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30 Dec 2011

The End Of Another Year

The month of December has been rather exciting. There have been too many parties, too much food and far too many bottles. It culminated in two fabulous Christmas parties - one of Christmas Day and the other on Boxing Day. Then, everything went quiet. The silence was almost deafening. Two days of no real partying, no going out. In fact, the two days at work were stunningly quiet too. In reality, it was 3 work days before NYE but the third one did not count because it was an early pack-up and the first half might as well have been clearing out the desk for the long weekend coming up.

Things were quiet in terms of actual partying but there was a mad frenzy of planning going on for the next year. There were heaps of travel and events being lined up. Soon, there were one too many things in motion and I needed two month-a-page calendars to make the plans - one calendar listing the things we wanted to do, the other for plans that were locked in. As is wont to be when there are so many things happening at one place, there were overlaps of groups and dates. My mind was a madhouse to say the least. Adrenaline was running high. Very high. I could almost feel my feet just a bit above the ground.

In the melee that was on, I thought everyone had forgotten about NYE and it was going to be pretty much sitting at home, watching the Sydney fireworks, drinking by myself. Of course, there were some talks about the fireworks at South Bank but I have seen them last year and did not think I cared to do the same again.

Suddenly, on the third day, things picked up. Everything sprung to life! I woke up in the morning, assuming I would quietly chase away the old year and welcome the new one with nothing more than hugs & kisses from my family and close friends. By noon, I had found out that I was going to watching footy plus there were pre- and post-drinks on NYE. I had been "booked in". While they were at it, I had also been booked in for plans for the theatre event after NY. Whoa!! Hold it right there! One moment I was all over the place trying to work out plans and the next dates were blocked on my calendar. In a flash, I saw $$$ fly out of my bank account.

As I watched, I could see the first 5 months of my next year unfolding slowly. The mid-year plans were forming in the background.

If the world does not end, as some seem to think might do, it will be a great year to look forward to. Somewhere in the midst of the changing seasons and overbooked events, there will be time to read and write. There will be interesting work and kick-ass Krav Maga sessions. With luck, the year will turn out to be even better than the current one!

As I wind up, I feel the year slipping away. There is still a day and half to go but I am packing up at work. What I do now will be the last thing I do in the office. I am not sure what that last thing should be. I almost feel a sense of loss as the year wraps up. It has come sooner than I expected. I struggle to shut down my computer. It is that moment when the year is ending and the heart wants to hold on to that which has been, that which the heart already knows. For, who knows what the next year will bring? For, all that is certain is the hope for wonderful things. The promise to oneself, of great things to come and beautiful memories to build, before the coming year ends.

21 Dec 2011

Cricket At The Stadium

The excitement of watching cricket in the stadium is just fantastic. The adrenalin rush in a stadium far surpasses the feeling when you are watching a match on the television. The Brisbane Heat Vs Melbourne Stars match last night was no less.

Apparently, one of the highlights of the match was the presence of Shane Warne. He played for Victoria, which meant that the chances of them winning the match was higher. He is an international player and a class one at that! The other player who got mentioned, though not as much as Warnie, was Matthew Hayden. He played for the Brisbane Heat. So, I guess we were sort of even. There were some some others, atleast a few names in the Melbourne team - David Hussey, Cameron White, etc - that I recognized but Warnie, as he is fondly called, was the most popular. I did not know at the time but based on the publicity and the crowd going gaga, I figured that Hayden and Warnie were probably was back after some time. A quick peek at the Brisbane Times bulletin on the internet confirms that: "On the plus side, the return to the Gabba of Shane Warne and Matthew Hayden drew a record crowd of 29,241"

Victoria batted first and set a neat target of 178 for the locals. They played well. Towards the end, Brissie seemed to have had a rush of adrenalin and picked up a few wickets in the last handful of overs. The streak continued on as they struck a few fabulous shots across the boundary in the first few overs of their game. Hayden, unfortunately, left the pitch rather early. Soon afterwards, the temperature in the Brisbane team seemed to have gone down. No matter how much the announcer and the crowd tried to 'Fire It Up' for them, the Brisbane Heat could not score enough. Then they picked up again. Towards the end, it seemed to be more of a drive to win that they decided to pull up their socks. Which they did too. That and a few lucky breaks did it, for the team. Imagine a dropped catch, rolling off across the boundary faster than the fielder! It was amazing! The crowd could not stop cheering. The streaks of fire that went out every time the home team shot across the boundary or took a wicket (in the earlier half) went berserk at this point.

