Sunday, August 22, 2010


What makes you feel good? – is it the successful career which will bring lots of money? Is it the feeling that you will reach a respectable position? Is it the institute tags which you have acquired over the years? Each individual has different opinion on this question. Someone is ready to work for 15-16 hours to make money as much as possible. Someone wants to have a respectable position in a job for which he/she is ready to trade-off with money. Someone wants to start his own venture to be independent.

Since childhood, we have only learnt to succeed in every competition. The life has become a rat race, where we have become selfish, arrogant, and unemotional money vending machines. Relationships to us have become a duty to be followed. We have lost the essence of parents shouting at us for our wrong doings; even parents feel that ‘my son/daughter is well educated and knows everything. So, we can’t teach him/her anything now’.

When in trouble, most of us seek help from virtual world. The virtual world has become an integral part of life. We smile, cry, show anger etc using emoticons. We feel happy to see our beloved ones over web cam/in digital photos. We have lost the touch and feel of being together.

We have gradually lost the true essence of being happy. We can’t meet /attend our family as we are tied up with tight time schedule; this extends from months to years. Most of us have missed the first steps of our nephew/niece. We have missed the weddings of our best friends. We have missed most of the family gatherings. We know how to invest in market to gain maximum return, but we have forgotten to invest maximum time with family. We know what cuisine is available in which restaurant, but we have gradually lost the sense of satisfaction in mom’s food.

Is this the success what we wanted?

Monday, December 28, 2009

The idiots at their best

‘Strive for excellence, not success; Success is just another milestone on the road to excellence’- the movie ‘3 idiots’ convey this message to the student community in a rhetoric way. The perfectionist Amir Khan playing the lead role in the movie shows different aspects of a student’s life. The prima facie is the career dilemma influenced by the parental desires, the personal desires and the family economic background. The typical Indian mentality is rightly presented here in a lucid way. India has a majority of middle class families – both upper and lower. So the major factor which comes into play while deciding upon career goal is the financial security which in turn results in ‘job-oriented study’. Our education system is also modelled and implemented conforming to this aspect. R&D institutions are still at a nascent stage if we compare with other nations.

This is clear from the above statistics by World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) latest data. What is significant about India, however, is not just its overall ranking, but also the fact that a majority of patents filed and granted by it was to non-residents (whether companies or individuals). Thus, of the 28,940 patents filed in the country, as many as 23,626 (82 per cent) were by non-residents. This was unlike China, where 1,53,060 out of the total 2,45,161 (62 per cent) patents filed originated from resident applicants. This is really heart-rending for a country like India, which has always been viewed as the Intellectual Capital of the world civilization for ages.

A critical and careful analysis of the root cause of this, will point to the structure of education system, albeit, a part of the blame will also be shared by people’s mindset and the economic condition of the country. We proudly claim ‘India is shining’ on the basis of GDP growth, reduction in fiscal deficits, infrastructure improvement, low inflation rate, Sensex trend and other economic indicators. But we have to realize that the service industry which we boast of as the enzyme in economic growth is comprise of mainly the low end jobs which the developed nations find it cheaper to be carried out in India. The service industry is burgeoning in the country and now is the viable and lucrative job option for any knowledgeable and ‘industry-fit’ student. The education system is transforming to a machine generating some guinea pigs which are adaptable to any industry interface, driven by own interest or mostly from moral career dilemma amidst family desire and background. The ones with own interest ends up doing the best of the low end jobs and the leftovers are with the monotonous routine works which hardly require any in-depth knowledge of the subject. The end result is nothing but the wastage of knowledge capital. This is rife in India and particularly with engineers. The majority middle-class Indian families want their child to be engineer or doctor. The child’s abilities and special interests are overlooked in most cases and when the child, if ever, feels his/her own interest and thinks of pursuing it becomes too late or family bindings deter him/her to do so.

This is nicely put forward in the movie, where Madhavan as Farhan who wanted to pursue the career of a wild life photographer joins the best engineering college (because of parents’ interest) and is always among the worst performers of the class. When he realised that he should be a wild life photographer, rather than an engineer, he almost seemed to have touched the excellence in that. The message through this is simple and I think everyone should understand that we can be the best and have satisfaction in whatever we are doing, only when we have interest in that. The sooner we realise that the better it is. The mere percentage or relative grading doesn’t prove anything regarding the ability or inability of a student. If we can identify the one aspect of our life, at which we are the best and enjoy doing that then I think no barrier is hard to cross upon. Our education system also needs to be changed accordingly and should be the platform for knowledge capital, rather than being the labour creating machines. The creative abilities of the child should be nurtured and should be guided in the right path. The family and the education institution play the role of platform. More research oriented institutions should come up in the country which can utilize the best brains of the country to do something for the community as a whole. Then only the more innovations in science and technology or in any creative field will come up and we will not have to see the scarcity of patents from our country, which will result in overall prosperity of the country. For this, we need a planned combined effort implemented in the most suitable possible way. ’India Shining’ is just a media hype or a feel good factor until then.

