Sunday, October 21, 2012

Education = $

It was one such Sunday afternoon, after a heavy lunch in Barbeque Nation; I didn’t have many options to pick. The weather outside wasn’t so pleasing, scorching sun made me uneasy. To my surprise I found a flux welcoming me to a speech delivered by an educational expert (most importantly in an air conditioned hall). It was a large hall with a flocking crowd, lined up for a motivational speech. The crowd had a unique mixture of students and parents. Once the guy in a navy blue tuxedo (Expert!!!) stepped in, there was a thunderous applause.

In a flick, lights went off, to turn on the LCD projector, thrusting a bright image on the giant screen erupted. To my surprise, all I could see was a three letter word ‘RTE’. Very few in the audience were able to come up with the correct expansion for the abbreviated word. Right to Education entitles free and compulsory education for the children of our country. With my palms resting my face and my eyelids are pretty eager to come down. To my horror, they have already met once and next in queue were my grey cells.
It could be an agonizing lecture, but still had some salient features that left me thinking and ashamed. It was wise to discuss those excerpts of the expert here. Most information has been provided as if the expert speaks to us.

"The laws were perfectly penned to provide quality education. Unfortunately they work only in papers; a child can define the word ‘EDUCATION’, but he or she never appreciates this entity. There a gap between the expert committee that frames the syllabus and the schools that tries to teach. Once I happen to watch a vendor, who was crushing canes for making juice, I didn’t find much difference between the vendor and the schools that exist now.

Recent TV interviews left me shattered; schools have started luring toppers from other schools by kind and cash. Schools have become more of concentration camps (during world wars), channeled with n number of tests and personal agony. It’s more of a sin to talk about games in residential schools and most of them have scrapped grounds, paving way for some more slaves (in the name of students).

The current curriculum is a perfect foil for a disrupted life; a life that needs a recipe of games, watching cartoons, tantrums and a bit of sheepishness and all this becomes a distant dream or Neanderthal. The routine packed with special classes and extra special classes are emotionally draining, every now and then someone giving extra tips on how and when to study???

Every week there’s a always a bloke trying to put all the pessimistic attitudes in us, by giving us a picture of current percentages for engineering (98%) and medicine (99.99%).  After all this hue and cry, lost adolescence and joy of schooling, some (in fact many) shell out lakhs for a seat in a professional college. It’s more of a pride that takes centre stage, to see ourselves or our child in an engineering or medical college.

During the first day of my college, there was a self introduction session, to break the ice. Very few were able to make a proper introduction about themselves. I was forced to seek help from my fellow mate, to introduce myself. This could be a funny situation, on the flip side it portrays the inability to define who we are.

My biology teacher often makes this statement with a half smile, “  after 12 years of schooling in a English medium, can u write a letter without mistakes??? “ I still find it difficult to write a letter without errors; often my letter has all tenses shuffling across. To err is human and to forgive is divine; but to all my errors, my educational system is the perfect alibi. The new jargon should be perhaps, “educational systems have ruined me”."

I don’t want to make you furious by adding my suggestions or ideas. I m no expert dressed in blazers, with sarcastic jokes to keep the crowd alive but I appreciate where I stand now. I have the desired cognizance to address the crude reality and adroit fantasy. My phone buzzed with a forward, making me smile “Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance”.

PS: Thanks for the pic and a more apt title for my blog

Monday, October 8, 2012

ashtaME , navaME n ME

What could be the best way to begin an episode or a saga?? In a recent interview, Salman Rushdie a renowned (controversial, will be more perfect) writer of modern era, told “Writing is perhaps, like a journey ………….. and the end product is often in a different stature”. I was born in a orthodox family, where ashtami , navami and ekdasi where of clinical importance. In fact they grew along with me, more of a sibling, picking up brawls and abuses. It’s no wonder; I was always the loser and my dad being the referee.

Most events of my life began in an auspicious moment, but the aftermath events or outcomes often varied. My dad was very particular in this aspect, all my exam fees was paid on (a or an) ekadasi (I wonder what article should precede ‘ekadasi’). To enrich my readers with spirituality, ekadasi is considered to be blissful (thanks to Lord Venky); Ashtami and Navami are days that can bring ill luck (Remember, Friday 13… something like that).

I asked my dad,” why is ashtami and navami so important?? Don’t you think all days are same?”He made a mocking smile at me, “Lord Rama was born on Navami and he was on exile for 14 years; Lord Krishna’s parents suffered, because he was born on Ashtami”.  Only then I realized, probably I was made to believe that these guys were capable of creating havoc even in the lives of the Almighty. I didn’t have a great start for my 12th exams; I missed my bus, what a nice omen??? Despite all those blissful occasions to start with!!!

