Learning is fun

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During the course of professional life, Nancy was sent to a graduate school of master’s in business administration for a week’s training. Before reaching she had to go to various places to attend meetings of office work. She reached her hometown New York on saturday and had to leave for Columbia on Sunday morning at 5 am. She had packed her bags before leaving for the office trips and was thereby relaxed. She reached home by night 11 pm and slept for a few hours. The alarm rang and Nancy said to herself “The alarm clock rang so very soon. Seems as if I slept for five minutes only”. Unwillingly she woke up and dressed up. She made some tea for herself and sipped it slowly. The cab arrived and the driver rang the bell. She told him “Please give me five minutes. I will finish tea and get the bags”. The driver said “No worries I will wait”. Nancy then took her trolley bag and boarded the taxi which left to the airport. She checked in and boarded the flight. An old man came and sat beside her seat. The elderly person tried to speak to her but as she was dead tired she said “I had a very hectic schedule and have been unable to sleep for the last four days. If you don’t mind, please let me rest a bit”. The elderly person said “Oh yes why not?”. Nancy slept and woke up only after she reached Columbia. From the airport she took a cab to the Columbia business school. On reaching the gate, she was guided to the guest house room. She dropped her bags, closed the door and dozed off again. She woke up when her phone of the room rang. Sleepily she said “Hello”. She heard a male voice on the other side. The person said “Hello I am Mike. I wanted to do some shopping for family and since classes will start from tomorrow. Could you accompany us and help us shop? There are two of us”. Nancy said “I will join in ten minutes”. She pushed herself to wake up, washed her face and donned jeans and T shirt. She went to the reception and saw no one. On enquiring if someone had called, the receptionist said “Yes” and connected to the room. Mike picked up and Nancy replied she was ready for the help. Two people appeared and they asked her to accompany them to the shopping complex in a taxi. She introduced herself and all three went to the favourite pastime of every female namely shopping. Nancy did not like to buy anything for herself as she felt she had enough and could spend the same amount giving to those who needed it the most. She selected few clothes for the two colleagues’ family members. It was almost two hours and all three returned back. After reaching the room, Nancy rested for an hour and then left for the dining room. She had dinner with another female colleague of hers who introduced herself to be Shelly. Shelly started asking Nancy many questions and Nancy thought

“People ask name, I wonder how does it matter,

Then a question of family, I wonder the whole world is my family,

Next is address, I think all is temporary,

What makes you happy follows,

Every moment is the answer, why waste time in things that matter so little,

Think big is the answer to all questions.”

She then had dinner and went to her room. On reaching the room, she heard some music and slept off again.

