EDUCATION SHOULD BE CREATIVE, NOT SPOON FEEDING

Education system in India is deteriorating day by day.

As a kid I loved studying a lot, I know it’s quite unusual for kids as they love to play and have fun, but I loved learning new things. As I grew up, school taught me that knowledge is secondary whereas grades are primary. Then started our race for achieving the highest marks, be it the wrong way. Gradually my interest for learning faded away as I was busy trying to get good grades. There are many people who don’t get good grades yet they have a very sharp brain as well as a very good IQ. We have reached to a stage where people are judged on the basis of their grades. The irony is, whatever we study during our school life has nothing to do with our career life.

Another problem of our education system is the caste system. I never gave much thought into this but while applying for universities, I was shocked as to how easily people got admission despite giving terrible interviews. I still remember applying for a university where we were supposed to appear for an entrance. When the cut offs were declared, I was dumbfounded. The cut off for scheduled tribe was one. Yes, single digit one! No offense to these categories but I don’t support this caste system. I believe that only those students should get the benefits who are from financially backward families.

It’s high time that people realise the fact that education is not business. Education is everyone’s right and not just for the rich kids. Students tend to drop out of schools and colleges because of huge donations the institutions ask for. The management quota in educational institutions are snatching the chances of the deserving candidates.

Students prefer studying abroad since you get more exposure as well as variety of courses to choose from. Sure indian education system provides that but there are a lot of courses which are still not taught in indian institutions. Due to caste system also, students prefer to study abroad.

I have studied in 3 different schools till now and all of them were english medium, yet I learned english from novels, movies and tv shows. The faculty expects students to speak in english and they themselves teach in hindi. Just by setting up some stupid rule like talk in english or you will be fined, won’t make a student speak in english. It comes from within. When you watch a person speaking fluently in english and deep down you hope to speak that way, that’s when one feels like working on one’s communication skills.

The spoon feeding teaching style is the worst. My english teacher used to narrate the questions and answers for us to jot it down. This basically closes a student’s brain. One never thinks out of the box, rather one never thinks as he or she knows very well that everything will be provided to him in a platter and he just needs to eat it and vomit it out during exams.

In simple words, education system in India is killing the creativity of the students.

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UPLIFTING EFFECTS OF ‘TED TALKS’

What really motivates me? That question seems so easy yet I sit here dumbfounded. Funny thing, how your mind just goes blank sometimes. I have heard this often that motivation comes from within, but is it wholly true? One cannot expect a pessimistic person, like me, to be self motivated all the time. We all tend to have some rough times in our life when we feel like giving up on everything even though the thing bothering us might be as small as a fly and won’t even matter in a few months’ time. Whenever I am low, I tend to shut down; I stop talking to people or access any social media but I do use youtube. TED Talks is something which always uplifts me. It’s kind of weird as they might not talk anything even near to what I am feeling but somehow boosts me up.

Data and analysis is one thing but experience is another thing. Every speaker has their own way of building a connection with the audience. They don’t lecture, they do the art of storytelling. Stories have a tendency to inspire and move people to action whereas facts usually becomes boring to even listen to, let alone have an effect on people.

TED was born in 1984 out of Richard Saul Wurman’s observation of a powerful convergence among three fields: technology, entertainment and design. The first TED, which he co-founded with Harry marks, included a demo of the compact disc, the e-book and cutting-edge 3D graphics from Lucasfilm, while mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrated how to map coastlines using his developing theory of fractal geometry.

By now you must have lost interest in reading all the above information, haven’t you? Even I got bored while writing it. That’s what plain information does, but these speakers have the ability to make plain information deliver in the most unique way which won’t waver your attention.

If you still don’t believe me, I suggest you to spend a few hours on the following few must-watch TED Talks.

  • Do schools kill creativity- Ken Robinson
    Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.
  • Underwater astonishments- David Gallo
    David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square’s worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean.
  • If I should have a daughter- Sarah Kay
    “If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she’s gonna call me Point B … ” began spoken word poet Sarah Kay, in a talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011. She tells the story of her metamorphosis — from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse at New York’s Bowery Poetry Club to a teacher connecting kids with the power of self-expression through Project V.O.I.C.E. — and gives two breathtaking performances of “B” and “Hiroshima.”
  • The best stats you’ve ever seen- Hans Rosling
    You’ve never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called “developing world.”
  • The danger of a single story- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

And the list goes on… but I suppose these will be enough to make one realise how amazing TED Talks are.

