Thursday, October 20, 2011

How To Really Listen - By Peter Bregman


One morning, my wife Eleanor woke up, turned over, and said, "I am not looking forward to this day." I asked her why.
What came out is that we were at the start of the Jewish high holy day season, which means colder weather and three weeks of big social meals, long religious services, broken routines, and children out of school. Eleanor didn't grow up with these traditions, and they can be overwhelming.
Now, I run a management consulting company; problem solving is what I do. So it didn't take me long to jump in.
"Cold weather means ski season is about to start," I said. "You love skiing. And these holiday meals are fun and filled with people you love — they'll make you feel better. And I'll be with you; you won't be alone with the kids. Also, you know, Jesus was Jewish, so it's kind of your tradition too."
Even as I said it, I knew that last one was a reach. It became clear that I was making her feel worse and now she wasn't just sad, she was angry.
And when she got angry, I felt myself get angry too. And self-righteous. Here I am trying to help her and this is what I get?
But then I smartened up. Instead of giving in to my anger, which would have really blown things up, I shut up and listened. When I did, I began to hear the real stuff, the things that neither of us was actually saying.
What I discovered was that she was upset because the focus on mothers during the Jewish holidays taps into her insecurities about motherhood, not being a Jewish mom, and not having time to spend on her own work.
I also discovered that my own babbling wasn't so much to help her feel better as to help me feel better. I'm the reason she's in New York City, living through cold winters, and part of a Jewish family.
In other words, by trying to make her feel better, I was doing the opposite of making her feel better. I was arguing with her. In fact, most of the time when we try to make people feel better, we end up arguing with them because we're contradicting what they're feeling. Which, inevitably, makes them feel worse.
Listening, it turns out, is magic. Not only did it help me understand what was going on with both of us, but it helped Eleanor feel better, too. It made her feel that she wasn't alone in her feelings; I was with her.
All I had to do was listen.
But listening isn't easy. The more we listen to others, the more likely we will react — or overreact — to what they say. Listening, it turns out, is much harder than speaking. We have to allow things we might disagree with to hang in the air. We have to move over a little and create space for those things to linger.
That kind of listening takes tremendous courage.
But if we're interested in learning — about ourselves as well as others — then it's worth it. And if we're interested in being connected to others, showing them respect, helping them feel better, and solving problems between us, than it's more than worth it. It's essential.
Until people feel heard, they will fight to be heard. But once they are heard, there is little left to fight for, and then we can move on, not as "us vs. them" but simply as "us."
So how do you listen in a way that transforms conversations and relationships?
  1. Actually listen. And only listen. That means don't multitask. I'm not just talking about doing email, surfing the web, or creating a grocery list. Thinking about what you're going to say next counts as multitasking. Simply focus on what the other person is saying.
  2. Repeat back. This feels a little silly at first but works magic. If someone says she is angry about the decision you just made, you can say "you're angry about the decision I just made." I know, I know, she just said that. But it shows you're listening and it communicates to the other person that she's been heard. If you don't have the courage to try it with an adult, try it with a child. You'll see what a difference it makes and it will embolden you to try it with a colleague or your spouse.
  3. Ask questions. Explore the other person's thoughts and feelings more deeply. And "You don't really believe that, do you?" does not count as a question. You are not using the Socratic method to prove your point; you are trying to better understand what's going on so you can better understand your partner in this conversation.
Really listening can feel risky, which seems strange because listening doesn't materially change anything. But sometimes you'll hear things that are hard to hear.
Remember that listening is not the same thing as agreeing. And it will never force you to take any particular action. If anything, it will reduce the intensity of people's insistence that you take a specific action. Because in many cases what they're looking for is proof that you've heard them. So if they feel you've really heard them, their need for action diminishes.
As Eleanor spoke, I noticed my own resistance to various things she was saying. There's no question that it's hard to really listen. But once I relaxed into it, I heard her in a much deeper way. That made her feel better. Call me co-dependent, but it made me feel better too.
It turns out that sometimes, just listening is problem-solving.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs (1955-2011)


"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." -Steve Jobs.

Friday, September 30, 2011

B'Day Poems' Collage

P.S. : Specials thanks to the authors Tina M. Marascia, Mike and Kay Theese who have shared their amazing piece of work in public and others who shared amazing B'day pics on inter-net!

