Friday, December 29, 2006

Knights in shining armour

Atanu Dey's article on the PanIIT conference reminded me of something similar.



It was somewhere in 2001 when BJP government ruled the state of Goa and every Goan proudly showcased the IITian chief minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar. Even I was one of them, and still am proud of Mr. Parrikar. I was an engineering student that time and didn't know how things worked in politics. I was appointed (not elected) as the General Secretary of the student council of my college by the management itself.

We got a news somewhere in October of 2001 that the Government of Goa under the able leadership of Mr. Parrikar was all set to change the face of professional education in Goa. For this, a committee of eminent persons from the fields of education and industry was formed. All these big names were true sons of soil and were willing to give their time and effort for their motherland. To kick off the effort, a grand summit was organised at the Govt. Engineering College grounds in November 2001. I was chosen from my college to represent all the engineering colleges at the summit. I was supposed to express the views of Engineering Students on the reformation idea. I was truly honoured. There was a committee set up consisting of principals of two Diploma Institutes to ensure that the student representatives spoke sense. I was called my the honourable committee and some guidelines were laid for my short speech. The guidelines were pretty simple. I wasn't supposed to speak anything bad. I wouldn't be blaming an organisation, a system, a government agency, an institution etc. etc. Although I didn't know what to speak then, I managed to submit a mushy mushy speech with praise for the CM and the esteemed committee who would be doing all the good to our educational system.

On 'The Day', there was a beautiful arrangement at GEC and there was a large gathering of students and teachers sprinkled with politicians to taste. The day began with speeches and ended with speeches. 7 hours of day 1, people from various walks of life spoke about things like 'change is the most constant thing in life' and 'industry institute interaction'. It felt nice to hear all this. But I personally as a student and a stake holder in the education system thought that the two day sessions would be more interacting. Wherein students would be asked more questions and would be apart of the discussion. This very illusion made me bring with me a crowd of students eager to give their opinion and views on the kind of education they receive. But day ! was a big disappointment and I went back home with anger, frustration and disgust.

I went home and scraped the original speech that I had got approved from 'The committee'. And jotted down 10 points.

Day 2 was even worse. The students who came with me on day 1, weren't with me today because they knew nothing was going to happen. The students were called just to be impressed with the big guys. To imprint on their minds that everyone on the stage was a Knight in shining armour who had spared his time to give us a better education. Bullshit! On day 2 teachers were enjoying the conference like a picnic and discussed food as the speakers kept talking and talking and talking. It was going to be another day of 7 hours of talk. That is when at 4 o'clock in the evening, an announcement happened saying that the student would now express their opinion. At last!

I was given 10 minutes. I went on the dais and made the 10 mins speech. Some of the points of the speech I still remember were as follows:

  1. A lot was spoken about industry institute interaction but there was not a single industrialist from the adjoining industrial area.
  2. While a lot of people spoke for about 14 hours in the 2 day conference about the status quo and the future direction of education in Goa, the real stake holders, the core and the purpose of the educational system, the students, were given 10 minutes to express themselves.
  3. Teachers did not show sufficient sincerity, how could you expect the students.
  4. No body was committing anything, not even the government.
While nobody appreciated what I spoke, there were a few nodding heads. I knew I would be stared at through out the rest of the show. So I walked out and was sipping chai peacefully. That is when, one by one, people started coming to me and appreciated what I had done, and said it was 'much needed'.

I know this entire thing sounds a lot like self praise. But don't miss the important part. Nothing happened after the event. No steps were taken by the government. Engineers in Goa are still having the same educational system.Only thing that has changed is the Government itself.





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Monday, November 20, 2006

Prajakta

I met her around 6 years ago. I was in secod year engineering that time. I stayed in Vitthal Mandir in Madgaon. I was a paying guest of sorts there. It was a proper temple and I stayed and tried studying there while bhajans and kirtans defied all decibel levels.

