Monsoon is back. Take out your boats.

waterlogging

Everything is a boon or bane in itself depending on your situation. Take the case of monsoon which is a very very vital season for the farmers of India. If we have a ‘happy monsoon’, the farmers and property owners are elated, but the municipal bodies across the nation have hard time hiding the potholes and waterlogged areas of the city that expose the sweet smell of corruption at the very first rainfall. If there is less or delayed rainfall, the farmer prepares to do a ‘dharna’ threatening to commit suicide. On the contrary, the political and governing babus are happy on the prospect of crores of financial help being announced by Netas, daydreaming in advance of opening an account in one of the Swiss banks. 

 
So what is in the store for the citizens like you and i? Well, there is a lot. If your financial situation is sound enough to buy yourself a  small boat, you will certainly forget going to Venice ever, as your city turns into an Indian Venice after every small amount of rainfall. You can also save a big amount on your petrol bill if you go to office in one of the boats. Even better if you can boat-pool just like a carpool. If you are an opportunist, you could float a boat lending business at a particular chowk which is definitely going to turn into a swimming pool. 
 
In case, the monsoon decides to bunk its routine and take a break, we are certainly at loss. You are left at your own misery by the government. The mai baap ki sarkar declares the financial help which you will have trouble deciding how many zeros that sum includes. Still there is a silver lining in the not so dark clouds. You can start selling pictures of the rainfall that promise visual relief to the thirsty eyes of the people at large. Or you can order a ‘turn your urine into drinkable water’ machine from e-commerce and resell it to the local ignorant public at a higher rate. There is always the possibility of selling water in plastic bags. 
 
We are opportunists. We believe in jugaad. That is how India survives every damn year despite life threatening threats from political pandemonium as reported by news channels. 
 
‘Good days’ is obviously a state of mind. 

એજ્યુકેશન.. વેજ્યુકેશન ..

ઘણા લોકો ફરિયાદ કરતા હોય છે કે પહેલા જેવુ શિક્ષણ નથી રહ્યું, અને જે લોકોએ કયારેય ક્લાસરૂમમાં ભણાવ્યું નથી તેની ફરિયાદ હોય છે કે પહેલા જેવા શિક્ષકો નથી હવે. આ લોકો સાથે સાથે એ કહેતા ભુલી જાય છે કે હવે પહેલા જેવા વિધ્યાર્થીઓ પણ નથી રહ્યાં.

રાઇટ ટુ એજ્યુકેશન જેવા કાયદા બનાવી શિક્ષકોના હાથ – પગ બાંધી દીધા છે, હજી જીભ ને થોડી છૂટ છે એટલુ સારુ છે. પ્રાઇવેટ શાળાઓ માં ટૂંકા પગારે કામ કરતો શિક્ષક વર્ક સેટીસફેક્સન ના અભાવે સંસ્થાને વફાદાર નથી રહેતો.થોડો ઊંચો પગાર મળતા જ નવી ઓફર મંગળ ગ્રહ પર જવાની લોટરી લાગી હોય તેમ સ્વિકારી લેશે.

બધા નોકરીયાતો જેની ઇર્ષ્યા કરતા હોય છે એ સરકારી શિક્ષકની હાલત પણ ઘાણીના બળદ જેવી છે. સરકારી કાર્યક્રમોમાં રચ્યો પચ્યો રહેતો સ્ટાફ ઘણી વાર વિચારવા મજબૂર થઇ જશે કે આ નોકરીમાં ભણાવાનું ક્યારે હોય! શિક્ષણનીતિમાં દર વર્ષે એ રીતે ફેરફાર કરશે જાણે પ્રયોગશાળામાં અમીબા પર.

