I have already shared with you the story of the boy who was forced to choose science by his parents even though his interest lay in another field which definitely was not science but he was not able to point out what he actually wanted to do in life.
I gave him and his parents the following simple equation for choosing careers;
Where X is the amount of efforts you put in a subject.
I asked the boy to apply this equation to some of the subjects he is studying in his class as of now and analyze the results. This is what he came up with;
X/2 or even X/4
You do not need to be a Rocket Scientist to analyze the above the data- do you?
When I discussed the above table with the boy the following highlights came up;
The boy loved studying English & History and he said the results he got in English and History were always double of the efforts he put in
The boy was okay in Maths & Science and was even putting extra efforts in the same subjects but the results he was getting were either half or less than half of the efforts that he was putting in
Then, I came up to the next important question for him & his parents when you could clearly see the equation of success pointing towards his aptitude being for either English or History- why were they not pursuing it?
And, I got an answer that left me a little disappointed but not shocked. What was it?
Tomorrow, is Grade 12 results for CBSE students in India. Tomorrow, is a day when many of the students I have met the year long will be finally getting their results of all the hard work that they have put in the year. I must also mention here the parents who are eagerly looking forward to tomorrow and in some cases their level of stress and anxiety is more than that of the kids themselves-Big day right?
Tomorrow, is also, the day when new achievers will be named and celebrated- District Toppers, School Toppers, State Toppers and National Toppers. These top 1% students will be covered in Media, Feted by their respective Schools, Teachers and even Government. Kudos to you and must say well deserved. I am sure your parents/families will be really proud of you.
If you do the maths close to 1 Million students have written the CBSE exam this year out of which only Top 1% will be celebrated which means some where around 10,000 of them. These Top 1% would have their life/career paths set and future already secured in some of the countries best colleges but my concern lies with what happens with the balance 9,90,000 students who may be branded as failures by not only the people around them but sadly in many cases by themselves because the moment the students do not get the correct percentile right to the correct decimal places- the student start questioning themselves- Am I good enough? Am I made for the field I really think I am good in?
I had this student with me last year who had given his grade 12 exam in Sciences and wanted to be an Engineer. Full of life and energy- Really creative and a good writer. Give him a 1000 word essay to write and he would come up with one of the best ones in the class and although, I could clearly see that, his strengths lay in a creative field but he still wanted to be an engineer- not because he wanted to be one but because his “Parents” wanted it for him. Sounds familiar? Result- Disappointment. His science result was average and not the one, that could get him a seat in one of the good engineering colleges. So he opted for the second option- doing a science degree from one of the regional colleges. Result- again disappointment & heart burn.
The family reached out to me and requested me for a counseling of the student- what I told them left them a little shocked- I said, leave the student- I want to counsel you first!
We all feel proud when the name India comes in news for all the right reasons- Like the successful launch of 100+ satellites by ISRO, The good economic growth figures for the next couple of years and so on.. Positive news makes us feel happy and good about being an Indian and keeps our hope alive that we as a country are on the path of great economic growth and taking our position in the world leading economies and countries.
But, then in the midst of all this we do get a shameful news like this where African students in a suburb of Delhi are beaten black and blue, racially abused so much that they have to run and hide away from any Indian’s in sight just to ensure their safety. This is just not only disappointing but also shameful to say the least. Not only this kind of behavior socially, morally, culturally not acceptable it is down right inhuman and despicable.
We all want India to be the next super power but I believe we as Indians also need to introspect and understand on what it is like to be living in a high growth global economy or the next superpower which due to it’s economic heft and opportunities will attract people from all over the world to have better skills & better life’s. We need to answer those questions on what it is like to be a part of a new India that will attract people from all walks and cultures because if we do not answer these questions I am afraid we will have many such shameful incidences where our heads will have to hang in shame.
And, all your questions will lead to only one answer- We as Indian’s need to follow our basic civic duties which I think are forgotten quite easily. I hope, being human , being civilized is not too big an ask for us to have the India of our dreams. Right?
