“Empowering to Excel,” Season 2, creates more magic at Dibrugrah University, Sept 17

Endeavaours at the Dibrugarh university are adding more magic to the students and the university, empowering them to excel in life. Post my last visit in August, I had shared a short write up, here is the next post. The Videos here share what a human being can gain, how one can transform in life, in just a matter of four days. It is all about the awakening that one goes through, discovering the purposefulness in life and with determination moves in the direction that he or she ought to move.

Enjoy listening to their reflections and sharing of their delightful transformations…

Here is a video that strings together short captures of many participants making their presentations, and engaging in public speaking, for the very first time in life. Look at their confidence.

Every presenter has worked in a group of complete strangers, from other departments of the university, to study an alien topic (the topics they never ever read or studied about – due to poor reading habits), discuss, engage, share and then create a presentation to engage larger public of aliens (other groups).

I gain a lot more inspiration from the whole exercise, as it reinforces my belief that it is possible to bring the transformation in a very short span of time. I believe, I can.

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Acceptance

I came across this beautiful note on acceptance, that reminded me of soulfulness.. thought of sharing and having in my notes here.

When we don’t accept an undesired event, it becomes *Anger*;
when we accept it, it becomes *Tolerance.*

When we don’t accept uncertainty,
it becomes *Fear*;
when we accept it,
it becomes *Adventure.*

When we don’t accept other’s bad behaviour towards us,
it becomes *Hatred;*
when we accept it,
it becomes *Forgiveness.*

When we don’t accept other’s Success, it becomes *Jealousy;* when we accept it,
it becomes *Inspiration.*

Acceptance is the key to handling life well.
……… Have a beautiful day.

A letter from a determined young girl to JRD TATA

(This is a wonderful and inspiring read that I came across. A great example of what self-belief can do. It is a real life story exemplifying “connecting the dots” that steve jobs shared in his speech, and had occurred a couple of decades ago. The text is in first person… enjoy the read )

It was probably the April of 1974. Bangalore was getting warm and gulmohars were blooming at the IISc campus. I was the only girl in my postgraduate department and was staying at the ladies’ hostel. Other girls were pursuing research in different departments of Science. I was looking forward to going abroad to complete a doctorate in computer science. I had been offered scholarships from Universities in the US… I had not thought of taking up a job in India.

One day, while on the way to my hostel from our lecture-hall complex, I saw an advertisement on the notice board. It was a standard job-requirement notice from the famous automobile company Telco (now Tata Motors)… It stated that the company required young, bright engineers, hardworking and with an excellent academic background, etc.

At the bottom was a small line: ‘Lady Candidates need not apply.’ I read it and was very upset. For the first time in my life I was up against gender discrimination.

Though I was not keen on taking up the job, I saw it as a challenge. I had done extremely well in academics, better than most of my male peers… Little did I know then that in real life academic excellence is not enough to be successful?

After reading the notice I went fuming to my room. I decided to inform the topmost person in Telco’s management about the injustice the company was perpetrating. I got a postcard and started to write, but there was a problem: I did not know who headed Telco

I thought it must be one of the Tatas. I knew JRD Tata was the head of the Tata Group; I had seen his pictures in newspapers (actually, Sumant Moolgaokar was the company’s chairman then) I took the card, addressed it to JRD and started writing. To this day I remember clearly what I wrote. ‘The great Tatas have always been pioneers. They are the people who started the basic infrastructure industries in India, such as iron and steel, chemicals, textiles and locomotives they have cared for higher education in India since 1900 and they were responsible for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science. Fortunately, I study there. But I am surprised how a company such as Telco is discriminating on the basis of gender.’

I posted the letter and forgot about it. Less than 10 days later, I received a telegram stating that I had to appear for an interview at Telco’s Pune facility at the company’s expense. I was taken aback by the telegram. My hostel mate told me I should use the opportunity to go to Pune free of cost and buy them the famous Pune saris for cheap! I collected Rs30 each from everyone who wanted a sari when I look back, I feel like laughing at the reasons for my going, but back then they seemed good enough to make the trip.

