Colours!! – Neil Harbisson


It was fascinating to listen Neil Harbisson speak about colours at the Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012. The way he starts his talk is something which completely swept me away. It was kinda like Beethoven and his music, a partly deaf man who created magic through his  music while Harbisson outclasses the show by being a man who processes colours than most who can see them bright and vivid.

The way he says – “The problem is not that I can’t see colours, the problem is that you can see them!”. If I were to point a few things I liked in the presentation, it would quite a lot of things, the whole attitude with which he speaks, the elegance, simplicity and above all the view with which he has brought in a whole range of development is fascinating to say the least. The talk, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Sw_-pzYEqV4 is extremely inspiring on all accords.

We have seen people who fret at the smallest difficulties and we have been people who fret at them while here is a man who says he cannot see colour but I don’t think there is anyone in the world who can process more colours than he can! Only a great talker can make you laugh and think at the same time. There are no woes in the story, here we see a man who is strong, who is out there creating a change as opposed to the many who speak and crib!

The whole idea of having a representation of colours through their frequencies is scintillating. It is the first time ever I am seeing a view which offers colour as a music, as a tonality, frequency. I specially loved his reference, ” In humans – there is no white or black – we are never black or white, we range between light and dark shades of orange”. I think that was certainly the show stopper! No one could have probably told it better. There have been wars, there has been an apartheid talking about the white and the black skin while we are all simple plain shades of orange!

And the idea of face as a ringtone, who would not like that? Who would like to have a personalized ringtone and proudly say that’s the song of my face! The way he has used the sound idea to define his fashion sense elevates dressing to a new level. The thought of a fashion show with the models wearing sound frequencies, songs is brillaince at its best. While I listened to him, I could keep myself glued upon one quote – “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand”. Doesn’t it always boil down to that! There are always ifs and buts. A deaf Beethoven can compose the best music in the world. A man who cannot process colours can do magic with his ears and brain. If you tell me there is no magic, then how would you define this? It is brilliance in all accord.

Hats off to Neil Harbisson, it is personality at its best!

Advertisements

Kaliyuva Mane – Education with a Difference!


My tryst with NGO’s started with a motive of getting a different experience but it stayed on cos of the fulfilment I derived from it. One of the best things about an NGO is the amount of work we get to do and the difference we get to see. It always is a matter of pride being a part of change in whichever small way we can.
The NGO I am going to write about is DivyaDeepa trust. Housed about 12 kms from my place, going to the NGO was always a pleasure cos the people I got to meet were someone outside of the work place, it was a place where we came in voluntarily cos we wanted to do something and the motive was definitely a fulfilling one.

 

 

I loved the environment at Divyadeepa, it is very different from the NGOs I have been to. The projects we were involved with, the projects the students were involved with were very different and heartening. It is an NGO which works on education of the underprivileged classes. It is education with a difference. Fondly called “Kaliyuva Mane” which means learning house, the place always feels like a home whenever we visit it. When you visit this place, you would be astounded by the comfort the kids establish with a visitor. Their language is impeccable and you would be surprised for the English they speak and almost all of them come from a rural background and from underprivileged classes.

 

The kind of classes that go on are quite different, students are not forced to sit in a class because of their age, they can attend classes depending on their comfort of learning. There is no one size fits all arrangement here, the kids learn at their own pace, they all value education and the education they receive is not just the bookish one, it is value based education. It is an interesting prospect to define value and education since it is so easy to link it up with ethics, morals, philosophy, etc etc etc but what I find most exciting was that this was more of life skills, the ones that make you survive and co-exist in the society, not just the ones we are used to in the formal education where you would still end up a topper if you mugged up a few lessons, we all realize how trivial it sounds now, but when I was studying I was sure that marks were the most important thing in the world.

 

The students here are more like a family, they are about ownerships more than responsibilities, they know how to keep the surroundings much better than most sophisticated ones in the society. They know about conservation of water, rainwater harvesting, using renewable sources of energy, conservation of water which most people in the upper front of the society don’t even acknowledge! They know about sustainable development and live it through their actions contrary to what we see in the society today. They are very well adept with the banking terminologies which I find hard even to this date. They have a banking system, a small shop run by the kids where they learn about transactions and realize how important financial part is in the day to day life.

