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!

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!

 

 

Ubuntu-An Approach to explaining Linux

Now I agree, there are a ton of Linux review from different point of views, and everything to know about Linux is already out there and it isn’t an exhaustive approach at reviewing Linux, or Ubuntu for that matter. Still since I have been spending my entire day on a Ubuntu (Linux Distro) and have been an ardent Windows User and Fan since the inception of computing in my life, here is my take on the same, which is essentially some questions and some USPs. So here it goes:

Why Ubuntu?

Well, there have been plenty of Linux based operating system such as Ubuntu, Lubuntu, Kali, MintOS, Fedora etc. All having either subtle differences in their Graphic User Interface(GUI) or in their build, being developed for different purposes such as software testing, Scientific calculation etc. Each distro(a cool techie name for OS) may have its own app-eco system or will have support for an existing eco-system and repositories. So where does Ubuntu stands out in this? Well, It is the largest and most used Linux based OS and has developed a good community of users, who have solution for almost every and any problem there can be with you installation of Ubuntu. (Problems? I will get to that in a later part of this post) It has a good Software Support system and gives a homely feel to users switching from Windows and MacOS and is not at all shabby, when it comes to performance and above everything else, It is 100% Free! You dont have purchase a 50-100k machine to have Ubuntu pre-installed in it, like for Windows or MacOS. It is free and anybody can use it, on any system configuration just like other Linux OSes.

What about various software readily available for Windows or MacOS? I will be missing out on a lot of things by switching to Ubuntu!! 

My Friend, let me tell you an analytical solution. How many users in this world want a free software to meet their purpose? A big portion, Right! So in order to cater to such a big chunk of users in favour of free software, Linux-Developers as well as developers of software-solutions have started paying attention to the power of Linux and thus have either made the same product available on Linux OS as well or have a developed a noteworthy substitute of the existing software already available for Windows or MacOS.

Apart from that, Ubuntu(from now on, I will generalised to Linux OSes by referring to Ubuntu) is so flexible that developers have developed couple of note worthy  emulators to run Windows applications and games on your PC such as PlayOnLinux and Wine! There may be a bit of performance drop, since you are running these software in a virtual environment but still, you can get your job done!

Oh Great! But I have heard that only people with very good knowledge about Computers feel comfortable about Ubuntu. I don’t have such a background. I will get stuck with it!

I seriously doubt that. I mean, let’s take example of Windows. There are problems in any Operating system, right. In Windows, if you see an error, 8/10 times you won’t be able to even sniff what type of error it is and trust me more often than not, these errors are common and can be fixed with a couple commands typed in Command Prompt of Windows, and there are plenty of solutions available on internet (except in case your Internet itself isnt working 😛 ) Jokes Apart, all kinds of solution are available for any kind of problem that occurs in your PC, but problem with Windows is, it hides those problems, and hence either User (without being able to pinpoint problem and trying random solutions) end up freezing their Windows copy, or make it un-usable, or have to pay to someone to get their PC fixed.

This is where story changes with Ubuntu!! Till now, every time I have encountered any error, Just by Googling the same error phrase has directed me straight to a series of solution which requires a couple of lines of copy-paste. The Linux User community, especially for Ubuntu, is so well developed that you will really have to struggle to find a problem with your PC which already doesn’t have an explanation as well as solution for it. Cool! 😀

How do I get “setups” to install applications?

Setups are a thing of past when it comes to modern day computing! Ubuntu has such a wide app-system and a dedicated application which comes pre-installed to find all the apps you would need and download them from authentic sources and install them for you, and configure them to your PC. All this done in background either by few clicks of mouse or a simple command typed in Terminal(User-Machine Interface). Since all the software can be downloaded from trusted source, there are minimal risk of getting infected by Virus or malware and thus your PC is relatively safe without any need of anti-virus solution. Another perk 😉

But Ubuntu isn’t hardware Optimised! How will it compete with likes of MacOS, who are founded around the idea of “Hardware Optimisation”?

