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October 2017 – Thinking Practice – Regularly updated

5th October 2017 Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Report The Australian government report on MH 370 search has these following words. The Flight had disappeared somewhere in the ocean in March 2014. “The reasons for the loss of MH370 cannot be established with certainty until the aircraft is found.. And that is unimaginable..It is almost inconceivable and certainly societally unacceptable in the modern aviation era with 10 million passengers boarding commercial aircraft every day, for a large commercial aircraft to be missing and for the world not to know with certainty what became of the aircraft and those on board.” This is an important conclusion. All too often, a failed project is made light of or sought to be consigned to the dustbins of history. This conclusion doesn’t do that. It unequivocally states the continuing criticality of establishing what exactly happened to the flight. And offers invaluable perspective and guidance for future decision-making in this field. The failure to know is indeed societally unacceptable and we must continue to remember that. 14th October 2017 Harvey Weinstein – Sexual misdemeanours After the New…

Advice Given – Ignore Politics. Guess What. Politics Won’t Ignore You!

I read about an HR head sharing advice he got from a senior leader on the subject of politics. The gist of it was – “Be aware of politics, understand the dynamics. And ignore it while continuing to do the right thing for you and your organization.” As a politics student, I beg to differ. Politicians have given politics a bad name. Our own ineffective participation in the political process as citizens and voters has given politics a bad name. Politics is not a dirty word. If you equate politics with everything negative and refuse to have anything to do with it, you haven’t quite grasped its essence. Politics is an inescapable part of our human condition. You might think you have washed your hands off, but politics impacts you all the time. In other words, you may ignore politics but make no mistake about it, politics is not ignoring you! What is politics? It is the process of resource-allocation in any set-up. How to use any resource – food,wealth, time, material resources, arms, energy, any resource.On what basis is this…

When it rains

When it rains.. I smell new books. I hear the crackle of brown paper-covers; a dress for the new books. I scamper across to hold my own school dress – a crisp white shirt and blue shorts. I see the rain chase away street urchins, and lo behold! The pranksters with no mom and dad to rein them stand their ground and put their face up to the rain, a playfully defiant gaze at the sky, saying, ‘show me what you have got!’ I envy those kids, our vacation is over; they know no school, no regimented life. They know freedom like I have never known! I count my hours of freedom in school, the short recess, the long one, the free periods, the bunked ones! For me and my school friends, the rains bring mixed tidings.. We are thrilled to be back together after the vacation; and stare blankly from our long corridor towards our school ground; our field of dreams submerged under the water. Cricket is out..Damn the rains.. And then our eyes light up!The beautiful game. Football.…

Sylvia Path on Nature, the Sea , The Eternal & The Ephemeral

Written even before she turned 19, this is her diary entry. A visit to the Massachusetts coastline. A gifted writer becomes the sun. And gives light for us to see & experience the beauty of the soul. “On a relatively unfrequented, stony beach there is a great rock which juts out over the sea. After a climb, an ascent from one jagged foothold to another, a natural shelf is reached where one person can stretch at length, and stare down into the tide rising and falling below, or beyond to the bay, where sails catch light, then shadow, then light, as they tack far out near the horizon. The sun has burned these rocks, and the great continuous ebb and flow of the tide has crumbled the boulders, battered them, worn them down to the smooth sun-scalded stones on the beach which rattle and shift underfoot as one walks over them. A serene sense of the slow inevitability of the gradual changes in the earth’s crust comes over me; a consuming love, not of a god, but of the clean unbroken…

Beautiful Movie Scenes – The Shawshank Redemption

  Andy is destined to live out his life in prison for a crime he did not commit. In the company of inmates being robbed of hope, slowly & steadily ; as their souls are being hollowed out. Andy is useful to prison authorities. He gets to move around the premises in the course of doing his work. One day as a friendly prison official is in the washroom, Andy puts on music. The music casts a spell. This is a scene to experience. “I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid.I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last…

