Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Mini MCC Reunion

Babu was in town and wanted to meet the old MCC gang. So Ranjan, Pavan, Suri, Subbu, Srinu and I showed up.
A good net - Suri, Subbu, Pavan, Ranja, me and Babs

A knock at the MLJ Academy for old times sake and then some food and drink. Great time.
More like it - our meetings are typically fun and laughter

Lots of talk about the games we played and won, what we learned and what it meant. More on this soon. And with better pics.

No reunion goes without reminiscing these matches/incidents:
1) Win over Sacred Hearts: We got out for 135 and Sacred Hearts were 0 for no loss after one over. Srinu bowled a ferocious spell and got 5 for 25 or something like that. I supported him well enough to get 5 for30. Pavan pulled off some unbelievable catches at short leg. The most spontaneous celebrations we ever had till date - at Outswinger pub - sponsored by the man of good times Chandra.

Another big win over Sacred Hearts which piled up a big score of 270. We lost a couple of early wickets before Chandra and Raj played outstanding innings with unbelievable strokeplay. And another time when we defended a not so big total easily.

2) Win over MPG - We beat a strong MPG team consistently and comfortably over the years. I remember one when we won the championship - we scored 281 and they scored 270 plus after being 130 for no loss. Fabulous game. I got 78, Raj got a hundred.

3) Beating a team with 121 on board: Uncle promised us beers if we won this tight game. They needed 15 with five wickets in hand when Srinu decided enough was enough, took the ball from my hand and bowled another ferocious spell. They were shot out for 119. Fierce stuff.

4) Falaknuma - We were chasing some 260. While batting at about 100 I tried to pull a short ball and it broke my nose. There was blood all over. By the time I got patched up and came back, Suri had got us back the advantage with a stroke-filled 90 plus. We won.

5) Winning the championship twice - 1995-85 and 1997-98: The spirit of winning was inculcated deeply but we always played fairly and within the rules. Since we played to win the best team played, the team had a culture of discipline, and there was an edge always. We played on our strengths.
Winners 1994 - A2 league championship 
6) Subbu's famous samosa incident: A match which was seriously in balance. I was in the middle of a hot spell. I turn at the run up to bowl in parade grounds when Subbu raises his hand and asks me to stop. He had a samosa in his gloves which he had bought from a passing vendor. All hell broke loose when I lost it.

7) ECIL: Playing against a good team with a broken finger I batted and scored 27 out of 125 and then bowled unchanged for 15 overs, holding the ball with my thumb and index finger, I finished with 5 for 25 and we won the match. Full credit to Maheshwar Prasad who insisted that I bowl. In fact I was not supposed to play the game - just went to watch with my swollen finger.

8) Beating EMCC: We were bowled out for 130 or so and had little chance against the strong EMCC. We heard the inevitable 'finish the match before lunch'. I got the first wicket and then Vanka Pratap out lbw and from 30 for 2, EMCC folded for less than a 100. Brilliant catching by Babu and lovely bowling by Mohan.

Beating EMCC again: John Manoj once again uttered the same 'finish the game early' words. Low score. I got 4, finished my spell and then got the left arm seamer Chary to pick up 4 at his end. Won by 10 runs or so.

9) Losing to Ameerpet: In the season we won the championship the only match we lost was against Ameerpet. We had Vivek, Raj Kumar, me. But we scored few runs and could not defend it. However after that one year, we beat Ameerpet every year.

10) Dropping Suri because he came late: Suri and Subbu went for breakfast and Suri came late. He was the best batsman we had but as a matter of discipline I dropped him. Lot of acrimony because it was not really his fault and I drew a tough line but rules were rules.

Similarly, we forfeited the match when Ram, Ranjan and Babu went to drink chai and returned when we were already 7 down and our 9, 10 and 11 were out drinking chai. Though we could have asked for time or held up the match for 10 minutes I forfeited the game. Again, a matter of culture and discipline.

 There were fights, jokes, injuries. Shameem's crazy knock which won us a match, Prashant's wonderful technique, Bapat's resilience, Rajan's tenacity, Pavan and Vijay helping out the administration bit, Suri always by my side be it batting or bowling or fielding, ready to die for the team, wonderful stuff. They told me yesterday how upset I would be when we lost and how I would go off without talking to the team and how they would meet over chai and decided to win the next game for me. I told them how much it taught me about many things in life. We all shared our stories and promised to meet again soon. 

Some Kind Words That Made My Day - From my MBA Classmates

An outpouring of affection from my mates at the Osmania MBA college. I want to preserve this - and no better place than the blog.

"Hari you have been a great Ambassador of the MBA group.

You have eulogised each one with your flowery, and compassionate words.

You have found the best qualities in each friend of yours and the respect that you shower has endeared you to each one and has enhanced your towering stature.

Like a true sportsman that you are you  experimented with your life and had the courage to settle  down with the best for you -  Shobha and writing .

Hari I found you to be the most caring, compassionate soul and a person with a human touch which let's you see the good in everyone.

 Your attitude to life and people around you reflects your analysis which you so eloquently brought out in your writing.

Hope one day we all attend the function where you are awarded the Booker prize. Hope you had a great day."

- My skipper at Osmania, Vijay

Well said Vijay.. you are all of this and much more Hari - Visa

"Well said. Thank you for writing such lovely note for Hari. Was wondering how a writer like Hari could be graced with something close to what he can put into words. Great job.
You are special. Hope you had a wonderful day. - Radha

Hi Hari Mohan, birthday wishes and prayers for your good health and happiness.
You epitomize friendship, coolness, leadership, filial, spousal and paternal love;
Magic at the pitch or the page ;
Ability to shake n stir just about anything including a drink;
You made a lasting impression in 1985 when I first met you with KP Choudhary in the OUCE lounge.
You've been an inspiration for my on-the-spot article for our OUCCBM 1991 magazine
You trigger verbosity in others even as you remain stoically laconic.
So there I've said it all. My friend.
- S.V. Ramana, old pal

"Wow... I wait for everyone’s birthdays  to appear for 2 reasons..
1. To wish them and
2. To read your write up

This was your best so far, Hari..

As Vijay says you are a divine soul who sees only the good in everyone.  Hence, your divine soul reflects in your happiness, bliss and your personality! Love the way you share happiness with others and your calmness being  your forte.. wish I could be as calm and cool as you!!😀👍

May the year ahead be as beautiful as your bundle of joy (Anjali), as bright as your better half-Shobha, and as loving as your family!!👍😀😍

May you be blessed with good health, happiness, success, prosperity, joy and peace!!
Hugs to your Hari!!
Stay blessed!!

