Bheed

Kab tak rahoge yu tanha akele,
Jara bheed ka shor bhi azamao,
Baazar ki un gayilo mein jao,
Jaha zindagi kashmakash se bhari hai…

Jara jao dekho unke haathon ke chale,
Mathe pe unke pasina bhi dekho,
Do chaar batein unse bhi karlo,
Jinki saaso ka koi thikana nahi hai…

Koshish karo tum samazhne ki unko,
Jinhe gum nahi hai khone ka kuch bhi,
Tumhari bhi pehechan ho jaye thodi,
Us khaali jeb se, jisme khushi samane ki jagah bohot hai… 

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Two Types of Teachers

There are two types of teachers. Those who think they are ‘above’ the students and those who think they are ‘with’ their students. The first category believes in ‘my way or highway’ approach. The second thinks it’s ‘my way or thy way’. These are ‘flexible’ types. They emphasize learning rather than teaching. First ones say, “You are below par, if you can’t meet my standards I don’t care about you.” But the second ones say, OK. Let’s do it together. You can do it. We can do it.” But these classifications are just labels. No judgements about who is better. 

Situations might force people to behave differently at different times. But the predominant pattern of behaviour springs from our belief system. When we are convinced about the result of an experiment, we tend to take actions which guide us towards the results we ‘want’ to see. Some teachers have an urge to stretch capabilities of their students. Their drive is to see more in ordinary students. They trust the potential of ordinary students and live with that feeling of finding empowerment everyday. But some others are guided by the spirit of excellence with little or no room for deviance from their preconceived standards. They too want their students to succeed but essentially want them to show the characteristics of  ‘meritorious’ zeal inside and outside the classroom. 

Great teachers are like potters. They shape raw clay into beautiful pots. They enjoy pottery not because they ‘know’ how to do it. But because the effort in changing that clay into pots fills their hands, heart and mind. Earthly creations make them happy.

TEDx IMTN – Mirages Decoded

IMT Nagpur witnessed its first TEDx last Sunday, 31st Jan on the campus. I feel truly privileged to share my reflections on ideas shared by the six speakers at this electrifying event. 

1. Anindita Banerjee – A simple school teacher striving to make a difference. Her ideas: 

(a) Transforming schools with value based learning. 
(b) Why and how society needs to respect teachers.
(c) Responsibility of parents and society in shaping children to create a better India.

2. Suhani Shah – A magician who believes in wonderful powers of human mind. Her ideas:

(a) Magic is not real it is a creation of human mind; an illusion and yet a         reality.
(b) We can change the way we live by changing the way we think.
(c) Magic is all around us. All we need is awareness and curiosity to feel it.

3. Aparna Banerjee – A transgender who wants to change the way normal people look at Hijra community. Her ideas:

(a) Transgender are human beings. They do have all the aspirations as you and me. They need love and respect.
(b) The community feels marginalized due to lack of opportunities. They feel frustrated and lost.
(c) Any one of us could end-up giving birth to a transgender child. Such children need love because their parents may have siblings but they don’t have other parents.

4. Rahul Arya – Sand artist with amazing hands and even more amazing heart. His ideas:

(a) Any form of art communicates with us about our culture and our history.
(b) Artists must be regarded as mainstream achievers. Art is not hobby. Art is a way of life.
(c)  When there is violence irrespective of who wins the war, a mother loses a son. Let us live in harmony and peace. 

5. Kartik Verma – Cyclist with an urge to explore real happiness. His ideas:

(a) Happiness and money are not related. Money and success are not related. 
(b) Poor people who live hand to mouth are able to lead a very happy life despite of having little financial security.
(c) Do what you like. Follow your heart and you will realize that there are many things that money can’t buy.
  
6. Tavish Bhattacharya – An actor who is determined to overcome stereotypes. His ideas: 

(a) Stereotypes are labels we attach to people by generalizing things because it’s simple and effortless to build and nurture biases. 
(b) We develop stereotypes because of secondhand and thirdhand information we chose to absorb from others. This makes us cynical and narrow.
(c) Welcome everyone with an open mind. All are different. All are special. We must not draw lines and categorize people based on their caste, creed or appearance.

The theme of TEDx IMTN was decoding mirages. I felt a lot of my mirages got decoded thanks to this painstaking effort by a group of zealots at IMT Nagpur. Kudos to team TEDx of IMTN.

Social Networking & Perceived Relations

Has social networking changed the way we perceive and pursue relations?
Let me tell you a story. I had a facebook friend. We knew each from a professional gathering. One fine day I found that the person has unfriended me. It was OK for me. So I wrote a short message trying to connect back. This message was ‘seen’ but not responded. Again, I thought it was OK. Later I found that I have been blocked, from this person’s facebook and linkedin accounts! Reason? No clue. We never met or spoke or had any disagreement over anything! This got me thinking. Have we changed our approach of creating and nurturing connections in past few years?
One reason I think there is a paradigm shift in the way people curate relationships is the amount of exposure to the thought about ‘friendliness’. The more I wish to see myself in the network, higher is the risk of feeling left out. Overexposure to this sort of network effect has perhaps affected our ability to tolerate idiosyncrasies of those whom we call ‘friends’. Going back to that small real life example, how do you think this person should have reacted to something that was not as per his or her ‘expectation’? Well, in good old days of SMSs a small text describing one’s state of mind about the issue would often work as a clarification. Experience will tell you that there is a dramatic change in methods adopted by men and women across the world for resolving problems arising out of judgement about other people’s thinking. 
This and more is happening all around us. Yes, we can and we will move on but how far can we go without recognizing the fact that we all are sailing in the same boat. ‘You’ are not different from ‘me’. You are an extension of me. ‘They’ are made out of ‘us’. ‘Friends’ may join and depart but this beautiful human mind thrives on social need for being together. Let us all understand this and respect differences among ourselves.

