Monthly Archives: May 2013

Back to school

It’s that time of the year when you see kids trudge to school, more so with that heavy bag of books, made heavier because of their return from summer holidays. Heart goes out to them, as now-a-days, it’s different going to school, unlike how it was when we did. It was as much fun as summer holidays were. And to be in a coastal town like we did, adds to the fun – as if rains were waiting to welcome kids to their new academic year.

It’s different now – what with there being the current scenario of making a career for oneself. More so from the expectations of the parents and peers, comparisons with cousins, friends and neighbours, the kids tend to crouch. Kids’ day starts very early, and goes on till late in the evening, spread over school, extra classes and tuitions. Yes, just academics – there isn’t any time for anything else!

We often share vivid memories of our younger days with today’s younger generation – walking to school – yes we walked, even for lunch and back, playtime after school in the afternoon, before getting to our desks for the homework, retire earlier than kids do today, as there was no TV. No rushing in the morning, as schools start at a leisurely hour, and they weren’t far away. No, the homes were not far away. Or the towns weren’t so big! And crowded.

We see children eat their breakfast in school vans or scooters piggy-riding their parents. Why, even we see kids study on way to their exams!

They could chase just one interest – academia or extra-academia. No two interests run parallel, excepting in those rare cases, where the kid’s capability to balance more than one interest, also matters.

No doubt, television and other modern technological advancements have aided the students immensely, and the educational institutions, too. They’ve all made life easier for all concerned – parents, students and educators. At the same time, it has also taken certain abilities that older generations possessed, when intelligence, or practice for lesser-blessed, mattered.

Also, the options that are available today with respect to the areas of career development are numerous and wide. Even a stream like engineering has a number of flavours, each one having its own advantages in the broader perspective. And the reach is global, unlike earlier years, when going to a bigger town itself was a big deal.

In one way, everything seems so balanced that the toil is harder, but the fruits are more, various, and of course, sweeter! May be, all that makes trudging back to school fun even today.

But the beholder is from the bygone years, reminiscing brisk walks to and from school those days.

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The Story of 3 Sri(ee)s. And then there’s the fourth

S Sreesanth has been in the limelight all along his career, for all the wrong reason – there may be just a handful of instances where he is remembered for genuine cricketing reasons. Symonds, Nels, etc., will vouch for his character on the cricket field, which fades his other talent, however much he possesses. It is not just about Sree, but the way cricket, or any other such sport, or event where there are opportunities to wager – and it’s not about legality of otherwise of such gambling, it’s the character which corrupts the whole affair. Wagering happens in India, too, and legally at that – like horse racing. But, the problem lies when a jockey is corrupt, or made corrupt by bribing him, just like how the trio was. It just doesn’t spoil the cricketing game, but also the wagering game.

 

N Srinivasan has shown to all of us how power and money may be used to stay afloat in position of influence, despite odds being against him. His arrogance, his defiant stand has been the hallmark of his image in the past few days. His son-in-law has been disowned by the franchise, the Board, by the company. Poor Guru – doesn’t he feel orphaned now? Why, these powerful people may disown everything and everyone, too – disown the company, disown the franchise, the board, the daughter, and the wife, too, if need be. His son, it’s understood, doesn’t go with this family, showing the one-upmanship the rest of the family has displayed at home. It is a sorry state of affairs that we cannot kick him out of his office.

 

Srikanth Srinivasan – first South Asian as Circuit Court Judge in the US – what an honour to just read about him, and the accolades that even Obama has poured over him on his appointment. Agreed, he was educated in the US, but the pedigree is Indian. And, why, aren’t there thousands of others who are educated there, but of Indian origin, yet who haven’t reached such professional levels? This Sri’s case goes to show how a clear dream about the road to tread can be realized, by clearer perseverance, effort and dedication.

 

Then there’s is Srinivasan Jain, who is lovingly known as Vasu, and his colleagues in NDTV call him so, too. Why isn’t he more on air of late? He is carrying on the pedigree of Prannoy Roy, so different from the other media persons. No wonder why Modi boycotted the show in Times Now, and why such instances don’t occur in other media-houses.

 

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Cricket, ahoy!