Stay happy and motivated 🙂

PRISONER OF MY SMARTPHONE

Although smartphones have contributed a lot to our lives but I think they affe our quality of life.

A few months back, I visited my cousin’s house and met his two year old daughter for the first time. Just like any other kid, she is a very sweet girl but one thing kept bugging me- her constant usage of her mother’s phone. The minute the phone is taken away from her, she starts crying. The building in which they reside has a lot of kids of her age and she is even friends with them but doesn’t really enjoy their company as much as she enjoys smartphones. When my cousin was back from office, she kept aside the phone and ran straight to her father; sadly not to greet him, but to reach for his phone. I vaguely remember, I had left my phone in the other room and I was catching up with my cousin, when she crawled into my lap and searched for my phone. As her search went in vain, she jumped out of my lap with a sigh.

Not only the above incident but I have also noticed how much I have changed with this little box. My parents gave me a phone after my 10th grade. Now when I look back, I would say I was better without one. I love writing stories, reading novels and going out for bicycle rides. I used to do them very often but after getting my phone, the frequency has been constantly decreasing. I write stories once a month that too I have to push myself for it. I have almost stopped reading novels and going out for bicycle rides. I waste my whole day watching pointless videos or scrolling through social media.

I am not that crazy about selfies and photography as compared to most of the people I am surrounded with. Last year, my school had taken us on a trip to an amusement park. My classmates were more interested in showing their online friends as to how much fun they were having on the rides whereas in reality, they were more concerned about the number of photographs they had posted.

I think it won’t be wrong to say that we are prisoners of our own smartphones. One doesn’t have to share every moment with hundreds of people because it’s more important to cherish the moment with the ones who are actually with us.

It’s time we put down our phones and make the most of our days.

“Disconnecting helps you connect and create more.” – Ann Makosinski
She said this in one of her talks as to why she doesn’t use a smartphone.

RAISED FROM THE PIT- X

He bolted down the garden path, like an Olympic champion at the start gun, waving his hands in the air. The slapping noise of his flip-flops made a few heads turn yet that didn’t stop him. He took another five running steps and threw himself in his mother’s arms, the only place where he felt home. His mother caressed his face and smiled at him. “Don’t let this opportunity go down the drain”, she said.

Binoy woke up from his dream with a jerk as he heard Bablu and two other boys rummaging through the room. “What are you all doing? Go away, I will come to meet you later.” Bablu laughed as the other two continued their search. He knew the boys from Bablu’s brawl supporters. One was thin yet strong enough to pin down a beast. The other one had a mind of a fox, clever as ever. They heard footsteps approaching the room. Binoy did some quick thinking and hid Bablu and the others under the bed and pretended to sleep when Arnab peeped in. Arnab looked at the boy’s innocent face and felt guilty. “I am sorry”, he muttered more to himself than to Binoy. Without making any noise, Arnab went back to his room. “Now Mr. Goody two shoes, help us get the money and jewellery or keep shut.” Bablu ordered. Binoy was shocked to see this turn of events along with his friend’s behaviour. “They are nice people, Bablu. They won’t hurt me. They will in fact put me into hostel so that I can study hard and fulfill my dream.” Binoy protested. The three boys ignored him and slowly turned the knob to go out of their friend’s cozy room. Binoy sat up in bed wondering for the right thing to do but he was trapped in all the chaos. He pondered over what his mother wanted to convey in his dream. He looked outside the window, at the stars trying to feel the connection with his mother. Stars filled the sky like pale corn into freshly turned ground. It was the promise of life in darkness, a sense of warmth springing from the cold. It was a vastness to bring humbleness and an eternal space to bring gratitude for the coziness of the house.

He exited his room to stop his friends from doing the wrong thing. They were nowhere to be seen. He went to the kitchen but found no one except the bottle of Coca-Cola. He gulped all of it in one go. He stopped in his tracks as he wondered about helping his friends. “No, that’s not the right way”, he thought. Even though he knew how wrong this option was yet he kept going back to it, wondering about the positive consequences. Checking the main entrance, he thought maybe they left. While going back to his room, he saw Aru didi and Arnab’s door was ajar.

