Learning by doing…

Choosing the right pan

I have always believed that learning best happens when you “learn by doing”. Today this concept got reinforced in my mind. A simple incident in my life but a great learning for my life time.

I normally have a half day fast once a week mainly to cleanse my body of all toxins. It is generally observed on Sundays but this week we were travelling and hence we observed on a Monday. Our routine is simple. No coffee or breakfast and fast till lunch with only water. Then break fast at lunch with fruits. Evening we take some dosas and end the day with curd rice.

Both my spouse and me undertook this weekly fasting exercise about a year and a half back. It helps us give some much needed break to our digestive system which works 24 x 7, 365 days otherwise. It also helps us refresh and rejuvenate for the week ahead.

We generally have fruits and then have a nap. When we get up,, we have dosas made of pulses as our first normal meal for the day. This not only is healthy but enables necessary intake of proteins and vitamins for the day. Normally my wife makes the dosas. Today she was a bit tired and hence I decided I will venture into the kitchen and try it myself.

I always thought making dosas was child play for me. This was because I had grown up as a child eating dosas and have had it at home and outside for my entire life. I have seen how dosas are made from the batter to the plate. The batter was already made and kept ready in the kitchen.

I had to just make it. So as I entered the kitchen I realised that I was not aware where the dosa pan was kept. Searching for it was the first task. Then I had look for the oil. As I got the oil I was not sure which of the two oils I should use as there was oil in two containers and both looked the same.

Then as I speak the batter on the pan, I thought I have made it till I realised after a few minutes that the dosa got stuck to the pan. I had chosen a wrong pan, which is normally used to make rotis. I did not know the difference between the two.

So as the dosa got stuck, I gave up my experimentation and waited for my wife to get up and help me with the making of the dosa. She got up and immediately pointed out that the dosa got stuck on the pan because I chose the wrong pan.

It stuck me that this was a simple exercise and just theoretical knowledge or observation was not good enough to do my job. In organisations, we think if we know the subject from college or have seen others do it, we can also do it. It may not be that simple. We need to learn by doing it ourselves.

This dosa experiment taught me and reinforced my learning that “ Learning by doing” is one of the best ways to learn and make others learn. We may end up making mistakes but that’s a learning too. I burnt the dosa and it got stuck on the pan but I did learn how to do it the right way , this way and hopefully next time will not repeat the same mistakes.

Our ability to accept our mistakes and learn from them makes us a better learner in life too. We need not feel bad that we have goofed up. Everyone does in some thing or the other. As long as we have the courage to accept and learn from it, it is great.

Life is always “Learning by doing”

S Ramesh Shankar

21st Dec 2020

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