Reviewing the Speech & About E Sreedharan – The One-Man Army

Friday, Feb 08, 2013 – The Bad and Good News about my Speech on Feb 9-06

I felt deflated as I saw the video of my presentation made on Wednesday, 6th February.

I looked too serious as I spoke. Only my right arm moved as I spoke while my left arm remained hanging in mid-air, like a paralyzed spectator. And I spoke very slowly. Manoj said that I should learn to speak fast when the situation demands. These form the bad news.

The good news is that the right arm was moving as I articulated my thoughts. I thought I made a good case during my argument. I have come to the right place to correct these flaws. I have to practice a lot. And resist the temptation to go overboard with imbalanced and overtly one-sided perspectives. I should not appear trying too hard to convince. There should be an easy flow, using reason, logic and insights to swing people my way.

Manoj said the ideal situation is when thoughts expressed are in sync with arm and body movements.

Then there was a video viewing of E Sreedharan, the famous Delhi Metro man. He had a string of incredible performances before he took charge of the Delhi Metro and completed it within record time, with class and quality when he was over 75 years. He was instrumental in constructing Pamban Bridge within 46 days and Konkan Railways with about 150 tunnels and 90 bridges, also without overshooting the prescribed time.

After the video, the participants were divided into 4 groups and asked to come up with answers as to why and how Sreedharan succeeded against all odds.

When I thought I had convinced my group about one line of presentation, one gentleman decided he would have his say in his way. I let him dominate  and he made the presentation on behalf of our group. That was the right thing to do because group dynamics is about allowing free flow without sticking to one’s own way. After all, there is no ONE way.

I do not remember what the 4 different groups said. Interestingly, all the 4 groups had made presentations using the imagery of trains and tracks on charts. While driving back home, I ruminated over the reasons for Sreedharan’s success. He was a man without any frills and he had his basics right. Here are the thoughts which came to me as I thought on what made him tick.

He operated from the core of his being through meditation and prayer and the universe conspired to synchronize a destiny in alignment with his desires. The words which adorned his office – Whatever to be done, I do, but in reality, I do not do anything – proves the point.

He took care of his health. He exercised and ate less.

He loved without reservation – his wife, his family and his workers who stayed loyal to him for years.

Sreedharan’s unwavering commitment to values and principles were his compass. Those always provided for him the right directions.

Finally, he subjected his life to rigorous discipline doing what he ought to do, rather than what gave him pleasure.

I am always overawed by the power of ONE-MAN armies. Of people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Lee Kuan Yew or the lone man defying the tanks in Tianamen Square.

There is still time for me. I am not yet 85 years old.

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