Monday, 13 August 2012


 Appraisal reports of many of the officials may not be true reflections of their real status/position.  Generally, the bosses may not want to come in the way of the progress of their subordinates and hence they may avoid giving adverse appraisals, probably except to those who have quarrelled with the boss. However, an adverse report needs to be substantiated adequately. Relations with such persons may become sour and even violent, and they may appeal to the higher ups or the courts of law and win. Then even the boss may get into problem and so he may play safe. After all, no one has time for all these things. Also, very good appraisals may be given to some persons, who may be having linkages with the boss due to caste, language, religion, state/village or some such thing. Generally the boss may play between good and very good, but when it suits the boss, it will be told that good is no good. Also sometimes the boss may not like to give excellent report, since it may undermine his own position. Outstanding may be reserved for those people who are closely related, who give something special and out of the way, in cash or kind so that the boss is under obligation to give an inflated appraisal to them. Some lazy boss may draw heavily from last year’s appraisal report, for writing the current year’s appraisal, without proper reassessment. Sometimes the top boss may suddenly give an order to the lower level officers, to give the grading of their own subordinates on an adhoc basis, due to inadequate time for fresh assessment. This may even contradict the appraisal made earlier by the same person at the due time of reporting. Generally, writing of appraisal report has a schedule. Some persons may resort to dinner diplomacy or some such unfair means to influence their grading in the report. If we happen to see the appraisals of some persons for their entire service life, we may find that different bosses have adjudged the same person from outstanding to below average at different times. This present system/type of reporting is neither in the interest of the organization nor the individual. May be, a reporting system for performance should be worked out on weighted average basis, based on feedback from all others, with whom the person has dealings, both inside and outside the organization, just like students give the feedback on the performance of the faculty in some institutions. Since no one is perfect, the subordinates should be made aware of the feedback/shortcomings and given guidance for improving. We must have a long-term point of view, both for the individual and the organization. The boss may think that the organization is running only because of him, but we must accept the fact that the organization runs with the collective efforts of everyone, by getting the best out of the whole team.


Friday, 10 August 2012


  Saving in time is a good habit, but sometimes microscopic observations are made, small delays are exaggerated and attention focused on them unnecessarily, leaving aside the bigger delays. One incident made me use a scientific basis of information collection and analysis in this field also. Once I faced a peculiar situation when one of my colleagues (let us call him A) made a general observation to the Chief Executive, during my absence (probably to save his skin) that I was taking too much time in clearing my files/papers. After my return when confronted, I did not immediately give my reaction and requested for some time. I decided to arrange collection of data on daily basis for some reasonable period of time, about the various files/papers being received by, and cleared from my office. Based upon statistical analysis of this data, I found conclusively that the observation of my colleague A was far from truth. As a matter of fact, I located one particular file and after a thorough study of the same I found that this file travelled back and forth four times between me and my colleague A. From a statistical analysis of the various travel times of this file I observed that out of the total 110 days  the file took for final clearance, it was in my office for 16 days, whereas it was with my colleague A for 94 days. Further I found that the ten days time taken by me during the third occasion was due to obtaining advice from another colleague, which took that much time. On the other three occasions I took just two days each, to dispose the file (as required at that time) in contrast to 27, 28, 25 and 14 days taken by my colleague for disposal of the file on the four occasions respectively.  This data along with the other general data recorded by me proved conclusively that my performance did not deserve such an adverse comment, but on the other hand, this study did earn an appreciation. Moral of the story is that quick disposal actions should be taken by all concerned, (instead of passing on the blame to others wrongly) and the areas where there is saving of some substantial periods of time, should be taken up first.  