The next day, she woke up and after brushing made tea as there was a kettle and tea kit in the room. She sipped tea slowly while watching the greenery from the window. At New York she used to leave her house early to reach workplace and never had time to even have breakfast. On relishing her tea, she bathed, wore fresh clothes and rang the bell of Shelly who was given a room next to hers. Shelly replied “You carry on; I am late”. Nancy said “Fine am leaving for breakfast”. She had breakfast and reached the class at 9 am which was in the next building. On reaching, she saw all were given a kit and asked to sign. She did the needful and entered the class. The program coordinators; two of them reached and introduced themselves. After the introduction one of the program coordinator explained leadership through Nelson Mandela’s movie “ Invictus”. The class enjoyed the lesson as it was with a practical experience concept had been explained. After the first lecture of the first day there was lunch break. All had a sumptuous lunch and returned to the class. The next lecture was of the second program coordinator who gave an assignment related to activity. Two sets of papers were distributed alternately. One for the traveler other for the guide. Nancy got the one of the guide. She did not know anyone in the class except Shelly and Mike. Shelly also was the guide. So she asked Mike do you have any preference of the guide. He said “No”. Nancy said “Then come along. I will be your guide”. She explained to Mike the various obstacles they had to cross while he would be blind folded using a handkerchief. One condition was that the guide would never touch the traveler. There were near about four obstacles. Mike blindfolded himself and Nancy gave him directions verbally. She ran away at a distance when the game began, Mike in the meantime followed her instructions and they completed the assignment. There were in toto about twenty-three students. Since the total was odd one of them was asked to become an observer along with the professor. All the students completed the assignment and returned to the class. The whole video was shot by the university and copied onto the computer. The professor then played the video and asked Nancy “Why did you choose Mike?”. Nancy replied “There was no condition of choosing person sitting next to you”. Then the professor explained concept of voluntary and involuntary leadership. He asked Mike “Why did you go with Nancy?”. To this Mike said “It was voluntary leadership”. The professor said “Because you voluntarily chose Nancy, Shelly had to involuntarily choose the person next to Nancy”. All had a hearty laugh. This was the first day and Nancy gave her mobile phone to take pictures at all possible places. She loved the surroundings, it was fully green, with flowers, birds and lot of fresh air. She along with few went around the campus and saw students playing badminton. She loved the game but neither had racket nor was anyone ready to play with her. So she watched for few minutes and returned back to her room. Shelly called her for dinner and they both had it. While Shelly asked everyone questions, Nancy relished her dinner and smiled. On the second day, Nancy woke up by early as they had to reach the class by seven thirty am .From the class they were taken to a nearby ground. The team was divided into two groups. The professor asked each team to suggest a title and tag line. Nancy suggested “high flyers” and tagline “we will touch the sky”. The other team also gave its title and tag line. A cycle tube was shown to each and were asked to indicate number of people that could be accommodated in it by demonstrating. Nancy and Shelly were the only women folk in the class and were split into separate teams. The team high flyers were eleven and they suggested a number of nine while Nancy felt all could be accommodated. In this Nancy was asked to stay out while all others crunched inside the tube. Shelly also stayed out. The other team suggested a number seven. The professor later demonstrated with two members initially to enter the tube and pull it in opposite directions. Next two members were asked to get in and pull in other directions. Therefore, the tube stretched and both team members could be accommodated. For the second assignment, each one was handed over a handkerchief and given a rope. After blindfolding, the team had to make a square. Nancy blindfolded but was away. After lot of discussion, it was decided that only four members would hold the rope from corners and one would measure the distance. Not all needed to participate in it. The team agreed. Four members pulled the rope and last member measured the distance. On opening the blind fold, it was found high flyers had almost made a square. The other team had made a rectangle. By now team high flyers was doing comparatively better. The third assignment was to cross the river bank filled with crocodiles with two sets of mats one blue and other red. The teams suggested a number for crossing. By now Nancy said that she would also play this. She was in the fourth place, The third place was of Adriel. She was about to fall inbetween but was supported by Adriel.The high flyers had suggested a high number of crossing but they made it a little below.In all the assignment high flyers were better but did not achieve the end results.The team was then taken to the class and videos shown.Planning concepts were explained indicating before executing a task it is better to plan and prototype by performing before executing the actual task.The video shown also indicated that Nancy had to take long steps as the mat was far away.Also the mat was left alone and hence taken away and the last person had a lot of pressure to achieve the target. It was summarized proper planning is essential, realistic targets are to be set and coordination in the team essential. After this there was a breakfast break for two hours. All reassembled for the next talk. By now Nancy, Shelly, Mike and Adriel had started speaking to each other. During the next talk, an assignment was given. All had to read and rate the persons in the case individually and describe every character in one word or sentence. All completed their individual analysis. In the next couple of minutes they were again divided into teams alternately and one was asked to stay in the room while other outside the room. Nancy was in the team that was outside. She did not know anyone in it. However they all had a heated discussion. Nancy somehow decided a ranking. On entering the class, the professor asked “Are you in synchronization?”. The other team replied “No”. The same question was asked to the team in which Nancy was in. Nancy said “yes” while one person blurred out “No I am not convinced”. The professor explained that since all of you are equal there is no synchronization. If any one of you would be senior then all of you would have agreed, therefore hierarchy is essential in an organization to make decisions. By now Nancy and Adriel had become friends and Nancy found Adriel to have a great sense of humour. His talks made her laugh and at times she rushed out of the class as she could not control her laughter. After dinner all the four of them went for a walk and had the best time of their laugh. Nancy also did some cycling around the campus and loved the exercise.In the morning she exercised and was gushing with energy. Adriel and Nancy went to the library to return a book that was taken for assignment. There they took some pictures.They also went to the main gate to draw cash from the ATM and Nancy asked Adriel to take snaps.He took hers and asked her to take his by increasing the brightness. Concepts of Nudge and many more case studies followed. Nancy found Adriel to be left handed .She said “Hey you are left handed”.Adriel replied “Yes”.She continued “Can you write with left hand too?” .He said “I can write with both hands”.Nancy replied “Left handers are among the genius lot as per studies”. Adriel continued to look and his mobile and replied “Its not like that. If you get along well with people , things are easy and normal”. Nancy found him to be a very keen observer with excellent people management skills. The team also was taken to a nearby place for sight seeing. All of them enjoyed taking pictures at various places. Nancy and Adriel had a special dish together while others did some shopping. Adriel was aware of the dish and Nancy also liked it. During dinner Nancy found Adriel was very fond of sweet. Normally they were given a sweet and fruit after dinner.One day there was icecream.Adriel said “No fruit today”.Nancy had an apple of breakfast and blurred out “If you wish I can get apple ,its in my room”.Adriel replied “No I don’t want to eat apple in the night”.Nancy asked “Why?”.Adriel replied “I will put on weight”.Nancy laughed and said “You will put on weight with apple but lose weight with two scoops of ice cream”.She couldn’t control herself as Adriel was really very funny. One day Adriel did not come to the class and the professor asked “Have all come?”. Nancy’s neighbor told her “This body has not yet come “referring to Adriel. Even before Nancy could respond and Adriel entered. Nancy’s neighbor said “This big body has come”. Nancy laughed again. She went out of the class and came back after ten minutes of laughing. Infact all of them had lived every moment of their life. Learning was so much fun as concepts were explained with practical examples . Every day at dinner Nancy would take a green chilly to eat. Mike, Shelly, Adriel and Nancy sat together. On eating one bite Nancy couldn’t eat more as it was very hot. She told all “I cannot eat more than one bite but have heard its good for health”. Adriel replied “One doesn’t get paralysis if we eat chilly but I do not like it. However more of it can have aftereffects” . All were silent while Nancy smiled as she knew he meant that more could upset the stomach. In one class the students were asked to write their dreams on a piece of paper. After sometime they were asked to write five things they wished to do before they die assuming they would perish the next day. Adriel and Nancy discussed the dreams they had written. Adriel wanted to act while Nancy wanted to win a Nobel prize by writing as the workplace information was confidential and could not be revealed anywhere. They said

