The Idea of Grace | SPJIMR

The Idea of Grace

Anil Vishnu Vaidya

Author: Anil Vishnu Vaidya

Date: Wed, 2016-09-21 13:24

A long time ago, someone had asked me what I liked. I had responded: planes, cars and computers. All those have something in common - they are very graceful. I want to talk about this grace today. 

If you have ever stood on the Western Express highway across the Mumbai airport runway opposite Milan subway, you would have noticed the majestic 747 taking off. It seems so slow that one would doubt if it would climb at all. And it does; invariably it goes up. These planes were being called 'flying fortresses' in their hey day. The first time that I got in the plane was to the US, on Air India 747 in 1980. I still recollect how stable the plane was. 

When I ride the BMW, I admire it for the smoothness with which it sails, more than the acceleration or power that it can generate. Similar characteristics I find in computers.

I have come across people who can be enormously graceful. Watch Roger Moore, Richard Gere, Robert Redford, Gregory Peck (I hope I have spelt these names correctly). All these people seem so graceful. 

What is grace?

Grace stands for poise, confidence, ease, calm, smoothness, attractiveness, elegance and so on. It’s an important quality to be acquired. 

There are multiple facets of grace:
1. Stance, poise, walk - the way a person stands, walks, runs, gets up, sits down and so on 
2. Expressions, body language - the way one smiles, looks at another person, the handshake, facial and body movements 
3. Clothing - appropriateness of attire, be it formal, informal, casual, smart casual etc. 
4. Communication - speech, language, diction, pitch, tone, politeness, assertiveness, listening abilities. 

Each of above needs to be developed with careful observation, awareness, practice. Efforts and desire are the most important ingredients of being graceful. And it is perfectly possible to become graceful without having to spend a lot of money. The only thing we really need is some more effort. 

I always think - if inanimate objects like planes, cars, computers, mobile phones can look so graceful, why can't we?




Dear Sir, very nicely written piece on grace being a very important trait of one's personality. As you have rightly pointed out some inanimate objects which we admire a lot because of the presence of grace in them, similar is the case of the graceful personalities. They are the ones who, without any doubt, get the attention and admiration immediately. I feel grace comes naturally to the people who are educated, experienced and conscious enough of his/her environment. We always admire the great personalities and while we start idolizing someone, we are, in fact, following and trying to be graceful person he/she is.

Dear Sir, very nicely written piece on grace being a very important trait of one's personality. As you have rightly pointed out some inanimate objects which we admire a lot because of the presence of grace in them, similar is the case of the graceful personalities. They are the ones who, without any doubt, get the attention and admiration immediately. Grace, however, is different from manners. Manners are the rules; whereas grace reflects a state of being. As you have rightly pointed out how graceful people always tend to live an impression on us forever, I would also like to cite the example of Amitabh Bachchan during P.V. Sindhu’s win in the last year’s Olympics. Shobhaa De had taken to Twitter to slam the athletes for not being able to clinch medals, alleging them of clicking ‘selfies’ and coming home empty handed, which was condemned by the public. However, when Sindhu won the Silver medal, De went on to congratulate Sindhu in another sarcastic tweet. But people kept condemning De for her infamous tweet. Amitabh Bachchan too took the opportunity to congratulate Sindhu stating that she was not coming back home empty handed and that he would be more than willing to click a selfie with her. This goes to show how Mr. Bachchan, with his graceful nature, was able to congratulate Sindhu and at the same time take a sly dig on De, shutting the Twitter hatred once and for all. I feel grace comes naturally to the people who are educated, experienced and conscious enough of his/her environment. We always admire the great personalities and while we start idolizing someone, we are, in fact, following and trying to be graceful person he/she is.

Dear Anil Sir, I can totally relate to this wonderful article on grace. I felt that you are describing me when you talked about airplane’s take-offs, landings and the BMW ride. During my engineering days, while returning back home, I would park my bike and stand over it to have a glimpse of airplanes taking off and landing (as per the wind direction). I always used to wonder how such a gigantic thing can ever take-off. And the perfection in landing would always leave me spellbound. I experienced the pleasure of driving a BMW (X3) when I was on an on-site assignment in the US. Let alone the power it houses, the sheer driving pleasure and the confidence that I experienced was truly magical. As you rightly pointed out, the ease, elegance of an airplane and the smoothness, attractiveness and poise of a BMW is its ‘grace’. Probably the only time I felt a human graceful was when I met Shri Shri Ravishankar at his Bangalore ashram. The elegance and simplicity of his attire, the ease and calmness of his speech and the confidence of his walk instantly attracted me towards him. Listening him speaking was a musical experience for me.

