Thursday, 15 May 2008

Mergers and De-Mergers

In a startling and awe inspiring move, Tata Sons of India has made yet another marquee acquisition and embossed its name on the global corporate map in almost what is gold dust. Almost, because the integration of Corus with Tata Steel, Land Rover and Jaguar with Tata Motors and various other global acquisitions with varied group companies will determine how successful has the most professionally managed Indian conglomerate really been. While Indians globally are proud of these achievements and Indian media cannot stop gloating, global banks are falling backwards to finance these acquisitions. This is a new era for the country where the world is now finally seeing the being ruled as the rulers. India has come a long way!

While Tata Sons needs to prove its mettle with the successful integration of the multiple group wide acquisitions, other Indian firms have already done so albeit at a smaller scale. Numerous companies have made smaller acquisitions in the west and very efficiently brought about the realizable synergies. Then be it All Cargo Global Logistics, Crompton Greaves, Wockhardt, Wipro or Mastek; sectors and geographies have not constrained Indian corporates. Not only have we managed to synergize operations but have also adapted to the working cultures of the new geographies. Quick learners, we have ensured that no stone is left unturned in our efforts to make the most of the time, effort, energy and money spent on buying these organizations in the developed world.

It is thus a little surprising when I see that while we are excelling at establishing, forging and building professional relationships, we are today, struggling to maintain the sanctity of personal relationships. Why is it that a society such as ours, whose foundation lies in the spirit of family values, today battling with keeping human relationships together? In every sphere of life there is a constant game of ego and one upmanship. The same tolerance and perseverance that we are exhibiting in the corporate arena is missing from our living rooms and bedrooms.

To some this might seem like a gross generalization and to others this might seem a little too regressive. I mean should we all not have the freedom to live our lives the way we would like to and not be burdened with relationships that are stifling to personal growth? Absolutely! Every individual must have the opportunity to grow and flourish. However, the pursuit of personal growth should not lead us away from those who could and will matter in life.

I take the simple example of a parent child relationship. There is little time that today’s children spend with their parents. Excuse is lack of time due to the stiff competition at the work place and the burning desire to move ahead and buy that bigger car. What happened to parents’ needs when they sacrificed their wishes to provide their children with the opportunities that have brought them to a certain level today? I am not sure they thought in a similar fashion. Moreover, what memories are we creating that we can take forward to our old age? I am not preaching, I am asking for your view point as I do not see what we are trying to achieve by neglecting our parents (if this can be called neglecting that is).

Urban India is seeing an increasing rate of divorce. In some ways, the fact that divorce is no longer a social stigma, is a great boon to those who were subjected to physically and mentally abusive marriages. However, at the same time, divorce today has also become an escape route. When individuality and ego want to be supreme, the willingness to compromise reduces. There is little merit seen is making adjustments. In the recent times, I have been hearing of a number of incidents where the reason of divorce was stated to be irreconcilable differences. However, on giving it some thought, a few couples did realize that in the rat race of daily life they had failed to see the bigger picture and were resorting to the most accessible (not the easiest though) way out. Those who had the sense to spend some time, even though it was towards the end, could find a cause, effect and solution to the situation and regain harmony. However, the proportion of such couples to the others just wanting out is small. That to me is saddening. Man is a social animal and cannot live in isolation. So why put oneself through such pain over and over again? Why not think through a decision thoroughly? I am by no means belittling the pain of divorce or the torture of an unhealthy relationship. I am merely questioning our ability to tolerate and foresightedness and whether all such decisions are made in the right frame of mind. Once again I am only soliciting views here as I am of the opinion that as long as there is mutual respect and affection and there is a desire to make adjustments for your partner, then no marriage is unworkable (unless yes of course in the traditional Indian way one got married to a completely unknown individual, only to realize later on that there was absolutely nothing in common between the couple).

In short, in the last couple of weeks I have felt that while we might be moving ahead in the professional space, in the personal space we are losing out. While the means to an easy life have increased, the opportunity to live a life has decreased. We are all busy chasing dreams which will probably not stand us in good stead when we need a friend, a confidant or a shoulder. And hence my final question – should the same perseverance, dedication and effort not be lent to personal relationships as we have been extending to expanding our global brand awareness? Or should I ask if we are indeed differentiating in our efforts in the two arenas at all?


omegta said...

Here is another interesting view point ...

Tanushree Bagrodia said...


Like I said, I am for divorce where it frees people out of stifling and limiting relationships. My discomfort comes from the reduction in our tolerance levels and our relentless pursuit of materialistic pleausres due to which we sometimes even forget our parents. On that note, have not even spoken to you in a while!