Mentoring

Finally met him. Our meeting time was 6:00 pm at CCD. I had to offer prayer so I was there just by 6. Arun and Birendra were already there. They had ordered some kind of coffees. I didn’t order anything, I hate things which taste bitter. Purely desi in that manner. We had our first introduction, He seemed very excited, describing his past IITM saga. I was literally awestruck by hearing his fees back then. It was only 300 and when they increased it to 900 they all went to strike and again reduced it to 600. Whaaaaaat!

The most exciting part was he was a Mallu hailing from Kannur, Thalipparamba which actually is very near to my native place. He asked us about our plan after graduation. I already had my answer ready but recently my father forwarded a message which was more suiting to my interest area. A job at UN mostly revolves around policy making and all. I love those kinds of things, Firstly I can roam around the world and secondly it’s good to help people.

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Presentation

When it comes to talking in front of people especially in English, which is not my mother tongue, I literally crap my pants. But this one is compulsory and there is no escape from it. I finally had to surrender my fear. I am not very good at making presentation. But the subject I selected was very important and needed immediate attention. I planned to do my presentation first and get it over with but when I reached there people were already in line. I got my chance after two guys. I couldn’t pay attention to their presentations. Because I was busy accumulating immense fear inside.

I opened my slide and the title was ” How to prevent suicide and blah blah blah…”.I started by saying Don’t worry guys this is just the title I will be suggesting some solutions for it. At first due to the built-up pressure words were not coming out properly. Later when I drove my eyes through people I noticed people smiling or kinda accepting my stuff. I got some confidence and from there the presentation was smooth. The thank you part was funny. I did some Japanese thank you bow. Actually, I was going for a dab. This seemed better. All of them liked it including Viji mam and I made them laugh. So I am really happy. But I need improvement in my eye contact. I was concentrated on Viji mam. The thing I avoided thinking people might get bored came up to be more important. Because I was telling common stuff and there was no weight in it. Some scientific background would have been nice. And I got Manan to record my presentation. When I watched it I finally understood how mallu I am. My pronunciations were purely mallu.

Life In The Army

I always had huge respect for soldiers. Not exactly because ,they are the last resort, but they had discipline and routine which i can only dream of. When viji told about The Lt.Colonel we are gonna meet the next day i couldn’t hold my excitement.

I planned every thing from morning and reached 5 minutes before the session. But i could only find three of us there, felt really sad. But he waited for no one and started right at 9:00 ‘o clock, that is what i love about them. He was steady as a wood , tucked in and you can see the discipline everywhere. I was listening to him as if i am worshiping, with little fear and respect. He explained about how they plan far ahead in order to stick to the routine with great examples. And how they respect women. If a Sipahi bring his wife to the mess (that is where they celebrate) even the highest ranked officer is entitled to salute her. Awesome no?!!!!.

They don’t have a great social life but they can represent India in front of a businessman or a president . Their span of knowledge amazed me . From science to table etiquette to what not. To conclude, my day went good just by meeting him . I even managed to shake his hand, Firm but subtle. I really felt honored to meet him because i worship guys who are disciplined well.

Art of Firing

There is a lady who has been with the company for 5 years and currently she is performing poorly due to some family troubles and there is a new recruit who is excellent in his area. who will you fire ? . This was the question Viji asked in the classroom to find out what kind of emotional category we are in. The best argument i felt was to fire the new guy and keep the lady with family troubles. He explained it well by saying since the new guy was so brilliant in his field it is not a big problem for him to get a job. But to fire the lady will mostly cause an end to her career. Because we are kicking her when she is down. That is a very bad thing to do. On the other hand some people said they would fire the lady because keeping her would effect the productivity of the company.

