Experiences

Renewal

It was day two of my new job today. After a day of classroom discussion and planning meetings, I was finally walking back home from a busy day. A busy day. I have not experienced such a thing in the last two years because I have only spent time doing the things I want to do. It felt good to have a busy day. I was walking down the road I have walked on for as long as I can remember. Past the modern school that has transformed from a small pathshala in to a grand establishment in the span of my lifetime. The Delhi winter is just peeking around the corner. The evening sun was large and the very hint of a nip in the air gave me that feeling of renewal that only a change of season can bring.

I heard from behind me someone calling out.

“Babu! Babu!”

I looked back to see a richshaw pull up from behind and stop by my side. It was a familiar face. I knew it right away. Especially the toothless grin. For as long as I can remember, he had never had any front teeth and always smiled with only his canines making him look silly. He had less hair and it was grayer.

“Remember?” he beamed.

“Yes of course! Are you kidding?” I replied with excitement.

“Where were you all this time?” I asked.

He said he had gone to his village. I did not bother asking for how long he had been gone for because I honestly did not remember. He carried on reminiscing.

“The gentleman from number 7 flat. He also remembers me. I used to drop his kids to the bus stop when they were young. He asked me on baqr-eid whether I wanted some meat. I said Sir I am a loner. I won’t be able to cook it.”

He said this last with a shrug. I asked if things were all right in the village. I got the feeling maybe he needs some help but he seemed energetic and well so I did not want to offend him. He was smiling a lot. The same toothless grin but his eyes seemed to shine more from age.

“Well, now I’ll see you around I hope. I have to be going now.” I said.

“Where are you going? Study? Duty?” he said.

I said I was going to my work.

“Oh! You’ve become a professor!” he said.

“I’ve become a professor!” I echoed. I did not bother to add that it had only been two days. He went into a bit of a reverie. He said it was a thing of happiness that the kids he took to school in his rickshaw for years were now all doing well.

“Someone is a professor, someone is a doctor, someone a big man in the police. I’m very happy.” he said.

I realized I still don’t know his name. He offered to drop me if I was in a hurry but I declined.

“I’ll see you when I get back,” I said with genuine hope.

 

 

Choose

I just finished performing in the play “Shiva Calling.” It is a piece that merges all the worlds, the galaxies, the star systems.  It merges past lives and folds time into itself. The Universe lives and breathes continuously, destroying itself and reforming in every moment. You believe what you perceive to be real.

Amar is going to be executed tomorrow morning. He sits alone in his prison cell at night. Or is he alone? He faces the task of believing that the path to freedom begins by looking inside. Will he believe? Or will he simply die? You know, they say you die twice. Once when you die and once when the last person that loved you dies. So I’m already dead. 

The show occurred in the backyard of a majestic historical site. The Qutub Minar. As we prepared feverishly, doing warm-ups, breathing through our nervousness, peering into the auditorium to see how many seats were still vacant, bantered backstage, the Minar and its surrounding ruins stood in silence. Witness to a time gone by. A million births and deaths. People must have gathered in the courtyard at night, just like us, to sing to the moon. To celebrate. To rejoice. To prepare for war. Belief clashing against belief, ideology against ideology.

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Time and again, they have come to me. Shiva! Shiva! To tell you the truth, I am just a simple ascetic who would like nothing more than to be left alone on his lonely mountain. Losing himself to meditation. 

Nothing is forever. Only impermanence. But we must keep playing the drama. On and on it goes. We have no choice. But, in that trap, we are free.

 

Qaid-e-hayat-o-band-e-gham asl mein dono ek hain

Maut se pehle aadmi gham se nijaat paaye kyun?

— Mirza Ghalib

 

The prison of life and the grief of man are the same

Why should man be free of grief before death takes him?

 

The Story and the Lesson

The word “present” is a noun, an adjective and a verb. That means, it is a thing, it is a thing that you are and a thing that you do. It is pronounced a little differently depending on the usage but is it simply a coincidence that the same word is all three?

First comes the noun form. The present. Meaning, the present moment as defined by time and space. The here and now. Then the adjective form. I am present. The doctor is present. Meaning, a condition of existence. A condition that is the foundation for any kind of relationship to exist. The third is the verb form. To present. Something that you, the one who is present, does in the present moment in time. I present, the President of the United States. This is the fourth form, a noun. The thing presented. The Christmas present. As we move across the meaning of this word from its nominal form to its verbal form, we move from a meaning that is abstract to one that is very pointed and specific. The present moment – implies the eternal aspect of time. The condition of presence – a more specific position describing a particular subject. And the act of presenting – a carefully formulated action which implies a subject and an object.