The three idiots in the movie got all their dreams come true following the inner call, the passion for the same and the timely judgement. Amir Khan ,as Phunshuk Wangru, becomes a scientist who has 400 patents filed against his name and runs a school in Shimla where innovation matters. Madhavan, as Farhan, is doing a professional course on wild life photography in Brazilian Forest under the world’s best wild life photographer. Sharman Joshi, as Raju, is continuing his job as a successful engineer. Who will not want to be an idiot like them?

Note: The statistics used in the article are taken from ‘Business Line’- a business daily from the HINDU group publication, 1st Oct 2009.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

An Odyssey

It was almost the wee hour of the morning. I was still banging my head to resolve the issue in the COBOL code-just another common day in software engineer’s life. Suddenly, I got message from my manager who was coordinating with me from US ‘it’s okay Manash, you can leave for the day’. What a respite after the whole day of slogging! I quickly booked a cab to rush to home. It was 4 am of a December morning. Then I had a glance of my mobile – 32 missed call. Oh No! My wife was trying to reach me since 10 pm. I thought of calling her but I thought she might have collapsed in bed after work. Sometimes, the humdrum of life ennui me to the extremity of leaving everything and go to my village and start something of my own. Is this the kind of corporate life I was hoping for? Is this what I wanted or my well wishers wanted? This is not what I anticipated from the corporate life. Yeah! I do wanted money but not at the cost of my family life. These feelings often bewilder me a lot. Suddenly I heard the cab driver waving his hand at me to guide me to the cab. I lit up a fag and it was like the inner serenity I was searching for. In this mental state, I generally use to be keen observer and it never precludes me from being myself. I could see an old impoverished sleeping on the footpath and was in recurrent fight with the cold breeze of December morning with only the non-capacious blanket he was having at that time with him. A cadaverous boy, on the other side of the road, was washing the furniture of a restaurant to make it ready for the will-be visiting lavish people. Our cab took a U-turn and suddenly a serpentine throng of people caught sight of me. They were waiting for the daily municipal water which was available might be for a specific time slot of the day. The daily wage workers were all waiting for the potential clients to earn bread and butter of the day. The kind of apprehension they were in, was palpable from their faces. The miserable life for which I was lamenting a few minutes ago was simply nugatory and unwarranted in front of their hapless lives and the harrowing experience they had to undergo in every instance of their lives. The mere dream of sustenance always haunts them. I thanked God for the kind of life He has offered me and awe to him for the same, for not having to lead such a life. I am the luckiest person on Earth! The sudden brake of the cab brought me to the reality. I reached home by that time.’ Whatever happens, happen for good and try to get the best out of the rotten mango’. May be this was the only source of solace in that muddled state!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A beautiful dream

My shadow and I looked in to the azure sky. What a pleasant weather it is!! ‘A perfect weather for the weekend’, I murmured. I was impressed by the august surroundings of the Kovalam beach. It reminds me of my training days some 30 years back in my first job. The slight difference is at that time I was with my friends and now I am with my better half. I always had arcane desire to spend a weekend with my love and here it is. My love was looking at me with an inquisitive mind, but she kept silent and, it was apropos as sometimes eyes say more than the words. We walked for half a kilometer along the beach. The eddy currents of the water touched our feet as if it was trying to rejuvenate us. The tides sometimes ebb and again picked up their temper to the acme. The whole environment was really captivating. We suddenly realized that we came really far and we should get some rest. We sat down by the side of the beach. The sun was about to leave from the daily job, while at the same time the moon took the charge from it. A distant ship was sailing in the vast sea and it seemed to us as if it was trying to find its existence in the sheer vastness. The whole day passed as if like few minutes and we didn’t even realize how it passed. I penned down a few lines on the whole environment. My wife added colour to it. An anecdote of our best anniversary ever in last 30 yrs!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The regional Railway Budget!!

