New Delhi Diary-May 2021

The 2-H success formula

Watching successful people on TV channels and listening to their ‘secrets’ of success is a great joy. I happened to watch one such person, Ajay Banga, who was born and educated in India and is now a part of the Indian-American community. A Padma Shri awardee for excellence in his work output, he is the Executive Chairman of MasterCard.

Banga talked about what he called the 2-H success formula, which stands for ‘Humility’ and ‘Humour’. Humility, he said, is the real and necessary quality in any person to progress in life. And what is humility? Never to assume that you are better than others, and to remind yourself time and again that there are so many people around you who are far better than you and that you should learn from them. Humour is the ability to laugh at yourself, and to admit that humour alone makes you feel better for any challenging task ahead.

Having said that, one may point out that humility and humour are important factors but not the only ones. There are several other crucial factors for success: A clear vision, diligence, consistency and resilience. But, it is also true that each successful person has their own unique yardstick for success.

The death of a great editor

Anything that happens for the first time in one’s life leaves behind fond memories for a lifetime. For me, one such great memory of decades back happens to be the publication of my first article in The Times of India.

It was Fatima Zakaria, the then Editor of The Sunday Times, who published my article, very prominently on the Opinion Page. And, that made me feel as if I were on cloud nine. The article was on the state of affairs in Ladakh.

I recently received the shocking news that she had passed away at the age of 85. I could not believe this initially. The reality dawned on me when her famous son, Fareed Zakaria, a CNN TV show host, announced that his mother had passed away in Mumbai due to COVID-19 complications.

After completing her studies from the prestigious Yale University in the US, Fatima Zakara went on to become one of India’s leading editors. She also edited The Bombay Times for a brief period and, later, the Taj Magazine of the Taj Group of Hotels.

Her contribution to Indian journalism spanned many decades, which was also recognised by Government of India when it conferred her with the prestigious Padma Shri in 2006. She was liberal, had a great sense for news, and always tried to help budding journalists.

A pleasant summer?

Now that we are in the first month of the peak summer season, one wonders how the season will treat us this time. The very idea of two ‘killer months’ of peak summer (May and June) in the city, before the onset of the monsoon, is rather frightening.

And yet, if one recalls the last winter in the city, when it was not cold at all, one can very well hope for a not-so-deadly summer. Yes, wishful thinking but one never knows! In the last few years, all the four major seasons have been ‘behaving’ strangely. Even the month of April this time was ‘admirably good’ with the temperature never exceeding one’s comfort levels. In a way, the ‘credit’ for all this must go to climate change!

Of course, many of the city’s denizens have already planned to rush to hill stations for some respite, and even a week or two is worth it. But the point is: What about those who can’t afford it and don’t have the facilities to keep themselves cool to preserve their sanity? After all, most of the city’s denizens cannot afford the luxury of air-conditioning.

Tailpiece:

Dad: Son, when I beat you, how do you control your anger?

Son: I start cleaning the toilet.

Dad: How does that satisfy you?

Son: I clean it with your toothbrush!

By P.P. Wangchuk

The author is a New Delhi-based editor-at-large, columnist and professional speaker.

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