Monday, June 20, 2011

Academics - Our New Dumping Ground

Basically, this post is a written outcome of my frustration that I could not vent properly while in college and even in school. Taking  pangas with teachers can create mayhem in a student’s life. I have been observing this since long and to my surprise, many of my friends too are extremely irritated. I’ll end this filmy suspense and will tell you clearly what this post is all about.

Over years of my student life, I came across a plethora of teachers, some extremely sincere, some strict, some verbally abusive, some akin to mental counselors and some totally unemployable duds who ‘had’ to enter academics to earn a living. This post is about those falling in the last category.

These days, every nook and corner and village and alley has a management institute. These have become more ubiquitous than the paan shops and local grocers. Students hailing from semi urban backgrounds or those unable to pass the entrance tests of high profile institutes take admission in these ‘management shops’ and all they learn is pure theoretical knowledge. Of all the students passing out of professional colleges, best ones are picked up by the companies, a few join family businesses and rest, who are at the bottom, join such grade less institutes only to ruin the future of students. 

Such teachers can be found anywhere, not only in colleges but in schools as well. But if you think such pests can be found only in such third grade institutes, you are clearly mistaken. Even the top institutes have them, though less in numbers. I did my MBA from a very reputed B school and I can clearly remember three or four such faculty members who entered academics only because they were not getting jobs anywhere. Out of the three, two were visiting faculties from another top management institute. I was shocked at the audacity of one of them; when someone asked a question, he retorted “If you have a query that is your problem” Such was this man’s reply!

(Check out this awesome satire on Indian schools)

Another dud claimed he was a PhD from IIM. His very incorrect basics coupled with his cranky personality and immaturity created a very obnoxious image of this man. His terrific angrezi still makes me roll on the floor with laughter! 
A girl whom I know very well did her graduation and MBA from the same institute and after MBA, she joined there only, as a lecturer. She had been an average student and her presentation and public speaking skills were literally zero. She was also rejected by various companies for job. Left with no choice, she entered academics.
And the limit - an office assistant (secretary) I knew, now works as an assistant professor at one of the B schools in Mumbai! Not only she is one of the most irritating personalities one can encounter, also her cacophonic voice makes it almost impossible to stand her nonsensical talks!

These are only a few cases from the thousands. I am not accusing the entire academic staff of the country neither I am trying to prove that only duds enter this sacred profession these days but my point is that, in general academics has become a dumping ground for the unemployable and for the unemployed as well.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June-16-2011 Lunar Eclipse - First Shots!

Today was the much hyped Lunar eclipse. Needless to say, I was quite excited to capture the rare celestial event in my camera. Such an eclipse will appear next only in the year 2041. Here are a few shots taken right from the start of the eclipse. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Today I saw the movie ‘West Is West’ in an up market cinema hall. Will fume about the cinema hall later (in PS); let me first present the review.

The movie is a sequel to the super hit ‘East Is East’, in which Jehagir Khan aka George Khan (Om Puri) migrates from Pakistan to London in search of a better life, leaving his wife Basheera (Ila Arun) and daughters. There he marries an English lady Ella and settles down. He has seven kids from her. 

The sequel is set in the early seventies. The story basically revolves around his youngest son, Sajid, who is going through a terrible patch because of his identity crisis. He is bullied by white students and bunks school most of the time, and is on his way to become a delinquent youth. He roams around aimlessly on streets, shoplifts and gets caught once as well. His father, ashamed of his act and confused about his education and future decides to take him to their native place, Pakistan. His other son, a very mature and mild mannered Muneer (Jimmy Mistry) also joins. The trio arrives in Pakistan and is given a warm homecoming by the family. The combined family, along with uncles and cousins also includes his first wife, (played to perfection by Ila Arun) and their married daughters. Actor Vijay Raaz has portrayed the character of one of the relatives who becomes a voluntary guide for the entire trip. The rustic charm of village and natural beauty is very well captured in the movie. A simple village life, without creating any false image is shown. Bullock carts, dusty alleys, women toiling day and night, pir baba, old markets, old houses with joint brick roofs, buffaloes and the like are well portrayed.

