Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

Ask me no questions and i shall tell you no lies :)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Teaching tips and views ~ Classroom teaching

Teaching.....a profession that deals with successful knowledge transition from a teacher to a student....well, that's how we all know it, isn't it? Teaching has always been a noble profession for years and today it is a profession tinged with aristocracy. And it is transforming itself absolutely into a business oriented profession steadily.

If we take a ride into the past, teaching was a knowledge sharing procedure which commenced with Gurukuls, where the transition was purely oral and practice related and where the students were a limited crowd. The Gurus then, taught Vedas and much more, orally. Then came the system of taking and making notes. To preserve the teachings, some disciples who later became Gurus transformed this procedure into teaching and preserving the knowledge, by cataloging them as pamphlets. With time, as the world progressed, so did it shrink. Today, everything remains the same in the superficial sense. However, in retrospect things have changed, rather have changed a lot.

Those days in school, we used to take down notes during lectures. There was not that much of force to study for marks, but for knowledge. Also teachers taught us, the aim of studying is to learn correctly and retain knowledge to apply it wherever required. However, in higher classes, that knowledge as a term was reduced to a misnomer. Today students no longer study for knowledge, but for marks that could later get them into a good college and later pave their way to a lucrative career or a post graduation degree abroad. Amidst all this, I wonder whatever happened to teaching, to be more precise, classroom teaching? Adding to that, Internet has slowly started taking over the student psychology and is a rising threat to a class room teacher. In years to come, I don’t think there will be any concept of class rooms, let alone the concept of changing curriculum prevail.....

So why is class room teaching important? What is the role of a teacher in the changing curriculum? Where does the actual problem lie? To start with, there is a loophole our education system which is not visible in the present, let alone in future. I would like to voice my opinions on the same.

  • First, the concept of studying for marks should be replaced with the concept of earning by earning. More importance must be given to the concept of "Thirst for knowledge" than "Greed for marks"
  • Classrooms need to be more interactive involving every student, irrespective of where he/she sits. It is not important to know whether a student has done his homework or not. In this world of CUT /COPY/PASTE, completing homework is not a difficult task. It is rather important for the teacher to understand whether the knowledge transition from the teacher’s head to the student’s head has been successful or not. To know better, there need to be sudden revision tests (both written and oral) inside the classroom itself to check the pro activeness of every student.
  • The teacher must be capable of accepting all students in the same stride. It is very important to remember, no child is weak and no child is more intelligent than the other. Remember, every child is unique and covets a hidden talent. The challenge for a teacher is NOT in making a bright student getting a higher rank but in how to get the best out of a not-so-bright student.
  • To avoid students getting attracted to internet, students must be involved more in small time academic projects that demand team work. It is important for every student to realize that only team work can get the best out of him/her, no matter what! Internet as a ruling alternative to teaching, is an undisputed competition of knowledge transitioning, but it deprives the child of his/her friends and later can make him quite insensitive to the world around and also numb to difference of opinions that would arise eventually. It is definitely not a healthy growth for a child. The teacher in the classroom can encourage a group of students to search a topic (each student one topic) on internet and can ask them to share their research and views in the classroom. This can be done on a regular basis (once a week usually on Fridays)
  • Innovation is a very important concept in today’s world and this alone can stop the death of classroom teaching and rising unpopularity of a class teacher. Innovation means what? Novelty, being indigenous, originality! Yes! The fire of novelty should burn within every child. This is the sole responsibility of a teacher to ignite that spark because a teacher alone can do it!
  • Usually a classroom teaching goes on for an hour, of which I would suggest the last 15 mins must be kept aside for conducting a quiz to check the alertness of every student. It is very natural for a student to get bored after 30 mins. So this must be an experience, rather a rewarding experience for him/her with some extra gift or something. The interest must be inculcated in them. And quizes should be periodically awarded with appreciation at the right instant which can do wonders by turning around a dull brain into an amazingly intelligent one!
  • And it is the duty of a class teacher to make sure that every student realizes that no subject is after all hard and every subject is damm interesting. A student must feel attracted to the subject and that is possible only if the teacher delivers the lecture in a lucid manner, illustrating as many examples as possible. Teaching should be such that the student need not open his book at home only to study out of compulsion! Rather a student must study out of impulsion. Isn't it?
  • The most important thumb rule for a classroom teacher is "Drive the knowledge into the student by the force of curiosity and not by the force of marks". Make him ask you questions. The more a student questions, the more the teacher learns and more is the teacher successful in building the student's quest for knowledge. And the more a teacher works hard towards quenching the student’s thirst for knowledge, the more intriguing the subject becomes, thereby adding to the satisfaction of the teacher and the student.
Teaching, especially classroom teaching is a novelty in itself. So to strive towards a better classroom with changing curriculum with a vibrant student crowd, there needs to be a change, a drastic change for the better, so that students emerge as talents waiting to bloom! And when one talks about competition, it is imperative, thought it should not turn a student into a rat! Isn't it? Happy teaching...!!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Aamir ~ Movie Review

Dated : 23-07-08

“This wretched world is so much full of hate when there is so little time to love…..”

