Child, the mentor of every parent : Mallika, mine

I have been deferring writing for some time. Every day brings forth so much, worth penning an article a day. Lazy or I can say misplaced priorities, I must say about myself.

Yesterday was a very eventful and memorable day for me! All thanks to our lovely daughter Mallika. She was awarded the scholarship in school for her meritorious work and excellence in Music, through her middle-school, classes 6-8, at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, her school. Music is one of those intelligence that is not so common as maths and sciences, still we usually look down upon. Thankfully at our home, it is appreciated. The right brain enriches the left brain effectiveness and we invest significant time to facilitate the right.

Collecting the scholarship from eminent public servant, Mr. Lakhan Mehrotra formerly Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Government of India

Here are a couple of favourite compositions of the school. The school has many a music album to its credit. Mallika features in the choir..

Yes, over the last six months there has been a concern with her performance in other subjects, especially Maths and Sciences. Mallika is brilliant there too, but interest and passion is lacking. I have been running with her a little more purposefully to infuse the passion. I always feel bad if one does not perform to ones potential. I am sure she would realize hers soon.

What made me introspect more is one more episode that happened last night. We have been talking to Mallika about a great opportunity in a fellowship, Counter Speech Fellowship, that aims to expose a very young mind to a variety of perspectives, especially in the world that is getting influenced by the proliferation of Social Media. We have been having talks with Mallika about her inclinations and engaging interactions over Social Media, both overt and covert, in the last few months. We felt, some of them are not only unproductive but energy sapping and rendering her ineffective.

It was Oct 31st, the last date to fill the form for the Scholarship and time 8pm. When we went through the form, we realized it demands introspection and expression of oneself, not only in words but also she has to design a poster. Mallika was revising for her weekly test scheduled this morning. We spoke to Mallika, whether she would still like to fill the long form for the fellowship. She said she wants to. I just spoke to her broadly about the purpose of the questions and went to my room. She filled the form and did everything to be submitted before she called me to show. I said, if she is happy, just submit. It was almost 11pm.

And this morning I saw a copy of the form that came my way from the fellowship office. When I went through, I felt so inspired by Mallika’s expression, I am still overwhelmed. CHILD IS A MENTOR OF PARENT, Mallika mine. I felt like expressing. Here insights into what our young darling is blossoming into.

What excites you about the Counter Speech Fellowship?

The mind of an adolescent is always a tumultuous one, the heart is one that is often unexpressed and the thoughts are always confused ones. Many feel alone, unsure and weak. Many around us , harm those weaker than themselves to feel powerful. Many seem to feel eyes judgemental eyes on them even in an empty corridor. We are surrounded by individuals who frequently use the term “depressed” to describe their state of mind. People think its a joke and that it is okay to put somebody under a term that is not a very friendly one, something that may be racist ,sexist ,casteist or any other term which makes one feel low and discouraged. A lot of our ideas are influenced by the internet, which may or may not be giving our thoughts the right shape and direction. One always feels the need to be guarded and protected.This is the time of discovering oneself and of self-realisation . People should realize that it is NOT okay to close your eyes and take it or see someone else take it. Your voice, can make a difference.

As I see it, the counter speech fellowship is an opportunity to voice my opinions and engage with others who are my age and who believe that these same set of problems should be tackled. I want to know more about Bullying, Body Positivity, Mental Well being, Embracing Diversity, Safe Spaces Online and Violent Extremism and learn better ways of making people aware of these issues .
This is why the Counter speech fellowship excites me.

Have you held any leadership position at school or outside of it? Tell us about some life lessons from that experience.

Yes, I have held a leadership position before. I have been elected as the representative of my class at school (Sardar Patel Vidyalaya) quite a few times.
Something I learnt while I was a class representative was that, all people are very very different. We all have our own set of likes and dislikes. You cannot control somebody ( it makes them rebel) and you should not take such condescending behaviour either . Everybody’s idea of an ideal individual differs. It is important to respect other’s thoughts as well as have your own opinions which one should have the courage to express. This is what, in my opinion , can make us better. I also think that one can be a good leader only when one listens to other opinions and learns to accommodate others.

