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Showing posts from June, 2014

OUR LEFT-HANDED COMPLIMENTS

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Pic.: Ruma Chatterjee
Alady greeted me when I was in the bank, this morning. “How are you, ma’am,” I enquired, “How is teaching going on?”
“Teaching and me?” she reacted in surprise, “No, sir, that’s not my cup of tea! Anything in Finance, YESSS!”
Her face lit up when she declared ‘Finance’... and, yes, there was that extra-ordinary self-confidence evident in her “YESSS!”
Well, she wasn’t a teacher like me. Yes, I was wrong there. She was the Finance head in her company. “Sir, one needs loads of patience to be a teacher, which I don’t have,” the lady confessed. Then she added, with a twinkle in her eyes, “How do you continue to do it for decades?”
Anhour before that, I had lost my head in the class. One of the SY B’Com girls was telling me: If you add 20,000 to 1,00,000, you get 12,000! I noticed the way she had placed the commas... I counted the zeroes... They were all haywire. It was the nth time I was pointing her mistakes to her... So, I was arguing in my mind that, I had the genuine r…

WHEN I HAVE WATCHED MY FEARS STANDING ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN

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Pic.: Aparna Khanolkar Sheth

“When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.” - Joel Osteen

One of the worst things, sometimes, I do towards my own well-being is: I try to prove someone how much I have done to him or her. Let me tell you this: I have never ever succeeded in proving this to anyone... On the contrary, I have only come out badly bruised attempting to do it.
The urge to prove my contribution towards another stems from my own insecurity and fear. Had I contributed through my love, I wouldn’t have landed in a state like this... That is, with this need to prove.
So, now and then, when I indulge in it, I can sense, so clearly, how it feels and what it does to my well-being and self-confidence... It drains my energy, leaves me with a feeling of being a loser in life... Yes, it does.
Anger and arguments don’t change the reality even a bit. At best – rather, at worst – they only try to shut the other person’s voice...
What comes from true …

IN THE FERTILE SOIL OF APPRECIATION...

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Pic.: Ruma Chatterjee





“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” - Dalai Lama

For Sana, my eleventh-standard (CBSE) student, today was the first session in my class. When her mother came to pick her up after the class, I spontaneously said:
“Ma’am, Sana is really good... Very attentive, very enthusiastic and responsive... It was a real pleasure teaching her.”
The mother blushed... Without her saying much, I could hear what she was telling me:
“Thank you sir... You made my day!”
Last night, Arnab, a friend of mine, had invited me to his place for dinner. He and his wife, Reena, had really poured their hearts into everything that was there as part of last evening... music, food, drinks, snacks, desert, discussion and, above all, the warmth... Giving was full. It was visible, palpable... inviting. I felt so relaxed and re-charged that I did not realize the time I was leaving their place: 1.30!
Normally, I send a thank-you message from my cell-phone on my way home.…

THERE GOES WITH THAT SILLY FISH, ALL MY MISERY!

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Pic.: Malabika Ganguly
“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” Havelock Ellis Once, the fishermen in a village had just returned after their daily catch. As they were busy sorting out the fishes, a Kite swooped down from the blue sky, caught a small fish by the beak, and shot up into the skies. Immediately, a hundred crows appeared from nowhere and began to chase the Kite, making a crazy commotion in the sky... To whichever direction the Kite flew, the crows followed it.... Kite flew West, crows did, too... Kite flew East, the crows did, too... Kite zoomed high up, the crows did, too... The Kite dived deep, the crows did, too... Finally, the Kite, tired and frustrated, could fly no more... So, it decided to drop the fish... The moment the fish was dropped, the crows left the Kite alone, and went after the falling fish! The Kite quietly settled down on the branch of a nearby tree... From there, watching the insane spectacle, it concluded: “There goes wi…

KEEPING OUR CREATIVITY ALIVE AND THRIVING

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Pic.: Ruma Chatterjee
Presently, I am reading the book – ‘Pour Your Heart Into It’ – by Howard Schultz (Chairman and CEO of STARBUCKS).  ‘How STARBUCKS Built a Company One Cup at a Time’... the byline of the book reads.
Some two years ago, when STARBUCKS had just opened its first outlet in Mumbai, someone had given a copy of this book to me, and I had immensely loved it. Howard was not the founder of  STARBUCKS. He was the one who took it over and made it what it is today... In the book, he tells us as to how he – and his wonderful team – made it ‘one cup at a time’... Yes, pouring their hearts into it!
Incidentally, two days ago, I was having a discussion with a photographer-friend of mine. The discussion centered around the subject: how to keep our creativity alive in us.
Just the day before, my friend had accompanied a very well-known photographer, his idol, to a scenic setting in the outskirts of Mumbai... It was a spontaneous decision... There was a strong hunch... the place was cal…

