Kathak and Sufism : Astha, one with the almighty !

Sreeni On Stage

Mystical experience is fundamentally inexpressible, although it has found expression in poetry and prose, in art and music. In poetry it reached a pinnacle inspired by the Sufi concept of ecstatic love that does not differentiate between the lover, the beloved Absolute, and love itself.

Astha, is completely immersed in the mystic philosophy – Sufi, Osho, ..in life. It is very natural for her to portray the very essence when she wears her ghungroos. She is divine, she is mystical, she is one with the lord. One has to experience her to believe that life can be this way too.

Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha

Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha

Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha

Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha

Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha

Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha

Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha

Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha

Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha

Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the BuddhaKathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha
Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the BuddhaKathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the BuddhaKathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the BuddhaKathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the BuddhaKathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the BuddhaKathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha
Kathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the BuddhaKathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the BuddhaKathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the BuddhaKathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the BuddhaKathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the BuddhaKathak : Astha loses herself in the Sufi way - Zorba, the Buddha

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree, with gay abandon!

When you do whatever you love and are in love with what you are doing, you are usually in the ‘carefree’ mood! No boundaries really bother… You are in there for your passion, and continue to do so every moment…

S R E E N I V i e w s

When you love whatever you are doing, you are usually in the ‘carefree’ mood! No boundaries really bother….Here are a few captures from my exciting journey of ‘carefree’ life…… I have always been at the ‘carefree’ edge…

No road tour is planned. It is all about taking the vehicle, pack all that may be needed and go. Family does not know (neither I do) where the next halt will be and what is in store for us….

The free-falls from 100 ft high cliff into a flowing river is no less carefree ! The heart starts pounding. You have hundred questions. Would want to run away…. but finally with faith… you leap!
Class of 2012 - Knowing thyself..


On every outbound, every rock-climbing and rappling experience has been a ‘carefree’ one..When you have to come down a 200ft high cliff, then you really love the challenge!
Mentor recruitment and outbound.  Indus World School, INDIA


Crossing a river with self-made rafts of bamboos-and-rubber-truck-tubes is a…

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Reading Comprehension : Break the barriers, hoist your flag at IIM, IAS, NLS.. !

Book – Young leaders Success Code – features R.Sreenivasan!

In the last edition of this series, Make ‘Reading’ a Passion : especially CAT and competition participants, we discussed some of the fundamental principles you have to inculcate to be an effective and efficient reader, and to enhance your performance in the Reading Comprehension (RC) section.  I am sure some of you have certainly tried out the principles that we discussed in the last column.

The principles you came across were –

  •  Involvement, enthusiasm or enjoyment is the foremost requirement for excelling
  • Visualizing the authors narration of his imagination will make you a clear winner
  • Elimination of regression will result in augmentation of your speed

In continuation, in this edition, you will encounter a few more principles, which would make all the difference between a good reader and a bad one.

Principle No. 4.   Enlarge Recognition Span; Decrease Fixation Time

Many of you must be looking at one word at a time while reading. You concentrate more on words rather than on the meaning behind the words. You are having an affair with the words and not with ideas. By doing so, you realize many a time that you have not got the hold on what the author intends to say.

An effective reader will take the given lines as a stream of ideas or thought processes rather than as a stream of words. He will read a chunk of words or a clause that offer some meaning and conveys a thought.  Ideally, if you are an effective reader you will be imbibing seven to eight words in one go. This measure of grasping a group of words in one go is called recognition span. It means, in order to be effective, you should try and increase your recognition span. Newspaper columns offer you a good practice exercise to increase the same. You should be able to take one line of newspaper column in one go. The time taken to recognize the span is called fixation time. The lesser the time you take to recognize the span, the faster you will be in covering the distance. Hence, you should try and increase your recognition span and at the same time decrease your fixation time and become an efficient reader.

Principle No. 5.   Push your Comfort Zone Speed (CZS)

You read at speeds at which you believe can comprehend most of what you read. This applies to both information reading as well as pleasure reading. This speed of reading could be termed as ‘Comfort Zone Speed’.

CZS is a result of poor habits that you have built through years of the wrong kind of practices. Passive reading habits have worsened the situation. It is you who have decided that the speed at which you are reading is the most comfortable speed. No one has thrust that upon you. It is now time to have a re-look and question the reading methods and techniques you have become a slave of.

