I took a course on Creative Thinking from University of Minnesota. In this course, apart from all else, I really enjoyed the exercises on “Do Something Different” (DSD). Provided below are my entries.
DSD1: Eat Something Different.
My Uncle (the eldest brother of my father; my father are 4 brothers) died last month. According to our custom, we need eating vegetarian food for 13 days from the date of the death. In addition, we cannot eat onion and garlic in any food during this period of time (Now, basic food for Indians need Onion and Garlic and Ginger and Turmeric at the very least).
I returned from a course on Patenting after being away from home for 16 days on 01Mar14 (Saturday). As my wife works, except Saturdays and Sundays, we almost never have lunch together. On Sunday, my daughter, my wife and I have lunch together (the only day in the week). My wife wanted cooking something special as I had returned after quite some time.
In addition, there was this exercise on creativity.
So, there were 3 situations seeking a solution.
After some thinking, I came up with an idea. We prepared Tomato Soup (It needed no onion and garlic). We prepared macaroni with only salt and pepper. We prepared vermicelli with lot of cashew and raisins. We got a few Nagpur Oranges (I just returned from Nagpur and Nagpur is known as the Orange City and Nagpur Oranges are a Geographical Identifier). Lastly, we prepared Coffee. In addition, I had a Cohiba Club.
As you can see, it turned that we had a 5 course lunch; without violating any custom and meeting all requirement. All three of us enjoyed the lunch enormously. And the 2 hours we spent together was very special.
Bado Jethu (as we called our Uncle) would not feel bad as he lived all his life trying to ensure a happy future for all of us (as he was the eldest in the family after my grandfather passed away).
DSD2: Wear Something Different.
For this exercise, I go by the literal meaning of “Wear Something Different” i.e. wear something which I have never worn before.
The occasion was Satya Narayan Puja in our house. The Purohit (Priest) insisted that I wear the traditional South Indian dress for this occasion (I am from Kolkata i.e. from East of India). My wife bought this garment for me to wear on the occasion.
The challenge is that the Dhoti is held in its place by a knot made from the cloth. I am used to wearing trousers and thus rely on the belt to hold it in its place. In addition, I have a big tummy which makes it difficult keeping the knot at the right level. Also, being a shy person, I never go out of the house without wearing something on the top.
The Puja was conducted over 6 hours with one interval of 45 minutes somewhere after about 3 hours.
The pictures are provided below.
DSD3: Talk to Someone Different.
I read the requirement for the DSD yesterday. I planned on talking to people whomever I came across today. So, this is what I did. All are not in sequence and this will become clear at the end.
Boy from Uttar Pradesh
Everyday I go for a walk with Baghira (a Rottweiler) and Sheru (a German Shepard) in the morning and in the evening. I had noticed that a young boy sells Phuchka in the evening. Phuchka is a popular snacks item in India. So, while going for the walk today, I stopped at where he sets up his stall. I requested if I could interview him for my University assignment. He agreed. I asked him if I could take his photograph. He agreed.
He told me that his name is Anish Kumar. He studies in Class IX. In the evening, he sells Phuchka. He has come from Allahabad (which is a big city in Uttar Pradesh in India). He has been in Bangalore for about 6 months now.
Young Kids on the Street
As we proceeded further, we found 3 small boys playing on the street. As they saw the dogs coming, 2 of them ran away. The third boy tried doing some pranks at the dogs. I told him not to do so as the Dogs could get excited and run behind them.
Baghira and Sheru just love kids. They always want playing with kids. However, as they are huge, most kids (and adults) are very afraid of them.
The boy listened to me. I asked them if I could take their photograph. 2 of the 3 boys came out and posed for the photograph. They stayed at a distance. When I assured them, they came closer. From the balcony, the mother of one of the boys saw me in the act. She asked me why I was doing this. I told her about the University assignment. She enquired whether the photograph would be published only at the Course website. I assured her of this. She wished me luck. I proceeded for my walk.
Policeman and Smoking Law
As we proceeded further I saw a Police Sergeant sitting on his bike. In our vicinity, a high ranking Police Officer has his house. So, there is Police on guard near his house all the time. Today, I saw this new Police Sergeant.
I told him about my assignment and he agreed to talk to me. I asked him about the new law on ban on Smoking in Public Places. He told me that Supreme Court in India had passed the order recently and it was applicable across India. He explained that “Public Place” included every place like roads, shops, etc. So, any person could only smoke in his house and/or designated restaurants and/or designated location in buildings.
By then, another set of 2 people came on their bike and the Police Sergeant excused himself and told me to come back for the discussion. I walked and came back after 15 minutes. This time I asked him about the implication of smoking in public in India. The Police Sergeant told me that the law says that the person needs being fined Rs. 200 by Police if he/she is caught in this act by the Police. There is no further actions on the person. I thanked him.
I requested if I could take his photograph and he refused. I did not take his photograph.