The themes for the 2017 Fellowship are: Bullying, Body Positivity, Mental Wellbeing, Embracing Diversity, Creating Safe Spaces Online and Countering Violent Extremism. Tell us about a personal experience that makes you passionate about one or more of these themes.

I come from a modest middle class family. Ever since I was young, I have been taught to share, to include people , to always be open to learning. As a family we travel widely and try to experience and interact with new places and people.

I have attended various workshops on a variety of topics and am interested in the performing arts (I am trained Bharatanatyam dancer, a Carnatic music vocalist and a theatre person).

All my experiences have given me memories which I will cherish forever. But would it have been as memorable if it weren’t for the people? Would it possible to learn so many new things from new places and to gather such experiences randomly?
The beauty of life is in differences. In different cultures, traditions, thoughts , ideas and lives. Differences make our life more exciting , they give us something new to learn, to behold, to try , to explore.
It is funny , that one would feel more at home with their warm and friendly neighbour than a relative who appears to be cold. Relations are made not pre-decided. Diversity should be celebrated. A canvas is more beautiful when it has many colours. 🙂

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What a clarity in the young mind. So much we can facilitate to help her blossom. I shall commit more of myself to facilitate both Mallika and Svwara, along with Indira. God bless every young mind. Love.

Will add videos to this, as and when I find time.

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Encouraging fitness and Fostering collaboration : CL Srijan – Olympics 2017

Health, fitness, stamina, endurance, speed, alacrity are paramount for any individual’s excellence and fostering of team spirit, belonging, oneness, collaboration in the process of realizing the greater vision is the key to organizational excellence.

The Annual Olympic Srijan holds a mirror to each one to take stock of personal health and team health parameters. Here, I managed to capture a few glimpses to stitch into one short film. Enjoy.

“Empowering to Excel,” Season 2, creates more magic at Dibrugrah University, Sept 17

Endeavaours at the Dibrugarh university are adding more magic to the students and the university, empowering them to excel in life. Post my last visit in August, I had shared a short write up, here is the next post. The Videos here share what a human being can gain, how one can transform in life, in just a matter of four days. It is all about the awakening that one goes through, discovering the purposefulness in life and with determination moves in the direction that he or she ought to move.

Enjoy listening to their reflections and sharing of their delightful transformations…

Here is a video that strings together short captures of many participants making their presentations, and engaging in public speaking, for the very first time in life. Look at their confidence.

Every presenter has worked in a group of complete strangers, from other departments of the university, to study an alien topic (the topics they never ever read or studied about – due to poor reading habits), discuss, engage, share and then create a presentation to engage larger public of aliens (other groups).

I gain a lot more inspiration from the whole exercise, as it reinforces my belief that it is possible to bring the transformation in a very short span of time. I believe, I can.

“Empowering to Excel”, Season 2 @ Dibrugarh University proves magical!

The powerful “Empowerment to Excellence” program takes its powerful strides in the second season at Dibrugarh university. The four-day intense, interactive programme enables every serious participant to transcend every barrier that one has created for oneself in our journey of life. The program has been liberating each one from the shackles and helping each to realize the infinite potential we all have. It facilitates each to believe in oneself, to dig deeper and discover, what more one can be.

This year we are initiating 1200+ students into their empowered, rejuvenated and joyful journey ahead.

Just listen to the students giving their feedback on what they have gained out of the program and experience their unshackling…..watch their confident presentation skills, even on those topics that they never even heard of, let alone study.

Since I had space constrains on my mobile to videograph the whole of two hours, I voice recorded the entire introspective session. Kindly find time to listen to the enthusiastic sharing. You will be surprised how they share about not just their own, but also how they invited their shy friends to come into public and openly share..

– The transformations they have seen in themselves and, their friends and classmates
– The cathartic experiences
– Commitment of participants for their own future and that of the group

Debrugarh University, Season 2, August 2017 – Empowerment to Excellence – Audio : Learnings, Realizations, Delight

The four day process is an engaging endeavaour to help each participant

– Explore oneself, Understand oneself well
– Make notes on strengths and areas of concern for improvement
– Realize the elements of personal effectiveness
– Understand the secrets of being an effective communicator
– Being a good participant in group discussions and activities
– Being an effective presenter and communicator
– Being a very good communicator even while writing
– How to invoke the leader in you, and take leadership
– Introspect, realize and set an agenda for personal growth

Finally

– Create a vision for oneself, for ones career and life
– Set Long term and Short term goals
– Commitment to ones own development and also development of the entire group

These sessions were facilitated by R. Sreenivasan, with Bhargav Deori and Dr. Sarvjeet Herald as co-facilitators.

