I was in a meeting with my new Chairman. I was passionately elucidating my future plans for the business.
The Chairman looked at me, made a sign of smallness with his fingers and said, “Your businesses generate too small a revenue!”. The stress was on the smallness, the inconsequence of all that I and my businesses were doing.
Stumbling out of the meeting, I was in a daze. To be told by your boss that all your efforts and dreams, all that you stood for, did not matter in the larger scheme of things, was devastating.
As I look back at that crucible moment, I can see how it changed the trajectory of my life thereon.
For days afterward, I was pummeled down by negative thoughts and low self-esteem. I swung between anxiety, anger and bitterness.
The way it occurred to me, there were all these guys, less qualified and with less competence, who were being acknowledged because they seemed to be ‘at the right place at the right time.’
I felt small. I hadn’t done anything wrong to deserve what I had heard. From that one conversation, I seemed to have lost a significant part of myself, opening up hitherto un-noticed doors to self-doubt and self-flagellation.
But then a thought came to me, ‘Had I done enough right?’
I unburdened myself by speaking about the incident and my thoughts to my wife and a couple of trusted workplace colleagues. I felt less like an idiot when I shared what I learned from screwing up. This helped me to move beyond the dark side of my self-doubt and low self-esteem.
The incident supported me to work on that crucible moment question, “Had I done enough right?” It taught me the practice of Self Reflection. It is this that opened up for me new possibilities and opportunities of growth.
In his Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestseller, ‘The Blueprint: 6 Practical Steps to Lift Your Leadership to New Heights’, author Doug Conant speaks of his own journey of self-reflection and discovery that revolutionized his leadership and transformed his career trajectory.
Doug condenses his remarkable leadership story into six practical steps.
Reach High – Envision
Dig Deep – Reflect
Lay the Groundwork – Study
Design – Plan
Build – Practice
Reinforce – Improve
In today’s world of uncertainty and disruption which can leave us stuck and overwhelmed, the above six steps have the potential to lift our leadership and performance to heights that would bring us career success, joy and fulfillment.
Frank Marinko is a Leadership and Executive Coach and the Founder & Managing Partner of Empathinko. He resides in Melbourne, Australia.
Frank says this about the ‘Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’ :
‘Reading a Shakti Ghosal story is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. His stories are akin to the gossamer of a fine and delicate spiders web, subtle, alluring and surprisingly clever. The narrative expands with coherence and a subtle obliquity and yet as I read, the feeling is one of being comfortably lost in a vast and sumptuous tale of intrigue and mystery.
The way Shakti writes this story with grace and ease allows the reader to immerse themselves into the main character’s experience. One can easily become that character, plunged into the complexities of the circumstances as the story unfolds.’
The book continues to make emotional waves worldwide with close to a hundred and fifty excellent ratings and reviews on Amazon and Good Reads.
Professor Gracy Samjetsabam teaches English Literature and Communication Skills at Manipal Institute of Technology, MAHE, Manipal. She is also a freelance writer, authors a column in Sunday Guardian Live and a copy editor. Her interest is in Indian English Writings, Comparative Literature, Gender Studies, Culture Studies, and World Literature.
In her review of the Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories in Borderless Journal ( May 14, 2021), she writes :
“ … stories help us make sense of our realities. Ghosal admits that intense and traumatic events in life have contributed to the creation of these stories. Part-memoir, part-historical, Ghosal paints the stories with strokes of personal experiences and from chapters of India’s long history, selecting those that converse about Kolkata. This tapestry makes the readers more aware of the nuances of history and vividly recreates these scenes in the imagined reality. Ghosal impressively weaves history and imagination to blend fiction and reality, thereby providing a voice of the unrecorded, the myths and legends around what happened on the other side of known history during the colonial period in pre-independent India or at present.
….. Ghosal sprinkles confetti of his coaching in life skills into the storytelling to create a set of modern-day tales that are easily relatable and palatable. The style and the settings are like fresh air that enlightens as it entertains. The stories are vibrant and close to current realities, making them a worthy read.”
As the capital of the British Raj shifts from Calcutta to Delhi in 1912, Junior Clerk Sujit with his wife Bina is forced to migrate from Calcutta to distant and dusty Civil Lines in Delhi. Shanti, born of a forceps delivery gone horribly wrong, comes into their lives. A tale of evolving relationships against the backdrop of momentous events in the nation’s history.
Dr. Avik Basu , MBBS, MD (Cal), humbly calls himself a General Physician. But he is also an Intensivist, Psychologist, Academician, Medical Researcher, Author……the list goes on.
But above all, he is today a frontline COVID warrior having treated more than a hundred COVID patients in the last few weeks alone.
