The Second Hand

TGIF 😊 Welcome back to M3!

Before we dive into what the 3rd release of M3 holds for us, I would love to thank each one of you for your love, affection, and motivation. I thank you for pulling out time to call me/ write to me and share your reviews about the release. I truly appreciate your time and attention.

I also understand the last release was a Mughal – e – Azam in the era of short stories! But an Emperor – Rajesh Khanna – has to enter on an elephant! Any lesser words would have been blasphemous! However, the fact that so many of you read my long diatribe with such relish, is a testimony that I seem to be getting it right! 😊


Speaking of testimony & evidence, one particular movie scene that jumps up in my mind is from 1977, multi starrer called Imaan Dharam, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, and Sanjeev Kumar- a story about Ahmed [Amitabh Bachchan] and Mohan [Shashi Kapoor], who act as mock witnesses and hang around the local law court to provide fake testimony in legal trials. 

In one court trial – Chaudhary Moiiddeen v/s Fateh Ullah Khan- Ahmed [AB] is summoned as a witness. In the lawsuit, Chaudhary Moiiddeen has accused Fateh Ullah Khan of assaulting Gullu Miyan- Gullu Miyan is now injured and hospitalized and Chaudhary Moiiddeen wants justice now. In his defense, Fateh Ullah Khan has accused Chaudhary Moiiddeen of training and instigating Gullu Miya to destroy Fateh Ullah’s garden and in order to protect his garden from destruction, Fateh Ullah was forced to deter Gullu Miya, leading to the latter getting injured. 

Ahmed is hired by the lawyers of Chaudhary Moiiddeen to testify that Fateh Ullah Khan’s attack on Gullu Miyan was unprovoked & that Gullu Miyan is above reproach.  Ahmed provides a glorious testimony for Gullu Miyan, citing his several years of acquaintance with him, to which the prosecutor asks Ahmad – “Achcha toh aap Gullu Miyan ko jaante hain? Toh bataiye kitne bade hain Gullu Miyan?” [“Since you know Gullu Miyan, tell us, how tall is Gullu Miyan?”]

The camera zooms on to Ahmed’s face. His forehead is wrinkled, eyes a bit lost, mind whirring to find an answer- It is evident that the question is a googly! Confounded, fearful, checking for some kind of a hint on the prosecutor’s expressions- Ahmed attempts to answer the question by raising his left hand to a level that is representative of Gullu Miyan’s height. 

The moment his hand stops moving and rests at a level, in the air, just above the prosecutor’s head, the prosecutor rushes to judge and say ‘My Lord, this man is a liar! He does not even realize that Gullu Miyan is not a man, but a rooster!’

The people in the court, break out into laughter, the judge is dismayed, however before the prosecutor or the judge can say anything, Ahmed very confidently rebuts – ‘Why are you so impatient, Sir, let me get the second hand in!’. Very calmly he pulls out his right hand from the pocket, estimates the height of a rooster, and slides his right hand below the left one so as to create a gap that is a fairly good representation of Gullu Miya’s height! The court bursts out into laughter once again, the prosecutor and the judge are speechless and are left with no option but to allow the witness to leave.

Ah, the magical ‘Slide of the Second Hand’!

This ’Slide of the second hand’ changed the meaning, changed the thought process, changed the perception, changed the outcome. The importance of the second hand can only be realized when you imagine what would happen if the second hand didn’t come in – The picture, perception, story, judgment, outcome would have been very different. The second hand reframed the picture.

Reframing challenges our perspective, it challenges our operative lenses- Lenses being those mental models that we deploy to take cognizance of and operate in the world. Our working memory can store somewhere between five and seven chunks of information and that is why our brains, instead of trying to analyze, memorize, store everything that we come across, simplifies and creates some shortcuts in the form of lenses/ mental models to choose and apply in different situations- it is all about increased efficiency – so instead of going through the entire cognitive process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses, our brain may select a shortcut- a particular lens in a particular situation and the individual views all details through that lens. 

Efficient yes, however, is it always effective? How often as individuals, leaders, friends, relatives, do we judge situations, build perceptions, predict outcomes, judge ourselves- by deploying these lenses. And how often do we ask ourselves the unsettling yet important question- What if our lens was not right? What if we colored it wrong? What if we only saw one hand while creating that lens? What if we had missed ‘The Second Hand’. 

Imagine how incomplete is the picture with just one hand- many times would you have judged yourself, misread situations, misunderstood people, misinterpreted outcomes in life!

As a young man, in my second year of engineering, I decided to stand up for what was morally right, leading to a scuffle with someone -from a one on one, it turned out to be a four to one scuffle. Needless to say, the filmy hero within me was bruised for so many years because I could not do what my heroes did to thugs – beat all four of them black and blue without being hit, even once! I carried this dent to my pride for several years till during a coaching session, the magical slide of the ‘Second Hand’ happened! I realized that it took four of them to come together to face me- So, bruised I may have been, however, I was also the stronger one – morally as well as physically. Reframing helped me triumph over a personal dent by looking at the situation more holistically.  

That is the power of Reframing – a powerful tool used in coaching & therapy, it helps create an alternative way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning, by bringing in a new perspective. It is a means to change & sometimes, even defeat our lenses- thereby suspending judgment, letting go of a deadlock, or a sense of helplessness. 

Imagine looking at a scene through the frame of a camera. As the camera zooms in, you focus on specifics, as the camera retracts or zooms out, you start taking in the larger picture- Both the zoom-in & zoom out- have their own role to play. Your growth, your imagination, your peace, your happiness could just be a matter of cleaning those lenses & Zooming in and/or Zooming out so look out for the magical slide of the second hand, my friends!


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