What a week has it been in the Indian Premier League – no, I’m not talking of the matches, per se – I’ve not been a keen follower or admirer of the IPL matches, but more so of the “Extra Innings” that happens before, after, and in between the matches / innings. It’s real fun to listen to greats like Sunny, Sherry, Kapil talk about “today’s” cricket, share memories of their playing days, snippets that they quote of other greats, etc. The sour sight is the drummer, DJ and the dancers. GK and SK were manageable.

Not worth a mention is the trio’s misadventure, landing them behind the bars. It’s a given that IPL itself is a big farce, this incident (and that in IPL-5, too, as it’s reported) didn’t surprise me. What surprised me is the inclusion of the brat like Sreesanth in IPL itself, RR is a distant proposition, altogether. In fact, I was surprised to read his argument with Dravid to have him included in the playing eleven – wonder if the Wall didn’t seem like Everest to him.

What is worth mentioning, besided Extra Innings, are the moments that will be cherished for long time to come. Specially, the one that will remain etched in memory for a long, long time, is that of Gilchrist bowling that last over (or, last ball, rather!) of that last league match of KXIP. It’s not the bowling, actually, that caught the imagination – but the moments just before that and a little longer after that. His gesture to Praveen Kumar who was keeping wicket (close up, at that!), and his celebration after capturing that wicket. I wondered if he wished to enact those acts every time he applauded his bowlers from behind the wicket when batsmen fell. What a sight that was. There was more to follow!

Appreciatively, rivals shaking his hands, acknowledging his feat, his contribution to the franchisee, to the team, to cricket – there were other stalwarts – Harbhajan, Pollard, Ponting (!) – all greats in their own rights, all applauding one man. Cricket is a great leveller, no doubt about that.

Talking about celebrating taking a wicket – Kapil on one such occasion quoted Bedi’s words: he was asked what he (Kapil) felt about the way fall of a wicket is celebrated by bowlers today. He quoted Bedi, who felt that the bowlers celebrated in such ways, wild, crazy ways, because they themselves couldn’t believe they captured a wicket!

Anyway, it’s coming to an end this week, and may it rest in peace, while the administrators will piece together all the strewn mess that IPL has left behind. Talking of administrators, wonder if any of them – the Chairman of IPL, the President of the BCCI, former, current and future such officials and officers – have ever played a game of cricket – at any level – school, college, university, clubs, etc. They don’t even deserve to become ball boys.

There was such a hue and cry when that boxer Singh was embroiled in a drug case, which has apparently fallen off now. Two of the PWI players, who were embroiled in a similar case last year, played for their team this year. Do we deserve to even discuss misadventures of Lances, Woods, etc., when our own stand on such incidents, in our own yards, is not fair?

The fact of the matter is that we have been eating what the media has been feeding us.

 

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Why vie? For the pie.

Today, we are in a world that is shrinking to its core, making reaching out to another unimaginably easy – what with the evolution of communication technology, specifically, IT in general.

Add to that, the globalisation, or localisation, of trade and commerce, has made businesses come to our doorsteps, each vying with the other to gain market space. And so, we have WalMarts, VWs, BMWs, Samsungs, Nokias, etc., at our homes, and Infosyses, Wipros, TCSs, etc., servicing global clients.

Having said that, it seems India has exponentially grown, or developed, in the last over two decades, with global brands landing on our soil, and our professionals globe-trotting, largely because of their intellect. But, the reality is far from rosy, as it seems, rather, the pastures are greener elsewhere, in fact.

India is growing, not developing, into a back-office hotspot, with engineering graduates, by the lakhs, getting churned out year after year, with no specific focus or orientation towards intellectual development, directing towards R&D. Having an excellent communicative skill in English language has made us more of a call centre and BPO attraction, rather than an R&D hub. Smaller, lesser nations and economies are getting ahead of us.

We have our own industrial houses like the Tatas, Bajajs, Mundals, Mittals, etc., who are vying with the German giants like the BMWs and VWs, Americans like the Fords and GMs, Japanese like the Hondas, Suzukis, etc., British like the Vodafones, et al. We had partnered with a few for some time in the past, some continue in the alliance, yet, we have no love lost for our own products. And, rightly so, too – we have not brought out superior products and services, despite being together with proven, successful global giants – an opportunity to learn newer ways to bring out better things. Yes, we do have JLRs and Corus, among similarly others, in our bags, which should make us proud, too.

Or, does that show we are good with business acumen, rather than intellect?

