Leadership Forums

Mumbai, 28, June 2009

There is a theory which says that there is finite Pain & pleasure in this world.

There has to be some Alchemy through which this pain can be converted into pleasure. We human beings are capable of becoming the “lightening conductors of pain”. And its only when we become the lightening conductors of pain that we can make a contribution this society by taking pain and giving back pleasure.

Our lives revolve around fame, wealth and power. Let us see 3 examples who have enough of one of them – Fame – Naseeruddin Shah, Wealth – Mukesh Ambani & Power – Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Our Skills, time and money is all that we can contribute. And when you contribute it should be like these have fallen through your back pocket, without you being aware of it. Be Generous. And whenever you help a needy individual tell to yourself, “I have created this space in my heart for you only because of my personal happiness and pleasure that I may draw out from this action of my mine.”

Rahul said, “I don’t remember even a single teacher in my life and that is because I never had good teachers. I wanted my teachers to be compassionate, intelligent and ones that possessed a sense of humility and humor.” The best gift that you can give your students and the lives you touch is feeling of belief and confidence in them.  A simple line “I believe in you” makes wonders in the life of anyone. Just be generous with it.

Think!!! – With the knowledge that you are sharing with your kids what should they do ?

He then discussed and advised us to read a Good book  – Letters to Amee by Saeed Mirza.

He then narrates an incidence or states an example – “Suppose you see an old tribal women with a sick child in her hands and she is standing right outside your car. Will you turn your 45 degree into the car and stare at her breathe-in breathe-out but do nothing? How have we reached this condition? Does the Prime Minister know about this?”

“Believe in unconventional giving. And reach closure to the pain that you feel by looking at the old woman right there and then.”

Always ask yourself  “How much slower have I made the process of degradation? Never think of affecting a change.” India is in a process of degardation compare it to a boulder falling from the mountain. Because you are there you only reduce the pace with which the boulder is falling, you can never stop it from falling. But remember one day this boulder will stop, you may or may not be alive to see it.

“Do you guys read the magazine Tehelka? If not then you all must read it. The last week’s issue has a story by a person name Binayak (the article is related to Naxalites).”

“Suppose you are in middle of a shot and you are called out for a break. You pick up a magazine and as you are going through it you happen to read the review of your last film. And you feel worst reading the review as the film has been badly criticized and your role has been completely disliked. What is that makes you go back for your next shot as humble, as true, as charismatic and as your magical best that you were before you had read the review ? Find the answer within yourself. Each of us will have a different motivation for this. Find yours.”

“You are massively famous, wealthy and powerful for 90% of India. You are huge in their eyes. If you hadn’t taken this step, if you hadn’t done it no one else would have. There are 3 parts of India — Africa: Bastar, India: Gorakhpur & America: Mumbai.”

“As soon as you step in, when you are married your biggest weakness will come alive and will hit you in your face.”

Rahul told us about himself and how he had been a lightening conductor of pain in his life? – “I was a brilliant academic performer in school, so I had declared to everyone that I will go abroad for higher studies. In 1985, India lacked self esteem, we all wanted to become white go abroad to study,etc. I applied to 36 US colleges and was rejected by all of them. Finally, I did my B.COM from Sydenham College, India. My first movie was English August. I spent time with my mother when she was ill. I Sponsor the education of 6 children from Andaman and Nicobar at Rishi Valley school every year. ”

“I always ask the children that i interact with to do 1 act of willful kindness and one act of willful destruction and then I ask them after doing which of these acts did you feel more powerful?”

“I wonder to myself – What connects India ? And then I realized that when you go and stand on any cross road on a highway you will find – the same smell of a dhaba, the same taste, you see the same bells on animals, the same pollution and the same music.”

“Le Courbusier designed 2 cities – Chandigarh and Manhattan. Where as in Manhattan forward moving people live and where each row and column of houses will take you exactly where you want to reach following the linear psyche, In India for years people didnot go and settle down in Chandigarh. This is because we Indians want places to hangout(a city with a soul). We never answer the questions to the point and take us where the way takes us. We want to explore and find ways instead of being withholded in a place which takes us no where. Therefore when people who built houses in Chandigarh realized that they decided to make shopping complexes, cinema halls and eating joints where people could sit and chit chat. And only then the people started settling in Chandigarh. That’s the beauty of Indians. And we say Americans are forward moving. :-)”

*Disclaimer: Please note this is the version of the discussion with Rahul I recall of my memory so it may have some discrepancy between what he said and what i recollect.


Excerpts from chat with Nachiket Mor (ICICI Foundation for inclusive growth)

A good book to read: John Hold- “why children fail?”

Net enrollment at primary school level (06-07) – 92.75 %.

ASSET Test- When on this test students were asked the question ababab/ab = ? Most students answered that it is equal to “1111” & When asked what is the formula of steam – most students across India answered that “Steam has NO formula”.

Teaching is an art and a skill, you have to learn it. you don’t need a formal educational degree for it.  You should know how to make the child understand the concepts.

Skills have benchmark- I have demonstrated to you a certain school level.  Standards as per subjective relativity. Therefore, every teacher should know the standards.

Cognitive resonance reduction – all things look good in retrospect.

Incomplete contracts Theory – Tells about the difference between what i should evaluate a person on and what the person thinks he should be evaluated upon. The best people in the organizations are the ones that do more than what contract says (i.e. what they are supposed to do).

Poverty action lab website of MIT. Sewa mandir schools.

55 lakh teachers are in India.

There is a well known theory that says that What you teach other people you retain 90% of it. Then why is that the   teachers fail in tests on the level of students they are teaching even after teaching for 5 yrs ? There should sure something fundamentally wrong somewhere.

Kids must get out of this nonsense-a black parent south american foundation.

1. Standardised tests

2. Inclassroom support

3. Head master as school leader

4. Strengthen public schools

5. Regulate private schools – structure, pressure & support.

Parents participation in performance of child in school-fixation on ranks, who can reproduce, emphasis on competition.

Reaffirm to the child that his knowledge has a value – parent can be involved.

Frustrated in learning stuff that is well below his mental level.


For Last mile delivery – codify & creates stringent rules. For any large system to run successfully some rules have to be there.

For e.g. Jet airways has pretty stringent rules.

Moment of truth score- ask branch client right outside the branch just one question ‘how did he like the bank?’

Taj hotels-smile,crumbled paper

Starbucks-high quality service- A Waitress at Starbucks – “Mr.mor you look sad what happened ?”

It is a conversation that you need to enter in with your customers and not just a simple service. You have to create a culture of respect, of humility and of value-add that you are bringing to the customer’s life by serving him.

Teaching is a volunteer activity.

‘No child left behind’ program by George Bush was a fantastic initiative. But he did not execute this in the right manner.

When asked on how do you think changes can be brought about in big organisations ? He said that ” Changes take their own time to happen and for every one to embrace them. Therefore, Take baby steps.  If today is even iota better than yesterday than be happy that the change is happening. Don’t expect too much to happen in a short while.”