Classroom Expectations: Positive management for the productive growth of students

I got a questionnaire from edinbox.com to respond to. Though the brief is to write answers in a couple of sentences for each issue/question raised, I feel unless we do not understand the very evolution of a human being, cognitively and behaviorally, we cannot find solutions to any of the issues raised here. Hence, I am giving the context before I address each of the concerns raised in the questionnaire. My answers for each of these questions could be dramatically in variance with the conventional wisdom that is prevalent around most adults. Whatever I am sharing here is an outcome of over two-decades of hands-on experience of being with children and young-adults, setting up schools, creating learning environments there in; and also seeing over a couple lakh students excel in career and life. Quite a few of those grown up adults bring their children to us, to seek help now!

Phases of learning in the evolution of a human being.

Phases of learning in the evolution of a human being.

Fig 1. Evolution of the human being, cognitively speaking.

 

The above conceptual framework is self-explanatory. Various empirical studies observed that the rate of cognitive evolution is exponential in the first eight years of life, reaching almost to 90% of that of an adult; about 80% by the age of three. We have been using the above nomenclature – Ananda, Jigyasa and Sadhana – in our language for almost two decades now. They evolved over a few years of observing and introspecting as the children evolved.

 

  1. A child in the initial phase of one’s early childhood evolution, Ananda, involves all senses in absorbing one’s context. The slate in the early phase is clean. It is all about joy of discovering the contextual existence. The child is like a sponge, soaking everything that exists in the immediate environment. It is incumbent upon the adult around her – a parent, grand-parent, family or a teacher, the school – how rich we can make the immediate contextual environment forthe child to thrive. Learning happens at a pace unimaginable, all without any agenda. (The Howard Gardner’s Multiple intelligences is in full bloom – kindly google to understand this concept of Multiple Intelligences)

 

  1. The primary and middle school years – age 8-14 – Jigyasa phase, is all about observation, introspection, analysis, synthesis to consolidate thus far imbibed experiences, into a solid knowledge through active questioning and embarking on finding answers to those questions through further experimentation and exploration. Greater the exposure, the higher is the learning. So as an adult in the environment, a parent can help the child experience a variety of spaces and activities in the arenas of all intelligences. During this period, a lot of likes, affinities, interests develop in every child that may start shaping the thought process that eventually may play an important role in choice-making and decision-making, about what one wants to pursue in career and life.

 

  1. If the adults at home and school have been taking note of the likes and affinities that are evolving in the Jigyasa phase, one can proactively facilitate the child to make well informed choices by exposing the child to a variety of literatures, activities, events, people of eminence etc. so that the child will listen, engage, interact and evolve. As the child moves to higher classes the family and school can facilitate the access to all the avenues that can shape a child’s chosen area of interest, probably positively impacting the career too.

Now I would like to answer the following questions with the above frame work as a reference. I also need to add here that I have clubbed questions together, where I have found them to be closely related, and I shall addressthem in a logical way.

What should be an expectation level of a teacher or a parent from the student?

  • One of the secrets to bring about the expected outcomes from a child is to be EMPATHETIC first. Talk to a child the way you would talk to an adult, in calm, eager and understanding way. As I said, the cognitive evolution of a child is almost that of an adult beyond age three. So, keep your emotions at bay.
  • The first requirement of an institution – family or school – is to take responsibility upon oneself to create age appropriate learning environment and experiences even before they have expectations from the child.
  • So, my expectation is directed more towards the adults in the child’s context, asking, what exciting environment have you created for the child to explore, experiment and learn.
    • Can I be with the child, whenever I feel the child is struggling? Can I walk with the child and not just talk?What inspires the child is your walk, and not the talk!!
    • Everything boils down to a good, open communication with the child. Only when the child feels that you are understanding, will the child be open to hear and see your perspective.

Does over expectation from a bright child deteriorate his performance and self-esteem?How behaviour of a student can be modified with simple learning and how can we help him in developing his self-esteem?What are the methods to develop behaviour modification among students?How to motivate a child to perform better in the class?

