Thursday, July 31, 2014


Why do we have to use always this language of duality? We say things like speaker/listener, speech/applause, success/failure, action/result, player/game, I/you(universe), music/singer, ie., the subject and object are always thought of as two different entities. This detachment creates barriers to realise the best or the pursuit of excellence.
When someone says to his beloved, "I love you" the other person is like an object. When a doctor says, "I will treat you and cure you" again there is a subject and an object. Instead why can't the communication be in this manner: I am love (and that is because I am in love and you are the reason for this) and in the next case "I am the treatment/cure." Now see the change and how things change. The person becomes bigger than his actual self because of his more purposeful/holistic action. Such a person will always rise in love. Such a person will always rise in stature. He/she will become a magnet attracting all actions/resources/thoughts which will be in the best interest of his object. So instead of objectifying let's expand our self whenever the situation offers us such a chance. Instead of an external goal what we need is an internal world which encompasses that goal. The goal is in you and you are in the goal. This is oneness. And here there is no duality/distance. There is only pure love and acceptance.  



Are you spiritual?
Yes, I am. So are you. So are we all.
If I am spiritual, why don't I think so?
Your mind is not letting you to think so. But you are.
So it means...accepting that I am...that's the beginning.
Yes. Acceptance is the first step.
So after that what?
The second step is expanding your awareness...going beyond the mind.
But is it possible? Mind is so powerful.
Your awareness is more powerful.
But won't the mind resist?
It will. Very strongly. So there lies the third and final step...engage with it like a friend.
But how?
Do something which doesn't make the mind a mind.
I didn't get you there.
What does the mind normally compares and calculates, judges and decides, attracts and discards, expects and fulfills...and I think all these qualities are important to survive and grow in this world. But what I am saying is know your mind and then go beyond it.
So that means....
Just be an observer of your mind...let thoughts come but don't put any label on them like good/bad/expectation. In other words, just don't mind.
Also focus on something in the beginning.Use the object of your focus like a tool/ a technique. The tool/technique can be a breath, a word, a song. Repeat this process consciously and you can go beyond your mind.
Suppose I go beyond the will be that experience?
It will be like connecting with the universe. Feeling the cosmos. Experiencing the endless.
But won't that be an overwhelming experience...can a normal being hold such an enlightening experience?
Yes you are right. That extraordinary experience will have to be channelised into something which is as spiritual as the experience itself.
That means..
You can share that experience with others if they understand or else use their way of understanding, their symbols, desires, their language of success and achievement. Use materialistic images to communicate that spiritual awakening.
Is there a spiritual connection in any great work of art/literature/medical/technological/scientific/engineering master pieces or pursuit of excellence in other disciplines like sports/dance/music/oratory/leadership etc.?
By connecting and disconnecting, engaging and disengaging with your spiritual/intellectual self at times can help you increase your awareness, concentration, motivation, engagement with the situation and help you in your pursuit of excellence. So discovering your spiritual nature will help you in the material world also and vice-versa ie., discovering material success can help you to understand the ways to do it spiritually too.
That brings me to the next question. Why is it so? How can material and spiritual success go together?
They can because one who can discover either of the two knows that he is in control of his mind. Without controlling/disciplining the mind both are just an illusion. So in a way you are using spiritual/material pursuits as a goal to understand your mind. Once a person knows himself/herself, spiritual or material doesn't matter at all. That awakening is all.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Listening is a skill which is seldom taught/learnt/practiced in academic/family/social environments. But in relationship building and management listening holds the key. To be good at listening one should do all these things:
1. Ask questions in an encouraging/supporting way to get more details; questions show interest in the speaker and the topic being mentioned.
2. There should be minimal interruptions when a person is sharing an experience/emotion/idea/information.
3. The environment for conversation should be safe, secure, friendly and peaceful.
4. The listener can provide sufficient breaks to the speaker by paraphrasing what he/she has already said. 
5. Use a five O' clock posture while listening.
6. Maintain eye contact to show strong emotions/empathy/acceptance/responsibility/full engagement with listening but don't overreact.
7. Nurture the conversation by making the other person feel free to open his/her mind by asking open ended questions like "How was the experience...please describe" and not close ended questions like "How did you come bus/car/auto/on foot"
8. The listener should not be advised at any point. That breaks the rhythm of the conversations. The listener can give options according to his/her understanding of the situation.
9. The listener should act as a friend, philosopher and guide.
10. The listener can make the conversation a never before experience to the other person through compassionate, affectionate, appreciative and above all a non judgemental listening.


