Saturday, 8 November 2008

Guru Devo Bhava :Teacher is God

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Parents are the one who give birth to us but teachers (Gurus) are the ones who mould us. Teachers are like sculptors, they can shape the society from being a good one to a great one. Here are some of them who shaped my life and made me whatever I am today:

Mathew madam - Whatever little I write in English, I owe it to Mathew madam. She taught me both in the middle and high school. She would nurse a dull student but would never tolerate an intelligent but indisciplined one and thus got the ignominious nickname Peyi (Ghost). She was from a rich background and used to bear the education expenses of many poor students. Even today mention of the word discipline brings to my mind image of Mathew madam and VD sir.

V Doreswamy Iyengar– He taught me accountancy and commerce in junior college. He was perfect in accounts and had a commanding voice. If you cannot understand accountancy taught by him, the possibility is that you have vacuum between your ears. He would suddenly prop-up questions from the first chapter or even from 1st year textbooks. The student (does not matter even if you are a girl) who did not know the answer would get a public preaching on the need to concentrate on studies rather than diversions of youth.

Sathyanarayana – He taught me English in the junior college. He used to repeatedly stress the need to write English in a simple way and without use of complicated words. It never stuck a chord with me those days but now with experience I have understood the importance. He is one of the calmest individuals I have seen. He had a throat problem and at the end of every sentence had to say “hmm”. Being teenagers we used to find it funny, even girls used to mimic it but he would dismiss it off as “indulgences of youth”. He used to advise me to cut down the “aggression” in my speech and writings and till date I have not complied with the advice of my dearest teacher.

B Aresh – He taught me Statistics in junior college and later I attended private tuition with him for business mathematics and statistics while doing ICWA Inter. He is a true style king in dress, talk and attitude. When it comes to being immaculately dressed, there was nobody better than him. Many girls had a crush on him. He was a person of great integrity and used to return tuition fees of students who did not show signs of improvement even after 3 months of coaching. At the same time he imparted free tuitions to many students who came from poorer background but were receptive to his coaching.

Devarajan: He taught me Economics in ICWAI Inter course. It is only under him that I understood that Economics could be an interesting subject. He was a great advocate of economic reforms during the early 90s when “Capitalism” was still a bad word. He was a great democrat and it is from him (apart from my father) I learnt the need to voice opinions on public issues. I have never seen him sending off a student because he was late to the class by a few minutes; he would just remark “It is better late than never”.

These are the men and women who shaped my thoughts and deeds. I may have lost track of most of them but never of their preaching. I have been only a marginal success when it comes to implementing the vast knowledge they imparted to me. Their persona always surrounds me and pulls me through the bad times of my life. I owe whatever little success I have achieved to their reverend feet. I only hope that I can achieve everything they wanted me to be. My journey towards that goal continues.


Friday, 7 November 2008

Nukkad celebrate Barrack Obama's victory

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This is only a tribute to the makers of Nukkad, the popular TV Serial which ran during the 80’s. Due to my inability to write in Hindi, I am writing all the dialogues in English.

I will be willing to give the pseudo-copy rights of this episode if somebody can translate it into Hindi. Any inconsistencies please excuse because I have written the dialogues with whatever I remember about these characters.

This is just an imagination of how the election of Barack Obama as Prez of US would have been welcomed in Nukkad

This episode starts off with the theme song “Bade Sehar ke ek gali mein basa hua hai Nukkad”.

Enter Teacherji, Guru gives her the yearning glance and she announces “Listen, Obama has become the President of USA and it is great honor for us because his family still lives in a nukkad like ours”

Dukhiya “What use it is to us?”

Guru “Aree, Dukhiya, what is the use in being you born, Teacherji knows better than all of us, when she says better listen”

Thambi (in a low tone) “Carry on Guru with your efforts”. Teacherji explains briefly about Obama, White House, importance of the election results, etc.

Enter, Radha “Will I get a chance to work at his palace what you call White House?”

