Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why the sky is Blue?

This prestigious college in our city was granted Autonomy recently. Autonomy in inculcating education to students, to set its own syllabus and to have its own methodology in teaching. But, no autonomy in selecting students. That’s one thing the government is very strict about. Promote the intake of more SC/ST candidates and suppress the study of the 'interested class'.

The reservation system is going beyond tolerance. Many students aspire to study. They are denied the college seat. Others get bare minimum marks and get into colleges with ease even though they detest the subject and don’t have a background in that. Let the seats go unfilled, but you just cant give seat to a student of the 'interested class'. The seat can go only to the candidate with his community certificate showing SC/ST and with his marks reading as 40%.

I asked one of the SC candidates in my own class. He studies well and understands well and he is interested in what he is doing. “How would you feel if another of your community fellow has been awarded this seat with just a pass mark in this subject along with you, would you feel comfortable"? He was practical and not political. He said NO.

There are students who study and are really interested in studying. They are know as the 'interested class'. Why not give them the seat? If they are unable to pay the college fees, let this reservation quota help them to pay the fees or speaking politically, let them even given them free education.

By the way, here are a few responses in an end semester paper (Chemistry major). The question was " why the sky is blue ? ". This responses were given by the specially selected 'reservation quota' candidates other wise affectionately called as " Arjun Singh babies".

1. The sky is replaced by sodium thiosulphate. Hence it appears blue.
2. The sky appears blue because of the eye. ( Philosophical huh??)
3. Nitrate replaces bromate and replaces chlorine and replaces Blue color of sky comes.
4. Therefore s orbital and chlorine give therefore blue color. Therefore the sky is blue.
5. Why the sky is blue?

Now, whom are we to blame? The school in which they were educated? Most of the students hail from the government run corporation schools. You can imagine the state of teachers and the kind of education! The college is helpless, they are forced to accommodate these kind of students fearing the governmental policies. This is big crap. How many students you think passed this paper?

And why is that people who cant study need to study? Is our economy based on the number of educated people? Why is that true knowledge is not sought after at? Why are people afraid of pursuing what they can?

Well, this is our Government!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Trickles have always mesmerized me. The stream of water running down the street on a rainy day has something that couples my neurotransmitters responsible for bliss and happiness ( Phenyl ethyl amine and a dash of serotonin i guess !! ). When it runs over sand and stones, it looks just beautiful that i feel like watching it until all water flows down. The ocassional floating down of a leaf and a flower along with the downpour of water from the roof tops into the trickle makes it look like a vision of heaven!

Its a small unnoticeable happening on a rainy day, but it attracts my most attention!
Today, it was raining heavy and i was in my college hostel taking notes on Cholestrol ( I have to burn the excess in me!!!). Started from the hostel admist the rains wearing my rain coat towards the parking area where my beautiful blue Ducati stood waiting for me ( well, its just self soothing!!). But before that, this trickle flowing over pebbles and sand got me fixed on to it. I tore a page from my note, made a paper boat and was following its course downstream. There was big fallen branch on its path and superman heaved it out before my titanic could hit it!!

I know, its sounds crazy, but I just love doing that! Rains and trickles and paper boats!

Friday, October 13, 2006


Into my fifth year of college now and transversing into the final semester of my college life. We are sitting in the classroom, a round table with a big board on the western wall and thousands of books enclosing us. The professor walks into the room and announces, " Guys, you ve got your model examinations next week, from Monday to Friday. " Hey ! But, the Friday is Diwali eve ! The professor looks at me,

" Arent you grown up? whats the deal in Diwali for a MSc student like you"

Well, how is that growing up is defined? Is it defined in terms of how many festivals you dont care to celebrate and the many birthday days you tend to ignore like any other day in your life? if this is the defenition, then to the world, I am certainly not a grown up. But, do I care, certainly not, I define my happiness and I lead myself to it.

