Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thy Name is Indian Education System

I am writing this blog post based on my observations on students doing engineering and also on those who are in 11th and 12th planning to write the various engineering entrance exams.
A parent to me “Sir, my son got 94% marks in intermediate exam and I am not sure why he is doing so badly in engineering?”
I have heard this so many times in the last three years that such a statement no longer surprises me and I even know the answer to this query from the parent. Most of the students who get into such circle of not doing well in engineering after doing good comes from one of the South Indian state also. If I talk to any of the student who is doing bad typically this is the conversation that happens between the student and me.
Me: Why are you doing so badly in your studies now?
Student: Sir I know I am doing badly; I have failed in so many subjects. I was not like this before in my intermediate.
Me: Then why is this happening now?
Student: I never had life till I joined engineering; all I did was preparing for various entrance exams. My day started at 5:00 AM and ends at 11:00 PM in the hostel attached to the school and in between I was not allowed to do anything I really liked to do. All I could do was study and study with the hope that I will crack IIT-JEE. Even after this hard work I did not get through to IIT and then parents also started verbally abusing me with words like “you are good for nothing”. My condition at that time was like a pressure cooker that is fully pressurized. When I joined this school, for the first time I was able to think and stand on my own and I decided to take it easy the first semester. It took me one year to realize that what I was doing is bad but now all I can say is that I will try my best to improve.
I have interacted with enough students doing intermediate (11th and 12th standards) whose childhood has been denied due to this mad race to get a seat for engineering or medicine. Majority of the times I come out of these interactions with tears in the eyes. Peer and parental pressure is taking a huge toll on these teenagers whose sole purpose of existence at that stage of life is securing a sear in engineering or medicine.
Mr. Kapil Sibal, the then Union Human Resources Minister, tried to change this culture of entrance exam by changing the pattern, but the new pattern has made the life more difficult for the students. Now along with the entrance exam preparation students are forced to prepare for their board exam also.
So what is the solution? I believe no law/rule can alleviate the sufferings and torture being undergone by students. Only solution I can think of – allowing students to choose their own career path, rather than parents making a prestige issue of what career their ward should pursue and forcing them to get into that career. There are a good chunk of students who are doing engineering not because they like it but their parents like to see them as engineers. Unless and until the kids are allowed to select their area of interest devoid of any external influence this torture is going to persist.
Do you think it can be solved in any other way?
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Saturday, May 25, 2013

My Article in The Hindu thenxt.step

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The Hindu has published a comprehensive guide for higher education thenxt.step, a compilation of 50 articles written by experts in each field. My article “Choose right” is one of them :)

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Poll – Most Efficient Cabinet Minister in UPA Government


As UPA government is completing fourth year in office, here is a poll – Most Efficient Minister in UPA Government


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Monday, May 20, 2013

'BE FOCUSSED - THOU SHALT WIN' - Review of "Once Upon The Tracks Of Mumbai"

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“Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai” the first novel by Rishi Vohra  is a superb narration which will invoke inspiration for the so called “under achievers” to focus on their goals and work towards their accomplishment. Like the intertwined tracks, the characters make the story an intricate mace of love, attraction, heartbreak and courage and the destination is hope and victory.
The story is written in the first person by Babloo, nickname for Balwant Srivastav, who introduces himself and states that ‘they’(one can say the experts and people around him) said that he was autistic , schizophrenic and psychotic. He is a neglected child for no fault of his as he is slow by birth. He is a 24 year old young man living with his parents and his only brother Raghu , younger to him, who is a graduate and is employed ..The family has been living in the Bandra Railway colony for 26 years. Nobody cares for his likes or dislikes, except Vandana, the daughter of his father’s boss, who is very kind to him and lives in the same colony. However Raghu being the more eligible is engaged to Vandana. Babloo is ignorant about this. He has only one aim in mind – to get the appreciative nods of Vandana and marry her. The colony bad boys’ gang headed by Sikander also has his lusty eyes on her. When he comes to know about Babloo’s adoration for her he uses him to become friendly with her. Vandana is enamoured with Sikander’s high talks but realizes his nature and also saves a teenager from his clutches. However Good prevails over evil.
The introduction of the character of RailMan  from the railway tracks is the mainstay of this novel. He saves the oppressed and people in distress. How Babloo lands in the mental asylum and how he is groomed into a self confident citizen is beautifully described and one should really value Rishi’s imagination for such an useful and inspiring finale. It makes us realize that as parents, siblings , friends , neighbours, relatives and well wishers we must understand with compassion the needs of  such Specially abled members of our society and lend a supportive hand for their rehabilitation.
Kudos to Rishi Vohra for his first novel and we wish that he will give us many more such  beautiful literary experiences.
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

There was a Time When Cricket was Played Like This...

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I was watching one of the IPL-6 matches the other day. With cheer leaders cheering for each team to microphones attached to players in the field, viewing cricket these days have become a visual extravaganza. This made me think of a period (mid eighties to mid nineties) when I was so crazy about cricket and how the matches were telecasted during those times. This blog post is about those days, when as a small kid I will eagerly sit in front of Doordarshan to watch those cricket matches. There was a time when cricket was played like this
  • Only one camera was used to cover the entire match and it is placed near the long-off region
  • Only channel that telecast cricket was Doordarshan
  •  If the test match involving India was held in any other country only highlights will be shown in Doordarshan. One has to depend on All India Radio (AIR) for live commentary of all Test matches outside India
  • Doordarshan had only two commentators – Narathom Puri in English and Sushil Joshi in Hindi (I started learning Hindi listening to Sushil Joshi; he uses only 10 sentences to cover the entire match like – khobsoorat cover drive char run keliya)
  • First slip position is reserved for captains.
  • Diving while fielding is unheard of in cricket field.
  • A score of 30/0 after 10 overs or 45/1 after 15 overs were considered to be a very good score in a one day international.
  • Day and night matches were rare phenomena.
  • Colored cloth and white ball were yet to be discovered in India.
  • Field restrictions were unheard off.
  • Cricket even used to be played in ground meant for athletics having synthetic running tracks.
  • If a batsman mistimes a shot, the single camera in the field moves in the direction where the batsman intended to hit and by the time camera-man realize that it was a mishit and spots the ball, the bowler may have started walking back to his bowling crease.
  • Terms like “Physio” or “Coach” were unheard off in cricket.
  • Best cricket reporting was done by R Mohan of The Hindu and the best weekly covering cricket was “The Sports Star”
  • If you are travelling, the best bet to update the cricket score was the pocket radio.
  • Best commentator for cricket in All India Radio was none other than Harsha Bhogle.
  • Slogging happens in one day cricket only after 40 overs are bowled.
  • Test match crickets were meant to end in draw. Rarely did the Test matches ended in victory for one team.
  • No one was talking about the concept of neutral umpires for Test matches.
  • Every April and September there will be a one day tournament played in Sharjah and during the live telecast you could see Dawood Ibrahim and all those big names in Bollywood in VIP stance in Sharjah.
  • Once a series is over, one has to wait for weeks or months before another international series happen.
I am sure I may have missed so many while writing this one. If you use to watch the match those days and feel that I missed few points unique to that era please add here.
To sum up here is a match that falls under that category – India playing Australia during the 1987 Reliance World Cup. Enjoy!
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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Your Favorite IPL Team Please....

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IPL 6 is going on and cricket fever is fast catching up everywhere. Here is a poll to select your favorite team.


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