Joint Journals -March 2015

How would a family journal like this look like in a 100 years from now?

To answer this question, one can try
Looking at how a family journal
would have looked 50 or 100 years ago.

LABELING PHOTOGRAPHS

I got some old black and white photographs (collected from Palam Vihar)

and made a file. Then sat with my sons and labeled them- the year (approximate)

for old photographs, the persons, place, and themes. Seeing old photographs

made us get the perspective of what has happened in the lives of these persons,

and their children, grand children over the decades

BHATT BROTHERS...1967. A 20 year window gives us many nuances of how life shapes up

BHATT BROTHERS…1967. A 20 year window gives us many nuances of how life shapes up

1958... My grandfather, in Karachi days, Ministry of External affairs, India

1958… My grandfather, in Karachi days, Ministry of External affairs, India

CHILDREN GROWING

Seeing the different phases of life, through the lens of a child growing made

for another theme in our joint journal.

“Who will take me to the zoo” said Mayank in 2008, the only one disappointed

that I had found my lost passport and could now travel

2004 ..Grandchildren are the future which we will not be able to see physically

RAWATS 2004 ..Grandchildren are the future which we will not be able to see physically

2003 Jasola Delhi

2003 Jasola Delhi

WALKS …Indian diaspora

The joint journals have nuances and discussions regarding Walks and readings done in different regions.

Looking back at some characters through post colonial perspective, or putting on

a feminist thinking-hat helped make for rich memories of walks done over yester years

2012 JUNE- FATHER'S day walk..Many currents across generations of the Maltese Indian diaspora community

VASWANIS 2012 JUNE- FATHER’S day walk with the Vasvanis .Many currents across generations of the Maltese Indian diaspora community

Maltose Indian diaspora  The Yoga Group with their certificates-Sukh Sagar Indian Community Centre, San Gjwann, Malta

Maltose Indian diaspora
The Yoga Group with their certificates-Sukh Sagar Indian Community Centre, San Gjwann, Malta

ART

Another joint journal theme we kept was- Art as a way of life.

Went through some guitar recordings and memories of Orlem-Malad

SCHOOLS

Memories associated with schools give a flavor of different aspects of life

READINGS

Have a reading at the end of the day..(and also in the beginning) is a wonderful

way to enrich one’s life.

These were some of the themes on which we build four separate journals

sitting together in Mississauga, last month

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Lost Generation

That is what you are. That’s what you all are …
all of you young people who served in the war.
You are a lost generation.”

Gertrude Stein telling Ernest Hemingway

“Is tomorrow a holiday,” one of my staff asked.
“Why” another countered.
It is Sabatash February.

LOST .

One of my engineer Libyan friends is worthy of respect.

Middle aged, highly educated from many universities, but having the humility
to accept that he has not got all the answers.

“ I will study and let you know,” is his answer to many queries.

When I first heard him give this answer, it was a welcome change to some local friends who confidently say-

“I know everything.”

Only the fool knows everything, I think in my mind, but do not bother to correct these –I know everything – types.

Recently I sat with him, and thought about the coming anniversary.

“There is nothing you can hope from people who have become stunned by the continuous war. Why should I point to others, one of my own nephews has become totally damaged. He cannot sleep without drugs. If he sits still, the memories of what has happened disturb him. So he goes for another round of violence. It will end only with his life. What are we going to do with this generation?”

Made me remember the above remark of Gertrude Stein, which she had expanded for Hemingway.

When a young mechanic failed to repair the car quickly enough, the garage owner shouted at the boy,

“You are all a “génération perdue.”

REMEMBERING KAMAL…OF CAIRO TRILOGY

Last week-I reviewed my Reading journal- and had a relook at the Character Kamal of Cairo Trilogy.Many years ago, my friend Ibrahim Gomari gifted the Trilogy to me, as a special gift from Cairo where he stays. Many a Tripoli afternoon, I have spent reading the pages and enjoying the nuances , which are relevant even today.

The Trilogy is a panorama of Egyptian life rising out of British Colonialism.

