Alexander the Great was one of the greatest rules of the ancient times; he has ruled most of the known world during his days. An inspiring leader, great visionary, one of the best battle tactician of his time. With all his abilities and his troops he conquered the whole of the mighty Persian Empire and stretched his empire to the Himalayas.
There are even writings saying – Alexander lead Macedonian cavalry was one of the successful battle group. He was a master of battle strategy “he could almost look at the battle formation of enemies and decide on the charge of how to penetrate and destroy the formation”. Every thing was good till he invaded India. He was victorious in entering India but why he stopped; fall back and died soon after. He knew his men he quickly studied the terrain, commanded the biggest army– but then why he gave up. What quality as a leader he lacked? The answer is “he knew his men but not well enough to conquer the whole world”. Yes his men were not cooperating with him because they started to doubt his intentions. Though he inspires them by leading from front – it is very necessary for a leader to know if his men still share his great vision? - in the case of Alexander it was not , his men were tired of war and wanted to return back to their land and they are not happy with many of the decisions that he made.
That’s his mistake – “His men doesn't share his vision as he failed to understand them when he asked for a greater result”.
Let’s move to an early modern world, Hitler – of all who hates him for his cruelty, there are few who love him for his leadership skills. He was the man who would have changed the history of the whole world. We all know about his bravery the man who won iron cross for his bravery in First World War, transformed in to a greater leader in few years. He is a great speaker, visionary and obviously a war tactician but not too great, it took the combined effort of 3 great nations to bring him down. So where did it all go wrong? What is the quality that he lacked to be a successful leader? His whole nation shared his vision his solders were on to it, but he has asked too much – that's his problem. No doubt his army had the advanced weapons and great people to fight. But when you go against the whole world - it's the leader who should show them the light, the way forward and how it gets closer to the goal. Ordered the invasion of Russia (USSR) soon after the set back there he ordered an attack on Great Britain, which confused few of his generals not knowing what is the actual plan “hit every one around is that the plan?”;they have to ask more from their men. Ultimately we all knew how it ended for him.
As we can see it’s almost the same mistake he committee as Alexander – “Failure to give mile stones to the ultimate goal and, not knowing what your people can deliver and what not”.
As a leader of the modern world there could be a lot of difference from ancient times but the odds are still the same.
Life is just an another experiment
You may need a basic knowledge in Science to understand this blog. Hold on what have you decided after reading the first line? Don’t complicate by trying to remember e=mc2 derivation, I will try to keep things simple, so read on.
High school the final 2 years of school life I have been in the same school since secondary so nothing is new except the subjects. Now that I have grown up a little and entering in to a different phase of life- I still felt like the primary school boy. I personally didn’t realize the seriousness that others had in high school. It’s a new beginning with change in way of studies now we have practical example (you know the one you do in Labs). Honestly I like them, but I use to mess up things always; so it was the beginning of the year and I selected Computer Science. But my School Principal and my parents asked me to take Biology – finally I won and got computer science. A student with more than 85% in overall score would probably choose biology but not me after all it’s just a subject. Mathematics, Physics, chemistry are common all i have to choose is either biology or computer science.
Why not Biology?
Before getting further why I didn’t take biology? Yes there is a reason. Have you seen a zoology lab? If you haven’t I will tell you how it would look like. There will be bottles of snakes, lizards, insects and all other bizarre creature that you feel sick about on seeing outside are here for studying and understand. And the lab experiments – here is an example “Ok student’s frog dissection” – the lab in charge shouts. “Now take a frog and nail it to the wooden stand” says the lab in charge, all of a sudden that thin girl in class goes “aaaaaa……..” with a whistling sound, note that she shouts with both of her hand in the chin. The teacher would say “Don’t be scared the frogs are sedated”. They really nail the frog to the stand like a Davinci diagram. Now the instructions - take the surgical knife and cut through the frog. Catch that girl, O no she fainted! Bring a glass of water. The lab in charge would say “that happens every time”. All this screaming shouting and killing a sleeping frog - I can't do that, more annoying is to take out the whole digestive system of the frog and paste it on to the lab sheet, no way fellows that’s not going to happen. So here I am in Computer Science.
