Three recollections

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By Tinky Ningombam

As the year comes to an end, one cannot help feeling the need to set resolutions, One favorite of mine has been to learn from every experience, whether good or bad. And not to repeat the same mistake twice. My world is filled with a lot of inspiration. It is just a matter of getting inspired to become better. More so because one of the perks of being in the communications and public relations business is the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people.

One meets top notch people from all fields, whether seasoned professionals, experienced politicians to government officials and public personalities. One gets to hear them talk or sometimes lucky to work with/for them. And every correspondence with them comes with a lot of learning. What I have seen as a similarity between all the heads of companies, the leaders in the pack, the famed celebrities is that they have their own vision and they stick to it. Second, they have the foresight to pre-empt what might happen ahead and if their formula won’t work, they change their course and embrace the change.

I will like to narrate 3 stories when I chanced upon three different personalities and how each of them was a different experience for me.

My first story is about what happened last year at an Energy Conference that we were taking care of. I had the good fortune to hear A. P. J. Abdul Kalam speak about his dream of an energy sufficient India. And while we were scouring the room for reactions on his idealistic theory that he did hypothesize with projections of how it can be achievable, I saw two waiters in the big ball room looking at my simpleton-looking male colleague and snickering after making a few passes. And this was at the Taj Hotel, New Delhi. I stared at them for a moment and they scattered away. That was my moment of clarity I believe. Our world is filled with visionaries and on the other side people who will prefer to carry on with their ways of the world and not listen to them or even pay attention. Not everyone’s goal is to provide a better future for the community or to take chances when the opportunity arrives. It is unfortunate that the two turned out to be waiters, I mean no condescending but these are 5-star hosts who deal with and meet hundreds of high profile guests. And it was clearly something that I didn’t choose to be the highlight of the event.

My second story is of the much hyped author Chetan Bhagat.  Forgive my obvious dislike for his genre of literary work. I think he is a very good marketer and can deliver a good story for his audience.  My ingrained dislike is perhaps well-founded in my years of education in old school English Literature which dominated much of my reading habits. I have not read any of his books however I have followed his storylines because I have been surrounded by people who read him without fail. I used to follow him on Twitter but I un-followed him when I found him oftentimes poking his nose into political debates which to me seemed off-putting by the sheer illogical arguments that he would present to his fellow debaters. So it was a welcome surprise to find him speaking at an event I was at. He was a guest speaker and presented almost an hour long observation on how Young India perceives about Indian Politics and how that relationship works. He used his favorite form of vocabulary the Hinglish as it is coined but even with that he couldn’t last for five minutes without saying something completely off-topic. On top of that he made faltering errors in stringing sentences together. I assure you, I didn’t get a single thing properly from his presentation. Except the one thing that I remember that is him telling us about how the youth needs to understands politics and be active. That is perhaps the only thing I agreed on. Midway into the presentation one of the guys sitting across me whispered “He has wrote 5 bestsellers? Seriously?”

Our industry is filled with people who have managed and handled top CEOS, Celebrities, Artistes, Sportsmen, Authors, Spiritual Gurus and what not. And every industry has their stalwarts and they have their different ways of interaction or how they behave. For instance an event for Banking Professionals is very different from a conference for a Dance Academy. But the charm is in blending with different industries.

I am not a sports fan though I do love watching Football. And I don’t like Cricket at all. So much so that when I had to handle some events with cricketers, I had the worst time of my life trying to read up about the sport to avoid saying anything wrong. But knowledge is something you can imbibe, interest is personal. So when I was given a task to ask some interview questions and do a photo-shoot of Deccan Chargers IPL Team two years ago during their short time in Delhi, it was a moment I dreaded. After I landed at the Hotel where they were staying with my photographer and had to convince their Team Manager to let me meet all of them one-by-one, it was a crazy affair with me running up and down the hotel and their lounge. In the end, I met with the best of the lot, the then Captain of the team Kumar Sangakkara. It was a bad time for them especially him, they were losing badly and he was under a lot of pressure. And honestly I expected him to be in a worser mood. They had just come back from practice and I was taking time out of his rest-time. But he was a true gentleman. He waited for me to have a seat first, offered me tea which he made himself and made me feel comfortable before I asked him the questions and he had this charm about him and the charisma of a leader. I have always seen Cricketers saying rehearsed speeches when they win a match or saying the same diplomatic speeches in interviews but he was very intelligent and well-versed with what was happening around him. And the best thing was that he was very positive about him winning the match and I believe that is what made his team positive and confident as well. Though they didn’t perform much that season, I did believe for a second looking at how positive he was that they had a chance.

There are many memorable instances that mark the days when you meet someone famous in the world. And every person is either memorable or forgettable by the virtue of their personality. When I remember instances in my life, I remember them as stories. And the main protagonists are seldom people who think they are high and mighty, they are always the ones who have humility. I believe those who deserve fame are the ones who do not forget how to instill ideas in people, those who know how to connect with people and most important of all, how to respect everyone irrespective of who or where they may come from.

( The author wishes a brand NEW HAPPY YEAR ahead for her readers. Celebrate the coming of the new and the discarding of the old. And remember that if you want to FLY, you have to let go of things that weigh you down. Here`s to a safe flight ! )

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