Thursday, 5 October 2017

Mathematics Teachers Should Understand

Mathematics teachers should understand the following basic facts

If X doesn't want to be found, respect it's privacy until it has violated the laws of the land. Don't teach children to stalk by repeatedly asking them to find X

Don't teach children to borrow at an young age itself

Steps are not always, everyone has a shortcut on their desktops

Nobody builds a wall with 10 people and later build one more to find out how many days it will take.

A person who tries to fill  a water tank at one end and keeps emptying it at the other has a psychological problem. His madness should not be posed as a problem to students
There are easier ways to find the diameter of a circle than through complicated formulaes

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

My Thoughts on A Feast of Vultures by Josy Joseph

I loved this book just for the brutal and sarcastic way it brings out the underbelly of corruption in India. This book is a must read for anyone who believes corruption can be undone in India. Read this book, and you will be cured of this malady. It lists how corruption is at the core of our lives. This is no review of the book, just reproduction of a few lines I liked the most in the book.

The book begins with a sarcastic punch on Karalla village in Delhi. Read the book to understand the legend of Karalla Village in contemporary history of Indian corruption.

The rule of the game in modern India as far as corruption is concerned is `don’t get caught’

The creaky government machinery moves only when the lubricant bribe is applied.

Instead of dealing with the grievances that fuel these insurgencies, politicians, the mainstream media and security analyst have worked to create an ill-informed, often abusive and intolerant discourse around them.

The state-controlled company that provided the telephone is struggling to survive in one of the most profitable and vibrant telecommunication markets in the world.

The Indian democracy works only through middlemen who know how to get the moribund system moving.

Although the system of intermediaries has not been adequately studied, one can confidently assume that the business of being a middleman between the public and governments is the most flourishing industry in India.

The first chapter `Mr Fix-it Down the Street’ is a chilling reality which every Indian should relate to. The most telling line in this chapter is said by one of the local level leader `We will be important as long as people are afraid of the government, officials and police’

The crux of Chapter 2 `The Mighty Typist’ is covered in the paragraph `The trusted aide’s primary qualification is often just his skill in peacefully, quickly and accurately typing on a QWERTY keyboard. Once he is in the office of a powerful boss, he acquires other skills, such as holding secrets, negotiating on behalf of his boss, reading the boss’s mind and managing various situations for her. These aides usually guard access to the decision maker’s chamber. They pass on messages between those seeking favours and their bosses, often striking deals and collecting the booty on behalf of their employers, occasionally getting a few crumbs of it, and bringing in women or wine as required. They are expected to remain silent, and to carry these secrets to their graves.’

                Arms and the Middleman which is the third chapter is the highlight of this book as are Chapter-5 (Battle for the skies), Chapter 6 (Anatomy of a Murder), and Chapter 7 (The Fly-by-Might Operator). These chapters are bound to make you sweat and your hands go cold. If not, you should consider a career in fixing corrupt deals.

                Chapter 9 is titled The League of Extraordinary Gentleman but for me it was an appetizer on Crony Capitalism and false CSR .
                    Chapter 10 is `A House for Mr Ambani’ .

                                The author has one defamation suit filed against him in December 2016. What happened to the case is not known? Mr Jossy Joseph has stated that he has based his writings on hard proof that too Government documents. Possibly that explains why the case has gone nowhere.

                This is a must read book for anyone wanting to understand the beast called Indian Corruption. Even Harry Potter Fans can read. This depiction of reality should equally intrigue you.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Why Are We Fostering Malicious Media?

                Last month I had been to my office headquarters, and took a taxi to reach the office. It was a typical Bengaluru road with potholes and vehicles in the ratio of 1:2. The vehicle was trudging along and a lady from nowhere, as is the wont on our roads, crossed across the road, compelling the driver to hit the brakes. He apologized to me, and I in turn appreciated his swiftness.
                After travelling some distance, he said `Sir, If I had not applied the brake in time, she would have been run over, and the IX News would have reported `Drunk Driver driving at 80kms speed runs over a pedestrian’. He spoke like the reporters in such drama news channels.

I laughed, and could have left it at that but I wanted to play with the driver’s thought process. Though I knew the answer, I ventured to ask `How do you know these minute details? Do you regularly see them?’ He replied in the affirmative, and also asserted that he was an avid viewer of such news channels.
Next I proceeded to ask `Do you believe in what is told on such channels?”. Driver `Not always sir, but it is great fun’.
He was now in my grip, and I decided to deliver the killer punch `would it have been fun for you or for your family members, if you had hit the lady, and the channel telecasted such headlines’. He sheepishly said `no’.
I chided him by saying `When your mistake becomes a headline, you will feel hurt but when someone else’s mistake becomes a headline, it’s fun. If you don’t want such headlines telecast about you one day, stop viewing channels that telecast such headlines’. He went numb for the remaining part of the journey.