It was my first visit to Pune and I immediately fell in love with the city.

To this day it remains dear to me. I feel as much at home in Pune as I do in Hubli, my hometown. The place changed my life in so many ways. As directed, I went to Telco’s Pimpri office for the interview.

There were six people on the panel and I realized then that this was serious business.

‘This is the girl who wrote to JRD,’ I heard somebody whisper as soon as I entered the room. By then I knew for sure that I would not get the job. The realization abolished all fear from my mind, so I was rather cool while the interview was being conducted.

Even before the interview started, I reckoned the panel was biased, so I told them, rather impolitely, ‘I hope this is only a technical interview.’

They were taken aback by my rudeness, and even today I am ashamed about my attitude. The panel asked me technical questions and I answered all of them.

Then an elderly gentleman with an affectionate voice told me, ‘Do you know why we said lady candidates need not apply? The reason is that we have never employed any ladies on the shop floor. This is not a co-ed college; this is a factory. When it comes to academics, you are a first ranker throughout. We appreciate that, but people like you should work in research laboratories.

I was a young girl from small-town Hubli. My world had been a limited place.

I did not know the ways of large corporate houses and their difficulties, so I answered, ‘But you must start somewhere, otherwise no woman will ever be able to work in your factories.’

Finally, after a long interview, I was told I had been successful. So this was what the future had in store for me. Never had I thought I would take up a job in Pune. I met a shy young man from Karnataka there, we became good friends and we got married.

It was only after joining Telco that I realized who JRD was: the uncrowned king of Indian industry. Now I was scared, but I did not get to meet him till I was transferred to Bombay. One day I had to show some reports to Mr Moolgaokar, our chairman, who we all knew as SM. I was in his office on the first floor of Bombay House (the Tata headquarters) when, suddenly JRD walked in. That was the first time I saw ‘appro JRD’. Appro means ‘our’ in Gujarati. This was the affectionate term by which people at Bombay House called him. I was feeling very nervous, remembering my postcard episode. SM introduced me nicely, ‘Jeh (that’s what his close associates called him), this young woman is an engineer and that too a postgraduate.

She is the first woman to work on the Telco shop floor.’ JRD looked at me. I was praying he would not ask me any questions about my interview (or the postcard that preceded it).

Thankfully, he didn’t. Instead, he remarked. ‘It is nice that girls are getting into engineering in our country. By the way, what is your name?’

‘When I joined Telco I was Sudha Kulkarni, Sir,’ I replied. ‘Now I am Sudha Murthy.’ He smiled and kindly smile and started a discussion with SM. As for me, I almost ran out of the room.

After that I used to see JRD on and off. He was the Tata Group chairman and I was merely an engineer. There was nothing that we had in common. I was in awe of him.

One day I was waiting for Murthy, my husband, to pick me up after office hours. To my surprise I saw JRD standing next to me. I did not know how to react. Yet again I started worrying about that postcard. Looking back, I realize JRD had forgotten about it. It must have been a small incident for him, but not so for me.

‘Young lady, why are you here?’ he asked. ‘Office time is over.’ I said, ‘Sir, I’m waiting for my husband to come and pick me up.’ JRD said, ‘It is getting dark and there’s no one in the corridor.

I’ll wait with you till your husband comes.’

I was quite used to waiting for Murthy, but having JRD waiting alongside made me extremely uncomfortable.

I was nervous. Out of the corner of my eye I looked at him. He wore a simple white pant and shirt. He was old, yet his face was glowing. There wasn’t any air of superiority about him. I was thinking, ‘Look at this person. He is a chairman, a well-respected man in our country and he is waiting for the sake of an ordinary employee.’

