Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tour de 2010

Taking the tour of a year actually takes a year because the experiences of life one gets in a year can never be put into words. One can tell about a few events, a few big ones which matter more than others and are fresh on the memory. But there are so many subtle incidents in life which, apparently, don’t register on the memory but play very significant roles in deciding how we feel. And there are such small subtle incidents of life which we encounter most of the times, and not the bigger ones.

So as I sit writing about the year that passed, some of the bigger events which come to my mind are getting a job, leaving the college, reluctance to join the job I got at college and my desperate efforts to find a new one, finally joining the same job with much reservations in mind, meeting new people at Jhinjholi (during my job life at Surya Roshni Ltd), quitting the job, finally taking a call about not joining the regular jobs (despite having one such opportunity) and a fair amount of travelling throughout the year.

Though I always wanted to pass out of college as soon as possible but I have missed college days a lot after passing out. Not because I very much loved to stay there abut I guess because I was addicted to a certain kind of lifestyle in college and I find it difficult to adjust to a new one. But leaving college led me to learn bigger lessons in the University of Life, which I simply adore.I learn a lot about the Big Bad World out there and learnt how to deal with it to some extent. I also became a little clearer about what I want to do with my life.

The job life, however, short was quite exotic and different. Though it was not all good but it exposed to some entirely different things. Jhinjholi, Vipassana (meditation) and Naturopathy Camp were such new experiences.

The year saw me as a student, an employee and finally as an unemployed graduate. So, how does being unemployed feel? Frankly and honestly speaking, lack of engagement has is never comfortable for anyone but I have the satisfaction of not doing something which I actually don’t want to do.

I read a lot this year and hope to continue that for the next year too. However, I got a little bit lazy with my blog which I think I should take care of the next year.

Now as all of us wait eagerly for the New Year, I wish it brings more experiences and learning. And at the same time, Happiness for Everyone!

Adios 2010! :-)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Random Stuff About LIFE

Human life is strange are even stranger are the facts we come across in life. Today I came across one such fact which strengthened my belief in the uncertainty of life and the various faces it can show to anybody.

Most of us know well about R K Narayan and for those who don’t know, he was one of the pioneers of Indian Literature in English along with Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao and in common language, he is the creator of the ever living and ever refreshing town of Malgudi. But how many of us know that the great giant of English literature could not clear his university paper of English, despite the fact that English was his favourite subject? And during the idle year, he discovered his love i.e. writing. What would have happened if Mr Narayan would not have got a back in the subject? Perhaps we would not have R K Narayan, the great writer among us. We could never have known about the lives of his ever living characters like Swami, Chandran, Krishna, Raju, Rosie, Raman, Nagraj, Thannapa and many others. Quoting Steve Job’s words here, I would say:

It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.

This reminds me of the well discussed ‘Butterfly Effect’ as well. How can a small incident or event or a course of action change the entire life of a person for good or bad. Failing in an exam or not getting a job or something like that are, I guess, smaller things. The accidents which happen on roads are, I guess, because of a wrong judgement of a fraction of second. Sometimes, the state of mind of the victim in that particular second may change the entire course of events. Sometimes, it’s the same state of mind again which can pull a person out of a big trouble.

People call this thing destiny but I call this thing the diversity of life. Every individual’s life is different and different things happen with different individuals in the same situation. This is what the beauty of the universe and our lives is. Sometimes, I think what would have happened if everybody were to be governed by the same rules of living the life, being born in the same kind of surrounding, being cared in the very same manner as a child, getting the same education, doing the same thing as others. Obviously, that can’t happen for practical purposes but what if that could have happened? Could the life have been as interesting as it is today? I guess no, absolutely no.

So, it’s good that some are born to be writers, some actors, some engineers, some doctors and some even JESUS!!

Merry Christmas!! :-)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Puri Yatra

Yesterday, I returned from a three day trip from Puri and needless to say that the trip was refreshing. Puri is one of the places I love a lot. It has the best beech I have seen till now (of course, I have to visit Mumbai and Goa first and only then, I will be in a position to declare the supremacy of Puri Beech over all the Indian beeches), you get nariyal paani (coconut water) at real cheap rates and the most important of all, being situated in a less developed area, the place still maintains its natural beauty and delicacy.