I still got Chemistry or may be not
So, life was good with computer science but still I got other subjects as well, chemistry was one hell of a subject. Let me be honest here, either its studies or girls my chemistry was never good. Here is the chemistry lab for you, you know the first advise that teacher gives you on entering the lab is don't mix 2 concentrated solutions together, because that will go ‘BOOM’. I was very curious to see how, so I went directly to the rack where they keep Con.H2SO4 with a test tube and took few drops of it, while looking for one more found Con.HCL took few more drops of that too in the same test tube. ‘Boom it went’ it was very bad I thought how bad few drops could be – my advise don’t try it. It was chemistry practical exams “Do you remember salt experiments?” they will give you a salt and you have to find out what it is. Few can be identified by colors and few by experiments; there is this chain of experiments that you have to do to find out. I was doing one, half way thro still I can’t find what the salt is. Suddenly the guy next to me came to me and took some of my salt; i whispered “Dude what are you doing, I got more experiments to do – why the hell would you want my salt”, his reply stunned me “Sorry, I lost all my salt in an experiment so I thought of borrowing some from you”. He really thought putting more salt in a experiment can give result, and more than that he thought of borrowing some from me – I said “Hell no, why would they give the same salt for the guys standing next to each other, are you mad?”. He replied “Don’t worry man I know my salt, all I need to do is turn this liquid purple”. Well if this dumb guy can do, so can me; after few minutes I found out “yes the brown-ring”.
I don't remember the salt name now but I am sure I got a brown ring in the test-tube and when I showed it to lab-in-charge he said that’s correct. There is this good feeling you get, when you do things rite and was waiting for my chemistry teacher to show the result. But it was for a moment before the same guy who was next to me came again and took my test tube (the one with the brown ring) and poured it in to his conical flask, “not getting purple yet” he said shaking his head. I was like “Who is this guy? Why is he along side me” I whispered again “why did you do that?” he replied “Sorry again, still working on that purple color”. Now what would I show to the teacher, one thing I did rite and the world can’t take it, will have to do that test again. So I did the brown-ring test again; this time it didn’t work “come on where is the brown-ring”. If you had such times when you can’t do thing which you have already done, then you can feel my situation. So I tried a lot of times and no luck, may be I missed something don’t know why. My salt for experiments is done and dusted, now I don't have any more salt left to do experiments – I said to my self lets think out side chemistry to solve this and I came up with a brilliant plan. Took a blade and scratched the bench that was in the corner of the lab to get some wooden powder; this girl who was taking acids for experiments gave a weird look – I said “just sharpening my blade” with a smile no wonder my chemistry was bad. With the wooden powder ready I put some into the test tube corner to give it a brown-ring effect. May be I should have been a make-up artist.
Physics was not easy either, specially the labs experiments. On a fine Friday afternoon I was standing near the window of Physics lab, my Physics teacher called me and asked me to help me with the spectrometer, don't get me wrong he asked me to carry the instrument to the lab, not any experiments. Few other class students were in need of the spectrometer to do some experiments; it was a little heavy so I have to lift it with 2 hands. There was a prism in the middle, which came out so I took it and put it in my shirt pocket, just that you know I have no intension of stealing it. So I gave the spectrometer and the school bell goes “tringggg…” I rushed to my class. After an hour, a girl form the next class came looking for me – O it’s always a good sign. She came to me and said “Are you Selva?” “Yes I am!” she continued “The Physics Master has asked for you, and you better have the prism that you took form the spectrometer”. This is when your brain says “O no, not again – I didn’t mean it”. So I went to the teacher and said what happened. Looks like he understand that and he was in a some deep thoughts, to break that silence which is killing me i said “can I go now?”, “Wait, the prism is here and how did these guys completed the experiment and got correct readings ?” – He questioned him-self and continued “You go and ask them to meet me” actually handed over a list and I was like this head-hunter searching for these folks. See even standing near a lab can bring me trouble! You can imagine what would happen when I do experiments.