OUR HOROSCOPE HOURS

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Pic.: Ruma Chatterjee
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” Jim Rohn Last evening, I was called by a parent of a young-boy to their house in order to help him decide what he had to choose now: B.Sc - IT or B.M.S? The boy had passed his twelfth-standard with 58%!
Two years ago, this boy had scored around 80% in SSC. The parents and the young-man, both, had decided that he should take Science and aim for Engineering. But, with 80% in SSC, which college would admit him into the Science stream?  The minority quota did it!
It did not take long for the boy the grasp the reality: “Dude, it is tough; you need to be damn focused, disciplined and hard-working.” Our young-man was not ready for it... His parents enrolled him in one of the top coaching-classes; but, the money and the expectations, both, went down the drain. The boy, by now, had decided not to pursue Engineering...
That’s okay... In life, one has the right, and the duty, to re-think about his goals. But, what the…

RUNNING FOR YOUR 'LUNCH'... AND RUNNING FOR YOUR 'LIFE'

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Pic.: Chetna Shetty
The other story – yes, set in the jungle – is here...
“Once, in a jungle, a Cheetah was teaching his son the art of hunting. As the training session was on, they smelt a prey at some distance... It was a deer.
“Son, listen,” the Cheetah whispered to his cub, “a deer is on our way. Watch me how I hunt, okay?”
“Okay dad,” said the little-one, excited.
Then, the father and the son hid behind a large bush, where they waited holding their breath. And, as the deer was about to cross their way, the Cheetah, the seasoned hunter, leapt from behind the bush and tried to grab the delicate deer. But, the deer escaped... The chase began...
The faster the Cheetah ran, even faster the deer did... till the dear disappeared completely from the sight of Cheetah...
The Cheetah, finally, returned to his son and collapsed, completely exhausted...
Looking at his father’s plight, the little-one remarked, “Dad you lost and the deer won.”
The father pulled his innocent son close to his bosoms, and …

IGNITE THAT FIRE AND HUNGER IN YOUR BELLY

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Pic.: Nishtha Narryani
“Aman needsto look, not down, but up to standards set so much above his ordinary self as to make him feel that he ishimselfspiritually the underdog.” Irving Babbitt
It is just the start of the academic year. Though I don’t believe in holding series of tests and judging my students by the marks they have scored, I relentlessly instill in them the value of being focused, determined and self-disciplined in life. “It starts from being clear about your goal... Fix it high, and fix it now,” I drill into their heads, “Once you have done it, and decided to have it badly, no one needs to remind you, coax you, least of all, force you to do your work.”
The message sinks in most of the time, and in most of the hearts. In some hears, it takes more time... but, it does sink in, for sure.
Why am I so confident that all my students take home my message?
Because, all of them want to succeed in life!
Ihad announced the first test – in just one chapter – for my twelfth-standard students…

I HAVEN'T SEEN MY MARK-SHEET FOR DECADES, NOW...

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Pic.: Chetna Shetty Ihad scored very bad marks in tenth-standard and twelfth-standard board-exams. It was only F.Y.B’Com onwards – when Prof. Raman came to teach us, and I intensely desired to become a teacher like him – that my exams performance began to improve. Still, I would say, it was way below the accepted standards of the day. I was teaching plenty of students during my final-year B.Com. Many of my students scored much higher than I did!
But, then, I knew that I would do in life nothing else but teaching... whether with good marks or bad. Luckily, I do not remember anyone asking me, all through my three-decades-plus teaching career, “How much did you get?” Everyone has been interested in how good I am now: how well I taught, how good I am in my integrity, commitment and passion... how good I am as a motivator... as a friend, philosopher and guide to my students...
Yes, even though most of the parents want my students to score high marks in exams, neither they nor students ever a…

MY DAD BELIEVED IN ME

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Pic.: Nishtha Narryani My son, who has just finished his studies in Pune, returned home late last night. He will be here with us for a month or so before he starts working with his first company in Bangaluru. Last night, we spontaneously sat back to talk. At five in the morning, I realized that I had an early morning batch to teach... But, I wasn’t feeling sleepy at all. I wanted to be there, talking with my son, more!
I still remember that day when I left home (Mangalore) to find my place here in Mumbai. I was of my son’s age – just over 21 – then. My dad wasn't a qualified man, nor did he have decent means to provide us the kind of comforts which I, as a father, have been able to provide to my own son. But, then, that was the best my dad could do... and, yes, he was the best dad I could ever have in my life!
Best dad?
All dads become ‘the best’ and ‘the greatest’ only with passage of time.  When my dad was around, I did not realize how good or how great he was... It was only when I …
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...