Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ode to 2009

As the seconds pass by while I am typing, 2009 is coming to an end. It might have ended somewhere in the globe......Japan, Pacific........... well, I don’t know where else. But I still have a couple of hours to enjoy this fading year. People have different plans to welcome 2010 and when you ask me, I will say..............hmm......., I will say that I have none. So, I think it’s better to sit with myself (and my laptop, of course) and recount some of the sweet memories of 2009. I have written sweet because a few years down the line when I will look back, I don’t think I would be able to remember any memory as bitter. And for that matter, who in this world has got the time to think about the bitter memories when the world is busy being happy waiting for the new year to arrive?  :-)

I will start with EDC because it is something with which I identify myself in the campus. Without EDC, half of my college life would have been blank. And I feel happy when I say that during the past year, I was part of the team which made new strides in moving towards its goal. I learnt a lot from everyone in the team and am very thankful to all of my EDC teammates for teaching me a lot and bearing with me a lot of times, especially those angry moments of mine.

This year also made me realise how cool and tension-free the life is till we are under the cover which it provides us and how difficult it really becomes when we go out and face the real world. I still remember the desperation with which I wanted my summer internship to get over so that I could go back to college and live a ‘cool’ life. We actually don’t realise the beauty of the life at IITR till we are here.

I started my blog this summer. And it gives me immense pleasure every time I write a new post. Though the idea was always in the back of my mind, the blog was born majorly out of the boredom of my internship. Thus looking back I can say that sometimes, the most boring of the things can pass the most interesting of the gifts. And when I look back, I find that I actually needed that spell of boredom to realise the importance of doing what one actually wants to do in life. 

I also started reading a lot more (relatively) this year and I think I can count that as an achievement. And I think this shaped me as a more composed and better person at the core.

I was pick-pocketed this March for the first time in my life and the best and funniest part was that the wallet didn’t contain a single rupee even. So, I didn’t really loose much. :-) And sorry for the ill-fated guy who didn’t get anything robbing me!! That’s the way I am. :-)

I had the coolest of winter vacation this December. Though I didn’t get placed but that gave me chance to enjoy tension-free days with nothing to do. And I really loved it.

There are many more things which I got from 2009 but I think the list would become endless then. So, I guess it’s time to stop. So, stop I must but not before thanking 2009 for the new bonds of friendship which I forged during this year and those old bonds which got strengthened. That I think is the most beautiful gift which you gave me 2009!!


Monday, December 28, 2009

Where is My Teacher?

According to an HRD audit report, there are 7.72 lakh untrained teachers and there is a vacancy for 12.06 lakh across the country (published in a TOI article on December 27, 2009). This is a major setback government in the way of implementation of the ‘Right to Education’ successfully. No wonder that many government schools in the country are actually running without any teacher.

We hear every day that millions of educated young Indians are unemployed. So, what prevents these unemployed young people to head towards the education sector and take teaching as a career? What makes one of the most respectful professions so repelling for the young population?

For a while let us forget about schools, the college education in the country also suffers from the lack of professors and even the reputed IITs are no exception.

The major reason for the lack of interest of Indian youth in the education sector is the lack of money. The salaries and perks given to teachers in most of the Indian schools and colleges, government or private, are far less than what teachers can get in any other profession. I still remember how this belief was prevalent among the students in my school that the worst of graduates take teaching as profession. And it is very evident in what one of my classmates quoted about the teachers in our school:

All the teachers here are failures. They came to teach us as they couldn’t do anything.”

Of course, I didn’t completely agree with him but is this statement 100% false? Teaching, being a low-paying job is seen as a rescue profession. And there is a lot of frustration built up in teachers because of this (low salaries) leading to low self-esteem and decreased love for students and concern about their future. As a result, instead of inspiring and stimulating the young mind with love and affection and understanding them, they decide to show them “Who is the BOSS?”. And this leads to very serious consequences as far as the future of students is concerned. The creativity is lost and studies merely become a routine affair with a lot of rote learning.

Some days ago, I read that the schooling system in Norway is among the best in the world. And what was surprising to know was that teaching is the most attractive profession for the young people in the country. And when an industry draws the best of the minds, it has to become the best in the world. But as I think, no industry can lure the best of mind until it provides with the best to those best minds.

Hope those sitting at the top of our education system understand this soon!!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Of Placement, Success & Happiness

Two days have passed since the placements started at IIT Roorkee. Many of my friends made it through the biggies and there were many more heart breaks (including me). But well, who told that the placement season is smooth and painless for everyone? And being rejected from the list of most probable candidates for any company is not so easy to digest.

And when I think of someone like Nipun Jain (one of my friends), who got rejected after the interview round on both the days, I really have to ponder about the cruelty of life and cruelty of placement process. It takes a lot of courage and self motivation when one faces rejection after rejection. My best wishes to you Nipun and I hope you come with flying colours at the end of all this drama. At the same time, I wish good luck to all my friends.

We all want a high paying job or the one in a high profile company with great growth opportunities. But is that it? Once a person gets such a dream job, can he/she be satisfied and can be labelled completely contended? Well, for someone who has just faced a big selection or a big rejection, the answer can be yes. But will this answer really be yes some months down the line?

When I was in school, I was told that getting a good score in the tenth board is something which would be the perfect start to a happy and successful life. After tenth, it was getting into a good engineering college (say IITs) was what defined as the milestone for success. In IIT, starting off with a decent CGPA and being involved in extra curriculars defined success. Getting a good intern was the next step in chasing success. And now getting a good job is success and the key to ultimate happiness.

When our parameters for defining success change so rapidly, and we keep on running one thing after another to get happiness, I am forced to think whether the next milestone would really give me a satisfaction for being successful and make me contended as far as being happy is concerned. And how long will I keep running after something or the other in the pursuit of success and happiness??

Some people would say that constant growth in life where one adds on skills and learns new things gradually is success and that success, when achieved, keeps us happy and contented. Quite true!! But can that gradual growth, by any means, measured with parameters set by us like board exams or competitive exams or interviews or anything else?

The bigger question which teases me sometimes is how can we change the outlook of the people and the society at large which measures success and happiness in terms of tangible benefits only? And leaves little scope for real growth!! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To Mr. Raj Thackeray

Dear Mr. Raj Thackeray

Today morning, I read about what the MLAs of your party did in the Maharashtra Assembly on Monday and how they were garlanded by other MLAs of your party after they slapped Mr Abu Azmi for taking oath in Hindi (and not in Marathi), which is an official language of the country. The whole of the country (except for a few supporters of your party and your ideals) is condemning the four honourable MLAs and your party for doing this unconstitutional act.

But Sir, please don’t worry. I have not written this letter to tell you that you or your party members are wrong. I have written this letter to make a small request to you. As I have seen what your party is doing in the recent past, it is quite clear that you don’t want any exchange of ideas, people and culture with the rest of the country in Maharashtra. You are sometimes also violating the freedoms given to a common Indian by the constitution of the country and you say that you are doing this to take care of the sentiments of the Marathi manoos (Marathi people). I would like to request you to ask those Marathi manoos whether they really want to be cut off from the rest of the country and the world. And will they be able to survive this solitude, that too in times when the world is getting flatter every day and it becomes all the more important to connect and interact with others?