As Shane Warne came on board to bowl his first over, the crowd went crazy. The cheers for the Brisbane team switched to cries of "Warnie! Warnie!". In fact, after a while, it was more of a "Waaaarneeeeee, Waaaarneeeee", which sounded more creepy than anything. It was almost as if the appearance of Warnie caused people to forget their own teams for a bit! The cameras panning through the crowds found a man with "Sup Liz" at the back of his shirt. Yet another time, when the Kiss Cam was on, the last one turned out to be a rather big surprise. Liz Hurley kissing her neighbour (an older man she obviously knew). The crowd rang out when that happened.

The biggest distraction, of course, was the guy in a teal coloured costume. With his head in some sort of a strange flame-shape, the man must have been feeling hot as. That did not stop him one bit, as he somersaulted, did side and back flips continuously and walked around, mingling with the audience. Not for a moment did he stop, throughout the 3 hours of the match. Considering how much I struggle with my forward rolls (from crouch position, to boot), I cannot but be amazed at his ability to back flip in costume and with that giant-sized head!

Occasionally, the soft balls that people kept passing around and the Mexican wave (that is absolutely mandatory in any big gathering of that sort, in any country or culture), caused people to look away from the cricket match and participate in the event.

The biggest difference between the match I watched last night and the one I last watched was the crowd reaction. There were polite claps when the other team scored, polite claps when our team scored. Okay, there were a few screams and some general reaction when we scored but even the announcer on the radio, with all his excitement, was subdued in the recent event compared to my earlier experience. That one had people screaming, dancing, pumping fists in the air, yelling and just going whacko! Another huge difference was, of course, how open the ground felt. It took me a while to realize why. The big barriers that separate the stadium audience from the grounds were missing! Even a child could just jump across and land on the ground. No one did. Ah! The classic catches played by a couple of local cricket clubs for a cash prize was another new thing to me. It seemed like a rather fantastic idea!

In all, a great experience. The joy of being in a stadium, watching the match. Ah, it had been so long! The new and old experiences mixed in a lovely blend that resulted in an evening well-spent. Must do it again...

19 Dec 2011

Review: Dirty Picture

I watched a film last week. It has to be one of the most poorly made movies I have ever watched! Initially, I thought that direction and editing was bad. The picture was probably meant to be cheesy but in an attempt at making it cheesy in a funny way, the director had failed miserably. The film revolved around a girl (Reshma) who wanted to be an actress and ended up being an 'item girl', going by the name Silk. One of those that has flab hanging off everywhere and she shows it proudly. There is a stand-off between her and a director Abraham, who hates making such poor 'skin and flesh show' type of movies. In the end, they  make it seem like Abraham has won the battle, while Silk dies. Supposedly a case of 'the rise and fall of the actress' in some sort of a 'good prevails evil' theme. Epic fail! I felt as if the director could not decide whether he wanted to make her the victim or the vampire and kept changing his mind in the climax. So, he made her a vampire and then turned around with an anti-climax. He left a loose end with the love story angle between Silk and Abraham. Why? Where was that going, anyway? Why start something and not finish it?

The film was supposed to be based on a lot of things viz South Indian cinema, life of actress Vijaylakshmi a.k.a Silk Smitha, Rajnikanth (as the stereotypical South Indian actor), etc. While there may have been traces in there which allowed you to identify with those names, the film was still a farce. They used the name Silk and showed a paunchy actress in absurd clothes, displaying fat hanging from all sides (especially the centre) to mark Silk Smitha. The character based on Rajnikanth wore flashy clothes, was worshipped by all and did the bullet split act that is the most oft-repeated of all Rajnikanth jokes. The rest of the characters were scatters of this and that, to fill in the story. Even Abraham.

The actors have all acted well. Vidya Balan is a great actress. You could see that in her performance of scenes where she brings out the difference between a 'cold' flat scene and a 'hot' steamy scene, performing the exact same thing but without the zing the first time. However, she is not a sexy actress. Sensuousness is not her thing. She has done her best but her act is not natural. Maybe they wanted it that way. Maybe Silk Smitha was the cheesy actress. If that was the case, she was a good fit. Naseeruddin Shah, as always, is another very good actor. He never fails to deliver. Emraan Hashmi has done very well too. Having only known him as the actor that kisses endlessly and takes off his clothes on screen, I had not quite seen his acting skills. He has fared well.