Prajakta came came to my room that evening with Mugdha and Mridula (her cousins). She stayed there till kirtan started. Then she said she wanted to go. I tried to convince her to wait till the kirtan was over. But she badly wanted to go, she started sobbing. Even Mugdha and Mridula couldnt convince her. To go home, they would have to pass through the temple. My room was bang opposite God's! I mean it was like a store room you would climb your way up. And the wooden staircase was really steep. Prajkta had climbed up herself. But when it was time to go down, she was scared. Looking down the staircase she started crying. I didnt know how to handle the situation. There were people in the temple. And could have created a scene. I decided to piggyback her to the bottoom of the staircase and get her off on the last step. As she got down, she smiled, thanked me and gave me a kiss on my cheek.

This was my first interaction with a mentally retarded child. Its different. You think you are dealing with someone who needs help. Someone who has a learning disability and cant cope up with situation. At least I thought so. Prajakta taught me, I was wrong. She seemed more understanding then other kids of her age. And add to it her innocence and the willingness to express herself without inhibitions. That day onwards I became a big fan of Prajakta. Children with learning disorder generally have short term memory. So for the second time we met, I didnt expect Prajakta to recognise me. But she did, second time, third time, every time after that.

She liked dancing. I saw her dance at a temple function once. She was really good at it. And best of all, she seemed to lose herself to the art. There seemed no effort on her part when she danced. Next I heard she was to go to Delhi to perform at the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the Balbhushan awards. That was a pleasant surprise. Then came the ugly part. Prajakta started falling sick. What seemed like general cold and fever turned ugly....

Prajakta had leukemia. She was dying. Her parents tried every trick in the book to get her cured. They took her to Mumbai for the best treatment possible. She was suffering pain we cant even imagine. Her body would give burning feeling. The poison was in her blood and the blood ran throughout her body.

When she was taken to Mumbai for treatement, she told the doctors to save her just till she could dance one last time at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The doctors tried their best. Although she could attend the Award ceremony, she didnt have the strength to dance. She wore the typical dance constume, but had to be carried to the stage. She hadnt won the award then but she was happy to be there.

She came back to Goa, her health further deteriorated. I went to see her. She wasnt in her senses. Her parents told me she would spend nights screaming from pain. She knew all the stotras by heart. She used to pray ever evening till a day came when she declined to. She said that after all the praise she had offered God, pain was all he gave her back. I guess she took that pretty personally. She went personally to ask him...

I recently heard Prajakta was posthumously awarded the Balbhushan.



She is my hero for life.





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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Goodbye swamy and thank you so much!!

Weekend brings up the big question of how to live through it without feling that you have wasted it. On those grounds, this was a good enough weekend. After getting up at 11 in the morning, went to play cricket. After a long long time. Felt good bowling. But the post is about a play "Goodbye Swami" staged by a group from Hyderabad called Sutradhar Actors. If I was to give them credit for an effort, I would give them 85%. But if I am to judge, I give them half of that, say 40%.

The script looked stretched, and childish. I dont know. May be I am making a wrong comparison when I compare it with scripts from Mumbai. May be its not fair on part of people at Sutradhar. But lets say not childish, but the flm was at least simplistic. Too simplictic. The story goes something like this...

"A thief/killer/robber/bad man while running and hiding from police, reaches an ashram. Coincidence leads him to becoming a swamy. He knows the shallowness of the disciples as well as has his thoughts clear about the falsehood of the swamys. So he dreams and is succesfull about becoming a swamy. The pranks he plays on the desciples, their success and the way he becomes a largely followed swamy" is the skeleton of the story. This can make an interesting 3rd grade school textook story but not a script.

I was disappointed with the handling. I guess the problem is - Vinay Verma doesnt have sufficiently talented men, that he has to play the central character, every time. He is a wonderful actor, I know. But he needs support from his co-actors.

A play is a teamwork. Everything needs to be fine for the play to work. That aint be the case with the play I witnessed.

Something looked rotten in the state of denmark...



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Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Tyada experience

F1210036.jpg

This beutiful view is from the aerocon cottage of Tyada Jungle Bell Resort - an eco-tourism effort from APTDC. I made a weekend trip to tyada on the last weekend. Lets start from beginning.