Thursday, July 17, 2014


During an informal chat session a professor who teaches English to college students got a chance to comment on a book on "Improving Communication Skills". The only suggestion that he was dying to offer was the word "PRACTICING" has to be changed to "PRACTISING" since in India we follow British English. When it was pointed out by someone that since MS Word always recommends the US version of English spelling and therefore PRACTICING is OK, he became adamant and finally succeeded in imposing British spelling rules on the "ready to please/always appeasing" Indian minds ie., the publisher reluctantly changed PRACTICING to PRACTISING in his final draft before giving it to print.

Long Live British Rule in India !!



This exercise is to offer your super salutes to those super real life heroes who by shooting down the problems we face in our daily living bring succor and the much needed solace to our anxious minds. They could be anyone - 

1. The LINEMEN from KSEB who come to restore electricity to your homes especially during rainy season by working amidst heavy downpour -  a seemingly "high voltage risky job" for the sake of their fellow beings.



In this group exercise each participant has to meet all the other participants and ask them to write a line or two about "What is it about me/my nature/character/image/personality that you know but I don't know?". He/she should also give a same kind of information to the other person on "What is it about you/your nature/character/image/personality that I know but you don't know?". So if there are forty partcipants doing this exercise then at the end of the programme each will be having in his/her feedback sheet 39 different and defining feedbacks. which will help him/her to understand his/her personal image(the way you are perceived by others) and how to enhance it for personal/professional growth and success 



In this group exercise asked the participants to deliver a soliloquy before the audience imagining that they are a character from a well known movie which they have seen and which has had a great influence on their thoughts/behaviour/life. This speech should have the narration of experiences/release of emotions/message to people based on lessons from life/wisdom attained by success/suffering etc. The performance can also be used as a test for assessing one's acting/emoting/creative communication/stage presentation/articulation/mass entertaining skills.



In this group exercise asked the participants to share with the group their SUCCESS SECRETS/STORIES by giving a good presentation. Here they can also imagine that they have attained success in a particular field/skill after say a period of 10/20/30 years and have now reached a stage where they would like to pass on the ideas which they have used so successfully to help their fellow beings in achieving the same kind of success in their chosen professions/passion.


Thursday, July 10, 2014


The ideal world to live in is the world of ideas. Ideas which help people to grow and empower themselves. But this is not the reality of our times. We are not living in a world where we can easily access ideas.
We don't have a system to encourage/invite/welcome new ideas. We don't have a culture where ideas are respected without seeing where or from whom the idea originated. We acknowledge a good idea only if it is voiced by those who have power/position/possessions. We think that common people cannot have good ideas which can change a situation/solve a problem or crisis/end a social evil. This reluctance to encourage new, different, bold ideas is what is keeping our society/organisations/institutions/people/groups and individuals stagnant and frustrated. And this is what is making our life unproductive/unfulfilling.
Let's take the case of road accidents in India. Every year the number of accidents on the roads is increasing but no ideas on reducing it are discussed in a serious/purposeful manner. The companies manufacturing vehicles think only about expanding their business but don't think of making the travel safe. The people who design the roads also don't think in the direction of minimising accidents. The government thinks only when some big accident happens and that too for a day or two. Why is it so? Why don't people in our culture show better awareness, engage with new/old/effective ideas and act for making the world a better place to live? Why don't we make our lives meaningful by working for a collective goal which can improve a million lives? Why can't we think beyond our limitations of "self"?
And this is where we have to focus on to get new ideas...



