Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Singapore Horse-shoe Crab

I am in Singpore now. As usual, in the morning I went for a walk on the beautiful beach here. When I was enjoying the stroll, an object attracted my attention. At first sight, I took it as some dead sea-animal. On closer examination, I found that there was a movement of one of its tiny legs. So I presumed that the animal had been flipped on the shore by a big and strong wave and had turned upside down.

On the Flip Side

I felt pity and decided to help. I prodded it a little with the help of the umbrella which I was carrying. I turned it and it came to its normal position and started crawling. :)))))

Crawling Back to Life

But it was crawling away from the sea. So with the tip of the umbrella, I pushed it a little and changed the direction of its movement. It started moving towards the sea. After a while, it stopped moving. I felt it had lost its energy because of lying on the dry sand and in the unfavourable surrounding for long. I decided to help it further. Gently, with the help of of the tip of the umbrella, I pushed it a little further. It started moving but again stopped after a while. So again I pushed it slightly. It moved a little and stopped. We made a joint effort. I and the animal repeated the process about 3 or 4 times. Finally it reached the tip of sea and then swiftly and gleefully swam into the water. :)))))))))

Reaching Home At Last!

I could observe it only for a little while but to my disappointment and to its utter delight, it disappeared into the sea.

I came back home and learnt that these animals are called horse-shoe crabs.

The incident provided a happy moment to me.

Friday, 16 September 2011

I am OK; you are OK

It is an irony of life that man cannot live without others and yet, he cannot live with others. Along with love and fellow-feeling, human society is replete with conflicts. ‘Transactional Analysis’, a method of Group Therapy developed by Eric Berne, helps us to live and let others live, with minimum conflicts.

In this analysis, a ‘Transaction’ is larger than both conversation and communication. It includes all forms of contacts between people – social, and psychological, material and spiritual. A transaction consists of a stimulus by one person and a response by another which response in turn, becomes a new stimulus for the other person to respond. A transaction includes facial expressions, word-intonations, body movements, gestures and postures.

Transactional Analysis is the analysis of an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour. It helps us to understand our own behaviour and to predict how others would react to a particular situation.

When we observe the behaviour of a person at different times, it appears as if there are different people inside one individual. At any particular time, one or the other of these different people seem to be in control of an individual’s total personality.

Ego State

In the analysis of Berne, every one’s personality has 3 Ego States, namely Parent, Adult and Child. Here, ‘Ego’ has nothing to do with ‘ego’ in the ordinary sense; it has nothing to do with pride. It is an identification of a particular state of mind.

The Parent in a person contains the attitudes and behaviour incorporated from external sources like parents, peers, teachers, T V and other role models. The Parent is critical, mature and prejudicial. The response of this aspect of a person is automatic, almost as if a pre-recorded tape is being played in person’s brain and is directing his words and actions. He acts as he has been taught and learnt. It is a Taught concept.

The Adult in a person wants facts, gathers information, reasons things and estimates probabilities. It is cool and collected and takes decisions unemotionally. The response is analytical. The responses are well thought out. It is a Thought concept. The Adult can evaluate the Parent and the Child and can examine what is right and what should be changed.

The Child contains all the impulses that come naturally to an infant. The Child is inquisitive, affectionate, playful, selfish and manipulative. Feelings dominate the responses. It is a Felt concept.

Each of these 3 types has its sub-divisions. The’ Critical Parent’ is filled with opinions and prejudices about religion, politics, traditions, life-styles, proper dress, ways of speech etc. It is a bossy ’know-it-all’ whose behaviour intimidates the Child in the other person. In the positive side, the Critical Parent sets rules, regulations and limits which give our life stability, solidarity and a sense of security.

The ‘Nurturing Parent’ is sympathetic, protective and comforting. Its positive aspects are that it stands by the weak and encourages them to take its support and improve. However, it spoils others and makes them dependent.

The ‘Natural Child’ is what a person would be ‘naturally’, that is, if nothing influenced him. It is affectionate, impulsive and curious. It is also fearful, self-indulgent, self-centered, rebellious and aggressive. It contains a lot of energy and enthusiasm.

The ‘Little Professor’ is the unschooled wisdom of the child. It is intuitive, manipulative and creative. Little Professor and Adult make a good combination.

