7 Ps of Power: Positioning lessons from the life of a legendary eunuch

“You can learn a lot from the experiences of the eunuch”, closing his eyes as if drawing from the rich and deep memory of a youth well spent, the accountant spoke.

“Tch, tch, I thought we were discussing about power and how to gain it and not prowess or the lack of it”, red faced the NPE blurted.

It was the accountant’s turn to blush. “You got me wrong. Much as I would like to expound on various themes that will be closer to many an office-hour net-surfers’ heart, there is a time and place for everything.” “I assumed you knew your mythology well. I was referring to Shikandi and what you could learn from her experience in terms of positioning and getting one’s due in the name and fame department”

“I know about Shikandi, isn’t she the one behind whom Arjuna hid and shot down Bhishma, the invincible grand old man of Mahabarata?” said the NPE.

“Not bad, you got it mostly right and therein lies the learning for the round”

“Which is?”

“All in good time and I will make it quickly this time around.” Downing the amber colored brain stimulants and looking thoughtfully at the glass as its emptiness was expunged by the ever vigilant bearer; the accountant dispelling with his customary narrative; proceeded to make it snappier as promised.

“The story of Shikandi holds many interesting learnings for all the blokes feeling an explosive impotent rage within of not getting their due often. Inspite of being well endowed with all the qualities that make one a great asset in any situation or organization. One only feels used and is never amused.”

“Like the young campus recruit. An Alumnus who made it or a regular in the corporate dossier walks in during the corporate swayamvara (aka placement week). A rosy picture is painted. The recruit is told that she would be responsible for the bright future of the Kuru-porate. She will be promised all the perks of a vibrant organization life and pre-eminence. And is lured away from other suit-ors.”

“So was with Amba, who along with 2 other pretty sisters was raided by Bhishma during their swayamvar, for the sake of his brother. When she was bought to Vichitravirya, Bhisma’s brother; Amba realised he was not her cup of tea and said so to Bhishma. But one’s you have signed on the dotted line, there is no going back. Nor is any other suitor willing to take on Amba, for who knows how badly she was corrupted during her short stint. Thus unable to fit into the department she was pushed by Bhishma or to find any other suitable taker, Amba gave up her ambition for the moment, did some deep introspection found nothing wrong per se with her; and like all women scorned vowed to make life hell for Bhishma, the person responsible for her short-lived stint in womanhood and the fruits thereof.”

“So she did penance to upskill herself, was born as a daughter into the powerful family of Drupada and was raised like a son. She grew up, married, was ridiculed by the bride on the wedding night when the performance was put to test; took recourse in a change management workshop conducted by a yaksha (demi-god) and exchanged her current avatar to that of a complete man. And bided her time.”

“Jacta alea est. The die was cast. Literally.

Pandavas lost their kingdom, spent 12 years in exile and for 1 year lived anonymously. Petitioned Kauravas for their due, were spurned and a great war ensued. Battle lines were drawn; either side geared up for an all or nothing war; Bhishma leading the Kaurava army from the front. 10 days of war resulted in much damage to both the sides but little headway was made.

Krishna the mentor of Pandavas; called for a quick war-room conference; said the strategy is to make Bhishma throw away his arms and nothing else; and while doing so let a well-guarded secret out. That Bhishma would never fight a woman; or a woman in man’s clothing. Or a man who was a woman in his previous life. Or whatever.

Shikandi was called. Temporary arrangements made for her/him to lead from the front; with Arjuna doing his bit standing behind her. This worked and finally the great Bhishma fell, changing the course of the war firmly in favor of Pandavas, who got name, fame and the entire kingdom.”

“What of Shikandi? On the last day of the war she was murdered in sleep in her tent by those from Kaurava side seeking revenge, as a last and desperate measure. Mission accomplished. But what of it?”

“It is believed that a part of Shikandi’s soul still wanders the earth and nests in all those beings who similarly were lured by big promises into a realm that is anything but real and rosy. Are left in lurch in a no man’s land; wander hither and thither curse their current state of affairs and give it all up. Spend time in reskilling and upskilling themselves; take up positions elsewhere; live anonymous lives largely till their 15 minutes under the spotlight arrives. Give it their best. Get fooled into thinking that they are more than making good of what they have last out on. Realize that the name and fame of the mission that they made success is justly (or otherwise) tagged onto someone else – well positioned by the powers that be (author of the script and the mentor respectively). And finally pass into oblivion at the end of it all.”

There were not many in that house of spirits at the end of the narrative, within earshot, whose soul didn’t feel connected. Campus recruits celebrating their induction into this department or that; NPE; NBP (Never been promoted); POPOs (Pissed over and passed over)…everyone that moment felt closer to each other.

“Is there no way out? Looks like there is a bit of Shikandi in all of us who has ever been through placement week. There is no comfort in knowing you are impotent to begin with” said the NPE in a feeble tone.

“Its never too late to find a suitable positioning for oneself and stick to it like dickens. And then align with a mentor who will help make that positioning stick to you like a label. Whenever in a hole, quickly identify guys with the right and appropriate skillset to bail you out, yet not skillful enough to gain from it. Learn from Shikandi, lead like Arjuna”

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post. My approach to strategic change management says the quality of the first five percent determines what happens in the rest of the process. This same principle applies to many situations.

  2. Lavender says:

    These so called what ever you wish to call them – ———(ur prerogative to fill) – have excellent side effects. They have the most powerful organised words/action plans to mess your attrition rates, shoot it high up and then help morale’s hit rock bottom. And ha, they also have a wonderful network to propagate the most of negative news and thoughts that if you really want to sue someone for defamation there’s your person!!! They can even predict the date when an organisation will shut gates ( even if you are running a massive change as in branding / re branding) and also make sure all employees will leave – they get a new job or not, forget better. Thus creating panic and then total chaos.

  3. Lavender says:

    VAK, U leave us caustically speechless…alas the curse of the working genre – the Shikhandi Factor!!!!

  4. sunil says:

    love POPO….hahhahahahha…hilarious

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