Shrink is shrinking more – I am not speaking about the ego we all have but the way we see things happen. The world at large appears to be shrinking in terms of approach and dimensions we used to feel. It also includes the value perception of numbers in terms of currency. Ten rupees once and now, a “lakh-pathy” and a “crore-pathy” have shrunk in our estimate. I believe that the only organ of human beings that shrink is the brain, but that happens due to non-use of the synapses. We tend not to use our assets in talents and so nature shrinks the gifted mass that’s within us. We hear about another deficit in relationship management and call it “Trust Deficit”.
There are things that expand, like our expectations and desires. We urge to have more and more. The deficit is also expanding as expectations and realities give gaps that bulge. Look at the numbers itself on that tiny instrument men use almost daily for shaving. I remember the barber who used to have a knife to shave that he used with élan and style. As I grew up, it was 7’O clock blades and later moved into Gillett’s shaving apparatus with a single tilting blade. The new brand Fusion has 5 blades that move on your curves and provide you with that macho face that’s so smooth. Management Guru’s call a phenomena called “Execution Deficit” when dreams do not match with realities.
It was a wonderful morning with sun shine as I bent down to pick the day’s newspaper. I had felt that newspapers have given front page to commercials and I felt good that I do not have to go through monotonous news about accidents, scams and illegal acquisitions and transactions, as well pictures that depict nothingness. The reading habits are shrinking, giving way to net, cell phone and tablet surfing. What if I do not open the paper, I initially thought, but having used to enjoying the smell of newspaper along with a cup of tea, I opened up the pages.
The news was on changes. Changes do happen, we are aware of it – some accept and others not. A few recognize the signs and adapt by learning and coping. Nature provides a beautiful example of continual change of weather through the year – it has a cycle of seasons. In the chase for power and money we tend to ignore self. Our image and identities are forgotten. May be at times we need to look internally and change the course and direction. Real things that make you happy may be beyond where you are now.
The changing socio-economic scenario around us is worth looking at to appreciate the dimension of the future that we have to hand over to our grandchildren. With nearly 60% of our population in the category of youth, it’s time we introspect between the “shrink-expansion” attributes. Success need to have a new dimension, as I used to enjoy as a child, in the native Nadakkave in Kozhikode, a city in Kerala. Happiness quotient for majority then, involved with simple, uncharacteristic not so stylish attitudes. Content and relationship circled around sharing and support rather than lack of discipline. I recently overheard a statement by a person – “what’s the point is respecting – what do I get in return?”
A large number of women are now in the board rooms and higher positions of power and that has shifted life-style in a home environment. Men tend to support the women at work, by being good house (not wives) husbands! The paper had an article how some men care to cook and ready to give a massage to the wife who returns home after a hectic day’s work. Some men are best chef’s – why not think that some of the best painters, sculptors, drivers, authors are men and why not chefs? And shift as baby sitters and home makers while the wife brings home major chunk of wealth through their work at offices?
Recently I had an opportunity to be away from home, left for the wife’s family to have their plan of vacation fulfilled. I indulged into that opportunity as I had a longing to be with my grandson. To feel younger, it’s good to be with kids especially with grandchildren. Of-course change is easier when you adapt and observe them.
For sure that was an amazing experience to assist and support my daughter who works with an MNC in Bengaluru and her husband away at work for another MNC in Kolkata. I wrote earlier that we need to introspect as tomorrow needs to be handed over to the youngsters who are growing, seeing the environment of “shrink-expand” theory.
To feel the warmth as Darsh came running to me added flavor to the otherwise loveable comfort of cozy weather, the chirping of birds in the vicinity and the sun shine. My daughter drives herself to work and I commence my early morning schedule totally different than what I was used to. No cup of tea but listen to the whispers and stories that Darsh tells me. My schedule reoriented with that of his – his ablutions, drinking of milk, brushing his teeth etc. and there after feeding him with the breakfast that I prepare. He needs a different story and ask innumerable questions about the latest toy-his motorbike – about the engine, exhaust and accelerator and what not? He recollected stories told by his Elayamma when she went to Bengaluru recently – good positive feeling evoking stories. When it’s time for his bath he says – “You know I am big, and can take my bath”. I help him instead. I find it great to dress him up with his school uniform and go down with him for the bus to pick him up. As we reach the appointed place within the housing complex, he is attracted to the swing and see-saw. He watches for the horn that the driver Manju Bhaiyya makes. Off he goes and I am in waiting for the little tiny tot of 3 ½ years to return.
Life is a simple puzzle!
After a prolonged career spanning more than forty years, I felt, I never could spend time with my children. I even recollect my wife’s fury when I missed attending the school day function of my daughters as there was a break-down in the process plant. Life as a process keeps moving and we also move on. Speed may be a criterion that things appear on a faster track. With that speed dimensions of “shrink-expand” theory gets diluted.
It’s time he returns – I need to be there. He projects a smile of appreciation and thanksgiving. I am again overwhelmed. We are home and I give him lunch and watch him enjoy. I tell more stories and narrate those from ancient episodes and puranas. As his eyes close to sleep, I move on to prepare his evening milk and snacks and after a while we head to the park with his cycle and play with friends. His mom joins us when we are around there.
The return journey for me has been with full of excitement and understanding of the life that we at times call a puzzle. For Darsh the small puzzles he plays with are a game of his choice. He does it with ease. Learning by being close to a child gave me fresh channels to look beyond the way I did so far. Speed need not be a criterion – nature’s seasons will take care. If we use our shrinking brains we may start viewing life better. Pleasure in being a witness made me appreciate the nuances of the nature. Sharing and supporting is a wonderful feeling that nurtures bonds of relationships. Cooking and cleaning is no more a taboo for the 5 blade shaven macho male. Dropping the newspaper with the commercials that herald the demand-desire pattern for a revised schedule is worthy of emulating. I felt that there was hardly any shrink on the dimension of time. It just got a right fit. No pressures. I wondered the many things I learnt being with the tiny tot. He taught me to listen. He also revived my story telling ability. I felt that there are more stories to write – including this for that matter. I started looking for simpler pleasures of life and surroundings.
Deviating from my path from my home helped me understand that on the path called life – the puzzles are easy to resolve that otherwise would appear. One need to invest – invest in time in playing with them lest you forget the childish patterns of behavior. Talents are to be nurtured for the youth to carry out bigger responsibilities that make them successful human beings – and engage as global citizens.
Edward de Bono in his book “Tactics” – The art and science of Success – states about the Venezuelan project where he worked for the children and to teach them how to think. “The object was to change the self-image of the child who can think and then put them to action. Children are very quick to pick up the rules of the game like the puzzle game.”