Naga Chokkanathan

Archive for August 2012



In college, I had two friends who loved each other. Very deep love, they even ‘planned’ their campus interviews in such a way that they get job offers at the same company.

Training days were full of fun. They were looking forward to being together forever.

Unfortunately, their employer noticed this and decided to place them in two different cities.

The love birds were crest fallen. They even debated whether one of them should resign the job and find another job so that they can be in the same city at least.

They would have done it, if they were college kids, now some fear stopped them from going that extreme and they decided to accept the reality.

For the next few months, they were living in different cities, meeting over the weekends, Either he would travel, or she would travel so that they can spend some time together. They hated it, and wanted to be in the same city, or same company, if possible. Somehow, it was not happening.

Slowly, their frequency of travels came down, may be because they both got a mobile phone, but they met each other less and less, we were wondering if anything wrong between them.

Actually, there was nothing wrong at that time, but soon, they started seriously re looking at their romantic relationship, Not because they found another lover boy / girl, but for some reason it was not attractive to love someone far away.

Couple of years later, the girl decided to fly to America for a project and that almost sealed their story together. There was no fight, no discussions, no words really, they just agreed to split. Both of them are married (to different partners) now.

I met one of them last week, he sounded very happy with his career, family and talked non stop about his sons. I asked him casually, if he remembers the old love anymore.

He hesitated a moment, and then gave this answer, ‘When you are truly in love, silly things like physical distance don’t matter, But I guess both of us were not serious about the love, that’s why we split at the first available chance, Now I don’t even remember her face, I am sure it will be the same case with her.’

Hmmm, not a very romantic finale, to a ‘supposed to be romantic’ story 🙂

What would have happened if they continued to work in the same city / company? Getting married based on a not-so-ideal love, is better than an arranged marriage? Or the other way?!

(Written for an IndiBlogger contest, arranged by )

Mail 1:

Dear A,

Please work With B and sort this out,


Mail 2 (Reply to Mail 1):

Dear C,

B is on leave today,


Sounds familiar? I am sure you would have read 100s of mails like this. I call these mails as “Show Stoppers”.

This is a term used by software customers, to indicated that a problem in the code is bringing the entire deployment to a halt. No one can proceed without fixing this issue.

In case of a software, it is easy to identify Show Stopper problems, in Emails, it is very difficult. Many of us would read the above mail and will not realize what the problem is. It sounds perfectly normal, B is on leave, and A just points to the problem?

Exactly. This mail is simply a problem statement, and that’s where it stops, bringing the entire communication to a halt.

Such mails are the bottlenecks in any progress, It simply says “Something is not happening” and by stating this, the author washes his / her hand, Totally an irresponsible thing to do,

To extend this theory further, mails with statements such as “I didn’t work on this”, “I don’t know”, “X is absent”, “I didn’t get any reply from Y”, “I am waiting for Z to respond” etc., basically take you to a corner and leave you there, after that, there is no exit, no progress.

What else we could be doing?

Any problem statement is incomplete, if you don’t propose what changes you expect to solve it. Remember, we are not asking for a PERFECT solution, but some options… If you just know the problem exists, and can’t think of ANY solution at all, you can at least ask for some help? Like “Mr. X is absent, Can Mr. Y work on this? Or Mr. Z can suggest someone else to take this up? Can I just make some assumptions and complete this without anyone’s involvement?”

These statements open up discussions, instead of leaving you in a corner. We can discuss / debate / argue / fight and arrive at the best possible solution, sooner or later.

Second, If you are assigned a task and you are waiting for someone else to respond, whose problem it is?

Let us say X assigns a task to Y, and Y needs inputs from Z to finish it. Y sends a mail and there is no reply from Z, After 10 days, the task is not complete, Who needs to be blamed?

We can’t expect X to followup with Y every day to get the task done. Same rule applies for Y also, He / She can’t followup with Z every day to get the information. This means, no one does any job.

Here, there are no hard and fast rules, but when you think with common sense, X would expect Y to get the job done, the moment it is assigned. After that if repeated follow-ups happen, then it means X can never fully depend on Y, because, even after assigning some work, still more reminders are required to get it done,

So, eventho’ Z is the culprit in this case, X would never know it, would blame Y for the delay, and will not accept “I was waiting for Z’s reply” as a valid excuse. As the task for primarily assigned to Y, It makes sense for Him / Her to do repeated followups to get the information from Z, If Z is busy, either talk to his / her manager, or somebody else who can provide that information, X doesn’t care.

If Y can’t do all these, He / She should have refused the task from X in the first place, Accepting it and then putting blame on someone else is not acceptable, It may be a practical issue, but the fact remains that the task is not done by Y.

When we are working in teams, these are some basic disciplines expected from everyone, It is very easy to remain a passive team member and go with the flow, but then someone else will be deciding your future,


N. Chokkan …

06 08 2012



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Organization He works for / belongs to.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 60 other followers

Big Adda