A Memoir of Humility and Excellence (Part 2)

"Indian Education Framework Needs to Change Completely" -Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

“Indian Education Framework Needs to Change Completely”
-Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

(Continued from Part 1)

There was a sense of skepticism in the air of celebration, somehow a hand-written request with a signature is not going to change the policy.

Next day, Abinash called me to inform me, “VC’s signature alone can’t change anything, and nobody gives a damn about it. One single man can’t change anything, it’s the policy that matters, not the VC and his assertion.” He further added, “These people are increasingly becoming offensive for our north-east origin.”

We called for another meeting in the evening. This time, we would give the final decisive shot. Many ideas were generated. The mostly discussed idea was doing a sting operation, by putting a hidden camera and recording how a few of DU intellectuals perceive about people from north-east. Later, it was rejected, we looked for an ethical solution to this unethical attitude problem.

We finally prepared a script, rehearsed for a drama, a complete drama to put our emotion on the table of top DU executive. Next day, we visited the Dean of Student’s welfare. But, nothing went according to our script as he turned out to be a very genuine human being. He sympathized with us and also expressed his inability to do anything in this matter.

Our next protagonist was the Dean of Science Faculty, already popular amongst us for his offensive attacks. The drama happened, but it backfired.

As a part of the script, there were topics given to Abinash and Indrani to create an emotional impact on this officer. But if that becomes effective, Indrani will start crying to make the situation more intense.

In the real stage performance, Abinash asked the Dean of Science faculty to understand the plight of north-east students who came to study in the capital but suffer due to improper policy. He replied, “You north-east folks come to Delhi, contaminate our culture. You are good in wearing indecent clothes and disseminating disgusting environments to other Delhi kids. Don’t you have any other colleges to study? Ask your Government to build colleges for you. If everyone comes to Delhi, where would the Delhi kids go?”

Receiving this awestruck reply, Abinash started pleading to him with folded hands “Sir, please understand our condition, think of us as your children. Try to imagine how would you have felt if this would have happened to your children?”

“My children? See your face in a mirror,” the Dean reiterated, “My son is in London, and how I can even imagine him as someone who belongs to jungles?”

Abinash started crying, with folded hands. Nobody expected about this while writing the script. His tears were not scripted, these were genuine and bearing the testimony of contempt and impuissance.

Indrani, on the other side, remained speechless. She was just standing there agape with grief. She forgot how to cry.

“You are a man and crying like a woman. Look at your friend, how she is able to remain calm. Grow Up!”

When both of them came out of the office, we could sense something had terribly went wrong. After a few minutes of silence, Indrani started, “Sorry Abinash, today I couldn’t cry. I just can’t fake it.” After hearing the complete story, I asked Indrani why she didn’t cry as per the script. “No Jyotirmoy, I can’t cry just like that. In fact, I don’t think I will cry even on the day of my wedding. Moreover, I don’t think my tears would have any effect on that chap.”

Staying within a friends circle that consists of majority of non-Assamese people, I couldn’t even imagine that there are people with such disdainful mentality sitting at the top most strata of the most revered academic institution of India.

In the evening, we revisited Mamoni Baideu’s quarter. She suggested us to meet the VC again and raise these issues. Her direction was loud and clear. “Raise your voice, and brief him about your experience. Let him know about the reality inside DU. Don’t expect any outcome. I just wish God will guide you my sons!” She said with a quivering voice. We couldn’t help but thank her wholeheartedly. She again called someone and fixed an appointment for the kids in the VC office.

While walking down the lonely road near Arts faculty of North campus, silence prevailed. For me and Parijat, it was a revealing experience of the darker side of DU, an institution that offered learning of lifetime during our 3 years of graduation. We felt like losers in front of Abinash and Indrani, thanks to DU and some of its people.

This time, we wanted to have more disciplined approach, the full and final shot. I just wanted to write down a proper letter of grievance to the VC of DU with appropriate explanation of experience. Justice, equality and conscience were the elements that we wanted to implement. And the last option? We would like to know who is at the top of Vice Chancellor of Delhi University.

Seeing off Indrani at her PG, we walked into a nearby Cyber café. Our intention was to create an exclusive write up addressing all our grievance, not a mere handwritten application for like before.

Next day, we were there at the VC office waiting outside in the security office. The security guards were already informed about our appointment and they offered morning tea and snacks to the distressed kids. They said, they would pray for us.