The Martyrs...In the Cairo Trilogy, the character Kamal gets into an emotional debate on whether the martyr Fahmy died in vain.... As one staff thought of taking a holiday, I smiled and said..No, we will have a special reading session, remembering all the Fahmys we knew

FEB 17…The Martyrs…                                          In the Cairo Trilogy, the character Kamal gets into an emotional debate on whether the martyr Fahmy died in vain….
As one staff thought of taking a holiday, I smiled and said..No, we will have a special reading session, remembering all the Fahmys we knew

It follows the story of Ahmad Jawad and his family through three generations.

In the third part of the Trilogy-Sugar Street- interesting interplay between forces in society in the context of the rising forces of nationalism come through.

Dialogue and conflict between different characters is used skillfully to portray these.

Class system-as shown in 1008-1009- while family members discuss a potential marriage proposal.

To quote-Page 1008-1009

In his forceful voice Abd Al Munim Shawkat replied

“Yes. One of his maternal uncles is a donkey driver and another’s a baker. He has a paternal uncle who is an attorney’s secretary.” Then he added as a reluctant concession. “But none of this detracts from the man’s work. A person should be judged for what he is, not for his family.”
Kamal realized that his nephew wanted to assert two truths no matter how contradictory: First the baseness of Fuad’s origins and second the fact that a humble background does not diminish a person’s value. He understood that Abd Al Munim was both attacking Fuad and repenting for his unfair attack because of his strong religious convictions.”

unquote

The character Kamal, son of the patriarch Ahmad Al Jawad, an English school teacher, writes a monthly philosophy column in a journal. He has many contradictions . In the night, he is transformed into a liberated voyager who traverses the limitless expanses of thought.

In the day time he is a teacher. In weekends he goes to pleasure houses.

Here are some samples of his intellectual discussions, which take place in the office of the Journal . Kamal discusses with a story teller Riyad who has been reading Kamal’s articles for many years, on issues of science and Art.
Riyad is the spiritual brother of Kamal.

Some literary theorists say that the character Kamal was closely based on Naguib Mahfouz himself, both are followers of the philosopher Bergson.

Quote

Kamal-(the philosopher) “What do you say about scientists who do not share your enthusiasm for science”

Riyad-(the story teller)- “We should not interpret the modesty of science as weakness or despair. Science provides mankind with its magic, light, guidance and miracles. It’s the religion of the future.”

On art-The story teller Riyad tells

“Can you live in absolute isolation? People need confidential advice, consolation, joy, guidance, light and journeys to all regions of the inhabited world and of the soul. That’s what art is.”

Unquote

Elsewhere in the novel, once Kamal gets into an emotional debate remembering the martyr Fahmy.

Did he die in Vain?

The Trilogy dissects many interesting layers, exploring the concept of individualism, family, tribe, clan, nation in the context of Egyptian society emerging from British colonialism between the two world wars.

HOLIDAY

Bab Al Aziziya- August 2011. Do women and children continue to pay a higher price for this civil unrest? This question met with different answers and sometimes silent tears among different sections- both local Libyan citizens and foreign workers.

Bab Al Aziziya- August 2011.                              Do women and children continue to pay a higher price for this civil unrest?                          This question met with different answers and sometimes silent tears among different sections- both local Libyan citizens and foreign workers.

I smiled at the mention of holiday..on February 17….

No-there will be a Special Reading session, we will remember the many Kamals and Fahmys who are no longer physically present with us.

Earlier perspectives

2012

ONE YEAR ON-WHAT IS THE CHANGE

http://prashantbhatt.com/2012/02/19/one-year-on-what-is-the-change/

Families celebrating in Suq Juma. This was the heart of the revolutionary uprising in Tripoli along with Fashloom. As one friend put it

“The uprising started in Suq Juma and Fashloom, was crushed here, will
rise again here.”

After the failed February uprising, many prepared
quietly for months. That day of reckoning came on August 20,2011

2015-…Many a time, we hear sounds of gunfire from Fashloom..in the night.

2013

TWO YEARS ON…EXAMINING BELIEF AND INTEREST

Peter Drucker once said, “if everyone understands and buys into the goal, if it’s a shared goal, it doesn’t actually matter how you are organized.” He also said “that if people do not buy into the goal, or know the goal, it doesn’t matter how you’re organized.”

