Happy Teachers’ Day

Every year this day comes. On this day. And you find yourself wondering what will you say different from all the times before. Things are changing so slowly, they are hardly noticeable. The most important serviceperson of the nation is getting disillusioned and I have not much to offer that makes real sense to a teacher.

I hope things will change for the better. The teacher’s life will become better. I will do all that I can, along with like-minded people who share the same beliefs. For now, the people you work with, are the best motivation for you.

Young students, Akanksha, Teacher's Day

Courtesy: Akanksha Photo Shoot

Thank you, dear architects of the future of this country. Thank you for your relentless service to the nation against the most challenging odds. Thank you, especially, for standing tall and strong through the seemingly hopelessness of it all. That takes a different type of courage.



A Vintage Moment

Not this one. This is just a moment in time; now.

Window Frame

In due course, it will be a vintage moment. When something wonderful was thought of and created, even if it was just in the tightly confined vast mindspace unlimited possibility.

In Collateral we Trust

It’s been years.

I asked a wise man once, what collateral meant. Patiently, and in his own inimitable style he explained the meaning of that word. I had some follow-up, what-if questions, which were more to confirm what I understood, than pure questions themselves. His answers confirmed that I had understood collateral correctly. Apparently, learning Computer Science is useless if you do not learn where to use it; we had to, therefore learn something called “Commercial Applications” – Banking, Accounting, Finance, Ratios, and related boring (but money-making) stuff. That’s about college; I usually tend to remember other, interesting, college stuff.

Bound: Original

In the following years, I heard the word trust many times. In different contexts: love, family, friends, organisational structures (See Business & Legal), and of course as simple day-to-day use of trusty-phrases. Much later, (as a young, ambitious — and obviously foolish — man) I went to a bank and asked for a loan to start a business. I have to admit, I loved the attention when they knew I had come for a loan, though that delight was short-lived. I had no collateral to give and therefore they had no money to give. But that’s how banks operate, and without any grudge, I found other (legal) means to start my business. And it was good for a while, which is another story.

But it is not just about banks (and their business model is to trust only in lieu of collateral) – this transactional trust tradition has become a part of our everyday lives. The forms have changed; the nature has not. The presentation has become sweeter, the legal document has not. But, there’s more to trust, than that. Trust is not a street-kid that you adopt out of sympathy; but sense it, acknowledge it, and embrace it.

In the times we live in, your future is the new collateral. One might say, that’s fine. Hedge, I think is the word. (But I may be completely wrong, because “Commercial Applications” wasn’t my favourite subject.) And I may even agree, if it was just that; just the unknown future; a random bastard value, legitimised by sheets and sheets of non-native numbers and foreign formulas. But I don’t agree, because, essentially, it is not just the future which is in lien; a slice of your present, is also to be surrendered: for that possible future. [Fun activity: look for the etymological roots of the word lien and ligament.]

Here and now, she said, here and now. You are slashing your supreme sword at empty shadows that have long been sent skywards in the pyres of the past. At the same time you are nitpicking on details that you know not how will unfold; entitling it grandiose: opportunity and strategy. Be with me? In these war games that are long dead and the chess games that haven’t begun, I see you nowhere. You are behind me or ahead; but not with me. [Dramatical abstraction of an otherwise simple, straightforward conversation]

Commitment considers not cost, neither collateral. Nor does Passion. Experience is the evolved cousin of commitment and passion; perhaps the most arrogant of the three — but is rooted in certainty and reality. And all the wealth that Kubera hoards; cannot stand collateral for these three cousins. All three cousins are here and now. They have no sense of the future. But they are faceless intangibles seeking a presence within noxious numbers and random ratios.

You and I, distant cousins of these three; once removed, perhaps twice removed, know them very well. They are almost us. And so we say, No! No, sir. We have nothing tangible to deposit in those vaults of yours, what we have, cannot be stored or locked behind those steel doors. For they are formless and beyond being bound.

But, if it is to be a market, in spite of all, we walk with swords ready to be unsheathed, that have value inscribed across the blade.

To Build or To Disrupt

There’s nothing good about disruption, essentially.

Unfortunately, most kids today are out to disrupt something. The problem I have is not with the word itself, for it has three meanings. All three meanings are inherently negative and violent. I take exception with the start; “we will disrupt education”, for example. The Internet, when it came along did not have a grand design to disrupt anything. It was just another way to display information and manage communication. Over time, entrepreneurs found a new way to do business using this medium. In my opinion, they worked at improving the status quo. They did not intend to break the backbone of how things were. They were just trying out something new.

To start from disruption is a narrow approach, seeking to break something. If an existing system bothers you, or if you have a better idea for the system, change; and the value of change is important. We tend to look at success stories, but the better lessons for us come from those who wrangled with existing systems, and failed.

Most lessons of success come from those who have been successful; not from those who have failed. But if we are to learn, we should be looking at how and why things failed. There is, almost, an infinite scope to change things — if we understand how those things behave. Stout hearts will, perhaps, understand what I say. Building anew is better than breaking (and rebuilding).

But words, and their changing meanings.

We are slaves to a market that’s selling us camouflaged goods.

Never Say Never

Our prejudice of people and places puts us in precarious positions. And they are precarious because they potentially inhibit a forward movement (or backward, as the case may be). When whoever coined Never Say Never, I wonder if they were being contradictory on purpose. The last word contradicts the first two or the first word contradicts the last two. Your choice. Some crafty person thought about it I am sure, perhaps waiting for others to see the contradiction.

6904: Never Say Never

In a no – there is an automatic decline of an experience, which is why, recently, I started saying yes. When I look back on my life experiences, I am glad I said yes. For the ones, which I declined, I will never know. Also, it’s easy to step back to a no after you have said yes; it’s seldom possible, vice versa. Then, there are sacrifices that come along with the yes. And it is impossible to weigh known sacrifices with unknown gains that the yes has the potential to bring, at a later unknown date. Then, your yes is a leap—less, of faith—more, of an abstract calculation. With the knowledge that you always can draw out the no card at a later date, when the yes isn’t worth the effort.

No yes, however, should be blind, or, for the sake of it. Our intuition (as against our prejudice) plays an important role in this yes and no of life. It requires a down-calibration of our prejudice and an up-calibration of our intuition. And while the results of a yes or a no may feed our prejudice in some way, it enhances our experience, which, in a very subtle yet sophisticated manner—feeds our intuition.

This little life of ours is capable of experiencing more than we believe it can.

To Be and To Do

To be, and to do, are two very different things. The act may be the same. And yet, it is different.

Just because you sing (“do”) you aren’t a singer (“be”).

More often than not, people will recognise who you are. Not what you do.

To Fail or Not to Fail

It’s only the 9th day of the month, and I can tell you now, it’s not at all easy writing everyday  It helps however, that a few fellow bloggers have encouraged me through their likes, shares, comments, and tweets. (Even when I know that some of the posts are not as good or complete as I’d like them to be)

When I think hard about it, it doesn’t really matter if I miss a day or two; this challenge has little significance in the scheme of things. It’s not related to money, work, or health. So, to fail in this challenge would mean little. But I intend to succeed. As I had written previously  we have to explore for ourselves the nature of our commitments. We have to define success on a standard that is acceptable to us – it may be the same as what is generally accepted, it may be higher or it may be lower. But it has to be ours. And failure – if it becomes ours, has to be measured by our standard.

There’s too much being made of failure. I recently tweeted:

While giving encouragement – the kind I receive on this blog – is important, when people close to you have embarked on an adventure, the encouragement has to be (for want of a better word) rational. There’s too much mollycoddling around failures. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it’s a good thing to fail.

We learn from our mistakes. Yes.

Failure is the first step to success. Yes

[Insert a similar over-positive-sounding idiom]. Yes

Isolation - 1

That’s all true, but there has to be some limit on failing. You cannot be failing all the while, thinking, “There, I’m that much closer to success.” If you do not learn why you have failed in the first place, it will take you farther from success. If I find myself failing over and over – I have to review the standard I set for myself, or the manner in which I have set out to achieve that standard, or both. There’s also too much talk about passion; passion that will see us through the difficult times.

To an extent. Yes.

Passion is an attitude, not a tool that will see me through. I will need to invest time, gain knowledge, and apply skill to what I do. There’s nothing romantic about failure.

Failure is not an option.