अचानक आलेल्या आगंतुक कविता

‘अचानक आलेल्या आगंतुक कविता’ ही गेल्या महिनाभरातली प्रोसेस आहे. त्या त्या क्षणाच्या मूडमधून आलेले शब्द आहेत ते. कविता माणसाला स्वतःच्या सगळ्या भावनांना आपले म्हणायला शिकवते. अगदी काळ्याकुट्ट नकारात्मक भावनांना स्वीकारताना त्यांच्यापासून किंचित विलग होऊन तीच वेदना नेमक्या शब्दात मांडायला शिकवते. मानसिक आरोग्य क्षेत्रात काम करणाऱ्या माझ्यासारख्या माणसासमोर अनेकांच्या अनेक भावना उत्कटपणे मांडल्या जातात. कधी कधी मीही त्या भावविश्वाचा भाग बनतो आणि जणु त्या भावना अनुभवतो…. त्यातल्या काही, शब्दांमधून आलेल्या…..

. प्लॅटफॉर्म 

तिला ‘सी ऑफ’ करायला प्लॅटफॉर्मवर आलेला तो

उद्या सकाळपर्यंतच्या ​अनंतकाळची विरहिणी ती.

स्टेशनवरच्या बिनचेहऱ्याच्या डेस्परेट कोलाहलात,

दोघांच्या चेहऱ्यावरचे ओघळतं कोवळेपण !

किती छान ना …

सराईत धूळफेकीच्या, कचकड्याच्या जगण्यात

निरागस कोंबांचं अस्तित्व चक्क टिकून ?

​खरंच किती छान.

. जळण्याची लय 

नाही मिळत तर जावं झुलत

आपल्याच मस्तीत गावं भटकत

बंद दारापुढे बापुडवाण्या चेहऱ्याने बसायची,

किंवा धडका मारून स्वतःचेच डोकं फोडून घ्यायची;

कुणी सक्ती नाही केलेली.

नाही मिळत तरी जावं फुलत

एकाच झाडाच्या आतलं जंगल न शोधता

दाट जंगलातलं नवं झाड शोधत.

नाही मिळत तरीही जावं खुलत

फ्रुस्ट्रेशनवर मस्तपैकी कविता करत

डोके फुटण्यापेक्षा कितीतरी बरं

आतल्या आत रहावं जळत.

जोपर्यंत जमत नाही म्हणायला

नाही मिळत तर गेलात उडत !

3. तुझा डिपी माझे मन

नवा डिपी चढला तुझा

तेव्हापासून मनातून उतरतच नाहीये तो…..

नव्याने नेसलेल्या साडीची

नव्हाळी ल्यालेली एक किशोरी

पहाते आहे उद्याच्या पहाटलेल्या तारूण्याकडे

की….

मीलनोत्सुक तरुणी व्याकुळली विरहात

अन रमली शृंगाराच्या स्वप्नांमध्ये

की…..

भविष्याचा वेग घेणारी प्रौढा….

विचारासोबत मनाला खेचणारी

की….

माझ्या मनावर पाखर घालणारी

माझी ढगात हरवलेली आई

की…..

माझी जीवाभावाची मैत्रीण

जगण्याच्या प्रवाहात गमावलेली

की….

तुझ्यात आहेत ह्या साऱ्याच विरघळलेल्या

आणि Deciding Perspective

तेवढा माझा…!

. श्रद्धांजली 

अर्ध्यामध्ये टाकून तुला, जर जावे लागले मला,

तर आवरशील रडणं,

अन् लागशील पुन्हा कामाला.

आठवणींच्या रांगोळ्यांची रेखून ठेवीन मी टिंबे.

नक्षीदार रेघांना मग घेशील लयदार गिरवायला.

अर्धवट जमलेल्या सगळ्या चाली,

करशील पूर्ण, तुझ्यातुझ्या सुरावटीत

एवढे सारे केल्यावरती

थकलेल्या तृप्त क्षणी,

समजा आलीच माझी आठवण

तर आवरशील रडणं

अन् लागशील पुन्हा कामाला.

. बालपुरूष 

रडूनभेकून थकलोय् खरा

पण मी काही हट्टी बाळ नाही.

