Monday, May 31, 2010 18 comments

Relationships, Trust and Betrayal

*Continued From Previous Post

The hardest thing in the world is not to get entry into an IIT or IIM, but to control one’s emotions. Especially the negative emotions. Its not possible for any living being to get rid of them, but they can definitely be subdued by staying optimistic, thinking and acting positively, and doing scrupulous deeds. Keep yourself in company of optimistic people, who are ready to work for a noble cause, and who believe that there is NO shortcut for success. I guess you must have an idea of why relationships break. Moreover, in recent times, we see that the youth [especially the guys] are not really looking for love and caring. They are looking for trophies [which they euphemistically call girlfriends] that they can display for others to see, and which can satisfy their lust. Of course there are exceptions, but they are far and few in between. They have no shame in changing their trophies when they feel the current one is rusted. In fact, the more they get the better for them. This is their lugubrious mentality.

Most girls look for their ‘Prince in Shining armor’ who will love them and care for them forever. Their weakness is that they are too trusting. Even Count Dracula can come in a ‘Prince Armor’ and pretend to be an Angel[read Ideal Partner]. And it’s quite likely that the girl may fall for such a trick. The real trouble comes when the girl gets exposed to the actual reality. Unfortunately most of the time, she will blatantly refuse to believe that her ‘Prince’ [in reality Dracula] can do any salacious or immoral activity. She will blindly continue to trust him[refusing the advice of others], till he actually dumps her. After that, she will be shocked. ‘How could this happen? He could not have done something like this.’ If only she had opened her eyes sooner, none of this would have happened. Most of the suicides in India happen due to failed love, apart from failed examinations of course.

Okay, so now that you know why relationships break so often, what’s the remedy? Do we stop trusting everyone, isolate ourselves and live alone till we die of loneliness? Obviously not. Just don’t trust anyone and everyone. Try to know a person properly before you give your heart out to him/her. But the Golden Rule is –‘Never take anything[or anyone] for granted.’ That person may be your partner now, but he/she may not be with you tomorrow. Do don’t be over-dependent on anyone. Do not blindly trust others. This does not mean that you don’t love others. Share as much love as you can, but at the same time, be prepared mentally and emotionally for any scenario. If you believe something such as-‘She loves me so much, that she can never leave me no matter what happens’, then you are only living in a Fool’s paradise. People change, and there is nothing you can do about it.

If you are ready to face any situation, it will add on to your advantage. First of all, you will not be shocked if someone betrays you. Definitely it will hurt in the beginning, but you will learn to move ahead with your life. Always remember that life is not about a few individuals alone. The most important step is Forgiveness- it will help you feel better and move on. Do NOT hold grudges against anyone, even if that person has betrayed you for no apparent reason [I know its very much easier said than done, but trust me its worth it]. Do not keep thinking about your past-the broken relations which cannot be mended. Discussing your problems with friends [genuine ones obviously] will always make you feel better. Moreover, remember that it’s just NOT possible to please everyone. There will always be some people who will complain about and criticize your actions and pass lewd comments. These are the people best ignored.

Keep yourself busy with work. It really helps. An Empty Mind is Indeed a Devil’s workshop. If you keep yourself occupied, it’s quite likely you wont keep thinking about your broken relationships. Aim to be altruistic. I find this principle to be quite effective-‘If the problem is only affecting me, then it’s not a problem worth looking at.’ Of course its not true, you should not ignore your problems. But considering that you are just one individual in this world of nearly 7 billion people, your problem [especially if it’s just affecting you] can’t be all that serious, can it?

Finally, you may have a question similar to this one- ‘I did whatever you mentioned. I loved her, gave her everything I could, treated her kindly, with care, gave her loads of gifts, took her to movies, blah blah blah, Yet she still left me. Why did she betray me?’
Alas, as I said earlier, there is no specific answer. Remember that you do not necessarily have to do something Wrong for someone[he/she could have been very close to you] to betray you or leave you. It’s just the subtle intricacies of the human mind, mysterious and inexplicable. You cannot force anyone[neither should you] to do things according to your wish. Similarly you can’t force them to stay with you forever, or love you incessantly.

