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विचारों की सान पर…

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आज ‘असली शहीद दिवस’ है – बस हम जानते नहीं हैं।

शहीद शिवराम राजगुरु, शहीद सुखदेव थापर और शहीद सरदार भगत सिंह 23 मार्च 1931 को अपना बलिदान दे कर जा चुके हैं। देश स्वतंत्र भी है, शायद। कम से कम किसी दूसरे देश का गुलाम नहीं है, बाकी तरह की गुलामियत के बारे में नहीं कहता।

भगत सिंह ने जीवन के कुल 23 वर्ष ही पूरे किये। जितना ज्यादा मैं जानता-पढ़ता हूँ उनके बारे में, मेरा आश्चर्य बढ़ता जाता है कि इस छोटी सी उम्र में उनके सोचने-समझने की क्षमता कितनी जागृत और परिपक्व थी। क्या आप जानते हैं उनके विचार और लड़ाई सिर्फ ब्रिटिश साम्राज्य के खिलाफ ही नहीं थी; सामाजिक पिछड़ेपन, साम्प्रदायिकता, अकर्मण्यता और विचारों के क्षेत्र में अन्धविश्वास के विरुद्ध भी उनकी लड़ाई थी? शायद आज का युवक ये जानता ही नहीं। और ऐसा क्यों न हो, जब हमारी अपनी ‘स्वतंत्र’ सरकारों ने ही हमारे क्रांतिकारियों के विचारों को, उनकी याद को, महज एक ‘धन्यवाद्’ का रूप दे रखा है जो आज के दिन की तरह समाचार-पत्रों में एक-चौथाई पेज में छपता है, बस।

भगत सिंह के बारे में बात करते हुए एक जगह ‘शहीद भगत सिंह शोध समिति’ के डॉ. जगमोहन सिंह और डॉ. चमन लाल ने लिखा है (पुस्तक: ‘भगतसिंह और उनके साथियों के दस्तावेज’) –

“…आज सबसे बड़ी ज़रूरत इस बात की है कि शहीद भगत सिंह के मूल वैचारिक तत्त्व को जाना व समझा जाये। यह पहचानने की ज़रूरत है कि वे कौन से सिद्धान्त थे, कौन से तरीके थे और कौन से गुण थे, जिससे भगत सिंह आत्म-बलिदान करनेवालों में सबसे ऊँचे स्थान के अधिकारी बने? वे कौन सी परिस्थितियाँ थीं, जिन्होंने भगत सिंह को भारतीय चेतना का ऐसा अन्श बनाया कि एक ओर तमिलनाडु में उन पर कविताएँ लिखी जाती हैं तो दूसरी ओर भोजपुर में होली के गीत में ‘भगत सिंह की याद में अँचरिया भीग जाती है।’ लेकिन ऐतिहासिक दुखान्त यह भी घटता है कि जब वर्तमान की समस्याओं का सामना करने के लिए हम अपने अतीत से उदाहरण खोजते हैं तो अतीत के सारतत्व को नहीं, उसके रूप को अपनाने की कोशिश करते हैं, जैसा कि भगत सिंह व उनके साथियों के साथ सरकारी और कुछ अन्य प्रचार-माध्यमों ने किया है।”

लेखकगण आगे लिखते हैं,

“शहीद भगत सिंह न सिर्फ वीरता, साहस, देशभक्ति, दृढ़ता और आत्मा-बलिदान के गुणों में सर्वोत्तम उदाहरण हैं, जैसा कि आज तक इस देश के लोगो को बताया-समझाया गया है, वरन वे अपने लक्ष्य के प्रति स्पष्टता, वैज्ञानिक-ऐतिहासिक दृष्टिकोण से सामाजिक समस्याओं के विश्लेषण की क्षमता वाले अद्भुत बौद्धिक क्रांतिकारी व्यक्तित्व के प्रतिरूप भी थे, जिसे जाने या अनजाने आज तक लोगो से छिपाया गया है।”

मैं समझता हूँ कि यह सच बात है कि हमारी सरकारों ने भगत सिंह और अन्य साथी क्रांतिकारियों के विचारों की पूर्णता को जन-मानस के सामने लाने का कार्य नहीं किया है। पर क्या ये भी सच नहीं है कि देश के नागरिकों ने, युवा-समाज ने भी अपनी ओर से ईमानदार कोशिश ही नहीं की है जानने की? क्या आज भी हम भगत सिंह का सिर्फ क्रांतिकारी स्वरुप नहीं जानते? और क्या हमने कोशिश की है कि हम भगत सिंह के बौद्धिक और वैचारिक स्वरुप को जान पाएं और उनसे सीखें?