Aamir is a brilliant movie directed by Raj Kumar Gupta with the cast – Rajiv Khandelwal as the male protagonist – Dr. Aamir Ali. It is a very simple but beautifully written script about a Good Samaritan doctor – Aamir, who having studied medicine in London decides to return back to his beloved motherland and more importantly to his affectionate family that consists of his parents, three sisters and a younger brother. Everything is moving smoothly in life for our Aamir who has a name to him, a wonderful family and a beautiful girl friend -soon to marry (who ironically is a Hindu and this fact establishes the secular mindset of this young handsome doctor). But it seems Destiny has other plans for him…..
“Kaun kehta hai ki har aadmi apni kismat khud banata hai?”As our hero gets up from his sweet slumber to find that he has reached his much adored destination, he gets ready for a warm rendezvous reunion with his doting family. But life is not what it seems to be. Moments later he waits outside the airport slightly agitated at the fact that he doesn’t find his family to welcome him at the airport and nor his phone is answered at home. But his wait of those few seconds is disturbed as his luggage is suspiciously scooped off and two anonymous motorcyclists hurl a mobile at him and honk off. As the mobile starts ringing, his face cribs with utter dismay and confusion, unable to comprehend the happening around him. And then as he attends the call by anonymous caller, he realizes for no reason, his innocently decorated fairy tale world comes crumbling down to dust, slaughtering his fore seen blissful dreams that abruptly paves way for a never ending bizarre nightmare. Then as the movie proceeds, Aamir, landing up in the beleaguered by-lanes of the dingy area of Dongri (in Mumbai) in his unfriendly suite, realizes slowly the gut fact that he has been caught in an uncanny mesh created by a bunch of religiously fanatic and conniving wierdos of his own community, who deceitfully trap him, by taking his family as hostage. With no body to help him around in his hour of agony, he is forced to work as a puppet in the hands of the unknown devious minds, who relentlessly monitor his movements as well as thoughts. As the movie progresses towards the end, and as the climax sheds its cocoon, he shockingly comes to realize, with his conscience suffering immense mental fatigue and an appalling pain….., that he has been embroiled in a malicious bombing conspiracy to bring dread in the lives of the innocents…..
The movie has done a great job from every angle be it the camera effect, the direction, the script and the acting. The sudden camera movements by Alphonse Roy and the unpredictable background score by Amit Trivedi is impeccable. This is the first movie for Rajiv Khandelwal(who is a renowned tele actor having credits to his name in serials like Left Right Left as Captain Rajveer) and is definitely a launch pad for him towards the fame world as he has come up with a restrained but natural performance of a troubled common man. The acting by Gajrao Rao as the sadistic villain also deserves accolades.
This is a must watch Folks!


My feudal Lord ~ Book review

"What could possibly be the plight of a woman who is trapped in the whims and fancies of a feudal society, of a woman who has grown not knowing what is love even in the presence of her parents, of a woman who has carried a severe inferiority complex all her life due to undue comparison with siblings younger to her, of a woman who craved for trust and attention she deserved but when all she got was incessant ridicule and betrayal from her own folks, of a woman who chose to walk on the road of thorns that ultimately led her to the gateway of hell, of a woman who was driven to paranoia by a sadist whom she chose willingly as her life partner, of a woman who somewhere played a major role in the misleading twists and turns of Pakistan politics, of a woman who lost everything - from property to children(who were her only source of happiness in her chaotic life)to her feudal husband, following a cataclysmic divorce…"

Well this is the biography of a beautiful woman born in the highly affluent, influential and richer than the rich Durrani family - My Feudal Lord!

MY FEUDAL LORD is a mediocre autobiography written by a traumatized Tehmina Durrani about her despondent life she led with a feudal lord, the infamous Mustafa Khar (The one time right hand man of Mr.Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) for 14 enduring years. The author takes the reader in her roller coaster life that she starts off as the sixth wife to Mustafa Khar – The one time LION OF PUNJAB. As the chapters of her life unfold, events follow stating how her marriage slowly caged her in a hellhole where she endured unremitting physical abuse and mental torture inflicted by her husband. Her nightmarish life also gives an insight into Pakistan politics which had turned into a bloodhunting arena for power where people were all set to sacrifice anything and everything, just to get hold of the power. The authors further takes the reader into a demoralized political world of Pakistan where nothing but anarchy and mistrust prevailed, where words like trust, compassion and humanity were hypothetical and where nothing was what it seemed! Her personal life was no less wretched. Strained relations with her mother and a paranoid world created by her husband only made her journey of life worse!

As the reader progresses, wasted politics of Pakistan and events such as the military coup by General Zia-Ul-Haq, the disgraceful execution of Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the exile of the Bhutto family that migrated to London for those strenuous 14 years, the souring of Indo-Pak relations, the mysterious rise of the manipulative Mustafa Khar – the author’s husband (who was then the plausible political successor of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and who is said to have been named as the Brutus who back stabbed Bhutto by relegating to the military coup in the last minute), the unexplained death of the general and Mustafa Khar’s temporary exile to UK and the author’s own turbulent life and her participation in politics helping in the political rise of her husband by becoming a noteworthy member of the political clout and last but not the least how her tragic relationship with her husband ended in a catastrophic divorce, losing out her children and property to him, are some of the major highlights of this book.

This book is a an eye-opener for every female of the feudal world – "Suffering injustice itself is a sin!"


10 am Gossip…….could cost u a vessel of milk……

Dated : 22-06-08
It is late morning and as usual the sun has come out shining out in its full bloom and then suddenly a huge trumpet like sound comes from outside of the house. Everyone is accustomed to that blaring horn that is blown by the Enfield of the milkman who usually comes around at that time to deliver fresh milk. Fresh milk means a lot to all folks at home, especially for a TAMBRAHM family for whom filter coffee prepared in fresh milk is the kick start for a new immaculate day. That horn had probably become a habitual clock for all the people living in our society. It was apparent that it is 10 AM.
…..and then comes a lady running down from upstairs of my sweet home, on hearing the horn. My mom is so active and I and my dad fondly look at her as ever, as she rushes with that milk vessel outside. We sometimes wonder if with 2 legs, if she could really be so active, what she would have been capable of, if she had wheels on her legs!