We all give presents. We all present something or the other. We present our identification if a policeman asks for it. This happens every now and then. But, there is something, we present almost all the time. Our selves. We present, the physical image of ourselves, our arrangement of garment, our point of view, our opinion and our entire being to people every day. People in the workplace, on the streets, at home. This act of presentation is motivated by our world view, our aspirations and our past – which taken together can be called our story. “What’s his story?” we often ask.

Currently, I am interested in two particular modes of presentation that, when thought about carefully, have a lot in common. The presentation of the theatre and that of the classroom. I am involved, currently, in the development of an orientation workshop format for new teachers at an exciting mid-journey startup in the Delhi NCR region. And I am calling it “Presenting Yourself.”

We have discovered, the teachers and I, that the theatre and the classroom much the same but also different. Both usually have rows of seats looking on to a stage area. Through the use of stationery-props, the actor-teacher presents a story-lesson. In the theatre, it is crystal clear to all concerned that the same script when performed by different actors will bring dramatically different results. But for whatever reason, this is less obvious in the classroom. People do understand in general, that a certain teacher will bring more to a certain lesson than another teacher but in the modern age of “smart” classrooms with their prepared videos and slides, the teacher is becoming relegated to a partial-mute who’s only job is to facilitate the dissemination of compiled facts. It is demoralizing, to say the least. Most unjustly, the teaching profession has lost the affection and heroism that it once afforded. A heroism and affection, that arguably, is still alive in the theatre. There is practically no good reason for this discrepancy to exist.

This brings us to the another difference between the theatre and the classroom. The theatre – when setup correctly, is a process-oriented environment and the classroom – more often than not, is a result-oriented environment. This is more acutely true when the classroom we are talking about is responsible for producing results in competitive examinations. In a play, actors don’t rush through the story as fast as possible to get to the standing ovation. They relish the story and pace each scene, giving it its right place in the narrative flow. The goal of this process is to produce understanding and engagement in the audience. In a lecture though, even though we have the same goals, we often find teachers trying to “get through” the syllabus. Students trying to reach an answer faster than others. These behaviors are motivated by the affect of timed competitive entrance exams. In these exams, it literally doesn’t matter how you get to the answer, only that you do somehow and that you do more frequently and rapidly than others around you. Students are not concerned about each step, how it goes from one to the next. Not concerned about the values of helping each other, of taking everyone along, of the group dynamic. Yet, every MBA worth her salt will tell you that people succeed in groups. I should caveat this by saying, that there is “commercial” theatre where results are gauged by ticket sales, likes, tweets, awards and all kinds of other rubbish but we are discounting this type of theatre for the purpose of this discussion.

The goals of the orientation workshop are still to be determined. We are administering a pilot. Firs and foremost, we must restore in our teachers, the sense that their particular  perspective is of prime importance. That not just the curriculum but their own interpretation and presentation of it through the lens of their unique self is important. We must also, develop in them, a habit for self-reflection. This is a habit that is well developed in actors. In the good ones anyway. They (sometimes over-zealously) talk about their “process” or their “method” and continue to refine it through the run of their careers. Finally, we must inculcate in our teachers, an appreciation for the process-oriented approach. We cannot, in this workshop at least, question the competitive examination system and must act within the constraints and motivations that it presents. But we can, produce in teachers, the ability and willingness to blend into their teaching regiments, certain aspects of the process-oriented approach.

We have chosen to structure our economy so that our kids and the people who mentor them must put themselves through the grinder in order to achieve what we have defined as success for them. We teach our kids the virtues of help, of friendship, of togetherness and of uniqueness but we then make them compete in cattle-style competitive exams for the purposes of earning a livelihood. Is it a wonder that most of our kids are confused and a generation of teachers are mired in dilemma? Ultimately, we have to accept that all of life is sacred. Our kids and their teachers cannot sully their selves in the profane as exams approach and then surface back into the sacred, after the exams are over. We have to question the bigger picture, where we teach our kids that a livelihood is obtained at the expense of others and still ask them to be “good human beings.” But until then, we have to continue our inquiry within the constraints of the present.

