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Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Sentiments Behind Rasgolla.

Festivals are for rejoicing the relationship of our friends, relatives and professional associates. Gifts are mediums for expressing the love, affection and fellowship. It is customary in India to gift sweet boxes and make people around happy during festivals like Deepavali.

I have a practice of offering Rasgolla tins to all my employees and close relatives every Deepavali. I like the taste and rationally evaluated Rasgolla as the best sweet available based on so many considerations. Some dislike the taste of this sweet and when they receive a tin from me as Deepavali gift, force a smile and murmur a life less “Thank You”.

But there is a group of people who like Rasgolla like me. They wait for their turn and beam a smile that nullifies the hostile effect of the earlier group. Each one has his or her story behind this. When they go home the day before Deepavali, the family members some times even elderly people used to eagerly ask whether Rasgolla has come. Uncles and aunties after greeting over phone never miss to enquire about Rasgolla. Just like crackers and new clothes, Rasgolla has earned a position in their homes.

Everything seemed to go smooth. Suddenly one of my employees suggested me to change the sweet for something else. It was told to me that the Rasgolla is not used in their home since no one likes it and so they give to someone else. A few more also joined the objecting person and persuaded for a change. They substantiated with a different sentiment that they are not able to have what is being given by me -their leader.

I could not think of a different sweet. There are hundreds of sweets but all suffered from a disadvantage of a very short shelf life. The consistency in quality is another factor. Some times ago, for another festival I tried to give some other sweet. I selected a highly reputed outlet. These outlets are reputed but very conventional in their approach. They keep the customer waiting till they take out the sweets from the tray, weigh them and pack them. There used to be so many inefficient movements of the sales person and the customer's time is wasted. These outlets are in crowded places and one can never take a car near the outlets. When the requirement is more no. of packets the time is just massacred. There could be variation in quality because some quantity from the older stock can get mixed. The person receiving the old stock promptly informs the poor quality the very next morning.

Because the shelf life is less, one may have to consume the sweets within a day or two. For a day like Deepavali when there will be multiple sweet packet gifts, such loosely packed sweets may get wasted or given away to servant maids.

Rasgolla tins do not have any of these disadvantages. Rasgolla has added advantages like squeezing out the sugar syrup to suite to individual taste, almost looks like oil free,the colour is bright white, the packing is hygienic, some kind of quality assurance seal is there on the pack and a person like me proudly gifts this holding in mind that I am gifting the best that money could buy in terms of user- friendly calorific value sweets.

My business operation requires me to be 50% democratic. I cannot just ignore the sentiments of the group that dislike Rasgolla. I have to be assertive and should not deny the joy for those who relish the Rasgolla. I should honour my own taste and rational considerations. So I made the gift to contain one pack of Rasgolla and one pack of Gulab Jamun. So the democratic sentiments are protected.....I assumed.

The game of leadership appears to be highly creative, challenging and demanding out-of-the box thinking, even with respect to sentiments.