May 17, 2006

வருக வருக !

Wrote this poem while returning home from work last night and heavy rains lashing the city

விரைந்து வருகிறாய்
பூமித்தாய்க்கு முத்தமிட
திரண்டு ஓடுகிறாய்
வெள்ளாற்றில் கலக்க

நீ தொடும் வேளையில்
மண்ணிற்கு புது வாசனை
எனக்குள் பொங்கும்
மங்காத ரசனை

மேகக்கூட்டங்கள்
உன்னை வரவேற்கும்
கதிர் வீசும் சூரியனும்
வெட்கத்தில் மறையும்

மின்னல் சிரிப்பில்
நீ பிரகாசிப்பாய்
இடி முழக்கத்தில்
நீ எதிரொலிப்பாய்

உன்னால் குளிரும்
உயிர்கள் உள்ளம்
உன்னால் விளையும்
பயிர்கள் செல்வம்

உன்னை கரம்பிடிக்க
என் கண்கள் காத்திருக்க
வந்தாய் நீ மழையே
தந்தாய் புது இசையே

A rough English translation

Welcome !

You reach quickly
to kiss mother nature
You flow swiftly
to reach the river

The moment you touch
The soil exudes a new smell
Blossoming in me
a never-ending admiration

Clouds gather
to welcome you
The bright sun
sets blushed

A lightning smile
for you to glow
A thunder blast
for you to echo

You cool
the soul of lives
You create
the wealth of crops

My eyes wait
to capture you
Here you come, Oh rain
Here you give, new music

May 12, 2006

And my vote goes to.....

No, this post is not about the elections that had come and gone.

As kids, many would have fond memories of chocolates or icecreams. My memories are mostly based on bikis or biscuits. I love them in different shapes and tastes. The taste has evolved as I grew up.

I still remember the Farex box where my grandma used to store bommai bikis (biscuits shaped like dolls, fish, duck etc). Every evening, I would open that box and only take shapes that has a head. I derived a lot of pleasure in eating heads :-) My dad would ensure that there are always enough bommai biscuits stocked. Then came the entry of Brittania Milk Bikis. 2 milk bikis + a glass of Boost - a perfect combination to begin a day. Although I never liked Marie Biscuits, I tried it once in a while. My brother and I had a unique style of eating Marie. We first ate the outer circle bite by bite and then went to the inner circle.

I would be doing injustice to the world of biscuits if I forget to mention the yummy cream biscuits. Split the sticky biscuits and lick the strawberry flavored cream - Heaven, isn't it? My aunt would always stock cream biscuits for me and when I visit her in the evenings after school, she would feed me with cream biscuits and Complan. My next favorite pack was Krackjack. The blend of salt and sweet taste was very nice and it goes well with coffee. The salt biscuits make a perfect mid day snack.

Then came the world of Good Day and Bourbon biscuits. They used to serve as my breakfast during my early office days. Chocochips was another favorite. While watching a movie, I eat these biscuits one by one and finish the whole packet in one go.

One great thing about biscuits is that you can never put on weight even if you eat a lot of them. It's not the same with chocolates and icecream.
Oops.....I'm going to get bashings for such a statement from my hubby ;-)

May 10, 2006

The essential change

"Wake up, Tina. It's already 7. You got to get ready for college", Tina's mom was shouting from the kitchen. A bright Monday morning. But Tina woke up with a dull face. Ever since she joined college, her enthusiasm was completely lost. She was expecting more from college life, not just in terms of fun and frolic but also in terms of knowledge and career growth. But like any other college, her's too was caught up with the same conventional mechanical mode of teaching, attendance, exams etc.

Rushing towards the bus stop with her assignment notes, Tina managed to catch the bus. Her best friend, Deepa greeted her with a broad smile. "Looks like you had completed your assignment. I have 4 hours from now to finish copying. I'm gonna start right away. " demanded Deepa, grabbing the microprocessors assignment from Tina's hands. "Assignments mean copying from a book to a piece of paper word by word, I suppose" , commented Tina with a sarcastic smile.

