If some readers are wondering why I decided to let the title have ‘a bar’ in it, the reason is simple. I have always believed that getting into sticky situations is an addiction for humans. I mean, we cannot live without bumbling and stumbling into one ever so often. Quite obviously then, finding a way out has to be intoxicating and, therefore, learning and a bar go together. Age has no place in the entire sequence of events where bumbling, falling, crawling, getting up and then walking again happen frequently.
Learning has no age bar.
Bar has no learning age.
Learning never bars age.
Bars never learn to age.
Age learns to bar no.
No age bars learning.
Whichever way one looks at these words, learning, age, and a bar are forever connected. Well, we do learn at some stage that age and entry into a bar have been engaged into a war spanning centuries. The funny thing is that despite this on-going war almost everyone believes that for learning there is no age bar. Let us slip deeper into a seemingly silly universe to see if learning, age, and a bar are indeed siblings that will not part.
My parents tell me that when I was just learning to walk I often stumbled and fell. Obviously I invariably got up and gradually learned how not to stumble. Then decades later I saw my son do the same and then it dawned upon me that stumbling, falling, and learning is an exercise that is never going to stop. Look at our electorate. It elects hopeless people to go to the assemblies and the parliament and do everything that the nation doesn’t want. Then the electorate learns and corrects its decision and elects someone else. But then there are always newer sets of individuals getting added to their number and this is why the process of election has remained an enigma. If this sounds unconvincing, look at the number of people who have been falling in open manholes ever since they were created. Or look at those who remain glued to their phones even while crossing the road and live just because some motorist decided to use brakes at the right time. Lessons are constantly being learnt and just as constantly are newer sets of individuals joining this queue. Age is obviously no bar here for learning… though sometimes learning comes at a high cost.
A few years back when I was in corporate communications, we decided to start an ezine and call it ‘The Learner’. The CEO asked, ‘Ah! Is the name because we have a lot of youngsters in the organization?’
I paused, smiled, and replied, ‘It is because we’ve all still got many years of bumbling our way through blunders and learning vital lessons not before burning our fingers.’
‘Bumbling and stumbling isn’t going to end. And learning will thus go on.’
Does learning come with a full-stop? I mean, do we stop making the same mistakes again and again? We love to imagine that learning is a permanent entity but it isn’t. After all, despite all the tomes written on peace and co-existence, aren’t we forever getting into tussles, fights, battles, and wars? I think we just love getting into sticky situations more than we love carrying solutions in our head.
There was a mention earlier in this post about humans having a propensity of getting into the heart of sticky situations. You’ll know what this means if you have ever been in a situation when the traffic lights fail and traffic cops are absent. Every driver insists on blocking every millimeter of space anywhere on the road… as well as on the footpaths, if you’re in India. No one does anything but everyone remembers how someone else got out and made things right. Everyone even believes that everyone else is dumb and a nitwit and how even a bit of common sense can clear everything in a jiffy. But then, like every other time, people just sit in their cars, howl and holler, honk like mad, wonder and pontificate, scowl and gesticulate, and wait for someone to inform the traffic police. Age is no bar for getting into a sticky situation.
Well, if there are no age bars for getting into sticky situations, why must there be any for learning? The cycle goes on. Merrily.
27 July 2019