There was a strange atmosphere in the office. One by one, we could see the top academicians entering into the office. The dean of student’s welfare also appeared amongst them, he gave a faint smile to us. The dean of Science faculty, whose son was in London J, gave a crooked look to us through one corner of his spectacles. He had the “Admission Prospectus” in his hand, trying to hide in hurriedly inside his coat. One guard informed us “Some important meeting came up, you guys have to wait till it’s over.”

We knew, whatever was discussed inside, our agenda would be a part of it.

“The meeting might take quite a long time, all top bosses are here today. Hope they are here for you”, one guard said while pouring more water into the water-cooler.

At around 4:30 PM, the dean of students’ welfare came to us greeting us with a smile. He handed over a printed copy of the new “policy announcement” to us. He welcomed the duo to take provisional admission in DU and asking them to submit original certificates before 15th of August. “Good job guys, All the Best!”

This is the moment we were waiting for. I couldn’t help but look up and say “Oh God, I know it was you! Thanks”. After long celebration, when we left the VC office, even the arrays of flowers in the famous Jawahar Gulab Batika outside the VC office seemed to be greeting us with beautiful colors and butterflies around.

Aftermath, it was just a matter of 3 days. Abinash enrolled for M. Sc. (Chemistry) program at Delhi University. Indrani was now a student of M. A. (Environmental Studies) at Delhi University.

We went to Mamoni Baideu’s place again to express our gratitude and seeking her blessings. She was proud and happy, her kids were victorious.

Hardly did we know that that would be our last meeting with her. She passed away in 2011 after prolonged illness.

The Real Twist:

On August 23rd, Abinash called me up with a big news. His father got a letter from “Rastrapati Bhawan”. A glimpse of what the President of India had said goes like this:

Dear Mr. Goswami,

This is in regard to your son’s mail that I’ve received. The matter has been taken up with the Vice Chancellor of DU, he will look into it. Your son should be able to enroll for PG program and provide the documents in a later date. I have also asked the VC of Dibrugarh University to declare the result before 10th of August.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

The President of India”

I didn’t know how to react. It was a simple realization for me that the God whom I thanked was the President of India.

On the day we visited the cyber café, we googled to know if the VC can’t do anything, can the Chancellor do something? After visiting the website of the president of India, I simply pasted a copy of the grievance letter in the “Contact me” box. For further communication, I had put Abinash’s father’s name and address in the details form. We had no expectation, we were just optimistic.

Kudos to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Sir, you are not a president anymore. But your humility and excellence are equivalent to supremacy.

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, 11th. President of India (2002 to 2007)

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam,
11th. President of India (2002 to 2007)

While this real-life incident is being written down, Abinash is doing PhD from a reputed university in the United States. Indrani, the lady luck of the group is an environment activist, traveler who is happily married.

Let’s give a big round of applause to the finest president of independent India: the missile man of India, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam. Kudos.

(Note: The content of actual letter mentioned here are not the exact, only the essence has been used.)

 

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A Memoir of Humility and Excellence (Part 1)

Vice Chancellor Office, Delhi University

Vice Chancellor Office, Delhi University

“They say, students from other places come to Delhi University for Master Degree Program every year and return home unsuccessfully even after scoring in the entrance exams well beyond the cut-off marks.”

For a fraction of a moment, this sounded little weird to me. Being unsuccessful due to poor performance in entrance tests for post-graduate programs in Delhi University (herein forward, DU) is entirely different from not getting admission even after scoring well in entrance tests.

It’s a story of the woeful plight of a group of students in the year 2006. I had just got admission into Delhi University Post-graduate programs in Chemistry Department, Science Faculty. After discovering my name in the first cut-off list, it was just a matter of 3 days for completing the admission process. Adding to my delight, I could also see a couple of “Assamese” names in the list. Chit-chatting with classmates in native language is something I had always missed during my graduation time. With a happily contended mind, I just waited eagerly for the new sessions to start.

One fine day, in mid-July, I suddenly got a call from a stranger. He wanted to speak to JYOTIRMOY (not JYOTIRMAY as spelled by my non-Assamese friends); rest of the conversation continued in Assamese. He was seeking help from me “as an Assamese brother” regarding the Admission process. “Seeking help is fine, tagging it with Assamese brotherhood is not mandatory”, I told him. Having been surrounded by a majority of non-Assamese friends, my definition of brotherhood goes beyond “being Assamese”. The further conversation revealed some baffling aspects of the Admission process in DU. He has successfully cleared the entrance test, in fact, both of us scored the same marks in the Entrance test. However, he was denied admission in all the colleges as he didn’t have Graduation final year transcripts and it was mandatory to have 60% in Graduation for getting admission into post-graduate program in DU. His score was 70%(+) till Graduation second year and he had no doubt that he would easily maintain 60% (+) in Graduation.