There are many roads to the goal, but I think a good starting point is the belief that we can improve, can do better. As the second anniversary of the February 17 revolution comes we can pledge to build on the words of John Stuart Mill
One person with belief is equal to 99 with interest.

http://prashantbhatt.com/2013/02/14/examining-belief-and-interest-2-years-since-feb-17-revolution/

2014

THREE YEARS ON…Examining ways of some businesses in Libya

Can an Airlines company do its own catering?
I asked this question to my friend who was trying to impress with his different contacts and abilities.
As one could not tell him directly that this is leading us nowhere concrete,(weeks of running around have nothing real to show, except for papers and papers) I asked him this Business model question.

http://prashantbhatt.com/2014/02/08/can-an-airlines-company-do-its-own-catering/

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Tally

Around the Indian Republic day -2015, we tallied some notes.

Every organization has to have a finance manager, to tally the accounts.

On talking to some close accountant friends of Libya, one comes to know of the difficulties of accountability not accounts.

MISSING

“Look at his profession (a welder-maintenance person)” one insider told me while talking the disappearance of an Indian in Sirte region.

R day Tripoli 2015 1

India House-Tripoli-Jan 26-2015

This Republic day –as our ambassador came in from Djerba to hoist the Indian flag, make the customary address from the President and mingle with the Indian community, it was a very different feel from the last year’s celebration. That time, we had the Indian community school choir, some poetry and songs.

Now most families have left.

The insider is very sure that the welder will return after a few days.
He is probably helping them in some civil works.
Once the work is over, they will send him back. I hope this is true.

GRACE

Kernan, he said, we worship at different altars, but our belief is the same
Grace-James Joyce

Last Republic day, we had gone to Corinthia, reached early, sat in the side and seen the guests coming. Mr.Suresh-the old timer in the embassy-whose accent of Hindi (outer Delhi) reminds one of route number 578 of Delhi- the route from Safdarjung to Najafgarh, was seen greeting and directing the guests.

“We even had some members of the GNC coming. So we got late,” one senior in the embassy had said.

We had summarized the story-Grace-by James Joyce- sifting through the different types of Christians, the concept of retreat, and the way a drunken fall was used by different persons, representing different forces in society, for their own ends. The Tripoli Reading Group has helped me keep a reading journal, which interrogates different layers.

“Mr.Kernan came of Protestant stock and, though he had converted to the Catholic faith at the time of his marriage, he had not been in the pale of the Church for twenty years. He was fond, moreover, of giving side-thrusts at Catholicism.”

One day after the Indian Republic day was observed by the expatriates in Tripoli,

there wasn’t much grace left at the Corinthia.

Every faith has its nuances. The common working people are definitely bracing themselves for another round, each becoming more vicious than the previous.

“The bakeries are not working optimally.

Electricity cuts affect their work.”

Now as we re-read the story Grace, the meaning of Republic and what it means,

there are many altars and different beliefs.

MEMORIES OF THE COMMUNITY

Many fond memories came alive. Some veterans left for India this year in the evacuation, helped by the embassy staff. Despite all the talk about working people, internationalist viewpoints, when it comes to helping immigrant workers, they have to turn to their embassies.

One veteran-an Anatomy teacher, who gifted some books to our reading group had given this sage advice.

“Have a friend with whom you can discuss things. Life can be very lonely in a foreign country.”

See blog- Reflections on our Republic day-2014

http://wp.me/piL5Q-Da

With another evacuation, the many discussions I had with a fellow professional remain a fond memory.

Fresh leaves from a plant I got from Suaani . This was one of our first journeys outside city limits after the second Tripoli uprising of August 2011. Many discussions and memories..see blog- Notes from a Libyan camp http://wp.me/piL5Q-eq

Fresh leaves from a plant I got from Suaani in Sep 2011 .   Trips with Dr.Singh.. One of our first journeys outside city limits after the second Tripoli uprising of August 2011.                                                                                                           Many discussions and memories..                        see blog- Notes from a Libyan camp http://wp.me/piL5Q-eq

As I did another interview with him, (he was also member of our laughter club) , I asked him what he thinks of the situation here.

He said-paraphrasing Abu Shafshoofa-

“Don’t say you understand situation here. No one understands the situation here,”

Memories of veterans  Many fond memories See blog- To those of us who have everything and those of us who have nothing. http://wp.me/piL5Q-E2

Memories of veterans
Many fond memories
See blog- August -2014To those of us who have everything and those of us who have nothing.
http://wp.me/piL5Q-E2

TALLY

“Now they are serving baklavas instead of Gulab Jamun for Republic day,” one old timer remarked. This is sense of the changing times, but the food culture was well represented by the Samosas.