    • The secret, as I shared, is open communication and facilitation. Understanding the child, in the given context, is paramount. Help the child gain confidence to be open with you, to share her fears and needs.
    • An adult should not talk from 6ft. Get down to the child’s level. That means, your eyes and that of the child must be at the same level! Make the child feel that you are her friend and facilitator.
    • Every child is unique and let us not compare one with the other. Acknowledging the child’s interests, way of thinking, strengths, weaknesses and evencurrent  prioritiesis very important. Being open is the key. That is the only way to stoke self-esteem. Every positive thing we say or do, adds to her self-esteem.
    • First,believe and help yourself to help the child understand that he or she is good enough; and it is just a question of getting more comfortable in the subject or topic or issue that we are concerned about, and give a message that by understanding the concepts and practicing more she would be good. And that you are with her in the process. Walk, walk, walk with the child, do not talk.
    • I have seen the transformation in many a child, including my daughters. Building trust and stoking the self-belief is the key.

Is there a model or a technique to deal with discipline referrals?

  • Most of the root causes of the discipline issues emerge from the child’s immediate environment. The behavior of the child has its origin in the way an adult or two is behaving in the child’s environment – How is the adult dealing with the child. The adult’s ‘walk’ may be inducing the behavior.
  • For instance, if the child is very energetic and active in the school, then you may soon realize that his energy does not find any vent at home. His home environment could be highly restrained and over disciplined. And that pent-up energy finds a volcanic outlet in the school. Similarly, a child shouted at or abused at home, may vent his frustration at his fellow learners in school.
  • My questions for institutions, are, “How open are we to integrating homes with school? How much do we know about the child’s home environment? How much of interaction between the school and home have we institutionalized beyond the formality of PTM (parents teacher meeting which most of the times is unwelcoming for the schools. It is just an item in the check-list)
  • When the home and institution will be seamless, most of the behavioral deviancies will be easily taken care of. In the technology-enabled world of today, institutions can really create that seamless communication channels to bridge to two.
  • Even after having amazingly cordial and proactive engagement with home, if we find the child’s behavior still beyond our capability, then we need to seek the help of a psychologist/specialists in diagnosing any other eventuality, like ADHD etc.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) affects the child’s ability to focus and control his behaviour. What steps to be taken to address the children suffering from ADD?

    • ADHD is the term that we usually use for affected children and adolescents, while ADD is used for adults. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children, more prevalent in boys than in girls; diagnosed based on the child’s symptoms and behavior.
    • Inattentiveness, impulsiveness or hyperactivity are the symptoms of a child with ADHD. It is a genetic-disorder and child has no role to play in acquiring it; one of the parents has contributed to the cause. Brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, don’t work the same in children with ADHD; Certain areas in the brain may be smaller or even less active in children with ADHD than those without the disorder. Most of the times, a parent feels guilty of even acknowledging the presence of ADHD, especially do to the social stigma it may carry. Hence, we as adults, both teachers and parents need to be proactive, yet very patient in dealing with the child.
    • Timely diagnosis is very important. If not treated in time, ADHD continues into adulthood. However, by understanding the child, working on and channelizing his strengths, facilitating a conducive environment, and using medication timely, a childwith ADHD can grow into a responsible and productive adult who is socially invaluable.

 

How show we improve the school environment so that it helps students to perform better?What are the key points to be kept in mind which helps in developing a cordial environment for students and teachers?How can a teacher build an environment that can help students struggling with serious academic deficiencies, lack of support, language barrier, or any other challenges?

 

    • Most of the times I see the really issue lies with institutions – School and Homes – and adults within. I measure the adults by exploring their attitude towards these three questions –
      • Do your really love children?
      • Do you love learning?
      • Are you excited about creating rich, stimulating learning environments and experiences?
    • We need to understand that the institution exists for the child and need to bring about changes in our environment and the way we conduct ourselves and our learning processes
    • As Charles Darwin says, the human being as an organism is programmed to thrive – survival of the fittest. Unfortunately, we adults control the environment, at home or school, in such a way that the brilliant mind, amazing body and soul is not excited to flourish. We shackle the being.
    • It is very important that the learning environment, pedagogy and engagement be conducive with the evolutionary phases of a human being that is illustrated in Fig. 1 above. The coordination of the school and home, along with the curriculum engagement need to be rich and stimulating. Homes need to help the child experience the real world beyond the classrooms and curriculum. Parents must be thinkers and doers. Expose the child to experiences in every dimension of intelligences that Howard Gardner talks about.
    • Does the outside world come into your classrooms? Do your classrooms go to the outside world? If the answers these questions isin affirmative, soon we would have found solutions to all challenges.
Evolving child being facilitate by family, school and the experiences in the world

Evolving child being facilitate by family, school and the experiences in the world

Hope, I have been able to address all the issues raised in the questionnaire. I apologize for writing a lengthy article to address your questions. I strongly believe, there is no short-cut to facilitate a parent, teacher or institutions toenable every child that is playing in our aangans, corridors or classrooms.

