Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The second day of iRYLA started with a pleasant surprise: I thought I had to go to a Master Trainer's meeting at 8:15 and I chose to spend my time updating my Blog rather than having any breakfast. But as I walked out of my room my neighbor, and fellow Master Trainer, Mr. Bala told me he just heard that the meeting had been canceled! Yay! Breakfast!
I had JUST finished writing the post about how I love to eat new foods, but not at breakfast time! So what was the first item on the breakfast buffet today? LIME PICKLE! This is a VERY heavily spiced, and EXTREMELY SOUR relish that I personally love, but almost no one else in my family or group of friends will even touch. I had to laugh at the juxtaposition of having just written about odd breakfast food, and minutes later seeing the pungent Lime Pickle on the breakfast lime! The laughter put me in a good mood so I put some on my plate.
The first real educational session with my students went great! It was about personal Authenticity and I decided to talk about the concept first, then have them play the 'Tower of Feetsa' game to demonstrate it. When I started, I honestly did NOT know how I was going to connect the activity to the topic. But as I drew a picture of the Tower of Pisa on the board, I gt to thinking about how there must have been an inadequate *Foundation* under the tower, and that if we are not Authentic about ourselves we do not have a proper Foundation to lead. It tied in beautifully.
After a 90 minute session with my own group, I left them and went to visit a different Track (there are 4 parallel 'Tracks' running in this RYLA, each with 20% of the participants, and each being run by one of us 4 Master Trainers: Education, Health Environment and Entrepreneurship).
I had them play the Tower of Feetsa game and it was a big hit there, too. We then talked about being Authentic to our own internal values. As a demonstration I played a portion of the movie 'Gandhi' in which Gandhi is openly and brutally discriminated against in South Africa, and consequently decides to use Nonviolent Civil Disobedience to fight back. This sets the stage for his later work back in India which ultimately led to the Independence of India from English rule. Since Gandhi's Ashram lies in the same town we are, and since 80% of the participants are Indian, this is a true 'Local Boy Makes Good' story and was very well received.
The real surprise and delight of the day came at the next session, which was a joint session of the 4 Tracks. Our guest speaker was Swami __________, the 2nd in command at Akshardham Temple. The same Temple I visited in Delhi on Saturday and which made such a strong and positive impression on me. The Swami himself made an even more powerful and even more positive impression. He was one of the finest public speakers I have ever seen.
Before he come on stage I was asked to present him with a book about leadership as a gift and memento. We have been doing that for all guests and we had compiled a long list of possible books a week or so earlier. I don't know who decided to give this particular book to this particular speaker but it turned out to be a perfect choice. As I handed him the book which was called "India 2020, a Vision for the New Millenium: written by a former President of India, his eyes lit up and he whispered to me that he had a very close personal connection with this book. That he was personally there when the future author of the book presented his early plans to his superior Swami at the Temple.
For lunch there was Lime Pickle again. It had been so good at Breakfast that this time I took a much larger serving:
Urmil Ved, Deepak Sanjay, & Rasila
For dinner tonight they arranged a special treat: A pathway lit by Ghee Oil Lamps, and greetings by a Welcoming Committee, that marked our foreheads with 'Tikas', and invited us to eat our dinner in Silence.
And yes, MORE Lime Pickle!
And Gulab Jaman for dessert! YAY!
The final surprise of the day was a concert of Classical Indian Music. It was wonderful!