This question has a past which happened today at around 3 PM. I had gone to RT Nagar to send parcels by DHL with my younger daughter Ranoo. After parking our car, we walked to the DHL shop. On the way, I stopped at my favourite Pan Shop and lighted a cigarette. Immediately, a Police Van came and stopped by. The Police Officer called me from the van. He told me that he would file a case against me for smoking in public place. I agreed to pay the fine. However, I requested to see the Supreme Court ruling. Also, I requested that what orders has Supreme Court given besides banning smoking in public. What provisions has Government done for providing Smoking Areas like those available in Airports for such a law to be functional. The Police Officer chose not to answer. I threw my cigarette in the waste bin. He told me that he would not file the case. However, he told me that I should not smoke in public in future.
On returning from my walk, I told my wife that next time I am caught smoking in public, I would just pay the Rs. 200. Ranoo heard me and said that Rs. 200 was nothing and it hardly had any value. To this, Deepshree started explaining the value of Rs. 200. Believe me, our discussion (between 3 of us) lasted 3 hours. Below is a photograph taken when we were about to wind up our discussion.
DSD4: Do Something as a Child.
I have not done any exercise exclusively for this DSD. However, I relate the story of my last 2 years where I have been transported back to my childhood.
I had been programmer for 22 years prior to 2011. Though I had many designations like Project Manager, Program Manager, Business Sub-Segment Head, etc, I was essentially a programmer. I was appointed as the Executive Manager for Quality Assurance and also the Acting Executive Manager for System Architecture in Saudi Arabia. This meant that when any project starred in our company, I was part of the committee for approving the project. Also, before any project could be concluded, I was required to sign off the project completion. This meant that I was dealing with all vendors of our company who had anything to do with IT Department. I was advisor to the CIO and the COO and also in part to the CHRO, CTO, etc.
However, actually I was back in my childhood. My Boss, a VP, told me that I look like I am 24 years old. I assured him that I was actually 43 years old at that point of time.
The first major thing I did was that I was back to academics. I did several courses from www.edx.org. The links to the certificates are given below.
I completed a programs with Coursera.
I completed certifications with TM Forum. Also, I completed a program on “Patenting System in India” from Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Patent Management.
I joined a program with PADI to learn Diving. I bought all gears from Dubai. The first thing I did was to put on the gears and try them in the bath tub in my apartment in Riyadh.
Next, we are trained in the swimming pool.
On the last day of our training in the swimming pool, I did the most ridiculous thing in Riyadh. I posed for a photograph in just swimming trunks and posted it on Facebook. All the Arab Managers were scandalised by this. But them some of the Director from Jordan and Egypt joined the next program from PADI.
I passed the written test from PADI scoring 88%. Next, we were taken to Jeddah for diving in the sea. I dived 35 meters into the water.
We also had a lot of fun in the meanwhile. I visited Bahrain. On the way, I rode an Arabian Horse.
I played with the Dolphin – Sol – in Dubai.
I rode a helicopter in Dubai.
I rode a camel during a Desert Safari in Dubai.
We visited Petra and rode a horse on treacherous mountain.
I took a mud bath at Dead Sea.
I smoked the “Shisha” for the first time in Amman.
But then I must have done some serious work as well. I was given an appraisal result of excellent and with it came a bonus of Saudi Riyal 225,000.
DSD5: Do Something Different as your “Other” would do.
I told my wife, Deepshree, that I needed dressing up in her Saree for my assignment in a course. She told me whether I was out of my mind. When I told her that I was physically and mentally sound, she did some tests like asking the colour of her dress and the name of the program playing on the TV and the number of markers in the Pen Stand. When I answered all the questions correctly, she enquired about the kind of course I was doing. She advised that I better work hard on setting up our company. Again, I managed convincing her that this program would help in setting up the company. Ultimately she agreed to dress me up in her Saree.
I told her that I needed photograph of the process. I suggested Ranoo, our younger daughter, for taking the photographer. She advised that we involve her at the very end. I took her advice and did not spell a word about it the whole day.
In the evening, I requested Deepshree if we could just do it. She accepted. She took out a Silk Saree. When we were ready, we called Ranoo. Ranoo was shocked seeing me in a petticoat. She also enquired about my health. I convinced her that I was feeling in the best of my health and heart. She agreed for taking the photographs.
I wanted to go out to the Super Market next door in the attire. Ranoo locked the door and said that she would have nothing of this sort. So, I posted these photographs on Facebook. The page is given below.
The photographs are attached below.
DSD6: Gift Someone Different.
I had mentioned about Anish Kumar in the “DSD – Talk to someone different”. I have been talking to Anish every evening ever since when I go to have my cup of tea and to buy cigarettes. From Anish I learnt that he was returning to Allahabad by the end of this month. He felt that he had earned enough in the last 6 months to support his education back in his village. The owner would send a replacement for him to run the Phucka Stall.
I decided to give him a memento. I took a Coffee Mug, we had designed for promotion of our company. I went to his stall and gave it to him. I requested if I could take photographs when he opened the box. He agreed.
I told him to use the mug to have coffee when he studied. I further told him to contact me if he needed advice on continuing his education.
And here is a photograph of the cup.