M.V. Sastry
Retd. Director General (Road Development)
Government of India (Ministry of Surface Transport)
AC/59-B, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi-110 088
Phone: 27485797

By making personality attractive, one can progress in life and perform his tasks exceedingly well. Developing a good individuality is as important as being civilized. Physical attributes and assets do play a role in shaping up the personality. But, beauty should not be defined strictly in terms of physical features and youth alone. Beauty includes intelligence, character, knowledge, warmth, posture, speech, personal style, skill and much more. As years pass by, maturity, experience, will and compatibility get better. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.@The following would help in making your personality attractive:- Fill your mind with thoughts that make you happy. They reflect in your face.- Resolve to forget things that caused you discontentment.- Cultivate to have a cool and calm facial expression (Looking in the mirror would help).- Stand erect. Let positive thoughts flow through your mind. Throw away the opposing/negative thoughts.- Recollect kind thoughts.- Seek God's help to reflect his good qualities in you.- Be kind to others. Be grateful to those who show kindness towards you.- Be natural. Go out with the belief that your inherent shine is radiating from you. (Do not however become proud or arrogant). We must enjoy doing what we love and love what we do with a pride. The fainthearted do not pick the roses in their gardens for fear of thorns; the forceful know that one must run the risk of being pricked if one wishes to harvest the best flowers. The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. An attempt has been made to present here some points that will help us to become successful.

Despite pressure of work, we should observe proper manners and etiquette in dealing with others. They make workspaces civilized and working pleasant. We should exhibit behaviour, which is characterized by qualities such as courtesy, tactfulness, trustworthiness, empathy, consideration etc. Be courteous and thoughtful to the people around you, regardless of the situation. Consider other people's feelings, but stick to your convictions as diplomatically as possible. Address conflict as situation-related rather than person-related. And most importantly apologise when you step on someone's toes. The following are some of the basic etiquette:- Switch your cell phone off before you attend a meeting.- Answer the telephone politely and take a message if the call is for your colleague.- Knock before you enter a room.- Ask before you sit down.- Wait for people to get out before you get into the elevator. QUALITIES OF A PERSON WITH A GOOD EMOTIONAL QUOTIENT- Sensitive to the needs of his co-workers.- Customizes management style to identify an individual's strength and weaknesses and helps them grow.- Recognises his subordinates for jobs well done and rewards them. He does not indulge in self-praise.- Builds cordial interpersonal relationships and is not completely performance-driven. TO KEEP COOL WHEN YOU ARE UPSET- Count till 10.- Breathe deeply.- Indulge in creative visualization. (Close your eyes,andimagine that you have accomplished the given task in the best possible manner).- Give positive affirmations to yourself.- Be positive (See the other person's point of view).- Have confidence in your problem-solving skills. Discuss issues and problems with your colleagues and seniors; seek and accept their help. Be rational and logical.

A person shapes his nature by the result of his thoughts and ideals. The result of his actions is dependent on his way of thinking. When a person thinks affirmatively, those thoughts influence his individuality and enable him to achieve success in his efforts. One should fix up a goal with a pure mind and when he thinks with concentration, keeping that in mind, thoughts will arise which will help to achieve that goal. Henry Ford said: 'Think deeply and cultivate attraction. When you want to do a work, think with concentration, arrange what is needed to accomplish that. When you think about a thing deeply, you get attracted to that and you will get that in a way that you can utilize it.' Be optimistic and encourage positive thoughts.

Facing the issues, instead of trying to avoid them, will enhance your courage, self-confidence and thinking steadily will help in that. Whatever may be the obstacles on the way, resolve constructively in your mind and move forward to achieve your goal. If your resolve is proper, God will help you. When you are agitated or when injustice is done to you, do not react in haste, learn to remain calm in a dignified way by strolling, observing greenery and thinking of proper ways to handle the issue.

To exercise control over our behaviour even when circumstances are not favourable.- To cultivate with discipline conducting peacefully and cheerfully with others.- Studying moods of people.- To handle issues with courage and intelligence.