That is the beauty about Linux based software is!! They don’t need to be hardware optimised. They are so light weight in operation that even a HDD works almost like a SSD on my mediocre spec PC! And above that all, who needs optimisation, when I have the power to push my PC to limits, which is being restricted by Windows and MacOS. Let the beast run wild for a while! Trust me, if you have an old PC, you are going to feel like some one has updated its internals and breathed a new life into it! Just trust me!  😀

My Experience:

I have been using Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for last 1 month, and I am a big fan. With a working internet connection( which is available to almost everyone who has a laptop these days), you can do wonders with it. I am a 3rd Year Mechanical Engineering student, and almost all the softwares I need are either developed for Linux OS only, or can be run using emulators which are quite easy to configure! Thanks to plethora of tutorials and blogs ready to guide you step by step. Apart from that, surfing through Internet, I have found a plenty of brilliant utility tools for Ubuntu, which are available for windows as well, but no offence, are more fun to be used on Ubuntu! It is that good! And oh, the best part, Internet speed is tiny bit higher on Ubuntu as it is not that resource hungry!

 

The Class that Never Happened!

Some classes are just beyond your reach! There may be unforeseen things like cold morning weather, dew, fog, stingy breeze, but “Hey! It is the starting of the semester! And is the first class…need to make a good start. Don’t we?” So we drag ourselves out of the heated affair with our ever so lovely 2-3 layers of blanket, forcefully put our hands under the icy cold water drew blood farthest from your skin, almost causing your hands to fall off, and don’t even get me started on other morning rituals…yeah, that particular one!

And after all this loyalty that we show, for a class we know won’t be too much of a use because it will be introductory in nature, the only treat we got was a class bunked by professor, about which he could have informed by a simple 3 line mail….us, students, are very good in following instructions, word-by-word, at times! But none the less, all this was for a class that never happened!

Old School of Ink Spill

In a student’s life time, there is always that one pen, which kind of leaks every time and at very wrong moments. Be it early morning, Ink Refill session, while trying to make it to school bus in time, or in the middle of writing an essay during an essay writing competition! There were all sorts of trouble attached with that ink pen! But when I look back, I see it as one of the first few lessons in crisis management. 🙂 Weird isn’t it, that how a trivial thing like ink pen can teach someone to solve a big ass crisis.

  1. Always predict before hand.

Will the ink last the whole day? Should I go for a refill? What if pen stops working? Since old day’s pen were not having some kind of indicator to predict the ink level, you would have to solely rely on your instinct and past experience of how much long will the cartridge last! A lesson not for ball point pen users, they see the whole refill thing right there, thus missing out on important things.

Thus Ink Pen taught us an important lesson of anticipating the problem even hours before it might occur and take steps to counter it or at least brace for it. Predicting product durability was another key concept taught to us by Ink Pens.

2. The Faster You React, More You Can Save

The moment you come to know about the Great Blue Leakage, what is the first thing you do? Pull away all the important pages and objects away from the range of disaster impact. Then pull away the least affected one, and so on, till the area of impact is clear from everything and trust me, you might have done this in under 20-30 seconds! Fast Enough! Something which is crux of any crisis containment and after-math reduction! Even in the middle of a mathematics session, you would fight the spillage with incredible speed and will and even before the teacher lay eyes on you, you would be done with it!

3. If you play with fire, there will be burn marks!

Even if you do everything with extreme caution, you will still have stain marks on your hands, tore pages at the back of notebook with ink blots on the remaining part of the page. A beautiful lesson of how to accept the losses and work with them! Nothing is perfect, yet we so brilliantly hid it from the world that we just had a tug with the most staining disaster in the world, but explained the whole adventure to our best friends, laying the important foundation of not sharing our losses with none but only with those who would understand.

So basically after covering Pro-Active, Quick Response, Compensating the Loss, that troublesome pen lost its race with time, and found some other kid to teach him/her the important life lessons. I still fashion writing with the ink pen, mainly due to  the vintage feel and texture of impression and its smell.

But Still, that Old School of Ink Spill still keeps me at an arm’s length from crisis.