Hari “Radha cant you think beyond yourself, tomorrow we will celebrate the success of Obama”

Kadar Bhai “Samosas and Chai sponsored by me”

Khopdi steps in to say “Will I get to drink?”, everybody give him a banning stare and he changes his tone to say” When Obama from Kenya can become a President, why not a President of India from Nukkad?. Everybody gives him an appreciate look.

Ganpat Hawaldar joins in to say “Sometimes Khopdi you make a lot of sense”.

The entire Nukkad starts discussing who could be their Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidate for the next election, first they propose the name of Guptaji, later decide he would be another John Mcain and decide to propose Teacherji for Prez and Guru for Vice-Prez. They all get busy with preparing for the next day celebrations of Obama victory and the episode ends.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

A Kenyan by descent can become President of the USA

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What could be the biggest lesson that Indians can learn from Barrack Obama becoming the 44th President of US of A? Barrack Obama is a Kenyan by descent but that did not prevent him from becoming the President elect. Subsequent to his election, nobody has questioned his nationality; nobody has questioned his commitment to the country; nobody has questioned his religion; nobody has questioned whether he would compromise with a fundamentalist group on security of the country; nobody has vowed to go bald if he took oath as the President of America.

During 2004 when Sonia Gandhi was tipped to become the PM of India, the country witnessed a lot of protests. A particular lady leader’s throat went hoarse crying that Sonia Gandhi was actually “Sonia Mario” and how her children name also resembled Italian names, etc, etc. How Rajiv Gandhi had got converted into Christianity before marriage became a subject of national debate? PILs were filed in the Supreme Court questioning her possible appointment as the PM of India. Somebody came up with a theory that the national security could be compromised because of her becoming the PM of India. Ultimately even if it was for attaining political high ground, she declined to be the PM of India.

I am not comparing the caliber of Barrack Obama and Sonia Gandhi nor am I a supporter of Sonia Gandhi becoming a Prime Minister. I am only trying to drive home the point that Americans are equally patriotic but they don’t raise national emotions over trivial issues. A true testimony to their patriotism is that after 9/11 there have been no terrorist activities on their soil. We as a society especially the polity could learn to get over narrow minded pursuits and learn to progress and protest the country. The citizenry could also do its bit by being an awakened society on the core issues that affect the country and not be lead by those seeking political gratification on trivial issues.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Dont abbreviate KISS

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Acronyms have made our lives so convenient. Emails, ATM, etc are used by us subconsciously. Some use acronyms without knowing their expansion and quite often, situations in life throw their own new meanings for existing acronyms.

Disclaimer: Most of the acronyms used here have been received by me through emails/SMS.

I understand that a distant country named Ediot Who-swallowed-it-ya have had its own sub-crime crisis. Any royalty accrued from this blog will be donated towards SCREW (Sub Crime Relief for Ediot Who-swallowed-itya) since the acronyms used here are not my original creation.

ABCD is American Born Confused Desi, what would be A to Z, here it goes, American Born Confused Desi Emigrated From Gujarat Housed In Jersey Keeps Lotsa Models (what’s that?) Named Omkarnath Patel Quietly Reached Success Through Underhand Vicious Ways Xenophobic Yet Zealous.

Talking of NRI’s, one of the funny expansions is Not Reliable Indian which I don’t find funny because many of them do a good work. However if the depression in West prolongs, it will become Not Required Indians because who would want a NRI without money. NRI could also mean Not Responsible Indians which most of us are given our civic senses. Talking of uninvited guests, when they leave we say in our minds GRBR (Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish)

When our mobile does not connect, we are forced to yell Mera Telephone Nahin Lagtha or our broadband acts like a junkband we feel it is a Very Slow Network Limited.

There is no transparency in our official dealings despite the RTI act, so we could call all the RTI activists as Confused Indian Citizenry (not to be confused with CIC appointed to monitor the RTI Act). RTI Act the way it is being implemented in India would mean Right to Trample Information Act by the implementers.

