Friday, December 15, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
My parents raised me? Why, they only did their duty. It was their problem after all, giving birth to me. If the odds were against them then why fool around and take responsibility for a child?
I've pretty much made myself. They gave me just food and shelter. I have made me what I am. Love? No they never gave me love! They knew I'd be a great person once I grew up. They were just investing in the golden goose that is me. Nobody loves without reason after all. In fact they've given me such a hard time! Curfews, rules, restrictions -- Oh, the suffocation!!
So when I'm here eating my lavish dinner at Oberoi, my mother can barely cook her curry. She eats it half-cooked as she can't stand for long. She doesn't like hotel food, and I can't live without it forever you know. Jacks gotta play too, or he'll be a dull boy.
The old man stands next to me in the train pleading, knees shivering, for a place to sit for a while. Why should I? I did all the hard work jumping into the running train. Buzz off old man!
What are you saying? I'll never be so weak and helpless! Even if I do, I'm sure my children will take care of me. I've invested so much in them after all...
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
For the younger generation, us, the British Raj is only what the books tell us. Some tell us that it's exaggerated and others tell us that it's all true. Some tell us about the "glory days of the British Raj" when everything was in order unlike now. Others speak of the struggle they had to go through during those difficult times. It is naturally very difficult to relate to it; the Freedom Movement.
There is nothing wrong if you cannot relate to the Independence struggle, the various movements that went in parallel signifying equal contributions of many different minds. But inability to take a stand on the correct approach to attain Freedom does not invalidate Freedom itself. So we need to understand Freedom and acknowledge those who fought for it in those days.
We haven't been part of the Freedom Struggle so we don't know what our fathers fought for. Hence, we don't fully understand Freedom. We would like to enjoy the freedom that comes with Freedom, but we do not even wish to understand the responsibilities that come with it. This failure to understand Freedom invalidates any "respect" we may show to our Founding fathers, for we don't really respect the gift that they have given us.
We talk of our freedom to spit on the roads. We talk of our equal rights to education when backward class quotas are introduced. We lambast our government for every concievable thing. The BMC doesn't clean the drains. Why do you litter them? Why do you throw plastic garbage into drains? We are free to do whatever we want, you do your work!
Freedom comes with a price; we have to give others Freedom to do as they wish as well. And Democracy comes with a responsibility. We need to contribute actively to be able to retain our democracy. We, as citizens of an Independent, Democratic nation, are governors of our nation too. That doesn't only mean that we vote our leaders into power. It means that we do some little things right ourselves and actively participate in the nations development, not just our own.
No one expects us all to run for MLA/MP/CM/PM; that would infact be a bit of a disaster. No one expects us to be social workers/activists either. We simply need to do our duties as citizens. We must refrain from throwing garbage, paper, plastic on the roads. We must refrain from spitting all over the roads. We need to empathise with the socially and economically unfortunate, understand if any special provisions are given to them and if possible, contribute. We need to contribute towards making India a superpower and not just expect the leaders we have "worked so hard to elect", to do all the work inspite of us. Let us not simply say that "We pay taxes, now you work". It's like parents giving money to the child and telling her to go do whatever she wants; the child needs love, care and attention too.
Let us salute our Freedom Fighters today by assuming our responsibilities as Indian Citizens.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
One would imagine that burly Australians/Americans/Africans would form the majority of the strength-intensive workforce. But that was not the case. It was the thin but firmly built Indians that did the "donkey work", quite literally. And I wondered to myself; we are excellent servants to everyone.
But then one instance does not prove such a general statement. So off we go, trying to fit this view of India into the people of India, the workers of India. And was it a dificult journey? No, not quite.
From the day we got independence to this day today, Indians all over the country have always wanted one thing; to go abroad. It does not matter where, they just want to go to "vilaayat" to earn money. What do we want to do to earn money? Doesn't matter. We'll be servants the in the West but whenever we come back to India we will be respected as "vilaayati babus".
The Patels and Singhs ran off to England and have little shops there. Their most notable acheivements there? Infiltrating friends and relatives in the country so that they too can start their little grocery store there. Similarly we dominate in the cabbie jobs in the US, we have colonized New Zealand and are doing the same now to Australia, not as anyone's masters but as workers.
But that is not what prompted me to write this. None of these people claim to be gifted in anything else other than what they have achieved. What prompted me is the Indian view of itself as an "IT Superpower".
We Indians have a thriving IT services business. Based on this business we claim to be the (emerging) IT Superpower of the world. But do we really master IT? Or are we simply slaves of the West?
