Book Review : English,August

As i wanted to dedicate 2016 for indian authors, upamanyu chatterjee came in my list for the above mentioned book. Picked it opposite the homeopathy clinic where I waited for 90 mins to see the doc.

This book is about urban-bred, city-loving youngster who does his IAS and goes for an year of training in Madna, a place where he never imagines himself to be. It chronicles how he thinks during the entire period.

The narrative is dry humor, sarcastic and very original. I quite liked the way in which agastya sen looks at the world. There are a lot of real life elements the author subtly inserts, like tribals, leprosy institute, john avery. You need to have fine eye for detail.

The best part of the book to me was the thoughts agastya gets. And how everyone feels dislocated, wherever they are and whatever they’re doing. So damn true.

Pick it up, and read in leisure. Its a journey to be experienced with the author in his head, not a movie to be watched.

My rating : 5/5


Thoughts around Motivation

“Dolly, why can’t you stand still? This way, you will never learn bharatnatyam. Look at your hands. Why aren’t you telling aloud? Where is the sync?”…

This is a sample lovely instruction from my daughter’s bharatnatyam teacher. Not to my daughter ofcourse. She’s basically good at dance and drawing. Atleast now. As a mom, I’m allowed to bask in the fake glory that I get out of her own natural competence. But now, that’s not the point of discussion. It’s dolly. I accompany saanvi for the saturday class and sit with her for 10-15 minutes to keep her motivation levels intact, or more as per my foolish assumptions. I know this girl, who is a very good friend of Saanvi – who is just not physically or mentally ready to take on the demands of classical dance. Her mom gets infuriated from time to time at the treatment meted out to her daughter. I would too, putting myself in her shoes. But, something strange happens here.

The girl continues to come.

Class after Class.

Week after Week.

Simply, because she enjoys dancing , with her friends. She likes the teacher.

And yesterday – I go and see her performing extremely well. Her postures are good and she didn’t miss a step. The teacher was still demanding perfection – but, in my eyes that girl has achieved something that millions of adults are struggling to achieve.

Including ME.

Why bring up all this? The girl does not know the consequences of a lot of things in life. She’s 5 years old and all she wants to do is go all out and enjoy with her friends. Never mind she can’t get her posture correct. Never mind her teacher scolds her. Never mind her mom keeps correcting her all the time she’s around.

She’s never missed a Class. And the result was awesome to see.

I’ve long carried fancy to run non stop – atleast 5K.  This year, I’ve started multiple times to run and stopped. What exactly goes through my mind in these times?

Stage 1 : Oh, Look at me. Need to cut down on weight. Also, if I’m a couch potato, how can I possibly teach my kids to be fit? It is only natural for them not to respect what I’m saying. Rite?

Stage 2 : Read new and old stuff again and again. Until I get bored to death.

Stage 3 : Chalk out a plan.

Stage 4 : Start doing it, for a couple of days.

Stage < not planned >  : Something happens like Aunt Fanny visiting,  staying overnight watching standup comedy which naturally results in skipping the next planned routine.

Stage 6 : Doesn’t exist anymore. I behave as if I have never thought about this in my life.

Stage 7 :  Crib about this to myself, insult and berate at the innate disability to follow through my plans. Make a not-so-nice entry in personal diary. Later, read it and delete it : I can’t be so harsh to myself!

Stage 8 : Go back to Stage 1.

Had I just made effort to consistently practice, irrespective of what happens : I would have long done by 5K by now. With that, I have another perspective of the whole thing : When you are a kid, there are people who force you irrespective of your will & wish. And the more you do, the more you get better at it. Basic neurology. But, once you are done & dusted with the education system and get into a cushioned job : There’s no one to push you. We aren’t taught to push ourselves.

This is going to be my next scholarly pursuit – How to motivate yourself when there’s no exam to fail or medal to show off?

Anyway, I guess this’s enough rant for a quiet sunday morning. See ya folks!