Sunday, March 21, 2010

The World is Pretending!

We all must be familiar with the Aamir Khan's peculiar dialogue “Aal izz well” in the movie 3 idiots. This gives an important perspective to certain related things in this article. The story of the blind watchman makes us realize that, the truth can be disguised when there's “pretending” of things. The watchman pretended not to be blind, and they felt safe. This is exactly what I want to say.

Today, there is pretending in almost all the aspects of our life. People, Advertisements, TV Soaps, Cricket Matches, and to a certain extent even Ourselves. The enigmatic affair here is, How do we know whats true, and whats “acted” as a truth? How do we react to “How nice your shirt is..” from a person you hardly talk to? Does it mean that the shirt you think is good, seems to be a sarcastic anecdote for that person, which he may tell to his friends? Or is it so good that even 'that' person admires it? We tend to believe the second one is true the next time we see ourselves in a mirror!

Lets understand the advertisements that circumvents us everywhere we go. I am not here to judge the advertisements, but to really make myself understand what actually they mean.

1.A 'cement' advertisement recently flashed during the India-South Africa series, showed a girl in a swimwear, and the tag line goes, “Bharosa hai isme kuch khas hai.” What does this ad imply? The most interpretable analogy of this ad, as i understood it is, ' Pervert : The girl in swimwear :: Man desperately wanting to buy cement : ABC Cement' Its really still a mystery.

2.One such other advertisement showed a guy walking with a mobile, so lost in it while crossing the road, that cars collide to save him, not until he is hit by some other car. The tag line goes, “ We are really sorry”. Is this some kind of conspiracy, to repel customers from buying this mobile? Or, they will die, crossing the road, or probably hit by electric pole with live wires!

3.The most annoying advertisement till date is surprisingly, concerned with AMUL, the company which produced, the “Utterly Butterly Girl” one of the longest running ads in India. The Amul Macho Undergarments. The irony is, being Men's undergarments, not even a single man has been shown in the ad, but only a woman, and monkeys apparently. Allegedly, Male Monkeys at-least!

4.In almost all brands that manufacture Deo's for men, show men wearing that deo, women erotically attracted to him, and finally men getting away with 'aroused' women. In contrast, women always deceive men, wearing women's deo, and get away alone. Interesting!

5.How cheap it is, to use some other brands name to promote ones own brand. I was appalled, and I guess so must have you, watching RIN's ad. It says “
TIDE se behtar safai aab RIN dega”. Poor guys must realize, what about those people using Arial?

I again clarify, I am not writing to give an award for the Best 'Worst' ad, but to understand, how people, use strategies, to buy audience, by the means of Pretending.

Its not just advertisements, its everything we see daily. IPL's being fixed is not shocking, and so is Arushi murder case being unresolved. Thankfully, the Ekta Kapoor era ended, with the “K” serials going off air. No doubt, Ekta Kapoor is the 'New Age Alpha Woman' revolutionizing the TV realm, which is evident from the fact that, shes going to lecture at 'Wharton School of Business”. But, the way an Indian woman was depicted, was totally unsympathetic. The “ideal” bahu herself would marry 3 times to different men, and the “vamp” jethani would plot to kill her own husband. Highest viewership was recorded during the “saas bahu” serials, and was hyped as “ghar ghar ki kahani”. I would ask, Is it? Or the opposite [the exact opposite manner one should behave to preserve family integrity]?

SRK going back to Whilemania, Georgia to save Mama Jenny and Funny Hair Joel or Sharman Joshi and Madhavan pissing on Director's door while Amir's busy romancing director's daughter, and amusing the other, with his “Aal izz well”, is what we all loved to watch. The interesting thing is, in the world where Digital Fortress can crack keys faster than anyone can imagine, Human has found out a way to crack human's brain, and reach his heart directly, where he is the most gullible. Knowing things that can never happen, we think, it might just happen, or we can atleast pretend it happened!

