Ullas Trust – Day with children

9 Dec

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”
― John Lennon

The little girl has been asking me for two  years ” Sir would you come with us for our workshop’s and speak to children”. I would politely refuse saying ” This saturday have a doctor’s appointment for mother. I am sorry.” or ” Is this initiative still run by the company.” She would go back smiling and understanding more than her years. I always felt ashamed. I wanted to speak to children. May be the little girl believed that had something to offer. She never gave up and finally she asked last Friday. I said ” Yes and will come to school tomorrow morning and speak to children.”  I  committed for first time and yes mother complained that have go to temple for sister’s birthday. I decided to go to school. I asked ” How many school children will be there.” She said ” From two schools about 250 children”. I was both nervous and excited about the opportunity. But wanted to reach each one of them. I informed my friend who has always encouraged me with ”  Fabulous go and inspire them.” I was ready and had some ideas. Some pictures..

Mostly girls and there were some boys…

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These are children from poor and impoverished municipal schools, was surprised by number of outreach programs run in municipal schools – skill development, quiz etc. The teacher’s were very receptive & refreshingly open to initiatives, something which was a revelation..

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The children are shy, curious, some stoic, but wonderful and eager to listen, imbibe and learn…

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I will remember each one of their faces…

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More pictures of children, can’t have enough of them…

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My young colleagues gave me a memento on behalf of Ullas trust as was the guest..

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Greetings my very first felicitations as a Guest..

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The children sang a welcome song which touched my heart and it had lines ” Thank you for taking time to speak to us..”

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That’s me interacting with a child who said she wants to be a cricketer, installing a sense of belief and a structure to her aspirations. She told me she wants to be a fast bowler, how wonderful….

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Children really listen and try to soak everything, speaking to a child….

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Me again and trying to connect with with all of heart, head and hands….

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Me and class room  for the day and tried to instill a sense of certainty of dreams, that education can change life, work hard and keep learning. Most importantly to be a good person..

We interacted with as many children as possible and their aspirations ranged from being a teacher, cricketer, engineer, reporter,  medical practitioner, police officer, joining the army, air hostess and singer…

Once the children believe in you and can see your intent they really open up and are curious ” How long does it require to study for being an engineer” , ” How do I become a reporter”. ” How do i learn English” , ” What subjects should i do well to become a doctor” ” How do I become a scientist”…

The answer was always ” You will hundred percent become if you work hard. ” The children seemed happy and smiled….

My favorite session was ” What did you learn today” ….One by one they went ” The dream will come true”, ” Work hard” ” Keep learning” ” Never give up”…

I was really happy.  The children shyly asked my name, surname, waved good bye..

I don’t know if they will remember me, but me will remember them, even if one girl is inspired to go for her goals and come out of poverty, will be very happy…

I spoke in Hindi and young colleagues Shruti, Jyoti, Dhanashree made it a happy event. We distributed cheques to meritorious students, chocolates and pen for all..

I really enjoyed the day and thankful to little girl from office who kept persistently inviting me…

I have a plan to volunteer as much as possible for my twin passions – primary health care and primary education. I will continue to volunteer for Ullas Trust, a polaris|intellect CSR initiative.

My day job continues, my weekend someday’s a new meaning…

Someday will do something more …

Till then a day from my life dear friends. Hope you have a lovely time ahead.

Remember most important thing for children  is” They should grow up as good human beings …” everything else is secondary..

Love and light, Suresh

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Mindset ― Dr. Carol S. Dweck, Book Review

29 Nov

” Benjamin Barber, an eminent political theorist, once said ” I don’t divide the world into the weak and strong, or the successes and the failures…I divide the world into the learners and nonlearners.”

― Carol S. Dweck, Mindset

This is not a new idea but a timeless and a refreshing outlook to life. Dr. Carol Dweck’s ideas have gained currency for for early education pre -schoolers and as well as CEO’s of large corporations. To see the world in terms of Fixed mindset and Growth mindset binary as it sounds may not be a bad one..