People talk in hushed manner about the missing Coptics. Less news about that now.

We hear professionals withdrawing from Sebha region.

The people in the know (or at least pretending to be) say – Worse is still to come.

I know some Libyan accountants closely. The worlds of medicine and business make us interact closely.

“Doctor, the balance sheet has to tally in the end,” one of them said.

“The difficulty we are facing is about accountability to whom, not the accounts.”

From these Arab accountants, I learnt how to keep records, as after all the niceties and board meetings are over, they will definitely look into the records, the balance sheet.

They quietly keep the records, as they know some day, there will be a tally.

EXCHANGES

As the Indian community met, we exchanged notes from persons of different professions and got a broader feel of the situation. We had a re-look at the grace of togetherness while appreciating the difficult circumstances.

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Angry

Following the details, one finds out why my friend is ANGRY

Following the details, one finds out why my friend is ANGRY

Every man`s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguishes one man from another.

Papa Hemingway: the ecstasy and sorrow

                                                  by A. E. Hotchner – Literary Criticism – 1983 – 322 pages

 

Mentoring questions led me to try and see how young children from the Indian subcontinent living in Libya relate to Gandhi-ji. Asking questions about Kwame Nkrumah-the African Lenin-and Senghor to children from Africa were further steps.

In previous blog we had talked about –Emptying the cup- http://wp.me/piL5Q-IV so that one can fill one’s life with significance.

The –Reading group- (see http://prashantbhatt.com/tag/tripoli-reading-group/) I formed many years ago, has been a tool to interrogate and create dialogue at multiple levels.

One such person with whom I have had many interesting discussions is an angry-middle aged man- whose life circumstances in Libya and home country-Pakistan, make for many interesting details.

ANGRY

Let us call him BJ-

“An employee cannot be an entrepreneur”

Having Orange juice in Ben Ashor, he had tried to get me into following his theme of building hospital franchises. When I did not go out of my “Shell” or “Fort” of running and developing medical departments, he blurted out half in frustration, half in mockery-

“An employee cannot be an entrepreneur”

I smiled and chose not to reply to this man in early middle age, but have been following his story over the years.

The said project of hospital franchises is still to materialize, with a “Revolution” and a NATO bombing and an on-going civil conflict coming in the period.

I met him again recently and inquired on his Entrepreneurship again.

“I am still trying to recover the money of the ambulances I had arranged a few years ago. They say that the money allocated in the  budget two years ago has been returned to the ministry. ”

He is still running around in circles.

And he is Angry

DETAILS

Following the details of this informal mentee, has added richness to life. He is not a formal reading group types. But seeing how he negotiates through various layers of society-expatriate and local, in a war torn country have many lessons.

Made me remember the life and times of Hemingway- and how these experiences were portrayed in his fiction.

Ruslan Mammadov- writes about Hemingway’s- World War 1 years in an interesting and educative manner. Around a hundred years down the line, what some people call-World War III- one sees the effects on the ground in one of the post-Arab spring countries-Libya

“ Upon leaving the US, Hemingway first traveled to Paris, and then received orders to report to Milan. A short time later, he moved to the town of Schio where he worked driving ambulances. While delivering chocolates and cigarettes to soldiers on the front, Hemingway was seriously injured on July 8, 1918 by fragments from an Austrian mortar shell. Though badly wounded by the mortar, and hit by machine gun fire as well, Hemingway worked to secure the safety of his fellow soldiers, getting them out of danger. The Italian government later awarded him the Silver Medal of Military Valor for his heroic actions.

Hemingway spent time recovering at a hospital in Milan, where he met Agnes von Kurowsky, a nurse originally from Washington D.C. She was six years older than Hemingway, but nevertheless he fell in love with her, and planned to take her home to Oak Park. Hemingway fell in love with her, but their relationship did not survive his return to the United States. Hemingway’s personal experiences would be used in his fiction.

At this point of view, we may see here how Hemingway’s wrote his early novels, like he share his own secret with his novels”

JAIL

“They had a system then. There was pressure on the authorities from the diplomatic channels, but in reality I got out because my versions were corroborated by the then authorities.”