Peek-A-Boo

So I have been 3 months away from this blog! I won’t share emotional things like, “these months have been very difficult for me” or that “I missed writing on this blog” or that “It feels so great to be back scribbling on it!”. Done with this melodrama! What important thing is, “The Blog is Back”. It has been 3 crazy months. Three though provoking months! Three transforming and morphing months! And a lot has gone through my mind! But I always saved it for later, mainly because of the connectivity issue: place where I was training was in middle of no where, and we were provided everything but an internet connection, let alone a fast moving one!

Yet, there were a lot crazy and interesting “point of views”, alternate realities and possibilities that crawled through my mind, or incidents that happened around me or with me, a lot of things that I felt or experienced! A LOT! So in my next semester I will be focusing more on those and I will hope that you will like it!  I took a lot of feedback from various people and you will also notice a different style of writing- a moderate take on the topic rather than bullying and attacking the unlikely side of the coin! Thus poking about both sides of the bush!

Thus, again a short post, but then with short post, I kick start this semester’s blogging spree(though posts will be spaced in between, controlling the impulse of churning out posts every day with mediocre content!). I hope you will enjoy this version of “Daily General Topics”!

Sayonara! 🙂

Things I Learnt Last Semester….

It was an eventful semester! No doubt in that, i was partly glad that it was over and partly craved for more action, may be because I was getting addicted to things happening around! All the shuffling of things, coping up with set-backs, fighting through grueling exams, making memories out of it all. Thus, I decided a while ago to write about what I took home with me after that eventful last semester:

  1. No excuse for Academics!

    Ultimate truth! For juniors, who might be reading this, “Never slack off in your acads! Never flunk even a single test! Its no different from your 11th and 12th preparations!” People often put up an argue against complaining teenagers that in college, you don’t need to study that much, and thus more often than not, people end up throwing everything in the wind and start living carefree, but realize towards the end about the grave mistakes they had done! I realized it soon enough, I hope!  Its never too late for anything, but somethings might go into no return zone and then you might have to sit and stare into your destiny’s eyes with a lots of questions and no answer! The truth is, education in college is just as fierce and competitive as your preparations! The only thing that has changed is “complexity of concepts and things will start making more sense to you and appear more practical, if you care enough to dive deep and follow your passion of science, you will have the same joy you got from solving those equations, if you have a little patience and grab your subject’s essence! A little patience is required, because let us be honest, it is time to develop your thinking and knowledge, not your memory bank or arithmetic prowess.”

2. World is Not mine, and I am not World’s!

On my very best day, destiny might have something else planned for me! World can throw weird and most joyous surprises in your way, and little you can do about it, but to take it in stride and move on! This is not my world, and I am not owned by this world! Life gave me horrific as well as memorable surprises and I am thankful to it for giving me such a special view of things, bettering my own assumptions. It taught me, through my parents, that it is not the end the world, even if you have hit the rock bottom! At any given time, you can choose to improve yourself or drown yourself in the puddle of disappointment, but at the end, it is always in your hand! Anyway, it is much better to fly free, with no strings attached! Hence “World is Not Mine, and I am not World’s”.

3. There is always a happy ending!

No matter how gigantic the shit pile is building up, there will always be a happy ending, a spray of room freshener to arrest all that foul smell. Sometimes, you will need the valuable help from others, but there will always be! I am stressing on it so much on it, because things happened after which, I had no right to recover, but still I am here sharing it with you!  Solid and Strong as ever! 🙂 I am not boasting, and I not at all did it alone! I had help, but I was able to find my happy ending! 😀

4. Tomorrow is now!

Don’t wait to learn something, procrastinating. You might not end up getting the chance to learn it in long time. You might think that your days will get too hectic, there will be a lot of work in your plate, but let me tell you one thing, with this fast paced world, Tomorrow is already here! Don’t miss out on opportunities! I wanted to learn Tabla, now I have to wait for more than 3 months to do that when I could have practiced a lot in these 3 months! Or all those software which I wanted to learn last semester, I have to invest time now, to start from scratch! Don’t be afraid of the hard work, do it smartly and you will be reaping gigantic benefits for yourself in future! Thus “Get off your ass and get to work! Always there will be enough hours in day, you just need to reshuffle!” 

