Wednesday, November 30, 2016


There are many people in my life – some of them live thousands of miles away – I genuinely wish them to be happy and joyful. Right now, that’s happening… some of these people come before my mind… and my heart simply wants them to be happy and joyful… I may not convey this feeling to these people… I may not meet them for years and years… But, I genuinely wish them to be happy and joyful…

For, I know I do.

If that’s true, it is also true that there are so many people out there who must be genuinely wishing me to be happy and joyful, always. Aren’t there such people?

My college-days friend, Joe, who lives in Mangalore, sends me amazing Good-morning messages. Some of them, as the phrase goes, make my day… Some of them tickle me, some of them make me smile or laugh, some of them make me soar high and touch the stars… and some make me cry in joy. Whatever the effect, I see it this way: If my friend sends me a message every day, he must be thinking about me every morning… This morning, Joe sent me this message:

“Whenever an unexpected joy passes through your heart
and you suddenly smile for no reason…
remember, someone, somewhere is wishing you to be happy always.”

Does joy pass through my heart unexpectedly, and do I find myself smiling for no reason?

Oh, yes, it does… and I do.

Someone, somewhere must be genuinely wishing me to be happy and joyful… Just as I wish someone, somewhere to be so… That can be the only reason why joy passes through our hearts unexpectedly and that can be also the reason why we find ourselves smiling for no reason.

After all, there ‘is’ a reason for everything that happens under the Sun… including a smile on our face whenever joy passes unexpectedly through our hearts… Isn’t there?


Pic.: Mariette D'Silva

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I was watching, today, a very inspiring video showing Amir Khan’s incredible transformation from Fat to Fit for his upcoming movie, ‘Dangal’.  Amir Khan plays the role of an ex-wrestler, Mahavir Singh, who was forced to give up his dream of winning gold for India in international wrestling due to lack of financial support. But, he desires to make champion out of his future son, one day…

Well, my blog is not about the story of the film. Let me not spoil the suspense!

About eighty percent of Amir Khan’s role in the movie revolves around Mahavir in his post wresting days… weighing around 97 kilos. And, the remaining twenty percent revolves around his young wresting days. The video is about how Amir Khan gained those 97 kilos for his role and how he shed them by more than one-third to play the young wrester!

Amir Khan is 51, mind you. He makes a few movies and he is very choosy about them. But, once he decides to do it, he commits in an extra-ordinary manner… His passion, dedication and involvement are phenomenal. Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hai, Sarfarosh, Rang De Basanti, Ghajini,Tare Zamin Par, 3-idiots,  PK, and now Dangal. Every movie is a masterpiece. He is never into the number game and rat race… He does things on his own terms, in his own way…

What is this way?

In the video I saw today, Amir Khan shares his experience during his fat to fit transformation… What he says makes lots of scense and we can relate to any sphere of life where we strive for achievement… When the goal is to reach the peak of Everest and we are yet to take our first step, the challenge can be too overwhelming… “How will I do it… It looks so, so far and high!”… Yes, we tend to get disheartened… develop cold feet… and give up on our dream. But, if our dream is stronger than our fear, if we take one day at a time – one step, one kilo at a time – it does look possible. When we start on the journey, the focus should be on the immediate steps we are supposed to take… and not on the end of the journey…

True, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, at a time.

 Often, we get caught up in the end-result… the final outcome… the peak of the Everest. We get so overpowered by the sight of the Peak that we give up even before we start… Amir Khan’s advice in the video is: If we are faithful and focus on one day – that  one step, one kilo – at one time and do not try to manoeuvre the outcome – yes, we are more likely to reach the peak… our journey’s end.

The anxiety comes when we want the outcome in a certain way and want it fast… “There is no quick fix,” says Amir Khan, “One has to be committed and determined and do it with all his passion... the hard way.”

To end this Post, let me evoke the amazing prayer of Cardinal Newman:
“Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead me Thou on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home, Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene;
one step is enough for me.”

Yes, as we wrestle everyday and as the distant scene overwhelms our hearts, let us pray, “One step is enough for me.”


Pic.: Chetna Shetty
Video: YouTube

Monday, November 28, 2016


Coming back to the demonetization issue (I have already blogged a couple of times on this issue), I, too, have no doubt about the good intentions with which our PM, Modiji, had resorted to it. When it was first announced around 8 that night, my wife and I were in Wayanad, Kerala, on a holiday. When I heard about it, I went into a sudden panic mode… We had carried some cash and card would not be accepted, everywhere. When I told this to my wife, she gave me a good sermon, “You always panic,” she declared, “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.”  When she learnt about the argument in favour of banning of old notes – to weed out black money – she was very happy. “It is a right move… a bold one… There will be inconvenience for all of us in the short run… But, in the long run, all of us will be benefited.”