I am sorry my African brothers that you had to go through this cycle of madness again.
Over the years, I have developed a passion for the following things in my life;
And, if you see closely, the purpose of me having a passion for, each of the above four things is interconnected to each other, I read books because I want to be a better person everyday, I want to learn from experiences of other people, what have they done to be where they are today? how did they achieve what they did?I write because, I want to share whatever little I am learning in my day to day life, so be it on Good reads or on my Linked In or this blog, I continue writing and sharing. I like to travel because well, in my view, travel is one of the best ways in which a person can experience life and learn new perspectives about things that he/she may not even think existed. Travel adds positivity to our life like no other things can and last but not the least I love to drive, I have always loved doing it and every time I need a break from my daily life, I pick up my car and just drive away far from the maddening and crushing city life for my Instant Relief.
So, keeping some of my above passion in perspective, I recently took a Road trip from Faridabad- Badrinath driving my I20 Active all the way and back, a total distance of about 1250 KM. Here are some of the statistics of the journey I undertook;
Vehicle: Hyundai I 20 Active- Petrol
Route: Faridabad-> Noida -> Ghaziabad -> Lansdowne -> Pauri -> Srinagar -> Rudraprayag-> Joshimath -> Badrinath -> Mana Village -> And back via Rishikesh
Total Members: 4 ( My Wife, Parents and Me)
Total Travel Days: 6 Days & 5 Nights ( 2 Nights- Lansdowne, 2 Nights- Joshimath, 1 Night- Rishikesh)
Road Condition: Pretty Good but do note that 40 Kms stretch from Joshimath to Badrinath is in really bad shape with non existent roads and lot of slush/water from landslides. It is an adventure to drive on these roads but caution is order of the day and also on NH58 the stretch around Nagrasu(Around 5-6 KMS) after Karnaprayag is in really bad shape.
Some of the Pictures from the same;
To many such more visits in the future!
In case you are also planning this trip, please feel free to reach out to me, I will be happy to answer any specific questions that you may have.
With regards to the recent unfortunate incidents in Delhi concerning an African National, I was invited to be part ofBBC World Radio Talk Show.
The topic being discussed was how is it to be an African in India? Although, I was happy to be presenting my views on the topic, I was surprised by really sad and unfortunate experiences of couple of speakers.
You can find our full conversation from the show by clicking over here: BBC World Have Your Say! In the link, our discussion starts, at about 33:00 Mins and I chip into the conversation in the last 10 minutes of the show basically summing up my points on this incident from my previous write up on this issue, which you can find by clicking over here.
I do believe that Africa-India relations are centuries old and no matter how many hiccups, we have only one way to go, which is UP! There can be obstacles in the way but we need to take them head on and get them out of the way and we need to do this if not for today but for our future!
Was pleasantly surprised to find the below rendition of a Hit Punjabi pop song Patiala Peg by some of my really talented and musical African Friends. I think this fusion of cultures is the way forward for all of us in IndiAfrica!
Calvin and Hobbes is what I turn to remember that there is more to life even when things do not go my way.Nothing beats the simplicity and the energy with which Calvin questions our hypocrisy, ignorance and selfishness of the things we as human beings do in Life. He brings about a fresh air of excitement & positive energy to sometimes dull and challenging world around me.
I discovered Calvin late in my life, I think I was about 24 years old when I had my first encounter with him and I guess it was love at first sight. I never felt I am too old to read Calvin, it just sounded so relevant to me and my life. The witty humor with which Calvin handled and questioned most of the things around him not only made me laugh but also think on those issues-Why we are supposed to do certain things because everyone else around us is doing it and they say it is the right and onlything to do?
I felt a deep urge as to say, where were you all those years? Why did not I check up on you in my school library?I guess the feeling was similar to when you meet a long forgotten friend after many years, strong emotions with a promise that I will never let you go anywhere again:-)
I have so many of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes strips that I seem to have lost count but I certainly love his take on education system & the objective of our life’s. I am sure it took a fantastic cartoonist in Mr. Bill Watterson to bring Calvin and Hobbes to life on paper but even more impressive is his play with words to communicate his views on such complex topics of our life’s in such lucid and engaging fashion that you cannot but relate to it no matter what your age group or from which country you come from.
