One Month. Thirty days. Not even 25 days in office. Yet, I am a changed person, looking at the new me every time I look into the mirror. A new me in a million small things, that have made such a big difference in my life.
Call it the funniest thing if you may, but the fact remains – I have not learnt anything that I didn’t already know, in this, the last one month. Yet, what I have learnt (technically, re-learnt) is what, I guess, is filling me with the confidence with which I look at the world now, even look myself in the eye in the mirror! And before I proceed further, let me say that the credit of this transformation goes to Anup Kumar Agarwalla, the Founder & Managing Director of Azure Communications, where I am now working.
I remember the day when I had first met him for my interview. He was so warm and unassuming – the brief conversation that we had was so unlike any corporate interview that I had heard about, that I had left thinking that I was not even in the contention, leave alone being selected. However, selected I was and the lessons that followed were like Zen aphorisms – simple, direct, difficult as hell and as I am beginning to understand, guaranteed to lead one to corporate nirvana.
“Don’t do anything if you don’t enjoy doing it” was the first lesson. Now, “enjoying” doing mundane stuff is easier said than done. Try it – down to putting that stupid smile on your face – and you will know just how damn difficult it can be. But hang on, here in Azure, it is much less so, as the very environment is so friendly and the people are always so full of smiles, that it kind of rubs off on you, the enjoying part that it.
I guess, because I am doing things with love; because I’m like they say, “loving it”, that the burger of life (and the finger-chips that accompany it) tastes so good. The bumbling me, stumbling from one disaster to the next is gone, as I have miraculously stopped committing those silly mistakes that used to be “so me”. Gone too are those voices in my mind that used to constantly tell me just how miserable I was, doing whatever I was doing. I guess, when the heart leads one’s efforts, the mind just shuts up and follows.
The second thing that he keeps underscoring is the need to be honest and transparent upfront. We don’t spin yarns to justify our shortcomings, owning up when, if at all, we fail. Now, I have always been the timid sort and I guess, hiding behind white lies was a kind of a defence mechanism that was part of my evolutionary process. But guess what? Even I don’t twist the truth these days. Well, certainly not to the extent that I used to and surprise – the fallout is never as catastrophic as I would have otherwise imagined. Besides, it is easier. Much, much easier when you tell the truth – you don’t have to remember your last stated version!
Besides, Anup (the “Master” we call him) has this peculiar way of looking into your eyes and smiling every time one tries to pull a fast one off – it’s as though he can see through the subterfuge. He doesn’t say anything – just looks at you and smiles and believe me, it is enough to give all of us in the agency the creeps. Why only all of us? I have seen that happen to clients, when he, just “knows” and smiles with his air of indifference, an indulgent “chalo nadaan ho, dubara mat karna” type of tolerance.
The third Law of Anup Sir, beats even its more famous namesake by Newton. “Always put the interest of the client before everything, even your own” he says. And as everyone else in the agency puts it, we are here because of the clients and are honour bound to live up to the trust that they have reposed on us. Being creative, turning in brilliant stuff, being cost effective and maintaining deadlines is not an option – they are the rules of the game.
Looks easy? They are. Especially in a team effort, where the captain leads from the front and by example. The great thing about Anup Kumar Agarwalla is that he practices what he preaches. He (and everyone else in his agency) lives by example, doing every little thing that they say, for, their pronouncements stem from deep-rooted beliefs as opposed to being pithy statements that are aimed to impress.
I was like the sky. Yes, my expanse was vast. Yes, the possibilities were endless, all encompassing. But I was overcast. I was always covered by ominous clouds of self-doubt, of insecurity, of even a twinge of loathing. One month in Azure and … my sky is shining in all the bight shades of Azure.
Thank you Master!
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