Friday, June 29, 2007

CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD

‘I sit and talk to God; and He laughs at my plans’

- From the lyrics of the song ‘Feel’ by Robbie Williams

The conversation veered to worry. “Why do people worry?” I asked. There was silence. It was usual; a loud silence followed by a frenetic pace of transfer of ideas. It usually reminded me of the modem.

The wind howled heralding the beginning of another bout of rain. The tall coconut trees swayed as if intoxicated. Leaves and debris stirred to life by the wind danced with no particular rhythm. The angry dark clouds were moving fast to drop their load of water onto Mother Earth. All were having a swell time; except man. He worried.

I sipped from the cup. The aroma of tea and its warmth stoked an ember within. Sighing I reached for keypad. It was time to record the conversation.

Why do people worry?

The transfer of ideas was now taking place. The pace was fast and furious.

People worry because:

  1. They live in the past and place their hope in the future.
  2. They do not see the funny side of life – some of them never!
  3. They never keep themselves busy – instead they worry!
  4. They fail to examine the record – according to the law of averages; what are the chances that the event one is worried about will occur?
  5. They do not do the very best that they can.
  6. They count their troubles – not their blessings!
  7. They do not forget themselves by becoming interested in others.

The rain fell at a steady pace forming rivulets on the road below. The wind was at it again. It howled. There was a deep rumble of thunder. The conversation had ended. A loud silence followed.

Friday, June 22, 2007

“IT’S GREAT TO SHOW PROMISE; IT”S TRAGIC NOT TO FULLFILL IT”

This morning, as I was walking in a busy part of the city, a classmate, from my school days, accosted me. He looked drawn. His eyes looked tired. After the initial exchange of pleasantries, he asked me if I could find him a job. He was working as a salesman in a cloth shop for a paltry salary & wanted a change. Could I help him? At that point of time I was taken aback. As a student in school, he had shown great promise. He was good at studies, above average in sports and good at dramatics. He had some amount of talent in him. What had brought him to this state?
I promised him help; but I was skeptical. Who would want a 42 year old whose resume showed that he was a salesman in a cloth shop? We bid goodbye and I made by way to my office. I pondered on his plight, made a few phone calls but as expected there were no encouraging replies.
As I write this post, I wonder why this person who showed promise could not fulfill it. One reason some people fall short of their promise is that developing talent is hard work. Talent is useless if it is not wedded to craftsmanship that demands incessant practice and all that it involves: endless repetition, constant self-criticism – and exasperation when performance falls short.
I have always wondered why many of us never become real professionals. The professional in any field must have a kind of contract with himself. The terms of the contract read that he must be absolutely honest with himself. I had come across the following passage in a book I read long ago: Many of us never become real professionals because we think that the pursuit of excellence necessarily includes reaching the topmost rung – and then give up because we can’t reach it.
I am of the opinion that there are various degrees of excellence. The danger does not lie in failing to reach absolute perfection. It lies in giving up the chase.
Ask a lot of yourself, and you may be very pleasantly surprised at how much you receive!

Friday, June 01, 2007

END OF A ROMANCE

On May 29th 2007, I received an email, which was on expected lines; my services were not being sought for the academic year 2007-08 at TAPMI. Thus ended a 6-year romance with an institution that, of late, has been floundering. In the last few months it has received two jolts, the first one being the AICTE notification that the approved seats have been scaled down from 140 to 100 and the second one being the withdrawal of Hostel facilities by its provider. These jolts can plunge any institute into chaos. The signs were there; the entire reputed faculty with whom I had rubbed shoulders at TAPMI have resigned and moved on. Today, as TAPMI enters its silver jubilee year, it is a pale shadow of its old self. It had sanctioned student strength of 100 when it had faculty strength of a mere 6 way back in the nineties; today it has a faculty strength of 25 and its approved strength has been scaled down to 100 students. What went wrong? An ex-colleague called me last night & the conversation veered to the survival of an institution that has given fillip to some great minds. I was optimistic. An institution outlives its students and its faculty, I said. But my friend wasn’t convinced. The competition, he said, has overtaken TAPMI. I sincerely hope TAPMI bounces back, when in June 2008 it is supposed to move to its own swank premises; at least for the sake of its Alumni & its present students. I have my fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, I am enjoying a break. The past four years have been hectic; and for the first time in a long while I am actually having some free time. I have not seen the inside of an airplane for a very long time and the last train journey was on April 15th. Of course, it is too good to last. Come July and I will be packing my bags and moving on……

Memories….


P.S. June 2008 has come and gone. The new campus is taking shape; though it may take some more time to complete. On June 30th 2008 Dr. D. Nagabrahmam retired from service after being at the helm of affairs at TAPMI for the last 15 years. This signals a new beginning at TAPMI in its silver jubilee year. Here is wishing the Institute, its alumni, faculty, staff and students the very best in the year to come.
On 22nd July 2010, I renewed my romance with TAPMI. I am back to teaching PGP I after a hiatus of 3 years. The new campus is neat & classrooms are truly state of the art. Above all, it felt good to be back among some of my old friends!