If we see a school graduation photograph of a fifteen or a fourteen year old children, no can make a educated guess what X,Y, Z children would end up as, a writer, nurse, teacher, medical practitioner, sportsman, entrepreneur, college drop out or Charlie Manson. May be it’s about choices or may be it’s effort in a thoughtful or not so considerate direction. Children have desires and they don’t have metrics to evaluate their course of direction. Some have mentors or coaches. Mostly well meaning parents. So you never know…

I liked the fundamental idea espoused in the book ” You can accomplish lot more than you think with right effort and strategies..” Outcomes thus have more to do with character. It’s a very good idea. I also feel the notion of parenting of lavishing praises on children in an effort to bolster their self esteem leads to over grown kids with semi outcomes. My mother’s idea of parenting was to criticize and then make up with lots of food. My friend’s father’s famous retort to any inquiry about son ” That rascal’s address is that play ground..” . They are all harmless and some bad for child’s esteem. Parent’s never knew the right way guess. Dr. Carol S Dweck say’s ” Praise learning process and tie it with an outcome.” That way children can see how they derived at outcomes. This is embedded learning. That is very a good idea.

I have struggled with learning outcomes in most of adolescence and early adult years. I failed in three public examinations that studied towards in various age groups. It was never because of lack of effort or ability to understand material. I gave up at twenty five. I learnt that effort or desire or praises handed out by teachers do not lead to outcomes. Success is a direct derivation of efforts, strategies and resources. You should never be afraid of asking for help or soliciting feedback. I read about highly acclaimed and sought-after American attorney David Boies saying ” Life is not about timed tests “. I agree. From a “The Yale center for Dyslexia & Creativity” article…

“The way Boies processes written information is by first skimming a text to pick out the salient points. Then, by slowing down and focusing exclusively on these, he is able to analyze them critically and grasp the essence of the text. It is this unique ability that enables Boies to handle the large volume of reading required for his work, and that helped him excel in college and law school, despite his poor performance on timed tests.”

I have since adopted above approach. It has never let me down at work. More from Carol S Dweck..

” One seventh- grade girl summed it up ” I think intelligence is something you have to work for………it isn’t just given to you…….Most kids if they’re not sure of answer, will not raise their hand to answer the question. But what I usually do is raise my hand, because if I’m wrong, then my mistake will be corrected. Or I will raise my hand and say,’ How would this be solved? or I don’t get this. Can you help me? Just by doing that I’m increasing my intelligence.”

Be a learner. I would recommend ” Mindset” by Dr. Carol S Dweck to students, parent’s, teacher’s, counselor’s, human resource professionals, every one…

Though the book doesn’t hand out learning strategies but gives a great deal of context and examples, worth a read and highly recommended.

Thank you!

I wrote this as a LinkedIn post. Hope it’s of use.

Love, Suresh

Mumbai -14 Nov -15 Nov 2017

18 Nov

“An identity card is not a man, a credit rating is not a country…”

― Leonard Cohen

Any illusions that have had about reaching the world with blog have been right sized,  my place here is more of a chronicler of life, a journal, what else do know really..

Some pictures from a trip to neighboring city, have been  constrained to travel for long time, but am happy where am…

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I take a comfortable early morning bus journey. It’s always the same, brother drops me at bus depot and take a 6am bus. I love it. I watch a hindi movie ” Secret superstar”. I liked the movie and a for a moment remember ” my dreams”.. . I go  straight to office. After a full day , my colleague drops me at service apartment.  It has two beds. I don’t watch television. I speak to my mother and go out and get my preferred soap and shampoo. I drink a mashed fruit juice of Carrot, Indian gooseberry and some thing else. I feel peaceful. I no longer have friends in city. I find my apartment functional, a come down from earlier five star hotels. I have changed too. It doesn’t matter..

I read a book ( Mindset) , sleep well and take a cab  next day and wait at one of the shopping malls for my colleague, we have to go for a business meeting together…

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I take a picture as keep waiting, don’t mind being my myself,  after all of life have been alone..

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One more picture as watch people park their cars, get down in a auto rickshaw,  the city has done well….

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We have a good business meeting. Let’s leave business out of this blog, but feel good, am back in game, after a long time…

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We are hungry and need food. My young colleague Raj checks online ratings of all neighboring food joints, we settle for Punjabi street food, we catch up on each other’s lives and have food….

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One more picture, the food rich and quite good, am not used to heavy food, decide to skip dinner…

We drove back and me got down at a point and we parted. I have to take back late evening bus ride.  Standing for almost hour and half  on a busy road, nothing to do, no one to call in this city, realized ” how much life has changed” . It’s okay and always remember my friend Venu’s advise three years back ” Remember work each day, have to recover every lost day….”  . I recover every day…unfailingly…

I am on my way back, may be this city is my future, don’t know, it’s always been city of dreams. The late night bus ride has hiccups, the Volvo breaks down few times, reach mid night, brother comes and picks me and home. Next day back in office, can’t miss a day…..