Since you think the use of any language except Marathi is against the sentiments of Marathi manoos, I would request you to ban (of course, forcefully) all the activities which are going in any language other than Marathi. And my suggestion would be to start from Bollywood (centred at Mumbai) which produces hundreds of Hindi feature films per year. Think of how beautiful the situation would be if all the films coming out of Bollywood are in Marathi. Though the viewership and revenue would fall and Bollywood would no longer be one of the leading movie industries of the world, but the sentiments of the people in Maharashtra would take a refreshing breath, isn’t it?

You lead the people who beat Biharis and Upwallahs (people from UP) out of Mumbai and Maharashtra citing that they pollute your state and create slums. I am a Bihari and I agree that Biharis are a less sophisticated than the average Indian. And thus can understand your concerns about what might happen when too many Biharis come to the Mayanagri (Mumbai). But Sir, since you are against north Indians and the Hindi speaking people in general, shouldn’t you force the likes of Sunil Mittal and Amitabh Bachchan out of the state as well?

Mumbai is known as the city which sells dreams (and which you are too proud of!!) because of these corporate people and industry giants. And many of these people are non-Marathi. If you really care about the sentiments of the Marathi manoos, try to throw them out. With all due respect Sir, I know you can create a lot of hullabaloo when it comes to politics and the helpless common man but you can’t do anything when the corporate world comes into picture.

But if you don’t do anything as I have mentioned above, it would only make you a hypocrite. And then I would again like to request you stop worrying about the sentiments of the Marathi manoos. After all, the Marathi manoos would not like to see a hypocrite fighting for their sentiments. Don’t you think so, Sir?

Yours sincerely
An Indian.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Right to ‘Right’ Education

Much has been said about the Right to Education over past few weeks. And I completely agree with the fact that every child in the country should be sent to school up to a certain age. But at the same time is it not necessary that we also take care about what is being taught to our younger generation? Should not education be aimed at teaching values and skills which can help a child to tackle the real life problems in a better way later? Should not education be aimed at creating energetic, lively, curious, and inquisitive individuals rather than producing trained manpower who are limited to their cubicles or cabins?

If the answer to the above questions is yes, then the country is certainly going in the wrong direction and may have to face dire consequences in the time to come. Education, meant to broaden the outlook and perspective of an individual, has reduced to a tool for securing a better job. Forget about those who don’t have access to education, most of those who are pursuing higher education are doing so only in the hope of getting a good job with the degree which they will receive after passing out. The love for the quest of knowledge has been lost somewhere between the glitterati of high paying jobs. The stream in which one wants to pursue one’s higher education is decided by the pay package which one is supposed to receive at the end. And that is why most of the students are running after a degree in engineering or management now-a-days, without having the right aptitude.

There is nothing wrong in choosing a particular degree program because it provides better job opportunities in the market. But the real problem arises when the so called ‘better job opportunities’ don’t cater to the interest of the person. And with the gradual passage of time, the life becomes monotonous and the lucrative looking job previously now seems to be a dull boring activity. Some of the daring people then return to what they actually wanted to do from the very beginning. But in this process, they loose some of the very precious years of their lives, running after the mirage of a rich and happy life.

So, who is at fault in all this? I would say the society as a whole is responsible. And here, by society, I mean everyone right from the family to school to the neighbourhood. Everyone around a high scoring kid sees him/her as a future engineer or MBA. And subjects like social sciences, literature and languages are supposed to be passed only. And when the child sees such hopes and aspirations from everyone around him/her, he/she has no option left other than killing his dreams and ambitions and doing what is expected of him/her.

This trend is not only bad for the younger generation of the country but also very dangerous for the country in the global competitive scenario. As Jerry Rao, the cofounder of MphasiS, the big Indian outsourcing firm puts it (taken from the book ‘The World is Flat’ by Thomas L Friedman):
“We have no one going into liberal arts and everyone going into engineering and MBAs.” He adds, “If we don’t have enough people with the humanities, we will loose the next generation of V S Naipauls and Amartya Sen. That is sad and dangerous”

In this scenario, it becomes very important for the parents and the teachers to help the child recognise his interest and encourage him or her to move forward in that field instead of pushing the child in the so called ‘high paying’ fields which don’t interest the child. And then only can the Right to ‘Right’ Education be secured in the true meaning of the words.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wake Up Sid - 4 Stars

Indian cinema is undergoing transformation for the last couple of years or so. Now, there are less and less films where there is a hero, a heroine and a villain (in the form of social status, caste factor, family disputes carried over from the past, or some relative of the hero or heroine trying to add jahar (poison) in their happy lives). The films made these days are more connected with the realities of the life. A normal human being can relate with the films these days.

With the advancement of science and information technology, today’s youth is more aware about the world and has a variety of options to choose a career. And he is looking for a career which is interesting, challenging, provides some meaning to his life and establishes his own identity. And as a result, he has to wander, after the adolescence years are over, in search of something which would provide him with the true meaning of life. And this period where a person is indulged in looking to find his purpose can be termed as the odyssey years. It is the period after adolescence and before gaining full maturity or adulthood.

Wake Up Sid is one such movie truly depicting the transformation of Indian cinema. It tells the story of two different people in their odyssey years. While Siddharth or Sid (Ranbir Kapoor) has just passed out of the college and is still trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life, Aisha (Konkana Sen Sharma) has moved all the way from Calcutta to Bombay to search for her independence, individuality and most importantly to realise her dream of becoming a writer.  And interestingly, Siddarth is one of those few lucky kids who are born with a silver spoon in the mouth and still, he prefers to find out his own way to lead his life instead of joining his father’s company which makes millions. They meet, become friends, become a support for each other during difficult times and eventually end up falling in love.

A subtle message which the movie gives is that though one can move alone in order to search one’s individuality and reach one’s goal but one always needs someone who can be a mental or moral support in the times of failure or when there are low times. And this mental support doesn’t necessarily need to be a girlfriend or a boyfriend but it can be anyone: a close friend or cousin, a sibling or even a parent. The only thing needed is that person should believe in you and your abilities.  And same is the case in the movie when Siddharth helps Aisha to settle in Bombay or when Aisha allows Siddharth to stay at her place and get a job in her office when he leaves home.

However, there are a few glitches in the movie as well:

  • Aisha, who is seems to be a bit conservative girl agrees to go out with Siddharth for a walk during night within very few hours she meets her. And they actually become very close after that first meeting.
  • She even allows Siddharth to share his flat without any hesitation.
  • Siddharth and Aisha falling in love was quite unnecessary. (But without emotional masala (spice), how can Indian junta like a movie and how can Karan Johar make one?)
  • The role of Sonia (Kashmira Shah) looks quite unnecessary and absurd.

But apart from these, the movie is refreshing and provides something which the youth can connect to. There is love and there is a very good story but it’s not a love story. And this makes the movie beautiful and interesting. And Ranbir Kapoor has done a lot better this time than his previous appearances as a lover boy. Needless to say, Konkana Sen Sharma is as good as always and has done justice with her role.

A must watch for the ones in their odyssey days.

4 out of 5 stars from my side!!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

For The Sake of Science

A hundred years after its establishment, Indian Institute of Science has decided to launch an under-graduate programme in science at its Chitradurga Campus. This would not only give smiles to many young students of the country who want to pursue science in college (but are unable to do so because of availability of very few of good colleges teaching pure sciences) but also provide a boon to basic science education, which is, somehow, losing its glow in front of the glitterati of engineering and management courses.

