Picking Up Some Gems

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There are only a very few people when you interact with, you feel gems flowing out of their mouths instead of words. This was one such interaction with Yogesh, the Head of HR of a large IT organization; an accomplished man who was modest and full of gratitude for life, yet had an air of subtle arrogance. An arrogance that comes with certainty.

What you are about to read is seemingly basic stuff, however, if you get to the depth of it, you will see how profound each of these points casually stated are:
1. Yogesh is taking off with his family on a drive from Pune to Leh, Ladakh (what???). It is a 6 day drive one way. The family intends to spend 6 days at Ladakh and then take another 6 days for their return journey. A friend asked him how he intends to spend the 6 days at Ladakh. His reply was, “I don’t know actually – we’re more excited about the journey and haven’t thought of what we will do there yet”. While Ladakh remains an exotic destination, for Yogesh, this trip is not about just the destination. It is as much, if not more, about the journey. He made me question myself, if I am enjoying my journey now or am I too focused on the destination?
2. Yogesh, unlike many parents who are senior executives in Corporate India, makes a great parent. He is excited about this holiday. And another reason for his excitement is his two children who are travelling with him. Spending quality time in the car with them; having that bonding opportunity; sharing life experiences; and, jointly learning life lessons with the family is what he is looking forward to.

He stated “Sameer, in a lot of my road trips, I see these young kids without shoes, in blazing sun wearing torn clothes that seem like uniforms and going to school. What I also see them wear is their smile and their excitement for life. I want my children to see that and learn from that”. He added, “While it is important to have gratitude – you cannot be at the effect of the luxuries of life. Happiness is irrespective of these and you can find happiness in the smallest of things in life. I want my kids to learn this by seeing it themselves, and not by me telling them this in the comfort of my house.”

You can see that here is a parent who has his basics in place. I can only imagine his kids talking to their friends 5-10 years later about this road trip they took as a family. To me this is the making of some quality world citizens of the future.

3. Yogesh writes poetry and has recently introduced a mobile application for Apple and Android. My colleague and I know of him as a busy man involved with various different things. My colleague was amazed to see the mobile app on poetry written by him and asked him with deep curiosity, “Yogesh, where do you get the time for writing poetry?’ Yogesh in his characteristic style responded calmly “I have a lot of time – It is not about the time. It is about the intention.” A lot of us know this already. However, when said so simply, it has an altogether different effect. Indeed, we have the time. The question is, ‘Do we have the intent?’

4. Yogesh has booked a 500 cc Royal Enfield Classic motorcycle. As someone who has owned an Enfield and has a passion for riding, I know what this means. I have no doubt that Yogesh could own a Harley Davidson if he wanted to. However, it is about a dream that he saw when he was a middle class college student who at best could afford a 100 cc Hero Honda. He claimed not to have big dreams, but clearly was someone who was fulfilling each dream that he saw.

I can go on and on about the discussions that we had; about the good social work his organization is engaged in and the lives they are impacting. One gets into a business meeting hoping to be successful and leave the meeting with business in hand. In this meeting, I did not care for the business. I was happier simply listening to this humble man speak and collect the gems that were dripping in the form of words.

Here was a man who was multifaceted – a top corporate executive; a traveller; a biker; a poet; a keen parent and above all an interested and caring human being. (I have intentionally used ‘interested’ instead of ‘interesting’. Many people want to be interesting – here was a person who was more interested in others, and that is what made him exceptionally interesting.)

Sameer Dua, Founder Director, Institute for Generative Leadership, India