 

I think it is high time our educational system went through some changes. This was the first time I was introduced to the Aurobindo school of thought. I think this is one of the best models I have come across and the kids here are really smart, capable of doing a lot more things. I know it would be juvenile to ask for a funding for this one, but I think it is an institute which is doing a great job and deserves to be supported in the right direction. I would highly recommend someone who wants to make a difference to this place like someone did for me and to this day I am very thankful to know such an institute exists and works in a  positive front where the need is high and the difference is a necessity.

Live examples of true inspiration- Lesson 1 – Surya the sculptor


An interesting person I met today was Mr Surya, twice Mr Karnataka winner, now a very happy sculptor who was telling about the way things have happened in his life and the way his journey came to doing stone carving and why he does what he does and where the bloody passion comes front. His most emphatic statement was

Vinay – there has to be some craziness in every person. That is the only thing that keeps him/ her alive. The rest hardly matters!

I was quite surprised at a statement like this coming from a body builder and a stone sculptor. Thanks to our shrouded blind perceptions, I had naturally assumed that the sculptor too was someone who had stumbled into this profession by chance as opposed to choice.

But I realize there is so much of talent in this man. He speaks brilliant English, extremely good story teller and a model that could have easily gone in to make the big bucks any day. Instead here is a man who chooses to stay by something he calls the madness and I would love to call it the passion. It is so interesting to see why people do what they do and most importantly how they keep doing it. I guess craziness is one word to coin for it and passion is the sophisticated form for it. Probably this is what Martin Luther King meant when he said

If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live “

 – Martin Luther King

How profound! I prefer to call it passion again, Surya prefers to call it madness. But whatever you choose to call it, I believe the hunger to do that something which we love the most is something unique indeed. For all those who share the thought hold on to that madness, I do understand that it is extremely hard but do hold on, it somehow manages to find a way to serve you in the end. For the rest who would like to deviate, I appreciate your views but if there is that something you are mad about, I would love to appreciate that madness even more. I would love to conclude with my all time favourite statement

“Passion is not just a word, it is a world! Open yourself up to it, it will find a way to open up to you” 

The technicality of motivation


The technicality of motivation

 

Interesting to see how topics turn up. I was talking to my friend Srini today about motivation and how to keep oneself in an inspired state of mind when the common perception is that it is the worst phase. He drew out a beautiful analogy to support a very cogent argument.

 

As a natural course of actions and reactions, things ought to go wrong and at least at some point we all feel that all hell has broken loose and things around seem a little hard to understand and a lot harder to solve. The question is how to sustain the energy or the motivation in such a scenario. His answer was quite simple and definitely unorthodox. Thanks to the these thoughts, it finds a way to stay in the mind. The analogy was a pendulum and the idea is simple indeed. Consider a pendulum having the two sides, a negative and a positive one. When all hell breaks loose, it is like we are being stretched out on the negative side with a great force, no wonder it hurts! But wait, the action doesn’t end here. Thanks to the Newton’s third law, it has to yield a reaction in the opposite direction with the same force. In other words, it just means that it will eventually end up in the positive end with the same force. Thematically speaking, a negative result would just mean that the positive one is just around the corner and it probably needs a small impetus to drive it in the right direction.

 

Interesting thought isn’t it? Are things as simple as this pendulum? Perhaps! I sure would love to think so. I would be the first one to agree that it is extremely difficult to pick ourselves up when things are low and down and nothing seems to be working out. But it is thoughts like these which can very well help us to get back on our feet to get things started and work upon it. The only way anything could ever work is by acting upon it and as the definition of motivation goes, it is as simple as ‘motive to take action’. If that is the purpose of that, why not rely on a thought that helps the action instead of wallowing in something which doesn’t provide a proper answer or a result. I am thinking out loud here but somehow it seems to make sense to me. The pendulum analogy is quite a brilliant one and perhaps one of the best suggestions I have got. There sure seems to be a brilliant link between the technology and motivation. There was something else he mentioned about inertia, well lets save it for another day shall we? 😉