5.  Making Memories doesn’t require planning! 

It doesn’t require an elaborate plan to make any moment worthy enough to etch it into your memory! One doesn’t need to be up tight to have every moment perfect for it to be memorable! Sometimes meeting people randomly, sharing a loud laugh with everyone such that your lungs crave for more air, makes it to your memory shelf rather than a well planned meeting with all the friends! The elate and joy of randomness and spontaneity gave more pleasure than finding a little bit of time to meet our friends. Thus, from now on wards, let us throw caution to the wind and enjoy every moment in most weird possible way so that we have a story to share, because let us be honest, nobody is excited to hear about a well planned trip, but everyone will share your adventures! 😀

These five things got etched at the bottom of my heart! I am sure they will contribute in making the next one even more better! 😀

 

The Judgement

“Hurry up, the final bell has rung!” Mr Satnam Dubey, or Dubey Sir as students used to call him, shouted in the exam hall. “STOP WRITING AND SUBMIT YOUR PAPERS”. He bellowed again. Raghav Chaturvedi, facing 10th Board Exams for the first and the last time, placed the final dot at the end of the answer, gathered his things, moved slowly to the front desk thinking about how he is going to enjoy next few days. It was his last Board Exam. He stuffed his things inside the bag, thinking he is not going to open if for a week or so, and left the exam hall with a smile on his face. The entire month of late night studying for exams, by-hearting each line for paper next day, a month without even touching his musical instruments as he was busy in doing well in exams at hand was slowly playing in his mind in slow motion once again. What a year it has been for him! Almost entire school came to know him after his splendid performance at the Annual Function. Such an emotional moment it was for him to finally portray his skills for which he has trained hard for long. Nothing could go wrong. He has checked all the boxes in the list of meritorious student. Little did he know what was going to unfold in his life, which is going to change his perception forever!

As Raghav reached his hostel room, to pack all his things and leave for long awaited summer holidays, he heard a familiar voice from behind: “Yo Topper! When are you leaving?” “In two hours, I will be out of this place, onto a bus, flying to my home, like a tired bird returning to her nest in eve.” , replied Raghav and started to unlock that old rusty lock of his, which used to get stuck quite often. But he had a peculiar liking for his things, an attachment and hence he never replaced that lock. Just as he was about to open the door and enter, his hostel warden called him from the end of corridor. He immediately recognised his voice and quickly approached his superior with a greeting. The look on his Warden’s face was quite puzzling. Those raised eyebrows, deep breathing, and layer of sweat on his forehead clearly indicated something was wrong and Raghav was already alarmed.

“Have you submitted your answer sheet today? Before leaving the exam hall? Check once” panting voice of Warden questioned Raghav. “Yes…..Sir I have submitted it, look into my bag….if you want. I have nothing to hide”, he replied. “Yeah, good idea. I know you are a sincere student, but still let me confirm myself “Warden said, while taking Raghav’s bag into custody. After fumbling through his belongings, Warden, with widened eyes and shocked face, looked at Raghav and said: “Son, what have you done! It wasn’t expected from you. Take this answer sheet with you and report to Dubey Sir’s Chamber immediately!” he uttered in a trembling voice to a pale and shook Raghav. He was finding it very difficult to keep his hands from trembling, he felt a peculiar chill down his spine which he usually felt only when in shock. None of this was supposed to happen, how it could have happened? With puzzled mind, sweating brows, he ran as fast as he can to Dubey Sir’s chamber. 

He can see the expression of worry on Dubey Sir’s face! Raghav admired his teachers from the bottom of his heart. To him, they were angel, perfect creatures who were supposed to teach him the difference between right and wrong. He had a good reputation in front of Dubey Sir, since maths was one of his favourite subjects. All the way to his chamber, he was thinking only one thing: “Thank God, I didn’t cheat or discussed any answer on my way to room earlier. Nothing will happen. It is caught soon enough. I will cooperate in all the ways they will ask me to.” Dubey Sir, recognised him immediately, and asked for his answer sheet, then asked him to sit down on the chair and cool down for a minute. Raghav was panting by this time, consolidating himself all this time, trying to stay positive.

