August 28, 2016

Ranga the Postman

For officers of the Indian Armed Forces there is a prestigious institution, a ‘Mecca’ for the elite, called “Defence Services Staff College” in Wellington, near Ooty in the Nilgiris. We went through a ‘one year ‘ staff course there in 1983. The Staff College, as it is popularly called, is known for its meticulously seamless working and the high standards of ‘staff work’ that it inculcates in the officers.

There is a unique and efficient facility created for sending and receiving letters and study material. In the hexagonal building “Chanakya,’  is the Tea Room. Along the six walls of this hexagon are a set of drawers called ‘Lockers.’ Each student officer is assigned a Locker and a Locker Number as an identification. It has a slit, big enough to slip a file through. We were expected to clear our lockers at least twice a day at 8 am and 4 pm. You could have your assignments, letters, even bank cheque book of the local bank found in the locker when you opened it.

There was one postman called Ranga who was assigned to Staff College. Every day, he would bring the mail and distribute it by dropping the letters in the respective lockers. He did it very efficiently. We used to be amazed when he, sometimes, stopped our two wheeler to hand over a letter, with a very warm smile. That way, we would get our letter even before we cleared our lockers. How he connected the name or the locker no to the face in a crowd was something that always amazed us.

One day, Ranga, parked his cycle on the road and chose to walk up a steep hill to handover a letter to a German Officer who stayed in a Bungalow atop the hillock. We had a few officers from Friendly Foreign Countries attending the course, too. The lady opened the door after Ranga rang the door bell. He handed over 2 letters to her with his big, warm, usual smile. She looked at him with a question mark look and asked him what made him climb a hillock and come up to deliver the letters when his job was to just drop them in the locker. He simply smiled and said, “Saab will clear his locker tomorrow, and I thought I could deliver the letter toady.”  She was not sure of his intention. She was not convinced. She asked him to wait, went inside and got a bottle of rum for him, assuming that this could be the only reason as most of the working class men expected Rum (we used to call it Black Dollar) as a reward for any outstanding work or favour. With his hands folded, he bowed down to say, “No madam. Thanks. I don’t drink rum.” “Have a cup of tea, then,” she offered. He said that no to that too, had a glass of water and went away. This lady was left aghast, finding it difficult to digest.

When Ranga delivered the third letter in 2 months time, she had to find the answer. She had offered him hard cash too, which he had politely refused. She asked him to sit down in the verandah overlooking the Nillgiri’s bluish green hills. She sat down in front of him and asked him a straight forward question. “Ranga, why do you do this. Seeking no reward or favour, why do you do this ‘extra’ job?"In a simple explanation, in his broken hindi, which she understood very little of, he explained. “I get pleasure in doing my work well. When I see a smile on the face of a person to whom I deliver the letter, I like it. I go home and sleep peacefully with a thought that I did my job well and brought smiles on peoples faces. I don’t see those smiles when I drop the letters in the locker. In the morning, I time myself to reach the college in the Coffee Break, so that I can hand over letters personally to officers, and deliver them in hand. The day I get late, I drop the letters in the lockers, and miss their smiles.”

The Lady was wonderstruck at the unique sense of devotion and self less work that Ranga was doing for self satisfaction. She decided to write an article in “The Owl,” the official magazine of the DSSC. She wrote that she had never come across such a devoted, selfless person who took extreme pleasure in his work. True customer delight so as to say.

When this article fell on the commandant’s table, he was attracted to it. He had done his staff course many years ago. Then Ranga was a young boy. He did the same even then. But, he realised that no one noticed his work  or acknowledged it till the German Lady did that. In a conference, the commandant expressed his surprise to the officers. Traditionally, almost all officers on the staff are alumini of Staff College. They all accepted that this never struck them. After a little conversation, it was unanimously felt that Ranga must be recognised for his outstanding, consistent work, beyond the call of duty.

