Blinkered Views.

“Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.”
~ Mark Twain

What sets this post off, is a post in Grannymar’s blog “About Listening”. I will make it easy for my readers and give below the TED talk on listening.

Some of you may want the transcripts of the main exercises to improve our listening skills and they are these.

1.Silence.Take time to listen to all sounds.
2.Mixer. In a noisy environment,isolate the different channels.
3.Savouring. Enjoy mundane sounds like the washing machine, drinking coffee etc.
4.Listening Positions. Active/Passive; Reductive/Expansive; Critical/Empathetic.
5.RASA. Receive; Appreciate; Summarize; Ask.

That having been attended to, to give the background, let me rant about my own pet peeve.

Throughout my working career, I have seen one behaviour pattern repeating again and again and that is what I call the Blinkered attitude. This is an inability to get out of one’s own mindset and appreciate some one else’s point of view. I believe that this phrase came about with the blinds that horses are equipped with to keep them in the straight and narrow, not allowing distractions.

At the macro level and more strikingly and importantly, the Indian establishment is blinkered and has been in denial about home grown terror, by attributing various acts of terror that India has experienced, to what it has called, cross border terrorism. It does not take a genius to figure out that it is due to vote bank politics, but finally some wisdom seems to have dawned. Quite how these modules of terror have evolved, what can be done to eradicate them and to prevent their sprouting again is yet to occur to our worthies.

At the micro level, some readers of my blog posts give twists and slants to my posts that are non existent, by interpreting from their own value systems, or so called “reading between the lines” and/or completely overlooking important parts of the posts. Often the intent, say satire, sarcasm or humour is missed and this is very frustrating.

I could be as guilty of blinkered vision and this is a tendency that I must try and avoid. I too can interpret written communication to fit into my own pre – conceived world view, in the absence of the body language of the communicator. Perhaps my comments on other blogs too are being interpreted differently from what my intention is in that comment. Obviously, the reader of my comment also does not have the benefit of my body language and so could well end up being frustrated. When that happens, and the blog writer points that out to me, I have no problems revising my opinion, but perhaps, some simply choose to ignore and move on. My loss.

The above paragraph was inserted post publishing and after I read the comments from Grannymar, Looney, Ursula and Shackman. In retrospect, I believe that this paragraph should have featured in the original and I regret not having done so.

Like those exercises for listening that Julien Treasure gives us, I wonder if some exercises can be invented to get rid of the blinkers. If there are already some, I would appreciate being led to those. I will spread the word around.


I hope that you enjoy reading another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by Gaelikaa.

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with vacations, examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.

As I write this, my father is sitting on his rocking chair, completely lost in a book and since he is hard of hearing, nothing disturbs him from that passionate pastime. Reading and his daily dose of watching television for two to three hours every evening, is more or less his raison d’être.

My raison d’être differs slightly in that instead of the television, I have blogging and crossword puzzles, but both take lesser importance to my passion for books and reading in general. My three siblings too are huge readers as was our late mother. So, I can safely blame my genes for my spending a lot of money on books that would have otherwise gone into my son’s inheritance.

From childhood, my siblings and I were encouraged to read and in any case, the entertainment that is now available was not available then, and one had to read to keep oneself occupied. I also traveled a great deal in my working life, and books were my companions bought at airport and railway shops all over India and some parts of the UK and Europe. Since I retired from active service, I have become a compulsive book buyer and I am not complaining!

Apart from purchasing books, which is something that I started much later in life, I depended on many lending libraries but, of late, libraries are few and far between and it is difficult to keep going to them to borrow forcing me to buy the books that I wish to read.

My home is full of books. They are everywhere. Their alloted place at the library which is over flowing, on the side shelves in the bedrooms, on either side of the pillows I sleep on, next to my favourite chair, next to where I sit and solve crossword puzzles and also in the sideboard near the dining table. Here is the library from which I have removed some books to show that the books are shelved three deep with a kind of mezzanine arrangement at the back.

I however know where I can locate any book that I want without too much searching. Occasionally I need help from my son, whose friends keep disturbing the arrangements in the library.

At any given time I read three books simultaneously, unless I am totally engrossed in one. Sometimes, it does happen that one book will keep me fully engaged but it is rare.

I need to read each book at least twice. I rarely read fiction and the matters that interest me are usually heavy stuff and it takes at least two readings to understand them.

I seldom go to a bookshop to buy books. I mostly buy them online as I find this convenient and economical too. Reviews normally influence my purchases as well as some reference to a book in some other book that I happen to be reading. Lest I forget, I immediately go online to purchase such books. For instance, the latest book that I have ordered for is “The Art Of Choosing” by Sheena Iyengar.. I heard Sheena Iyengar on Video from a TED talk. No sooner I finished listening to her, I went to my favourite online bookshop and ordered the book. I have just begun to read it.

As an interesting aside, I request my readers to learn something about Sheena Iyengar who is blind, and also listen to her talk, both for which I have provided links above. She is a fascinating personality who handles her disability with panache and one can’t help admire her.

Shashi Tharoor On TED.

As an Indian, there are many things that I would like to say about my country, but find few who will listen to me. Shashi Tharoor, our latest political star who arrived on the scene via a career as a diplomat and a UN bureaucrat, is not like any of our run of the mill politicians. You will see why when you listen to him.

In case you are unable to view the video, please copy paste this link on your browser to view the original:

I wish that we could fill our parliament and our cabinet of ministers with Shashi clones.

Since writing the above post and before it could be published, Mr. Tharoor has got himself involved in a controversy with a powerful Sports persoanality of India and fun and games are being reported by all the media. Sad.

To his credit, Mr. Tharoor has handled the scandal with panache and you can see that in this blog post.

After the you know what has hit the fan, I received this story from a friend who knows well my allergy for politicians and bureaucrats. It is worth a read to remember that the more things appear to change, the more they remain the same.

There’s an old sea story in the Navy about a ship’s Captain who inspected his sailors, and afterward told the Chief Boatswain that his men smelled bad.

The Captain suggested perhaps it would help if the sailors would change underwear occasionally.

The Chief responded, “Aye, aye sir, I’ll see to it immediately!”

The Chief went straight to the sailors berth deck and announced,

“The Captain thinks you guys smell bad and wants you to change your underwear.”

He continued, “Pittman, you change with Jones, McCarthy, you change with Witkowski, and Brown, you change with Schultz.

Now “GET TO IT!”


Someone may come along and promise “Change”, but don’t count on things smelling any better.