But the source of problem was somewhere else. Dibrugarh University from where he did graduation would declare the results in mid/late August every year. Whereas, DU would complete its graduation programs by the end of June/early July. By July end, all post-graduation admission process would get over and the beginning of August would mark the advent of a new session of Master Degree courses. And it was not just a problem of Dibrugarh University, many other universities follow their own timeline without having anything to do with other universities when it comes to inter-university migrations. This is what exactly was happening with Mr. Abinash Goswami, the Assamese stranger who called me.

My immediate response was “Ask for provisional admissions in DU or ask for the release of Confidential Marksheet to Dibrugarh University”. This is something most of the universities do wherein students are temporarily inducted into the program with the conditions that they will produce the mandatory documents on a later date, usually specified by Admission committees during admission time. They give the written “Disclaimer” that the admission will be liable to automatic cancellation if a candidate fails to produce the documents before the stipulated time or scores below 60%.

Next day, I got a call from Abinash again. “I confirmed with the Admission office; there is no provisional admission in Delhi University. They say, students from other places come to Delhi University for admission into Master Degree Program every year and return home unsuccessfully, even after scoring decently in the entrances beyond the cut-off scores.”

This took me by shock. There is no scope for provisional admission in an Indian university of international repute. I wondered how many good talents pouring in from different places of India must had lost the opportunity to contribute to intellectual capital of DU. However, the inside story and perspectives were otherwise.

“I have nothing I could do when right policies are not in place”, I retorted. But, there was something more than policy matters at DU.

“Many people and staff here are discriminatory and ruthless”, Abinash hadn’t realized that he had just said something that had more to do with Peoples’ mentality rather than Admission policy. He explained how the staff looked down upon him due to the place he belonged to. In fact, one clerk also made a weird gesture as he suddenly discovered that Abinash didn’t look like typical “North-east fellas”.

During several years of my experience in Delhi University prior to this incident, I personally had faced several such untoward incidents and had learnt well to ignore the absurdities with utmost humility, like many other north-east students. But this particular incident of Abinash was something I couldn’t just ignore, it had to be dealt with the highest possible decree.

In the evening, after a brainstorming session with Mr. Parijat Bora, another DU graduate who successfully enrolled in M. Sc. Programs with me, we decided to take it to higher level. In the meantime, there was another person facing similar plight. Indrani had come to Delhi all alone aspiring to study Environmental Science in DU and confronted with similar prejudiced faces of DU. The four of us decided to take on the authority with a series of logical steps. This actually craved a way to a tiny movement that all four of us would cherish forever.

As per our plan, we embarked on our struggle by taking an appointment with Mamoni Baideu (Late Dr. Indira Goswami, a prominent Assamese scholar, Jnanpith Awardee and one of the most celebrated writer of Contemporary Indian Literature). She was heading the department of Modern Indian Language and was quite influential as a genius in the DU fraternity.

After listening to the plight of two ambitious students, she took a long pause. She went on to make a call to someone in the other room. “Mere bacche ke saath yeh sab kya ho raha hei?” (What all are happening to my kids), something we could overhear from the drawing room. Parijat muttered, “Mother can’t be everywhere. For Assamese people, he created Mamoni Baideu”.

“Tomorrow, you all go and visit the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University. His name is Deepak Pental, he is a good person”, she said, “let him look into the matter”.

While returning from her residence in the dark lonely streets of North Campus, even the street lights seemed to illume lights of hope to four rebellious youths.

After putting multiple perspectives into a hand-written application Letter addressing the Vice Chancellor, we were there in front of his office next day in the morning. After hours of waiting, Abinash and Indrani were finally asked to come inside the VC office. Meanwhile, the security guards arranged a quick visit for me and Parijat to the Museum inside the VC Complex (once belonged to Viceroy Lord Mountbatten). While we were amazed to see the Pre-independence and ancient Indian Art, objects and artifacts, in the adjacent Vice Chancellor office, there was a post-independent confluence going on to address a grievance raised by young Indian citizens. Unity in Diversity, as they say, became more meaningful with every passing moment inside the monumental VC office.

