Monday, June 25, 2007

Guru

I took a .Net training session for a batch of fresh graduates in my organization. And they gifted me a key chain. It has a lovely quotation inscribed on it, “Blessed is he who receives education and thrice blessed is he who educates”. I don’t know if I am thrice blessed because I don’t think imparting some mumbo-jumbo on .Net framework makes me worthy of that ( and since I am doubtful even if 2% of them will end up working on .Net technology :| ). But I would say I have been blessed in my life with some wonderful teachers who have – though it may sound clichéd- made me who I am today.

My first love is English- I am simply in love with the language. And it was my teacher in school who instilled this love. Miss Sharda Chadha- she epitomized perfection- be it her vocabulary, her diction, her thoughts, even her wardrobe! My best friend, Sameepa and I literally used to drool over her. English classes could not have been more interesting than Miss Chadha made them. She not only used to give some invaluable insights to the works we used to study, but what was more innovative was her logical bisection of scenarios. I still remember when she was teaching the poem “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes. (For those interested, here is the link to the poem http://www.teachersfirst.com/share/highwayman/st1.html )

At the end of the discourse, she posed a simple question,” Do you think the Highwayman was true in his love”. This led to a pretty animated debate, but I was impressed because she questioned an unstated assumption. She drove logic into literature - and nothing can be more engrossing.

My professional education career hardly had any “educators” making a scratch.

As I moved on to work, I enrolled for coaching classes for MBA. Life was totally changed after that! When I was at home I used to plan how to get the job done at office and when I was in office, I felt like a prisoner. Every passing second made me feel like leave the very chair and rush home to DI, Quant and Verbal Ability. I was worse than a junkie experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

And to make matters worse, I had some pretty ungodly elements at work to completely upset the apple cart. I went to my mentor at the coaching centre Sajal Mitra. He had the élan of a celebrity, but the intellect of a sage. At a stage when I was unable to cope with the pressure, he made me see the daunting task as a challenge. He literally made me feel like a phoenix and pushed me to push myself to the levels where I had never dared. He told me,”You will have troubles, but you will fight. You will show yourself and the world that you won’t crack. You will give CAT your best so that at the end of the exam you don’t regret not having put in your best.” He even went on to draw my plan of action. He made me pull in 18 solid hours from the 24 hour day and helped me allocate time to every aspect of the preparation. It was really amazing to see that so much can be achieved within the time we got also. I did not manage to get any calls from IIMs but I did not get an ignoble score as well. In spite of the trials I can say that I managed a decent 89 percentile; more important than that- I gave CAT my very best. Nothing can be more fulfilling. I still have the spark that he instilled in me and intend to attempt to “bell the CAT” this year. Hope this time I can convert my efforts into results.

The next person to cause pedagogical ripples in my life is Giri Sir. He is my swimming instructor. (Yes I am taking swimming classes :)) The sheer patience of this man amazes me! Swimming is a very tough thing to teach. But he has the utter patience to go on and on. I get frustrated with my lack of control on my breath and inability to move my left hand while swimming, or lack of coordination between legs and hands, but Giri Sir just does not give up. On one hand he is full of advice and on the other with encouragement. And not only for me, he coaches a 50 year old lady and 5 year old kids with the same dedication and determination. I can’t stop eulogizing the spirit of the man who is so true to his profession and an inspiration to so many.

It’s said a teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. Truer words have not been said.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Never say GoodBye....


I was tempted to name this blog Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. But it being the movie people love to hate, I did not want this blog to turn out the same. Though I feel even people who love me are gonna hate me for having written this.

KANK is movie that has received a lot of brick bats. KJo managed to get good reviews for the movie though it was lampooned by the general public. I am not a KJo fan and I feel he degraded love by making a movie as crass as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. I am also not a believer in the concept of soul mates which he touted in KANK. In spite of all this, I liked KANK.

I can hear some say what? Come again. Well I liked Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna.

I found it the first and the most mature movie made by KJo.

Be it the highly uppity Preity Zinta or the self deprecating Rani Mukherjee, the child-man Abhisekh Bachchan or the utterly bloated and repulsive Shahrukh Khan - I found each character real. The fact that the audience found SRK irritating or Rani Mukherjee a schmalz I think just proves that they delivered the character they were supposed to. But in KANK we had stark reality.

The couples in the plot were the most ill matched ones personality vise, but I think that’s how life is very often. It’s a different matter that we rarely see them in candy floss cinemas.
In Indian marriages we have an unwritten code of honor “Adjust”. But the characters in the movie were not taught that I suppose. And that made them jarring and aberrant. And that made sense to me.

The audience sympathy was with Preity Zinta and Abhisekh Bachchan, because they had not erred. They were the ones wronged against. Again I felt that’s a very human trait to cling to the first support one finds. And that’s the characters of Rani Mukherjee and Shahrukh Khan did. They found support in each other and broke the sacred vows. I am also an Indian to the core and don’t corroborate what they did, but on a logical after thought, I would say what they did was attuned to the concept of one making relationships rather than having relationships thrust upon oneself.

I simply loved Shahrukh Khan in the movie. Being an ardent admirer of his, I hated his character; which just proves how very convincing he was. Usually as one of my friends says, “his performance has layers”. It’s not a simple one track depiction of a character. He makes it realistic and puts a lot of zeal and feel into the depiction. So every time you see his work, it’s like a different and new perspective of the character being unraveled each time. And KANK I feel had the multi dimensional SRK at his very best. The first time I watched the movie, I detested him. He seemed as a term goes – an MCP (Male Chauvinist Pig – for the uninitiated). I found him weak and loathsome. But the second time I saw, I was hit by the pathos in his character. And the third time around I was gaga about his perfect timing of comedy. He just gets better at reinventing himself with each movie :).

[I know when my friend Ashma (an Aamir Khan fan) reads this, at the above line she would have the best frown a girl can put on her face.]

Some characters were redundant and not so well etched out like that of Amitabh Bachchan. And the ending could of course have been a bit sleeker. But I think KANK would have been much better received with out the prevalent multiplex culture. Because I feel in a multiplex one is too affected by group behavior. You see one person letting out a yawn and fidgeting and your attention level drops. It’s so easy to get influenced by the person seated beside you. And matters just get worse if you have a big group along with you. Under those circumstances the movie has to fight for an equal footing with the pop corns and colas moving between the chairs. KANK on the other hand deserves ones undivided attention else or none at all. I being one who watches and not sees movies, felt the small screen does more justice to the script of this movie.

I hope with this blog I might have opened a lot of debate gates :). I also hope some will give KANK a dekko again.


Friday, June 1, 2007

Gandhigiri

As a student of history in school my heart went out for the militant nationalists. Because for me they were men of action. And I held a very strong dis-enchantment and antagonism for the Nehru Gandhi family.(I still do :) )
But yesterday I was taking my monthly pass at the railway station. A burly man brushed past me to get the ticket. I did not flinch though my natural response would have been a harsh "EXCUSE ME!!". Maybe I was plain lazy to respond. So I let him go ahead.
As he was getting his ticket done, he looked back and said,"I am sorry". I nodded.
Once his ticket was done, he turned back and said,"I am really sorry, I was getting late so I barged in." I told him it was OK.
He moved on.
But I think what I was in his eyes was compunction.
My first trial at Gandhigiri (inadvertently though) and it was a success!

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