Personal Musings

This blog is intended to be just a jumble of thoughts that hit me and need not necessarily mean anything.

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Location: Kerala, India

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Prof Venkateswaran's talk

I feel that I could listen to a great man talk yesterday when i heard Prof Venkateswaran in an informal meeting. I ended up cursing myself, why I didnt listen to his earlier speeches when i had a chance. All I can blame is on my general aversion to speeches. I think this is another area where I need improvement.

Extracts from the speech

There was a mention of dealing with others. Prof Venkateswaran is famous for his easy, warm handling of people. His advice on handling people is quite simple. Find out the beauty in the other. If you find something beautiful in some one, then there is no other way you can communicate to him/her. Deadly!!!

Another thing that struck me is his general sense of right. He kept on emphasising the importance of doing the right thing with all his real life example. It was quite inspiring to me.

He also talked about "going with the lot" scenario. Again the mention of doing the right thing was put forth. But here, he also mentioned lateral thinking concepts. He emphasised the importance of being able to do what can be done. He also implored us to think out of the box.

He quoted a couple of examples where he approached the problem differently. There was a situation in which a student had approached him for admission. His admission was not possible because of a technical glitch. What Prof. Venkateswaran did was altering the entire technical glitch totally. the student was not given because his father was only a daily wager. The Prof converted the status of the employee to regular worker. There was a feeling among some administrators that there may be a problem in future because of this incident. But then, no problem occured because everyone agreed that this was the right thing to do. The emphasis again is on right thing. There was another similar example where the use of alternating thinking is put forward.

In his speech, Prof Venkateswaran showed how to deal with responsibility. He had both academic and administrative responsibility. His approach of dealing with his responsibilities effectively is by not considering them as 'responsibility'. He assured us that there was no feeling of burden when he dealt with his responsibilities. All the work he did came to him naturally as the best thing to do. Hence he didnot have to consider them as responsibility. To him, everything was a situation, and his responses were always the right response to the situaton in hand. (I dont understand why this looks like spirituality than management technique.)

There was no moment in his talk, when he never directly or indirectly did not demonstrate the need for becoming a good communicator. "There are two things important in a good communication. One is speaking; the other is listening. A good communicator does both."

He mentioned one technique to remember the name of students. I have to do some sort of training to remember the name of people I meet. I am still lacking in that. His technique is simple. I am reminded of the malayalam proverb whose rough traslation is : To eat hot rice soup, start from the side. (Kanjikku choodu kooduthalanengil, vakkil ninnu thudanguka.)

His speech impressed upon me the need for training. Though he only mentioned the importance of training in relation to Library book reading habit, the significance of training was always looming some where around in the speech. From his speech, I was able to make out many areas where he had trained himself. I should find ways to conciously and unconciously train myself to be a better being.

Just like Ramkumar used to talk about incidents with students in his career, there was also mention of similar thing. There weremany places where the tones matched those of Dr A C Mathai in some of his speeches way back in raset. My observation is that all these people must be training themselves to deliver speeches in this particular pattern. I think this is a speaking technique. If it is a technique somebody must have written about it. Which again tells me to read more of management books.

Prof Venkateswaran touched upon the topic of reservation. Like me, he also is against reservation in higher education. He emphasised on the need to improve school level education before going to higher education. He pointed out the lack of apporpriate effort on the part of the government to improve the school education for the 'reserved' people. If they are given proper training in the school level, then they will be able to go to higher education with their merit alone. If a student is not able to apply because of fees, then now itself any banls are willing to come forward to provide educatoinal loans. The merit of the student doesnot depend on how much money his parents have; but only on how much effort he can put in.

I came out of the lecture hall thinking why I was not able to meet this person earlier.


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