When Ants Ate My Maggi!

So in 7th standard…my final exams were going on. That particular day, it was my Maths paper and after surviving a grueling “after-paper-discussion-session” mistake free, I was pretty satisfied with my effort for the day! Even though next day it is mother of all examinations- History! I decided to feast by myself! Maggi! The instant classic choice immediately sprung up in my head and with it a crooked smile. Not 1(who eats one at a time, Pff!), not 2(it is a special day after all 😀 ) but 3 packs today! There is no one to stop me after all! (Evil laughter every now and then!)

So I got into the act; pot carefully selected- not too big that it makes eating from it difficult, not too​ small that Maggi sticks to bottom. Water carefully measured with my trusty tea-cup! Enough to make the “Soupy” version but not too much that every thing is floating! Now comes the big question- Maggi first or Masala first! Now the problem here is that even though instructions behind packet tells you to add them together, but for all practical purposes you need to pick your favorite and  “swaha” it in water. But then if you make noodles enter first, then pour in masala, there will be masala lumps stuck in noodles! If you make masala go in first and then put noodles, there is a chance that masala might get over cooked, leading to a tasteless Maggi! Ah what dilemma! How a 7-grader was supposed to know the enigmatic concepts of entropy and diffusion! But some how practical results trump theoretical explanations and their intricate applications! So going by the thumb rule(as most Indians go by), I intelligently poured in Masala first one by one, as quickly as I could! All that is left is to cook it!

Now there are different ways to go about it! You can either stir it constantly, evenly mixing everything and evenly spacing noodles in your pot. Or you can leave the cake as it is and have nice rectangular chunk of noodles, just like in Lasangna(A western dish with alternate layers of noodles and gravy). Or you can do a semi-stir, and get best of both worlds! Hahahaha! Greedy Me! In those days, I used to go for Semi Stir, and then let the steam do its job! These days I am more like a Full Stir guy! Hahaha! Evil Laughter in my head! Thinking about a movie or t.v. serial to see while feasting on 3 packets of Maggi! Those were the days when Byomkesh Bakshi and a Prem Chand Written T.V. Serial used to air on Doordarshan! I glanced the wall clock to see what is up for serving in next 15 minutes…..Byomkesh Bakshi! My favorite detective!!! (I aint a Sherlock Guy!) That is that! Planned for next one hour!

I take a quick look inside the pot, thinking how I will wipe it clean as Byomkesh Bakshi solves the crime! Already drooling at the sheer amount of Maggi at my disposal, all for me! I feel like a Greedy King sitting in his treasury, tossing his money around with both hands! Now while I was day dreaming about my pot of Maggi, I realized that I have let it boil for too long and now I will have to wait for a while before I can dig in! So I covered it with quarter plate, placed the ladle aside and went on to switch TV on, making a mental note that I will fetch my pot as soon as first round of advertisement starts! So I arranged a small stool in front of my comfy little chair placed at a correct distance from ceiling fan and in front of TV that if some one walks in, I don’t get scolded for either sitting too close to TV or for getting drenched in sweat after a long bout of Maggi! (I am little particular about things!)

And then the mother of all the heart breaks begun- Show started on time. Spicy murder mystery! First advertisements were rolled out and I ran towards kitchen at god speed so that not  even a single moment of murder mystery is left unseen! I removed the hot quarter plate, only to find ants crawling all over my Maggi! I swear to god, first heart break and a painful one! 😦 That was the moment when I was able to justify the heinous crime of burning ant hills with magnifying glass! -_- Was I crying? No! But I learned that complaining won’t get you anything! You just need to move on and go to next best thing you can do, which in my case, was eating Namkeen and bid my sincere adieu to the Maggi hijacked by tiny Ants! Also learned that never to imagine about something so much that it hurts later on!

This is my Maggi story(there are a lot more such as fight with siblings over securing a fair share for yourself, or sneaking in night to make Maggi, or may be a unique way or step in your Maggi preparation and reason behind it(I have this 60 second step, I need to perform compulsorily 😛 )!). If you get time, I would love to hear yours! There is sweet nostalgia attached with it!