Television is called as the Idiot Box (not to be wrongly read as IB). The national channel puts up lousy programmes and right called as the DD (read Drowsy Darshan). Usually when people ask me “Are you born and brought up in India?” . I reply by saying “BBC in Bangalore” which means Born Brought-up and Corrupted in Bangalore. On the last count 11,235 people have stopped to talking to me because of this stupid joke.

ICU in ICU would not be the ideal send-off message you would like to give a friend because it would read I Cee U in Intensive Care Unit. Talking of people, we should never become a Vicious Vacillating Insensitive Person. If we complicate our thinking process, we will become a Person In Maximum Problems. So Keep It Simple Stupid.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Implants are the in-thing

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The mention of the word implants no longer rings the moral bell in anybody’s ears, that situation was years ago. Implants are the in-thing. If you see at the end of the day, there is nobody free from the need for an implant.

It is a known secret that every female celebrity who want increased ba… err eyeballs has to go in for an implant .

Given the number of heroes who take off their shirt and what not, there is a distinct possibility that some of them may have had implants.

Recently global economies had an implant in the form of a bailout package.

Indian cricket team for the past decade or so has been having an implant of foreign coaches.

Lyrics writers devoid of ideas have an implant of remixes.

Politicians devoid of issues have an implant of regional/religious passions. They further require an implant of bogus votes to win elections.

Broadcasters devoid of programmes have an implant of reality shows.

Reality shows require implant of controversies to sustain TRPs

Reality show contestants in turn require implant of viewer votes to win.

Laziness within an organisation/country leads to the implant of outsourcing.

News channels have regular implants of breaking news.

Movies devoid of content have an implant of censor cuts, protests, etc.

We have a protruding implant of a hands-free to answer calls.

People with weak hearts have an implant of pacemakers sadly there is nothing for the brains

Our roads have had an implant of plastic waste but sadly there has been no improvement.

Last but not the least, Earth requires an implant of greenery to save it from global warming.

This thread of implant does not end here and will be updated as and when I have an implant of haywire brainwaves.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Good bye to Anil Kumble, a competitor and a true gentleman

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Don Bradman could not get a boundary in his last innings and Anil Kumble was hit for a boundary off the last ball of his career. No, I am not comparing the two but when it came to playing the game in the right spirit, Anil Kumble was only a couple of notches below the Don.

Anil Kumble made his debut for India in 1990 and could make a comeback only during the historic South African Tour of India. Blame it on the idiosyncrasies of the Indian selectors, Jumbo never made it to the ill-fated Australian tour of 1991-92. Had Kumble played in that series, being an unknown propotion and the Aussies historic aversion to leg spin, India would have had better memories of that series? This was also the last series of the famous batsman Dilip Vengsarkar whose scores in the series put to shame most of the emergency numbers in India. It was in a test match in SA, that Kumble first took 5 wickets in an innings and after that there was no looking back. The Englishmen on the 1993 tour were flummoxed by Kumble’s spin or the lack of it. This illogical concept of lack of spin in Kumble’s deliveries was held against him throughout his career but it made no difference to him or to any of his 950 plus victims at the international level. What Sehwag is to batting today, Kumble was to bowling those days? No footwork, spin all these don’t count as long as you deliver the goodies.

Anybody who saw Kumble bowl in the Hero Cup final is bound to acknowledge his effectiveness. His record against Sri Lanka may not be much to write home about but then everybody is entitled to their own nemesis. There was no better keeper to Kumble deliveries than Nayan Mongia and no better slip fielder than Dravid and Azhar. According to me, Kumble’s best performance was not the perfect 10 but his performance in Australia in the 2004 Adelaide test. Kumble in his typical gutsy way had put a lid on his critic’s mouths.

