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Women @ Work

Women and the corner office – no longer an urban legend

November, 2019

Women come in many shapes and sizes – God knows, we’re pretty well aware of that – but beneath the different layers that make us seem so very distinct from each other is the same combination of confidence and self-doubt.

It is this composite blend that makes us feel all kinds of fierce and invincible one day, and a bundle of nerves the next. I’ve spent many years turning this thought over and over in my head (with two books to boot), and...

Women @ work

Lost Some, Found Much – A Trip without My Luggage

August, 2019

Dedicated to my luggage: Tere jaane ka asar kuch aisa hua mujh par... Tujhe dhoondte dhoondte, maine khud ko paa liya. – Anonymous

Travelling, especially in Europe, a continent I adore, is one of my biggest stress-busters. Whenever I embark on a journey, despite having ‘seasoned traveler’ stamped all over me, I get this toe curling tingle of excitement much like a child who is venturing onto the beach, with its soft squishy sand and gently...

Women @ Work

Why Women Take More Time to Advance in their Careers than Men

April, 2019

Remember the popular American sitcom - The Office? In an episode titled ‘The Alliance’, Michael comes up with an idea of organizing a birthday party for Meredith, even though her birthday is a month away. While the whole situation has a rather comical spin to it, what didn’t seem funny was the distribution of work - the women were, without being explicitly asked, in-charge of the party planning, while the men went about their day as...

Women @ Work

A letter to my soul sisters!

March, 2019

To,

All the lovely women in the world, 

How should the day in the life of a businesswoman look like, you ask? Should I have to worry about an untidy house? A broken jar and a non-functional mixer grinder? Should I ask for a meeting with a potential investor today or leave it for another day while I run around frantically packing lunch for my son, looking for homework and missing shoelaces?  All this while fretting over the...

Women @ Work

The Path to Emancipation Is Through Financial Independence First

January, 2019

A  20-something girl in office recently put in her papers and happily announced the reason – she was getting married and moving to the USA. When I asked her about whether she had found a job overseas, she nonchalantly said, “Not yet, I have to set up our home, our new life there first and I will only then think about my career”. 

While millennials today have the insouciance to casually chuck up careers in the assured belief that...

Work Culture

Happy Old Year

December, 2018

The human mind is designed to focus on negatives rather than the positives around it. The ‘black spot on a white paper’ experiment concludes that everyone invariably notices that one tiny black speck and not the big white expanse of paper it is painted on! This tendency is possibly a survival mechanism, so that we spot the danger first and fast, and immediately react in order to protect ourselves from it.

But festivals are a time of good...

Women @ Work

The times they are a-turning!

November, 2018

One of my senior male leaders walked up to me the other day and said “OMG boss you have practically turned me into a woman!” When I laughingly asked him why, he recounted that he had just spent the last hour counselling a young woman and a new mother on his team on the best ways to feed a new born baby! 

Now to my mind it isn’t necessarily a bad thing that men should morph into women, that’s called evolution after all. But be that as...

Women @ Work

Why is everyone objecting to being called a feminist?

September, 2018

These days whenever I meet any senior woman and the talk turns to diversity, the first thing she starts the conversation is by saying in a half apologetic-half defensive manner “I am not a feminist”.

I don’t to understand when feminist became a bad word and being one, considered akin to being part of a clique one should be naturally ashamed of, like I am not religious ok or I don’t understand anything except Hindi Bollywood music, or I...

Women @ Work

Women Superheroes are out to save the world, we should too

August, 2018

History is proof that literature, movies and theatre have all portrayed gender roles the way we have popularly known it – women are homemakers, men are breadwinners. In superhero terms, men are supposed to save the world while women are the passive facilitators. But winds of change are upon us and we have none other than our superheroes rooting for it.

After 14 years of the first Incredibles’ release, when Incredibles 2 hit the theatres this...

Industry

Why is the Media Industry Applying the Same Metrics to Measure Digital as Traditional Media?

July, 2018

In the episode ‘Nosedive’ of Black Mirror Season 3, an extremely dark and disturbing, yet plausible future of social media is portrayed. For those who are unaware, I recommend you watch this particular episode right away. For those who know what it is about, won’t you agree that we are all headed towards an impending doom, with the tremendous emphasis we lay on social media validation? 

But what social media validation is to...

Industry

Getting Down with the Beat - Finding Your Rhythm at Work

July, 2018

“Rimjhim gire sawan, sulag sulag jaaye man, bheege aaj is mausam me, lagi kaisi ye agan,” is playing on the radio as I travel to work. What a perfect song for this weather; R. D. Burman really knew how to make emotions take flight. Even today, this tune takes me back 30 years, to simpler times. Music is such a charm, isn’t it? 

I’ve always been rather intrigued by the way music can resonate with your soul. It’s so much more...

Industry

Winning is the Name of the Game. IPL: A Case Ctudy!