I kept quiet during my wife’s sermon. I only prayed in silence, “God, may my wife not have to stand on a long, long queue.”

But, then, God did not hear my prayer. The day before we had left for Wayanad, my wife had withdrawn some amount of cash (in 500-rupee notes) from her dad's account and handed it to him (who is unwell to move out of the house). So, that bundle of old notes had to be deposited back into the bank once we were back from our holiday. After many days of dilly-dallying and hoping to see shorter queues, finally, this morning, my wife decided to go to the bank. She reached the bank around 7:45 in the morning and the queue was still long! I was in my class and received her call, “The bank will open at 9.30,” she was already restless, “What to do?”

“What to do… Wait patiently… In the long run, all this will only help us,” I felt like giving back in my own sermon. But, then, I knew that she hadn’t taken her breakfast and, being a diabetic, she would not be in a position to withstand the pressure. I immediately swung into action. I picked my 12th-standard student, Darshan, who had come to attend his class. I explained to him the situation. “Don’t’ worry sir,” Darshan said with his big heart, “I will stand in the line and let ma’am come at 9.30.”

“So sweet of you, Darshan,” I patted him and promised to teach him separately tomorrow whatever he missed today.

At 10, I wanted to check; so, I sent a message to my wife, “Bank work over?”

“No, it is horrible,” wife replied, “I am still outside the bank.”

I was surprised. So, I called my wife. She explained to me that she had to fill a different (pink colour) form and complete some other formalities and had to go back and come again, and so on… I empathized with her and asked her to call me once the work was over.

At 10.45, the call came, “I just finished!”

“Thank you God, “I sent a sigh of relief!

In the short run, we do have problems, sir. And, yes, in the long run, everything will be normal. In fact, that is a profound truth not only in economics, but also in every sphere of life… “Storms never last, do they, baby?” that’s one of my favorite songs (Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings)… “I can think… I can fast… I can wait,” this, too, is one of my favourite lines (from Hermann Hesse’s famous book, ‘Siddhartha’…

In the long run, all things settle… I know, I know. The question is: Am I prepared to go through the present pain?

Some days ago, when Dr. Manmohan Singh quoted in the Parliament the famous Economist John Keynes, “In the long run we are all dead,” I knew how true it was… The pro-demonetization folks began to attack MMS… while others hailed former PM, an economist and a former RBI governor, as a prophet!

The same evening, my friend Vikram, who has that uncanny ability to laugh when chips are down, shared in one of our WhatsApp groups this message…

The Nobel Economics Professor Dr. Wassa Qatar explains how to think current economy:

1.     If, in January 2010, you had invested 1,000 Euros in shares of Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the largest banks in the UK, you would now have 29 Euros!
2.     If, in January, 2010, you had invested 1,000 Euros in shares of Lehman Brothers, you would now have 0 Euros!
But, if, in January 2010, you had spent 1,000 Euros on good red-wine (not shares) and had already drunk all of it, you would have 46 Euros in empty bottles!

In the current economic scenario, it is preferable to sit and enjoy drinking a very fine wine. Do not forget that maybe drinking makes lives:
- less sad (sic)
- less stressful
- More happier(sic).

Think about it… Invest in the joy of living!

Yes, think about it! In two days, new month will be up… Our maids, doodhwala, paperwala, istriwala and the likes have already told us that they would not accept cheques, debit cards or credit cards or payment through Paytm… So, What to do?

I mean, in the ‘short run’!!!!


Pic.: Avinash Mantri

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Our comfort zones, often, become our prisons… We remain confined to the boundaries of our prisons. Like that proverbial ship, which is safe in the harbor, we all feel extremely safe in our comfort zones… where the water is shallow and the risk is almost zero. But then, just as how ships look glorious only when they leave the shores and sail into the deep and restless seas, we all look glorious only when we muster our courage and make our voyages of faith… Yes, there is risk and uncertainty out there… but unless we trust, unless we plunge, the voyage can never take place… The New World will remain undiscovered!