There are two things which make me deeply concerned after this trip. The first is the Naxalite problem which prevails in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and other Indian states. But how does the Naxalite problem come in between my trip? Actually, I had no idea that after the (suspected) Naxalite links in the Gyaneshwari Express train accident in May this year, all the traing running at night between Tata-Kharagpur section were stopped and train traffic would only start after 5 am in the morning. And because of this we had to stay at Tatanagar railway station throughout the night unnecessarily. The trip schedule got affected a bit and we had to face some difficulties as well. And when I think of it, it really scares me thinking of the people who live in the Naxal-affected area as when a big organization like Indian Railways can get helpless in front of the railways, what condition and fear must the people be living in the area!! On the other hand, I came to know that all the Naxalites in the region have some political contact and support and which prevents the police to act against them. Jai ho Indian Politics!! (Hail the Indian Politics!!)

The second concern is the sad state of the Indian temples which are more of a market place for the pandas or pundits (priests). And I came to know that the Jagannath Temple in Puri is the most affected by the tyranny of the pandas on the visitors. They don’t let you walk inside the temple premises peacefully unless you keep on throwing money wherever and whenever they suggest. And the worst of all is the fact that they stick to you like a fly on sugar until and unless you pay them off with some dakshina (money). This is despite the fact that the government has taken the temple under its control and fixed salary is given to all the priests. And the most surprising fact is that the pandas even used physical assault on visitors to get money from them. Use for abusive language is still prevalent, even we had to face it :-(. I know money is involved with most of the religions and almost all the temples in India but what I saw at Puri and Sakshi Gopal Temples could not be termed anything less than loot.

But who said one travels across to other places to see the places only? One travels to experience different cultures, people and lifestyle and a lot of other new things and the trip excelled in providing a very different experience of life. And the best of all was the awesome Puri Beech. Hope to visit the place again soon!! :-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Are We a Part of Odyssey??

Youth is defined as the time when a person is young (at heart of course), energetic, enthusiastic, vibrant with new ideas and ready to try out new things for him. This time, the person is restless and wants to explore as many new things as possible. It’s the time to experiment with life, a time to go on a long and adventurous journey, both inside and outside. It’s the time to live the Odyssey Years in the true sense of the term.

But the greater question is: Are we a part of the Odyssey? Are we willing to leave the comforts of a cozy office and a handsome salary cheque? Are we ready to deviate from the pre-laid path our families and society has set for us? Are we ready to explore new things?

A friend of mine joined the IT sector about an year back and is about to quit. Reason: boring work, extra long working hours, lack of freedom and exploitation by the team leader and the project manager. And the most important of all, he doesn’t see a future for himself in the IT sector because copying some codes from one window and pasting them in another doesn’t make him happy. And hence, he wants to leave the job.

“What next?” I asked him. “I don’t know”, came the reply, “but this is sure that I can’t work in IT.” May be he will try higher studies or do something which he actually wants to do and which gives him satisfaction irrespective of the amount on each month’s salary cheque.

This is one example of trying to live the Odyssey years but what about the rest of the junta? Interestingly, my friend says that none of his colleagues is happy with the work the IT sector is providing. But none of them has the courage to take the plunge. Because there is always the question of ‘what to do’ looming over the head as if a degree in engineering closed doors for all the other possible options of livelihood. Some give the argument that the IT sector has huge potential for providing a good future. And here a good future is synonym for a hefty salary regardless of job satisfaction and overall happiness quotient of life.

And this is not the case with people in just one sector or two. Everywhere around us we can see the years of life meant for exploring and taking risks being spoiled to make a more secure and happy future. What makes me wonder is, “Can an unsatisfied present lay down the foundation stone for a happy future?”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The String of Self Identity

Wake Up Sid (released last year) was especially liked by the young crowd which goes to college. And it was liked not because it was a love story (though it had elements of love like almost all the Bollywood movies) or a war movie or a period movie or it was of any genre which is very popular among the youth but the movie was adored because it touched a string which connects us to our inner self, the string of self identity, the chord of individuality, the desire to live our lives the way we want to, the desire to do what we actually want to do.

