Sunday, September 21, 2014
I contributed this article to the annual magazine of my college ABVIIITM: Abhishaar.
This article is an address to the brilliant first year students, especially the girls who would have settled by now in the green and vibrant campus of ABVIIITM. I do not think and cannot think of any other opportune time to tell this to them, to convey to them what I feel they should know right at the first rung of their ladder of success. Yeah, I know I am not a Kiran Majumdar Shaw or a Sheryl Sandberg or a Malala Yousufzai (but we still are someone in making, isn't it?) , but who ever said that only position could sanction you to give little piece of wisdom. As an alumni (this word makes me feel slightly old ) of the institute you are in and as someone who has a strong and unbreakable bond with the alma-mater, I consider it my responsibility to give to you a better ground to groom yourself right from the prime time of your beautiful years which has already begun.
Know that as educated young girls, you have a responsibility and that is that you are the promise of a more equal world. Every woman is looking up at you in hope. And also know that you have to work harder, even harder than you did for writing your JEE. College is about academics, and academics is not isolated from learning. Allow yourself to look at life as closely as possible because after these five years you will get little time to introspect and indulge into an unfathomable abyss inside everyone of you. Allow yourself to interact with your seniors in the hostel and in college premises, they have an astronomical amount of knowledge to give to you and to share with you. May be you feel scared right now, but they are the most generous people I have ever met and you will ever meet. They are more than dying to share everything they know with you, this I can assure you of. You have to learn from the experience your seniors already have had, not interacting will be great great loss. Go ahead, exploit their erudition. Know that college is not the same as school, it will push you beyond your comfort zone, you will be battling not only grades, but also higher truths of life and find yourself in the quest towards finding answers to questions considered as abstruse and esoteric. You will have to learn what lonliness is, because this will the most important lesson of life you will ever learn and it will change your entire perception about solitude and you'll understand the might it carries with itself. You will have to learn what perfidy is, because then you will be able to become smarter at gleaning the right kind of people. You will have to learn what loss is because then you will be able to strike out a balance between your priorities. Know that AASF is the best functional organization in the college and you must be grateful for everyone who takes pain to organise sessions for your benefit and sound grooming.
Know that you are very very fortunate to have a fabulous Sports complex (it became fully functional when we came in our third year) and you gotta play there regularly. You have to go one day, experience the bliss it is to be there, even if for half an hour. As I said, school prepared you for college, let your college prepare you all for life. I attend a variety of seminars here in Bangalore, and they are mostly delivered by foriegn speakers. You want to know, what the upshot of the majority of discourses is? It is soft skills ! Five years is a long long time, friends. Ensure that when you come out of college after 5 years, holding the degrees and formidable placements, you have an added treasure: a superb and impeccable way of communication, a finesse beyond any measure. We do not have any option as far as the soft skills are concerned, you have to master it, at every cost. So, you must be thinking , How? The answer is participate. Participate, as much as you can, be it an extempore, be it a JAM, be it a debate, English or Hindi, participate, prepare. Period. Just don't let these precious five years go without overhauling yourself. When I look back I have a lot of regrets, and its in human nature to have regrets, I want you all to have comparatively lesser regrets. This is why, I am redacting this article for your today, because you know, we are connected in larger scheme of things.
Connect with the faculty, do not hesitate: remember this, “Do not hesistate regarding anything”. Take up projects, code, I am sure AASF has impresseive plans for your learning. Make sure you live every single day of your college life, its a treasure truly. Allow it to transform the way you think, the way you perceive things, allow it to make you stronger and stable. These are the golden as well as foundational years of your life, and to add on a stricter note: litmus test of your character. And I can assure you that if you wake up and go for a morning walk daily, your life will change.
We are in a marathon friends, you have started just now and I am still running, and when you pass out you will be running and I still will be on my track, because career ain't a sprint, its a MARATHON.