A card made by my 10year old - Vidya

Hari, I may not be a good writer like most of you, but what I have written is DIL SE."
- Hema

Loved Being the Object of poet Bijju's poem!

"Languid pace , unHARIed Grace,
Tremendous wit , makes a near perfect fit.
A way with words , inspiring all
We count on you , standing so tall.

Soulful eyes , incapable of lies
Speaking from the heart, playing your part.
Never do you pretend , when being a friend
Love & warmth you extend , joyfully no end.

Easy manners , Mirthful looks
Emotions many , Expressed in books
Your infectious laughter , so full of life
Source being daughter, and no less , the wife !

- Bijju

Thank you everyone from the class of 91!  

Gifts Galore!


Tagore's collection from Sagar. Been thinking of reading Tagore for a long time. Now thanks to Sagar, should be done.

Half Lion from Abhinay! Looks very interesting indeed. PV Narasimha Rao's bio.

Munshi Premchand's short stories. - From myself.

Sketching book!

Sleep - A Poem that Came Back after 20 years

A long time ago in the mid-1990s, I used to keep my creative juices by devoting 15 minutes before work each day to write a few lines of poetry. The routine was simple - get to the office at Cuffe Parade, Mumbai early, grab a quick bite, head to my cubicle and write on any topic that seizes me. It was an exercise to strain my brain. It went on for a month or so.

Every day I would display my current day's poem on the space beside my computer. Some clients would find it interesting, some colleagues would read it and sympathize with me and my maker and my boss Subaraman clearly told me that writing poetry, especially the kind I was writing, would lead me to depression (mainly because he found my writing depressing).

I gave up shortly after that because I did not want to be depressed. That ended my short tryst with poetry as well.

Now, almost two decades later, I get a WhatsApp message from my friend Mony, who was then my colleague and teammate in the IDBI Cricket Team and listener of Jagjit Singh ghazals etc. It is a pic of one of my poems titled 'Sleep'. He shared it with his young daughters and told them that I now write books.

"Mony: Remember?? I showed my elder daughter.... and she was all smiles really
I told them that the person who wrote this is a famous author now... immediately my younger daughter googled you and showed me your images!!!"

I was thrilled to see this. I never knew Mony had a copy of that poem. Suddenly I wondered, there may be so many such thoughts lying around in the world. Stuff we wrote or said intentionally or unintentionally.

I am amazed that Mony has found it after all these years. What I am concerned about is what he was doing with it in the first place.

Jokes apart, thanks Mony, for preserving such a lovely memory and sharing it.

Column in the Sunday HANS - Emotional Indicators Wanted

Emotional Indicators in Traffic Wanted!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Thought for the Day - Money Follows Action

If there is a link between money and action it must be this. That money follows action and not otherwise.

In most cases the common premise is that if we have money, we will do this i.e. act. But money is only the outcome, of action, and not the other way round.

It is when we choose to act that we generate the outcome of that act. To create money then, we need to act creatively, purposefully. It will follow.

Friday, September 28, 2018

My Musical Notes 7 - ToTo

A huge discovery and a big step forward in my musical life was the discovery of the music store Sangeet Sagar at Basheerbagh. I have no idea how I discovered the store but everything about Sangeet Sagar was brilliant to me. Those days they would have a huge display of vinyl records and a number of cassettes. A large Hindi section, but most interestingly for me, a large western music collection.

I would sidle into the shop and hang around at the back while more important people came and finished their work. I would check out the records, the many groups I had heard of and had not. Normally I would be ignored or hustled by the other salesmen but I remember one tall salesperson, complete with Amitabh Bachchan hairdo, who would ask me what I wanted, play out songs, make recommendations. Sangeet Sagar would record an album for 10 bucks on one side of a C90 tape. And that meant that I would not have to spend an entire 45 - 60 bucks on a cassette. The recording was pretty good too and the collection, really nice.
So it became a ritual.

Something I would do all by myself and fully enjoy every moment. I'd first find myself an empty cassette (which would cost 30 bucks perhaps). I'd take the bus at 4 pm from ESI Hospital. 4 pm was important because by the time it would drop me at Control Room near Public Gardens the evening would be mellow. The sun would be slanting across the gardens and I would love walking across the IT bhavan, past all the shops and then reach Sangeet Sagar. I would spend some time figuring out which albums I wanted to be recorded and then finally go with the man's suggestion. The groups I got introduced to thanks to Sangeet Sagar were phenomenal - Men at Work, Yes, REO Speedwagon, Tina Charles, Toto and so many more. Listen to a couple of songs, give him the tape, pay money, get a receipt and walk back contentedly to Public Gardens bus stop. By now the sun would be just setting. Get a window seat and enjoy the ride back home. Couldn't wait till the delivery day and then repeat the same procedure.

Toto then. And more specifically Toto IV. I had no clue about this band and never heard of it. Just went with the recommendation of my friend and got hooked to the two huge numbers 'Rosanna' and 'Africa'. Incredible sound. Toto remains one of the greatest and most serendipitous discovery of mine and their music still resonates. I could listen to Toto anytime by myself.

A favorite Toto memory. One time when we were all partying at home, I was playing requests by all my friends. Trina, Madhav's American wife, completely removed from our culture made one request - 'do you have Rosanna by Toto? Yes maam. She was impressed. I was impressed with myself. I don't think I shared Toto with anyone else but Trina surely gave me a Toto moment in my life.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Delhi Thaatha - A Great Grand Story - Chitra Viraraghavan

Great writing to me is when a lot is told in so little. Chitra does that effortlessly in her book 'Delhi Thaatha, A Great Grand Story' - a story told about her great-grandfather Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, seen through her seven-year-old eyes. Chitra is a far more accomplished writer than many of us who masquerade as such. There is something in her understanding of the language, structure, grammar and mechanics that puts her in the next league. No wonder, her debut book 'The Americans' was published by Harper Collins in its literary imprint. Her choice of words even when she speaks and her understanding of the world reveal the same clarity, sharpness and seeing things for what they are. Not a word more, not a word less. And allows us readers to fill in the blanks using our own imagination. For all the books and stories I have read about Dr. Radhakrishnan, I have no doubt that this book will easily remain in my mind forever primarily because of the point of view she chose.

'Delhi Thaatha' gives us the essence of the person behind the persona of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. A quick look at his biography made me wonder how one can do justice to the man and his achievements without losing a big part of him.

That's where knowing your craft comes in and Chitra brings alive a whole new dimension of her great-grandfather in a few well-chosen incidents and recollections, just enough to give us a start, so we can complete the story. We can picture a small boy who grew up in a tiny village, with an innate curiosity and mischief, always thinking of something, absenting himself from school. So often would he be absent from school that his parents moved him to another school in a bigger town. Studying at Madras Christian College, making the most of his scarce resources, the scholar emerges, and then the teacher.