May, 2018

It’s funny that while cricket isn’t our national sport (at least officially) many can easily be fooled into believing it is. And that’s totally acceptable as the hype that follows the sport is astounding. In fact, if cricket is not just a sport but a religion as the saying goes, then IPL is undoubtedly its greatest modern-day apostle. 

Despite its ups and downs, it would be safe to say that IPL has had a stellar run. The franchise has...

Women @ Work

Japan – Love in Tokyo

May, 2018

For the longest time, my perspective of Japan was distorted by the cinemascopic lens of Asha Parekh and Joy Mukherjee (of the pink lipstick and drain pipe trouser fame), cavorting on the flyovers of Tokyo amidst perplexed looking Japanese men and women, lustily singing about Love in Tokyo with neon signs psychedelically blinking away in the background and bullet trains whizzing past. (it seems the Japanese have been trying to sell us the bullet train...

Work Culture

Women at Work - Do We Need Public Policy?

May, 2018

I read an extremely disconcerting opinion in today’s Bare Talk @Livemint, titled ‘Women in the workforce – no role for public policy’ by V. Anantha Nageswaran, and think it’s critical for such commentary to be challenged and nipped in the bud. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in free speech and the ability to listen to opposing POVs – and that’s precisely why I’d like to step in to make a compelling counter argument.

Mr....

Industry

Long-Term Visions in a VUCA World

April, 2018

Are we missing the woods for the trees?


Chances are that all of you out there have a Facebook profile. Chances are that some of you use Facebook to connect with friends (or not) and family.

Chances are also, that some of you (I’d say a majority) have moved to another social platform as a primary go-to.


Ever wondered why? And I don’t ask this question in the wake of Cambridge Analytics – I ask this question...

Women @ Work

Little Black Dress – An Epitaph*

April, 2018

“Here rests my LBD upon the back of the closet

In youth it served me well, to fortune and to renown

Fashion frown’d not on its simple classic lines,

And stylists mark’d it for their own.


Elegant was its cut, and its silhouette full of grace,

Heav’n did a recompense, my XL size it toiled to mend

It gave to me all it had, a trim waist and shapely base,

It became for me (’twas all I wish’d)...

Women @ Work

Nahi. Kyun nahi lagta sahi?

March, 2018

In the last year, we’ve seen so much of retaliation the world over around sexual harassment at the workplace and elsewhere too. Here in India, we’ve also been very socially vocal about the #MeToo campaign and taken up the “No Means No” movement that Brazilians have during their world-renowned carnival. While resonance with the issue has clearly left its mark on society, what’s intrigued me most is the ‘why’ in this whole equation. Why is...

Industry

Radio 2.0 – Unmasking the Potential

February, 2018

A medium that has been a steadfast companion through the years is ready for its second coming. 

Isn’t it odd that we sometimes overlook our most reliable relationships, in the search for better ones? Or so we think! Radio’s story is a fitting example here; with many being quick to write it off as old school. This is however farthest from the truth. A recent survey undertaken by Nielsen, commissioned by Music Broadcast Ltd. which runs...

Women @ Work

“And Greet with Joy the Dawn of a Golden Age”

February, 2018

Age is but a number, so say the wise. And in this swashbuckling era of Botox and Photo-shopping where medical science is labouring hard to ensure that 50 is the new 30 and 70 is but another name for 50, and however knobbly knee-ed you may be, wearing a mini skirt is completely acceptable, the frillier the better; none of us have any doubt that the wise are -err, sagaciously justified in saying so!

But as you rather coyly step from one decade into...

Work Culture

#LikeABoss

December, 2017

Everybody loves being the boss – especially in the corporate world, where BOSS = ROCKSTAR, but in the long journey from lackey to lord, one little word often gets sidelined – good, ol’ leadership. Leadership, as every great (and not-so-great) management guru will espouse, is not just about another synonym for managing; it’s something much deeper. It’s a lot like that friend we all had back in college, who entered a room and people immediately...

Women @ Work

Hope and Grace!

December, 2017

As we move into the New Year with its inevitably uplifting message of optimism, how should we use this memo to heal the feeling of despair that has been pervading us as we hear about yet another tragedy or a sickening display of hatred and racism or deal with the complete loss of faith in yet another leader or institution? Is just the turning of a clock’s dial from ‘17 to ‘18 enough to help us combat the sense of despondency created by prosaic...

Work Culture

In Tackling Inequality, Do We Really Practice What We Preach?

November, 2017

Equality – a term that’s used everywhere today. It could possibly be described as a movement that everyone – at least on social media – is striving to achieve. Here in India, we have seen several movements take place right through our history to combat this social evil, with heroes such as Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar being recognised for breaking the bonds of certain underprivileged classes of society. While such movements truly did inspire us...

Women @ Work

What’s that?

November, 2017

I am surrounded by some fabulous men at home and at work. Intelligent, kind, charming and some of them quite funny too! But the only male I can have a conversation with, amongst all of them is my son. Because he is the only one who actually listens to me when I speak.

