Saturday, September 11, 2010

Role reversal?

Few months ago, my father was sick, was treated under ICU and now recovering . Post his hospitalisation, when he was just coming back to normality and I took him a saloon to get this hair trimmed for a bright look. My father and the barber were looking for me for instructions on what to do, I was giving instructions to the barber like, “cut it short”, “trim the mush”, etc,etc

This incident made me to recollect my childhood heads (some 30 years ago), when my father used to take me to hair dressers and give instructions to the barber on how my hair should look (it was always summer cut, which I used to hate!) and on that day I was trying to give instructions for my father’s hair cut. Is this role reversal?

I was thinking about this many times in the last few months in the area of learning, we are always (or mostly) sterotyped that children should learn from parents, students should learn from teachers, junior colleagues should learn from Sernior collagues (Managers), and so on. There is nothing wrong in this, of course these coaching comes from experience, exposure, skills and education. But, when the teaching happens on the reverse (junior to senior) do we generally accept? May be a lot of we can learn from juniors, childrens, students, uneducated, etc

Let me share with your one such thing I learnt from my son. I was taking my children to Mahabalipuram (near Chennai), we took a short break on the East coast road for refreshing tender coconut. My son, inserted the straw in the coconut, sipped a little bit (without water entering his mouth), took the straw out with hand closed on one side and let the coconut water on the ground, he put the straw otherway around and repeated the process. I asked him, “Karthik, why are you wasting the water?”, his response was “I am cleaning the straw, though the coconut water may be good, with dirt in the straw it will make it bad”. I learnt this simple technique from my son. (of course, I read about pressure and surface tension in physics during my school days, but learnt one application that day from my son)

One more comment of one of our Sr colleage comes to my mind. I was in the panel dicussoion during “Inernational Womens’ day celebration” in our office with Sr women collegues talking to other collegues on how they came up in life, specfically around balancing home and work, etc. One of our Sr manager in the panel said, “I am a PM (Proj Manager) at work, I will be PE (Proj Engineer) at home”, in simple terms she said whatever level I am at work, I am flexible to learn from others at home (be it mom-in-law, husband, children, relatives,etc)

I have had many learnings from my junior colleagues at work too – business etittqutte, working on spreadsheets, etc.

Do you think role reversal from the standard (teacher – student) helps in learning? My views is “yes”. What do you think, can you share examples of learning you had from your children, juniors, students, your servant maids, etc

Jumping off from the plane!!

Few weeks ago many would have seen the news flash about Jet Airways 9W2302 (Mumbai – Chennai flight - 27Aug) emergency evacaution.

I was also in the same flight along with two other colleagues of mine, sitting next to emergency exit. I was one of the first passenger to jump out of the plane, had a slide on the wings and had to jump off atleast about 3-4 feet from the wings, landed on my knee and suffered minor injury.

Many who exited through the wings suffered minor to major injury (fractures) and people who have exited through the chute were relatively okay. Some elederly passengers were traumatised.

"All izz not well". This incident is a wake up call for many

a) Passengers – who generally ignore the safety demonstrations, need to pay attention (incidently for the first time I read the safe brouchure completely on this flight as I was in emergency exit… do I know this is coming?). Many passengers got out with their bags and baggages , during emergencies like this life (self and others) are more important than materials!

b) Airlines – not sure how many drills the crew would have gone through to handle situation like this. Still there are questions whether standard operating procedures were followed

c) Airport – can’t imagine in an important airport like Mumbai, it has take more than an hour for first aid. We were on the airside for about 20 mins, on the coach standstill for about 20 mins and on the terminal building for first aid for 20 mins+. The medical room is very small, two wheel chairs can’t make the way. It was a quite time (10pm), the airport and airlines could have used all the space.

On the positive side, the airlines were well prepared when we landed at Chennai at 2am on an alternate aircraft. There were enough staff, doctors, ambulances, care takers, taxis, etc.

DGCA has suspended the pilots and the crew of the flight, in my opinion they have taken a decision of calling emergency based on the situation, what if they ignored and things became worse in mid-air, again people would have blamed the pilot for not taking action. Certainly, airlines and the authorities need to investigate the procedural aspects and the flaws on evacuations, but suspension at this juncture is little too much.

I wish you all a very safe journery whereever you travel.