Sunday, March 28, 2010

Is it worth IT?

(caution: unlike anything i have ever written before)

I am writing this an hour after I came to know that I had lost a cousin of mine in Kenyan (Kisumu) floods. This cousin of mine had lived in Kenya for 15 or so years and had moved to India around the same time we had moved from USA. He had moved to India obviously for his kids education. I am sure Kenyan education system will be as fucked up as their political and social situation. He mentioned that his house was robbed umpteen number of times when he lived there. He had also mentioned how unsafe Kenya was.Last when I met him was during a function before we moved to Australia. After coming to India he did not have a job and was staying home. He was one of the first guys in our family to have a masters in something. He studied fisheries. Its to do with fishing, storing fish, things like that. Job opportunities for him in India are very bleak. After couple of years of sitting idle at home he decided to take up a job in some middle eastern country. He moved there alone leaving his family behind. I am sure this was primarily not to affect his kids education. All said and done his kids had to live without their dad. I have no idea when he moved back to kenya. I remember him telling, his previous employer (owner of a fishing company) owed him heaps of money and he would not go back to that job unless the owner paid him. I came to know that he rejoined Kenyan company as he lost his job in middle eastern country. I am not blaming my cousin for making certain choices, just wondering if the last question that came to his mind was "Was it worth it?"

I know how it feels to grow up with out a DAD (physically my dad was there). Even though I saw my dad quite often, we were never mentally connected to him. He was always busy with his gambling addiction, leaving my mum to take care of the kids. I don't think any one of us (my brothers and I) can really say "I love you" to my dad. If we did say that, it would be the most hypocritical statement. When Hita asks me, "how come you never speak about your dad?" makes me speechless (in my mind I say, he was useless that's why). Some of my friends travel on their job (not talking about week or days of travel) leaving their families behind. Whatever is the reason/obligation for the travel (unless that's the only way to put food on table), there is no way to get that time back. I don't think my cousins death will make much difference to his kids as they are used to living/not seeing their dad often. You might speak every day on phone, but "out of sight is out of mind". If you are not there when they need, you not being there makes no difference.

I know that if you start thinking at meta physical level, if you are to die, you will. It does not matter where you are, what you are doing. What matters are the choices made before death. If there is feeling after death, I want to be saying "wow what a journey, thanks for that" rather than guilt of not doing something or not being there for my kids when they needed me etc.. Is this a revelation after hearing about a death? absolutely not. This event has cemented my belief that nothing is worth the time you loose with your kids (if you wanted them and are sure they are yours) and wife/partner (again if you want them and love their company). I do live(1000's of miles) away from my parents, but that's what birds do when they learn to fly, they build their own nest. Once you have a little one in that nest, you better stop flying. It is your responsibility to teach the young one how to fly. If you are not around (mother and father), your death will make no difference(forget about world, to your own kid) and that ain't worth it.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Teachers OR Cheaters

Couple of days ago, my daughter asked me a very interesting question "papa you never give me examples of your teachers, why?" I said hmmmm, give me couple days to answer that. When I started thinking about it (during toilet breaks), I realised that is so true. Apart from one man, I have never had a teacher (teacher means only in school or uni, mentors at work place not included.) worth mentioning. When I am at work or even doing day to day life things, it has never occurred to my mind that oh yea this guy had taught me this. I have dropped out of 2 schools in US, even there I didn't find anyone outstanding (may be cuz I dropped out :-)).

All my experience with teachers in India has been bad. In school they only had complaints about me(My mum had frequent visitor miles... :-) ), even when I was always in top 3 (until 9th grade I think). My faith in teachers was shattered when I came to know that they did not like kids who didn't contribute to so called building fund. One man who taught me math(for free, he happened to be math teacher for my mum too) in 10th grade, stands out. I realized, it was not a job for him. He loved teaching. When you do it as a job is when you fuck up. In India most of these teachers have private tuition's, which I am sure makes them disinterested in teaching properly in their day jobs. I have had teachers ask me to come to their tuition's when I asked question in the school (of-course in the staff room). Some of the teachers when I was in engineering, were terrible (doesn't help a student who has lost interest in education around 9th grade). Some of them were my seniors who graduated previous year. I don't think that young grads are incapable of teaching well(they were doing it while they were preparing for GRE, GATE whatever), but I believe teaching is an art. It is very similar to acting, If you don't have that talent it will take years to get better. Take people like Ajay Devgan, Karishma Kapoor etc (heaps of names from bollywood come to my mind). When they started acting they were pathetic, as they did more movies they got better. If it takes couple years (for some one with passion to teach) to be a better teacher, they would have had bad influence already. Students might start hating those subjects, hate school itself.

I don't think teachers play a big role after say 10th grade in personality development (after 15, if personality is not developed, then its a bigger issue). In primary and high school, teachers play a huge role. Teachers should not be hired if they don't have passion for teaching. How do you find out if they have passion? (same situation as finding good programmers). Well let them teach teachers before they go in front of kids. Have some training, make them sit in a good teachers class. Teach them ETHICS (very important, if madarsas can teach terrorism so effectively, I am sure there should be a way to teach ethics). Pay them well, ban private tuition's. Kids spend more time in school than at home (10 hours sleep, 8 hours in school, left is 6 hours... go figure...). We don't want pedophiles or fuckin morons who love child pornography. We don't want teachers asking kids to come for private tuitions. I know its easier said than done implementing some of these measures. One thing I know for sure is, teachers should not feel they have power, if they do they will be bad. We want teachers who teach not think they control kids destiny. There is a saying in kannada (I had told this to one of my lecturers in engineering, when he was bragging about marking my paper badly), here it goes "haalu anna haak bahudu, hane baraha bariyakke aagalla". Translation, You can provide food to some one, you can't change their destiny. All of us need to do KARMA... Lets do it well and sleep well at night (without guilt)

Jai sri krishna :-)