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Saturday, July 17, 2021

Life's Lessons - Who taught me what? (4)

 Brother (Nagam Athreya)

What did I learn from my elder brother (anna)? A better question will be: “Is there anything I know or was inspired to know which I did not learn from him?” None!

To write about my elder brother and his influence on me will take a book. He was my “father-figure” since he was older than me by 12 years. He was my Upadhyaya, acharya and guru. If I want to give him a Western-style designation, he was my Mentor, true to the definition of the word. He was one of my role-models.

He stimulated my thinking in every way. He taught me about the pleasures of reading and also techniques for reading with a purpose. He taught me how to read rapidly and still get the essence of a book.

He stimulated my interest in writing. I still remember his support when I started a “hand-written” monthly magazine when I was in High School. He suggested I name it “engal thottam” in Tamizh. (In English it means Our Garden). (Although the following lines are not related to the Title of the series, they are part of my memories of childhood in Ramanathaapuram. My brother wrote for this journal and made one or two of his friends to write also! Gurumanickam, a classmate, was the scribe. His handwriting was better than any print. The artist was “Chari”, grandson of Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar, the famous composer known in the music circle as “Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar”. He was not a classmate but a school mate)

My elder brother taught me “How to listen?”. I learnt that skill from attending a course he gave to executives of companies in India. We discussed this topic whenever we met and exchanged notes on how this skill is applicable in medicine and in management (He was one of the Founding Fathers of Management as a discipline in India).

He taught me Human Relation Skills. I learnt these skills from him both seeing him in action and by attending some of his seminars. In our personal discussions, this was also a recurrent topic.

He taught me about Helping Skills and about the “Client Centered Therapy” of Carl Rogers. We used these ideas in our respective professional lives and exchanged notes.

He taught me what the word “Excellence” means. In one of our discussions, we tried to define that word. We agreed that when managers evaluate employees on their job-performance, they look at the knowledge, attitude and skills of that person. My brother used the following words during the discussion: “Evaluating people is devaluating them”. We learnt together that the word “excellence” should include two other components in addition to Knowledge, Attitude and Skills. Those two are: Values that underlie the performance and Creativity. 

He is one of the people who taught me the importance of life-long learning.

 Vow! That is a long list of things I learnt from him. There is so much more…………

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