Kumble was a decent batsman. Very few will forget his heroics on a Vijayadashmi day alongwith Srinath in winning a one day match in Bangalore against the Aussies. As a testimony to his batting skills, he was tried as a pinch hitter in a couple of one day matches. His best test innings was an 88 against the South Africans in Calcutta, when he alongwith Azhar lent credibility to a dismal score card. Kumble did manage to score a test century at the fag end of his career. Most followers of the game would admit that had Kumble showed a lit more application in his batting, he would have ended up with a couple of more thousand runs. Kumble was a far better test batsman and hardly have I seen him giving his wicket away without a fight.

Kumble was a fighter to the core but more than that a gentleman in spirit and deed. As a player, he was never summoned to the Match Referee’s chambers. Possibly, this unassuming attitude led to him landing up with only a few advertisement campaigns. Kumble did not know how to change his hairdo often; laugh childishly in press conferences; poke fun at seniors and make much ado about nothing. Kumble is no less than Sachin Tendulkar in achievements and stature. The gentleman that he is could not take the constant barbs by a former cricketer who himself took donkey number of matches to make an impact at the international level and was hardly a team man. Kumble has called it a day and it is only a matter of few matches, when we start feeling his vacuum. All good things have to come to an end and so did Kumble’s career. Here is wishing a perfect team man, competitor and a true gentleman a very happy and prosperous retired life. God no longer makes cricketers like Anil Kumble.

Crticial Thinking an introduction by Alec Fisher - opinions

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Critical Thinking – an introduction by Alec Fisher

This book is for all those who want to make and evaluate argument in a logical, dispassionate manner. This book aims to dispel the popular noting that “critical thinking” is a negative trait. The book in addition to being lucid in theory contains 220 questions to tackle, understand and appreciate the process of critical thinking. The book has been arranged into 11 chapters and contains an interesting add-on in the form of a glossary.

In the first chapter, the author introduces the flow of the book using the concept of a basketball coach at school level. In the next chapter, the author educates us that conclusion can come anytime during an argument i.e. either at the beginning, middle or ending. The language of reasoning given in the book is worth its weight in gold. The third chapter teaches us the various types of reasoning and how to draw more than one conclusion. The section in which he explains the difference between an argument and explanation is a good enough reason for everyone to read this book. A good understanding of this concept could avoid many disputes in our lives. The fourth chapter deals with understanding reasoning. In most arguments, facts vital to the issue are left out unsaid because they are assumed. This fact has been brought out in a comprehensive way through numerous examples and supporting analysis. A detailed “thinking map” has been presented which contains a list of key questions one should ask while evaluating an argument. The concept of a “thinking map” has been used in almost every succeeding chapter and is very refreshing. The fifth chapter deals with clarifying ideas skillfully. One of the interesting strategies put forward in this chapter is to understand who the audience to whom we are putting forward an argument to? The other day I attended a talk on “global warming” and the nature of audience was layman trying to understanding what the issue is all about. The expert who spoke presented material which would be apt for a research scholar. Within 5 minutes of his speech, 90% of the auditorium was empty (including me).

In the sixth chapter, the reader is explained how to decide whether reasons which are presented in support of a conclusion are acceptable. One of the parameters which impressed me the most is when the author asks the reader not to judge the strength of an argument where expertise in a field is required. I was reminded of a blog I read recently which irrationally questioned the need for “India’s Moon Mission”. The section on “credibility is different from truth” is mind blogging. For me the soul of this book lies in Chapter 7 – Judging the credibility of sources skillfully. If you can master this concept, the chances of anyone selling you a dummy would be greatly reduced. Chapter-8 dealing with evaluating inferences contains heavy theory went above my head. Chapter-9 deals with evaluating inferences and to assist this process, a thinking map has been given. Chapter 10 – reasoning about casual explanations is best understood in its thinking map. Chapter 11 deals with decision making. The section on common flaws in our thinking about decisions and how to weigh up which alternatives is best in the light of the consequences impressed me the most. A glossary is contained at the end of the book and worth having a copy.

The book at places is heavy in theory but then the book is meant for students who want to take up courses in critical thinking. If you can skip some of the theory, it makes a great self-study.

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