Monday, June 27, 2011

Robin Hood... We need you!!

We need a Robin Hood. Needn’t we?

When Senior Loseley says,” cometh the moment cometh the man”; Robin realises his need and saves the England. As his tales goes, he was the man who robbed from rich and distributes amongst poor.  But what will today’s Robin Hood do? Will he rob banks? I heard about many gangsters that did the same in kosi region of Bihar. Or will they sit on fast until death as Baba Ramdev did? Our desi Robin Hood thinks that his fast will force government to make an agreement with Swiss banks (at least he knows the place) and then those private banks will give us money of their clients(if any). For a moment, lets create a hypothetical situation where the government has all the money that they want to carry their developmental programmes. What do you think they will do? As I say it often, the government will come up with a new developmental scheme aimed at painting the outer wall of home when the whole roof is rickety. In other words, government will envisage a new programme which will provide direct financial assistance to the poor. The faults with this kind of approach: first, without going to the root cause of the problem that is illiteracy and unemployment, they give them money to build houses or guarantees them job for hundred days per year. Second, they promote the habit of using crutches by a normal healthy person. I believe reservations and these schemes do not make you able but provide you an easy way to get a position which you are not able of. The correct path to development and progress should pass through the grass roots to top addressing every  questions that needs an answer.

Now, I will introduce you to some real Robin Hoods. Now when it is clear that rich in our era are beyond the limit of 13th century Robin Hood, let’s see how these Robin Hoods are helping poor. Bihar’s per capita energy consumption is 80 KWh per year which is the least amongst all states. Even the second last state (Assam) has double than Bihar(170 KWh). To appreciate the patience of people there, please note that the national average is 631 KWh. When cities are short of power supply, why would villages get it. Gyanesh Yadav, Ratnesh Yadav and Manoj Sinha cofounded Husk Power System. There company operates on 100% biomass; more specifically on the discarded husk. They are providing light to 25000 households in more than 250 villages. Of course they charge money for it, but they are creating 7000 local jobs and supporting education for 250 kids in nearby areas. Isn’t this what we expect from a Robin Hood? Farmers are most neglected and more sympathised section of society. I personally feel that they don’t get the required respect. Of lately, I came across an NGO founded by two IIT alumni. Shashank Kumar and Manish Kumar have started a NGO christened ‘Farms n Farmers’ which provides training and specialised suggestion on farming method and farming practices. Their suggestions have helped farmers in increasing their production and income.  

These stories are endless. But the question is how we can make a new story. We need such kind of approach which has blend of innovation and practicality. People are waiting for their Robin Hood. Following words are humming all around.

“cometh the moment; cometh the man…”

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Median 2: Halfway to college life

1st semester. Those were the days when I used to go mess 4 times a day; that I still do. Just timings have changed. What that used to be breakfast those days, are now rescheduled to 1 A.M. NC. One day, I came back after dinner and heard some heated arguments at hostel entrance. After paying a little notice, I realised that noise is not futile but some intellectual hi-fi topic because only two people were speakers and rest 10 had surrounded them in hope of little increase in their knowledge or just to get socialised. These small discussions play a very important role in first few weeks of college as they create opportunities for likeminded people to interact among themselves. As for example, if discussion is on India vs. Australia in cricket or Man U vs. Chelsea, people can easily find their supporters. Isn’t this? However let’s come back to that discussion. Out of natural curiosity, I stood there for a while to get the theme of their interesting discussion.

First guy: You can’t question epics.

Second guy: Of course not, Science and philosophy are close to each other. You can’t go to master one while leaving other. As Great Feynman put this “Philosophers say a great deal about what is absolutely necessary for science, and it is always, so far as one can see, rather naive, and probably wrong.”

First guy: True, but every philosophy doesn’t have reason or logic, you can’t go on finding everything about a sentence which on first hand… (Brief pause…looks over the whole crowd present there and waiting for their head nod and to make them realise how important his words were.)…don’t even mean anything.

First guy: If you talk of philosophy, you can’t find anything better than Gita.

Second guy: I read that. (And he got busy enjoying the wow expression on the face of bewildered audience).

Suddenly a guy from the crowd shouted,” yaar, bari bari baatein ho rahi hai. Hamari samajh me kuch nahi aayega.”

Now, let me introduce you to first guy:  Praveen Srinivasan. Any guesses for second one??. Of course, Milind Shyani. Who else can remember quotes of Feynman that took me 10 minutes to google! And that guy which suddenly popped in between was Aditya Dadu. 