There's this delightful story of how when he was going to the station in a horse-drawn carriage a group of his students stops the horse carriage, removes the horse, and draw the carriage themselves. What a story! Reminded me of another teacher recently in Tamil Nadu whose transfer made the students cry and protest. One wonders how deeply such teachers must have touched their students to make them do things like that.

There are many more interesting incidents in his life we have not heard of - and we hold seven-year-old Chitra's hand and she takes us along - to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, to his house in Madras. Just as Dr. Radhakrishnan explains difficult concepts very simply to the child, Chitra does the same in writing this book. The book always stays between the affectionate great-grandfather and the seven-year-old Chitra. And we, the readers, remain at the seven-year old's side, comfortable with her granddad.

Great presentation, layout, rare pictures, lovely graphic design by Sunandini Banerjee and P. Balasubramanian's sketches. It is my early gift to Anjali who read it with great interest. 'I am amazed that Chitra aunty is related to such a great and noble man,' she said after reading the book.  It might just prod Anjali to explore some more about Delhi Thaatha and understand the quality of people we had in public life then. Chitra's depiction of her Delhi Thaatha is one that all readers will relate to, as a wise, gentle and kind man. We badly need to be reminded that such people existed.   

Talk on Creative Writing at NIFT

I got a call from Priyanka who teaches Fashion Communication at NIFT, Hyderabad, inviting me for  a guest lecture on Creative Writing for the 3rd year students. It was a 2-hour lecture - 130 pm to 330 pm. As always with post-noon sessions, the toughest part was to keep them awake.

Some of the points that we discussed:
We began at the beginning which is always a good idea - what does being creative mean really? To create as far as I am concerned is bringing forth a new idea - one that disrupts, an idea or view point that is our own, one that we take full responsibility for, an idea that propels a creative process. Creating needs courage and clarity.

Be bold and back yourself on your ideas. Write in an active voice. Don't worry about offending people.

75% of the time spent on creating goes into conceptualizing the idea, goes into getting the idea right in the head, and on paper. Then the writing process is only 25%.

My writing journey 
When I first decided to quit my job and write, I wanted to test myself if I was passionate enough about the process. I wrote an article a day for 4 months - roughly spent 10-12 hours a day on each. Once I realized I enjoyed the process of writing for such long hours I dived into it. If it is a passion do it, don't simply talk about it.

I shared how my first book 'The Misfit' never got published, nor the second, nor the third. The fourth got published. I shared how I wrote 'The Men Within' and 'If You Love Someone'. The structure of '50 Not Out' and how 'This Way is Easier Dad' came about and what it taught me about listening and observing. Overall, I shared the process of getting published and what it takes to write, get rejected and write again.

Insights - Mine
Creative writing is not some fancy 'creative' inspiration that flashes into our mind. It is organization of thought (first and foremost), good structure, a command over the craft and letting the story be the hero.

Start with a clear idea - a two line 'hook' about what the story is about. The hook should have enough energy to unravel a full-length story within it.

The premise of the story - the core of the novel - everything must contribute towards proving the premise. 

From the two line hook, develop a three para outline, with the three main acts - or the beginning (set up), middle (confrontation) and end of the story (resolution). This could come in about a page, outlining the way the story progresses. Then write a longer synopsis with more detail about how the story progresses, where the characters come in and do what.

I normally break the story up into its main sections - maybe three or five sections. It makes it easier for me.

The characters must be interesting. You must know them well. To know them well it makes sense to write their back stories with some amount of detail. Each layer you descend into their lives (where do they live, how much money do they have, guiding beliefs and practices, politics at home, hierarchy etc), a new layer opens up which adds to their personality. They become full-fledged, well-rounded characters.

Make fictional characters bigger - extraordinary.

Research well to write about things you have not experienced or know nothing about. It makes the writing authentic. One may not use most of the research material but it adds to the overall depth and credibility of the story and will not appear flat and two dimensional.

Dialogue must be natural and not forced.

Indirect dialogue more unique and interesting. Ask yourself the following questions about your dialogue - is it in conflict? is it trite? can it be said indirectly? is it as colorful and clever as it can be? 

After writing the first draft, I check for flow, scope for adding drama, comedy - doing it one draft ata a time. Look to add energy wherever it is falling off.

The story is supreme at all times. Do not get carried away by characters you like, lines you like etc. Always maintain that integrity of the story. Do not try to impress. Ask yourself - is this helping to move the story forward in the most efficient way or is it dragging it down or digressing?

Adopt a suitable style, tone, point of view and setting.

Find out who can tell the story best.

"Show and Tell" - Good writing allows the reader to form her own conclusions about a character or a situation by showing the character or situation through their actions. Not by telling the reader what the author concluded about the character or the scene.  Instead of saying 'she was a very good manager who turned around the company in six months' which is 'telling', devise ways to 'show'. Develop scenes and situations that show how she is efficient and let the reader make his mind up about her.

I don't believe in a writer's block. Keep at it. Some days it flows, some days it doesn't. You can always come back and rewrite that part.

Once the book is done keep it aside for 6 months so you maintain an objective distance from it. Then edit and rewrite.

The more you write the better you get. Start writing journals, blogs, look for publication in magazines, papers, websites.

Feedback is essential to grow. So start putting your writing out there, seek feedback and work on areas that need work. It takes time to develop skill. Blogs are an easy way to do that.

Read and read as much as you can. Read the great masters. Short stories are a great way to start.

Create a discipline of writing and write every day. If you embark on a book - the first draft should be done in 90 days. The key to becoming a writer is to write - one word at a time. 2000-3000 words a day. (In 30 days your book is done!)

Use simple words. Do not write long sentences. Never use words the meaning you are not sure of. Avoid using adjectives (except those of colour, size and number) and use as few adverbs as possible.
- V.S. Naipaul

Write for yourself first and then worry about the audience. Use active voice. Avoid adverbs especially after 'he said' and 'she said'. Don't obsess over perfect grammar. Read, read, read. Don't worry about making others happy. Keep off all distractions when you write. Stick to your own style - no rules. Write one word at a time.
- Stephen King

Write to the point and simple. Remove unnecessary words. Don't change tense in between sentences. Don't repeat words. Proofread your writing. Reread your article. Read it aloud.

Lead with the main idea. Use specific nouns and verbs. Cut clutter. Put keywords and ideas at the beginning or end of a sentence.