STRONG PEOPLE DON’T CRY?

Most people are uncomfortable around tears, the society tells us we’re weak for crying; in particular that “strong people don’t cry”. It is beyond my comprehension. Well, ‘people’-again a term beyond my comprehension. We have all had days when our tears just won’t stop flowing which lead to double breathing at that moment.

Kathy, a friend of mine, is a “crybaby” according to everyone. Honestly, yes she is sensitive but she is a human and she is allowed to feel. She has her own issues but her walls are so high and strong that no one can ever break through. I used to find her very intriguing and wanted to get past her walls. After repeated failed attempts, I finally got her to talking. One fine day, in the wee hours my phone rang. Sleepily, I answered. I could hear Kathy crying on the other line. I patiently waited. She asked in between her sobs, “Why didn’t you stop me from crying? Why didn’t you tell me to stay strong, like others?

I have dealt with many friends through their heartbreaks, be it an end of a relationship or work stress or even family issues. Usually everyone advises not to cry as it is not worth it, but I on the other hand always told them that if you want to cry then cry your heart out as I believe in the healing power of tears. Keeping everything inside for a long time leads to an explosion which is not healthy. Shedding tears doesn’t make one weak, it helps one to get up as a stronger person. Sometimes it’s about shedding the past and blooming anew.  It helps release stress as well as expressing emotions. For many people, it is the best mechanism to self-soothe.

I hope people realise the fact that when someone sheds tears, they are breaking from inside and wants to be saved; Calling a person crybaby or ignoring makes a situation worse. A reassuring hug or some kind words may definitely help a little. We need to realise that crying is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. It heals one physiologically as well as psychologically. But one should never forget to rise back from the ashes or that cry was not really worth it.

“It is a relief to weep; grief is satisfied and carried off by tears.” -Ovid

COMING OF AGE – I

Sigh. Another awful day. Things never seem to go right for her. She believed that she was probably born at an inauspicious moment. Timing, it’s all about the timing. The right timing can change a person’s life for the better, wrong timing can ruin it forever. She really wanted this to be right; perfect. But this day was turning out to be a nightmare.

Tanya removed the plug of the ironing machine and stared at her favourite black skirt which was now half burnt. Her mom came in. Wrong timing, again. “Do you realise how costly this was? I don’t understand when will you learn to value things.” She went on. Tanya was already stressed, she didn’t have much energy to argue so she mumbled her apology and went out for a walk.

Tanya was a smart girl who had turned 18, two months ago. She had chestnut brown hair with blonde highlights. It lay on her shoulders like a waterfall flowing mildly. The breeze blew through her curls, as she sat on the park bench, quietly; alone. The songs playing through her earphones were downbeat, gloomy ballads. Her mother perceived music solely as a mood boosting indulgence and she could never disagree with her more. She would listen to songs with sombre lyrics to find comfort in someone who was also sad and would listen to upbeat music when she wanted to supplement her happiness. Music was never a mood changer for her; it was always her mood companion. Some days, just like this one, she knew only her mood companion understood her.

Of course she knew that the skirt was costly, she saved quite a lot to buy it. Tanya had a not-so-friendly bond with her parents. Her parents did love her, but showed it materialistically. Her elder brother, who was a child prodigy, got all the real love. In the crave of real love, she had failed relationships in the past. Last week, she found a letter on her desk addressed to her by her secret admirer. It was a very cute letter. Since then, Tanya and her secret admirer had been communicating through letters. At the end of every day, she would leave her letter on the last desk and take the one he leaves for her. It was definitely old school, but that was typical Tanya. She was not like the other kids. Her admirer was an amazing writer. He takes the thread of the words in a way everything seems beautiful to the reader, he basically wove love with words.

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

Today is the day, she is supposed to meet him for the first time and now she has nothing to wear. She hurried home and emptied her closet on the bed. After rummaging through her clothes, she finally picked out two outfits. The little black dress and the blue halter dress. She finalised the latter as the former was quite common and she wanted to look gorgeous. She took a quick shower and got ready for the date. She couldn’t stop smiling as she looked in the mirror, this admirer of hers was very special to her. She really wanted this to work out. While her friends would only consider the finest looking men, she sought the one with the kindest heart and who knows, maybe he will turn out to be beauty with brains. Taking one last look at herself from head to toe, she headed out.