The struggle continues, as along as there is early morning ride, my mom and brother well, opportunity to do the work want to do and dear friends…

I am lucky and well.

Goodnight dear friends! This for today…

Have a easy Sunday!

Love, Suresh

 

Rajesh Sahu

12 Nov

“All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Dear Rajesh,

Someday’s have passed, cannot forget you, although we had not met for few years, never forgot childhood, may be because was a ” Boy interrupted” directly catapulted into uncertain adulthood . I wanted to catch up and we spoke so little just some days ago. Here is what have been upto, my chronicle of things….

– You were the most influential part of my growing up years, you gave sanctuary to so many of us – myself, Anup, Prashant , Rajiv & Milind. You shaped our ethos, counter culture, music, movies we saw…You were a tour de force. Tinu was our hero and liked the girl who stayed near your house Nisha .  You would scold and then tease ” Who is that guy with good eyes” . Any way…

– We had so much fun in that park of your society and it’s almost insane. The fun translated into a dangerous living for all of us. Our teenage years could take that, although me knew it was unsustainable…

– Every day started and ended with you for five years. You wanted more. I thought you were such a naughty spirit. You just wanted fun. May be it was because you were too brilliant and too shy. You were polite with girls. You could manage studies, bunk classes and hit the road. Yet you would do well. I always admired how well all three brothers studied. I am a admirer of your parents – they were so nice and asked about me every time met them. I feel sorry for them. They were very kind.

– The lovely side of you was you were too shy, too good and humane. You were ideal child. Moment you saw friends , you were George best Part 2 without the women. Your zest for living was incredible. I think restlessness comes from intelligence. We were same too. Yes you were George Best incarnate…

– I stopped meeting every one at 19, scared of future, made too many mistakes, ”  Good guy Bad guy” moniker stuck.I wanted to do some thing to improve my lot. I took a job,  wanted to study, get  grades,  took admission in university, studied five years for civils, restless as ever, failed. I was devastated at 25. The struggle was bitter.My father saved my life.

– Stunned about hearing about our dear friend. I rushed to your house. Milind used to come to university to meet me. I knew he was sensitive and told me in tears ” Both of you ( you and me) are his dear friends and fight often” . Yes we were volatile, egotistical, restless…

– We met again at your brother Rakesh’s marriage. I had a job and you were happy. You built a building next to my home in few years and told me to invest in a apartment. I was a start up guy and couldn’t afford  and but was happy that you were doing well. But you never changed – simple naughty as hell. You kept teasing me …

– Our last meeting was serendipity and had quick tea together. We caught up with each other. I told you that had met school friend Samir in Mumbai. You smiled. I always liked your near reverential relationship with Samir. You enquired about my family. Nobody was more sensitive than you in that mad spirit. We always wondered about friend Anup who kept us happy with his superlative comic spirit and we would join the fun endlessly….may be that’s what we were good at, restless and endless fun.

– Life happens differently for different people. I was worried about you because you still lived liked that.  We were not in touch for long and you married and had a son. I thought it would change your life. May be it did.

– Perhaps you did not get the success you deserved. You were school topper and most brilliant although you underplayed it like all good people and participated in mindless fun.

– Even few days before ” D day” you called our friend Anup”  Anup kidar hai gadde ..” and me ” Kahan ho suresh..”.  The last time spoke to you and heard same wicked laughter….

– I never knew things had deteriorated so much. I tried meeting you twice and you were away. It’s destiny. We were never meant to meet again..

– I saw your child, what a handsome boy and who speaks like you, May god bless him endlessly. I know your dad so well. Your mom the nicest person ever. May god give them some peace and resolution. I met our great friend Tinu.

Your friends, your great friend Tinu, will never forget you…

Shine on you crazy diamond….

I just wish you had thrown that bottle…

Heavy heart & love, Suresh

Dear friends this was for a beloved friend who left for heavenly abode, never one for advise, but here is an urgent insight…

” Chuck that drink. Fuck that Bottle”

Good night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

True artist..

19 Oct

” This sounds like the most hackneyed 19th-century platitude, but in the midst of my own tiny personal troubles, I turned to the thing I knew how to do and I made songs out of it, and in the making of those songs, much of the pain was dissolved. That is one of the things that art does, is that it heals. A man who makes those choices in his own life is often more beautiful than his works. Any artist who remains true to himself becomes a work of art himself, because that is one of the most difficult things to do. If someone does have that vocation, and diligently applies himself to the exigencies that arise, he will lose a great deal but he will have created his own character.”

