Friday, December 17, 2010 defunct

Dear Readers,

Please note that I'm making this blog ashforstudents defunct. You can now follow me on lifeskills-mentor blogs. The articles there are listed below, fyi:

Thanks for following!

Ashirwad Acharekar
Mentor, Life-Skills

Monday, July 5, 2010

Beyond marks-ism

Every system's purpose is to find the best out of an individual, not the worst. Examination is a system to find the best out of you. This system is yet to discover something other than marks to find the best out of a student. Let the whole world point fingers at you just by looking at your marks/grades (good or bad). As long as you are grounded, not floating because of good marks and not sinking because of poor marks, the possibility to find the best in you is always ALIVE!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The school bell rang. A few 100 students poured out of the school gate but made no noise. In a second or two I realized that nature had robbed them of their ability to speak and hear.

There is an outer silence and an inner silence. Outer silence can be brought about by force. Inner silence breaks because of force. The dichotomy is that to convey silence you have to create a sound, sound of a word ‘silence’ or ‘shanti’ or ‘shhhh.’

There is a concept called Signal to Noise ratio (SNR) in Communication Systems. Mobile phone has some SNR which is the capability to detect the signal in spite of having noise in the surroundings. When your car windows are closed you need a lesser volume on your music system but if the windows are open music disperses in the outside noise. In former case SNR is high and in latter its low. When we were small we heard music of existence, of nature. A little noise didn’t matter much. We grew and we educated ourselves with too many things. That education imparted should have improved the signal strength but looks like it went on adding only noise. Noises of ‘me’, ‘my’ and ‘I’. My education, my job, my position, my money.. Just close your eyes and observe how the sounds of me-my-I keep screaming at the top of their voice. We have cautiously nurtured them. Every action of body and mind is mixed with the noises of ‘I’. The strongest of the Signal of existence has been totally submerged in the Noise of ‘I.’ The Signal tries hard to surface above the Noise in the form of good music that we hear, good book that we read, some inspiring speeches, ppt’s in forwarded emails. Subsequently, Noise takes over. As we age only Noise stays with us. It engulfs us and forms a hard unbreakable shell. Then our mind knows the word ‘silent’ and heart knows its deeper significance but the shell of noise is so thick that we rob ourselves of our natural ability to hear, the deeper experience of silence.

The lines below kept intentionally blank are meant for you to write your own meaning and understanding of noise and silence.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Every moment is a discovery. It is fresh. Prior experience covers the freshness of the moment.

We read many many books from our course and from a library. Each book, its each page is a discovery. We discover that the book is boring, or its great, or its cryptic. What are these thoughts about? They are about us. We don’t discover the book, we discover ourselves.

We go to learn music. A music teacher gives us a lesson and tells us how (quality), what (the notations) and when (timings) of that lesson. We start our practice. Our effort of reproducing the quality of sound that the teacher produced initially fails. Deep in our heart we know that it’s possible for us, just that its not happening now. A few continue to create noise and not music but know that music is hidden in the same noise. A many of us just give up. Whether we take up music or give up, it’s a discovery. Its not the discovery of that instrument but discovery of the self.

Listening to music takes efforts only to reach the auditorium and occupy a chair for which we don’t have to practice unlike the musicians. There are many people who are not trained in understanding the music but the beauty is that they can appreciate it. Why? Does it touch unknown corners of our being where a thought never reached? Do we attend a concert for discovering ourselves ?

A mother loves her tiny child unconditionally. As the child grows she starts finding faults in him, in his retention, his comparison with other children, she still loves him. She starts correcting the child. Her attempt is to make the child discover himself. She thinks she is discovered, now its child’s turn.

I have a friend who is a die hard fan of sufi singer Late Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Every time I meet him he makes me listen to his new discovery, new juice in the music of Ustadji. Is he discovering Nusrat or discovering himself ?

An academic teacher teaches students. The moment s/he feels that there is nothing new for her to teach, the subject is same old stuff that she has been teaching, the discovery of the self had ended. Then that teacher is dead. S/he is creating more dead souls in the classroom.

We have far too many places on the earth filled with dead people, not in the graves but in the homes, educational institutes and offices. They think their discovery is over, its of the past, they are ready to help other discover. I am no different. I too help people discover themselves. The moment my discovery is over, I’ll be dead, useless and rotten. Every hero that you have in your life, it may be your father or a movie star or an idol in a temple, just ask yourself if you are watching his every action and following him or in the process discovering yourself ? Life is about you, about your discovery that is available to you every moment, even in the moments of life that we deny…

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Music is one of the greatest expressions of our mind! While the sur(musical notes) in a song takes flights to different heights in our hearts and minds, beats are something which express the “now” of the song. A sur is a summation of different harmonics of a frequency. In technical terms sur is an animal of frequency-domain. Shruti is defined as a smallest change in frequency that our ear can perceive, that our ear is sensitive to. There are 22 such shruti’s out of which a subset of 12 notes are used in an octave. Likewise, beats/taal is an animal of time-domain. Its measured in beats per minute. If we think what is the smallest change in beats in our day to day life it appears that the dhak-dhak of heart beat is one, daily sunrise or sunset is a slower version, the slower than that is our birthday and slower than that is our whole life, which is just one beat (Thak). On the other hand if the beats are played faster than the perception of an ear then it becomes a sur, a musical note. Interestingly, its all perceivable to the mind.