Everybody is born to do something specific, something unique, and something different from the rest of the world. And the purpose of an individual’s life is achieved if and only we do that particular thing. And the best thing about our lives is that we get numerous indications from our destiny about what we are made to do, be it in the form of love for a particular profession or passion for doing something out of the box. Sometimes, the indications can be subtle and can tickle the mind everyday in some form or another and sometimes, the indications can be in the form of a big event or an accident which change the course of one’s life.

But the real conflict arises when a person knows what he or she wants to do but is trapped in the jingle of a so called secure future. People say that happiness is a state of mind. I think that the same can be said about freedom. We are free if we have the liberty to do what we actually want to do. We live in a sovereign state and choose our own leaders and those who make policies for us. But do we live in a sovereign state of mind? Do we choose our own careers according to our wishes by listening to our inner callings? And even if we want to do that, are we free to do that? Is the society we live in liberal enough to allow us to do something out of the box and unconventional? Is our family even liberal for letting us experiment with our lives by the way we want to?

The answer to above questions is a big ‘NO’ if we talk about most of the young people of India about whom we boast with pride and with whom we dream of being the superpower someday. And the irony lies in the fact that even if we become the world leader in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or National Income or some other similar parameters, the Indians would still be running the rat race for a more comfortable life instead of trying and striving for a more fulfilling and satisfying life.

A few days ago, we celebrated our 64th Independence Day. But at times I wonder about what such celebrations of our ‘physical independence’ mean to our young crowd which bears the burden of bringing the country on the top of the world. For me and all of them like me, these days are nothing more than a holiday (and this year, thanks to Sundays, even that holiday was scrapped). We need and we want to celebrate a day when we are liberated mentally and are free at the mental level.

Everyone in this world strives for happiness and that is the ultimate goal of life. And nobody is happy when the mind is captured in the cuffs of secure future or a comfortable life. It’s time we realise that we can be happy only by connecting ourselves to our inner selves and living our lives the way we want to. And only then we can make our lives extra ordinary!!

Carpe Diem!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Difference

Once while talking to Anjali Desai (Co Founder, Seva Cafe, Ahmedabad ) about education in our country, I came across a surprising but worrying reality about education in our country. Anjali is a journalism graduate from University of Texas, Austin and has seen the education patterns in both the countries. Talking about the difference in Indian and American kids, Anjali said:

“The kids in India are smarter and more intelligent than their American equivalents till they put their first step into schools. But once they cross the age to be at home and start going to school, the American kids start outsmarting those in our country.”

The reason for this, as she told, is the family environment provided to the little ones in Indian homes. While a kid in India has mother and grandparents in most houses (a long line of aunts, uncles and cousins is also there in joint families) to interact with and learn from, a kid in America is left to the care of maids or crèches where he/she doesn’t have anyone to talk to or play with. And hence, Indian kids are a lot smarter owing to the healthy family environment.

But the real trouble starts when the child starts going to school. While a school in America gives all the freedom to the child to explore himself/herself, a school in our country is aimed at teaching, or rather feeding a fixed amount of information into the child’s brain without actually teaching the real value or meaning of what is being taught. And needless to say, the freedom given to children in schools in no more than that which was given to African Slaves in America. A good student is one who wins the rat race by get a high score in examinations. But nobody is bothered about the heavy loss of free thinking which the child has to undergo in order to get adjusted to that rat race. On the other side, the freedom given to kids in America makes them think about things themselves and then they are allowed to choose, based on their interest, what they want to do or study. And, of course, the stress area in not only getting grades in exams rather it includes a lot of things like sports, extracurricular activities, community service and what not. And it’s obvious that in these situations, a child will be smarter, free thinker and able to take real life decisions without much trouble.

And it’s not only what or how is being taught at schools, the problem lies in the mindset of Indian parents or society which values success in monetary terms and hence, the only option left for a child to run for what seems to be most profitable in terms of money. No matter whether a child is interested in studying a particular subject, he/she is forced to study that because that subject is important for a ‘secured future’. Forcing the child on a pre determined path might provide a so called ‘secure future’ but is it not like grooming the child into an assembly line product? And as Anjali told, the Indian kids in America are also forced by the parents to take particular courses which might be ‘beneficial for future’.

And hence, here lies the difference in growth pattern of Indian students and American ones: While American students are treated as human beings with desires and inclinations to learn, the Indian ones are treated as raw materials which go to schools to be processed into finished products!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

How do I Feel??