The program, like the institute offering it, would be unique of its kind in the country. Unlike the conventional three year graduate course in science, it would be a four-year duration programme. According to the IISc proposal, the structure would give enough emphasis on research work. The first three years (or six semesters) would be dedicated to the strengthening of basic knowledge of science, mathematics and engineering subjects while the fourth year would be reserved for research work. And here comes the icing on the cake: the Humanities courses would be mandatory. And there would be ample choice of courses from history, sociology, management of science and technology, and others. The structure of the programme would also be kept very flexible. According to an IISc professor in charge of academic affairs:

“An interesting feature of BS is a student specialising in physics can take, say, 70% of physics and combine it with 30% of biology or chemistry and a chemistry student can specialise in 70% of chemistry and opt for 30% physics. The plan is to make BS flexible to give students a lot of options.”

 This is in very much contrast with the under-graduate programmes at the IITs where flexibility in the structure is very rare. And this flexibility would surely increase the interest of the students in the courses they study.

The programme will be geared to create interest in higher studies and research and would be on similar lines with the ones offered at Harvard or California Institute of Technology. Moreover, a four year BS programme would never mean a loss of one year for the students as the students can directly get enrolled for PhD after the completion of four years. And since the programme includes engineering courses as well, a student can opt for engineering courses for masters and higher studies if he/she wants to change the field.

So when do we get to see undergraduate students finally? It depends on government clearance after the academic plan is finalised. Hope our honoured Minister of Human Resource Development is quick in taking a decision here as well!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Durga Puja & Me

It’s the much awaited Durga Puja (worship) time once again! When I was an 8-9 year old child, this time of the year always filled me with joy and happiness. It was the beginning of the festive season which continued for more than a month. I used to run to the Kali Temple near my house everyday where the idols of Durga and other deities were made. And it gave me immense pleasure to see the gradual development in the process of giving shape to the clay into mesmerising idols.

The idols were open for public worship from the eighth day of the Puja. And curtains were drawn in front of them from the first day till the seventh so that no body from outside could see the idols, as per the tradition. I still remember how I used to look through the gaps in the curtains to get a glimpse of the idols being coloured, and decorated with various accessories (artificial hair, clothes, crown, jewellery etc.).

I still remember how I waited for the seventh day of the Puja from when the schools were closed. I used to get up early on that day so that I could eat the prashad (offering made to Durga) of sweet yellow rice. And after that I used to wait for the evening when the Puja before raising the curtains from the idols started. That night used to be the one which used to be difficult to pass as I waited impatiently for the morning so that I could have a look at the idols in the pandals (tents in which the idols are kept). The memories of the loudspeakers buzzing with devotional songs and enchanting, filling my heart with thrill have not faded till day. (Though today I don’t like the loud noise of loudspeakers no matter what is being played but those were the days when I waited for those loudspeakers to speak.)

And after getting up on the eighth day, the only thing I wanted to do was to eat the bhog (prashad) of Mahaashtami Puja and rush to all the nearby pandals to have a look at the idols. And then the next three days used to be the time when I went to all the pandals (my home town being a small one, so there were not many, only 8 or 9 in fact) again and again with friends.

Vijayadashmi used to be the day when I felt a little sad thinking of the end of Puja. It used to be a difficult task for me to get back to the regular routine of classes, school and homework. Never to mention that I missed the fun of the Puja days like anything.

When I remember all these things today, I think of being a child again who waited for the Puja days from a month. But I know that it’s not possible being more than a thousand kilometres away from home. But the only thing which gives me satisfaction is the fact that I am going home on Saturday to enjoy those lovely three days of the year.

Happy Durga Puja!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Time is No Healer

Time is no healer?! Then what about the early life lessons we got from our parents and elders that with the passage of time, everything would be all right? Was all that wrong? Or am I trying to develop some new concept over here? Well, neither our childhood lessons about the healing property of time are wrong nor I am trying to give some ‘path-breaking’ insights into the realms of philosophy.

We come across so many things, events and incidents in our lives that it’s impossible for our mind to remember everything very clearly and vividly. In fact, what actually happens is that the most important things or say, the present remains in our active mind and the rest of the events which happened in the past get buried in the memory. So, technically put, our mind has an active area which works like the cache memory of any calculating device. And in this area, all the ongoing events and incidents are processed. The rest of our experiences are there in our memory, which works exactly as the hard disk or the storing space of a computer.

So, as time passes by, the events which happened in near past keep getting stored in our memory and recent events occupy our active mind.  And since we think and act according to what goes on in our active mind, we tend to forget our past memories. But those memories remain with us and give as much sorrow or joy as the original experience once we try to recall them. And this is the reason, looking at our childhood photographs brings smiles on our faces and fills our hearts with joy.

As T S Eliot wrote in ‘The Dry Salvages’ (Third poem of Four Quartets):

You cannot face it steadily, but this thing is sure,
That time is no healer: the patient is no longer here.

We feel the same pain if we try to recall about something bad which happened with us in the past. In our present state of mind, the experience might not cause as much pain as it had caused originally but as we try to go back to the past, the pain lingers.

And perhaps this is the reason that even though we have moved eight years ahead of the 9/11 attacks on the United States today, the pain, the sufferings and the fear which it caused still haunt us.  We still feel horrified thinking of that doomed day.

To those who actually experienced the partition of India in 1947, the memories still send waves of fear down their spine. People of Japan have not forgotten the destruction caused by the atom bombs dropped on the country during World War-II. And even today those memories are very painful. The memories of the Holocaust are no less dreadful for the Jews even today.

Anything which happens in this world leaves a permanent impact on the humankind and it’s impossible to remove that episode either from history or from our memories.

So, next time when we try to console anyone saying ‘Everything will be alright with time’, we must stop and check ourselves whether Time would act as the healer or not!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Exam se No Exam

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, on Monday, announced that Class 10 examinations of the CBSE would be optional from the academic session 2010-11 while the grading system will be introduced this year itself. This has sent waves of cheer and relief among many students and their parents, who along with their children have to spend many sleepless nights because of the trauma of the Board examinations. 

On a superficial level, this ‘path-breaking’ move might seem to ease the pressure of lakhs of students who appear for the Class 10 boards every year. But looking into the real problem of Indian higher education system, it’s difficult to say whether this would be of much help to the students. If one tries to find out the reason behind the fear created by the Board exams, one would know that it’s not the pressure of the exams but the pressure of admissions into good schools and pre-university colleges/ institutes which leads to the high mental stress among the students. So, just scrapping the Board exams would be of no use if the students have to face the same, if not more, competition after school. And moreover, if one wants to switch schools, he or she would have to give the exam.

For the last two years of my school life (i.e. after Class 10), I studied at Delhi Public School Bokaro Steel City and on the basis of interaction with my classmates and other students over there, I can easily say that the old students who were studying in the school from before Class 10 didn’t actually feel as much pressure about the Board exam as the ones who took admission after Class 10. Clearly, it was not the absence of exams but the security of studying in a good school which eased the pressure off the students.