The two most important things that the teaching method should focus on are: The logic of making sentences(LOGIC) and the way English is used by different types of people in real life situations (USAGE).
For learning the logic of EC, rules of making sentences in English  communication must be taught and for learning the usage, the learners must get the right exposure. This is what make an English communication course really worth doing.
This means that teaching/learning grammar is not the first (or the only) step. In fact the first step is learning the rules of making sentences and start thinking in English as soon as possible. 
Grammar and literature should be made optional subjects and they should be meant only for those who would like to become teachers/researchers in English language. 
English communication is  actually a skill and it can be imparted only by those who practice and refine it on a regular basis by getting new awareness and also engaging with that awareness/sharing it/applying it for creating social, intellectual, economic, cultural, emotional, creative, ecological, artistic and many other diverse kinds of wealth forms.
The practicing learners having the right temperament can easily become the best teachers by becoming aware of the tools/techniques/resources used by themselves first to get the best results in their field of work where English Communication has a vital role to play.
Therefore in an ideal learning environment the teaching is more inspirational than instructional. The learners also participate in the design, delivery and development process of knowledge creation thus feeling inspired and motivated to excel like the person(s) imparting that particular skill.



Asked the groups to sit in circles and share stories with each other. These stories should be about real incidents actually happened in their native places, schools and families.
Then they have to choose the most popular story from their group.
Afterwards all the  groups should ask their Best Speaker to read/present the story before the class.
Now comes the presentation of a story in the form of a skit/drama/play having three scenes. Out of the three scenes two should be from the actually told story and the third scene should be an imagination to give the play a sense of completeness/dramatic quality/element of audience satisfaction.



Day 1
Name of the exercise: Youth Survey
No. participants: 51
Age group: 18-19
Education: Completed Plus two
Present State: Going to do Engineering
Purpose of the exercise: A kind of ice breaking as they were all in the process of getting familiar with the new atmosphere. It was also meant to give them more awareness about themselves as a group/ other group participants/ the society in general.
Steps: 1. Divided the class into teams having ten members in each team. The teams had names. Gave a topic to each team to conduct a survey by asking questions. Only three members from a team could approach others while doing the survey and they should not do any writing while asking questions. They have to give the data thus got to their team for further discussions.
2. After getting the answers from their co-participants they wrote a report based on their findings.
3. After studying the report they tried to analyzed it ie., tried to make some sense out of it and discover any logical pattern which had to be communicated to the audience.
4. Presented the survey results and gave their opinions.

The topics given to the students were:

1. The common hobbies of the class.
2. The qualities of a good engineer.
3. The dreams of the students of a life ahead after completing the course.
4. The challenges/problems which they might face during their course.
5. Their expectations from parents/teachers/friends.

The skills practiced: Team Interaction(Team building and Leadership skills), Assigning roles to team members(delegating work), getting information through questions(oral communication), organizing information (data sorting), report writing, analytical and presentation skills.  


Day 2

Asked the students to close their eyes for a minute and think about the activities of the previous day during the same session. (Easy Meditation)
Then told them to sit in teams and gave them a sheet of paper. They were asked to write a one line comment about the previous class(Sentence Making Skill Test). 
Next they were asked to write a summary of their report in a single sentence having less than fifty words/2-3 lines. (Instant Feedback exercise)
Then each group had to come and read the one line summary before the class.(Voice of the people exercise)
Then a pair of students from each team shared their opinion about the speeches made by other teams.

After this the students were asked to write a four line poem based on their given theme. Then they had to compose a nice song by finding a good tune for their poem. It had to be sung by four students in their group. After the song presentation, those who didn't participate in singing have to share the secret behind the song ie., how the team got the creative spark/who wrote the lines/set the tune etc.
The exercise ended with a small speech by a member from each team on the singing performance of other teams.



The Gandhian value I cherish the most is honesty/love for peace/self reliance/tolerance/equality/compassion/....Choose one Gandhian value and speak/share your thoughts.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

GAMES(The Great Art of Making Sentences) of Great Gamers

How it begins: One evening of late summer, before the nineteenth century had reached one-third of its span, a young man and woman, the latter carrying a child, were approaching the large village of Weydon-Priors, in Upper Wessex, on foot.
How it ends: And in being forced to class herself among the fortunate, she did not cease to wonder at the persistence of the unforeseen, when the one to whom such unbroken tranquility had been accorded in the adult stage was she, whose youth had seemed to teach that happiness was but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain.