The horn may not mean anything to me, dad and uncles but to mom and aunties out there it is like a call awaited anxiously. A mini group discussion with exchange of worldly information and sometimes local information as to what is going on around will always commence after the milk is delivered. After collecting the milk, the discussion is kept alive and kicking and they all talk as if they have met long long ago (which actually is just a couple of hours back while they were in their morning walk that indicates the start of the major ‘group discussion’ uncharitably coined by my father as ‘Gossip’). The chat show continues for some more time more. After the milkman has left and still as the great Indian Group discussion is on, an impatient but a gentle reminder calls innocently from inside of most of the houses in the form of coughing or high volume of TV or a music system which suddenly starts screaming out of nowhere J

But these days, in the world of fast moving events, a lot can actually happen in couple of hours sometimes pretty comic….. :D
My neighbor’s house has high flooring and low compound wall. So my neighbor (whom we all affectionately call Pinky Aunty), prefers to keep the milk vessel on the wall reclining on that which is close to our house. The milk man comes close to that point for delivering the milk at one place to all the women. After all, he also wants to enrich his general knowledge and occasionally contributes information (relevant or irrelevant, females do enjoy taking in information) of other societies.

And so on one such fine sunny day, it so happened that Pinky aunty had as usual been gossiping and had been asking the milkman as to why the milk rates had shot up rocket high. He had been explaining to her, putting in his indisputable efforts to convince her with his justification. The discussion was just going on. And there were witnesses to that serious discussion, like my mom and four more aunties. While talking, he was actually doing some multi-tasking by pouring the milk into the empty vessels that only caught his eye. And then somewhere, the milk man felt that the discussion was invariably turning into an argument and so anticipating the consequences he made a quick escape by excusing himself with the reason of time constraint and he honked off. Then the argument dint end there as aunty protracted it by discussing the issue with other ladies who were nodding their heads in agreement. And as my mom was already too entertained by the scene and also because my father’s impatience was brimming in the form of loud coughs, she started to advance fast towards home. But then all of a sudden, an empty vessel caught her attention. Then after a minute or so with an confined giggle she innocently asked aunty to look at it…..
Lo Behold! That idiot discussed so seriously with her about the milk prices and all and had all the way forgotten to fill that empty milk vessel of hers. All others burst out laughing as they saw her vessel empty. But Pinky aunty - she is a real fighter man! She always has her way and she is not the one who takes things indifferently. After all she is a Sikhni. So as she decided to teach him a lesson, the lioness of Amritsar took out her Kinetic Honda with the vessel and zoomed after that fellow………..
My mom took some time to control her uncontrolled laughter and narrated the incident with utmost interest. And I was pretty amused and at the same time curious to know about the lesson taught to that poor fellow, and a day after (not being able to restrain my inquisitive nature) in a lighter mood asked her. She replied – “No Beta it was not his fault alone. He said – Behenji! Aap bhi to bhool gayi thi aur aapne hi to baton me itna uljha diya Hume ki hum bhi bhool gayen”. I just winked at her and got the same wink back.J

The last I heard that after that day - everything remained the same. The milk vessel was as usual lying at its normal place. But there was a slight change in the responsibility of taking milk. Now everyday dada ji comes to take the milk vessel. :D


Where in the name of Lord, has humanity gone?

Dated : 19-06-08

In the intricate journey of childhood to adulthood, a man undergoes a complete transition from innocence to expediency, from fearlessness to consciousness, from a fairy tale life to a tough life, bestowed upon him by this callous world. As a child he is innocent, dumb and probably novice, but at a later stage when the same child grows up to become a man, he appears to be (mind it well…..just appears to be) pragmatic, well behaved, learned and so on. In short he turns out to be something he is not. I know u folks must be wondering what I am trying to convey. Right? Well I precisely want to say that we all have become a bunch of nerds living in an eccentric world where anything done differently is treated indifferently. Why I gave the analogy of a child is becoz, as a child a man doesn’t fear anything becoz he has no expectations and he looks at the world as if he has nothing to lose, but as time proceeds, when he gets to know the society, the world he lives in, he no more remains the same….he adapts not only to the society but also adopts the changes by changing his own identity.
This world has become a hard-hitting ruthless place to live, not showing any signs of improvement in the perspective of humanity. It is like residing in an alien planet with a bunch of wierdos where the desire to help and expectations to be helped have dropped dead!!!!! There have been times when we witness something that is not right. Instead of retaliating to the incident, we look over the incident as any normal incident. WHY? One incident just happened a couple of months back. The incident was small but it showed me the grass reality. I had just got down from my office bus and was heading towards home. And the time was probably 7:15 pm. While listening to the music as I usually do, I was just approaching the corner of the road when a boy was just hit by a car and he fell off from his bicycle. He was not injured…..I just rushed to see if everything was ok. I helped him to stand on his legs. He gave me that “THANK YOU” look with a smile that contained both surprise and relief at the same time which appeared all the more confusing to me for two reasons. One as to why that boy gave me a surprised look and second why no one in that crowded road came to rescue that li’l boy? While I discussed this with my friend, she din seem to appreciate what I did. Instead she started asking me if at all I knew the person whom I rushed to help…. (Sigh!) Do we really need to know a person to help him/her when they are in distress in front of our eyes…..?????
People often mistake the ‘Minding ones own bussiness’ approach towards life for pragmatism. They think by doing that precisely, one becomes a sensible and a level headed person. As per me, that perception is absolutely wrong. I would coin the term – senile rather than sensible for such people. Whatever happens in this world happens as per the destiny’s want. “The day a man ignores injustice as any other normal happening, he must remember that he is next in the line of fire”. Ignorance is always a bliss but deliberate ignorance is nothing less than a sin. The world has progressed to a great extent in terms of technology and prosperity. On the contrary it has shrinked so much that we are always just a call/chat away from our chums, but alas! it has regressed equally in terms of humanity. Sometimes I feel, this world is badly in need of mavericks who can make a difference and prove that there is a world beyond money, work and fun. We were born with two hands. One hand is to help self and the other hand to help others. The day this world realizes it, it would be God’s dream come true (if at all there is a GOD watching all of us from above…..)

