Of patience as an abiding quality of youth
   Date :05-Jun-2022

loud thinking
By Vijay Phanshikar :
IN A recent, free-wheeling interaction with the students of Guwahati’s Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar said something that had the students clap thunderously. Flashing a small piece of paper on which he may have written a few words for reference for the event, Dr. Jaishankar said, in effect, ‘I have no speech to deliver here. All I intend to do is to have an interaction, share somethings I know, and have a healthy exchange -- in which at the end of the day, I will carry some energy from you, and some of my experience may rub off on you.’ Whistles, hoots, and claps filled the auditorium for long. Dr. Jaishankar had a good interaction with the IIT students. There is little doubt that the youths present there will not forget the address for long. In fact, what Dr. Jaishankar gave the young people was the wisdom he gleaned out of his experience, but he delivered the message in an acceptable manner. That is, of course, the basic requirement of oratorical skill. But that particular moment did give rise to some issues in the loud-thinker’s mind.
He has been interacting with the youths every now an then, individually, or in groups or in auditoriums or other public places. The young people are generally receptive to new ideas, but get thoroughly bored with anything that may be termed as advice. They grow very impatient. This is exactly the point upon which the loud-thinker would want to dwell -- for the benefit of the young people. By the way, the loud-thinker, too, is a young man of 72 because he believes the old maxim that “age is just a number”. So, as a “young” man, the loud-thinker understands what the youth may be looking for. Of course, impatience is one of the traits of youth. But that is also one negative trait that the young people need to learn to avoid. For, what a little patience brings with it is much bigger than all the impatience in the world can do. Unfortunately, the young people never even pause to think about this one point and many other ones. Here we come to an important word -- pause. Let us think a little about what a pause could mean to all of us. Let us imagine an artist at work -- a painter or a sculptor or a handicraft artisan. He is at work with all attention focused on the piece in making, a painting, for example.
He paints for a while -- carefully, purposefully, and in a spirit of calm application of mind. Every now an then, he -- or she -- takes a pause, takes a step back, and observes keenly the manner in which his work is proceeding. That pause -- and creative interlude -- is an act of patience. That gives the artist an opportunity to see things properly, analyse those correctly, and then time to plan the future action. That is the reason why countless elderly people urge young people to have patience. “Pause and think”, the loud-thinker’s parents would often tell him. On some occasions, the loud-thinker did not listen to them. But whenever he listened to them and paused and thought, he often produced better results. One occasion remained particularly etched permanently in the loud-thinker’s being. In an important sports match, when the loud-thinker was doing badly, his father advised him -- ‘Take a moment’s pause. You will start doing better’. And the pause that followed did produce an effective plan to counter the rival well.
The match was won. That little patience, that little pause made all the difference. For, in that interlude, one can re-collect oneself. Let us return to Dr. Jaishankar’s Guwahati IIT address. By stating at the start that he did not have a speech to deliver, the Minister only ensured a little patient hearing by the students. Impatience, thus, need not be the distracting trait of youth. Much to the contrary, patience should become their abiding quality -- by way of which they can imbibe a lot of more good things in personality than by way of anything else. This is the only point over which to ponder.