Tag Archives: Ganesh Subramanian

The SLAP – A Short Story

slap

By Ganesh Subramanian

It was a wet evening. It always has been so at this time of the year. Puddles of water everywhere showed the intensity with which the monsoon had unleashed itself. Now after a brief respite, the dark clouds above seemed ready for another torrential downpour. Arjun was on his evening stroll in the nearby park. Birds were chirping and the setting sun was playing hide and seek with the dark clouds. The mud, the wet mud produced the pleasant smell that Arjun always loved. However, today nothing seemed to ease the anxiety that he was going through.

His mind kept playing the telephonic conversation that he had with Natasha an hour back. All she said was “See you at the park today at 6. I am afraid that I don’t have the best of the news to tell you. Be prepared”. What was she going to tell? Did I hurt her someway? Did her interview flop bigtime? Thousands of questions were running through his mind at the rate second only to the speed of light. Arjun tried to calm his mind down. But the thought refused to go away. Frustrated at being unable to control his own thought center, Arjun sighed and looked at his watch. It was 5.50 pm. Natasha should be here in another 10 mins.

Arjun looked at the curly haired boy playing with his sister at some distance. He smiled to himself. It reminded him of his childhood days. He reminisced how he used to always tease her sister and make her cry. “Hey Arjun, been waiting for a long time?” The unmistakable female voice, the voice that he has been hearing for the better part of the last two years, shook him up from his reverie. He turned back. It was Natasha, as beautiful as ever. Her well toned figure evolved from regular workouts at the gym only accentuated her beauty. The black dress she wore today seemed to perfectly gel with the dark clouds above. “Hi Natasha, I came here half an hour back. So what was it that you wanted to talk about?” replied Arjun in his typical no-nonsense style.

Natasha sighed and took a deep breath unsure of how to say what she wanted to say. Summoning up the courage, she finally said, “I think this will not work out, Arjun. I tried convincing dad and mom. They are not willing to go ahead with our relationship. I also need to think about my future. Dilip is handsome, rich and well-mannered. I have decided to settle down in life with him. My parents also like him. So I am sorry, Arjun. It’s over”.

Arjun’s jaw dropped. He couldn’t believe what he just heard. Almost on the verge of breaking down, Arjun stammered for words. He prayed that he didn’t hear it. “Wh..What do you mean, Natasha? What about the two years that we spent together in love and lived for each other? What about…”. “Look here, Arjun” Natasha interrupted him “I am sick and tired of convincing dad and mom and arguing your case. Your current state doesn’t impress anyone. I have often tried to tell you to not go behind your stupid dream of film making and take up some job at a lower pay. But you never listened to me. I can’t wait any longer for you to come around.

Arjun now lost his composure. “How dare you think that my dream is stupid? All along I believed that you, more than anyone else, will understand my struggle and will be my companion in this difficult journey of mine. How wrong was I! So now it is all about money, comfort and luxury is it? You vile woman!

Natasha retorted sharply “Look at yourself Arjun. You are a loser. No woman in her sane sense would want to live with you. With you and your wild goose chase of your dream, I will remain consigned to poverty for eternity. Thank God that I took the right decision. Living with you would have never made me happy. Unless you change yourself, neither do I see you getting married to anyone, nor do I think that anyone would want to have kids with you”. The last statement was enough for Arjun to lose his temper. His anger and emotions came out like a deluge. SLAP! Natasha was stunned for a moment. Her otherwise milky white cheeks now looked a pale crimson in colour.

“Don’t you dare utter one more word, you money-thirsty idiot. Get out of my sight and out of my life. Go to your ATM, Dilip. Whatever else happens or doesn’t happen. I promise you this. I will be a successful film maker one day and I will be more successful than your corporate joker Dilip”. Saying so, Arjun left the place. The skies opened as if it was waiting for this opportune moment. Natasha was left staring at the receding form of Arjun in the distance and rubbing her cheeks.

Copyright Statement: The story is proprietary material of the author and any attempt to publish or reprint the story in any other form without the prior permission of the author will be liable for legal action.

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HR – Support Function to Strategic Function, the Irrefutable Paradigm Shift

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Ganesh Subramanian writes on how HR has come a long way from being a support function to a strategic function and why it deserves a lot of importance

HR as a function has come a long way from the days of personnel management to being an integral part of any business strategy. As much as this awareness among the business community is pleasing, it is equally depressing to see that still a vast majority of people, be it employees or businesses, view HR as a function that doesn’t deserve respect or importance.

What are the reasons for this incongruent view? The blame is to be equally shared between the practitioners of HR and the working population. In a lot of companies, especially the smaller ones, there is usually a single department that takes care of HR & Administration. What this does is blurs the distinction between HR and admin and for an average employee both of them are one and the same.

A HR is expected to repair a fan or mend a creaking chair in the same vein in which he/she does performance appraisal or recruits an employee. The employees who act as if they are apostles of good behaviour during the interview look down upon the HR. Everything is blamed on the HR, right from miniscule salary increments to lack of holidays to uninteresting work.

On the other side, HR in mediocre companies immerse themselves in sub-functions like recruitment and performance appraisals and strive hard to conform to metrics. They end up doing mundane run-of-the-mill jobs losing sight of important HR functions like career planning, employee engagement, etc.

From a labour function in early days, HR has moved on to be a business partner and then to being viewed as a strategic partner. Good companies have recognised the value of making their people function a part of key decisions. These companies are smart enough to realise that business decisions of the future need to be made keeping in mind the human aspect. The recruitment team in these companies understand the business very well and ensure that the job-person fit is tailor-made.

It is a well known fact that most of the CEOs have their hands full dealing with people issues in their career. As one goes up the corporate ladder, a business problem always manifests itself as a people related issue. It is obvious that managing people is the most challenging task that companies and specifically HR have to grapple with. A same marketing strategy can make 100 products successful and standard revenue targets can make years of annual reports appear better, but no one solution can work when it comes to dealing with people as each human is different.

Let us start recognising HR as an important part of a company wheel and give it and the people who are involved in it their due respect.

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