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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Nostalgic Sivarathri - 2010

I’m excited to write about participating in ‘Sivarathri’ celebrations at Pallassana after such a long time! ‘Hats off ’ to Chandru and his young team…..Thanks a lot guys!

I’m not able to express the joy I felt when I joined them on the day, quite a coincidence?! Not really…I met Kannan (Kongassery) at Secunderabad station on the day of my departure and he reminded me of the event and told me that he may also take a short break from work to join there..! So I kept up the date and went to our nostalgic ‘mannam’ after a long time….!

Let me quickly put my points of appreciation and correlate to our golden days….

1) The felicitations of people who contributed extensively to bring laurels to ‘Pallassana’. It was really appealing to see the age range of people, who were felicitated….it was a fabulous cross section of our small village!
2) ‘Kavettam’ was another interesting innovative programme, which went in synch with the tradition of ‘New Exposures’, which was initiated during our golden days! People who were with us on those days were cherishing those moments when we have exposed our innocent village audience to the ‘world of miming’, ‘Mass Hypnotism’ and ‘Fusion Vocal Concert’, year after year…..Let me bow in respect to our team and the togetherness…! ‘Kavettam’ too was such an experience! I could see many glittering widened eyes amongst our sweet, curious ‘Desam’ audience!!
3) Kudos to Vasudevan (Sreekuttan) and his young team to have conceived, developed, practiced and presented such an insightful short drama within such a short period! I really loved the work….!! It was more like a ‘one act play’ though it was spread over few scenes.
4) The dances were definitely good, but were not spectacular, owing to the lack of live vocals! The dances by the tiny tots were obviously fanta-fabulous!!

Once again, I would like to thank as well as congratulate Chandru, Sreekuttan, Ponnan, Sivan and the entire team for conducting such a nostalgic event…!

To conclude, let me thank each one of them, who supported this event by contributing to make this programme a reality….!

May ‘Ponnin Kiratha Moorthy’ Shower his blessings on one and all….

Monday, February 22, 2010

Inspiring Wrong Values!

Having written about the right inspiration and its influence in all our lives, I just can’t keep quiet about another experience from which we all need to take a leaf of realization to not to do something like this…!

Thanks to my friends’ community across the world, who share their experiences with me in order to enrich & empower me to write about it..!

This is another couple among my close friends’ group and the husband works in an MNC and the wife used to work with an international school, which intends to ignite the light within the young minds..!

My friend’s wife Brinda was forced to resign the job from this school due to her mother’s ill health in last June. As they were two daughters and her younger sister being in Australia, Brinda had to take a serious call while she was on her summer vacation at her native place. Though her presence was immediately required there, she did not refrain from joining back as she has been very ethical all through her professional life. She convinced my friend Biswas that it will be difficult for the school to replace a teaching staff immediately and hence, despite all the adverse conditions, she joined back in June and discussed with the Head Mistress regarding her handicap and immediately put down her papers with a notice period of one month.

Immediately after submitting the resignation, she went and enquired with the administrative staff regarding the formalities to be completed and they assured that there was nothing to be done as there were no loans or dues. As it was opening days and also as the school was undergoing international curriculum implementation, the planning and scheduling process was on a hectic mode. She had been actively involved in all those assignments till the day she got relieved! In fact, I drove with her husband to pick her from the school on that last working day in July, as we were travelling to their native by road..! As promised, she received the relieving letter with a ‘No – Dues sheet’ attached along with it on the relieving day.

Now, the drama begun….! She got relieved on 3rd July, 2009 and she was supposed to receive her salary for the month of June on 5th July, 2009 along with the others. I regret to note that she did not receive her salary for quite some time…!! (The latest update is that she received her salary in Jan-2010 after a long struggle)

They are my very close friends that I know them for quite long years and I have been always there with my family during their good & bad times. My friend has been a multifaceted personality and had contributed immensely as a social activist and educationist apart from his professional achievements!

In this context itself, when Brinda decided to quit, many of her friends advised her to leave immediately after collecting her salary..!! However, she never listened to all those, since they both have strong belief in abiding by values, principles & professional ethics, which many of us just preach...!

When she called up and asked why she was not paid her salary, first response was that they were yet to get the no-dues from the Principal. On inquiring with the Principal, he clearly told that it had been given to the finance department. One of the individuals in finance department wanted to prove a point that he’s Mr. Perfect for the organization and he told that she has to submit the insurance card back…!

As a matter of fact, the health insurance card is normally issued on individual’s name which cannot be revoked until and unless it is not under special employee – employer scheme operated by some private sector insurance companies. That too is operated with the knowledge and consensus of the employee. Hence, in this context, by taking Brinda’s card back, nobody was going to gain any benefit! If you take the lower income group employees, they are offered an ESI (Employee State Insurance) card, which can be used for the treatment of all the dependants of the family in ESI hospitals. It is the right of the employee to hold the card with him/her, as the contribution paid would be shares from the employee’s salary along with the employer’s contribution, which is a statutory obligation. The latest development is that it’s going to be nationwide network and these members can avail health services anywhere in the country and the ESI coverage eligibility income bandwidth is proposed to be increased to include maximum number of employees under this umbrella of social security. Since the health card issued by the employer can be viewed as a state obligation in place of the ESI facility, the employee holds the right to retain the card, legally.

However, to avoid confrontation and as she had separate personal health coverage, she gave back the card to the school…! Now, again months passed and still the salary was not paid..! They even stopped responding to her calls for some time! Though my friend was trying to pacify her, she was very firm on following up as she felt that she had been taken for a ride by the management despite the faith and ethics shown towards the organization and the profession. Above all, she knew that she had worked hard till the day she got relieved and deserved the fruit of her hard work..!

Now, my point here is that this school management did not realize that they were setting a wrong precedence by doing this…! As a consequence, anybody who would like to leave the school would wait till they collect their salaries and do a vanishing act just after receiving it!! This will definitely put the school in very awkward position as far as their quality standards are concerned as the implementation of international system is on…!

The proposed bonds will be of no use as all these ‘labour bonds’ are against the constitutional provision of prevention of bonded labour and will not have much legal sanctity in the court of law…!

As in this case, an individual from the administrative department tend to overdo things in order to make an impression on his superior to get some cheap attention, which hampers the serious long term mileages for the school and the irony is that under the influence of such sycophants, the management keeps on distancing themselves from their core function group and most of the times the realization happens after occurrence of a mishap! Already this had become known to many in the organization and I would say that the first person to leave this organization without notice in future would be our ‘Tiger’ who created this mess!! In fact, he was trying to cover up his own failure and in the process, our lady became scapegoat!

My sincere concern is about the lack of control from the management perspective and the whole incident inspires everyone to follow wrong practice by shedding off values & principles!

Let’s analyse and avoid inspiring wrong values like in this case…

1) The whole incident shows that there is a lack of system and absence of processes/ SOPs.
2) The cover – up exercise of such an individual should have been ‘seen through’ by his superiors and should have initiated corrective action as damage control.
3) The management should have taken a reactive (if not proactive) stand as soon as the issue happened.
4) Above all, an individual’s mishandling of situation should have been controlled by the management to inspire others to uphold the values, professional ethics & principles.