The bus stopped at RK Layout and Lakshman, another friend of Tina boarded the bus. "Hey laks, completed the assignment?", asked Deepa, without looking at his face but focussed on copying from Tina's papers. "I don't plan to write it. What's the point of copying? There is no proper evaluation system. Whoever writes the maximum number of pages get good grades. Absolute waste of time", cribbed Laks.

"Very true. I have been wondering for the past 2 years asking myself what I've been doing in an engineering college. Feel like I'm going to a primary school everyday. An outdated syllabus, lecturers who collect notes from previous year students and dictate verbatim everyday which we are supposed to copy, exams every month and evaluation system based on the number of pages you scribble. On top of all that, students who read the last minute guides score good marks and are considered genius. Ridiculous. It's not surprising that many students go abroad for higher education" spoke Tina in a single breath.

"I agree with you, Tina. There are so many things to learn, explore and try out. But we are never allowed to do. The exam pressures and these useless assignments take away our precious time. We don't have the chance to experiment. Failure is considered taboo in our education system. Peer pressure, family responsibilities and societal rules prevent us from taking unconventional paths. These subjective exams should be totally abolished" Laks vented out his frustration.

"Hey, you two, We have to adjust with the system here. If not, then we cannot succeed in our lives. We have to clear these exams and get good grades. Or else we will be jobless. Be practical, guys" said a supposed-to-be-realistic Deepa.

"If we don't oppose, this system is going to remain forever. We will never be innovative and experimenting. We will become averse to risk taking. This is going to affect us as well as our society in the long run. We need to act fast" Laks suggested.

"So what do you plan to do? Do you think the present education methodology can be changed for the good?" Deepa questioned.

"Yes, I do think it's possible, Deepa. It is definitely in the hands of students. I know this can't be changed overnight. But we can take the first step which our juniors can take it forward. We should talk to our lecturers to challenge our knowledge in a more creative fashion rather than through a subjective exam. If not at the university exams level, we should atleast try different methodologies in class tests and assignments. We can talk to our seniors abroad who are pursuing higher studies to find out the unique teaching styles and discuss with our profs here, atleast to profs who would listen to our ideas in a positive way" said Tina.

Deepa and Laks were very impressed with Tina's suggestions. The college bus reached the college gates and the security guard opened the gate. Tina felt that this is a positive opening which is going to revolutionize the education system.

PS : This short story is the way I think about changing our education system - bottom-top approach which I strongly believe would be more effective. Whoever is reading this article and have ideas that can change our current education system in a positive way, please post them as a comment.

May 8, 2006

Thrilled !

What a week it was ! My blog suffered due to angels and daemons. Now don't have any vague imaginations. I'm talking about Dan Brown's Angels and Daemons. I borrowed it from the library and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. What a thriller ! I was reading a few pages every weekday evening and completed it over the weekend.

I had read the Davinci Code by the same author a year ago and was very impressed. When I had enrolled myself as a member of a library nearby, the first book I enquired about was Angels and Daemons. After 4 weeks, I got a chance to borrow it. I'm not going to write any spoilers here. The gist of the story is about the conflicts between science and religion, narrated at a lightning pace with lots of twists and turns. Beware if you are reading alone sitting on your bed in the night. You might get scared like me. During those scary times, I used to put down the book and take a short walk to the kitchen and come back, just to make sure that I'm in Bangalore and not in Sistine Chapel in Vatican.

As far as the characters go, the hero Robert Langdon is an amazing guy, he comes up with those quick thoughts to unravel the mysteries. The way he solves the puzzle one by one leading upto the path was awesome. The ending was totally unexpected. I never thought that Mr.X (no spoilers !!!) would be the one who is behind the master plan. The most admiring thing about the writer is the way he interludes reality with fiction. Sometimes it makes you wonder as though the story narrated is completely real.

I highly recommend this book to people who like thrillers.

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