Press "Enter" to skip to content


Once during the early 2000s, I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a week-long seminar-workshop high up in a mountain resort. Something to do with personality development, I think it was (even when I was quite comfortable with the weird one I already had). Anyway, I won’t be talking about all that transpired, enjoyable as the sessions were. Instead, let me tell you about how we were made to introduce and talk about ourselves to the persons sitting next to us during the very first session.

First, the facilitator arranged that we occupy two long lines of chairs facing each other (we must have been 50 people in all). Then at a given signal, we were given 15 seconds each to tell the person facing us about ourselves and another fifteen seconds for the other person to do the same. When the total of thirty seconds was up, we all moved to our left and repeated the same process all over, introducing ourselves first, then our life story to the person in front of us. Eventually, those seated at the end of the lines would have to transfer to the empty seat vacated on the opposite row while the exercise went, so that it was like a flat roundabout. The activity only stopped when we had returned to our starting point.

However, I think it was by the fourth or fifth person when I realized this was all so frustrating, having to repeat my life story every fifteen seconds. What had been equally frustrating was trying to remember whatever I could get from the guys during the next fifteen seconds, as I was certain we would be asked how well we retained what we had heard during the post-activity.

So, by the sixth turn, I decided not to repeat myself. I continued where I left off in my life tale. If one ever experienced going to a movie house and coming in at the middle of the film, you’d have the same feeling, not knowing the start, in this case, much less my name. Late on when I told the group how I managed the exercise, I think I got a puzzled look from the facilitator; he might have been thinking, this one’s the pupil in the old stories, known for not following instructions.

Remembering all that now, I realize that what we’ve been through in that seminar had been a representation of what real life is. In truth, no one knows your complete story. They only get glimpses. I don’t really know what to make of it all but sometimes, when I find myself having a say in what another has done, I try hard not to act compulsively and go back to reminding myself. Pause, I don’t know the whole story. Of course, that doesn’t work every time but I guess it’s the pause that gets a quizzical look every time on some faces, like that facilitator of old.




Powered By ICTC/DRS