The Luggage Incident

I was getting on the train from the airport. The uniformed guy on the platform said the doors would be closing in a minute. A mother and son duo were carrying a huge load of bags. Hearing the announcement, the mother ran in and attempted holding the door open. That’s about when the son dropped his huge bag.

That’s when I ran out, attempting to help. But, by the time I reached out, the son had picked up the heavy bag and made it in with a few seconds to spare. The mother and son thanked me profusely. So much so that I felt embarrassed. I hadn’t really done anything! I had just attempted to help. They had made it across the line themselves.

It left me wondering if that’s what we tend to need in most situations – the mental support that we would need in case we struggled. Research shows that the most secure kids come from families where they have felt loved. The security that comes from knowing your parents love you and will support you no matter what is, as a result, incredibly powerful.

We don’t always need it, it seems. We just need to know it’s there.

Biking

I remember being very envious of kids who biked (“cycled” by Indian vocabulary) to school. To a kid who came to school in a packed school van, biking seemed to be so independent, so cool.

My grandmother abhorred the idea of me riding out on the “main road”. So, it was a long while before I finally got my bike. I still remember getting a letter signed by the others in the house saying I fully deserved to own a bike, especially since all my friends had their own! Thus, I got my first bike, a black Hercules top gear with five gears! The rules were clearly laid out – I was forbidden to cross any main junction without a friend with me. So, a certain dear friend would bike out of route, come home, “pick me up” and we would then head out to play.

I have many great memories growing up with this bike. We used to get around the area a lot and bikes were our chosen means of transport. This was until the first scooterettes came along. Biking went out of fashion real quick.

Fast forward about 9 years, I am rediscovering the joys of biking again! Thanks to a couple of projects that have taken away my weekly football and exercising time, I was looking for a way to make sure I exercised. And the solution was rather simple. I just ended up replacing a 30 minute bus ride on my way back with a bike ride. And, to avoid the headache of owning a bike in London (i.e. to deal with possibility of theft etc), I just signed up for ‘Boris Bikes’ or the Barclays Cycle Hire.

I’ve been on this scheme for 2 weeks now and have been loving it. I bike around practically every day. These bikes are ungainly and heavy as they are built for rough use and are hence ideal for exercise!

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I just went on a really wonderful 40 minute ride around Hyde Park today amidst beautiful sunshine. I have been seeing a lot more of the city over the last couple of weeks and loving it!

Falling in love with biking all over again.

On The Polgar Sisters

This week’s book learning is from ‘Talent is Overrated’ by Geoff Colvin.

Laszlo Polgar, a Hungarian educational psychologist had a thesis – great performers are made, not born. After writing his book titled “Bring Up Genius”, he publicly asked for a woman who would marry him and raise kids to test his theories. Klara, a school teacher actually agreed!

So, when their daughter Susan was 4 years old, Laszlow and Klara began teaching her chess.

(The reason behind Chess is unclear. It is believed that a combination of easy feedback and the fact that it was a heavily male dominant sport influenced Laszlo’s choice.)

Soon, the younger daughters – Sophia and Judith were also put into the program. All 3 sisters were home-schooled with chess being the focus. Their family accumulated a library of 10,000 chess books!

The results were astounding. By age 17, Susan became the first woman to qualify for what was then the ‘Men’s world championship.’ It took Chess a few years to overcome it’s gender discrimination and Susan was finally crowned world champion at 21. Judith, the youngest Polgar, has gone on to become the undisputed greatest female chess player of all time. She is the game’s youngest ever grandmaster at age 15 and still Women’s number 1 and amongst the top 10 ten chess players in the world!

The Polgar sisters and Laszlo – Image source

I found the Polgar story simply incredible. Enough said.

Here’s to practicing hard at our “art”, Polgar style, this week!