The Commandant wrote a letter to the Post Master General in New Delhi, recommending a suitable appreciation for Ranga. In his reply, the PMG said, “We do not a system of Awards like you have in the Defence Forces. Nor is Ranga left with any further increments, having reached his maximum a few years ago. We also do not have any rank structure that I can give him a promotion. I am enclosing a letter of appreciation, the best I can do, and you may like to hand it over to him personally.”
The Commandant decided to do something differently. He, asked his staff to organise a Tea party, with the entire College staff in attendance, where Ranga was publicly appreciated and then called on stage to accept a cash award by DSSC, for serving the organisation in a commendable manner. Ranga walked up the two steps of the stage with his usual warm smile, folded his hands, lowered his head and said in hindi, “Saab, I never did anything to deserve or expect an award. I am very grateful to you for this unique honour. This is more than enough for me. I will not accept any award, as that’s not what I worked for.” The Commandant tried to persuade and convince him, but Ranga was pretty sure of his stand, and walked down from the stage with two tiny tears of joy in his eyes.

Why can’t we all be Rangas. Why do we only work for awards and rewards, promotions and increments. Why is the latest buzzword, WIIFM, (Whats in it for me?) become selfishly the mantra in today’s modern environment.

Lets pause to think.

August 25, 2016

9 Daily Rituals that can turn your life around

In my workshops I have often asked my participants of what is that they want as their highest goal. And all discussions usually end up in one final word “happiness.” We all want to be happy. We want success, money, fame - all to be happy. What is happiness? I learned this from a person I have very high regards for. Dr Yuvraj Kapadia. I loved his definition of happiness. 
He said, “I am happy when I can do what I want to do, where I want to do, how I want to do, when I want to do and people around me are happy about it.  These last few words in italics are the key words.
I realized that in order to be happy there is no short cut to self-discipline. You can design your own life your way, but there has to be ‘a way’ which you are welcome to define, create or formulate. Its your life, design it your way. It cannot be ‘no way’ or ‘any way,’ That does not work. With that in mind, here are nine suggested rituals that can formulate your daily routine that will create a ‘method in the madness’ and help you get closer to the state of happiness.
1. Set your routine. Wake up early or work late night and get up late. Whatever works for you. But following a set routine helps. Do weigh the advantages of both before you make up your mind. I have been a late night bird. But Tony Robbins made me change my mind. I recommend you watch this video.  Another one is the 5 am Club by Robin Sharma. Before you make up your mind and decide to challenge your love for the bed do consider the advantages of getting up after a nice sound sleep and using the hour of power to start your day.

2. Wake up with a smile. When you are in the process of opening your eyes put a nice smile on your face and think of all the good you are expecting to happen this day. And then tell yourself, hey, Hurray, today is a great day and I am going to make it happen.
3. Its time to plan and prioritize. You look at the day with lots of work to do. You may end up doing less important tasks at the cost of some important ones. I normally work out a plan the day prior but early morning may just be the best time to review your plans. Make a To Do List, A Not Do List and a To achieve list. Do it religiously, and follow it. It will reduce your stress level drastically and make your life happy.
4. Do 5 good acts a day.
Be good to people around you. Gift them a smile or a little help when you feel someone needs it. “How I can I help you?” is a wonderful gift. You can set a goal of saying this in your environment atleast 5 times a day and then when it becomes a habit, increase it.
5.Get these three harmful things out of your life.
The most negative things we normally indulge in are Gossip, Blame and criticise. Get rid of them. They are big time wasters and affect your reputation in society. Talking ill of the government, criticising the way the country is going leads us nowhere. Work on constructive ideas and avoid destructive and damaging ones.
6. Give high priority to your health
Living a hygienic and healthy life is important. Regular meals, small and frequent meals of healthy food make our lives richer. There is no harm in having a burger or a pizza or an ice cream, but moderation is the key. Learn to enjoy what you eat and spend time on it.
7. Worry leads you nowhere
The big enemy of happiness is worry. And worry never solved a problem. Work on things within your control rather than outside of it.