Avoid using filler words. Avoid using excessive use of 'that'. Use metaphors to convey ideas. No infinitives and gerunds. Use specific examples.

In Conclusion
To get over the inertia of writing and publishing I asked the students to get back to writing blogs which are a good way to write informally - and to send me a blog post of what happened in the session. The students promised that they would. When they do I will share it on the blog

I enjoyed the session immensely. Many thanks are owed to Priyanka, Mohan, NIFT and the students.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

October - Movie

Shoojit Sircar has an unhurried way of making films that you can watch anything he makes. October is one such. Varun Dhawan in a very restrained role that he does very well. Liked it.

The Dhoni Touch - Bharat Sundaresan

Here's a Dhoni book that promises to unravel the enigma of MSD. That's a big ask because you can hardly get the man to talk about himself. Bharat Sundaresan does a good job of offering an interesting perspective of the man Ravi Shastri calls LEGEND (all caps please). Bharat knows MSD well enough (as a cricket journalist he travels with the Indian team to report) for them to be having conversations about their hairstyles and how to improve on Bharat's, and this chumminess gets in the way of a fully objective view of MSD. At one stage in the book it felt like the first time I drank gin - and getting higher and higher long after you stopped drinking. MSD's greatness gets bigger and bigger to a point when we want to detach off so much perfection. But then Bharat did not promise us a full story about the enigma with its pluses and minuses - he only promised to unravel it from his viewpoint. Without interviews, and access to the man directly, it would be all based on evidence we see and try to put it all together which Bharat does and very well too. I loved his piece on Patrick Patterson by the way. Though I am a bit wary of the Pythagoras thing and Dhoni's keeping.

We start off on an unconventional note - MSD and Bharat and their long hair and how they keep talking about it when they meet. MSD's hair has undergone many changes unlike Bharat's who still maintains it waist length (I think). As with everything else MSD has his hair fully analysed and under control and tells Bharat to cut it - not fully, just to layer it so you have the same length, less weight. Hair is big for both players concerned here - Bharat's dedication of the book is to his wife Isha for letting him keep his hair longer than hers. When Bharat tells MSD of his desire to write a book about him MSD makes sure he gets all the info he needs - minus an interview of course which he promises a decade later or something like that. (That gets one to envy - or the opposite of it - when we cannot plan what's tomorrow. Can people be like that? Envy surely.)

Bharat goes to Ranchi and meets MSD's friends Chittu who takes him all around and tells him tales of MSD's childhood, his coach Keshav Ranjan Banerjee, his sports shop friend Chotu bhaiyya, his early exploits etc. Then his rise to the national team and his dizzy success after that and how he kept his cool after all that. The chapter on his army connection (he is a Lt. Col with the Indian army and one cannot forget the way he went up to receive his Padma Bhushan award), his love and understanding of weapons, his patriotism (which he wears literally), his love for his army jawan friends is all well captured thanks to Bharat's access to Colonel Vembu Shankar who is MSD's friend and senior. MSD apparently sent him a message on his last day at work - for a man who is notorious for not being in touch it gives away a facet of the enigma. MSD's many visits to army bases, where he goes with the least warning so he can mingle with his jawan friends with whom he shares a WhatsApp group are interesting to read. For someone who is very private and who does not pick up the phone nor reply to messages, from the high and mighty of the land, he is clear in his mind where his presence makes the most difference. In Rajdeep Sardesai's book 'Democracy XI' he mentions how difficult it was for him to track Dhoni and how when he finally met him in an elite party, he spent a lot of time with the drivers, waiters etc. Apparently he also leaves passes and tickets for room service people and waiters. This despite the tremendous demand for tickets from friends and well wishers. MSDs philosophy seems to be - if they have my number on their phone book, they have enough connections anyway. Another facet of the enigma surely - focus where you make the maximum impact.

There is much more about MSD in the book, some of which we already know and have seen, so let's cut to the enigma. What makes him tick (control the controllables)? What makes MSD so cool under pressure (breathe)? What makes him such a good decision maker (make more decisions and you get better at it)? What makes him so private and so grounded that even today his friends say he has not changed at all (stay in the moment)? Bharat explored this facet well enough with VB Chandrasekhar, my old pal (who finds my bowling boring 'line and length stuff' - and boring enough to get him out first ball in our Inter varsity match at Calicut - haha!). Now VB has seen MSD through his early rise and even in the IPL as the captain of CSK when VB was the Director or COO of CSK. That line - 'I don't make them feel like I am the captain. I let them feel like they are all captains' which MSD said when asked how he found leading so many ex-captains and legends is stuff Lao Tzu would have happily approved. Of course its all very well for us to quote Lao Tzu but to practice it under such pressure is what makes it all so special. I remember I asked VB the same question and he told me the same thing. Also told me that MSD is not reachable once the game is over.

Somewhere MSD has found the right idea and held on to it - that leadership is about facilitating and allowing others to step up and do their job and not imposing stuff on others, that the best way to control is to let go of control, improving others by giving feedback at the right time, about treating professionals with a level of respect and responsibility that they feel obliged to live up to the responsibility vested with them, about the importance of setting the context and narrative (as he did with the Rhiti Sports deal) and not simply fitting into someone else's context, about keeping things simple (like a Buddhist monk), about thinking of the situation at hand and being ahead of it, about believing in himself and his people immensely and holding that belief firmly till the end.

His first principles are firm. About people, about how to treat people, not gossiping or encouraging loose talk, about roles and clarity of roles, about dignity of self and other. A lot of what he has learned seem to come from his own powers of analysis and concentration, of learning quickly from his failures and successes, an eye for detail, a solution-oriented mind that keeps searching for tough challenges to conquer - his meddling with his bikes, gadgets, weapons, mastering anything he wants to in very short times (except swimming..that was a nice one), his belief that man will always have one imperfection. He is not religious but visits one temple in Ranchi before and after every tour and never shows his palm to a palmist. You get the feeling that he is not going to run to the major temples to hold on to what he has gained as I see some doing. He will figure it out, adapt and get ahead.

Chittu gives the secret away in one line - watch how he breathes. It's not that he is unfit. He breathes to be aware, to be present, to be fully in the moment. In this mastery of being the moment MSD has developed tremendous capacity to cut through the chaff and get down to the real thing when the rest of the world is breathing shallowly and losing it. That one moment of clarity, that conviction and belief and all of this encompassed in earthy wisdom and humour. In matches, in finances, in life.