“Hi! How are you? How does it feel when it’s all over? :-) This is what Saikat messaged me today morning from Mumbai. And this is something many people have asked me many a times in last couple of days. To be honest, I myself have asked this question to me a few times in last two days.

It has been two days since I have left IIT Roorkee forever as a student. Yes, I am an IITR alumnus now. So, how do I feel when I know that I am no more a student of IIT Roorkee? I had heard that the feeling of leaving the campus is a hard one and it’s a bit difficult to control one’s emotion. But seriously speaking, nothing of that sort happened with me though I could realise that some of my friends were quite nostalgic about leaving one of the coolest places in the world (read IIT Roorkee). For me, it was a feeling of joy, triumph, achievement and most importantly happiness for coming out of the college as a lot more mature person than who went in four years ago. I won’t say that I became the best of engineers which IITs are supposed to produce but I can say with ample amount of certainty that every second I spent in the college added to my knowledge base, be it in the terms of learning about life, people and their behaviour, and many other things. But the most important thing I learnt was about myself. I came to meet the true Ashish Agrawal at my college only. And I would always be thankful to that place (IIT Roorkee) that it gave me chance for that, to evaluate myself, to see through myself, to know myself.

Coming back to what I feel.....well, I always dreamt of the day when I would be a graduate and I was waiting for this day for long. And hence, I felt good. And moreover, the last couple of weeks at the college were full of workload and tensions owing to project work, fuss created in the department over the faulty evaluation of the project and then finally no dues clearance. And during these times, I desperately wanted to get away from the college as soon as possible. And so I along with some of my friends came out of the main gate of IIT Roorkee for the last time, one of my friends remarked:

Chalo, finally jail se nikal gaye!!

(Finally, we came out of the jail)

And I even tossed the cowboy hat I was wearing.

Now when I sit at home and have almost nothing to do, sometimes, I think of my life at college, my friends, the people around me. I don’t know when I will see some of the faces, which are very dear to me, the next time. I don’t know when I will be able to hang out with them. May be, I get to see some of them after a long long time, may be I accidently meet some of them in some street in some city like strangers meet. And then may be I will feel the same amount of joy I used to when hanging out with them, may be...........

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Lovely Morning

It’s a pleasant morning today, very pleasant I would say, because still at around 10, the hot sun is sleeping somewhere and cool breeze is blowing. The sound of trees’ leaves and branches moving with the wind produce an enchanting sound, which not only soothes the ears but also gives pleasure to the mind. One feels to go outside and face the wind and its power, not only because it gives a lot of relief from the stuffed environment of one’s room but because it’s music says something, something very special and something very dear to our ears.

Relief from the scorching heat is not the only reason which elates our minds in such weather. There is lot more attached to it. Had the relief from the burning heat been the only reason for the fragrance of this beautiful weather, we would have felt the same in an air-conditioned room with a lot of room freshener sprayed inside. But such an AC room never invigorates our senses. The best of electronic instruments are unable to produce the music which the sound of wind outside my room produces. Why does it happen? Why do all the scientific inventions fail before the small miracles of nature?

For me, this pleasant weather reminds me of my childhood days when, in the months of April and May, I used to go to the school through the pavement surrounded mustard fields on one side and mango and litchi trees on the other. We had the morning classes in the months of April and May and during these months, the fruits on the mango and litchi trees used to be half ripe.  And as every impatient child, I too was impatient to taste the half ripe fruits. That sour mango or litchi looked like the sweetest of all the fruits I used to eat during the whole season. I along with my friends used stones to hit at the fruits so that they could fall from the trees. And every falling fruit gave us the sense of victory comparable to none in the world. And no scientific invention is strong enough to invoke such a pleasurable memory from my store.  

Robert Lynd in his essay entitled ‘The Hum of Insects’ sites our connection with some universal music when we listen to the music of wind outside. This universal music keeps us going and makes us feel alive.

“These three noises (the noise of insects, the noise of birds or the noise of the sea) appear to have an infinite capacity for giving us pleasure--a capacity, probably, beyond that of any music of instruments. It may be that on hearing them we become a part of some universal music, and that the rhythm of wave, bird and insect echoes in some way the rhythm of our own breath and blood.”