After leaving Hyderabad to go do a project in Mumbai, it was always on top of my mind that I hadnt seen enough of AP. Eco-tourism (basically roaming the jungles) being top on my list, I was determined to check out APTDC's eco-tourism projects in Arku/Tyada. I was actually hoping of some participation from friends also on this trip. But they ditched big time. Anyway...scores shall soon be settled. As it was destined to be, I embarked on this journey...

"Ekla chalo re" . Tyada is approx. 80 kms from Vizag. So i took this amazing semi sleeper volvo of kaleshwari Travels from Hyderabad. Trust me guys...this is the best bus I have ever travelled on...EVER & remember I travel quite a number-o-times. it has sufficient leg space for a 6 footer. The seats recline enough for a comfortable sleep and it is not expensive at all (Rs.650 Hyd-Viz). Then I caught APTDC bus from Vizag to Tyada which left Vizag at 7 in the morning.. After Travelling for another 3 hours, I was at my destination. Having previously been to Galibore near Bangalore, I had high expectations from Tyada as well. But it wasn't as good.

The first and foremost thing that I was looking for in the trip was adventure and the secludedness of the place. However, Tyada isnt exactly that. It is well linked by road and rail to Vizag. So getting there at least wasnt much of an adventure. But if you have been in hyderabad the place will surely mesmerize you.

Having reached there at about 10.30 in the morning, I freshened up and read a bit till 12.30 in the afternoon. Then went for some pet puja at the resort's restaurant, The restaurant was another big disappointment. It had the most unintersting menu i have ever seen. All the ususal fried rices and haka noodles of the world. After a bit of afternoon ciesta (4 hours hehehe), his excellency decided to grace the performance of dhimsa dance at the resort at 7 o'clock in the evening. This is supposedly a tribal dance form. However,it appeared to me as a pretty monotonous and a very proffessionaly carried out coreography. The dancers hailed in the name of "maninger garu". I didnt exactly get the point why they were doing that till I came to know they would say "xxxgaru ki jai" for whoever tipped them.

After a drabbing dance performance, i had a light dinner and decided to return to the cottage. Next morning, there would be a wake up call at 5.30 for a brief walk in the hills (marketed as bird watching by the resort). It is surprising how time comes to a standstill or may be moves at the snail's pace when there is no TV and when there is no one with you. I read for quite some time (Marker - Robin Cook) for quite some time, and when I thought it must be well passed mid night, it was just 10.30 at night. Bored, I slept at around 12.30.

Next morning's bird watching was a turn-down to the core. We were a groop of 9 people - 6 foreign (1 spannish, 3 germans, 1 brazillianand 1..??), 2 bengolis and 1 me. The guide was a telugu dude. He couldnt speak a word of hindi and noded yes for anything. He knew selective phrases in english viz. Birds (prononced as bards), tribals and campfire.

Tyada didnt interest me enough to keep me there through the day. So when I learnt that Borra caves were somewhere cloose by, I set out in the search...


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Monday, November 06, 2006

The youth of my country

An incident that has shocked me.It has shaken me rigorously. While the media has stopped reporting and other bigger breaking news fetch limelight, I challenge the responsible media (read Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardessai and the likes) to have their "We the people" &  "the big fight" on this issue.

What I am talking about is the gaziabad incident. Where in about 4000 aspiring policemen went on a rampage damaging public property,harassing general public and even pulling women out of cars and molesting them. This is a law and order situation later. First and foremost it is a big questionmark on the value system,culture and the educational system. Out of these the first two are the ones we say we have inherited. And look at what it is producing: hooligans in thousands. Are the parents of all these youth ready to owe up for what their patrons did?

Even the media is not highlighting the real issue here. It is focussing on the easiest target, the police. Whereas the real culprit is "we, the people" that all the "responsible" media always fights for. Its time to turn around and ask some questions.

Does it not bother anyone that 4000 literate youth of this country are not even socialised enough to express their anger in a more civilized way! I would have given a sympathy if it was just destruction of public property and other "normal" means of expressing disagreement in our country. But harassing individuals? Ladies?

We need some systematic moral education here. How about RSS ??