Dashavataram ~ Movie Review

Dated : 17-06-08

“I do not say– There is no God! But I only say it would have been better had there been one!”
A movie that takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride across the centuries, across the countries and more importantly across the time giving the viewer an insight into the in depth rationalization of the Chaos theory and the Butterfly effect, A movie that brings out some stigmatizing social evils that still exist in the society in a curt and right but humorous way, A movie that questions the game of destiny, further questioning the belief in the supernatural power, with a fetter of coincidences that are brought live in this movie by the 10 astounding roles played by Padmashree Dr Kamal Hasan. – Dashavataram.
Movie - GIST
The movie starts off taking the viewer way back in the 12th century – The days of Cholas…when the distinction and discrimination between the Shaivaites and the Vaishnavaites was apparent. It so happens that the King Kulothunga Chozan then in power wants to have the huge idol of Lord Vishnu to be thrown over and out into the ocean to bring the victory of the Shaivaites to history. But there is one strong willed man, who going strong on his belief in Lord Vishnu, decides to lay down his life and leave his family behind to uphold the faith he has in his Lord. He is RangaRajan Nambi – the hard core Vaishnavaite (the 1st role played by Kamal Hasan) who then cajoled by his loving wife Kothai (played by Asin) to bend down to the king’s whims and fancies for the sake of his family that consists of a son too. But Nambi decides to go even with the ocean rather than with the king and so he embraces death with dignity going into the unfathomable abyss of the deep blue ocean along with his Lord………..Then the movie suddenly fast forwards the time and after travelling across the century the viewer enters a biological lab in progress in USA in the year 2004. Dr. Govind Ramasamy Naiker (The second role played by Kamal Hasan and also the reincarnate of Nambi in modern age) a brilliant scientist cum atheist who has been conducting some biological experiments that has produced a hazardous chemical fluid which is actually a bio weapon. But the guinea pig kept in captivity is a monkey named Hanu, which unknowingly mistakes that medicine for chocolate and drinks it only to die a bizarre death with blood spurting out from every fissure of its body. This incident rakes up an unethical deal between the treacherous scientists and an ex-CIA agent turned terrorist – Fletcher (The third role played by Kamal Hasan as the terrorist) with an innocent Govind as the only witness to it. And then starts the cat and a mouse game between Fletcher and Govind with the former behind the latter and the latter behind the vial that contains the ultimate death for the world. As Govind is busy switching the place of the vial for safety of the world, Fletcher accompanied by his female partner – Jasmine (who is none other than the hot sensual babe – Mallika Sherawat), is swiftly switching his places to hunt Govind down and take the vial to bring the ultimate destruction to the world. As the game continues, bodies pile up in the blood game resulting in the death of Yuka - the sister of Shinghen(The fourth role played by Kamal Hasan as the Japanese Martial Arts teacher) and the word reaches George Bush, the President of US(the fifth role played by Kamal Hasan) and immediately information carries itself faster than the deadly virus of the much coveted vial(that actually travels to Chennai in an unknown parcel) and Govind reaches Chennai to fetch it but there he is greeted by the sturdy policeman – Balram Naidu (the sixth role played by Kamal Hasan) who, belonging to Andhra Pradesh favors for and bends more towards his ethnicity. As the game of death proceeds, our hero Govind after a long arduous escape from the blabbering Naidu and the conniving Fletcher(who along with Jasmine follows him to India), ends up in a Brahmin dominated village (Agraharam) that carries more of the Vaishnavite sentiments, only to meet the beautiful Andal(played by Asin) who is the reincarnate of Kothai of the former century(Ironically there is a role switch..In the pervious century, it was nambi who was the firm believer in his Lord and here in this birth it is Andal…..)…..As the vial reaches the 95 year old lady – Krishnaveni Paati (The seventh role played by Kamal Hasan) in the form of a parcel, the journey takes twists and turns with all the players including Balram, Fletcher, Jasmine ending up in the same village for the vial and as the entire focus directs itself towards the vial, the old unsuspecting Krishnaveni Pati puts the vial into the idol of Lord Narayana as she says “Let him show the way”. And then with more bodies piling up as Fletcher unscrupulously goes on a rampage killing everyone on his way, Govind and Andal end up being together through out the movie with Govind protecting the vial and Andal protecting the idol. Also in the movie we come across Avtar Singh(the eighth role played by Kamal Hasan as the Punjabi) who being a singer suffers from a cancerous growth in his throat decides to give his best in the last show of his, Kaifulllah Khan(the ninth character played by Kamal Hasan as the unusually tall Afghan) who plays a major role in circumstancing the Butterfly effect for Govind and Vincent Boovaragan (the tenth character played by Kamal Hasan as the Dalit leader) who fights for the weaker ones. There are many incidents in the movie that all tag together giving ground to the sequence of the events that happen and ultimately giving rise to the end scene where Fletcher, Govind, Andal and Shingen(knowing that Fletcher slay his dear sister) are caught in the death quadrangle with Fletcher having the vial. As Fletcher with the malevolent smile drinks that fluid to bring death to the world, destiny has other plans as it brings tsunami where the ocean unleashes its fury on earth (also considering the fact that the cure for that virus was NaCl and the ocean has loads of it ) as if it was venting vengeance against the wrong done.
Movie – Review Dashavataram – A splendid attempt by a 54 year old prodigy – Padmashree Dr. Kamal Hasan, to study and analyze the concept of science, God and reality. The events have been circumstanced in such a way that the viewer cannot just help but wonder at how the link has been created between each event. The Butterfly effect being an important part of the Chaos theory has been skillfully incorporated in this movie. For example, without Shinghen, Govind would have been dead. Without the tsunami, the world would have been destroyed by the bio weapon. Without Krishnaveni Patti the vial would have gone in the hands of Fletcher had she not put the vial into the idol. And from the time the vial went into the idol, it looked as if destiny was mentoring the movements of the cat and mouse chase game. Even Kaifulllah Khan (the unusually tall Afghan) also played a minor but conspicuous role becoz without him, Govind would have never escaped Naidu or Fletcher and the list simply goes on……The comedies in the movie have been very spontaneous and have been timed so correctly that one must watch the movie with great concentration in order not to miss it. There has been a boring intervention in-between as the movie becomes slow somewhere near the end but the tsunami at the end surpasses the flaws and makes it a fantabulous ending to the long arduous journey towards saving the world. The music that has been composed by Himesh Reshamiya has been an average one though.
Any layman after watching this movie may not enjoy this much but when one gets to analyze the sequel of events, he/she would realize that it requires a paramount intelligence event to attempt to make such a movie! This is a must watch movies Folks!!!!!




