Learning

Life & growth !

I was on a walk with my four year old nephew last week. As any other four year old would be, he was brimming with questions. An inquisitive mind and an extremely curious thought process meant a battery of questions fired with a tenacity of a quiz master on a rapid fire round.

We were exploring many subjects. But the subjects that stuck for the longest period of time was ‘What is a living thing ?’

We explored different objects of his interest and held them up under the light of his ‘living’ or ‘non living thing’.

Chocolate.

Car.

Toy gun.

Uncle.

Ball.

Leaf.

Machine.

He was getting almost all of it right on his own. And the rest on some basic prompting.   Out of curiosity on what his mind map was around this,  I asked him how he came to conclusions. Teasing him with statements like ‘oh, but chocolates are wonderful. Why are they non-living’.

His prompt and clear response : ‘Chocolates are wonderful. But they don’t breathe. They don’t grow’.

Which brought a smile on my face. For with a simple answer to define life, he had brought to life, its defining essential : Growth !

Technically, he could have been speaking of physical growth and changes. My mind leapt to the other growth that has potential to happen till a human being is lowered into a grave. Growth that is deeper, taller, wider than that which is merely physical.

Development is an integral part of ‘possibilities’ for the future.  Development is anchored around ‘change’.  Change in knowledge, skills, attitude, behaviour !

Change when sustained, brings about development. Development that lurks and becomes part of a being, brings about growth !

Growth is the great sustenance for life in itself.

That airy morning, with a four year old clutching an outstretched hand, this lesson seeped in !

Life !

Bound by chains !

My morning walks acquaint me with scooters. In chains ! For a few days, i didn’t quite know what these scooters bound in chains signified.

Some wise man had said that man was born free, but was found in chains everywhere. But scooters ? This was indeed new.

And then, I was introduced to a ‘driving’ school for women. Which parked their bikes here. All chained together.

And in the morning, when the learners come up, the locks are removed and the unchained scooters come alive with an array of women with scooters marked ‘L’ signifying ‘a learner’.

‘Learning breaks down chains’ they say. Seems to be true here. And right here, it’s the chains that were latched on by the learning school ! The belief in the securing objects reigns here.

When not in use, objects are chained. There is still hope that the mind stays unchained. To the dark ages of the past.

Movie Land Lessons

Friday evenings were movie times. For the past few weeks. In the quest of sustaining and solidifying a tradition of sorts, the two movies that were releasing this week stared at us.

a. Mission Istanbul
b. Money hai to honey hai.

After watching movies like Love Story 2050 and Kismet Konnection, reason did not permit a risk in the name of ‘entertainment’. So, here we are, at home. After a long while, spending the evening, looking into the cloud filled night sky as it pelts rain with such ferocity resembling a self respecting movie goer who has been taken for a ride by movie makers !

Movies are stories and good movies are stories well told. Stories that grip & leave an impact. That cause you to reflect. Prepare you for something bigger. Or at the least, lighten your heart and leave your mind pampered. After each of the movies that we saw in the recent times ( except for JTYJN), every shade of the opposite effect took place.

By abstaining from watching a movie this week, we are infact, letting our esteemed movie makers know that we have no trust in them !

Dear Movie makers / Director / Actor…

We also know, you would care two hoots to our opinion. Your industry runs on the steady stream of normal people, who you mistake for ‘dimwits who will pay and lap up any crap’ that you dish out.

Such ‘normal’ people take a while, for evolving to stay out of the zealous crap that you spell as ‘m-o-v-i-e’ ! Until then you would have a field day. Enjoy it while it lasts. We are losing patience !

Just as i write, i see that both movies releasing today, have got a zero rating in a review by a TV channel. Sure baby, money is honey. Time is honey ! Emotion is honey.

Am glad i metaphorically learn’t all of that, without watching ‘money hai to honey hai’!

Listening to Harsha Bhogle !

I had an opportunity to listen to Harsha Bhogle at a conference. And it was an insightful discussion. Harsha threw open the floor to questions in sometime, and as much as i marveled at the spontaneity and ease of his answers, i couldn’t help but notice the depth of some questions that came from the audience. Young minds and their passion exhibited best through and innate understanding of cricket and its nuances.
I found this on ABC’s website : “Harsha is regarded as Indian cricket’s first non-player celebrity. He hosts television programs such as Harsha Online and Harsha Unplugged and refreshingly combines the talents of Oprah Winfrey and Richie Benaud in the roles of presenter, quizmaster, interviewer, panellist and commentator.” After listening to him, i cant help agree more !

The IIM-A grad metamorphising into the cricket commentator that we all know of, was quite insightful to understand. So were some of the vagaries of cricket,from somebody who is up-close and personal to the pitch of the game! As i sat listening to him respond & push the audience to think and keep the conversation relevant to context, i couldn’t help but notice that Harsh has grown & evolved as well.

He talked of Ravi Shastri as somebody who grew into a commentator. I would imagine that Harsha himself has unlearnt and relearnt quite a few things to be where he is : a household name in Indian cricket. Yet not surrounded by talks of retirement or the odd controversy that seems to invariably tag players!

When asked about some of the best times and people that he had worked with, he talked about his liking of working with people who ‘provoke’ him, that caused him to be ‘on gaurd’ and ‘better prepared’ ! Naturally, its the aussies that he loves working with ! And it is ‘earnest’ cricketers like Anil Kumble that he admires quite a bit.

To me, the most enjoyable parts of his presentation were the quips that flew like a water from half closed hose pipe ! Some his and some quoted. Here are a few :

‘Bowling to Azhar would be like bowling to a revolving door. You never knew where the ball was going to be despatched to’

Laxman treats the ball with a certain degree of kindness. A kindness that the bat talks through a friendly caressing of the ball, to the boundary !

Sehwag’s reported comment : “Am playing the ball. Not the bowler’ If you dont grow, your standing actually comes down !

Shane Warne comes up with lines on his SMS that he perhaps cant come up with a ball !

McGrath’s reported comment after turning up, tired for a game : “I dont have petrol in the tank. I am running on fumes”

The learning was metaphorical. And extremely relevant and impactful ! Some parts of the interaction with him stay with me. Here is a small sprinking.

  • Humility wins & how the real champions are proud of who they play for, yet very humble.
  • Champions staying respectful of the opposition, yet being fiercely competitive.
  • On how important it is set big targets and go towards them.
  • On how the real champions let their game do all the talking.
  • On why trying too hard sometimes can be our undoing.
  • And how different times require different leaders.

These are universal truths. But the fact that it came packaged in the guise of a chap who comments on a game that the nation follows, has impact. The fact that he has got me think and reflect on broad connects is in itself an indication that the pathway to learning has been well created.

The cherry on the cake was this quip, that cracked me up so much that i had a hard time stopping myself from rolling on the floor !

“Siddhu cant do commentary anymore, because in commentary you have to pause” !!!!

I am still laughing !