When Ants Ate My Maggi!

So in 7th standard…my final exams were going on. That particular day was my Maths paper and after surviving a grueling “after-paper-discussion-session” without any heartbreak, 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 myself with Maggi! It was an instant winner. Not 1 (who eats one at a time, Pff!), not 2 (it is a special day after all 😀 ) but 3 packs of Maggi! There is no one to stop me after all! (Evil laughter)

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 7th-grader was supposed to know the enigmatic concepts of entropy and diffusion! But some how practical results trump theoretical explanations! So going by the rule of thumb, I intelligently poured in Masala and then the noodles. 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 Lasagna (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! 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 going to be aired in next 15 minutes…..Byomkesh Bakshi! My favorite detective!!! (I wasn’t a Sherlock Holmes fan until I had seen Robert Downey Jr. play it later on!)

I took a quick look inside the pot, thinking how I will be wiping 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 start eating! So I covered it with quarter plate, placed the ladle aside and went on to switch on the TV! 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 so that I wouldn’t get scolded for sitting too close to TV nor will I get drenched in sweat after a long bout with Maggi! (I am little particular about these 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 I don’t miss out on anything at the end of adverstisements! 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 those tiny Ants! Also learned that never to imagine about something so much that it hurts later on!

This was my Maggi story (there are a lot more: like fighting with siblings over securing a fair share for yourself or sneaking in night to make Maggi).

Happy Eating!


Let Education Be Education!

So…results are out, breaking news are being flashed, interviews are being done and sentimental background stories are getting compiled! But wait a minute- Am I talking about an athlete or celebrity who struggled through hardships to do well and make India proud on international stage or the results of JEE-Advance are out? Difference is almost non-existent, right! And in a few days from this article, another field will be going through same roller coaster ride. So what is this article about? 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 have 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!

I studied in one of these factories, blind like everyone else in the starting, lost my way in the end. I somehow managed to crack through entrance exam of one of the most sought after institution in India, lost my way again and now I am about to graduate, finally 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 achieved a good rank because of their effort. Some achieved a good rank, well because they were born in certain special circumstances! (The debate about reservation if for some other day!) Then students who scored well were celebrated as heroes and heroins of some 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). What about those who did not score well? Simple, Villains for their family and society! (To be clear here, I never allowed my coaching institute to publish my photo because I am strictly against such publicity!)

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 a particular branch is the “only” good branch (just after observing short term benefits!) and not encouraging them to pursue their interests! What happens next? These students get complacent at the worst possible time of their career and screw up at a place where they should be excelling with flying color. So congrats “factories” for screwing up most of the engineering generation! Kudos! Complacency + God Complex + Freedom of college life = Disaster in most cases! (I was one of them!) End result is a generation of engineers without any perspective or vision for their future!

Coming back to these “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”.  We are getting a supply of “Well Trained” students and not “Well-Educated”. Is it purely the fault of these “factories”? Well is corruption purely because the officers are corrupt, 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”. I am not totally against these factories. They give you a chance to sit in premier institutes of country, make you hard working, competitive and quick-thinker! What they lack is inculcating a perspective, a vision in their students. May be a lot of practical problems like suicide and depression may get solved on their own with a little change in atmosphere. I don’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!