Share-O-Shayari

‘Share’ and sharing have got us to a point where we decide how and where to ‘share’ the experiences we capture even before we have lived them. So much so that sometimes we simply capture the moments because we wish to ‘share’ them. Gone are the times when sharing a photo album with someone was a ex post facto experience in itself! 
In these interesting times, we read, click, record, like and even do things for two reasons. One because we feel the excitement and joy of performing the activity and two because we feel the joy of ‘sharing’ that first hand joy with others. This second level of enthusiasm is sometimes so strong that we don’t fully let ourselves get lost in the joy of ‘feeling’ what’s happening around us. When you are face to face with a breathtaking view across a cliff or valley, you might like to snap that lovely panoramic view and ‘share’ it with friends. But in search of perfection for attracting ‘likes’ you miss a chance to appreciate a bountiful gift of nature right in front of you.
Sharing is caring. But the urge to ‘share’ might lead us to carelessness. If we really care to inhale the fresh air, ‘capture’ the dew drops, meditate in the light of full moon, cherish sparking smiles and listen to the giggles of flowing streams we must learn to stand and stare. Hopping and sharing is only as ephemeral as our ‘likes’ for somebody else’s firsthand joy. In the desperation to ‘share’ your trips, never miss the chance to create a lovely little tale of memorable ‘destinations’.
In the prose of life never miss the poetry of nature. Shayari is all around you. Just stand and stare.

I Owe Tea (IoT) Internet of Things

Internet of Things (IoT) will change the way we see our world in less than 15-20 years from now. IoT will also change the way we experience physical things around us. The experience of driving a car might be very different in 2030! On your way back home, you might be in a position to toast the bread via digitally connected toaster placed in your kitchen! Or unlock the door for your house using some smart locking system programmed by sensors to unlock itself exactly 3 minutes after the car reaches its place in the parking lot! 

In a lighter vein, one or more of the following could happen to me (when I’m busy making other plans) through IoT –

My phone will hear and remember my promise to buy a cup of tea for a friend and flash ‘I Owe Tea’! 

A digital glass of water will be splashed on my face as soon as I open my eyes and try to press the snooze button for alarm.

A digital samosa will be delivered through my favourite messenger app to activate my salivary gland by sensing that I have not had something spicy for last 48 hours. 

An internet robot or ‘bot’ will give me a call to remind me that I need to smile and greet my wife as soon as I reach home today, as it is my father in law’s birthday. 

A remote controlled tiffin box will send the picture of unfinished leftover food in the box to our maid with CC to wife. It will calculate the descriptive statistics of average food wasted last month in order to change the quantity of food to be packed in the coming months!

A ‘smart hair oil’ will measure the rate of change in the hair fall, the mix of black and white hair and suggest the frequency and volume of hair colour to be applied for a ‘smart’ look.

On reaching home from office, the shirt thrown on sofa will be picked by a household drone and transferred to the laundry bag. A ‘smart washing machine’ will come and pick it up, wash and dry it before the drome again picks it for ironing.

The ‘smartphone’ will be programmed by Her Majesty (my wife!) to move away at the rate faster than the rate of my movements in the house in order to avoid contact from me. Just in case I grab it the touch screen will turn blank as soon as it senses my presence!

Nanotechnology based material used in utensils and soiled plates will wash themselves or even decline to get washed depending on who has used them in which way.

Tooth brush will play music, polishing shoes will clean window panes, walking in ‘smart slippers’ will recharge phone batteries, sound of sobbing will trigger the order for pastry, chuckling and laughing will automatically open the beer cans and what not! 

Long live the digital revolution. That day is not far when we shall be dead in matter but shall resurrect and continue to live forever in the digital space. One day we all shall become a part of that infinite journey. It might happen sooner than we think. May be we are already there.





Horse Sense and Stable Thinking

Earlier this week a police horse was brutally beaten-up by one emotionally unstable Member of Legislative Assembly from Uttarakhand i.e. U.K. of India. The faithful and dutiful animal lost his rear leg due to irreparable injuries suffered due to this beating. Shaktiman, the horse, is accepting all the damage as silently as he accepted the pain of ironic mental strength displayed by a gentleman called Ganesh Joshi, the MLA .

Intelligence, or for that matter idiotness, is a gift of God to the mankind. So is silence, forbearance and ability to do painstaking hard work a gift of God to other animals. One is superior to other is therefore an irrelevant argument unless we know the context of such a comparison. More so because superiority or inferiority gets proved by circumstances of situations.   

No wonder this great human being seems to be superior to a horse. He has brain and the ability to use that brain wisely. Some amazing skills to stand-up as representative of people and of course a wonderful heart to fight for a cause. Yet, the horse despite of his lack of giftedness, seems to be more sensible than Mr. Joshi. He behaved himself when he was beaten mercilessly. He could have shown his prowess with couple of strong kicks on mindless head of this man-like animal. But he has been trained to be well mannered and patient. He was made to pay the price for being honest and gentle. 

When we humans get wrapped in arrogance we tend to assume that we have all the power to abuse the world around us. This horse and his plight is an excellent example of where our thinking is going. We forget the real heroes of past who helped us win battles and who have saved our lives. What we are and where we are is thanks to who we were and how we reached here. Shaktiman, like many other speechless trees and animals has taught us a lesson without speaking a single word. 

Josh is good. But Hosh is better, now and forever.