Read the Printed Word!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Like the flowing river

read a book by Paulo Coelho "LIke the flowing river". As the title suggests, it is like the flowing river. You feel you are sitting on a sandbar in a river at the sunset hour just watching the river flow all around you ; listening to nature.
The sandbar where the river is three metres below its normal level.
There are no earth-shattering ideas. Every idea in the book has evolved beautifully over time to be expressed in a gentle, inoffensive manner just as the river water caresses you.

Most of the articles are based on the author's personal experience. There are quotes from Bible and Bhagavad Gita as also from an obscure writer. There are some lengthy and profound stories, and some are terse, like a simple paragraph on Japanese tea ceremony.

Like a river, it does not follow any predefined course, but simply makes a course for itself as it flows. Extending the simile further, at times you are just wading through shallow waters and there are times you are totally out of your depth.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Charge, discharge and recharge

With every other gadget today, running on rechargeable batteries, I cannot think of a better analogy for the ebb and flow of one's morale. When you are fully charged, literally nothing or no one can upset you, and when fully drained out, anything or any one can hurt you. Most of the times we are somewhere in between, coasting along, with occasional surges and dips.

Morale is generally defined as "The state of the spirits of a person or group as exhibited by confidence, cheerfulness, discipline, and willingness to perform assigned tasks." I might also add "capacity to tolerate fools and to accept nonsense"

Can every activity in life be categorized into energy drainer, energy neutral and rejuvenator. If so, can your life be so organized that you are always well 'charged' to take on the good and the not so good people and events in your stride. Is it possible to move from one mode to the other at will in a normal work environment ? You are in great spirits and one phone call from a person you particularly dislike and you are 50% drained and is it possible to pick an activity (like listening to your favorite music) to recoup that lost energy? Then, just as among rechargeable batteries, there are good batteries and dubious ones, does 'the quality of battery' differ from person to person . Can you 'train' your battery to charge faster and to last longer ?

Ideally, your work or home environment should be such that you are doing only what you want to do; so it is all life rejuvenating activities, and there is hardly any energy drain. But as mere mortals, we may have to work at jobs we do not always like, with people we don't always get along, and share a home with people not always in agreement with us ; and in short, we may live at occasional or frequent disagreement and dissension at home and work place. I am sure, most people have their own ways to resolve their problems.

While I was posted at an Army public School, I made it a point to walk through the corridors of the school during a recess. Just a couple of cheerful greetings from children can recharge your battery to face a long, difficult conference.

A General officer at Bareilly used to take a circuitous route to his office so that he can go through the recruits training area. An officer from the Gorkha regiment can't be faulted for getting his highs seeing recruits training. Different strokes for different folks.

How is it that some people always look 'Thrilled with Life' and some look "Disgusted with Life' ? (TWL or DWL as we used to say in the academy.) If you have more Life Rejuvenating Activities (LRA) than energy draining activities, I suppose you are always on top , in any situation.

Just as a battery has limited capacity for storage, I suppose we too have our limitations. So the life rejuvenating activities have to be built into our day to day routine so that a person is always in good spirits. can we quantify this ?

For eg , let us take a typical day; getting up in the morning for work can be a pain to most people. Then you have a refreshing cup of coffee or tea. A good bath and prayers can really pep you up. Then commuting to work can be stressful. So, before we get sucked into the office routine, can we squeeze in some short term LRA like meditation, music, or a phone call to a friend or family member ? By the time you get home, anyone at home can make out if you had had a good or a lousy day at office. Whatever be, just as you put your laptop or cellphone on charge, it is time to engage in some long term LRA, followed by a good sleep to face the next day.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What keeps the NCC Cadets going ?

By now I have been with NCC cadets, for about seven years and I keep wondering as to what keeps them going. I have been through three different states, poles apart, socially and culturally. Financial Support from the State Govt, the standard of Educational Institutions and the work culture are so different in every State. Yet, one thing that is common is the enthusiasm displayed by the cadets. How can you keep attending camp after camp? After all, these are not five star camps, in the garb of adventure tourism, where all possible amenities are provided under canvas. The accommodation provided is partly built up and partly tentage, generally the less used portion of the local school or college, with some support provided by the local municipal body.

The routine starts at six in the morning and may well go on past the midnight. If lucky, you might get some hostel accommodation, with cooking and dining facilities, but most of the times, the camps are held under abysmal conditions, going by the normal standards of urban lifestyle ; ie a place to cook, a place to eat, a place to wash and bathe, hot meals, amenities like electricity, running water, TV, decent working hours etc. Living in tents is okay for 3-4 days but carrying on for 3-4 months is beyond my understanding. There are at least seven camps in the run up to the Republic Day Camp at Delhi. The competition is so stiff that no one dares to fall sick even for a session leave alone a day; his or her place would immediately be taken by one of the cadets sniffing at his heels. There are cadets who are dropped in the last camp and the subsequent year, to my surprise, they are back again for the grind. What's more, they are ever so cheerful; so much so that, being with them you forget all about the heat, dust, and deprivations. You just feel refreshed and energized in their company.

Recently I had a chat with one of the cadets who had done umpteen number of camps in 2009 and this is what she had to say .... we all are missing the camps sooooo bad...... i'd die if i don't get to attend another one.....

What is it that keeps them going ?!