Krishna Janmastmi celebrations were just around the corner and one guy was collecting donations for that. He came to my room. His face started ringing bells in my memory. I couldn’t recollect though. He introduced himself as,” Mayank Singh from Bokaro Steel City.”

I asked,” FIITJEE??”. Yes was the reply and I realised we had done coaching at same FIITJEE bokaro centre.

Elections for hostel representatives. Two guys came to ask for vote. Pranay Aggarwal and Abishek Anand. Later I heard something about Abishek Anand that made me jealous of him. He had cracked JEE and PMT both without any coaching. An example of true genius. Even now, he don’t know anything about paper bound tomorrow morning and don’t feel surprised when he gets av+ where you get av after attending all classes and studying consecutive nights. Later I was introduced to Pawan Kumar during pandit’s campaigning

Those were the days when people used to ask JEE ranks and that was sort of indicator of intellectual level. And as you know how much first impression matters, people used to fake their ranks and ultimately there was the day when a dreadful excel sheet was released on DC with all JEE ranks. In that rain, everyone was naked; some half, some full. I have several interesting incidents associated with that but I choose not to write. After all, I love my readers. (Somebody is smiling ;)

It was T1 time. I was used to system where I didn’t give much importance to class tests rather I find it easy to prepare hard for one final exam. Seriously, I had no idea then that grades will be decided on marks of T1+T2+Compre. Chemistry paper; I wrote nothing. I counted how many people are there in my branch in that terrible1 hour. I reached hostel, some people were discussing the paper near stairs. I asked them which chapters we were supposed to study. They cried,”yaar, humari bhi lag gayi..single digit aayega”. I thought,”Ok, single digit av sounds awesome.” T1 became fun for me. I failed in Class 4 in Science and Maths; and it was 10 years since then. I was enjoying. I don’t why teachers at BITS are so fast in paper evaluation. Anyhow, I got 8; but interestingly av was 29. And those single digit people got AV+. Those single digit persons were Yash Patodia, Subhanshu Pareekh.

I had interesting teacher in Chem 1. Buzz was that Chem 1 had got 10% marks for attendance. I was already av-21 and I had no other option other than to listen his crap which was lost in his confused pronunciation. I played games on Bluetooth with Abishek Maheswari. I found there a guy which always sat with Subhanshu, and had always single expression. That guy is Anirudh Gupta. I found pretty interesting boy in that class. That guy had magnetic personality which always attracted me. I managed some of my T1 sins in T2 but still I had 3 Ds in pre compre. Thermodynamics was pathetic. Someone told me about a guy who could help me. I went to his room and asked for help. He quickly agreed. He was the same guy of Chem class: Ishan Kawley. For the last one year, we go every day to nescafe for the same drink, hot coffee. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Median: Halfway to college life

After the trauma that spanned two years of my life, it was the reaping time. The crop was giving me mixed feelings. I had option of many colleges to choose from, but finally after several rounds of dinner table conferences with papa’s colleagues and my tea party with seniors of my town; we settled down to BITS. When I was on my way to BITS-Hyderabad, several answers were still doubtful. Though the questions of those answers covered a wide range like,” Is this new campus good enough?, Is this dual degree a good option, Should I waste one year?”, but one particular section of questions were disturbing me more than any other and that was regarding my compatibility with new environment. These questions were important when I considered my small town background. But now after two years that makes me 50% engineer, I have no doubt left. Every question has now got awesome answers. But this post is about the people who made those answers awesome. Cheers to you all.

 August 1, 2009. This was my day of registration at Hyderabad campus. I boarded a bus for the campus. Conductor gave me a ticket and demanded Rs. 8. I made a futile attempt to read fare written on the ticket, because everything was written in Telgu and I can’t figure out anything except different type of curves resembling parabola, hyperbola. After half an hour, one other boy hopped inside the bus. I bet he can beat Malaika Arora in her figure “specifications”. After some moments of observation, I realised he is north indian. After hours in a place where it was difficult to communicate with anyone, I desperately needed someone to talk in order to supress my excitement of my first day at college. I offered him seat beside me. Within a minute, we recognised that our destination is same. He was also going to Hyderabad campus for chemical engineering. Finally we reached the place which was called BITS-Hyderabad and as said soon to be the most successful campus among four campuses. When our parents were dodging sleep in orientation, we checked out every girl present there. A fat old professor was welcoming us to BITS family while laying stress on advantages of BITS.(some true, some false. Professor must have to sleep with extra attention so as to dream so many benefits of BITS.) Together, we registered there for the option of sliding up. Though later we thought Hyderabad campus is not a bad option. The next day, we both were selected among 22 students from Hyderabad campus who were transferred to Goa campus. . This was my first meeting to Nawaz Nasar Malik. My first and one of the most close friends at BITS.

