Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Interesting Podcast

Internet is a good source of information and helps you to keep yourself upto date with latest development in your field . but with so many News site,blogsites and commentery going on its sometime tough to find relevant content . i love reading about Indian startups , Indian Entrepreneurs and latest tech events. but its very hard to find good coverage for such news .

Webyantra is the only blog i know which do a good coverage of indian startups . i wanted to read more . Today was my lucky day in that sense . while going through my email today . i saw a message from Ashish Sinha , it was not posted to me but on an email list which we both subscribe to . Ashish is a Product Manager at Yahoo & a blogger ,Podcaster too . he blogs at

pluGGd in covers startup specially India centric startup from Internet ,Mobile and other Hi Tech fields . I like the content on his site . learned about a few new companies . it was refreshing to read .

I especially liked a Podcast with Anand Morzaria , founder of Pennywise solutions, the company behind tolmolbol. Tolmolbol is a site dealing with city search and community around local business . so you can find out what your neighbourhood folks think about New bar or Bakery recently opend in your colony's shopping complex . they have got a very catchy tag line ."your friendly neighbourhood web guide."

Both Ashish and Anand were very candid . its refreshingly honest talk . you can read the post here and Listen to Podcast here .

if you are an aspiring enterprenuer you should must listen to this podcast . take my word its worthy of your time . Congrats to Ashish for good conversation .

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Teachers ,Parents & Your Chance To Change The World

Give a Seed to a Gardner and you get a Tree. Give a seed to a Potter and you get a Bonsai
~~Chinese Proverb

When I was in eighth grade I read an essay in my social science text book. The central theme of that essay was to teach the importance of family in our society. Our teacher Mr.Gyanendar Mohan Sharma told us that if you want to change the world or make a better society around yourself the only human way were to teach good thing to your children.

He said "when your parents try to preach you something which seems counter intuitive to you, you should remember that they are doing their bit in creating a world in which they want you to live. You should obey it or at least give it a serious thought .Please don't dismiss them straight away ".

I was not sure I was able to grasp what he was trying to say ,but In any case I was not able to follow 80% of the things being said in classroom so I didn't thought much of it . But his words stayed with me till this day perhaps because he was my favorite teacher [well there was one more Fave Teacher: Jyotsna M'aam, but for entirely different reason. I don't really remember which subject she used to teach but I remember her.]

Mr. Sharma was a just a fresh college graduate and like many other College Graduates of that time he was buying time form his parents on the name of Preparing for IAS/RAS & Bank PO exams. [He told all this to our class ]. He is the most engaging teacher I know till date. You can guess his charisma by the fact that He used to teach History, considered to be the most boring subject. Whole class used to engage in a dialogs [Yes, in eighth Standard].

I still remember an incident when he was explaining some part of Second World War and clout of Britain , when I stood up without permission and asked "If Britain was so influential why doesn't it became Superpower like US and USSR [ back than it was still USSR] . "At the risk of sounding pompous arrogant snob I would like to say that "not many student of History and political science can ask that Q even after Five year course which I asked in Eighth Standard"

So very often People tell me that I am good at argument and can make a compelling case. I was a salesman till last year and this debate skill was very useful. My Parents and My Girlfriend are frustrated with my habit of not giving up and making argument and logic on the spot [I admit not all of them are rational, some of them are ad-hoc crap to win the argument. Sorry and "I Love you" :)]

I didn't inherit this. I owe this debate /oration skill to History class of Mr. .Gyanedra Mohan Sharma.

So why I am thinking about GM sir today? Actually I just received an email from a friend of mine .He has been blessed with a baby girl. My friend is father of a kid now. He came back from US last month after a three month long stay and he has already started planning his next trip, which will be almost a Year long trip. He will probably migrate to USA for Good. I guess this is his way of preparing for the role of Father.

I wonder whether GM Sir actually knew what he was talking about. How many of us actually prepare for our role as a parent?

Hands that rocks the cradle:

This brings me to a point about which I think a lot. I always believe that no one is intrinsically smart or genius all of us are product of our environment. We can consciously change our surrounding but only "we", not a 6 year old. So who decide what a 6, 7 or 13 year old got to see and what he believes? To a large extent what you are today depend on

A) Your parents: in most of the cases Least prepared for their job.