Good job Bharat Sundaresan. I like your style. It's not too in the face, not too technical which is always debatable and which sometimes gets carried too far by some, and not too dramatic. Just the right amount to make it impersonal yet personal. Nothing in the book has taken away from MSD, and what it has added has been done gently and with sensitivity. Wishing you many more books and a job well done. I must recall that moment when someone says in the book - "anyone who touches Mahi will be a huge success, now that you are writing about him you will be too." To validate that statement I remember meeting young Sfurthi Sahare who wrote the runaway bestseller 'Think and Win like Dhoni' and her life certainly changed for the better after that. So Bharat, good things await. I have certainly picked a few pointers to improve my own life and my reactions to it from the insights you presented.

And thanks are owed to Shobhs, one of MSD's greatest fans, who bought this book so I could read it.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Tamasha - Movie

Imtiaz Ali has a subtle idea in his head but somewhere he loses it. Sometimes it works brilliantly, sometimes it falls apart. I felt the idea fell apart in Rockstar and even in Tamasha. But that does not take away the fact that I like the idea he begins with and that he explores it.

Two people meet in Corsica. Now, what kind of people would be holidaying in Corsica? I have a problem with the idea that someone as disturbed as the hero, who is constantly feeling the pressure of the authority figures in his life like his father and his boss, can actually take time off to go to Corsica to indulge himself. Anyway, that indulgence apart, the lad gets into a bipolar kind of an act - being someone he normally is not and hiding his true self. Obviously, this someone he is not normally is more interesting to the single-rich woman, Mona darling. After a series of 'live it up' or 'Don' moments - like playing pranks on unsuspecting goras, telling them boring stories, drinking water from a pool, drinking wine, thinking of having sex but not having sex (give me a break - I thought the idea was to be wild and all the things they are not) and maybe in the end having it. We don't know because the girl goes back and kisses him and that's it. What happened after that? Did Don make love to Mona darling or did Tara make love to Ved or did Ved make love to Tara or did Tara make love to Don? Or did all four do nothing?

As one can see it's a complex tale of two people and two other people they would like to be when in Corsica. They return to India with no hope of meeting each other but the rich heiress stalks and finds him (she has her own disorders obviously) but is terribly disappointed to find that the Don has shrunk into some 'Groundhog Day' version - the same life everyday morning. Alarm, shave, coffee, transgender (every day?), holding lift (every day?) and being hopelessly bad at his Product Manager work where he talks of consumer behavior to a listless bunch of executives. Anyway the two neurotics meet at a fine place, where she confesses she has been stalking him but that he should not get psyched, invites him home, finds him thanda (I am presuming that the invite him home led to some other consequences because he is seen going away after a while) and finally rejects his daring proposition to marry in front of a lot of people. 'You are not what I want,' she says. 'I want Don.' But Don is the same fellow madam, minus special role requirements, so how now?

To me the proposal to the girl was out of character too. He is not the kind of a person who will do anything on his own - then why would he propose? And that too after inviting a whole bunch of people to witness the proposal? And without his father and boss approving it? Anyway, rejection gets him riled and his bipolar business gets even more acute. She starts acting like a therapist instead of figuring her own bipolar behaviors and tells him to find his Don, the one hidden deep inside him, the storyteller. He finally finds his Don when his father and the storyteller tell him to end his own story the way he wants to and he does. By going back to behaving like he did in Corsica (which is his real self) and also making Tara behave like she did in Corsica (her real self perhaps). They end with a huge storytelling on some huge stage where hundreds of people watch and he falls at her feet for inspiring the Don in him to awaken. In the process he inspires the auto driver to go back to singing as well.

I guess finally they go back to their make-believe world which I guess is their real world. What they believed was their real world was actually their make-believe world. In the end he is Don and she is Matahari. They are deliriously happy with each other. Ved and Tara die. Don and Matahari are born.

I thought Tara and Ved were more real. The other two were quite boring despite their constant 'live it up' act. But it moved me enough to make me write so much about it - in a funny way. What do you want is the key question. The answer is quite obvious. 

Goodachari - Movie

Agent Gopi. Agent No 116. One remembers Krishna's attempt at a desi Bond. It looked good and entertaining then. Adivi Shesh's attempt is a decent one. I cannot imagine Bond being weighed down by parental baggage lie Agent 116 is. Missing elements - molls, evil villains, ice cool tactics. He looks convincing though.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Manto - Movie

The movie starts with Manto's downfall almost - in the then Bombay where he wrote for films and had friends from the film fraternity (Ashok Kumar for one and Shyam Chadda). Disillusioned by a remark about Hindus-Muslims after partition, he leaves Bombay, which he so loved and spirals down to an early death due to drinking etc in Lahore. Nothing of his early life, nothing of what made him what he was - just enough about Manto that we could read on the back of a book cover. Does not do justice. It missed the angle by a wide margin.

Descendants 2 - Movie

With Mal being engaged to the new king Ben, fights are bound to happen causing Mal to return to the Isle, forcing Ben to follow her, making him easy meat for the challengers led by Uma and then the price for his release is - the magic wand.

Songs, fun etc.

Descendants - Movie

Four children of four great villains - Cruella, Evil Queen. Jafar and Maleficient - make their way to Auradon to steal the Fairy Godmother's magic wand and set their parents who are now traped on the Isle (of wickedness) free. Singing, dancing and stuff. Anjali loves this stuff so I watched it with her.

Friday, September 21, 2018

in the sanctuary of a poem - Salil Chaturvedi

Chitra gifted this book to me and when I confessed I understand nothing of poetry to her, she told me that I would enjoy it anyway. I kept it at the top of the pile of books I wanted to read - and finally did. I can only read poetry quietly by myself and either understand or not. In my quiet, I can let the beauty of a finely woven thought flit over me. I can feel that thought, like a servant might feel an expensive silk belonging to the emperor and appreciate the feeling without really being able to say what that feeling was about.

Poetry brings back to me that same feeling I had in the back benches of engineering classes, having missed something important and not knowing what. It's terrifying.

But over the years I have learned to make peace with my ignorance and I simply appreciate it for what it does to me. Sometimes I even feel I understand it, that I understand faintly what the poet was saying. That we are made of the same mud. (Most poets don't evoke that in me.)

Salil's poetry did that to me.

Like I do many times, when I find myself incapable of commenting on a work, I reproduce some lines that impacted me. For starters I liked this line by Charles Simic at the beginning of the book - "Poetry attracts me because it makes trouble for thinkers.' I really liked that.

'...toiling as they do without an audible cry, kissing each other as we pass by.' - The ants on my floor

I loved the poem - I can not take a poem and collect it in my palm. Has to be read. Also 'Choices' - made by corn.

