Thursday, April 29, 2010 8 comments

Short Story: The Conversation Part 2

Nikita decided to go forward with the discussion.

‘So what do you do? Work somewhere?’

‘Yeah, I am a Financial Analyst,’ came the terse reply.

‘Erm, what does a Finance whatever do??’

‘A financial analyst or investment analyst is a person who performs financial analysis for external or internal clients as a core part of the job. Basically we study details about companies and arrive at an estimate of their financial values.’

‘Uh, whatever that all sounds like Greek to me. Do you have any hobby as such?’

‘Loads of them. But if I have to choose one, it will be reading.’

‘Reading? As in books?’

‘Yes. But apart from that I also like reading people.’

‘What the… How can you read people? You mean like reading minds? Are you a psychopath?’

‘I think you mean telepath, and not psychopath. Anyways I do not possess any supernatural powers. I just like analyzing people and their behavior.’

‘Such as? Analyze me and tell me what you find.’

‘I have done so already. You are sad, angry, frustrated by the fact that you were dumped and also flabbergasted at my apparent lack of interest in you.’

Nikita stood still akin a statue. She was clearly impressed by Rajesh astuteness.

‘Why do you speak so bluntly and abruptly? It sounds rude. Why can’t you add more emotions to your sentences and be a bit more amiable?’

‘Sorry if I sound that way, but this is the way I am. No pretense. I guess I will go outside for some air.’

Saying this Rajesh got up. It was at that moment that Nikita noticed that he was wearing a gold necklace. Apparently it had missed her attention previously.

‘Why are you wearing such a girly necklace anyways?’ inquired Nikita in a greasy tone.

‘Oh just like that. Wanted to try out something different.’

‘Why don’t you try out the new men’s fairness cream that has hit the market?’ Nikita smiled impishly.

‘It wont suit my skin,’ for the first time Rajesh smiled and left the compartment.

He returned after a few minutes.

‘I apologize for earlier. I guess you must be feeling bad after the break-up and all,’ Rajesh began.

‘Bad? I feel horrible. I can’t tell you how I feel right now. But thanks for asking,’ replied Nikita.

‘No problem. But I am sure you will get over it,’ smiled Rajesh. ‘By the way, I will be getting off at the next stop. Change of plan.’

‘That was sudden. Have to meet someone somewhere?’

‘Sort of. I guess you should let go of the past. It will only hurt you more if you continue thinking about him.’

‘I don’t know if I can. I loved him a lot, you know? There was hardly a moment I spent away from him. We used to exchange dozens of smses each day, would take over the phone hours on end, chat on Gtalk whole day long…’

‘Yeah, the usual stuff. All couples say the same thing,’ blurted Rajesh in a sarcastic tone.

‘Excuse me; you don’t know anything about us. It’s very important to stay connected for a relationship to prosper.’

‘Yes, but why on the phone or the internet. Is it not better to go for a walk or for a dinner party say once every week? Time management is crucial. You should not mollycoddle your partner beyond the critical point.’

‘Rubbish. You need to profess your love continuously in order to attract your partner’s attention. Else he may think you are ignoring him.’

‘Isn’t that what most girls resort to? Ignoring their boyfriends when they are morose?’

‘That’s enough. You are acting like a male chauvinist. I will not have any more of your nonsense. You do not have any idea on sustaining a relationship.’

‘Nice words, from someone who could not even sustain her own.’

Nikita felt as if a lightning bolt had hit her. She had no comment to refute Rajesh’s statement. But at the same time she did not want to admit it. Tears sprang up in her eyes once more.

‘I guess I will be leaving now. My destination has almost arrived,’ saying this Rajesh got up from his seat and started moving towards the door.

‘You can never understand the pain of being left alone. You never had a partner, you can never know what I went through,’ Nikita sobbed.

Rajesh turned towards her and spoke.

‘On the contrary, yes, I did have a girlfriend. We were very close. Would probably have been married by now if things had gone right.’

‘Things had gone right? What do you mean? Did she dump you as well? You deserved it.’