The choice of actors has been good, without question, but a lot of great actors cannot make a brilliant movie if the director and editor have not done a good job. There are some interesting props in the movie. The old rotor-dial phones where you dial a number and wait for the dial to set back into place before dialling the next, the long chords you stretch across rooms, the popular red Maruti 800, country streets, chai kada and country girl with stars in her eyes, are all good ideas. Only, it fell short in execution.

Yet, the movie is quite popular. Maybe it was good and was made to be the way it was. It made me feel like I had eaten a bucketful of KFC chicken by myself. There were good bits and yucky ones but in the end, I did not come out feeling good. If I had to slot the actual movie in either Silk's or Abraham's basket of films, as per the film, I would throw this in Silk's. They have used some of the so-called sexy shots too many times.  There weren't even great. While trying to say that the directors in the movie focussed on xyz thing, the director of the real movie has focussed on the xyz thing too. Dirty Picture feels dirty alright. Filthy. I have not been able to decide if it was popular because of what they show in the movie (cinemas filling up for the item girl Silk & her stuff) or because it was made exactly the way it was supposed to be. I would not watch it again. I am not sure if I would recommend it but I am not sure I would discourage anyone from watching it either. I guess I have not decided how I feel about the movie. Unpleasant is one word that comes to mind. How unpleasant, I'm not sure.

One thing is sure. They have used a great deal of cinematic liberty. Must have. If the actress was really all of that, it is no wonder she killed herself in the end. Did Silk Smitha commit suicide? I am not sure. I cannot be bothered googling it.

If I had never watched that movie, I might not have missed a thing. On second thoughts, maybe I would have not known what to write today. There's a thought!

9 Dec 2011

Of News & Virus

Bank rate cuts are old news now. The Big Four were in the line of fire while they 'reviewed' the RBA's decision to chop the interest rate by 25 basis points. Once the banks decided to fall in line and pass on the entire cut, the news went cold super fast.  If the banks, or even one of them, had with-held any part of the cut, the fire would still be raging. As they say, good news is no fun. 

Hundreds of emails are exchanged between people every hour of every day. Nobody bats an eyelid. Until there is one embarassing email. The most popular is one that frustrates somebody. Before the sender has moved his index finger from the mouse, after clicking on the send button (if you are a keyboard person like me, you would probably hit the Control+Enter keys), the email has travelled across half the world. In a world where social networking has a presence almost as big as the world wide web, the email has gone 'viral'. Today's joke is on Mike, who sent a rather desperate email to Lauren, after repeatedly failing to hear from her after their first date and his numerous attempts to get in touch with her. It is obvious from his email that Mike is probably upset and trying overly hard to keep a straight face as he write the email. In effect, it switches between being a statistical, analytical note to a desperate call to Lauren, to respond to him.

It is not known whether Lauren herself posted the note on the internet or someone she showed the email to, did. That is irrelevant anyway. It is exactly how a girl would respond to such an email. Share with her friends and be appalled at the nature of the letter. After a first date, that may or may not have gone well, if she had any doubts in her mind as to whether she wanted to see the guy again or not, that will now be removed from her mind. There is no way in hell that she will get in touch with this guy. She might altogether avoid being seen in the vicinity of where he lives and works. If there is a sliver of sorry feeling for the guy and she decides to call him, her friends will vehemently discourage her from doing it. In this case, the email has been made public. The more viral the email goes, the more it becomes a joke. She and her friends are probably laughing at the contents and the email's popularity by now. The seriousness of the note, if any, has altogether disappeared. It is now just another funny item on the internet that goes into Facebook's statistics as viral email or Twitter's as trending link.

Such emails are almost never forgotten. They seem to surface every now and then, when related discussions occur. I can only hope the name of the author in the email is fake. Well, considering that the person who posted the email on the internet has xxx-d out his phone number, it is safe to assume that they will not have revealed the true identity of the writer. 