BJ remembered the days during the Feb 17 revolution when he was one of the foreigners who was detained by the authorities.

He talked about the time when he was interrogated for hours, what he said was written down and then verified. He went away from Libya for a few months after being released. But his family stayed on.

ENTREPRENEUR

He has not given up yet. Still trying to have a maintenance company in the war torn country, trying to service different departments in hospitals and keeping the equipments running. He does not like the attitude of throwing away equipments which can be used if maintained . But some powerful people would like to buy new equipments, for obvious reasons.

My friend BJ..is angry, and there are many reasons.

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Emptying the cup

In the follow-up to our discussions on Management Challenges of 21st century,we had an extended discussion on ways to involve in the community, which will give a better belonging to the community which nurtures you.

In his book- Half Time- Bob Buford talks about the need to reset one’s priorities in second half of life and move from success to significance. In some discussions I had with expatriates in Libya, their mindset was one of trying to save more and send back and it was difficult to find someone who wanted to give-belong to the local community here. Trying to listen to their story, from their point of view, while nudging them towards trying to see areas where they can contribute with significance, rather than just be a money-making machine has been an uphill task.

THE MUSEUM SOCIETY..ways to stretch the mind

The subgroup of museum walks has one great member, a fellow radiologist, who has a taste for arts, music, performing arts, and appreciates with sensitivity the different nuances of these works. Getting to know the impressionist painters better, in a walk through Art Institute of Chicago also helped us know each other better. That was the year when the British Museum had loaned Caravaggio’s famous painting-Supper at Emmaus to AIC. We heard the in-depth discussions on the moment when those having dinner realize that the person with whom they are sitting is Christ. We then walked to Fullerton Hall, a place of great significance for Hindus as this was the hall where Swami Vivekananda addressed the World Congress of Religions in 1893. We attended a poetry session in which Lord Tennyson’s poems were being recited. These experiences made us a bit closer to different currents,
Recalling Emily Dickinson’s poem

HOPE’ IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS
Emily Dickinson
‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.
http://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/poetry/poetry_in_motion/atlas/chicago/hop_is_the_thi_wit_fea/

THE WALKS …to walk through the debates

Mentoring is a complex form of volunteering which can help give back to the community which nurtures you, and also deepen one’s humanity.

“I am not Bill Gates” came a reply to a suggestion that there are many ways in which one can contribute, and even a non-medico if he takes interest, can start learning about public health issues like Polio and HIV.
“Can you be a good friend to ten people? That does not take much money, but will definitely need a commitment of time and application-attitude of trying to understand the situation and perspective and not to try to superimpose one’s own views or to use their story to take off for one’s own.” These are issues in self management, relationship responsibility which will deepen one’s perspective.

In the follow-up to this, we decided to help a child write an essay.

How did trying to teach the child change you?

This was a mentoring question which I asked, trying to elicit a response out of the routine talk of work, money transfer or security situation which tends to engulf the content of thought of many expatriate workers.
The answers were enriching.

While initially the knee-jerk response was – I don’t know, on being told to talk about anniversaries like Independence day, or tell one folk tale from one’s culture or help write an essay on a prominent figure of the country (Like Mahatma Gandhi of India or Kwame Nkrumah, of Ghana-former Gold Coast).

Nkrumah- An influential 20th-century advocate of Pan-Africanism, he was a founding member of the Organisation of African Unity and was the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963. He saw himself as an African Lenin.

EMPTYING THE CUP

These were some of the discussions, leading to an attempt to –Empty one’s cup- so that something of significance can be filled into it.

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Year end diary-2014..Remembering walks and readings

This year I had some interesting walks.

Three regions where I walked were –Rishikesh-Landour region of Garhwal in spring, in Toronto-Niagara region in Fall and in Istanbul-Konya region in beginning of winter.

SPRING…ALONG THE GANGA

Walks by the Ganga-India

Walks by the Ganga-India

Walks along the river Ganga have been part of a family tradition. Walking beyond the suspension bridges of Laxman Jhula, Ram Jhula, returning to attend the evening aarti at Sri Paramarth Ashram was a different experience from the walks in Fall which I would take later in the year. Writing to a friend now in Malta, got a cherished letter in which he remembered such trips to the Ganga as a child. Walks around Rajaji national park region make for many intimate memories, our family having been associated with this area for several decades.