The major projects handled by even the topmost Indian IT service companies are of maintenance/support nature. This means that the innovation is already done, now we have to troubleshoot and maintain systems. We have to handle angry calls from our Western (Eastern in case of the Japanese) masters and sometimes, bear racial slur as well. We do not answer back because we're decent Gandhians who will offer our other cheek when slapped. And yeah, we need the money to feed ourselves.
The rest of the projects are majorly standard systems on an enterprise scale, e.g. a Payroll system for a company. Wait lets call it an Employee Remuneration Resolution System. Wait, no, lets shorten it to ERRS. Now THAT sounds innovative doesn't it? It doesn't? Then how about Resource Approval and Payroll Enabler? Sounds heavy right? How about we shorten it to... oh wait...
Indian IT firms do not want to innovate in technology. Long story short, if they decide to innovate they would have to be a little bit more expensive to their Western masters and those masters will simply go to their competitors.
So the IT firms are to blame for not utilizing the "Brilliant IT Brains of India". Are they?
An average student passing out of BE/BTech/MSc/MCA does not know the basics of computer science. He/She has cleared his/her exams by cramming the words their teacher had dictated in class. They don't care if a Unix console looked black or a program is compiled or interpreted. They just want a high paying job; they'll do whatever it takes, even learn belly dancing while balancing a laptop on their chest.
We never think twice before we claim to be one of the most intelligent races on the face of this earth. What do we have to prove that? We have writings of sages, our culture, our arts and our vedic mathematics, science, astronomy, yoga, etc. In other words, everything that we are proud is more than a few thousand years old. So where are the current achievements that make us so invincibly intelligent?
Our IITs, RECs, Medical Schools, etc. are said to be overflowing with brilliant talent. But most of our IIT/REC brainiacs invariably decide to do a Management course and take up a white collar job. All engineers who can afford it will go abroad for higher studies and stay there. What's left for "innovation" are the "rest" while the "best" head westwards for the dollars/euros/pounds. So we serve; that's what the people left behind are good for in the end.
A post on Slashdot described India as a potential "worker pool". so thats what we are, a big pool of servants for the West. Are we?
Then again, I'll be joining this worker pool soon.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Many have cried out that our freedom of speech and expression have been violated. I did too initially. But look closer at a very minor technicality, especially in case of blogger.com. A blogger can post articles on to his blog. So he is being allowed to speak up, express himself. The only catch is that nobody is allowed to hear them.
When our constitution was designed, every citizen was given a few fundamental rights; Freedom of Speech, Expression and Movement. The basic tenet of democracy is that while one may disagree with a view, he/she has no right whatsoever to silence the opposition and refuse his/her right to speech and expression. This is an aspect of our democracy that has always been disturbing. If someone talks against a popular opinion, he/she is crucified, stones thrown at their homes, effigies burnt, bandhs called. Such blatant violation of one's rights, one's integrity goes unnoticed time and again.
Finally, there is one basic freedom and right that we, who call ourselves one of the most intelligent nations in the world, still haven't been given. The freedom of using our own intelligence. India, the State has time and again taken the onus on itself to "protect" its people from the evils of information in all forms. They want to have control over what we view, read or listen to as they do not trust our maturity and choice.
Too much corruption in our society, too many lords violating the innocent under the pretext of tradition and social justice, too many eggheads ruling and quarelling over the State. It's time for someone to stand up and be counted. Will you, the common but intelligent citizen of India, stand up?
Will I, another common citizen of India, stand up and be counted?
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Close to 500 crores for flood relief and amendments simply buoy up the politicians' bank balances. Need anything be said more about the dreadful state of the financial capital of the country.
Well a lot has been said about the 'courage' of the Mumbaikars but please will someone take note of what is happening around and do something about it and stop patting our backs...what we are doing is simply our means of survival. Our only accomplishment is the tremendous kinship - the feeling that we ought to be of some help to our fellow citizens in a crisis like this (or should I make it plural)
News is out that the police were suspecting incidents like these to occur...no questions asked why no one bothered before. It would be stupid to ask, wouldn’t it?
The Task Force is today busy concentrating on the protection for the leaders of the political parties..well they r having a free campaign of sorts for their respective parties as well....everyone has something to gain here isn’t it? Only if they could resolve differences and come together to do something worthwhile…
Almost every alternate year mumbai has seen a minimum of 1 blast since the communal riots in the 90s, is the report.
This time 7 blasts, in a matter of 11 minutes across major stations on the western line killing many, injuring many more. 189 (the known stats) lives lost and many manyyyyyy injured for life not to mention the psychological damages to people and of course the financial damages to the economy as well...is the price we have to pay for I don’t know what.
