L Prabhakar – The ecstasy and agony of working as an HR professional in organisations today

L Prabhakar – The ecstasy and agony of working as an HR professional in organisations today

Kabhi Khushi, Kabhi Gam”

No . It is “Andaz Apna Apna”

For me, it has always been “Anand”

30 years back, I had embarked on a journey armed only with a PG Diploma after having a Degree in Graduation.

A journey that started with little tentativeness, but I was driven by confidence and a desire to do well. A journey into the fascinating world of HR that as some of my school mates say now, I had decided even when I was in school. Just like Iqbal’s Saare Jahan se Accha may have been an inspiration for me to work in India, the song from “Iqbal” set the tone for my journey.



Kutch Paane Ki Ho Aas Aas

Kutch Armaan Ho Jo Khaas Khaas

In 1988, these lines from the famous “Mera Joota hai Japaani” song of “Shree 420” seemed apt

Nikal pade hai khulli sadak par apna seena taane, manzil kahan, kahan rukhna hai, uparwale jaane, badte jai hum sailani, jaise ek dariya toofani .

In these 30 years, I had the opportunity to experience

1 Country – Mera Bharat Mahaan

3 ‘Indian companies’ – TVS Motors, ITC and Murugappa Group; 5 Major industries

7 cities

7 transfers 7 HR leaders

9 Business / Operational leaders 11 different roles

100s of HR team members 1000s of colleagues

Many, many friends, well-wishers, guides and mentors Country and society at large

I was fortunate to work with some inspiring leaders over these 30 years, but which would not have been possible but for the encouragement that I received from family and some very close family friends who provided all the anchors and support especially after I got into Class X.


So how do I look at the last three decades? Some FACTs based on experiences. These may not necessarily be in line with what is generally discussed. So what are these FACTs?

Things that I have continued to experience throughout last 30 years:

  • Fundamentals (including Principles) as cornerstone for championing People

  • Fraternal pride amongst HR professionals

  • Authenticity as the critical success factor for HR

  • Alignment to business and society as a necessary requirement

Things that I have observed changing, changing more in the last decade:

  • Context (Socio-economic, business, new generation growing in an environment of abundance)

  • Conversation language on HR aspects as well as on general matters – though at times I wonder if we really are having conversations

  • Tools and Techniques including Technology

  • Time frame getting compressed on all aspects

Having looked at it FACTually, I now explore it the Bollywood way on how the journey has been so far.


My first decade had some unexpected work based challenges, challenges that probably come once in a lifetime, challenges that I never expected to face. Challenges that made me learn several life lessons and professional lessons. This song from “Lagaan” sums it up aptly

Baar baar haan, bolo yaar haan

Apni jeet ho, unki haar haan

Baar baar haan, bolo yaar haan

Apni jeet ho, unki haar haan

Koi humse jeet na paave

Chale chalo, chale chalo

Mit jaave joh takrave, chale chalo

Bhale ghor andhera chhave

Chale chalo, chale chalo

Koi rah mein na tham jaave, chale chalo

Toot gayi joh ungli uthi

Paanchon mili toh ban gaye mutthi

Eka badhta hi jaave

Chale chalo, chale chalo

Koi kitna bhi behkave, chale chalo

Koi humse jeet na paave

Chale chalo, chale chalo

This decade also taught me not to give up; prepared me for tougher challenges ahead, thanks to the inspirational guidance from seniors during this period. Yes, “Imtihan” it was.

Ruk jaana nahin tu kahin haar ke

Kaanton pe chal ke milenge saaye bahaar ke

O raahi, o raahi

Suraj dekh ruk gaya hai, tere aage jhuk gaya hai

Jab kabhi aise koi mastaana

Nikale hai apani dhun men diwaana

Shaam suhaani ban jaate hain din intajaar ke

Saathi na kaarawaan hai, ye tera imtihaan hai

Yun hi chala chal dil ke sahaare

Karti hai manzil tujh ko ishaare

Dekh kahin koi rok nahin le tujhko pukaar ke


The second decade possibly saw the maximum movements and multiplicity on most parameters. It saw me leaving ITC and returning back soon within that decade.

