Quirkology of Life

I can never forget the glint in my eyes and spring in my step whenever I saw a ready-made garment store, twenty five years ago.

Balloon of my heart burst every time I was handed over clothes stitched by my mother or a tailor. I craved for the dresses displayed on enticing mannequins but they were expensive. You bought them for special occasions.

In last quarter century, we bought clothes, accessories to our heart’s content, accelerating up and down in malls and outlets, in India and abroad.

Now, we are looking at re-branding of our clothes in the form of bespoke clothes, made to measure, especially for us.

From absence of hotels and restaurants, we witnessed the mushrooming of fast food joints and exotic restaurants.

And now, markets are re-branding home cooked food as something exclusive. Hand crafted laddoos. Seriously?

We got swamped by the English wave. Hindi got marginalized. And now, it is coming back from international shores through online magazines.

Last two decades saw inland letters dying a slow death. Our children have neither written a postcard nor waited for one, ever. They facetime and firechat.

And now, start-ups bring back the romance of letters by re-branding the personal letter-writing as an outsourced commodity –pay and get letters drafted for your loved ones. After drowning into ‘likes’, ‘copy’, ‘share’, we want to retreat to familiar shores of writing but in the outsourced avatar.

Sensor gadgets and bots gifted by artificial intelligence are turning us into notification boards. We will receive notifications for everything – Put a diet sensor on your plate and it will notify the amount of calories with nutrition analysis. A robotic assistant (Hubble Hugo ) will notify you if you are angry and then play music to calm you. Aristotle, a voice controlled AI robot for children made by Mattel will help parents by becoming a nanny, monitor & teacher.

Re-branding of pure & proven stuff by using exclusivity as a bait is not new. It is like life coming full circle.

But, are we not outsourcing everything. Technologists are busy adding five senses to machines, turning them into intelligent pieces who can communicate with us and each other.

These machines will inform us, notify us and help us make decisions.

Do we need so much help? Do we need such notifications? Do we need this load of information?

Don’t we need to pause and reflect whether we are actually growing, progressing and enriching our lives?

The app that can check my fitness level, the gadget that can talk to my scalp, the software that can magically connect my phone to free wi fi – are they merely exciting or enriching?

To me, it seems that we are outsourcing our humanness.

We have forgotten wonderment and little pleasures as our fingertips keep pressing ‘search’.

Meshed networks are connecting us to every phone, even in planes. We are becoming oblivious of our family network.

Artificial Intelligence might make us artificial and machines intelligent.

Let us pause before smashing into this appy wall.

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I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

 I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

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Can reverse mentoring at home and work improve our parenting and leadership skills?

Reverse Mentoring

Mentoring is generally defined as a one – on – one relationship where a senior professional (mentor) will guide or share his/her specialised wisdom with a junior (mentee/protégé)

By definition and convention, we believe that the senior or older people have all the necessary competencies to guide the junior folk. Mentoring shapes the right attitude among them. With internet of things (IOT) barging into our personal and professional lives, it seems practical and logical that we start learning from our children and younger team members. Our technological immersion requires us to be innovative in the way we decide to update ourselves. Learning from children at home brings fun, better connect and a healthy communication style in parent – child relationship.

When my daughter teaches me to change the settings of my phone to download videos or helps me to make a you tube channel, I swallow my parental pride and listen to her attentively. “Pay attention” echoes in the same way as it emits from my mouth when I solve a quadratic equation for her. The role reversal balances our bond and strengthens it.

One of my students manages my social media pages and keeps suggesting me ways to improve my digital presence. His mentoring is valuable and we as seniors must admit that we need to be trained by these young netizens for whom IOT is a part of lifestyle.

Technology wants leaders to be more open to the idea of learning from the younger executives as this will save time and lead to better learning on the job.

When parents learn a new skill from their children, they learn to appreciate their children better. Children learn to empathise with their parents and understand how the parents feel when they teach something to them.

When senior leaders get mentored by the juniors, the communication flows easily and the environment relaxes to some extent. Though it requires maturity at both ends, the results of such mentoring in the dynamic world of today could be enriching and lasting.