In one of my Physics lab exercise I had this experiment called “Viscosity of Liquid”. Don't get scared I will explain, there will be this tall glass tube with oil you have to drop a ball-bearing from the top and with a stop-clock you have to find the time taken by the bearing to travel from top to bottom. So you take a lot of readings and use some math to bring out the viscosity of the liquid. So here I am doing this with couple of other guys, so there was this enthusiastic guy who said “I will do it” and I agreed to take the readings and note it in a paper, so I am the guy who is going to do the math and paper work. It was going good at least there wont be any blasts this time, the reading were not coming correctly so we decided to try again and the time was running out. So this enthusiastic guy did some very fast experiments, he will drop a bearing with one hand and clock in the other hand and he will show me the clock and say “2.3 seconds” I will note it down. Meanwhile the other 2 guys were having a lovely conversation about the movie that they saw recently. We are trying to finish things up, suddenly the inevitable happened. He dropped the stop-clock instead of the bearing; “sorry I dropped the clock?”, “where?” and he pointed his fingers in to the tube. I said “how the hell I am supposed to take a reading from that”. I never knew why I have always been with folks who mess up things, may be that's what made my life interesting.
We may work hard to impress or deliver better results for out customers / clients, no matter how hard you do the result is what the customer looks at. So don't be worried about the process and the reorganization for how you did it – All the matters is what you did. So remember a brown ring can be formed from a complex mix of acids or even from a wooden dust!
I have been thinking of blogging again no poems this time. As a start (or restart) this blog is about my experience in school (higher-secondary). I know what you are thinking “School & experience”; yes I believe we learn a lot in school which become a base for what we are today. Anyway it’s just a blog and read it that way.
The year was 1992 (I think so), new school and it was one of the best schools in town. My problem was that I don't have my usual friends around, so not that thrilled about the new school. There were lot of kids from my street who studied in the same school no wonder my parents shifted me to this school, in fact there were some teachers as well; you know what happens when parents meet teachers “they talk about you ! “. The most troubling part is “You don't know what they spoke”, so one fine day my class teacher met my mom in the market and she advised her to send me to the “Additional skill development classes” (still don’t know how they named it). I was like “come on I can do my assignment what more do you want” looks like that was not good enough. So finally my dad convinced me to take up one of those classes. After all it’s just for 1 hour in the evening how bad it could be.
Selva the Typist
My class teacher asked me to choose one from the list - Karate, Yoga, Tailoring, Typewriting and Computer science. I had about 5 or 6 seconds to choose one, first thing that came to my mind was typewriting wanted to actually see a typewriter and type using it. I thought it would be fun with the typewriter. So started my A, B, C’s again with typewriter; if you have attended one, you will know that first day they will ask you to just type “asdf;lkj” continuously and that’s not a typo-error by the way. Of course it meant northing to me, first week was ok and I happen to sit next to this smartest girl in the class - just so you know. Second week the real trouble started, before starting to type you have to adjust the header so that it’s at the top-left of the sheet even more trouble inserting the paper in to the machine. And the fun part comes with the ink ribbon-rolls - I hate them! That day’s exercise was to type 2 pages (I think it was repeating the same sentence some 50 times or so). I didn’t notice that the ink-ribbon was not spinning it actually spins as we type, all of a sudden the ribbon got cut-off from the roll. So what would you do? Believe me on this, I tried to pull both ends together and tied a knot (poor me). Did you remember the class smarty who sits next to me; she went directly to the teacher and told “Teacher.. Teacher.. Selva has broken the machine”. Whiner…! But I think the teacher was quite use to such complains or may be the teacher thought I am not that powerful to actually break a typewriter without any noise so she didn’t bother much. Meanwhile it tried to patch things up, rolled the ink-ribbon with my hands to hide the knot. Again the Whiner goes “Teacher look he is rolling the ribbon with hands”. My god will she ever shut up, this time the teacher came to me “O Selva, still you don't know the basics of setting up the machine” yes they had their fun with the poor kid (me). After a week from that day I decide to quit typewriting class. So I went to my class teacher and said “I don't want to do typewriting I would like to do Karate Instead”.
