Tag Archives: friendship#

Joy Of Moments Shared

Imagine you are an observer at a wedding. The wedding celebrations have just started – the stage decorated with flowers. The priest, groom and the bride’s father are performing the religious rites. A handful of people can be spotted sitting in the audience. You see an elderly man sitting patiently in the audience.

A few minutes later, another man walks up to the elderly gentleman in the audience with a hopeful smile. He taps him on the shoulder. The man from the chair gets up, and his face lights up with a smile – they shake hands. And they both sit down – chatting eagerly. And as the wedding celebration picks up the pace more and more, such gentlemen walk in. And it’s the same routine — the gentleman who walks in taps somebody on the shoulder with a big grin on his face. The person who is sitting down gets up, and his face glows with pure joy as recognition sets in – they shake hands, move down a chair and make space. The new arrival greets other people. Sometimes he needs help to connect the dots, and other times he knows who he is talking too.

As an observer, you find the entire process fascinating. There are some apparent similarities at first glance. They are all older men retired or getting ready to retire. They are all bank officials (once you have worked for a bank in India, it leaves an indelible stamp on you). They all have grey hairs or balding hair situations. If you look closely, you will notice that they might look old, but they are reliving the memories of yesteryears when they all roomed together, fresh out of college – no wife, family. The carefree young days when they cooked, watched movies and lived together 24 X 7. They are connected by days of working together, matching journal entries, making sure the ledgers are correct. They share the experience of having a not so good manager, being shouted at by an angry client. They do not talk about these things, but it is evident that these gentlemen share a deep bond which goes beyond caste, religion, language.

What you see is a genuine camaraderie with no upmanship. The experiences in the bank have made them very wise in life – they can laugh at themselves, accept whatever life throws at them, and they know there is a right time for everything. If you listen carefully the conversation revolves around – ‘How somebody has changed?’, ‘Where all they moved since the last time they met?’, ‘How their mannerisms are the same?’ It is apparent that they are looking at each other from the lens of old days and the pure happiness radiating from their faces is a testimony to the friendship they have which has withstood years of minimal to no contact.

As one of the gentlemen in the crowd struggles to take a photo, I step in and offer to help. Even though the picture is from the present – you can catch a glimpse of how these young men worked together in Punjab National Bank.

This blog is dedicated to my dad and his friends at Punjab National Bank – and their genuine friendship. I had accompanied my dad to one of his friend’s daughter’s wedding, and in all honesty, it was a reunion for these old friends, which left me with a warm joy in the heart.

Making Friends – Mentoring

We have a mentoring event at office and one of my friends is on the panel. He asked me if I could speak at the event for a few minutes and give my testimonial from last year. I obviously said yes – I love being in the limelight even if I obsess about it before.

This got me thinking about mentoring, meeting new people … friendships.I still remember my first meeting with mentee – it was like meeting a complete stranger and was really awkward. We spoke and I realized that she is in a complete different space than mine – she was into big data, data warehouse. I went home that day thinking about what am I going to do in the mentoring sessions. I was convinced that I cannot add any value. I went home and conferred with my voice of wisdom who told me that its too early and I should not imagine the worse.

We had a first meeting – did introductions – spoke about feedback. She said that one of the feedback she had received was that she needs to be more confident and not ask too many questions to validate what she is doing. I remember using some general quotes and came home and once again conferred with my voice my wisdom [Who is my husband, if you hadn’t guessed that already] and he suggested well – you can tell her what you do about it, right?

It got me thinking – and I started exploring but exploring inwards which is another path to know yourself. Next meeting I suggested that she do a mental chatter exercise where she notes down her mind chatter – just bring awareness. And Voila! next meeting she told me of two instances where she realized that she didn’t have to ask for validation… from then on our journey grew – she painted, she tried different techniques with her team, she took ownership of some of the items in her home and last year she got promoted :). I cannot say that it was all because of me but remember the saying “No smoke without mirrors.”

What did I gain from it? First and foremost the advice you give to others is advice that you need to take. So in essence I was giving advice to myself. I found myself thinking about why don’t I try this in a similar situation.

It makes you pause and wonder about where you are in your journey – my mentee had taken a route which was very different that mine but could have been mine too. We both did our engineering in the same year but she got married right after that and I went gallivanting around the world. And now here we are – it made me realize that it could have been me too.

Once I stopped worrying about adding value and being present – everything worked out well because I was listening to her. Listening is a great skill to have – and it’s not listening to what the other person is telling you but what is she trying to tell you by talking about it. It’s a journey on its own.

I am moving onto new mentees this year but I know I have a friend now.