Akhil’s father was Dwarkadas’ close friend. During Akhil’s childhood at the village, their two families lived next to each other and lived like one joint family. Dwarkadas was an LIC agent. Akhil used to call him “uncle”.
Later on, Akhil moved to Mumbai. After some initial struggle, he got help from his cousins to get into their business and flourished. Recently, even Dwarkadas moved to Mumbai and wanted to expand his LIC work in Mumbai.
He got in touch with Akhil, who welcomed him warmly and also gave him some insurance work from his office. Dwarkadas was happy that his interaction restarted with Akhil. He used to visit Akhil’s office once in few weeks. Each time he went there, he would try to meet and say ‘hello’ to Akhil. He would also chat with him for few minutes asking him about everybody in the family.
Very soon, whenever Dwarkadas would try to meet him, Akhil would convey through his secretary that “he is in meeting”. Initially, Dwarkadas took this as a genuine reason. But, soon he found out that Akhil was avoiding meeting him. After 3-4 such repeated incidents, he asked the secretary “Can I speak to him on intercom at least?”. The secretary flatly refused, saying “Uncle, Akhil Sir has told me not to let you in when he is sitting with some other people. He dislikes you talking to him about home and family in office. He also does not like you calling him by his first name. Everybody here calls him Akhil Sir. Aap unko Akhil kehke bulaate hein aur time pass karte hain woh unhe achchha nahin lagta.”
Dwarkadas learnt his lesson of the professional world. The rules of personal relationships should not be applied in work place. Keep work and home relationships separate. Do not try to make the twines meet. Don’t bring home to office and vice versa. It may harm both the ends…!
A pubic toilet in Mumbai is clearly an unlikely place to learn some good business practice. Just like in almost all parts of India, the disgusting, nauseatingly stinking public toilets are one of the worst nightmares people in Mumbai face. The situation for ladies in Mumbai is even worse because in the event of an emergency, ‘Gents’ can assume the whole earth to be a public urinal, which ladies simply cannot, hence they have to silently pass through unspeakable agony for attending this natural process. The sorry state of public sanitation facilities is a blemish on the dreams of making Mumbai just like Shanghai or other such big global cities. It will remain a pipe dream, until this basic necessity is not given a serious thought.
But, a public toilet at Marine drive, just below the flyover junction connecting Marine Lines Station and Princess Street with Queen’s Necklace is a striking exception. It is a shining (literally…!) example of what differentiation means. The toilets, even though used by hundreds of people daily, are refreshingly clean. They are very well maintained and for that, the attendant there charges people for using the facility. Nobody appears unwilling to shell out a rupee or two for a service which saves them from the unpleasant experience of visiting a dirty public toilet in Mumbai out of helplessness.
Any product or service, maybe as mundane and unimaginative as a public toilet, can also provide quality, which people will happily welcome. The toilet at Marine Drive is run by some organization. I appreciate the clarity of the mission of the bosses there. If quality is given due attention by the bosses, it can be surely executed down the line. Otherwise, the stink continues to spread, from the top downwards….!
In an age where new singers come in hordes from nowhere and rapidly scale the pinnacles of fame through a variety of reality shows and other similar events, and then get lost into the dark recesses of oblivion equally quickly, Manhar Udhas has maintained a formidable reputation of a veteran singer of Gujarati and Hindi ghazals and songs through his four decades of singing. I recently attended his live concert and realized why he has been successful in creating a very niche and discerning, loyal fan base.
- He has been singing since more than 40 years.
- He has created his signature tune base which are predictable yet refreshingly hummable.
- All his album names are of one word, all beginning with ‘A’.
- Careful selection of songs and ghazals reflecting various colors of life and having emotionally touching lyrics.
- During his concert, he shares stories from his personal life experiences. This time too, among many other things, he also shared with us how accidentally he entered into the world of Hindi film playback singing.
- He went to the audience and shook hands with many or hugged them while singing one of his famous Hindi film songs, “Har kisi ko nahin milta yahan pyaar zindagi mein… Khush naseeb hain woh jinko hai mili yeh bahar zindagi mein…”
Really, Manhar Udhas has not won but has truly earned the love of his fans.