कई बार सुनता हूँ कि किस प्रकार से देश में नेतृत्व का अभाव है, ज्ञान का तो और भी ज्यादा। शिकायत है कि नेता नहीं मिलते। और सिर्फ राजनीति की बात नहीं हो रही यहाँ पे, कार्य-क्षेत्र में तो नेतृत्व-क्षमता के अभाव का रोना लगभग रोज़ ही सुनता हूँ। आप भी शायद मानेंगे। पर फिर पूछने की इच्छा होती है कि क्या हम वास्तव में सीख रहे हैं पुराने नेतृत्व से, विचारों से? वो नेतृत्व और विचार जो सिर्फ समय के हिसाब के पुराने होंगे, पर परिपेक्ष्य, उपयोगिता और प्रासंगिकता के हिसाब से बेहद कारगर हैं आज…

“स्वतंत्रता का पौधा शहीदों के रक्त से फलता है”, भगत सिंह ने लिखा था। शहीद राजगुरु, शहीद सुखदेव और शहीद सरदार भगत सिंह के विचारों व कर्मों से रोपित और रक्त से संचित आज ये पौधा भले ही पेड़ बन गया हो, मीठे फ़लों से बहुत दूर है।

आओ दोस्तों, आज शहीदी दिवस पर ये प्रण लें कि जानना शुरू करेंगे उन सिद्धांतो को, उन विचारों को, जिन्होंने एक 23-वर्षीय युवक भगत को ‘शहीद सरदार भगत सिंह’ बनाया। शायद ये हमारे भी कुछ काम आ जायें…

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March 23, 2016 at 1:34 PM

Love, Hope & Care…

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RRGwrites

Those of you who know me well, know there is a gardener inside me. Today was one of those days, when the gardener in me felt truly, abundantly happy…

What you see as an image of blooming flowers above, was one of the saplings that I had planted early winters this year. I hoped for a lush bloom, a garden full of flowers, covering the otherwise dusty environs of the Millennium City – Gurgaon – that I live in.

Not to be, not so easy.

One fine morning, I woke up to find most of these saplings all crushed and trampled down!  And from the looks of it, this havoc was caused by a stray dog, who must have dug deep into the rows of my plants in his gay mischief….

I was crestfallen…

In one corner, I saw nearly dead a small sapling. I was so dejected that I didn’t give it a second thought. And with a heavy heart, I got ready and drove off to office.

All through my drive, the dying sapling kept coming back in front of my eyes… Around lunch time, I started to feel quite uneasy… and then, I decided to drive back home. Once home, I dug this sapling out, which looked even more worse than morning and planted it in a mud-glass, most carefully, and said a silent prayer…

3 months today from that fateful day, with a hope against hope and a lot many prayers and care later, I saw this sapling blooming into a bunch of flowers! The gardener in me felt the same happiness that I get when I see my son growing every day… The hope, the love, the prayers and the care – they all paid off.

Happy to share with you…

As they said, looks like faith is still known to move mountains…

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March 16, 2016 at 12:28 AM

Motorcycle Diaries… Road to Ladakh… The Trip Is Ready!

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Road to Leh Blog

Trip is ready! June-July 2016… anyone joining 🙂 ?

Motorcycle Diaries. Road to Ladakh… Preparation Begins

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New Delhi – Ladakh – Srinagar – New Delhi. This one is the Holy Grail for all the bike riders of the world – 3200kms of the toughest terrain any biker can bargain for. Starting the preparation. Having done it already in 2012 as part of Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey, 2012, I know what it takes.

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This motorcycling journey would cover 3 mountain ranges, six passes and touch the daring heights of 18,380 feet at Khardung La  – world’s highest motorable road and brings you to Ladakh – the land of high passes.

Last time, I rode there I was 30. Now, I would be 36. Can the body sustain the ride? The weather, the oxygen or rather the lack of it, the terrain, et al? It commands a grilling fitness regime before you even venture into thinking about this Trip – both for you and your Enfield. Trying to stay true to it.

