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!!