The above ‘Idea of Grace’ very well integrates the technology’s charisma and grace. To this startling write-up I would like to contribute by writing about that one more dimension which comes to mind after reading the word grace. It is the ‘Grace of God’. Many times it happens that we keep constantly working towards a goal but don’t achieve it. In such situations we turn up to our elders (grandparents, parents or teachers) that despite striving so much we don’t seem to make any progress. Most often the reply is that one must keep trying and one day you will reach where you want to be with the ‘Grace of God’. All holy books say God is realised through God’s grace and at the same time they also say Lord resides in every human being. This makes my belief stronger that realising God is simple, we just need to be kind to every living being, be considerate about the needs of those around us and keep working towards our objective. In this way start treading our path towards success and those whom we helped will sometime come back and help us when we are need and this is the Grace of God. One of the dialogue from famous Bollywood movie ‘Oh My God’- don’t be God fearing, make him your friend never gets off my mind. In the end I would like to say that one must keep helping others, doing noble deeds and making sincere efforts and desired outcome will definitely come true.

Dear Sir, a very well written and thought evoking article. Grace is what we always enjoy experiencing when we see it in others. Be it an Audi's driving experience, Sachin Tendulkar’s elegant cover drive, Roger Federer’s flawless backhand return or Amitabh Bachchan’s dialogue delivery in a movie; grace can be experienced in both animate or inanimate objects and is generally characterised by smoothness, calmness and elegance, as you have rightly pointed on the blog. I believe grace can be developed by conscious effort. It is not a single trait but a package called grace. Moreover, it is combination of both the internal thoughts and external responses. I recently saw a video in which Patti Smith, a world-renowned singer, fumbles while performing on stage during the Nobel Prize ceremony. She apologises and says, “I am sorry, I am so nervous” and the whole audience, including the King and the Queen of Sweden, started clapping and applauding her. It was the grace of Patti to accept her mistake but it was equally graceful of the audience to show their support. She picked up from there and one should see the sheer confidence with the way she completed her performance. We can help each other so much by just being Graceful.

Dear Sir, I completely agree with your thoughts that a materialistic thing can be as graceful as a human or vice versa and that grace is one of the virtue of life that shall be and can be acquired with time. For example – an Iphone is loved unconditionally by its users not only because of its technical features but because of its subtle design, minute detailing and the experience it provides to users, which make it stand apart from the rest. Talking about grace, the one name that comes to my mind is of Late Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur. The poise, calmness, posture, body language and impeccable dressing sense she had still remains in heart of the masses, she was an epitome of grace, grandeur and elegance. Grace is as much an attribute of a common man as of a royal, the only difference being that royals are taught how to acquire the traits of grace right from their early years and we think of it as being a far off star that can only be seen and not touched. It is by keen observation, practice and nagging desire that these traits can be learnt. I also believe that grace is not just a trait but a way of life, its not only about looking graceful physically but also about doing things gracefully.

Hi Sir, you have beautifully explained the multiple facets of grace in your blog. I couldn’t agree more with your article, I remembered times when I tried copying the way Amitabh Bachhan used to walk or the way Hrithik Roshan used to dance or the way Sachin use to hit that straight drive, past the bowler for a boundary. All these activities are so full of grace, charisma that you want to see those things again and again. Why do we want to hear Harsha Bhogle again? Why can’t we get our eyes off the TV screen, when the little master plays those drives? I tried finding out the reason behind all these activities a long time back. There was a common thread connecting all these people. They aspired for more, they persevered, and they all are very well read in their field of activity. The desire for knowledge and the ability to read more unknowingly affects your subconscious in a positive manner. Your actions, your expressions, the clothes you wear, the way you communicate all these are affected by the exposure you get and you ability to absorb everything around you. And once you reach a certain level, it is that hunger and passion that pushes them to be a perfectionist in whatever they do, that can be as simple as shaking hands with someone but that would still be with a lot of grace. It leaves an impact which is not governed by the stature of their personalities but by just the way they execute that handshake to perfection. I watch these small things, I try to learn . I try to accommodate. May be someday, someone would write an article about grace mentioning me. That would complete the whole cycle which has just started now. Thank you sir for putting this article up on your blog !

