
This is the inability to manage agreement.
He adds, “The inability to manage agreement, not the inability to manage conflict, is the essential symptom that defines organizations caught in the web of the Abilene Paradox.”
In the corporate world, when the top boss throws an idea, the group immediately agrees. 
This is because everyone in the group thinks he would look stupid if he disagrees. 
Standing out as a lone voice is very embarrassing. This leads the group to decide on ‘yes’ when ‘no’ would have been the personal (and the correct) response of the majority. 
If the top boss always disagrees with rest of group, then the organization will never have group giving honest opinion. 
I love this from Ayn Rand, “If we have an endless number of individual minds who are weak, meek, submissive and impotent. Who renounce their creative supremacy for the sake of the “whole” and accept humbly the ‘whole’s verdict’, we don’t get a collective super-brain. We get only the weak, meek, submissive and impotent collection of minds.”

When to be Silent..??

Be silent – in the heat of anger

Be silent – when you don’t have all the facts

Be silent – when you haven’t verified the facts

Be silent – if your words will offend a weaker person

Be silent – when it is time to listen

Be silent – when you are tempted to make light of holy things

Be silent – when you are tempted to joke about sin

Be silent – if you would be ashamed of your word later

Be silent – if your words would convey the wrong impression

Be silent – if the issue is none of your business

Be silent – when you are tempted to tell an outright lie

Be silent – if your words will damage someone else’s reputation

Be silent – if your words will damage a friendship

Be silent – when you are feeling critical

Be silent – if you can’t say it without screaming

Be silent – if your words will be a poor reflection of your friends and family

Be silent – if you may have to eat your words later

Be silent – if you have already said it more than one time

Be silent – when you are tempted to flatter a wicked person

Be silent – when you are supposed to be working instead