Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Today started as an ordinary day but gave me something to think about and im hoping I learn a thing or two from the thought and try and put it in practice ten years down the line.
The auditorium was full of post graduates belonging to the different faculties of dentistry and the occasion was a workshop conducted by the international association of dental research. There were researchers from all over the world who were sharing their knowledge with us amateurs.I am not getting into the technicalities of research and the likes, but at the end of the interaction I had learnt more than just about dental research .Did I just say interaction? If I did then it is wrong usage.
What was happening there was anything but interaction. It seemed like a one way lecture taken by a bored professor with an equally bored set of students. In reality it wasn’t so. It was information regarding research which was being told very enthusiastically by two very keen individuals and they were hoping for an equally wholehearted response by their audience.
But the audience was tight lipped , glued to their seats and did not utter a single word in spite of being egged on by the two poor researchers .
I was a part of the audience too.
It is not our fault at all.
We pride ourselves about our culture and family values when we compare ourselves to the western countries, but we do not realize that there are two sides to a coin.
We are taught to respect our elders which is a very good thing, but we are not taught the difference between respect and servility.
We are always told to listen, listen and listen .Nobody pushes us to talk.
No wonder we all are very comfortable in saying things in chorus. Go to a nursery school, they welcome their teacher in chorus, sing their rhymes in chorus. They grow up to do exactly the same things in their schools and colleges.
You start working ,and there again, u have your boss and even if your ideas are smarter than his, you have to simply carry on with his ideas only because …well…he is the boss. It simply carries on. why?
This is where I think our deep rooted culture and values funda kicks in. right from a tender age, we are taught not to talk back to our elders, asking questions is not a very intelligent thing to do in school. a perfectly innocent question may offend the ‘elder’ to whom it is being asked. If u do ,then there are chances of a letter reaching home saying, ur ward is misbehaving in class and not respecting his/her teacher or a berating by your parents for not being ‘respectful’ to the aunty who thinks its time that you get married because at your age she already had two wailing kids.

In a professional college we attend international conferences, meet delegates from all over the world, are exposed to so many debates, paper presentations, symposiums , but when caught unawares we all develop cold feet.
Today a simple question seemed so unanswerable.
The two researchers were simply amazed and shocked at our unresponsiveness to their obviously simple questions.

What I thought I can do in my own simple way is to change the way my subordinates think and work , encourage them to question my orders and not follow them blindly twenty years from now. If my student comes up to me and asks me why he has to attend my lecture,I wouldn’t want to tell him, “for attendance”. I wouldn’t want a chorus of answers, I wouldn’t want to hear only my voice booming over the microphone,in a room full of sleeping dentists who would wake up only to say yes mam when attendance is called for or convenient mumbling of gibberish when asked for an opinion. I would not want to spread fear, I would want to be there to spread knowledge and gain some too.
I hope I stick by my words and if I don’t then I hope one among u all remind me of this post that iv written today!



  1. Been among the audience as well. It is a gruelling time, I agree! And I guess that's why I decided I take up higher studies, learn something on my own, so tomorrow if a person comes over and asks the most dumb question, I don't shoo him/her off saying, "And you call yourself an engineer?" I'd rather answer his query so I know that I know my basics and am not flying in the air for all the knowledge I might have accumalated!

    Thanks Manasi, great post!

  2. thanks! u just gave me an idea for a new post!!!surprise surprise...

  3. hehheheh..seriously a good one...its been sooooooo long since i read ur post...this was a reminder of what we used to do during our undergraduate days...i liked the part where u sed students get up after the boring lecture just when the attendance is called for...all of us have done that..guess as u sed its seriously time to change attitude...give respect where it is required and not all the time....ill surely remind u of this post if u falter on the way ok...