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Dipesh Majumdar

Blog and Paintings

How soft are you?

July 5, 2013

If somebody asks you - How soft are you? What would you answer?

Well close your eyes, take your time, think  and try to give an appropriate answer - that which you think right - from your own perspective. Right now. 

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OK... now open your eyes and read on... Read on to know my take on softness... i.e. on being soft.

Softness to me is strength. Softness is the ingredient that drives accomplishments. Being soft means being calm, assured and being able to absorb the shocks without breaking down from within… you see now how it is related to strength?

A few years back when I was working with Oracle, our project manager had organized a team-building excursion – to a remote forest – full adventure, fun-filled and kind of suspenseful. The whole team building activity was being led by Tai chi genius Avinash Subrmanyam. We didn’t know what was coming up… And it turned out to be – a pretty good learning experience  – we played lot of games – that fostered our team spirit – that chiseled our HOW TO BE A GOOD TEAM MEMBER skill. We also ate and drank and made merry. We were awed by some of the Tai Chi skills that Avinash and his team displayed.

All those tenets of gold – that we could learn from Avinash and his great team – were good, however what stood apart was the lesson we learnt on softness. What was that lesson? Read on…

Ankit and Rakesh playing the unusual game of tennis

Avinash let us play a game with a ball and tennis racket. An unusual tennis – Two opponents stood on both sides of a string (call it net) with a racket. Each threw the other a ball on the other side of the net and the opponent was supposed to receive in the softest way possible. No jerks, no sudden hitting, but a smooth collection. In a way that the racket moves with the line of the motion of the ball and gently collects it. Just like a football player receives a long distant ball kicked by his team member in a way that the ball seems to get glued to his leg… good skill, uh! What the footballer does is he just smoothly moves his leg in line with the motion of the ball and ball gently kisses and embraces his feet. Easier said than done… mind you … try and see please. ;-)

Finally at the end of the game the referee would judge one to be the winner. Having said all this let me reveal that which is making me blush somewhat - "I was adjudged the best player in this unique game tennis."  No blowing my own trumpet but true. I received a lot of praise. This is all fine till here, but you know what – Avinash told me something that I still remember and that is (might not match word for word) –

Dipesh you are actually a very soft person – in terms of taking care, in terms of not hurting somebody and so on.

And those words led me to analyze my own self. Well I won’t say I am the great Mother Teresa, but it was true to some extent! Thanks Avinash for your compliment. 

Bottom line is – you need to learn to be soft. You need to be soft – to be a good human being. Avinash was soft – when he passed that compliment to me.

You see softness in every element of day to day life. You just need to observe – the jaws of  a lioness capturing a deer – and the same jaws lifting her babies – the contrasting levels of softness here. 

The jerk that you experience when your flight lands – the degree of that jerk  – can give an indication of the pilot's dexterity. With experience – he manages to minimize that jolt to almost a non-existing one. Same with the nurse that pierces a needle into your vein – an injection phobia that I carry till today – but worth observing that a highly skilled nurse could minimize your fear drastically. Nurses need to be soft. Softness is exhibited in everything – the way we talk, the way we walk, the way we do – well everything.

I remember many occasions when I fought with my brother - I have been harsh and rude to him. So many times. But he has always absorbed all that ugliness I emanated with grace and aplomb. Today happens to my brother's birthday. Happy birthday bro! Hugs and love.

There is softness in gentle breeze and there is harshness in mighty storms and tornadoes that tear apart houses.

Softness to me is beauty!

Hardness is monster-ISH.

Let us be beautiful.

What say?

Go Back

Anne Frank, the young Jew girl who was killed in the holocaust had said this - “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

That's one big soft heart.

Hatred and feeling indignant happens every too often. But the best way I've found out to deal with them is to sleep over the problem at least for 1 day. That will bring a change in perspective and a change in heart.

Or you can punch the wall while grinding your teeth until you knuckles go banana.



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