People want to stay young. Anti oxidants, peroxide creams, free radical scavengers, wrinkle control, skin upliftment and what not. Every chemical formula goes into the body just making things worse. I shall give a simpler treatment, just celebrate. Keep your mind young, you stay young.

I still feel as though, everytime I light up a fire cracker, its the first one I am lighting. The smell of the burnt powder of Nitrates and sulphides does more good than any of the creams do! The early morning competetion on who bursts the first cracker still makes me jump. The task of lighting the sky in the night is a responsibility that me and my sister look forward to. And if this means that I am not grown up, I am not!

See, celebrating works better than creams because even after years, am still going to light up the sky with my sister near me!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The System

He asked me if i could,
I told him i would,
but why not now ?

What was missing?
The reason? The urge? The wounds?
Am i afraid to quit?

Yet again he asked me,
yet again I answered I would,
he said, better not.

This world accepts metamorphosis, not changes.

And then she asked if I could,
I answered i would,
But now there was a tear,
of no reason, no fear.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Senators And The Senate House

Today, I thought it would be the most memorable day. The 150th year celebrations were on in the most sought after university in Madras. The " Mother of all universities " was how it was referred to. May be it was a pun intended, Mother, a person who makes us instantly sleep and I guess that’s what the students affiliated to the university do and the so called lecturers catalyze our serotonin levels that induce sleep!

The most anticipated event of today was the talk by our President. But, the President had to anticipate his turn first! The first citizen of the country was the last person to address the gathering! Our president had to endure through 2 hours and 30 mins of Tamil and Tamil Nadu politics before he could rightfully belong to his citizens, WE.

We were a large group of say nearly 700 students from various institutions and we were given a taste of politics and the beautiful Tamil "uraiaadal" of the eminent scholarly and Honorable ministers.

What is the purpose of a language? Is it to communicate or is it to change us into fanatics and never adopt any other language? When I returned from the 18th International Conference of Nobel Laureates, held at Germany, there was a meeting hosted by the Indian Government with the Minister of Science and Technology. A participant in our group started to speak in Hindi. The explanation he gave, " I find that the Germans have advanced in everything because they never speak anything else that their mother tongue. Therefore, we can also advance by speaking only in our mother tongue". Is this a statement of jealousy or ego ? In a country where there are 18 languages, is this a possible way towards development? The ultimate aim is to develop our country. Is there a question of language in this? When English is serving as a cross platform access, why is this ego playing?

Well, the brief introduction about the language war is a preface to the following passage !

The function began with the speech of the current vice chancellor in English. It was good, to the point and apt to the occasion. Then came the first Tamil speaker. Sorry for not remembering his political status. We are in Tamil Nadu and hence Tamil. Ok. But in a occasion like this, where the majority of the participants are scholars and students and some Central Government ministers, why Tamil is my question. Well, he could have completely spoke in Tamil, but there was this beautiful statement in English. " Thanks to the revulsion in IT industry " Revulsion in the IT industry!!!!? Since the purpose of language is to communicate and make understand, you are supposed to understand it as Revolution!

The next minister, " Colleges function in shipt system" . The word shift was changed to Shipt and it just sounded like Shit !

Ok, here comes the first best one. The speech by the Minister of Rural development ( state ). He inaugurated the Digital library and spoke thus ( In Tamil ) : " Libraries are important. All colleges have libraries. Students utilize the library. Students must utilize the library. Since libraries contain many books and hence they can be termed as Book store house. Scholars use the library. The fact that APJ kalam has used the library made him president. Libraries decide the fate of Tamil Nadu." Judge this speech yourself !!

Next came the speech of the man responsible for India in 1 Rupee. The man who gave internet to the farmers, instead of ides towards better crop cultivation. The words in the left are those which he said for those on the right. But since language is only to make understand, we could get the meaning.
Perumukkal : Perumakkal ( Audience )
Alambam : Aarambam ( Beginning )
Palaikegam : Palkalai kazhagam ( University )
pugzhal mundham : pugzhal mandram ( praising committee )
nootuandu vila : noothruaandu vizha ( 100th year )
Paritalum : Paaratinalum ( to praise )
palbadu : paagubadu ( discrimination )

Long live classical Tamil !

