March 22, 2010

Life skills and a story.

Everyone complains that the current schooling system is outdated -- large volumes of information that we are forced to read although we are not interested in it and we probably will end up forgetting most of it by the end of the year anyway to name a few. L~ sent me a link about a couple of kids who were home schooled in a pretty unconventional way by their parents -- they were just encouraged to read about their interests and they ended up scoring more in their SATs than most traditionally schooled kids. That's an interesting experiment, one that I would probably be too chicken to try on r~ but nice to know.

Anyway, one skill that they did not teach me at school is life skills! Duh, that's what you learn by living, you say? Well yes but a little help along the way would have gone a long way. Recently, I noticed that I was not very equipped with dealing with difficult situations at Tachibana (of all places!) So, we had gone there to send off a friend who was quitting work to establish her own business (so cool!) and as expected most of the items on the menu were not vegetarian which was a bit awkward for me and s~. So, here we are sitting around this round table, 15-20 of us from work and we are trying to ask the waiter if x was meat-free, the sauce was meat-free and also trying to make ourselves understood. By the end of it, I was slightly turning pink and wondering if I was creating a scene. Just then, k~ turns to s~ and me and says, "You might want to make sure the rice is not rolled in pork sauce" and he laughed when he caught our eyes popping out. The joke put me at ease and then I forgot all about the awkwardness.

The other time, another coworker had posted a Facebook status update about a difficult time his family was going through and how they had managed to pull through -- the entire story was published in a local newspaper and he had posted a link to the article. I went through a series of emotions -- empathy, sympathy, sadness, guilt (don't ask)...and then left a "Happy for you...blah" -- one of those standard, trademark responses. And then I read a comment left by another of my coworkers, something along the lines of "Neat stuff...the article didn't mention that you continue to be a healthy, robust young man...(something about his volleyball skills)" and it made me laugh. Here it was again -- a light-hearted comment for a heavy situation that worked!

And I was thinking, where do they pick these skills from? This ability to joke in the face of adversity, awkwardness and this ability to dispel an embarrassing/sad situation and inject smiles into it? So anyway, that's the kind of education I wish I had received. Perhaps, it's the American schooling system; while it has its drawbacks, maybe it teaches what Indian schools fail to teach? Maybe one day, I'll watch r~ interact in a formal crowd and learn from her ;)

For now, here's something I do know to do (or I claim to know to do :): a 3 minute short story based on a photo.
(Woohoo! 100 fans on my facebook page!)


Parth said...

What a coincidence that I was speaking with a junior of mine from college (pleasant discovery we made when chatting). I told him that I haven't learnt engineering at my college, but all other skills, including developing into the person I am now. Maybe its got to do with where you get the education you mention?

SK said...

I can soo relate! But its never too late to learn I guess. I know of many non geeky but street smart friends who have good 'life skills'.

We get/learn a lot from our parents, so having a humorous Dad or Mom helps I guess.

RS said...

Parth -- I was talking about school (DAV girls school), the focus there was acads, acads and oh...acads. I was one of those girls that cried over a few missed marks in the Math exam :) Bits was cool but my post was about high school mostly...

SK -- True, parents teach us as much as they can. Would have helped to spend 15 mins at school over so many years to learn something about life too :)

© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.