And for the greatness of the music of nature over that of electronic instruments, the essayist says:

Insect after insect dances through the air, each dying away like a note of music, and we see again the border of pinks and the strawberries, and the garden paths edged with box, and the old dilapidated wooden seat under the tree, and an apple-tree in the long grass, and a stream beyond the apple-tree, and all those things that made us infinitely happy as children when we were in the country--happier than we were ever made by toys, for we do not remember any toys so intensely as we remember the garden and the farm.

Doesn’t it say something about our very nature? We are a part of the human race and hence linked to the Mother Nature more than anything else. A child can be distracted and can be kept occupied for some time if she is away from her mother and after some time, the child needs her mother. Similarly, we get the biggest comforts and pleasures of life in the proximity with our roots, in accepting the fact that we are a part of this universe and we require the small wonders and miracles which our generous Mother Nature bestows upon us from time to time, for She like our biological mother understands all our needs and cares for us more than we can think!!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Mind Speaks

Two months are left before I bid the final Good Bye to my student life at IIT Roorkee. People say that these last few days are the coolest (well, I don't know how is the word defined) and most memorable days of the B-Tech life. One doesn't have much to do, very few classes, no tension of exams, B-Tech project which one never bothers about, and lots of vella (free) time. A person might simply love this and when I was not living this sort of life i.e. last year in the 6th or 7th semester, I used to dream about these days and wanted to live them as soon as possible. But, as of today, I don't really enjoy this kind of idleness. Yes, I am restless and I need something to get myself involved. There are movies and there are books with which I pass my time but that too, at times, seems boring and monotonous. 

So, do I want these days to end so that I can fly away from this place, which I hated a lot at times and loved a lot at other (for different reasons, of course)? Not actually!! But the problem is that I even don't want to stay at this place either. Because I know that perhaps I am not even going to like the job which I am going to take after passing out of this place. I know I sound confused and I certainly am. I don't know what to do with my life or perhaps, I know but I don't want to take my life in that direction coz I am afraid. Afraid due to a variety of reasons. Afraid because of thinking too much about my future. Some people say that it's good to be confused because a confused state of mind makes one think. And when one thinks, one evolves. But at times I think that life is not about certain beliefs and principle to follow. Every aspect of life is subjective and something which provides a solution in one situation can't be as effective in other. 

At times I even think that it would have been better if I had accepted what came to me as a gift from life without complaining (read thinking). And at times I think about the necessity or importance of education which I had till now. Ignorance seems to be a great bliss then.

Does education actually liberate us? Or what we got was just some piece of information, gathered from here and there, and bundled together?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Of Forgery & 500 Rupee Notes!!

A very interesting thing happened today morning. I was sitting in my papa’s office and reading a book and then all of a sudden my uncle, with excitation, handed out a few crisp 500 rupee notes to my father. It took no time for me to make out that the notes were forged and my uncle, owing to his experience with handling notes, had found the ‘truth’ about them just while counting them. And then, out of curiosity, I took those notes from my father and began scrutinizing them. And to my dismay, the notes were exactly the same as the original notes except for two things. The paper was a bit thicker than that of the original note; however I could notice this only after I was told by my father to feel the thickness of the note. And the golden thread, where RBI is written in small-sized letters, was broken.

Well, there is nothing so surprising about coming across a few forged bank notes. One gets to see many of them at different times. But what was astonishingly painful about those notes was the fact that these, even after being ‘exposed’, were not destined to turn into ‘ashes’ (as it is a general practice to destroy the forged currency)?. The client who had given those notes to my uncle was sad that he was cheated by someone else but the other person accompanying him kept on solacing him by saying that he would make those forged notes ‘run’ in the villages. And this made me ask the other guy:
Agar aap pakde gaye to kya hoga? (What if you get caught using these notes?)
To this he replied:
Gaaon me kaun pakdega? Ye to bahut aram se chal jaayega gaaon dehaat me. (Nobody would find out in the villages. These notes would be just perfect if used in a village.)

And this made me think about the narrow mindedness of that person. Just to save a few thousand rupees, he would actually commit the crime of using the forged notes, and not by his intelligence but by taking advantage of a poor and uneducated villager. But then I thought, what if these notes some back to him in some or the other? Will his cycle go on forever and there would be nobody who would choose to lose his few five hundred rupee notes and save the country from a series of false transactions and dwindling beliefs? For notes are not just pieces of paper, those are the words of trust passed on from one person to the other with each transaction.