Happy Birthday Dear

Happy Birthday Dear

The little princess in our family turns three today!
Small poem written by me on her B'day eve!

Birthday Bells
As the beautiful day ahead, 

All set to carve another marvellous year ahead,  

Is about to come and spread its fragrance,

A pre-B'Day gift, from somebody your own, though from quite a distance,

Some feelings shared, some words written,
From none other but amazing souls like you two,

Penning their thoughts into  words so precious few,
Please scroll right bar down, this sorted gift is just for the partying crew,

Your sweet poetic sister found hard to resist the wordy lace,
Spun by some magical people in poems below shining ablaze.

An Angel Left Her Wings

© Tina M. Marascia

I have this little angel. For me she left her wings.
She has no idea how much happiness she truly brings.
She brightens up my days with her smiles and her laughs.
She helps me to remember all the blessings that I have.

Her face, it is so perfect, she's sweet and soft and pure.
Sometimes she can be willful and sometimes she is demure.
She tries her very hardest to please and do what's right.
She gives the greatest hugs from morning until night.

Every person that has known her sees this light within her soul
I know that in this whole great world, she has a special role.
She's helpful and considerate to everyone she knows
This light in her shines brighter as my angel grows.

When she sees someone is sad, it opens up her heart.
She wants to do all that she can; she wants to do her part.
She'll squeeze away the sorrow and make me forget about my pain.
She shows me where the sun is when we're hiding from the rain.

I know that God must love me, He showed me with His Grace
I knew just how completely when I saw my angel's face.
And in that very moment when she came into my world,
I knew that she was so much more than just my baby girl.

She would be my sunshine, with a sweetness that won't end.
And when she grows up one day she would be my closest friend.
She would be the reason I would always try my best.
For my little angel baby girl would be my greatest test.

When God entrusts to you an angel, who has left her wings for you.
Encircle her with love with everything you do.
Let her know God made her, and that He trusts you with her care.
Be sure to make time for special moments with her to share.

And when at night she finally says her prayers and goes to sleep
I Thank Him for my angel, and ask for him to always keep
A watchful eye and hand to protect her from this world.
Protect my little angel; protect my baby girl.

Source: An Angel Left Her Wings, Daughter Poem and 27 Stories 
Family Friend Poems 

Daughter Poem

A fathers love to his little princess.

I Am Yours To Keep

© Mike

You are a princess in my heart,
and I care for you so much.
I love the fondness in you eyes and your tender little touch.

I looked at you when you were born,
and knew then straight away,
that I would be forever here
to watch you grow and play.

You bring to me a heart of joy,
and memories so great,
and a powerful sense of fatherhood that no one can debate.

I watch you sleep and dream of things that I can only wonder.
That innocent look upon your face just makes my heart grow fonder.

I see you run and jump and shout and calling out my name.
No love that I have ever known could ever feel the same.
No suffering or tragedy nor deeply seated pain
could ever over shadow the bond that we retain.

And so my little princess before you go to sleep,
Remember I am your daddy and I am yours to keep.

Source: Fathers Love To Daughter, Daughter Poem and 7 Stories 
Family Friend Poems 

A mother writes to her daughter letting her know how much she loves her.

As I Watch You Grow

© Kay Theese

Do you know how much you mean to me?
As you grow into what you will be.
You came from within, from just beneath my heart
it's there you'll always be though your own life will now start.
You're growing so fast it sends me awhirl,
With misty eyes I ask, Where's my little girl?
I know sometimes to you I seem harsh and so unfair,
But one day you will see, I taught you well because I care.
The next few years will so quickly fly,
With laughter and joy, mixed with a few tears to cry.
As you begin your growth to womanhood, this fact you must know,
You'll always be my source of pride, no matter where you go.
You must stand up tall and proud, within you feel no fear,
For all you dreams and goals, sit before you very near.
With god's love in your heart and the world by its tail,
You'll always be my winner, and victory will prevail.
For you this poem was written, with help from above,
To tell you in a rhythm of your Mother's heartfelt Love!

Source: As I Watch You Grow, Daughter Poem and 16 Stories 
Family Friend Poems 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ways to teach Science in schools

I came across an intersting article by Kartikeya V. Sarabhai where he has demonstrated via an example how kids could be involved in scientific learning.