Unlike Muneer, Sajid feels very out of place in his ancestral village which is completely alien to him in every possible way. George Khan tries his best to calm down the boy but all his counseling and even beatings make Sajid even more rebellious till he meets the local ‘Pir baba’ who interestingly converses in fluent English. He also befriends a local village lad who becomes his best buddy later.

Now starts the main story. The baba, in simple words and through tales and examples explains him the concept of individuality and adaptation. He gets him to wear local clothes and slowly and surely calms him down. Sajid transforms from a confused teen to a confident boy, aware of his identity and no longer ashamed of accepting it openly. A parallel track runs between the guilt laden George Khan and his first wife. She clearly tells him that since she somehow managed the tough task of being a single mother to perfection for last thirty years, she has become strong and independent from within and feels no need to appeal to any man’s mercy. Also, that she is not just an address for his letters and money orders but a living breathing individual. Her silent expressions speak volumes. The most beautiful scene in the entire movie is when she explains Ella, George’s second wife (who arrives later tracking George) that she neither loves nor longs for him anymore and shows her their old wedding photograph in sign language (due to different languages).

A few more events take place rapidly; story has its own little twists and turns. I would not like to disclose each and every aspect of the story here. Two notable things about this movie are the kind but firm attitude of George Khan’s first wife towards her step sons and even Ella, and that except a few Hindi/Punjabi slang, there are no saucy scenes. Hence, unlike most of the movies being released these days, it is very ‘safe’ to watch it with elders/parents.

I would give this arty movie a rating of 4 on a scale of 5.

1) Only seven people were there for West is West. Two couples, one uncle, and us. The couples quickly occupied both ends of the last row and were giggling all the time :P

2) Another thing that I particularly dislike about such hi-fi halls is the overpricing of food items.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


सहराँ-ए-ग़म में डूबा अंजुम-ए-हयात 
उम्मीद की एक किरण निकली तो फकत सराब 

अपने ही माजी से है ज़िन्दगी खफा
मर्ज़-ए-ग़म को कैसे हो अब शिफा 

क्या यूँ ही तन्हाई में अब दिन काटेंगे
न कोई आहट और न दस्तक सुनेंगे 

न पुकारेगा अब दरीचे से कोई हमदम 
याद-ए-माजी पर ही बस अब निकलेगा दम

थम गया वक़्त फकत एक सहर के इंतज़ार में 
अँधेरा ही पसरा है खिज़ा-ए-हयात में 

सदियाँ बीतीं एक हरफ-ए-तसल्ली के लिए 
कोई तो आये बस थोड़ी तशफ्फी के लिए 

लेकिन ये ज़िन्दगी भी एक किताब है 
हर वर्क कीमती जिसका, हर लफ्ज़ लाजवाब है 

बदल गया सबा का रुख यूँ इस तरफ 
न रह गया कीमती अब वो तसल्ली का हरफ 

दरिया-ए-शीरीं बह चला इन अश्कों के दयार से 
सब्ज़ होने लगे हैं पत्ते बिना इंतज़ार-ए-बहार के 

Here is the English transliteration of this poem 
The shining star of my life drowned in desert of pain
The only ray of hope too, turned out to be just mirage

My life feels ashamed of its own past
How will I get out of this vicious circle of grief?

Will rest of my days be spent in loneliness?
Without expecting even a single knock

No beloved will call me from the world outside
Some memories mere remain now to live by

The wait for the morning (happiness) has been endless
Only darkness prevails everywhere in life’s barren land

I spent a lifetime waiting for a word of consolation
And waiting for someone to sympathize with me

But, this life of mine is a story book in its own
Each page is wonderful and valuable and so is every word

These days the winds have started blowing the other way
These days I do not long for sympathy anymore

My eyes now brim with sweet drops of joy, not with bitter tears (of grief)
See, yellow leaves have now started turning green without even waiting for the spring!
(I am growing stronger from within, without waiting for any anyone’s sympathy or support)

PS: I wrote this poem originally in Urdu. Special thanks go to sir, Mr. Zafar Naqvi , former Editor-in-chief of the leading Urdu daily 'Sahafat' for his constant support, guidance and encouragement.

Thank you Mohan for motivating me to write something in Urdu!

Photo: me- http://www.flickr.com/photos/as_hummingwords/4894433113/in/photostream