My attempts to write a true Sunday Post failed in the past.
I started this blog to maintain a scrapbook of ideas, as I live through my immigrant life (which, presumed I, would only be a temporary phase). But the overarching priorities of the migrant life - to 'prove' myself - soon took over. Over time, this blog became more like a 'billboard', an advertising space, an extended CV of sorts, where I, somewhat desperately, wanted to show off and make a point. Indeed, all that was counter-productive: Experts write papers, not blogs. But it is that the charm of expertise, even if limited to occasional recognition by complete strangers through my blog, which subverted my motivation. This is what I want to undo now.
It is important to undo this for several reasons, but primarily as I change myself. At this very moment, I am at the end of one journey and embarking on another. It has been three years that I stepped out of my boot-strap enterprise and got into working for another organisation. This brought financial stability, at least for a while, which I needed after the two years of living off my savings. This also gave me exposure to the world of American start-ups, with a different set of possibilities and challenges than I had known thus far. And, the experience was decidedly mixed - I learnt a few things but a lot more of what is not to be done - and I have finally, and irreversibly, reached a point when I must move to the next phase of life. This means all change, including what I do with my writing.
One of the troubles of writing the blog for projecting expertise is that this means rejecting honest thoughts. The obsession with who is going to read this, which comes with public sharing of the posts on platforms such as LinkedIn, leads to scrubbing the posts of any personal emotions or feelings, even about work matters or professional fields, and this was creeping into my writing. So, as I decided to draw a line on the work front and embark on a different set of activities and ambitions, I decided to make this blog very different: No more sharing on LinkedIn or Facebook (though the link on the signature panel of my personal email will stay) and to turn to posts of more personal nature, going back to what this blog was meant to be.
I know it is time for me to be 'unprofessional'. I chose to write this blog as I wanted to write - let go of the conversations that I so often have with myself. The concerns about professional 'projection' were totally corrupting, therefore. In a way, it was laziness: I did not want to write different posts for different platforms. It was also the obsession with visitor numbers on this blog that made me share different things that I write all on this platform. Changing this blog today - as I intend to do - would mean letting go of all that. Quite a change, but I am feeling upto it.
I feel so because I feel stuck. I would not call this a midlife crisis - because I know what I want to do and where I get to next - but something like a professional deadlock: I am doing something that I no longer enjoy. Also, I feel ready to return to the project I abandoned three years ago - the network of creative schools - and I shall return to it without wasting any more time. Indeed, I have been exploring these ideas for a while, connecting up with people and experimenting with models, but what kept me from doing it is my intent to complete the current job at hand. Lately, though, I reached a point when I realise that I can't make much of a difference - in fact, I am currently being employed not to make a difference but so that I don't try to make one! The excuses I have given to myself for carrying on - that I am learning - are well beyond their validity date, and I have truly reached the time when I must commit fully.
Such a change - from being a passenger to taking charge - means that I must first attempt to be more honest with myself. This involves risks, but I have had a risk-averse three years and that did not, in the end, improve where I was. Making this blog more personal and honest is the first step, and hopefully, this will permeate into all the things I do and say in the coming days.
To start, I am committing myself to a 100 day project. This has worked for me in the past, when I needed to change course and transform my habits. This is about living differently for 100 days, and keep track of the attempts and outcomes as I go along. This is what I turn to now, and hopefully I can record my progress on this blog as I go along. My current 100 day project has a number of objectives, including reading and writing a lot more, living differently and better, and getting started with my creative education project (which would involve several steps, starting with exiting my current job, taking up a few freelance projects successfully and starting up the project by pulling together all the necessary factors and networks). I am conscious that this may not be of any interest to many people who read my blog, and I would hope my more occasional posts on Facebook or LinkedIn would still engage them in some way. I, however, hope to engage with others, whose friendships I enjoy on and offline and who have been a constant presence in everything I did over the last several years, without whom there will be less dream and less meaning in my life.
Popular posts from this blog
A friend has recently forwarded me a quote from Lord Macaulay's speech in the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835. I reproduce the quote below: "I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation." The email requested me to forward me to every indian I know. I was tempted, but there were two oddities about this quote. First, the language, which
Introduction : The Business of Gift Giving Business gift giving has always been common and contentious at the same time. Business gifts are usually seen as an ‘advertising, sales promotion and marketing communication medium’ (Cooper et al , 1991). Arunthanes et al (1994) points out that such gifting is practised usually for three reasons: (a) in appreciation for past client relationships, placing a new order, referrals to other clients, etc.; (b) in the hopes of creating a positive, first impression which might help to establish an initial business relationship; and (c) giving may be perceived as a quid Pro quo (i.e. returning a favour or expecting a favour in return for something). The practitioners of gift-giving generally argue that doing business is often an aggregation of personal interactions and relationships, and gift-giving should be seen as a natural way of maintaining and enhancing these relationships. ‘Business gifts, especially one given in the course of the festive s
Buzzwords have disadvantages. Right now, experiential learning is one, and that means we put the label on everything and it stops to mean anything. Also, this means reasonable conversation about experiential learning becomes difficult - at times such as this, either you preach experiential learning or you are traditional, antiquarian and hopelessly out of touch. But, overlooking the limitations of experiential learning can cause big problems. Experiential Learning does many things - putting practice at the heart of learning is an important paradigm shift - but not everything, and it is important to be aware what it does not do. Usually, we equate the terms Project-based Learning (the method) with Experiential Learning (the idea) and Learning from Experience (the ideal), treating them as one and the same and using the terms interchangeably. Any talk about distinctive meaning of these terms is usually seen as pedantic, but really represent very different ideas about education.