मनातली आई तुझ्या,

झाली आहे जागी, करतेय् माझे लाड;

शरीरातला पुरूषही माझ्या

झोपून गेलाय् का गाढ ?

६. अर्थासाठी थरथरणाऱ्या हातात 

ओसंडून वहाणारी समृद्ध घागर

नवी बाग शिंपण्यासाठी.

हातालाच रोपे फुटली

तर किती बहार होईल…..

नाहीतर आहेच,

ग्रीनहाऊसमधल्या झाडांचं

बेतलेलं वाढणं….

आखलेलं वागणं.

७. हवेचा हलका झोका, 

डोलणारी समजूतदार पानं….

जाणवलं…. ते बरंच झालं.

थांबलो तरी.

नाहीतर पसरवतच होतो मूठभर माती

त्यावर शेवटचा गुलाब ठेवण्यासाठी.

. कलचांचणी 

क्षमता…. कळूनही न वळणाऱ्या

आवडी…. उत्तरोत्तर बदलणाऱ्या

व्यक्तिमत्व…. अजूनही भेलकांडणारं

आणि बुद्धी…. हवी तेव्हा हरवणारी.

करणार कशी ‘कल-चांचणी’?

विकलतेचे Aptitude Testing.

जगण्याच्या कलत्या काळात ?

. चॅप्टर 

“बंद कर चॅप्टर आणि निघ पुढच्या प्रवासाला…”

 टकटकच्या लयीत तो म्हणाला.

काहीसा खडसावून, भरड आवाजात.

“कळतंय रे…. पण अडचण आहे;

चॅप्टर बंद करताना, पुस्तकच बंद होतं आहे.

पुन्हापुन्हा प्रयत्न करूनही….”

“मग रहा तसाच… “तो पुढे सरकला.

दिसेनासा झाला….

आता ठेवूया चॅप्टर आणि पुस्तकही उघडे

बाइंडिंगची उसवणारी शिवण,

झाकून टाकली की सारं कसं…..

दिसायला नॉर्मल.

 

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UNDERSTANDING EXCELLENCE – PART V (ELOCUTION AND VISION)

I was a ninth standard student that time. It was my first year in a Thane school, the city where we had moved in recently. I was picked up soon as a member of our team that was going to represent our school in a prestigious debating competition at Pune. We had four months of presentations ahead of us. Before that, for any such competition I had prepared my speech in a week’s time. Hence, four months looked a very long time. My friend and I were introduced to a teacher who had also joined the school recently. His name was Murlidhar Gode. On the top of all his handwritten letters, he used to write “स्वयमेव मृगेन्द्रता”, part of a Sanskrit verse that focuses on finding the real strength within self.

‘Gode Sir’ as we started calling him was quite sweet to talk to, as the literal translation of his surname meant. He unfolded his plan before us. There were five topics for the debating competition and we had to prepare for one of them. But that was only the first round of the competition. In another round participants would get a topic at the venue, ten minutes in advance and then they would have to give a five minutes speech on that topic. That was tough. But sir had a plan. He started giving us a topic every day. He would start the timer. After ten minutes, we had to deliver the speech. After our performance, he used to discuss the content and style with us. The same evening, we had to write down the text of the speech, which was then read by him. Again then he commented on it. Every week we started preparing four topics. In two months, both of us had prepared more than thirty speeches. We discovered a vital aspect of ourselves; we could really do it.

Gode sir accelerated the speed. We were preparing a topic every day. He was consciously increasing the complexity of topics. In our first week, we had topics such as a ‘picnic to the seashore’ or ‘visit to the market’. Slowly we ‘graduated’ to, ‘The meaning of independence’ or ‘messages from the life of Vivekanand’ or ‘merits and demerits of democracy’. And by Jove, I was enjoying the process!

Now phase II started as per sir’s plan. Whenever in the school, if any class had a free period, sir, would take us there, give a topic, then within minutes in front of the class, and F..I..R..E!  We used to deliver the speech. Generally the students were appreciative, but sir was a difficult person to please. He used to discuss threadbare our performances with a reassuring smile on his face. Then came the next phase. Sir started getting together, three or four classes at, a time. We had to first deliver our prepared speech for debate and then the ‘Instant topic’.

