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Monday, February 25, 2013

Induction of Culture – Limitless & Unconditional Methods

After a long gap, I had the opportunity to be there for the temple festival at Pallassana, which was an integral part of our lives during our childhood. It was nostalgic to watch Sri. Chandrasekhara Varrier’s awesome performance with his natural ease!  It was exciting to meet M/s. Unnikrishnan, Narayanan and Madhu after quite some time. Witnessing the stamps of time on each of them had inspired me to search for lost hair locks on my head as well!!

However, it was sad to notice that the number of days of Kathakali performance had been cut down to three instead of traditional five due to poor turnout of audience. Even for these three days, the audience presence was 1/4th of its usual turnout?! When we discussed about it, there have been many reasons popping out for this deterioration (which has been gradual over last 3 – 4 years) and felt very sorry about the state of affairs.

The inspiration for writing this note was actually something very interesting and different. This is a reiteration of what I have been advocating earlier in my article regarding induction of culture; . I wrote that post after watching an interview of Sri. Vellodi (The first Indian Ambassador to Tanzania) and I mentioned there that we Pallassanites are lucky to get such cultural induction through these temple festivities and performing arts, which is actually missing in the current system of education. In fact, Mr. Vellodi was very logically insisting on introduction of such a subject in the syllabus of the current education system.

Coming back to ‘Kalithattu’ (The stage where Kathakali is performed), I met Mr. Benedict * , (who’s at least 5+ years junior to me in school) at this temple ground watching Kathakali with his wife and children. I was meeting him after at least 5 years, though his parents lived quite nearby! But the most amazing fact was the revelation that he’s been quite a fan of ‘Kathakali Padhams’ (the verses) and I was awestruck at the knowledge he was having on the subject and my interaction became more interesting when he told that he had gone to Kottakkal and other places to watch Kathakali  performances! It was all the more refreshing to see the entire family there and he told me that his wife insisted on seeing Kathakali as she had heard quite a lot from him and became curious to know more about it. I also realized that such classical folk arts have audience at various planes which, ordinary people like me would find very difficult to express, because in the midst of our interaction, he was getting impatient when artistes started performing ‘Manodharmam’ as he was keen to listen to the verses! Earlier, he even explained some of the verses for me as I couldn’t make out from the recital by Sri. Narayanan. Then I moved onto the front side of the stage, where the crowd was very less unlike my earlier experiences! Standing on the side, I was watching beautiful Manodharmam by Sri. Varrier and I met Kuttan, one of the connecting links of our generation with all these festivities. I was introduced to Sri. Kesavan Kundliar (Very famous for his ‘Parasurama’), who was offering a live explanation of the meaning of the Manodharmam performed on the stage, which made it more interesting. He had also discussed regarding various ‘Shlokas’ on which ‘Manodharmam’ is based. Now, I could feel the next plane of sensitivity which is more comprehensive and enjoyable.

These experiences enhanced my conviction about the cultural thread these festivities used to play in all our lives despite our diverse socio-economic-religious backgrounds. These festivities contributed a lot to induce and nurture culture inside each of us, unconditionally. Whether the organizers knew it or not, this played a pivotal role in moulding our characters!! I think it is time now for all of us to give back this limitless love to the society for the sake of our younger generation, unconditionally.

Every art form had undergone tremendous changes in order to sustain itself and to keep it updated and attractive to the changing pattern of interests and sensitivity planes of its audiences. While in Hyderabad, during some interstate cultural exchange programme, I had seen a lot of welcome experiments with effective use of technology in classical art forms like ‘Chakyar Koothu’ etc., where they introduced a side screen with the dialogues and live explanations of ‘Mudras’ performed on stage. It was very useful even for those who were watching it for the first time. We should also provide proper seating arrangements for the audience to encourage them to come to such public places. Let’s do our best to retain this intuitive fiber created by the legends of the past.

(*The original names are changed in order to respect the privacy of the individuals.)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Growth Management in Hospitals

Last few months have been ‘Hospital Season’ for me, thanks to health issues of own self and others, one after the other! This used to happen very often in my life since very young age and I have developed an expertise in hospital care & support services with some basic understanding of many do’s and don’ts, while in hospital. I don’t know how many people agree with me when I say that there are many skill sets required to effectively assist an in – patient of a hospital as a by-stander. I had developed some of those required skill – sets over a period of time and could use this expertise effectively to avoid many mishaps!

