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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ganpati Bappa - The best teamwork coach!

The Ganesh festival is one of the most important festivals in Maharashtra, my home state. Families and communities bring home an idol of Lord Ganesha, honor him and pray to him. Different families have their own tradition of hosting Lord Ganesha home for either 1.5, 5, 7 or 10 days. Most community celebrations are for 10 days.

These 10 days are like a non stop celebration for the entire state. Devotional songs, chants, fragrance of incense & flowers fills the air. Beautifully decorated pandals see throngs of people standing patiently in queues for as long as 30 hours to take darshan of the Lord. It is reported that an estimated 1 million aartis( prayerful songs) are offered to the Lord everyday! The atmosphere is electric!

I have participated in these celebrations my entire life. At my grandparents home, we install the idol for 5 days. A tradition that started 63 years ago, is still going strong.It is a huge occasion for the entire family. Everyone participates, no matter how busy or lazy! Everyone perks up no matter how mad or sad!

Coming to think of it, Ganpati Bappa, as he is affectionately called, is the best teamwork coach. The best management guru! Heres why -

1) He improves Connectedness

During the festival everyone in the family gets together, puts aside their differences and celebrates. Families visit each other, friends visit each other, all focussed on one Divinity. Even in community celebrations, no matter what the conflicts, this is a time for collective joy.

2) He fosters Creativity

Families start planning the decorations for the Lord months in advance. Themes are decided, innovative ideas come from every family member. Little children contribute their bit. Flowers, grains, paper, cloth, bells, festoons.. everything is used creatively to decorate the seat of the Lord. Community pandals showcase floats of public interest themes, competing with each other for uniqueness & beauty ! Community celebrations are replete with competitive games, plays, poetry & dance competitions etc. A complete blossoming of creative juices.

3) He ensures Coordination

Hosting the Lord is a lot of work. At home huge meals are cooked, pujas happen, decorations have to be changed. In communities, it takes a whole big dimension- fund raising for the celebration, crowd management, daily rituals etc. So work has to be divided. Everyone has to do something. At home, I have seen how all activities are effortlessly divided and coordinated- the prasad cooked by the ladies arrived out of the kitchen at the exact time when the men finished the pooja which started
just after the children finished the last bit of decoration. Perfect coordination!

4) He spreads Contentment & Cheer

When Ganpati Bappa comes home, his mere presence spreads a wave of contentment. Everyone is happy and joyful. Then no amount of work seems overwhelming. Smiles and hugs are the order of the day!

5) He invokes Commitment

Hosting the Lord has its rules and rituals. Certain dos and donts. Everyone who hosts him commits to it- for all days that he is installed , year after year. Commitment of mind, body and spirit - all is needed. Families and communities find the inner strength and discipline in this.

 These 5 Cs- Connectedness, Creativity, Coordination, Contentment & Commitment are the   hallmarks of a great team. Just by his mere arrival and presence, Lord Ganesha creates the most perfect teams. What better coach than him! Ganpati Bappa Moraya !

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Freedom is valuable- Happy Independence Day

My husband's grandparents came from Peshavar to their summer home in Shimla in June 1947 for their annual vacation. They could never go back home. In the creation of 2 countries on 14th August 1947, their family like a million others, became foreigners in their own country!
Imagine going for a holiday, and never being able to return home!
Imagine never knowing what happened to the people you left behind!
Imagine having to recreate life from a few suitcases of belongings when you had the riches of the world at your feet!

Well, many of us cannot imagine this, because we did not live through this time.
Neither can we imagine, the sacrifice of thousands of freedom fighters who gave up their life for our freedom.

Most of us reading this, have been born in a free India. I experienced the meaning and value of freedom when I was hostage in the Taj hotel on the night of the 26/11terrorist attacks. Freedom is precious.

Let us not take this freedom for granted. Let us value it, protect it and nurture it.
Use it constructively. To take the country forward.

5 things we can do for this-

1) Raise our voice against injustice

2) Speak up against corruption

3) Act to protect and uphold human dignity

4) Create awareness for the environment

5) Be proud of the unique country we truly are !

Happy Independence Day !

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