Despite the challenge it offers, there isn’t any dearth of bikers who have done this trip – you’d find so many of them, try searching on Google! However, my earlier travel to Ladakh taught me a useful lesson – every ride to this Himalayan abode will be a new test, an altogether different one every time you venture on it; it doesn’t get any easier with earlier experience that one may have of riding on to this absolutely stunning journey.

This ride can be a truly difficult learning experience – it tests you on much more than expert biking skills; it teaches many things too – about yourself! Every biker dreams about this Trip. Having done that already, I am daring to relive this dream yet again this year, and making it go real very soon.

“If you go to the Odyssey as a boy, you will return a man; if you go as a man, you will return a sage, and if you go as a sage, surprisingly you will return as a boy”. Those were the words with which Dr. Venki Padmanabhan, then CEO of Royal Enfield, flagged off the 2012 Himalayan Odyssey, 2012.

Am I trying to find that boy in me? Shall keep you all posted on this ride of a lifetime!

PS: Read here about more on Motorcycle Diaries

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January 26, 2016 at 12:40 PM

YUVA – For The Young India…

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Youth.jpg-large

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January 11, 2016 at 11:51 AM

Actors, Them All!

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Bad Actor CartoonFor the past few days, I have been following the events around the Pathankot air-base attack. While I wasn’t surprised at this yet another act of terror, I was certainly bemused when the well-awaited alibi of Pakistan came forward yet again – ‘this is not the act of Pakistan’s armed forces or ISI, behind this could be the non-state actors (read – militants).’

Pakistan is indeed full of actors, isn’t it? Some state, some non-state. Some actors take form of its slimy politicians, who don an astonishing act of friendliness and forward-looking statesmen in one frame; and yet, turn their dialogues-delivery to extreme nonchalance the moment they are faced with some real questions. They are at their theatrical best while playing the role of a shameless, spineless character; an act that would have made legendary villain, of the yesteryears’ Hindi film industry, Kanhaiyya Lal bow in honour!

Some actors play the roles of well-read and well-travelled journalists, who exhibit moving sentiments while reciting verses on the platforms like ‘Aman ki Asha’ and TV chat-shows, and yet offer an equally moving rendition of silence when made to face the dastardly, state-sponsored acts of terrorism against India.

Even better actor is the Pakistan Army, which performs its act so well at times that I really don’t miss another fabulous actor Mahmood anymore! They act out an aggressor and a coward with similar gusto, almost in the same frame many a times. They act befittingly the role of butchers of soldiers, character of a guide to terrorists and the part of a watch-keeper when militants cross the border almost as a daily ritual. They also mouth splendid dialogues; sometimes well after the whole act is over! Who would forget the splendid performance by Pakistan denying involvement of any of their armed forces whatsoever during the Kargil skirmish in 1999. Sadly, Pervez Musharraf, the protagonist playing army general, in his later played role of a condemned politician, admitted to the world – ‘well of course we played a role there!’

And then, surely exists out there the legendary non-state actor of Pakistan – mightiest of them all. And they perform their part with similar flair all over India, you see; right from the snowy LoC to the swanky metropolitans like Mumbai. With an acting prowess like theirs, their craft is good enough to sweep each award in every category, should there be an award ceremony for this coterie!

And this is all one big family of actors performing in unison, so impeccably all the time. Some incredible acting it is, as it never ceases to act in the most crafty and nifty manner. This is also probably the best in class show; even better than the drama America put by bombing Iraq, in its spell-binding performance of Uncle Sam’s men searching the WMDs!

Wonderful actors, them all Pakistanis!

With this grand histrionic around, I also wonder as to when the side-actor, called the Indian government, specially this new one with a 56-inch chest, too finds a frame or two to showcase its talents, if any…

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Photo-credit: cartoonstock.com

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January 9, 2016 at 6:53 PM

My Guiding Words for 2016

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2016Over the period of years, at the outset of each new year, I pen down my intentions – words & thoughts that guide me throughout the year. At times, these are the pieces that I learnt the hard way during the preceding year, or somethings that I read or heard and which stayed with me. I note them down, and they become my reminders for the year-round.

