Self Worth.

A fellow alumnus Prakash Iyer, has written a management book worth its weight in gold. Here is an extract which I remember often and which came back to me earlier today.

“……………And another motivational guru. As I watched him pull out a five hundred rupee note and hold it up for all to see, I thought I knew what he was going to do next.

But he just asked a simple question. “How much is this worth?”

“Five Hundred rupees!” the crowd yelled in unison.

“Right,” said the speaker. He then took the note and crumpled it into a ball and asked “How much is it worth now?”

“Five Hundred rupees!” screamed the audience.

He then threw the note on the ground, stamped all over it and picked up the note and asked one more time: “And how much is it worth now?”

“Five Hundred rupees!” was the response.

“I want you to remember this,” said the speaker.

“Just because someone crumples it, or stamps on it, the value of the note does not diminish.

We should all be like the five hundred rupee note. In our lives, there will be times when we feel crushed, stamped over, beaten. But never let your self-worth diminish. Just because someone chooses to crush you — that doesn’t change your worth one bit! Don’t allow your self-worth to diminish because someone says something nasty — or does something dirty — to you.”

I went to see a movie, War Horse, this morning. I ended up seeing a remake of a Hindi movie that I had seen many years ago. Before the movie, I went to the Cafe Coffee Day for an espresso and though I expected to be alone at that time of the morning, there was this young lady already there sitting all by herself. I smiled at her and bid her good morning while I waited for the barista to come up to the counter. I ordered for the coffee which the barista said would be delivered to my table considering my elbow crutches, and went to a corner table to sit. The young lady, promptly moved over to the table where I sat and to cut a long story short, we became friends.

What has this got to do with a crumpled currency note?

Before I was forced to see the Hindi movie, I was given a run around by the staff at the multiplex who had changed the timings of the movies to different ones from what was advertised in the local papers in the morning. Since I was quite disappointed, having walked over a kilometer to see the movie, I was feeling quite low having depleted my emotional reservoir arguing with the staff. They were almost condescending in their attitude and passing the buck to some body in the management that I settled for an alternative that I normally would not have.

At the cafe, old habits die hard and the good morning to a stranger and her response and subsequent conversation with me, boosted my ego back up to what it must have been like twenty years ago!

On my way back after the movie, I went to the local chemist to get some medicines. I had forgotten to take my id card issued by that chain that entails me to a senior citizen discount and informed the clerk about that. She asked for my telephone number and got it crosschecked that I was indeed registered with them as a senior citizen. She then made me jump up with joy by asking for some other identification like a driving license to prove that I was over 60! When I asked her if my looks were not enough, she gave me a million rupee smile and said “No Sir!”, You look to be about 50!

I floated out of the shop and decided to cast my vote for the local municipal elections before heading for home for lunch. Nearer the election booth, I was mobbed by two candidates and one candidate’s wife, all wanting my precious vote!

Self worth? By this time I was feeling like the hero of the Bollywood film that I had seen in the morning.


Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Akanksha, Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Padmum and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get nine different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Padmum.

That is a variety of Morning Glory. Its seeds are used as a hallucinogen. Now you know what made me write this post at five in the morning on a very rainy day here in
India. We are in the beginning of our Glorious Monsoon.

I am now in my golden years as a magazine for the elderly calls people over 50. By that definition, I am a golden oldie as I am almost two decades over their cut off point. So, what can glory be to me?

My blogger friend Ursula gets upset with my proclivity to use quotes and I inevitably respond that I prefer not to reinvent the wheel and so let other more capable writers speak for me. So, here I give some quotations that should give an indication of what I think of Glory. Where needed, I shall of course add a few of words of wisdom. The latter, to assure Ursula that I can write original stuff on glorious quotes.

“‘Age’ is the acceptance of a term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.”
~ Martha Graham

Am I mature? Cheerful Monk thinks otherwise!

“By common consent gray hairs are a crown of glory; the only object of respect that can never excite envy.”
~ George Bancroft

And my crown of glory is only fringed with gray hairs. I wonder if a bald pate excites envy!

“But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded.”
~Edmond Burke

I disagree. The age of chivalry may have gone, but chivalry itself is very much alive and kicking. I flatter myself that I am a very chivalrous person! I am still alive and have not kicked anyone in a long time but, can at need.

“Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

I am the most glorious person ever then!

“Happy people are ignoramuses and glory is nothing else but success, and to achieve it one only has to be cunning.”
~ Mikhail Lermontov

I am an ignoramus.

“Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”
~ James Joyce

I would rather be gloriously passionate than just plain glorious when I pass boldly into that other world.

“Glory comes too late, after one as been reduced to ashes.”
~ Marcus Valerius Martial

I sure hope that it does.

Down Memory Lane II

This is the second of the articles that I wrote on my abandoned blog.

Sunday, May 27, 2007
Party Interactions
Last night, I attended a party to meet the visiting son of a dear friend of mine. The friend is 85 years old and is about to lose his complete vision due to Macular Degeneration. Despite this great handicap, he is cheerful, friendly and very alive.

The affection that many people have for him was demonstrated by the number of people who had come to the party. There were senior citizens, some very young people and also a sprinkle of middle aged people, all intent on making the party a success and all wanting to tell his son what a wonderful man my friend was and how he brings joy into their lives.

I was stuck by this rare occurrence. Here is a man who is 85, almost totally blind, a widower, living alone in a Home for Senior Citizens, totally alive. His reach touched people of so many age groups and backgrounds.

What is it that makes a man like this tick?

My friend continues to be exacly as he was on that day last year. He is a year older but not a bit slower or in any way different in his attitude or zest for life.

Standard Chartered Bank’s treatment of a Senior Citizen.

I have had an amazing start to this week. There have been three stories that I wish to post on my blog about Senior Citizens, Service and relationships. I shall do so in the next three posts unless something more urgent or interesting comes up.
The first of the stories is about a very good friend of mine who is a Senior Citizen. He is 75 and one of the gentlest people that I have ever known. I help him with his email and some other formal correspondence as he is completely lost with computers and requests me for help, which I am very happy to extend.
My friend, let us call him Anand, opened a bank account when he was 15 years old as a Minor’s Savings Bank account with his father as a joint account holder and guardian with the Lloyds Bank in Mumbai then known as Bombay. In the sixty years hence, that bank has undergone many changes, merging with, being taken over etc and went through new names such as Grind lays, ANZ, and finally, now it is Standard Chartered Bank. For sixty years, Anand has remained a steadfast loyal customer of the bank despite the many metamorphoses that it has gone through. Most of the employees there today were not perhaps born when he opened his account!
His Savings Bank today, is carrying a credit balance of over INR 300,000. He also has a couple of other long term deposits with the bank.
A few years ago, when Anand wished to go overseas, he had applied for and obtained a credit card from Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), which allowed him to use it for foreign exchange use over seas. Being a very careful spender, Anand has always been sparing in the use of the credit card and in settling the bills whenever they came, well before the due dates.
Early this year, SCB advised Anand that his Silver Card was due for renewal and considering his record, SCB was very happy to offer him a Gold Card with additional facilities. Anand accepted the offer and completed the formalities. Unfortunately when the card came through a courier service Anand was not at home and the card was returned. Since then, there have been phone calls and reminders between Anand and some Customer Service Call Center about this card and suddenly, last week, Anand received a call from the Call Center advising him that the card will be issued to him only if he gave SCB a letter authorizing SCB to debit his Savings Bank Account with any charges on the card.
Naturally, Anand was very upset and regretted his inability to issue such a letter. He requested the caller to send him a letter with reasons as to why this requirement has suddenly come about. The Caller advised Anand that this was BECAUSE ANAND IS A SENIOR CITIZEN! This was more shocking and Anand insisted, that a letter convey this to him. The caller, no doubt just a Customer Service Representative, expressed her inability to arrange for one. She advised Anand that since he was unwilling to give the desired letter, THE CREDIT CARD WAS BEING DE-ACTIVATED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT!
Anand had had enough and came to me with a request to type out a letter confirming this development and placing on record the fact the card had been de-activated. He desired to do this, as he did not want to suddenly discover that someone else had been using his deactivated card. I did as he requested and Anand promptly took the letter to the local branch of SCB and requested acknowledgment of receipt in a duplicate copy. The local branch REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE LETTER. They advised him to write a letter to their Card Center in Bangalore with a copy to some Customer Service Executive in Mumbai and also send an email to the Credit Card division.
Anand came back to me for these letters and email and all that was done last night. He has sent off the letters and copies by Registered Post and now is hoping that he will receive some response.
Is this how a Multinational Bank of repute should treat its loyal and long-standing customer? Should not the Call Center be taught to treat customers in a better way? Should the local office of the bank not handle a customer’s problem without being bureaucratic about it? What do you think Anand should do with his Savings Bank Account with SCB?