It was 4 p.m. and drizzling. I was working at my project and was generally depressed. Suddenly the phone rang. It was Ashu, he and Antara had decided that they were meeting at the tea shop for the hot samosas and ginger tea. They had called Manish too.
It took me 5 seconds to deposit the books and spring out of the bed, change and go out after a calling out to mom, to shut the door behind me. Binod da’s Tea Corner- friends, hot samosas and ginger tea and talk talk and talk. Animated conversation and laughter . What fun. My mood lifted up in a jiffy.
All of us had done very well in our lives, in whatever interview we had faced and in whichever profession we had taken up. At least never had any problems in communicating with others. The impromptu adda sessions had left their mark on our confidence,the ease and the expressions, the positive body language and creative talks. As far as the etiquette part was concerned that was duly taken care of by my ‘ever so prudent’ mother, who would not go beyond a very controlled ‘stoopid’ and one look with her big eyes and we all were duly regimented. There were of course some strict ground rules. If we followed those, then there was peace all around.
Today when I interact with the young adults, I am quite surprised to find how scared many of them are to:
- Take decisions
- Talk and share their thoughts
- Imagine and express
Here I am not talking about those who are young achievers and have already gone forward in their lives with or without their parents’ support. The percentage of such talents are 25-30% and rest of them are divided in 2 groups:
- One who tries and keep on trying to be a ‘success’
- One who has concluded that he/she cannot ever be a success, however much they try. So they wait for the inevitable failure to hit them around each turn in life.
I will go into the underlying reasons in another article but, the skills these youngsters end up lacking in are:
- Creativity- in thoughts and speech
- Decision making- Unable to take in risk of being wrong, rest the world berates him/her.
- Low Self Esteem- Neighbors’ sons and daughters and cousins are always more ‘successful’ in life.
- Low on Interpersonal Skills- fear of speech, expressions and low in confidence.
Adda: The concept
When I looked for the meaning of the word, I came up with the following options:
- All the criminal elements gather in a den in the evening.The ones we see in our movies.
- An adda (Bengali: আড্ডা) is a form of intellectual exchange among members, who were originally of the same socio-economic strata, but the process has democratized in modern times. It is most popular among the youths belonging to the so-called “middle-class intelligentsia”. Although many Kolkatans boast of the city being the birthplace of adda culture, Satyajit Ray (in his film Agantuk) traces back the origin of the tradition to regular intellectual dialogues prevalent in Ancient Greece at the time of Socrates or Plato. Adda is a prominent leisurely activity in India and Bangladesh. Adda was incorporated into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004.
This indeed was interesting. But then that would mean that an adda session would mean meeting and brainstorming about news, views, ideas, opinions and enjoy that for a complete Adrenalin shot. But then, why have parents and their wards have lost their faith in the concept? Since when has the word Adda become a waster’s journey into ‘nothingness’?
ADDA – The benefits
While working as a trainer for Employ-ability Skills, we advise the young brigade to make groups and get into group discussions to nurture their communication skills. We organize skill building classes for them. Tell them to work on their body language and voice modulation, whereas all these can be learnt and applied in an Adda session very easily. In Bengal, where English is a big bane for most of the students, an adda session with multilingual friends can help them in fluency and add to their list of English vocabulary(apart from the colorful words that they obviously adopt).
Adda and more adda adds on to the creativity and flair of speech in us. Nowadays when Adda zones have become restricted to the pages of FB and WhatsApp , the virtual identity lends a cover to people as they can remain incognito and behind the facade of their virtual image. They do not have to pay importance to the other’s reactions and can express as much, and any way they please. Adda with friends makes us a reactive and creative talker. We are instantly aware of other people’s reaction to our words, and then speak accordingly. The reflexes are natural and body confidence grows in leaps and bound. Speech slurs and hesitation disappear and interaction becomes easier.
Adda sessions also work as knowledge banks. Starting from colorful discussions about the other gender to nation building, an adda session has no limits to its variety. You can have all four segments of team building (forming, storming, norming and performing) to achieving great heights in ideating, anything is possible. Those who dabble in music or theater , they have an extra edge.
Adda sessions build confidence. The conscious mind of the young adults often cautions them of ‘What people will think’and ‘how they would look, while speaking’. The more we speak to people, that cautious voice stops affecting them. So animated interactions, debates, fights and patch ups build the confidence, make people stronger. But remember it always takes two to tango and the more the merrier.
Adda sessions without the intrusive mobile or any laptop is something which helps people, specially the ones who lack confidence gather courage, interact and become better communicators. Give it a thought. May be its time we went back to them.
Disclaimer: Many may claim to be introverts and hence unable to speak to people. But that doesn’t stop them from making friends. All proclaimed introverts I know, are doing rather well in life and communicate very well, it is just that they do not chose to speak many a time and are very selective about the company that they keep. This article is only for those, who are unable to speak to people because they think they are being judged and weighed on every word and expression.