Next was the speech by the father of the minister who spoke on the importance of libraries. This function is a educational function. But his speech was full political and " reserved ". Reservation in education ( Mr Arjun Singh was there in this function and he too spoke ) . Haven’t we had a lot on this already?!! This were his concluding words ( in Tamil ) : " Like how Lord Krishna was supportive for Arjuna in the Kuruksethra war, I will support this 'Arjun' singh for the war on reservation policy." The students are supposed to take this easily and that too, spoken in a education university!!! Is there really a value for your degree certificate or your Caste certificate?

Then at last came our President. His speech lacked the fire. I guess he could not fuel his thoughts due to the very high price of fuel here! It was an ordinary speech. Mostly about his school and college day memories. Expectations shattered. We were asked to submit questions that would be answered by him. But the questions were scrutinized and selected and hand picked by someone. The President will read out the name of the selected person and that person will ask the question. These were the questions asked :

* How can we impart technology education in school?
* What is the importance of women empowerment?
* How to make technology education and moral education go hand in hand?
* How can we control environmental pollution?
* Why is India lagging in sports/Olympics despite its population?
* Why isn't news on technology reaching the farmers?
* In spite of rise in technology, why are medicine prices high in India?
* Why is not India conducting Nano technology research?

All these were hand picked admist questions about the Indian development, the fiscal nature, the current issues, the rocket failures, the reservation, the future of pure science, question on commerce and current scenarios and the response of Indian government to the recently faced problems. These kind of questions were not allowed to be asked.

The ending was most pathetic. Everyone stood up for the National Anthem. It was played in the tape. The president raised his hands and asked everyone to join in. Imagine how reverberating it would have been if all the 1500 in the auditorium sung? And isn’t it how it should be when it comes to the country? Only 10 sang along. The President, a few students and me.

" INDIA " We are forgetting that its OURS.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The chemistry COOK!

My friends always say that i always cook well with the values in the chemistry lab! Though this aspect is not verifiable ( even by my professors!!), you can verify how i cook at home! yesterday, a new recipie struck me and i name it,

The basic aim is to replace paneer by someother thing so that people on "diet " can relish it without having to worry about the calories. And also, i chose a vegetable that is usually blended in the base in this kind of dishes as the main ingerdient.

Carrot! cut it into cubes and boil it soft. Shred cabbages and boil them soft too. keep them aside and remember to add salt when cooking the carrot and cabbage. Make a fine paste of Tomato, onions and ginger. Add butter to the pan and let it melt. Add a few pieces of cinnamon, elachi and clove to this and saute. Fry cut onions in this butter melt till the aroma elevates you to a few inches above the ground. ( errr... actually till the onions are golden!) Add salt and garam masala and red chilli powder. Now, add the paste of tomato, onion and ginger with a little if water if it is too thick. Let this come to a boil. Now, add the carrot and cabbage to this and close the pan with the flame on simmer. Stir after sometime and add finely minced capsicum ( cut in thin strands for more glamour! ) . Take it off the flame and garnish with fresh corriander and few pieces of cashew.

The boiled carrot is a beautiful substitute for paneer and it tastes awesome ( tested and certified!!) . Goes well with Basmathi rice varities. In the picture, my mom cooked the pudina-basmathi rice and i did this side dish!

Guten Appetite!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Arvind Sir

When the time comes, let this be the fist one about the Man who is.

He is courage. He is strength. He is what the youth have lost. Arvind sir.

I was in my second year of BSc chemistry. Those were the days of utter carelessness. We had shortage of faculty and hence a lot of free hours. Towards the end of the second year, he entered our department. Average height, athletic, fair and with a lot of beard. His eyes spoke before he did. He was not employed like a faculty, he was a part time staff and handled only Allied chemistry.