The reading comprehension demands you to read at speeds which are much higher than your CZS.  If your CZS is low, you will find yourself reading at an uncomfortable speed, to pace with the required speed. This will result in low comprehension or ‘cognition strain’. On the other hand, if you do not want to take the risk and you enjoy being at CZS, then you will not be able to complete all the given passages. This will definitely not serve your purpose. Hence, you have to take the risk. You should practice constantly and gradually in order to improve on speed and comprehension. This would help in pushing the CZS.

When you try pushing your speed comprehension and retention may go down initially. You should not be flustered. Try maintaining at the same speed, the comprehension will return in due course. This speed will be your new CZS. Once you start enjoying this speed, its time to push the speed again. It is a proven fact that the higher the speed, the greater the comprehension, since you are trying to break the frontiers and you are keeping your brain on alert to come to your help in comprehending whatever you are reading. At lower speeds the concentration is low, and you must have realized while reading, your mind wanders and goes for shopping, watching movies etc. Increase your concentration by increasing your speed.

Principle No. 6.  Indulge in Active Reading

The secret to effectiveness is to do active reading. By being active, you are trying to understand what author is trying to say. While you are grasping the information provided therein, you keep asking questions like ‘what is he saying’, ‘why is he saying so’, or ‘How can he say that’ etc. By questioning his intentions, his narration or his way of giving information, you are trying to bridge the distance between the your knowledge base, a collection of all of your life experiences and learning, existing in your brain and  the new information provided on the piece of paper. By seeking more, you are able to predict what the author may say ahead in the passage. By doing so, you will make this information a part of your knowledge base and rule the RC section.

The stream of words is not mere words, they give away much more. Authors reveal attitude by their choice of words and narration of experiences. By indulging in active reading you are also running with the authors flow of thoughts and ideas, his style of expression. You will be able to grasp the mood of the author, attitude or intentions of the author.

Invariably all the passages will have questions probing authors’ views and intentions, idea behind the passage, implied information etc. If you are involved in active reading you will be able to crack all such questions.

Mechanics for reading

In order to be efficient while reading, skim all the questions at the end of the passage before entering the passage. So you know what to watch for in the written material.

  • Read the passage as quickly as you can, concentrating first on the main points and essence.
  • Mark the focal points, specific examples
  • Mark the shifts in the viewpoint, like the phrases – nevertheless, ironically, in spite of, however, although etc.
  • Also pay attention to the concluding sentences to get the gist or theme of the passage.

Make an effort to incorporate some of the principles discussed so far and reap rich dividends. Push the frontiers. Experience the pleasure.

————————–

If you are benefited by this article kindly LIKE It, SHARE It on any of the following platforms; Yes, REVISIT it as many times as you want. SUBSCRIBE (left hand top corner) to the blog to get the latest ARMAMENT at your virtual doorstep.

Thanks and Best Wishes.

Sreeni.

Sreeni@careerlauncher.com

For motivating yourself regularly, I recommend you bookmark the following and watch the sessions and videos there in- Dream It, Do It!

Think Big, Start Small!

[A variant of this article first appeared in THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, September 03, 1998. Since then this has been picked by so many publications. Here I reproduced for the benefit of all CAT and competition exam takers. The principles of excellence do not change… they live for life time!]

CL Educate : 18 years and finding our feet – Satya

journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002
journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002
journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002journey of CL - 1997-2002CL 2004 brainstorming in LonavlaVision 2010 workshop with Dr. Athreya in 2005
Dream Dubai - Family TimeIndus World School, INDIAIndus World School, INDIAIndus World School, INDIAIndus World School, INDIAIndus World School, INDIA

It was 0830 hours and I was already at the desk working to some plan. I was dressed in a white full sleeve shirt, beige trousers, black shoes and most important of all, a floral jhin-chak tie! 🙂

This was on the 14th of August 1995 and the venue was the first and the brand new office of Career Launcher, a new entrepreneurial baby. That it was one of the bedrooms in my father’s government quarters in Gol Market In New Delhi is a matter of minor detail. It had four royal chairs made of aluminium , bought from Panchkuian Road bought for Rs 360. it also had a ‘godrej’ table donated by a friend, Bata, as he was migrating to the US.

The floral jhin-chak tie is, indeed, an important detail here. That my boss at Ranbaxy failed in making me wear too much of formals was official on the 12th floor of Devika Towers, Nehru Place office . His admonishments did not work much. He, literally, scolded me and escorted me to a shop in South Extension and made me buy a navy blue blazer. That is an important and also a marked event of my life.