There are dozens of situations where we have to pretend! In a classroom when a teacher says “understood?”and we shake our heads in unison, to agree with the teacher, while actually we just heard the worst possible PJ and want to laugh our hearts out. In a party, we just pretend to like the hair style, just because we do not want to complicate things, or probably because he/she will just keep nagging about his/her hair, the rest of the party! Giving the immediate neighbor tickets to your best friend, when you have the tickets, and giving the farthest tickets to a friend whom you don't even consider. Pretending to be totally fun that a person has joined you for a trekking, and even clicking photographs, while deep inside, you just know, its Hell! And there are countless others. We pretend to be someone we are not, for others to like us. But, its all a part and parcel of life.

The point is, what when we are the teacher, or the guy with a new hair style, or the guy who just got the farthest seat, or the unwanted guy on a trekking? How do we know, whether the other person is pretending? How do we realize that it is exactly what we expect? The line is very thin. Between truth and 'possibly' the truth. Between literal and figurative.

And while searching for these answers, we again pretend to assume that it is all true. They have indeed understood! I was right, this hair style looks good on me! Oh, its just the confusion that landed me on this seat! And, good I came, people are enjoying my company, they look so happy! We pretend for the best things to be true! And, as they say it “
Duniya gol hai mere dost!

Reasoning my beliefs, I think, this is Irony of life. True and False are just perceptions to view things. We, finally believe what we want to believe! We have people, whom we may call brothers, but may steal from us. Or best teachers, who may fail us. Or friends who may envy us [evident from the fact that there are 5422 supporters of the page ”I hate People who pretend to be friends but are actually betrayers!” on face book”]. We know the world is pretentious. But, hopefully, we all have people, who we know are true. And who are not pretentious. At the end of the day, we bank on these people to motivate, inspire, comment and judge us.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Value of Education and Education of Values

Why be Educated?
One of the great saints of India, Gunatitanand Swami [] has said" Gadhe se gadha mile to kare latamlat, gnani se gnani mile to kare gnan ki baat". Imagine the world full of illiterate people! It would unarguably be an animal kingdom. Perhaps, what makes us elite from the animals, is the Education. It is the education, which bridges the gaps between people from different communities, countries, races, and unites them into a cognizant group of so called "intellectuals". As cited by Aristotle,"Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity". Not only does Education benefit an individual, it produces a ripple, which extends to strengthen the nation by itself. This is why John F Keneddy said, " Education is the means to develop our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation." India being a developing country, is in an urgent need to educate people. There are various government initiatives, like mid-day meals, and free primary education to girls, which has accelerated the percentage of literate people in India. A survey by UNESCO in 2005 shows that, 'The number of students attending universities for education is the highest in United States(1,43,50,000) followed by India(50,07,000). Illiteracy leading to poverty, larceny, can be eradicated by Education. And hence, Education is a fundament wherein, an individual, a country, and the whole human race may envision a better standard of living.

What's Missing?
Ironic enough, as mentioned earlier, United states has the largest number of students studying at universities, but also has the largest number of prisoners(20,33,331). Victor Hugo had said,"He who opens a school, closes a prison." Certainly, the contradiction is elucidate. India, is also not an exception to the above statics. Being educated does not ensure a better living. For example, The Times of India dated 26th October 2009, flashed headlines as: "IIT-D PhD student: A pervert maniac." Apparently, he had raped a 19 year old girl in Delhi. The Graduate Student of London's Eton College, Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah(Prince of Nepal), murdered his own family members, over a dispute. In Satyug, Ravan had studies 4 vedas, but his lascivious acts needs no briefing. Mohammed Atta's knowledge of flying airplanes was ceased by crashing the airplane into one of the twin towers on 9/11.

The question is, where does education alone takes us? Awarded as one of the best scientists of Pakistan, A Q Khan, invented a nuclear atom bomb, which could devastate the entire human population. 30,000 people at pentagon(Defence Headquarters, US), devise machines and mechanisms which could kill people. A Non-Destructive Bomb, invented in US, if exploded would suck up all the oxygen in the 5km radius, thus killing "only" living beings keeping the inanimate materials intact. What are we learning? To kill humans, to destroy peace or to destruct humanity?Education was supposed to be bridging the gaps, instead, its widening the barriers.