There are not too many 'nice' things that go viral. What one man likes, another may not. Yet, the South Indian song Kolaveri-di went viral for weeks. Nearly every Indian who has a Facebook account posted the song on his/her profile or at the very least commented on, or liked, the link posted by someone. Last week, the original song stopped being posted but only to be replaced by various versions of 'Response to Kolaveri-di'. Of these, the Kolaveri-di sung and sweetly tweaked by Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam's son Nevaan Nigam was the most popular. This week, Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag's world record score in ODI, which has made big news is being dubbed as 'Kola-Viru-da' after his nickname Viru. It will be a while before Kolaveri-di will be replaced by something equally good.

Viral is now hip a word. At one point, viral and virus were bad things. Infections - whether physical or computers - that people shunned. English seems to be turning into a more complex language with the advent of the mingling of multiple cultures. A number of non-English foreign languages tend to use same words to mean different things, based on context. English was supposed to have been the simple language. The most difficult thing used to be the difference in pronunciation of words between the English English and the American English. Now, we have Aussie English, Jinglish (Japanese), Hinglish (Indian - Hindi) and a whole lot of other variations. This is in addition to the abbreviated SMS lingo, social networking lingo and then some. The modern English language is slowly incorporating 'acceptable' bits of all of this, as it embraces multi-culturism and turning into a slightly complicated language. It is all in good faith. Who am I to complain?

8 Dec 2011

Clickety Click

Taking photographs when the sun is up and shining bright, is probably the easiest. An automatic point-and-shoot camera is all a photographer needs and even the worst ones can manage a few good pictures. Most amateurs prefer a sunny day to say, a cloudy or rainy one, for this reason. I have discovered that all of this is bullshit. Mostly, if not entirely.

Sunlight means shadows. Partial shadows are usually bad news. There are a handful of good pictures where half of the photograph ends up darker than the other. Most of the time, you either want the picture in light or you want the entire object inside the shadow. Sometimes, sunlight can be harsh. This is not easily noticed in an automatic point-and-shoot because the camera adjusts its settings, as required. Auto settings, however, are limiting. They are pre-programmed to go one way or the other, or another. A reasonably decent photograph might still need editing to adjust colour and contrast if the light was too harsh for the automatic settings. A sunny day with few or no clouds means a boring skyline. In other words, pictures should exclude as much of the skyline as possible. If the landscape around the object is not interesting enough, taking a good picture becomes a challenge. In other words, bright sunlight is not necessarily a photographer’s best friend.

I’m no photographer, let alone a good one. I carry a semi-automatic camera that I have used in auto-mode for most of the time that I’ve had it. The only settings I’ve used are the macro mode, scenery mode (which does not seem to work the way I want, most of the time) and the pre-set timer. I read the manual once and fixed the settings when someone had stuffed around with my camera and messed up the scenery mode badly. By fixed, I mean that I changed a few things randomly and took pictures till they stopped looking like a sheet of white. Since then, I’ve never trusted myself to use the camera in scenery mode. A fear lurks in my mind that I might take a picture in the mode only to later find that it doesn’t look like the real image.
A couple of weekends ago, I learnt a few things about what my camera is capable of doing. Being a semi-automatic, there are limitations but I liked learning that I could be a better photographer than my camera’s auto mode. The discovery of being able to change the aperture and shutter speed has spoilt the automatic mode for good, for me. When I switch to auto, I wonder if the camera is using the most optimum settings for what I want to achieve. My mind goes back to numerous photographs I’ve taken in the past that I’ve had to delete once I get home and load them on to my computer. ISO, focus and composition are terms I have never had to think about when I take pictures. How naïve of me!

Having a digital camera means I can take a few hundred pictures to come home and edit or trash as I please. I can delete pictures on the camera, to make more space, if I need to. When I think back to the days we bought a ‘roll’ for the camera before going on a holiday, I wonder how we did it. I would buy 1 roll (if I could convince mum/dad, we would get 2), which came in sizes of 25 pictures or 32, and try to fit out entire holiday into that. The worst part was waiting till the roll was completely used up, before we could take it to the studio for developing. This usually happened with the second roll. After scrimping and trying to save for the best pictures, you inevitably end up with an unfinished roll. Then, it was a few days of waiting – sometimes as long as a fortnight or more – during which we would hope that the pictures were not shaken or distorted. We had the option of selecting ALL or GOOD on the order form, to indicate whether we wanted all the photos or the good prints only. I always worried that if I marked GOOD, the photographer might not print something that is important to me if he regards it as poor print.

