Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Handy" Nuggets of Wisdom

"Always take care those little things" he said "the ones that make the difference between success and failure, between victory and defeat". Dr Joseph, the Principal was speaking at the morning assembly after I had finished my first "news-reading exercise" at the school assembly. The term "Disaster" would be a liberal euphemism if used to describe my performance. The script was well prepared and practised, but the knees wouldn't stop shaking as I took my place on the stage. I gathered myself with a few deep breaths and started reading out the news. I was taken by surprise when the whole school burst out into laughter after a few minutes. Apparently there was a loose connection in the cable of the public address system which was causing the mike to get switched off every half a minute. I was too engrossed in putting up a confident looking show to realise that I was sounding like a barking dog to the whole school. After giving a bewildered look to the Principal (who was smiling too) I sped down the stage. It was then that he gave this "little things" talk which got imprinted in my head. Iwalked up to him later that day and asked to be allowed to read the news again. The next morning I took my time to check the connections at the amplifier and mike (even as the whole school was watching with amusement) before commencing the news. It went of pretty well this time and I got a nod of approval from Dr Joseph.

There have been numerous instances later in life when this advice came in handy. The most prominent one that comes to mind was during my attempt at paratrooping. The ground training was piece of cake and it all seemed too simple ... till the day of reckoning. As all of us strapped on the gear, wore the helmets and boarded the aircraft for the first jump, the strange growls in the stomach and unusually rapid tempo of the heartbeats made me forget the check-list. Being the seniormost novice in the sortie I was the automatic choice for the first jumper. As we reached an altitude of 1500 ft the instructor put both thumps up and gleefully shouted "ALL OK?" .... and all of us replies back in a feeble chorus "ok". I took my position at the door, consciously avoiding that downward glance and took the customary deep breaths. When the instructor shouted "RED ON". A voice clicked in the head .. "check .. check "it said and I did a quick survey. To my horror the static line cable which was hooked on to the aircraft was passing from under the right arm. I quickly took it over the arm even as the instructor said "GREEN ON ...... GO" and leapt out. Had I not carried out that last minute check and the cable remained where it was I wouldn't have been able to type this post today. The right arm would have got ripped off.

I am getting back to blogging after a long hiatus. The break was taken because my ultra slow internet connection and as my circumstances weren't exactly compatible to regular blogging. I realised during the time off that I was missing something. Though I don't subscribe to the view that "blog-space" can be used as "personal-space" in totality, I do believe that it provides us with an avenue to give expression to the ideas we can call our own. Every blogger has a personal reason for blogging. Some may see it as a canvas to discover their "till now dormant" creativity while others may appreciate it as a useful vent to relieve themselves from the pressures and apparent inadequacies of professional and personal lives. I don't exactly know which definition fits my cause, but definitely feel an urge to return .... and hence this post.


Nanditha Prabhu said...

I do remember that day clearly...when the whole assembly was laughing as you barked in the mike... i could not definitely.. i was feeling as embarrassed as you were.. i too was trying to swallow down the embarrassment which seemed to eat me through out the day...but the next day i was walking proudly down the corridors after sir praised you for well delivered news.the whole morning session teachers were praising you in class.. at your willingness to try again and that too with caution. I am glad that this experience helped in more serious endeavors...and really proud for who you have turned out to be:)
great to see you blogging again.. whatever the reason...
enjoyed reading reading your handy nuggets of wisdom.

dharmabum said...

you're back, brother, and thats what matters.

an amazing thought - no wonder, for it comes from a teacher :) it is scary, to think that u wud have lost your arm, and you have put it so casually...

para trooping - how lucky you are to have experienced it....someday, someday...:)

Gazal said...

great to have you back.

that assembly story makes me nostalgic about school days.Unluckily,schools and princis' arent all that supportive and encouraging these days.SIGH!!!


Maddy said...

you summed up pretty well what we all felt at that first news reading show - i had the same feelings when it was my turn at SSKZM. yes indeed - the various check check items it is only much later you realize the value of that checklist..