India's political system has long been mired in ugly regionalism.The regional politics has gone to such a height that it tends to belittle the national interests.Will our politicians ever be true to the whole of the nation as a whole? Will they ever atleast try to keep their promises for which they are mandated by common people to hold the incumbent offices-they are enjoying currently? Let's take the case of our current govt , UPA ( part 2 edition). From the time of campaign before Lok Sabha election and till date, their main agenda has been the 'inclusive growth', but till date what we have seen is just a lukewarm response.Yesterday's railway budget presented by Miss Mamata Banerjee is just another chagrin of their own loudly claimed agenda. The budget though claims to be catered to all sections, all regions of the country, yet I think the successive governments fail to identify the importance of including North East region in their 'inclusive' definition.The result, with every reform Miss Banerjee has mentioned, Howrah, Sealdah, Kolkata have been pronounced several times. Why North East region has always been neglected like this? Why are they bereft of something which is their fundamental rights as a citizen of India? In my previous posts also, I have always been claiming the negligence of central government towards North East region. Growth in infrastructure and connectivity are the only ways through which we can placate the 'deep feeling of negligence' among insurgents in the North East region.It has become an exigent issue. If we are going to procastinate the development issues in North East, we are going to create problems to our country itself. The rail budget should have got the importance of connecting few states in North East, rather than connecting unnnecessary stations like Singur with Nandigram and quixotic plan of converting stations like Sealdah to world class standard.

'I have catered to every state, to every part of the country and in that I have done it for bengal too.There is no reason why I should ignore Bengal' – Mamata Banerjee

The above populist statements made by Banerjee are just attempts to shed her image as anti-industry and to ensure easy win for the next lok sabha election. Can Miss Banerjee justify the bold parts above in the statement? Does she not consider the North East region as a part of India? Madam, we are not telling you to ignore Bengal state. If you and your government really consider 'inclusive growth' as the base for India's growth, where is the mention of any state of North-East region in your rail budget? Do your much acclaimed slogan 'ma,mati,manush' not consider North-East region? You don't have any answer for these questions for sure.Mr.Manmohan Singh ji ,instead of complimenting Banerjee for her Bengal- pro rail budget, you should have acted more responsibly, as you are holding the responsibility of running the whole nation and please don't forget,the North-East is also a part of India.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Reform (UPA- Part 2): Class X exam

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) seems to be on the track of many liberal changes in its part-2 edition. Soon after the election 2009 verdict, the newly appointed ministers were asked to act, rather than to talk.Now we can see the results in the form of a few historical change proposals.HRD Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal is in the favour of doing away with Class X board exam to reduce the stress on students and to nullify the number of suicide cases among non-performing students. This is a welcome change as part of the Indian Education System is concerned.But to enforce it in a more effective way so that it doesn't prove infructuous is more important.In TOI dated 2nd July 09, columnist Nandita Sengupta has given some minute details in the article 'exams are not problems', where she opposes the view of Mr.Sibal that exams are the only traumatic drawback that is coming in the way of children's higher studies.In support of this,she unveils the fact of sheer paucity of opportunities thereafter.A poor performing student of lower middle class can't afford to take an educational loan and go abroad for studies of his preference, which the higher class can.In that case, even the percentages are replaced with percentiles will still not make sense. The poor performing student is still left with no options.So, the doing away with one exam will not suffice at all. We need to create more institutions with quality standard with an adequate number of seats there, more job oriented vocational studies and more job opportunities for every stream of study. Then only every section of society will have access to higher education and this in turn,will add value to knowledge base of the country as a whole.Mr. Sibal will have to look from this angle too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

After 17

It took 17 years to probe the most controversial communal injustice act, the Babri Masjid Demolition in December 6, 1992-the Liberhan Committee report appeared yesterday. When asked about the massive delay, Mr. Liberhan imputed the witnesses for their non-cooperation. The whole fuss over this issue which has long been debated over and in the due course of time which seems to be petered out, again has got a new life.This report accused not only the saffron family of the ruthless act, but also the then PM of India Mr. P.V. Rao and the CM of UP, Mr.Kalyan Singh for their incompetence to act rationally and with effect.It is very shameful for the democratic country, when the leaders of the country playing the ball game in the name of secularism. The People of Ayodhya, specially the Muslim community, might have forgotten the whole episode of melodrama in due course of time, but the vengeance will still remain in their blood forever.The penalty will be paid by the generations to follow.The accused will never expiate for the sins they had committed 17 years ago, but time has come to ostracize such moral lepers.The people of Ayodhya, the whole nation in general, should learn from this sinful act and the side effects. This is a wake up call to all Indians.