Mana jaane wale laut ke kab aate hain Doob kee suraj taare

phir bhi nikal aate hain Pyaar agar sachcha ho bichde mil jaate hain Hanste hanste kat jaaye raste jindagi yunhi chalti rahe

khushi meele ya gham, badlenge naa hum duniya chahe badalti rahe

This decade also gave me the opportunity to start contributing to the HR profession and community in a more meaningful manner. No intention to paint the town red, but always remembered “Lal Patthar”

Geet gata hoon main, gungunata hoon main

Maine hasne ka vaada kiya tha kabhi

Isliye ab sada muskurata hoon main

Sab ko phoolon ki mala pehnata hoon main

Muskurata hoon main

Roshni hogi itni keese thi khabar

Mere mann ka yeh darpan gaya hai nikhar

Sath hai ab yeh darpan dikhata hoon main

Muskurata hoon main


Most part of the third decade of experience though in one industry and mostly in one location was probably the most inspiring and meaningful, thanks to the association with eChoupal, engaging with different causes and continuing the association with HR profession. Time to realize the “Upkar”

Mere desh kee dhartee, sona ugale, ugale heere moti Mere desh kee dhartee

Bailon ke gale mein jab ghungaru, jeewan kaa raag sunaate hai Gam kos door ho jaataa hai, khushiyon ke kanwal muskaate hai Sun ke rahat kee aawaaje, yoo lage kahee shahanaaee baje Aate hee mast bahaaron ke dulhan kee tarah har khet saje

Jab chalate hain is dharatee pe hal, mamataa angadaeeyaan letee hai Kyo naa pooje is maantee ko, jo jeewan kaa sukh detee hai

Is dharatee pe jis ne janam liyaa, usane hee paayaa pyaar teraa Yahaa apanaa paraayaa koee nahee, hain sab pe, maa, upakaar teraa

Seeing the passion of farmers and many others wanting to make a difference in their own way, and of course the stupendous commitment of the team that I got a chance to work with, provided me a sense of optimism, inspite of the many negative and energy sapping events that one sees around us. This reminded me of the regular discussions on HR wanting to make a difference. So much to learn from “Lagaan”

O Mitwa, Sun Mitwa, Tujhko Kya Darr Hai Re

Yeh Dharti Apni Hai, Apna Ambar Hai Re

O Mitwa, Sun Mitwa, Tujhko Kya Darr Hai Re

Dharti Apni Hai, Apna Ambar Hai Re

Tu Aaja Re

Sun Lo Re Mitwa

Purwa Bhi Gaayegi, Masti Bhi Chhaayegi

Milke Pukaaro To

Phoolon Waali Jo Rut Hai, Aayegi

Haan, Sukh Bhare Din, Dukh Ke Binlaayegi

Hum Tum Sajaaye Aao, Rangon Ke Mele

Rehte Ho Bolo Kaahe Tum Yun Akele

Mitwa, Sun Mitwa, Tujhko Kya Darr Hai Re

Yeh Dharti Apni Hai, Apna Ambar Hai Re


Today, as I pause and think ahead, I am reminded of this famous number. I believe HR should have its own “Andaaz”

Zindagi ek safar hai suhana

Yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana

Chand taaron se chalna hai aage

Asmaanon se badna hai aage

Pichhe reh jayega yeh zamana

Yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana

Zindagi ek safar hai suhana

Yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana

Haste gate jahan se guzar

Duniya ki tu parvah na kar

Muskuraate hue din bitana

Yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana

Haan zindagi ek safar hai suhana

I feel there is still so much that I can do for the HR profession, for the society and for the country at large. Hoping that I can take all the opportunities that life provides me to make a difference, leave back a legacy something that I can cherish when I reflect back on 4 decades of professional journey. It will indeed be a medley of all the good times, and not so good times. All that I aspire for is to continue singing

Na munh chupake jiyo, na sar jukhake jiyo

Yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana

Yun Hi Chala Chal Raahi…

Kitni Hasin Hai Yeh Duniya

Bhool Saare Jhamele,

Dekh Phoolon Ke Mele

Badi Rangeen Hai Yeh Duniya

As Robert Frost says

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

Indeed grateful to everyone who has made a difference in these 30 years and look for the same support and guidance from all of them and many more whom I may get to know in future.

As William Arthur Ward said “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not presenting it”.

Shaukeen” hai hum HR keLLL “Shukriya” HR

Picture Abhi baaki hai dost )))

Previous Vijetha Shenoy – The ecstasy and agony of working as an HR professional in organisations today

Leave Your Comment

Connect With Us

We are an autonomous, not-for-profit, professionally managed organization, playing a catalyst role in grooming leaders for tomorrow
Unit 308, 3rd floor, Sakti Statesman,
Green Glen Layout, Bellandur,
Bengaluru – 560103

Mon – Sat: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Take the membership today & enjoy the benefits at 12th NHRD HR Showcase 2024

*Offer valid till 31st January 2024