Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"V" and Second Marriages

Previously In the A-Z series

"You can't judge someone for losing their virginity... If they are ready they are ready, its really none of your business" (by unknown)

"Before labeling someone as 'used'... take a peek into your past, you might find that you are 'used' too" (by Genie)

Hello Everyone,

The institution of marriage is something that has been present in different forms across the ages and something which is common across all the cultures. It is a sacred union of a male and a female with prospect of supporting each other and coming generations. But when the age old idiotic concept of virginity comes into picture then it tarnishes the sacredness of this pious institution and makes it meaningless. Recently one of my blog friends posted a blog titled - 'Virginity, a gift to your man?' I have been thinking to write on the same but she beat me to it. But still I will present my views on the same. I would also like to take up the issue of second marriages in this very blog and the social stigmas attached to it.

In an extremely traditional country like India where there is a lot of orthodox viewsstill prevalent, a woman/ girl has to tread very carefully to avoid any social shunning. Virginity is a concept that is sadly very important to men about to get married. Why? I just don't understand. What does a girl being virgin has to do with a good future married relation. Some people might say that this means I encourage pre marital sexual relationships? Well I am nobody to comment on it because it’s a matter of personal perception. In my opinion there is nothing bad in it as long as the couple love each other and remain faithful to each other after marriage. But that’s my opinion and I am not going to enforce it on anyone.

In Indian society, and also in many countries with constricted thinking a girl getting engaged in pre marital sexual relationship is equivalent to committing the crime of a murder. I ask, why? What difference being a virgin makes to the married relation? Ironically, guys can get involved in all the pre marital sex they want and no one will lift a finger against then because for the guys it is considered ok. Then why not for the Girl? Why the character of a girl is tied to her virginity?Really sad I think. The character of a person in a relation is defined by how he/ she treat the partner and the attitude. But the society will never understand this because the individuals don’t understand this. In the opinion of the males, a girl has to be all prim and proper throughout her life, no matter in how many different things the males indulge themselves in.

There is also an issue of second marriage. A girl trying to do the second marriage is so much looked down upon, that sometimes I feel that she is doing a crime to want to get married again. The label of 'used' is put against the girls going for second marriage. Why the same label is not put against the guys going into second marriage? Why this discrimination? And we talk about gender equality through jobs and opportunities. There will never be gender equality unless these stupid notions lying at the root of the attitude and mindset are not cast off forever.

Just think a guy 'allows' his wife to do jobs but does not see her equal just because she is a female. Then no matter how much high level equality is achieved, there will be no gender equality. Coming back to the topic of virginity and second marriages, based on the way the society thinks I feel I belong to a illiterate community and not an advanced human race, I feel that the old civilizations when there were no concepts such as virginity (or at least not so prevalent), were much more advanced than the current hypocritical, orthodox and moron society and I feel I should separate myself from the individuals who think like this.

Judging character of a girl based on the parameter of virginity is equivalent to crime, nothing more. Let’s judge people by their individual qualities rather than on stupid notions. Society needs a different outlook on the subjects like virginity second marriages, single mother and fathers. Then only there will be true development in the society, country and world.

My article may seem like I am all in favor of premarital affairs, but its not that. What I am trying to say is that attitude matters and at the end of the day it should be the prerogative of the girl to decide on the matter and not the other way round. Society should not dictate terms to the individuals on personal choices but the person should decide for themselves.

Genie Signing off

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"United" We Fall

Previously In the A-Z series

"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
" (by John Lennon)