After a minute or so, Dubey sir asked him in an unusually strict voice: “What happened from 10 minutes before the bell to this moment? Tell me all the relevant details! This is not a small issue! Don’t expect it to pass! Strict actions will be taken, hence I will need you to be as much honest as you can. Your future is at stake here.” That chill again. Something bad was going to happen. With a stammering and unevenly pitched voice he calmly explained what he did in the time duration. He himself could not believe that something like this can happen! That something of this sort can happen without his awareness at all. He felt helpless, robbed and unfortunate, all at the same time. Dubey Sir, listened to his story, nodded a few times, and just as he finished his detailing of the incident, he got up and asked him to follow him.

He recognised the path immediately. Raghav have followed the same trail once before but those were completely different circumstances. That time, Dubey Sir was taking him to meet Principal John David, or Father David as students often called him, to recommend him for a scholarship awarded to meritorious students and each teacher was allowed to recommend one student. He was elated and surprised then, shocked and scared now. The maddening contrast. Same old knock and same old answer from Father David, he called Dubey Sir inside and asked Raghav to wait outside. Already sweating and nervous he kept rewinding through those last moments of exam, trying to come up with a sensible explanation to give! But nothing was able to come up. He had no memory of those 15 seconds!

After a few minutes, he saw Dubey Sir leaving principal’s office, wiping sweat from his half bald forehead, with a sorry look in his eyes, throwing a quick stare on Raghav. In those 2 seconds of eye contact, Raghav realised what has happened. He has been thrown under the bus! He was not expecting this at all from Dubey Sir. Feeling betrayed and annoyed, he heard that loud voice : “CHATURVEDI, GET IN HERE!” Raghav took a few deep breaths, failing every attempt to calm himself down, he slowly grabbed the doorknob, and entered the room, facing cold and heartless eyes of Father David. With raised eyebrows, narrowed eyes, and determination to punish, Father David looked scarier than ever before! Again he was asked the same questions and he answered in the exact same way, as true as his memory allowed him to. Just as he finished, Father David declared the verdict: “I have been principal of 3 different schools and this is 4th school. In my last 20 years as a Principal, I have seen quite a few cases like you. What does your father do?” Raghav replied: “He is a businessman, Sir” “All right, go back to your room, call him and tell him you have been suspended from this school on grounds of cheating. Your Board result will be nullified too. I will inform all your teachers in my letter. You can leave now. This school has no place for a cheat.” said the cold voice of Father David.

“But sir, I didn’t cheat at all. I didn’t even know that I had this answer sheet with me. I told you, I checked in front of Warden Sir! All the answers here are unaltered! I didn’t cheat sir. Why will I cheat? My exams are going so well. I am confident about this paper too, that I will score good. This was all a honest mistake sir! Please reconsider. My entire future will be ruined. I didn’t cheat. I have told you everything as truthfully as I can!” replied Raghav in a very scared voice. Father David nodded his head and again said “ I have handled students like you, who think they are above rules. Students like you think that you will alter a few answers to get a perfect grade in a subject and then using your reputation, you will escape with this fraud. I have no place for a cheater in this institution! You may leave now, and inform your parents too. They can come and pick you, as I came to know, you are already leaving!” These words pierced through Raghav like a knife piercing through mellow butter.

Raghav felt like he was banging his head on wall with no effect. His soul, his belief was torn apart. He felt cheated, betrayed, robbed by everyone, including himself. He somehow controlled his tears in front of Father David and got up to leave. He didn’t want anyone to see him crying. He has always been a persistent fighter, and inspiration for his juniors for moral strength and honesty, and now world was calling him a cheat, a liar. He couldn’t believe that someone could be so biased about him that he is not even ready to ask for a proof and simply declared the verdict. His perfect image of a teacher or principal was completely shattered and nothing seemed clear to him.