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Where is that imaginative, creative, energetic, vivacious child lost?

Smita, a teacher from one of the sought after schools in Dwarka, N K Bagrodia public school, has been chasing me for the last couple of months to visit her school. She confessed that, ever since she heard me speak at an education leaders conference conducted by ITIHAAS, she wanted to invite me to her school. She would call me to grace one function or other, as a guest. Most of the times, I was on the move. One thing about Smita I always felt when she spoke to me, is her energy and enthusiasm; that transcended the medium of phone. Last week when she called, I acquiesced to be the guest for their annual festival of creativity – Trishna, wherein about 30+ schools from across Delhi were participating.

The real pleasure being in a school lies in the children’s space.  On arrival, I was ushered into the Principal, Dr. Rajee N, Kumar’s room to meet her and a few more school leaders were called too. Dr. Rajee was sharing her experience of watching the children pushing boundaries since morning, in one creative activity or the other. Here I was, so keen to see the children in action, more than distributing the prizes, I was feeling incarcerated, though the interaction with the leadership was invaluable. The real learning is in experiencing the process, not in seeing the final product. I insisted on watching the children in action. The principal was graceful in facilitating me to watch a couple of activities.

Albeit it was at the fag end of the day, I could experience the theatre / acting performance, wherein the students were given 30 minutes to conjure a scene, write a script, select the performers, prepare and present. The students were from classes 7-9 and it was a delight to watch how they went about presenting. Children observe everything, absorb like a sponge and synthesize making meaning out of every action around them. This activity gave me one more opportunity to watch their thought process; how well they could project their learning. Needless to say, I really enjoyed every presentation, reinforcing my beliefs about children and their infinite capabilities.

IMG_20180505_134719_752

Post the event, I was now keen to interact with the school leadership. Thanks to Dr. Rajee, she too was keen to. I was sharing that the ingenuity of children that we witnessed in the activities of the event can be stoked every day, in every class and home; and who are we to restrict to one event or two in a year.

Very unfortunate that in most of the schools in India, in general, the child comes last. Schools need to exist for the child; she must be the center of all activities that schools plan. It is far from being so, the way we operate – the curriculum designed, the courses offered, the syllabus, the pedagogy, the planning to finish syllabus….. the list is endless. Everything is designed to help the school and the teachers to have peace of mind and to enable ease of execution. An imaginative, creative, energetic, vivacious child, bubbling with ideas ends up being a morose, thoughtless, aimless, fearful youth devoid of confidence and self-belief by the time he or she ends schooling.

If only each one of us, every adult – teachers, parents, schools, universities, educational leaders – can believe in every child, put the child first, acknowledge the needs of the child, really bring the openness to create exciting learning environments at schools, universities and home, I think the world will be a far, far better place to live in. The children and youth will be keen to solve the problems that the society in their neighborhood is facing. Every education institution can be at the fore-front of transformation of the society. Alas!

I am a culprit too. It takes immense effort to be open and facilitating. I am trying and have been on that journey for quite some time. Still short-comings come to the fore. I still need to keep my EGO aside. Working on being humble, pleasant, purposeful is still a huge ask, even with all good intentions and awareness of the outcomes.

My personal endeavour has been to be conscious and work towards making every child’s space an exciting one. To this effect, we, leadership at CL Educate, have been proactive to work with schools, institutions, universities to stoke jigyasa (curiosity, inquisitiveness) among children and youth; create an environment to help them explore, research in areas or subjects of their interest; have belief in their capabilities. Over the years the outcomes have been rewarding as we see the Ananda (joy) among children and youth. This facilitates the institutions and families to also realize where the inclinations of the child is and this has lead to remarkable breakthroughs for the progress of children and youth ahead in their careers and life. Many a child has presented his research and innovations in the global conferences, got her work published in prestigious journals; has had confidence to present oneself for an interview to reach the portals of a world class institution or university. The quest is to enable every child, irrespective of the outcome, gain a great deal of belief in oneself for one’s life. The process makes them so.