Similarly, the proposed grading system (to be introduced from this year itself), which is again supposed to take the pressure off the heads of the young students, may actually increase the pressure sometimes. At IIT Roorkee, where I study currently, the grading system is followed which is devised in such a manner that the top few (up to 10% of the total strength to be precise) students with the highest marks get the highest grade. So, what actually happens is that the students end up fighting with the subject teacher to get every extra half mark, even on a subjective answer. And they are very reasonable in doing so owing to the fact that this half mark sometime may help him get a higher grade. For example, the elective course of Group Dynamics, the grading was so done that a student with a score of 81.5 scored an A+ while one with 78.5 could only manage a B+. Thus, an actual difference of 3 marks out of 100 resulted in a difference of 2 grades on a 10-point scale. Is the competition decreasing here? Doesn’t look to me!!  Moreover, the MHRD has proposed ‘continuous, comprehensive evaluation’ of the students for grading purpose. But to be honest, this ‘continuous, comprehensive’ evaluation is difficult to attain even in the best colleges of the country like IITs. So, it is really difficult to say whether this scheme of continuous evaluation would be successful at the school level or not.

And what happens after Class 10, when the student reaches Class 12? He/she has to sit for the Board exams then. And the pressure would increase now as students won’t have any experience of giving Boards before. So, finally, the student is again on the receiving end.

So, instead of dealing with the problem from the outer level, the MHRD should have tried to go a little bit deeper. And instead of scrapping the exams, it should have taken steps to ensure that students get quality education in good institutions after Board exams even if they are not able to perform exceptionally in them. We need more good quality institutes, and not less exams.

Sibalji, I hope you are listening!! 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hope We Must

Hope is a very beautiful word.  And as beautiful the word is, it is equally important at the same time. Some might say that they don’t believe in just hoping something and rather work hard to get things done for them. But somewhere in our unconscious mind and the innermost plates of our hearts, we keep hope. Hope that everything would be good and get even better. And this hope sustains us throughout our lives, though all the ends.

This is hope which makes us believe in ourselves, our deeds, our destiny, our karma and our work. It’s the hope for better results that we even try to work for the desired results. Without hope there won’t be any desire to work and achieve anything. It’s hope which keeps our sprits alive when life hits on the head with a brick.

It was the hope of finding the new lands which propelled Christopher Columbus to sail into the never ending ocean. And we all know that he ended with the discovery of Americas. When Martin Luther King, Junior said ‘I have a Dream’, what he actually had was hope that the African Americans would also get the same rights as the Whites. All the major revolutions, which resulted in some significant changes like the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution or any other for that matter, were centred around the hope to bring the changes.  It nothing other than hope which is keeping the entire world in equilibrium when the economy seems to be in a gloomy state.  

We need hope in every walk and every aspect of our lives. In fact, we need hope to live every second of our lives. Is it not the hope of waking up the next day which allows us to have a peaceful sleep? Can anyone sleep with content for even a minute if he or she doesn’t have the hope of witnessing the sunrise next morning? With hundreds of people being killed every day in road mishaps, rail accidents and flight crashes, is it not the hope of reaching the destination safely which encourages us to undertake a new journey? And it’s the hope to get back to his home and family in the mind and heart of a soldier which keeps him from running away from the warfront during the difficult and heart breaking conditions he encounters.

To sum it all, we need hope to move each small step in the journey of life. Cheers to the beauty and completeness which ‘Hope’ adds to our lives!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I Am What I Am - But Are You?

Once a friend of mine told me about how he was upset for he couldn’t achieve a bit of what he wanted to while his peers got more than what they had expected. And this is what I told him:

Yaar tu apne aap ko unse kyon compare karta hai? Agar un se compare karne k baad tu decide karta hai ki tujhe kya milna chahiye to at the end of the day kya tu wahi person hai, agar tujhe wo mil bhi jaye jo tu chahta hai?

(Why do you compare yourself with your peers or your friends? If you decide on what you want after comparing yourself with them, will you remain the same person, as you were before, once you achieve what you had decided to get?)

All of us would agree to the fact that we all love ourselves and respect ourselves a lot. So how can we do such a big injustice to ourselves by letting ourselves go away from our individuality? How can we decide upon our likes after looking at the others? It’s our individuality which makes us unique and one of our kind. So how can we loose our individuality to achieve success? And that success too is in conventional terms, and not the way we visualise success to be.

Sometimes it is really hard to make out a niche following our hearts but those are the times when we need to believe in ourselves and stand by what we are. We can’t change what our heart truly desires and this truthfulness of heart decides what or who we are. As written by Novoneel Chakravorthy in one of his blog posts (

You may like the star just above your head or the one in the right or to the left perhaps but you got no right to question why the star to the left is in the left. I believe the point of our living is to find the coordinates where we know we belong and respect it irrespective of whatever difficulties or humiliation we encounter.

We clearly have to stand by what we are or what we want to do with our life without comparing ourselves with others. Everyone is different with a different view towards life, towards career or towards success. Then why does everyone need to move on the same predetermined path in the pursuit of success? And will that pursuit of success will really be the ‘pursuit of happiness’?

The other day Satya ( ) told me not to give CAT 09 if I had no reason to give it. So TRUE!! Why is it necessary for every IITian to sit for CAT or GRE or IAS? Only because this is the trend and this is what everyone does and hence, it becomes our ‘birth duty’ to do it?

Even if one qualifies some exam of this kind (without knowing the reason for writing the exam even) by forcing himself very hard, won’t the success give a momentary happiness only?

It’s difficult to follow our heart when everyone seems to follow a well defined path which looks easy and simple. And at times, we might have to face hardships and mockery from people around us. But those who achieve greatness do so only because they, during some point of their lives, stay hungry and stay foolish.

If we want to make difference in our lives and in the world around us, we will have to travel on the less travelled path. And only on this less travelled path lies success in the true meaning of the term, a chance for full personal growth and true happiness for the soul.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nice Drama Emraan!!

India is a land of celebrities. Not only because there are too many of them but also because they dominate the minds of the common people. They are looked upon with awe by the masses in the country. And their words are like Brahma’s (The Creator God) verdict. The country rotates about what they say and so do our administrative system and the never stopping outspoken media. And the funniest part is that most of the celebrities are celebrities not because they achieved greatness in their work, but due to the reason that they were born to some hotshot parents or uncles or some other kins.

One such celebrity is Emraan Hashmi. Had it not been for his uncle Mahesh Bhatt, he would have never been known to the celebrity starved Indian junta. And had it not been for the unnecessary kisses in his movies, he would never have been a star. Funny, isn’t it? A person with no real actual acting talent is one of the well –known actors in the leading movie industry of the world. But that happens in India many times and we can talk about in details later. And more importantly, the Indian people who look at two lovers, kissing on road, in disgust love this guy who enjoys kissing in all his films.

But even a serial killer gets bored committing murders exactly the same way every day. And so was the case with our Emraan Bhai Sahab. Like every other normal person, he too needed a change from his regular kissing life, a new story to ride the minds of the people, and to come in the limelight. And for this, all he needed to do was to speak something about religion or race or cate or language in this hyper sensitive country of ours. The rest was to be taken care by the news-starved media.

Belonging to a minority community, it was easy for him to choose the ‘religion route’.  And he did exactly the same. After all, what is his fault when generating a lot of reaction and attention is a child’s play in this country?