But i would say you will loose productivity if you fire the lady. She has been with the company for almost 5 years.  She has a strong connection with all other employees you have. Her poor performance is caused by the family trouble, which is not exactly her fault. So if you fire her at such kind of reason all the other employees will loose the trust in the company. They feel no safety in such kind of company. Because if they can fire a senior employee for reason that is not her own then why would they stop  firing us for such reasons? . If an employee feel unsafe or vulnerable all the time he can no longer work with passion or affection. And this leads to low productivity. So i will say keep the lady at least till her family trouble is over. It will save both the lady and your company

MAN AT SEA

This exercise was mainly to see the difference when we perform individually and in group. The task was to give preference order to things that you have (some 14 things i reckon) in a strand away at sea situation. The fun thing was the object that most of us ignored ( Mirror– I thought it was for combing your hair, Nope – at sea it is to give signals) turned out to be the most preferred thing in the entire list. However group effort reduces mistakes and gives best output. What i didn’t like in this group task was we had a very stubborn guy in our group who was not even listening to our valid points and finally we had to go by his preference.

But finally when we compared our responses with expert’s responses we were far behind from the real preferences. I think we gave more preference to food than security. It makes sense, staying hungry is far better than dying at once. Group work only progress if every body collaborate otherwise it is some guy’s opinion overall the rest of us are just showcases. Every body have to be open to each and every opinion , You reject or accept that is secondary, first you listen. And also in some cases to avoid tensions over differences just nod along.

PERSPECTIVE

Today Viji discussed about a very important lesson which our generation pay less attention to. After widespread of social media we ceased existing and have genuine opinions. The discussion or outcry spiral around “the viral” video. To perceive something we need to know all the angle around it. It won’t be glamorous from your side or true but when you move around it you will get the full picture and then only you should judge or make an opinion about it. I saw lot of people getting highly emotional or excited and right way shooting comments on some video which proved fake. To have a perspective is good but to know other perspectives and act accordingly make you great.

I think the video she chose was good but not proper. Because the guy in the same two contexts acted differently to make the point. A video which shows his purity just by showing the scenes behind,  not changing his act, would be better. Anyhow the arrogant , dishonest bad person came out as a good caring one when the second video finished. Many time these mob lynching and all happens i have always thought north India is bad place and i had tremendous amount of hatred reserved for them but after realizing there exists good and evil people everywhere i started to loosen up a little bit. Now i don’t have a problem to go to even Afghanistan ( by the way they have awesome food). If it is god’s will i will die there

Tricks & Treats

Have you ever wondered what is the job(goal) that best fit you. Wonder no more find your Ikigai. That will be the sum total of your passion,mission,profession and vocation. Japanese are creative people no?. My Ikigai was right in front of me . I was neglecting it most of the time. Finding your Ikigai and sitting idol won’t do any good. if you want to move further you have to find your known and hidden strengths and make constructive habits that paves the way to your destiny. RBS helped me to find most of my positive qualities but to pry out more  needed Johari window. You will get your blind area unveiled.

Finding things are easy but applying it takes guts and hard work. And i am so bad at this. I was so excited to hear there are ways to set habits. Viji told about cue-routine-reward cycle. I really wanted to make a habit of working out but hated gym. So this was a great alternative to execute my plans. I decided to do 10 push ups and 10 crunches every time i take a leak. It worked out well for 4 to 5 days then i went home and Bamm everything vanished to thin air. I struggle with routines and can’t keep one. Most of the time i get bored . If at all i had a routine it was when i was in my high school . I never missed a day of football. It was the only reason i woke up every morning. I think i have to try more. who knows maybe one day i will be disciplined as an army person. I look at them with envy.

Book Review

A farewell to Arms is a Hemingway wonder novel which spiral around the turbulent life events of an American lieutenant who served as an ambulance driver in Italian army during WW1 and his beautiful lover Catherine Barkley, an English nurse who Frederic Hendry met through his friend Rinaldi. The book has five parts and the first part describes the horrific atmosphere a war can bring about in any country. Many of the soldiers seemed overwhelmed by the unending war which kind of sucked their soul away. Their mess debates always ended by teasing the priest who kept a close relation with Mr .Frederic, many of them were simply showed no interest in God. Even our lead character is one among them but never teased the priest. The story took a beautiful turn when he finally met his sweetheart Catherine. At first he was not so in love with her but when he got severely injured by a mortar and sent to Milan for better treatment he couldn’t stop himself but fall in love with Catherine. He spends some wonderful time with her in Milan till his knee got fixed and plans for a vacation with Catherine. But unfortunately he winds up in his bed suffering from jaundice. He again got send back to the front line only to retreat from the advancing Austro-Hungarian army. He gets away from his regiment in order to make a faster retreat from the advancing enemy but finally ends up in the hands of “War police” who interrogated and executed most of the higher rank officers blaming them for the failure of the Italian campaign. He adventurously jumps into the river and escapes from the execution in order to find Catherine in Milan. But by the time he got there she was already moved to Stresa. He finally meets her there and spends some time with her. They escapes to Switzerland when they knew they are gonna get arrested. After rowing an entire night they finds their freedom in Switzerland. Catherine leads a beautiful winter with Frederic in Montreux. They move to Lausanne for her delivery. But she and the baby die during the delivery which leaves Frederic alone with his hostile memories.