I am very much alive to this familiar fear that holds us all back at the shores… I experience this fear and hesitate to take the plunge… The deep and restless sea, often, frightens me. My past experience is incapable of inspiring in me the faith… Something beyond the past experience can alone fire my soul with faith and courage!

There is this episode in the New Testament. One early morning, Jesus sees Simon Peter and others, who were fishermen, washing their fishing nets. Their boats look empty and their faces look fallen. Jesus gets into Simon’s boat and tells them, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

“What! Are you crazy?” Yes, this is how Simon and others seem to react to what Jesus has just said. “We have been working all night long and there nothing out there.”

Well, Jesus was not a fisherman and he had no experience of the sea or fishing work. Simon and others were fishermen and their experience had confined them to the shore… The boats were pulled out of the waters and the nets were washed… “There was nothing out here… No hope… No fish.” Jesus did not operate from the position of his experience… He operated from the position of faith… trust… He knew, that, for a rich catch, the fishermen had to leave the shores and launch into the ‘deep’… They had to have faith, take risk… and let down their nets…

And the story goes this way: because Simon Peter and his brothers chose to override their own past experience and trust in the voice of the Master, they were able to fill their boats with an unbelievable catch!

It is this miracle of Jesus that made Simon Peter his steadfast disciple… “From now on, I will teach you how to fish men and women,” Jesus had promised Peter – the ‘Rock’… upon whom He had raised His Church – the worldly mission.

Whenever fear holds me back on shallow shores of my comfort zone, and when my boat looks empty and my face looks fallen… yes, in such times, I revisit this Biblical story… I hear Jesus’ gentle command:
“Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

Pic.: Azriel D'Souza

Friday, November 25, 2016


In America, ‘Thanksgiving Day’ is a big day… What about here, in India? For Americans, it is the fourth Thursday of November… and, for us?

When we feel deeply thankful to anyone or anything in our daily life, that profound feeling is a very spiritual experience. In fact, if we pause for a moment and reflect, everything and everyone around us deserve  to be thanked by our hearts… From the smallest to the mightiest of people and events make our life what it is… an experience worth living.

I personally think, that it is in small things – in the very mundane things – that we should pause and reflect to say ‘thank-you’…

Yes, when eyes open in the morning… when we become aware that we are able to see one more day… when we see our body, feel the heartbeats… when we realize that our  eyes are able to see, the ears are able to hear… the hands and legs are able to do what they are supposed to… when we see our loved-ones around us… see their faces… feel their presence… when that first cup of tea appears on our table… when the thought makes us aware that the security men had remained awake all night to protect us… when we notice  the fan going about doing its work… when we feel for the lamps giving us light… when we feel for the water that flows through the taps… when we grasp the value of  the milkman, the newspaperman, the maidservant, the house-keeping who comes to pick the garbage bags… when we find how important and helpful have been the phone, the radio and the TV… When we realize our dependence on the autowala who ferries us to workplace… When we recognized the importance of our students who keep our kitchen-fire burning… our associate… our  parents and siblings who have given us so much… our teachers, friends and  even enemies… our neighbors, relatives and the strangers… the trains and buses, the Ola and the Uber… the Apps and the maps… the Tai Chi, Yoga and the mat and the walking shoes… the priests and the nuns in church… the choir team… our government, our banks, our credit and debit cards… that one-rupee coin and that new 2,000-rupee note… the cold winter breeze in the morning, the songs of the birds… the glorious stars, the moon and the sun… the clouds, the sky, the night… and the oceans and the mountains… the plateaus… the trees and the plants, the food I eat… the shower I take… even the tears that I shed, the fear that I feel… the envy and the hatred that keep me enchained, often… and that all-encompassing compassion, grace, love… the gift of forgiveness, the mighty hope, faith and… the open arms to embrace… LIFE…

There is so much to be thankful for, everywhere around us, and everyday…

So, why thanksgiving be confined to this one day of the year? What Turkey and wine got to do with it?  And, why only in America… why not here in our country… why not everywhere in the world?

If my life has unhappiness still, let me admit: I do not feel enough thankful in my life. For, as they say – and as we know by now – that, we cannot be thankful and unhappy at the same time!

May everyday be a ‘Thanksgiving day… What say?