Nawaz went back home to attend a marriage. I decided to go to Goa that night only. Later I found myself with two more people going to Goa campus. We didn’t have any reservation in train. Somehow we accommodated in general compartment. One south indian guy was sitting in front of me. We started chatting and in that one night I spoke as much English as I hadn’t spoken in 17 years of my life. This guy is Vinayak Vishwanathan, who later became my neighbor and now he speaks fluent hindi ;) The other guy kept telling me about Msc(tech) information systems. At last, I had to admit that yes, I did mistake; rather than duals, I should have opted for Information Systems. This is my friend next door and later he went on to become source of some of my famous blog posts. So, this is Aayush Jain.

A fat lady asked me several questions before allotting me a room in Hostel AH5. Her size restricted me from asking her unnecessary questions. I reached hostel and a thin guy, probably 6 years elder to me, showed me my room. He introduced himself as Sunil and asked to approach if I had any problem. He asked me my name, my native place. “Bihar” as I said, he searched his memory for a moment and said, “room no 341; wo bhi pattna se hai”. After 30 minutes, I found myself knocking on room no 341. I was expecting a big grown up guy who would answer my knock but a girl opened the door. It took a minute for me to figure out that "pattna" wale bhai had arrived with whole family. He was not there and meanwhile uncle asked me almost all sort of questions. After a wait of 10 minutes, finally arrived a short guy with hair longer than normal. Exactly opposite of what, I had imagined him. Shashi Bhai, as he is affectionately called, has been a true companion since then. Always there for me, whenever I needed him in any sort of condition. It was 8th of August and it had been week since the class started. I had no idea of classes. Then, Shashi Bhai told me about one guy who was in chemistry. I went to his room, he was talking to someone over phone. I didn’t realised that then and I spoke something. He gave me fierce look that could make John Cena feel terrified and made stop sign by his left hand. Later I realised, he didn’t give me that look; that was his natural expression. Frankly, this guy does whatever his heart says. He left his TRW paper halfway because he didn’t feel like completing it. He slept at 11 am in first sem, no matter how much portion was still untouched. But he is true human being indeed. I haven’t found anyone more gullible and sweet guy than him. This is Pranav Nalawade; he is a sort of guy whom I love to spend time and discuss things from all over the world. One request to you all, tickle him at his stomach, Please. ;)

(To be continued…Its 995 words already.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Shadow and Shine

Bharat and India are personification of two identities living in our country. India visualises itself as a state constituted by people doing hard work for every single penny they earn at MNCs, who go to malls, spend 200 bucks on a movie, make movie like bheja fry hit, and set the picture of our country as everything happy-happy. On the contrary, Bharat is constituted by people who earn their living by back breaking hard work at any construction site in Gurgaon, or the farmers working in scorching sun in any poor village of Uttar Pradesh, or illegal miners in the mines abandoned by CIL in Jharkhand.

India and Bharat are radically different in almost every respect, be it culture, language or lifestyle. Though the area of India has increased post 1991's change in policy of country, our government has recognised these two separate state in our country from a long time. As acclaimed, our budgets were also aimed at strengthening Bharat with rich India. It is still debatable if economist rate this trickle down effect as a success. Government has supported Bharat with many developmental programmes but they all are like first aid. Permanent cure is not yet visioned. Government has to recognize both India and Bharat as integral and equal partners in development of country. Because if India provides you with technology, products, and capital; it is Bharat which gives a vast mass of consumers for product and manpower for development. Gujrat supported programmes for both commoners as well as industries and they are doing well in percentage GDP growth. On the other end, West Bengal lost its advantage that it gained during colonial rule, by the confused government policies which were indifferent to both Bharat and India.

Today evening while changing channels, i found a news(from Rajesthan) where villagers were protesting against excessive use of water by "rich". They claim that "rich" are wasting water when the whole village gets no supply of water from last few days. This is a simple case where the two states of our country see each other with distrust.  Once there was similar situation with slight deviation. Then there were some limited number of people who controlled vast area of lands and were called land lords. This led to rise of naxalism. Unchecked and unbalanced gap between Bharat and India can have similar devastating effects. There should be some way in which both the states understand each other's importance and respect their mutual existence. Now, government in general and society in particular, should make effort to reduce the widening gap between the Bharat and India, because then only we can create a country which assures justice, liberty and promotes fraternity among countrymen, as envisioned in preamble.