Saturday, March 28, 2009

How do you feel?

When I was about 19-20, on the day of Vinayaka Chaturthi, my father was performing the pooja. My brother and I wanted to go to our uncle's place - some 15 kilometers from where we were, to watch a cricket match on TV.  We didn't have TV at that time.  We were rushing our father to finish the pooja fast so that we don't miss even a minute of the game.  My mom was quite upset that we preferred a game over God.  I asked my father - "What would you do when you were my age and got a chance to play/watch cricket?".  Sounded like a good question at that time.  My father didn't say anything, but finished the pooja quickly and we went off to watch the game.

Apart from this, I've asked my mom and other elders on a number of occasions on why should we do this or that - to justify my actions and inactions.  The responses can be broadly classified as follows:
  • Some science  (often supported by statistics) that no one understood were behind  the rituals.  An example would be scientific backing of (Hatha) Yoga.
  • Intangible benefits - like punya, better concentration etc.  Example: Benefits of meditation as told by practitioners.
  • Elders said so - I don't know and wouldn't question that.
But, never once I got that answer like - "Try it - you might feel good."   It is as if, no one wanted to talk about the subjective feeling, but always try to reason it.  The reasons, over a period of time, were misunderstood and had become foolish rituals.  

I'd attribute this is to a couple of things.
  • People didn't have any authentic experience in support of these theories.  Even if they had had, they don't value it and use as a supporting fact.
  • The Western mind and the education system insists too much on the objectives to a level that a subjective experience is distrusted and seen as a lie.
The rituals are not restricted to the religious practices.   There are jokes like processes designed for certifications like ISO, CMM and modern research on physiology and psychology that rely heavily on statistics.

In effect, we don't even trust how we feel fever, instead need a thermometer to prove that there is fever.

Let me see if I can play the "feel" factor with my developers - expect them to produce good quality software that they would be feel proud of.  There are a lot of steps involved, but I think it would definitely be a step forward in their quality of work.

A few years down the line, I foresee the situation narrated in the beginning happen again.  That time, I would find myself playing a different role - that of a father.  When that happens, I might tell my son, "Try staying in the pooja - you might feel good."  I'd still try to finish the pooja fast and would make my son feel happy - just as my father did!

1 comment:

NSJ said...

Good !! Approach is neither coercive nor forcible - some in the next generation may get induced and try-but one of the best ways is to live what one preaches -- in such a case followers are not only immediate family but also the society he interacts with-- N.S.Jayaraman