8. Identify distractions and avoid them
There are little distractions that are like pot holes on the road. They hinder a smooth ride. We have distractions in life , whether they are weird thoughts, or our mobile phones or social media. Set a time for them and let them not come in your way to happiness.

9. Don’t forget gratitude.
At the end of a wonderful day remember to thank everyone who helped you in any way, big or small. It is a great gesture and gives you inner happiness


August 13, 2016

TTST #2 Compilation by Brig Sushil Bhasin

August 09, 2016

Ranga the Postman

For officers of the Indian Armed Forces there is a prestigious institution, a ‘Mecca’ for the elite, called “Defence Services Staff College” in Wellington, near Ooty in the Nilgiris. I went through a ‘one year ‘ staff course there in 1983. 

The Staff College, as it is popularly called, is known for its meticulously seamless working and the high standards of ‘staff work’ that it inculcates in the officers.
There is a unique and efficient facility created for sending and receiving letters and study material. In this beautifully designed hexagonal building “Chanakya,’  is the Tea Room. Along the six walls of this hexagon are sets of drawers called ‘Lockers.’ Each officer is assigned a Locker and a Locker Number,as an identification. It has a slit, big enough for someone to slip a file through. We were expected to clear our lockers at least twice a day at 8 am and 4 pm. You could have your assignments, letters, even bank cheque book of the local bank found in the locker when you opened it.

There was one postman called Ranga who was assigned to Staff College. Every day, he would bring the mail and then distribute it by dropping the letters in the lockers. He did it very efficiently. We used to be amazed when he could connect a number to the face and a name, and would sometimes, stop our two wheeler to hand over a letter, with a very warm smile. That way, we would get the letter even before we cleared our lockers.

One day, Ranga, parked his cycle on the road and chose to walk up a steep hill to handover a letter to a German Officer who stayed in a Bungalow atop a small hill. We used to have a few officers from Friendly Foreign Countries attending the course, too. The lady opened the door after Ranga rang the door bell. He handed over 2 letters to her with his big, warm, usual smile. She gave him a question mark look and asked him what made him climb a hill to deliver the letters, when his job was to just drop them in the locker. He simply smiled and said, “Saab will clear his locker tomorrow, and I thought I could deliver the letter toady.”  She was not sure of his intention. She was not convinced. She asked him to wait, went inside and got a bottle of rum for him, assuming that this could be the only reason for this unusual effort, as most of the working class men expected Rum (we used to call it Black Dollar) as a reward for any outstanding work or favour. With his hands folded, he bowed down to say, “No madam, thanks, I don’t drink rum.” “Have a cup of tea, then,” she offered. He said no to that too, had a glass of water and walked away. This lady found it difficult to digest.

When Ranga delivered the third letter in 2 months time, she had to find the answer. She had offered him hard cash too, which he had politely refused. She asked him to sit down in the verandah overlooking the Nililgir’s Bluish green hills. She sat down in front of him and asked him a straight forward question. “Ranga, why do you do this ‘extra’ job. In his broken hindi, he offered a simple explanation, which she understood very little of, he explained. “I get pleasure in doing my work well. When I see a smile on the face of a person when I deliver the letter, I like it. I go home and sleep peacefully with a thought that I did my job well and brought smiles on peoples faces. I don’t see those smiles when I drop the letters in the locker. In the morning, I time myself to reach the college in the Coffee Break, so that I can hand over letters personally to officers, and deliver them in hand. The day I get late, I drop the letters in the lockers, and miss their smiles.”
The Lady was wonderstruck at the unique sense of devotion and selfless work nothing more than self satisfaction. She decided to write an article in “The Owl,” the official magazine of the DSSC. She wrote that she had never come across such a devoted, selfless person who took extreme pleasure in his work. True customer delight so as to say.