Learning Science

About 20 years ago, my colleague from Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC), Jayshree Mehta and I used to go to teach once in a week or so in a school in Rajoda village near Ahmedabad. This was a part of our effort to understand how science and mathematics were being taught in schools, and how children learn. I would like to describe an incident from this experience, which was a very important lesson to me in terms of how to teach.

One day, we gave a multiplication problem to the students. The problem was simple: what is 25 X 5. We expected that some would get it right and some would get it wrong. What surprised us was that the answers fell into four clusters. One group gave the right answer, viz. 125. And the three wrong answers, each given by a group of children, were 30, 45 and 105.

We asked the children to make groups based on the answers they had given. We asked each to explain how they had arrived at their answers. The operations that the 3 groups with wrong answers had carried out were:
·         The group with answer ‘30’ had just added. In other words, they did not know what multiplication was, or how to carry out the operation.
·         The group with ‘45’ as answer had started by multiplying. They had even carried over ‘2’. But they had forgotten or did not know that the second digit too had to be multiplied. They had added the second digit to the carry over digit.
·         The group with ‘105’ as answer had carried over ‘2’ but forgotten to add it.

We asked the teacher what she did when students made mistakes in the multiplication lesson. She told us that she made them repeat the concerned multiplication table eight times. 
When we discussed the analyses of the class performance with her, it was obvious that no child had made a mistake because he or she did not know the multiplication table. Rather, it was to do with not understanding the process of multiplication. So repeating the tables would not really help.
The teacher appreciated the point and we set about teaching each of the groups individually, based on the mistakes the group had made. And sure enough, within a fairly short time, the whole class could actually multiply.
There are many lessons for educators. Unless we understand where we are not communicating, we cannot help learners. It is necessary to bring the method of science to the teaching of science. Rather than assuming why the children are not learning and take “corrective” action based on this, it would probably be better to observe the children and set up a hypothesis as to why children have not learnt a concept, then actually try to scientifically test and validate it, and then proceed from there.

Kartikeya V. Sarabhai
Centre for Environment Education

Friday, September 09, 2011

Quotation on Tourist by John Carroll


Thursday, September 08, 2011

Wetlands are Precious!

Came across a wonderful old article by an environmental expert Ms. Sadia Zahid:
Mass awareness on wetlands stressed.

Monday, August 08, 2011

FlowPlayer - Flash Video Player for the Web

I have recently developed a liking for FlowPlayer while watching nptel tutorials on web.
Here is some embedded code for this blog-page visitors to explore it more.

Friday, July 01, 2011

A Time To Rejoice ...

ISRO scientist 2011 written exam were out a fortnight back and seeing a 189 all India rank only made me wonder, did the exam really go this well when i was expecting it to be good but not my best seeing a couple of silly mistakes in this time packed exam!!

Hurrah..good job..
This being my first attempt, had to take help from internet to understand the overall selection procedure. Experienced students say i should be expecting an interview call by none other than IISC and ISRO panel by mid of August..

Oh God, i just hope i am able to express knowledge of fundamentals well if not all the real-time electronics and communications applications.
Anyone who happens to read my post and has some good idea of ISRO scientist interview, please drop a comment or two.

A good senior friend of mine who recently met some ISRO scientists feels i should leave no stone unturned in the preparation; it wil surely be a wonderful experience!

Hoping for the best, i stop now!
Happy July!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Centre for Environment Education, CEE

Centre for Environment Education, CEE

Centre for Environment Education, CEE was created in recognition of the importance ofenvironmental education in India's overall environment and development strategy. The result of a unique partnership between government and a non-governmental institution, CEE was established as a Centre of Excellence in 1984, supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India.

CEE has inherited the rich multi-disciplinary resource base and varied experience of Nehru Foundation for Development, its parent organisation, which has been promoting educational efforts since 1966 in the areas of science, nature study, health, development, and environment.

At the time it began its activities, CEE was perhaps the only organization actively engaged in environmental education in the country. While carrying out programmes in different parts of the country, it was located only at Ahmedabad. Within five years of activities, it was realized that for a country as vast as India and its diversity, physical presence was important for effective implementation. Based on this, the first regional office was opened for the Southern region in 1988-89. Since then it has been a conscious effort to have an office or presence in the geographical area of work.

