During my school days I used to live in a private residential colony in Triplicane. Triplicane, for the uninitiated, is the oldest part of Chennai, then called Madras and a breeding ground of scholars who could rip even guys like Churchill for their bad English! The colony where I lived had ten houses each separated from the other by a thin, audibly transparent wall! They were situated in a square pattern with an open space in the centre in such a way that each family had an uninterrupted view of every other family. Barring an occasional show of temper particularly during the time when the highly rationed corporation water flowed through the brass tap for a limited time, the level of bonhomie was so high among the families that no privacy was ever considered necessary. Many members of the younger generation often ask me how we ever spent our time without TV and radio in those days. I always tell them that we never felt the need for any external entertainment as most of it was usually provided live by the families that lived around us. Rich classical music was provided by ladies in loud and clear voice aimed more at warding off any accidental intruders while they were taking bath in the doorless bathrooms. There were this Mani and Poorani expressing their great love for each other through soul-stirring Antakshari sitting on either side of the wall that separated their families. Those songs used to be the chart-busters of those days. There was endless drama in every family which was distinctly more gripping than any soap that we see on the idiot box these days. Limited over cricket had already come to stay as an enduring sport in our days well before the gritty Australian Kerry Packer started experimenting with a limited version of cricket. In fact, the tennis ball cricket that we played generated so much tension and excitement that the heated arguments amongst us invariably spilled over to the heads of our families. In retrospect, I think that most of the family feuds that raged among us had their roots in our limited over matches. I even remember that there was a ban on a member of a particular family participating in our matches due to some such hostility . I learned several home truths during those golden days. The first was that a better half was not necessarily the better half. This revelation came to me from observing a particular family in which the lady was a devil in disguise while her husband was a mild-mannered gentleman. This was the only family that had a hand-winding gramophone that we all wanted to handle very badly. The man would permit us to change the needle and wind the spring and gently place the decoder on the grooves of the record. All this he would permit only whenever his wife was away. In her presence, he used to throw at us such a pathetic glance that our hearts melted for him. The unanimous view was that he was the better half. The second was that a breadwinner was not necessarily entitled to his share of the bread as it was a matter that lay under the sole discretion of the lady of the family in most cases. Such breadwinners, however, had certain privileges on the salary day every month that included more than their due share of the bread. It was from these hapless middle-class husbands of dominating women that I learned my first lesson in leadership viz. a leader had more responsibilities than privileges and his responsibilities were always in multiples of privileges and not factors thereof. If you have a flair for mathematics, you would know what I mean!