For the year 2016, here they are:

  1. Will cut down on time taken during the decision-making process. Will watch and act against time wasted in unnecessary meetings and reviews.
  2. Won’t attend all arguments I get invited to. Simply, won’t. Will stay away from people bringing negative energy. Two-feet distance, at least.
  3. Will authentically look out for at least one good deed every day – done by anyone around me. Will thank the person before the day ends. Delayed and/or unexpressed gratitude isn’t useful to anyone.
  4. Will call a spade by no other name. Will stay polite when I do so.
  5. Will continue to focus and work on the strengths of my team. Will keep pushing them to excel. Give more credit and take more blame as a leader.
  6. Will be a better spouse. Find lesser faults with and show more affection and respect to wify Neha.
  7. Will teach my son Rajvir how to swim.
  8. Will give higher attention to my health; and not merely via lip-service. Will go on vacations; will encourage my team to do so too. Will choose happiness and choose to spread it.
  9. As Jeff Weiner recommended, will dream big, get shit done and have fun while I do so.

The intention behind writing my guiding principles and goals is simple – it inspires me everyday to achieve them, stay true to them. That’s what I will try and do with above nine intentions for 2016.

What are yours?

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PS: Here are the links to my guiding principles earlier years. You you liked reading the above post, chances are, you’d like these too:

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January 3, 2016 at 3:17 AM

स्याही का रंग…

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Ink RRGwritesआजकल मैं बड़ा विचलित हूँ। गाय को ‘माँ’ कहने वाले, एक-दूसरे की माँओं को गाली दे रहे हैं। दूसरी तरफ, मज़हबी हाशिये की तुच्छ राजनीति करने वाले कुछ अहमक़ सियासतदां जानते-बूझते इस जम्हूरियत में छेद करके UN जाना चाह रहे हैं और यह जता रहे हैं कि कैसे इक ख़ास किस्म के गोश्त के टुकड़े की भूख़ पूरे देश के भूखे मरते आवाम से बड़ी है। कहीं तो स्याही का रंग इतना वीभत्स हो चला है कि वो लिखने के लिए नहीं, मुँह काले करने के काम आ रही है, ऐसे कि भगवे रंग के हिमायती भी भगवा छोड़ इस काले रंग के मुरीद हो चले हैं। कौन भारतीय हिंदुस्तान में रहेगा और कौन पाकिस्तान जाये, ये बताने वाले कितने सारे हो गए हैं। दूसरी ओर, स्याही के सिकंदर लिख कर विरोध ना जता कर, सरकारी और गैर-सरकारी पुरस्कार वापस कर के जता रहे हैं। जानवरों की ऱक्षा करने के लिए टीवी चैनलों पर इतनी चिंता बिखरी हुयी है कि दिल्ली महानगर में होते मासूमों के बढ़ते दुराचारों की भयावह चीखें नक्कारखाने में बजती तूतियों के समान प्रतीत होती दीखती हैं।

इतनी नकारात्मकता फैली है… अजब हड़बोंग मचा है चारो ओर.… संस्कृति और धर्म के नाम पर। गाय के नाम पर, सारे-के-सारे बछिया के ताऊ, यानी बैल, हुए जा रहे हैं। सुर्खियां और वोट बटोरने के लिए धर्म का बाजार गर्म है।

हिंदी भाषा के महान लेखक, रामधारी सिंह दिनकर ने एक जगह कहा है:

“संस्कृति ज़िन्दगी का एक तरीका है और ये तरीका सदियों से जमा होकर उस समाज में छाया रहता है, जिसमे हम जन्म लेते हैं।”