How it begins: He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY'S The Old Man and The Sea

How it ends: The old man was dreaming about the lions.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Nowadays we often talk about the price rise, inflation, etc. which mostly affects the common man. So this discussion is about the common man. Who is this "Common man?" Why is he always a common man? Why can't he do something himself so that he can help himself and others like him? Why is he so helpless/ so vulnerable to all the problems and evils in the world? Doesn't he have any powers/abilities of his own? Or is he not aware of his powers to deal with real life challenges?
Actually nobody is born as a common man. Because of social/educational/cultural/family training we are made to forget all our natural traits like independent and creative thinking, originality in views and ideas, innovative problem solving etc. The herd mentality inculcated during the growing up years of a person makes him voiceless and nameless. And another common man is born.
So while raising our voice against issues like price rise, corruption etc. it is also important that we try to come out of this comfort zone of commonness or anonymity and do something worthwhile which makes us special in some way. When we talk of doing things, it has to be something original/rooted in our living environment and not temporary/quick-fix solutions which will create more problems in future. The herd mentality always keeps us in the class of "the common man". The fear of "what will others like me think of me
if I act/speak/react in this manner" has to be conquered. And then there won't be "a common man/woman class" in the society. Everybody would be Individuals with "I" in capital.



In this self introduction exercise the students have to speak in English about three things:
1. The NAME of the person and the kind of feelings/emotions the word evoked.
2. The NATIVE PLACE of the person and how it inspired him/her.
3. The PURPOSE of life ie., what motivates you, your passion.

This exercise can also be done by talking about other topics like: your home/house, possessions, family members, hobbies, books, TV programmes, music, movies, magazines, newspapers, places you visited, teachers, celebrities, role models, vehicles, computer/laptop, mobile, friends, daily routine, food, sports, ambitions, childhood experiences, festivals, culture, historical events, speeches, quotes, proverbs, language, rituals, leaders in the past/present, courses done, future events, elders in the family, websites, social networking, scenes in movies, fictional characters, skills learnt, achievements in the past/recently, success/failure in life, newspaper reports, famous victories in sports, poems, songs, dialogues, TV personalities, reality shows, political parties, educational institutions, commercial organization, non-commercial organizations, famous brands, slogans and captions, spirituality, nature, noble causes, human values, ethics and moral values, Gandhian principles, wars, resolutions for peace/peace treaties, classes attended, seminars and workshops, dress/costume, advertisement campaigns, image changes/makeovers, famous comebacks, social institutions/customs, challenging old values/traditions, social reforms, inventions, discoveries, social changes, political changes, changes in business practices, changes in people's attitudes, women empowerment, changes in education, technological advancements, changes in lifestyle, economic conditions, globalization, decentralization, democratic practices, new political parties, global warming, deforestation and changes in nature, changes in culture, changes in work style, new careers, attitude of the youth, skill development, family life, new courses etc.



Perfection is decided by three things: attitude, perception and expectations. So when we say that a person is perfect it shows our attitude towards him/her, our perception regarding his abilities and potential and also our expectations from that person. So it is important that those seeking perfection in their field of work/profession/life should be morally/ethically right so that they are liked by the people first. We all love Sachin Tendulkar as one of the most perfect batsmen of our times because of his human values on the cricketing field, his talent and also because he performed in situations where there were high expectations.
But on the other hand there are schools where students are banned from speaking in the class in the name of discipline. To maintain a perfect environment in some classes verbal communication is totally prohibited. Some schools go to the extent of banning vernacular communication on the campus to encourage English Communication. Then there are offices where employees are bitterly criticized for taking leaves without prior notice/coming late/not wishing their bosses etc. All those who are ready to even die in the name of perfection are actually trying to create the perfect silence of the graveyard as no one complains there of anything. But a graveyard is considered as the world of those who don't exist(physically!).
So life is an art of getting along with imperfections in a smooth manner. Perfection is a like a mirage, an illusion which is unrealistic to achieve in the real world. We can strive for perfection but never achieve it. Pursuit of excellence is more inspiring than that of perfection.
I don't think that this post on Perfection is perfect. You can always disagree with the views expressed here. And that is what makes communication so full of life because it is open for a 



I sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize for any mistakes/errors found in this blog which might have occurred despite my best efforts to achieve perfection. I hope you would be patient towards imperfections if any. And do bring them to my notice as soon as possible.