Pic.: Usha Prasadh

Thursday, November 24, 2016


My dad’s dad lived with us. So, I knew quite a lot about him. But, I hadn’t met my grandfather’s dad. As a son, I was close to my dad. Then, I became a dad… My son is a young man now…

Why I am saying all this is, because, one thing has remained constant through five generations: when young, each one of us had our own set of issues to deal with. Education and the financial condition progressively kept improving… each generation tried to give a better life for the next… “My son should not go through the problems I had to go through,” yes, this has been the silent aspiration of each generation…

But, through all this, one more thing has remained constant: each generation’s restless urge to ‘lecture’ the next one! If my dad wanted to lecture me, “Look son, when I was small, our condition was like this and like that”, I want to lecture my son the same way, “Look son, when I was small, our condition was like this and like that.” Only, each generation’s ‘like this and like that’ has been different… Every generation got… gets… and will get… a strange high by lecturing the next generation on ‘Like this and Like that’!

The interesting feature about this free class is this: the next generation doesn’t like to be in this class… My dad did not like my grandpa’s lectures… I did not like my dad’s… and, today, my son tells me on my face: “Enough’ dad”!

“Just because I am a willing student,” yesterday my friend Dr. Deepak told me about how he tries to end his own dad’s lectures, “you do not have to take a class for me.”

We both laughed like two little kids… rather, like two spoiled brats!

There wasn’t electricity and a toilet in our house when I was a little boy. No proper clothes to wear and we walked miles barefoot… If I take a class on this to my son, today, do you think, he will sit through?

Did I sit through my dad’s lecture when I was my son’s age?

We all lived in different times, with different set of problems and concerns to deal with. We forget, that times have changed and, with that, we parents, too… and, our lectures, too, should. I agree with my friend, Dr. Deepak, that, as young sons and daughters, we all have been willing students. But, then, it did not, does not and will not mean, that, as parents, we should make our sons and daughters sit through our class…

It’s time we became willing parents!


Pic.: Rahmi Sondhi

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Like everyone around me, I, too, have an opinion on almost everything that happens around me… from crisis in Kashmir to the ongoing cash-crisis… from crisis in Syria to Donald Trump’s surprise – rather shocking – Presidential victory. Yes, from the most mundane to the most vital issues, everything seems to have the stamp of my opinion…

Our newspaper vendor is one of the most enthusiastic and positive persons I have come across. I don’t think he reads the newspapers he supplies to hundreds of homes everyday… But, then, he is informed about the events around the world… if not world, at least our own country. This morning, I asked him about how he was coping-up with the current cash-crisis. I did not find even an iota of decline in his enthusiasm about life. When he learnt that I had difficulty using 2,000-rupee note, he was more than willing to offer me hundreds in exchange. “Any further help, please let me know sir,” he assured.

These kinds of guys leave home, every morning, with their arms stretched out to embrace the world… the world filled with suspicion, hatred, and distrust and yes love, kindness, trust and hope as well.

So, coming back to my opinion about the events around the world… If you ask me, about the Syrian crisis and if you ask my 24-year-old son the same, probably, I would concede. He is surely better-informed.
Who is responsible for the Syrian mess – Russia, America, ISIS, Israel… who? I have no idea…

Even if I know who is, how would it make a difference to the little kids who are bombed or washed ashore? Are these little kids responsible for the mess? Do they understand the game of war? Do they hold an opinion?

I do not like to be called a ‘head-strong’ man…. Please call me ‘heart-strong’!

I just saw, today, a touching story about a six-year-old American boy, Alex, who wrote a letter to President Obama. In the letter, Alex was asking the President if he  could bring Omran Daqneesh, the five-year-old boy rescued from the bombed rubble in Syria,  to his home in America… if he could let him live with his family… Yes, that was not a head-strong kid’s gesture… That was not the kid who wanted to know who was responsible for Omran’s plight… That was the kid who just felt for another kid from another country and culture…

To me, that’s being spiritual in life… That’s being human, real human.

Why are we wasting our time and energy spreading more and more hatred?

Why are we so aggressive with our opinions… our head-stuff!

The world needs – badly, badly, badly – the healing touch of our hearts.


Pic./Videos: YouTube

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Only a healthy body can house a healthy mind. If body is unfit, mind cant’ be fit.

It took me almost 58 years to come to this realization.

I have been a very positive person all through my 58 years. Moreover, I did not smoke or consume alcohol in my life. My vices – I think they should be called so – included late-dinner and going to bed almost immediately… Worst, after eating heavy non-veg food.