Today, Helen Goddard, 26, a highly popular music teacher of a City School for Girls, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Her crime was to carry out a year long lesbian affair with one of her pupils, who appeared in the court and admitted that the affair was consensual and it was she who pressured Helen into the affair. For Helen, a bright musician and a devout Chistian, this is an extraordinary lapse of judgement. Also, she was teaching in the £13,000 private girls only school in London. She was surely aware what the consequences of her action will be. The fact that she still could not stop herself tells us that lovers do not always act rationally, something we always knew. There is more in this affair than personal tragedies. For a start, this has all the dramatic elements: a bright, beautiful teacher more in Julia Roberts mould [as in Mona Lisa Smile], a stiff upper lip school [not unlike Wellesley] and a story like Notes On A Scandal with an added twist. Indeed, Helen
In most societies today, making profits are accepted as moral, if not especially praiseworthy. This was not as obvious as it appears today – people used to be embarrassed about making a profit not so long ago. Crazy as it seems today, it is worth thinking why it was so. Profits, as economists will put it, is the reward for risk-taking, for putting a business enterprise together in the pursuit of an objective. In this definition, remember, profits are not what it is commonly understood to be – the gross middle-line towards the bottom – but a figure net of entrepreneur’s earning [wages for his labour], dividends and interests on borrowed capital, and provisions for building and other physical assets [a sort of rent, offsetting what these assets could have earned if leased out]. This pure profit – surplus – accrues to a business as a reward to its organisation, for the act of entrepreneurship itself. Economists were divided on how this surplus comes about. The conventional wisdom was,
Introduction Erna Petri née Kürbs, a farmer’s daughter from Herressen in Thuringia, arrived in Ukraine with her three year old son to join her husband Horst in June 1942. Horst, an SS leader inspired by Nazi ideologue Dr Richard Walter Darré, settled in the plantation of Grzenda, just outside today’s Lviv, to become a German Gentleman-Farmer. Erna saw Horst beating and abusing the workers in the plantation within two days of arriving there, which was, as Horst explained, necessary for establishing authority. Erna joined in enthusiastically, settling into a combination of roles of ‘plantation mistress, prairie Madonna in apron-covered dress lording over slave labourers, infant-carrying, gun-wielding Hausfrau.’  However, there were clear rules in the plantation, and Erna was very much expected to play the woman’s role of being a Cake-and-Coffee hostess. When four Jews were caught in the estate while trying to escape from a transport to a death camp, Horst told Erna and her female
A week into lockdown and things are beginning to change. Mornings are late, afternoons are lazier and evenings never end; meditations are filling out the time for Yoga routines and Netflix profiles are strewn with half-finished movies. This state-mandated, state-funded period of idleness is being likened to being called up to serve, but is nothing like that: Such a comparison is really an affront to the idea of service. Instead, this is just one long streak of panic; of the centre not holding and life not going on as usual. With the usual patterns and rules in suspended animation and business talk - and business - being rendered meaningless, space is opening up for unusual questions: Is Capitalism about to end? Is this the death of globalisation? Does it get uglier from here? My grandfather's generation would have scoffed at us. They saw through wars and pandemics. But, in fairness, we haven't had a life-ending crisis of our own. Notwithstanding the experiences of th
I wrote a note on Kolkata, the city I come from and would always belong to, in July 2010. Since then, the post attracted many visitors and comments, mostly critical, as most people, including those from Kolkata, couldn't see any future for the city. My current effort, some 18 months down the line, is also prompted by a recent article in The Economist, The City That Got Left Behind , which echo the pessimism somewhat. I, at least emotionally, disagree to all the pessimism: After all Kolkata is home and I live in the hope of an eventual return. Indeed, some change has happened since I wrote my earlier post: The geriatric Leftist government that ruled the state for more than 30 years was summarily dispatched, and was replaced by a lumpen-capitalist populist government. Kolkata looked without a future with the clueless leftists at the helm; it now looks without hope. However, apart from bad governance, there is no reason why Kolkata had to be poor and hopeless. It sits right
Introduction: Hastings in the history of Indian Education Whether or not one includes Warren Hastings in the history of Education in India is a matter of perspective. If writing the history of education means writing the history of schools, the impact of Hastings' administration would be quite limited. If anything, the rapid implosion of local rulers in Eastern, Southern and Northern India during Hastings' tenure had meant a bleak period for the indigenous education system, as patronage and funds would have dwindled away for many of them. The Company administration really concerned itself with the schooling of the natives only after 1813, as Nurullah and Naik rightly pointed out ( see my earlier post ) and one can legitimately start the story at this point. However, if history of Education in India is to encompass the transformation of Indian Scholarship, on which foundation the new, colonial, system of Education would be built, the story must start with Warren Hast
The ‘Why’ Question? Adolf Hitler was appointed the German Chancellor by President Von Hindenburg on 30th January 1933. This was an extraordinary turn of events. Previously, President Von Hindenburg consistently refused to appoint Hitler the Chancellor, despite the impressive electoral performance of NSDAP in July 1932, Hitler’s uncompromising demand of the Chancellor’s post and a repeat election in November 1932 which failed to break the deadlock. Explaining his refusal, Hindenburg wrote in a letter on 24th November, “a presidential cabinet led by you would develop necessarily into a party dictatorship with all its consequences for an extraordinary accentuation of the conflicts in the German people.” The question ‘why’ Hitler was appointed Chancellor, despite the President being acutely aware of what might follow, is therefore a significant one. The NSDAP had election successes throughout 1932, and was already the biggest single party in the Reichstag and various Landtags acros
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.