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Showing posts from April, 2015

WHEN DARU AND VEERU COME TOGETHER

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Pic.: Nishant Joshi

Presently, I am surrounded by a couple of young-ones who are head over heels in love. You know what I mean – they are madly in love!
A mother of one such Romeo – or call him by our own name, Majnu – was talking to me, last morning. “Sir, his world is only his girl-friend… He sees nothing else… eats, drinks, breathes nothing else… Whatever she says, he does.. Wherever she calls, he goes… He is all head over his heels!”
But, the mother laughed as she was describing to me her young son’s ‘illness’. It was evident, that she knew a great deal about this illness. So, she made me laugh, too, when she said, “You know sir, we all have been through it… Thus, no need to panic.  As, in Sholay, Jay calms down a panicked Basanti (Her Majnu - Veeru, fully loaded, was threatening to throw himself to death from the top of village water-tank unless Basanti’s kadoos maasi gave him his Laila) – “Jab daru utregi, Veeru bhi utar ayega”, my son, too, will utar ayega.”
But, I still wonder: Wh…

CAN OUR 'STRUCTURES' WITHSTAND A QUAKE?

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Pic.: Sudha Ahuja

“80% Delhi’s buildings wont’ stand a quake. http://toi.in/iHvisZ. We should do a structural study of ours to study if it can withstand an earthquake.”
This was the first message on my cell-phone, today. It was 6.30 in the morning. NIlesh*, a young and highly-qualified member of our housing society had sent this message to me – the honorary chairman of our society…
I smiled began to nod my head… “Who should I forward it to – God?” I wondered.
“Good morning Nilesh,” I replied immediately, “have a nice day!”
Nilesh had not even bothered to greet me, ‘Good morning’ in his message… He was bothered about the stability of our buildings… whether they can withstand an earthquake!
Alright, let’s suppose we conduct a structural audit right away, tomorrow, and are advised to do something about our buildings… You think, we will be able to protect ourselves against the catastrophe?
When Malaysian Airlines Flight-370 had disappeared and there was no trace of it for months on, late one nig…

A QUAKE OUTSIDE... AND A QUAKE INSIDE

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Pic.: Sudha Ahuja
Our TV has not been working for more than a month now. My wife and I are not at all motivated to get it fixed…  News, IPL, Travel shows, Reality shows – honestly, we are missing nothing. Even the daily newspaper lies there unread somewhere in the corner of our house.  So, what happens around us, we are unaware without TV, Radio or newspaper… and, yes, without the social media.


A thought often comes to me: Am I aware of what happens within me? Do I need a TV, Radio or newspaper to make me aware of it?

My wife and I had left for Pune yesterday. Today was our son’s convocation. Though, presently, he is in Seattle attending a film festival, we wanted to attend the convocation ceremony. So, we decided to spend the night at our dear friend Deepak’s house. It was so quiet and beautiful!

And, in the morning today, as we were about to leave Deepak’s house, his dad informed us about the tragic news of earthquake in the Himalayan region. He graphically placed before us the grim sit…

THE LAST TWO LINES AFTER MY PLAY

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Pic.: Aditi Chakraborty
Last evening, Shirin*, a very dear ex-student, and now a good friend, had come to enroll her nine-year live-wire son to our under-15 PD course. She had brought along one of her friends, too, to enroll her son.
The two kids, as I told you, were ‘exploding’ in my office – simply two massive bundles of energy. So, one of the obvious reasons why Shirin and her friend wanted their ‘brats’ to be here was to find out how to minimize the high-voltage of these two transformers… “Sir, they are excellent in every respect… very confident, very expressive and very creative. The only thing we want is help them to ‘sit in one place’, do one thing completely without being distracted. In other words, focus and concentration, if persistence is too hard a word for their age.”
I was smiling. “They are just little kids, full of energy, and they are expressing it the way they have to,” I tried to calm down the mothers, “with just a little help and direction… and, yes, with loads of lov…

OUR BLIND SPOTS

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Pic. Usha Prasad

“Our humility comes from our character strength... a healthy self-esteem,” I was telling our young PD students, this morning, “But, our submissiveness – non-assertive behavior – comes from our weakness... a low-self-esteem.”
I have spent so many years teaching so many of college students, that, sometimes, it is not easy for me to be ‘teachable’ when somebody points to me my mistakes.
Do I make mistakes in my routine work?
Oh yes, plenty!
Then, why is it not easy for me to accept my mistakes when someone points them to me?

Because of lack of humility... 
But, many a time, it is because of the way someone tries to correct me… his tone, words and intention have a big role to play… I have seen, that if the tone, words and intention of the other person are good, I gladly offer myself to be corrected… I thank the person profusely… and feel really good about it. On the other hand, if someone tries to undermine my goodness, tries to be extra-smart, makes me feel dumb, stupid, no si…

OR ELSE, WHAT WILL YOU DO?

