Life Lessons from Musical Maestros

Yesterday, I was the chosen one as I got an opportunity to see legends like Pt. Birju Maharaj, Ustad Zakir Hussain, and Amitabh Bachchan together. I experienced a beautiful jugalbandi between ghungroos of 79 year old Kathak wizard Pt. Birju Maharaj and tabla of forever young Ustad Zakir Hussain.

I learnt some lessons for a lifetime.

Humility is a choice, the most worthy one: When Ustad Zakir Hussain entered, Pt. Birju Maharaj had already come. Zakir sahib straightaway went and did Sashtang Pranam in his feet before taking his seat beside him. When both masters reached the stage, Ustad Zakir Hussain commented in an honest, childlike way, “I am not performing today, I am playing in Sewa of Maharaj ji”.

Humility is a choice that legends like Ustad Zakir Hussain make each time they interact with anyone.

Life Long Learning is a way of Life: When I introduced my daughter to Hussain Sahib, I said, “She is learning Classical music”.

He smiling looked at her, “Oh! Even I am learning music. What a coincidence.”

He gave her a high before blessing her.

If he is a student of music, what are we harping about our expertise?

Passion is the fuel for fulfilling life: Pandit Birju Maharaj was walking cautiously with a stick off stage. When he reached on stage, we expected him to do a symbolic 4-5 minutes performance.

He danced with deep poetic grace and electrifying footwork for around an hour. His passion surpassed his physical concerns and he mesmerized everyone with his awe inspiring performance.

Excellence is a zero option philosophy: Both the maestros were meeting each other after years. It simply meant that they had neither rehearsed nor performed together in near past.

Without any pre practice, their synchronized and effortless performance was pitch perfect. Each ‘thaap’ on the tabla and each ‘khanak’ of the ghungroo were in unison. They listened to each other intently and followed each other.

When Pandit ji explained a taal or gat, Ustab Zakir Hussain listened and then played to perfection. When Zakir Hussain got into his musical crescendo, Pandit ji tapped with grace. Their individual mastery over their craft led to a harmonious act together without any upmanship. There is no alternative to excellence in whatever we do.

Hold on to yourself: In the middle of a sea of talent, I learnt a big lesson from the host of the event, Shailesh Lodha. Though he is my husband, I am generally his worst critique.

However, his poetic words and anecdotal lines kept everyone hooked during the four hour long event. His eloquence and sense of timing won him blessings from everyone including the three stalwarts of art – Pt. Birju Maharaj, Ustab Zakir Hussain, and Mr. Amitabh Bachchan.

He held on to his belief in graceful humour, poetry and pathos among these doyens and contributed immensely to the success of the show. (I don’t want him to read this, though).

May these stalwarts stay around to bless our lives with their unending creativity and authenticity!

A Pushy Parent At Home, An Authoritarian Leader At Work

Pushy Parent

When you go for a football match session where your child is playing, do you feel a surge of emotions based on his performance? Do you witness some parents who clap over zealousy, shout advices, even abuse the referee or other players?

These parents who play in their minds alongside their children are those who take every performance of their children very seriously and expect each performance to be exceptional.

Such parents are hard task masters and performance oriented people. They feel like losers when their children don’t top the class or lag behind in a swimming competition.

Ask yourself if you are such a parent:

Such a parent would often be a performance oriented leader at his workplace. He would focus more on the outcome and be critical of efforts which do not translate into the best performance.

Pushy parents treat their children as subjects who should give their best and excel in competitions. Authoritarian Leaders treat their subordinates as team members being paid to deliver results. They neither ask how their children feel about their fixation with winning nor do they realise how their subordinates find them inhuman.

A 14 year old girl volunteering as a referee in a weekly soccer match of young boys was verbally abused by a set of such parents who were not happy with the performance of their children. They got into physical fighting with each other, further embarrassing the children.

There is nothing wrong in expecting a good performance from our children as well as team members provided they are considered “partners trying their best”. We, as parents and leaders need to focus on making the journey enriching rather than focussing only on the milestone.

When a leader experiences cut throat competition at workplace, he pushes his team to meet the targets while setting higher targets for the next month. He brings the same mind-set home and expects his children to focus on winning their next competition.

Balance is the key here. It is important to encourage our children to do better than the previous time but it is not right to push them to win. It is hilarious to advise them while they are performing a task. Similarly, it is important to guide our team to execute well but it is not right to discourage or criticise if they lag behind. As a parent and leader, we need to be an anchor by owning the responsibility if something goes wrong.

Don’t make your child lonely by pushing him too hard to win.

Don’t make your team members feel lost by focussing only on the outcome.

Value your child more than his performance.

Let’s remember: People forget what we do for them but they never forget how we make them feel.

This article was first published on www.babydestination.com on 29th April, 2016