Today, emails are an inseparable part of our lives. I share with you some of the most memorable emails(forwards) I have received.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Indira Nooyi’s advice. Or mine??

Response Advice:

My father is an equally wonderful, if not a more, human being. From him I have always learnt to assume negative intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume negative intent. You will still be amazed at how your approach to a person or problem becomes very different!! When you assume positive intent, you get carried away. When you assume negative intent (i.e. pessimistic about your success), you are more cautious (and hence correct) at every step you take. There will be no slack in your effort/output of the work you have undertaken. You won’t be calm when you are not supposed to be!!

In your life, and not just in business, people say things. And they say it because mean it in some corner of their mind. With positive intent, you tend to “ignore” their words as something said in the heat of the moment. If you assume negative intent, it will keep hovering in some corner of your mind. From then on, you will take care to ensure that you don’t behave/talk in a way that will/could result in a similar reply. You make that extra effort to add the necessary clarifications put across your intent clearly, along with your message. So “take even the simplest things very seriously” is the best trait I have inherited from my father.

Well, objectively speaking, I have actually inculcated both the viewpoints. For any task/work that I take up, I constantly imagine myself failing in it. And at all of those instances, I also imagine myself succeeding with flying colours. The possible/expected fruits of success constantly motivate me to put the effort needed to achieve it. The fear of failure keeps me on my toes, and ensures that there is no slack in my effort. To me, the latter is more important.

The article, by Nooyi, mentions two important dimensions – doing work and talking/communication. While the focus of my first paragraph was on “doing work”, the second focuses on “talk”. I saw these two aspects mixed up in the write up by Indira Nooyi. So, I would say, my write-up is better constructed (well formed) than Nooyi’s. Judging the content is best left to you!!

PS: My comparison is only about the structure (how) of the write-ups, and not the contents (what). Adding this line is necessary for me to deliver my intent to you correctly. And, this is exactly what I meant by “extra effort” in my second paragraph........

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Amma!! Yaaraene andaroo, nee nannaa devaru

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Its written so beautifully that you might believe this email is what I treasure. You are forgiven for making a wrong guess. I really appreciated the write-up, but I still can't understand why I didn't forward it all to my friends.

Instead, I sent it only to one person. I really don't know yet why I sent it only to her. Unfortunately, while forwarding the mail, I added a few comments of my own. I intended to write about my opinion of working mothers, but foolishly keyed in "working women". I wrote about why the next generation of our children may not be able to relate to this story. I have only contempt for a lot of women's rights activists ( but not women!!) and it was evident in my words. In her reply, she really appreciated the presentation, but probably hadn't bothered to read my comments. The next day, she replied back blasting me for my chauvinistic comments. I went into a defensive mode, partly apologising, partly correcting my comments and greatly defending my statements. While drafting my defence, I took my own example (as I do many a times), and that was the first time I saw a lot of events and situations in my life from my parents' perspective. Then, unknowingly, my respect and love for them had turned into great adoration, admiration and even reverence.

It's inappropriate to put our conversation in a public space. I will forever remember the contents of the mails following up this forward e-mail. Nor can I forget the lady who opened my eyes. But, sooner or later, I will post my opinion on working mothers.

Remembering Avva

The first time I read this mail, I enjoyed it a lot, just like you. A minute or two later, I re-read it only to be reminded of Avva (Telugu for grandmother). She had once expressed a very contradictory opinion.

One afternoon in mid-August 2005, we were invited for an inter-caste marriage. After the invitees left, in an attempt to annoy my 80 year old Avva, I started thinking aloud about me marrying someone outside the caste. Avva wasn't too affected, nor was my mother. I continued it enough for my mother to make a foolish (sorry mom) comment, that she will leave the house if it ever happened. Irritated, Avva (Unknowingly, my mother achieved what I set out for) shouted at my mother telling her she had a right to stay in the house and in such an eventuality (of me marrying outside the acceptable castes), I was the one who should get out of the house. Knowing that she was irritated by this talk, I continued to ask if my sister could do the same. Avva thumped "Daughters can marry anyone and get away. I want to be comfortable with whom I live, and therefore I should approve who a son can marry". She had made a very thoughtful, and in my opinion, a logical statement.

Avva had mesmerised a lot of people (including the sender of this mail) with her intelligent talk, extra-ordinary general knowledge and clear black hair. A fortnight after the above incident, she suffered a heart attack and was in ICU for over twelve days. A day after she was moved to the ward, she was off the hospital gown and dressed in a more colourful gown, with hairs combed neatly when her doctor came for a checkup. Being a telugu-ite, he quipped "Yem(emi) Avva, neat-ga ready ayyinaaru?"(Granny, What makes you dress up well?). Avva replied "Please don't get me wrong". A pause and she continued "To impress young and handsome doctors like you!!". Do I need to say that the doctor was floored? That day onwards, he was as much a fan and a grandson of Avva as much as he was her doctor.

Avva, you will live forever in our hearts.

PS: Thanks Nagesha, for reviving some wonderful memories.