‘Not really. She’s dead. Was killed by a mobster last month. Apparently that guy had a fascination for this gold necklace which I had given her.’

Saying this Rajesh left the compartment.
Friday, April 23, 2010 2 comments

Short Story: The Conversation-Part 1

Okay, time for another short story. This time, I will refrain from using any sort of sarcasm or subtle humor. The story will be basic, and uncomplicated. So here I begin, hope you will like it.

The compartment S-42 had just one person in it. Not surprising, since it was a first class compartment and the train had just left the station. Nikita was in a disheveled state. Her hair had become loose and untidy, and the tears had spoiled most of her make-up. Struggling to compose herself, she wiped her face with her silk handkerchief and finally took her seat. Sitting directly opposite to her, a man of around her age was busy reading a paperback. Apparently he hadn’t even bothered to give her a second look. Now this was a bit of an unforeseen situation for Nikita. She was not used to being ignored. Rather most men would have found her extremely attractive and comely. Few could have resisted complimenting her pulchritude. However this young man had ostensibly decided that a book was a much better companion than a beautiful lady.

Nikita tied her loose hair with a clip and decided that she had had enough. ‘Excuse me,’ she remarked. ‘Are you going to Delhi as well?’

‘Yes’. The man did not even look at her.

‘Quite the laconic fellow isn’t he?’ thought Nikita. Nevertheless, she decided to be courteous.

‘Hello, my name is Nikita and I am a professional dancer. I guess we will be sharing this compartment tonight, so we might know each other better. So can you tell me something about yourself?’ She forced a smile.

‘I am Rajesh, and what is your problem?’

Nikita was flabbergasted. ‘Uh, what problem? What do you mean?’

‘Isn’t it obvious? You have been crying. What happened? A fight with your boyfriend?’

Nikita paused for a moment. Whoever this guy was, he was no fool. At least he was a good observer all right.

‘Yes, he dumped me for another boisterous girl. She was my room-mate. And she stabbed me in the back,’ she said in a low tone.

‘Isn’t it usually the other way around? Girls dump their partners all the time.’

‘Excuse me. You don’t know anything about me. You have no right to make any comment about my personal matter.’

‘If you say so,’ replied Rajesh and went back to his book.

Nikita could hardly believe her eyes. This guy wasn’t even interested in her personal life. And to think she knew a bunch of perverts who were dying for her personal details.

To be Continued.
Friday, April 16, 2010 3 comments

A Business Called Education!

Well, ever heard of a Business called ‘Education?’ Yes, you read it correctly, education as a business for rapacious businessmen, just looking to enhance their gargantuan income by nefarious means, in order to lead an opulent lifestyle. The sad thing is, not many people are aware of this. And the ones, who are, simply do not bother. After all, what difference does it make? Everyone wants to make money nowadays, and if it’s for a noble cause, in the field of education, what is the harm? The catch is that the cause is not as munificent as one may believe.

Many centuries ago, India was once considered as the central hub for education. We had an amicable teacher-student relationship, or the Guru-Shishya rishta. The Gurus would guide the student towards the path of enlightenment, and would teach him to identify the right from the wrong. India had erudite scholars in the fields of Arts, Science, Mathematics, Philosophy and even Astronomy. Whether it be Vedic Learning, or the Gurukul System, the education system in India was second to none. We had the famous Takshila University, an epitome for learning. So how come our Education system deteriorated so much, such that at present we are unable to give even primary education to most of our children? Not to mention the negligent progress made in Science & Technology, Research, etc when compared to the other developed countries? And most importantly, why does not a single Indian Educational Institute figure in the top 100 Global List?

Yes, it is true that we have suffered many cutbacks and faced numerous impediments when it comes to education. The yearly budget set for education was less than 1 percent of the GDP just a few years back. We have too few seats, and far too many eligible students. And most of them belonged to the destitute category, unable to get admission in a private school. The condition of government schools has remained lugubrious, and they are little more than dilapidated buildings. Add to that the additional woe of acute faculty shortage and you have a recipe for disaster. It is estimated that there is a shortage of more than 12 lakh teachers at the primary school level itself. And the competition to get into the elite institutions is so severe, that just a handful of outstanding students make it, and the rest shift into depression mode. Two things happen to them, either they take admission in a mediocre or below average college, or they commit suicide. No wonder the student suicide rate is escalating like anything, in India.

