Kids are the fastest evolving species on this planet. Parenting techniques become outdated faster and faster. However, I think many underlying principles remain the same.
I think good parenting is not an acquired skill – because it needs constant acquiring. I need to be learning and adapting all the time if I am to be a good parent, because today’s kids are learning and adapting all the time.
I wanted to share the lighter side of this enriching and enjoyable part of my life – the use of fictional characters to encourage discipline in our 2.5 year old daughter.
“Beta so ja, nahi to Gabbar Singh aa jayega” (Child, go to sleep, else the dacoit will come – a famous line in Indian cinema).
Parents have always needed external deterrents to discipline kids. Everyone imaginable – from police and teachers to demons and ghosts – has needed to be summoned to assist the helpless parent.
Boom Boom Bah
Our deterrent fictional character comes from a Marathi song from an album for kids that has become the rage among all kids in Maharashtra. Kids from a few months to a few years old dig this album like crazy. It features one song about a ghost, Boom Boom Bah, with a nice rhythmic pulsating beat, replete with screams and nightmarish laughter.
Not surprisingly, this guy Boom Boom Bah has become a friend to many Marathi parents. Go to sleep, otherwise Boom Boom Bah will come. Not taking your medicine? Boom Boom Bah will give you fever. Not brushing your teeth? Boom Boom Bah will take them away. And so on.
But, I didn’t want her to imbibe an irrational fear of an imaginary ghost. So the Boom Boom Bah character has mutated into an obnoxious fellow who’d rather be avoided at all costs. Our daughter has even learned to scold him if he doesn’t behave.
Not all deterrents need to be fictional. Our daughter knows the Chairman of our residential society as he has a young kid who sometimes plays with her. After several failed attempts at trying to stop her from endlessly playing with the tap water while washing hands or getting her out of the shower, one day her mother warned that Mr. Chairman will shut off all the water supply. This was more than a year back and the trick still works!
Deterrents rooted in reality don’t necessarily work, because children don’t see and understand the world like we do. Use deterrents that exist in their world.
Change, refine, and adapt the deterrents to suit the situation, age, and culture.
Candies and chocolates in excess can be harmful incentives. Harmless incentives require out-of-the-box thinking. Our daughter is now tiring of a meal-chair that she has used for more than 18 months. Rather than sitting and being forcibly enclosed in the chair, she would like to prance around. A direct, straight-forward directive “Sit in the chair” doesn’t work.
There’s a picture of a baby on the chair. “If you don’t sit in the chair, the baby will feel lonely, and cry. It wants you” works.
Provide incentives, not instructions.
This was a masterstroke by my MIL. Anuja is an imaginary friend of the same age as our daughter, who likes to hang around with her and her cousins. In short, she is part of their kids group. This was established over a few weeks of bedtime storytelling involving Anuja and the real kids. Now, Anuja is becoming a more useful concept than any deterrent, since she is very flexible.
On-Demand: You don’t want to finish your dinner? Shall I give it to Anuja?
Stories with Morals: Elaborate stories at bedtime about how Anuja did not behave properly in some way or the other, leading to her punishment.
Good Behavior: Good behavior on our daughter’s part makes Anuja very happy.
Indirect Scolding: Direct scolding leads to crying and is frequently counter-productive. If our daughter behaves incorrectly in some respects, Anuja mimics her at the same time, and it is Anuja who gets the scolding, not our daughter. Sometimes, this is sufficient for our daughter to mend her ways.
These are just a few examples; the list is endless. I am simply amazed at how all this works!
Use Incentives as a first recourse. If they don’t work, then resort to Deterrents.
While Barack Obama proclaims White House support to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities to which India is a signatory, the Indian Supreme Court has delivered a landmark judgment in a unique case of young woman in India. My apologies, but the subject necessitates a lengthy post.
Born in 1991, this woman was abandoned by her family in ‘98, when she was just seven years old. After a few years with the Missionaries of Charity, she went to her new home: the state-run Nari Niketan in Chandigarh, India. Though she is 18 years old today, she is said to have the IQ equivalent of a 9 year old. In this state-run institution, she was repeatedly raped by the staff, four of whom have been arrested. All this came to light only when she was shifted from there to another state-run institution Ashreya. The latest unsubstantiated evidence casts further doubt on where exactly she was raped, and on the entire police investigation so far.