Now with the ability to reach out to the world with just a click of a button, can’t we also go global, just like how we have localised global brands? And what does that require? Acumen? Or, intellect?

IITs, IIITs, IIMs, etc., are producing world-class students, who are capable of bringing newer, fresher thoughts to business, or R&D. But are they contributing to India’s development? Or is India providing them with a conducive environment to research, put their thoughts and ideas to shape?

It is a sorry state – either way. An unapologetically unconducive state or nation, pathetically apathetic state or condition. Rightly, brain drains here, intellectuals becoming dumb, leading to the proverbial “brain drain”.

So, what are we vying for? Luxury and imported brands, because we have expendable money from being support experts to global institutions?

Or are we vying at all? Vying are global corporations, for the pie here. A classic case of not having the cake, but eating others’.

The nation has taken baby steps revamp the primary and higher education system, which should result in higher standards in the academia, which in turn should promote higher standards of professional programs.

Growth is needed. But development is more important.

Let us grow. Let us develop. Let us vie. For the pie. Others’ pie.

 

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Strive to thrive

The other day, a daily carried a photograph of a physically challenged boy writing his SSLC (10th Standard) Board examination with his foot! The caption went unread, but the picture explained the feeling in a thousand words!

Tenth standard examination is a vital point in one’s academic career – it directs you to where you deserve to go, depending on how you have fared in it. What with paper leak-marred exams everywhere, including in CA exams, the 10th Board exams in the state had been uneventful, despite rumour-mongers having had a field day during the course! The PU Board exams didn’t escape the wrath this year, too, though!

The picture just didn’t escape notice, as it was found to be utterly motivating! The student from a lesser-virtue economic standing, or so it seemed from the picture, didn’t look like giving up! It is understood that visually-challenged students writing the exam are put in a separate room, who are helped by junior students as scribes – the room would look like a mass-KBC set, with the juniors whispering options for multiple-choice questions! And how many students, blessed with all the physical abilities, does one see, who just don’t buck up, vis-a-vis the ones who don’t just give up!

These pictures and thoughts don’t just up the morale of only students, but, if one can read the perseverance of these folks, inspiration can be drawn from all, across economic and career strata, without doubt. Alright, these students are blessed with lesser physical abilities, but are blessed with a stronger virtue – WILL. To strive to thrive.

Go on, boy! Win the world – you have just shown you can!

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Different hues of colour

Wonder why political parties don’t let Pakistan cricket team play in India, or its player represent clubs in the IPL, when umpires and ex-cricketers form part of the mega annual cricketing event here in India. We have Rauf and Daar, the latter very respected one at that, in the panel of umpires officiating matches across locations, including Mumbai, and Mushtaq and Waqar coaching teams. Rameez Raja is part of the front-ending the event through Extra Innings and the commenting team. Even, a former cricketer, Azhar Mahmood, plays for the Punjab team. Then why not the Pak team? Are we being hypocrites?

 

OK. Shiv Sena criticized US for the Azam Khan impasse! Wonder what’s happening!

 

While we shoot barbs, what’s stopping us from acting? At least, we should have shot barbs when Musharaff claimed he spent a night across LOC, on the Indian side, that is, before the Kargil war. Are we still dumbstruck from his media coup while he was “officially” in India? Generals are expected to lead from the front, as he proudly stated that he did, while we didn’t display gumption to even respond.

 

Our polity is weak from busy politicians filling their own coffers until the time they’re in power. Wonder whom to cast vote for, even as groups – both government and private, social groups – are spreading awareness to vote. There is no choice when either a corrupt or a criminal is in the fray.

 

Now that Sarabjit breathed his last in Pakistan, politicians fell head over heals to garner limelight – Rahul Gandhi was thanking himself for being in the vicinity to show sympathy personally; the Congressmen thronged all over to make peace with the Sardars after the Sajjan Kumar verdict, who are facing the wrath of the Sardars; the government announced  a Rs.25 lakh compensation – they’re doing everything to win back hearts. What a farce!

 

Raina played a brilliant innings in the match against the Punjabis – will he be fit and as fine while playing for the nation? Why Chennai? The whole of India will give him a standing ovation at all the times that he performs “well”. Well, only, thank God if his nephew doesn’t lie hands on his Twitter account!

 

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