Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Competitive sporting and financial security

I went to put my daughter for swimming classes for the summer. The coach was an affable young lady with the curiosity of a kid. So she opened up easily when asked about her swimming background. She said she was a state level swimmer and was doing well at the nationals. At one point she had to choose between competitive swimming, which is a shot at glory, but comes with financial uncertainties, and coaching school kids. She pointed to an old poor looking woman at the edge of the pool and said "My mom used to work as a house help. Coaching brings regular income to my family. So I chose coaching over competitive swimming".  I do not know  if this is a representative case. But it complements the sentiment other news reports about poor sportsmen and sportswomen in lesser followed sports.  It appears that India has a better chance of converting sporting potential into medals if sportsmen and sportswomen of poor backgound are rewarded with fiinancial security for their perseverance

Friday, March 27, 2015

A yardstick to measure the success of AAP

We all know about the Aam Aadmi Party and what it has managed to do to the Indian politics. Opinions about the party is always strong and polarized mainly because they have either failed big or achieved big. I am no unconditional supporter of the party (or any other party), but the fact that a few people with no political background have managed to upstage a couple of well-established political parties - twice makes this series of events rare to come by. However, does this mean that an end in social good is reached? Does this mean that the popular ideology (idea of Lokpal Bill) of the party is relevant? Not necessarily. However, I see that a couple of important underlying ideas behind the Lokpal Bill are grievance redressal (for example, someone affected by corruption) and easy access to preventive measures on grievance (for example, whistle-blowing). This is an end that, in my opinion, that has subconsciously attracted people to the idea of Aam Aadmi Party. But that is also an end very far away. I think success of this rare series of events that led to the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party should be measured using this yardstick. If this end isn't reached eventually, then the Aam Aadmi Party, its success would be irrelevant.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lest we forget - Sardar Bhagat Singh

Today is the day when revolutionary Sardar Bhagat Singh was hanged.
I believe strength of any feeling, especially nationalism, should be proportional to the gravity of the situation. Those who criticize his ways are entitled to judge him as someone who saw the world through the magnifying lens called emotion, and call his actions knee jerk. However, the fact is that it was a tumultuous time and he was hanged at an impressionable age of 23, by an imperialist government.

Lest we forget that he had his hand in inspiring the youth to nationalism at a time when it was needed. Lest we forget that he played a positive role (however small or big it is) in making India what it is today.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

World Storytelling Day!

Yesterday, March 20th was World Storytelling Day. A quick read about this in Wikipedia did not reveal anything specifically exciting. However, as I am a father of a curious child, the idea of story telling remains a matter of interest to me. For the same reason, I am surprised that I didn't consciously think about and explore this till now. Now is as good a time as any!

The first story that I listened to was Gajendra Moksham as told by my mother upon locating a sculpture that represented the story at a temple. That was probably about thirty years ago. Since then, I must have listened to a lot of stories primarily related to the great epics  Ramayana and Mahabharata. The fact that most of what I know of the these two epics is primarily because of my grandmother's narrative is testimony to the amount of time I spent listen to the stories.

Upon reminiscing about this experience, I think the impact of the story on the listener depends as much, if not more, on the narrative and the emotional connect the listener has with the teller, as the quality of its content. I think the derived moral of stories that we listen to, watch or read as a child settles beneath the conscious mind and plays its part, on how we react to situations and what opinion we form.

I find that there are organizations working in this space targeting young impressionable minds in the hope of improving their experience and enriching their personalities. Kid and Parent Foundation and Bangalore Storytelling Society are the curious cases in Bangalore!