Mumbai , once not long ago touted as the place where dreams take the face of reality today has no buyers. People are looking to move out. Very soon,this place will be bereft of the "brave" crowd. The educated youth are flying abroad or are left at the peril of the power games going on in every arena in India. Politics and politicians are set out to ruin.
For the immense love of this city that I was brought up in I stand here with no clue as to what to do ........
And before I end this emotional outburst it would help if people could think "human" first and then "religion".
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
For those who have been in Mumbai for a very short time, this happens atleast once every year in Mumbai. And yet, this year was different compared to all those years.
What was different you ask? It was the Mumbaikar for one. Another very different thing has been the overzealous press, which has inspired the title of this post.
26th July 2005 changed the way many Mumbaikars looked at rains. I was one of the luckier ones who had the comfort of my company bus and managed to reach home by 2 AM in the night. The rest did not reach home from work till the next day. They battled for their very lives, fighting the angry waters in the most unimaginable places; highways, railway stations, roads they travelled everyday. Many lost the weary battle. Others live through it, shuddering at the sight of a bucket of water for days after.
Such was the damage that one day caused this brave and sometimes cruel city. The Mumbaikars who once readily waded through knee deep water to meet their deadlines now sit at home at the very sight of heavy rains. The first day of rains were welcome by all, as they brought relief from the sveltering heat. The rains continued to the next day and the cool comforting winds and showers took the face of fear in the minds of these people.
There was another reaction to the July floods last year. The rest of the country woke up to the fact that people live here in Mumbai. The long standing image of Mumbaikars being insensitive and invincible suddenly received a major setback as the country saw live images in the news of Mumbaikars struggling through the waters trying to save their own and their fellow citizens' lives. The Mumbai rains which regularly stop the city a couple of days every year suddenly came into the faces of the Indian news fraternity and the country.
But it seems that this visibility has done more harm than good today. The rains in the past few days (going on as I write) have brought out a very desperate side of the news channels, each one trying to top the other trying to paint a grimmer and grimmer picture of the situation, all to get viewership. Yesterday a leading news channel showed waterlogged areas in Andheri, Mumbai claiming that there was no way traffic could continue in that area. The water was barely ankle deep. Agreed that it is still a worry, but there is no way that ankle deep water could cause any harm to cars and buses.
The best news cut, which led me to write this happened a little over half hour ago today. A News reporter described (and showed ofcourse, for the added effect) a grim situation in Goregaon where the water was "6 to 7 feet high" and was about "waist deep".
OMGWTF!!! We actually have 12 feet tall men in India!
This kind of news coverage induces two things in two different kinds of people. One section of the population goes into absolute hysteria, scared of the wrath the rain gods are incurring upon us Mumbaikars. There's the other who assumes that the press reports simply cry wolf all the time to get viewership and go headlong into some very dangerous situations.
And finally, if the sensationalist reporters were not enough, major news channels have come up with the concept of a citizen journalist. This is a good initiative on the face of it, an attempt to make the citizen more aware and involved. I saw an amazing shot of the Mumbai floods as sent by one such "citizen journalist". It was a 8-10 second long clip of which 1-2 seconds showed cars and buses struggling through knee deep waters. The rest of the clip focussed on the posterior of a young woman wading through thse waters. Great journalism; lets have more of those ;-)
So in the end we have a corrupt government, an otherwise insensitive populace and a sensationalist press. And we want to be called one of the greatest democracies in the world.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
chup yaar...u get the point naa tat ho ya that ...........kitkita
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
never mind......... now i dont wanna waste this post for nothing........so gyaan coming up
1 interesting bit of info tat i came across
i generally pick randomn words and look for their origin or proper meanings
i found out about "namaste" and found it very interesting..so here goes :
Everything is going towards the wrong direction be it career prospects for students, reservations, politics, or something as fundamental to human existence as education.
Something my dad told me when I was very young got etched on my brain (which is gonna be passed on to my next generations as well J ) -- If you study to remember, you will forget, but, If you study to understand alongwith the curiosity to know, you will remember.
Education if attained in the manner it is supposed to, could free the individual … heard of “The educated are free”. Learning, knowledge gives one an immense sense of power that no one ever can take away from you. But beware a mind could store a million facts and still remain uneducated. ‘The purpose of education is to replace empty minds with open ones’ they say and how true!
We are shut up in schools and colleges for fifteen years (minimum), and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing. The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of education. The onus is on our shoulders how we figure out what to do with it.
Classrooms simply focus on the best child in class and not bringing out the best in every child – the brutal mistake. Ruins the fun of knowledge gaining in itself.