In four months, he made us prepare NINTY such topics. Looking back, I am indebted to him for helping me develop a ‘Thinking pattern’ of preparing contents and their presentation. Now no topics seemed impossible. To this date, this pattern helps me to organize my thoughts. Many people tell me today that my communication style is friendly, spontaneous and filled with a persuasive energy. The credit for all such compliments rests squarely on Gode-sir only.

Once after a addressed all divisions of the Tenth class during this period, Gode-sir took me aside, “While relating to the audience you need to maintain constant eye contact with ‘a’ section of the audience all the time… you need to shift your eyes in a rhythmic manner… sometimes circular, sometimes in straight lines… The lines could be vertical, horizontal … make it wavelike sometimes… But your eyes must meet their eyes all the time”

“Sir… Why”?…

“Because then, many… almost all members of audience feel, you are directly talking to them. It increases their concentration and attentiveness…” Gode sir continued.

“But doing THIS and talking at the same time?…” my question.

“Yes… Consider your eyes as an extension of your breathing. You breathe ALL the time, isn’t it” Sir said with his characteristic sweet smile.

I started applying the ‘technique’ and started getting results. All the divisions of ninth class that day were sitting in two columns. On my left were boys and on my right were girls. Now ‘Ninth’ was my class. Therefore, the girls were ‘special’ for me, as they are for any teenager. All the same, in our times, one rarely looked at girls ‘officially’. So, all throughout my speech I used sir’s technique on my left, not looking (or not daring to look) at the right side.

After I ended my speech, all my classmates clapped with great enthusiasm. Even the girls clapped. Even the ones that mattered for me clapped. Even THAT girl clapped. So I was overjoyed.

“During the delivery of your speech, why did you block half the audience?” sir asked (with that same smile).

Oh God… He had noticed even that; I thought. If he notices my ‘not looking’ at girls, he must be noticing my ‘looking’ as well. That was more frightening.

Fortunately, sir was on a different tangent that day. “Look boy… Audience is one … It has many faces… It has one face… And it has no face. You have to look at all three levels”.  I could not understand; especially how to look at no face.

“When you are looking at the audience, the way I have told you… you are looking at many faces. Then you focus on their eyes… As you go on, their eyes should give you similar emotions… and at that point, it becomes one face. Go on and on. At one Point, you will perceive no face but just a collective existence, right there in front of you. You will discover it not when you will speak but when you will pause…” Sir was explaining and a powerful insight was unfolding within my mind. That was the first time in my life, when a Guru, taught ‘meaning of meditation’ to his disciple.                                                                          …Thank you Gode Sir for providing me Vision.

Dr. Anand Nadkarni.

UNDERSTANDING EXCELLENCE – PART III (THE MAGIC OF EMPATHY AND MENTORING)

Our seventh standard class in that prestigious school was on the ground floor of the school building in a corner. The students however were extremely prominent by their qualities. Our class consisted of the first 50 students out of around 450 to 500 students of that standard. Therefore, to get entry in this class and then ‘Keep up’ one’s place year-after-year was considered as an accomplishment. In the eyes of students of other division this class lacked ‘daring’ and was utterly ‘Ghasu’ types, just believing in studies and devoid of ‘guts’; as was the popular phrase of our times.

For the sake of this story, I have to mention that I was a sufferer of polio in my childhood and had to wear mental and leather supports termed ‘calipers’ on both my legs. I was quite mobile although not physically active. Once our history teacher called me to write something on the board.  I went enthusiastically to discover that on the uneven wooden platform it was difficult for me to balance myself and write with speed. I was struggling with the task when I heard my teacher calling me half-mockingly “LANGADYA”… which meant a ‘lame person’. I could not write further. The whole class was stunned. The teacher also realized that she had made an odd remark. She allowed me to go back to my seat. No one in the class said anything till the period was over.

As soon as the bell rang the teacher went out. I was still in a state of shock when someone put comforting arms around me. I saw up; and saw my entire class ready to leave the room.  With an instantaneous understanding all 49 boys and girls of my class had decided to boycott the class. All of us stood in the passage. Teacher of the next class came. Students told her that they would not enter the class unless the teacher apologizes. This teacher tried to pacify but everyone was firm. The teacher went to inform the principal. By that time, by an unseen mechanism the news has spread to other classes and students had started peeping at us from their rooms, windows and doors.