પોતાના બાળકો સ્કૂલમાં જાય છે એટલે ભણે છે એવો ભ્રમ પહેલેથી જ માતા પિતાઓ માં ઘર કરી ગયો છે. પહેલાના સમયમાં જ્યારે શાળાઓ સમાજનું કેન્દ્ર હતી ત્યારે વિધ્યાર્થી પણ ડેડિકેટેડ હતો,આજ કાલ એ જ ડેડિકેશન મિત્રો, ઇંટરનેટ અને શાળાના બોર્ડ પર રહી ગયું છે. માણસ કરતા કોમ્પ્યુટર પાસેથી ભણવામાં વધુ ઉત્સાહ છે. સ્લમ વિસ્તારોમાં ચાલતી સરકારી શાળામાં ઘણા વિધ્યાર્થીઓને સમજાવું પડે છે કે બેટા છરી ચાકુ લઇને શાળાએ ના આવવું, લાગી જાય તો લોહી નીકળે! કાઉન્સેલીંગ માટે એક સાયકોલોજીસ્ટ ની જગ્યા ની દરેક શાળામાં જરુરીયાત છે, વિધ્યાર્થી અને શિક્ષક બન્ને માટે.

સમય સાથે બધુ બદલાય છે. ફરિયાદ કરવા કરતા આપડે સાથે બદલવું જરુરી છે.

Kabaddi… Kabaddi…

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Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Shah Rukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Amir khan, where would you see them all togather? It is not an award function (Amir never goes to award functions, remember? ) but the recently held Pro Kabaddi League. It is also amazing to watch them jumping and shouting in excitement along with others for their respective teams, just like normal people. Nowadays, the success formula for any event planner is to rope in some Bollywood bigwigs and attract a bigger audience. Kabaddi league was no exception. The organizers’ gamble paid off hugely. To add to the glamour quotient, stars are also owners of teams. TRPs of the show skyrocketed and stood only next to the IPL. PKL hit 288 million views in no time (IPL 453 million views) . In an era when magic of cricket is disappearing fast, KPL is much needed silver line for Kabaddi.

Pro Kabaddi League has not only mainstreamed Kabaddi at home but also made Indian – flavoured sport cool worldwide. ” writes Gayatri Jayaraman in India Today.  Kabaddi has remained in the shadow for too long, considered a rural sport. That impression is now removed with the glittering success of PKL. In fact, it is the most played sport in India as it requires no tools, but only 13 × 10 square meter piece of land. Amazingly, both genders love this game equally.

Kabaddi originated in India, in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. It is also the national games of Nepal and Bangladesh and state games of Maharashtra,  Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab. On the game, players show off their aggression with movements of legs. A slap on thigh displays the aggression of attackers.
While the business houses have hit the jackpot with PKL, the players too have got their own peace of cake in form of instant fame. The players, mostly from small towns and villages, are soaked in fame. Some of the players government employees of various departments like BSNL, ONGC, Ait India, CRPF and police. PKL was also successful in attracting playes of other nations like Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Korea and Taiwan. Wei Yang, the Taiwanese player in PKL, is doing a PhD in Kabaddi and he is the first professional player from his nation. Jang Kun Lee, the Korean, also know taekwondo and judo (martial arts).

PKL was played on synthetic turf. Usually, it is played on soil and sometimes in mud too. Kabaddi players are sons of soil and always touch the soil with respect before entering the ground. We can only hope to see these sturdy players playing on the soil in future leagues.

Kabaddi is the celebration of Indianness.

Blockbuster Copy!

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4,432.7 millions.
That’s the total number of movie tickets sold in India in one year – the highest of any country – according to The Economist’s survey figures. This much amount is wasted for copied or below level films. Bollywood is one of the most glaring example of India’s copy/paste culture. One may call it the biggest photocopy machine ever created by the Xerox company. Every now and then, we hear cases filed against film directors for lifting others’ stories; music directors copying tunes from a distant foreign film and calling it sprung from heart. But in this technology savvy age you can not ullu banawing for long.

We have got so used to second hand works in cinema that we do not even complain anymore or do not even care to credit the genuine art/artist.
Most recent case of such lifting came to light  when the poster of Amir khan’s film ‘PK’ was released. It is alleged that the poster is a copy of a French musician’s poster from 1978; he held a piano to cover his body. Anu Malik and Pritam were accused of copying music from foreign artists in the past.

