Friday, March 23, 2018

A Small Girl Tells Her Story – Why I am going to Boarding School

No small child likes to go to “Boarding School”.

No parents would like to willingly send their children to “Boarding School” – especially at a young age.

There is always some reason why parents send their small children to Boarding School.

In my case – I was sent to Boarding School in the 1960’s – at the tender age of 9 years – because my father was posted to remote places where proper schooling facilities did not exist (In the early 1960’s – Kendriya Vidyalayas had not proliferated all over India as they are today)

So – we had many “Defence Brats” – children with “military” parents in transferable jobs to remote locations with no schooling facilities.

In another case – parents were undergoing “non-amicable” divorce and fighting a bitter custody battle for their only son – so they thought it was best to send their small son to a Boarding School till the divorce/custody case was decided.

Some parents feel that Boarding School will inculcate a sense of discipline their children – so they send their indisciplined “spoiled brats” to Boarding School to get disciplined.

Recently – someone suggested that Boarding School was a good option for children of “career couples” (especially those in long-distance marriages).  

Boarding School has both pros and cons. 

Yes – there are advantages and disadvantages of studying in a boarding school. 

The main advantages is that it gives you uninterrupted education (in case of transferable parents – like those serving in the Defence Services  you do not have to change schools every 2 years because of your parents’ posting) – and – of course – Boarding School makes you independent and tough.

But there are disadvantages as well – you lose out on family relationships – and you have to make a special effort to learn your own mother-tongue and culture.

So – when a “Techie” couple asked me whether they should send their child to a Boarding School – I was reminded me of a story I had written long back during the days of the “IT Boom” in Pune – a story narrated by a small girl who is being sent to a Boarding School.

Dear Reader: Here is the story…

Short Fiction

NB: I wrote this story long ago  more than 20 years ago – in the 1990 during the days of the first Information Technology Boom (IT Boom) in the end 1990 which transformed Pune from a laid back salubrious Pensioners Paradise  into a bustling cosmopolitan metro.

This is one of my favorite stories  A Small Girls Story  narrated in her own words...


It all started when God took my baby brother away. 

Poor thing – my poor baby brother – poor little thing...

God took him away even before he was born.

And  Mamma was never the same again.

She changed forever. 

We were all so happy then  before God took my baby brother away.

A happy family  My Papa – My Mamma – My loving Granny  and – cute little Me.

We all lived in a cute little house in a place called Madiwale Colony in Sadashiv Peth in Pune.

In the morning  Papa caught the company bus to his factory in Pimpri  and Mamma walked me down to my school nearby on Bajirao Road.

And – in the evenings – we would all go to the Talyatla Ganpati Temple in Saras Baug – play on the lush green lawns  and if Papa was in a good mood  he would treat me to a yummy Bhel prepared by the man with the huge flowing beard at the Kalpana Bhel stall at Parvati Chowk on Tilak Road  on our way back home. 

On Sundays – we would go to Laxmi Road for shopping – eat Misal at Santosh Bhavan – and have Amba Ice Cream at Ganu Shinde  and  maybe  a Marathi movie at Prabhat, Vijay or Bhanuvilas. 

And – once in a while  Papa would take us on his Bajaj scooter to Camp  or a ride on the Jangli Maharaj Road  or to picnic spots like Khadakwasla and Katraj lakes  or hiking up Sinhagarh Fort  and once we even went all the way to Lonavala  Papa, Mamma and me  all 3 of us riding on our beloved and hardy scooter. 

It was a good life  and we were happy and content.

Two things are a must for a happy home.

First  you must love your home 

And – you must always want to go home – because – your home is the best place in the world for you

Second  your home must love you 

Your home must want you to come home  beckon you  yes  your home must welcome you and wait for you to come back – and – just like a pet dog – your home must be happy when you come back  and – your home must always want you to live at home.

Our cute little house in Sadashiv Peth – with all the loving people in living in it  was indeed a happy home – we loved our home – and – our home loved us. 

And  I had lots of friends all around. 

One day – they all said Mamma was going to have a baby.

Being a girl myself  I wanted a baby sister to play with  but Granny scolded me  and she said that it must be a baby brother  so I said okay – I would manage with a baby brother. 

And suddenly one day  when Mamma’s tummy was bloating quite a bit  they rushed her to hospital  and God took my unborn baby brother away.

Yes  God took my unborn baby brother away. 

It was at this moment that Mamma changed forever. 

I sat beside Mamma in the hospital and consoled her: “Don’t worry. God will send another baby brother.” 

And on hearing this  Mamma started crying.

She said she would never be able to have a baby again  and I was her only baby.

My Mamma looked pale  and she had a sad look in her eyes for many days  even after leaving hospital.

And most of the time – Mamma would sit alone – brooding by the window – or moping all alone in her room. 

“She will go crazy sitting in the house all day. Your wife must do something...!” everyone said.

But Papa was adamant: “Who will look after the house, my mother, my daughter...?” he asked. 

