Sunday, September 5, 2010

those 2 days with Mr.Raj Mali

6a.m in the morning. Day started as usual, getting ready to catch my 8:15 office bus near Karve Nagar, Spencer. A bag on my back with only a newspaper inside it. By the way, carrying a bag gives you the nice office-going look, does not matter what is there inside. Bus arrived. Started searching for a corner seat. Because this  IT guy needs to read the newspaper freely, and the window seat is considered to be a disturbance, one of the reasons being you need to
open the window sometimes on the next person's request and the breeze starts blowing across the paper which does not let you to read properly.

Reached office. Had breakfast, nice parathas. Its 9:15. Oops  an Outlook reminder for the 2 day training programme, which is to start at 9:30.  Totally forgot about the training, else would have thought of a better plan to skip while coming in the bus. Got sick about the thought of  a trainer coming and going over all his PPT's as if there is no body else at his office to whom he can read that out to. Nothing is striking to me. Its 9:22, just 8 mins to go. Only idea coming to my mind is Microsoft should have set the default reminder time as 1day, instead of 15mins. Fine, no other option. Took a pen and notebook and reached the training room. By the way, this is a soft-skill training programme which is all about human behavior, human interception and team work.

Its 9:28. In comes a person, very tall, little fat, a laptop hanging on one side of his shoulder, and carrying an ipod system set on the other hand. Kept the laptop aside, and first started getting his ipod system ready. "You guys like music, rite?", asks the guy. A chorus goes around, "ya ya". A beautiful number "Shukran allah.." from Kurbaan started. You cannot ask for a better melody than this to begin your day with. The guy himself seemed to be fully enjoying the song. I too started enjoying the music. First time, I saw somebody playing music in a training room. By the way, I realized this guy is the trainer of the programme.

The program started with what seemed to be the trainer's trademark beginning: "Coffee with Karan". A group of 3 people were formed, and they come to the center, and start introducing each of them. The first person introduces himself, and puts a question to the second person. The second person introduces himself, and answers the question, and it goes on like this.  Once the introductions were done, the trainer asked us what all things you would like to be covered during this program. Every body gave their views on what needs to be covered like task delegation, interpersonal skills, managing a team, managing without responsibility, etc. One of our friends suggested his topic by asking the trainer: "How to manage non-productive resources?" which took me by surprise because I did not like the word "non-productive". The trainer simply noted it down, however requested not to use the word "resource". 

  By the way, the trainer has not introduced himself yet. We realized this when he said let me introduce myself, "I am Raj Mali". When somebody comes to talk about soft skills, organizational pressure, ups and downs in life, we learn & experience more when it comes from a person who has gone through all this because you can see the genuinity in them. On this front, it could not have been anybody else than Raj. While he gave this introduction which went for around 20mins, one can realize the struggle he had to overcome, the pain, the amount of changes he had to accept, which finally brought to him to what he is today. 

  The program got little intense with some card games. From the outset its a game, but every component of the game had something for us to understand about an organization, about people, about team.  What is special about Raj is he had a very unique way of arriving at a point, and taking you along with him in every point. Its kind of sessions where every word and every sentence is powerful. Training is not an easiest job at all, but it is the most satisfactory job on this planet. 

  I had to mention about the two observers here, Ravi and Dr.Rashmi, who had come along with Raj. When you look at Ravi's timing of his one-liners, you get a feeling Bollywood missed somebody. About Dr.Rashmi, a very warm person making some powerful observations. Its a different atmosphere out there. Usually, a training room has a trainer and the audience. In this case, the presence of observers added so much value and made it so different, a wonderful learning it was. Any discussion, Raj opens a topic, people start sharing their views, Ravi comes up with some mind-blowing funny one-liners in-between which makes people go crazy. The atmosphere was electrifying and the learnings were tremendous.

 Now came the most interesting topic about human perception. The story of Ram and Shyam where different people interpret Ram differently in different circumstances. This story actually does not go off from you very soon, the simple reason being it touches the core problem of human psychology. I got completely engrossed and got lost for some time. Realized and experienced how a human mind undergoes different thoughts and phases as the information is available more and more and the visibility gets clear. Lots and lots of questions I asked to myself, felt like having a traffic jam inside my head. After a lot of crushing inside, finally, I stood at: Who am I? What am I?