Rather than clear, it is quite evident that 'something' is missing. This fact has been realised by many philosophers, thinkers, and visionaries. The following is a pledge, that is read to all teachers and parents, in a school in United States, by its Principal.
"Dear Teachers,
I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes have seen what no man should witness:
Gas Chambers built by learned engineers,
Children poisoned by educated physicians,
Infants killed by trained nurses,
Women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates.
So, I am suspicious of Education.
My request is, help your students to become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmann, Reading, writing, arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more Humane."

This opens our eyes, as to what kind of effects education alone can impact the students with, as told by the principal of the school himself.

Value based Education is the answer.
This brings us to a point where we realise, that not just education, but VALUE based education would solve the inferno mentioned above. P.P Pramukh Swami Maharaj, one of the 20 most influential people in the world, states that"Education without values, destroys, and education with values, protects."

The world today needs value based education. Professor Dean of Morehouse college, Dr Benjamin cites,"We have more educated people than at any time in history. Yet our humanity is a diseased humanity. It is not knowledge we need, humanity is in need of something spiritual". The world needs both, education and spiritualism. Either is incomplete without the other one. If education is blood, spiritualism is the heart. If education is speed, spiritualism is direction. The greatest scientists of all times, Newton also admits that even after inventing/discovering more than sixty discoveries, a simple mechanism of working of the thumb makes him believe that there is someone superior who has created this universe, and is indeed great.

Spirituality teaches us values. And values along with education is the need. Value based education has the iconic resemblance to the Indian culture, and more specifically the Gurukul systems which prevailed in ancient India. The students had utmost respect to their teachers, and vice versa. It was bound by the feeling of love, care and respect which facilitated the learning process. But time has brought us in a new era. Teachers/professors are just employees at schools/universities, who are paid to 'impart' the information to students[as quoted by Vinoba Bhave in 1960]. Students, on other hand speak disrespectfully of their teachers, and also sometimes insult them. Extreme cases have also been witnessed where students even try to kill their professors and vice versa.

On the other hand, Pramukh Swami maharaj has not only realised this problem, but also has taken steps to impart value based education. He has created and manages various schools, colleges and chatralays which produces thousands of value-centered educated individuals every year. With his interview with Pramukh Swami Maharaj on 13/6/2001, the then president of India, APJ Abdul Kalam had asked that, to bring about a change in India, we need valued individuals, valued leaders and valued professionals. What needs to be done to improve the numbers of these three kinds of people in India? The gist of what Pramukh Swami answered is that, he insists in imparting value education with modern sciences in schools and colleges and also teaching them about scriptures from our tradition and culture. Einstein had once said, that only education without morals and ethics would make us like trained dogs and nothing else.

My Pledge!
As an educated youth of India, let us govern our lives, in a way, that welfare's our own personality, our family, our nation and the whole human mankind. Hence, to sum it up, let us not only study textbooks, but also understand our scriptures. Let us not only attend colleges, but also visit temples. Let us not only learn from our teachers, but also communicate with our saint's. Let our education be a confluence of these aspects. Let us live not only by Competence but also by Character. Because, "The Heart of Education is Education of the Heart".

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Cause of Decisions

Have we ever wondered that the things we tend to do is a result of what kind of a cerebral process? It may not include everyday routines, but here i am talking about the things we decide to do! I spent some time thinking over this part of our lives where we "Decide." It may be a decision which requires a lot of thought process[career selection] or a decision we have to make in a blink of a second[to hit a cricket ball]. Ultimately there are two outcomes, which again are uncertain about its immediateness, Good ones which leaves you complacence, or Bad ones which u repent.

So what are the things that may affect this process?

Before reading the elicited solution, here is an excerpt from a book i read, which says that between Stimulus and Response there is an element determining the action process. Its a wonderful study of human psychology stating that element is 'Freedom of Choice'. Its the freedom to choose how to respond to the stimulus. The phenomena is stated as 'Being Proactive'.

Back to our discussion. I draw out three conditions based on which we presume our decisions.

1] Motivation:
The lexicon describes Motivate as 'give an incentive for action'. Some of our decisions are based on the future prospects which we assume might benefit us. In a very obvious argument to my last statement, we decide because we intend to benefit. But here it may be more of a enticement, or a secular sort of a self-centered benefit. Motivation works well, but as stated by Masslow's that, needs are unlimited, and hence there may always be a need of a new motivator for us once the previous one is satiated.
I am keen in finding out the more authentic way to decide. Hence according to me, there needs to be something more than that.