मैं शहरे-अवध लखनऊ की गंगा-जमुनी संस्कृति का बाशिंदा हूँ; बचपन से मेरे मित्र सभी धर्मों के थे, आज भी हैं। मिशनरी स्कूल में हिन्दू और मुस्लिम दोनों पढ़ते थे, हम अपने सिख दोस्तों के साथ गुरूद्वारे जाते और जब भी मौका मिले, बंगाली रसगुल्ले नाक डुबो-डुबो कर खाते। जब कभी हम आपसे में लड़ते-भिड़ते, वो मजहबी रंग न लेकर दो छोरो की आपसी लड़ाई मानी जाती थी। होली और ईद, दोनों पर खुश होना हमने सीखा। मंगलवार को हिन्दू दोस्त गोश्त नहीं खाते, इस वजह से हमारे मुस्लिम दोस्त-यार ख़ुशी और पूरे मन से शाकाहारी खाना खा लेते थे, ना कि मज़हबी आज़ादी के नाम पर ‘बीफ पार्टियां’ आयोजित करते। दीवाली पर खील-बताशों के माफ़िक ईद पर सिवईंयां मैं आज भी खोजता-लाता हूँ। मेरे लिए ये ज़िन्दगी जीने का तरीका, मेरी संस्कृति है। हमारे मरहूम वालिद साहब कहा करते थे, “जो धारण करने योग्य है, वही धर्म है।” ये सीख बहुत बचपन से मेरे साथ रही। तब तो, कम-स-कम मेरे बचपन के दिनों में, हिन्दू अगले और मुस्लिम पिछड़े या मुस्लिम आगे और हिन्दू पीछे – ऐसा नहीं होता देखा मैंने।

इस मज़हबी गैर-रवादारी और राजनीतिक असहिषुणता ने सारे देश में एक बेचैन कर देने वाली मानसिकता पैदा कर दी हैं। और वो काफी हद तक हमें बाँटने में सफल होती भी दीखती है!

पर क्यों?

Written by RRGwrites

October 19, 2015 at 7:01 PM

How I Learnt A Crucial Leadership Lesson From My Garden

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Leadership Lessons RRGwrites.jpg

While interacting with my gardener today, I realized an invaluable lesson in people leadership and employee engagement. A lesson, that originates from a mistake I made early this summer…

Those of you who know me well are aware that I am gardener at heart.

Having spent my childhood in the lush and greener surroundings of a cantonment, I developed a green thumb from very early on. Baba, my late father, was the one who taught me the nuances of nurturing a sapling. He and I would spend hours every Sunday, attending to our plants. Lot of heart and effort went into what I know now of gardening.

In the concrete world of the Millennium City – Gurgaon, I am one of the lucky ones to have a sizable garden space in my home. I built this green space from the scratch; every day, I feel a sense a fulfillment when I stand there. On weekends, you’d mostly find me working there in a corner, personally managing the growth and upkeep of each of the plants. Each blooming flower and reaping fruit is a resultant of my love and labour for my garden.

Looks like I am losing track. What was my mistake and what is the leadership lesson learnt?

Let me introduce you to CB, my ex-gardener. He was my key aide in building and nurturing this garden. CB was a trusted, old hand for over 7 years. He was extremely dedicated, hard-working and polite. Though I was aware that he didn’t possess the deeper skills of gardening, his efforts and willingness to work with the family ensured better growing plants, blooming flowers and a neat-&-clean garden area. He was also loyal and smart enough to save me money – he’d bring smaller saplings from the greener sidelines of the colony, painstakingly make cuttings of otherwise expensive plants and make my garden look nicer, without burning a whole in my pocket. He would also sit and listen to my rantings of how knowledgeable I was about gardening and amuse me. High on personal integrity – he was a trusted family aide and we would not think twice before leaving him in charge of the home. In that role, he was also helpful as a Man-Friday in all family events; often running small errands, without much ado.

One fateful day, something happened that made me lose my cool, and how!

Around the onset of last summer, I bought hundreds of periwinkle flower saplings. Baba used to love this flower; every year, I would grow them in large parts of the garden. Continuing the tradition, I decided to cultivate them this summer too, expecting the entire garden to bloom within a month. Just a day after we planted these saplings, the entire family traveled out of station. As always the responsibility of tending to the garden was with CB.

I came back after a week, and to my utter dismay, found most of the saplings dried out – dead… Of course, they weren’t watered for days…

CB was summoned. I gave him a verbal lashing; no holds barred. He, and another maid, who shared this responsibility – both had erroneously assumed that the other would have watered the plants. Result: no one did either water or check. Delhi’s on-setting scorching summer heat dried out nearly all the saplings.

Seeing this damage, my emotions took better of me. As I continued to lose my cool, he stood folded his hands in front of me. CB did try to explain. I didn’t pay any heed; I was furious. And as they say, in such temper, you only say words that you regret later.