I welcome anyone who is keen to facilitate his child or children in schools, and youth in college, to write to me. We will be more than happy to facilitate.

Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I ……?

This is a very interesting mail I received from a dear friend Rakesh Dasmana. I just thought of sharing with all those who have kids around them…
—————————————————————
SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
DAD: “Yeah sure, what is it?”
SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?”
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “If you must know, I make $100 an hour.”
SON: “Oh! (With his head down).
SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow $50?”
The father was furious.
DAD: “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for such this childish behavior.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.
The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?
After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:
Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $ 50 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

DAD: “Are you asleep, son?”

SON: “No daddy, I’m awake”.
DAD: “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $50 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, smiling.
SON: “Oh, thank you daddy!”
Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

DAD: “Why do you want more money if you already have some?”

SON: “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do.

“Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.

Hold me, Cuddle me

Hold me, Cuddle me

It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $100 worth of your time with someone you love? If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family and friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our family

Indus Learning Series – Discovering and Nurturing Potential

WEBINAR : OCTOBER 17, 2012; 9pm – Register by pasting the link
http://bit.ly/WfYLMF on the browser.

Indus World School is a learning space, as much for teachers and parents as is for children. While Children blossom through the academic curriculum with sports and arts integral to their learning environment, the mentors learn by creating lesson plans, applying, observing, introspecting, practicing and enhancing their thought processes every day at school. Then, how and what do parents learn at this school?

Enriched families contribute to enlightened children. We endeavor to facilitate parents and families through our INDUS LEARNING SERIES.

Vast amount of research has been done worldwide in areas of child psychology and effective parenting, and only a speck of it gets translated into practice. Parenting is a sensitive and complicated issue, and many parents of today’s times realize this very well. Furthermore, they are also mindful about being supportive and caring to their children, and wanting to learn more about conscious parenting. I am sure you are one too.

Indus World School wishes to be a facilitator in this learning goal of parents, and in turn facilitate in bringing up emotionally, socially, intellectually, physically, spiritually healthy children of this country.

On a regular basis, as part of INDUS LEARNING SERIES, 120-minute parent-workshops are integral to the journey at Indus World School. These workshops are on a wide range of topics of general interest and relevance to parents of children from all age groups, and sometimes specifically for a particular age group.

Here, we offer the next workshop in the series with an introduction to multiple-intelligence, that would help you discover and nurture the potentials of your child.

Find the winner in your child, Indore coverageEvery child is uniqueFind the leader and winner in your child - Motivational sessionFind the leader and winner in your child - Motivational sessionFind the leader and winner in your child - Motivational sessionIndus World School, INDIA
Indus World School, INDIAIndus World School, INDIAIndus World School, INDIAIWS schools MACDS mentors annual conferenceIWS schools MACDS mentors annual conferenceIWSER - School Leadership Roundtable
IWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminarIWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminarIWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminarIWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminarIWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminarIWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminar
IWS Aurangabad - Find the leader in your child : Public seminar

WEBINAR : OCTOBER 17, 2012; 9pm – Register by pasting the link
http://bit.ly/WfYLMF on the browser.

Workshop : Find a winner in your child

“The essence of intelligence is skill in extracting meaning from everyday experience”
~ Unknown

Workshop Goals

•Understanding the concept of Multiple Intelligence
•Finding out the different kinds of potentials your child has
•Knowing how to further nurture your child’s potentials

Workshop Outline

For ages, ‘intelligence’ of a child has been measured by the grades, ranks and marks scored in school exams. Many parents reprimand or give up on their children who do not stand up to this yardstick. Hence, these children may remain denied of opportunities and encouragement by their adults. Such children usually may find it difficult to build confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem.

The reality is that there are multiple intelligences and infinite potential that each person possesses. Thus, every child is ‘intelligent’ in his/her own way.

You, as parents, would be doing a lot of good to your children by being aware of what potentials your child has, and how to nurture them in those areas so that they could make use of the right opportunities in their lives. Yes, it is important for you to know your child’s potentials, to be able to contribute positively to their rounded development. Help your child be a winner. Come, together we will make it happen.

