Monday, June 13, 2011

The Story of Possibility

There is this story (as told by Goenkaji of Vipassana Meditation) where a mother asks her son to buy a bottle full of oil from the village shop for cooking. She gives the boy the bottle with Rs.10. Given the task, the boy sincerely goes and purchases the bottle full of oil for Rs.10. While returning home, by turn of fate, the boy suddenly trips and the bottle full of oil from his hand slips. He manages to catch hold of the bottle from breaking, but spills half of the oil. He runs crying to mother apologizing for the fact that he carelessly spilt the half of the oil. That is being a pessimist.
And then, the mother sends her second son to buy a bottle full of oil for Rs.1o. By turn of fate, this boy too while returning spills the half of the oil. As the first boy, he manages to catch hold of the bottle from breaking, but loses half the oil. But this boy doesn’t cry and was in fact happy that though by carelessness he spilt half of the oil, he had saved half of the oil and also the bottle didn’t break and thus went back to the house. That is being optimistic.
But the story doesn’t ends here. The mother sends her third son also to buy a bottle full of oil for Rs.10. By turn of fate, this boy trips and spills half of the oil and manages to save the bottle. But this boy neither cried for the loss nor was content with the fact that he managed to save half the oil. He being a realist, accepted that he lost half the oil. He realised that he had to fully fill the bottle and that means he needed another Rs.5. So went out to get himself a job, earned Rs.5, with which he purchased half the oil and filled the bottle. And now what category this boy should be in?
I would call him a 'Possibilist'. And currently my experience at TFI is expanding my horizon in realising the gamut of possibilities available. Hope could learn more:)

At TFI: Sense of Possibility (Day 2)

"I am not a pessimist or an optimist. I am a possibilist." - Max Lerner
The day being on 'Yellow Hat' or the 'Possibility thinking, here are few of the lessons I personally learnt on the ‘Sense of Possibility:
1. Flexibility in Planning: Where you can either stay the plan failed or the plan got evolved. But one learnt that Planning and Preparation are important. 
2. Persistence and Perseverance: Technically it could be called Pestering. Just don’t give up and keep on trying. May be for 10 minutes, the people will not be convinced, but at the 11th minute you can crack the nut. Thanks to Harsh for teaching me by the way he was convincing people.  
3. Sense of Possibility: Big task at hand; Setting High Expectations - okay this is good. But one does get doubts of achieving the set goal. The game of earning Rs.25 each (which one thought was a ‘practical joke’ played by TFI on the new fellows) taught me that it is in fact possible to achieve that goal which one thought impossible, not simply difficult; one just needs to TRY. One realised that ‘Earning Rs.25 each’ is an analogy of the TFI’s vision of ‘excellent education for all children’. At this juncture, the apprehensive part of the self asks for proof. The visit of the Akanksha kids and their presentation and interaction with Ms.Anjali during the second part of the day gave the necessary evidence. Though the doubtful self has not been completely banished, it is slowly getting chipped away thanks to the day’s experience. Still, one holds few doubts – which are in fact helping to keep a heightened sense of attentiveness and a readiness to learn more. But a step forward was taken today and progress is being made.
4. Team Work: Companionship & Fellow-traveller; More than one head thinking; Complement each other's Strengths and Weaknesses; Sense of Identity (Odd Job Wallas)
Two more mantras that I had been using in my pre-TFI time were:
Start small: Even a 1000 miles journey starts with a single step (Learning at TFI: But remember to set a 1000 miles vision – Set Big Goals; Have High Expectations; Raise the Bar)
Copy success: So that you don’t reinvent the wheel (Learning at TFI: Ask for help; Value team work)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Education Fund

Recently I had this opportunity to attend the 10-day Vipassana Meditation course at Bangalore.
Besides the course itself, I found an interesting concept of delivering course, which I found worthwhile to share with you.
1. The 10-day course offered is completely free. Yes! Food, accomodation & stay and all the things were free. It is only expected that after the 10 day course, those who feel liking towards the source, can further the cause by making a volunteer donation (this only at the end of the course and whatever the amount it might be). This very fundamental concept of paying after service and donating volunteering has a stronger benefit in propogating the concept.
2. I find a similarity of this concept in 'Habitat for Humanity' as well. This is an international NGO working to provide housing for all those who deserve. Recently they even started in India. They have a unique concept of funding the housing projects. The house constructed is usually funded an already available source of money, previously donated. Here the particular beneficiary contributes by way of labour and volunteers - architects, masons, engineers are invited to participate, making H4H one of the largest volunteer sourcing organisation. Once the house is constructed, the investment is considered as sort of interest-free loan to be paid by the beneficiary on 15-20 years tenure (Here interest-free is mandated to follow Christian
concept of lending being offensive). But the beauty is that this doesn't stop there. The beneficiaries so overwhelmed by the
help lended usually come out of way and pay back more than they owe - sort of donating, thus again furthering the cause. This is similar to making donation in Vipassana course.
3. There is another NGo named ' '. One of my colleague Ms.D is beneficiary of this. The Trust funds higher education of  poor students, by which she completed here Engineering degree. Later, if interested, the graduated students can payback to the trust from their salary - donating to the 'Education Fund' thus again furthering the cause. A similarity again.
4. A friend of mine is currently helping a boy studying nursing from an orphanage home. The friend shall be funding his tuition and hostel fees every year for his studies. He has only one condition to the boy - he told the boy that if he were to help, the boy, after graduation should come back to his Orphanage and its hospital to work at this place - sort of paying back to his orphanage. Another similarity
5. Vidya Poshak: The organisation where Naren is working similarly funds deserving students for higher education. Some do after graduation donate to the organisation for furthering the cause
6. Manitha Neeyam Trust by Saidhai Duraisamy: is the one who contested against M.K.Stalin (DMK) under AIADMK during the recent TN Assembly election. Of the 234 constitutiencies, this was one of the most fiercely conducted election, with Stalin winning only by a marginal difference of 2000 votes. Not to mention this was the only place where there was a riot during the poll counting was held - reason being that Stalin was actually defeated and the result came otherwise. Now you might ask who is this Saidhai Duraisamy and how come he is so powerful with the fact being that this is his first contest at an election? An ardent MGR fan, Duraisamy runs an institution training students for Civil Services exam. Recently 39 of his students got selected. And did I mention the students are trained for free. The beauty is that the passed out IAS students, despite Duraisamy not encouraging came to extend their support in campaigning for him during the election. Their campaign slogan was that 'Look at us. We are from poor background and we became IAS. This is all due to Duraisamy sir. If you vote for him, he will make your son or daughter like us.' Now these passed out IAS students are funding Duraisamy's Trust to fund the training and again furthering the cause.
6. It is said that one of the main reasons why DHAN and Vasi insists that the PDM course at Tata-Dhan Academy be fully-funded is that - by this way of studying for free, the graduate is sort of morally obliged to give back to the society and work at a place with not a big expectation of high salary. Given this, also ponder upon the mainstream education system like a BE or MBBS or MBA degree - where the education (with really high fees) is considered as an investment with expected returns and profits on investment (i.e., a placement with a fat salary)
7. Similarly, we know of stories of IIT and IIM Alumini funding their mother institution - paying back and furthering the cause.
All said, I just got inspired to come up with a concept of 'Education Fund' where it could be used to fund students for higher education. It is hoped that it will be a self-enriching and sustaining project, where the passed out students will come back and support the project, thus furthering the cause.