I shall give you some sample scenarios for you to understand the importance of above said requirement of skill – sets.

1)   This was quite a long time back in a super specialty hospital in Coimbatore, where I was a by-stander for one of my close relatives, who was admitted there after a series of cardiac arrests, brought there after unnecessary complications created by some of the old time famous local hospitals of Palakkad (They don’t exist now).  On the 3rd day of admission, the patient was shifted to the room after some very critical moments in the ICU. The patient was found diabetic and asked to completely avoid sugar and I went out to fetch medicines from the nearby pharmacy after the Doctor’s visit. In the meanwhile, the dietician and a duty nurse visited the patient and for some odd reasons, they had a different patient profile with them. They asked to purchase baby food and lots of protein rich food for the patient along with another set of medicines. When I came back the patient handed over another list of item to be bought for him. I went through the diet chart (even the patient diet was to be administered by the duty nurse as per the hospital system) and the corresponding list of medicines and food supplements. Immediately I had a doubt and rushed to the doctor’s cabin and shown him the list. The doctor called both the nurse and the dietician and gave a piece of his mind for the blunder they had done. It would have been a disaster if it was not brought to Doctor’s notice as the patient who is already weak and whose heart was going through a recovery process, would have struggled further by sudden shoot up in the sugar levels in the blood. This hospital was in the initial stages of growth at that point of time. Now, they are one among the veterans in the industry.

2)      Very recently, I had been in a leading hospital of Palakkad, again as by-stander. Even before my relative got admitted I had to accompany her regularly for various diagnosis processes. It was here my Mom underwent a minor surgery, years back and the quality of services and the cleanliness were appreciated very much on those days. However, the whole scenario is changed now, as years passed by….! It is overcrowded and the expansion (construction) is already on and it was quite difficult to get a room there and at last when we got a shared accommodation, we realized the pathetic state of its affairs. In fact, I was left alone at this room when my relative was undergoing a surgery and the other patient in the adjacent bed got discharged. When the housekeepers came to clean the room, I asked them to just dampen the cloth and wipe the partition and when they did that, all those basic stains vanished and it looked new. They themselves were appreciating each other for the new look of this wooden partition. It reflects that there’s a clear gap in supervision of the process.

3)      Another funny incident was that when I requested for a room to one of the front office managers, he was expressing his helplessness and then carried on to mention that many a times, he had helped people and once the room is given, then there would be numerous complaints regarding the facilities. I understood his intolerance about the grievances and also it was sad to realize that the man who’s employed to resolve the issues thinks that he had done a favour by allotting a room to the client?! Above all, having received a favour of getting an accommodation, you are not supposed to demand quality of service…..? Are we living in ‘Banana Republic’?

4)      Another incident is at a practicing local clinic of an integrated health scheme of defense forces, where the crowd is multifold than its optimum capacity. There are lots of systems and processes, but still it should be appreciated about the way it has been handled. There is a whole gamut of scope for improvement, but then with the current facilities and limited manpower, they are doing their best!

5)      The best example was yet to come! I had to be at RCC, Thiruvananthapuram with my relative and then I realized what growth management is and I came across the effectiveness of one of the intuitive employee orientation programme! We keep boasting about various HCM (Human Capital Management) initiatives at corporate places and take pride in providing the best motivation to the manpower through most pampering methods! However, I witnessed more meaningful HCM initiatives at RCC, though it is a Govt. of India undertaking and most of the employees are permanent with assured salaries regardless of their performance! I don’t say that everything is perfect and flawless here and of course, there’s huge scope for re-engineering of certain processes with the modern perspectives. But then, given the volume and crowd they are handling, I have limited words to express my awe towards each one of them!! Once again, the most distinctive characteristic about this place is the soft words they utter to the people who visit here, despite the huge work pressure they carry and this quality is uniform across the staff right from the top to the bottom.

I have only one suggestion to all those corporate hospitals: Realize your growth and empower your employees to effectively manage that growth through consistent trainings. Otherwise, the growth will turn out to be negative!