Monday, September 5, 2011

My Days with NAB

When you are in your early teens, you feel like doing wonders in your life. All larger-than-life dreams floating around. A late teenager adds and subtracts some colours in those dreams. Then comes the phase of early twenties where you feel that it’s time to get serious about life. Actually all these phases were more or less hallucinations till you close in and cross 25. Then you have the fire to do something worth, instead of the regular dreams that everyone has. I have more or less gone through all these phases and ended up leaving my home and coming to a distant place to pursue my management studies, which in turn made me understand that life is also about a lot of such dreams which actually makes some sense.

NAB, Worli, Mumbai
NI started my first job with a lot of pre-conceived notions that I had with me during my MBA. It all started fading with each passing day and I started understanding that it is pretty easy to seat in an air-conditioned room and discuss with all the intellects. But it becomes pretty difficult to actually go out and do the field work. When I joined my second job, all I wanted was to explore new aspects of HR. Then came a day when my super boss threw this idea of how to enable ‘blind people and make them industry ready’ to me and how can we help them. He neither gave me a proper plan of action nor any budget. So I had to start with a hardcore ground work where I initiated gathering details of all those places where there is a structured way of blind people being managed. Then I realized that in such high-rate of blindness in our country, we have hardly any organization that maintains a good standard of education for them and make them employable. With such mixed responses, I found one place. A place which we zeroed in on when we were about to give up. It was National Association for the Blind. Based in between some posh apartments of Worli, sea-facing, badly maintained but huge in size.
This is where they get computer basics training at NAB

When I thought that going there, understanding them and shortlisting the final is the toughest task, I realized my job is just half done. When the nine of them came on board, I knew what was lying ahead of me. I had number of sessions with the internal trainers on how to go about the training process. The normal module of training is designed with a 3 month class-room work, but we decided to extend it to 5 months and keep 1 extra month in hand so as to ensure the students will be fully equipped with the required technical knowledge and will be at par with any normal person at work. And the day has come, the first day, first show. It was not as chaotic as I thought, but it surely kept me engaged whole day. We had sketched each minute details of their day to day requirements such as their seating arrangements keeping in mind that they will require the least time to reach to the refreshment rooms! We have trained them how to reach our office from the railways station through the shortest way possible, though they were quite well-versed in travelling in local trains. I mean they need to be followed on how to travel, they are so damn sharp and put effort where it actually is required unlike so many of us who are always on rampage.

We, the humans, are going away from celebrating whatever we have in the quest of having new things every moment. But I learned from them how to live every moment and be happy about whatever comes my way. You will be surprised with the kind of wit they possess and their sense of humor. I never under-estimated them, but never expected that they will come up with some awesome one liners on demand! They also are sensible to people around them, they do emote but not artificially like most of us. For they already have gone through phases where they had accepted a curse being forced on them. You give them an occasion, you give them the smallest possible reason, and they will celebrate it as if it’s their own joy. They do fall in love, they do get rejected and they do have a life with all those events just like any of us.

The primary issue with all of us is that we do not value what we have today. We realize the value of it once we lose it. For these outstandingly dedicated people, life is one beautiful thing out of which they have already lost something, so they do not want to miss the rest of it. They love, they live and they bring life back into dead souls like us who just are running after some pre-defined goals set for everyday life.

These bunch of extraordinarily talented people has made me feel one thing which I may never be able to experience again, it’s that surreal feeling which is literally an out of the world experience. It makes me feel that I am in so much better condition and still not as happy as them, still not as lively as them and still not as dedicated as them.

(There’s so much more I can add in here, I can go on, but may be I can never express what I went through in those six months of the project. It was an assignment carried out by me with great support of by the management of my previous organization. I will always be indebted to Ms. Heartina Mathews (from NAB) & Mr. Shantanu Lajmi (COO – VPT) for their support throughout.)


Chiranjiit said...

Once again Subha glad to see a good post from you exhibiting your mastery over mundane day to day events in your life & expressing it in a manner for us the readers as an eye opener. The way you observe things, introspect on it and derive a lesson from it for yourself as well as for your readers to think & ponder is very commendable. One thing is quite evident from your post and that is the dedication that you & your team have put behind the blinds to actually look into them, their talents, their strengths & weaknesses and then using them as your strengths to accomplish your mission of making them perfectly equipped and job ready. You could do this because of your compassion which led you into thinking & believing that with a little bit of effort & time you could actually give those already talented blinds a direction in their life. In spite of understanding very well that it’s not going to be that easy a task, you did not hesitated in giving all you can to polish those roughly cut diamonds into something that not only shines from within but also shines brilliantly enough for the world to see & appreciate. Just imagine how wonderful it would be if more people like you become compassionate enough to put their time effort & resources not only behind the blinds but also behind those who have eyes but cannot see, that huge faction of unemployed youth of our society who are immensely talented but are unable to see the right direction in their life, who seethe in frustration because of the petty jobs that is offered to them yet unable to find the right occupation that would do justice to their talents, thus eventually turning to violence, robbery and all sorts of anti-social activities. What if these very talented unemployed youths are shortlisted into a group & programmed like a guided missile, enabling them to find the right direction in their life & hit the target flat & square with the most appropriate utilization of their talents. Don’t you think unlike the blinds who with some training from you could contribute to themselves & their company, these other type of blinds once successful can actually contribute not only to themselves & their company but will also be indebted enough to contribute to the society as a mark of their gratitude? I believe they will. They just need somebody like you with lots of patience to make them realize their talents & their potential & teach them how to use it to find the right direction in their life. I believe such individuals if guided properly can not only reach the sky but also touch the moon and have a dance with the stars too!!
Finally coming to the punch line of your post “The primary issue with all of us is that we do not value what we have today. We realize the value of it once we lose it.” -Would like to ask why people are required to lose something to understand its value? But the real question here to ponder is why people are ready to go through the pain, the suffering, the anguish after losing something rather than taking appropriate actions before they actually lose it? Why they value something after they lose it & not before they do so? Why they don’t value the time in which a little bit of cautious action from their side could actually stop that valuable thing from going away from them & save them from a lifelong pain in their heart? So many questions but no appropriate answers to them. Perhaps that is how the human mind works. Sad but painfully true!!

Subhajit said...

You and your comments makes me introspect into life more & more. You're such a power house of talent and keep such a low profile. You have such a great understanding of life. You sharpen my thoughts and make me go into deeper insights of life with the events it unfolds everyday.

Your addition completes my post. Appreciate your words, your time and your understanding on the subject I explore.

Sambit said...

rarity in this age is a youngster with aim pertaining to minting money going out of his way to help those who need it ! A rare gesture, heart warming and also making others feel and look deep into their hearts about what they are doing for other. Bawarchi movie : apne liye to sabhi jeete hain, kabhi doosron ke liye ji ke dekho !

Subhajit said...

Thanks Sambit for dropping in, but I delayed writing on this project which I undertook some one & half years back because it's not about what I did. But what are these differently abled people are capable of. I saw a life through their lost eyes. Finally, thought of penning all those thoughts. Neither we termed it as a CSR activity nor it has been used for any 'Branding' exercise in disguise.