மக்களுக்கு கிடைத்த வெற்றி

இது மக்களுக்கு கிடைத்த வெற்றி! தமிழக அரசியலில் பல விதிகளை ஓடைதுள்ளது!
1.பணம் கொடுத்து ஒட்டு வாங்கிவிடலாம்; பணம் வாங்கினாலும் யாருக்கு ஒட்டு போடுவது என்று நாங்கள் தான் முடிவு பண்ணுவோம். இது வரும் தேர்தலிலும் பணம் கொடுத்து ஒட்டு வாங்கிவிடலாம் என்ற விதி ஒழிந்தது.
2.சட்டசபை தேர்தல் சாதி அடிப்படையில் தான் நடக்கும் என்ற மற்ற்றொரு விதியும் ஒழிக்கப்பட்டது.
3.நாடகம் காட்டியோ, பேசியோ, சினிமாகாரர்களை வைத்து மக்களை கவர்ந்திடலாம் என்ற நம்பிக்கையும் ஒழிந்தது. எ.கா. வடிவேலுவின் பிரசாரத்திற்கு கூடிய மக்கள் ரசிக்கவே வந்தனர்; மயங்கிவிடவில்லை.
4.ஊடகம் நம் கையில் உள்ளது என்று 'Opinion makers' ஆக மாற முயன்றவர்களுக்கு நல்ல சவுக்கடி! இது 'நக்கீரன்' போன்ற விலைபோன பத்திரிகைகளும், 'சன் டி.வி.' போன்ற சுய லாபத்திற்காக செயல்பட்ட ஊடகங்களுக்கு நல்ல பாடம்!
5 . அரசு நினைத்தால் ஒரு நியாமான தேர்தலை நடத்த முடியும் என்று நிரூபித்தது தேர்தல் ஆணையம். ஒரு 'போஸ்டர்' கிடையாது, ஒரு 'கட் அவுட்' கிடையாத தேர்தலை தமிழகம் இந்த முறைதான் பார்த்தது. இது மற்றுமொரு விதிவிலக்கு.
ஆகாமொத்தம், தமிழகம் மாற்றத்திற்கு தன்னை ஆயத்த படித்திகொள்ள வேண்டிய தருணத்தில் உள்ளது என்று மட்டும் புரிகிறது. நடப்பது எல்லாம் நன்மைக்கே என்றுணர்வோம். தர்மம் என்றும் வெல்லும் என்ற நம்பிக்கை ஓடு நமது பயணம் தொடரட்டும்.

யோசித்து பார்கையில்

ஒரு குழந்தையின் சிரிப்பு, ஒரு குழந்தையின் அழுகை, இளஞ்சிவப்பு வண்ணம் தீட்டிய மாலை வானம், மரகிளையில் தனியே அமர்ந்துள்ள சிட்டுக்குருவி, வானுயர பறக்கும் கழுகு, நீண்டநாள் கழித்து பார்த்த நண்பன், முதல் காதலின் நினைப்பு, தெருவோரம் உள்ள டீ-கடையில் ஒலிக்கும் ஒரு பழைய பாடல், அதிகாலையில் சாமிக்காக சமைத்த கூட்டு பொரியல் சாதம், ஹோட்டல் உணவு சாப்பிட்டு அழுத்தபின் கிடைக்கும் வீட்டு சாப்பாடு, குடும்பத்தோடு ஹோட்டலுக்கு சென்று சாப்பிட்டது, பலநாள் சுற்றுபயணத்தின் பின் வீடு திரும்பும்போது பொழியும் அன்பும், பாசமும், கல்லூரியில் எழுதிய கவிதையின் நினைப்பு, முதன்முதலாக வாங்கிய பாராட்டு, எதிர்பார்க்காத போது கிடைத்த கைதட்டல், - இதையெல்லாம் நினைத்து பார்கையில் ஒரு 'Positive energy' மனதிற்குள் பாயத்தான் செய்கிறது!