―Leonard Cohen: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Poet of Brokenness, Rolling Stone, Nov 2016

I have been away dear friends! I remain deeply grateful to your visits this side, am sometimes pleasantly surprised by some your spike in visits, the posts are some times embarrassing when look back, but it subsided the pain of the moment and are true. Like Leonard Cohen’s above quote from a Rolling Stone tribute to the great man,

Have a good day dear friends! Today is ” Diwali” festival of lights here, to all of you familiar with same ” Happy Diwali”  to every one else, as always much love.

I think we must be true to ourselves in journey, it’s an incredible journey for all of us…

Love and light, Suresh

 

When you are you..

9 Sep

” When your life is always a part of your surroundings—in
other words, when you are called back to yourself, in the
present moment—then there is no problem. When you
start to wander about in some delusion which is something
apart from you yourself, then your surroundings are not real
anymore, and your mind is not real anymore. If you yourself
are deluded, then your surroundings are also a misty, foggy
delusion. Once you are in the midst of delusion, there is no
end to delusion. You will be involved in deluded ideas one
after another. Most people live in delusion, involved in their
problem, trying to solve their problem. But just to live is
actually to live in problems. And to solve the problem is to
be a part of it, to be one with it.”

― Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

“When you are you, you see things as they are, and you
become one with your surroundings.” ( Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)

I want to go back to myself. I am always trying to go back to myself.  I miss blogging. I will try to be regular. I will post on my work holidays. Apologies for being away dear friends.

Have a good day!

Love, Suresh

The boy and reflections on the road

30 Jul

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

I have been little under the weather and mostly trying to do small things for home – curtains, some fittings, little stuff, it keeps me and my brother busy on weekends. I  squeezed a day trip for a family function. I kept on reflecting…

― I realized for many  of us who are lost in thoughts, there is a world out there which is action oriented.

― Every town ship, private university, school that has come up has been someone’s thoughts  translated into action. Massive action. For action to be productive must be logical and prudent. It doesn’t work otherwise.

― I realized you cannot fit into another person’s world. You need to create your own world. You make daily little choices? Who am I ? What can I do in this situation? Has the ecology changed? How do I make it better?

― One cannot  go back to one’s own roots. The root’s are in shambles, your father gone, the memory alive and actor’s gone. You never know how the actor’s have shaped up?

― Love is a experience you carry. It is  never easy. You wonder about people? May be you think too much? You were born that way and you can’t do much, you love them anyway..

― I  had a realization some time ago that you need to look for a secure sense of self within yourself. It’s not easy and that things are transient. A friend of mine had some years ago pointed ” If you look carefully  even feelings change” is that true?

― A software engineer cum tarot card reader friend had told me ” Always don’t think about doing great work and enjoy yourself”.  I am now more into giving total attention to what is available work than anything else. I want to enjoy myself . How do I start?

― You can survive a monotonous routine called ” stability” only by exercising and having a hobby or a passion.  This am very sure. Otherwise you will have to shake your head wildly as when a quack when writes a prescription or bang your head like a metal fan.

― The young are wonderful, you love them, knowing fully well some will end up as discredited ones. You let them be and wish well.

― You learnt ” people actions may seem harsh but they did not have bad intentions”. They are your well wishers. It’s complex.  You keep working and chipping at this, to make it better or palatable. There is no secret sauce here.

― As said earlier, you build your work, you build your family, you make choices, you choose your people, a greater commune perhaps or a purpose. You make your own world.  Jiddu Krishnamurty had said ” You are the world .” In other words ” World is you.”

― I am building my world, like every one else is building theirs, our world should converge more and more. ” La manic as the great french canadian song by Georges Dor…

― The self realization bug bite me at sixteen otherwise would have been a scientist. I had read Frijtop Kapra, Richard Feynman early. Science is my first love. I also wanted to be a writer.

― True work, True love, Buy a house. These were jottings in my little diary.The last one is ticked, now the other two.. I have always been sincere to family.

― Lastly met a boy the day before at a store. I asked him quietly as am wont to ” Do you find time to study? Is this a full time job?”   He replied ” This is not my first job. My family is fine. I have worked at few places. I am studying. But you don’t get a good job just because of studies. People also come up because of talent.” He told me assuredly. I asked him his name, told him mine, took my gift article, wished him well as other people looked at me strangely and left the store in a rainy night. There is always a soul like you in this world. You were the same like the boy. I hope the handsome boy does well.

These are my thoughts today. I am building a world, good luck to yours, we must converge more and have less walls & boundaries….

Have a easy Sunday dear friends!

Love, Suresh