He later told that some people in the village have the business of buying forged notes at half the price (written on the note) and using them at different places (and thus getting a full 100% on the investment). I don’t know if the police knows about it or no and why the villagers have not reported this to police. And do people really use this service of selling fake notes?

And that man told further:
Ye note to tilak me de dena chahiye!! (These notes are well suited to be given as dowry.)
This sentence made me think whether the person is so selfish that he would give fake notes to his own son-in law or this was a remark from a man tired and trodden by the ill system of dowries. Whatever the case may be, what made me sad was the fact was that the person represented a very general individual in the society and when he was speaking, it were the words and beliefs of the society. And if a society as such degraded moral values, the future indeed seems bleak, no matter whatever growth percentage we achieve in our GDP.

Suddenly, it struck to me that the person might not be educated. But then I asked myself: Does it really matter whether the person was educated or not? Would the attitude towards the notes have been different in either case?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jayega

I am at home after about five months. And I am thoroughly enjoying the ‘tension-free’, ‘nothing to do life’. And equally enjoyable is the constant supply of food going inside my stomach. These days, since I am very much occupied by ‘The Shadow Lines’ by Amitav Ghosh these days, I don’t really need to sit in front of the TV and pass my time. And as a result, I have really lost any kind of interest in the TV this time at home (which sometimes surprises my mother). Anyway, something interesting caught my attention today!! And it was…….oh, please don’t wait for it……… was “Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jayega” (Rahul will take away the bride)!!

After the death of Pramod Mahajan (who was Rahul’s father) and the drama which followed, Rahul had gained some sort of celebrity status among the celeb-hungry junta of the country. And what could have been a better opportunity to raise the celeb-status in the world of reality shows?? But what baffles me is how is this show still running and who are the people actually watching it!! There is a guy in mid-thirties who is already a divorcee and there are many girls, some of them as young as twenty, dreaming him as their future husband, making plans of wedding with him, and then going to honeymoon and what not!! Well, there is nothing wrong in dreaming of a marriage, love and other things but in that case the person concerned knows who the spouse to be is. It’s just some kind of pagalpan (madness) making such plans with the person you are not sure enough to marry with. In fact, spouse would not be the right word. Someone whom you win after a contest to make him/her as your spouse is no less than a buy and sell of commodity to me, it’s just that the money, here, is replaced by the efforts to win the competition.

The most funny (read fake) part of it is the different kinds of dates on which our groom to be Rahulji goes with his ‘desperate to be brides’. How can the girls actually behave that the guy loves them when they know that he is taking other girls on the similar dates? And isn’t it the person with whom you go on a date adds thrill to it and not the place or exhilaration associated with it? And look at what Dimpy, one of the (un)lucky final three contestants, says after going on an airplane date wih Rahul Mahajan:

Main Rahul se shadi karna chahti hoon taaki wo main aage bhi aisi dates pe ja sakoo.

(I want to marry Rahul Mahajan so that I get an opportunity to go on such dates in the future too.)

And Rahul is looking for his true love in this girl!! Funny, isn’t it? But what can Rahul do or even the producers of the show do when such crap sells in our country? Till there is an audience, there would be crap coming up and killing the time.

Some would say that there was the same drama during ‘Rakhi Sawant ka Swaymwar’ too!! But then everyone knew beforehand that Rakhi is a propagandist and the show is being made for some time pass on TV. And Rakhi, thanks to her exposure to camera glare, knows how to act or even try to act. Rahul didn’t have any such advantage also!! And the junta is bored with one swayamwar already. Difficult to digest another one!! We need better stuff, TV walon!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sweet February

February has been quite eventful for me till now!! It started off with me picking up “Such A Long Journey” by Rohinton Mistry (a book I wanted to read for so long) on the very first date and later on realising that it would really be a long journey for me to read it. ;-) Well, I completed that long journey somehow and now feel really happy about it!!

