Monday, September 4, 2017

The Super Power That Can Change The World

“Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom”, said Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. “Give me young minds, and I shall give you a bright and prosperous nation”, said a teacher.

It might sound like a tall claim to make, way too far-fetched even, but anyone who has been a teacher, anyone who has ever been influenced by a teacher knows and understands that a teacher can have a lasting impact in a way like no one else can. It is huge and undeniable, and, in no way, an overstatement.

This idea became clearer to me when I myself got a chance to assume the most respectable, the most honourable profession in the world. The love, respect and admiration that I have seen in the eyes of my children (I have always preferred calling them children) strongly reinforced in me the idea that I had the power to influence and effect change. But with great power comes great responsibility. And this is a power which demands to be handled with great care. One word, one remark, why, so much as one tiny look from you can last a lifetime.

It is this power that we need to make use of – for their own good and for the good of our nation. There is so much that we as teachers, parents and elders can do. How do you help control climate change?  Teach your class to turn off the fans when they leave the class. How do help keep the environment clean? Teach your class not to throw garbage around. How do you stop wars from happening? Teach your class the value, importance and necessity of peace. How do you save humanity from dying? Teach your class to be human. And lead by example every time. Children know it when you preach but don’t practise.

PC: WeAreTeachers on Facebook
You might be speaking to a batch of 50 students at a time. Imagine doing that over several decades. How many young minds will you be able to influence? I did the Math here – 50 students per year for 40 years of teacherhood makes it a total of 2000 children in the average professional life of a teacher. And that’s what a single teacher can do. What if all the teachers of a nation decide to put this superpower to good use? What will happen then? Can such a force be stopped or challenged? Can they not inspire a whole generation of young minds to work towards a brighter and better tomorrow? Can they not change the entire course of a nation? Might be something to think about.

Words are powerful tools and powerful weapons of change. Sadly, in this loud and noisy world, where there is too much talking and too little meaning, we fail to recognize the power of great words and impactful statements. This Teacher’s Day let us vow to do complete justice to the most influential 7 letter word in the world and stand true to it. Happy Teacher's Day to all the wonderful teachers out there. 

PS: Brits and Indians use practice as noun and practise as verb; whereas for Americans practice is both a noun and a verb, which is why practise is either autocorrected or shown with a red underline in the very American MS Word Document. The word “teacherhood” is showing a red line under it at the backend editing, but I am keeping it anyway.

#Dedicated to all my teachers who have touched my life and all my students whose lives I have had the good fortune to touch. God bless you all. Cheers to life!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Understanding Life

The sun hung low in the sky,
With the river tides running high,
Crimson filled the horizon,
Scarlet waters danced in unison.

She sat on a lonely rock,
Her heart full of qualms amok.
She asked questions so many,
But hardly had answers to any.

In vain was her labour,
Futile her endeavour
Inscrutable are life’s ways to mankind,
Mysterious its moves to the average mind.

The roaring river gushed by,
The wind whispered its lullaby,
She let it seep through her soul,
As God’s grace embraced her whole.

And a voice from within her rose –

Do not raise an alarm,
Do not lose your calm.
All things will have meaning,
Let life do its fine-tuning.

You are God’s beloved child,
And that’s not something mild.
He will guide you along,
Take you where you belong.

Everything will fall in place,
You will not lose life’s chase.
Every purpose will fulfill,
At the decided hour it will.

You can’t have it sooner,
Nor will it take any longer.
It will come at the right moment,
This time is not your opponent.

Do what has to be done,
And be at heart a peaceful one.
Every puzzle, every riddle shall be solved,
For you have in your life, your Saviour involved.

#LiveLifeBeautifully #CheersToLife

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Paper Boats: The New Age Marketing Strategy

Remember the first time you came across the brand Paper Boats? I was first introduced to the brand by an endearing and engaging video I received on WhatsApp featuring a bunch of young adults who refused to let the child in them die. A few more of such videos followed, and then a few months down the line, we were neatly introduced to the very economically priced, interestingly designed tetra packs of flavoured soft drinks.

I am no marketing professional of any kind, but being a fairly intelligent, generally observant kind of a person, I understand this to be an excellent marketing strategy. Their marketing is primarily through the social media and they evoke one of the most beautiful emotions in the world – nostalgia, and you can never go wrong with it. The simple joys of our precious childhood are some of the best things we would love to reminisce about – our school, our school friends, the games we played, and, as the company has most beautifully named and captioned its brand, making paper boats and watching them drift away in the rains. Those were the first of videos from Paper Boats that I remember having seen and thoroughly enjoyed.