Anything for you mam! ~ Book Review

Anything for you Mam is a hilarious book by an adventurous and naughty but a die hard romantic IITian – Tushar Raheja. A book very splendidly written in a simple language with a striking direction, citing all the cute naughtiness hidden inside every guy, takes the reader into the adventurous life of this IITian, who step by step details out as to what all impediments he had to cross in his college tenure to meet his love to the extent of missing his industrial tour.

As the reader kick starts, he embarks on a wonderful journey of an IITian’s college life filled with a pot load of mischief and notoriety, where studying in the most reputed institute hardly matters to the guys. The author brings out certain facets of guys beautifully like the aching in every guy to have a girlfriend with whom he can share his feelings, with whom he can indulge in a romantic candle light dinner, for whom he can lie to any extent even to their professors to the extent of bunking industrial trips, with whom he can just sit back and relax reminiscing cherished memories of togetherness. The author narrates a chain of incidents with a fantastic humor, starting with his well known notoriety as a regular next door prankster that is followed by his introduction to his sister’s friend (with whom he falls in love with) and his tussles and tiffs with his professors for having done all 'not so ideal' things to provoke them and last but not the least, his succession of lies that he concocts in order to miss his industrial tour, just to meet his lady love in Chennai. The perfect ending with how that much coveted tour to Chennai rewards him each time with striking fetter of coincidences makes him finally realize "After all, it is a small small world!!!!!"

Kudos to the author for his brilliant writeup! A must read for all guys and gals! It is a good read that is bound to lift up your moods anytime!


Memory - A boon or a burden ~ A perspective of life

Dated : 22-03-08

Memory –Is it a boon or burden????? A question to ponder! Why is it that we are quick in remembering unsavory or unhappy incidents that have occurred in the past and have to rake our cerebral matter in search of pleasant events, despite the fact that our life is filled with equal share of both pleasant events and unpleasant ones????? When I posed the question to my father, he replied in his characteristic humor "Rare things are perceived precious and naturally the precious things are guarded covetously in our memory. For a beggar, happier moments are rare and see how happy he appears when compared to us."

The irritated look on my face got a deeper answer out of him. And then he gave the wisely words of his Guru.....

"Every incident that happens has got two aspects. One it is an experience associated with an emotion good, bad, positive, negative, pleasant, unpleasant etc. Second it teaches a lesson however trivial it may be. If you tend to throw away the juice (the lesson) out and retain the waste (the incident with the negative feelings) no wonder, the insalubrious and unpleasant memories becomes more of a burden. It is like the food we take that contains both nutritious part and the waste. A living body has been designed to retain the nutritious part to add value to organs, and to expel the waste periodically. A human being has a value addition to it with a mind, to acquire the wisdom, to design a similar mechanism to take the due lesson from the incident and forget the incident but not the lesson. He has the capacity to scrutinize the events in his life and conclude on what is right and wrong as per the situation."

And then he gave an example - "The best thing about a child is, it actually learns the lesson and takes the quintessence unlike elders"

So true.....As we all grow up, some of us tend to adorn only the child-ish image and some of us retain the child-like quality. And so one is to be periodically reminded to practice the child like quality of "learn the lesson and forget the incident". That’s when memory becomes a boon. Otherwise memory is a burden that paves path towards a miserable life.

Well the choice is left to an individual: A boon or a burden?


The trip with a pinch of salt..... ~ Journey blues!

Dated : 14-02-08

It was a strenuous journey back home. I had been sitting in the bus for the past 2 hours and was getting pretty bored . It was almost 1 am and I just couldn’t get enough sleep as I shivered in the cold due to the air conditioning of the bus. Being a regular Volvo traveler, I was used to the uncomfortable way of sitting and the irritating air conditioners that blew all the stale cold air right above on our heads and with the blaring TV that barely had anything new to entertain. Yet that day was awfully cold in particular and I was trying to get some warmth by cuddling inside the shawl I had. I closed my eyes and was dozing off to sleep. And I don’t know how the time passed…….