Helping the child to appreciate and acknowledge : A good story

(This story captures the usual thought in a powerful manner for every parent in the modern society. one of my colleagues Braj Pandey had shared.)

One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company.

He passed the first interview, the director did the last interview, made the last decision.

The director discovered from the CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never had a year when he did not score.

The director asked, “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?” the youth answered “none”.

The director asked, ” Was it your father who paid for your school fees?” The youth answered, “My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.

The director asked, ” Where did your mother work?” The youth answered, “My mother worked as clothes cleaner. The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The director asked, ” Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?” The youth answered, “Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.

The director said, “I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.*

The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.

The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.

This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in the mother’s hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.

After finishing the cleaning of his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the youth went to the director’s office.

The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes, asked: ” Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?”

The youth answered, ” I cleaned my mother’s hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes’

The Director asked, ” please tell me your feelings.”

The youth said, Number 1, I know now what is appreciation. Without my mother, there would not the successful me today. Number 2, by working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done. Number 3, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship.

The director said, ” This is what I am looking for to be my manager.
I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.

Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company’s performance improved tremendously.

A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop “entitlement mentality” and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent’s efforts. When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others. For this kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel sense of achievement. He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the kid instead?*

You can let your kid live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is your kid learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.

MALLIKAMAGINATIONS 1 – Learner’s day : Mallika’s innovative creations for her Teachers!!

True to our philosophy of Ananda and Jigyasa, if we expose the child to as many avenues of various intelligences as Howard Gardner shared – Musical, Mathematical, Linguistic, kinesthetic, Art and nature – apart from helping the child to interact with fellow children, the child will naturally blossom into a creative, analytical, social, physical, humane and expressive being. This we have been experiencing with both Mallika and Anandita.

Every visit to any of the avenues or arenas brings out the compulsive learner and executor in Mallika. As soon as she comes home, Mallika closes her door as she wants to create something and will not allow anyone to step into her room while she is at work. This teacher’s day she surprised us with her creations for her teachers… Have a look!

Mallika's surprise gift for her teachers

Mallika's surprise gift for her teachers

Mallika's surprise gift for her teachers

Mallika's surprise gift for her teachers

Mallika's surprise gift for her teachers

Each of her creations have always been influenced by what she experiences from her surroundings – may be music, dance, painting exhibit, games and sports etc. Whatever she experiences, she has the compulsive desire from within to express in a creative way. As we do often, once we went to a group fine art exhibition where one of the artists had created an installation of a broken egg with its white and yellow flowing. This was a huge installation. The moment she came home, she closed the door and created her installation influenced by the ‘egg’. Just have a look….

Mallika's 3-D installation

For more of her creative expressions since her childhood, kindly visit

Twenty-six / eleven or three / three – all due to apathy of citizens like you and me.

Whether it was Mumbai or Lahore, an incident of this magnitude cannot happen but for the small contributions from each one of us. Yes, indeed, each one of us is a culprit, just a shade lesser than Kasab and Osama.

How, you may say? Do we really behave the way a responsible citizen need to? Do we really care for another fellow being or the environment? I am not excluding myself from this introspective journey, and for that matter not any ‘educated’ person –


  1. How many of us drive in lanes? Usually, if there are three lanes on a road, we will see at least five vehicles squeezing shoulder to shoulder, giving warmth to each other. In a while ‘real heat’ emanates. I can never make out which lane is which.
  2. Crisscrossing the lanes with utter disregard to basic traffic rules is our basic etiquette. Honking is my birth right. Don’t look at my face, I am very angry and am about to scowl at the other, as he is not giving me my way. If I am on a two wheeler, then I have every license to find the smallest of the holes to manouvre through. With an engaging cell-phone in hand, it gives me a great thrill to do all these.
  3. The slowest moving vehicle will be in the fastest lane, will not budge, and will make sure that faster moving one overtakes from wrong side. The heavy vehicle cannot fathom that a puny vehicle comparatively, can overtake him, so he would always occupy the faster lane to satisfy his ego. 
  4. Waiting at the traffic signal or giving way to a pedestrian is ‘shaan ke khilaf’
  5. At every round about, I will try to squeeze into, oblivious of the traffic already in the circle, adding to their immobility. I will enter a thorough fare from a by-lane, without bothering to look at the moving traffic, forget about stopping for a moment. Right of way, I am not aware of.
  6. Park, we would, at all places that are not meant for parking. Thanks to our innovative ways of parking, a three lane road most times ends up being a single lane, rendering the already chaotic traffic to move at snail’s pace.
  7. Often, I discover that the whole traffic is moving slow, only because there are two motorists fighting in the middle of the road after their motor-vehicles have made love to each other. The fight is about which kissed the other first and who is responsible for it! Maintaining a responsible distance from the vehicle in front of me is degrading to me. I am not aware that I should have at least 20 meters of clearing if I am at a speed of 60km/hr.
  8. Even more surprising will be, a huge vehicle plonked with a flat tyre or a broken axle, in the middle of the road on a blind curve of an express way that has traffic moving at 100Km/hour!


