Life Lessons from violin class : Lesson 1 : Do not think !


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After learning some basic notes on the staves I was told to know it by heart. I had to memorize it, and then tell when I see a note. I used to count, say memorizing only the first not in space , the “F” on Treble clef. From there on I would count and then reach the desired note. So if it was the B on E string, it could take some time, but by practice I know I would know it by heart. There are some mnemonics such as “FACE” notes in space. This could come in handy. The objective is to t\know the not when it is written immediately, without counting. This needed some practice. I would stare for sometime and then tell the note. Especially the notes above and below the staves took more time. My violin master asked “ What is this note” pointing at one such note. I stared, may be I was thinking too long deciding whether it is a B or C on E string. And suddenly the master raised his voice and exclaimed “ Don’t think!” I was surprised knowing what he thought I was thinking. I told him I was counting up the notes. And then he said “ You have to know the notes, if you start counting there is no end to it. You may keep counting but never read the note.” So the saga of memorizing, which was a long lost talent was pushed up to priority. I took the book out when I got time. Started knowing the notes as pictures, and where each picture was to be. What the picture denoted, and I could grasp it with little seriousness. Later , after a week, for the next class my master put a test for me. He would draw some notes, I as supposed to tell it. It turned out to be easy. Next, I was told some notes and I had to draw them. This time, it was more fun, I knew exactly where all the pictures were placed. This continued till the master was satisfied with my performance.

After the class I was stunned at my own performance. A little bit of memorizing could make life easier. If I could bring back my talents of memorizing into some more aspects of life, then things will turn out to be simple. I decided to make a small start. Beginning with the IRCTC ticket booking, that I had to do 3 months in advance. I had to keep track of when the advance reservation period(ARP) would start, when all I had holidays, the dates for journey and the date for opening of ARP. Initially I used to check daily to know the ARP status, sometimes I had missed booking and had to travel in general. The distance of travel not being too healthy, the exercise to know the ARP turned advantageous. It is like the ARP is 60 days, but IRCTC would show some extra number of days beyond that in the calendar. This was the point of confusion which was duly resolved. Later came keeping track of money, where what went. Reiterating the point of purchase and arriving at a balance, would never tally with what was left in hand. With some effort, to remember, not to calculate later, I could fairly arrive at a close to hand value.

If life is made simpler by a simple act of remembering faces, numbers, names and places, then thinking is made redundant.

Thinking, also takes some time. This requirement is done away with the advent of remembering. But be assured thinking has its own advantages in certain contexts. But, mostly we need to think twice for decisions, think spontaneously for emotions and need not think at all in most other situations. This saves time, if you are a thinker. You can think about more pressing matters of the universe, rather than ponder over where you left that 1 rupee coin.


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