Somewhere around early morning(din know what time it was and din bother to open my eyes and see the time as it would shatter my sleep), I could hear some voices and those voices grew louder and I gradually opened my eyes that were straining to open. The conductor was screeching at the top of his voice– “SURAT…… SURAT” and I again dozed off as there was yet an hour to reach my destination BHARUCH. The bus honked off again. I was already dog-tired due to the painful sitting through out the journey and the blissful sleep was inviting me to its paradise of slumber. I welcomed it with all pleasure. Some time later, a looming voice was heard but could not comprehend what it said. And then I went totally blank and found myself sinking deeper and deeper into an abyss of darkness……

It is said that Man is the happiest creature on earth only when he is sleeping becoz that’s the only time perhaps, when he thinks absolutely nothing. It can be said – Sleep brings out the child like innocence in man. And a man, to whomsoever sleep comes voluntarily is a blessed soul….(So I consider myself one ). That was a sleep without dreams and no disturbance and that was going to prove me wrong very shortly……

I could feel some light coming all over my closed eyes. Was wondering how come the sun had woken up so early….And gradually opened my eyes by knitting my brows. Something was not right. I could sense it. The surrounding area dint appear familiar to me. I sat up straight and shifted the curtains all towards left and saw a board with letters written in red - PALEJ. My legs went weak. I had missed my stop that had silently gone 40Kms behind. I sprang up from my seat and went straight to the conductor to admonish him. The crazy fellow kept shouting all the time except for my stop. But as I approached him to reproach, I realized that I was more at fault than he was at. And all I could blurt is “When is the next stop bound to come?????” to which a more depressing reply shot back courteously- "Madam! There is a traffic jam. To get to the next stop U need to wait for at least 2 hours” My head was swirling with anger and irritation. I was fuming and went back to my seat with heavy steps. I felt like a fool and had a strong urge to knock down a few giggling heads. Feeling irritated to the core I was seething with rage at the traffic jam that I DID NOT DESERVE…... To add salt to the wound, my mobile’s battery went low, so had to switch it off. Usually I carry 2 mobiles. So with some hope I took out the other one only to find it discharged completely. And at that time Murphy’s Law made its entry into my already sweltering head – “When something is destined to go wrong, it will…..”

And also “In situations where there cannot be a reversal, man needs to be more proactive than reactive and needs to keep a cool head to think.” But let me add –" It is always easy to advise people in their hour of misery becoz it requires no efforts and no tension but yes, it does add a pinch of salt to the recipient’s irritation.” I sat finally on my seat with a heavy heart dreading to think about the time time I would be reaching home at. The reason I felt bad was that I was going home for a day and from that one day also I screwed up the first half enjoying that ‘blissful’ sleep which now appeared iniquitous to me. My neighbor sensing my exasperation handed her mobile and told me that I could make a call from her mobile. I rang up my father and breathtakingly narrated him my sad story and at the completion of the incident I could hear a suppressed giggle. Well I couldn’t react the way I could. So as had till that time I managed to appear cool even then though I had transformed into an active volcano with the lava of anger brimming up. (Believe me folks – Acting is not an easy task!!!! God knows how the actors and actresses act what they are not!). Knowing that I had become a infuriated lioness, my father just advised me to keep my cool and asked me to get down at some roadside bus stop on the other side of the highway so that I could get a state bus back home. It appeared to give me a ray of hope but as the bus was moving at a snail’s pace and it was surrounded by vehicles that there was barely any space to get down….(Sigh!)

After an hour or so….I saw the traffic getting dispersed and I got down at a village, crossed the highway and waited for some bus. I did get one. It was a mini bus that was probably carrying more than it could actually accomodate. It looked like a poultry van to me where all the people looked like hens bundled up together in a single van. The conductor asked me if I needed a ride back home. The answer was palpable. In my mind I could hear myself talking to that conductor – “Do I have an option Dumb Head?????”

So I got huddled into that hell for a short time. As I got into that bus, I could feel a nose wrenching nausea encompassing me and I felt for a minute that I was going to swoon. The reeking surrounding constituted of poor, poorer and extremely poor people who had barely anything to protect from the callous cold and were huddling together. Seats were already occupied with laborers. I stood alone and probably stood out from all of them in all perspectives. I could already sense that I had become a centre of attraction for all of them and only later did I realize that they were looking up to me with respect. I felt calm and at the same time embarrassed. And I realized how lucky I was that I had what I needed. On the contrary I had more than what I could ask for. And these people had not even got that enough that could at least make their both ends meet…… In spite of poverty, these people were so happy, singing all the way to ease the discomforts of the journey. It is an irony that these people invariably are the richest and the happiest people on this earth becoz they are the people of their needs. They live as if this is their moment. They truly live in the present enjoying every trice of life. And in observing those people how the time flew…..(Sigh!) . At last I got down at my stop after full three hours and my father was waiting right at the stop with a smiling face. As I neared, he burst out laughing releasing that incarcerated giggle. I could hear my own voice amalgamating that ring of hilarity. I headed home and as usual my timid mother was waiting at the door step and got relaxed only after seeing her only child.

The incident was small but the learning was big. Life always teaches to live. We slack down many times succumbing to the circumstances so that circumstances can be put to blame but the learning I earned after that arduous journey was – “FIRST LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF”. My father had advised me that a zillion times but I appreciated the spirit of it only after that day.