“We are struggling writer and actor,

Who has written a short story and waiting to act it,

We are searching for a publisher and a director,

The struggle reminds us of a struggling actor,

Who either becomes a superstar or villain,

Only time will tell,

To which category we belong to

As we have high hopes of becoming famous one day”.

On the last day the entire team gave a presentation. Adriel did not like but on persuasion agreed to speak. Nancy had found him to be a little in his own shell. She tried to break the ice by pulling his leg all the time. At times he got bugged and then she would be quiet as she did not want to hurt him. Again after sometime, she would begin being playful with him. Nancy found Adriel to be very caring, warm, humorous and a nice gentleman. They had enjoyed every moment of stay at the business school. On departing they were sad but Nancy said to Adriel “I enjoyed and had a great time”. Adriel also reciprocated. The stay at the business school was filled so much warmth and Nancy carried all the lifetime lovely memories of the school with her which brought a smile and at times laughter about various incidents that took place during a week. It was the best time of her life and had collected lovely memories forever and a wonderful friend with the conclusion that indeed learning is fun!. Adriel and Nancy left the business school with the thought

“As we drive down the unpredictable journey of life,

Where relations hurt and world demands,

There exists a relation,

Which has no boundaries, seeks no results and has no expectations,

It gives only happiness and makes one comfortable,

While all collect treasures,

We collect memories and treasure them in the jewel box,

Good wishes and every moment of joy is all,

We give and take in this bountiful relationship!”


Contributors

Vandana, New Delhi

Amit Kaushik, Mumbai

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