Then came the final year BSc and then came to our class, Arvind sir. Physical chemistry, gaseous laws and stuff. He stood before us, we laughed from the last bench. If he shaves, he will look like a kid! What a baby face! Skinny man! Ho... another new faculty, gonna mess up the subject. It was just the usual welcome.

After the class, i sat mesmerized. Well, where has this guy been all these years? It was not a class, not a lecture, not a meeting. It was an experience. The way he brought out the concepts and the way he talked in class, not a single student needed to take notes. It was like energy reaching out to you and getting inside you. After all, it does travel from higher potential to lower potential without strain!

And then i contacted him. Something drew me to him. He accepted my request to train me for IIT and thus began my trip to his house.

I entered his house, there he was, seated on the floor. He looked like Buddha. Radiance emitting was so powerful that you will never feel any hatred in his presence. I asked him, sir, you practice Buddhism? why all these pictures of Lord Buddha here? What he answered that time i cant remember. But he follows no religion, for his religion is mankind, the youth.

I will coach you in chemistry. I will just give you questions, find out the answers and we will discuss them. And i return, i heard you are a flute player, so, teach me flute. I was stunned. Accepted it without any hesitation and the next moment he thrust a few currencies and asked me to get him a flute. Then he brought out his Tabala and played a thaal. After some time of chemistry discussions, he got out his Harmonium and played a raga. I was literally stunned.

In college, his classes were getting better and better. We had this practice of playing table tennis after the college time. One day we were in for a surprise. It was none other than sir, with the TT bat in hand and skillfully smashing the shots across. It took one full year for me to block and return his smash to his own table and till now, no one has won him!!

After a month of the classes, flute and TT, he asked me if i could take classes for the less previliged childen in the slums. I accepted. He made me feel the most wonderful thing. Then i came to know the real Arvind sir.

The MSc from IIT Madras, a part time faculty in our college who taught chemistry the way it must be, a philosopher, who believed that the villages in India are the key to its development. He told me about this Organization. Mother, he had named it. Educating the children from the villages and making them know the value of education and trying to develop the villages was his primary activity. His teaching in college was just his hobby!

Having education networks in over 16 villages, he coaches the students and supports them to pursue their interests. The most unique thing about him is that he gives charge to the youth. He himself, just over 25 years, has over grown all the basic things that attract the youth.

Life and emotions are nothing but chemical surges. The effect of this on the Mind controls the body. The experience of these on the body controls the mind. He had everything in control. His chemicals, his mind and his body. Meditating for hours and a staunch follower of Vipassana, he cannot be shaken by any worldly thing.

His aim, develop the villages, develop the youth, develop the nation. He resigned his job in college and is now full time into his ambition.

I go to his house often. To be frank, he is an addiction to me. It feels great to be with him, to speak to him. We have had endless conflicts about everything. From chemistry to Love. We have spent so much time playing the flute. Never seen someone who can pick up things very fast. He is the most positive force on earth.

To put it very short, the summation of energy, hope and self is him.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Life is worth living

Life starts the way it must,
it goes on the way it does.
People turn when they can,
some turn whenever they can.
For others, its a wild river,
turning whenever it wants.

Many give a discourse,
on how to put life on course.
But what purpose is this force,
makes things little but worse.

sit down and give a try,
find out the real I,
then to places unreachable, you can fly.

What you are is living.
What you want to be is life.
Aferall, life is worth living.


I walked down the road,
plugged my ears with music, cutting off all others
Through the crowd i waded,
each face, meaningless, yet meaningfull.

I just moved on....
why did they exist?
why did i?
why did he stare at me?
why did it run away?
why did she stop?
why were they shouting?
Do i need answers?
I just moved on....

The wind blowing salty, i neared the beach.
with the waves beneath me, i stood.
A toddler learnt to walk, just like i did,
to walk through life.
He played in the sand, vastness unknown.
Should he know it?

The sun sank into the ocean.
I know it will rise again.
I know i will walk back here,