Then I saw Murthy and I rushed out. JRD called and said, ‘Young lady, tell your husband never to make his wife wait again.’ In 1982 I had to resign from my job at Telco. I was reluctant to go, but I really did not have a choice. I was coming down the steps of Bombay House after wrapping up my final settlement when I saw JRD coming up. He was absorbed in thought. I wanted to say goodbye to him, so I stopped. He saw me and paused.

Gently, he said, ‘So what are you doing, Mrs. Kulkarni?’ (That was the way he always addressed me.) ‘Sir, I am leaving Telco.’

‘Where are you going?’ he asked. ‘Pune, Sir. My husband is starting a company called Infosys and I’m shifting to Pune.’

‘Oh! And what will you do when you are successful.’

‘Sir, I don’t know whether we will be successful.’ ‘Never start with diffidence,’ he advised me ‘Always start with confidence. When you are successful you must give back to society. Society gives us so much; we must reciprocate. Wish you all the best.’

Then JRD continued walking up the stairs. I stood there for what seemed like a millennium. That was the last time I saw him alive.

Sudha Murthy and Narayana Murthy

Sudha Murthy and Narayana Murthy

Many years later I met Ratan Tata in the same Bombay House, occupying the chair JRD once did. I told him of my many sweet memories of working with Telco. Later, he wrote to me, ‘It was nice hearing about Jeh from you. The sad part is that he’s not alive to see you today.’

I consider JRD a great man because, despite being an extremely busy person, he valued one postcard written by a young girl seeking justice. He must have received thousands of letters everyday. He could have thrown mine away, but he didn’t do that. He respected the intentions of that unknown girl, who had neither influence nor money, and gave her an opportunity in his company. He did not merely give her a job; he changed her life and mindset forever.

Close to 50 per cent of the students in today’s engineering colleges are girls. And there are women on the shop floor in many industry segments. I see these changes and I think of JRD. If at all time stops and asks me what I want from life, I would say I wish JRD were alive today to see how the company we started has grown. He would have enjoyed it wholeheartedly.

My love and respect for the House of Tata remains undiminished by the passage of time. I always looked up to JRD. I saw him as a role model for his simplicity, his generosity, his kindness and the care he took of his employees. Those blue eyes always reminded me of the sky; they had the same vastness and magnificence. (Sudha Murthy is a widely published writer and chairperson of the Infosys Foundation involved in a number of social development initiatives. Infosys chairman Narayana Murthy is her husband.)

Article sourced from: Lasting Legacies (Tata Review- Special Commemorative Issue 2004), brought out by the house of Tatas to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of JRD Tata on July 29, 2004 .

The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change.

Thought provoking story worth posting, sent by a friend. Thanks Rashmi.

A Rose : Tough and unyielding


The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being..

She said, ‘Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?’

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, ‘Of course you may!’ and she gave me a giant squeeze..

‘Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?’ I asked.

She jokingly replied, ‘I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…’

‘No seriously,’ I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

‘I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!’ she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this ‘time machine’ as she shared her wisdom and experience with me..

Another Rose : Saroja Vaidyanathan

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she revelled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, ‘I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.’

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ‘ We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humour every day. You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets..’

She concluded her speech by courageously singing ‘The Rose.’

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give.

Dream It ! Do It ! – A compellingly motivational Series…2010

Posting updated on 25th October!

The journey of ‘Dream It! Do It!’ took me through 30 odd cities in 45 days! I could not make it to the following cities before CAT – Pune, Mumbai, Baroda, Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Agra, Meerut, Gzbd, Jammu, Hissar, Gurgaon, Faridabad………. Looking forward to facilitating as many as I can through the session posting on youtube in the next one week! I am sure I can be as effective through this medium too! Watch out for the posting!

“I attended your session at Bangalore on 26th Sept,10 and talked to you at the end about how important MBA from IIM is for my life. The session conducted by you has been one of the most inspiring sessions i have ever experienced. Your advice to me at the end really lifted my spirits and my ultimate goal became more clearer. I

Dream It! Do It! @ Patna

have attended so many seminars but none has touched my heart like this because this session was not only about cracking CAT but about life and its various shades which we all negate in day to day life. A warm and sincere thanks to you for helping me to think about these important areas.”