He was denied a house in Pali Hill and he blamed the owner and the housing society for being communal in not letting him buy it. But little did he care to think about the reasons for which the owners didn’t want to sell the flat.  Anyway, why should he have thought about anything? He wanted limelight and he got it. Thanks to our ‘extra-free’ media!!

A question comes to my mind when I think of what Emraan did. Should I sue the tailor (who is a Muslim) in our hostel every time he says no to me, on the grounds of religion? Some of the temples in our country prohibit the entry of non Hindus and so is the case with some of the mosques, which allow only Muslims inside. Does it mean that we take the Pundit or the Imam in such places to the court? Or, for that matter, should I sue every autowallah  (auto- rickshaw driver), if he refuses to take me to some place for some reason or the other?

Emraan should have realised that he is at a position where generating such statements may have caused severe communal tension in the country. He should have been modest in his behaviour. He should have thought before he said anything. He should have remembered that it’s because of the love given by about 800 million Hindus of the country that his voice was able to create a buzz in a single ear in the country even.

And now when the issue got more attention and more reaction than he wanted, he is withdrawing his statement saying that there had been a miscommunication.

Mr Emraan, what do you think of yourself? You can say anything which generates so much of reaction among the masses and then simply walk away throwing it all on a miscommunication. Do you think a celebrity should do this? Doesn’t a celebrity, who is loved by so many, have to understand what to speak and what not? But what you did was quite opposite of what a celebrity should have done. May be because you are not a real celebrity. You needed the presence of your uncle (Mahesh Bhatt) in the industry to become a star. You never had to try that hard to create an impact in the minds and hearts of the people. And perhaps that’s why you couldn’t learn the proper way to conduct yourself when you reached a certain height.

May God give you some wisdom!! Amen!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Love Aaj Kal – 3 Stars

With the beautiful music of the movie released quite a while before the release of the movie, Love Aaj Kal was one of the most awaited films of the year. Even I tried my best to watch it as soon as possible. But the movie finally ended up being an ordinary Bollywood type love story with some jabardasti (forcefully) added modernism and a lot of non-natural acting.

From the very first scene, Saif Ali Khan has looked very confused while portraying a modern young man. Deepika Padukone too was only able to deliver the dialogues without adding any emotional touch to them.

Though the plot is set up in London but where in this world people break up so happily that they actually end up giving a party? And to add to that, even after break up, they remain the closest person for each other. Ridiculous!! Looks break up is a child’s play and people play this game whenever they are bored and guess the producers in Bollywood think that the Indian audience is ready to eat anything they serve. Moreover, Saif is portrayed as a guy who doesn’t believe in love and this guy couldn’t move on without his ex-girlfriend when the two are apart.

And the appearance of Rishi Kapoor is again made to look very unnatural. And why does Saif entertain a person who is telling a love story to him, an age old Indian love story, while he doesn’t believe in the existence of love.

And now, going back to the 1965 story, when Rishi Kapoor (actually played by Saif) was in again, Saif is quite unable to give the look and tashan (style) of a true sardar. And guess what, while the guy acts like a loafer and follows the girl everywhere the girl falls in love with the guy instead of being angry. And then there comes the normal Bollywood drama of the girl going away from the guy and the guy following her to places, the girl getting married to some other person and the brave ‘man’ steals her away while half of the wedding is already done.

And in present times, Rishi Kapoor tries to persuade modern Saif about how true and sacred his love was and how has the meaning of the word changed in the present times. And since for Bollywood, old is always gold even if it looks like coal, Saif has to come round and he gradually starts realising his love for his ex Deepika.

There are many more glitches present in the movie:

  • Deepika realises her love for Saif after they have been separated for two years and she is with Rahul Khanna for one year.
  • This realisation happens the very next day she is married.
  • Rahul Khanna behaves as if nothing has happened when Deepika leaves her on the very next day of their wedding.

As I write this, the gross income for the movie is soaring. Maybe because people expected the movie to be as good as the songs. But since the revenue is expected to go much higher, I can only say that anything sells in Bollywood these days, at least the success of movies like Kambakkth Ishq and Singh is King suggests so.

3 out of 5 stars from my side!! 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Seize the Day

If life gives you a lemon, make a lemonade!!

Sounds so nice but so Utopian, isn’t it? Well, it certainly does sound a bit ideal but it’s not as one comes to think about it more seriously. It’s quite true that we may feel defeated and not energetic enough to get up again with the same enthusiasm but still, there are certain things we can draw energy from, certain things we can do which won’t ever let us feel that we couldn’t do it. And all it requires it to have a look at the life from some other perspective, to have a non confirming attitude towards victory or defeat, success or failure.

To start with, I would like to mention a small experience of mine yesterday morning. I got a bit late for the swimming lessons today morning and since the slots are limited and it was Saturday, I was just unable to make it. I say just because I was the first one in the queue when the entry closed. What a bad luck!! And what a mood off for the entire day!! So how did I have a different view for my bad luck today morning??

Well, I took as an opportunity to run around the LBS Stadium. And believe me, I was not less pleased after the running session when I came back to my room. No regrets for not been able to go to swimmingJ. Had I not decided to run instead of swimming, in all probabilities, I would not have been happy and would have given the kind of start to a weekend which nobody wants to.

Though this was a small incident but the same can be applied to the biggest problems and worries of life. Sometimes, despite our hard work and labour, we don’t get what we want and this is when is the time to think in a different way so that we don’t feel defeated or lost.

Is it always possible to think in a different way? I mean does life offer us those many options? Some would promptly say, “Come On!! There are only a few who get one option after another”. But I would say that all we need to sit down, relax and start thinking with a slightly different mindset. To illustrate this, I would like to quote a simple example from the classic movie ‘Dead Poets’ Society’, where John Keating (played by the actor Robin Williams) asks his students to stand on the teacher’s table and have a look at the classroom. And all this was done to make them view the classroom in a different manner. So, if viewing a room from a different height can give a different idea about the scenario, why can't thinking from some other angle do the same?

If we talk in terms of social psychology, there is a term called ‘mental set’ which is ‘the temporary readiness to perceive, think or act in a particular way’.  And mental set is quite a big obstruction in the process of problem solving.

So, all we need to do is to come out of our mental set, have a different and positive take on most of the things in life and finally ‘Seize the Day’.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Days in Gurgaon - III

The days at internship were going smoothly but one thing which used to worry me was the shortage of time which I had after the office hours. And this made me realise the importance of college life where we get so much of time apart from our regular studies. Perhaps I am lucky enough to enjoy the importance of college before actually leaving itJ.

We visited some  power substations in Gurgaon and once went to Panipat SLDC as well as a part of the project (Study of Power Sector in Haryana, Analysis of Problems & Recommendation of Solutions) we were working on. And my observation about the government offices is that they are in a pathetic state. There is no accountability on any person. Records are not proper. It looks people there are just working for somehow sustaining the system instead of improving upon and providing better services. So, who to blame? Definately, the government which doesn’t do anything concrete and effective to improve the system. Rather the political parties leave no stones upturned to get political favours during elections by bringing about undesirable regulations. Someone (I don’t know who) said it right that “Corruption starts from the top level and trickles down to the bottom”.