Hello Everyone,
Topic seems a bit confusing, I know. More importantly the poem after it is completely contradictory. How come by being united we will fall. That depend on what we are united for, isn’t it? Give your brain cells a little exercise the answer will come to you as to the meaning of the topic.
I will start with a little history before the Independence of our country. Countries like Britain, America, and France etc were in the race for imperialism and colonization? Money, various trade items etc were the obvious reasons but there was one underlying reason that sustained the process if not trigger it - it was the belief that fair colored people were meant to rule the not so fair colored people. In this the entire countries were united. And look where that unity for superiority of color led the world to - Struggle for freedom and equality in so many countries, loss of millions of lives.
Coming down a level, at a country level, especially in a diverse country like India with so many religions, people of one religion are united in the belief that their religion is superior to others. Result of this unified belief - riots, bloodshed, loss of life and property etc. And most hilarious thing is people like corrupt politicians and unsocial elements take benefit of this unity and instigate it against the society to break the fabric of society apart.
Coming down a level again to the level of caste, within the religion itself there are so many castes and divisions and God forbid if a boy and a girl of different caste decide to marry. All hell breaks loose then. Torture, honor killing, eloping and what not start to happen. The youngsters are forced to leave their families for their own safety. Really pathetic in my opinion. Entire cast stands unified against such knots. My deepest respect to those families who go ahead and accept such relations and try to mingle with other cultures.
Coming down a level again to the society level, within which too there are so many stigmas and expectations attached that sometimes they become mammoth hurdles for the progress. Once again I will talk about the most debated topic - Women in the society. There is a norm that a woman should follow, should do this, should do that, should come on time, should were proper clothes, blah, blah, blah,. Nonsense in my opinion. Who made these people who sprout these nonsense and the leader for all these guidelines; can’t keep themselves in line and they are preaching others. Every adult person is responsible for themselves but then once again for society it is a horror movie if anyone dares to challenge the age old, rusty, rotten norms. Once again unity for a bad thing.
And finally to the level of individual, as an individual we make all the above unities possible after all in the end the world is made up of individuals. People say the world is progressing, but is it really. Progress in technology does not means that world is progressing, World will truly progress when the people's attitude will progress, their thinking will progress. That I see happening at pace that rivals the snail's pace. Why do we need all these destructive unities? I can see no reason at all.
Independence Day is coming, and like I have been saying in all my blogs it’s the individual that makes the difference, not the society and not the government. If you want to get something done right do it yourself. We are the key to solve majority of problems facing us, society, country and world. We only need to break these destructive unities and gather together in unity for the noble cause of strengthening and bringing human race together. Only then this world will truly live and survive, till then we are just wasting our lives inch by inch, day by day.
Let’s be part of the SOLUTION and Happy Independence Day in advance.
Genie Signing off

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Need for "T" or "H" - 'Teleporting' or 'Hovercraft'

Previously In the A-Z series

"Sometimes I wonder - Whether there are potholes in the road or road in the potholes" (by Genie)

Hello Everyone,
After reading the quote above you must have realized what the topic of today's discussion is going to be. Its the pathetic condition of the roads in the city of Mumbai and all across India. Since I am currently in Mumbai so I will focus only on the Mumbai roads. I have been thinking to write on this for quite some time now but a comment from one of my office colleague prompted me to write it now. The comment he made was, "We need a Hovercraft".
And actually we do. Either that or we need to learn to teleport ourselves from one place to another so that we do not have to endure the arduous and painful journey on the roads every day. But sadly if the government cannot build good roads then they can surely not provide the hovercraft facility and teleportation is a fictional concept anyway.
The potholes in the road get even worse in the rainy season. The court has given a mandate to the BMC (Municipal corporation of the city) to get all the roads up and ready by the famous Ganpati festival but the question is will these roads be able to bear the burden of sudden rush of vehicles and crowd during the festivals.
I have been living in Mumbai for three years now and i really don’t understand why the road construction work always starts in the rainy season. I mean come on if you make a road in rainy season it will suffer a lot of wear and tear because of the rains as it will not get time to settle down and dry off. Sometimes I wonder what game the bureaucrats are playing starting the tenders for road construction in rainy season. I might be wrong but I have got a feeling why. If they will construct the roads in the rainy season, they will get deteriorated very soon and then the government can float another tender. The temporary fillings in the pothole get washed away in the next bout of rain. The fillings raarely last more than few days. On the main highway I have seen the same pothole repaired three times in the last month and it is still in the original condition sadly. It has become money laundering business rather than actual constructive construction.
Sadly the bureaucrats are amassing the money and it’s the general public which is facing the problems in daily life - slow traffic, delays, huge waste of time, accidents etc. So once again I wonder should we start buying hovercrafts or who knows some genius scientist comes up with a device to teleport us ;)
Sadly until the government and the bureaucrats wake up, get their heads out of sand and actually see the problem, we will only find road in potholes and not the other way round (which is slightly more better). So till then plesae be safe while driving on the road and be cautious of the bumps and holes of the roads.
Genie Sining off