The characteristics that help identify potential leaders are:- Authenticity (They do not put on persona)- Not self-centered (Interested in serving rather than garnering power)- Using adversity to advantage.- Persistence.- Learning from one's mistakes.- Focusing on the positive.- Seeing, recognizing and seizing an opportunity.
Empowering employees who are of Victim mode (they ramble incessantly about their misery), Cynic mode (they focus on the negative) and Bystander mode (they watch the game from the side lines) must be avoided. People who operate in navigator mode should be empowered. They are incharge of their lives: physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual. They focus on what they can change (by considering why the change is needed, the benefits it can produce and the likely tradeoff involved) and, consequently, have a deep sense of personal peace. They seek out opportunities for improvement and ways to help minimize the negative reactions. They maintain their optimism by constantly balancing present pain against future gain.

Food that has complex carbs, good quality fat, good proteins and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (Over cooked or reheated food is highly unhealthy. Sprouts and salads are good).- B vitamin supplements (Bananas, unpolished rice, dals, pulses, whole grain cereals, peas).- Fibre rich foods (Brown rice) and dry fruits, nuts, seeds.- Get an Oxygen high by steering clear of polluted surroundings and taking a glass of raw vegetable juice daily.- Sit upright, walk without a hunch.- Exercise regularly.- Sleep well for 7-8 hours everyday.- Every half an hour or so, take a small break.- Distress (Prioritise, delegate, and also wholly eliminate the unnecessary tasks. Realistic goals, prioritizing and positive thinking help. Yoga, Deep breathing exercises and Prayer help).- Eat small, frequent meals.- Keep your surroundings cool.- Have a lot of greenery in your surroundings.- Avoid cigarettes, alcohol and coffee.- Think positive and keep out negative thoughts.- Laughter.

In an interview, a candidate is essentially evaluated on three broad parameters-knowledge, behaviour and confidence. Self-awareness is important. Mere factual knowledge is not enough. One should be able to discuss issues analytically. Amongst other things, interviewers try to gauge a candidate's personal disposition-his confidence, level-headedness, poise, maturity, enthusiasm, sincerity and friendliness.@The group discussion reveals the social behaviour of a candidate. Selectors judge participants' team skills, leadership potential, articulation and analytical ability through this exercise. It is the quality of one's views that matters, not the time taken. Articulation should give a definite direction, meaning or conclusion to the discussion. While assessing cognitive skills in the group discussion, selectors want to see if you are able to comprehend the core idea of what is being discussed. Do not initiate talk if you are not familiar with the given subject. First understand and analyse the topic. Reason logically and support your answer with examples. Add correct and accurate figures to prove your argument and conclude it appropriately. Introduce new points and do not repeat what you or others have already said. Be short and sharp in your responses. Demonstrate an amiable attitude and team spirit.

FACTORS FOR JOB SATISFACTION- Having a best friend at work.- Knowing what is expected of me.- Having the materials and equipment I need.- Rank and title matter more than pay.- A flexible schedule.- Collaborating with others.- Having a variety of duties.

Life has become hectic and machine like with the result we have no time even to stare at the sunrise or enjoy the other facets of nature. We should fight only to live happily, to win over enemies in the form of weaknesses, to get over opponents like issues/problems, but in the name of war we should not convert our life into a battle field. Fight is necessary for self-defence but is foolish for illegal occupation. One should decide himself the goal of his war.@There is no use cursing the darkness. One has to get up and switch on the light or light a candle. A person, who wants to fight the issues or aims to become number one, creates light in darkness and goes in search of opportunities.@You have the talent, enthusiasm for your goal, self-confidence to encourage your desire: all that is needed is only to start making efforts and brazing ahead. Each issue you face is a war by itself. Those who have the inspiration and courage to fight the issues are the victors who will make their dreams come true.

Everyone has some problems or the other. Those slowly lead to stress. They tie some people. The following would help in getting rid of the stress:- Every incident can get us some benefit. Have a positive attitude and think what you can gain from that experience.- Do not bother about the mistakes made earlier. Do not worry about the future. Convert the present into an optimistic and creative way.- Do not compare yourself with others.- Do not feel jealous of what others have. Be contented with what you have.- Leave the ego. Get rid of the thought from your mind that you are greater than others.- Do not try to solve many issues at one time. Take one issue and try to solve it utilizing all the abilities at your command.- If the issue cannot be solved despite making all the efforts, do not worry. Time can solve all the problems.- Think that criticisers are your well-wishers. By pointing out the weaknesses in you, they act as psychotherapists. Do not criticize any one who is not present.- Never think of taking revenge. Forgive and forget.- Put the burden of all problems on God and relax. Be without worries.- Cultivate an optimistic approach for day-to-day incidents. - Observe your mind carefully. This enables controlling unnecessary thoughts and giving rest to the mind.- Laughing is an antidote to stress. Laugh at your mistakes but not at others.- Pray for 15 minutes daily. That will give mental peace and steadiness, and the much needed rest to mind and body.

