December 21, 2009

To Be… Or Not To Be

Why is it that a person who dies young, an unnatural or self inflicted death, but lived and enjoyed life till it lasted becomes a “tragic” figure in the eyes of the rest of the world? What is a tragedy any ways? Is having a stable life with a secure job promising a cheerful bank balance and a family to catch you whenever you fall, the only way of living? Apparently, any person who dies without any of the three most sought after things in the world (i.e. Money, Family and Security) ends up being pitied and looked down upon by the rest who might be suffering equally even after having them. Marilyn Monroe is the first name that comes to my mind when it comes to interpreting these so called “Tragic Figures”. Trust me; if someone could get her feedback after she died… she would hate to be a part of that list. She was probably not a mess as people thought her to be and this article is not about defending her ways of living either. This article is about how each individual is likely to be judged for every act in their walk of life and there’s no escaping it!

Surprisingly, there will be many out there who will claim to live life on their own terms and proudly declare that it barely bothers them what others think of what they do. Somehow, I find it hard to believe that they are human if it doesn’t. Or they are plain ignorant of their deeds! Gautam Buddha might have charted out an eight fold path to end the suffering in the world, but I doubt if he really ever attained Moksha himself. I’m not trying to hurt any religious sentiments here, but my doubts about the right way of living are pretty strong and won’t be sufficed without a proof! Gandhi may be a Mahatma and I respect him for his ideals and principles, but I find it hard to follow a person who turns a deaf ear to the basic human needs especially towards his own dear ones. The righteousness of Gandhi is as debatable as that of Lord Rama. It may be easy for a King to practice his principles religiously but the case is not the same for a beggar. So are we here to decide what is right or wrong or live life with what it gives us? Why is it that the mistakes of “Mahatmas” are forgiven or rather ignored with greater ease than a regular person’s? Social norms and boundaries vary from culture to culture and so do the problems. Then how can a single way of living life be a solution to the problems of the whole world?

Out of all the legends and idols in the world, not many will advice their fans to follow them. Imagine the pressure of being an example for a huge population when you yourself are figuring out life like the rest of them. Maybe being happy is not the sole purpose of life. Maybe it’s the suffering that relieves you. Who knows? Who cares? Kurt Cobain once said,

If you die you're completely happy and your soul somewhere lives on. I'm not afraid of dying. Total peace after death, becoming someone else is the best hope I've got.”

Some might say he was messed up. Some might say he was depressed. And there might be a huge chunk of population that might consider his followers just a bunch of losers! But honestly, we all have a loser hidden somewhere inside us whom we are scared to show because of a single fact that we hate being judged! No one wants to look like a tragedy. Maybe the day people stop bothering about what they “Don’t” want to be and stop being scared of being judged and under the constant scrutiny of the outside world, (since that will never end!) they might end up being their own role models and will finally learn to forgive.

December 15, 2009

What’s your choice? ... Create Money or Chase Money?

This article was just a result of great appreciation that I felt for a friend of mine who definitely seems sure of what he needs, deserves and aspires for in Life. It was just a regular chat with this particular person that prompted me to Google some figures to be sure of what I usually thought. I won’t say I was surprised, but deeply saddened by the figures which show what a major failure our education system has become over time. No amount of easy exams or abolishing them altogether can help the students cope with the pressure that they face today. And that is exactly what I’m worried about. Why should education create any pressure on a human brain? Isn’t it supposed to enlighten and spark the mind instead of burdening it?

As I mentioned earlier, some figures just affirmed a few ideas that I held before. India is a home to approximately 3,573 Engineering Colleges. (Source: In 2004-05, India produced 464,743 engineers. One can imagine the increase in the number at present and it’s a fact that approximately 80% of the entrants in the IIMs are engineers. So, where does that leave the rest of the chunk of students specializing in some equally important streams like hospitality, media & entertainment, tourism, etc.? There is no doubt about the fact that IIMs promise an assured job with a handsome pay packet at the end of it all, and not to forget the coveted tag of the institute in your C.V. But is that all that takes to lure engineers into taking management as a career option? Then I’m afraid the engineering colleges aren’t doing a very good job at creating engineers out of the already confused freshers that join engineering colleges under peer or family pressures. Even if the schools seem to be failing at preparing a student for the world outside, further studies are supposed to empower the youth not deviate them from their goals (if they have any!). The endless race to top exams, scoring “depressingly” high scores without actually learning anything in the whole process just disables the whole education system at its core with greater evils like the system of unnecessary quotas, which is just another poke in the eye but I will not touch that topic right now.

And with around 3,500 engineering colleges, we still have to hire foreign companies for any massive engineering projects in our country. But with an evident lack of ‘desired’ jobs in the country, we sit and complain about Brain Drain. Why shouldn’t a student go abroad if he/she feels that his knowledge is well accepted and put to better use in some other place that requires it? It’s a shame and a pity to see all the training and education invested in the colleges in India literally going to waste. But who cares as long as they have a satisfied pocket and a collar to brag about! The lousy pay that school teachers are paid, makes teaching just an alternative for most people. I remember my mother threatening me when I showed my interest in teaching! The pressure of the school management on the teachers to produce bright numbers scored by students, leaves the teachers helpless too. Hobbies turned into co-curricular subjects for creating all-rounders instead of activities of relaxation, just doubles the pressure on young minds. Why do humans tend to forget that awards, fame, and money follow when you do what you please? Or else all one can create is horses running after dollar bills to satisfy a ravenousness never satiated. The situation needs to be looked into before all the deserving engineers leave the country and the rest join the management cadre and all that is left is a population that keeps complaining!