Of the five sitting trustees of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP), I was the only trustee who decided not to recontest, despite being eligible for one final term of office at BPP for five years. It is a decision that I do not regret. Almost thirty-five years ago my mentor, Late Russi M Lala (well-known author and Director of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust) had advised me: “Before you take any major decision in life, sit in silence and listen to what your ‘inner voice’ tells you”! I did just that. I sat in silence and my inner voice told me that I have done my duty as best as I could and it is time to bow out when people ask “why?” instead of “when?”!
At sixty years, I am far from retired in my professional life. I want to spend the remainder of my life doing things that bring me peace of mind instead of breaking my mind to pieces. I want to spend my Tuesday evenings bettering my life walking at Marine Drive instead of making it bitter in the battle room at 209 Dr. D N Road.
Do I regret being a trustee? Certainly not! BPP has taught me what neither Oxford nor Stanford could have ever taught me. It’s been a huge exercise in both un-learning and new learning. It has helped a sensitive and emotional man like me become a bit more thick-skinned and learn who to trust and who not to. It has helped me to think more with my head than my heart.
As I bid adieu to BPP, I have the satisfaction of knowing that while I remained flexible to change, I never compromised on my core beliefs. I always stood my ground. I never took the approach, “if you can’t fight them, join them.” At the same time, I never opposed simply for the sake of opposing. I tried to strike the balance without compromising on my core beliefs. And, this indeed is my recommendation to the new Board of trustees. Find the golden mean – and strike the fine balance.
Between imposing additional service charge of Rs. 750/- month and waiving it off completely, I tried to push for balance and almost succeeded getting beneficiaries to agree unanimously on Rs. 400/- instead of Rs. 750/-. Alas, it was finally waived completely causing loss of about two crores to the BPP trust annually. Keeping in mind the BPP’s cash crunch, I did not resist the auction of high value flats. But, to sell any and every flat was something I was ideologically opposed to. Moral: In life or at BPP, one must never lose sight of proportion and striking the right balance.
I wish to thank all those who supported me, for being my source of strength and inspiration. I also thank those who criticized and mocked me, for they taught me that their opinion did not define me. In the course of the day, we work with many but at night we all have to sleep with our own conscience and I am glad I could keep it clean and sleep well at night – every night!
I congratulate the winning team and wish them well. To my erstwhile colleague trustees, I wish to say, thank you and good luck. We have differed on policy and ideology. Nothing personal. Unfortunately, I had low tolerance for whatever I found untrue, unjust or not right. I thank my colleagues for putting up with my lack of diplomacy.
One could say, ‘the coast is now clear’. Meanwhile, I have other waters to swim in now!
Adieu BPP and hello to a more positive, productive and purposeful life!
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