Hostel life - Part 3 (Lessons learnt................) ~ College memoirs


Then that’s how those 4 endearing years went by…. (Sigh!)…I really cannot elucidate in words…..we have had the finest times and the worst times together, the best laughs and the worst fights, faced all the RAGGING with ease as we were mentally prepared for the inevitable, beleaguered our wardens to the limit with mischiefs that hid behind the innocent faces, gossiping about the popular ones., enjoying the morning tea and poha at a small tea stall in the campus which was no less than a C-Cday for us in that alienated place, freaking out to enjoy the lip smacking pani puris of the road side..however unhygienic that looked or was and the scrumptious food of the costliest restaurants(Name them and we have been there! As the mess food was just good enough to keep us alive….), working out on preliminary planchets to check whether ghosts really existed and if they did…could they talk?????… and had asked them questions assuming for that time that they did exist…as to how much were we going to score in the forthcoming exams, have been through all thick and thin, have shared the happiness and sorrow of our mates equinanimously , fighting with all the tough guys and winning away the battles as alwaysand the best part was we rarely bunked lectures and had all been the first benchers….ask why? We just loved to bug our lecturers… And in the end always managed to come out with flying colors (not becoz of lecturers…but becoz of the one day matches we played hard enough, through group studying and tutoring each other till as late as 4am in the mornings) and completing the journals the day before submission through the common rule of COPY-PASTE and still managing 100% attendance …..

And as all good things eventually come to an end, so did the hostel life…. Well the time had come when we got pretty serious about our futures, some of us planning for higher studies and some for job. Today even as we are miles away from each other, whenever we feel low…we realize that we are just a call away from our chums….Hostel life has taught me a lot….I did miss the unconditional love and the yummy food of home but what I gained was much more than what I missed. I gained confidence on self, independence to make and take decisions, learnt the meaning of struggle, learnt that all that glittered was not gold, learnt how to solve my problems by self without escalating the tension home…and last but not the least I gained friends for a lifetime.

We all have had our own share of Pandora boxes but we overcame all of them with the strong peer support and the care we carried for each other and no matter come what may, we always stood by each other in good and bad seasons of life. I am ever grateful to destiny for planning the wonderful episode of my life which made me realize the importance of parents, home and friends and prepared me for the callous world which was just waiting to unleash the unexpected challenges I was bound to face.


Hostel life - Part 2 (Journey of fun begins........) ~ College memoirs

I started the hostel life away from home on a chilly October morning.. That evening as my parents left carried lots of emotions both happy and sad. I had waited all my life for this moment where I could be myself and where I had no one to question me except my own self. The saying always goes – Farther, the greener. I had definitely come a long way then, as an 18 year old…. proving the saying. - Growth is inevitable. Well so is destiny.…..Had a wonderful childhood with doting parents whom I adore and love a lot, got educated from a good convent where I was cradled by the loving and adorable convent sisters who constantly protected me and taught me to differentiate between the right and the wrong, who believed and preached that God is the supreme power and is omnipresent (Forgive me folks…Actually have been an agnostic, yet a pure advocate for mother Nature whom I consider God…..again no hard feelings….my opinion) , but somehow I still couldn’t get enough of my fairy tale life and craved for an outlandish freedom that I had not known or felt but only imagined. And the day I stepped into the hostel of my engineering college, for me it was a dream come true, away from the known world and entering the new one……
My hostel was a semi posh hostel with a well equipped mess. I had earlier interacted with my roomies but they seemed pretty reserved (probably were still drowned in an ocean of homesickness, planning when they could get back home the next weekend) and I was born a social butterfly…..Sigh! So I decided to dine alone as I had no one around. Being a non-regional initially created some problems but still it was a blessing in disguise. Yet, the initial days were intricate. After the dinner, I had gone to the STD booth to make a call to my parents. (Those days were the days without mobiles…..I din have one then, though I got it later ) I went there and found the booth empty. I was about to step in when a fat senior leapt in front of me and told me it was her turn. I learnt that day about the rule that seniors had the first word in everything. It sounded ridiculous. Being a rebellion by nature I found hard to digest the unwarranted situation. As I was about to retort, I could hear a sweet voice from behind complaining to her another friend that there were no non- regionals around and she wished she could find one. As I had turned back suddenly with a quizzical look, she approached me and I just held out my hand blurting “Hi!! This is Narayani” and then a soft reply came back – “U alone????? Hi this is Apurva and this is Swati“ and from that day onwards, undeniably we became the three best chums on earth, and the wonderful journey of fun and frolic commenced from then onwards..

Our group gradually grew in numbers from 3 to 8 forming a multi-lingual group with multi dimensional personalities - one from Bihar, one from UP, one rajasthani, one marathi, 3 gujaratis and last but not the least, a witty south Indian (Now thats me..). And that’s how our group octopus came into existence…. All of us, except a few were regionally from outside but had been born and brought up in the prosperous state of Gujarat and what tied us together was not the language barrier but the fact that all of us had left our comfy homes behind to build a successful future of which we din have an inkling of what that was all about and were not a bit serious at that time, as to what the future had in store for us .We had come to rock and we did steal the show …..


Hostel life - Part 1(A day of mixed emotions) ~ College memoirs

I still vividly remember the day of mixed emotions when I was put in hostel of my engineering college by my parents as the college where I had to study was 3 hours from the place I lived. It was 10th October 2002….and we had just started from our place to the destination where I was going to spend the next 4 golden years of my life. I was pretty ecstatic while I was travelling and was feeling rapturous at the thought of the freedom I would be reveling in, during the hostel life. The hostel stories were pretty persuasive as had heard from my senior friends. The only thing that bothered me was RAGGING. But still I was very eager to see new faces and make new friends. We reached there in around 2 hours and then the rest of the day passed at a snail’s pace as we were exploring each and every place apart from college - the mess, the playground, the tea stall, the departmental store and so on…. The place I was going to stay in was a mini township kind of place with the college in the same campus. I was delighted……Then I met my prospective new roommates and we had a good time introducing ourselves and exploring our room in the hostel..

