Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Life in Lockdown - Day 15 of 21, April 8, 2020

Day 15.

The morning routine is set. Get up, make that hot water, lemon, honey, salt, ginger concoction that I picked up from my mother-in-law. It's a serious process that involves several cups, gadgets, and raw materials. Once that's done I head out to the front year, get the chairs and settle down to sip on it. This is where I catch up on my messages. Vijay, Swaroop, Moses send me e-newspapers daily. Krishnan sends me sports magazines and some fine foreign magazines. I browse the headlines. Today Krishnan sent me e-comics of Archies and stuff. Then I do my gratitude journal, maybe make a couple of calls. Today I decided I am done with calls.
The patch of sky I can see from my chair!
I realised that sweeping the house is a rather tiresome job as in it tires me out, so I did it. Then I settled down to prepare for my afternoon class. By now its almost time for lunch but I had to go shopping for some groceries and my medicines. So out came my mask, and off I went. I thought I'd check out Ratnadeep at SR Nagar. It was 1 in the afternoon and bloody hot and there were twenty people waiting outside. The Kirana store wall next door was rather empty. So i decided to head to my colony Kirana wall. But before that, I decided to look in on Polimera at SR Nagar. Hmm, not too many people. I stopped.

These guys were well organised. The security chap, a perky young fellow, kept us in line, poured hand sanitiser, gave us plastic gloves. There was a board outside which said 'No mask, No entry' Hmm. Thanks mask. The behaviour inside is a bit on the me-myself as people kind of rush in to get the best, in some fashion look after their best interests, and the others can go-to-hell. It shows in small ways, the voice modulations, the slight aggression with the basket etc. Anyway, got some fruits, some vegetables and wonder of wonders - the checkout counter was empty! Super impressed with Polimera.
Good Samaritans distributing food looks like 
Off I sailed towards the medical shop and bought a few essential medicines. I noticed everyone had a mask, even the banana vendor - where dd they get masks from/ All my previous attempts had failed - the one I use is something Shobhs bought from Pune. I realise that in a Noah's Ark kind of a situation - I am hopeless - the banana vendor will get on it before I do.

Then I realised one of the tires was low on air pressure and decided to go to the petrol bunk at Erragadda. The SR Nagar Police seemed to have cordoned off their area - barricades at SR Nagar Police station and then barricades near Rythu bazaar. I squeezed through, got a chap at the petrol bunk to fill up the air, paid him a handsome 20 and came homeward. I passed the colony grocer and he was packed.

I went home, did the sanitising work with all the stuff I got and with myself, and prepped for class after lunch, At 3 om my Zoom class began and it went fine until 430 or so. I crashed out in the evening meditation thanks to my exhausting day. I walked to the colony grocer to pick up a few things and he was already shutting shop - it was 530. I thought they were open till 6. This guy is so well stocked that he has everything I need. Anyway picked a few things before the cops came by and shut him down. Apparently, they are very strict and impose heavy fines if they stay beyond the time I was pretty impressed.

Table tennis with Anjali and then I settled down to some rock music by myself. Good stuff - ACDC, Def Leppard, Bangles, Journey Billy Joel, ZZ Top, Kiss, Blondie, Nirvana...lovely time was had.

Out in the cyberspace, I hear whispers of the lockdown continuing for another two weeks or so which is ok. Our school group which posts all wrong news and gory stuff has been hijacked by the admin who has been told that admins will be put in jail so no one can post anything! That cut a lot of noise out. But then a new cricketers group has begun and there are a few on it who are continuously behaving like priapic school boys. Waiting to see how long they will sustain.

I have a feeling most people are used to this lockdown life now. I checked with our maid Lakshmi who cannot seem to stay away from work despite us telling her to chill till the 15th. She comes and sweeps the forecourt. She tells me that she got some 12 kgs of rice (not happy with the quality of rice and service). Ramu, the next-door dhobi came and showed me his hand where his master's dog bit him pretty badly. I wonder how he managed to get bitten now.

I am thinking of slowly shutting down the phone now. That would be real peace. Maybe start with a day. I am already operating on silent mode. This might add to some more peace of mind.

Tomorrow I have an important mission - I need to get a mop - the current one as I reported earlier - lies in two pieces. Ratnadeep should be attacked - I wonder what a good time would be considering that twenty people are baking in the afternoon sun. Maybe early in the morning could be worth a shot.

Arts Management 2020 - Session 6 (SMART Goals)


Artistic vision

1. Your artistic vision 

It must include

- the driving purpose for you to continue to dance for the rest of your life (eg. to inspire people, to entertain people, to make people happy, to make Indian classical great etc)
- what is the impact you would like to see on the world (to see people happy, to elevate the quality of life, etc)

One part is your pursuit of art and the other is the impact on the world - where you impact the maximum number of people in the world. Also, identify the emotion you want to leave them with. Your purpose should inspire you, it should give you a reason to work with great commitment.


2. Deconstruction of skills

Identify the A,B, C categories in your skillset according to their importance
Rate each one on a scale of 1-10
Check with your guru and/or a peer who can evaluate you well and ask them to rate you also
You will get a fair evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses as a dancer
Create a plan to work and improve those areas

3. Plan to improve skillset

Use both 10000 hours and 20 hours concepts to focus on improving your skills
Deconstruct and identify strong and weak areas
Get a fair evaluation of your skill through gurus/peers
Understand mistakes, find right practices through discussions with gurus
Remove distractions
Engage in deliberate practice
- Identify your strong areas as above and strengthen them one by one until you know its perfect, know process
- identify weak areas and work on them specifically, in order of importance, until they are strong

Put in the effort (number of hours), routines, repetitions until you are confident you have improved

Today's session - SMART Goals
There's an apocryphal story of a study done in Harvard in 1979 when students were asked - have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans o accomplish them? Only three per cent had written goals and plans, 13 per cent had goals but not in writing and 84% had no specific goals at all. Ten years later the members of the class were interviewed and the findings were like this - the 13% who had goals were earning on average twice as much as the 84% who did not have goals. The 3% who had written goals they say, were learning ten times as much the other 97% together.