The principal came down and told the class to first get inside the room. The class politely yet firmly refused. The principle called all of us to his office. We were made to stand outside and the teacher was called. The principle discussed the case and came out and asked us to send in a ‘delegation’. This was promptly done. The teacher was ready to offer a ‘private’ apology to the student, the principal   said. “That is not fair” the delegation said, “the insult was done in front of the entire class, the apology must be tendered in front of the whole class”. The delegation stood firm.

By this time, teaching and learning activity in the rest of the school had reached a point of commotion. Everyone wanted to know, what was happening. In the principal’s room we were listening to that din that was escalating. “OK” said the principal, “that will be done…”

“Now …” said the delegation.

All others were called inside. The room was packed. The teacher said, “Sorry”. The delegation told clearly to the principle that they were accepting the apology but they had not liked the tone in which it was offered.

No one spoke further. All of us came out. That evening our class was treated by other students as ‘Heroes’. Our class had shown ‘guts’ in the year 1969 when concepts of discipline were harsher than today.

All throughout this incident, I did not (have to) speak a single word although the whole episode triggered because of my reference. But even today I remember all my emotions very vividly. The intense hurt that I experienced with the term ‘LANGADYA’ is there still with me after 38 years. But more prominent is the protective comfort that my entire class gave me after that. Within seconds they had put themselves in my sufferings and they had seen an alternative too. And they were firm enough to execute that alternative. From that point till today the magic of that empathy has never left me. The confidence that my class gave me that day is still with me.

Looking back, what a way to empathize! …  It has helped me to forgive that behavior of that teacher and today I do not clearly remember her face.  But faces of all my classmates are crystal-clear in front of me after 38 years. Do you ever forget your mentors?

Never.

Dr. Anand Nadkarni

Understanding Excellence – Part I

I was facilitating an interactive session with school going students under the banner of ‘Shikshak Prabhodhini’ – a project where teachers are being trained to mentor exceptional students. We were discussing ‘emotions’.  A young girl of eighth standard, an aspiring singer, was discussing with me her emotions before a performance, in front of about 80 other students. We talked about the ‘Result’ and the ‘Process’. The ‘result’ was the end of the performance when the audience would clap and appreciate. The ‘Process’ was the actual performance that would lead to this result. We concluded that before starting the actual performance we need to make the ‘result’ ‘out of focus’ that is blurred and bring the actual performance in sharp focus … by sharp focus we meant, we will now focus on every minute of the performance… minute by minute.

The girl visualized aloud the exact moment of starting the performance. She described it as if in a trance, I was helping her to shape her responses … Here she was, as steady as a rock … breathing rhythmically..  Image   of her guru in front of her eyes … and the only overriding thought, I am going to do my best…

“   And who are you? …  what are you? …  at this moment? …”

“I am music …” pat came the reply

“A moment of excellence is born” I said.

It was a very strong experience emotionally for all of us present. A rare, delightful insight into an experience called ‘excellence’ … It was exhilarating in an enlightened manner.

At times, the experiential truth  is so strong that is difficult to catch it in words, however, if one has to consolidate the emotional insight into a  blinding design of wisdom, one has to fall back on words again.

So what is excellence?

I do not think excellence has one single definition. In the future segments of this communication, I will explore different   ways by which this theme can be understood. Here is the first one.

Let us take for example, a popular skill amongst students such as   ‘orator’s skill’.  Translated in school-reality, it means participating and winning elocution and debating competitions.

A student that is generally chosen by teachers for developing this skill is an expressive and communicative one who also has a ‘pleasant’ and ‘smart ‘disposition’.

Suppose there is   an elocution competition and five topics are given, out of which she has to select one. The mentor here will ask her to think and talk about each one of the topics  …  what are the thoughts that come to her mind when she reads topics such as , ‘Protecting My Earth’ or ‘The Life and Times of  Shivaji Maharaj’ .  She is encouraged to explore each topic; in her own way. She has to just go on talking about each topic. The mentor listens keenly.

“Can you now make a choice?” the mentor puts the question unconstructively.  She needs to give her own explanation why she is deciding to opt for a particular topic. If she is confused, the mentor helps her to explore her confusion (please note, not to clear it).