I live in the state of Rajasthan (India). A sizeable part of its western region consists of desert. I happened to visit these desert areas more than once and experience their beauty, as well as the vagaries. No doubt, the deserts provide plants and trees for various industrial, medicinal and other uses, as well as offer good opportunity for tourism but they also give lot of problems to the desert dwellers. The wild life in the deserts generally has an abundant population of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects and this also leads to loss of indigenous flora and fauna. The deserts also have a tendency to expand and encroach on other areas, converting fertile lands into deserts. We must therefore combat, arrest and control desertification and restore such lands for productive use. It is essential to assess and ascertain the causes and problems of desertification and adopt suitable strategies so that the deserts can be contained and ecological crisis can be averted. Further the ecology should be developed for a sustainable development of economic resources in the deserts. Such deserts exist at many places all over the world. Desertification is a global phenomenon, with severe ecological, economic and social consequences for the civilization over the period of time. Activities for controlling desertification and assessing potential for growth of other valuable plants in such areas deserve to be taken up at national and international level.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


All communications should be such that the receiver receives the same message which the sender wants him to receive, irrespective of the language, mode of communication, voice, print or electronic media. Many of the gaps in verbal communications are due to the person (receiver) not being attentive, ignorant, inability to comprehend, not having hearing ability,  and/or due to wrong pronunciation or differences in pronunciation from region to region & tone of the sender. Havoc can sometimes be caused due to some mistakes in this field. I have had several occasions where I have either been the cause or the victim. I had some working knowledge of German language when I visited Germany. At one point of time, I was on the dining table and I wanted lemon. I knew its German equivalent Zitrone, but there was an error in my pronunciation. I called it saitrone, while it should be called sitrone.  The waitress did not understand me and I had to get help from some other person to explain it to her. Once I was trying to buy a train ticket in Germany for a suburban train. The issuing clerk verbally asked me to pay an amount which pronunciation, I did not understand. Hence I requested him to write on a piece of paper by saying in German “Schreiben Sie Bitte”  He did not appear to be pleased by my request, but nevertheless he wrote the amount on a piece of paper, after which I paid the amount and got the ticket. During one of the visits to USA, we had reached Chicago airport, on our way to Boston, but we were a little late in arriving at the airport, so I was a little tense. Then at the counter, the official asked a question to me, which I could not understand. It added to my tension. Then it dawned on me that he must have asked about the package. So I listened carefully to his words again and replied yes, myself, since his question was “Did you pack it yourself”. But this small matter caused tension, discomfort and embarrassment to us. During my school dictation test, the teacher pronounced Prime Minister as Pri Minister, with the result it caused the only mistake in the paragraph, I wrote at that time.  In English language there are several difficulties of different pronunciations. There are some alphabets which are silent like p in pneumonia and psoriasis. Some words have different pronunciations even though the words are spelt same way e.g. to and go, how and bow. Cut, but, gut, nut and rut are pronounced same way, but not put. Cat, rat, fat, mat, sat, bat, hat, pat, tat, vat are spoken same way but not eat. Honey and money are spoken same way but not donkey and monkey. Some words have different alphabets but are spoken same way e.g. to, too and two, be and bee, by and bye, sea & see, seen & scene, road & rode, write & right, hair & hare, year & ear, pink & mink, rope & soap, wave, nave & rave, ware & weir. The words like cane, mane, bane, gain, main, pain, rain and vain are pronounced similarly, even with different spellings.  Mistakes in spellings also play a major role in causing gaps in communication. Sometimes we are in deep thinking mode on a particular object, event or person and if somebody communicates to us at that time we are unable to switch over immediately. We continue to be in the earlier frequency/world for some time. We may understand or interpret the communication received by us at that time incorrectly or in a distorted way. Also it takes some time for us to delink/detach ourselves from the topics of our earlier thoughts when suddenly we get engaged in other thing like reading a newspaper, magazine, book or report, and thus what we read gets affected by our earlier thoughts. The words may be read by us as something and perceived in our mind as something else.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