The last few days of our internship were dedicated to report making. And those were the most hectic days of the intern. We were supposed to make a very detailed report in the least possible time. And then, there were changes to be done each time we prepared something and submitted it. In fact, I literally got frustrated on the last day (7th July) of office. Thanks to Mr. Gautam Agarwal, our project guide, who suggested as many as 35 changes in the final report and that too on the final day. However, the good thing about the day was we were treated with pizzas for lunch by Gautam Sir.

Finally, we left the office a bit early that day with our internship certificates in our hands and smile of relief on our faces. The same day, we said ba bye to Gurgaon, the city where we lived for the last seven and a half weeks.

Despite being called as ‘Singapore of India’, Gurgaon couldn’t fascinate me much. It’s too much dusty and it’s a bit difficult to travel within the city without own vehicle.

To end it, I would not like to say whether the time I spent in Gurgaon was a good experience or a bad one or was just a usual one but it certainly was an experience!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Days in Gurgaon - II

It was 20th of May and I was excited.........perhaps a bit more excited as I had to wait for two more days. But this excitement went away as soon as we (Vivek and I) reached office on that day. The lady to whom we had to report was late and we had to wait. Once she arrived, she had to look into other important stuffs and we had to wait more. And when she was free, there were no computer systems available for us. So, we had to wait some more. And once the system was ready, we discovered that it there was only one system which both of us had to share. And ultimately, I was waiting the whole day to do some work as Vivek was using the available system. Looking back, I realise that the first day itself one of the worst days of my internL. I was so tired of doing nothing the whole day that what I wanted to do after reaching my room was to eat and sleep.

The next day I got my system, though again after waiting for some time. But al least I got oneJ. However, later I found out that it was with one of the slowest speeds possible and I had to jhelo (bear) it for the entire duration of internL.

But once we got adjusted in a couple of days, everything looked ok. And since the work was not too much, I got enough time to read random stuff on internetJ.

We used to go to Delhi to enjoy Sundays (the only holiday we had in a week). And it was fun exploring Delhi. Here, I would like to specially mention about Hotel Sarwana Bhawan, the South Indian food chain in CP where we ate too frequently whenever we went to Delhi. The food, though a little expensive, is very delicious and you have complete paisa wasool (money back). Do try out the food at this place if you happen to go around the area. 

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Days in Gurgaon - I

Here comes the much delayed experience of Gurgaon.  I left Roorkee on 14th of May, Thursday, to do a summer internship in GNG Group. Instead of being excited, I was reluctant to go. The reason was quite simple: I didn’t want to leave Roorkee and the people, I mean the few passing outs, so soon. Moreover, I didn’t have any idea about where to go or where to stay once I reach there.

So, finally I, along with Nitin moved out of Roorkee saying good bye to the exciting and fun-filled third year. We (Nitin and I) stayed at a PG hostel which was arranged through some contact of my uncle after I reached Gurgaon. I still remember the phone call by Sudhir that day enquiring about my accommodation and asking me to stay at his home if I couldn’t find any place. Dude, I am very very thankful for that call even today and perhaps will be forever.

So, somehow, tired, hungry and exhausted, we reached the PG hostel. Himanshu joined us there. The room which we had got is worth mentioning. It could be neither locked from inside nor from outside. That meant our room could be used by anyone in the hostel any time of the day, for reasons ranging from using the washroom to having a nap. We also had to struggle the large and trained army of deadly mosquitoes and no power conditions in the boiling heat of Gurgaon. But at least we had a got a place to stay and that was better than nothing.

The next two days we were out in the scorching sun to search for a place. And after some efforts, we got a very decent place near to the bus stand in Old Gurgaon.  Meanwhile the date of my joining at the office got postponed from 18th to 20th. So, I had to wait and control the excitement of joining the office for two more days. 

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back Home

The following two posts were written by me when I was enjoying my holidays at home. Since I had limited access to internet back home, I am uploading them now.

At Home (10 July)

As I am writing this post, I am enjoying the luxuries of home. The absence of electricity in the morning hours still remains a big pain. But good food compensates for that, I guess. Absence on internet is also a big problem here but I don’t really care about that. Rather it’s good to be out of touch with my regular life for a few days.

I had been thinking of writing a post for past four or five days but wasn’t able to get much time. Thanks to our project guide during the internship who remembered all the work to be done by us just couple of days before we were to leave. So, as the internship is over (and I feel like a student again), I promise myself that I will post my Gurgaon experience very soon. The posts might be short and simple but there would be a couple (at least) of posts containing the memories of those days.

As all must be knowing that Roger Federer won the Wimbledon Trophy’09 and became the greatest player ever officially. But the person who won many more hearts than Roger on that Epic Sunday was the American. Yes, Andy Roddick played like a winner and showed the determination which only a few have against the great Swiss player. And who says it’s important to be at the first position? After all, what’s wrong with being second? At the end of the day, even the runner up has played better than all but one. And this is what I say to the great runner up “Andy! I am your fan now!!”. And for anyone love from fans and popularity among them is much more important than many trophies. Isn’t it??

A funny thing happened this summer regarding my tennis fanship. As I had written in my first blog post, I initially wanted Roger Federer to win both Paris and London. But as the results came out and he really became the champion at both the places, I was not happy. Every time he lifted the trophy, it was someone else I wanted to see with the glory. In Paris, it was del Potro and in London, it was..........well, do I need to say?? So all I can say is that we change, our desires change, and we never know that what is it that we will actually want tomorrow. So, why not sip all the marrow out of life today, instead of working tirelessly without rest and fun for creating a better future?

One thing which I felt about strongly this Tuesday was the effect which Women Reservation is having on some of the middle class women of the country, especially the big cities. As I was in queue at the Karol Bagh metro station to get a token to R K Ashram Marg, a middle aged lady came and tried to get ahead of me as soon as my number came. As I became aware of her intentions as soon as she came near the counter, I tried my best that she doesn’t get her business done before me. And I succeeded too. But I couldn’t resist my temptation to remind her that she was breaking the queue and had no right to do so. And the reply which I got shocked my nerves, and even lungs, kidneys, liver, and what not. That lady didn’t take a second to say “to kya hua??” (so what happened?). I again though of replying “ho to kafi koochh sakta hai madam, agar koi chahe to” (if someone wants, many things can happen) but restrained myself. After all what’s her fault when she says that? This is the way she has learnt to live, a crippled life where you get everything because you are of fairer sex.....errrr.....did I say fairer? I am sorry, I actually meant weaker. Some of the ladies reading this post might not like being called weaker but is it not why women are given preferences at many places?

We need a country where everyone gets opportunities according to one’s capacities. But it never means that we rate anyone’s capacity just because of gender.

Do we need women reservation? This answer can only be given if we ask ourselves whether we need women who can only move forward in life if the jungle of difficulties and problems is cleared by males. Or we need women who have the capacity to pave their ways through that jungle and emerge as the true winner in the battles of life.

At Birganj, Nepal (18 July)

I reached Birganj yesterday. The journey from home to my uncle’s home here took almost 12 hours. 205 kilometres in 12 hours!! This is the speed with which Indians travel on trains. And our ex-railway minister used to boast of his remarkable achievements. However, my plight during the journey can’t be solely attributed to our railways but also it has to do a lot with my luck.........or bad luck, I guess. Ya, perhaps Lady Luck was somewhat angry on me yesterday :(.