'Incredible that this tiny thing...knows the things I'll never know, goes place that I'll never go....with a heart and legs that are so fine, has a soul as big as mine....a single point of existence pearled, completes the jigsaw of the world.' - Incredible that this tiny thing

One more monsoon - where insects are trying to get at memories, which the poet protects for another year

'...It's ok if you take a shortcut
like a raindrop straight into this poem.' - The drop

'Stars spread evenly on still dark waters,
The thirsty lake takes a long sip of deer.' - Making the mistake of stopping before a rendezvous

'...whatever you study you will destroy.'

'..Even the trees out there are grabbing at birds.' - Summer Surprise

'It's an awfully large tombstone
For a tree so small, and the little bird call
So big, this mall.' - the grave of two friends

'...If you build a roof
the stars don't stop walking across the skies...'

'..So I sit under a tree
looking at the easy perfection of the sunlight.' - Sometimes I feel like an orangutan

'Words are falling off the page...the page is clear...someday...I'll step out and gather them and weave them into a basket.' - Words are falling

'..We lie down on the roof of the car and watch the rest of our bodies in the sky..' - Journeying south

'...I have proof that the stars taste like sugar..' - All the other things

'..I take a train...into my brain..' - I take a train

I love the way he writes about nature. About cats and dogs and little insects. Rarely about humans. Always coming from an angle you don't expect, opening up a new thought in the seemingly ordinary. He has an insight that's as different as the one that the tiny thing in his poem has. The writing is powerful, easy and at times angry. You don't know when it explodes on you.

Salil is a much-accomplished man - an award-winning writer and poet, a disability campaigner, he represented India in wheelchair tennis at the Australian Open and in Japan, acted as the popular character Jugadoo in 'Galli Galli Sim Sim', a Hindi adaptation of Sesame Street. In 2009, he sailed from Mumbai to Goa to draw attention to accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Born in 1968 in Coimbatore, Salil's family has an army background. He had an accident in Allahabad in 1984 and has been using a wheelchair ever since. He lives in Goa, and is married to Monika, a journalist. I hope to meet him next time I am in Goa.

Thanks Chitra. Thanks Salil.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Anjali - A Sonnet

"A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem...' and some other technicalities that I did not understand.

Anjali was supposed to read a sonnet in school. She tried a few sonnets that she found online and did not like them. She read one to me. I said I liked it and asked who wrote it. She said she wrote it herself.

She took her sonnet and read it in school. I never thought you could do stuff like that. Here's the young poet's sonnet.


Once I met a man - he said
What do you want here
I said I desire some food and a bed
And maybe some water crystal clear

He said come here and listen
I live right down the road
Go in and freshen
And have all you want; there is a load

I went and ate some food and then some more
And had a bath very well
I said Without you I would have been lying on the floor
In return for your kindness take my golden bell

I do not need your bell he said but you listne to me
What I want from you is to help everyone you see.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

c/o Kancharapalem - Movie

Nicely done! Enough laughter, nice story, a nice new setting, lovely characters and a brilliant ending. Can't ask for more! Go watch!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Column in The Sunday HANS - iPolls

iPolls - They are the future politicians - reliable, polite, well informed, responsive and good looking! Want to vote for them?

Friday, September 14, 2018

Talk at Sultan Ul Loom College of Pharmacy - Learning Mindset and Student Engagement

As part of the Pharmacy Council of India's Continuing Education Program, Sultan-Ul-Loom College of Pharmacy conducted a three-day seminar and workshop for thirty teachers of Pharma colleges in and around Hyderabad. As part of the workshop I was invited to speak on Learning Mindset and Student Engagement on September 10, 2018 by Dr. Anupama.

Everything is a Learning Problem - Learning Mindset
I began my talk by posing the question - would a person who played first-class cricket and did not progress further, be looked at as someone with a learning problem? The common idea is to blame it on politics and lack of recommendation but I said I saw it as a learning problem. I explained why by citing and explaining the concept of learning and Fixed Mindset and how it can affect learning in the classroom.

Psychologically Safe Places that Encourage Learning - I Don't Know 
We discussed the idea of Psychologically Safe places and how learning can only happen based on questions and what we don't know - not by knowing what we already know. It's time for teachers to be more secure and thus create more secure places to learn where students can freely speak up about what they don't know, make mistakes, ask questions and provoke discussion.

ABC - Activator, Behavior, Consequence
On student engagement, we discussed how once spaces are made secure, students will get drawn to learn because they are there with a purpose. This purpose or the activator can be better set by the teacher if they set goals or expectations early and set up the students for success. Similarly being able to give process orientation on how to maximise their return with the investment of time and energy could help. Perfect practice makes perfect - not just practice with the wrong routines.

Continuous Feedback Drives Progress
Mostly I stressed on the most important factor that drives progress - feedback.  Teachers as managers and parents, need to understand the importance of giving feedback. Without continuous and informal feedback, students may go off track. It's important to set these conversations frequently and have informal discussions on their goals and how they are faring. But most times we do not know how to give feedback - we are scared to give good feedback because we are worried they may become complacent and we do not give negative feedback because we are worried about losing relationships. But there are ways to do both and prod the student to improve and progress.

Challenge Drives Engagement
We discussed the importance of finding ways to challenge the students because challenge and interest go hand in hand. We discussed how Ramakanth Achrekar challenged his students by placing a coin on the stumps. More importantly we stressed on the importance of wanting their students to succeed and of devising ways to engage them. A good pointer here - how does a smart parent engage the child? Think of ways that continuously keep the child engaged and growing.

Energy and Enthusiasm - Set Context
When Dr. Anupama, Principal, Sultan Ul Loom College of Pharmacy, a good friend of mine, asked me how to make children come to class, I could not resist telling them that high energy and enthusiasm always works like magic. People want to be with people who are enthusiastic and energetic. To illustrate the idea of how we all have more than what we need of energy and enthusiasm we did the exercise of low energy and high energy in meeting people. Conclusions - we have the same energy  - and just need to set the right context as I had set for them. Access that energy and see how their students gravitate towards them.

I enjoyed the visit to Sulan Ul Loom college, perhaps the first time I went there thanks to Anu. Met the Secretary of the Society Mr. Zafar Javeed who it turned out, was an ex-MCC player. We chatted about cricket for a while and then it was time to head back after a fruitful session.

Workshop at School of Management Studies, University of Hyderabad - 2018

It is normally a two-day workshop but since the student intake is now 120, we decided to do a one-day workshop for both sections with clear objectives for the day - learning mindset, goal setting, preparation and execution. I liked the one-day format that Prof Jyothi suggested and felt it would be more focussed. The first day I addressed students from Healthcare and Analytics, and then on day 2, I addressed the regular MBA. The content was the same. The workshop was conducted on September 6 and 7th, 2018.