After completing a decade of activities in 1994, it was decided to move more from environmental education to environmental action. This was an outcome of the learnings and experiences in the first ten years. CEE began more pilot, field-level and demonstration projects towards sustainable development which could be scaled-up and replicated. Within the next ten years, these projects formed a major chunk of Centre's activities.

Today, CEE works for a wide range of sectors, target groups and geographical areas. CEE sees a major opportunity in the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-14) to further contribute towards sustainable development.

CEE's Sister Organisatons

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it.

-Horace Mann 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Aditya Hridayam

Aditya Hridayam, or Aditya Hrdaya, is a hymn dedicated to Lord Surya (Sun God) in Valmiki Ramayana. It has 31 verses and is found in the 107th chapter of Yuddha Kanda of Ramayan. It was narrated to Lord Rama by Sage Agastya to energize him in the battle against Ravana.

Thatho yudha parisrantham samare chinthaya sthitham,
Ravanam chagratho drushtwa yudhaya samupasthitham. 1

Daivathischa samagamya drushtu mabhya gatho ranam,
Upagamyabraveed ramam Agasthyo Bhagawan rishi. 2

Rama rama maha baho srunu guhyam sanathanam,
Yena sarvaanareen vatsa samare vijayishyasi. 3

Adithya hrudayam punyam, sarva sathru vinasanam,
Jayavaham japen nithyam akshayyam paramam shubham. 4

Sarva mangala mangalyam, sarva papa pranasanam,
Chinthasoka prasamanam, ayur vardhanamuthamam. 5

Rasmi mantham samudhyantham devasura namaskrutham,
Poojayaswa vivaswantham bhaskaram bhuvaneshwaram. 6

Sarva devathmako hyesha tejaswai rasmi bhavana,
Esha devasura ganan lokan pathi gabasthibhi. 7

Esha brahma cha Vishnuscha Shiva skanda prajapathi,
Mahendro, dhandha kalo yama somo hyapam pathi. 8

Pitharo vasava sadhya hyaswinou marutho, manu,
Vayur vahni praja prana ruthu hartha prabhakara. 9

Adithya savitha soorya khaga poosha gabasthiman,
Suvarna sadrusa bhanu, hiranya retha divakara. 10

Haridaswa sahasrarchi saptha sapthir mareechiman,
Thimironmadhana shambhu thwashtwa marthanda amsuman. 11

Hiranya garbha shisira thapano bhaskaro ravi,
Agni garbha adithe puthra sanka shisira nasana. 12

Vyomanadha sthamobhedi rig yajur sama paraga,
Ghana vrushtirapam mithro vindhya veedhi plavangama. 13

Aathapee mandali mruthyu pingala sarva thapana,
Kavir viswo maha thejaa raktha sarvodbhava. 14

Nakshtra gruha tharanam adhipo, viswa bhaavana,
Thejasam aphi thejaswi dwadasathman namosththe. 15

Nama poorvaya giraye, paschimaya draye nama,
Jyothirgananam pathaye dhinadhipathaye nama. 16

Jayaya jaya bhadraya haryaswaya namo nama,
Namo nama sahasramso Adithyaya namo nama. 17

Nama ugraya veeraya sarangaya namo nama,
Nama padma prabhodaya, marthandaya namo nama. 18

Brhamesanachuthesaya sooryadhithya varchase,
Bhaswathe sarva bhakshaya roudraya vapushe nama 19

Thmognaya himagnaya sathrugnaya amithathmane,
Kruthagnagnaya devaya jyothisham pathaye nama. 20

Taptha chamikarabhaya vahnaye viswa karmane,
Namasthomabhinignaya ruchaye loka sakshine. 21

Naasa yatyesha vai bhootham tadeva srujathi prabha,
Payathyesha thapathyesha varshatyesha gabhasthibhi. 22

Yesha suptheshu jagarthi bhootheshu parinishtitha,
Yesha evagnihothram cha phalam chaivagnihothrinam. 23.

