01 July 2006

An Article U shouldn't miss!

Barkha Dutt
Managing Editor, NDTV 24x7

Saturday, June 24, 2006:

One of the most awkward - and yet, strangely compelling - things about journalism is that sometimes your work makes you hold a mirror to your own life.

This past week, a quiet, but determined 16-year-old became an unexpected reflection of my education.

I have always believed that my school and college years were the first architects of my personality; like every middle-class Indian, I take pride in where I studied and what I was taught. And yet, the gentle idealism of this young girl made me pause to wonder: Had my public-school education been shamefully elitist?

At first, the story seemed straightforward enough. Garima Godara, a CBSE topper, with an astonishing 97.6 per cent had taken the entrance exam for the Delhi
Public School (Dwarka), the school closest to her village.

The daughter of a police constable who earned less than Rs 6,000 a month, the school's fees would have been a problem. But the family was undeterred; perhaps there would be a scholarship or a loan; surely the school would be keen to admit the girl who had topped the national capital's merit list.

Garima's proud father had spent months battling the entrenched patriarchy of his peers, fending off nosy neighbours who gossiped about why she didn't spend enough time in the kitchen. Now, he was even more determined to give his daughter the best education her marks could buy.

This could have been the story of New India and its emerging, self-made middle class; a proud milestone for a country that dares to dream.

Instead, here's what happened: DPS turned her down. Her results were good, it conceded. But marks aren't everything, said the school principal to NDTV, and
besides, her English was poor, and just didn't cut the grade.

Later, listening to Garima in the studio, it was hard not to feel both angry and moved. Angry because of the obvious injustice: not only was she as bright as her results indicated; there was nothing about her spoken English that suggested that she would have been unable to keep pace with the syllabus.

Yes, she spoke with a regional accent that some would consider insufficiently sophisticated. But there was no doubt that she could not only follow a complex argument, she could also make herself understood to any English speaker.

But it was her calm that was almost heart breaking; a quiet courage that belied her teen years. It was almost as if we were more outraged and indignant than she was. During the course of the programme, a principal from a well-known school in Dehradun called in, offering her admission and a scholarship; others promised to
get DPS to change its mind.

But betraying only the slightest sense of hurt, she said firmly that her aim now was to show DPS that she would do better than any of its students. She had already got herself admitted to another school, and DPS could quite simply, take a walk.

As she spoke, viewers clearly shared my anger. The online poll showed that 90 per cent of viewers believed that the English language exerted a disproportionate influence over the education system.

Yet, were we all being hypocritical and dishonest? This time it was DPS under the microscope, but were any of us any different?

Let's say she continued to do outstandingly well in school. The next stage would be college. I pictured her trying to take the entrance interview at my old college, Delhi's St Stephen's. Would she get in? And even if she made the cut, how would other students react to her presence? Would they admire her for her academic brilliance? Or would they snigger at her accent, titter each time she made a grammatical error and then, melt away, leaving her alone to find her own friends?

Garima's story is a metaphor for India's twisted tryst with the future. I learnt after the programme was over - and it is significant that neither she nor her parents brought this up themselves - that she is an OBC.

For some months now, as the debate over reservation has raged, opponents of the quotas have made the same point again and again: we should be a society where merit matters. It's a compelling argument, and one that I have personally supported.

But what do the anti-quota street fighters have to say now? Here's a girl who competed in the mainstream, her own Hindi medium DAV pitched against the trendier, richer, big names. But her merit was swallowed up by prejudice.

Is it any wonder then that supporters of reservation believe that the system is stacked against them, and that merit is a con-word used by upper-caste tricksters?

Her story is also a scathing comment on the class divide in India. It is fashionable for marketeers and economists to talk about the burgeoning middle class. Each day a new figure is conjured up to demonstrate the size of the Indian market, and the clout of the new middle class; is it 250 million this week or has it already reached 300 million?

We embrace these statistics, because we like the idea of India as this century's favourite financial destination. We feel flattered when Time magazine puts our country on its cover, and we talk glibly, especially to foreigners, of social mobility and how the gap between the rich and poor is closing; we argue that India's tomorrow is being built by its industrious and enterprising middle class, and we feel like the future is unfolding, right here and right now.

But here's what we never admit. We're just the worst sorts of snobs.

The social mobility of the last decade has meant that the new middle class does not consist of people like us. Instead, it is made up of people like Garima, who we still find excuses to exclude; we sneer at their lack of Westernized sophistication; make fun of their accents, and we try and ensure that our children have nothing to
do with theirs.