 

 

The Bond of Dignity

In my spare time, I participate in a little project called the Bond of Dignity. It is an ongoing social experiment that aims to investigate what constitutes “dignity.” The way we do that is we engage people in our lives that might otherwise appear invisible to us. Beggars, people working on the streets, living on the streets, working in ours homes, offices. Anyone really. An immigration officer (although the scope for engagement is limited there). The first step toward this engagement begins by eye contact. The most basic acknowledgment of the other’s existence that a human being is capable of. It goes from there to a verbal acknowledgment and perhaps onward to conversation. In a city like Delhi, where no one really belongs, this has been a critical piece of the puzzle for me. Because people come to this town to make money or find a better life, the city has developed a culture of grabbing and posing. You grab what you can of the land and resources and use that to assume a pose that you show to others. In an introductory workshop that we ran as part of this project, a long conversation occurred among the participants about the so called “show-off culture” in Delhi. This was really unexpected but now, it appears that this “posing” is very much a symptom of the crisis of dignity and makes total sense that it was an integral part of the dialogue that day. It is very palpable in the public space.

The poor are invisible because they are ignored by the privileged and the rich are invisible because they have walled themselves inside concrete bastions where their dignity can appear to be preserved. Once my parents and I, dressed in our best outfits for a wedding party, got locked out of our house without the car keys. It felt like our dignity had fallen off a cliff into an abyss. Our fancy outfits seemed comical and we were left out in the cold in more ways than one.  The poor do not experience existential angst because of their invisibility beyond a sort of lamentation of misfortune but the rich do. They deal with it by showing off. The public space ceases to be a place of  trust and becomes a war-zone where people are either ignoring you or judging you. It is quite natural that people will need larger cars to protect themselves from the threat of exposure. Nobody really knows each other.

Today we did another little exploration. We collected warm clothes from our own homes and through generous donations from our friends. We sorted the clothes into “male”, “female” and “child” categories. We then approached the homeless shelter that we usually work with. The managers suggested that we donate the clothing to a different shelter. They then presented a rather disappointing narrative about the “people on the street.” They said that the people do not realize the value of food and clothing that is given to them. They will often throw food away and burn clothes to make fire for warmth. I am aware that there has recently been some speculation in the press about the unwillingness of the homeless of Delhi to use the services of shelters. The managers were understandably eager to explain the efforts they go to to try and rehabilitate the homeless. But in the quagmire of drug addiction and ensuing mental illness, it is difficult for them to “civilize” people enough so that they can fit into the culture of the shelter.

“They don’t want to live here because they can’t live with discipline. On the street they can smoke where they want, litter and do drugs. At the shelter that’s not allowed so they don’t come,” one of them said.

“If you walk by them with warm clothes, they will pretend to be cold or close their eyes for effect,” another volunteered.

This lack of trust, general resentment and the tight holding to a narrative on the part of the management was rather a dampener in our charitable plans. I do not for one second, doubt the management. There can be many reasons for their perspective, including a degree of frustration, lack of resource and more likely a general fear of appearing incompetent to what they believe is a ruthless press. The first lesson that I learned here was that making the decision to give to somebody involves more than just the giving. It involves the understanding. We decided to take to the streets and do our own reconnaissance.

We walked around and engaged people on the street in a little chatter. The ensuing interactions gave us many answers and true to my expectations, many smiles. Some interesting stories. We heard from a boy who ran away from home in Aligarh because:

“Mere koi yaar dost nahin the.” (I didn’t have any friends).

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What struck us was that “the poor” are not one category of people. They are all as different from each other as we are. They have different viewpoints, different reasons to be here and different priorities. The unwillingness to stay in the shelter cannot be explained away as being for one reason or the other. The people who live in the area possess individual personalities and histories and that determines who they are and what they are willing and unwilling to do. It is not necessarily just simply determined by a “lack of education” or by “drug addiction.” Someone might be unwilling to live at the shelter simply because he likes to sleep on the pavement. We spoke to a gentleman who came here to work in a factory and then was jilted.