The Sad "S" - 'Segregation'

Previously In the A-Z series

"The greatest motivator of humankind and human behavior is fear" (by Sigmund Freud)

Hello Everyone,
Every day for us is a judgment day and no I am not talking about the Terminator movie Judgment Day. I am talking about the judgment we pass onto others, over others and for others. We as human beings are taught to segregate behaviors, emotions, things and people into separate buckets and once we have done that anything outside that bucket or comfort zone is beneath us. No one is exempt from this, not one single person no matter how much saint they claim to be.
What I am talking about? I am talking about the prejudice we create because of the natural tendency of human mind to segregate based on experiences and fear - fear of losing the status quo. Just think whena person start learning skating he has a hard time telling his mind that while skating the tilting of body forward is natural and required and only when mind and body accepts it the person will be able to learn skating. Why it takes so much time to accept it because our mind is in the habit of maintaining of status quo and fearful of what if the conditions change. We are fearful of the unknown.
Coming back to the prejudices, some are pretty harmless and one should not actually worry about that. For example, I don’t like 'ghee'. I had a bad experience in childhood when I ate a very old and stale 'ghee'. Till few years back I had a hard time eating anything that had even the tiniest traces of 'ghee' on it. Does that mean everyone should stop eating that? Of course not and please no offense to the taste buds of people who really love 'ghee'. But a couple of years back I started slowly started trying out again thinking that not every time it will be stale and old. I still avoid if I can but that kind of aversion is no longer there. Had I maintained that status quo I would not have come near for the rest of my life? This was an example of pretty harmless status quo.
But when it comes to prejudices that affect people in groups it becomes serious business. We have worldwide example of segregation - prejudice was the reason why Adolf Hitler rose to power, he has a vendetta against the Jewish community; there was a huge prejudice against the dark skinned people in America until the segregation was outlawed in mid-sixties, Apartheid in South Africa, ironically only 20% population was fair skinned people who thought that they were superiorsto the natives. Did these prejudices do anyone any good? No it only caused bloodshed, deaths and hurt to the populace.
Coming to the present in our own country we have this cursed caste system where prejudices run deep. Marry intercaste and honor killings start to happen, the children are disinherited from the family. And then we blame that the government is not keeping the society safe. There are deep rooted prejudices against female community in this country where even today highly educated people think that their role is only as a housewife and take care of kids and family. And we wonder why this country is going to dogs.
We may blame government all we want but the politicians thrive on the segregation we create. They only fan the flame created by us. We say the government is corrupt but contrary to the popular notion it’s the general population us who is responsible for the majority of the corruption. We don’t realize it but we are the nutrition for these kinds of people. It’s not who they are running the caste politics, it’s us who created the caste politics; they are only reaping the benefits out of it.
Forget about thinking at the national level let’s take a look at the daily routine. When we enter the company mess many of us look down upon the workers and staff there. It’s sad to see the behavior of some of the people. Just because they are standing on the other side of the counter does not mean we can treat them with contempt. Who knows in future we are on that side of the counter. Hence I make it a point to say a 'Hi' and a 'Thank you' whenever I deal with anyone. You will not believe the happiness that brings on their face and in my heart seeing them happy for a moment.
So as we can see that prejudices run deep within us and we are the only one to blame for all the mess we have created. The people in position of power only use this mess to create even more power and profits.
We might have stopped segregation in form of color racism but we have started doing it many other forms. Segregation must go. So how many times have you segregated today? Have you been the part of the problem today? Because if you are not challenging the status quo and changing yourself, you are not part of the solution and when you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.
Genie Signing off

Monday, July 22, 2013

The "R" of Relationships - 'Root'

"Just like you need a foundation for a building, you also need a root and a foundation for every relationship, no matter what. That foundation is Friendship, it is the root that strengthens the relationship over time" ( by Genie)

Hello Everyone,

Ever wondered the difference between a very good teacher and a great teacher? A very good teacher will always treat the people he teaches as a student. The relationship there is of a student and a teacher. But a great teacher treats his/ her students as friends. In this case the bond between the student and the teacher goes beyond the normal boundaries of a student teacher relation and towards friendship. It seems a very small difference but only this small difference is sufficient enough to bring a huge difference in the end results.

