Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali to all! Wish I could send individual mails or cards to all I know, that includes who remembered and sent greetings cards but left no email id / phone no./full address. Perhaps, a post on this blog is the only way to reach out to all and say, "Thanks".

Diwali in IIT Kharagpur is unmatched with its Illumination and Rangoli. I find that this post (Link) from a student captures it beautifully.

It was wonderful to meet faculty colleagues and students yesterday evening while moving from one pandal to another with family and exchange greetings on the way. I must say that the IIT campuses are unparalleled and IIT Kharagpur campus is perhaps the best on human quotient.


Three months back, there was a conversation with a mother (stationed abroad on an assignment) on google, me not knowing the tragedy that occurred recently. She was referring to the Arthur Ashe quote in the section 'A friend in need' of a previous post (Link) in the chat. Suddenly I realized that the 10 year old son was no more. The physicians tried their best but it was one of those rare diseases. Tears knew no bound when the mother said that she wished but could not be my student and wanted to bring the son to me someday. Wish I can rise to the expectation of parents / guardians / students and be worthy enough to be called a teacher. Let me share the talk (Link) that comes to my mind whenever such a discourse arises. The link may not open in some browsers.

Steve Jobs Quote

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

Digging Deep

What we see in the surface is not what one is but what one wants to show. "If hard work is what pays then the donkey would have been the king of a forest and not lion." I placed the quote before a class of 100 students. The class said that they do not agree with it. I told, "I am not asking if you agree or not. What do you think of the person who writes this in his public portrayal?" May appear that he is in control of himself, very strong and knows what he is doing. An expert in psychology may say. With 284 facebook friend, his other public note was, "hell is d new hanging adda, when nobody is wid me." Wonder any of his friend could see it and make out what he has in his mind. An IIT final year with no backlog, no apparent reason to develop such a distaste of life at this age! And IIT Kharagpur was again news for a student who bade adieu to life.  Requested all to share with us (teachers, elders) issues they face. May be the experience of the struggle each of us go through help one another. My experience can be found in a previous post (Link). What does great teachers like Vivekananda say? He asks the youth to be strong and exhorts (Link1, Link2, Link3) in his call to the nation "Go from village to village, do good to humanity and to the world at large. . …… ‘When death is certain, it is better to die for a good cause.’"

Student Welfare Group

Jumped on a Student Welfare Group, IIT Kharagpur under Dean, SA website (Link) which is recently launched. Had a conversation with one of the content developer who worked in NSS last year. He was one of the lead volunteer and thus we got acquainted. A very good effort from IIT Kharagpur students. I also liked the shoutbox of scholars avenue blog (Link).  Let all stake holders of IIT system come and work together to see that every flower blooms.

And there was light

It was wonderful to read in the newspaper that students of one High School did not buy new dress materials in this Durga Puja and urged their parents to donate the money for costly treatment of a needy classmate. The other day television news showed friends coming together to make a pandal which looks like 'Academy of Fine Arts' of Kolkata. There the paintings of one club member who is a rickshaw puller by profession and painter by passion are displayed. The rickshaw puller painter does not have money to exhibit his work in Academy of Fine Arts at Kolkata. The friends decided to create one for him in the locality.

Real vs. virtual friend  I often worry about the abundance of virtual friends in recent times. These days we prefer to converse on chat with my next door neighbour than taking a walk together. May be the virtual platform helps the shy to unshackle themselves in the beginning. But a real friend is the one which never goes off-line.  I remember the Chanakya Shloka we memorized in our Sanskrit class of Class VIII. "Utsabe byasane chaiba durbhikkhe rashtrabiplabe / Rajadware, Shashmane Cha Jasthishthati Sa Bandhaba." A weak translation would be : He is a friend who is with you in fun, in famine, in revolution, in front of the king, in crematorium. It is not just fun which gets shared but more challenging situations such as those. The English adage says : A friend in need is a friend indeed. Let us hope to get one, let us be one.

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