Wednesday, October 22, 2014
YOUR 7AM FRIEND.
So there I was talking to a friend of mine who stays alone in the city, actually works alone in the city, with her family in a different state and I was talking generally about how boring festivals like Diwali are when you are alone in a lodge/hostel room while the rest of your colleagues are off celebrating with their families and the talk slowly veered around to friendship, best friends, close buddies and the recently much hyped 3AM friendships – where you designate any friend (preferably one without an irate/jealous spouse) as the one you can call without hesitation at any time of the day or night and demand they come over immediately to satisfy any issue/fancy of yours which arises after midnight and which cant wait till sunrise.
And so this girl was asking me “So can I count on you to be my 3AM friend?” and I answered truthfully “Hell no, don’t count on me like that. At best I can be your 7AM friend- I sleep so soundly that even a canon let off near my head won’t wake me up mid-sleep- let alone a ringing mobile phone. So the best I can do is wake up at 6AM, see the missed call on the mobile and get to you by 7AM. Is that acceptable?” Needless to say such candor on my part was not received with the appreciation honesty deserves but was derided as inadequate friendship. Well that's the way of the world, isn't it?
Monday, October 6, 2014
AGREE TO DISAGREE
So there I was talking to a friend of mine and he said “we never seem to agree on anything do we?” and I reacted with a “so?.....” and left it hanging there as I left for the day. All the way back home I was wondering about what makes me have such great friendships even with people I have nothing in common with at first sight. But then again, I decided, we do have one thing in common, obviously, one vital thing and if you haven’t guessed what it is yet, hold on, its something called “maturity”. Yes that’s right, when you spend time with people who are mature and have no hang-ups and insecurities (like how most of my friends are) then you can listen to and acknowledge differences of opinions without being offended by it or the speaker who expresses it. It’s only people who are unsure of themselves and their own opinions who want/crave like-minded people to always agree with them. Having a different point of view is not necessarily a bad thing in my view. We are sometimes restricted by our own life experiences and it takes someone with a different life journey to shake us out of our complacency and show us a different life.
Like in the movie Aladdin when the super hit song “A whole new world” (written by Alan Menken) and sung by Aladdin and Princess Jasmine contains the words “I can show you the world…….A whole new world, a new fantastic point of view,……..” and that’s what friendships are supposed to do – show you a new point of view, taking you beyond your own limitations of imaginations. And in the course of that if we feel we don’t always agree it’s a good thing according to me. I am a great lover of masala films- the dishyoom, dishyoom ones with two duets/four fights formula…while I have a few friends who watch Korean movies (or as I term them “award” movies) and keep raving about them all the time. And you know what? we get along well with each other because we might not agree on our choice of movies but we are both, in the end, movie fans. Similarly I have friends who swear by Ayn Rand while I regard the old hag with distaste, still it doesn’t stop us discussing books in general and being book-worms together. And I could go on and on with examples.
In the end it all boils down to this- if we are intelligent and mature (and not necessarily in that order) it doesn’t matter to us what our friends eat or what they watch or what we agree on….we are human beings all and we have our individual quirks and none of them makes a whit of difference to our friendships. And that’s how being friends with me feels like. So tell me – are you mature enough to tolerate me when I disagree with you? Do tell…
Monday, September 22, 2014
The Art of Plastic Surgery
How do you teach art to students? You can teach science but how do you teach the nuances of art? How for example do you teach someone to look beyond the lump of stone in front of them; at the beautiful statue it is going to turn into at the end of your chiseling? This question – the how-to communicate the excitement of the end result at the initial start is something which has been plaguing me ever since I got to teach a bunch of interns the nuances of plastic surgery work.
Let me confess- I am a bad teacher. I just don’t have the inclination or patience to stand by watching people mutilate tissues in the name of learning while I, the expert am standing there hands tied behind, itching to take the knife in my hands- my expert hands- to finish the case and get a beautiful result. But working in a large teaching institution means I have to bear these crosses and trials everyday – to stand by and just watch and direct – all in the name of teaching. And I have found by empirical study of the students that although surgery can be taught- plastic surgery cannot be taught- at least not that easily. It not only requires good, make that “great” surgical hands and tissue handling skills it also requires a fantastic imagination to see the end result before you even start- to stare at clay and see the statue. I don’t know how art teachers do it- how they inspire sculptors or painters to exceed their limitations as students and learn to produce masterpieces and I for one, would certainly like to learn the secret of how-to-teach imagination, a bold rethinking from mundane objects- if anyone who knows can share it with me.
And all these weeks of teaching has shown me only this- most people, make that the majority aspire to just mediocrity- if I can do such and such as a basic minimum that’s enough to earn a comfortable living kinda mentality. It’s very, very rare to find someone who wants to go beyond this morass of mediocrity and aspire to be a great surgeon- someone who can compete with the best internationally- like I aspired to do when I was younger and in training to be a surgeon. That kinda ambition, that hunger, that pride is absolutely not there now and I don’t know why- is it the educational system or is it individual drive which is lacking. But till now- all I have seen are also-rans. I am still looking forward to gaining a thoroughbred as my apprentice- someone worth teaching all my techincal skills to. Am waiting guys….