I had got a ticket booked to Raxaul (the last station on India-Nepal border) by the midnight train but then there was this murder in our hometown on 15th due to which my family didn’t allow me to take the 2:30 am train on 17th. After that I got a reservation in the morning train but even here also, something else was being conspired by my dear Lady Luck. The train was unexpectedly late which meant that I had to take the passenger train finally. Moreover, I couldn’t get my earlier ticket cancelled because the angry (due to the murder) mob had damaged the Public Reservation System (PRS) at the railway station. So, the death became too costly for me literally!! How much aware is Indian public which doesn’t bother to destroy its own property when anything happens!!

Man, sometimes it becomes too difficult travelling in passenger trains in India, especially over long distances. You get to meet too much crowded compartments, excessive heat, step motherly behaviour by the authorities with these trains, and above all, very very difficult passengers. Some of them don’t even bother spitting in the railway compartments, forget about getting tickets!! And they don’t want to listen anything when one tells them not to do so. But this is India!! I don’t know real or not, but this also is one face of the country. And it’s not at all wrong if Danny Boyle or any other person makes a movie to show this face.

And a passing thought before I end writing now, I went to Barahiya (the birth place of my grandmother) once when I was at home. There, I met a person who said a very interesting thing about the power theft in the state:

Bijli to sarkar deti hai to paisa bhi sarkar ko hi denge, ye afsar kaun hota hai paisa maangne wala??” (The government supplies electricity, so the bill has to be paid to the government and not to the officers in-charge of the electricity board)

As told, the village has 15-16 hours of electric supply per day but 95% of supply is either unbilled or if it is billed, the bills are not realised.

Looks the villagers, like the above mentioned person, are waiting for the Chief Minister of the state to come to him to ask for the bill...............or may be for the President of India herself.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Panipat Darshan

We (Vivek and I) went to Panipat yesterday. The purpose was to visit the SLDC (State Load Dispatch Centre) of Haryana and study its SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) system. Though we spent most of the day in bus or at the SLDC complex, but I had a few glimpses of the city too. And what I found out about the city was quite different than what I had expected. Despite being so close to Delhi, an industrial centre and one of the major cities of one of the most prosperous states of the country, Panipat is more or less same as other cities of the same size in Bihar and UP. I mean same when I talk in terms of condition of roads, traffic movement and planning.

The roads are not good in the inner parts of the city, at least those parts which I travelled to. There is acute problem of water-logging on the roads when it rains. In fact, water comes up to the knees sometimes. As put by one of the rickshawallas (rickshaw-puller) about Adarshnagar area (where I went):

“Is area me to koi bhi nahi aata hai baarish k time me, bhale hi 500 rupaye kyon na mile”
(No rickshaw-puller comes in this area during rains even if someone is ready to pay Rs 500)

Even the flyover on the national highway (G T Road) is also built in such a way that there is no way to evacuate water from the highway during rain. Though there was police patrolling at many corners of the city for ensuring that people adhere to the basic safety standards while driving vehicles, but as told, it was mainly because of a recent change in the SP (Superintendent of Police). So, it can’t be said how long this patrolling will continue.

The SLDC centre too was like a typical government office in the country. Most of the employees were enjoying the extended lunch time when we reached there. And when they resumed office, it was actually resuming of the bakar (gossip) session of criticizing the modern culture and how English and its wide-spread use in the country has ruined the Indian culture. I don’t know when they will understand the importance of English in our lives. And more importantly, when they will come to realize that culture is not a static thing. It keeps on evolving and is affected by all the developments going on around us. So, when the British ruled us for about two centuries, how can their presence in our country not affect our culture? And nobody wails about the effect of the Mughal Rule on our culture. Why such a discrimination with the English?

And finally, the journey back to Gurgaon was a pain, as expected. Firstly, we couldn’t find any direct bus from Panipat to Gurgaon. It was a surprise thinking of the fact that Panipat is an important industrial town and Gurgaon is the major corporate hub of the state. So, we took a bus to ISBT, Kashmere Gate, Delhi. We reached Delhi around half past nine. It’s not late if you are in a mega city but Delhi starts sleeping completely at around that time. Surprising, but it’s a fact!! And we could not find any way to travel to Gurgaon from the largest bus stand of Delhi!! After taking two rounds of the bus stand, desperately looking for a bus to Gugaon, we decided to take an auto-rickshaw to Dhaula Kuan. Needless to say, the autowalla took a hefty anount from us. And from Dhaula Kuan, we took a bus to Iffco Chowk (Gurgaon) after paying more than double the amount to the conductor, that too without receiving any ticket. So, the conductor too got his pie in our plight. Finally, to the love of the Lady Luck and her blessings, we got the auto to Gurgaon bus stand very easily without waiting for a second at the Iffco Chowk. At the end, we reached our room near midnight.

Some might say that our journey from Delhi to Gurgaon must be a thrilling experience. But for me, there was more of anxiety than thrill in it. And what makes me wonder is the fact that neither the government of Delhi nor that of Haryana has taken any step to make travel easy and tension-free between the two cities after late evening. Despite so much of pyar (love) between the cities, commuting from one to the other is a big pain. Sometimes during daytime too!!

Hope and Wish the transport facilities between the cities bear a testimony to this never-ending love soon!!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

That Saturday in Metro

Last Saturday, I went to Delhi to see my cousin. A very interesting incident happened while I was in the metro train from Rajiv Chowk (Connaught Place) to Yamuna Bank. There was a person travelling with his son. The child, who was around three years old, was really cute. But what drew my attention towards the father-son pair was the freedom which the man had given to his child in the train, especially when the train stopped and the automatic doors opened at the stations. The kid went near the doors and tried to act as if he would get down the train. Though this sent waves of fear down my spine and those of other passengers too, the two (father and son) seemed to enjoy this game a lot. A middle aged lady even warned the father about this obviously dangerous game they were playing but who listens these days? Everyone considers himself/herself smarter than the other. And who has the patient to silently stand/sit in a train for 10-15 minutes and enjoy the ride waiting for the destination? You might say, “Many have” but this person didn’t. This was quite visible in the train.

While the game continued, we reached Pragati Maidan station, where the climax of the entire drama was to be staged. After the doors opened and the child did his bit to amuse his father and the people around, the man moved out of the train all of a sudden with his son. It looked too weird to me. After all, why would anyone get down the train so long after the train came to a halt? May be, he had forgotten that this was the station where he had to get down he was just trying to show his smartness by getting down just in time. Many people consider it to be an act of smartness to board or leave the buses or trains in the last second. Or maybe it was another way of having fun while in the train. Well, as I was pondering over this, the doors began to close. The man was quick to realize this and he got into the train. But then he did a mistake. A mistake which is going to haunt him for a long time and more importantly, which perhaps taught him a lifelong lesson!! He left the hand of his son who couldn’t get into the train. This situation was too frightening. The man standing inside was shocked and had perhaps lost his voice for a moment. The kid, on the other hand, was screaming loudly outside trying to come near the train which was about to start in seconds while the father locked inside the train!! He could even fall from the platform on the tracks and then…………..

But then among the cries of "Jaldi karo, koi driver ko bolo” (be fast, someone tell the driver please), the doors opened and the child got in. Those who witnessed the drama got relieved, but most importantly the father got his nerves back.