Vedascha kradavaschaiva krathoonam phalameva cha,
Yani kruthyani lokeshu sarva yesha ravi prabhu. 24

Yena mapathsu kruchreshu kanthareshu bhayeshu cha,
Keerthayan Purusha kaschin aavaseedhathi raghava. 25

Poojaswaikegro deva devam jagat pathim,
Ethath trigunitham japthwa yudeshu vijayishyasi. 26

Asmin kshane maha baaho ravanam thwam vadhishyasi,
Evamukthwaa agasthyo jagam yada gatham. 27

Edath sruthwa maha theja nashta shoka abhavath thada,
Dharayamasa supreetho raghava prayathathmavaan. 28

Adhithya prekshya japthwa thu param harsha mavapthavan,
Thrirachamya suchir bhoothwa dhanuradhaaya veeryavaan. 29

Ravanam preshya hrushtathma yudhaya samupagamath,
Sarva yathnena mahatha vadhe thasya drutho bhavath. 30

Adharavira vadha nireekshya ramam,
Mudhithamana paramam prahrushyamana,
Nisicharapathi samkshyam vidhithwa,
Sura gana Madhya gatho vachasthwarethi. 31

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments.
Rose Kennedy 

Anniversary Terms

I recently came across a chart showing specific names for some wedding anniversary milestones.
It really helps while wishing a couple, here it is:

First:              Paper
Second:         Cotton
Third:             Leather
Fourth:           Fruit and Flower
Fifth:              Wood
Sixth:              Sugar
Seventh:          Woolen
Tenth:             Tin
Twentieth:       China
Thirty-fifth:      Coral
Fortieth:          Ruby
Fifth-fifth:        Emerald
Seventyth:       Platinum
Seventy-fifth:   Diamond, Gold

The nomenclature may vary as per the region. For more information, please refer wikipedia at given link:

Writing poetic verse after long, here is an ode from my side to the great couples we have seen struggling and  moving forward and enjoying together in our lifetimes:

Straight from the mighty heart,
We wish you the best of the best,

Magic bells swaying high,
Crackers touching heights, making galore noise,

Our poetic toasts to a  great couple,
Hoping every moment brings them loads of cheer,

In blissful moods, we see them dancing n enjoying,
Wishing a great year ahead, to the apple of our eyes.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Ugadi Shubhakankshalu!

Yugadi Teluguఉగాది,(KannadaಯುಗಾದಿKonkaniयुगादी) is the New Year's Day for the people of the Deccan region of India. IPA: [juga:di] from yuga + aadi, yuga means era, aadi means start, so Yugadi is "the start of an era".
It falls on the different day every year because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar. TheSaka calendar begins with the month of Chaitra (March–April) and Ugadi marks the first day of the new year. Chaitra is the first month in Panchanga which is the Indian calendar.
While the people of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh use the term Yugadi/Ugadi for this festival.
The people of Maharashtra term the same festival, observed on the same day, Gudi Padwa.
Sindhis, people from Sindh, celebrate the same day as their New Year day Cheti Chand.[1]
Manipuris also celebrate their New Year (Sajibu Cheiraoba) on the same day. While it is observed as Baisakhi in Punjab and Puthandu in Tamil Nadu. However, it is not celebrated on the same day in Tamil Nadu as Tamils follow Solar calender.
When you meet any Telugu people and want to wish them for Telugu New Year, you say "Ugadi Shubhakankshalu - ఉగాది శుభాకాంక్షలు (Noothana Samvatsara Shubhakankshalu - నూతన సంవత్సర శుభాకాంక్షలు)". In response they greet you with, "Meeku kooda Ugadi Shubhakankshalu - మీకు కూడా ఉగాది శుభాకాంక్షలు (Meeku kooda Noothana Samvatsara Shubhakankshalu - మీకు కూడా నూతన సంవత్సర శుభాకాంక్షలు)".
In Kannada, the greeting would be "Yugadi Habbada Shubhashayagalu" - ಯುಗಾದಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಷಯಗಳು (Greetings for the festival of Yugadi) or "Hosa varshada shubhashayagaLu" - ಹೊಸ ವರ್ಷದ ಶುಭಾಷಯಗಳು (Greetings on the new year).
In Konkani,it would be Navve varsache shubhashyay,Samvatsar padvyachi shubheccha.
In Marathi, it would be 'गुढी पाडव्याच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा'(Gudhi padvyachya hardik shubhechcha).