Finally, Garima's story exposes India's paradoxical relationship with the English-language. Nobody in the world speaks English like us. We have our own idioms, our own words and our own accents.

We pretend to love our own English and brag about how it is India's great selling point; the reason we dominate the global outsourcing business. But of course deep down we know that our English is not the English that the West really wants. And so, each time we talk to Britons or Americans, we subtly alter our diction and
inflection.

When we set up our call centers, we drop the subtlety entirely and start accent classes to teach our young people to abandon the speech patterns of our own society
and to migrate to a virtual, linguistic middle America, where they become impersonators of people they will never meet and never know.

But within India, we still treat our own English as the great social decider. We laugh at regional accents, smirk at those who make grammatical errors and feel most at home with those who talk like us.

Everyone else belongs on the other side of the English divide. And as it turns out, the other side of the class and caste divide as well.

Maybe we cling so tightly to this tiny community because secretly we are just insecure. Outside of our little bubble, India is changing. Every major institution in recent times - Parliament, the bureaucracy, the military, our colleges and schools - is being forced to re-write the rules.

A new breed of Indians who no longer look towards the West for self-affirmation, is making its presence felt. We like to call this a decline in quality. But actually, it's the rest of India waiting to get in.

How long are we going to keep the gates shut?

Contributed by:
Pramod Bhave


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Blaming your faults on your nature does not change the nature of your faults!!!
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30 June 2006

The Room!

This is so far one of the best story I've ever read! The story was sent to my by my friend Tejagna. I know that the story has a religious touch but to whichever religion you belong.....just feel the article like it was from Ur own religion.....after all we all are made by one God!!!!


The story behind the story " The Room " 17-year-old Brian Moore had to write something for a class. The subject was what Heaven was like. "I wowed 'em." He later told his father, Bruce."It's a killer, It's the bomb. It's the best thing I've ever written." It also as the last. Brian's parents had forgotten about the essay when a cousin found it while cleaning out the boy's locker at his High School. Brian had been dead only hours, but his parents desperately wanted every piece of his life near them... notes from classmates and teachers, his homework, anything. Only two months before, he had handwritten the essay about encountering Jesus in a file room full of cards detailing every moment of the teen's life. But it was only after Brian's death that Beth and Bruce Moore realized that their son had described his view of heaven. It makes such an impact that people want to share it. ''You feel like you are there," Mr. Moore said. Brian Moore died while driving home from a friend's house when his car went off the road and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck unharmed but stepped on downed power line and was electrocuted . "I think God used him to make a point. I think we were meant to find it and make something out of it, " Mrs. Moore said of the essay. She and her husband want to share their son's vision of life after death. "I'm happy for Brian. I know he's in heaven. I know I'll see him again, someday.

The Room

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries hat list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed at." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've yelled at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger" "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature. When I pulled out the file marked " TV Shows I have watched ," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards
were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time. I knew that file represented. When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than
three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished." I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.



"For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Contributed by:
Tejagna Amin

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Blaming your faults on your nature does not change the nature of your faults!!!

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26 June 2006

Ur the master of ur own destiny...


Once upon a time there were 2 brothers who lived on the 80th floor of a tall building.

On coming home one day they realized, to their dismay, that the lifts were not working and that they would have to climb the stairs home.After struggling to the 20th level, panting and tired, they decided to abandon their bags and come back for them the next day. They left their bags then and climbed on...
By the time they had struggled to the 40th level, they had gone
sufficiently mad and were irritated. The younger brother started to
grumble and both of them began to quarrel. They continued to climb the flights of steps, quarreling all the way to the 60th floor.

They then realized that they had only 20 levels more to climb and decided to stop quarreling and continue climbing in peace. They silently climbed on and reached their home at long last! . Each stood calmly before the door and waited for the other to open the door. They then realized that the key was in their bags, which were left on the 20th floor...

This story is a reflection on our life and times. All of us climb the
tall building called career... some till the 80(superscript: th) floor and some less. But do we know that the key to happiness is in the bag,which has been left back on the 20th floor? Know your dreams and follow it so that you will not live with regrets.

If the chariot of your life is driven by the steeds of ambition, make sure the reins of your life are held by the hands of joy.

Points to ponder:
Agreed...reaching to 80th floor is very important for being happy, more satisfied but we mostly ignoring the essence of happiness, satisfaction....work hard to reach high...work harder to remain happy..
In my own view...Happiness is not the destination but a journey...and we need to walk through till our lives....


contributed by
PRAMOD BAHVE


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Blaming your faults on your nature does not change the nature of your faults!!!
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