The joy of playing

They were playing football but had thrown the rule-books away! There they were. A big group of 5-6 year old boys & girls in a rain-soaked muddy ground. Puddle patches at some places. Goal posts standing to attention. What do these kids do? Ignore the goal-posts. Stay away from the wet but even parts. Search for the muddiest parts. Kick-off there & begin the game. A slightly different one. Imagine a team of runners carrying a flaming torch. Recall the energy,the purpose, & the direction set by their run. Take away the purpose & direction. What you have is pure,unbridled energy. Bubbling energy! These kids were bursting with energy & the ball was at their feet! The football was their flaming torch. There were no two teams. This was ‘one’ team of twenty odd kids running for fun with the ball for company! They were pushing the ball together. There it goes into the mud-pools. Perfect! Time to dig it out & splash about the mud & water! Out of one & head towards the other! The puddles of water…

Why doesn’t it happen enough?

Here are three things everyone knows. Listening improves communication. Appreciating people makes them perform better. Leaders create more leaders. If you get to hear them, you say, ‘ Yes, that is true.’ As an afterthought, you add, ‘ That is common sense.’ A series of questions to ask is 1) Is this held to be true? 2) Is it so widely known that it is common sense? And if the answer is ‘ Yes’ ask, 3) Why doesn’t it happen enough? The eloquent answer, ‘ Common sense is not common’ is a cop-out. Stay with the question.  Why doesn’t it happen enough?

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. What Rumi’s wisdom means to us.

“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”                 – Jalaluddin Rumi, 13th Century Sufi mystic Bewilderment – 1. (meaning) the condition of being confused and disoriented. 2. (meaning) situation of perplexity or confusion, a tangle. Cleverness – (meaning) the ability to understand and learn quickly & easily. The seller and the buyer in our commercial world do not sell their cleverness and are scared to buy bewilderment. To sell, in Rumi’s spirit, the sense he meant it, is to let go. To buy is to let in. Let go of cleverness. Let in bewilderment. Look at the meanings again. That would be a crazy thing to do, isn’t it!  Consider this, a corporate head gets into the ‘let’s talk business’ mode which the trainer-consultant was anyways waiting for. Do they do what Thomas Huxley so beautifully expressed centuries ago? Here is what Huxley said. “Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.” Far from sitting down before fact as a child,…

Joggers Park, the rains and a community

We were suddenly aware of each other. It had started to rain. Joggers park, Bandra ( west) in Mumbai builds a canopy, a temporary shed, over its circular tracks in the monsoon. So, that people can huddle together if it rains. And it did yesterday evening. And so, people converged onto the sheltered space. It was a special get-together. Strangers, old pensioners, toddlers, resident cats, couples, singles, teenagers, new parents, resident foreigners. And without any shared agenda, here we were, sharing the same space. The toddlers were the leaders. For them, everybody was one big family! They were moving around.They were on their knees, stroking the cats, and inventing a game at the snap of a finger! Somehow, the rest did not reach out for their familiar refuge, their cell phones. They watched the kids. And smiled… All of us were simply inspired to “be” in the moment. How rare, how exquisite.. This togetherness without reaching out for something. It is the feeling of community. It stopped raining. The connection broke. We all wandered off. Bandra ( West) experiments with  ‘Equal Streets’, an…

Right subject, Wrong Focus – Reading about the successful

Nothing succeeds like success. And nothing misleads like success. I refer to the endless streaming content on success and on successful people. Why do I say mislead? It is not the success stories that mislead. It is what we focus on in those stories that is unhelpful to our present context. We focus on the habits and practices of successful people. ‘Already’ successful people, if I may say so. That is, the habits and practices of people for whom success is a foregone conclusion. And of people who continue being successful. The habits and practices do not seem like those of people locked into the struggles of their life. They do not ring true as habits and practices of people at their most vulnerable. Of course, not all habits and practices come across that way. The successful have a few habits and practices, both before, and after success. In our present context, we are locked into struggles of our own. The already successful inspire me, no doubt. What is more helpful is to feel in my gut the desperation as well…