Inspiration Day

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On 3rd December, I was invited to the celebration event organized by PRC (Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre – Pune) to mark the occasion of the “World Disability Day.”

I was apprehensive as I thought that it would be an all Army affair. The cleanliness and the order of the PRC was stunning. I was told that the soldiers and officers of Indian armed forces who are wheel chair bound due to severe spinal injury are housed there and they are treated there as well as spend their rest of the days in the center. I was eager to see more and know more.

Long time back, I was confined to bed for few days due to a small accident. Those days were so depressing because I had been very active all the time and suddenly I had been confined to the bed. I was always attempting to start my normal life just to convince the doctor that I can walk and I am normal. I still recall those seven days with horror and pray that I should never see such days back again.

 It was only later I realized that the soldiers who met with severe accidents had a similar past. They were healthy and active young men when accidents happen. For some it was accident while riding or driving a vehicle, for some it was on war duties and for unlucky few it was as simple as injury while playing games like football. Such active people getting confined to wheel chair, not for few days or weeks, but for rest of their life was too much for me to think off.

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Col. P.K. Mukherjee (Retd.) who manages the PRC had several stories to narrate. It came out clearly that these young men who have been robbed of their active life initially find it difficult to accept this status of their physical condition. They get into depression and need a lot of care and counseling. When they see several more like them in PRC, they start coming back and start accepting their condition. The personal care of the Army officers and soldiers who are deputed to take care of them do wonders in bringing them back to normal mental state. Eventually, one could see them smiling and doing things like any other normal person. They play, they pray, they work with whatever skills they could learn in their training and enjoy their life with their colleagues in the PRC.

The event organized had another touching side. Special children from a local school performed songs and dance inspite of immense challenge they had. It was very touching to see them perform so well and knowing that it took them several times more to practice than a normal child. Those children stole our hearts. I am sure, even the wheel chair bound soldiers too would have forgotten their own pains for a while looking at these special children and their lovely performances.

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 Few of the soldiers performed group and solo songs to a standing ovation of all the spectators.

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 Finally, the Chief Guest Maj. General L.S Vohra and the GOC Pune Sub -Area Maj. Gen. Neeraj Bali, SM had only one thing to say “Today is not a world disability day, but Inspiration Day for us”.

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 True, I was completely inspired and look forward to give back to the society in whatever way we could to help reduce pains and tears so that so many more like these soldiers and children can also smile with us.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by IndiasGreatest.com ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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