The novel pretty much contains everything Romance, Tragedy, Helplessness of human, haunting vacuum war creates. Hemingway discuss all corner of human feelings in this book. At first Frederic seemed a non-believer but he begged for Catherine’s life at the end when she fought against death on the hospital bed. Hemingway left some haunting questions when Frederic walked back to his room alone in rain after he lost both his wife and son. Frederic threw himself to the strong current of the river and rowed a boat an entire night. This shows how hope gives courage and energy to human being when he is most vulnerable. On his way back (retreat) deserted homes and destroyed crops shows how war can be so ruthless and unforgiving on many levels. When we see them escape through the lake to Switzerland and find a beautiful home near a hillside Hemingway actually gave us rays of hope. But on the hospital bed we saw the pain Catherine went through and helplessness of Frederic. After everything the writer ends the story with Frederic walking back to his room in rain alone which leaves us with many haunting questions about life and how it take turns suddenly sometimes to cause either hope or utter dismal.

A Peek Into Future

C slot was so boring and i almost exhausted my mood and attention before i stepped into DOMS. I think Viji sensed it . As soon as i entered the classroom she suggested that why don’t we go out somewhere calm and start writing about future. Actually we needed to place ourselves at some point in future and start writing about our past. Kinda connect the dots. For me the first part was quiet easy,  to place me at some glamorous position. I was in morocco sitting in a desert under watchful stars having Mandi(Arabian Dish), talking to elites about current affairs. By the way here we are talking about an IFS officer. That is what my dream is.

                                   The second part was taking all of my time. Connect the dots . The problem is, in my story i have only two dots IIT and IFS. In between its all blur. I really don’t want to think about it. Don’t want to put my hands in the way of destiny. If somebody asks me what do you want to do . Then i have thousands of answers but i am really uncomfortable about answering the question what all you will have done till you have reached point B in your life. Then my answer is simply “I don’t know”. I want to reach my goal and i know what to do to attain it. The only way i can tell how did i reach there is only after reaching that point in time.

BLIND SPOT

Viji asked us to do something called “RBS” (Reflected Best Self). I have mastered in postponing things so didn’t submit it on due date. I had all the information needed but i had to talk to one more important person in my life “My Mom”. She is now in Saudi Arabia mostly in a spiritual world doing Hajj pilgrimage. So the phone calls were not regular. And almost all the time i missed her calls. I have a bad habit of not carrying around my mobile phone( I know it’s actually meant for that. But this is me).

I choose variety of people from different time period of my life. From JEE coaching to family to friends that i have now. This includes people who know me very nearly, people who know every dirty little secrets of my dark life and people who respect and adore me for the character i possess. I talked to 11 people including my father couldn’t talk to my Mom. I knew most of the things they told me. But some were real surprising. One of my friend told me you have good negotiating skills because you get extra egg from the mess guy. That really cracked me up. The most common thing i heard from most of my friends were i have good adaptability and i am humorous. And the thing i never noticed in me was, i was a very authentic straight forward person who don’t bullshit and don’t allow bullshitting.

Overall it was a very nice realization about me. But the scariest and the terrifying thing i noticed was the core of human behaviour “We always remember a person by his/her flaws or at least it is the first thing that comes to our mind when we think about somebody”. When i asked my friends about my positive qualities it took a little bit of time for everybody to find out some. But they were eager to mention my negative  qualities without even asking it.