Monday, July 31, 2017

Diversity in communication.

"She sounds very grumpy."
"Be careful while talking with him, he doesn't like to talk with people."
"You have very strong Indian accent."
Many of us either make such statements or hear them daily during our day to day interactions with people around us. We all expect to have some homogeneity in our surroundings as far as communication styles are concerned. Most progressive societies welcome diversity of race, gender, and socioeconomic background; but when it comes to communication they want some homogeneity. Maybe this desire comes for the sake of maintaining the clarity or making sure that message is delivered effectively. In my family, my parents and I spoke different languages with each other. We perfectly understood each other, but never felt the need to communicate in same language, I know this is not very common. Actually, I never realized we were doing this until one day I realized this unique aspect of my family. My parents never forced their mother tongue on me, I also didn't insist that my kids should speak my mother tongue. My mother tongue is Marathi, and my wife's is, Bhojpuri, but our kids speak Hindi and English, they don't know either Marathi or Bhojpuri. Diversity in communication is not only a noticeable fact in today's world, but it is a need of today's world. Mobility of people has increased a lot, people move around the world for their education, employment, in search of better and safer place. This results in a formation of very diverse societies. Such societies are not only diverse in race, culture, religion, but also in the ways people communicate with each other. 

Different people have different styles of communication; some like to talk a lot, and some are very stringent with their word use. Some people are loud, and some are very soft spoken. Everyone has some sort of accent, either it is a local accent or a non local, therefore, I never considered having an accent an issue. Our accent is our identity, that's the unique way we speak. I never tried to change my accent and never expected that someone else should change their accent just to sound familiar to my ears. In a same way, different people have different ways to express themselves; some might appear aggressive, and some really mild. But, this all doesn't mean that one way is better than other. These all are different ways which people chose to communicate with others. Each way has its own flavor and its own specialty, we should learn to enjoy this diversity rather than trying to bring some artificial homogeneity. Try to understand others, be patient, recognize the beauty of diversity in communication, and then you will start enjoying every accent and every style of communication. 

Diversity in communication is very beautiful thing, as beautiful as diversity in opinions and diversity in population, let's embrace it.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Be curious, it is immensely rewarding.

Curiosity is one of the reasons why humans managed to advance so much compared to any other species on this planet. It is inbuilt in our minds, if our surroundings don't curb it, we can remain curious throughout our lives, but in reality rarely this happens. Many things contribute to diminish our curious nature as we grow older. Children are way more curious compared to adults, and many times curios nature is attributed to being childish. Maybe adults think that they know it all and there is no need to be curious anymore. I am fortunate enough to not to fall in that group, I am gifted with a permanent curiosity gene, my curiosity remained fairly constant since my childhood, and this has payed a great dividends to me. I remember my kids used to watch a TV show "Curious George," a story of curious monkey who used to land in various troubles due to his hyper curios nature, I also loved that show as I am also a curios person. My curiosity might have landed me in trouble on few occasions, but by far it has benefited me way more than it put me in any trouble. 

Curiosity helps me to remain active, I get interested in different things, some interest remain forever, and some wane with time and new interests replace them. This continuous flow of curiosity keeps me away from chronic boredom, it helps me to find something to read, watch, or do where I can learn something new, helps me to explore ideas or things which I never did before, it helps me to study various issues including the opinions which I don't support or agree. I can do all this because I am curios about many things including: why people believe in certain ideology, why they need religion, how science can help to solve our problems, what is the role of the law in our society, and many more things. My curiosity led me to read many different books, listen to many seminars, and research many topics. In this process I got to know many amazing personalities, either through the books, seminars, or via personal interactions. I would not have known these people without my curiosity, many of them taught me things which I value a lot, and I credit my curiosity for all this. 

I encourage my kids to remain curios about various things and try to find answers on their own, I encourage them to take efforts to know as much as they can before forming any opinion about any issue. We should not follow any path blindly, don't be a Hindu just because your patents were Hindu, don't be a Republican (in the USA) or Congress supporter (in India) just because your parents used to support that party. Do your own research, analyze things on your own and then decide for yourself. This is a time consuming process, and a difficult route, but this is what I did, and this process has taught me many valuable lessons. The rewards of this process outweigh the difficulties associated with it. Remember, there is no substitute for hard work, ready-made answers are easy to get, but they are not the product of your own mind. If you want to churn out something from your own mind, then you need to go through the repetitive process of collecting and processing vast amount of information on your own, and without being curious one cannot perform this task enthusiastically. One of the lessons which I learned was that, there can be many right answers for some social and political issues, and there is no single ideology which can provide solution for all the problems. This also taught me the importance of diversity of opinion, importance of appreciating disagreement and encouraging debate. One cannot appreciate or understand diverse opinions without being curios about them, one can allow them to exist by being tolerant, but to really get benefited by diversity of opinions and ideas one needs to be curios about the views and ideas which are not our own. 

My curiosity has taken to me new areas, exposed me to ideas and views to which I may not have been exposed if I would have remained complacent. It prompted me to take risks, challenge my traditional surroundings and my own beliefs, it encouraged me to charter different path than what most people chose to follow. I am not claiming that everyone's curiosity will produce the same result, but if it makes you to remain active and enthusiastic about life, why not to give it a try?

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]