Education, Family, Leadership, Life

Speak Your Character

On a scorching summer afternoon, the King went for a hunt with his Minister and a few soldiers in the jungle. They wandered for a couple of hour but due to heat the animals were hiding deeper into the woods. The group lost their way in the jungle. The King was thirsty, so he asked his soldiers to look for some drinking water.

Soldiers went around and located a hut. One soldier went inside the hut to find a blind sage sitting and meditating. He asked for water but the sage refused to part with it. Disappointed, the soldier came back and informed the Minister that “there is a pot filled with water but the blind sage is refusing to part with it.”

Very surprised, the Minister went in. He too was refused.

King was so thirsty by now that he himself decided to visit the hut and request the blind sage for water. The sage got up from his seat and welcomed the King. His face lit up and his voice filled with joy, he said, “I am so fortunate that the King himself has come to my doorstep. I could refuse a soldier, a Minister, but how could I refuse my King?” And he promptly offered water from the pot.

King drank the water, his thirst quenched, but he was curious, having listened to what the sage just said. He asked the blind sage, ‘Your Holiness, I am sorry but I can see that you are visually impaired. How could you distinguished between a soldier, a Minister and a King?”

The blind sage smiled and said, “My King, the first person who came in and addressed me as – ‘Aye you, blind old man’ was your soldier. The second person who came in addressed me as – ‘Hello blind sage’…he was your Minister, but you addressed me as – ‘Surdas ji’…..You must be the King.

Sage continued, “Being blind, I am connected with the world through my other sensory responses such as voice, touch and smell. A person’s character and stature is gauged by the way they speak. I am sorry if I have caused any inconvenience to you my King.”

King glared at his soldiers and Minister as he thanked the sage for quenching his thirst and sharing the priceless life lesson.

शब्द-शब्द सब कोई कहे, शब्द के हाथ न पांव;
एक शब्द औषधी करे और एक शब्द करे सौ घाव।

Spoken words can cure, but can also hurt.

If the spoken words had a physical form, do we realize that in a day we may be speaking a room full of words? Each spoken word reveals our personality, our character and the quality of our inner being. Each time we open our mouth, we are letting the world to peep into ourselves. People who listen to us subconsciously form an impression about us. Now it’s up to us whether we care about them or not.

Many years ago, as I remember, I was at Ballard Pier in South Mumbai and wanted to take a taxi to come to Andheri. I casually asked a yellow taxi driver – “Malik, Andheri chaloge kya?” (Sir will you take me to Andheri?)…he nodded and I sat in his cab. For a while he drove in silence but I could see him sobbing and clearing his throat. I asked – “Bhai, sab thik hai?” (Brother, is everything fine?)…the driver said, “Saab, 24 saal se Bambai me gadi chala raha hun. sab taxiwale ko gali dete hain, arrey, turrey bolate hain…aaj paheli baar kisi ne “malik” kaha to dil bhar aaya.” (Sir, since last 24 years I have driven a cab in Mumbai. People who sit in my cab generally do not see taxi drivers with respect and talk to us insultingly. For the first time someone has called me “Malik / Owner” and hence I got emotional.”)

प्रभू को भी पसंद नहीं सख्ती बयान में,
इसी लिए हड्डी नहीं दी, उसने जबाऩ में!

God also didn’t like sternness in our words,
hence He made the tongue boneless.

About rajivvaishnav

Rajiv Vaishnav Managing Partner Cornerstone Venture Partners Rajiv is Managing Partner at Cornerstone Venture Partners, a global tech VC fund focused on Consumer business enablers (such as Applied AI) and Enterprise / SME BI solutions (vertical SaaS, AR & VR applications, Blockchain for enterprise, etc.). Cornerstone is a Pre-series A / Series A fund, the first institutional support for promising tech ventures enabling growth and customer access in unique ways. Rajiv brings over 35 years of solid experience in building brands, developing teams, expanding the market share and building organisations from grass root upwards. He was heading the Ecosystem & Partnerships Developmentt at Jio-GenNext Hub, A Reliance Enterprise. In this role, Rajiv is responsible to evangelize the Start-Up ecosystem, identify and connect with the deserving start-ups, academia, government agencies, mentors, angel investors and VC networks globally. Since 2002 till end of 2015, Rajiv was an integral part of NASSCOM’s senior management team. He headed NASSCOM’s first regional office in Mumbai and grown to manage the membership outreach nationally. He initiated many path breaking initiatives at NASSCOM including Cyber Safety initiatives with enforcement agencies, start-up incubators with State Governments under 10K Startup programme, evangelised Animation and Gaming industry and nurtured it, lead the ISO Standards initiative to establish a Global BPO and Product Quality Framework Standards out of India. He helped establish NASSCOM’s emerge forum in its formative days. At NASSCOM, he was enthusiastic about developing new IT destinations in the country, and fostering platforms for Industry-academia interactions as he believed that these were the two most critical requirements for the Indian IT industry to maintain its globally advantageous position. Rajiv was a member of AICTE (WR) and of IQAC of the SNDT Women’s University and Trustee at Dewang Mehta Foundation Trust. With Harish Mehta, the first President of TiE, Mumbai and the first Chairman of NASSCOM, Rajiv co-founded TiE in India. He built the organisation bottoms-up and nurtured the start-up ecosystem in India since early 2000. He got early exposure to work with TiE in Silicon Valley and investors, entrepreneurs and mentors such as Kanwal Rekhi, Suhas Patil, Desh Deshpande, Sridhar Iyengar, Raj Jaswa, Shabir Bhatia, Raj Desai and many others… He has worked with Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), Franchising Association of India (FAI) and US- Environment Resource Center (US-ERC). In the corporate sector, his experience includes stints with two U.S. Freight Forwarding giants Emery Worldwide and Air Express International in sales & marketing. In 2000, Rajiv was invited by the U.S. Government to participate in their International Visitors programme on US Trade and World Market. Rajiv has administered several outward trade delegations including those to International Franchise Expo ’99, USA, Emerging Companies delegations to CeBIT Australia and Silicon Valley. He has represented NASSCOM in the International Advisors Council to the Mayor of Luwan District in Shanghai, China and E-Sports Symposium in Seoul, Korea. Rajiv is a Science graduate from Mumbai University. He is passionate about music and literature. His blog url:
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10 thoughts on “Speak Your Character

  1. Awesome thought and you are following it. Blessed to know a person like you..
    Just remembered a shlok from Srimad Baghwad Gita chapter 3 shlok 21

    यद्यदाचरित श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवतसे
    सयत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तति

    श्रेष्ठ मनुष्य जोजो आचरण करता है दूसरे मनुष्य वैसावैसा ही आचरण करते हैं। वह जो कुछ प्रमाण देता है दूसरे मनुष्य उसीके अनुसार आचरण करते हैं।

  2. Word power… Makes impossible possible..
    स्वराज्य मेरा जन्मसिद्ध अधिकार है और वो मै लेकरही रहूँगा।
    -लो. टिळक।

  3. Rajiv Bhai – So apt and well articulated. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

    As Kabir das said

    ऐसी बानी बोलिए, मन का आपा खोय |
    औरन को शीतल करै, आपहु शीतल होय ||

  4. Sir , beautiful piece of literature studded with simple moral of speaking with respect to each one near you. Never thought on these lines -God also didn’t like sternness in our words,
    hence He made the tongue boneless. Similar to ‘God could not be everywhere and so he made mother.’

  5. Well articulated, capturing right feelings of genuine concern for others. Natural expression of such feelings gives immense self satisfaction. You are richer with a habit of such expressions👍. For everyone to learn…

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