And with such a background, I was sitting at the Career Launcher office on the 14th August 1995. It is just a testimony to what entrepreneurship makes you do. Or at least, made me do. I was fighting my fear about becoming lazy, careless and fail, as an entrepreneur. I was overdoing what I do every morning. I added a tie to my attire so that I take myself seriously. At 0830, I used to leave by my Vespa to the Ranbaxy office. On this day too, I left home at 0829hours and reported to work in the adjacent room at 0830 hours!

That was the official start of CL. My fun or struggle began officially on that day. It continues to be the same fun and struggle to this day, as I savour the cake at the completion of 18 years of our fun, joy, struggle, existence, triumphs etc.,

I have never met the sales or business targets on the dot. Either under-achievered them or occasionally over-achieved them. Honestly, We have made a dozen blunders every year. Newer ones each time. Hopefully, not repeated many. Errors in judgement is a part of life. But never erred by design, perhaps. Tried to build an organisation that has a wee-bit of ability to last a while after we are gone. Not a bad attempt. Let us continue on this path. Entrepreneurship is about failures and honest attempts. Success is an occasional distraction.

In all of these, the CLite has been a constant companion. ’We’ has been about every CLite who has been with CL some stage or the other. ’We’ also has included over a 100 entrepreneurs in as many cities who are CL with all passion and student commitment. ’We’ also includes all the students and parents who trusted us with the future of the child.

As we step into our 19th year, we need to just focus on twin things that we have spoken over the recent quarters. ’Trusteeship’ and ‘ Innovation’ has been the theme. It has only become more important. We have to recommit to plug away relentlessly to emerge as the brand that is more trustworthy than any one else. Inside our work areas, we need to continuously be street-smart and innovative. The rest of it is simple. The customer will take care of us if we take care of her with all honesty and commitment. Nothing can fail us!

Love
Satya

Power of Faith

S R E E N I V i e w s

One of the repeating visual frames during my travel is faith. It takes many forms – the silent meditation in midst of nature, to impromptu genuflecting by the roadside, to the intense ritualistic involvement by the rivers, to grand festive celebrations with chest-thumping, to the solitude of oneself. For a few, the very life is a manifestation of faith. Each one is seeking solace, healing or peace. The belief in power of faith is universal. Every visual frame is magical, awe-inspiring and divine.


The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness – Henry David Thoreau











“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”; ― Soren Kierkegaard






Happy Holi! Holi Mubarak Ho!
The HOLI Frenzy, every year, Vrindavan, Mathura, India

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – Martin Luther King, Jr

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Forshadow : A photo story for excellence ! on SREENIViews

Foreshadow means ‘an indication of a future thing to happen’; What forebodes excellence? The diligence with which every artist prepares for the performance, days before and also at the backstage, foreshadows the brilliance on the stage.

SPIC MACAY International Convention IIMC - Day 1
Guru Birju Maharaj (75), Kathak Maestro, getting ready for his performance

For the complete inspirational photo-story do not miss Foreshadow on SREENIViews People, Places and Stories

Leave your comments and feedback.

Thanks and regards
sreeni

Make ‘Reading’ a Passion : especially CAT and competition participants

The INDIA Idea covers endeavours of innovation in India. Sreeni has contributed quite a few photographs for the book !

CAT, as you all are aware of by now, tests an MBA aspirant’s abilities in four different sections, namely – Quantitative ability (QA), Data interpretation (DI), English usage (EU) and Reading comprehension (RC). In this edition, we will look at the salient features of RC and some of the approaches you should adopt to maximize your scores not only in this section, but across the sections.

READING IS A LIFE SKILL! IMAGINE WHAT ALL IT WOULD ADD TO YOUR QUIVER TO STRENGTHEN YOU TO TAKE ON THE WORLD IN DISCUSSIONS AND INTERVIEWS. KINDLY LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE OF YOUR JOURNEY OF LIFE.

In my classes, following these principles I am going to talk about, majority of students move from their average speed of 200 words/minute to over 800 words/minute in 4-6 weeks, with an accuracy rate of over 80%! Then the magic happens not only in RC passages, but in entire CAT or any competition paper! A few daring ones even reached 1600-2000 wpm with as high accuracy! Many of them have passed out of IIMs

The utterance of word RC brings forth two extreme reactions in a given set of audience – one, that is enthusiastic and eagerly looking forward to what is in store, the other set is rather better off not looking at this section. One end of the spectrum comprises of those who are from arts and humanities background, and also includes those who have reading as a passion, for them reading reams and reams of pages is nothing new. The other end predominantly comprises of students of science and engineering, who are comfortable rather with numbers and equations than with stream of words. But, CAT does not give any concession to any one. If you want to qualify it, you better be good in all sections, more so in English sections. Now the point is how could you get out of that diffident mindset and improve your comprehension and scores.