Thanks a lot for going through this mammoth post. Do share your views and thoughts about this sensitive issue.
Thursday, May 27, 2010 6 comments

Why did I get betrayed by the person whom I trusted the Most?

So am back again. This time with an uncanny topic- Relationships and betrayals. Am quite sure that most of you must have been in a relationship with someone. Let me clarify that by relationships, I mean the ones between couples or close friends. [Am not considering parent-child,brother-sister,etc relationships in this post] Even if you are single, you must be having [at least a few] close friends on whom you can rely upon at all times. But it’s also quite likely that you have witnessed some gruesome betrayals as well, and they are even more vicarious when they are carried out by the ones whom you trust the most.

You may be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. How could he/she do it to me? I trusted him/her with my life. How could she leave me for another fool who doesn’t even care for her? Why did he do that to me, when I did everything for him? All this and many more questions may be swirling in your mind, demanding answers but getting no replies. So why do people betray us, and how can we deal with such emotions? Why do relationships break? I will try to answer a few such arcane questions with my own personal beliefs.

Okay you have been through a betrayal which has shattered you. First and foremost, do NOT keep blaming the person who did so. Remember the Gospel Truth- Human Beings are Not Gods- they make mistakes and they do things which they should not. Else no-one can explain the growth of crime in contemporary times. Plus there is another thing you should know- Humans are sadistic[Almost all of them]-Believe it. We love hurting others, it makes us feel good[You need proof, go ask any college student what the word ‘ragging’ means]. Plus today pointing fingers at others won’t help, you will just get more fingers pointed at you tomorrow.

Thinking that you cannot hurt or betray anyone is another fallacious thought. You[in fact every human] is capable of betraying, hurting and even killing another, depending on the situation. In fact, there is nothing more complicated than the functioning of the human mind. Its one of those few things Science cannot[at least not yet] fully explain. But know this much, if provoked even a reticent person is capable of genocide. Okay, let us leave the concept of murder for the time being. We were discussing betrayals were we not? So why should our best friend, whom we trusted, betray us? There is no conspicuous answer for this one. There can be many reasons. And it varies according to gender. Females are much more likely to keep quiet about their grievances and later vent out all their frustration at one go. Guys like instant solutions for their problems, even those which need long term investment. Moreover, a girl is much more likely to initiate a break-up than a guy. If betrayed, she is very likely to break all contacts with him. The situation is usually the reverse for males. A guy is not likely to accept a betrayal, and in many cases, will seek revenge. Even if he forgives the girl, he will still not want to break contact. He is more eager to search for a new partner to satisfy his lust. And he usually cannot tolerate ignorance.

Recently, I saw an episode of Crime Patrol, where a Navy Officer shot dead his girlfriend just because she wanted to break-up with him. That too, she had a genuine reason for doing so, since he was already married and had kept that secret hidden from her. He could not bear the ignominy of being rejected, so he took such an extreme step. Did he really love her? Of course not, you do not gun down the persons you love, unless you are mentally retarded or something. He just wanted to possess the hapless girl, so that he could satisfy all his nefarious desires.

So as you can see, there may be innumerable reasons for a person to betray you, irrespective of the fact that he/she is your best friend. The same logic applies to you. You may think that you are the nicest person in the world, but you can still commit crimes as serious as those committed by dictators. Personally, I myself have betrayed and have been betrayed by others. Some people may not desire your company any longer, so they choose to go on their own path. Some people may be frustrated by your behavior but refuse to tell that to you. Others may simply find someone better to replace you [as a couple or best friend], so they ‘move on’.

Jealousy can also be a apposite reason. Say you and are friend are both preparing for a competitive exam say[simplest example]. Say both of you were equally intelligent and equally hard-working in all respects. Yet, for some reason your friend gets into a Top Institute, and you do not. What will you feel? Admiration for your friend? Less likely. Jealousy and envy, that he got it and you did not? Yup, that rings a bell! In that case, it’s very much possible that you distance yourself from him, declaring him to be a subtle villain who is egocentric and does not care about his friends. But is that truly the case? Obviously not, it’s just your negative thoughts playing games with your emotions.