After around 2 hours, while sharing our sorrows with the middle-aged security officers in the main gate, suddenly we saw Abinash running towards us waving the application letter, holding it high, as if, the God of Cricket holding his bat after scoring a ton.

“Please provide them provisional admission. Deepak Pantel”

This is what exactly was written on the application letter.

It was a moment to remember. Four of us started the celebration, hugging each other. While we tried to console Indrani who was unable to hold back her tears of happiness, the security guards started clapping for us.

We thought we are done with it. We were wrong. The real struggle was waiting for us.

(Continued…)

(Vice Chancellor Office-DU Image Credit: )

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Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling

Sharing a wonderful article about the essence of Storytelling.

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The Glory of Death

O’ there, all the living beings!

O’ Dear, all my Dead Friends!

Here I’m, the Death of Life,

Don’t move away,

Don’t shy away,

I’m your Destiny,

A tale of Death,

A story of your Glory!

 

O’ dear immortal heroes,

O’ dear late legends of life-the dead men of pride,

Give me a share of your pride.

As, it was me who took you away

From the filthy earth,

As you lived, you gotta chance to do

Your tasks of lives.

But when I embraced you,

Thy death gave you a life of longer time,

Thou were fêted fairer when you died

Than what was there,

When thou were alive!

As all living delights are subtle,

Only Death makes them real and soulful.

 

Oh dear Dead friends,

Can you see the earth?

Can you see the nasty hassles

As the folks run after their lives?

Can you see the unknowingness

Of knowing that I’m ought to be there

Opening the impasse of all the paths!

 

I’m death, the angel of mortality.

Striking down lives to end the earthy fuss.

I bring beings to this place of lights

That illuminates the myths of fights

That they do when they are alive.

 

Where there is a road called Life,

I’m at its end as Death,

Thou might hate me,

Thou might detest me.

But the moment thou see me,

O’ poor living fighters of lives,

The moment thou envy me,

Thy eyes will follow the lights,

Away from the filthy dirts,

Heading to an infinite horizon,

Taking to a road of peace

With no stones of grimes.

 

For Every unfeigned mind that embraces me,

The journey of life is a trip of serenity,

Of loveliness, with a pride of being alive.

 

All the walking beings out there,

Walk to me with calm and peace,

Leave your footsteps in a way.

That inspires millions behind to walk in peace.

 

Death is my name but I’m not a sin,

I’m there for every being.

For, when do thou agree with agility,

That where there’s life, I’m there,

Thou embrace Life with all peace and humility,

With no grief and no fear.

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The Mother Earth: her history, her beauty & her legacy

Earth Facts

Earth Facts

Hold yourself firmly to the Ground, enjoy this Trip to pursue exploration of some groundbreaking facts. A fantastic illustration, interesting enough to keep you away from the mundane office work !

Thanks to My Science Academy for this mind-blowing illumination of reality.

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Happy Teachers Day !

Image

Teachers Day Special
(Photo Courtesy: Zomato)

 

 

#MyTeacherSays : Don’t try to be over-smart in my class, when I was in your present state, you were in liquid state !
#HappyTeachersDay to all the widely revered (& solid) Teachers of my life !

 

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The Sun behind the Clouds

The Sun behind the Clouds

The Sun behind the Clouds

It has been raining incessantly since morning. The thick cloud in the distant horizon seems to be happily contended for its right over the earth, obstructing the illuminating beam from the unseeable Sun.

“I deeply love her, she doesn’t understand”, DJ reiterates holding the hot mug of coffee, still waiting to get sipped. Its being a very long time since he has been suffering from this acute mental suffering and it was not possible to keep it to himself for so long. He wanted to express it to someone, to Monica, one of his closest friend he can rely on. May be, with an optimistic intention to get a feminine perspective to his problem.

Monica felt, it’s being enough. “After a point of time, you realized that it’s gonna be tough for you, right? She had every right to know whether you will be there after if she comes out, away from her husband. She was practical in her approach. Start with your Coffee, its getting cold. Everything becomes tasteless with time.”, while articulating this, an emphatic smile was prominent in her face.

Although Monica sounded little rude towards DJ, but he knew she was yet to come out with her real thoughts. He had made a mistake. He had kept his relationship a secret and this would have hurt anyone, specially when the person is someone close to his life since childhood. The fact that he is in “love” with a divorcee mightn’t go well with everyone. And it definitely won’t go well with his Mom. But, he couldn’t afford to inform it to his Mom at any cost, atleast till the Marriage issue comes up.