BENEFITS OF SABBATICALS- Eventually his/her upgraded competencies will bring value to the company.- Good retention mechanisms for the organisation's high performers.- They reinforce a culture of continuous learning.- They allow skill-sets to grow.- The employee feels valued in knowing that the company was willing to hold a job open for him or her.

BENEFITS OF GOSSIPING ABOUT THE COMMON ENEMY- A useful emotional release and a good way of building a rapport with others.- Helps build group morale.- Team-building.- Shows up people's personalities (If you find out that the complaint your colleague has made about something or someone is untrue, you have found something out about them, notably that you can't trust them. This will be useful in working life).- The very act of grumbling makes you feel better.- Can act as a great stress-reliever.- Gossip can be a constructive means of expressing and managing emotion-anger, envy and frustration towards a colleague or situation.- A way of dealing with anxiety.- A therapeutic experience to let off steam.

Smooth coordination between body, mind and spirit enriches your health. Meditation helps this coordination. Don't suppress negative feelings like anger, fear or greed. Meditation helps in both physical and mental healing. The way to meditate:- Lie or sit down with a relaxed frame of mind.- Concentrate on a single point. You may do it with eyes either closed or open.- Play some relaxing background music, in case that helps you to concentrate better.- The idea is not to empty your mind of all thoughts but to still it.

Have motivation. Observe discipline with will power, keeping the following points in view, to achieve the target: - Set your goal (Focusing too much on achievement and too little on your efforts leads to frustration)- Set practical targets, believe in them and work on them.- Positive visualization.- Understand your emotions.- Respect yourself, enhance your self-esteem with positive message like 'I am strengthening my positives and unloading my weaknesses.'- Create a healthy environment.- Be receptive to change (Any growth involves change, so don't cling to old patterns)- Be patient (Enjoy your success even if it comes in small doses)- Be positive even in the face of adversity.

In life, fighting with the issues is a continuing process. You have the requisite armaments to fight. The basket of arrows is with you. You have to collect your self-confidence and get started. You can assemble your infinite strength to solve the issues by proper thinking, reflecting on the alternative solutions, expertise, determination, self-confidence, sincerity and spirit to fight. Keeping the following in view will help:- Before you do a work, estimate its effect, gain, loss etc.- Do not show your anger immediately. Exhibit happiness immediately.- Be transparent with atleast one person in life (preferably life partner) - Hear whatever advice others give. Think again. If what you have thought of doing appears still sound, then go ahead.- Take responsibility, be it success or failure. Stop blaming others.- Do atleast one work in a day/week that gives you contentment.- Don't deceive yourself.- Take failure as a stepping-stone to success and success as an inspiration to victory.- Get enthusiasm/inspiration from issues/failures.

Dream dreams and make efforts to realize them. Those dreams should be inspiring and enthusing and should give contentment to the soul. Passion to realize the dream, treating work as worship and making adequate efforts are required. One should try to get over his weaknesses. To make life interesting and achieve substantial progress, one should not confine to routine rut but should go in sometimes for different things like meeting relatives, spending time with close friends and children, trying to know new things, going out for lunch/dinner etc.

Happiness is a state of mind-you is as happy as you will yourself to be. Keys to being happy at the work place are:- Challenges in the current job (Challenging work environment) - The infrastructure of the company.- Making the job role clear right at the outset.- Benefits on the welfare front.- Well rounded pay package.- Relationship with the boss.- If you are unhappy at the work place, talk about it to your boss to see if any changes could be initiated.

The following would help to enhance conversational strengths:- You set the stage for greater interactivity by acknowledging communication (Signals that acknowledge the person's point of view are raising queries, seeking clarifications and using body language).- Clarity about conversational intent at the beginning itself makes it easier for the other person to give a better thought out and more purposeful response in declining or accepting your point of view.- By conveying a message with clarity, we help the other person visualize a clearer picture of our experience.- Convey sincerity and involvement (Convey what you see and hear, add how you feel, add reasons, speak about what you want, mention the objective).- Open-ended questions allow for more thought-out and committed responses.- Words are not the only medium of communication. More than 65% of our communication is non-verbal: this is where the body language comes into the picture. One has to learn patience. Your body, mind and heart will tell you what you should say and what you should not. Listen to their signals, get their approval before you speak.