There was a time when the Doctors were considered just next to God, with their feelings of service to the society while treating the patients. But slowly the things have deteriorated and such feelings appear to be non-existent now. It is understood that nowadays a Doctor gets associated or linked with some testing/diagnostic laboratory &/or a pharmaceutical company on commission basis. But this was not the case earlier. When a person goes for consultation, the Specialist Doctor advises some tests and tells verbally to go to a particular testing laboratory, saying that they are good. But later on we may find that they are not reliable. Also they may be far away from our residence. We may not be advised to visit any of the centres near our house, with the result we have to travel longer distances twice, once for giving samples and then for collecting the testing report. Similarly, when we visit the eye specialist for checking our eye sight for putting on glasses, we may be advised to visit a particular optician shop for placing the order for the glasses. This may also be far away from our residence and here also we are required to visit the shop twice, once for placing the order and next for collecting the glasses. This advice could also be for visiting a certain Orthopedics/Dental/ENT/Skin or any other Specialist and also a certain Pathological laboratory for certain tests. It appears that the Doctors are having contacts or deals with other Doctors/Diagnostic centres for prescribing necessary (and probably also unnecessary) tests for which they may be getting hefty commissions. Some Doctors or group of Doctors organize so called free camps for consultation, due to which they might be getting much more money through commissions. The whole thing appears to be centred around money and not around treating patients with minimum tests, troubles and expenses to the patients. Among other instances, I have faced giving of wrong prescriptions for my glasses. At one time the Doctor did not check the near vision, which should have been checked at that age. The glasses made as per the prescription given by him had to be remade. I had to spend money and time and face trouble. At another time the Doctor wrote the prescription of another patient for me and I had to face similar problems of money, time and trouble for remaking of glasses. In both the cases, the Doctors neither compensated me nor expressed regrets in any way. The relationship of a Doctor-patient appears to have now become vitiated.


Childhood days are great, full of fun, pleasure, care free attitude and free of all worries. I remember my early days at my father’s residence, where a railway line was passing nearby. Many times we used to stand near one side of the railway track, observe the train coming, passing and leaving in front of us. Once in a while we used to keep a small coin on one of the rails, which used to get flattened under the heavy pressure of the train. There was also a canal nearby, over which there was an enclosed railway bridge.  We used to observe the trains passing through this bridge with curiosity. But on both sides of the bridge, there was some space available for people to cross the bridge on foot. I must have crossed this bridge with my father many times. We also enjoyed going across to various plantations in nearby areas. My mother was very careful about various aspects of her children.  When one lady called me after distorting my name, she immediately cautioned her to call me using my name correctly. Sometimes after arriving from school my mother would send me to the market to get curd so that I could eat my food happily. During this period I have also faced medical problems of pimples on face, dental and eye problems, having had to put on spectacles at about 12 years of age. Once I was told by my guest relatives to keep a watch and to inform about expected arrival of a bus. When I told them after sometime that the bus is very shortly arriving, which I did exactly as per their request, I was accused that I wanted the guest relatives to go away from our house since I had informed them about the expected arrival of bus. At that time I did not realize the gravity of this accusation.  During some of these days we have enjoyed things like, running from one roof to another, playing with animals, playing cricket & observing solar eclipse etc. At one time there were riots in the city and it was placed under curfew including our locality. We could not go out but we could peep outside and observe for a few days stoppage of all activities, total silence and gun toting soldiers. During my good old school days, Head-Master of my school took us on a picnic to a nearby lake during one rainy season. After reaching there, we roamed around the lake & visited the nearby areas, gardens & cottages etc. In one of the shelters the Head-Master and the teachers conducted various games, one of which was a memory game in which 12 objects (well known and in normal general use by the students) were shown to us for some seconds and then these were covered again. We were then asked to write the names of these 12 objects by memory on a separate sheet of paper individually. Later on amongst other games a contest was held to identify the boy who laughs the best. A team of 3 teachers was formed for this purpose. Efforts were made to stimulate the students of this class by creating such scenes so as to create laughter. I laughed to my heart’s content so much so that tears were coming out of my eyes. All the 3 teachers unanimously pointed towards me and identified as the best person in this Laughter Contest. But the Head-Master disallowed this selection & cancelled the event, saying that it is not possible to judge it satisfactorily and objectively. So as the luck would have it, I missed out getting prize for this event.