“I have my aadhar card, my license, everything,” he said. He said he wasn’t afraid to do any work and the employers were trying to jerk him around by having him come out to Mayapuri (very far) every day and he told them to come clean with him. So he just gave up the idea and now hangs out on the pavement before he can make his way back to his home. I didn’t offer him any clothes simply because he seemed to know exactly what he needed and what he wanted to do. Clothing wasn’t his problem. Not all “poor” people need woolens. This told me that this model of one-on-one engagement works to alleviate problems of mistrust. When you make eye contact with someone and really listen to them, you can pretty get a good idea of who they are. Once you know that, it doesn’t matter so much whether there story is true or not or whether they are “pretending” so they can get a free piece of warm clothing. I simply took everything they said at face value. If I offered someone a piece of clothing, I made sure the offer was motivated by the conversation we were having.

The conversations would get very private very suddenly. Before we knew it, we would be asking them things like “who supports your family back in your village.” My co-conspirator pointed out that in our circles, if someone is separated from their spouse for example, we avoid the topic like the plague. Sometimes for months and years of knowing someone but people on the street hide behind nothing. Physical privacy and emotional privacy are directly linked. After all, if someone lives in a hut, you walk right in but if they live in a palace, you have to walk through gardens, gates, antechambers and what have you.

Living on the street is a lifestyle just the way living in a skyscraper is a lifestyle. Whether you like it or not, it is something someone has chosen and your decision to help them has work within the context of that choice. Later in the evening, I spoke to my mom about it. She said that “giving” is a good thing but it cannot encroach on someone’s sense of freedom. A mutual respect for choices in life irrespective of social standing is a critical aspect of giving and receiving dignity.

Nothing to be done

I arrived in Mumbai in the morning. I always enjoy the first taxi ride in a new city. I’ve been to Mumbai before but I still count it among my list of new cities. We went inside an old building in Kemp’s Corner. We waited for the elevator, an old elevator with the sliding iron grill door mechanisms. The steel plaque declared a recognizable name. I like flats that have very little furniture. It is an ongoing battle with my mother. This one had a one-person balcony that overlooked the city from a height that was high enough to be exciting without triggering my vertigo. It was quieter than Delhi. Only the odd car would honk and that for half a second. A sense of the tropics is ever present in Bombay.

What is the relationship between a sense of abandon and a sense of purpose? Do we not need both to create meaning?

20151216_125820Mumbai Art Room is a tiny room off the main causeway in Colaba. It is packed on all sides by markets, office buildings, fruit stalls, random little houses, photocopy and print shops, cafes. Everyday, the merchandise from the surrounding ecosystem flows into the room and fuels the process of art. With everything that goes with it. The contemplation, the depth, the artifice, the ego hassles and the pretense. Stationery, printouts, idlis, chai, bobby pins, double-A batteries,  white socks, guavas.

Start a huge, foolish project like Noah. It makes absolutely no difference what people think of you, says Rumi.

The istiri-waala was a very thin man who wore a gungee and an above-the-knee lungi. He had a flummoxed expression when he held his face at rest. He worked inside a little one-room house on a high table. He used an electric iron. I had to instruct him which clothes I needed right away and which ones could wait. It is for a performance, I explained. He didn’t much care. I gave him a little netted carry bag I had bought at the Embarcadero Shopping Center in San Francisco which was meant for specifically this purpose. To carry important items of clothing through short distances. Please arrange the clothes inside this bag, I told him. He complied.

We had a day to wander about. I kept cooing about how awesome Bombay was but my co-actor kept explaining to me that I was in the best part of the city and that there was elsewhere to be seen. Carrying on with a sense of peace and contentment is a service to humanity. I will not be held hostage by a guilt about the elsewhere. There is a place in Mumbai, called Fort. It is old. An old place. We stopped by an old bakery. Fascinated. I asked for the menu. There was on old gentleman with white balding hair. Very thin and tall.

“Menu!!!” he said.

“This is a heritage hotel Sir.”

You die twice. Once when you die and once when everyone that knew you dies. The traces of the past die off, gradually. In Fort, there is a tall tree that filters the sunlight on to the metalled lane in the market. It is narrow. The lane. It is by an old Central Bank building. Underneath, a man with white hair and spectacles was taking a stroll in his khaki uniform.

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The piece I was performing in asked questions about identity. How do you say who you are? Who are you? On opening night, Mumbai Art Room was packed. Standing room only. A very pious silence. The polite seminar-etiquette of the artistic elite. There was a talk by a philosopher and some performed demonstrations by us. People asked a lot of questions and then also hung around later talking about the project. Everyone was hungry enough that no one could decide what they wanted any more. We went to a house that belonged to the curator’s friend. It was an old house. With a lot of very old furniture and chandeliers. Someone took pictures because I suspect that dim lighting looks good on instagram. All the delivery restaurants were closed. People lounged about with fatigue and exhaustion. The active exhaustion of stimulated minds. Other talks took place, many others.

