Saturday, June 18, 2016

Do we need only leader ?

You may come across countless speeches/talks, workshops/training sessions, etc on leadership. May find innumerable book on "How to become a good leader".
Communication seems to be the most important feature of a good leader. So everyone is lined up to improve communication skills to become leader of next gen.

Does it mean that, all we need is a good leader -- not  followers or a team player.s Howmany leaders does a society need ? Do we need more leaders than team members ? What we are creating a reverse pyramid where most of the people are being trained to become leaders.

Donot we need a training for a team player, like -- "How to become a good team player"   or  " how to follow a good leader"    or " how to identify a good leader" ??

Leadership has certain traits, which need to be honed. They are special and specific. Similarly a becoming a team player is not natural to every human(may be to ants). It need to be chiseled and polished. A failed leader cannot automatically qualify for a good team player.

A team player, who is always in the shadow  needs  lot of motivation to be in that position forever, knowing that he is the pillar of the organisation. He/she needs lot of mental strength to sacrifice pride or  reward and support leader in all times. Should never shy way from doing anything for the team and for the leader. Understand the direction of the leader unambiguously and co-row the boat.

Skills like listening skills, following the leader, sacrifice, patience, etc. need to be developped. 

We need more such team player to run the society. Can someone come up with a course on this ?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bad Mouth -- food for thought

Many a times, we talk something which hurt other people. We may not feel that. It happens vice-a-versa as well. This bad talk is highly addictive and like smile, very contagious  !!  Bad talk creates lot of negative vibe around us.  We criticise many people, place, arrangement, etc. without thinking its impact on the listener. Always you may find a thin line between a criticism and a comment.

Now, how do you define  a "bad talk"  ? This  question was posed to a learned person.

The erudite replied with a smile -- "Even in a casual conversation, if you state that -- "Ravana was a bad person", is a bad talk !!!!!   You visit some one, who hands you a banana fruit as a gift, which happened to be a rotten one. When you reach back home and make a comment that -- "I got a rotten banana as a gift" is also a bad talk.  "I got banana fruit as a gift" would have been enough. Any talk/statement which bring genuine smile on listener's face and doesnot trigger any negative thought, is the talk we need to adopt."

Question : Suppose a person is a lawyer, who is fighting a case against a bandit or terrorist in a court of law. If lawyer doesnot use any bad talk, how can he win the case and put the criminals behind the bar ?

Scholar : It is his profession, which requires him to list the bad deed of a person under trial or in question. His profession requires a bad talk. But the same person comes out of court room and in non professional conversation starts evoking bad deeds of Ravana, then it is a bad talk.

Question: When we have to narrate some incidents, it would bring sadness on other's face. Suppose I have to convey the news  of demise of a beloved one, I donot expect a smile on listener's face ! Is it a bad talk ?

Scholar : It is true. But if you add some spice to that -- "It is good that he died  or Finally he died" is definitely bad talk.   Even a laugh or smile can hurt some one. That  is too a bad mouth....

Whenever you construct a sentence, before it reaches your tongue, think for a second, if it hurts any one...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My Swimming lessons

I started learning swimming in my early 40s. Apart from swimming, the training process taught me quite a few lessons for life.

Swimming is one physical activity which cannot be taught by a physical instructor. It requires actuating your mental faculty -- body and mind together make you swim.

In very convention sense of the day, teacher shows you how to acquire certain skills or knowledge. You follow him/her and  in a few efforts, you acquire what you had intended to. Teaching is over and improvement on newly acquired knowledge/skill is left to you.

Where as in swimming teacher can only guide. You cannot immitate him to learn swimming properly. The substance has to come from within you and on its own.

To me completing a 20m freestyle swimming was a big challenge. Used to get tired quickly, after crossing a few meters. Watched my coach innumerable times; went to Youtube and surfed through many training sessions videos over the net. But could not move an inch ahead.

Suddenly I realised that I was holding my body very tight unknowingly. The muscles were very tight. Now how to loosen, so that swimming becomes comfortable, is a rocket science till you realise that. You think, you are relaxing. It is very difficult for teacher to teach how to relax while swimming. He can only suggest you to relax. I also realised that mental tension directly affected relaxation. It took good amount of time for me to control my thoughts and relax my body in water and finally to complete a lap...!!!!

Now in our life some senior or elder show us the path of a good journey. How to tread on that path is again not teachable. We have to experience and just do it. Many times we think that we are in the right path as shown, but still target looks so elusive. It is again the same ....relaxing body from tension. Self learning...Body and mind in cohesion...

Education or Learning is a process of observation, experience and then take appropriate steps. Book is not a necessary tool for the education. Book contains some facts, which  you may use to simplify the learning process. But your observation, self learning, comprehension and final analysis make you an educated.

Other big learning I had while swimming was being oneness with water. I drift trough the water as part of it -- smooth and inseparable. Adjust to its temperature -- cold or hot. Learn its flow and align yourself. Even use its density, if helps, to your advantage. When I become one with water, swimming becomes super relaxing  and enjoyable-- not a strenous exercise.

In life, we need to have that oneness  with our environment, society, family and surroundings. You can't seal yourself separated, because of your status -- financial or position. Life become strenous if you dont feel that oneness with complete surrounding. Again that oneness need to be experienced, not just by reading some thing.

I went to learn swimming, just as a sport or a good exercise to keep body fit. But it turned out to be a philosophy....

Saturday, September 12, 2015


When you see a blind person crossing a road what comes to your mind? Just a pity feeling ? At best you may stop your vehicle, so that the person can cross the road !

Rotary gave me an opportunity to enter into a blind person's mind and get a “glimpse” of daily routine and associated challenges.

Rotary Bangaore North West participated in Rotary supported Blind walk’15 on Sunday 6th Sept afternoon, in Cubbon park.

At the beginning, all the participants were blind folded with a black ribbon. Then we were lined up in a group of five (Five of North Westers made one such link) touching each other’s shoulder forming a kind of chain. One visually challenged person along with a volunteer was ready to lead us.

The walk started from Cubbon park main entrance at around 4:00 pm and culminated at St Joseph Indian school ground after walking along busy Kasturiba Road and Vittal Malya Road. One kilometer walk took almost an hour and gave an amazing experience!!

When the event was flagged off, walk started with a big jerk. First thing I noticed was loss of sense of direction. Then natural fear in me kicked in. “Which road, what kind of hurdles on the way, if I get delinked from the chain”, etc., etc., etc. Eventhough there were volunteers cautioning us, we were not knowing whom it was addressed to. When I heard a voice, “be careful there is a step (!!!)”, everyone used to be overcautious, searching for the step and bringing the whole walk to a halt. A small pothole, a stone, some dirt, flowing water in the road -- all made different sense for this walk.

Since we had already lost sense of direction, a honk of passing vehicle brought in fear factor and extra caution. We were not aware of which part of the road we were treading in – right, left or at the centre. Unable to distinguish, if the honk was for me or to someone else. Difficult to judge distance of passing vehicles just by sheer sound.

After about 20-30 minutes, sixth sense started kicking in slowly. Some amount of confidence cropped up. On the other hand, visually challenged leader seems to be unperturbed about all these surroundings. He was talking about recently released movies, his favourite actors, etc. etc.

A kilometer walk made us to experience quite a few challenges blind people face in their daily life. Just feeling pity or doing a lip service will not serve. We North Westers took a pledge to donate our eyes. That could be the only way to address this issue. At the end of the evening, the walk turned out to be a true gift to the humanity.