Karate kicked me out
After a 3 week stint with typewriter and my consistency in bugging my class teacher earned me a Karate uniform. The white dress with very loose ends, don't tell me you have never seen one! I said to myself “Let’s do some serious stuff - kicks and punches” and serious it was. Let’s say “I did better that Mr. Bean”. Karate class was all about positions and a sequence of moves (kata) you do as you were told. The boy who stood behind me was very short, so while practicing this kata my back-hand frequently hits his head. Well he was a nice person even before I apologies he would say “that’s ok”. One day they arranged a friendly fight at the end of the class. It’s actually not a fight the master would say what you have to do and you do so. For example “punch” you do that alone and nothing more so one will act like a sand-bag other will punch (it won’t be a actual punch but an action) – hope you got it. So I was paired with this Shorty and was smiling, master said “you” pointing me “defend” and asked the other guy to execute the kick. Here is how it went, master said “round kick” the guy couldn’t complete his full action and he landed a strong kick on my nose. I cried “Not the nose….!” Suddenly I feel chill under my nose and blood was flowing through the nose. The master came to me lifted my head and said “Nothing to worry he broke your nose, go clean it up”. Thanks Mr. Doctor I wish it was your nose; I felt that short-guy took revenge in just one kick. Karate was a very serious business and I couldn’t take it for more than a month. So here I am standing in front of my class teacher asking for a change and she asked what now? “I prefer tailoring, so that I don’t get kicked on my nose”.
I pinned myself on to Tailoring
After some recommendation from my mom, class teacher agreed to shift me to “tailoring”. I thought my mom knows tailoring already so it will be good to finally do something that my mom can help me with. No, tailoring class was not about sewing machine in fact they don’t even have a sewing machine much to my disappointment. The class had bundles of color strings and needle – O no I am in a wrong place again. Its middle of school year and hardly students shift classes like me, every one was busy doing something. No wonder the class was full of girls except for 3 boys including me – I went to this guy with big spectacles (or should I say glasses with concave lens). Asked him “You are not from Karate / typewriting, so you must be from Computer Science?” he said “No”. I expected he would complete the sentence, but he didn’t so I continued “So yoga huh ..?” He gave this weird look through his pair of concave lenses and replied nothing. Mean while the trainer called me and said “come lets find you something to work on” she gave me a wire roll and taught me how to make basket (wire baskets). I must agree it was interesting and good for sometime but the class was so silent and no one really talked. I feel so much lonely that I can hear the sound of pins dropped by others – perhaps that’s called “pin drop silence”. So I asked the other guy in the class “What do you think about yoga?” He said “It’s very bad I saw one guy putting his legs behind the neck”. I asked “whose neck..?” “His own neck” he replied. O no it looks more violent than Karate, so I asked “How is Computer Science?” He said “I don’t know, but others say it’s cool”. Cool that’s more than enough – next stop “computer science” enough with strings, pins and buttons!
Finally found what I wanted
It was no that easy to change classes after all this, so I spent rest of the quarter in the same tailoring class (those were the boring days). After the term exams I joined the Computer Science class – hoping for some good to happen. The guy who sits next to me was the class leader & the leader of the chess-club in the school. I said “Not again”. But things went different that day, he was more like me we had a great conversation and were friends from the very first day. The first thing he said was “Hey Selva, I heard you learnt all other skills and now ready to break some computers? 4 classes in 6 months – that’s severely cool”. What can I say it felt like home! Finally some one who can speak like a guy? He shared lot of his learning’s and stories. We become good friends and I went all the way the whole year and earned an A+ in the class. I am still doing the same “working with computers”, now you know where it all started.
So what’s the deal?