The ‘Adapted Child’ is the modification of a Natural Child’s inclinations due to emotional shocks, traumatic experiences and significant authority-figures. The natural expressiveness becomes covertly inhibited. The Natural Child adapts itself to the uncomfortable environment. Features of an Adapted Child are complying, withdrawing and procrastinating.

When a person is in any one of these Ego States, he exhibits certain manners and gestures which can be used as clues to identify his state of mind at that time.

All ‘Transactions’ can be broadly classified into 3 categories, namely, Complementary, Crossed and Ulterior.

Complementary Transaction

A Transaction can be called ‘Complementary’, when a message sent from a particular Ego State gets the expected response from the particular Ego State in the other person. The response ‘complements’ the stimulus. A complementary Transaction may occur between any 2 Ego States.

It may be Parent-Parent when two persons are analyising any subject critically:

Sender- Do you know how much fee I am paying for my son in LKG?

Receiver- May be, it is more than the University fee for P G Course.

It may be Adult-Adult when fact-finding:

Sender- What is the time?

Receiver- It is 10.30

It may be Child-Child when having fun:

Sender- How about going for a movie?

Receiver- Oh, yes. I am ready.

Complementary Transactions are parallel and can occur between Parent-Child, Adult-Child, Adult-Parent etc. As long as the response remains the expected one, the Transactions are Complementary and tend to continue. Communication-lines remain open.

Crossed Transaction

When a stimulus receives an unexpected or inappropriate response, the Transaction is ‘Crossed’.

Sender- What is the time?

Receiver- Can you not buy a watch?

Sender- Have you seen my pen?

Receiver- I am busy.

When Transactions are crossed, the person who initiated it experiences frustration. Communication breaks down and some times unpleasant clashes follow. Here the stimuli in both the cases came from Adult and the response was expected from Adult. However, both the responses came from Critical Parent and the conversation ended abruptly.

Ulterior Transaction

A transaction is called ‘Ulterior’ when a critical message is sent in a hidden but socially acceptable communication.

Salesman- This saree is really better but I do not know whether you can afford it.

Lady-This is exactly what I want to buy.

Here the message of the salesman is directed towards the Adult of the customer, whose Adult reply would be, “You are right; I cannot afford to buy it when my earning is so low.” However, at the psychological level, the Child in the lady is hooked and it feels, ‘Who is this fellow to decide my capacity to buy? I shall teach him a lesson.’ However, without revealing the inner feelings of the Child, the Adult comes out with the reply.

Crossed Transactions become a source of pain and result in unpleasantness. Therefore, we should analyse our own behaviour and strengthen the Adult in us. By this, we shall be able to manage our own behaviour and to influence others.

When we feel that some one is speaking from his Parent or Child Ego State, we should continue to speak from our Adult and try to hook the Adult in him. After some time, the Adult in him is bound to be aroused and the conversation will come up to an even level.


Infants will not grow normally without the touch of others. Something about being touched stimulates the infant’s mental and physical growth. As the child grows, the early hunger for physical touch becomes a hunger for recognition. A smile, a nod, a word, a gesture begin to substitute for touch. Every person, whether a child or a grown up, has the need to be touched and recognized. This hunger for touch and recognition can be appeased by what are called ‘Strokes’. Strokes can be given in the form of physical touch or by some symbolic form of recognition such as a look, a word, a gesture or any other act which says, ‘I know you are there.’

Life Positions

Depending on their childhood experiences, children develop certain concepts about their own worth or that of others. There are 4 possible life-positions that the individual assumes about himself and others:

  1. I am not ok; you are ok.
  2. I am not ok; you are not ok.
  3. I am ok; you are not ok.
  4. I am ok; you are ok.

This crucial decision is generally taken around the age of 5 years. Once finalized, the child remains in his chosen position and it governs every thing he does. It stays with him for the rest of his life, unless he consciously changes it.

I am not ok; you are ok.

This is the universal position of early childhood. The ‘Not ok’ feeling is the result of feelings of inferiority on account of his small size and helplessness. The ‘Ok’ feelings about others come from the positive ‘strokes’ received from parents during the first year.