I took coaching classes for my IIT entrance exams. I took classes for all three subjects - math, physics and chemistry. The physics and chemistry teachers were just that - teachers - but the math teacher was actually more into interacting with students, trying to understand their problems and helping them in a much friendlier way. The difference? I was able to progress in math so much better that even today it is my favorite subject something which it was not at that time. This is the difference one component of friendship makes.

And this is not only true for a teacher-student relationship, it true for all forms of relationship in life whether it be brother-sister, husband-wife, parent-child, girlfriend-boyfriend, boss-colleague, friends etc. No matter the relationship, if the foundation of that relationship is not set in friendship then the chances are very high, that relationship becomes monotonous, stale and boring quickly.

It is a common saying that when a child reaches the height of shoulders of the parents, the parents should start treating the child as a friend rather than a child. And it is actually very true because that’s the teenage and at that time a parent can better understand a child by being a friendly parent/ friend rather than a dominating and overbearing parent. Once again we come back to the same ingredient of friendship in the relationship.

When we treat the other person as friend first and then something else then in that case there are a lot less expectations and even if there are expectations people don’t feel that much dejected and sad when expectations are not fulfilled. Being a friend first also allows people to share things which normally two people won’t share. This becomes very visible in the relationship of a husband wife. Both of them tend to keep less secrets if they treat each other as friend rather that a responsibility that had to carry through.

In professional life one of the best examples is the current HR on our floor. She has got an aura of friendship around her which makes working on the floor much more fun and enjoyable. I can say without a doubt that she is the friendliest, enthusiastic and energetic HR I have ever had the pleasure to come across. At the same time she can be strict and get her point across easily, something that cannot happen if that component is missing.

One of the biggest examples in my life is the bond between me and my sister. We are friends at a deep level and that helps us to share our grief and happiness alike. We don’t have to think twice before disturbing the other and we have no hard feelings if the other is not available. That’s the beauty of friendship at the most basic level. It’s my personal experience that the moment friendship dies out in a relationship the relation turns sour very quickly

So let’s strengthen the roots of our relations by nurturing them with the water of friendship.

Genie Signing off

The "Q" Gene

"People get annoyed waiting for their turn in a queue but everyones turn comes" (by Robert D Dangoor)

Hi Everyone,

Take a group of people to a busy temple like Siddhivinayak and you will see that all of them will wait in a line for their turn for the 'darshan'. Now take the same set of people to a bus stop, a cinema hall ticket counter, a railway ticket counter etc, they will be ready to kill each other to be the first one to get their work done. Strange, right? But that’s how all of us behave, or I should say most of us behave.

We, in our country, have patience for everything in the world but not standing in a 'Queue'. We always want to be the first to be serviced in the horde of people, which is supposed to be a queue. We will even walk over people to be the first. In the religious establishments we become the most disciplined people in the world because we feel that there we are being watched by God and therefore better be disciplined. Many people also maintain queue in religious establishments out of respect for the place and God.

So if we can maintain queue there why can’t we maintain queue at other places. What's so difficult about it. I was once at a ticket counter at a railway station and one person seemed to be in such a hurry that he moved out of the queue and directly went to the counter. People shouted for him to get back in the queue but he did not listen. The people who were coming to join the queue also went directly at the counter and in a matter of few seconds it was pure chaos. Finally a constable had to come and maintain order. He stayed there for some time and as soon as he was away the same thing happened again. We need someone with a stick over our head to remain in queue

Sadly things would get done quickly if done sequentially in a queue. For example the person giving tickets at the counter will be less stressed and hence work more efficiently if people do not crowd at his window. We seriously need to develop this gene in ourselves because; just due to few individuals all of the people in the queue suffer. And subsequently people who want to maintain the line are forced to break that line because they will never get their work done if they remain standing in the queue.