I think the below video essay also beautifully summarizes why Calvin and Hobbes have been so loved over the years and why they are as relevant today as they were when they first came along.
I could not resist writing my viewpoint on Calvin and Hobbes after seeing this short video and I hope you will like it too. Thank you to Ananth Padmanabhan who first tweeted about this video link early morning today providing me the motivation to write this piece in the first place. The video is done by KaptainKristian and it appeared over here on Slate.
I am sorry. I am sorry that, we have yet another incident in Delhi, which was yet another attack on the sanity of mankind and which was yet another example of the growth pangs that we are facing here in India- where in the New India is still fighting with the Old Age India.
But, let me be very clear to you my friends in Africa, you are not alone, it is really unfortunate that one person lost his life and it should have never happened but to tell you the truth, it could have be any one of us. Yes, I said it right- It could even have been an Indian/ Bangladeshi/ American/ Chinese anyone who may have been unfortunate enough to come in the way of people who think law of the land is theirs to keep.It just happened to be a soul from Congo who was standing in their way that night and who became an unfortunate target for these people to prove that they were someone, maybe they were well connected and drunk on power they needed to prove that they had the first right to an auto rickshaw ride.
You see in our country, everyone who is someone needs to prove to others around him that he really is someone. It is like a jungle out there and if you are an animal in a jungle you need to understand your position in the food chain right? So, how does a deer know about his position in the food chain? Does anyone teaches that to him? No, right? It comes naturally to him, its like auto programmed in his mind. Similar is the case for majority of Indians like me who have no connections in power, no money to throw around and no caste connections to save him in time of crisis. We have understood our position in the foodchain and if one of us would have encountered a similar kind of situation, we would have straight away let go of that auto rickshaw without even blinking an eye but then again I do not think, we would even dare to venture out in a city like Delhi on our own at 11.30 PM in night and this is Not because the whole city is unsafe but the chances of meeting some of these bad elements become higher in the night.
But, what I want to tell you is that, this is not an India specific problem, this is a problem for a majority of the developing world specially of my friends in Africa, Tell me how many of us will feel safe to venture out in a city like Lagos on our own after 7 in the evening? Kinshasa? Abuja? Juba? Even Nairobi? We and I mean all of us from developing countries face similar challenges where in the rule of law is hard to keep and follow by people drunk on power and I guess it is a part of our growth pangs where in a new order is still fighting the old one and it is nothing new. Sample this, New York City, supposedly one of the safest and most loved city in the world had a really bad crime problem in the 90’s . Read on here! It could take a very special effort on part of the city administration and politicians to get rid of the crime from the city.
Change will come around, it may take some time coming but I am sure it will come and this is what I want to focus on- Positives!Unfortunately we live in a world today in which media carries negative news 100 times faster than a positive news and it is easy to become negative after being bombarded with only negative news day in and day out. I have been asked but lot of my African students/friends/ parents/partners on how safe is Delhi? To them i say, Delhi is a safe as any other city around the world, yes there are some bad people but majority of people are a generation of Indians who are eager to make the city a better place to live in each day.
Our National Government, has put in place a huge emphasis on India-Africa relations which are growing at a rapid pace. We just organised a highly successful India Africa summit in New Delhi which was attended by Head of States of all African Countries. The people to people contact is on the rise with lot of Indian businesses now operating in Africa, lot of people from Africa traveling to India for quality and affordable healthcare, Education even tourism.India-Africa relation have only one way to go, which is UP!
It is highly unfortunate that one person had to loose his life and I am really sorry for that but please do not judge a whole country on the basis of few rotten apples in the system. We are really happy to work with our fellow Africans in developing world to shape a brighter future and look forward to have a stronger relation with our Friends in Africa.