The purpose of this blog is not political, and I never write on this contentious subject. This is about commonsense. Why do we believe a channel where the anchor thinks he, and his reporters know everything? Why don’t we stop viewing channels where the anchor plays the judge? Why don’t we question the motives of channels which divert attention from the important news with their sensational, salacious, and trivial breaking news? Is it that an individual’s opinion becomes pristine just because he served in a particular organisation? Why do people give leave to their critical thinking, and believe politicians who speak blatant lies?

As long as we cannot add up one and one, we will continue to be mislead by shady media houses and Machiavellian politicians.  

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Hindi Medium Passes With Distinction - Movie Review

Indian Bloggers

`Hindi Medium’, if it happens for real must be the most amusing roller coaster ride for any family. It is unimaginable to think of a family moving from Old Delhi to Vasanth Vihar to a slum in Delhi, back to Vasant Vihar and finally back to reality.

Before we proceed further, `Hindi Medium’ is remake of a Malayalam film, and the heroine Mita is played by a Pakistani actress. I have no problem with either, especially Saba Qamar who looks a million bucks and a actress par excellence.
HM is a harsh story told well enough to not offend the sentiments of the upper middle class, that is so eager to see their children educated in any Tom, Dick (oh that word might offend someone), school which prefixes it name with Convent or International School. I know of a school in Bengaluru East which does not have enough space to even assemble all its students in the corridor but calls itself as an International School. Wonder what the education authorities are doing about it?
Parents have always an inferiority complex about their own backgrounds especially the schools they studied in, in this case Mita. Mita breaks into a hysteric dialogue everytime she has to explain what will happen if Pia does not get into an English Upmarket School. Her over protectiveness of Pia is comical to say the least.  Propelled by his wife, Raj (Irfan Khan) does everything to get his daughter Pia into an English School. They even move to the upmarket and snobby Vasant Vihar. Neha Dhupia in her role defines Vasant Vihar.
                The parents even engage a consultant played by Tillotama Shome . She says when she was introduced to the character; it was described as a "bit of a bitch". Tillotama Shome has portrayed her role more than a bit. Hers is one character which will remain in your mind long after you’ve forgotten many scenes of the movie, but remember its storyline. Image consultants have made criminals look like saviours in the recent past, but that is possible only when the conversation is one sided. However, in a school interview, it is two sided, and the couple of Irfan & Saba (Raj & Mita) get exposed, and Pia does not get the admission.
                This failure in the interview compels the couple to take a vacation in Europe at Bharat Nagar slums. Indian parents are always ready to sacrifice for their children’s education, they don’t mind faking as poor to get seats under RTE, and if required, to avoid being detected, ready to stay in a slum as well. Staying in a slum has its own perils but they are able to counter thanks to their friendly neighbours Shyam Prasad & his wife Tulsi. Both Irfan and Saba prove their acting credentials in the slum. First, they land up the seat and later lose it. Amrita Singh portrays the role of  principal of English Grammar School with a finesse that hides her villainy till the last scene.
                One scene which transcends the limits of creative freedom is when a SUV knocks down Shyam Prasad, stops and when threatened with police complaint, hands over 20k to Raj. Nobody is going to buy that scene.
                Thanks to a scam bust, Pia loses her seat. In a lucky draw, she gets it back, and as again expected, the Raj couple decide to surrender it. It is only then the villainy of Amrita Singh is revealed. Raj breaks into the school auditorium and makes an emotional speech on education in India, and accepting his guilt. Realism in the film is not lost, when the upper middle class present in the auditorium does not react to his emotional outburst, least their wards future is affected.

                Overall the film is a refreshing fare compared to BKD and such stuff. The entire starcast has done immense justice to their roles. I would give it a 4 star. It is a week since I saw the movie but tell you what Saba Qamar is a WMD, Woman Made Divinely

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

An Extract From Voltaire's `Candide' That Explains The Faith Of Die Hard Fans In Their Idol.

Voltaire is the best advocate for democracy, and separation of church from state. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day. One of his best works is `Candide’. I don’t know in what context he wrote this paragraph, but this one perfectly describes the irrational belief a few die hard supporters have in their political leaders. They don’t even know, that their idol is making a hash of the job assigned to him but vehemently abuse those who question their leader’s actions.
Here is the extract  from `Candide’ by Voltaire.
`We’re going to another world’ said Candide ` It must be the one in which all is well, because I must admit that it is possible to complain about some of the things that go on in our world, from both a physical and a moral point of view (the highlighted portion in yellow in the present context of a few societies can be seen in the behavior of a few die hard fans criticizing those who were ruling previously)
`I love you with all my heart’ said Cunegonde `but my soul is still shocked by what I’ve seen and experienced’

`Everything will go well’, replied Candide `I’ve already noticed that the sea of this New World is better than our European seas; it’s calmer, and the winds are steadier. I’m sure it’s the New World that’s the best of all possible words’ (The die-hard fans see, even the minutest of change in working of any organisation as a big achievement of their leader, and often TRUMPet it all over the social media).
                It’s happening in so many societies of the world today.


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Banglaore, Karnataka, India