Some directors choose to turn successful stories from other languages into Hindi cinema. While most of them get flopped (too many songs,you see), few of them manage to find a good audience. Ghajini, Madras Cafe and Holiday fall into this category of successful ones. They again show that Bollywood lacks good stories.
Another trend that is popular in Bollywood is to adapt from foreign film with or without due credit. Koi Mil Gaya was adapted from Steven Spielberg’s gem ‘ET’ and masalafied to include typical bollywoodish romance and songs; eventually killing the storyline. ‘Players’ was adapted from ‘The Italian Job’ and we all are witness how worst job it turned out to be; adding another flop to Abhishek Bachchan’s pocket. ‘Bang Bang’ featuring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif will hit the cinemas soon; it is adapted from Tom Cruise’s ‘Knight and Day’.

Hollywood directors often turn good books into films. Author Dan Brown’s novels ‘Da Vinci Code‘ and ‘Angels and Demons’ were turned into films and saw big success, though Da Vinci Code was banned in many countries for allegedly being against Christianity.  This trend has caught up with Bollywood too. It is quite refreshing. Finally, our story starved directors are looking at books instead of copying or lifting stories. Chetan Bhagat’s 3 novels have been turned into successful movies. Mohit Suri (Aadhiqui 2) is going to turn Bhagat’s upcoming book ‘Half Girlfriend’ into a movie soon. Karan Johar’s Dharma production has bought the rights of Amish Tripathi’s successful book The Immortals of Meluha. We may get to watch it next year featuring Hrithik Roshan.

Gujarati cinema has also started experimenting with scripts. We have seen good films like ‘Kevi Rite Jais’; and this year we have ‘Bey Yaar’ and ‘Dhirubhai’. Looks like, Gujarati cinema is leaving behind its trademark stamp of desi stories that revolve around rustic life with out of sync characters. If cinemas really reflect society, gujarati cinema still reflects life of ’80s and ’90s.

Let’s hope we are spared from such duplicate works of art in future and get a bit of original creativity more and more. We have that potential. Lets learn to appreciate and credit the originality.

Hail creativity!

(abrangpara@outlook.com)

April Is The Cruelest Month!

wedding procession

“April is the cruelest month.” – T. S. Eliot

Yes, it is indeed for us. The above line is the most quoted phrase from a famous work of the American poet T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ in 1922. This particular phrase seems most befitting to the Indians, especially the Gujaratis.

When Eliot framed this phrase, he had had no idea that it might ever be used in this context after 92 years of its publication. He would have never imagined this phrase could well reflect the plight of some 6 crore Gujaratis. Matrimonially speaking, April is the cruelest month to an average adult living in Gujarat and the reason being the number of auspicious timings it holds for the weddings. The whole month witnesses ongoing noisy weddings in every developed or ignored corner of the state.

April is the cruelest as it brings with it the end of bachelorhood for thousands of adults who have preserved it since birth, under careful observation of parents. The only set of people feeling wonderful in this season marriages (or also known as massacre by some) is the business houses that thrive on weddings.

As soon as April begins, the wedding drums start beating in every street of cities or villages alike as if the FIFA World Cup has been won by Gujarat. This month is preferred also because it is the month of summer vacation. So all studious pupils and college goers have no excuse to miss the wedding of their distant uncle’s son or daughter. A wedding is hit only if all the invitees attend it. The bigger the number of people in a wedding is, the more successful the mission is considered accomplished by elders.

April encourages parents to lose their lives’ savings (on which there is no refund guaranteed for unsuccessful marriages). It is a matter of reputation for a parent to get his son (however stupid or jobless he may be) married in an even grander manner than all the relatives’ and neighbours’ sons.

However, April’s black magic does not seem to work effectively outside Gujarat. There are known (and infamous) examples like Rahul Gandhi and a long list of film stars who see no April in their lives. Some heavenly powers seem to have blessed (or cursed) them with the boons of eternal bachelorhood. To stress the lack of poetic justice in life, there are those who enjoy many Aprils in their lives; sometimes they get to marry as many times as the number of goals scored by Germany against the host Brazil in the semi final match.