The individual, who continues to remain in this position, feels he is powerless compared to others. He considers himself inferior and wants to get away from others. The Child Ego State dominates in this position.

I am not ok; you are not ok.

If the stroking disappears after the infant learns to walk, if mother is cold, if punishments are harsh and frequent, somewhere in the third year, the child will conclude, ‘I am not ok; you also are not ok’.

Such an individual gives up seeking strokes. He gets nowhere either with life or with others. He loses interest in life. He stops using the Adult in him. He concludes, ‘I am not ok and so are you; let us destroy each other.’ Such people end up either in mental hospital or in jail.

I am ok; you are not ok.

This is the life position of an individual who was brutalized by his parents and others in his child hood. He has not received any positive Strokes. The severity of the punishment drives the child to feel, ‘I will be alright if you leave me alone; I am ok by myself.”

The individual, who had such experience in childhood, strikes back when he grows up. He never accepts even genuine Strokes. Many criminals occupy this position.

I am ok; you are ok.

The individual, who operates from this life-position, is able to free himself from his original ‘not ok’ feeling. He is able to find the ‘ok’ in others and gets along well with others.

“I am ok; you are ok’ is a position and not feeling. The only way to get to this position is to expose the predicaments under the first 3 positions.

The ‘not ok’ feelings recorded in childhood cannot be eradicated completely but the effect can be reduced. An individual can acquire the ‘ok’ feeling about himself and others by assuming ‘I am ok; you are ok’ position and by activation of his Adult Ego State.


I’m Ok; You’re Ok by Thomas A Harris MD, is a best-selling self-help book

Oll Korrect., Bye Bye …. Ta … Ta J))))))))))))))

Monday, 12 September 2011


The way we see the outside world, need not be the same as the world really is. We tend to see the world as we want to see it. Reality is not what it seems. We do not see reality; we interpret what we see and call it reality. We hear what we want to hear; we see what we want to see and we forget what we don’t want to remember. We never forget to do what we really want to do; we forget to do only those things which we don't like or want to do. We don’t really see or hear; we perceive. Perception, like beauty, lies in the eyes of the observer.
Perception is the process by which we organize and interpret the stimuli received by us through our 5 senses, to give meaning to our environment. We perceive what gets registered in our mind. Understanding perception helps us to understand and manage ourselves and to manage others’ impression about us. 

Three main factors determine our perception. The first one is self – the perceiver. The way we see the world depends on our attitude, our motive, our interests, our past experiences, our prejudices and expectations. Two students in the same class may view the teacher’s ability differently. In a social gathering, a plastic surgeon is more likely to notice an imperfect nose than is a banker like me! In the presence of a dog, a dog-lover would experience a positive feeling whereas a person who hates or fears dogs would experience a negative feeling. A third person who is indifferent to dogs would not experience any feeling. And the dog remains what it is, a dog! To take another example, when a a poet, a botanist and an entrepreneur come across a beautiful flower, they see it differently. The poet may think of composing a sweet poem about its beauty. The botanist may think of tearing it into parts, to understand its physical structure. The entrepreneur may look at it and wonder if he could develop a good market for it.

Talking of prejudices takes me to my experience when I was appearing at the Test for Admission to M B A Course. A question in this Test was like this:
Presume that the plus sign + means division, the minus sign – means multiplication, the multiplication sign x means addition and the division sign % means subtraction. With these changed signs, do the following sum.
45 + 34 x 2 – 7 % 3 = ?

Can we do this sum as easily as doing it with the signs with conventional meanings?
This is similar to what prejudices do to us. Like the conventional arithmetical signs, prejudices are deeply embedded in our mind and it is very difficult to shed them while seeing or judging situations or people.

The second factor influencing our perception is the target being perceived. For example, in a group, loud people are noticed and listened to better; extremely attractive or extremely unattractive people are noticed more than ordinary-looking people; moving objects are noticed better than stationary objects (That is perhaps why young ladies and girls prefer danglers as ear-rings and older ladies wear fixed studs on their ears!). In the same way, we notice better, objects which are lager than we do smaller objects.
The third factor is the situation. We notice subordinates wasting time when the boss from the Head Quarters is in the town, more than we do on normal days. A Bank Branch received a windfall deposit of a huge amount just after a new Manager took charge. It was a walk-in deposit and a pure coincidence but the bosses perceived it as an indication of the business-capturing ability of the new Branch Manager! Three employees left an organization in quick succession, for different reasons soon after a new boss took charge but it was perceived that there was something wrong with the new leader.