He locked himself into his room, didn’t reply to any phone calls or text messages. Even his parents called to ask whether he boarded the bus or not, but Raghav had already made the mind that he will not be leaving here, without a fight! If he was going down for a simple mistake like that, the least he can do is to fight for his honour, and prove his validity to the world. The grounds on which he was suspended was more hurting for Raghav than the suspension itself. For some reason, he could not stop tears rolling down his cheeks. He tried to stuff his face into his pillow to stop tears but they kept flowing. There was no stopping them. Even his neighbour tried to talk to him but he wasn’t opening the door and kept crying. He hated tears and his inability to control them made him feel even more helpless.

Even he didn’t know when he slept while he was crying. He just vaguely remembered having a dream, in which, he was calling home, and telling his father that he has been punished with suspension and thus all the dreams his father has created, all the plans both of them made together for the future are going to be stripped from the canvas! He woke up due to cold tears rolling down his eyes. To him, this situation seemed over! He was ready to give up. His logical and reasoning abilities seemed to have eluded him. He has never felt more helpless, depressed and cheated. It wasn’t anger but frustration. It wasn’t fear of losing but fear of having to give up. It wasn’t desperation to escape suspension but desperation to clear his name and stop the world from calling him a cheat. He didn’t want to prove the world wrong, but he wanted to set his name right. To him, it was the end. The end of everything.

Dubey Sir couldn’t sleep that night either. He felt the guilt of throwing one of his students under the hammer, just to save himself from some accusation. “I haven’t done my part honestly as well. As an examiner, It was my responsibility to prevent anything of that sort to happen. But I simply blamed it on to that poor child Raghav. I know he is innocent. He is a sincere student and wouldn’t do anything like that knowingly. Now he is suspended. I should have been there to protect him. It was both our fault. But I put the entire blame on him. Oh, what have I done! That poor kid will be devastated from it. I need to set it right. I need to prove to him that this world is fair to truthful people. It is now my duty to teach him that still truth is valued more in this world and It is not wrong to commit mistakes. Entire life is not ruined by a simple mistake. There is always a second chance.” He thought while staring into the fireplace. He knew he has learned his lesson.

He immediately grabbed his phone and rang Father David, knowing that Father won’t be very happy from this late night phone call. He explained the situation to Father, apologised to him and also the mentality of Raghav and how he processed things. Dubey Sir and Raghav have been working together for a year after all. He asked him to arrange a meeting with Raghav, who was still staying in the hostel, as soon as possible before something terribly wrong happens.

There was a loud knock on his door. Raghav was startled by this late night visit from someone. He realised he again fell sleep crying. His pillow felt like a poodle of saliva and tear. His eyes were red. “End it all” a thought flashed into his brain. He opened the door anyway to find the hostel peon at his door asking him to come with him. He refused by hostel peon grabbed his hand and dragged him down the corridor. It was difficult to recognise the path he was traversing in the dark but then soon he recognised and tried to resist even more. He didn’t want to sit in front of Father David like this. “He is not worthy as a principal. He should resign from the post. He is too biased. He is too unjust. I don’t want to talk to him. I will just sit there and nod. He is unworthy.” Raghav thought all the way.

Peon knocked on the door and there was this familiar voice of Father calling him in. As he entered, wiping his eyes, in desperation to hide his tears from Father, he recognised Dubey Sir too. He was sitting there, smiling. Father asked him to sit on a chair and drink a glass of water. It was 2 A.M. in morning. He was surprised to find them all sitting there. Then
Dubey Sir quickly summarised his talk with Father David and also apologised for his actions. Raghav stared at him blankly. Father David then continued to inform him that he has written a special letter to Board to check his answer script and all the teachers are ready to sign on it happily. He also told him that he has booked a ticket for him to leave for home in morning and has already informed his parents about it over the phone.

