The ability to say NO

You might spend lifetime try to change something and everyone around telling you how you need to work on it but life has its own way of teaching – wierd but effective. I had a hard time saying NO to anything… to my manager for work (for a really loong time), to my mother for shopping, to my friend for a movie and to a lot of people around me for hell lot of stuff… I just cant… I mean COULDNT say No.

Recently, on my trip to Bangalore, I learnt the skill. I went to Bangalore with a lot of expectation of learning and fun… the learning part was good but the fun part didnt take off really well. I realized that a few of my friends had stuff that took priorities which was acceptible, sorta !! Then, there were the ones who had taken time off their schedules and life to make it a nice trip for me. They even planned a weekend away from the city for me (which by the way went fantastic) and then the moment of learning happened.

Just when we were getting into our fun filled weekend mode, I got THE call from the friend who had great plans for the weekend ahead and intended to spend it with me, leaving me with no option but to say NO.. and just then I realized, it was probably the very first time I outrightly said No to a friend for something. Wow.. it felt great. And I felt all the more connected to the people I was with. A lesson learnt in a moment without even having to put in any effort… a lesson for life !!!

By the way… the weekend went great – the pic is from Gagan Chukki

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Back to college – the other side

I recently got invited to my institute to attend the new batch’s induction program and share my experiences of the institute and industry with them.

Realizing I was the only alumni invited when I reached there, I was a bit scared (and thrilled). However, it turned out fine and I was well greeted by my teachers and the current students and was made to sit in the fine company of our Principal Director, the Head Of Dept and the university’s Computer Science dept’s Head of Dept aka NSG (apparantly they also invited this guy who I never made peace during any of my practicals) on the front row couch (Yea… I made it to THE couch).

The whole thing started and NSG started off a presentation on the future of IT to give the new kids something to look forward to, which went on for over an hour (or so it seemed) and I cant think of a IT jargon that he might have missed out on. End of session was followed by a whole lot of confused faces across the hall instead of an appreciation for such learning experience which it was supposed to be (BUT it wasnt for most of us). This was followed by a few other sessions of motivational and publicity speeches (and some nice snacks from the canteen) by some of the other guests.

During this, one of my teachers started a conversation with me how the new batches were different from the our initial batches of the institute and she was of the strong view that the breed of new generation was solely responsible for the whole phenomenon as they were more resistent to teacher-student personal relations and were using classrooms for just getting pointers to the subject which they can later search for on the internet and the brainstorming inside the classroom was… say out of fashion. She also mentioned they bunked a lot less classes they we used to (poor chaps, missing out on all the fun). While talking more about this, I realized how the headcount in the institute has gone from 250 to 2500 and how the utilization of teachers per day has gone from 2 – 3 hrs a day to 5 hours a day. Which means the time for a teacher to interact with a student has gone down considerably. Also, due the no. of students shooting up like this, I guess the personal touch would have been lost as well. Not to mention the students now have more resources to their disposal with everything on the internet accessible whenever and wherever they want. But I still wasnt able to understand how the bunking could possibly get reduced.. I mean thats just plain simple human nature, aint it? We had all kinds of fines and punishments which could never prevent us from doing it, not to mention the passing the Power Of Attorney to another mate to sign in for me in a class. I guess thats just a change in generation.

I feel the newer generations are less outgoing, less outdoors, less sporty, more geeky and more virtual. Thats added to their being more IN the classes a lot more. The first thing we used to think of when planning to bunk a class was to play in a ground near the institute or to watch a live game. I dont remember BUNKing a class to play a computer game or to chat or to check my emails.

Anyways, I realized how much the teachers miss the old-school teacher-student relationship which was lot more personal and respectful. Would have been the first time when I judged any of my teachers as humans and not teachers – they look totally different, they ARE totally different.

PS – I dont know how many times I would have lost way from where I started on this post, however, I am not going back and editing it 🙂