“First of all A Big THaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanks for the session and it was one of the best things i have ever experienced. I have attended thousands of seminars and

Dream It! Do It! @ Jamshedpur

lectures but today for the first time after I left my home some 3 years back in the search of my aim & goal, I have come across something substantial. Believe me sir you have touched my heart and moved me”

So go many of the emails I have been receiving, after every session. Each one is from a charged aspirant who wants to change his or her life for better; who wants to bell the CAT in 2010.

Dream It! Do It! @ Dehradun

I am on my annual pilgrimage across the country before CAT. I get motivated and inspired while motivating and inspiring youngsters and old alike to push their boundaries…. boundaries of thought and action, and boundaries of achievement! Every year scores of students write back saying that this session has been of immense value in helping them reach their dream destinations, institution of their choice. I keep pushing my boundaries all the time, in order to be able to push each of the participants…. The whole exercise is a great energizer for me, though each session is energy-sapping when I finish those four hours of ‘dancing and singing in the alleys!!’

Dream It! Do It! @ Delhi


This year the series started from Delhi with a great opening at three different locations and continued to address CAT aspirants at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kurukshetra, Patiala, Patna, Durgapur, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Cochin, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore so far. At most of these locations, the halls have been packed and people were unrelenting to move even after four hours. The audi guys had to push us out!! At Varanasi, it was very heartening to see girls in hijab sitting in the packed hall even when the world outside was celebrating Eid / Ganesh Chathurthi and Teej, all of which fell on the same day.

Dream It! Do It! @ Varanasi


The best thing I liked about the sessions have been the Q&A in each location that lasted for over two hours. The participants, students and also many working executives, asking questions not limited to preparation for CAT but of larger perspectives of setting goals and priorities, focus and concentration, managing time, social expectation, expectations from self, pushing boundaries…..!!

Dream It! Do It! Jalandhar


The participants gave feedback at the end of the sessions. I just thought of sharing the summary from 3000+ participants so far during this tour –

a. Feedback about the session
0. Life altering and Life changing
i. Fantabulous!
ii. Brilliant!
iii. Awesome!
iv. Outstanding, never attended anything like this before
v. The session was an eye-opener. It can change everyone’s life for the better.
vi. Such sessions should keep happening once in a while
vii. Very motivational

Dream It! Do It! @ Allahabad


viii. Two more such sessions before CAT!!
ix. I am going to be at IIMA now
x. Can we have Audio and Video CDs of this session
xi. I WILL, IIM here I come
xii. I am an IIMA student from now on
xiii. Thanks a lot for conducting this session; It has changed my outlook
xiv. Do should have done this session four months ago!
xv. You should do it for parents too!

Dream It! Do It! Delhi Univ

b. Three things I carry home from this session

i. Vision, Vision, Vision
ii. Inspiration and Motivation
iii. Positive thinking, Self belief and Right attitude are the key
iv. Passion rewards… I will be
v. Sachin’s discipline, Oscar Pistorius’ strong desire to compete
vi. Energy, Energy and Energy
vii. Practicing everyday is the ‘mantra’
viii. Live, Eat, Breathe what you really want… IIM in my case now
ix. Think Ahead, Look Ahead, Run Ahead… learn lessons from the past

Dream It! Do It! Visualization @ Gorakhpur


x. I will remove “try’ from my dictionary.. I will do it
xi. New found determination
xii. Got a wake-up call !!
xiii. Master the fundamentals
xiv. Nothing is impossible
xv. Determination, Dedication, Discipline… 3 Ds of Success
xvi. Clear vision of what I want to be!
xvii. Peace of mind
xviii. Will remember ‘Going to the 10th floor…’; brain releases the chemicals to help us achieve what we want to..
xix. Listening to My OWN HEART, not to any one else
xx. I will have to conquer myself, I will conquer the world
xxi. If I think I can, I will definitely will make it
xxii. I will never forget Bumble bee and climbing the stairs!!
xxiii. Big successes come when you do small steps well
xxiv. Starting the game and finishing it… I will succeed
xxv. Being selfish and hungry for more

