Thursday, 21 March 2013

Samartha Bharat Parva : Have Positive Mindset

Swamiji said : 'Children of those ancient Aryans, through the grace of the Lord may you have the same pride, may that faith in your ancestors come into your blood, may it become a part and parcel of your lives, may it work towards the salvation of the World!'
On Creating Positive Mindsets : Dr R A Mashelkar

I remember about eight or nine years ago, there was a big turmoil going on in Delhi University and the Teachers’ Association had invited me for a keynote presentation at some symposia.  I remember some distinguished individual introduced me and after the introduction he said  “---- and as we  know,  we are all in coma and Dr. Mashelkar will address us and tell us what to do” 

Now, I had to think fast about my response in the time it took in walking up to the mike. I said, “Gentlemen, I have so far never addressed an assembly of people in coma. But maybe, the gentlemen didn’t mean coma. He meant comma. And what is a comma? You write a sentence, you come to the middle of the sentence and you put a comma. That’s a pause.  That’s a time for you to reflect. You have not written the rest of the sentence. You write the rest of the sentence in a way that the next sentence follows, the paras follows, the pages follows, and the chapter gets completed. And may be it becomes a golden chapter, if you just interpret the coma and comma differently.

Do you know that the entire conference that was going to be a wash-out for the next two days, people being so negative, because of the negative environment they themselves had created, became a very positive conference! People still talk about it.

So, I would say that positivism and looking at things positively, doesn’t take much. There is no need to be dangerously optimistic but if you don’t look at the positive aspects of life in particular way, things wouldn’t happen that will take you upward and forward.

 I learnt many things from many people and one of the aspects of positivism came in a very different form from Sunil Gavaskar.  Nandu Natekar, who is a great badminton player had invited me and Sunil Gavaskar to his home for dinner. Nandu had achieved something in Badminton, Sunil something in Cricket and I had something, a little bit though, in Science. We were talking about our own experiences, sharing our views on how do you reach the top and stay there and so on. Sunil told us something very important. I asked him, “you are an opening batsman, you get on to a pitch whose condition you don’t know, you don’t know the bounce of the ball, nothing much but then how do you manage to bat. Sunil said” Many a times I missed the ball completely.  When a batsman misses the ball he looks like a fool on the television camera with millions of people watching. At that time he is a defeated person.” Sunil then said what I used to do then, was this.  “When I took stance for the next ball, I used my unbelievable ability to completely wipe out the memory of the previous ball and take the next ball as the first ball of my innings”

Someone has said “I only think of the future because that is where one is going to spend the rest of my life” It is that philosophy that makes it possible. Because in life there are successes and there are failures. When there are failures, you don’t go into the dumps and when there are successes, you don’t fly sky high.  You have to learn to take them all in your stride. This also is the part of the positivism. I spoke about positivism in my convocation address at Delhi University a few years back. Those of you, who were interested in this convocation address, may go to Google, put my name and word “positivism” and that convocation address will appear. In fact, Mr. Arun Shourie told me that he liked that lecture so much that he personally gave a copy to many senior  ministers.