Someone had once told me that there is a zen of auditioning. That the audition means everything. It is critically important. And. It means nothing. It is not important in the least. It is vitally important that you do it. But it matters not in the least whether you do or don’t. Everyone had a different idea about how long it would take to get to the airport from Colaba. It was rush hour. They were amused that I wanted to leave so early. One and half hours yaar.  They said that Indigo airlines are very co-operative. They will pull you out of security and shuttle you through. The guys standing around the taxi stand looked very concerned. You have to leave right away they said. Office ka time hai. Nobody accounted for the holidays. And of course, nobody accounted for the broken bus on the bridge at Santa Cruz. The traffic jam was a peak experience. It took three hours. The taxi driver was in shambles. He drove in first gear for an hour and a half during which we moved less than two kilometers. Are you in a panic? My co-actor asked. No. We left four hours in advance. The best you can do is your best.

 

Eastern Promises

I’ve been performing at the India Habitat Center in the Short + Sweet Delhi Theatre Festival. A mixer format that puts up 10 ten minute plays in one evening giving the theater community a great opportunity to come together, create a tasting menu of theatre presentations and exchange ideas. Really fun.

Our last show was on Ashura. The day of mourning in the month of Muharram. My auto got stuck in the Karbala parade on Mathura road past Nizamuddin. A great commotion. A large procession was snaking up the road. A group of boys were beating a variety of drums. Younger boys had wooden sticks that they were using as performance swords and playing out swordfights with each other in the middle of the road. Traffic was honking but the parade was oblivious to the noise. They were marching to their own beats. Far in the distance above the heads of people, were two taziyas decorated in black, green and gold. Being carried along. Bobbing on the surface of the crowd like logs of wood are carried along by a rousing river. Under the flyover, a dozen military men waited with big guns. Lean, tall statures. Bodies relaxed, leaning on the pillars but the gaze alive and alert, full of intelligence, confidence and swagger. A majestic sight.

The auto-waalah was whining about the jam. He didn’t understand why festivals needed to block the street. I nodded along. All the while thinking in my head.

“Why do I need to be anywhere else when we have this to be part of? Can anything be more enthralling? My performance later in the evening does not hold a candle to this story.”

He finally peeled off to the wrong side of the road and went against traffic, zig-zagging across cars coming from the opposite side. I was dizzy with excitement and joy.

“The Muharram traffic is insane”

I texted my friend. It sounded like a complaint but cell phones often overturn meaning. In reality, it was like I was shouting the words while dancing on the road myself. Later when I met her, I said “how is this related to Muharram?”

“How is anything related to any religion in this country?” she answered.

That’s when I realized this has nothing to do with Muharram. This is just the passion of humanity. The desire to put on a show, to participate in the public space, transcends all boundaries and connects us as human beings. Although my insistence on piety and sincerity in matters of religion was still firm, I could set it aside and just see these people have a good time. I wonder how often they actually take the time to do that.

I felt gratitude towards my friend for propelling me to a larger truth. I felt gratitude toward the military men. Toward the city of Delhi for opening its streets to its people to just have a ball. To the autowaalah for finding the fastest possible way to get me there.

I left the pandemonium behind as I walked in to the premises of the Habitat Center. As I approached the Stein Auditorium, I stood in the open courtyard for a while. I appreciated, as if for the first time, the tranquility of the building. The red brick. The trees swaying in the breeze. The marriage of the interior and the exterior. The oblique lines and open vistas. Surely, Mr. Stein, deserves to have the auditorium named after him. What a privilege to perform here.

