My schooling started little early and since at that time no document was required to submit as proof of date of birth, somebody recorded my d.o.b. 9 months earlier than I actually born. At a later stage before the school leaving exam. I found this mistake and attempted to correct it but couldn’t do it because I didn’t have my birth certificate. So, I was aware that I am going to start my life with little disadvantage in comparison to my fellow class mates. In India entry in many educational courses and jobs have upper age limit and that’s why many tries to keep their age little under on record to get time span advantage for those entries. However, at the end that disadvantage didn’t make any impact in my carrier.
When I was a kid in primary level, I was interested to participate in school drama. I think I got rejected during trial because of two reason. First reason may be the severe squint in my eyes and second could be my smartness. I was unsmart during my childhood. Afterwards, I tried a lot but couldn’t improve upon it significantly till now.Squint was repaired later by surgery.However, at that stage of life getting out of the drama team couldn’t make much impact in my spirit and I was generous enough to lent my newly bought wooden sword to a character of the drama. You can call it ‘Team Spirit’.
I was not a good student in the class either. I can recall some instances when I got punishment from my teachers for not preparing my lessons well. I can recall that I was innovative in reducing my home workload even at that age. Once during a summer vacation my task was to practice my hand writing and complete a 30-pager exercise book and submit it to my teacher once the vacation was over. I calculated the total time required for it and found out a strategy to save my time. Writing little big, giving more space between words and accommodating only three words in a line was what I did successfully without violating any condition.
Though my customer (teacher) probably was not happy at the end and I also lost my benefit of doing this business by the way of carrying a bad hand writing till the time I deliberately attempted to improve it once again. In our life, we follow short cuts but no short cut is ever helpful. It only generates losses directly or indirectly. In industry, we call it ‘Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ)’.
Whatever it might be, at that point of time, I was immensely happy to snatch out some spare time from my regular study and spent it out in play and also in day dreaming. Yes, I use to day dream. I can recall of dreaming of having my own car while we didn’t have even sufficient food for three times a day. I dreamt that if somebody donate me a car with little deficiency can rectify it and drive. This is where, I find the lacuna of my character was. Instead of earning it, I was mentally in fact begging it from someone. Expecting favour from someone without any reason. This doesn’t happen in real life. No one favours any one without any valid reason or without expecting hefty return.
Another strategy I used to follow in my study was not to memorize any pre prepared answer of any question to write in the exam. That also use to save lot of my study time and as a result in the exam hall I had to think, construct and finally write down the answers. Though I was having a great logical and analytical mind (at least, it was my strong belief at that time) but, it could do a little in scoring in exam. For obvious reasons. No one possibly told me at that time about the importance of in-depth case study and meticulous home work before appearing in a serious business (like examination).
The lesson we can draw from that is: personal intelligence, knowledge pool and other attributes are not enough, until it is reinforced with a well-built thought structure and compared with available similar cases.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know it at that age therefore, crossed the primary school level examination with a mediocre result and entered in the secondary level school. At my time secondary schooling was starting at 5th. standard and was getting completed at 11th. standard and then there was a board exam. Called Higher Secondary Examination.
I was not good in playing football or cricket either, in fact didn’t get a chance to play them in my child hood. But I had a creative mind, I was inclined towards drawing, painting and creating art work in ‘Swaraswati’ (goddess of education) Puja at my home. Using resources available at home and in surrounding neighbourhood to fulfil the requirement of my art work was the only option because I didn’t have money to buy anything. That driven me to be innovative and cost conscious.
One more noticeable thing I can recall from my childhood, that was the training of housekeeping. We used to stay in a single room accommodation and all our belongings were very systematically packed in that small room. There was wooden cot for sleeping. That was elevated by extra eight inch by the way of putting two layers of bricks beneath the legs. So, it was high enough to accommodate our steel trunks filled with cloths at one side and on the other side a small home-made wooden rack for groceries. At the back side near the wall some spare utensils and a sewing machine were housed. Our daily cooked mills were stored at the front side space below the cot. We had no almirah initially and all our regular usable clothes were very neatly placed on a small wooden cloth rack, in well segregated manner. We had some books on literature and politics and those were shelved in a home-made shelf hanging above head room. My father used to make all those shelfs in his spare time out of packing box woods. He was having his own tool box for this purpose. He made many improvised furniture during my childhood to accommodate our belongings in a systematic way inside our small rented room. My first book shelf was also his creation, that was placed a top of my small study table to create a multilevel room for my books as well as for my study. All these things, I strongly believe had saw the seed of ‘doing things in an organized way’ at that age itself.
Later on, in my professional life in industry, I have witnessed the organizations struggling to established good housekeeping (called 5S in Japan’s work practice) in their shop floor but without much result. Sustenance was completely missing. I think the main reason behind that was the personal life culture of the people who were responsible to maintain that. I believe, a person who is living a substandard life style in personal front can’t demonstrate a high standard in housekeeping in his work place spontaneously and consistently. Therefore, it is needed to adopt a holistic approach encompassing the personal and work both lives to achieve 5S in work place. Majority of Indian organizations are probably missing this aspect.