Thus perception is always selective.

A lady went and complained to her neighbour that the latter’s son was ringing the former’s door-bell frequently and then running away. The second lady argued that her son was not doing any such thing but the first lady did not stop quarreling and accusing the boy of all kinds of mischief. Just then another resident of the same building came and hearing what was being told, said to the first lady, “I have seen your daughter frequently coming out, ringing the bell and rushing inside.” At this, the frown on the first lady’s face disappeared and smilingly she said to the visitor, “You know she is such a playful and fun-loving little girl.” Then she hurriedly withdrew into her apartment.

Also, there are two things which are called ‘Halo Effect’ and ‘Horns Effect’. Halo Effect refers to the effect of one single good characteristic such as intelligence, sociability or appearance, in the mind of the perceiver in drawing a general impression about an individual. Angels, Gods and Goddesses are believed to have a halo around their faces. If we are struck by a single impressive characteristic of a person, it puts a halo around the person and influences our total impression about him or her including his/her other characteristics which may not be that impressive. The person is perceived to be a strong personality even in his/her weak areas.
Just as angels are supposed to have halos around their visages, devils have horns on their heads. When there is one ‘rotten’ aspect in a person’s character or personality, it makes him a total devil in our mind and vitiates our whole impression about him even on traits where the person is likable or strong. If the boss is not happy with an employee about the latter’s performance in one major area, it creates a permanent block in his mind and the concerned employee is condemned as a non-performer even in areas where she performs well. In an interview, as the candidate entered, the Chairman of the Interview Committee noticed that a button on his shirt was missing. Even though his performance was very good, the Chairman thundered, “When he cannot manage a button, how can he take care of the Company?”
And, there is what is called the Gallo Effect. The billionaire wine-maker Ernest Gallo used the power of perception to a great effect. He would pour two glasses of wine for potential buyers telling them that one cost 5 Cents and the other, 10 Cents. Customers invariably chose the second one without knowing that the wine in both the glasses were from the same bottle!
Most consumers treat the price of a product as an indicator of its quality. Clever marketers use this to boost up profit. A company manufactured a new lock of very good quality and decided on its price by following 'Cost Plus' pricing system in which the price of a product is decided as a little above the cost of its production, taking into account other expenses and a reasonable amount of profit. To its disappointment, sales were low. It hired a consultant to do a market-study. The consultant did a market survey and advised that the price be trebled. Reluctantly, the Company did that. To its pleasant surprise, the sales zoomed! The consultant explained that the original price being relatively low, the product was perceived by potential buyers, as being of low quality. Higher price 'meant' better quality!!!

Since perception is always selective, it affects our communication. Often, what a person wishes to convey does not reach the receiver in the same form. It gets distorted due to some elements in the speaker and some elements in the mind of the person to whom the message is conveyed. This leads to a lot of misunderstanding and communication gaps. The speaker may mean something but the other person understands something completely different!
Once we accept that there can be different view-points from which to perceive the same thing, we can manage our emotions. And once we manage our emotions effectively, we perceive better, our relationship with our bosses, peers, subordinates, spouses and all others improves automatically.

Understanding perception helps us to understand and manage others’ impression about us. Since perception is always selective, we can think how we can manage others’ perception about us. Before we say or do something, we must take time to think how our words or deeds will be perceived at the other end.

Here is an example how a situation distorts perception. An accomplished danseuse was to present a well-planned dance number. A mischievous person planned to spoil the effect. Before start of the programme, he put a small stool in one corner of the stage, placed a glass tumbler at the edge of the stool, half of the base of the glass remaining outside the surface of the stool, and fixed it with the help of transparent adhesive tape to prevent it from falling off. At the end of the show, most members of the audience, when asked, said they had not observed the intricate nuances of the dance. Their attention was fixed on when the tumbler would fall off the stool!!

The key words are worth repeating: we do not see reality; we interpret what we see and call it reality.