This affair extended even after my graduation while booking my slots for GRE exam. In this process, I had to advance my dates, pleasing my dad and pacifying my siblings (ashtami and navami!!!). My predecessors were no exception to these malicious guys; long back, when democracy was still papers, kings used to hang their pregnant wives upside down to delay child birth. Even kings feared that their empires might crumble. Now it’s aspirin, which is assisting the fathers and god fearing in-laws to have a baby at a customized day.

Having said this, many could tag me as a rationalistic guy devoted to materialism. The reality is different; my roots are quite deep into this dogma. My dad finds these doctrines to be of archaic authority, but still he doesn’t want me to face the harsh reality of failure by ignoring these signs. After all this hue and cry about superstitions, why do we have these in our lives (perhaps in calendars!!!?)

I strongly believe that it was put in or manifested to have routine. A place for everything to happen; ample time to think and act. A schedule for prayers and copulation!!!  A curriculum designed ages back, for futuristic needs. My initial note would have suggested an acerbic tone, but finally it has turned quite amiable, not because I fear my siblings (ashtami and navami). It’s the quote penned by Rushdie “Writing is perhaps, like a journey and the end product is often in a different stature”.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Red Herring


26, December 2011                        WOMAN COMMITS SUICIDE

Gayathri, 26, a software engineer committed suicide after her fiancé refused to marry her. Gayathri, who was working in reputed IT firm, got engaged a fortnight ago. It was learnt that couple of days back, the groom and his parents expressed their displeasure in marriage. Gayathri felt shattered and pushed to walls.  Gayathri was sobre for a couple of days, after stepping into this. She was found hanging in her bedroom by the maid servant. Police are investigating, if there could be any foul play.

The above paragraph is just a news article reported by special correspondent for a newspaper. Often media tend to underplay or exaggerate things, but never bring us the true picture. If you want to read news, you are done for the day. If not, I can assure you, there’ll be no twists like a thriller or smooches of vampire sagas. The following is more or less documented to avoid fiction and augment details of real characters and places. Lets rush back to find out, what made Gayathri to make such a decision

A Fortnight ago .....

12, December 2011                                                                                                               15:24 hrs
At one touch of her index finger, the coke vending machine sprang alive, ejecting a diet coke. Half eaten burger in one hand and a coke fastened to her right, Pooja was walking with authority and style in a large hall. Pooja was dressed in black suit with traditional notched collar jacket and a straight skirt. The white blouse with a button down was letting some air and eyes of men preying around. Before reaching her cubicle, she was greeted by her colleague, Gayathri with a peck on her cheek.

Gayathri is a charming girl, seemingly attractive and bubbly. She is a senior programmer analyst and has been working in CRISCO solutions for more than 4 years. Pooja and Gayathri were like two poles, but still both shared a common thread of innocence and cubicle.

Pooja:  so how did it go girl???

Gayathri: pick the spot for treat...

Pooja:  Lucky bitch... Did he say ‘yes’?? OMG!! You got engaged!!! Can’t believe (screaming and laughing at the same time)

Gayathri: ssshhhhh.. Keep it down… my papa confirmed jus now..

Pooja:  that’s bloody awesome… did he ring you??

Gayathri:  yaruu ?? (With a mischievous smile across her face)

Pooja: ur man?? Your Cinderella man perhaps???

Gayathri:  Nah... But he might buzz me soon.

Pooja: ooohh (with her lips joined to form an ‘O’) . Hey!! Arjun has planned for a team out tonight… I m all excited, dance floors and strobe lights.. Can’t wait

Gayathri:  stop the crap yar... Anyways.. Enjoy girl...

Pooja: what the fuck??? Aren’t you coming...  this could be your ticket to US… turning down the offer from Arjun, doesn’t look good... yar...

Gayathri: c’mmon... I m fucking engaged... I gotta stop myself from late night parties and vodhkas!!!

Pooja : ohh yuck.. You’re sounding like my nanny...  One last time girl...  Please dumboo... Please... Please...  I have been craving for this freak out... Please please...

Gayathri : get your ass cooked up by 8.. I’ll pick you...

