28 September 2014
19 September 2014
Young Rohan an earnest young student friend of mine, telephoned me on Sept 5th which is Teacher's day in India to thank me for teaching him and changing his life, because of my writing and our interactions.
I should have been touched by his sincere greetings but I wasn't.
I asked myself, "If it was not arrogance I felt, then what was it?"
I thanked Rohan for his kind words but clarified that crediting me with his learning was in my opinion unjustified.
He asked me "If this is not teaching then what was it?"
I had no reply but I had many questions. Questions, I had to seek answers to.
Today, October 5th, is World Teacher's day. Introspecting on teaching and learning, I offer the following thoughts.
No doubt there is a lot of teaching and even more testing but it is highly questionable if there is much learning taking place.
Why is it said that? "A student is not a vessel to be filled but a lamp to be lit"
A vessel when filled cannot absorb anything more, in fact it rejects anything that is additional or new.
On the other hand, once lit the lamp illuminates and lights other lamps, continuing to dispel darkness of ignorance. Learning demands more learning as a fuel just like a lamp demands more oil to keep on burning. to illuminate and to light more lamps.
As John Lubbock said about modern teaching, "We strain the memory instead of cultivating the mind."
Then how shall we define teaching?
Teaching is the art of assisting and facilitating discovery.
Once we set off on a voyage of discovery, life becomes an endless adventure.
We will discover many things and experience many relationships, not all of them pleasant but in the end like Rohan we will hopefully discover ourselves.
17 September 2014
When they grow up, young birds leave the nest. So in 1985 three years after we got married Mohini and I moved out from my parent's home to make space for the families of my two younger brothers.
We decided to move to a small flat at Salunke Vihar on the outskirts of Pune (India).
Salunke Vihar was a government project built to provide affordable housing to our soldiers and their families. It was located in a desolate place with a dirt road for access. In addition to retired people, the cheap rent attracted many young couples starting out on their careers.
Salunke Vihar offered a large, open and safe space for children to play. The air was fresh and the community of residents were friendly and caring. It was a relatively large township by the standards of those days, built for providing accommodation for members of the Indian Armed Forces at relatively low rates against soft payment terms.
The only problem was access to the city. Auto rickshaws rarely plied to that side and the bus service was pathetic and almost non existent. The nearest main road was 3 kilometers away, and therefore people often had to depend on the kindness of residents with vehicles.
Being a son of an industrialist albeit a small one, I was amongst the few people who owned a car in the society. Keeping with the spirit of the situation, every time we travelled the dirt road, we would offer a ride to fellow residents and even visitors. Often people thanked us for the ride, sometimes they would not even acknowledge the assistance. This lack of appreciation and courtesy perturbed me.
I met many people and had some interesting experiences but one encounter changed my outlook on life almost totally . Decades later I can still remember the events very vividly.
It was about noon time on a hot May day where the summer peaks. It is never as hot in Pune as it is in other places like the Punjab or Delhi, but it was pretty uncomfortable.
I was driving out on an errand and running a bit late. I rushed out of the main gate and hit the dirt road. Rounding the corner, there I saw standing next to the road an old man. His back slightly stooped with age and a small bag by his side.
Looking like a character right out of a movie the chubby old gentleman wore a colourful bush shirt and had a big straw hat on his head. Sweating profusely the old man was mopping his forehead and face, yet he had an irresistible and pleasant look about him. I debated for a second whether to stop and offer him a ride or continue rushing to my appointment.
'What the heck? ' I convinced myself, 'Once a Boy-Scout always a Boy-Scout, I felt compelled to offer him a ride.'
06 September 2014
On the 1st day of Sept with a gurgle and a cough my father left this world just as he arrived into it.
Concerned friends and relatives, dutifully tried to console me.
I was inconsolable because my mindless heart could not stop crying.
I was unduly brave because my heartless mind refused to let me grieve.
Some said it was an auspicious day to die. How can any day be a good day to lose someone you love?
Brilliant, hardworking, witty and charming, our father Man Singh ji 1928 -2014) was an extraordinary teacher and man. Even in his passing on from this world he continued to provide valuable lessons.
Dad's life was a very long roller coaster ride, achieving great heights and many precipitous falls. Yet the spirit of such people always remains strong. They are warriors fighting against great odds and overcoming challenges.
Dad and Uncle Manohar Singh ji, created great fortunes against huge odds only to lose them due to greater misfortune time and again. 'Never give up', was their motto. yet when this life's journey's end is near the good soul knows when to give in to His will.
My dad had been bidding farewell gently, from the past three years. His vision dimmed, hearing gone, and his speech almost silent. Dad's being was blanketed by wonderful grace and an erie calmness.
Maybe God answered Dad's prayers by taking away all anger, ego and greed from him. It was a blessing, for dad stopped judging people and events. He saw only goodness and wonder in everyone and everything.
We spent many mornings together and I learnt much by being with him. I want to share this learning with you.
In spite of having much to be angry and resentful about, dad's heart was at peace, filled with humility, love and compassion he sought forgiveness from one and all. He meditated and prayed a lot.
Especially when young, 'Man the Animal' is selfish and filled with insatiable greed for power, wealth and influence. As people age and if they are blessed, 'Man the Saint' is filled with understanding, love and compassion, and like a pendulum our lives swing between these two extremes.