Mission tyada

Mission: Tyada

Status : completed

As of: 11/06/2006 0800 hours

Details: awaited


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Life@technology

It wasnt surprise to me that my roommate with a compulsive shopping disorder bought a laptop.
It had to happen one day or the other.
Neither did the configuration come as a surprise to me.
He had to buy the best.
When I came back from Mumbai to my good old apartment in Hyderabad, a sleek new Compaq laptop, a 256 Kbps broadband connection, a relatively quit and sane new acquittance with his laptop awaited me. Abhishek has taken all the effort & expenditure to make this little apartment wirefree. Can you believe it! This has made me wonder how fast life is changing for me. Till I went to Mumbai on a project, laptop was something "wow" for me. It no longer has the value. Just before I left Mumbai, I had thought of visitng a barista with my official laptop just to check out what exactly is this wireless connectivity. And here I am lying on my bed, with no wires attached to this computing device of the size of a A4 sized notebook, that weighs 80% lesser than what my school bag weighed. I AM taking time to digest this. Till yesterday I never thought an individual could own a wirelss internet connection. I thought it cost a fortune. I thought wrong.
Then I think, what would my father say if he saw this? How would he cope up with the change from the life without electricity to wireless router and a laptop. No wonder he ends up arguing with microsoft office. I guess its too fast.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Film orgasm

Thats what I had recently when I went to Planet M at fort mumbai. Bought myself a whooping 18 film titles. 2 DVD and 16 VCD sets. Almost my dream collection. I am going home for diwali. So planning to indulge in some filllumgiri.
I have been bestowed with titles from home for this. But what all fail to understand is that it is a awsome deal for 2000 bucks.
Hey...an idea. I can review thse films one by one on this blog. That will ensure the continuity of the blog and also make me see the films with an objective in mind.
Kya kool hoon main...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

|| Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ||

What we are today is a function of our environment through our past. Our parents, teachers, relatives, neighbours are our key influencers. One such influencer in my life and in the life of millions in this country is Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the RSS. This organization established in 1925 has a very interesting history. Established with a aim of nation building, the initiative had no trace of fundamentalism in it. Started with a clear cut nationalistic view, and on time tested values of ‘simple living-high thinking’, the organization spread like a wild fire. Then happened, what was destined to, for an organization that was all-inclusive, had no political representation or was based on non-sensational issues (like religion, cast or region).


What RSS is today (or is perceived to be) is certainly not what it was (or is) meant to be. I, as an individual, strongly believe in the RSS, its motives, its structure and its values. I feel being a part of the Sangha and consider myself a Swayamsevak. I attended shakha regularly for 10 years till I was in 10th standard. Education and logistical constraints made me irregular, and yours truly being a pivotal point of the shakha in my village, the shakha in Savoi-Verem gradually died. I later actively worked for ABVP (the so-called student wing of the RSS). Later as I ceased to be a student (academically, not philosophically) my active participation stopped. I no longer attend a shakha, yet I am a Swayamsevak. I feel a part of the RSS. And when one believes in an organization, a system, a set of values, one has the right to say what’s right & wrong for the system. I may be wrong, immature, short sighted or simply stupid but in this post I attempt to answer the question ‘What ails the Sangha?’


Did it start with the BJP? Or did it start with the BJP coming to power? Or with the 1993 Mumbai riots? Or did the Babari demolition start it? I don’t know. What a majority of India once considered as a sane and constructive minded organization, was slowly being perceived as a group of Hindu fundamentalists and fanatics. All the commitment and work that the Sangha put in through the Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram and numerous such initiatives, was wiped away in no time. Thousands of swayamsevaks rushed to the effected villages during floods and earthquakes in Latur or Bhuj. No swayamsevak got and media attention (why?), the effort, the good deeds, the helping hands were proclaimed to be of the individual. The Sangh was given no credit. The system, the organizational effort behind all these contributions has been systematically neglected. What happened in Mumbai in 1992 is totally condemnable. Godhra is the work of monsters. But this is not accounted to individuals , this is what the RSS does. Hell no!!!

I think RSS should stop interefering in matters of BJP. No comments about BJP whould be made by individuals on behalf of the Sangha. The perception of a political, religious, castist bondage associated with the RSS needs to be abolished. There may be many such thoughts going on in many minds.