Looking forward to the second half of season 2 scheduled for Sept 8-11 that will have participants from humanities, commerce and all non-science and technology faculties.

If you are reading this and are from Dibrugarh University, make sure you make the maximum out of Sept 8-11 schedule.

SPIC MACAY : An inward transformational journey; A Cultural Immersion – Convention 2017

I am very fortunate to undertake the soulful inward journeys laced with the culture pilgrimage of SPIC MACAY every year, all through. For every ambassador of Indian and world culture it has been a very enriching one as always. Here I captured the essence of the pilgrimage 2017, SPIC MACAY international convention 2017 held at IIT Delhi recently. You can check the visual captures, in still form, at my FLICKR stream

The Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi, inaugurating the International convention 2017, in his inimitable style of eloquence, pays tribute to the movement of SPIC MACAY and also to the founder of the movement, Dr. Kiran Seth. Beseeches the youth to embrace the spirit and purpose of the movement.

The following short video documentary, in five parts, captures the essence of the conventions, the daily schedule followed, the spirit of volunteerism, the passionate facilitation by gurus who have dedicated their lives for the cause of artforms, the earnest desire of every participant to assimilate, imbibe and live the spirit as well as the art forms, as much as they can.

The week long convention is an endeavour to instill the discipline and have a sublime control of ones own life and expose every participant to the mysticism of arts and culture.

The days start at 4am with YOGA, then shramdan to keep our environment clean and tidy, then after a break of an hour for morning ablutions, commences with the intensives. Every participant will undergo an intensive to gain deeper understanding of an art form works with a Guru for seven days, four hours a day. The afternoons after the lunch is devoted the exposing every participant to a variety of genre like not limited to music and dance but also theatre, choir music, folk music and dance, puppetry etc. The evenings are devoted to classical music and dance performances.
Enjoy watching!



The last day is all about sharing the learning during the week gone by, in every art form. .Here are a few of the showcasing I have been able to capture at a couple of venues. I apologize for not being able to cover all the five centres of performances.


Come participate and contribute to the propagation of art forms and the spread of the spirit of brotherhood and composite culture. UNITY in Diversity.

Believing is seeing : ”Think about your life goals in a deeper way”- Prateek Bhutani, IIM Calcutta

Hello Sir,

I am Prateek Bhutani, and I have done engineering from Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, Delhi. I have been working as a Software Engineer at Compro Technologies from 20 months and will be joining IIM Calcutta this June.

When I was in 2nd year of college I realized that Engineering is not something in which I will be able to excel in my life. However I was convinced that I should find a good job first, gain some experience and then try for MBA. I worked for about an year and started preparations in March, 2016. I took online course of Career Launcher. I prepared using Mocks-Online material and Books.
Prateek Bhutani, IIMC 2017
Fortunately I was able to secure 99.60 percentile in CAT 1016. I believe regular practice and preparing well for LRDI section is what made the difference for me. I joined PDP program to prepare for GD-PI and it truly changed my life.
PDP made me think about my life goals in a much deeper way and that is what made all my interview experiences flawless. I didn’t face a tough situation in any of the 7 interviews that I gave, and the reason for that was my experience at Mock PIs with Sreeni sir and Sujit sir. PI concepts with GP sir and Personality session with Satya sir were 3 most productive hours of my life.
I am joining IIMC and have also converted MDI. I guess perseverance was my key to success. I performed better in CAT than any of the Mock Tests and better in IIM interviews than any of the Mock PI. This in my opinion is a great example of what makes Career Launcher special.
I thank CL for being Sriharikota of this launch of my career. Thank you so much Sreeni sir for being a great mentor.
Thank you once again.
Sincerely,
Prateek Bhutani

Believing is Seeing : Give your 100%, do not worry about the results – Himanshu Vaishnav, IIM Calcutta

In the next part of the series, ,”Believing is Seeing”, I am going to carry a few personal stories of youngsters who have realized their immediate dream, of securing their admissions in their dream institution. I asked each one of them to write a personal note on

a. What are the key factors that contributed to their success

b. In what ways has the personalized program (PDPP) benefited them

c. What would each like to share with the youngersters who aspire to get into these institutions

Here is a note by Himanshu Vaishnav, who heads to IIM Calcutta (IIMC) this year.