Welcome on board to the IIITM family.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Reading newspaper was the one thing that I was hitched to (still am), could not imagine sleeping without reading one. When the hard copy was not available, e-paper made sure that my date with newspaper did not get cancelled. But reading newspaper, whether the TOI or The Hindu was painful and it was like playing a game in which there is only despair. With hordes of news revolving around ravishment, kidnappings, murders, apathy of government towards citizenry, callousness of citizenry towards fellow people, people going neurotic for reasons stupid and inane, and the most important pages presenting extremely knowledge-less stuff the supposedly images of state-of-art newspapers underwent a change in me.
I started reading New Yorker and Nytimes. com. Needless to say, the variety of stuff ranging from world politics to sports, from education to lifestyle, from opinions to science and technology not only made me read them daily but also coerced me to compare the content that was presented in these online mediums and the newspaper. I understood that they understand the meaning of news pretty well, and what it means to disseminate it. In the section on the websites, "More From" if you check , these sections are enough to tell what the focus of that newspaper is, and I am not talking about the suggestions that come up when you read some news, but I am talking about the main page "More".
The appeal that these Western vernaculars had, made me instantly develop a penchant for them. Reading them not only meant gaining knowledge, but also meant that the English was improving, and the most significant thing was their 'projection". They were not projecting negative news every time, they had positives to show, they showed deplorable news in a way that can be best described as 'pathos' and most importantly they did not just base all their stories about murder when some murder happened in the local city or town. The writers that these magazines feature understand their accountability as writers and give their best shot in every article they indite. Jug Suraiya might like to learn from Amy Davison or Nora Ephron. Yes, for a change Chetan Bhagat is a comparatively a better writer when it comes to writing the columns of newspapers sometimes.
You can argue and say that our newspaper just tell the truth, but that will be a moot discussion. They are negative, lack wisdom, lack stuff that enlightens, lack the content that spread positivity around, instead splutter hopelessness on an average. I do not know about the Green revolution but an overhaul in Indian journalism is an inevitable necessity. Newspapers like Deccan Herald and Indian Express are comparatively much better when it comes to the choice of articles and the memoirs. There is a shift that is required, meticulous planning and optimism in the industry. I know there may be some of you having the feeling of sedition charges against me but all I am trying to say is that it might do us good if we could learn how to put what content, how much of that content, without forgetting its viability and need.
After all positivity begets positivity, negativity begets apathy.
If you ever get time do read nytimes.com , I am certain it will blow your minds and provide you with the correct notion of what newspapers are like.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
I remember when Oscar Pistorius had risen to fame as "Blade Runner" , I had tweeted "Another great personality in my litany of great people" and I had been totally inspired by this man who is born without fibula. I was proud of Pistorius, I still am for the indomitable spirit he elicited all his life despite a major impediment to his life. If a leg less person can become a fast runner, what cannot be not possible, I had thought.
I do not remember exactly how much time has passed since the first time it came to news that Pistorius shot his girl-friend, but ever since I read about it, I was deeply saddened. Sad because, such kind of incidence happened that took off sheen from what had been a career of fame and celebrity. Sad because, he was my hero. Sad because, he murdered or fear-killed his girl-friend and now he has been convicted of culpable homicide, which will send him behind bars for 15 years or so. Yes, I am also sad that she faced such a gory end. That must have happened in a speed, difficult to get discerned by the normal eye. Such kind of incidences sometimes challenge ourselves, toss a part of our soul and chagrin us. The feeling when our heroes suddenly become the most reprehensible of people gaining flake from all over the world due to their actions of depravity is disconcerting. Its almost similar to an incidence wherein a seer gets caught indulging in acts which he forbids to other.
Does their refulgence gets waned? The answer is, yes, totally. No single paper, no single magazine is today redacting about what Oscar Pistorius was prior to committing this felony. Today he stands in front of the world as a man, rather a famous man who killed someone and now is just a notorious bloke. This incidence reminds me of Lance Armstrong, who also had to undergo a tough time in his life due to illegalities he committed. Famous people when get caught up in the vicious web of their own acts loose their credibility. Certainly, becoming successful is not easy but one has to become even more sedulous to sustain the good word about them after they become someone in the stage of the world. I become inevitably upset when such blemish gets cast upon people known far and wide, praised universally. And thence, come the lessons.