Enter the businessman, who has been looking over the entire scenario for the past few decades. What he notices is that most Indians are ready to give anything for obtaining an educational degree, which has become more of a social status than ever before. So what does the greedy businessman do? He sets up a host of private colleges throughout the country, catering to the need of the degree starved bourgeois class. Currently it is mostly the middle class people who are making a dash for such nugatory institutions, but the colleges have also grabbed the attention of the poor class. People believe that obtaining a degree will guarantee them a job, and hence money to meet their daily expenses. But, unfortunately the truth is almost always bitter. In 9 cases out of 10, the colleges just provide degrees and nothing else. Infrastructure is in a dismal condition, and there is a severe deficit of trained teachers cum lecturers. And such businessmen actually maintain a high class profile by proclaiming that they are spreading knowledge, while actually all they are doing is befooling people, and minting money. Such a fraudulent technique is, unfortunately legal.

One may ask, if people are aware of this sham, then why are they not raising their voice and doing anything about it? The truth is, they firmly believe in the slogan ‘Degree Hai to Sab Kuch Hai’(If we have a degree, we have everything). Hardly anyone goes into college because he/she wants to gain knowledge, or because he/she has genuine interest in his/her specialization. People opt for higher education, mainly for two factors: 1) To get a job and 2) Status. The later comes handy while publishing matrimonial advertisements. Nowadays everyone wants to get his son/daughter married to someone who has a degree (even if it’s a fake one) so that he can proudly boast-‘Mera beta to Engineer hai. Meri Bahu to doctor hai.’ (My son is an engineer, and my daughter-in-law is a doctor). Though the guy may not even know the spelling of Engineering, and the doctor wife may do her patients a favor by not treating them. The reason for this is that the large number of private colleges has greatly reduced the Quality Factor necessary for a person to gain true professional skills required by the industry. The businessmen are not concerned about the welfare of the students. They will charge exorbitant fees for providing degrees, and they know that there is a horde of fatuous people who would gladly mortgage their own house to get their children admitted into such useless institutes, thinking that they will get a better investment after the child gets a job. But, alas, all that their children can do after obtaining the degree is to add to the ever growing mass of unemployed youth.

According to a NASSCOM survey, around 75% of Engineers in our country do not have the necessary skills required to work in an industry. So after spending such a huge amount of money, what return do they (the people) get? Almost zero, one can say. The quality of technical institutes has diluted like anything, and this nefarious education business is expanding day by day. What can be done to avoid this? For once, check out the credibility of the institute before taking admission into it. Do not go by the cheap publicity offered, or by the specious promises (usually related to placements) made by that institute’s management. Secondly, do not opt for higher education just for money. Try to develop some real pragmatic skills, and focus on knowledge building. That will surely help you in the long run.

Some Entrepreneurs and NGO’s are working assiduously to provide high quality education for all. One of them is an IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus named Vardan Kabra, the creator of Fountainhead school. A very prominent NGO working for educational development of underprivileged children is Pratham. Both of them have helped thousands of children across the country gain access to education. But still, a lot remains to be done. Now with education becoming a fundamental right, we should demand Quality as well. Just creating more money grabbing buildings in the name of spreading knowledge will simply not do. Public-Private Partnerships(PPPs) can also help in this regard. The private sector can provide good quality infrastructure and remunerations for the teachers, and the Government can accord job safety and a cap on collusions.

We can definitely make India a World Renowned Educational Hub once again.

Monday, April 12, 2010 2 comments

Engineers dominating at Bschools

*Continued from the previous post:

So I had discussed 2 reasons for ‘Engineers dominating at Bschools’ in my last post. In this post, I shall elucidate a few more.