After all this hullabaloo, started the ‘look, I had told you’ session. Though I generally don’t like listening to such session even if those are being delivered to someone else, I particularly liked this one. After all, the person’s foolishness had caused discomfort to other passengers (including me) who were in hurry to reach their destination.

And then what I saw surprised me more. The boy’s mother was also in the train but she had not spoken a word during the entire ‘fun & amusement’ episode. What a mother!! And what incredible parents!! And what kind of ‘rule breaker’ would the child grow into (well, breaking rules and having fun is what he must have been learning through all the experience)!!

This incident made me think over the consequences if something bad would have happened. What would have happened if the boy had actually fallen on the tracks? God forbid me but this was a possibility. Would the father have been at peace any day in his life? What about the mother? And more importantly, would he have done nothing in defaming Delhi Metro for the doors closed just in wrong time when he was having fun with his child breaching the safety rules? And most importantly, how would have the media presented it?

Well, I don’t want to go much into ‘what would have happened if…….’ but one thing is certain that some of the causalities around us take place because we are not very particular about the rules.

We generally take it as our birthright to enjoy ourselves without paying any heed to the rules. Or maybe we just want to have fun and get our business done without caring about anything. But while we do this, we must remember that ‘Lady Luck’ doesn’t care about us every day and there is no way to find out about her mood until something (bad) actually happens!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Advice

“Arey koi bhi school gadhe ko to ghoda nahi bana sakta na!! Kya fark padta hai ki tum DPS me padho ya kisi doosre school me. Tum jo ho wahi rahoge, phir tension kis baat ki hai??” (No school can convert an ass into a horse. so it doesn't matter whether you study at DPS or any other school. You will remain whatever you are. So why are you worried?)

This is what my papa’s friend told me when I was denied admission in DPS Bokaro Steel City after a very bad interview. Now, those of you who didn’t know this would say “But you completed your high school from DPS Bokaro. How is it possible?” But that’s another story and I would certainly tell that sometime later. So coming back to what my father’s friend told me: At that time, I took this sentence of his only as words of consolation without understanding the true meaning underlying it. Five years have passed and as I write this post and think about the sentence, I find the meaning so clear and so true. At the end of the day, it’s your natural intelligence, hard work and good luck that determines success in life and nothing else. No school or no college or nothing else has a say in it. There are many IITians who couldn’t achieve much in life. On the other hand, there are many others who achieved laurels without studying at the IITs ever.

Day before yesterday, I got a call from a student who has completed his first year of engineering from Birla Institute of Technology Mesra, Ranchi. This guy studied hard to get through IITJEE-09 during his first year of study at Ranchi. And through his hard work, he managed to secure a seat at IIT Roorkee. But the problem is he could only manage a seat in Civil Department. And to him Civil looks to be just a good branch. He is confused whether to stay at BIT Ranchi studying Electrical and Electronics (which he is enrolled in) or come to IIT Roorkee taking Civil.

He called me up for my advice on this asking which one of the two options is better. And to be honest, this put me in confusion. Which parameters should I use to say which one is better? Well, this point is true that the boy doesn’t have any interest in any of the subjects whether Electrical, Electronics or Civil. He just wants to complete four years of engineering and fly off with a hefty package at the end. So, the ‘interest parameter’ to judge which one is better is gone. Now comes the ‘institute parameter’. No doubt IIT Roorkee is better than BIT Ranchi any day. But again that depends upon the ones who study there. Many of my friends at BIT Ranchi are brilliant and are doing well there with all their efforts directed towards getting the best out of them. On the other hand, many of my batch mates at IIT Roorkee are doing miserably poor. They are just satisfied with the fact that they study at an IIT and the rest would take care of itself. And then comes the ‘branch parameter’. To my thinking, any branch is good if you are interested in it. If you are not, any branch is bad. And as far as placements are concerned, it again is dependent on the individual and his luck (along with CGPA and other factors of course) and not on the branch one is studying. And then one important parameter is the ‘time parameter’. The student has studied one year at BIT. So, coming to Roorkee would mean wasting one year. And this time is huge if one looks at the time for which one remains young and energetic to do whatever one wants. And at last the ‘effort parameter’. If a student has tried hard to get into IITs, he must get into one if he gets a chance without caring for the branch (if he is truly interested in none) or the city (all the IITs are good, at least the old ones).

Weighing all these parameters, I suggested him to come to IIT Roorkee (may be the ‘effort’ had a greater say when I gave my suggestion). But most importantly, I advised him to do whatever he thinks is right and most importantly whatever he wants to do. Some would say, I gave him no suggestion practically. But what I think is that the true and the best solution can only be provided if he asks his himself and most importantly ‘his heart’ for the solution.

Because following your heart can only keep you on the path to your destiny. Isn’t it?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Indian Student & The American Dream

No, I will not be writing about Indian students settling or willing to settle in America. But I would surely be writing about what an Indian student does to pursue ‘The American Dream’.

For those of you who think that the above two sentences are contradictory, let me tell something about American Dream to dispel the ambiguity.

According to historian and writer James Truslow Adams (who actually coined the term) in his 1931 book Epic of America:

“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

So, the big question…….. What does an Indian student do to pursue ‘the American Dream’? As far as my answer is concerned, I think that an Indian student does a lot to pursue the American dream but effectively, it adds to very little. So, another contradiction here. How can the sincere efforts put by us add to almost nothing effectively?

Because in defining American Dream, James T Adams further added:

“It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

So, where does the Indian student find himself in the above definition? Nowhere!! Simply, Nowhere!!

Most of the Indian students choose to pursue engineering or management just to fulfill their dreams of motor cars and high wages. The desire to attain to the fullest stature of what one is innately capable of is lost in the early childhood when a sweet innocent child is asked by parents and teachers to focus on subjects like Science and Maths as these are the ones which would help her to secure a healthy career.

So, what should one do? Take a career path which guarantees no job or has less chances of success? Choose to remain poor dreaming and hoping of earning more someday, while leaving the easy and simple (and legal too) option to earn a good amount of dough?

Most of us, if not all, would say it’s foolish to choose to remain poor if we can become rich. But here, I would like to quote something once written by Rashmi Bansal in one of her blogposts:

“There is no romance in poverty but conversely: Is there any in large bank balances built up on jobs which don't engage or excite us?”

Earning money by fair means is good and important too. But the point of greater importance is that the work we do should make us richer every day, not only in terms of money in the pocket but also in term of satisfaction in the heart. And I guess nobody would disagree with the fact that even all the money in this world can’t buy a little bit of satisfaction in the heart.

And most importantly, if one believes in oneself and puts sincere effort, success is bound to come sooner or later, perhaps sooner.

We dream of making our country one of the economic superpowers in a few decades and may be the dream comes true very soon. But what’s the benefit of living in an economic superpower where there is no joy on the faces of people when they go for work. And how can such a bored workforce take the country to the pinnacle of prosperity?

If there are a lot of hardships which poverty or deficiency offers, there is also the boredom which ‘satiety because of abundance of everything’ offers. In such a situation, it becomes really really important for us, the Indian students, to choose our careers which help us realize and attain our fullest potential instead of just increasing the weight of our wallets.

And to conclude, America is a superpower because the Americans strived for ‘The American Dream’ and not ‘The Money Dream’. It’s up to us which dream we want to pursue.