We are led by a simple funda : hard work brings reward, so we pursue higher education because it brings success. If the pursuit of scientific-technical disciplines ensures success, so be it - is the argument. Profession is hardly a matter of likes/dislikes rather it is the return on investment that maters. Well, in a culture where success is measured by one’s material possessions, and where personal fulfillment often takes the back seat, one is likely to pursue the type of education that assures the greatest return on the investment.
The phenomenal growth in the Information Technology sector, also gave rise to the demand for MBAs. Every other person was an MBA whether they had any vocation or not. The motivation for a doctor in his/her career path , in the healing powers of medicine, is a lot lesser than the affluence and prestige the profession brings along with it. An e.g. that I strongly quote in this regard is the refusal of the doctors to look into the condition of a patient who breathed his last during the anti-reservation strikes. Having said this, I m not in any way ignoring the frustrations behind the meritorious doctors, whose merit was at stake but the life of a fellow human being lost in bargain was not really worth it, or have we lost all sense of value?
Education is gained by struggling to live, it is to be able to respect point of views starkly different from our own, most importantly to listen, to be patient and to spread love. Every day teaches you something, every person has something to tell, to teach. The fundamentals are lost somewhere in the race against each other. A human is lot better equipped when he works together we seem to forget.
Well the competition is killing but then worse still is when teenagers commit suicide because heir lifestyle is not as extravagant as their mates are. What are they thinking when they do such things. Too much of emphasis on how fashionable they are, how they speak, their lingo, their style statements all scream for their poor frame of minds. (ok I m cribbing now :P)
Well I have always believed that the Vedic Literature is all-encompassing and has solutions for everything. One such solution that I see is revival of the “GURUKUL” tradition of schooling. The ideal solution would be picking the ideologies of the tradition and implementing using the technologies and facilities available now. Knowledge should be free to be able to avail all.
For an intro - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurukul
Teaching as a profession has lost all its value, the importance attached to an individual imparting knowledge is lost and down in the dumps. The only people who end up as teachers are those who haven’t been able to make a mark anywhere else. There are a few gems of teachers still left…if only the right people helped in shaping the country for the future there would be better students. And yes most importantly, if you read through all of this ..thank your teacher J
P.S: another imp issue is leadership. There are always too many people talking at the same time in this country. Leadership is not magnetic personality—that can just as well be a slick tongue. It is not "making friends” and “influencing people"—that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. Leadership is action oriented towards service – a matter of the heart and mind.
Lack of proper leaders is what is driving the nations youth to better pastures (what normal mortals call BRAINDRAIN)
Now you know what the next post is gonna b :D
I end it just like I started (very pessimistic I must say :P) everything is going in the wrong direction…. But I will try and do my bit to improve the current state of affairsJ
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Right from our first exams in school (remember the red and blue lines pages?) we are expected to be first in our class regardless of whether we really can do it. A second ranker is ridiculed by his parents; they want him to work harder, and harder, and harder. And harder still, till the day that they see their beloved child hanging by the neck from the ceiling fan.
While what I say is jarring, it's a very disturbing trend. It's not a new thing, people have committed suicide due exam stress before. But it has become more and more frequent as years pass. Every year we see a new benchmark set for the students to follow. You see little 12-15 year olds studying a whopping 12 hours a day to mug up every word, every punctuation mark in every book. Their aim is simple; get as many marks as possible. Who cares if they understand a word of what they're reading. What matters is that they remember all the junk. So cram we will.
What does a child study for 12 hours? If one actually has to understand what is given in the books, it will most definitely not take 12 hours a day of an entire year. The parents are proud though. They rarely understand that their child is burning up inside. While they mean well; they want their child to be successful after all; they succumb to their inner wishes to see their child as a doctor/engineer even if he/she doesn't have the aptitude for it.
The situation of colleges in India is not too great either. Junior college seats in Delhi University (as I saw today on CNN-IBN) fill up at 85% on an average for each and every stream in all the decent colleges. Engineering colleges in Mumbai fill up at staggering 94% marks. A friend had to struggle for a seat in Mumbai with 91.67% marks. If someone can't feel secure at 92% marks then what's the worth of studying all that much?
And once we finish college we look for a job. And there we have a 60% cutoff for marks in graduate exams for most of the top/mid-tier companies. These same companies make obscene presentations talking about how they have excellent methods to recognize talent and how Indian education is ineffective in the larger scheme of things. But when it comes to evaluation they cannot trust their own entrance examinations to be able to screen the talented individuals from the rest.
Whats more, even the screening tests for companies have become a major marks market today. We have many sites like Chetana Jobs, Freshers World, etc. that have massive repositories of past questions that candidates can cram up and go vomit out.