The following poem 'Blind Men and the Elephant' by John Godfrey Saxe presents the matter succinctly:



 A picture of 6 blind men feeling an elephant for the first time and what they are imagining in their minds.

John Godfrey Saxe's ( 1816-1887) version of the famous Indian legend,

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

Tail Piece

Wife : Have you seen what your neighbour does?
Husband : No. What is that?
Wife : He kisses his wife daily before going to work. Why can’t you do so?
Husband : How can I do that? She doesn't even know me!

2. It was a 'hit and run' case. A car hit a pedestrian and sped away. A policeman arrived. He asked the pedestrian whether he (the pedestrian) had noted the number of the car. The answer was "No." Then this conversation followed:
Q. What was the colour of the car?
A. I was under trauma and have not noticed the colour?
Q. What was the Make of the car?
A. I have not noticed.
Q. Who was driving?
A. A lady. She was young and beautiful. She was wearing a pretty saree. She wore her hair  
     long. She had a cute black mole over the left side of her lips.

Moral: We don't see reality. We see what we want to see. We hear what we want to hear.    

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Income Tax Extra

Almost 30 years ago, I constructed a modest-sized house with a loan from my Bank. My job took me all over India and till my retirement, I did not have the opportunity of living in that house built with a mixture of the loan-amount and a lot of my sweat. I had found a good tenant soon after the construction was over.

After a few years, this first tenant moved to his own newly-constructed house. I was lucky in finding this tenant within a week of completion of construction but when he moved out, I went through an unenviable experience. The house was found to be too big for the middle-income group and too small for the higher income group!

Family after family inspected the house and told me that they would come and inform me “tomorrow” or “within a couple of days” but that tomorrow or those couple of days never came.

I felt like the parent of a girl of marriageable age, when families of prospective bride-grooms come to ‘see’ her, are fed well and leave, promising that they would convey their decision “within a week’ that never came. (Of course, I did not have to feed my prospective tenants.)

I could realize the plight of parents who get tired of ‘showing’ their daughters to the prospective grooms and hordes of their relatives.

I do not know how my house felt when she was rejected but I could imagine the state of the mind of a girl who had been ‘inspected’ by an unending series of prospective grooms but was still waiting for her prince charming.

Then there was the question of the rent-amount. Naturally, I expected the amount to be a little more than the earlier rent. I had to take into account the Union Finance Minister’s share in the rent by way of Income Tax.

When I told the rent-amount including the Finance Minister’s share, a few prospective tenants turned away.

I poured out my woes before a friend who happened to be an Income Tax practitioner. He listened to me patiently and suggested that I should ask such prospective tenants whether they had purchased packaged products any time. To my questioning look, he replied that till a couple of years before that, every packaged product stated the price on it and an addition ‘Local Taxes Extra’. “Similarly”, the friend suggested, “you quote your rent and add the words ‘Income Tax Extra’. If the prospective tenant says that such a practice had been abolished and the price includes taxes, you say that the Rules about indicating the price including taxes on packaged products relates to Sales Tax and not Income Tax!”

Of course after some time I did find a family willing to share my Income Tax burden.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Walking, Riding and Driving

In 1996, I was promoted to the rank of a driver.

I joined my Bank in 1973 as a ‘D’ Grade Officer. At that time the bottom-most rank of a Bank Officer was ‘D’ Grade and she/he had to work her/his way up to Grades C, B, A – and with good performance records, to the Executive Cadres. Branch Managers were of Grades C to A. (The wife used to call me a ‘Dgraded Officer’.) Then came Pillai Committee Recommendations on Salary Structure of Public Sector Banks and Officers were put in Scale I , Managers and Senior Managers were put in Scales II and III and Executives were placed in Scales IV to VII. This is unlike the system in the Government, where it starts in the reverse gear, the lowest rung of the hierarchy, that of peons, is called Class IV , and positions above this level are called Classes III, II and I. Incidentally, it has become politically incorrect to call peons as peons; they are called 'Class IV employees'. In the same way in the Banks it has become politically correct to call 'peons' as 'sub-staff', a shortened term for 'subordinate staff'.

As long I was in Scale I, I was a walker. Like most other Officers in Scale I, I used to walk to office, usually about one kilo meter from home.