We all usually indulge in two distinct types of reading, which are performed differently –

– Pleasure reading – Comics, novels etc.
 – Study / Information reading – Academic books, Newspapers, Magazines etc.

But, CAT / MBA entrance or other entrance exams want you to perfect ‘demanding’ reading. They expect you to be totally involved with the passage at hand. In order to succeed in such a situation you have to imbibe and implement some fundamental principles.

Principle No 1. – Involvement

The most important requirement to succeed in any sphere is to enjoy what you are doing. You should be enthusiastic, involved and eagerly look forward to whatever the activity has to offer. Reading Comprehension is no different. If you approach RC with a mindset of just scoring the minimum qualifying marks or if you are taking the test for it happens to be a section in CAT, then you will never improve in this section. Approach it with eagerness to learn what it has to offer. After all, the passages that figure in RC are extracts from some of the best articles that have appeared in various newspapers, magazines, reports and other publications. Hence, you should feel that you are going to enhance your knowledge. This will make you feel comfortable, physically and mentally, when you attempt a reading comprehension passage on any practice test or on the actual CAT.

Once you start enjoying what you are doing, you will realize that the critical ingredient, ‘concentration’, which is usually the first victim of lack of enthusiasm, is back. Most of you who keep complaining that you are not doing well in RC, don’t do well just because you do not approach the section with the intention of enjoying it. Let me cite a simple example – just imagine the night before your final-year examinations in the university. Even if you have studied only twenty percent of the portion till the day before the examination, you manage to finish the remaining eighty percent of the portion the night before the examination, and also you get up early in the morning and revise the entire portion. What does this mean? If you are involved everything is possible. Reading comprehension is no different. If you start enjoying, your concentration, comprehension and scores will start showing a marked improvement.

Principle No. 2 – Visualize author’s narration

Once you start enjoying reading, then the next point to address is how to improve your comprehension; and retention of the information provided therein.

An author sits at his table, in a corner of room, for hours, months or years to produce a piece of work – could be a newspaper article or a novel. How does do it? He visualizes, concocts the story he wants to narrate, as a sequence of scenes. He translates each scene into a stream of words conveying whatever he wants to carry across to the reader. As a reader the onus is on you to understand, what the stream of words you read mean.

What could be a better strategy than reading the stream of words and translating them into a stream of visuals, which the author is trying to explain in detail. If you are able to visualize yourself being a part of the scene that the author is portraying, that would be the best way of comprehending the author’s ideas and it would help you in retention as it would become a part of your visual database. You must realize that you still retain and recall many a sequence vividly from your dreams in your childhood, though you have not experienced practically whatever you saw in the dream. Visualization is the best mechanism for retention and faster comprehension. Make it an ally to succeed in RC.

Principle No. 3 – Eliminate Regression

How about increasing the speed? One of the prime culprits to hamper speed is regression. When you are reading, at times you may feel that you have run over a group of words and have not understood it. You then read the sentence again and again. This reduces your speed. If you are aware of the structure of a passage, regression could be eliminated there by increasing the speed.

You should know that most of the times any given passage will have an introduction or beginning; a body – made of many paragraphs, and an end or conclusion. Each paragraph in the body gives one and only one idea and followed by illustrations to make you understand what that idea is all about. If this is the structure, you should never regress. If you got the idea behind the paragraph, and even if you miss an illustration you can make up many more illustrations; if you skip the idea and understand the illustrations, the idea falls in place. It just means that, even if you did not comprehend a certain sentence, just keep going ahead and do not regress. By the end of the passage, you would have missed nothing.

Here, we have discussed three of the fundamental principles of RC. In the next article we will look at strategies to increase speed. After all, RC is all about speed, comprehension and accuracy.

Make a beginning. Enjoy reading. Make it a passion.

If you are benefited by this article kindly LIKE It, SHARE It on any of the following platforms; Yes, REVISIT it as many times as you want. SUBSCRIBE (left hand top corner) to the blog to get the latest ARMAMENT at your virtual doorstep.

Thanks and Best Wishes.

Sreeni.
Sreeni@careerlauncher.com

For motivating yourself regularly, I recommend you bookmark the following and watch the sessions and videos there in-
Dream It, Do It!
Think Big, Start Small!

[A variant of this article first appeared in THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, August 20, 1998. Since then this has been picked by so many publications. Here I reproduced for the benefit of all CAT and competition exam takers. The principles of excellence do not change… they live for life time!]

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