There are four reasons why people don't set goals
1. They don't realise the importance of clear goals
2. They don't know how to set goals (too general or vague)
3. They fear failure
4. They fear criticism and rejection

One important aspect of goal setting is that it helps you focus on what you want, and not on what you don't want. It provides clarity. Once you have the clarity to can commit your full energies to the goal which will reveal many new opportunities to you.

One good method is setting SMART Goals.
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R - Relevant
T - Time-bound

Specific - Make your goal as specific as you can. Instead of using abstract goals like successful or good or rich, put a name, number, visual to get a clear idea of what you are aiming at. A 'good dancer' is not specific nor is 'a successful dancer'. It has to be a rank (best dancer in the world), number (number of performances, awards), major stages (performed in Sydney Opera house, Albert Hall etc), something that signifies a clear challenge or goal. When the challenge is clear, our preparation will begin commensurately. Also when the challenge is big, we also grow as a person and artist. So set goals that grow you, excite you.

An eg. I want to be a CEO is vague, I want to be CEO of Microsoft or Google or some Fortune 500 company is different from being CEO of my own firm which requires little preparation.

Measurable - The goal should be measurable. I want to be a millionaire is measurable - you can count. Remember the saying - what can be measured, can be improved. So find a way to measure your progress, to put a number on your goal.
Use ranks, number of performances, awards, number of hours- numbers to measure.
Eg. To gain expertise in my practice, I will practice 3 hours every day or perform 12 times in the year.

Attainable - The goal should be a stretch goal. it would not be too easily attainable nor should it be impossible to attain. The right way is to set it high enough for you to feel it is out of reach, and high enough t make you look at different ways to reach it. It should challenge and grow you, make you think differently.
If it's impossible you'll give up. If it's too easy, you will not grow. Must be in between.

Relevant - It should be relevant to your current journey. Don't make goals that are not aligned to your main focus. The ideas to have goals that align and enable the achievement of the big goal. If you have diverse goals pulling you in different directions, your energies will be split)
Time-Bound - All goals should be time-bound. It is not a goal if there is no time limit on it.

Exercise/ PracticeSet SMART goals for the following durations, in the same order as given

20-year goals (have a big 20-year visit)
10-year goals (aligned with the 20 year goals)
5-year goals
2-year goals
6 month goals (be very clear on what you will achieve in the next six months including your exam goals, performances, higher educational goals etc)

Your goals can include your career goals, material goals, educational goals, money goals, etc and should paint a fair picture of your goal. Since we are coming backwards from 20 years, the 10, 5, 2 and 6 month goals should be in alignment.
Please be very specific with the 6-month goals because that will start your preparation in the right earnest.

Perfect Date - Movie

I loved this. Simple storyline but zippy dialogue and good chemistry between the two lead actors. Light-hearted romance. Very watchable.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Movie

2012 coming of age film, directed by the author of the book of the same name, Stephen Chbosky. The movie stars Emma Watson and several other young actors playing high school students, their troubles and aspirations. Liked it.

Manmadha Leelai - Movie

1976 Balachander movie.

Watched this over a couple of weeks, over different screens and finally completed it. Philandering husband played by Kamal Haasan.

Anjali - Plans for the Lockdown

Anjali made out some plans for the lockdown - a list of things to do. Should keep her busy. I think I can take some pointers too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Life in Lockdown - Day 14 of 21, April 7, 2020

Day 14.

Life's going on at a comfortable rhythm thanks to shutting off the news from the outside world. I get the odd call from Choudary who keeps me informed of the alarming number of deaths and cases but that's expected and handleable. Anyway, he calls me only once in two days or so. I'm so getting used to this life in isolation - something I chose when I chose to write. (And feel like a fraud!)

Most the morning went into my cleaning chores which are somehow becoming easier by the day. Journal, couple of calls, and I started to work on an idea for the HANS article which is always that much more to write than the Express article. The key I found is to connect two disparate ideas - like love or politics - or use exaggeration, or take potshots at something popular. The last is lazy. Anyway, these days I throw the idea and ask a few friends and some idea gives me the germ to begin with.

Tomorrow we have the second online class and I have rather limited time to complete the course so I better plan this well so the students benefit the most. Surprisingly the movie has gone out of the window yesterday though I managed to complete an old Kamal Haasan movie I was watching 'Manmatha Leelai'. A 70s film which was quite popular. Made some progress with Bruce Lee's fascinating bio.

Afternoon table tennis was quite hectic again followed by the evening meditation. More cleaning and stuff. A couple of calls, and back to sending the final HANS article, writing the synopsis for the last class and this blog where I suddenly felt I was sharing too much information.

Anyway, there was a moment of panic this morning when during Anjali's online class and Shobha's interview, the wifi went off. Suddenly visions of a life minus wifi scared us, and fear set into the bottom of the stomach. And then we found that the internet guys were working on some problem and soon all was well. A major crisis was averted. Such are the problems we have in these times.

There were some interesting thoughts conveyed to me today, but I forget and will relate when I remember. By end of day Pooja, Miskil, Madhu, Choudary, Vijay Lokapalli, Abhinay had called.

Some clarity. Some endings. Some beginnings. Life's like that.