“Why? Why now? It is all meaningless. It was heart-breaking to know that if a student makes a mistake, the first impression made about him is of a “cheater”. I don’t want to stay here. It wasn’t even worth it.”, Raghav replied in a sore voice. Father David smiled. He said: “Son, you have just graduated from 10th standard. You haven’t even had a glimpse of what life can do. What cosmic powers can bring upon you. The ups- and downs of life. Compared to that, this is a very small incident. I am very happy to see how boldly you took the decision in front of me and didn’t try to influence me in anyway. This is not an easy thing, Son. Many a men have failed right at this. I am humbled by your bravery and courage and integrity. I am sorry for the turn of events. We all have learnt our lessons haven’t we! This is a small gift from my side. I had made this decision a day before board exams.” He handed Raghav a letter which indicated that he has been awarded that two year scholarship by the school. The scholarship he was working very hard for. Tears again started rolling down his eyes. This time he didn’t hide them. He let them roll down. They were surprisingly relieving!

That Small Decision….

Often we find ourselves in dire situations where one small decision taken for us or by us changes the course of our lives. It may make or break dreams, we may find or loose ourselves in it. We might love or hate some one for that ONE decision or even stay neutral. But at the end of the day we are left to deal with that decision in what so ever way we want to. The only constant thing left with us is that decision. What will be outcome of the decision, its after effects and everything related is left to us to deal with! As an open challenge! 

Whilst taking a decision, we may have the luxury of possible choice or sometimes we are left with no option but to take a particular decision, how so ever worse it may seem. Everything is relative in this world. Sometime we try to favor people deliberately, going out of our way while making a decision. Then there are those decisions taken deliberately to hinder the way of someone. Both equally power in altering a person’s life but then their effects can be in totally opposite. But is it possible to please everyone?

Certainly No! But then does it mean that there should be no consideration of its effect on other people’s life? People have different opinion here. There is wide spectrum between “Strictly No Consideration” to “Maximum Satisfaction“. I find myself sitting somewhere in the middle! I believe that decision should be Right in sense, keeping most of the people satisfied. There are always some trade-offs associated with every decision. Everybody will accept it. There is no perfect choice as long as we live in a World of Options. So weighing each option in as much detail as we can is the right way to go. 

Any of our decision may go a long way in changing someone else’s life. Thus even a small decision by us need to carefully thought and analyzed and then modified such that less people are affected by it in negative way but maximum stress should be on doing the right thing! That feeling of suffering because of someone else’s decision requires a lot of strength and courage and may even cause self destruction in some. Thus no decision small, none is easy. Sometimes there are choices available, sometimes there are no choices. But at the end of the day, whether to accept the decision or not , how we deal with the decision taken, how we take it in and process and react to it, how we deal with the after-math, how much we let it affect our lives, how much we let it affect ourselves, whether we let it change us or we be strong enough to endure it, Whether to accept it as God’s Grace or blame it on some one is ours to decide?– At the end of the day, these all decisions are ours to make!  But then I would suggest you to leave it all to the Almighty! There is enough hatred in the world anyway why increase it more on context of a small decision! 

Stay Calm, Stay Foolish, Stay Strong! 🙂

A Friend

Forging a relation different from others,
Who acts like Newtonian Apple* when it matters.
Like Ruth* and Samson*, hold my hand when Earth Dances,
Tolerating my mistakes, hiding ‘em in crates.

Loyal to Captain in a mutiny,
No hesitation to reach there for me.
Like Steve Jobs*, keep me under scrutiny,
One who caters to the need of me.

Have the strength to hold me back,
Someone to tell me when to tap*.
Having similar world in our mind,
A special one from my own kind*.

Always hold the mirror for me,
Inspire the world’s desire of being me.

Allusions:
Newtonian Apple: Fall of apple triggered the concept of Gravity in Newton. Similarly a friend should trigger the innovation in his friend.
Ruth: Ruth is a biblical figure known for her Loyalty
Samson: Samson is a biblical figure who is known for his strength given to him by God.
Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs was known as a great mentor. He even mentored Mark Zuckerberg in his early days as Facebook CEO.
Tap: In a wrestling match, when one of the fighters is overwhelmed by other, he can bow out of a fight by tapping the ground or anything, in order to save himself from any serious injury.
Kind: Here referred to as individuals belonging to a particular race of human species.