When this article fell on the commandant’s table, he was attracted to it. He had done his course many years ago. At that time Ranga was a young boy. He did the same even then. But, he realised that no one had noticed his work  or acknowledged it till the German Lady did that. In a conference, the commandant expressed his astonishment to the officers. Traditionally, almost all officers on the staff are alumni of Staff College. They all accepted that this never struck them. After a little conversation, it was unanimously felt that Ranga must be recognised.

The Commandant wrote a letter to the Post Master General in New Delhi, recommending a suitable appreciation for Ranga. In his reply, the PMG said, “We do not have a system of Awards and Recognition like you have in the Defence Forces. Nor is Ranga left with any scope of further increments, having reached his maximum a few years ago. We also do not have any rank structure that I can give him a promotion. I am enclosing a letter of appreciation, the best I can do, and you may like to hand it over to him personally.”

The Commandant decided to do something differently. He, asked his staff to organise a Tea Party, with the entire College staff in attendance. Ranga was publicly appreciated and then called on stage to accept a cash award by DSSC, for serving the organisation in a commendable manner. Ranga walked up the two steps of the stage with his usual warm smile, folded his hands, lowered his head and said in hindi, “Saab, I never did anything to deserve or expect an award. I am very grateful to you for this unique honour. This is more than enough for me. I will not accept any award, as that’s not what I worked for.” The Commandant tried to persuade and convince him, but Ranga was pretty sure of his stand, and walked down from the stage with two tiny tears of joy in his eyes.

Why can’t we all be 'Rangas?'. Why do we only work for awards and rewards, promotions and increments? Why is the latest buzzword, WIIFM, (Whats in it for me?) become selfishly the mantra in today’s modern environment?


Lets pause to think.

August 06, 2016

"I Can’t do it"



Priyanka was not confident of climbing up a rope and doing ‘Commando Crossing.’ Her friends were doing it comfortably and enjoying it too.

Priyanka was standing with a big ‘question mark’ showing on her face. I walked up to her and said, “How are you this morning?” “Fine,” she responded. “Are you sure?” I questioned. She had a slight smile on her face and said, “well, not really.” 

“Why?” I asked her. “I don’t think I can do this,” was her prompt answer. I paused, pointed my finger towards her head and said, “Remember, you said I don’t think I can do it.” Its just a little correction in your thinking that can do the trick.
“sir, I am telling you, I really cant do it,” she insisted. “Well I really think you ‘can’ do it, Priyanka,” was my forceful reply.

I went on to convince her. “See all children are doing it. They are your classmates. Do they have any capability better than you have? You are slim and light. Some of them are heavily built. Their arms had a tougher time pulling up their weight. Yet they did it. Difference? They thought they ‘can’ do it and you thought you ‘can’t.’ Both are right. It’s the way you ‘think.’

I saw a slight smile on her pretty face, displaying slight agreement.
“You said you are my friend. Are you?” I asked her. “Yes,” she said. “Will you do what I tell you to do, something easy and good for you.” “Yes,” she agreed.
“Please go behind that tree, close your eyes, and tell the tree, “I CAN” do it” 21 times. She did it.
“Can you do it, now?” I asked her. “I can try,” she mumbled. Without wasting a single moment, I instructed my staff to make her wear the harness. Now she was up on the rope, sliding her feet on the lower rope, easily. She smiled. I smiled back. She came down. “How does it feel right now?” I asked. “Awesome” was the answer, with a smile, much broader this time.
“Who did it?” “I.” “You said you can’t do it. Then how did you do it?” “I was being stupid, she said.”


I asked her to raise her right hand, lower it slowly down on her left shoulder and say, “Well done, Priyanka, you did it,” She did it. All those watching all laughed out loud. But they laughed out louder when she did what I instructed next.

“Again, Right hand up. Lower it on you right cheek. Give yourself a slap. And say, “Sorry Priyanka, I didn’t trust you.” She did it. This time the laughter stopped and I saw faces becoming serious.

All children realised that they themselves limit their thinking, make some perceived judgment and believe that what they ‘think’ is reality. Its many times just a perception.

#ttst  #Super9

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