As a result, CB, my loyal aide for years, was heart-broken to hear my overtly tough words. He was visibly upset being scolded in front of the entire household. And despite the fact that realized my overstepping on the heat and calming down soon after, CB decided to move on. He moved back to his hometown and didn’t come back. Even if he did return to Gurgaon, I didn’t see him… For many days, I rued this loss. All others were upset too at home. My mother didn’t say much, though I know she wasn’t too happy either with my outburst. My ‘better-half’ didn’t opine much either, but I knew that she wasn’t too happy knowing this incident… Other servants too didn’t like it, I know… I too was feeling apologetic…

I waited for a few months and tried to trace him down; no avail. I engaged another gardener…

Working for last 8 months, my new gardener too is a good man. He knows the craft and has gardening skills that CB didn’t. He too works fine

And only just fine… my new gardener works by the clock. He cribs more often. He demanded and got a higher salary. He expects me not to correct him at all, should I see things not going right. I am still not sure of his personal integrity, albeit I haven’t experienced otherwise as yet. He hasn’t yet become a trusted family man-Friday, let alone my mother and wife entrusting him with the home errands or the family events. Does he think and act in my best interest each time, I am not sure. He works hard and yet, takes a clinical approach – not with interest and passion to make the garden look its best. He doesn’t save me money. He knows a lot, much more than CB, but doesn’t bring the passion and politeness…

I miss CB every time when I interact with my new gardener. The garden still looks nice and clean, but not spotless. Flowers still bloom, but they aren’t planted with the heart… No wonder I don’t see the same view, despite all my own individual efforts…

This morning, when we were planting the winter saplings, I found my new gardener again cribbing about the amount of work it entailed… I didn’t stop myself from giving him a sermon on work-ethics. He didn’t seem impressed; I could see it… And I surely didn’t want him feeling disengaged. Hence, to bring him around, I handed him a 100 rupee note as an added incentive… Then only I found him smiling. Something, that CB never expected…

Leadership lesson learnt for life.

Think of my garden as an organization, myself as a leader or the promoter and CB as a trusted & engaged employee. Most often then not, organizations lose good talent because of bad managers or even when good managers lose it on small mistakes. CB did make a mistake and that did cost me money and agony. It also led to a lost opportunity and a poorly bloomed garden the whole summer. That said, he still was a trusted, long-standing employee, with only good for the organization and the leader in his heart. His record of seven years was much meaningful when compared to the loss of one summer… Losing him due to a heart-burn, purely due to a leader mismanaging a crucial conversation, was a big loss. It could have been completely avoided.

Many times, such employees will go join competition – their organizations will bloom better than yours. How often we see this in organizations? Quite often…

We can always hire a more efficient replacement. But the cost of replacement of a trusted employee & team-mate is way high; much higher than only the monetary cost. It costs the company, the leader, the team many bigger things – passion, dedication, trustworthiness, and above all, it dents the organizational culture for all other employees, new and old.

Well, I made a mistake. I dropped my pennies that day. And I realize it thrice a week now. I am sharing this life and leadership experience, which I learnt the hard way, with you all, so that you can learn from my mistake – in your gardens, and in your organisations…

If you are lucky to have a CB in your home, company and team – value him. Allow him a mistake or two. Even big ones at times. When he does make such a mistake, watch out for how you reprimand; handle the crucial conversation that may go awry and don’t lose it then. Trust me, losing CBs in today world of talent crunch can cost way too much…

Now, its your turn. What do you think? Do share your thoughts…

RRGwrites… 4 years and going strong

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RRGwritesYesterday, RRGwrites completed four years. Woh! Seems like it was only yesterday I posted my first blog… It all started with my better half threatening me to buy a laptop (for beginners: I belong to 17th century technology – fountain pen and paper!) and then forcing me to create a blog…

Incidentally, I recall typing my first blog on a Macbook the same day when the news broke that Steve Jobs passed away!

RRGwrites came into being on October 6, 2011.

Much water has flown under the bridge since that fateful morning… 4 years, 151 posts, over 63000 views, 220 followers – the journey has been quite enriching; having written on life – its learning and experiences, leadership, motorcycle diaries, HR, organization, culture & change, et al… And by writing, I have become a better person, each day… My writing seemed to have a positive effect on my being…

Thanks to all the readers and followers… You have been very kind and encouraging all this while.

Will keep writing…

Written by RRGwrites

October 8, 2015 at 12:01 AM

Posted in Life

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