Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Please Don't Go...

There are some of us who are lucky ... who have not lost very near and dear ones to Life.
And there are some of us who are not as lucky.

I have had the misfortune of having to hold back my tears as the elder child and bid brave goodbyes , in spite of the chilled feeling of being left alone.
But I was not brave the day before yesterday.

When I heard the shocking news that my colleague had just succumbed to what is the singlemost certainity of life.
No. I was not brave.
I lost my composure. My nerve.

So many thoughts juggling in my mind.
Did we talk enough?
Did we smile enough?
Did we get into petty day to day issues or did we laugh about our kids?
How many times did we share a coffee?
Exchange a book?
Share some homemade rajma rice?
Did we celebrate success together?

Maybe we did.
Yet, as I sat down near his still sleeping form, I wished I had done more.
The same way I wished when I sat next to my still parents.

What a strange teacher Life is
Drives the point home so ruthlessly yet so clearly.

That Life is about gratitude, not regrets
That we  cannot turn back the hands of time
That the more we smile, the more we receive
That work is just one part of our lives
That family needs us
That we need them
That everything we see is just momentary

That money can't buy us time
Or even a few seconds more
To hold on to people we love most

I wish I could say,"Please don't go..."
I wish....

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Bunch of Keys

I grew up, like many little girls, seeing my mother with a bunch of keys adorning her waist.
This bunch of big, small, medium, wide and narrow toothed keys would be tied to a hanky or, on occasions, to a nice silver adornment and tucked in carefully into the saree waist.

In a country where women are still on a journey of empowerment and freedom, this bunch of keys always gave  and gives her a sense of control and power within the four walls of her home.

The matriach of the house in joint families are the proud owners of these keys.
She has to unlock all the safes and food larders or "grant permission" to a younger member of the household. In older days, the keys were tied to the end of the saree pallu.They were truly hers.

It is a good feeling.
And shows that, with all the purdah and the men being men outside of home, the women of the house were given the controls.
She may not have been to school, but managed the cash and the flows.
Her sons knew how to cajole her into opening that safe and handing out the money for their dream toy.
The household help never dared to touch that bunch.
The younger women in the joint families waited patiently ( and sometimes impatiently) for their turn to own that exalted bunch.

The handing over of the keys from generations was a ritual- almost.
Tears, fears, words of wisdom accompanied the transfer of the bunch from one waist to another.

Truly, in a way, the hand that held the keys, had the power.
That made life and still makes life for every homemaker a challenging and thrilling one.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bottoms Up

No this is not about that quick shot over rum cake for Christmas.
Though it is a season of cheer

I has a very pleasant experience last night.
Was back in my room, tired, rang for a light dinner in room service.
Got busy with emails etc and only when hunger pangs got the bettwr of me, I realised it was around forty minutes since I called.

What happened after that was wonderful.
A very genuine apology, a glass of wine and the meal absolutely complimentary.
And all offered on the spot by the person concerned in room service.

No consultation with bosses.
No lame excuses or empty apologies.

I came back with a smile and a great thumbs up.

This is what empowerment is.
Right from the bottom of the food chain, pun unintended.

Empower the front line staff to put that smile back.
Its immediate, spontaneous and works far better than any "we care for you" campaigns.

We cannot have the One Sale attitude anymore... today it is about loyalty, service, care..

And making every customer a happy one.

Merry Christmas to all my readers and a big thank you.