“Don’t worry  I will manage everything...” Granny said.

So Mamma joined a Computer class nearby.

And soon – she started becoming normal and happy again.

“She is a natural programmer...” my Mamma’s teachers praised her.

And when she finished the course  my Mamma was offered a good job in a top IT software firm. 

“No way...” said Papa, “I am the breadwinner. I don’t want my wife to work. I want her to look after the house.” 

“MCP... MCP...” everyone said to Papa.

I did not know what MCP meant  but it made Papa very angry. 

“Let her work. I will manage the house...” Granny said. 

“Don’t worry, Papa. Please let Mamma work. I am a big girl now and I can look after myself. I will study regularly and come first in class...” I promised.

And so  Mamma started working.

And when Mamma brought home her first pay cheque – she gave it to Papa.

My Papa did not take the cheque.

Instead  he said proudly: 

“I will be the last person to touch my wife’s money. I would rather starve – than live off my wife’s money.”

So my Mamma gave the money to Granny.

And Papa did not say a thing  he just sulked for days.

Life was hectic now.

Mamma got up very early  cooked the food  did the housework  got ready  and then both Papa and Mamma caught their respective company buses to their faraway workplaces – he went to his factory in Pimpri  and she went to the IT Park at Hinjewadi.

And after that Granny made me ready  I walked down Bajirao Road to my school. 

One day my Mamma’s boss came home with Mamma.

He said the company wanted to send Mamma abroad to America to work onsite on a project.

My Mamma’s boss had come to our home to convince Papa to let her go to America.

I thought that Papa would argue  and I hoped he would not let Mamma go to America.

But surprisingly – my Papa meekly agreed  probably thinking it was futile to argue  and Mamma went away to America for three months.

Then there was an IT Boom.

IT... IT... Software... Software... Everywhere...

That was a turning point in our lives.

Mamma started doing better and better  becoming more and more successful  doing more and more projects – and earning more and more money.

Papa felt jealous that Mamma was earning more than him  so he took Voluntary Retirement (VRS) from his job  and he started a business. 

I don't know what he exactly did  but his business was something to do with software and hardware.

My Papa got so busy – that he came home late in the evenings.

Now  Papa had no time for me  but his business seemed to be doing quite well. 

And then  a competition started between my Papa and my Mamma.

And soon – they both were making so much money that  one day  they said that Sadashiv Peth wasn’t a good enough place for us to live in any longer  as it did not befit their new found status...!

So we moved to a luxury apartment in a fancy township in a posh suburb of Pune  and I was put in a famous elite school known more for its snob appeal than academic accomplishments and studies.

Our new house was in a beautiful colony  far away from the city  with landscaped gardens – a clubhouse – a swimming pool – a gym  and so many facilities.

It was so luxurious  and the people living here were so highbrow and snobbish  that Granny and I were miserable.

“It’s like a 5 star prison...” my Granny would say.

She was right in one way.

For the whole day when we all were away  Granny was trapped inside the apartment with nothing to but watch soaps on cable TV in airconditioned comfort.

I too missed our cute old house in Sadashiv Peth  the Bhel  the trips to Saras Baug and Laxmi Road  and  most of all  my earlier friends who were so friendly  unlike the snobbish people here.

Oh yes  this luxury apartment was indeed a better HOUSE

But – our cute old place in Sadashiv Peth was certainly a better HOME

But Granny and me – we managed somehow  as Mamma increased her trips abroad to America  and Papa was busy expanding his flourishing business.

And one day  suddenly  God took Granny away.

Mamma was abroad in America on an important project  and she just could not come home immediately.

She came back after one month.

And then for days and days – Papa and Mamma kept discussing something.

I sensed that they were discussing about me – because whenever I would come  they would keep quiet or change the topic.

And tomorrow morning  I am off to an elite boarding school in Panchgani. 

I do not know whether what has happened is good or bad for me  or what is going to happen to me in the future.

But – one thing is sure: 
If God had not taken my baby brother away I would not be going to boarding school.

Yes  if God hadn’t taken my baby brother away  Mamma wouldn’t have taken up a job – and – I wouldn’t be going to boarding school.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This Story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

How to Overcome Communication Mismatch





Suppose you are talking to someone 
 say your colleague  or your spouse – or your kid  or your friend – or even a stranger. 

Communication is a 
two way process

Assume that there are two of you talking to each other 
– engaging in interpersonal communication. 

 when you speak to someone – you will be watching her – and observing her body language  and similarly  she in turn will be doing the same.

So interpersonal communication will comprise not only verbal speech 
– but non-verbal cues as well. 

Let us assume that 
– you say something to the person in front of you – and she says something back to you in reply. 

There will be six messages present in this person-to-person communication process:

1. What you MEAN to say

2. What you ACTUALLY say

3. What the other person HEARS

4. What the other person THINKS is heard

5. What the other person SAYS

6. What you THINK the other person says

Interpretation of Communication (deriving messages from a communication) depends on many factors 
– ranging from intellectual to emotional to cognitive  all these factors form your MENTAL FILTER.