When medical investigation revealed that the woman was pregnant, the Chandigarh Administration decided that it was in her best interests to abort the pregnancy. The girl expressed an unambiguous and unequivocal desire to keep the child. Responding to the state’s petition, the state High Court ordered an immediate termination of pregnancy.
A Delhi based lawyer Suchita Srivastava challenged the order, filing a petition in the Supreme Court. After several days of intense debate in the media as well as the public, the Supreme Court refused to allow termination of pregnancy, and stayed the High Court order.
Advocate Tanu Bedi who had earlier assisted the High Court as amicus curiae, argued for the woman, against Administration counsel Anupam Gupta. The highlights of the debate in court as reported in the press offer the gist of the arguments and the court’s judgment.
- “Consent of the victim cannot be decisive. The so-called consent of the girl is no assent either in law or fact.”
- Reacting to the statement that mild mentally challenged people have the capability to take a decision for themselves, Gupta said: “This is a myth, which is completely belied by present scientific knowledge. It is a structural edifice of myth built on a foundation of highly wishful postulates of mental retardation. The argument is underlied by sincerity and overload of commitment, yet it is mere euphoria.”
- Dismissing the emphasis that the girl’s desire to give birth was ultimate, Gupta said: “If this expression of desire is taken as consent, it will be a complete travesty of consent in moral, philosophical and legal category. How can one question her regarding termination of pregnancy when she does not even understand what pregnancy is? She is blissfully oblivious of her pregnancy and unaware of the sexual act.”
- Reacting to the argument that children of mentally challenged rape victims can be taken care by institutes like Nari Niketan and Ashreya, Gupta said: “It’s easier said than done. We seem to be living in a realm of imagination. I am not trying to run down the argument by calling it a fantasy but such change, although welcome, is yet an illusion in our society.”
- Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for a social worker in favor of abortion, cited medical reports and said the continuation of pregnancy could result in complications, considering the girl’s age, mental status, and previous surgery. He said she was not aware that there was a child inside her, and hence could not mother a child.
- “It would be a travesty of justice if a mother has to come to the highest court of the land to seek permission to give birth to her own child”.
- Consent of the victim matters most. “She is not mentally incompetent to give consent. Despite her communication problems, she has expressed her desire to give birth to the child. She has immense strength and resilience. We don’t even know our destiny, how can we script the future of someone else?” concluded Bedi.
- Ms. Bedi argued that doctors did not form the opinion that termination of pregnancy was in the best interests of the girl, and that the medical report suggested that she required support and supervision to help her raise the child.
- Counsel argued that termination of pregnancy against the mother’s wish was against the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, and the Rights of the Disabled.
- If her mental age is a consideration for the judiciary to think that she cannot take care of her baby, why should poor women, who are found lacking in bringing up their children, be allowed to become mothers?
- Ms. Bedi said India was a party to international conventions that uphold and preserve the rights of the disabled, which had been given the go-by in the impugned order. “We have to respect the girl’s right to life”, she said.
- Ms. Bedi argued that the victim had a right to give birth to her child. She said the National Trust constituted under the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999, had agreed to provide her social and financial support and take care of the child after delivery. Counsel for the Trust said it was funding several institutions and would support the girl.
- Before the judgment: “What you say is right if she is not a mentally retarded person,” Chief Justice Balakrishnan told Ms. Bedi. “We are worried about her future also because she is an orphan. No NGO is going to look after her. It is a difficult decision for us.”
- “We are not in favor of termination of pregnancy. If there are no further complications to the woman in continuation of her pregnancy, then why abort a life?”
- “We are sure that somebody will be in a position to give protection to the child. Our anxiety is the fetus is already 19 weeks. The second medical opinion says her physical condition is good to bear the child. The child is not suffering from any deformity. Nature will give her biological protection. If somebody is ready to take care of the child, should we even then order medical termination of pregnancy? Nature will take care on its own.”
- Justice Sathasivam told Gupta: “Is it not possible for the Chandigarh administration to take care of the child? Is it not your responsibility to protect her?”
- “We know as a natural mother she will not be able to take care of the child. But if somebody is ready to look after the child, then there would not be any problem.”
- After being satisfied that several national-level NGOs had come forward to take responsibility of the child, the 3-member bench was reluctant to accept any other arguments supporting her abortion.
- Acknowledging that if a baby is aborted against her wishes, it would cause further trauma to the woman, the court ordered that the baby should be born with “mother under constant care and supervision”.