  1. I will open a biscuit packet or a ‘paan ka beeda’ while driving on the road, and in a jiffy the wrapper will be flying out of my window, while I munch the biscuit or paan. I cannot carry a small disposal in my vehicle.
  2. I have tea at a dhaba or a kiosk, at the roadside, bus stop or railway platform, but I will definitely throw the PLASTIC cup into the Nala (culvert) or on the railway track. I do not notice the waste bin.
  3. While on the sports field, a zoo or a park, I care no hoot to the surroundings, I will drop my emptied plastic water bottle or the plastic glass to see it floating into the arenas! I do not care to look for the ‘monkey bins’ around!
  4. I will demand the hawker or the stores to give my purchase in a plastic bag as I never carry a cloth bag from home. I keep doing this every time, despite noticing thousands of these soiled plastic carry bags littered around open spaces, by the side of the roads, railway tracks, clogging water bodies.
  5. I will keep the tap flowing while brushing, shaving, bathing, washing etc, not realizing that the overflowing water is a result of vast amount of money that is spent on bringing it into my home. I do hear that future wars will be for water!!
  6. I do not even think for a moment about switching off the illuminating bulb in the empty room, as I have never experienced what it is to live in an un-electrified village.
  7. I did fell a couple of trees while constructing, but I hardly realize that they were protecting the soil and mother earth for over a hundred years!!

Queues and Security –

  1. Standing in a queue is beyond our dignity. We shall find every way to beat the system. Pushing and shoving to get in is my first priority (into the bus, into a train, into a film theatre, into the traffic..)
  2. Getting frisked by a security guy is even more demeaning to me. “Mujhe nahin jaante..” (You do not know who I am..).
  3. If I am caught violating any rule, at the traffic signal, or with an overweight luggage, or even taking an over-aged child in a train, I will try my level best to ‘payoff.’
  4. If I were the security guy at the gate in a railway station or a bus stand, I am least bothered about whether the screening gate is functional, I continue yapping with my fellow colleague. I am not concerned about who has sneaked in, a taxi guy soliciting passengers, a smart kingpin forcing a few kids to beg or even a ‘liberator’ with an AK in his knapsack to carry out the orders of the ‘almighty’

At home –

  1. I do not have time to sit and facilitate the child. Neither I have time to read a book to, play a game with, nor take a child to a museum, an art gallery or a performance.
  2. The annual visit to zoo for me is a promise that I have to fulfill. It is just a ritual.
  3. If some one calls for me, I would ask my child to say “papa ghar par nahin hai, baad mein phone kijiye.”
  4. Most of the time, as a father I may even fumble when some one asks which class my child is in.

I continue to turn a blind eye to many ills happening around me, instead of responding, as  ‘chalta hai, hame kya karna’, is the usual refrain!! I can go on and on and on. But I shall stop here.

Most of the above mentioned ‘innocuous’ acts are experienced by silent yet sharp co-travellers, our children. I fail to imagine the gravity of  influence these will have on my children’s thought process and behaviour.

If I am conscientious about my own existence, that of my fellow beings and environment, if I execute my responsibilities in the society – if I play by the rules, facilitate my driver to abide by them, my maid to be more conscious, if I bring up my child with all honesty and involvement – the world certainly would be a better place to be. I am also relatively sure that many of these ‘man-mad-and-made’ disasters can be averted to a great extent. So, till then, I am no less culprit than a Osama or a Kasab.

Looking forward to your feedback here or on my mail id – sreeni@careerlauncher.com

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