* To be Concluded in the Next post.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 8 comments

Welcome to the Wrong Career!

Recently, I read an excellent article(In Education Times dated 17/05/2010 ) about career counseling and the wrong career choices made by students. [You can read the article Here ]

Am quoting 3 lines from the article:

‘An IIM graduate gave up her job in McKinsey and now runs a publishing company. ‘

‘A student who opted for chemical engineering completed his studies, but somehow never cleared all the subjects in every semester. ‘

‘A doctor, who had done well in his medical programme, was very clear that he wasn’t keen to practice medicine at all.’

Now what do these 3 lines tell you? That those 3 people were fools? Obviously not. Fools cannot get admission into IIMs for once, and they usually wont perform well in their medical programme. No, it’s just that those people did not really know what career they wanted to pursue. What’s the harm in that, you may ask? In a country where millions of people are illiterate, what difference does it make whether a person becomes an engineer, or a doctor, or whichever career from where he/she can earn the maximum? Well, it does make a difference. It may be a subtle difference, but at the same time, it’s quite imperative as well.

In India, most children do not choose a career path of their own free will. They are mostly influenced(or rather forced) by their parents, peers, relatives, friends, etc. So in most cases, following the norms of the society, a child takes up a path in which he has no interest in. This is because our society looks down at people whose children are not engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc- Ie the traditional streams. Though in recent times, a variety of new courses have opened up[Hotel Management, Hospitality, Forestry, Rural Management, etc], but surprisingly most parents still want their children to continue with the traditional streams, especially those in middle class and lower class backgrounds. The reason for this is also quite obvious- Money. Since India is still a poor country, most people look at education as a panacea, a tool which can get them a job. Every parent will want his child to get a secure job, especially if it’s a necessity. And with just 5% of the Indian population earning more than $10 a day, you can bet that there is a mad rush to get high-paying jobs.

The other obvious reason is status. People want to boast to their neighbors that their wards have got admission in such and such 5 star colleges. Even the student usually targets a institute, not because he wants to really learn anything, but because he knows that he will get instant fame after booking a seat in the institute. This points to a deeper malaise- We have too few good quality institutes, especially for Higher education. Look at the ironical situation- Whereas on one hand, we have thousands of good private schools taking in thousands of students and offering high quality service, on the other hand we have even more number of private colleges offering a lugubrious or dismal service with pathetic conditions. Most students passing out of such colleges do not get a job neither do they learn anything. They just add to the growing un-employment queue. This shows the desperation for obtaining nugatory degrees. Some people sell off their land to get their children admitted in such colleges. And the ROI (Return on Investment) is practically zero. Somehow many fatuous people believe that a degree [Especially an Engineering degree] is all it takes to get a job.

So we have lakhs of students opting for engineering, and around the same number opting for MBA. Why don’t we have an equal number of students entering the Law, Medicine, Sports[Heavily required],Arts, Commerce, Scientific Research[Where India lags behind most countries], Ph.D [We have too few of them], Music, Painting, Archaeology, Core Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biotechnology, R & D, Astronomy [India has just a handful of institutes that offer a course in Astronomy], Manufacturing, Core- Cement, Fertilizers, Power [Solar, Wind, Geothermal, others], etc. I could go on and on, about this demand-supply mismatch but then my post will never finish. We have such a high deficit of trained people in these sectors. Reason- ‘Most people are unable to finish their school, let alone complete college. And the ones who are privileged enough to attend college, end up running blindly after money and annihilating their careers.’

Indirect consequences of the above :
1) Increasing the divide between the poor and the rich.

2) Very few good quality Non-Engineering, Non-MBA colleges coming up. [The Government is only focused on bringing up more IITs, NITs, and IIMs.]

3) Mushrooming of coaching institutes across the country that are fooling people and making the most of this travesty.

4) Non-traditional streams are dying down, since they are not getting a Quality boost.