Our heroes make us learn both during the zenith and the nadir of their times, and sometimes cease to be 'hero'. Mostly fanatics behave in such a way, who extol their champions in their heydays, and do not flinch from excoriating after witnessing the evidences of dastard acts. I, on the other hand, choose to feel sad for them. Never another day may come, when our heroes fall !! Such, incidences teach us big things. Crime spares none, results of bad deeds befall on everyone equally: impecunious, famous, wretched, notorious, you name it. And hence, such kind of revelations render us cautious. A blaze is enough to cause conflagration which the posterity will never forget. When our heroes get portrayed as villains, because of their heinous acts, they teach us not to be like them, not to ever indulge in any act which has the potential to bring an opprobrium in the future. Pistorius must be feeling real bad, his career, his life, the name and fame he earned has reduced to ashes and life seems to have become a can of worms in the current time. The universe that conspired to make his dream come true is now lampooning him. Times are hard.
Fame comes at a prodigious price and its not cushy to maintain it pristine. When one becomes famous, even the way he/she eats gets judged, and this incidence is a murder, cold-blatant murder. These moments confute every medal, every trophy and every wisp of appreciation famous people ever earned. Certainly, keeping up the name is not everyone's forte. Truly as an apothegm states, the road up and the road down are the same. This is a big incidence in Pistorius's life and something he wont be able to forget so easily.
The mistakes that people make deliberately or inadvertently, remind us of our own in some different manifestations. Impeccability would be an ideal situation, we have ghoul and god both inside us. Let us not let anything warp our minds....
Saturday, September 6, 2014
"I sometimes react to making a mistake as if I have betrayed myself. My fear of making a mistake seems to be based on the hidden assumption that I am potentially perfect and that if I can just be very careful I will not fall from heaven. But a 'mistake' is a declaration of the way I am, a jolt to the way I intend, a reminder I am not dealing with the facts. When I have listened to my mistakes I have grown.”
― Hugh Prather
While browsing through Goodread quotes (yes, on Mistakes) I bumped into this one. in every word of the quote above I feel, Hugh has written it for me. I always knew in facts that making mistakes was normal, human as long as you learn from it and emerge resurgent. When that happened practically, there was a blow that over the period of time transcended into a lesson. I have always found it difficult to assume that I can make mistakes, given the fact that I am cautious and wary of how I make people around me feel, given I do not lie or dupe. Until recently, my vis-a-vis with mistake happened, after a real long time. And since it happened after a long time, the scourge was manifold for I could not come to terms with the fact that I did cause agony in a part of the universe. As Hugh says, "hidden assumption of being potentially perfect", I too could not believe that the damage was done. but gradually light came, started pouring in from parts of universe that cared, those who cared enough to tell me that "Its okay, to make mistakes" and "You should get used to it". even then, it seemed to make a little sense because all I was doing was listening without ruminating or cogitating.
But now I have accepted that I am also a normal person in this universe who will make mistakes and I have resolved not to fear from making them rather embrace them and learn the lesson, becoming more wise and intelligent than the previous day. mistakes are painful when they happen. I can recall how Mr. Lincoln would have felt when he wrote a letter berating someone. After that day, he never did rebuke anyone in his entire life. Sounds congruous. Its liberating now to know that "the hidden assumption" has been quashed never to surface again. As long as life is, making mistakes will be. Although, I know tomorrow if I make another mistake, I will feel the same chagrin, but that time I will be able to pat myself on the back and say, "Its okay beta, I still love you. You will only become better after this"
another lesson. I always loved my self, the self that seldom did any mistake in social circles. But over the period of recent times I have moulded myself to love my erroneous side too which is a part of my existence, my meaning and my character. Mistakes only refine our characters if our outlook is positive towards them.
Leaving the painful feeling behind and moving ahead keeping safely the lesson learnt.
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