Dream It! Do It! @ Mandi house, Delhi


c. Learnings I will implement in my life –

i. Passion can defy destiny, I WILL
ii. I will believe in myself
iii. I will Plan and work with dedication
iv. I will Face the reality
v. I will Manage my time
vi. I will use Time management matrix to organize my schedule well
vii. I will imbibe the Attitude of ‘just do it’
viii. I will give Sweat, Guts and Blood…. Nothing less will do!
ix. Every second counts; I will be disciplined
x. I will Fight and do not give up
xi. I will be Making schedules and sticking to it
xii. It is ‘Me Vs Myself”
xiii. I realize that there is No substitute for hardwork

Dream It! Do It! @ Chandigarh


xiv. I will Practice, practice, practice… every day
xv. I will tell the world what I want to do!
xvi. I will make learning every day agenda
xvii. I will Change my habits to achieve anything
xviii. I will make Flash Cards and use it every moment of time
xix. I will make IIM class of 2013 Placards and stick every where
xx. I will be focused on myself, and not bother about others
xxi. I will fight the Urge to Give up
xxii. Step out of the comfort zone; I Will
xxiii. I will give up my comforts and strive
xxiv. It is never too late to Begin, I will start today with passion
xxv. I will work harder
xxvi. I will study hard for eight hours; and also sleep for eight to be fresh
xxvii. RC is the key to succeed in CAT, I will work on it seriously
xxviii. Will polish my fundamentals thoroughly
xxix. I will continuously revise with a plan
xxx. I will do thorough analysis of every mock to improve myself
xxxi. I will keep fighting

d. Suggestions to improve the sessions

i. The session is energy sapping, so much in a few hours
ii. Use videos of our generation, or about students going through similar challenges
iii. Show more IIM student videos
iv. More interaction and examples
v. The focus was on Success and how to win. Kindly focus more on CAT (Spent two hours only answering CAT related questions after the first two hours on Dream It, Do It!)

vi. Use more Hindi!!
vii. Kindly include more videos from Business and student world too, though sports videos are very compelling
viii. You can do some activities with participants during the session

Videos of “Believing is seeing, 2009 version of Dream It! Do It! Motivational Series; CAT 2010 takers can watch these and charge themselves”

Believing is seeing Part I


Believing is seeing Part II


Believing is seeing Part III


Believing is seeing Part IV

——————————————————————————

The journey to the Audi @ Delhi…..Viva Metro!

I was heading to the venue by my car, and it was pouring and as I approached Apollo hospital, still a good 15 kms away from the venue, I realized that though I have an hour and half for the session to start, I would not be able to reach. The pouring rains and the blocked drains, had already caused a long traffic jam. I covered a kilometer in half an hour. I just asked my driver to turn the car around at the next cut and head to the nearest metro station, Botanical Garden in Noida, which was a good four Kms away, hoping that the way will not be that crowded. Thanks to my luck, it was indeed a smooth drive. And in 10 min, I was at the station.

This was the first time I was boarding the metro on this Noida-Dwarka line. The line has been opened a few months ago. But, I was appalled by the apathy we Indians have towards any thing that does not belong to us. The moment, I stepped on to the escalator, I noticed pan-spits on the wall next to it; Stepped into the bogey, scribbling on the walls. We have world-class service being provided and we don’t care for its well-being……

Yes, I reached the Sriram Centre in just forty minutes. If I had continued by road, I would never have made it to the session. Viva Metro!!

Sreeni
sreeni@iwsb.in

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