5) Lack of scientific research and development means there is very little scope in India for genuine students. Even those seriously interested in Science are opting for engineering. This is also the reason why most of the Noble Prize winning Indians live outside their homeland.

The sad thing is that even today most people believe –‘If you are not from an IIT or an IIM, then you are nothing.’

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 4 comments

Why do Students Cheat in exams?

Ah, am back with a bang once more. This time with an interesting topic- Cheating. Before you make any assumption, let me clarify that I shall restrict myself mainly to cheating during examinations. For other types of cheating- in business, relationships, etc all you need to do is switch on your television or go through your daily newspaper.
You shall receive more than a healthy dosage; I can assure you of that.

So basically, why do students cheat in their examinations? I can afford to be succinct here by saying-‘For marks’, but then that will create an aura of nonchalance. Okay, let us admit that fact. Majority of the students cheat so that they can get more marks. For the young, it’s understandable. After all, they face tremendous expectations from their parents, who want them to score as high as possible. But when a child is caught using dubious means, and is reported to his parent, the later usually stubbornly denies the fact. ‘My child can never cheat. I have personally given him many values blah blah’, scorns the parent. Then again, the parent can be condoned as well, for he had probably resorted to similar nefarious means in his childhood.

So does that mean everyone cheats during his/her exam, without bothering about the ramifications? And to what effect? First things first. No, obviously every student does not cheat. But it can be estimated that majority have cheated at some point of their life, and almost all have at least helped their classmates while giving examinations. Is it due to our natural altruistic nature? Far from it. Its mainly because we are afraid of being ostracized. If someone refuses to disclose the answers, he is considered as a rude and boisterous selfish fellow, unwilling to help his classmates. Most people do not consider cheating as a sin; in fact they enjoy the thrill they get from it. On the contrary, many take it as a challenge so that they can boast to their friends- ‘Guess what, I managed to copy 20 marks in my Maths exam.’ ‘Only 20? I emulated half the paper from XYZ.’

Sometimes the reason for cheating is genuine. The student may not have prepared anything for his paper. He may be lackadaisical or simply too indolent to open his books and prepare for his exam. He usually remarks that he does not get the time to study. But he got sufficient time to prepare chits to stuff in his pockets. The student may be afraid of failing in his exam. But he does not realize that resorting to unfair means is in fact, a much bigger failure. He may manage to pass, but he will learn nothing. Its better to fail and try again, than to remain a true failure. But just mention the E word, and everyone, right from the student to the parent gets into a frenzy.

They say everything is fair in love, war and examinations. Unfortunately most people have taken this seriously. Let me demonstrate a few situations when a person resorts to cheating:

1) The invigilator is a lethargic person, and does not bother to do his job. Naturally the students get intrigued. It starts off with a casual-‘Hey what’s the answer to ques 4)b’ and then carries on till the student manages to copy every word, usually not even bothering to change the sentence construction. If he is caught, in all probability he will stubbornly deny it, and try to blame the other person. It’s the natural denial tendency almost everyone possesses.

2) In case a person is not sure of his own answer, he tends to verify it from his neighbors. The thing is, we always assume that the other person is right. Moreover if many people write the same answer, and even if it is wrong, we tend to believe that’s probably correct. It’s a typical case of inferiority complex, where the other person always has the better thing. In this case, it may be the answer to a complicated question.

3) Finally, it’s to show the team spirit one possesses, by involving everyone in a mutual discussion. Except of course that discussion is more deadly than helpful.

Cheating can yield short term results, but is very derogatory in the long run. The student will keep procrastinating studying, with the usual remark-‘I will surely prepare well from next time. This time I just have to pass somehow, anyhow.’

Unfortunately, most of us think only about the short terms. The students don’t even know why they are studying and/or cheating. Its high time we guided them towards a better future. They must be made aware of the negative consequences of cheating and the importance of integrity and ethics. But when the children see the grown ups doing unethical things, its no wonder they are inclined towards bad habits.

We are a marks+degree hunger nation. Its time for us to shift our priorities from ‘marks’ to knowledge. We should aim to do something creative, innovative and research oriented rather than fatuously running after marks.