We first administered a questionnaire on their clarity on goals, preparation, expectations etc. The same would be administered in the evening to measure any improvement.

Why MBA, Expectations, Approach
We looked at what the students expected from the course and whether they had any clarity about what to expect and how to go about it. We wondered if we could achieve our goals by being vague or by being clear.

Design or Hope
The example of being ready with bricks and cement and sand to build a house was looked at -  do we need a clear vision of what to build or go about it vaguely? The students understood the importance of building their career by design.

100% Responsibility is 100% Freedom - Your Best Chance
We looked at the concept of taking 100% responsibility for their careers and life. They are now full grown adults at 21 years plus with a right to vote and marry, and whatever happens, they now have to bear the consequences. So they are better off taking 100% responsibility for their lives and careers rather than hoping someone will help or something will happen because if it succeeds or not they will get blamed for it. I suggested that 100% responsibiity for their lives will give them 100% freedom and they can enjoy the consequences better.

Approach to Learning - 'I Don't Know' Is the Way Forward
We looked at the approach. I suggested that they may be feeling insecure which is not a great place to learn. All insecurity would be driven by the feeling that they do not know enough. I told them that no one knows everything so it is ok not to know everything. But to act like you know will add a lot of pressure and will stop all growth and learning. Saying 'I don't know' can be very freeing and can also be the beginning of all learning. People will help when we say we don't know and we can also do something to learn. A loud shout of 'I don't know' in the classroom and that it's ok and we were off.

Mindset - Fixed and Growth Mindset
We looked at the two governing mindsets and the students played roles of both mindsets. In the end we understood that the learning mindset can free them from a burden of 'knowing' and enable real learning. For my review on the book click on link.

Fixed Mindset Characteristics
Growth Mindset Characteristics
Desire to look smart
Desire to learn
Avoid challenges
Embrace challenges
Give up easily
Persist in the face of setback
Get defensive
Seek help to find ways to improve
See effort as fruitless
See effort as the path to mastery
Ignore useful negative feedback
Learn from criticism
Feel threatened by others successes
Find lessons and inspiration from others success
Plateau early and achieve less than their full potential
Reach even higher levels of achievement as a result and get closer to potential

Start With Why
We watched Simon Sinek's TED talk 'Start With Why' so the students understand their purpose. We discussed goals and how purpose drives great things - Sulabh and Goonj were discussed as ideas with great purpose and how they succeeded.

Goal Setting
We discussed the apocryphal Harvard study of students who set goals. We looked at how goals are important to bring our best. The students were told about how to set SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Then we set a 20-year vision - with all the aspects of SMART goals. A few students shared their goals and we could make corrections until the picture was clear. Position, House, Car, Bank balance, Impact on society, work involved in, were all part of the 20-year achievement.

Then we set a 10-year goal keeping the 20-year vision in mind. Only condition was that it had to be in line with the 20-year vision. Again clarity on position, house, bank balance, impact etc.

Then they set a five-year goal keeping the 10 and 20-year goal in mind. Again position, company, bank balance etc.

Then they set a 2-year goal - what they would achieve in these two years at college and achieve what placement to be in line with their 20-year goal.

The fact that they were all connected and one had to start walking on the path from now on was impressed on them. With the learning mindset technique they could achieve what they set their mind upon.

OKR Technique
We discussed the OKR technique  to make their execution foolproof. Objectives were set for 2 years, 1 year and 6 months to understand the idea of how to set Objectives. They were significant and directional, 10 x of what they could achieve and not incremental. With Objectives, less was more.

For each Objective, we set 3-4 Key Result Areas which are metric driven, had a number, were specific, time-bound. If all Key results were achieved the Objective would be achieved as well. It was therefore important that the Key Results were set well.

The principles guiding the OKR system were - Focus and Commit to Priorities, Align and Connect to Team, Track fro Accountability and Stretch for Awesome.

(OKR Technique is taken from the book "Measure What Matters" - BY John Doerr. to see my review of the book click on link -

CFR Technique
One reason why the best Objectives and Key Results do not get achieved is because they are hidden from public view. So following John Doerr's advise, I told them to write their Objectives clearly with the Key Results, share it with everyone, and have conversations about progress. C is for Conversations, F is for Feedback and R is for Culture of Recognition.

The conversations and transparency of Objectives will push individuals to achieve their results and objectives.

I ended with an exercise in the regular section which I somehow could not do in Healthcare - an exercise to show that we have a lot of energy and that the energy and enthusiasm we have will double our income. Double your enthusiasm and double your income is the formula.

Measuring feedback
An analysis of the feedback from questionnaires.

Healthcare and Data Analytics (% improvement)
Regular MBA(%improvement)
Clarity on career path
36 %
34 %
Clarity on process to achieve potential
27 %
28 %
Goal clarity
30 %
28 %
Clarity on preparatory process to achieve goals
50 %

46 %

A Secure Society
We ended with my plea to be more secure as people, to be gentle and honest with themselves and to have a learning mindset, seek continuous feedback and stay on course for their goals. Their fear that by pursuing one goal they might miss on many others was dispelled - when we pursue one goal with all effort, we normally find our bigger goal.

Some Feedback From the Students

“Really sharpened our thoughts and enlightened our minds. Our goals are clear now. Came to know the importance of hard work.”

“Good to know that learning starts from saying “I don’t know”

“It was so informative. I was only 30% responsible – from now on I’ll take 100% responsibility for my life and career.”

“Very inspiring, helped remove dilemmas and fears, very interactive, clarity on my goals and ways to achieve it.”

“Helped organise my thoughts, year wise goal setting made me self-confident, showed me what efforts I need to put in.”

“Really inspired and highly motivated, whatever you said is not just for the job but for life. I know my role and responsibilities and I am sure that I will achieve them.”

“Learned the importance of why. The forms provided really helped us in self-assessment and self-discovery.”

“I was very unclear of what I wanted to do but after this session, I know what I want in my life. I am definitely looking forward to more sessions from you.”

“The most important thing I learned was to accept that ‘I don’t know’ which will help me grow.. lots of useful information.’

‘Quality of content – high, Motivation – very high, highly satisfied and motivated.’

‘Great talk, eye-opening, clear and simple to understand, Mindset, OKR (Objectives and Key results), CFR (Conversations, Feedback and Recognition), Really helpful.’

‘Will become a hard worker and will definitely achieve my 20-year goals.’

‘Made me clear about my short and long-term goals. Eye-opening session for me."

'Vast experience and vast knowledge led to a quality session. Put my goals on paper and I can feel it shape into reality – I believe in my goals much better now. Look forward to putting everything learnt into practice and achieve my goals.’