I have no way of assessing general public opinion, but in my experience, the opinion regarding the court’s judgment has been largely negative. See this blog post by Aditi Ray on Sulekha. Prerna’s post has a slew of comments criticizing the judgment.
The Bioethics Discussion Blog asks readers’ opinion regarding permanent sterilization of mentally disabled women, and asks if disability rights groups should ever sacrifice the disabled individual to the group’s agenda. I also found an interesting student paper at the University of Kentucky’s Dept. of Philosophy, Health Care Ethics on mentally retarded women and forced contraceptives. Finally, the UN’s Women with Disabilities page is a gateway to much more information and links.
A few days back, I was watching a children’s reality show on TV, Zee Saregamapa Little Champs. Young children sing and compete in this show, and there are two judges, one of whom is Ms. Alka Yagnik.
After one of the kids sung a song composed by Bappi Lahiri, Ms. Yagnik said she had brought a present from Mr. Lahiri for him. Can you imagine what it was?
It was a lemon and chillies bundle made of gold. She said it will help ward off evil spirits from the boy once she waves it around him. Another couple of minutes of air time was spent in close ups and a discussion of how it was 24-carat gold. Can you imagine my utter shock and disbelief? My instantaneous reaction was take it and SIUYA.
Millions of young impressionable minds all over India are passionately watching this reality show. The ratings of the participants matter personally to them. The judges are looked up at as role models who’ve made it big in the music industry. Is this what our role models are supposed to be teaching our children?
[For those not in the know, this is the most ubiquitous charm used in India to ward off the evil eye. See here for more information.]
TV shows like these are the rage on the Indian internet scene. There are countless sites with videos of episodes, innumerable forums where teenagers as well as adults are passionately discussing these shows and the progress of the contestants. If you think educated people with broadband connections who participate in such online activity would be immune to such superstitions, see this:
Of course, our politicians are not behind. This year, the national convention of the Congress in New Delhi sported this ‘good luck charm’. I thought I had seen it all, but then I saw this on a Send Gifts to India shopping site:
What is the harm in following silly old superstitions that harm nobody? Mr. Dabholkar, of the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (ANS) says “The idea that there is no harm in following some superstition as long as it is not harmful is what is worrying", in this DNA article Dare to step on lime and green chillies?
The Maharashtra Eradication of Black Magic, Evil and Aghori Practices Bill is still languishing with no support group behind it. From political parties like BJP and Shiv Sena to each and every religious organization starting with the letter ‘H’ – there is vociferous opposition, blatant misinformation, and scare tactics used to sway gullible public opinion. The ANS activists are so frustrated that they are now writing letters to the ruling politicians in their own blood.
With the apathy of educated Indians towards such beliefs, and the mainstream culture embracing such superstitions, I think a lot more people will need to give their blood to this cause if it has any chance of success.
A conversation between a small girl (Scout) and her father (Atticus) from To Kill A Mockingbird:
“Do you defend niggers, Atticus?” I asked him that evening.
“Of course I do. Don’t say nigger, Scout. That’s common.”
“ ‘s what everybody at school says.”
“From now on it’ll be everybody less one.”
Back to this meme after an invigorating weekend!
Walt Disney died during the production of The Jungle Book. If this movie had not done well at the box office, the Disney animation studio would likely have been closed down, and we would have seen fewer animation films in our lifetime if that had happened.
The Jungle Book was not revolutionary in any way. Neither was it a landmark of any kind. Yet, it is one of Disney’s most memorable films. Universally accessible to people of all ages and geographies. Wonderful music, great story-telling. Disney also showed that animation films with a story based in a jungle of India can also be successful at the American box-office.
The narration and dialogue is intelligent. There are three villains – the king of the monkeys who wants to be like Mowgli, the tiger who wants to kill him, and the snake who wants to eat him. The film has a large cast and none of the animals are characterized in a superficial or monochromatic way. The characterization has depth and has shades of gray that endears them.
What makes this film special is that if any kid grows up without knowing about Mowgli and his friends, we’ll feel he’s lost a part of childhood that should never be lost.
Judgment at Nuremberg is an adaptation of a true story about the post-war trial of those who served as judges during the Nazi regime. This serious courtroom drama tackles important philosophical questions of blame and responsibility regarding Nazi crimes. Were these judges just doing their jobs in the socio-political climate of their time? If they were guilty of crimes against humanity, what about ordinary German citizens?
The various details of the day-to-day life of the judges during the Nazi regime reveal how Germany, a civilized country, lost its soul to Adolf Hitler.
