Monday, February 19, 2018

Two Great Teachers of Mine - Bro Joseph and Baig sir

It had to be an All Saints High School connection.

Bro. Joseph, known as the 'cricket brother' who promoted cricket in all the schools he was involved in and one who made the lives of many like me so much more fuller through this aspect, is a wonderful teacher full of compassion, care and love for his students. He is one who is always smiling, always thinking of ways to bring the best out of the students. After serving as Principal in various Montfort institutions Bro. Joseph is now serving in Rome as one of the top 5 Provincials of the Montfort Brothers order. 'It is the act that may not be acceptable, not the person,' he told me once when I asked him his biggest learning as a teacher.
Mr. Baig sir and Bro Joseph
Baig sir was my first cricket coach and was invited by Bro Joseph to coach a new team at All Saints High School in 1982. He coached us for a week at school before the leagues started and it was the first time I was playing cricket with a proper cricket ball (he was already a BCCI Coach for South Zone). In two sessions he sorted out my follow through, got my action flowing better and rapped me for being casual while fielding. That very year I played for Hyderabad Under 15 and we won and I was happy to see Baig sir watching the game when I scored a crucial 27 to give us the first inning lead. For a whole month that summer we were part of the South Zone coaching camp under his training at Bangalore - an invaluable experience for most of us.
2007 - At the launch of 'The Men Within'
I am fortunate to stay in touch with both of them. Bro Joseph calls me every time he is in Hyderabad and I try to meet him each time and even otherwise we are in touch. Baig sir and I meet every week at the Jaisimha Cricket Academy where he coaches and I chip in and ask questions I should have asked thirty five years ago. They have been an integral part of my journey and have read drafts of 'The Men Within' and gave me their invaluable feedback and even came for the book launch. It was wonderful to give them both copies of the book at the launch.
2007 - Handing over a copy to Baig sir
Now Bro. Joseph is down with a lung infection and Baig sir and I visited him in hospital. When i told Baig sir that Bro Joseph was unwell, he said without a moment's delay - 'Let's go as soon as we can. When someone is in the hospital we must not delay.
2007 - Bro Joseph with his copy
Old world. But its so charming. So we got a picture.

Immense gratitude.

Department of Dance, Arts Management - Meeting Suhita Thatte and Jhelum Paranjpe

As part of our 'Meet the Experts' initiative we had the good fortune of meeting Suhita Thatte and Jhelum Paranjpe who were in town end of January for a performance. I asked them if hey could spend a couple of hours with the students and they were most happy to oblige. Dr. Sivaraju, the Head of the Department of Dance was his usual encouraging self and we got the idea event going.
Sitting front row - Anjali, Anuradha, Sravya
Sitting second row - Anitha, Sreedevi, Shwetha, Sravani, Shravanthy, Veena, Sharada
Standing - Sneha, Sreedivya, Suhita, Me, Jhelum, Hiranmayi and Sreedevi
Jhelum, an award winning Odissi dancer who runs the popular dance academy 'Smitalay' (named after her childhood friend Smita Patil) in Mumbai, spoke of the importance of a learning mindset, of being able to improvise and of practice. She recounted tales of her days with the great Odissi maestro Kelucharan Mohapatra and how he would be very strict in practice and how loving he would be towards his students later.

Suhita, an award winning film and TV artiste spoke of the importance of  being able to recall from memory, clarity of expression and losing one's inhibitions.

It was a freewheeling talk and the students asked several questions. 

Anjali - We Criticise Even When We Do Not Speak

'So Anjali,' I said as we were driving to her school. 'Today I decided I will not criticise anyone.'
She looked at me.

We both saw a taxi driver drive through a red light. I pursed my lips in jest. She knows that the traffic brings out the worst critic in me.

She looked at me and said 'You can criticise without saying a word also you know.'

I was stumped. How did she figure that out?

'How?' I asked. 'How do you sense that?'

'We can make out from their eyes, their body language, something...that we know they are judging us, criticising us. We can feel it.'

'Yes,' I agreed. 'I wonder why we do that though. Perhaps criticising others makes us feel better in comparison.'

Anjali was not too concerned about the why. It was enough that we do that.

The Star - Movie Review

Cannot have a cuter way of telling a biblical story. Wonderful! One to watch again.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

My Article in the Sunday HANS - Silence Kills

The Old Man and His Pineapples

The moment I saw him standing peacefully at his cart slicing his pineapples without a care about the world I knew I would buy a pineapple from him. Not some slices. A whole one. No bargaining. I just wanted to do business with him. The old Muslim man continued slicing away and putting sliced pineapple slices into small plastic covers.

I went to the bank and returned. He was still at his job. People came randomly. One knew him well enough to pick up a packet and start eating. A youngster bought a packet for an old beggar woman. Things happened without any negotiation. He continued on his job. I asked him to give me a whole pineapple. He finished what he was doing and then started my job.

It was this deep purpose of what he was doing that caught me. He was not selling anything. He was just being himself. He was just at peace with himself. If he sold one or a hundred it would not matter. And since it did not matter, it drew people to him. It was amazing how many got drawn to him.

One is the peace. Another is his purpose. Thirdly he did not push anything - he merely did his work and allowed. He created a secure space for others to step in. For someone like me who thinks several times before I buy anything, to decide so clearly was amazing.

It made sense what the zen masters say. You just have to be and not try too hard and the world will come to you. It is when you grab that it slips away. Tim Galleway says in his book 'The Inner Game of Work' that sales happen when you stepped back and gave the buyer space.

The old man is a zen master.  

Paris, Texas - Movie Review

Wonderful. Slow. Real pain in human relationships. Deeply impactful.