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India Habitat Center, New Delhi

A group of people had spread a very large canvas on the floor under the open sky. The canvas was full of wild and colorful art. A public art project. Buckets of paint lay around. I put my bags down and looked at the artscape for a while. Vivid. Mediocre. Free. I saw a large yellow flower someone had painted. I painted a bunch of green men climbing all over it. They looked somewhere between aliens and grasshoppers. At the very end of the canvas, there was a girl. She sat wearing jeans and a denim shirt. On the floor. Her hands folded around her legs hugging her knees in. Evening had begun to set in and her face was illuminated by the glow. She said nothing but her eyes smiled without any effort. I pretended to walk to the end to draw something there. Then I struck up nonsense conversation with her. I spoke in my best Urdu. She replied but her Hindi was terrible in an adorable way. She spoke with a thick Eastern accent. Bihar, Bengal, Odisha, was my guess. She told me “aap is corner ko aur sundar bana sakte ho.” Then she coached me through some basic art work. I was just blankly dipping my hand in the paint and drawing circles with my index finger. I was trying to look at what I was doing but my entire aware consciousness was transfixed on her. It was awful, what I was drawing.

“Mere khayaal mein, yeh corner ab pehle se zyaada khoobsurat hai,” I said.

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We invited her to come to the show. She never did. After the show, a father came on stage with his son. A little boy. He said that his son wanted to congratulate us in person for a good show. How beautiful is life? The energy. The color. The irritation. The thwarted promise. The parrots perched on trees. The desperation. The desire. The dominance. The death.

In the Most Polluted Place in the World

Today I did an hour long workshop with people who are studying to be teachers. It was at an institute way out in the outskirts of Delhi in a place called Dilshad Garden. I’d never been there before. I had to change two trains which was also a first for me. On the way, I saw stretching far into the distance, partially constructed homes built in a giant jigsaw puzzle. Willy, nilly. Walls jutting into each other. Bricks exposed. Where is the time for plaster and paint in a place like Delhi? An expanse of urban life dotted by protruding domes and minarets belonging to places of worship. The dreams of a metropolis stuffed together like playing cards.

Life continues through all of it. A populace that is positively vibrating with curiosity and potential is pulsating through the labyrinths of chaos.

   *     *     *

A PhD scholar at the Dept of Education in Jamia Millia Islamia is working on emotional intelligence in the classroom. She has been designing a variety of interventions to help teachers identify, understand and manage their emotions while interacting with students. She had invited me to work with this group of pre-service teachers for a one-hour session using drama exercises to identify and name emotions. We worked with this through some fun improvisations that were followed by acts of self-questioning and noticing your breath, bodily sensation, thoughts and emotions. I had a wonderful time and was amazed by the intelligence of these to-be teachers. I was filled with hope for the children whom they will teach. I spoke to a few of them for a long time afterwards and they asked me a lot of questions that suggested they have rich inner lives. I was glad because I think we as a nation need to move on from note-giving, static curriculum teachers to dynamic, introspective teachers that have an inner process and practice.

Later one of them walked with me to the metro station and shared the ride until the Central Secretariat. He was from a village in Rajasthan. He was nearly 20 years old, very slim. A gaunt face and sharp nose. He told me he prefers to walk and spend the money he would on the rickshaw on something to eat. He eats bananas, he said. I asked him if he would join me in eating gol gappas. He said he avoids eating prepared food outside the house. He said where he lives in Dwarka, he knows the food vendors and the food is of good quality so he eats it there but not here in Dilshad Garden. He also told me the area we were walking through was the most polluted part of Delhi and he had read in the newspaper that Delhi was the most polluted city in the world so he said, this means we are walking through the most polluted place in the world. I remarked that some bougainvillea flowers on the way were beautiful. He said the flowers in Dwarka were better. On the train he asked me about my time in the United States. He listened with great curiosity and often went into deep thought about what I had said. Then he told me that I should stay toward the front when getting off at C. Sectt otherwise the mob will push me back into the train. When he got off, he told me how many stations it will be before mine. I thanked him, we shook hands and he left. I will attach a photo of the whole group today. He is not in it because he took the photo. Later we did a selfie with some other friends of his because he said that all the photos that are taken in the institute, he is usually not in them. Maybe he feels invisible.

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For me, as the “expert” it felt good to have a channel for my experience to find a place in someone’s heart. That is what we all want I think, that someone will carry a piece of our legacy and a piece of the beautiful puzzle that they are figuring out will come from us. It really is a fulfilling feeling and on days like this, I feel like my acting aspiration is not just self-absorbed need for accolade and admiration. I owe those students a great debt because they agreed to be the recipients of my wisdom. This is hard these days because everyone already knows so much.

If we all did the things we are capable of,
we would astound ourselves.
Thomas Edison

That is how I feel about the kids I met today.