Life after lockdown: Hrishikesh Mafatlal, Chairman of the Arvind Mafatlal Group answers a few questions

Since the time of the lockdown, I have had the privilege of conversing with many people. Below you will find a few of the common questions which many people have been asking.

1. How will life be post lockdown?

Life will be very different post lock down due to rise in level of uncertainty across the world. Since the outbreak of the virus, 22 million people have filed for unemployment aid and as per economists this number could rise further. It might even cross the number USA experienced during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. With USA getting affected in this manner, it will have an impact on many other countries who have huge dependency on the United States of America. In addition the entire value chain of industries which have been affected will also be impacted. The good thing is many people are getting used to living a life with bare minimum, the only priority for many individuals is food and water, until now I believe many of us were living a life in which the focus was on accumulation, at times we accumulated things which we rarely used.

Experience of living through the lockdown phase has come with many important lessons. Cash both at an individual level and at an organization level is becoming number one priority. At an organizational level, committees are being put in place for sanctioning even small amount of expenditure. From economy’s perspective consumption will be affected as more people will be conservative than ever before due to uncertainty of jobs, also due to fear this virus might come back again. Even people who are sitting on good amount of cash would take decisions after good amount of risk assessment. Saving as much cash as possible will be the only priority for most of the population. Many will achieve this by shifting focus from unnecessary expenditure to only what is required or necessary. However, individuals and organizations with innovative and open mindset would be able to survive and thrive even in this situation depending on the industry. Many people will also learn to practice gratitude as they will be more appreciative of what they have vs. what they don’t have.

2. We have been reading in the news, that many couples across the world are getting divorced due to the lockdown and also on the professional front many people seem to be under tremendous amount of stress.

I feel having good mentors is the best insurance policy as mentors can help one sail through in any situation in life. If we throw a small stone in a pond we see many ripples. In a larger lake the same stone doesn’t make a big difference. At times within the family people get in to conflicts due to small things due to which they get stuck in the pond. If they broaden the horizon, like the lake, these small stones don’t make a big difference in life.

Mentors can help us realize both in the personal and the professional front that we shouldn’t be affected by situations on which we have no control. Instead we should look at people who have bigger social or financial challenges than us; instead we as families should try to help others by getting away from the ‘I, Me and Mine’ feeling. If more and more families think in that direction of what we can do for others, it will not only make them positive, it helps them in being inspired.

There is a saying that charity begins at home. As a family we need to work with each other to improve our health, do things we wanted to do which we couldn’t do, try to help the community as much as possible. In the current situation almost everyone is a victim. Everyone can also try to be part of a solution by switching the gears when it comes to the mindset. Our attitude should be to help our family in these stressful times rather than adding to the stress.

3. How can spirituality help in the current situation?

My serious interest in spirituality began when I was 31 years old. Spirituality has taught me the importance of time due to which I have learnt to prioritize things in my life by keeping in mind I have limited time in this world. In addition to time, it has given me the understanding of who I am.

Am I the Chairman of Arvind Mafatlal Group? Or am I first a human being like 7.2 billion others, and incidentally I happen to have certain responsibilities?

Ultimately as children of the one creator, we are all part of the same family.

Spirituality has made me dive deeper into questions like ‘where have I come from’ and ‘where am I going’. Where does my happiness comes from? If something is there, then someone has to be behind it.

Spirituality has made me understand my relationship with the creator while continuing to perform my duties. Spirituality has made me realize I am not the master of my destiny; I am not the controller of both good and bad things which come in my life. Spirituality helps me in reconnecting with the Creator of this universe by diving deeper in to the internal aspect of life as compared to the external aspect of life. And to do this, there is serious commitment of time.

Today everyone wants to be peaceful, and I feel spirituality is the best peace formula for this world. In the final analysis, spiritual interest is a matter of internal consciousness, it doesn’t take me away from worldly duties, rather it helps me perform my duties more responsibly.

I would like to conclude this by sharing one formula which can help the CMT’s (Crisis Management Teams) across the world. This formula is also known as CMT (Cash, Mentors and Time) which I feel is the need of the hour. If organizations can help their employees make this formula a priority, they will be soon able to get out of this crisis.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

Mr. Hrishikesh Mafatlal is the Chairman of the Arvind Mafatlal Group. He is also a TEDx Speaker. Mr. Mafatlal is on the board of 11 other companies. He is also Trustee of Shri Sadguru Seva Sangh Trust, Chairman of BAIF Development Research Foundation, Trustee of Lady Northcote Hindu Orphanage (LNHO), Chairman of the Bhaktivedanta Hospital at Mira Road. He has also been associated with the pioneering effort of tribal rehabilitation in more than 40 villages of Wada Taluka in Palghar District.