People like me – who read and preach a lot of motivational stuff – too have our ‘ignored’ areas. In my case, it was lack proper physical exercise and healthy eating habits. My doctors had regularly advised me to do at least half-an-hour walking every day. I did not take it seriously. Then, some three years ago, I joined Tai Chi. But, it was limited to an hour or so only on Sundays. Our Tai Chi teacher would always urge us to practice at home. But, then, I did not take that seriously, either. It is only when my doctors kept adding one tablet after another, yes, when the scene became quite scary - and, after a heavy dose of counsel from my friend, Dr. Deepak - that I decided to start my daily morning walks at 5.

Recently, my wife and I visited Dr. M.V. Prasad when we were on a holiday at Wayanad (Kerala). A friend of ours had told my wife to visit this popular doctor who believed in ‘reversing’ the diabetes. It was a significant step towards our health consciousness. This doctor encourages all diabetes patients to see diabetes as a ‘condition’ and not as a ‘disease’. He believes in activating the ‘sleeping’ pancreas (made almost dead by loads of medicines)… He recommends consuming some small quantities of sugar, cutting down on carbos and increasing the protein intake… sticking to a discipline (twice a day) of simple ten exercises… and, above all, limiting medicines to just a tablet or a half. My wife, who had been diabetic for eighteen years, is now put on half a tablet (three times) and one vitamin tablet. Medicines had stopped working on her. So, she had to choose to go along that route of further chemical onslaught and gradual decay or to get up and do something about her body. I was asked to throw away all my medicines. “You don’t need any of the medicines,” Dr. Prasad declared.

Now, it is like this: my wife and I wake up sharp at 4:15… We do 45 minutes of Dr. Prasad’s exercises and, then, we both go for another 45 minutes of walk. While walking, I incorporate the Tai Chi slow and rhythmic moves which jell perfectly well as birds sing and sky quietly wakes up… On Sundays, I get another one-hour-plus Tai Chi, too!

I have stopped working after six in the evening. Close and go home… Have dinner by 7, latest by 8… A simple dinner…

No more desperation for non-veg food… No more carvings for fatty, sweaty, chilled stuff…

Sleep – even though it is about five hours –  is sound and sufficient. Yes, I do take short cat naps in my office whenever I feel like…

When you care for your body and keep it healthy, mind just follows the path… Anxiety dissolves… depressing bouts disappear… You do not think about old age and health issues… You do not worry about ‘What may happen tomorrow’… Life insurance and health insurance seem sufficient… You react less… fear less…  Yes, your look forward to live, love and hope!

Too early to say all this?

No… I seriously think, I am too late in saying this!


Pic.: Khushboo Gulrajani

Monday, November 21, 2016


Today, it was my turn – rather ‘good fortune’ – to stand in the queue outside my bank. Yes, it was chaotic and it was quite frustrating, too. It took about ninety minutes for me there. But, let me tell you honestly, this:  I did not blame my government or my bank or the ATM or, for that matter, my own fate… On the contrary, a good thing happened to me when I was patiently waiting in line… I remembered Dr. Victor Frankl after a very long time. His book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ used to be my constant companion in early nineties… Yes, the message from this book sprang up, making it more and more relevant in my life…

For those, who have not heard about Dr. Frankl or his book, here is a brief: Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. His entire family was wiped out in Hitler’s gas chambers… but, he, somehow, survived… yes, as a skeleton! Post Holocaust, Dr. Frankl spent his years evolving his famous healing theory called ‘Logotherapy’ and, wrote his path-breaking book, ‘Mans’ Search for Meaning’.

So, today, as many men and women, including the elderly and the poor, waited with loads of patience, hope, dignity and grace in the queue, I could see the ugly scenes too… and, sadly, it was from young and so-called educated ones. I could hear them ranting and abusing the bank staff that seemed a lot helpless to handle the situation… “What is their fault, why are you abusing them?” asked a gentleman who apparently did not like what he was seeing and hearing.

I was more in touch with what was going on in my own mind… Was I not facing inconvenience and was I not frustrated? I was. Did I react the way some young-ones did? No, I didn’t.

I recalled the central message from Dr. Frankl’s book... “This is the core of the human spirit: If we can find something to live for - if we can find some meaning to put at the center of our lives - even the worst kind of suffering becomes bearable.”

Why did these few young, educated men and women show such intolerance while significantly large number of people, including elderly and the poor, show so much grace and bore their pain with dignity? After all, it wasn’t’ a hopeless situation like the one Dr. Frankl had faced in the gas chambers… Right?

