Monday, June 23, 2008

Work of a mentor

I have been fortunate to have had excellent mentors during the formative years of my life, the earliest and the best being my mother. Although she hadn’t had much significant formal education (weight of the pink diamond is the education and the brilliance coming out of it is the culture!), she taught me extremely difficult concepts, like ethics, self respect, tolerance to cast and religion, how not to give up when the chips are down and the functions of the mentor. She taught me these through easily understandable short stories and rhymes. I would like to take the liberty of reproducing two such short stories which have not lost their significance even today.

An orphan tiger cub was adopted by a mother goat and was brought up in the most astute tradition of Goatism. The cub could outsmart any fellow goat in all its behaviour including baying! One day, while grazing near a forest, the goatherd was attacked by Sher Khan, the tiger. All the goats including the tiger cub started baying and running helter-skelter. Sher khan was astonished to observe a tiger cub behaving exactly like any other goat! Sher khan ran after the cub, grabbed it by the neck (without hurting it) and dragged it to a stream, with the cub baying for his life, and forced it to see its face in the stream. And behold! The tiger cub saw just another tiger cub looking at him.”You are a tiger just like me” shouted Sheer Khan “then why you are behaving like a goat?!” I could not find any counseling better than this story to enhance self confidence. Most of us have read “Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Anderson in our childhood days without probably understanding the metaphor that we are all ugly ducklings waiting to be transformed into lively swans!

One little girl, while going to her school, observed a man doing some thing on an irregular shaped stone with chisel & hammer. She noticed the man doing the same thing for a few days. One day the little girl saw the man is holding a beautiful stone figure in his hand. The little girl approached the man & asked “How did you know that there is such a nice doll inside that ugly stone?” This is the work of a mentor which sets him apart from so called managers. Of course, creation of masterpiece not only depends on the skill of the mentor but also depends on two main factors – time & the quality of the raw material. Taj was not built in a day & required crystalline Makrana marble for enhancing its beauty. Even the most ordinary bricks used for making houses need to be dried & then baked in a kiln, requiring considerable time and energy before they are ready for taking the load.

I hope the stories above, though quite simple, can be understood in their proper perspective & will play some role in our success story.