The company continues its marketing on the same lines showing posters of siblings doing stuff together, of families celebrating Eid, of young children playing Sathodiyu (that’s what we called it), of train journeys and leaking ceilings and every other thing that made our childhood interesting and worth remembering. Each carry short, honest captions and you can easily relate to them most of the time. They are so endearing and you enjoy them so much that you fail to realize that they are, in fact, ads. You see people tagging their siblings and friends in the comments below, and it starts a series of conversations and sharing.

It’s amazing how such a simple thing has worked out so beautifully for this company, which, according to Wikipedia, had a brand value of $100 million in July 2015 and a production capacity of 10 million pouches per day. So much for keeping simple things simple!

Life is a beautiful collection of memories and anything that allows us to relish those beautiful moments is worth cherishing. Cheers to life and to the fond memories of fond childhood.

Friday, August 11, 2017

On a Rainy Afternoon

It was a fine Sunday afternoon with the rain pouring outside. I heard the sounds but was too busy watching Sherlock to pay any heed to it. Thankfully, the show came to an end before the rains did and I then turned my attention to the brimming joy of nature. First, I let the sound of rain sink deep into my ears and into my soul, and then I saw the pouring waters, the swaying leaves and the green grass in my mind’s eye.

As I was basking in the sweetness of my imagination, a thought came to my mind. I asked myselves, “How long has it been since you drenched yourselves in the rains?” An image instantly flashed before me – pouring rains, bunch of children (toddlers and teenagers alike) splashing and jumping, a massive thunder from the heavens above, followed by an old man glowering down on his grandchildren and rushing them inside the house. It was June 2005, Kerala. We, cousins, had ventured out of the house to indulge ourselves in the tantalizing rains while our grandpa watched on from the veranda. All was fine until it started to thunder. Thundering in Kerala is very severe and causes people to die sometimes. This must have triggered our chachan (that’s how we addressed our beloved grandpa) to come for us and drive us inside the house. 

Aah, memories! Beautiful, fond memories. A beloved friend that pays me occasional visits and allows me to live and re-live those splendid moments!

Anyway, coming back to the present, I was grabbed by a sudden desire to do something impulsive and reckless. I slipped out of the house noiselessly (didn’t want to wake napping parents), climbed four flights of stairs (didn’t want to get stuck in the elevator in case the power went off) and stepped out into the rain. It was gorgeous, beautiful, soul-soothing and heart-quenching. The goodness of nature seeped through my soul, truly refreshing and truly magnificent. God has made all things beautiful. If only we would open our eyes and see!  

Life is indeed beautiful, and what make the journey worthwhile are the small things in life – the little things in life. Life is never about big things and great achievements. It’s about doing small things greatly. It’s about doing what you have to and doing it best, and about giving, believing and trusting. It will become great on its own one day at a time.

Live life beautifully! Cheers to life!

PS: Sherlock S04E03 had been very unnerving and endearing at the same time. While you are utterly flabbergasted by the cold-bloodedness of 5 back-to-back murders (Mycroft was up next!), you feel all your shock and disgust dissolve in a matter of seconds, and are moved to compassion instead, as you come to realize that the poor girl, though an era-defining genius, was dreadfully sad and miserable inside, and was, in fact, the little girl stuck on the plane not knowing where or how to land.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Get, Set, Go!

Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started. If I had to understand everything about connecting people before I began, I never would have started Facebook. But this idea was so clear to us — that all people want to connect. So we just kept moving forward, day by day.
— Mark Zuckerberg in his Commencement Address at Harvard in May 2017

When you start something you never know how it is going to end. But you have to start somewhere and then just keep going forward – one day at a time. You have an idea within you and a vision before you. You just need to keep working towards it, learning new things as you go along and improvising with every new step you take. Fear of falling cannot keep you from walking.

If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever. But that’s not the point of having a ship. Ships are meant for sailing, for venturing out into the open sea and bracing the storms.

Starting something new or taking a new direction in life is never easy. There will always be someone telling you that you can’t do it. There will always be people raising questions and offering skepticism. But it’s your life. Nobody makes decisions for you but you. You own up to yourselves and to your decisions, and make your way through the world.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Little By Little

A poem I find really inspiring..

“Little by little,” an acorn said,
As it slowly sank in its mossy bed,
“I am improving every day,
Hidden deep in the earth away.”

Little by little, each day it grew;
Little by little, it sipped the dew;
Downward it sent out a thread-like root;
Up in the air sprung a tiny shoot.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

3 Quotes to Remember

1.    It is what it is. Not good, not bad. It is what it is. (John Watson, BBC Sherlock)

2.   It is a choice between what is right and what is easy. (Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter)

3.   There is a stubbornness about me that can never bear to be frightened. My courage rises at every attempt to intimidate me. (Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice)