A lot has been said and written about interview etiquette or your first day at work, but not enough has been said about how an office farewell can be used as a powerful tool to build people and teams. Especially since office farewells are as common these days as inductions.

The first thing to evaluate is whether you want to give an employee a team farewell. And if you do, you do have a responsibility to create a memorable experience for the person leaving your organization and your team. In order to do that, it’s important to understand what a team farewell is in the first place.

A farewell is an opportunity to celebrate an employee’s performance and the good work that you did together. It’s not a performance appraisal and neither is it the place to give employee’s feedback on their working style in a public forum. The need for this feedback to be given at all—on the eve of an employee’s departure—needs to be evaluated. If so, it is best done through a one-on-one meeting and not a farewell.

5 things you never do at an office farewell:

  1. Start by revealing for the first time that you never liked the person initially. It’s a bad opening line and could come as a bit of shock to a person who had “no idea.” In addition, corporate behavior is all about focusing on behavior that is appropriate. Using the term “like” makes it personal.
  2. Tell a person that they are difficult to get along with, and leave it at that. That’s just bad professional etiquette. If you didn’t talk about it when you worked together, a farewell is a bad time to bring it up. It’s wiser to “forever hold your peace.” In these cases, especially if you didn’t work together closely, it’s a better idea to use the following line, “We didn’t work together closely, but I wish you well.”
  3. Use the opportunity to show an employee how you have been imitating them behind their back. Imitating your colleagues behind their backs, just for laughs, is poor professional etiquette and shows a lack of maturity. Period. So if you have been doing it any way, it’s a bad idea to make your revelation now. Also, you have no idea whether the person concerned would actually find it funny.
  4. Tell a person that you hope that they are “happier” in their next company. It’s an admission to the team that the employee wasn’t too happy with you, which may or may not be the case. More importantly, if a farewell is about celebrating the good work you did together, you end up shifting the focus.
  5. Make startling negative revelations about a person. There are so many platforms for that. Why choose a farewell? You end up publically humiliating an employee, and then it’s no longer a farewell.

5 things you could do at an office farewell

  1. Celebrate the good times: All teams and people have them. What were yours? Encourage your employees to remember them.
  2. Remember that the first and last speakers set the tone: So choose them wisely. Make sure that these two speakers actually have something uplifting to say.
  3. Stay positive: If the environment in the room is turning negative, you need to moderate. Interject with a positive comment that lightens the mood.
  4. Include a team lunch: Choose a place where the food is good, but more importantly where you can talk and just enjoy being a team. And finally, in the age of “selfies”, don’t forget a fun team photo🙂
  5. Choose your farewell gift carefully: At Wipro, my team gave me a quill in a book and a miniature cycle because I was taking a break from work to write. I still have it in my book case, and each time I look at it, I think of my wonderful team. And that’s what a good farewell should also do—leave you and your team with something to smile about.

Gautama Buddha once said, “If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?” That applies to a lot of situations, but it is especially true of an office farewell.

What’s been your best or worst experience at an office farewell? I’d love to hear more about it.

My father moved into the house, which we still own in Kammanahalli, about 25 years ago. In those years, as its name suggests, Kammanhalli was literally a “halli” or a village. It was the back of beyond.

A mud road connected our house – one of only four houses on the lane – to the main road. The Bangalore municipal corporation did not provide water to the locality, so my father actually bought his own water, and this from a man on a bullock cart. Our sewage collected in a septic tank, somewhere deep in the ground, and was cleaned annually – once again, by another man in a bullock cart.

In 25 years, much has changed. Street lights, sewage lines and tarred roads came first. Then, I also remember the day when our road got its first bore well, and the municipal corporation began to supply the area with water soon after (even if it was just two times a week!).

There were other signs of change as well. New houses, new shops and new people. Now, our lane has 10 houses – some of them double storied, and home to at least six families (each!).

Our family was the first to bring a computer and a car into our lane, but now every other family has one of them too. Our neighbours come all the way from remote districts in North India to Afghanistan.

And here’s the clincher – garbage actually gets cleaned every day, and it’s hard to find an open garbage dump anymore!

Four years ago, I remember blogging here about how prosperity had come to Bangalore, but had bypassed the “halli”. I can’t say that anymore.

As the line of swanky new shops on the main road continues to advance one step at a time, the lines that link the richer residential localities and the “halli” is finally blurring. Development has indeed trickled down.

But for that to happen, it’s needed many little steps on the ground. A series of good Congress and BJP corporators, who’ve built on each others successes. The Congress brought lighting, sewage systems and water. Then, the BJP maintained it and also added garbage collection. Funds were actually utilised to benefit residents, till each of us can finally see a difference.

So, if successive administrations work together, there’s nothing that they we cannot achieve.

But most importantly, we need citizens to step forward to both build and maintain these localities. Every time when a city corporation fails us, we must have vigilant citizens, who pick up the phone and demand action from their local corporator. Like my mum does!

So yes, change is slow, but if you persist, it does finally arrive.

A call to prayer

Posted: June 20, 2015 in Life and Living
Tags: ,

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A prayer thought in silence.
The solitary comfort of a hot cup of chai.
The stillness of a walk in the park.
A newspaper pondered in pensiveness.

Rest my spirit.

But now,
New voices,
Clamor for my attention.

At 5 am,
The call of the muezzin.
At 6 am,
Superhit bhajans.
At 9 am, Sunday,
The dancing Pentecostals.

 In my view,
Spirituality resonates loudest,
In human hearts.

Not over loudspeakers.

So, as promised, here it is then, my new blog dedicated to the glorious world of cinmea that will journey with me through my experiences in the movies. Welcome to the “Movies I Can’t Forget”


And if you’re still reading this blog, I look forward to your views and other comments.

Five years ago, I ambitously made a list of the 116 films that I wanted to see during a short break that I was taking from the corporate world. Today, less than half way down that list, I realize just how difficult that task would have been accomplish in a meaningful way over a couple of months. But over the last few years here are some of the incredible 44 films that I have seen from my old list that have also done a lot to change my perspective of cinema.

  • It Happened One Night (1934)
  • Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) – Seen
  • Modern Times (1936)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1939)
  • Rebecca (1940)
  • Citizen Kane (1941)
  • Double Indemnity (1944)
  • The Lost Weekend (1945)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  • Sunset Blvd. (1950)
  • All About Eve (1950)
  • An American in Paris (1951)
  • Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  • From Here to Eternity (1953)
  • Roman Holiday (1953)
  • The Caine Mutiny (1954)
  • Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
  • Marty (1955)
  • Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
  • 12 Angry Men (1957)
  • Some Like It Hot (1959)
  • Psycho (1960)
  • The Apartment (1960)
  • To Sir With Love (1967)
  • Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967)
  • Oliver! (1968)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • The Godfather (1972)
  • Chinatown (1974)
  • The Godfather, Part II (1974)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
  • Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • Raging Bull (1980)
  • Ordinary People (1980)
  • Terms of Endearment (1983)
  • Amadeus (1984)
  • Platoon (1986)
  • Goodfellas (1990)
  • Groundhog Day (1993)
  • No Country for Old Men (2007)

Each of them beautiful classics, alive and powerful in my mind. But I also realize that unlike in the past, there has been no blog to capture that story. So here’s to the remaining 72 – some among that I have seen in parts or a long time ago – and also another blog that will tell their story and pay homage to that glorious world of cinema that I have always loved.

A house becomes a home

Posted: October 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

It’s been more than a year since I moved into my new house… And slowly, but surely, a house has become a home. A view of the world from my writer’s desk.


I See India…

Posted: August 9, 2014 in Life and Living, Photography, Writing










In the statue
Of Infant Jesus
On my cab driver’s dashboard.

My cab driver,
A Muslim,
At Infant Jesus,
Every Thursday.

In thalis at Christian weddings,
Jesus in puja rooms,
Indian biryani.

In Eid Mubarak,
Happy Diwali,
Merry Christmas.

Three greetings, one reply,
“Same to you”
“Aapko Bhi”.

In Kabir’s dohas,
The tricolor,

In Irfan Pathan,
He was proud to bowl for India.

Irfan Pathan,
Almost burnt alive,
in Gujarat 2002.

In Nargis epitomizing Mother India,
Sania rallying for India,
Priyanka turning Mary Kom.

In politics
That gave us
Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister,
Abdul Kalam as President.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
President Abdul Kalam,
Both, at the same time.

In Mumbai’s apartment buildings,
Teams in global corporations,
A Pub and an Islamic Boutique, standing side by side.

In those moments,
When Mubarak is Hindu,
Lakshmi is Christian,
Andy is Muslim.

I see India,
All around me.

India has become.
I choose to believe.

We cannot be undone.

(A poem inspired by a blog post that I’d written a couple of years ago on “Incredible India’.)