In the last couple of days we have had the two most inspiring lectures since I stepped in scmhrd- the first one was our Vedanta lecture at 7:15 am and the other was one marketing lecture by Mr Banerjee, both of which moved me to tears for very different reasons!
I know I have cribbed about scmhrd’s sadistic schedule and one very prominent example was the weekly Vedanta lecture on Monday morning which usually invites a generous dose of abuses from the students- half of us bunk it or come late, while the other half sleeps during the lecture; but if you forget the initial agony of waking up at an ungodly hour, it can be a really enriching experience. We have an Australian guy ( a young lawyer) as our mentor, and he is simply amazing- I know when you speak of spirituality and Vedanta, we have a tendency to stereotype and we end up visualizing some boring old guy with a holier-than-thou attitude looking down on us and making us feel like losers or sinners, just because we happen to make more money than he does! But this guy is somebody with whom we can relate to, who gives us a balanced view of things without getting judgmental and he actually encourages us to imbibe spirituality as a way of life rather than something very esoteric or austere! He is somebody who has seen both sides of the coin, and embraced spirituality as a matter of choice rather than compulsion. He talks about his own experiences, about the white man’s perspective when he is traveling in Indian local trains, about his life in an ashram in the remote corner of Maharashtra as opposed to the monotonous comfort back home- all of it in a practical, down-to-earth manner with no complaints, no grudge and endowed with generous doses of humour: a firang in a white kurta, successful yet humble, modern yet supremely in touch with the roots of humanity, a spiritual guru who laughs at himself is indeed a rare combination!!!! I learnt more about management in that one hour than I have learnt in the past 4 weeks!!
The other lecture which touched a chord with the students was todays Marketing Management class where the faculty was teaching about how consumption is shaped by family lifecycle! I have always found marketing a somewhat intimidating subject which gives a damn about people- it’s a field which requires charismatic, aggressive people who are not easily swayed by emotions, who can push their product hard, make a mincemeat of their competitors and eat into the consumer’s pocket with scant regard for their feelings- once the sale is done, they move on the next “target”. Well, in the past month, Mr Banerjee had changed a lot of my half-baked, ill-informed ideas, but today he made Marketing sound like psychology!! He explained the family life cycle in lay man’s terms taking the example of a young couple and tracing their lives right from the time they started going around with each other till one of them died- it was just another middleclass family and somehow in between he sneaked in the changes in their consumer patterns and how marketing people keep a track of the changes in their lives and target their products accordingly- gosh, who knew psychology could play such a vital part in selling stationary and toothpaste… at the end of the 2 hours we were sitting like zombies, sombre and quiet feeling guilty about taking our parents for granted, and at the same time visualizing our near future as we shall all experience those stages of life! One guy actually declared that he was going to call his parents today itself! It was one lecture that I shall remember throughout my life- one of the very few lectures that I actually cried (and not out of fear or boredom). Talk about marketing- that man can sell his ideas, and the best part is the Big Idea is all about being a better person, and not a hardcore competitive executive!