Many people argue that they were getting late and hence they did not remain n queue. And who is to blame for getting late. We start justifying immediately but we should realize that 99.99% of the time no one but we ourselves are to blame for being late. We may justify all we want but in the end we were responsible for getting late and then disturbing the order. Only 0.01% cases constitute the unavoidable circumstances.

So as individuals this is something we all can easily implement and bring in practice. Let’s wake that dormant Q gene in ourselves. Let’s be part of the SOLUTION. Let’s be part of the Q and not the PROBLEM Qless creates.

Genie Signing off

Let "P" Remain "P" - 'Personal'

Previously In the A-Z series


"I don't like to share my personal life... it wouldn't be personal if I shared it" (by George Clooney)

Hello Everyone,

Recently I read a Facebook entry by none other than Amitabh Bacchan wherein he said he cannot step out of the house, attend any function, or go in public because there are billions of people wanting to know every single detail of their private life, billions of cameras in the form of press reporters, smartphones etc. tracking their every move. Sad but its truth. For them the word personal has lost meaning because general public finds entertainment in knowing about their every single life detail.

But if I tell this to the press and the paparazzi they will instantly snap at me with the freedom of press crap. Well I think that they forget one very old saying - "Your freedom is only till where the tip of your nose ends". Freedom of press does not mean that you have the right to invade into the personal lives of people. Unless that is needed to uncover a crime of something of the same nature press has no business publicizing the private lives of people.

The information media has today lost one important component - information and has replaced it with entertainment. Every day I think that after going home I will watch some "News" but do I get to hear some constructive news? No. The race for TRPs has burnt all the bridges between information and news delivery. Now it’s just a delivery. News has been burnt to ashes. Press making out stories out of this air just to get momentary increase in the TRPs, some of those stories are so ridiculous that even the stupidest person will have a very very hard time believing it.

I just wonder how those paparazzi would feel if their own person life was scrutinized to shreds and presented in the media in a spectacle. I am pretty sure they would not like the entire world to know when they went out with their partner or kissed them, what they were wearing, who they talked with etc. etc. No they would not. But they cannot extend the same courtesy to the people. Recently in the natural debacle in Uttarakhand I saw a footage on almost all the news channels - a rock falling from the mountain in some landslide. The entire story was focused on how the rock was falling. It made me laugh derisively and I felt so bad for the state of media that I switched of the news channel.

I really hope that some press person reads this article and understand that personal means personal and not public and it should remain personal. If they do not understand that then they should probably take lessons in English. There are many people who like their every life detail to be aired, focus on them and please do some constructive news reporting. Journalism has hit a new low - a low that I call as abyss. I wonder if the journalism will ever come out of it.

I am closing this post by a famous quote by Mahatama Gandhi - "I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers".

Genie Signing off

Saturday, July 13, 2013

World Without "O" - 'Obsession'

Previously In the A-Z series


"Without obsession, life is nothing" (by John Waters)
Hi Everyone,
Today’s topic is a very negative word and I know I will start a lot of controversies with my arguments. The tile says all about the article but I will still ask the question. How do you think the world would be if there was no obsession of any kind at all? The immediate answer in most of our minds will be - very good and peaceful place. But I disagree - peaceful might be but good I don’t think so.
Once someone asked Einstein that how he was able to solve such difficult matters and problems. He replied that he kept on revisiting the problems at every moment in his head till the problem was solved. He said that if you are obsessed with solving something you will definitely solve it. In fact if we care to take a look into history, we will find that all great scientists, poets, artists, musicians, politicians, leaders, teachers, etc were obsessed with something or the other. It is their obsession that drove them for excellence and new discoveries.
We are all familiar with Edison. He was obsessed with finding the right material for the filament of the electric bulb. In the process he made over 200 discoveries and innovation. He was also obsessed with his goal. India's great sprinter Milkha Singh. P.T. Usha were obsessed with winning the Olympics. This led them to improve themselves and run that extra mile.
But every coin has two sides and there is a black side to obsession also. Problem comes when obsession becomes madness. There is a thin line dividing the two and when obsession is clouded with grief and bad intents it becomes madness. So obsession itself is not bad but the other peripherals surrounding it make it good or bad. The direction the obsession takes depends upon the route chosen.
I recently read the novel Inferno by Dan Brown and from there this article is inspired. In the novel scientist wants to save the earth by infecting everyone on earth with a virus which selectively makes the population sterile. No more reproduction, less population increase and earth can be saved. The obsession to save earth is good but the means taken to reach there are questionable. It was just an example to illustrate my point
So coming back to the question- how would the world today look like without obsession. I say it would be very backwards still, with no great inventions and innovations. Obsession is essentially good. Many questionable acts over time has made it negative and today this word is one of the most negative words in English dictionary.
Personally I think obsession is good. What do you think?
Genie Signing off