When I was promoted to Scale II, I was given charge of a Branch and the Branch had a motor cycle. So, with this promotion, I was simultaneously promoted as a rider. The promotion to Scale III did not mean simultaneous promotion as a driver. As per the rules prevailing at that time (and now also), an officer not provided with Bank-vehicle and owning a vehicle, was paid a Conveyance Allowance and one not having a vehicle of his/her own, was paid a token amount as conveyance expenses. This is jokingly called ‘walking allowance’.

All the Branches are provided with a vehicle for the use of Branch Manager. The type of vehicle provided to the Branch, whether a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler, depends on its business-position.

( I once heard about an officer of our Bank who on being pestered by his wife to buy a four-wheeler, purchased 2 two-wheelers instead, one motor cycle for himself and his son, and a moped for his wife and small daughter. “Hua na four-wheeler? Don’t two and two make four?”, he told his wife.)

A few years after being in Scale III, my Branch crossed the eligibility mark and I was provided with an official self-driven car. Thus I became a driver!

When I used to walk to the Bank, the wife used to prod me to get a two-wheeler and stop walking. When I started driving, she advised me to resume walking and in this, she was supported by our doctor!!!

When I was learning to ride a motor cycle, I remember to have hit, of all things, a cow. During that period, I have hit and killed 2 snakes and maimed a dog. Once I hit a chick and my trainer-companion advised me to speed away as fast as possible before any one noticed it; otherwise, he warned me, the owner would demand compensation for not only the chick but also of its future progeny and its subsequent generations.

One thing which in a moment of introspection I discovered about myself was that soon after starting to use a car, I had started shouting at the other users of the road although I prided myself to be a polite person with polished manners! One day, when I was driving, a boy unconcernedly continued walking almost on the middle of the road unmindful of my honking impatiently. Then I shouted, ”Hey fellow, do you want die?” Daughter II, who was sitting by my side, rolled up the wind-screen. When I asked as to why she did so, she replied, ”I don’t want that he should hear your atrocious Hindi; the movement of your face-muscles would be sufficient to convey to him what you are saying.” (At that time I was working in Bihar. Even now, the daughter picks holes in my Hindi.)

This reminds me of an anecdote. A person standing on the middle of a very busy road asked a passing traveller, “Which is the way to the hospital?” The other person replied, “Keep standing where you are; you will find yourself in the hospital soon.”

I was not sure when my Branch would be eligible for a car. So, after waiting for a few months, I took a loan from the Bank and booked the then small car, by depositing the required amount. At that time cars were not readily available and one had to wait for more than 6 months after booking it. Soon after receiving the car, I received a letter from Income Tax Department, requiring me to submit papers regarding my income and financial position. (That was the rule at that time!!! Probably car-dealers were required to inform the Income Tax Dept., the names and addresses of all those who purchased cars.) And lo and behold! One month after purchasing the car, I received an information that my Branch had become eligible and I would be provided with a Bank car, that too a new one! (Sometimes, when a Branch became eligible for a car, the bosses at the administrative office would purchase a new car, keep it at their office and send their old car to the Branch.) After the Branch car came, I sold off my car. When she glided out of my compound, I experienced a lump in my throat and a heaviness in heart.Earlier, I had taken a few photographs of me and my family with the car. These would remain as a precious treasure, carrying pleasant memories like the sweet memories of one’s first love.

It is said that creativity is like the reverse gear of a car – used very less but very essential none the less. If one thinks in a straight-jacket manner like a carriage-horse with side-views blinded, one cannot be creative; one will become only a follower of precedents. A creative person thinks laterally and many times in reverse direction. A person who later became famous, once saw dust being blown away by a strong wind. He wondered: only if the wind could be given a reverse gear! And he invented vacuum cleaner!!!

In some places, people wishing to relax, go for a long drive; in my place, the condition of roads and disregard to traffic rules are such that one can relax only after driving. It is said that when Lalu Prasad became the Chief Minister of Bihar, he had declared, “The pot-holed roads of Patna are like the cheeks of Om Puri; I shall make them like the cheeks of Hema Malini.” Whether he kept his promise, is another matter.

Do you feel that I have taken you for a ride? … Or a drive? Or up the garden path?