The digital cameras improved photography without improving anybody’s skills by much. It provided the option of taking a number of pictures and selecting the best of the lot. A number of pictures mean various compositions. Somewhere among those hundreds of pictures, there will be a few that followed the rule of third and we end up with a pleasing image. That is how some of us with automatic cameras can still manage to click a few shots that our friends can ‘Like’ on Facebook and drool over. Over time, if the count of pictures with the ‘Like’ increases, we feel like we’re good photographers. Or atleast we attempt to become better ones, to keep the ‘Like’ going.

So, really, Facebook makes us better photographers. Eh? Of course I’m kidding! I’m just a wanderer, lacking photography skills, trying to write a piece on photography. It appears that I have wandered along a couple of roads with the writing too. When the realization of that hits, I know it’s time to put the cap back on the pen!

7 Dec 2011

All About Look And Feel

Appearance is important. That is one of the most important lessons I have learnt since arriving here. I have noticed how, all around me, people are so keen on appearances. In my note a couple of days ago, I mentioned a performance at a community school event, where the teacher was showing the children what to do so they look good on stage. That is just one of many examples. It is not a bad thing, except that too much of it, like anything else, can be unpleasant. In a work environment, more often than lot, it tends to lead to the guy who talks the most and works the least getting a bigger share of the bonus. Unfortunate as it is, that is the truth. The survival of the fittest. In this case, to be fit is to be able to show oneself as able. The actual ability does not count as much. I am sure it counts for something but it is the appearance that matters the most.

I do not know if it has always mattered this much to me or if it is one of the many things I have imbibed since being part of the culture here but I realized that sometimes appearance is rather important to me. Maybe it is human nature. I mean, we all love to eat food that 'looks good', right? What is that they say about restaurants using red and black colours in their logos because that makes people hungry and want to go into the restaurant. There is some science to it but I cannot remember much of that now.

Anyway, moving on to what I am really on about...

After having looked at Christmas greetings at a few card stores and not being entirely satisfied with either the cards or the price, I ventured into the big Post Office in the CBD the other day. I sort of loved going to the post office once in a while. Not only was it convenient but it had a good feel to it. Convenient because all I really had to do was stand in line and the guy at the counter gave me the right envelope, with the right value of stamps. Sometimes, he even took it off of me and saved me the wee hassle of dropping it in the box. The good feel came from the various bits and stuff they sold. The PO was not just a postal service office but a little store that sold stationery, gift cards, greeting cards and a range of little things that one could shop for in a hurry. I have found their Christmas cards better and cheaper than most card shops, especially when I have had to buy in bulk.

So, I walked into the post office the other day and I was taken aback. I looked around me and walked out the door to make sure I had entered the right place! I entered again, into this big room that looked flash with shiny red and white counters set up on one side and a shelf full of envelopes on the wall across the counters. There were a few self-service kiosks on the left. That was it. What happened to all the stuff they were selling? What happened to the warm, friendly feel of the place? I did not like it one bit. I walked around, trying to find Christmas cards and finally realized that they were not selling any. In fact, they did not seem to be selling anything other than the envelopes I saw on the wall. The counters looked so new and bright, they were almost intimidating. It felt more like a bank and less like the friendly post office I frequented. Oh well, for a new-comer, it might be this fancy postal office space but I hated it. .

The cute little free muffins they were giving away, with the symbol of the post office in icing, tasted good but it did nothing to salvage my broken heart. From a warm postal exchange where I sent stuff to my family and friends, it had changed into an office space where I would go to pay bills. That is what it seemed like.

When a colleague of mine mentioned visiting the post office the other day, I knew she had not been there in a while. If she had, she would have definitely said something about the change. So, I warned her. When I met her today, she said, "You were right! The place is so sterile now". Sterile. Yes, that one word describes it. It is going to be a while before I go back in there. There is a little shop closer to my work place which is a smaller branch of the post office. I went there to get my Christmas cards that afternoon and found it still intact. It looked just liked it always had. It was smaller but it had the same feel as the older version of the post office. It made me feel better. That is the place I am going to be visiting for my future needs. I hope they do not modify the structure of the little branches at least.

Yeah, appearance does make a big difference. Doesn't it?

3 Dec 2011

Too Much Of A Good Thing

As I kid, I remember coming home from a day of play and telling my mum about it. I used to tell her about the friends I made and the fun I had with the friends I already have. That still happens. It seemed like the most natural thing to me, until now. I go out, make my friends, come home and tell my parents about them. What is unusual about that? Right? 