When she makes a choice she has to give justification for it. Having heard that; the mentor poses certain relevant queries regarding her choice. What   is the most important aspect of the topic that she has liked? What according to her is the part of the topic that she may find difficult? If she has ‘liked’ two topics what is one consideration that will help her to choose the one that she has chosen?

At the end, the mentor and student will decide a time interval where the student has to think of all the points raised and come back with a decision.

“But sir, I have already made up my mind” suppose the student says.

“Yes, I appreciate … I want you now to tell me one by one why and how you discarded the other topics. I am interested in knowing how you did it…”

“How I did it? I just did it” student.

“Let us explore, how you could have done it… I am taking a paper and writing all topics. I want you to write all the thoughts that came to your mind … that could help …”

The mentor helps the student to identify consciously the thinking process that went behind her decision.

The topic is now selected.

The mentor now motivates the student to gather information on the topic. The mentor shares the spirit of enquiry, exploration and excitement.

Having adequate ‘database’ the mentor helps the student to evolve the structure of presentation. The structure is not imposed. Any deviation from standard procedure of delivering a speech, is respected and discussed. The mundane use of quotations, use of lofty words, adult and literary phrases is questioned. The originality of expression is encouraged.

A draft is now ready.

The mentor and the student now discuss the style of presentation. The mentor does not impose his or any other’s style on the student.   They make a list of ‘impressive orators’ that they have observed   in media as well as in public life. The student makes note of the qualities that she would like to imbibe from each one of them.

The written draft is taken as a guideline rather than a script.

While rehearsing   the speech, placement of all phrases and points is discussed. The contents are rearranged, realigned and the impact is noted.

Then the student is given different scenarios and told to present the speech

  • Student is the first speaker
  • Last speaker
  • All the points covered by the previous speaker
  • Distracted audience
  • Tired judges
  • Interruption because of electricity / technical faults.

Each performance is discussed.

Then the ‘emotions’ during preparation and rehearsal are discussed. Boredom, anxiety, satisfaction…Each emotion is named and each emotion is acknowledged. The emotions that will help the performance are identified. How can the student continue to generate these helpful emotions? … different strategies are planned by which this can be done.

The issue of ‘ownership’ of performance is now discussed. This ‘ownership’ can be burdening or enjoyable, the way you look at it.

On the day of the performance, the mentor and the student spend a short ‘exclusive time’ together.

After the performance the mentor and the student discuss pros and cons of her own performance. Rather than saying “your delivery was too fast”, it is put as “These were the sentences where your speed was fast” Rather than saying “you need to work on your eye-to-eye contact” it is put as, “you need to cover periodically all corners of the audience by your eyes”.

After the performance is discussed, both mentor and student sincerely sit through some other contestants’ speeches and discuss those. Slowly they evolve a detailed format of performance appraisal which is kept as a record by the student.

After the result of the competition, the mentor explores resultant emotions with the student. They decide on their next goal.

As the time progresses, the student starts becoming more responsible and empowered and the mentor maintains a meaningful presence throughout this journey.

The student now grows confident and starts exploring the experience further. The mentor now focuses on ‘involvement’, ‘commitment’, ‘process satisfaction’ and ‘result satisfaction’ which are psychologically more sophisticated terms. The discussion revolves around, what is the ‘self- talk’ at such times and how different types of self-talk can be either helpful or harmful; how the student can exercise her choice to choose the most helpful self-talk.

As the string of performances continues and each is utilized as a ‘learning’ experience, there will come an experience the mentor is watching for… a memorable moment when the student and the speech being delivered becomes so synchronized that it becomes ONE. The student is at her best at that moment.

This moment is again shared and explored by both. It is a magical moment. A touch of brilliance.             Now, the mentor and the student keep on working further to make this moment appear often as well as how they can make it ‘better’. Here better, means more meaningful, more memorable, more intense…

And slowly, the moments of excellence start trickling… then flowing… Naturally … In a rhythm. The student has discovered her own way of expression.

The mentor watches with his ever-watchful eyes her track-record of glories with moist eyes, with all the memories gathering one by one in his mind… “There was a day when I helped her to make her choice” he says in his mind and smiles.

Dr Anand Nadkarni