The Mussoorie-Landour area have a distinct difference in culture, and the feel of the Raj days, stories of the haunted Savoy, or walks in Landour to the Kellog Memorial church(established 1903) gave a different flavor of the mountains.

FALL..GARDEN SOCIETIES OF TORONTO

Sunny Brook Park, Central Don-Toronto

Sunny Brook Park, Central Don-Toronto

Many lovely hours spent in Weston family library of Toronto Botanical Gardens , located in Edwards gardens made me familiar with evolution of thoughts concerning the garden societies.

The Burra charter of 1999 – groups and individuals with associations with a place as well as those involved in its management should be provided with the opportunity to contribute to and participate in understanding the cultural significance of the place.
The difference between the manicured Edwards gardens and the adjoining Wilket Creek park which preserves the natural contours is an illustration of different approaches to conservation.

READINGS IN PARKS

Till the weather allowed, spent long hours reading in the gardens. Nadine Gordimer’s –Burger’s daughter, read in Betty Sutherland trail, sifting through the nuances of the struggle against apartheid. Can a white man have an ideology which will make him the supporter of the black cause? The personality of Lionel Burger came through in different ways, through the experiences of his daughter. Loosely based on the life-family of Bram Fischer the novel is described as the most moving and political of Gordimer’s works.

Before submitting the manuscript to her publisher, Gordimer gave it to Fischer’s daughter, Ilse Wilson (née Fischer) to read, saying that, because of connections people might make to her family, she wanted her to see it first. When Wilson returned the manuscript to Gordimer, she told the writer, “You have captured the life that was ours.”
After Gordimer’s death in July 2014, Wilson wrote that Gordimer “had the extraordinary ability to describe a situation and capture the lives of people she was not necessarily a part of”. (Wikipedia)

KONYA..ANATOLIA

Asclepius-Medicine and Healing-Archeology Museum-Istanbul

Asclepius-Medicine and Healing-Archeology Museum-Istanbul

The tombs of Jalaludin Rumi, Shams of Tibriz in Konya, Anatolia, Turkey were a place for pilgrimage in the early winter months. The association of Rumi and Shams is one of the most fascinating in spirituality. Walked through the city of Konya, in night (having missed the train at Pendlik-Istanbul, only to catch the next one-3 hours later) and in the day time, going through the different museums and dioramas created by the museum curators.
Seeing the traditional musical instruments brought back memories of similar performers in Balkans. The history and culture of Anatolia and Balkans is intricately linked with many connections through the generations.
The trips also made me further the concept of Retreat. Dividing themes into three lines-personal, family, professional, one can try to see indepth some aspect of one’s life. Caught in the day-to-day routine, one does not get this chance. Association with persons like Rumi encourage one to keep a spiritual diary. Thinking through concepts of aesthetics, education, and spirituality, in the context of scholars like Rumi, made me think of the non-profits which have become a very big employer in the advanced world. (will elaborate on this concept further –based on readings of Peter Drucker and Bob Buford)

WALKING-READING JOURNALS

Taking walks, reading in parks, trips, and maintaining journals based on these have enriched my life in many ways. Looking back on 2014, I remember these fondly.

Other blogs of interest

2008 Theater Manoel

http://prashantbhatt.com/2009/01/29/theater-manoel/

2009  Museum Imaging

http://prashantbhatt.com/2009/01/28/museum-imaging-malta/

2010..Walks in Malta Again

http://prashantbhatt.com/2010/10/29/walks-in-malta-agai/

2011  Year end diary

http://prashantbhatt.com/2011/12/23/year-end-diary/

Writing workshops with Mayank

http://prashantbhatt.com/2011/10/22/writing-workshops-with-mayank/

Walks by Alaknanda

http://prashantbhatt.com/2011/10/18/walks-by-alaknanda/

What is Satsang

http://prashantbhatt.com/2011/12/06/what-is-satsang/

2012..Father’s day walk

http://prashantbhatt.com/2012/06/19/fathers-day-walk/

2013 Visibility

http://prashantbhatt.com/2013/12/22/year-end-diary-2013-visibility/

Remembering George Eliot

http://prashantbhatt.com/2013/11/23/tree-lightings-remembering-george-eliot/

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Winston Smith-1984..Book Discussions-2014-Part III

Winston Smith of George Orwell’s 1984 is a most unlikely hero.