To make rapid strides in life, one should learn to observe silence. Silence enhances our deciding faculty. By being calm and cool, one can think dispassionately and conduct in a way that he not only makes others happy but also receives approbation from them. He creates confidence and courage in others' minds. It is contemplative silence that enables our progress. By recognizing and thinking about the weaknesses in us, we will be able to get over them and become strong. The contemplative silence leads to victory in career and happiness in life. We should remember that silence is the temple for pure, good and constructive thoughts.@Getting along well with people is a sure way to elicit their cooperation and achieve success. For this, one should increase his circle of friends. The way to do this is developing friendly mentality, not being selfish, showering love on others and being considerate to them. One should cultivate speaking pleasantly and softly with love and respect. By conducting ourselves well, we will be able to discover friends. @Self-belief is quite the key ingredient for success. Winning is a matter of habit, a matter of the mind, a matter that needs to be focused on at every level. Competitions are won first in the mind. One should be physically fit and mentally active. Reading is as essential for the mind as is exercise for the body. A happy person is capable of remarkable achievements. The following would help to maintain mental health:- Accept yourself as you are (even if you have some shortcomings). Respect yourself. Try to improve your individuality/personality.- Keep in view your destination. Heed to what your conscience says. Do not get entangled in conflicts. It is only when you divert your attention from the goal, obstacles on the way looking dangerous.- Perform to the best of your ability and do not worry about the outcome.- Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.- Many things that we fear about do not happen. Do not worry for the future.- Accept others as they are. (Being human beings, they may also have some drawbacks).- Spend some time in a hobby like hearing/ singing music, painting, writing, gardening etc.)- If yours is a desk job, spend sometime in brisk walk/games.Keep in mind that you cannot change the world but you can change yourself. Enthusiasm is the fuel for life. It can take you to your destination. By learning from yesterday's mistakes, you can become wiser today. People will judge you by your deeds but not by your desires. Patience is a virtue. If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. That should be the motto.


Born in Sept. 1937, graduated in Civil Engg. from Andhra University in FIRST CLASS with HONOURS standing University 2nd. While on UNDP training in U.S.A., received commendation from Ohio State University for doing MS in Structural Engg. with Thesis option in 9 months with a GPA of 3.975/4.0. Did MBA Operations Management. Also did Preliminary and Advanced Diplomas in French.

Over 45 years of experience in design, planning, overseeing execution, and management of various infrastructure projects like roads, bridges etc. ; coordinate with various agencies including World Bank, ADB, OECF (Japan) and advise the Government of India.

Reached the highest technical position of Director General (Road Development) in Government of India (Ministry of Surface Transport) in the field of Roads and Bridges. Had the overall responsibility for the development of roads in the country including advising the government. After discussions at various levels, the National Highways Act was amended in June 1995 to enable Private Sector Participation in Construction, development and maintenance of National Highways. Extracts from the interview prior to amendment appeared in June 1995 issue of "Civil Engineer International" published from London. Was Advisor for a G.O.I aided project (bridges including approaches) in Nepal for 4 years. Was also Advisor to a Consultancy firm dealing with big highway projects for about 3 years.

Was Chairman of ING-IABSE (Indian National Group of International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineering), Chairman of Highway Research Board and Vice- President of Indian Roads Congress. Fellow of Institution of Engineers India, Chartered Engineer of Institution of Engineers, Fellow of Indian Geotechnical Society, Life Member of IRC, Member of International Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineers, Member of ING-IABSE. Was first delegate from India for the World Road Congress held in Montreal in 1995. Was the Chairman/ Panelist of several Technical sessions, Seminars.

Toured extensively in the country and visited USA, UK, Canada, Japan and Nepal. Gave lectures to officers upto the level of SE at CPWD Training Institute as also at the National Institute of Training for Highway Engineers.

Published 121 papers out of which 72 are on topics connected with management (managing oneself as well as others). Some technical articles/ reviews had appeared in Journals of USA, USSR & UK. Evolved MIS for Roads Wing. Received "Shri Ram Award" for the Article "Get the best from you".


Source: E-mail December 24, 2004
Mukesh Chopra
AB-206, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi-110 088
Phone: 27484854, 27488012, E-mail:


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