The second good thing was that I got a job at Surya Roshni Ltd. just before the valentine day!! So, this year at least, the agony of not finding a girl didn’t bother me much as I was too happy to even remember that 14th of February is something called Valentine day!! It has been quite a lot of fun thinking about what my schedule would be like in the company while on training. Well, what’s funny in thinking about the schedule?? What is there to thing even??!! Well, keep reading and you would come to know. So, I, Ashish Agrawal, in my full senses present to my blog readers (who are actually very few, in fact nobody for sure except my brother), my expected schedule at Surya Roshni....ya you got it right, it’s the same Surya!! Jab Suraj Dhale, Surya Uge!! Surya Bulbs, Surya Tubes, Surya!! Surya!!

6 am: Get up!! No, actually start doing Yoga with the CMD of Surya Roshni. So, getting up is before 6. The correct time would be 5 hr: 32 min: 47 sec, I guess!!

8 am: Woo!! It’s breakfast time but after Yoga, I can only be allowed to eat sprouts, milk, salad and that stuff!! Remember, nothing fried or nothing called as creepy as ‘Fast Food’ my boy!!

8:30 am: I hope the training session starts at that time!! But what the training would be about is still suspicious. :-)

12:30 pm: Eat the simple lunch!! Remember ‘Fast Food’ is still bad for health!!

1:30 pm: Go to bed!! Don’t you know that an afternoon nap is too good for health?

4:00 pm: You ate food for your stomach. Now, it’s time to feed your mind baby!! Read some good books!! Won’t you?

6:00 pm: This time sounds interesting!! Ride a horse’s back, jump into the swimming pool or play football!! I am gonna like it!!

8:30 pm: The dinner is ready! But...but but but but but .....the ‘Fast Food’ rule still holds true. :-)

9:30 pm: You must sleep now!! Have to get up and do Yoga tomorrow, isn’t it?

Well, I could find and thought only this much!! Hope there are no more surprises, and if there are any, those are interesting!! And wow, I am behaving like a perfect professional, criticising my job even before joining it!! I really like it, yes I am.

Well, moving ahead, I had the second last mid-sems of my life, or say IIT Roorkee life!! And I kind of enjoyed it, rather than fearing it!! Am I talking like a ghissu? Don’t know but don’t care either!! :P

And I finally went to Rishikesh this!! Ya, laugh at me but what can I do if I didn’t get any chance to go there for the past three and half years?? Well, more on Rishikesh later.

And I am on a Fast Food eating operation these days as I seriously think that I should make up for the time in future when I won’t be allowed to even see it!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Adapted Screenplay

Adapted Screenplays seem to be such beautiful things to me. They represent the perfect example of symbiosis in the world of art, literature, theatre and films. A motion picture adaptation of a well known and acclaimed novel or drama is hyped and people wait for its release once the news about the movie adaptation breaks out. And thus, the movie sells like hot cakes and people throng the multiplexes without finding out whether the movie is really good or not. The recent movie 3 Idiots based of Chetan Bhagat’s novel ‘Five Point Someone’ is the most suitable example for this. I and many of my friends awaited its release well before the movie was relaesed.

On the other hand if the movie based on a less known novel becomes a blockbuster, people crowd the bookstores looking for the original script or the novel. The last year’s Academy Award winner Slumdog Millionaire holds a testimony to this fact. Few knew about Vikas Swarup’s novel ‘Q & A’ before it was made into a movie which won the Oscar Award. This was despite the fact that the novel had already won the Republic of South Africa’s Boeke Prize in 2006.

I watched 3 Idiots because I knew about ‘Five Point Someone’ and read ‘Q & A’ because I had seen Slumdog Millionaire. Either way, one benefits from the other and vice versa and the different genres of art continue to flourish. But the problem arises when one is not given the due credits for the success of the others, as happened in the case of ‘Five Point Someone’. Everyone who had read the novel before could easily relate to the novel, with obvious differences of course. And it looked very absurd and astonishing when the makers of the movie discarded the similarities saying that the movie resembled the novel only by 2-5%.

On the other hand, one can find relatively fewer similarities between Slumdog Millionaire and ‘Q & A’ and still the movie makers sitting in England didn’t forget to give due credits and acknowledgement to the Indian writer. Quite contrary to what the Indian moviemakers did to the Indian writer!! Sometimes I wonder whether it is in the nature of us Indians to take all the credits on ourselves and leave the blame for others. We always like to have our pie in someone else’s success and quite comfortably shift the blame on others when something wrong happens. Well, that is another story. What bothers me now is irrespective of it is the fault of moviemakers of 3 Idiots or that of Chetan Bhagat to gain more popularity and be the centre of media (as alleged by the moviemakers), this trend is not good for the movie industry or the novelists and writers. The symbiosis between the various genres of art should continue as it has in the past. And if it is disturbed in any manner, both the genres are going to suffer. And apart from the moviemakers and the novelist, going to suffer a lot are the movie-goers and the book lovers, who would loose interest in the ‘Adapted Screenplay’ Symbiosis.