Judgment at Nuremberg is most memorable for the stunning performances of Schell as the defense counsel and Spencer Tracy as the honorable, intelligent, warm and objective judge. Tracy’s 11-minute speech at the end is said to have been done in a single take!
Jaws, the thriller that launched the career of Steven Spielberg, one of the most important film-makers of our times. Jaws also showed that characterization, dialogue, and suspense make a better thriller than special effects alone.
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (Just Let It Go, Friends) an Indian cult comedy, always enjoyable in repeat viewings. The climax, in which the movie plot becomes entwined with a stage production of The Mahabharata, is unforgettable.
A few weeks back, I read Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion say:
I want us to flinch when we hear of a ‘Christian child’ or a ‘Muslim child’. Small children are too young to know their views on life, ethics and the cosmos. We should no more speak of a Christian child than of a Keynesian child, a monetarist child or a Marxist child. Automatic labeling of children with the religion of their parents is not just presumptuous. It is a form of mental child abuse.
I’ve been thinking about this ever since, when I was asked the following questions by Ashok in comments on his Temple Matters post:
1) What is your opinion on children being taken to temples but not encouraged to ask why?
2) At what point do you think parents/elders should leave the decision of finding personal meaning in religion to the individual? What would you do with your children?
For a novice parent, these are profound questions, and it is important for any parent to think about these.
To start with, there is no doubt in my mind in fully agreeing with Dawkins. I was indoctrinated as a Hindu child, and chose atheism only in my teens, after I discovered and studied other philosophies. I did not have to go through a tenacious struggle myself, but I can well imagine different experiences for others. I would disagree with indoctrination of any kind. One must encourage one’s children to think for themselves, and choose what they think is right.
Given that religion is based on blind faith and not reason, it is hardly surprising that most religious parents blindly indoctrinate their children in what they themselves believe is the best for their children’s good. But what about atheists? Do atheists equally provide an open environment for their children to let them choose between religion and atheism?
Even as an atheist, I believe that I should not indoctrinate my child with atheistic principles. Even if I was raised as a Hindu, I will let my child attend a Christian convent school if it offers quality education, even though it may expose her to Christian traditions. I will let her grandparents take her to Hindu temples and let her see and have that experience. I will teach her not to discriminate among her friends based on religion if I find hints of any such thing. Over time, I would encourage her to think critically for herself.
So my response to Ashok’s questions is: #1 is pure indoctrination. Not encouraging children to ask questions is bad parenting. Not allowing them to, is mental child abuse, as Dawkins points out. #2: From the birth of the child. You can provide facts, information, and knowledge. But the decision of finding personal meaning in religion or elsewhere is a birthright of the child.
Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds (who said rational parenting was easy?). When she asks me for the first time (whenever that is), “Dad, what is God”?, what will be my response? Will it be “Dear, God is a fictitious entity that many people believe in?” No, I suspect I will point at an idol somewhere and say “That is what people call God”, and thus side-step the question of his existence. If after a couple of years she asks “Dad, where can I find God?”, I’ll say “I don’t know dear. I haven’t found him yet. If you do, please let me know.” As she grows up, I will continue to encourage independent thinking. When she is mature enough to understand how different people can have different values, I can then explain what my values are. Well, I hope so!
What are your thoughts?
Update: 11th Oct: I realize that comments section on this post can be too restricted a space for many people to espouse their ideas. I have also learnt that this is a universal topic for parents who think. Hence, as can be seen from the comments section below, this topic is now a meme, open to all.
I continue to be amazed by our precocious children. And I’m sure every generation before us has gone through the same amazement. What’s unique about our children? Nothing unique, in my opinion, just that as the rate of technological advance increases exponentially, the degree of difficulty in parenting increases exponentially as well.
I was chatting with a colleague over lunch about her kids – a 6-year old son, and a 3 year old daughter. Her son had an account on Orkut. She discussed it with him and convinced him that he was not old enough to have an Orkut account. He finally consented and they deleted his account. Her daughter wanted an account too, as her brother had one. Sure, there are Parent’s Guides to Social Networking, but in India, in many cases, the parents are not knowledgeable about how to use the Internet, whereas the kids are!
Her 6-year old son can take you anywhere in Chicago – in Midtown Madness. You name the place, he’ll drive you there. Her 3-year old daughter can drive you to Crooked Street in San Francisco in Midtown Madness 2, and shriek in joy by tumbling the car over Crooked Street.
