Sunday, May 31, 2009

Communication and Paranthas!

" ... which is okay, but what about the Mangalashtaka vidhi? We have to do that first.. "
"... Pradnya - where's the newspaper?.. wait wait I got it"
"... because if we begin at 8 in the morning, we will get only 2 hours before we can .."
"... hey how do you switch on the TV? "
"... do it in the middle hours, and they will get time for make up and all .. "
"... no no.. put on cartoon network naah... "
"... Karishma get one more chair for Kaku..."
"... yes yes.. what will you have? Kokum sharbat? Ok ok.. Priya? Beta, give her some sharbat.. Priya??? Ayyeee Priyaaaaaaaaa?????"

I snap out of the surreal state that I have been in ever since all these voices started flooded my living room today mornin. I mechanically walk to the kitchen to prepare some Kokum sharbat for someone - I am not yet sure who. I am just in awe of the many people who have gathered in my living room and are trying to finalize the proceedings of one of the most important days of my life. Yup - it's my marriage day that they are all discussing about, which is 6 months from now, but looking at the activity around me, it seems as if I am going to be sent packing from my house tomorrow itself!

As expected, it is a completely chaotic family meeting. All these people are talking in groups of two or three, each group having a completely different discussion. And I am wondering to myself- how the hell are these people ever going to reach ANY conclusion like this?!

"Priya? Get some water for Kaka.."

I get back to work. I'm thinking about me and Kunal and how things have been going between our families. Simple is the right word to describe the way things have gone between the two families. We were expecting some opposition and fireworks, but given the kind of intense fireworks both me and Kunal have had to face in our lives till now, I think God decided to give us a welcome break in this regard :)

Simple. At least till now.
I can sense some tension in the air today. There are some obvious differences in some pooja vidhis. But what is amazing is the dignity with which these differences are being handled and the way everyone is striving to reach some middle ground. I see that the chaotic discussion has reached a final conclusion in less than an hour, and all the management principles and communication rules that are taught in high profile institutes, suddenly seem so mundane and small. I mean - I look at these people sitting in front of me, deciding some important details in between laughter, tea and paranthas and yet excelling at what they are doing!

These folks are not MBAs or PHDs. These people have not taken any special classes in communication. These are simple people who want everyone to have their say and realize and accept the fact that each of them will need to adjust a bit. Which is why it's not surprising that they have managed to clear out all chaos and decide exactly what's to be done, without any hint of malice or hurt.

All this while, when I used to hear professionally experienced and highly educated people talk about "unique challenges in communication", I thought it truly must be a big deal. But today I saw our folks in action and saw these simple people come up with one solution after the other. That, my dear friends, was effortless communication. And no institute in this world can "teach" that.
I suppose some of my MBA friends, especially the ones who think that communication is a "big deal" and preach others, can get some tips in communication from our folks! Don't worry guys - you won't have to pay for it! In fact you will get paranthas when you come over.. :)

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