 Could not concentrate more after that. The thought that we always interpret a human being as how we are, not how they are kept running. The training got over for the day. But still, I am not able to focus on anything. The more I think, the more wider it goes. Went to bed in search of the answer for all the questions going across my mind.

Day 2:

6a.m. Got up from bed. Unlike everyday,  reached to the window in the hall. Don't know why.  Just started looking around, a calm atmosphere. Sound of the birds cooing. A nice feeling.Wanted to stay a bit longer there, its time to get ready for office. 8:15. Bus arrived. Got in. Found an empty seat near the window, and went and sat there . Again, don't know why. Opened the window. Slight drizzle outside. The sweet fragrance of the first rain after quite some time blushed across. Kept looking outside. A person in his early fifties doing a morning walk. A small girl waiting for her school bus to arrive with her mom. A vendor removing the shutter of his shop. Don't know why I still did not pull my newspaper out.

I kept looking. A feeling of realization somewhere within. The more I looked, I felt the world outside is really beautiful, there are a lot of beautiful things happening around me, and I have the option where I can choose to see only the beautiful things around me. Everybody was listening as I was sharing all these with Raj and the team. Raj with his trademark style of giving Thumbs-up and said, "Lovely. If this is what our program has made you feel, I am happy". This is how the day began, with many of us sharing their thoughts & feelings and how their mindset is. Raj keeps saying, "thoda feel karo". I felt it Raj.

The second day was more on the team work. It had some beautiful concepts of how you align with your team without enforcing your decision. As said earlier, the beauty here is the way Raj arrives at this point after doing lot of analysis and stats. The topics slowly moved towards when you should say "No". A very interesting session where-in the bottom line is either you say yes or no, you have advantages and disadvantages. So, choose wisely.

Post-Lunch session moved closer to inter-personal skills.I got a feeling these personality development people spend a lot of time getting their games very right. Every game had some message or the other in every component of it. In the beginning of the games on Day1, I felt the same technique may not work in other places. However, as the program went ahead I started believing the fundamentals what Raj is trying to put is very strong and if implemented correctly, it has to work.

The program was nearing its end. Came the final activity where 3 groups were formed of around 6 people each, and everybody telling the group how they contributed to the program, and what they could have done better, and what others feel they should improve. We were nearing the climax where Raj started the last phase when he asked his favorite question for one last time, "where are you?"

For me personally, it was one of the most important sessions I had ever attended. I finished stating when I walk out of the room today, I feel perhaps I spent 2 of my most precious days of my life. Everybody started expressing their views on how they felt the program will help them and sharing all the beautiful things which they enjoyed and liked most. 

Our friend who asked the question on Day1 "How to manage non-productive resources?" had been very silent all along. Whenever I saw him, he was observing very keenly, but maintained his silence. Made me feel  there is something running in him. The show was coming to an end with people sharing their thoughts about how they feel. I wanted our friend to open up and share something.  When most of us finished sharing our experiences and Raj was about to say Goodbye, our friend tells, "Raj,I want to share something ". Raj says," Please go ahead".  

 "I always thought a person is all about how technical he is. And thats how I looked at a person. I was wrong.  I realize its not so. Your program taught me to look at a person as an individual and the value he brings. Thanks a lot Raj". The show ends.

P.S. Dear Raj, a genius you are. I wish you great success, I wish your organization a great success, I wish you succeed more and more in making human beings. Friends, if you want to know more about Mr.Raj, please visit his website : RajMali

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Manisha said...

Raj Mali just keeps on getting better and better with his profound understanding of human behavior. Thanks for being so open to learning and thanks for sharing.

Mukesh said...

kudos to Raj, it is indeed difficult to find such people to maintain a smile for hours together and to bring one to people too.....

Sadashiv said...

I can understand Raj is too good. I can feel so by ur words. Your depiction of these two days in this blog is Awesome..