Pooja: Luv u gal... (She blew a kiss, without disturbing her lip gloss)

12,December 2011                                                                                                       19:48 hrs

Gayathri wore her cocktail dress, a black silk with a short pleated skirt, which swung when she moved. The mood was quite elated, after her fiancé texted her. It was after 8, when her car pulled in front of Pooja’s home. She could see Pooja dressed in a strapless gown whose skin glowed with a creamy texture and her curly brown hair bounced beneath her earrings. With Taylor swift’s voice from the cars stereo, both of them cruised to their team outing.

Maroon draped lounge bar was welcoming the guests and a roof top pool was marking a great evening for their freaking night. Two hefty guys dressed in black were identifying the passes that came at a 4 digit price. This is a normal sighting one wouldn’t miss in pubs.

Arjun with his recently bought Tissot watch, he was all smiles, welcoming his team mates. He couldn’t suppress his excitement, when he saw both Gayathri and Pooja stepping in cautiously

Arjun: Welcome girls!!! Yeah Pooja !! You look gorgeous!!!

Pooja: ( with fingers covering her mouth) ohh !! Thanks Arjun ! You too look hot!!  Is that a new one??? (Eyeing his new phone)

Arjun: oh no!! Just a month back I got it from US, during my last project. There’s a new project down the pipeline, I hope you could make it yarr..

Pooja: Oh really!!!

Arjun: But it’s all in your hands Pooja!!  Your performance matters!!! Pooja: I’ll make you happy, Arjun. 

While leaving, Arjun hugged Pooja, carefully slipping a paper in her arms. Gayathri was surprised, when she saw Pooja punching the air with her fist.

Gayathri:  hey girl!! Wat happened??

Pooja: did you see this?? The note he slipped in my hands??  He has asked me to meet him at the parking by 10... I just can’t believe it... Finally I’ m in for the US project.

Gayathri : So . This time it’s you, who is ready to share your bed with him
Pooja:  hey!! It’s no big deal.. My destiny is waiting. Let me tell you something, Sex is a desire for a man, but an appetite for a woman.

                Soon both ladies moved to their bar stools, ordering vodka and sandwiches. Occasional giggles and heavy blast of music never seem to abate their ecstasy. Before they could realize, their body was taking in more alcohol. Pooja was waiting for the clocks to strike ten, but Gayathri felt that she had to leave alone. So she decided to wrap up things for the evening.

Gayathri : Its 9.30 yar.. I’m leaving.  Have fun. Don’t forget to text me tonight’s episode, tomorrow... Bye girl... Luv ya...

Pooja: Idiot!!! luv u Gayuu !!! 

12,December 2011                                                                                                        21.47 hrs

Gayathri was under the influence of vodka, making her unable to walk properly. She quickly went to the restroom and splashed cold water at her face. She was trying to focus on her reflection on the mirror in front of her, but with little success, she came out to the parking. The attendant brought her car; she dropped 50 bucks as a tip and slipped inside the car.

She was cruising at 80 km/hr, once she steeped on the accelerator, leaving behind the party and heavy metal band. With every mile stone passing by, vodka took her close to her fiancé. Her mind was dancing to the foot stomping music, she giggled, masking her embarrassment.  It all happened in one moment; where she saw eternity and jaws of death. In the process of evading a trailer, she made a 45 degree turn towards her left. The car collided on a marked stationary vehicle, fortunately her air bags opened.  Trauma and panic made her faint on the air bags, perhaps she didn’t know, that she had rammed a highway police patrol car.

A 35 year old police constable Deivasigamani , came running after the horrible accident followed by two more constables. Deivasigamani pulled out his walkie-talkie, to transmit the accident to the nearby beat station.

 Deivasigamani: Head PC (police constable) calling from ECR highway near VGP beach. Reporting accident …

Beat station: Sollunga Deivasigamani !!! (yup.. we can hear you Deivasigamani)

Head PC: Head on collision Sir .. namma vandila. Namma alunga safe, tea sapada pona gap la nadathuruku ( they rammed in our vehicle, when we took a break for tea, no injuries on our side)

Beat Station: Driver irukana??? (Is the driver alive???)

Head PC: Ponnu otiruku!!! Drunken driving pola!!! Light ah than adi sir!! Software company vela seidu pola, ID card parthen !! (It’s a girl who has driven the car; moreover she is drunk I presume!! Only slight bruises, ID done Sir)

Beat Station:   Serupala ivalugala adikanum !!! 108 inform panni, GH la oru certificate vangiru!! FIR file panirunga ( Call the ambulance and get a certificate for drunken driving from GH. Don’t forget to file FIR)

Head PC: seringa Sir!! (Okay Sir!!)

PS: The quote in red doesn't belong to me or Pooja but to Mr.Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960