The Best Serial Killer - 'Nature'

Previously in the A-Z series


"No doubt, humans will do a lot of damage before we ultimately destroy ourselves. But life will continue without humans. New forms of intelligence will emerge long after this human experiment is over" (Zeena Shreck)

Hello Everyone,

After having seen the tragedy in Uttarakhand one can undoubtedly say that Mother Nature is the best serial killer out there in the entire universe. But it never kills without a just reason. It gives a lot of warnings, a lot of time for us to realize how much we are hurting the nature, only after all that it decides to go on a killing spree. Whether it is a tsunami, a tornado, a landslide, flash floods, earthquakes etc, these are just her ways to even the odds which have been stacked up against her over the centuries.

We all are getting artificial day by day. We love to remain in AC but we will not take efforts to stroll in open air. We would take out our bikes and cars even for a short distance but would not bother to walk few meters. We would love to construct buildings but would not bother replenishing trees which were lost due to construction. We love to further develop developed cities but forget about the naturally rich villages and the wonders they can do for nature. We take pride in driving in a car or SUV but feel ashamed taking a public conveyance. 

All these factors are slowly but surely killing the nature. But you know what the sad part is, we are actually killing ourselves too. We get so used to AC that if we have to walk few hours in sunlight we get sunburns and blisters. I know of cases where parents have kept their newborns so much comforted in AC that they developed Ricketts (lack of vitamin D, whose primary source is sunlight). I have never particularly liked AC, it’s comfortable for sure but I don’t think it’s my cup of tea. I will tell about my first encounter with AC. As soon as I entered the AC room I felt so nauseous that I went out as soon as my work was done. That was many years ago and even now I don’t feel comfortable in AC, whether in office, room or car. 

The various companies are trying so hard to develop natural atmosphere inside home using various appliance while avoiding the best and most natural AC - nature itself. Sadly we are not learning from our mistakes. The number of cars are increasing day by day. Some people having more cars than they can ever use. People take having car as a status symbol, as a symbol of development. A developed country is not one where everyone has car, a developed country is one where even the richest take public conveyance. 

Its been almost 4 years now, since I came to Mumbai. In these four years I have seen drastic climatic changes, which are going to become even more drastic in coming future. The winters have been getting colder. For a place where people did not know what winters were, they sure are facing needs to get woolen clothes now. Glaciers are melting, areas near sea are submerging, Tornados and floods of increasing intensity are happening - disasters happening everywhere.

The nature is showing its unhappiness, it is ringing the warning bell; it’s high time that we wake up and start realizing that we have already set off the time bomb of disaster and try to delay it as much as possible. Sadly we cannot bring back the original state of the nature. We have come too far for that. We have crossed the point of no return and there is no way to undo the damage we have done. But we can start doing our share to prevent the Armageddon that is bound to happen sooner or later. Some of the simple suggestions are mentioned in the linked article.

I hope everyone realizes the seriousness of the situation because when Nature goes on a killing spree it discriminates between no one, everyone is given the same punishment - punishment of death.