Her son creates Powerpoint slides with ease, and is now dabbling in Excel by helping his Dad create his “weekly schedule” of play time and homework.
In the traditional heart of Pune’s Laxmi Road, a woman wearing a halter top with her bra straps visible happened to pass by. After she was gone, a 3-year old boy smiled and remarked “Sagla distay ki ticha!” (“She’s showing everything”). I remember being at least 12-13 years old before noticing such things – that’s a 10 year difference!
It is not just that children are smarter and more intelligent. That has been true throughout history. It is the access to technology that makes all the difference – it is the combination of enhanced intelligence and powerful tools like never before that is fueling the extraordinary achievements of the next generation.
It is difficult being a parent today, more difficult than it was before, because of this reason. And it is not just your own child’s security that you need to worry about. Your own child’s behavior can also affect another child’s security. Prerna writes about this delicate balance with sensitivity – where exactly do you draw the line between protectiveness to safeguard your child’s safety and freedom, so as not to stifle the child’s growth?
One of the core difficulties regarding parenting is of course, sex education. With sex education being banned in more and more states in India, this is becoming more of a parenting issue rather than an academic one. Nita points out: “it is a known fact that Indian parents neglect to do their duty when it comes to teaching their children about sex…and the consequence is that kids turn to pornography.” Paul has a thought-provoking post (NSFW) opining that it is better to allow children access to tasteful nudes that can deter them from tasteless porn.
I sought the opinion of a professional psychological counselor on this topic. She said that the right age to educate your child about sex is completely flexible and dependent on the child and the social circumstances. The education itself should, of course, be incremental and in appropriate stages. It begins with education about gender identity. Boys want to know how girls are different and vice versa. That’s where sex education begins.
From her experience as a counselor, she shared the fact that the most common question children ask is “where did I come from”. Looking at the fact that this question has made human beings build telescopes, launch satellites and planetary explorers, and write philosophical treatises, it seems this is the most fundamental, quintessential questions man has ever asked!
Related Reading: A nice, wide angle view of the Age of Consent, by Nita.
Photos: Copyrighted to me, of my daughter.
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At the start of the day, I was almost sure I was going to write about how the world doesn’t seem like a place that I’m proud to be in.
China, a communist nation, seeks to achieve a nuclear deal with Pakistan, a military dictatorship, which has a proven record of having proliferated nuclear weapons technology.
A group of eight Indian men were attacked violently in what appears to be a racist crime against Indians, not a common occurrence in recent times. But the media headlines in India and the Indian blogosphere continue to be obsessed with whether one Indian, once accused of a crime and now acquitted, gets a visa or not. Controversial racist slurs against Indian celebrities paid to act in shows abroad get wider attention in India than actual racist violence against innocent Indians in a foreign country.
It is at such times, that I feel the world is hopeless. It is not a place where I would be proud to be living. These are the times when I yearn for meaning; I’m yearning for sense, to make it all meaningful, somehow.
My mind becomes very unquiet. That’s when, like rays of sunlight in a darkened room, comes news like this.
NASA Audio Video History on the Web
I used to watch Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series on Doordarshan during the 1980s. I read Cosmos and many other books that increased my fascination of astronomy. I constructed my own homemade telescope in my school days, getting Rs. 75 from my father, and using paper calendar rolls for the tubes. I used it to watch the craters on the Moon and the satellites of Saturn.
With select friends, I used to marvel at the NASA Apollo and Russian Sputnik launches. It was not until 1997 however, that I was able to watch the real action. I used to monitor the Mars Pathfinder’s movement across the Martian landscape with bated breath and indescribable excitement. Every movement of the Pathfinder against a rock, crater, or soil sample was relayed by NASA over the web, and we were enthralled by it all.
For all such aficionados, there is great news. Decades of NASA photos and videos are coming to the web!
The space agency and the Internet Archive said Tuesday that they plan to scan and archive more than 12 million NASA photographs and 100,000 hours of film and video footage for free access online, under an exclusive five-year agreement. As part of the deal, the Internet Archive will host the media album on a new Web site, Nasaimages.org.
Free Home Planetarium: Google Earth is now Google Universe!
This is absolutely wild. I used to have a DOS 3.1 based program in the late 1908s, that depicted the stars in the sky above your actual location, depending on your latitude and longitude. Now, it’s for free. Google Earth has now launched Google Sky! I think it puts the Earth in perspective!
