This evening I got a call from the adjacent computer room which was then under command and control of Her Highness! I was at my relaxed best watching television - after an 8 hours stay at office on an Institute holiday! If one sneers that 'watching television' in the evening is too low level an activity to be engaged in, I have some techno-social explanation to offer. This can be weakly related to 'Nyquist Frequency'. I was covertly experimenting what could be the ideal sampling frequency of watching channels in a multiplexed condition. Multiplexing here refers to the techno part and is not related to 'multiplexes' society in general relates to and television brings the society in its all hues colours in our drawing room! Yes, I was watching IPL 4, two Bengali news channels covering state election, one Hindi channel depicting life of Sai Baba, two English news channel giving miscellaneous news and one movie channel simultaneously in a time sampled manner!!!!
In the middle of doing such a serious job which had the potential of developing 'Goutam's Frequency' of channel surfing, came the call - too powerful to ignore! Her Highness appeared to be quite excited. She was there to look for some missed episodes of her favourite TV serial from the net. What happened? Is there an n-th reincarnation of a character who died (n-1)th time p episodes back? As I entered, I saw a photograph of Dr. Kalam on the computer screen which carried above quote. She was writing down in a piece of paper the neo-definition of dream, very excited.Wish all of us take a mental note of it and live for a dream.
Next, this project team gathered in my office. We discussed the next steps, the division of labour etc.. We were to attend dinner arranged as a part of this review. Towards the end of this meeting, I turned my attention to one project student who remained absent without information, appears to take things not that seriously. I told, "Hope you remember that your scolding is due and got postponed due to this project review! Today there is a dinner after this. Let us schedule it on Monday." The student said, "I admit that I made a mistake. I deserve scolding. But can it be postponed to 29th (next Friday)? I have one exam. On 28th April." We agreed on that schedule. The other project student who faulted once, told "Please remember that my quota of scolding is done. You scolded me for two days."
This morning I was listening to Mr. Ram Narayan of Dept. of Telecommunication, Govt. of India. He was referring to how we Indian lack in our temperament in approaching research problem. We treat it as a job. If the clock strikes 9 PM, we feel tired and think that we have done is enough. (Yes, he said 9 PM ... and one may not be surprised to see people who are mentally off at 6:00 PM or even earlier.) He continued to share his wisdom. The people who ‘çreate’ and with whom we compete internationally, not only remain awake for one night but many nights. Madam Curie sold her house to fund research. Such passion is somehow missing. He further said, ‘Failure’ is not when you fail but when you do not get up.
Few days back one UG student asked for an appointment. The student finds the mode of instruction, evaluation unexciting and wants to go to the bottom of a topic that is liked. The fellow students do not like that approach and thus cannot strike a cord. Communication became a problem amongst them. I discussed how the world is hungry for originality. The originality is to be preserved for the good. Being original is a virtue and this is an important ingredient that helps to create.
Then we discussed how doing well in exam. is important even if that means being monotonous at times. The better one does in exam., the more time and confidence one has to pursue one's original thinking. A not so capable person looks for advantageous proposition only. A capable person can convert any proposition to his/her advantage. It is not at all difficult to do well in academics in IIT system because of continuous evaluation if someone is serious. It was admitted that the regularity had been missing in study and that would be corrected. Nice to see that the student comes occasionally in google chat and is trying to remain engaged. My best wishes.
Got a kind of distress call from an elder sometime back for their ward, a college student. It is very common these days to get into a relationship in college days. Initially, I declined thinking it is not correct to come into personal space of a 20 years old. But the parents continued to ask me to counsel. They neither agree nor disagree to that relationship but wants the commitment part to be postponed by few more years; till the college education is over, till the youngsters get adequate time to be acquainted with the world, become some more matured.
I must say that it was one of the toughest task of recent times. My first such engagement. Tried to convey the parents argument to the ward and vice-versa. In the process, when all were present, my own view was sought. I don't think there is any prize to guess what I said. I don't claim to be an expert. And there seems to be too many experts around. Also often while trying to do 'mentoring', we try to 'control' others and impose ourselves, without respecting the journey of an individual.
Therefore, it is best left to those who are not street smart. I would like to refer to this very very beautiful discourse of a Ramakrishna Mission Monk that can be found here (Link). Another wonderful discourse from from a teacher who now gives lecture to Ramakrishna Mission monks can be found here (Link) that talks about life's goal, the benefit one can derive by following higher thoughts and ideals.The 2nd lecture was addressed to students of Sister Nibedita School of Kolkata. He talked about how there is improvement in confidence, concentration.
Almost a month back I was watching one episode of 'Awakening with Brahma Kumaris' where Sister Shivani dealt this nicely. I have not been able to locate that in youtube. But in this one (Link) Sister gives almost a 360 degree view on 'Personality Development' and puts the responsibility on oneself. She was addressing an audience where there were many young members.
Finally, this Kids Marshmallow Experiment on 'Self Control' which is referred even by Scientific Americana is not simply hilarious. It shows how our reward system works and how we learn to deal with temptation and develop our own mechanism to handle it. If a child can do that, why not we elders? We know very well the kind of reward waiting for us when we achieve our research goal. Let us exercise our will power and remain a life long learner.