Genie Signing off

The MDM Curse - Part 2

"By definition a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has a policy but nothing more" (Albert Camus)

Hello Everyone,

I am not sure how many of us have been to villages in India. But for those who have they must have seen the conditions of the schooling in those villages. In some places it is worse than others. But what is fact that cannot be missed is the joy on the faces of the kids who go to school (well for most of the kids :) ). This was very good until the MDM (Mid Day Meal) program was launched by the government. I am not saying it is not a good initiative but the very purpose for which it was launched never got fulfilled and instead people adopted it for another purpose.

One of my elder relative teaches in a government school and he oversees the execution of the program. I asked him few questions. Below is the short interview (translated of course):

Me: So do you think that MDM actually helps?

Him: It is more of a headache than a help. Now we can’t even focus on our actual job of teaching because we have to devote our time to the accounts management related to the MDM program. we have to keep track of expenses, prepare reports, send reports on a daily basis. Now another hurdle has been added of sending the reports on SMS too.

Me: So you mean that the program has not attracted new and more students.

Him: You have to understand that the purpose of the program was that with the prospect of one free meal more students would be attracted towards studies. True more students have been attracted but not towards studies, only towards the meal.....

Me: So you mean to say that students just come for meals?

Him: Yes that’s what is happening, the parents send their kids to the school at the meal time and they the kids go back in the fields to work again. So the purpose is being defeated here.

Me: But that used to happen before also. I mean that kids helped their parents in the fields and not coming to schools

Him: No prior to MDM parents used to send their kids with the sole purpose of learning and the kids learned with interest also. But now MDM has changed the mentality. Before the parents educated their kids with the hope that a little education will help their kids earn more, now it has become - send kids so that they can eat...

Before I could ask something else I got interrupted. But the message is clear here. Especially for schools where there are only 2-3 employees if they are busy entire day keeping accounts how they will be do their basic duty - imparting education. Later on I talked to him again and in summary he said, "Before MDM also parents were able to feed their kids. Many people think that MDM was implemented because kids did not have enough to eat. It is not so. It was implemented to lure the kids to school and it has failed its purpose. It is only luring kids to eat"

According to a survey done in 2010 some of the cons of the program came forward:

  1. The meals provided at many places are not fit for consumption
  2. Teachers waste 3 hours everyday cooking and preparing meals
  3. Students waste 10 hours a week washing and cleaning dishes
  4. 75% of the schools running MDM program has no availability of drinking water facility
  5. Many schools do not receive adequate rations and teachers have to spend money to feed the kids
  6. Shortage of infrastructure and manpower
  7. The one good thing that all the respondents agreed upon was that it was a social leveler and was eroding the boundaries created by caste and religions.

So once again I wonder why a thorough analysis of any policy is not done before it is implemented. Why a pilot project is not run before actual implementation. I know only the policy makers can answer this question. But one thing is sure that the program which was supposed to be a boon in the field of education has become a curse - The "MDM" curse. Government needs to provide better infrastructure and better way of implementing such a good program.

Genie Signing off

P.S. This is sequel to the blog - A Senseless "G" - 'Grading' -Part 1

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Chapter of "L" - 'Life'

"The challenges in our lives are there to STRENGTHEN our CONVICTIONS. They are NOT there to run us over" (Nick Vujicic)

I was just talking to my sister yesterday on ups and downs in life. One thing that we both agreed upon is life is worth living only because of ups and downs. Without the hardships the life would become boring and not worth living. And I think it’s right too. This post is prompted by the recent suicide case of Jiah Khan and motivated by the person whom most of we know - Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic was born without any arms or legs. There was no medical reason for it but it was also a condition that would break most of the persons. But this person learned to live with it, not only learn to live with it, he also overcame it. Today he is a very famous motivational speaker. He motivates people with all their limbs intact. From his own website, "I won’t pretend my life is easy, but through the love of my parents, loved ones, and faith in God, I have overcome my adversity and my life is now filled with joy and purpose". This is the attitude towards life. Being born without any limbs was a chapter in his life. But he decided to move out of that chapter and move ahead rather than being stuck in that chapter of his life.