This same damned April took most of my friend’s bachelorhood four years ago (along with mine too). April should be omitted from calendars henceforth.

(To read the poem: http://www.bartley.com/201/1.html)

(About T.S. Eliot : http://www.en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Waste_Land)

Achche Din of Education?

No practical way to implement stuff taught in textbooks?

No practical way to implement stuff taught in textbooks?

A particular region, state or a nation gets the tag of ‘developed’ only when it can boast of two primary factors:
(i) Education
(ii) Wealth
Sometimes, this tag is also forced upon by the politicians despite not being worth it. Whenever we come across a developed part of a particular nation or state, it should have above mentioned factors across most of its part. We should keep in mind that the western and European countries are not known only for their wealth but also for their best in class universities.
When we analyze Gujarat as a developed state in the light of above factors, we can boast of the wealth largely due to its abundant business opportunities. But the same cannot be said while talking about its education. It falls below the water levels in today’s step wells.
Students holding a Bachelor of Commerce degree are not even able to fill in a pay-in slip to at a bank counter. Most computer graduates cannot manage to write software without copying from a distant source. A student with Bachelor of Arts cannot speak a small paragraph without making a heap of grammatical blunders. Project Based Learning has given rise only to photocopying business (popularly known as Xerox). The bubble of some professional courses has burst. The number of M.B.A. colleges has come down as drastically as the number of seats the Congress won in this General Election.
The hollowness of degrees is seen when the graduates venture outside Gujarat flashing their rainbow coloured degrees with high hopes of admission into P.G. courses or jobs in prestigious companies. They get the shock of their lives when they are told that their diligently earned degrees hold no value outside the state. Degrees are reduced to mere coloured sheets of paper. Most institutes regard Gujarati students skill-less which is true to a large extent. Hence, aware (not necessarily capable) parents send their kids in other states right after 12th standard. A graduate from the Saurashtra region is looked down upon even when he moves to Gujarat University or other institutes across central or eastern Gujarat.
The other shock is received when graduates who has no capacity or means to go out starts looking for jobs in their cities and towns. Most engineers are offered below Rs. 10,000 pay which they have to happily accept as there is psychological pressure on them to earn after obtaining a degree from an expensive college.
Education, right from K.G. to P.G., demands overhaul of the system. The state government has introduced ‘Pragna’ project in primary schools which is a welcome step. It is based on acquiring knowledge by practical means. Students do not have to carry bags to schools (NO BAGS! What a relief!). Let us hope, these kids grow up to be less of a talking parrots.

 

Are we educated?

Whenever I look at the two-legged creatures around me, my observations raise some question like ‘Are we really educated?’ , ‘ Are we really in the 21st century that is celebrated as the most scientific time of  the man’s history on the earth?’ .

If today’s education was any helpful, why would we as a society indulge in the same old malpractices?

Why do we not think a single time before throwing waste on the road or outside the house?

Why do people still stand outside a counter forming the letter ‘Q’ instead of queue?

Why do we still talk on our mobile phone in voice so high that even the neighbour could awaken from his sleep?

Why do our public urinals (rare to find when badly needed!) still look as if they were built only for the purpose of writing abuses on the walls? All the side streets are treated as public urinals just after evening.

Why do we still tarnish temple walls with writings on them?

Why do we burn down public properties in times of riots or protests?

Why do  people still indulge in hurling vulgar remarks at movie scenes in cinema houses ?

Why do we pick fights at slightest touch of vehicles on the roads?

Why do our fairs look the dumping zones of plastic and all sorts waste when it is over?

Why do girls still face verbal and physical harassment in public transport?

Why are we still considered the unruly Indians ?

If it is education that removes such nonsense from our lives, then we are not educated yet.

Instead of learning a,b,c,d of particular subjects, we need lessons of manner in school syllabus.