Finally it was 5 pm. And then suddenly the reality struck me like a thunderbolt and it jolted me out of the fairy tale world I had been enjoying so far. My parents told me that it was time for them to move on and then all of a sudden I could feel hot tears gushing down my cheeks nearly making my vision blurry... I had not anticipated this moment that there was an end for every day and all good things eventually come to an end (din analyze much then as whether it was going to be good or bad) and had not thought about how I would be able to stay away from my comfy home and my doting parents….as I had been busy enjoying only the pros of what I thought was called freedom. As I saw my dad driving away his, away from me and my parents waving their love filled Take care-Good bye…, the vision became hazier and then suddenly there was a flashback in my memory - My first day at school. But at that time the situation had been slightly different. It was for sure that mom would be coming to pick me up. The only difference made was by the time. The situation did appear to be similar but was not. It was then I realized that now I was not only the master of self but also the servant. There had been a sudden transition from a euphoric state to a melancholy state. For the first time I gazed around me and I could see mirror images of myself with eyes gone red. Only then did a thin line of smile spread across my lips and my eyes brightened up a bit and I could hear a voice inside my head – “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”…..


Taaren Zameen par..... Movie Review

Dated : 08-01-08

Taare Zameen Par - A perfect serving to the end of a forgettable 2007. This movie has rocked Bollywood box office. The world created by Prasoon Joshi, with an imaginary ‘duniya’ that had planets,fishes,plants,mud,UFOs and so on was quite commendable. It has also portrayed an other world that is least bothered about imaginations and rather believes more in the 'ground reality' that is asserted time and again with the untold words that it is a rat race after all and winning is the only way to the pinnacle. Parents being overly apprehensive about children and children vexed about the marks that in due time carries little value as compared to the gargantuan hard work put in by the them, is what this movie portrays in the first half. And then, there is this dyslexic 8 year old Ishaan Avasthi.

Ishaan loves miniature creatures and he finds fishes to be most fascinating. He loves stray dogs, cleans their ears, fights for them and plays against the other boys of his locality and is frequently admonished by his parents specially branded by his father as ‘DUFFER’……’STUPID’…..and so on. Yet, he is loved by his doting mother who adoringly calls him ‘eeennuuuu’ and is lovingly encouraged by his talented all rounder elder brother for his imaginatively rich paintings. However that does not stop him from frequently getting punished by his teachers as he is unable to ‘grasp’ anything in the class as he explains how the letters dance in front of his eyes and gives the answer for 3*9 = 3 (This is how our eenu interprets - as how the planet no 3 ie Earth has to be put into planet no 9 ie Pluto and how the net result after the collision is Planet no 3 The Earth). Such weird are his imaginations which are later explored in the movie through his paintings that turn out to be a perfect blend of nifty hands and an ingenious mind. The first half of the movie is a bit slow with a fast music showing us the enormous dare in the 8 year old who when expelled from the class for his brazen attitude, intrepidly walks away in the streets of Mumbai exploring the roads, the people, the constructions and the laborers and so on, not giving a damm about what the world thinks about him and how he had become a butt of ridicule for the people around him for being a loser.

The movie then proceeds faster with excellent music composed by Shankar and brother Raman Mahadevan. The second half mainly focuses on how this ruthless world does not welcome any change and how it fails to think outside the box and how a dyslexic but a revolutionary eenu (who is later put in a boarding school) where his maverick teacher(Aamir Khan) brings the phenomenal tur around in the child. 

The anthology of emotions like anger, helplessness, disillusionment, hopelessness, fear of failure and haplessness created due to incessant ridicule, murder of self esteem portrayed by the child artist is mind blowing and the sympathy that proliferates in the teacher’s heart that easily shows off in his face for the kid is most alluring saga of this movie…

It is a paradox that we all see the glittering stars that are far far away and however small they are we strain and see them with lot of efforts. But we are unable to spot the sparkling stars amidst us who are hidden beneath the clouds of dyslexia . The loser is not the star as he still lives in his wonderful world but the losers are the unfortunate parents and it took an Amir Khan to bring out the reality as a gripping eye opener. I give it a hi five!!


Solitary dawn..... ~ A dawn of 2008

Time was passing by slowly, may be as slowly as the weather changing its appearance…..It was pretty cold outside. A thick blanket of mist had settled down on the window pane of the bus I was traveling in for the last 8 hours, making it almost impossible to view anything outside the window. The road ahead looked derelict giving the feeling of those roads haunted by Highway men in the many fictions that I had read. There was almost no one on the road. One or two pedestrian could be seen once in a while. I was just peering into the unfathomable darkness that was dimly brightened by the road lights and the radium detectors of the highway. The darkness was mysterious as if it had many things to say.....The moon and the evening star still lit up the sky as their Sun-ny boy was just about to get up.....

Then as I gently shifted the curtains of the window more to its right to have a wider view, I could see a thin ray of light coming from the distant horizon that pierced though the clouds of darkness and squeezws through the mist giving the mist a translucent appearance. Tiny droplets of dew then settled down on the window pane which served no less than a morning mirror. And in a few minutes, the saffron tinge that was indistinguishable in the morning darkness, suddenly lit up the sky conspicuously. 

The day had just dawned…..

P.S: This post is dated : 08-01-08 and also my first post on my blog!