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Pic.: Sudha Ahuja

Bullies suffer from a low self-esteem. Often, to deal with them, our simple assertive skills may not be enough… We may have to stand up to them, look straight into their eyes and yell, “Or else, what will you do?”
In a small village in South, there lived this typical bully, a male chauvinist. Every night, as soon as he walked into the house, his wife would hear him scream, “You dumb woman, keep the hot water ready… or else!” (In South, hot water is preferred for bath at night!),
This would go on and on, every night… “You dumb woman, keep the hot water ready… or else!”
Poor wife was so frightened of this man, that she had lost all her self-confidence. Without uttering a single word, she would go about obeying him, suppressing all her fear and pain for years.
Then, one day, looking at the distressed state of this woman, a neighboring lady asked her, “What is wrong with you, my friend? You look shattered.”
The woman began to cry uncontrollably. She described to the neighbori…

“DON’T TELL US WHAT TO WEAR, TELL THEM NOT TO STARE”

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Pic.: Sudha Ahuja

“DON’T TELL US WHAT TO WEAR, TELL THEM NOT TO STARE”
“Girls invite their own trouble.” Yes, this was the topic for debate, today, in our PD session. Surprisingly, the very first girl, a seventeen-year-old, spoke in support of the topic. The rest of the girls were angry… When eighteen-year-old Pranav began to justify his stand in support of the topic, the young-ladies were all up against him…
“If boys can wear anything and go out anytime, why can’t girls?” they were asking angrily. “Don’t boys invite their own trouble, when they wear whatever they like and go wherever and whenever they wish?”
Eighteen-year-old Aditya spoke against the topic. Instead of trying to impose restrictions on the way girls dressed or on where and when they went, he vehemently argued, that boys should grow up and change the way they view and treat girls. “During the Nirbhaya rape-protests in Delhi, a young girl was carrying this poster – ‘DON’T TELL US WHAT TO WEAR… TELL THEM NOT TO STARE,” he rec…

THE EIGHTEENTH CAMEL

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Pic.: Sheela Krishnamony


“The world needs more number of peace-makers,” I was telling the young-students during the PD session, this morning, “We need more men and women who can resolve conflicts, reduce tension and help reconcile and  solve problems.”
In fact, that has been one of my personal desires all along the years. As I kept helping and empowering the young-ones, along with so many of my associates in THE DAWN CLUB, I have, always, tried to ignite in the young-minds the desire to be peace-makers and problem-solvers of the world around them. “There are too many people out there  adding to the problems of our world; we just need more people to help resolve the problems,” I keep reminding them, “We need more people to be the part of the solution rather than the part of the problem.”
One of my dear-old students, Amit, had shared a beautiful story, last night. I had read this story first when our former President, Abdul Kalamji, had shared it to inspire all of us. Amit had brought the …

THE VISIBLE CHANGE AND THE PRACTICAL USE OF OUR EDUCATION

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Pic.: Indu Varier

Some days ago, I was getting off an autorickshaw with a heavy bag, full of books. Just then, little 11-year-old Yomesh, who was busy playing a little away, with his friends, left his game alone and came running to me. “Sir, I will help you,” his hand had already reached my heavy bag…
“Don’t worry beta,” I thanked the little-one, “So sweet of you.”
But, Yomesh was so keen, so enthusiastic that he wanted to help me. He said, “Sir you hold the bag from that side, I will hold it from this side.”
I had no option but to accept the little-hand of help.
It was a barely a distance of some fifty feet… When I was near the office door, I saw a parent waiting for me with his 17-year-old son. The man, who worked with a multinational company was there to enquire about the PD course, which we were to start the next day.
“Bye sir,” Yomesh exuded his charm and energy and galloped back to join his friends in the playground.
“Thank you so much beta,” I said and ushered the father-and-son du…

DO OUR YOUNG-ONES WANT US TO BE THEIR 'BEST FRIENDS'?

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Pic.: Chetna Shetty
A mother of a teenage boy called me up, two days ago. She wanted to talk to me personally about the problems faced by her son. So, the next day, we met. She explained to me, that her son had lost his self-confidence, begun to stammer and lost a year because of stress. She had shown him to counselors and got him treated through a psychiatrist. She told me, that there had been a lot of improvement… though he had not fully gained his self-confidence back...
During the course of our discussion, I could gather, that the boy’s self-confidence had collapsed essentially due to the burden of parents' high expectations… Both, the father and the mother, did all the dreaming for this young boy… As a little kid, perhaps, it was okay; but, not as a teenager. It was difficult for the young-man to handle it and he was breaking down under the burden of his parents’ expectations…
When I subtly pointed it to the mother, she was not ready to accept it. “Sir, I have been my son’s be…
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...