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Change, Transformation & ‘Ekla Cholo Re’

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

This blog of mine really helps me to offload my thoughts and clear my bandwidth for the new. So lets…….

We all know change is the only constant. But do we actually know or is it that someone figured it out for us and we have agreed to believe it? More the latter without analysis? Or is it like a quotation from the diary; where one would store such stuff to make one’s writing better? We, mostly, don't question and over that, tend to misunderstand without the basic ability to understand first. That includes me too!

Anyways, the phrase ‘change is the only constant’ sounds kick-ass philosophical yet we resist it. You, me, and everybody. It's human to do so.

I have also often noticed that there’s a lack of clarity in understanding the basic difference between Change and Transformation. Yet people spend tons of money to drive Change and Transformation in organizations.

First, let us understand the difference between Change and Transformation. Change is a process that takes you from point A to point B and the choice of returning to point A is open. But Transformation is a process where metamorphosis happens. You transform from point A to B and the path of return is closed forever. On a lighter note, remember reading Kafka in school.

I have been a part of hundreds of workshops over the last 2 decades with global organizations to drive transformation in India and overseas through music and cinema. And in most cases, I have noticed that largely there’s a lack of clarity and self-practice in self-proclaimed agents of Change and/or Transformation.

Allow my thoughts to ponder and take me back to my childhood. I have seen families who would go beyond their comfort levels to maintain their homes. But when Poltu Babu, the 4 -year-old boy of the household needs to take a piss, he’s asked to go out and relieve himself in a small drain that is right in front of their household. Actually, Poltu Babu’s father is a local political leader whose tagline for his election campaign was ‘Change or Die’. Oh my !!

The next-door family had a blast of a party. Like a responsible and clean household, all leftover garbage was collected in garbage bags and kept aside. And Komolakanto Kundu or KK, like a very polite host, walked out to see his guests off. And with that, he carried the huge garbage bags with him. Even his 12-year son was carrying one.

Komolakanto threw the garbage bags 20-odd feet from his entrance and hugged everybody. Not that the guests wanted to. And no, they didn’t throw it in a garbage bin but on the street.

So, when one of the guests asked Komolakanto why he was littering, he said, ‘that’s the job of the municipality garbage cleaners who clean the city in the morning”. And that was coming from a Learning & Development top executive in a Blue Chip company.

During my workshops with organizations in India and overseas, I have seen one thing in common. That most of the leaders who want to drive change and/or transformation prefer to be sitting on the top of a hierarchical pyramid to observe!

My friend, Kelo, always believed that ‘change would mean transformation of attitude and disposition’. But how can change mean transformation? I have read many a mail asking if I can drive ‘Change through Transformation’. I have lost a lot of business unable to do so!

Let me digress but will keep it relevant to the core subject of Change and / or transformation. But now, it's me.

In my rollercoaster life, I have been an active part of some kind of apolitical movement a couple of decades back or maybe more. Some from my family were elected members of the Parliament and I have studied them very close trying to honestly drive Change / Transformation and being attacked by goons.

One of them was shot at that missed while a local bomb landed her in a hospital. And no, I am not talking about someone you may know. These people gave up everything to drive Transformation but still remain forgotten soldiers.

I, like the people I admired, went out of my home to drive change and / or transformation and every time I have tried, I have failed. Failed with people chasing me out of my hometown. I have faced life threats and social humiliation. Slipped into a situation when people called me a ‘Thief’ / ‘Extremist’ / ‘Foreign Agent’. Some Johny wrote about it in a daily that took me through a whirlwind.

But for people whom I was trying to drive Change and / or Transformation remained in their AC well-manicured homes while I was forced to move out from the comforts of my home in Calcutta and land in Jhuggi Jhopdi Colony in Khanpur in Delhi. Then an unforgettable one and a half years with Nagas in the mountains around Kharsali to the extent that my right ankle still shows signs of severe frostbite. And two vertebrates of my spine are still badly damaged due to unprotected exposure to snow. All for Change and / or Transformation?

Many decades have passed. Life has Changed but the need for Transformation hasn’t. With learnings from my own failures and with some earned wisdom, I have come to believe that I need to stop trying to Change and / or Transform the outside.

Change and / or Transformation, as I feel, begins from within. From the need to move forward, embrace and celebrate tomorrow. For me, it begins from home and then one’s neighborhood. And my belief is that if this happens well everywhere, the world will celebrate newer beginnings. A newer day for a newer generation.

And that’s my personal meaning for life where music, cinema, writing, corporate workshops, and whatever I celebrate to live are only methods to reach a larger goal. Just as people, change public transport to reach their destination. I’m still on a journey.
On the journey to drive transformation within and drive it outside. And no, I have no leadership or political interests. I have overcome that at least three decades back. There’s no monkey sitting on my shoulder.

From Within to Without! And at the age of 54, either one is walking at my speed with me, else ‘Ekla Cholo Re’!

all names used here are fictitious. we claim no copyright to the images used. they have been sourced from the internet for non-commercial representation of emotions and thoughts.

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