Friday, February 5, 2016

What Turns My Morning Golden- Striving for #Colgate360GoldMornings

To be very honest, I am not a morning person. I do not enjoy waking up at the break of the dawn. And more often than not, I have to run to catch my ride to office, because I end up waking late.
Yet, there are certain mornings which transform into something way better than the other, and I think it is a bunch of reasons that result in that. So in this post, I am going to list a few instances/events which invariably turn my mornings golden-

·         Travel Plans
When the “travel bug” bites you, there is nothing you can do! And fortunately, I was bitten a long time ago. Cheesy I know, but it is the truth! And so, whenever I am travelling, and it can be anything from just catching an early morning train to my home, or going on international conferences, but my mornings when I know I am going to be travelling are always, always amazing!
I firmly believe that I learn more while travelling than I do in an entire semester. And the main reason behind that is that I really enjoy doing it. Thus, waking up feeling happy and looking forward to the day makes the mornings golden.

·         Birthdays
I am one of those people who love celebrating birthdays. And by that I don’t just mean mine! I love elaborating planning birthdays of all the important people in my life. So, whenever someone who is close to me has their special day, I wake up early peppy to prepare for a fantastic day for them. So, starting from creating a smoke-screen so that the friend doesn’t know what we are doing, to getting the perfect cake, to giving a surprise, it is a lot of effort, and a lot of fun!

·         Sleep-Overs
Although the norm of sleepovers is that you generally sleep in late the next morning, I love to get up early and have an entire day of fun (which usually involves an amazing breakfast followed by some travel plans) mapped out. I like to wake up happy, and super-early when I am hosting friends over, and surprising turn into a morning person.

·         Festivals
You know what they say about festivals in India! It is a never ending series of celebrations. And in my households, festivals, especially those involving pujas at the house always means waking up early, taking a quick bath, wearing new clothes, and assembling all the things required in a Hindu household puja. Not only were these little tasks like washing and cutting fruits, picking up flowers etc. fun, we also did it together with a bunch of cousins, and the work started super early! And these really made my mornings golden.

The more I think, the more I remember all the wonderful morning spent at home, with family and friends, when I would be super active right from the start of the days. I think my childhood has many, many golden mornings. But the more you grow old, and become boggled with careers and pointless, materialistic pursuits, something as simple as being happy when you wake up starts to be a challenge too.

So, since it’s just been a month into the New Year and the wonderful #Colgate360GoldMornings has made me miss all the wonderful memories, I think I am going to strive to make more of my morning super awesome everyday!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Have you ever really had a teacher?

"Have you ever really had a teacher? The one who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine? If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back. Sometimes it’s only in your head. Sometimes it is right alongside their bed.”
-Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
I have been blessed to have found amazing teachers and mentors throughout my school and college life. Starting from my Class 4 House Warden who allowed me to supervise Nursery students for 10-15 minutes in the morning which made me fall in love with the idea of being a teacher, to the HOD of my undergrad college who was extremely supportive and never lost confidence in me while I was going through a particularly rough patch. I owe a large part of who I am today to my teachers. They taught me so much more that just what was given in the textbooks!
To fully understand the impact of this undeniable #madeofgreat person in my life, I will have to back up a little and discuss about my undergraduate days, and that rough patch I just mentioned.
I was pursuing my bachelors in Economics, and thoroughly hating it! The teachers were good, the classmates not so bad either, and I was living in the city of joy, Kolkata, so it took me a long time to figure out what was so wrong that I consistently under-performed in my exams. In fact, I finished my Bachelors, enrolled in a Masters programme in a new city (because I really needed a change of scenario), and was already halfway through my Masters that I realized what was wrong.

I was starting the third semester of my M.Sc. course, and could choose electives based on my interest areas. One of the courses being offered was "Key Concepts of Ecological Economics" by a Professor who had done his PhD from Barcelona and post-doc from Harvard. And not only were his credentials amazing, I was already interested in Environmental Economics and wanted to learn about this new field too. And so, what started as a need to learn more about the ecological and environmental scope of my field soon turned into me finding what I think is my true calling. And I owe it all to the professor- Dr. J. F. Gerber.
Not only did he make me realize what went wrong with me during my undergrad coursework, which is simple terms, was my inherent objection to valuing everything monetarily. I didn't know anything about the incommensurability of values, the different languages of valuations that are being used in the different parts of the world, and the increasing need to search for alternatives to the growth theory, and yet I could not accept the theories and models I was being taught. Dr. Gerber taught me about these basic concepts which made all the sense to me. And it is not very often that someone, without any deliberate effort, makes you realize all the doubts and confusions you had were for a reason, and opens a whole new world for you. These people, who change the whole way you think come once in a while, and always stay with you, whether you actually stay in touch or not.
But lucky for me, I was so inspired I picked an ecological economics theme, and had the honor of writing my thesis under his supervision. And during that time, whenever I had any problems, doubts or difficulties, he always made sure to solve them for me, motivating me when I couldn't analyse the figures, or found hurdles in catching hold of people for interviews. What made him so amazing was his genuine concern to make sure that I stay motivated and get aid anytime I faced any difficulties.

And although today, due to my continued involvement in the field, I know a lot of other Ecological Economics scholars, he will always not just be the person who introduced me to the subject, but also the mentor whose comments will matter the most. 

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