2] Influence
Well, the difference i think between motivation and influence is that we can be motivated by reading some quotes, or by immitating a famous personality, but the things which are closer to us influences us in a more obvious fashion. It can include people we admire, persuading us to make a decision, or sometimes, inamimate things influencing our lives, such that we are inclined to take decisions favouring that particular thing.
But in the end if something goes terribly wrong, the human tendency always sways to blame the cause that influenced our decisions and not the decisions.[it may not be in all the cases, but atleast true for me!]. Here in our lives the phrase"Blame Yourself" comes into picture. We[I] always back out saying it was the wrong influence that forced me. If not always, sometimes.
Hence there needs to be a more strong premises for our decisions.

3]INSPIRATION[serves as an inciting cause of]
Here is where i got my answer. The inner conscience of our soul has to wake up during the real time and make the choice between the stimulus and response. But Inspiration? We may be inspired by the smallest of the things in the world, but it will be certain that it is the Real YOU who really is making the decision. No one is to blame for. And no one is to take credit for. Except YOU!
Luckily enough there are people around our lives who, sometimes unknowingly, inspire us to make decisions. Unlike motivation or influence, you have the courage to contend your outcome of decision, if it fails, while you are Inspired.
Inspiration denotes a full fledge faith towards the outcome of the decision, whether good or bad, we will be Inspired to take th appropriate decision once again!....and it goes on.

For me, there are people who motivate, influence and inspire me. I try to base my decisions on inspiration from my sources, but it is always not easy to act, as to write these philosophical things. But when i interospect, i am always more philosophic, and hence thought to write it down.

In the end it is always fun and knowledge when i interospect!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

MY Pursuit

Ever since I have seen Will Smith inarticulate with  happiness in the last scene of the movie "The Pursuit of Hapyness", I always wondered, about this feeling being sensed within me. Luckily for me, I was through with this emotion.
It was the result for trimester VI at my college [MPSTME,NMIMS]. I was an average student until then; my CGPA being around 2.6/4. But sometimes, some realization gives us a new direction. Same was the case with me. Ever since I realized that I need a minimum of 3 CGPA to pursue my higher studies, I knew I had to get 3.3 GPA in every trimester going forward and also, other reason being, my guilt of not performing well . Nothing else was different in the trimester as compared to the last 5 trimeters, except for my perception. It was a different kind of motivation for me. I attended lectures regularly, I took the learning process seriously, gave all the internal tests fully prepared, etc. It was then I realized that it was not difficult as I used to think it would be. Not only did my awakening supported me towards my goal, but also did my family and friends, in a very pertinent manner.  Also, in the course of this period, I scored 20/20 in an internal test, which was the first time ever since test 1 in MPSTME.
Finally all of my efforts and prayers were inclined towards the achievement of a good GPA. I appeared for the exams, and all of them were excellent. 
I was informed by a friend that results are out. It takes me 1 hour to reach my college, from my house. That 1 hour, I was thinking about all the crazy things I had done to escape college in the first 5 trimesters, and the fact that by doing a little more than what I used to act, a satisfactory secured feeling of getting a good GPA was dominant within me. The difference being so small, pricked me.
I reached college. It was the moment then. I signed the acknowledgement sheet, and the mark sheet was in my hand. The moment I saw 3.45 GPA, I felt a gush of excitement flowing through my veins. My hands were trembling, and I was speechless. Will Smith walking down the New York street, the facial gestures of my parents reacting to the score, my mark sheet, the whole trimester flashback, were being flashed in my mind, and the sense of achievement made my heartbeats faster.  
I started walking towards the bus stop. On Mumbai streets, I felt like I am the only one walking on the street. I felt silence within. Maybe this is what they call Pursuit of Happiness. Leastways it was the Pursuit of My Happiness. Although 3.45 was not an outstanding score, but it was a very special score, which helped me in making a remarkable discovery about myself. I have scored 3.45 and 3.5 in the successive trimesters.
Its true that life teaches you. And its indubitable that You are your Best Teacher.