“You are getting me wrong” he said,” I was worried, I never thought you would welcome this relationship. I thought everything will fall into place in time. I never ignored you Monica, it’s just that I had to dedicate ample amount of time for my relationship and..”

“And you ran out of the least amount of time that is spendable to inform me that you are in a relationship?” the question had been waiting a very long time to get shot, for Monica.

“No, not really….”, DJ felt short of words.

Silence Prevailed, the unusual silence which never sounded, while they were together talking and gossiping, is a strange feeling for both of them.

It is time to lighten the situation, silence is something that which can only intensify DJ’s pain. Monica got to her sense, logically.

“Its fine DJ. Just wanted to say, even I got little hurt. It seemed to me like you were absconding to somewhere you never preferred to go, strange it is. Okay, get back to your point. So what exactly you  gonna do? ”

“It’s just that I stood by her while she was struggling with the pathetic treatment from her husband. Now that they are living separately, her husband is becoming more easy-going and lovable, he can now understand that he needs to get changed to keep a woman happy. So. she is reconsidering her decision of filing for divorce. Moreover, divorce can lead to anywhere, to the peak or the doom. So she is becoming skeptical. Our relationship was grown because of her unhappiness over her family and particularly for the troublesome relationship with her husband. But, she is wondering whether divorce will lead to more unhappiness, in future. My mom will never allow me getting married to a woman who is already married once. Now, she wants me to convince my Mom so that she can go further with the decision. But, it is too early for me to talk to my Mom. If needed, I am ready to sacrifice my association with my own family for this, I told her. But, she needs a present action which can secure our future. I wonder, why this relation is so much conditional.”, while saying this DJ felt himself to be relentlessly offended by the heartbeats that sounded so wonderful at a time when his “Love” was sitting opposite to him, in the chair occupied by Monica, in the same cafe, in many sunny afternoons.

“So, you can go against Mom? Are you sure? You have never gone against your family in the past, in any situation, as far as I can remember.”, she needed to be direct, she felt.

“Yes, I can. Sometimes, something in life has to be done for the first time, for better changes.” while saying this, DJ tried to keep his face calm, forcefully, to look more confident.

“I’m leaving on a Jet plane….” interrupting the emotional outburst, the mobile ringtone seemed to be perfectly in sync with the climate. While, DJ struggled to reach the phone kept in his tight Jeans pocket, Monica felt like smiling, wondering whom he is gonna leave with, on a Jet Plane….

“Yeah Mom, I’m here with Monica…Yeah met her after so long..haha..okay I shall tell her. Monica, Mom says Hi to you..Yeah I’m fine dont worry…What?…God I wasn’t drunk. How did you assume? Got smell? Over phone? Hah…you’re funny. Won’t drink tonight. Yeah, promise. Bingo ! Bye.”

He never thought the telephonic conversation will take a little unexpected turn by the end.

“So your mom could smell alcohol over phone? hahaha…” Monica asked, reluctantly.

DJ didn’t want to take this topic forwards. “Yeah, I get pissed off. It feels bad getting caught.”

“hmm. Okay. She can smell you just by talking to you over phone. But,  in a serious note, she didn’t want to offend you. She just wanted you to control your drinking behavior, not for her, rather for yourself. She has every right to take good care of someone whom she had developed, protected and released to this world after 9 months of painstaking motherhood. First few months after you were born, till you developed your own visual sensation, you recognized by your mom by smelling her body odor. Today, you might have forgotten the smell, but she won’t. Okay, leave it. Let’s come back to your divine love. Let’s not digress again. So what you were saying?”

Probably, this question turned out to be more digressive. There was  complete silence. DJ was silent. Monica knew she had no better choice to interrupt. DJ knew, he had nothing else to say. He felt something itching down below his eyes, probably, a tiny tributary of tear has come out of his eyes. After getting into this relationship, he had started experiencing such torrential flow of tears, very often.

Sometimes, if you want to say something and end up saying something else, it is not always bad that can happen, atleast this is what DJ has experienced, for the first tine. Till then, he had to frequently struggle to clear up the second meaning of something non-essential statement as comprehended by the woman he loved in some other way, while having romantic talk with her.

While Monica reached to his hand holding his palm tightly, he looked onto the distant horizon through the window. The Sun was coming out through the broken pieces of clouds.

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