See, there is a psychological reason for this. We all want to do what our friends/peers are doing. This is due to an ersatz sense of security. We do not want to take any risk by doing something different from others. If one sees that most of his friends are doing engineering, and then MBA, he/she will automatically want to do the same. The student believes-‘So many people are doing it. Obviously there has to be something good about it.’ So he also gets into the rat race without knowing where it ends. Only after he has completed his MBA does he realize his mistake- that he failed to take an independent decision. Wrong decisions can be career threatening. The main problem is that people sacrifice their passion, and get into a line which is totally un-suited to them.

Engineers can easily manage both the QA and VA part, whereas Non-engineers who are good in English struggle in the QA/DI part. This is a well known truth. It is generally seen that most people take up engineering even if they don’t like it. So they usually get fed up of their subjects quite soon. They believe that MBA is their savior, the degree which will get rid of their misery, so they blindly run after it, without bothering to even know what an MBA really is. Heard of the hackneyed phrase-‘History repeats itself?’ The same thing happens again, and he gets fed up of studying business, thinking that he will get into whichever job which pays the most. He gets into any XYZ job, and after that starts hating it as well, criticizing everyone from his boss to this colleagues. Why did all of this happen? Simple, he chose to quench the innate talent which he had, and instead chose a path which did not belong to him. If he had done something which he genuinely liked, and not done something which others were doing, he would have been successful and happy [Terms and Conditions applied].

The main problem is that India is still a poor country, and most people will not feel like following their interest or nurturing their passion, if they can’t even feed themselves and their family. So money always comes first. Education, for them [majority of the people], is just a medium to get a job, and nothing else. This is why so many of them aim for the IITs and IIMs, thinking that their future will get secured, since those institutions guarantee jobs for all their students. We have to change this thinking philosophy. Education should be pursued for developing one’s own knowledge database, and then working on one’s interests, and not for getting placements only. You may be interested in Photography, Martial Arts, Sports, etc, but if you choose to get into the rat race [primarily Engineering and MBA], only for money/job, in the long run you will end up as just another loser. But of course, you need to work assiduously if you want to achieve something. Always remember-‘A shortcut to success will cut your life short’. [I made this phrase-impromptu]

Thanks again, folks. See ya.
Thursday, April 8, 2010 2 comments

Why do Top Bschools have an 'Engineering' Majority!

All right, here is a very popular topic- Why do top Bschools in India lack in background diversity, and are monopolistically(No such word actually exists) dominated by Engineers? I am going to give a few reasons for this(There are many I know, but I wont cover all).

First and foremost, most MBA entrance exams are heavy on Maths. In fact 2/3rd of CAT is essentially Mathematics(including LR and DI). So a sound base in Mathematics becomes very essential, for MBA aspirants. And most good(I stress on this word) engineers will be proficient in Mathematics(after all, its one of the most important subject for them). Especially those in top engineering colleges, will be constantly dealing with stuff related to Math(almost in every respect).

Its not that all engineers are good in Quantitative Aptitude(QA). Many are not good in it, but the reverse is usually not true. There are very few non-engineers who can compete with, say an IITian in Mathematics. Most Olympiad medal holders are engineers. They do not opt for Research in Mathematics, or BSC/MSC, simply because an engineering degree holds much more value. So how can you expect non-engineers to compete with their counterparts who can solve QA sums in the same time you batter an eye-lid?

Secondly, it is a well known fact, that in India all the good students opt for Engineering. Whether they actually like it or not is irrelevant. Its the degree and brand name of the college which matters more. So say, a student scores very high in his class 10th board exams, everyone will encourage him to take Science and then engineering, even if he is interested in Arts or Commerce. Plus after that student takes up Science, there is a 95% probability that he is going to join some ABC engineering college in future. Because basic sciences do not attract them, and medical seats are too few in number. So we have the category of wanted-to-be-a-doctor, ended-up-as-an-engineer category of people.

*To be Continued.

As pointed out to me by my friends, I am going to keep my posts short from now on. So will split long posts into multiple posts. :)
Friday, April 2, 2010 1 comments


My blog has been infected by the bX error. Is there anything I can do to get rid of this idiotic error?