It is time now. People who believe in the ideology of RSS, or people who think that the RSS ideology comes closest to theirs, start coming together. If there needs to be a shift in the modus-operandi of the Sangha, it should be now. The basic concepts of Hinduism, the social work of the RSS being seen in the light of conversion, the ‘they are coming to rule you’ image needs to be overhauled. I, as a swayamsevak, deny any such allegation. If proved, I will fight against such a motive of the Sangha. If any other Swayamsevak is trying to hijack/misrepresent the ideology of the entire organization, I shall object to it. Because I still feel, I belong here…

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The space behind My Place



There is a new township developing behind my apartment. Amidst new construction, rubble, concrete, steel and artificial structures, I found this small flower growing. The purity of it's colours attracted my attention amidst broken tiles and scrap. Just felt like capturing it.
I wish I could show you the BG without diverting your attention off the subject. But that wont be possible...so here is the best I could get for you.

I DID IT!

Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us
After zillions of visits to ameerpet, lots of "sorry saaar"s, kind help from a forum friend-Rohit, spending petrol enough to take a space ship to jupiter (and check out Sabu's babe there), I GOT MY NEGATIVES SCANNED IN HYDERABAD.
Now the "aam junta" of this country will get to see some "what the hell in the world is that!!!" snaps from me.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Show time

After coming to Hyd, (Hyderabad of yester years, became Cyberabad after IT came ...call itHyd if u wanna sound kool). I have been feeling movie thirsty. Having spent more than a year at a fart's smell distance from a Theatre in Matunga and having seen films like U Bomsi n Me it pains to travel 30 odd Kms and pay more than 100 bucks to watch a movie (I never paid more than INR 70 to watch a movie at Auroras Matunga).

But last few day have been better. In the last 4 days, I have managed 2 latest films. Corporate and Golmaal. I liked both of them.

CORPORATE: This is film is a typical Madhur Bhandarkar dark film. Shows the manipulations and unethical practices in the corporate world. Not that we dont know such things happen, but only that it shows them. Madhur has built up expectations after Chandani Baar & Satta (i have deliberately missed out Page 3). Corporate is 70% of the expectations. However if you compare it with the Roshan or Johar films, its 70% better. For all those who have seen the film, aren't you guys impressed with the talent of the guy who has played the CM? Well, he is Vinay Apte. One of Marathi's finest actor and director. I could (and will) write another post on how Marathi Theatre produces some fine artists.
A dozen of us from my work went to watch the film and while half of us hated it, I am one of them who liked it.

GOLMAAL ...FUN UNLIMITED: Hilllllaaaaaaarious, except for a few minutes in the second half. Times have changed and actors like Ajay Devgan, who would wish to be the only HERO in a film are now accepting roles with younger actors. This is a story of 4 college dropouts who end up at a blind, old couple's palatial house when in search of a shelter from a goon. The couple mistakes them for their grandson, whom they are expecting to return from Amrikaa. To add spice, they have Sharman's body and Ajay's voice as their grandson. What happens next is worth a watch.
Vishal & Shekhar produce wonderful sound and all the songs are hummable.

Dont miss both the movies and keep your eyes wide open for Omkara.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Closest experience of the Black tuesday

Bloody bastards did it again!
A friend of mine from the Photograohy Forum Shinu Thomas in his blog describes how he was miraculously saved. He was in the train in which the first blast happened at Matunga station and the first class compaterment in which the blast occured was his regular compartment...

There I go...again

This change was inevitable. As I read more and more blogs, I wanted to imbibe those features and kool looks into my blog as well. Also, the urge to blog regularly despite constraints (yeah sure!!) was getting stronger. so here I am, shifting from my earlier blog to this new advanced version.
Now...as the title suggests, this is about Whatever. Whatever that happens to me or around me. Whatever I think. Whatver I do. Whatever I feel. Just Whatever...
But the blog name is globestop.blogspot.com ...why? Because (ummmmmm ...scratching head) its kinda toungue twister. If you keep telling people about my blog, you may endup having a sexy flexi tongue.

So, Keep checking this space!!