Finally, Medicine and Engineering are not the only professions in the world. There's always pure sciences (dying these days due to engineering), law, politics, journalism, sports, arts (fine arts, acting, singing, dancing, etc), agriculture, business, social services, defence services, teaching and much more. Almost every person fits into atleast one of all of these skills.
I am not a number, I'm a free man
- from the song 'Prisoner', Iron Maiden
Monday, May 29, 2006
Youngsters (namely, us) keep saying that they work hard to get good marks and are then denied admission to top colleges because of somebody with low marks but a caste certificate. "We are sorry that his forefathers faced discrimination, but I didn't discriminate against anybody, so why penalize me?" is the question.
On this basis youngsters oppose caste based reservations. They are not consoled by the increase in seats either; they want those seats too to be filled by "merit". An "Equality based Society" is what they want.
The writer then goes on to say that their notion of fairness is incorrect. He says that rewarding students with the highest marks benefits people born in the right families and not the most intelligent or meritorious. He then goes on to explain how he himself has been a beneficiary of this unjust "Merit" system.
The writer talks about his academic success and later, professional success as editor of financial dailies such as "Financial Express" and "The Economic Times". He explains that he rose completely on his merit, topping in his school and college all along.
He later also gave an IQ test in which he score an IQ percentile of 97% (3% of the population is more intelligent than him). Now, of the population of 1.1 billion in India, 400 million forms the workforce. 3% of 400 million comes to 12 million people. Hence, he observes that in a truly meritorious society, 12 million people should have a higher position in the workforce than him.
He then explains that India has at most 2 million top managers and professionals. Hence the 12 million super-intelligent people cannot be accounted for in this "truly meritorious" system. Many of these are labourers or hawkers.
These people do not have access to good education or economic opportunities because they were born into the wrong family. Meanwhile the more fortunate (like the writer, and myself) dominate the society on the spurious claim that they are the most meritorious. He says that we get the good marks because we have educated parents, best books and went to the best schools and colleges. Others far more meritorious are rotting without education or opportunity in the slums and villages of India.
Hence he says that no person has the right to claim that reservations are displacing merit.
The writer then observes that job reservations are politically popular but do not address the problem head on. Reservations are utilized only by the few lakh students from the creamy layer of backward castes. The actual targets are still being missed and lost into the streets, villages and slums of India.
The writer then lambasts the current schooling system, which has been tottering under the corrupt powers that be. Teacher absenteeism and wastage of educational funds into worthless schemes ensure that most children get little or no learnings from their schools.
Finally, he observes that there is a need to experiment with new, fairer educational systems. He suggests one such system which will run quality schools with 80% reservations for lower castes and tribals. The Delhi Public school can provide technical assistance as it has successfully created a chain of high quality schools in India and abroad.
He goes further, saying that within five years, we can create 2 quality schools in every district and then in the next five years two quality schools in every tehsil headquarters and give out scholarships to the needy.
I had a discussion on this article with my sister and she recounted the plight of many NGOs trying to impart education in villages. Most parents do not want to educate their children; they want them to go to work. So the NGOs actually have to keep food to try and tempt the students to come to school for the food.
Such is the plight of our country at this moment. We as the creamy layer of the lower castes and the upper castes dissociate ourselves from this harsh reality and imagine that India is "Shining" since our pockets are getting heavier.
We, the middle class are the most educated workforce in this nation and yet at the same time we transcend all limits of ignorance by choosing to note only which of our stocks have gone up/down and how are we going to earn even more money to realize our dream of becoming the next Ambani/Narayan Murthi/Bill Gates. We chase the American dream, we become citizens of foriegn countries and call those countries as our lands; all this after we get the best out of our own nation, our own people.
Some may even say "It's not my fault that those people do not have the facilities", "Survival of the fittest", etc. While all that is partly true (in a very cold, insensitive way), there is a concept of empathy, understanding and feeling the pain of others, a will to work for the betterment of our society, our very own people. We seem to have lost that in our pursuit of personal wealth and satisfaction.
Finally, I must clarify, I am not in favour of reservations as the best solution towards restoring the social balance. I just feel very sad that we as citizens of India do not understand, or worse, consider the pain of the majority of our fellow citizens.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Our blog has gone unnoticed by us for some time now mainly due to our project traineeship. Now that exams are over and done with, we're back B<)
Diya is trying out new themes right now as I post this, so be ready for a new look.
And I think I'll stop writing as if I'm talking to someone; pretty sure no one's listening ;-)
Oh yeah, and Happy Anniversary sweetheart :) Its been 1 and half year together, 1.5 very happy years :)