) Your Teacher: Least enthusiastic about their job.

Few years back there was a TV Serial on DD named "Neem Ka Paed" [The Neem Tree]? It was story of a lower caste bounded labor from UP-Bihar named Budhiya . His real name was Budhiram but all his life people called him "Bhuddhaiya" when Bhudiram's wife gives birth to a boy. He names hen Sukhiram and make it a point to tell every body that please don't call him "Sukhaiya". To the extent that he even slaps his wife when she accidentally call his son "Sukhaiya". This Kid grows up to become Member of Parliament.

How many among us have such a clear picture of what is good for their kids? Why we simply deal with things as they came up?

Our Social, Professional and Educational ecosystem is not of much help either. I think that the root cause of this is our perception.We see parenthood as a medical event.

Society [family, friend, neighbors] provide all the guidance in health, taking care of kid etc but no one venture any "Constructive" suggestion on bringing up your kids. We need an elaborate dialogs and debate with in our families and social circle on how to do this.

Educational institute thinks that organizing PTA and sending Grade sheet to parents solve the entire problem. Wouldn't it be nice if schools can have a weekend workshop where parents of Teenage kids can come and discuss the problems, issues and strategies with other parents or with some expert? I think this kind of a forum is totally non existent but it is badly needed


I always avoid talking about the role of teacher. My tone is "Don't get me started on this". Our culture put very high esteem to teachers. Problem is that mot of the teachers don't deserve this. They get it by default.

Ask any student today what they want to be when they grow up? You will get many answers. Doctor, Engineer, IAS, CA, MBA but no one wants to be a teacher. But the fact is that few of them will end up being a teacher. Yes they will "End Up" being a teacher, they won't opt for it. They will pursue a carrier in Teaching out of lack of other options. None of the pretty girls want to marry a teacher. [Surprisingly most of them admit having a crush on one of their teacher in school]

Some of my friends are Lecturers in various engineering colleges in Rajasthan. I know their approach. They are frustrated and hate their job. They consider it monotonous, thankless and without growth .they wants to jump to IT companies.

I am afraid that most of the folks who get in to teaching are like that. I don't think that anyone can do a good job of teaching unless he loves it and in this case a consequence of a bad job is a disillusioned student.

I feel strongly about it because I consider myself as a victim of this education system. I am still struggling to survive ill effect of formal education, some teacher at my college were so boring and deprived of life that their sadism spilled over to there subjects also . Everyone used to find there subjects too hard.

There was a guy who used to teach us "Advance Computer Arch" attending his class was a Chinese torture there was not a hint of life or enthusiasm. His very sight was depressing. Whole class used to think of that subject as a tough nut. Two years after that, i taught the same subject to Deepti, a student of mine doing MCA from Rajasthan Univ. I did as home tuition to meet my expenses while struggling for job. I was terrified in the beginning but I discovered that it was a very very interesting and engaging subject. Many of my friends won't believe that I studied arch book cover to cover after college and I can still explain various Memory Addressing mode and mechanism out of sleep. Deepti by the way scored highest marks in that subject in her class.

Since than I am afraid of trying my hand at another subject. I am afraid that I might love them too. Thanks to my boring teacher my fascination toward computer as a technology got somewhat diminished. I got more interested in the applicative aspect of computer.

Sometime I feel like shouting at them for turning a fascinating thing like Comp Sc. in to a boring drill. Teaching and Medicines are not just jobs, you deal with real human life .please don't get in to it just for making a living.

I have no suggestion on how to fix this. May be increasing salary and making teachers more accountable for the student's performance will help. What do you say?

One Last Line:

Next time you find your self cribbing about How to change the world? Or you feel that you can't make world a better place. Just look at KID. Each kid is our chance to change the world.

One small request:

I know it's easy to dispense Gyan .blogger is a free service. But I feel strongly about it. I intend to use this blog as a chronicle of my life. I am writing this post so that I can remind my self of my thought when I will be a father or teacher. It's more of a note to me. but I need a favor form you too , if some time in coming 4-5 years ,you see a post announcing my becoming a father do remind me of this . Just in case my memory fails me. :)

As always I would love to hear your views and comment. Thanks for reading a long post.

Picture courtesy Ms.Sara Heinrichs .