Another very inspirational personality to overcome hardships is Bethany Hamilton, a pro surfer with only one arm. In the sport of surfing where balance is everything a surfer with one arm is at a severe disadvantage. But she overcame that disadvantage and showed that there is no limit to the life. There is a movie on her called "The Soul Surfer". It’s one of my all time favorite and really motivational movie. I would recommend everyone to watch it.

Unlike him there are many people who just can’t bring themselves out of a sad chapter in life. The recent Bollywood suicide case is one example. I won’t pretend to preach or understand the reasons behind the suicide case and talk about whether it was right or not. But I would definitely say that nothing is worth ending one's life. Many great people have become great only after being toiled in the adversities of life. If they would have ended their lives we would not have such great people. And more importantly if life is not worth living then why the hell the entire medical community daily works towards saving life. 

Ending one's life is not the solution to anything. Sadly the thought that there is nothing more to live for has crossed many of us. Out of those many a good percentage actually thinks of committing suicide and out of that good percentage a small number of people actually go ahead and commit suicide. But did they get rid of their problems. Oh yes but in the background they created problems for many others. Not to mention the emotional trauma their death causes to their loved ones.

There is always something to live for. I am a big fan of Nick Vujicic. I have watched many of his videos and when I am low I think that if that person can carry on without any limbs I don't even get the right to say that my problems are huge and great. There is a way of dealing with problems. It’s the attitude that matters. Living is more fun than dying any day.

So let’s not get stuck in the sad chapters of life and move ahead to find the happy chapters and live them fully.

Genie Signing off

Missing "K" - 'Kindness'

"Kindness and compassion towards all living things is a mark of a civilized society.Conversely, cruelty, whether it is directed against human beings or against animals, is not the exclusive province of any one culture or community of people" (César Chávez)

Hi Everyone,

Think for a second that you are on a road and someone from behind comes and kicks you and beats you. Grim scenario, right? The moment someone will do something like this we will start voicing our protests and may be in return get violent too. But we will voice our protests. But ever thought about how a being which is not able to voice its hurt and opinions, will feel. Yes friends I am talking about the treatment which we dish out to the animals. And when i say animals i am not only talking about the stray animals, i am talking about the pets too.

Let’s be blunt here most of us are not considerate towards animals or give a damn about their feelings. I have seen people taking out their anger on their pets and sometimes on stray animals too. But is it their fault? What wrong that animal has done to deserve that treatment? Nothing?

Many people like to keep pets. And I have come across people who keep their pets with great love and care and also those people who bring the pets but forget to take care of them. People forget that when they bring a pet in the family they have to treat them like a part of the family and family member. Pets require great deal of care and affection because they are not in their natural habitat and hence extra care is needed. I personally don’t like to have pets because I know I don’t have the patience to take care of them. So why bring them in home? This is what many pet owners fail to understand and when the condition of the pet deteriorates they leave them in unknown places too. Many such cases have happened. When this happens then its up to the local municipal organizations to collect them and take them to holding cells which I have seen are not great in any sense. They keep animals in cramped spaces.

One of my team mates has dogs, one of which is genetically retarded but the care given to both the dogs are same and it can be reflected in the behavior of the dogs. The dogs also adore the family equally. This is how one should take care of their pets. Their requirements should not enjoy the lowest priority; rather they should enjoy the same priority as other family members. 

When I was around 10 years old, i read a historical story about Rome, where they were saved by the ducks. The story goes like, the soldiers used to feed ducks every day, even if they did not have anything to eat. One day in the cover of night the enemy army decided to attack the fort, but the animals and birds have keen sense of danger, so the ducks started making noises and this got attention of one of the soldier. As soon as they knew that there is enemy hidden in the darkness of the night they got ready and the tables were turned. So the moral of the story is that if you take care of the pets, they take care of you.

Also many people crossbreed animals, something which is allowed in our country but banned in foreign countries (allowed only to registered people). This might create breeds of genetically hampered offspring. But they don’t worry about it and keep on cross breeding. it is actually atrocity on the animals. 

So the gist of this blog is that we should treat animals with kindness and care, specially the pets because they are very loyal to the ones which are kind to them. Let’s not bury our kindness towards them. There was so much more i wanted to write on this matter but the blog is getting long, so

Genie Signing Off,