I remembered Dr. Frankl’s humbling description…
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”

Are these ‘Achhe Din’ are these ‘Bure Din’?

My heart smiles as I remember what Dr. Frankl had, once, famously recommended … that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast of the United States be complemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast…

In life hardship and pain are a great leveler, you see!


Pic.: Chetna Shetty

Sunday, November 20, 2016


“We are rich,” beamed Kannan this morning in our Tai Chi class. Obviously, the topic of discussion, today, was the cash crunch.

“You know what,” Kannan explained, “I had this old Jewish habit of putting a small amount – rupees 5, 10, 20, 50 whatever – into a box and forget about it. Last week, when everyone around me was crying for cash and cursing Government, banks and ATMs, I quietly opened my box… and behold, it had over nine thousand rupees… It was like a treasure… We are rich!”

I smiled when I heard this new story from Kannan. Just a few days before the demonetization was announced, I had taken out the drawer of my wardrobe for cleaning up. I had not taken it out for years… As I cleared the piles of unwanted stuff, I was pleasantly surprised to find inside hundreds of rupees 5 and 10 coins. Unlike Kannan, I had not placed those coins there consciously… Instead, I had left them there casually without realizing that, one day, they might come handy when all the big notes turned dud!

Yes, when I counted those coins of rupees 5 and 10, I, too, felt like a king!

All along these years, I had taken those coins for granted… Just as we all take water for granted… Someone has to drop us in a desert… to grasp the value of those few drops of water left!

So, no blame… Only glory to whoever emptied my ATM!

Then, there was another story from Kannan, today… A very familiar story that was. It was about ‘reflection’ and ‘image’… rather, the mirror image and X-ray image. “If you stand before the mirror and smile, it will only smile back at you… You will only see what you like to see… Mirror will not show you what you need to see,” Kannan said, “but, the X-ray image can show you what you do not like to see… yes, it can show you what you need to see.”

The context?

Well, we were talking about our most valuable X-ray machines – our nearest and dearest ones at home, especially our wives!

“My wife will not smile back at me like a mirror does when I ask her if everything is fine with me,” Kannan put it forthrightly, “She is the only one in my life who can tell me what is wrong with me… just like an X-ray image.”

We men – and women too – out there could relate to what Kannan was saying.

Only our nearest and dearest ones can honestly tell us how we really are… We were all laughing… For, we knew how true it was!

“If you really want to grow, don’t ask the mirror for a reflection,” Kannan concluded, “Ask the X-ray machine for an image!”

Pic.: Shankar Ramachandran

Saturday, November 19, 2016


I told this to young Suman, all over again, today:

If you have a story
and you are dying to tell it… 
If you have a cause
and you are willing to fight for it,
nobody needs to teach you
how to speak in public…

You will sit down for hours and prepare it well,
You will stand up for hours and practice it well
And you will go up there and deliver it well…

That’s all there to it –
to the art and science of Public Speaking…

Prepare it… Practice it… and Deliver it.

Suman was my student some years ago. Her initial dream was to get into Chartered Accountancy. But, it did not take her long to realize that she wasn’t cut for the CA profession. So, after her graduation, she deiced to pursue a course in Fashion Designing, which, Suman tells me is her present calling in life…

“Is it?” I prodded Suman, “Is Fashion Designing a real calling in your life?”

Sunman said “Yes”. But, it wasn’t a resounding “YESSSS”.

A couple of days ago, Suman had called me up. “Sir, I want to meet you regarding my fear of Public Speaking,” Suman had confessed, “I have to make presentations regularly and I experience a great deal of stage fear.”

Today morning, when Suman was here to discuss her problem, I did share with her my own experience… how overwhelming it was once and how it is still… and, how, I have been dealing with it over all these years… Yes, I did give her many tips, which, I am sure, will help her to deal with her own…

But, I told Suman this, too: “Do not focus on overcoming your stage fear… Focus on achieving your dream… Fear will fall aside. The key is: your desire to become a Fashion Designer should be stronger than your stage fear... Let your dream be bigger than your fear!

So, if you have a story – a dream to achieve, a cause to live for – and if you are dying to tell this story… if you are willing to fight for your cause… yes, then, nobody needs to teach you how to speak in public…

The problem, therefore, is not the presence of stage fear… The problem is the absence of a dream… a cause… a calling… a vocation in life. Yes, when life is bereft of a story, it won’t find a voice!


Pic.: Chetna Shetty