And What a Loss that would be!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why do We Celebrate 26 January??

We celebrated 60 years of being a republic yesterday. But did we? I mean did it mean anything more than just a holiday to most of the people of the nation? I guess not. At least it didn’t mean anything to mean and my friends. Munching the boondi ladoos and fried peanuts in the mess, given on the auspicious occasion, I asked my friend whether it was essential to distribute these or whether we needed to celebrate republic day even. And the answer was a flat ‘No’. Quite true and justified!!

The question is why do we need to celebrate a day when we can’t relate to it? How have the people of this ‘great’ nation benefitted from the Right to Vote and other rights granted by our Constitution? The rich are enjoying life as they did during the colonial era and it actually doesn’t bother them who is sitting at the Centre and making policies. The poor are getting poorer and hardly get any time from their struggle to survival to think about the governance. It is only the middle class which is concerned about the government. But that interest is also fading as it is broken by the false promises of the government. Right to Equality is there but those who have money in their pockets want and actually are treated with special care and attention. Celebrities are treated as Gods and netas (political leaders) as the makers or our ‘destiny’. We have the Right to Speak but no one is there to listen to our grievances. We have the Right to Move Anywhere within the country but MNS is there to beat the north Indians out of ‘their’ state, and ironically no government can act against it. We have the Right to Education but there are no schools and if schools are there, tutors are not!!

The government says that the country is growing at a rate as never before but is this development really reaching the lowest strata of the society?  Are those located in the remote countryside actually able to enjoy the benefits of freedom and democracy? The poverty has risen to 37 percent and about 400 million people live below the poverty line. And by no means is the number small. So, instead of creating a hoopla about the day and wasting the precious money of the taxpayers, wont it be better to do something meaningful for the aam aadmi (the common people)? Something to which the junta relate to? Something for which we wait for this day every year? Something which can make the day cheerful and enjoyable, instead of making it boring and sluggish?

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Less Earning IITians

According to an article published in The Times of India (, the average annual salary of the IIT graduates has decreased by 5% in 2009. While this may bring a wave of sadness for many students studying in the prestigious IITs (and even more terror for their parents), I see a lot of positives from this news (WHAT!! Do I even remember that I am still unplaced?).

Lately, these institutes have become a mere brand-name provider for the students and those lucky enough to study here have forgotten the importance of learning the subject matter and are too satisfied with the fact that they would get a certificate from the IITs after the completion of their degree with which they can swiftly and easily sail through the world. They perhaps don’t remember that while a name can open so many doors of opportunities, the same is closing a lot more doors of learning and skill enhancement. I don’t remember how many times I have discussed this with friends that students in other private colleges have a lot more technical knowledge than us. All we (the ‘revered’ IITians) bother about is cramming one day before the exams and ‘vomiting’ in the papers. So, when we don’t excel the graduates from other colleges in terms of our technical knowledge, why should we get better salaries than then? Just because we cracked a difficult exam called IIT-JEE? Seems quite indigestible!!

According to the report, the reason for the dip in the salaries is the global economic recession. Maybe, but doesn’t seem cent percent true because while the salaries at IITs decreased, the average at the NITs increased by 6%. Another reason which the report cites is the fact that a large number of ‘bright’ students from the IITs opted for higher studies. Well, this seems a little reasonable but the fact here is that even those (so called) ‘bright’ students want to take up a high paying job when the campus placements start despite knowing that they are not going to join it. Aakhir kuchh security to chahiye hi aur phir izzat ki bhi to baat hai!! (It is a matter security and prestige, isn’t it??)

Looking at the broader picture, it is nice to know that other colleges are doing well in terms of placements as this would reduce the stress which students face during their 10+2. And even better news is that maybe it will open the eyes of the dreaming IITians and strive harder to be better engineers, which actually is needed of them!! J