Failings my dad had many. Drive and intelligence he had even more. Kindness and compassion he possessed beyond belief. My dad was an enigma. Come to think of it, most children can never understand their parents. All that lucky children can get, is the opportunity to appreciate and take advantage of the bounty of love and learning that they get showered with by their parents.
The soul always knows what is right, but rarely do we listen to it, because the mind will not be still. This is what prayer and then mediation is all about, the ability to listen to the soul.
Therefore the search for truth and understanding is never an outward journey but an inward journey. A journey to the core of our existence which is possible only by meditating.
The soul is like a Hans (Swan) which wants to soar to the heavens and reunite with God but it is shackled to this material world by our lust, greed, attachments, anger and ego.
God has been kind to my father in the past several years by unshackling him almost completely from all these normal human traits. I pray that He will receive and accept my father Man Singh ji and grant his soul peace.
* Goodbye is a short form of 'God be with you'
28 August 2014
"Her beauty cannot be measured with standards of a colonized mind."
- Michelle NdegeOcello
"The wealth accumulated by Europe and North America are largely based on riches taken from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Without the destruction of India’s rich textile industry, without the takeover of the spice trade, without the genocide of the native American tribes, without African slavery, the Industrial Revolution would not have resulted in new riches for Europe or North America. It was this violent takeover of Third World resources and markets that created wealth in the North and poverty in the South."
"Sir, we have, as far as possible closed every avenue by which light might enter their minds; we have only to go one step further — to extinguish their capacity to see the light, and our work would be completed; they would then be reduced to the level of the beasts of the field, and we should be safe."
Speech on “The Abolition of Slavery” by Henry Berry, House of Delegates of Virginia, January 20, 1833 in the aftermath of the Nat Turner Revolt in 1831.
AMERICAN HISTORY AND AMERICA’S PRESENT. NEVER FORGET WHAT THEY WANT FROM YOU. THEY WANT YOU ON ALL FOURS LIKE AN ANIMAL. This is as crystal clear as it gets folks. The powers that be want us ALL to stay in the dark. If they keep us all dumb, they can feel safe. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Never forget that!(via knowledgeequalsblackpower)
"Sometimes it was hard to express how much you loved someone. You said the words, but you could never quite capture the depth of it. You could never quite hold someone tightly enough."
- Diane Chamberlain, The Midwife’s Confession
"Why are you stingy with yourselves? Why are you holding back? What are you saving for—for another time? There are no other times. There is only now. Right now."
Reason only control their impetus
My marriage has been impulsive. That marriage should have been short-lived instead of the 23 years it spammed.
- Joseph Barbera
You are never alone or helpless.
The force that guides the stars, guides you too.
Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
"There is a moral panic in America over young women's sexuality - and it's misplaced. Girls 'going wild' aren't damaging a generation of women, the myth of sexual purity is.
The lie of virginity - the idea that such a thing even exists - is ensuring that young women's perception of them is inextricable from their bodies, and that their ability to be moral actors is absolutely dependent on their sexuality.
It's time to teach our daughters that their ability to be good people depends on their being good people, not on whether or not they're sexually active."
Undone by Hope -http://undonebyhope.tumblr.com/post/26598119528/there-is-a-moral-panic-in-america-over-young-womens
Stream Cream - Jessica Valenti - http://www.thestar.com/article/623495
" A good friend keeps your secrets for you. A best friend helps you keep your own secrets."
-Lauren Oliver (Before I fall)
"Don't condemn sensuality. It has been condemned by the whole world, and because of their condemnation, the energy that can flower in sensuality moves into perversions, jealousy, anger, hatred - a kind of life which is dry, with no juice.
Sensuousness is one of the greatest blessings to humanity. It is your consciousness.
Consciousness filtering through the body is what sensuousness is"
via - http://mentalalchemy.tumblr.com/archive
"It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars"
23 August 2014
Demonstrating leadership by, thinking what you believe, saying what you think, and doing what you say.
In 1985 two leaders from Bendix Corporation a leading American company, came visiting to our manufacturing facilities.They sensed that we wanted to achieve something outstanding in our field but could simply not describe it. Allan suggested we should aim to be a 'World Class Company'.
At that time no one even spoke of something so audacious. The concept sounded fantastic and next day we brothers met and discussed the concept. We adopted the vision to be 'A World Class Organisation'.
In the following week at a meeting of all our staff we made the announcement. Guess what? Our team just looked at us blankly. We were appalled, how could they not be excited about this fantastic vision? They were aghast that we should dream of something so audacious when we faced great struggles daily on countless matters big and small.
Thank God a brave man asked, "Sir, what exactly do you mean by World Class?"
We brothers looked at each other and now we looked more confused than our staff. We had adopted a concept given to us by someone else, shot into action completely clueless of what our vision actually meant.
Returning to our office, we spent 3 months in discussions, trying to figure out what that one statement really meant to us and to our people in which there were no doubts.
We finally concluded that as a business organisation we needed to find, retain and service customers profitably while providing value to them.
We adopted the philosophy;
1. Look after the customers who are the purpose of our existence, by always providing them superior quality products and services,
2. Look after the employees who actually make it possible to achieve things
3. Look after the shareholders and investors by providing superior returns on their investments
4. Look after the communities in which you exist and function in.