The phrase Orwellian Nightmare is known to all of us.

We all have faced or know someone who has faced security checks at airports where we cannot object.  The revelations of Edward Snowden tell of an international surveillance mechanism which reminds us of Big Brother.

In this series of Book discussions in the perspective of Management Challenges of 21st century, we have looked at issues of race, immigration through book discussions

The Reading group has helped enrich our lives in many ways.

This group helped evolve a Reading journal, through which I have kept in touch with friends and family across the world.

Their inputs-debates and discussions have further enriched and deepened our perspectives

See blogs- http://prashantbhatt.com/tag/tripoli-reading-group/

1984 …REMEMBERING WINSTON SMITH

George Orwell’s 1984 follows the –Enclosed Universe technique in which a degraded reality is presented. There is no way to know whether this is real or not, unless one has some kind of record-a diary, logbook or chronicle.

Winston Smith, the protagonist is an unlikely hero, frail and in ill-health. He even gives up his lover-partner  to save himself. Over a period of time, he starts to see many discrepancies in the reality presented to him.

This new oppressive rule creates BIG BROTHER –a thought police

Old Dictatorships used to say- Thou shall not

New dictatorships said- Thou shall

Totalitarian dictatorships say- Thou art

-They seek to control all forms of thinking, by Thought police in the form of Big Brother.

The protagonist asks an old timer whether it is true that around 1915 only rich capitalists could wear a hat and poor people could be thrown out of the streets. The person recalling tells that he was once pushed off from the street,but  he could have pushed the person who pushed him. Then, the older man does not remember the exact details.

As his inner questioning grows, Winston starts keeping a diary to see what is real and what is distortion. When prices of chocolates are increased there is a celebration for lowering the prices his inner questioning increases. When the party’s predictions of a military campaign are proven wrong, there is erasure of the old speeches from all records of the –Ministry of Truth.

The diary becomes a tool in the hand of the unlikely hero Winston Smith who records what is happening, and how words-events are being distorted or presented in a piece meal manner to suit certain interests.

KEEPING A DIARY

Reviewing this work with the perspective of –Management Challenges of 21st century– and keeping a Reading journal, are tools of growth and evolution.

Personally-  I have found a department diary, log book, register, roster, and minutes of meetings to be essential tools of survival for a manager of departments.

Managers have to face the different financial, technical people in many settings and there is a tendency to distort things –more of a power-play rather than truth.

In his course on Effective communications- Professor Dalton Kehoe has asked three key questions which determine communications.

  • What is going on?
  • What is going to happen next?
  • How am I being treated?

Here is a brief account to give you flavor.

Management Challenges ..Sifting through the various layers of truth in an Installation. Keeping a diary or log of what is going on, what was agreed upon is an essential management tool.

LSMC RADIOLOGY TRIPOLI-LIBYA Management Challenges ..Sifting through the various layers of truth in an Installation. Keeping a diary or log of what is going on, what was agreed upon is an essential management tool.

ADMINISTRATOR- When is the equipment being installed?

INSTALLING COMPANY- In one week.

RADIOLOGIST- Sir, what about the broken parts which you are not mentioning?

* * *

ENGINEERS-Why did you mention this?

RADIOLOGIST- One week is a misleading answer if the parts of broken

ENCLOSED UNIVERSE…MANY LAYERS AND PERSPECTIVES

We encounter many enclosed universes.  The same event or organization can be looked at from different perspectives. All managers face such issues every day.

Briefly…

A finance administrator may be bothered only about Profits.

A medical administrator may look at only an in-patient, not bothering to see outer referrals and also wanting to be seen as “Nice” in front of others (at the expense of the professional who is actually involved in patient care)

If there is no roster, then no one can be blamed for no-show of technical staff as it is impossible to fix who was supposed to be present.

NEED FOR WINSTON SMITH

Winston Smith  is a hero no one wants to be.

But if one has to know what happened, how it happened, and later maybe leave records for scholars to understand –Why it happened, one has to keep chronicles and diaries.  These are effective tools for day-to-day work lives and also for larger civilization-cultural issues.

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