Rhythm has a certainty i.e. you know in advance when next beat is going to happen. Its like knowing the future in advance. What goes on in the mind of a percussionist when s/he plays the instrument? S/he’s playing the instrument ‘now’ and at the same time preparing for the next beat. There are 3 parts to a beat viz. what, how and when. ‘What’ expresses the syllable/bol of it e.g dhin, tak etc. ‘How’ operates on the quality of the sound of each syllable that a percussionist produces. ‘When’ is the heart of it which is the composition of a bunch of beats that s/he repeats to create a cycle of a rhythm. A slight change in bunching of beats changes the whole meaning of the rhythm. This you all have noticed when somebody tells your own mobile number in a different way. E.g. rhythm of a phone number 98860 98860 v/s 98 86 09 88 60 v/s 988 609 886 0. The number is same but if uttered in a different way sounds like an unknown number. In the cycle of one pattern the percussionists attempt is to break the pattern and present the variety to the audiences. His job is to wake up the dozing audience by breaking their pattern that they carry through in the song.

Rhythm intertwines rules and exceptions. When mind is not attached to any rule it remains alert to exceptions. With every exception it doesn’t create a new rule. Similarly life is about a beautiful rhythm. Life is about exceptions not about rules. Every moment is an exception. Just that we have to break both, the old rules and the process of creating new rules in our heads. If you see one person in a group of people who cannot clap in rhythm and you are uncomfortable about it, its not problem with him, it’s with you. S/he was blessed with no-rhythm and you were blessed with rhythm. Its not chosen by you or me. It is, it just “is”.

Are you observing your heart beat, now?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

You smiled but your acquaintance just walked past !

What happens in us when somebody we know doesn't acknowledge our smile or a shakehand but just ignores and walks past ?

The first inner reaction is my ego gets hurt. In this situation what happens to him/her who didn’t smile is less important. S/he may be in his/her own world of bliss or mess. Why that should put me in a mess? Mind starts wandering. It thinks, is it that somebody told her something against me and that’s why she didn’t smile? Is she under some pressure and hence she ignored me or doesn’t want to share something with me? Is something wrong in my face, my clothes today? Is she ignoring me? Our ego-factory can produce a lot of such crap. That’s by design. What happens to me with all these thoughts is more important. WHICH specific output of my ego-factory have I latched myself on to and HOW MUCH have I latched on to? These 2 factors will decide if we can be free even if you smile and the known person ignores. Last time this happened to me I got latched to a thought that the other person is ignoring me but he seems to be in his world of problems that’s why he’s doing so. That evening I just walked to him and said hi! We got onto regular talking terms, cracked jokes and departed. I learned a lot with this experience about the functioning of my mind, its unbeatable ability to create nonsense in my head even when everything was really fine.

In another incident the problem began when I smiled at an unknown lady misunderstanding her as an acquaintance and she smiled back with a question in her eyes. Now I’m thinking hard ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Selection, Rejection and Dejection in a Job Interview.

My interview was going great. I was almost sure I’m in. The final question from the interviewer was, “Do you want to go for higher education?” I said “Yes” and was disqualified. This is somebody’s true incident.

How does our flow of thoughts operate from now on hearing this incident is very important? We will easily conclude that we will say “No” if we are asked such a question. I want you to understand the dynamics of the situation and of the mind. You will find an exact negative story where person said “No” and he was still disqualified. Now where does your thought flow take you? We always feel that we are opening a gate by learning from someone else’s experience but remember that by trying to open one gate you have actually closed many other gates. With a knee jerk reaction we concluded that “Yes” created the problem. Can we look at the situation deeper than that, free of what we think is right?

The result of not getting a job is a function of both, the interviewer and the one who was interviewed. Why are we deciding beforehand what’s going to be our reaction if we encounter such a situation. Any small noise around and we immediately have a conclusion ready how I am going to behave and how everybody else should behave in that situation if s/he faces it. With these conclusions we fail to see the situation in totality because 100 such situations happen and we have 200 walls built around us. If your true answer was “Yes” then what’s wrong if you got rejected? We always love the outside result and fail to nurture the inside growth. Do we see the inside growth at all? We want best from everything, job from an interview and higher education from studying and there's nothing right or wrong about it. Problem is not with rejection, it’s with dejection of having lost control of the situation which I thought was earlier under my control. Somewhere the interviewer doesn’t believe that she can influence you to change your decision of going for higher studies and you don’t believe that you can change her decision to get you in. If you go beyond your belief only then there are higher possibilities. Then thoughts will happen to you, you don’t have to think. Can you allow things to happen to you..? Can you still win the interviewer's heart if not a job ?