I have been hanging about with a few friends with kids, lately. Incidentally, all of them have 1 boy each, aged between 4 to 8 years old. It has been interesting to see how each one raises their kid. Differently. Some of them are admirable, some make you wonder if you ought to give them a piece of advice. I don't anyway. I do not have kids, I do not even know how to handle little boys. I am the last person that should be advising someone on how to raise their offspring. I am pretty sure they would feel the same way, if I made an attempt to supply them with my words of wisdom. So, I keep quiet and observe in the background. Sometimes I grit my teeth, suck in a deep breath and turn my head away to stop myself from being a know-it-all. There was a little voice that had been nagging me for a while. I just did not know what it was about, until this morning. One of the said friends put up a Facebook status about being proud of her son for getting ready by himself in anticipation of meeting his friend. 

Off late, a number of my friends on Facebook seem to have had babies and my wall is inundated with screaming mums proud of anything their little ones do - from burping to pooping to proud mums who can change nappies. It's been driving me nuts. So much so that I've considered un-friending the whole bunch at some point or the other. Who knows if I might turn into one of them at some point? I'm not that now and I'm mildly annoyed that I have to put up with those updates constantly! Coming back to the friend whose son was getting ready to meet his friend. I realized that these parents seem to plan their weekends around their kids. I mean, I knew that before and I have found it overbearing at times, even though I could understand that they had to do things their children would enjoy too. What hit me today was the knowledge that they were, in effect, planning how their young ones should spend their time. They would make plans and expect the little fellas to get excited about it. Of course they know what the kids want and they know what is good for the kids, so it is not wrong. Only, sometimes it can stretch too far. 

When I went out to play, the most my mum did was to make sure I was wearing shoes and she knew where I was headed. I would play with my friends, in the playground, in the park, side-alleys... I could play whatever I wanted. I would come home muddied, scratched and dirtied, mum would help me wash up. I made my own friends, I played whatever game we chose. I was free to live out my childhood discovering things and doing fun stuff. These kids have their parents chart out their day. The parents decide how much fun they can have. Their friends are the ones their parents will go out with. That is, their parents' friends' children. "If mum decides to take me to Seaworld today, that is my fun day". No doubt it is fun. Only, they have never stopped to think if that is what they want to do today. Mum and dad don't ask either. Even if they did, the young fella probably wouldn't say no because he probably doesn't know his options or that he has any. 

Somehow, this whole thing feels so sad. The kids have never gone out to play without either the parents or their teachers chaperoning them. They probably won't until they grow into teenagers, when suddenly their new-found freedom is going to emerge from the inside in a burst. I may be wrong about that. Still, I liked the idea of just going out to play with my friends, without my parents watching over me and making sure I play right.  

I went to a friend's son's school the other day, to watch his performance. Before his son went on stage, a group of tiny-tots performed a little song and dance routine. When we did that in school, we would practice for days on end and then perform on stage. Sometimes we remembered all the moves and did the right thing. Sometimes we forgot. Some of us were born stars, some of us were nervous. Whatever it was, we did what we did. On this occasion, I saw a teacher kneeling in front of the stage and doing the moves that the children were copying. All eyes on the stage, were on her. I'm sure they have practised before. It looked good that all the children seemed to be able to do the moves, some well, some not so well. It saddened me, however, that they were all watching the teacher and copying her. There is too much emphasis on the end product looking good, rather than letting the children free to do what they have practised, on stage, as well as they can remember it. There is not enough emphasis on the children actually knowing what they were doing. No tests, just keep reading your books. No exams till the age of 10. Maybe I got the age wrong but that is not the point. How sad is that they refuse to tell children about failure?

A colleague with 3 boys between the ages of 5 to 15 once said to me that the system was ridiculous. No matter how badly they performed, they were told that they were good, so as to not hurt them. Even bad news was sugar-coated. He said it was pathetic that they had to soften the blow and hide the children from the concept of failure. This is not real life, he insisted. I could not help but agree with him.

In my growing years, I have met parents who have swung the other way and put too much pressure on their children to do well, emphasised far too much on failure. That is another extreme. Even so, I think I would rather know that I could do better when I haven't done well than watch a teacher perform and copy her steps, step off the stage to be told I was amazing and live the lie.