In a recent Social Media post, Dr. Avik Basu writes,
“FEAR…SUFFER…DEATH…these are the 3 words, the only 3 words, that should bombard the minds of every single person of this city. Of this country. There are experts who are asking people not to panic. But I will speak the contrary. YES, YOU NEED TO PANIC. YES, YOU SHOULD PANIC. YES, YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID OF DEATH. YES, YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID OF LOSING YOUR LOVED ONES. Probably it’s only this fear that can drive out the madness of enjoying blatantly from the minds of this lunatic species which has long forsaken the realm of logical reasoning. I am no COVID expert; not a COVID-ologist. I am not invited on national television to give a speech on COVID awareness. I don’t sit and explain the principles of ‘Hit and Dance’ hypothesis in news channels. I am a general physician, just a general physician, who are habitually regarded as the ‘doctors of cough and diarrhoea’. But I do take the privilege to state that I have seen almost 100 COVID positive patients in the last couple of weeks. And I’ve treated them……
I visited the Flemming Hospital yesterday to see one of my patients admitted. I witnessed the most dreadful scene of my life till date. Almost all moribund patients. Some gasping, some gone into cardiac arrest, some staring at the ICU staff with apprehensive look fearing an imminent death……
These days even I have started to fear death. Not for myself, but for the family I provide for. When a doctor loses a patient, he weeps in silence. But when a doctor passes away, does anyone shed a drop of tear???”
As Dr. Avik Basu engages with the Chronicler, I remain uncertain who will learn from whom? Who is the true Chronicler of our times?
Book of the month, more than a hundred international ratings on Amazon.
Spanning a century between the pandemics of 1919 and 2020, Dipen and Indranil are confronted by tragedies under vastly different societal conditioning and development. What is their link spanning four generations which arises from an old and dilapidated palace and its massive Shiva linga?
Can the Chronicler with his tale of the Pandemic come up to the expectations of Jayashri Ghosh , an avid reader in Kolkata?
Available worldwide on Amazon, Flipkart and select book stores.
Dr.Viraj P. Thacker, currently based in the US, is the famed Author of ‘The Myth of Prosperity: Globalization and the South’. He is also the Academic Facilitator, Development Consultant and the International Executive Director of Manushi for Sustainable Development.
After reading the ‘Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories, he sent me his thoughts, which I have copied below. Arguably, this is one of the most wonderful acknowledgments that the Chronicler has garnered.
My Humble reflections on the ‘Chronicler of the Hooghly’:
To use a living metaphor, the legendary structure that spans the Hooghly in Calcutta ingeniously personifies the very title of a deeply reflective & flowing read…touching stories of life & circumstance that bridge the history of British Calcutta & Delhi…a reflective re-capture of the social-historical-cultural fabric of India.
To be quite honest, the gently flowing chapters brilliantly managed to evoke a deep sense of my own family history of some 6 generations, in the erstwhile Second City of the Empire…later, the City of Joy!
What truly grips the reader In this wonderful complexity of ‘a touch of the old Raj’ and the deep humanity of the pages that captivate, is the ‘pandemic’ that translates well to our current global dilemma. In fact, the author brilliantly credits the composition of the book to time well spent in lockdown!
The Chronicler of the Hooghly truly resonated with this reader on many counts & in a most heartwarming fashion, left me with a sense of hope-faith in the human experience.
Available worldwide on Amazon, Flipkart and select bookstores.
Reviewer Vishakha Raghav in her Vishing_Sky forum has this to say about the Chronicler of the Hooghly.
The Chronicler of the Hooghly is a historical fiction that is themed out in Kolkata, India. The book is 170+ pages of wonderland.
How did I feel while reading the book?
With every page turn, an emotion inside me unwrapped. Shakti has put his heart out while writing this book. The writing was captivating, “The characters were believable and I cared about them, the plots had a couple of twists and turns due to which I couldn’t put the book down.”
The book is divided into 4 short stories, they are different yet feel so connected deep down. The glimpse of these stories is taken from Shakti’s own experiences in the past with a great blend of fiction in it. I loved the way Shakti has concluded the stories, they left me with goosebumps.
Each story is thought-provoking, I could relate the most to the first two stories which are 1) Ashtami and 2) Pandemic. Ashtami is about a clerk in 1912 who has to move to a new city Delhi with his wife. How was their life in Delhi? In the time of the British Raj, what challenges the couple had to face? The pandemic of 1919 was very similar to the one in 2020 because both left humans with emotions that were so similar! I still can’t decide if Pandemics are impacting us externally or internally.
However some of these are a little complex in composition. One needs to think this book through. Sometimes it forces you to analyze your thoughts and guess what might happen next.
How I changed after reading this book?
People are the most important in our lives. The grief of losing someone can not be understood. I repeat it can not be understood, no matter what. This is what I learned from this book.
Available worldwide on Amazon, Flipkart and select bookstores.
I am delighted to showcase this Video book review of ‘The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories’.In our lives, we at times get confronted with intense and traumatic events which force us to question who we are, what really matters to us and what we believe in.
In some ways these events alter our sense of reality.Each of the four stories in this book draws inspiration from such crucible events that I have had to face. The protagonists in that sense carry a bit of my own ‘experience and thought’ genes. As I see them now within the larger fabric of the stories, I do notice shades of myself and others who have been part of my life. Writing the stories has been a personal journey in that sense. At times the stories seemed to write themselves.
Available worldwide on Amazon, Flipkart and select bookstores