I had gone to Khandala two days ago to be part of the faculty for an informal training programme for some middle level managers. During this programme I got to meet and get to know a few MBAs and was appalled at their approach to business which is quite different from what it was during my days in management. This led me to quote Robert Fulghum to them in a different context than I had originally planned to do. For a recap, let me reproduce the quote here.

“All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned. These are the things you already know: Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.”

In my opinion that is getting an education. It is possible to be educated without being literate and / or qualified with some diploma or degree.

Again to quote a great spiritual teacher, Vivekananda on education so that where I intend going with this post becomes clear: “You will be nearer to Heaven through football than through the study of Gita. You will understand Gita better by your biceps, with your muscles a little stronger. You will understand the Upanishads better and the glory of the Atman, when your body stands firm on your feet and you feel yourself as a man.” The subtlety here may be difficult but to sum up his advice, be strong in body before you attempt to learn about matters spiritual.

I personally was an indifferent student in school quite content with getting the equivalent of what is now the “C” grades. I however had to write my School Leaving Certificate examinations twice before I could get the certificate which took me on a different tangent than my classmates in terms of formal education. You can read about that in the post on Ambition that I have written some years ago.

I however flatter myself that I am educated because I have learnt how to learn. And that in my opinion sums up what education is. At least in my opinion, it is not getting a degree or a PhD, but being smart enough to make a life on this planet. Let me share a short story.

I recently saw a short film in Kannada, one of our regional languages. The hero is an illiterate odd jobs man employed in a temple. The temple management terminates his employment to replace him with a literate man who can double as a clerk as well. Dejected, the hero by accident discovers an opportunity to be a businessman repairing punctured tubes of motorcycles, cars and bicycles. From that base, he grows into a tycoon producing and marketing large volumes of tyres and tubes. An interviewer asks him to imagine what he could have become if he had been literate and he responds – “A temple Clerk”.

You know why they don’t send donkeys to college?

Because no one likes a smartass.

Shackman has suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.


This post has been inspired by a post with the same title by Kylie.

In that post I have left the following comment:

“Some years ago a dear friend, alas no more sent me a parcel for my birthday. On opening it I found two lovely beer mugs and a card that said “Mugs for a mug from a mug.”

Those two mugs however became history years ago but my home is full of mugs of all sizes including yours truly, his son and daughter in love.

I love to drink my tea or coffee from mugs and when I have to use cups in restaurants, I find it boring.

Mugs seem to chase me wherever I go. I have got many gifts of mugs inscribed with messages calling me good husband, father, uncle etc and some of them have survived the ravages of time.

The latest to join the collection is a pair of mugs a photograph of one of which is reproduced here. These were produced to commemorate my Business School class celebrating its golden jubilee earlier this year.  Photographs of all students were printed on the body and it took two mugs to accommodate all.  That is how we ended up with a pair of them each.

I could not attend the main function at the school, but I was sent the pair to be given to me during a celebration in Pune attended by my classmates resident here and their wives. I had written about that occasion too. Please read that last line in that post.

Melting Pots.

melting pot
a pot in which metals or other materials are melted and mixed.
a place where different peoples, styles, theories, etc. are mixed together.
“Toronto is a melting pot of different cultures”

I have a number of melting pots of the latter kind in my life and I shall explain with just a few that have become part of my life in the last year or so. They are all groups on WhatsApp.

A small group of my Pune based Alumni. Two Maharashtrians, one Rajasthani, one Bengali, one Punjabi and me. All males.

A large group of my classmates from Business School. Almost every large state is represented by one or more friends all male and two ladies too.

A larger group of ex colleagues from my time in the corporate world. A mixture of Maharashtrians, Malayalis, Sindhis, Punjabi, Telugu, an Uttar Pradeshi, a Bengali and me. All males.

Another smaller group of my classmates from my Vedanta class. A mixture of Females and males. Tamils, Sindhis, Punjabi, Malayali, Gujarathi and Maharashtrian.

My immediate family group consisting of me, my siblings and our progeny. My daughter in love is also part of that. This group consists of our primary Tamils, Scots and a Maharashtrian.

Apart from these WhatsApp groups, my life revolves around a number of people of various categories including people from different religions, foreigners and people much younger to me. My extended family has people from other religions, languages and countries and so the family is also a melting pot of sorts.

My taste in music is another melting pot with preferences depending on my mood. Bollywood film music, Hindustani classical music, Jazz, Pop, Western Classical music and on occasion Carnatic classical music as well.

I live in a city which is a melting pot of many languages, cultures and religions.  That is but a microcosm of the larger country which is more complex in being a melting pot.

“India is a melting pot of the various religions and cultures of the world and it is the very nature of the unity in diversity, which has largely shaped the growth of Indian culture as a whole.”

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, grandmother of legend, and great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.” – Mark Twain

And I am a product of this great melting pot.  A complete alloy!

I have suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

Memory Trigger 17: Separated Brothers.

In the good old days of Bollywood films, young boys getting separated during fairs, calamities etc and growing up to be one good guy and one bad guy was quite common.

I could not resist the temptation to write this post today as earlier this morning, I had to do a double take on today’s Hindu newspaper. Two separate articles has two separate photographs of renowned figures.  The experience triggered the memory of the old separated-when-young-brothers films.

The top photograph is that of Mr. Abdul Basit, the outgoing High Commissioner of Pakistan to India.

The bottom photograph is that of Mr. S. S. Mundra Dy. Governor of the Reserve Bank Of India.

Please do not misunderstand.  I am not suggesting that one of them is the good guy and the other guy is the bad guy. 🙂

The resemblance however, is simply too striking not to deserve a mention from me!

Four Things.

Shackman had posted this on his facebook page with the comment – “I’m genuinely curious to read other people’s responses!!” and with his permission, I do the exercise here as a blog.

Four names I go by:
Ramana, Rummy, Periappa and Appa.

Four places I have lived in:
Pune the longest, Chennai the second longest, Mumbai the third longest and Delhi the fourth longest.

Four things i love to watch on tv:
I don’t watch TV but will watch whatever the children watch if I have nothing else to do.

Four places I have visited:
The entire Indian subcontinent including Pakistan and Bangladesh, some parts of Europe, two cities of Australia, some parts of The Far East and some parts of the Middle East.

Four things I love to eat:
Idlis, Dosas, Appams and Sambar.

Four people who I think will respond and hopefully be fun:
Monk, Tammy, Cathy in NZ and who knows, perhaps Shackman again!

Four Things I love to drink:
Water, Tea, Fruit juice and Lassi.