A large cohort of these dear fellows is tottering towards the mid-century mark (in age, not in number of runs scored or daily beer intake) and probably that’s the reason that...

Industry

Going About Acquisitions - The Right Way

October, 2017

‘Consolidation’ is a word one hears far too often these days, in any industry or sector. With a constantly changing business landscape and industries getting disrupted, every company is looking at acquisitions or mergers to stay afloat. 

However unlike a Bollywood movie, where, the same formula of two long lost brothers teaming up in the end to avenge the death of their parents works time and again – there are no formulas on what works...

Women @ Work

“Thhoda dhania dena Bhaiyya”

October, 2017

We, the 60s born are what I call the cusp generation, although unkinder people may end up calling us confused and a bit lost.

Born of hardworking, thrifty parents with limited means, we grew up in an environment of wearing hand me down clothes, safety pin augmented sandals, borrowed books and second class train rides to Naani’s home for summer vacations. In almost unseemly contrast we have spawned a generation of self-assured kids expecting and...

Women @ Work

Reservations? Or not?

September, 2017

One question I keep getting asked more often than not is whether I am in favour of reservations for women on boards? It is a difficult question to respond to, because if I answer in the affirmative it seems as if I am pushing the feminist agenda at the cost of meritocracy, and if the answer is a no, then I am obviously ignoring the harsh reality of the invisibility cloak that lies over so many women who get passed over in favour of their male...

Industry

The Delicate Dance Between Managing and Leading

August, 2017

When we create organizations or merge, acquire or scale them up, the single largest asset we build upon are its people. Even the most stoic CEOs break into a sweat when their most visible, popular leads exit. Because, a leader, in the true sense of the word, is one surrounded by a bevy of devoted teams. And while most people today will join an organization, they will eventually stay because of the leader they have. It’s a tale as old as time. And...

Women @ Work

Are you a catch 28? Or a catch 30?

August, 2017

Not too long ago, a close friend’s daughter hit a dual milestone – a corner office in a high-brow consultancy, and the elusive 28th birthday. 

I think you know where I’m going with this, but I’ll go there anyway. If you can, do bear with me. 

So, this dear friend’s daughter (let’s call her B) happens to also be my godchild. And B is just the godchild I could’ve asked for – fierce, fiery, and full of life. Her...

Industry

Top 5 Reasons Why Products Fail

July, 2017

As consumers, we interact with products every day. Every time we walk into a shopping mall, or a departmental store, we are paralyzed by the choices laid out enticingly before us – skimmed milk? Whole milk? Low fat milk? Double toned milk? Almond milk? Soy milk… You get the drift. And every few months, most of these ‘new products’ or ‘product extensions’ disappear off the shelves, never to be seen again. Sucked into a vast sea of obscurity...

Women @ Work

Only dead fish go with the flow

July, 2017

The recent Wonder Woman movie is a rage, both at the box office, and critic ratings. It has, in fact, gone on to become DC’s highest grossing movie. Kudos Gal Gadot! What struck me the most about the movie is the fact that Diana returns, finally, to a home, satisfied in knowing the truth of who she is. 

And the key word here is satisfied! How many of us are truly content with who we are?  Being comfortable in your own skin,...

Women @ Work

Glass Ceiling - Broken or just Cracked?

July, 2017

Senator Clinton eloquently put it in her concession speech, “To all the little girls watching, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.” But the fact still remains that she lost!

Increasingly other data points to this “one step forward two steps backward“ meandering march that the diversity agenda is charting everywhere!

1. In USA, according to a McKinsey report...

Work Culture

Culture: The Invisible Differentiator for Profitability

July, 2017

In 2008 when I was CEO of Radio City and the recession had hit us like a ton of bricks, the fastest and quickest way out of the quagmire was cost cutting. Salary costs are the highest costs in a radio business, so the most sensitive and difficult costs came under the scanner. There were two possibilities in front of us – either to reduce headcount, which would mean 10% of the workforce losing their jobs, in an environment where there were no jobs on...

Women @ Work

Of old friends and cozy blankies

May, 2016

I had occasion to go for a dear friend’s son’s wedding recently. Yes! The decade of attending children’s weddings has well and truly begun!

As we spent the three days in fun and frolic (in a sedate manner let me hasten to add, given the decade I am referring to) it was almost as if I saw the last 25 years of my corporate life go past in a series of bioscopic pictures. Click: That’s my first chief and manager, looking far more diminutive...

Women @ Work

Plan B

May, 2016

Nobody seems to have a Plan B in their lives these days. And certainly not the younger generation for sure!

While traveling to school, we used to be given extra money for auto fare in case the bus didn’t come, and back up money to be hidden in an inner pocket just in case we lost the auto fare, and the telephone number to be used in the eventuality that both the bus didn’t come and the money got lost; and finally just to be safe the address...