I have been lucky enough to have got an opportunity to travel across to 35 countries for work & pleasure.Even today, I travel almost 2 weeks a month from Asia to Africa to North America. The list of the countries that I have traveled to can be a tad long but it makes for a very attractive read and makes lot of my friends & acquaintances jealous. It is quite normal for people to come over to me and compare me to Ranbir Kapoor of Yeh Jawani hai Diwani(Bollywood Hot Movie) and particularly to the below song;
While, I appreciate their generosity and kindness- to tell you the truth sometimes during my travels the song that I can best relate to is the below one;
I have already shared with you the story of the boy who was forced to choose science by his parents even though his interest lay in another field which definitely was not science but he was not able to point out what he actually wanted to do in life.
I gave him and his parents the following simple equation for choosing careers;
Where X is the amount of efforts you put in a subject.
I asked the boy to apply this equation to some of the subjects he is studying in his class as of now and analyze the results. This is what he came up with;
X/2 or even X/4
You do not need to be a Rocket Scientist to analyze the above the data- do you?
When I discussed the above table with the boy the following highlights came up;
The boy loved studying English & History and he said the results he got in English and History were always double of the efforts he put in
The boy was okay in Maths & Science and was even putting extra efforts in the same subjects but the results he was getting were either half or less than half of the efforts that he was putting in
Then, I came up to the next important question for him & his parents when you could clearly see the equation of success pointing towards his aptitude being for either English or History- why were they not pursuing it?
And, I got an answer that left me a little disappointed but not shocked. What was it?
Tomorrow, is Grade 12 results for CBSE students in India. Tomorrow, is a day when many of the students I have met the year long will be finally getting their results of all the hard work that they have put in the year. I must also mention here the parents who are eagerly looking forward to tomorrow and in some cases their level of stress and anxiety is more than that of the kids themselves-Big day right?
Tomorrow, is also, the day when new achievers will be named and celebrated- District Toppers, School Toppers, State Toppers and National Toppers. These top 1% students will be covered in Media, Feted by their respective Schools, Teachers and even Government. Kudos to you and must say well deserved. I am sure your parents/families will be really proud of you.
If you do the maths close to 1 Million students have written the CBSE exam this year out of which only Top 1% will be celebrated which means some where around 10,000 of them. These Top 1% would have their life/career paths set and future already secured in some of the countries best colleges but my concern lies with what happens with the balance 9,90,000 students who may be branded as failures by not only the people around them but sadly in many cases by themselves because the moment the students do not get the correct percentile right to the correct decimal places- the student start questioning themselves- Am I good enough? Am I made for the field I really think I am good in?
I had this student with me last year who had given his grade 12 exam in Sciences and wanted to be an Engineer. Full of life and energy- Really creative and a good writer. Give him a 1000 word essay to write and he would come up with one of the best ones in the class and although, I could clearly see that, his strengths lay in a creative field but he still wanted to be an engineer- not because he wanted to be one but because his “Parents” wanted it for him. Sounds familiar? Result- Disappointment. His science result was average and not the one, that could get him a seat in one of the good engineering colleges. So he opted for the second option- doing a science degree from one of the regional colleges. Result- again disappointment & heart burn.
The family reached out to me and requested me for a counseling of the student- what I told them left them a little shocked- I said, leave the student- I want to counsel you first!
We all feel proud when the name India comes in news for all the right reasons- Like the successful launch of 100+ satellites by ISRO, The good economic growth figures for the next couple of years and so on.. Positive news makes us feel happy and good about being an Indian and keeps our hope alive that we as a country are on the path of great economic growth and taking our position in the world leading economies and countries.
But, then in the midst of all this we do get a shameful news like this where African students in a suburb of Delhi are beaten black and blue, racially abused so much that they have to run and hide away from any Indian’s in sight just to ensure their safety. This is just not only disappointing but also shameful to say the least. Not only this kind of behavior socially, morally, culturally not acceptable it is down right inhuman and despicable.
We all want India to be the next super power but I believe we as Indians also need to introspect and understand on what it is like to be living in a high growth global economy or the next superpower which due to it’s economic heft and opportunities will attract people from all over the world to have better skills & better life’s. We need to answer those questions on what it is like to be a part of a new India that will attract people from all walks and cultures because if we do not answer these questions I am afraid we will have many such shameful incidences where our heads will have to hang in shame.
And, all your questions will lead to only one answer- We as Indian’s need to follow our basic civic duties which I think are forgotten quite easily. I hope, being human , being civilized is not too big an ask for us to have the India of our dreams. Right?
I am sorry my African brothers that you had to go through this cycle of madness again.
All the students and practitioners of Marketing will know this definition of a Service by heart now:
“A Service is any act or performance one party can offer to another that is essentially intangible and does not result in ownership of anything.”