Hello sir, Beautifully written piece. Though many would find it difficult to relate to this concept of grace being associated with cars and planes, I am simply in awe that you have given words to my thoughts. When I ask myself, the question regarding what I like (similar to the one you answered in the beginning of the blog), my answer is camera, laptop and phone. I have spent months (if not years) to read about gadgets available in the market to finally decide on something that I want to own. I have been mesmerized by the grace of the gadgets that our advanced technology produces. The experience of using these gadgets is simply awesome and beyond words. Using the example of gadgets, you have switched to idea of grace in people. Grace in your words is described with respect to communication, clothing, expressions, stance and so on. I would like to bring in another aspect which adds to the grace in us. I am referring to the quality of humility. It is that quality which keeps us rooted to our basics even when our branches are expanding in all directions. Even if we excel in other aspects, arrogance takes out the grace in even the most sophisticated person. I find the gadgets graceful because they very well fulfill their tasks for which they are designed and they do it wonderfully. Similarly, people are graceful when their deeds match their thoughts, when they are passionate to excel and when they execute their tasks with sheer poise. Hence, your blog is a reminder to enjoy the grace even in inanimate objects and learn to inculcate some of those observations into our lives. -Shweta U. Shetty

Firstly, thanks for the wonderful write up sir. As they say class is permanent and form is temporary. Every individual has his/her preferences. Some value the end result more and some the process. I would like to describe one of India’s iconic sportspersons and an all time cricketing legend, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. Like me, he was the idol for millions of kids growing up in the 90s. As someone who has played the game at university level, I could always appreciate the genius of the Little Master and the nuances of his mastery in ways that most of my friends could not. Here is a small write up about the man, the legend and the cricketing for millions including atheists like me: At an age when kids craved for brightly dyed school uniform, he adored the white robes, his batch was the Indian emblem embedded on his helmet and his daily stint in the nets had longer periods than his time in the classroom. He had a liking for geometry but he was his own tutor; he conceived theta off the arm of a bowler, possessed a natural affinity for angles of bisection, an innate ability to draw straight angles but with different equipment though and liked the square more than any other shape. Where others perished, this man thrived. Hostility aggravated his hunger for big runs; bowler’s pride annihilated in his humble blade, seeing the back of this man was a dream for any bowler. His was a rare blend of batting, an ensemble of the solidity of Sunny Gavaskar and the sublimity of Sir Vivian Richards, his sabotage disarmed the opposition’s attack at will. He made ruthlessness look beautiful, demise of records a regularity and his artistry inspired even the most passive pair of eyes. In a Nation that is as diverse as his array of shots and yet to be its most loved soul really requires the work of a genius. This quiet, hardnosed task master has not only earned the dismay of the leather charmers for over two decades but has caused equal distress to the game’s historians and statisticians delegating to them an eternal chore of number manipulation.

Grace is perhaps one of most undervalued traits in the world. If we were to look at the most successful and influential leaders across the globe we realise that a vast majority of them had one common trait - grace! It is not only about people judging you for how you stand, how your poise and how you walk, but also how you think. Grace is not limited to physical appearances but goes deeper to reflect the thoughts and value of an individual. It is about how one perceives the world and cascades that perception to the world in contact. Of course, one can develop grace with careful observation, awareness and practice, as Dr Vaidya mentioned but its practice must be consistent and in-line with our values and the perception of how we wish to see ourselves. While some people are naturally blessed with grace, for others effort and a strong desire to achieve grace, is mandatory. Really, one needs no money to achieve grace – only reasonable effort.

I love the Semicolon; Its Unnecessary but graceful and sophisticated. Yes! Grace is Rare but it is truly enduring , its Divine and is larger than life . Grace is an Expression of a Beautiful mind , smooth and Elegant Move, a courteous good will . I Total Agree that grace can be acquired by conscious effort and care ,but it has a lot to do with the inner world of the person ,thoughts and actions . Anything that transcends Love , Passion and Compassion is Grace . Any one can be a good dancer, a speaker, a writer but its only the grace with which the task is done creates the Magic and becomes a differentiator . Golf is an awkward set of bodily contortions designed to produce a graceful result. In this world of competition and Desires we sometimes forget that there is abundance for all and start running in Race Forgetting The Grace we were all Blessed with . Grace includes all those characteristics that come under humanity.Grace is neither gentleness nor fragility. Grace is treating yourself, others, and even inanimate objects with respect. I genuinely feel we should all look for ways to shine our grace to others and inspire them to do the same. Its Vital!

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