Happy Eating!

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Let Education Be Education!

So…results are out, advertisements are out, breaking news are flashed, interviews are done, sentimental background stories compiled! But wait a minute- Am I talking about some international achievement in sports tournament or results of JEE-Advance? Difference is almost non-existent, right! And in a few days from this article, another field will be going through same roller coaster ride(Let me give you an hint- starts from “M”). So what is this article about? Is it another rant about how unfair education system is….probably no! Is it about pressure on students grilling day and night to score good marks…..Hell no, because there is nothing wrong in hard work! So what am I try to imply with such a thought provoking title “Let Education be Education”- probably the fact that most of us has truly forgotten what education was supposed to mean! The basic question of “What, Why, How, When, Where” are long lost and no one especially in these factories(coaching institutes), churning out doctors and engineers by the second, are doing anything for their revival! So if you are a strong supporter of these “factories”, I would not recommend you to read further because I am strongly and staunchly going to contradict the basis of those! If you indeed choose to read, read at your own risk. Let us begin:

Before a few of you try to dissect my educational history, I will tell you myself and save you some trouble because we have important things to discuss. I studied in one of those factories, as blind as anyone else in the starting, lost my way in the end, managed to crack through one of the most sought after institution entrance exam, lost my way again, and now on my way to graduate, with a clear path ahead. That being said, I recently had a chance of observing the Great Indian Results Drama! There was this exam, which almost 1.5L students appeared for, some students scored well because of their effort, some scored well because they were born in certain special circumstances, but all this is fine! Then students who scored well were celebrated as heroes and heroins of some popular Bollywood Movie. Processions were carried out, they were honored with garland and tilak, a ceremony so grand that even Knighthood Ceremony of UK would get a tinge of inferiority complex!(Exaggerated, I agree). Those who did not score well, simple, Villains for their family and society! (To be clear, I never allowed my institute to publish my photo!)

Let us take a step back and see what are we doing- There are students, still teenagers, treating them like Kings and Princes, giving them “God Complex” too early to handle! We then introduce them to dogma that this particular branch is “only” good branch (just after observing short term benefits!) and not encouraging them to pursue their interests! What happens next? These students, most get complacent at the worst possible time of their career and screw up at a place where they should be excelling with flying color and screw up at places, from where recovery is way too difficult! So congrats “factories” for screwing up most of the engineering generation! Kudos! Complacency + God Complex (that they can do anything with minimal effort) + Freedom of college life=Disaster in most cases!(I was one of them!) End result is a generation of doctors and engineers without any perspective or vision for their future!

Coming back to “factories”- buildings are proudly labeled as “coaching institutes” and people working inside those buildings, especially those who interact with students are “coaches”. Mind You, not “School and Teachers”! Funny isn’t it! End result, you don’t get “education” from teachers, instead you get “instruction” from coaches! As emphasized in a great movie “3 Idiots”- “Chabuk ke darr se sikhaye huye sher ko Well Trained kehte hai, Well Educated Nahi”. Similar! We are getting a supply of “Well Trained” students and not “Well-Educated”. Is it purely the fault of “factories”? Well is corruption purely because of corrupt officers, No, right! What I believe is that, it is the right time for “Coaches” to turn into “teachers” and give their students some perspective about life and subjects! Work hard to inculcate the passion of “finding” an answer rather than “solving” a problem! Decide for yourself! What do you want- instruction or education?

But then, who is going to listen to me! It is not like parents will stop submitting their “raw materials” to these “factories”. And it is not that harmful! It gives you a chance to sit in premier institutes of country, makes you hard working, competitive and quick! But if parents and “coaches” try to inculcate perspective, vision in their students and kids, may be a lot of problems like suicide, depression, inferiority complex, god complex, callousness, hopelessness etc. will solve and a generation of Engineers will be produced who will revive the glory of Engineering(especially!). To students(especially preparing for Engineering or are recently selected) there is one task for you, just one- Understand how you “engineer” a solution to a problem!

Cheers! I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. But I believe that somewhere someone will appreciate my thought, and life of couple of students will change because of that!

Let Education be Education!