Now, this definition is not Rocket Science nor it is a prerequisite for a person to have read a course on Marketing 101 to offer real service to his clients. The case in point is my friendly neighborhood puncture wale uncle. From the moment you approach him with a problem to the moment you finally leave his shop with your problem resolved, you have one feeling which is confidence in his abilities and confidence in the value for money that he is offering to you with his services. So, how does he do it?
1. His shop is neat and clean- Well Organised with tools while he himself is nicely dressed no matter even if he is sitting at a road side make shift shop with dust all around him( Physical Evidence of an excellent service provider-Tangibles)
2. He knows how to entertain his customers in Queue- Being the sole proprietor and employee in his business managing the customer queue can be a issue and he cannot offer free WiFi to people in waiting so what does he do?-Share interesting gossips from around the locality-Works for most Customers (Complementary Services- Responsiveness)
3. He takes interests in each of his customers problem- Be it a cycle or a BMW: For him each customer is important and he takes deep interest in understanding your problem and explains you the solution he is taking to remedy the same no matter how big or small the fee you pay for it ( Customer Co production in Service Delivery- Empathy)
4. Gives you advice on best practices on upkeep of your vehicle Tyre’s (Subject Expert- Reliability)
5. Value for Money – And, what ever he charges you at the end of providing his service is as per market rate. No overcharging. No fleecing of customers. You have full trust on him for the fee that he is charging you and you are happy to pay it( Service Excellence- Assurance/Reliability)
6. And, Most important of all- He provides his Service with a SMILE!
Every time I visit him, I am impressed by his enthusiasm and sincerity at work and think in a more developed economy and in different times, he may have had a big Tyre showroom of his own. He has all the qualities for the same- He loves what he is doing and for me he is not just a Tyre Puncture guy he is an Artist at work who even without knowing the Service Quality Model below is doing quite well for himself and his business!
Over the years, I have developed a passion for the following things in my life;
And, if you see closely, the purpose of me having a passion for, each of the above four things is interconnected to each other, I read books because I want to be a better person everyday, I want to learn from experiences of other people, what have they done to be where they are today? how did they achieve what they did?I write because, I want to share whatever little I am learning in my day to day life, so be it on Good reads or on my Linked In or this blog, I continue writing and sharing. I like to travel because well, in my view, travel is one of the best ways in which a person can experience life and learn new perspectives about things that he/she may not even think existed. Travel adds positivity to our life like no other things can and last but not the least I love to drive, I have always loved doing it and every time I need a break from my daily life, I pick up my car and just drive away far from the maddening and crushing city life for my Instant Relief.
So, keeping some of my above passion in perspective, I recently took a Road trip from Faridabad- Badrinath driving my I20 Active all the way and back, a total distance of about 1250 KM. Here are some of the statistics of the journey I undertook;
Vehicle: Hyundai I 20 Active- Petrol
Route: Faridabad-> Noida -> Ghaziabad -> Lansdowne -> Pauri -> Srinagar -> Rudraprayag-> Joshimath -> Badrinath -> Mana Village -> And back via Rishikesh
Total Members: 4 ( My Wife, Parents and Me)
Total Travel Days: 6 Days & 5 Nights ( 2 Nights- Lansdowne, 2 Nights- Joshimath, 1 Night- Rishikesh)
Road Condition: Pretty Good but do note that 40 Kms stretch from Joshimath to Badrinath is in really bad shape with non existent roads and lot of slush/water from landslides. It is an adventure to drive on these roads but caution is order of the day and also on NH58 the stretch around Nagrasu(Around 5-6 KMS) after Karnaprayag is in really bad shape.
Some of the Pictures from the same;
To many such more visits in the future!
In case you are also planning this trip, please feel free to reach out to me, I will be happy to answer any specific questions that you may have.
With regards to the recent unfortunate incidents in Delhi concerning an African National, I was invited to be part ofBBC World Radio Talk Show.
The topic being discussed was how is it to be an African in India? Although, I was happy to be presenting my views on the topic, I was surprised by really sad and unfortunate experiences of couple of speakers.
You can find our full conversation from the show by clicking over here: BBC World Have Your Say! In the link, our discussion starts, at about 33:00 Mins and I chip into the conversation in the last 10 minutes of the show basically summing up my points on this incident from my previous write up on this issue, which you can find by clicking over here.
I do believe that Africa-India relations are centuries old and no matter how many hiccups, we have only one way to go, which is UP! There can be obstacles in the way but we need to take them head on and get them out of the way and we need to do this if not for today but for our future!
Was pleasantly surprised to find the below rendition of a Hit Punjabi pop song Patiala Peg by some of my really talented and musical African Friends. I think this fusion of cultures is the way forward for all of us in IndiAfrica!