How fascinating and unbelievably true?! Imagine, you can now traverse 100 million stars and 200 million galaxies from your desktop! I’ve spent numerous hours teaching friends, colleagues, and relatives, about the constellations and galaxies, and nebulae during cloudy skies. Imagine being able to do it using your net-connected-PC! Teach your children using Google Sky about astronomy. They might one day become Sunita Williams!
It’s often said that Google Earth and Google Maps took Cartography to the masses. TechCrunch says “Google Sky could well do the same for Astronomy.”
I do not know if this is going to bring Astronomy to the masses. There was once a time, when it was also often said, that looking at the heavens brings mankind closer, as he realizes he’s just a speck of dust on an insignificant planet, on an ordinary sized star in one corner of not just his galaxy, but completely irrelevant as far as the universe is concerned. There was a time when this thought did bring men together, either in the spirit of fear, or in the spirit of science. I don’t know if this is going to mean anything at all in today’s world.
In fact, I’m inclined to think quite the opposite. Rather than studying the stars, mankind will be more interested in how the stars positions affect his or her chances of making it with that other person, how his or her chances with this particular career lie, and so on. Will astrologers use Google Earth to pinpoint horoscopes? Is this going to be the modern panchang or Vedic calendar?
I’m sorry this is a long post. My point is, when such news about such great initiatives by human beings come along, I feel hopeful about this world again. That there are some people who understand what it all means. And then I’m proud to be living in this world again! I’m not sure if anyone will understand what I mean, so I guess I may be writing just for myself.
Images Credit Myself (of objects seen by naked eye myself)
Here’s the solution to the Fork Spoon Puzzle.
1. Hook the fork and spoon together, such that the outer prongs are on the outside of the spoon, while the inner prongs are on the inside. Make sure the interlocking is firm. They should now be like a single, boomerang shaped object.
2. Insert the matchstick from the center of the fork prongs. Position it so that it also touches the spoon’s edge.
3. Balance the fork-spoon object by placing the matchstick on the edge of the glass.
4. If you’re showing this off to your friends, you can also burn the ends of the matchstick for added effect!
Here’s the YouTube video:
Almost a month back, I’d posted the Fork Spoon Puzzle. As far as I know, only Rambodoc attempted a solution. He sent me a solution I had also come up with, that didn’t satisfy the real rules, so it again proved that we’re one of a kind!
That post wasn’t meant to be a popular post that would get the highest number of hits, and appear on the WordPress ‘Top Posts’ list. Why? Because nobody these days is interested in science, in teaching rationality to their children, or learning about basic science stuff all over again! “Oh my god, we went through this in school already, not again!”
But aren’t bloggers different from this public? The puzzle doesn’t require any sophisticated equipment, just basic kitchen stuff. It is not in any kind of specialized domain like music or finance, where you need some background knowledge. You apply scientific principles when you load your luggage onto the airport cart. Put the heavier and bigger bags first, and towards the handle, then heavy bags next to it farther than the handle, then the lighter bags on top of them. We do it, because we need to carry our luggage; who needs to solve a puzzle?!
But think about the scientists who go on experimenting and experimenting. How many years did Descartes spend experimenting with light? How many years did Nash struggle with mathematics and play games to come up with Nash equilibria? How many years did our beloved Kalam spend trying to figure out missile trajectories that are now used by ISRO to send satellites in space?
We ordinary folks spend hours reading books about such great folks. We spend time writing about our love of them. The blogosphere is teeming with its love and praise for Kalam. Why can’t we spend a few minutes trying to practice what he and others preached?
This is not experimentation where you don’t even know if the solution exists (which was what these pioneers were mostly faced with). It is a simple puzzle, with a known solution.
Why I write so passionately about this is because I believe that only if we instill the scientific spirit in ourselves, can we pass it on to the next generation. We’re becoming a populace who abhors any kind of mental effort, reveling in popular music, popular customs, popular cinema, popular beliefs, and so on. What about classical stuff, that requires some effort? Isn’t it rewarding? But I digress.
As I said in the puzzle post, you can choose to cheat and find the solution quickly using the Internet. You would then be missing the whole point. Try to spend time and a little bit of effort. You’ll appreciate the results much more! Let us teach our children and the next generation how to go about applying the unquiet mind.
I will reveal the solution to the puzzle in the coming week, depending on the response to this post. Do use the comments section to vent out your frustrations, your questions, your criticisms. They’re all welcome!