Healthcare and Analytics
‘Learned not to feel inferior and to learn from my mistakes.’

‘I only had a 2-year plan but now I am able to think of a 20-year vision.’

‘By listening to others and their goals I learned about more opportunities.’

‘Learned different ways and I am motivated to think and work for myself. Helped me to be more confident. To see clearly my goal.’

‘Learned how to prioritize things. I am more clear about myself than I was in the morning.’
‘Learned to be more responsible for my life.’

‘Perception of my thinking has changed. To achieve something big, groundwork needs to be done from the initial stage.’

‘Made me specific and practical in reaching my goal. Earlier I was not sure about the path and whether I can attain it. Helped me get a clear vision about my future goals.’

‘Encouraged us to break our shells of fixed mindset.’

‘It has given me a clear-cut aim. Helped clear the confusion I was suffering from any days. It has given me peace.’

‘Feeling very good than in the morning. Will continue my learning. Learned that success cannot be achieved in one day. It takes a lot of effort and hard work. Learned how to deal with our insecurities and learned to say “I don’t know”.’

‘I questioned myself many times during the workshop. About how many days I wasted till now. The workshop is very helpful as we have just joined the course.’

‘Helped me understand how to connect dots looking backward. Will apply the golden circle in every aspect of my life.’

‘Funful experience. I loved this day and I feel better than I was about an hour ago. Got a chance to share my views and heard how determined others are. Learned how I can frame an approach. Learned how my decision today can have an impact on my dream.’

Thanks all.

Talk at Reliance Retail, Navi Mumbai

When Yogesh Patgaonkar, my friend from Pune told me that Nitin Kaul from Reliance Retail would get in touch with me for a talk in Mumbai, I immediately said Yes because I trust Yogesh and his judgment completely. The talk was on September 5, Teachers Day. Nitin called and all was fixed up and I went to Mumbai for the talk. It was at the Reliance campus in Navi Mumbai.

It's a beautiful campus with the best of infrastructure. You walk around the corridors of the L&D building and wonder at the scale and the imagination. The idea behind their Learning Centre is wonderful. Some part of the building is now occupied by Jio.

I was to speak to winners of the L&D awards - the trainers. And I was to speak about learning mindset and learner engagement.

The gist of the talk. We began with two personal stories to illustrate the learning mindset.

Everything is a Learning Problem
"I am always asked this one question - you played Ranji Trophy but did not play tests - why? Would you consider it as a learning problem?

Another time when I cleared 18 exams at one go during my engineering college days when threatened with detention after failing to clear any (except English) in my first year. Good teachers, focused studying and a desire to achieve a particular outcome helped. But what happens to the label I believed to be true - that I was not intelligent enough to pass these exams? Interestingly a couple of my friends who were far better than me failed to clear one exam and were detained. Did I suddenly grow intelligent?

The Mindset - Dr. Carol Dweck
The answer to both questions to me came from the book 'The Mindset' by Carol Dweck. I realised that in the first case, in cricket, I had stopped growing, working hard and seeking help and had adopted a fixed mindset. My growth stopped after reaching a high level of the game.

In the exams story, I was already labeled as someone who was unintelligent and had adopted the learning mindset. I had nothing to prove and everything to gain so I asked for help, studied with focus and cleared the exams.

In both cases, the ideas that intelligence is not fixed, hard work and growth-oriented work pays and helps in achieving or bringing us closer to our potential stand proved. While in the fixed mindset we try to prove how smart we are, do not believe in effort (actually effort makes us look stupid and the opposite of smart), do not take up higher challenges, do not persist in the face of tough challenges, give up easily, do not take useful feedback, feel threatened by others success and in the long run, plateau and do not fulfill our potential. In the growth or learning mindset, we only want to learn and grow, take higher challenges, persist in the face of hardship, take feedback from all sources, growth-oriented effort is the key to mastery, get inspired and learn lessons from others success and in the long run do justice to our potential.

An understanding of the concept of the two mindsets can help their students adopt the right mindset and approach to be more secure and create a learning environment.

Learning Environment - Psychologically Safe places
To create a learning environment we must first create a psychologically safe and secure space where it is ok to make mistakes. Most cultures do not encourage asking questions or allow for mistakes. They seem to reward only the perfect answer. By rewarding only what is known they are hindering all growth and learning because all growth and learning happens in the unknown. Only when we are ok with the 'I don't know' and explore that do we grow. So classrooms should encourage more questions, more 'I don't knows' to progress. Don't seek perfection, seek progress through discussion.

Secure and Insecure - I Know and I Don't Know
In my book, people also do not seek help, or express their views because they are insecure inside. All insecurity to me is a result of hiding what we think we do not know. It results in insecure and negative behaviors. To be secure all we must accept is that we know what we know and that we do not know what we do not know. If such an atmosphere can be created and students can be told that they are ok with not knowing and that they can raise questions and seek answers, a learning environment can be cultivated.

Start With Why - Simon Sinek
We also saw the TED talk of Simon Sinek on 'Start with why' and discussed how, the why, which in this case can combine with the approach of the learning mindset or the growth mindset, can make the student secure enough to learn and grow faster and bring more to the table.

ABC - Goal Setting, Process Orientation and Feedback
We looked at the concept of ABC - of Activator, Behavior and Consequence and how in learning we can use all three to make the process of learning more efficient. Activators are goals and by helping students set right context and expectations we can prepare them to act better. Most students live up to their expectations so set clear, high expectations. Activators are followed be behaviors that help students achieve their goals. Here students can benefit by process orientation on how to utilise their time and execute. C stands for Consequence of the behavior which is feedback. The student normally does not get any feedback until it is too late. So we must learn how to give feedback - immediately, by talking only about the act and not the person, by talking of its impact and how it could be corrected and by resetting the expectations with the belief that the person will fulfill them. Normally we do not give both positive and negative feedback because we do not know how to but once we learn that, we can make the process very efficient. In giving feedback, one can follow the CFR method of Continuous feedback - through frequent informal conversations, giving positive feedback and developing a culture of recognition.

A Learning Culture - Encourage Mistakes, Process, Feedback and Discussions
We discussed how a culture of recognition will enable more engagement. Just as challenge and interest go in hand. The example of how Ramakanth Achrekar would use a coin to challenge and motivate net practice was discussed. But to think up such challenges, people have to be creative and really care for their wards. They must make things fun, challenging and tough and really care about the student's growth.

A couple of questions and we wound up the talk. I really enjoyed the entire experience. Thank you Yogesh, Nitin, Sandeep and all who attended the talk.