How you interpret a communication depends on your mental filters at that point of time 
– which  apart from your intellectual, emotional and cognitive aspects  is also governed by various factors  like your mood, quality and type of relationship with the other person – and  the environment in which the communication is taking place.

 it is similar for the other person talking to you.

In order to reduce communication mismatch 
 it is essential that your mental filter is in sync with the person talking to you – and vice versa

– there will be ambiguities in the messages exchanged – and this may have undesirable ramifications  and  at times  may even lead to discord and conflict.


Let me try to explain this with an illustrative example: 

Imagine that a husband and wife are driving right across Pune 
– from Wakad to Koregaon Park – one evening – for a party.

Their car crawls at snail’s pace in the heavy traffic on the busy crowded roads of Pune 
 a city where traffic is the worst nightmare  especially in peak hours like evenings. 

The car is waiting at a red traffic signal.

Suddenly – the traffic signal turns green. 

The wife says to her husband: 

“The signal has become green...!!!”

 in his mind’s eye  the husband can interpret this simple communication from his wife in a number of ways.

The way in which he interprets this simple statement made by his wife 
– depends on his mental filter at that point of time. 

The husband
s response to his wifes simple statement will depend on how he interprets his wife's communication 
– which in turn will depend on his mental filter (at the point of time). 

Here are a few examples of how the husband will interpret his wife
s simple communication (“The signal has become green...!”) 
– and how the husband may reply back to his wife: 

1. One husband may think his wife means to say: 

“Can’t you see...? The traffic light has turned green...!!!”

he may retort angrily to his wife:  

“Of course I can see that the light has turned green  I am not blind...!!!”

 the wife merely said: “The signal has become green...!!!”. 

The wife never stated that her husband is blind...)

2. Another husband may think his wife is hurrying him up 
– and he interpret the meaning of what his wifes communication as: 

“Come on  you slow-poke  hurry up  we are already late...!!!” 

On interpreting his wifes communication in this fashion 
 the husband may snap back at his wife: 

“Don’t unnecessarily hustle me  let me drive properly...!!!”

 the wife merely said: “The signal has become green...!!!”.

The wife never stated that her husband is a slow-poke and drives too slowly...) 

3. A third “hen-pecked” husband may assume that his wife has started off her nagging again.

 this husband will say irritably to his wife: 

“Stop your nagging and backseat driving – why don’t you drive the car yourself instead of passing comments...?”

 the wife merely said: “The signal has become green...!!!”

The wife just wanted to draw the attention of her husband to the traffic signal 
 she had no intention of nagging him...)

 in each of these three cases above – on hearing her husband’s remarks  the wife may either choose to remain silent – or she may “appropriately” respond to the husband’s comments and give him a “befitting reply

If she decides to retort 
 the husband may reply back. 

And then – the conversation will go on and on. 

The result will be that more “heat” and less “light” is generated – leading to a heated argument – which may escalate into a fight between husband and wife.

What happens if a husband just ignores the wife’s remarks 
– he remains silent – and he says nothing...?

 the wife may interpret her husband’s silence in a number of ways – depending on her mental filter – and she will respond accordingly – and she may say something to her husband again. 

– the wife too may remain silent  like her husband. 

This silence of both husband and wife may result in breakdown of verbal communication  though  non-verbal communication may continue.

 SILENCE is a very effective way of conveying non-verbal messages 

Sometimes  silence can be quite powerful too  like they say “a deafening silence”...!!!

Whichever way the wife chooses to give her husband a 
“befitting reply
”  this may provoke the husband further – and the “communication” cycle will continue.


Interpretation of communication 
 drawing inferences – it all depends on your mental filters  doesn’t it...? 

Your mental filters “colour” your cognition 
– and influence your interpretation of the message in a communication due to various biases or prejudices. 

The sine qua non for Effective Communication is Harmony of Mental Filters

– if there is a Mismatch in Mental Filters – the result is Misinterpretation of Messages – due to persons interpreting “Implied Meanings – where there were none.

Like we highlighted in the example of communication between husband and wife 
 repeated misinterpretation of communication can snowball and spiral into an unhealthy communication cycle  and this can damage inter-personal relationships both at work and at home. 

For example 
 in a marriage  repeated misinterpretation of mutual communication between husband and wife  due to mismatch in mental filters  may cause disharmony in the relationship  and lead to marital discord  which in turn may snowball into disastrous consequences  and which can  in extremis – even lead to breakdown of the marriage.

 before you communicate with someone  at work, in society and at home  make sure that your mental filters are in sync with each other (mutually synchronized).

– when you talk to someone – you will mean something – but the other person will interpret something else  and this may create serious misunderstandings.

 there are six messages present in a person-to-person communication process

– when you are talking to someone  both of you must make sure that you are in perfect sync” with each other – so that there is no ambiguity or confusion – and you achieve seamless effective inter-personal communication.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

1. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.