Saturday, August 13, 2011

On memory and passion

When I was in school - about 10 years old - I used to go to shloka classes to learn the Rudram and the Chamakam among other things. OK. That's a lie. My father used to send me to those classes and I used to go because I had no choice. Here is where I learnt, by experience, that you can take the horse to the water, but cannot make it drink.

The prime reason I did not like those classes was because they clashed with those stupid DD soaps of those times. Come of think of it, those miserable soaps. Luckily my father won - and thankfully I realized it about 15 years later.

As you might have guessed, I went to those classes, but did not learn. For 5 long years, I went and did not learn. These classes were taught in the traditional gurukul system - with the guru leading and the students repeating it twice. Pure auditory learning. No books given or encouraged - books were allowed at your own risk. Books make you focus more on the text and less on the diction and comprehension the guru argued.

The age groups were phenomenal. From 5 to 55 under one roof. And there were not more than 10 students - with about 7 attending regularly. I was among the latter. And yet, I did not learn beyond the first few paras - exactly the point where I lost interest.

Somewhere along the way, studies took the drivers seat and I found it a convenient excuse to stop these mantra classes. And like a hidden treasure I carried my learning with me. No. That's a lie again. It was there with me.

And then one day, like many human beings, I figured that this knowledge was useful (long story for some other time). And in a span of a week - I learnt what I had resisted for 5 years. Shows what passion can do, can it not? With passion learning is easy - without passion, learning is all but impossible.

So, what does one do? Especially with children? Wait till show passion in something? Or do you decide for them? Or can you, as parent or guardian or teacher be the talent scout? More on this later - not that I have the answers.

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