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Career Launcher – A Wingman in my journey to IIM Calcutta

“Sir’, I don’t have any achievements to show, how I’m going to crack IIM interview?”
I asked my Mentor in Career launcher.

2 Months Later
“You have achieved a lot in your life and you should be proud of yourself” – said IIM C interviewer to me.

(A link to my IIM Calcutta interview experience is at bottom)

So what changed in these 2 months? The answer is my attitude towards life.
Let me introduce myself.

WP_20130709_085I’m an average engineer from an average engineering college (YMCAUST Faridabad) with average academics (Average as per IIMs criteria). After completing B.Tech in 2013, I joined Infosys, worked there for 2.5 years, later switched to Genpact. I had given CAT earlier but didn’t score much but I was more confident this time. And I did get a good score and got calls from IIM C, K, L, S.

To be honest, when I started preparing for the CAT, it was more because of a rat race rather than any other reason. So when results came, I got scared how I’m going to convert these calls, and as I had taken a test series earlier from CL, so I joined career launcher for my Interview preparation. And my expectation from the program was that they will teach me exact answers to questions like Why MBA (Most imp question). But it was nowhere close to that.

Later I came to realize why program name is PDP – Personality Development Program instead of GD-PI preparation. Mentor assigned to me were Sreeni Sir. The first class I attended of him was an eye opener for me, he showed a glimpse of how the world is going to change in next 5 to 10 years. And how important it is for us to be aware of these things.

When I wanted to prepare for my interview, he told me to forget about it and first understand myself, introspect and go through my life journey till now. And what are the things that are in my circle of concern and circle of influence? Sreeni Sir always said: MBA should not be an end rather a means to an end.

All the session which I attended – online or offline- of Sreeni Sir, GP Sir, Shivku Sir or anyone had a common theme, they didn’t want to prepare us for an interview but for life. They wanted to find us our goals, our vision in life not just an answer for the interview.

After a lot of introspection, I did find my vision – things I want to do in life and luckily MBA is going to help me achieve me that. But I became sure of one thing, MBA is just a means to achieve that, and even if I’m not going to get selected, I will find another way but still pursue my dream.

I also came to realize an achievement is something you achieve overcoming the hurdles which need not be always some competition with others. I had very humble beginnings but I definitely wasn’t an underachiever. I have become more confident in my abilities.

My perspective towards life has changed a lot in these few months. Now I try to look more into the bigger picture. I try to look at things if they fit according to my values. And this is not something I borrowed from outside, but it was always there inside me and I gained it back.

One of important realization I had is, an MBA interview is not a platform for the interviewer to ask you questions but it’s an opportunity for us to tell them our life story, and from that story, they are going to check how well we know our story and ourselves. Our aptitude has been already checked in the exam, and now they are just going to check our commitment/Attitude towards our life.

There were sessions on the economy, current affairs, and other things as well but for me, most important were the things I have mentioned earlier.

So my advice to all future aspirants is- Find Yourself. Then any interview will be a cakewalk (not necessarily the results 😛 ) And I’m quite sure that people like Satya Sir, Sreeni Sir, GP Sir, Shivku Sir and Gejo Sir can surely help you to move towards the right direction.

click here IIMC Interview Link to know about what I went through in the interview:

Luckily I have converted my IIM C call. And if someone ask me what is one thing that worked for me, My answer is I focused on myself: my story, my journey, my areas of interest and my goals.

Try to give your 100% and don’t worry about results. Even if hadn’t been selected, I would not have been sad or disappointed for more than 2 days and would have started my journey again.

“Always Focus on Character instead of Personality.”
Carpe Diem!!!!

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