Nov 24, 2012

Book Review - The Bankster

The praise by The Wall Street Journal on the cover of the book reads 'Meet the John Grisham of banking'. It does what it's put there for. It impresses. The back cover has this blurb,

--- Bankers build their careers on trust, or so everyone thinks, till a series of murders threaten to threaten to destroy the reputation that the Greater Boston Global Bank(GB2) has built over the years. Who is behind these killings, and what is their motive? Is the banker at GB2 fast turning into a bankster? Or was he always was?

When Karan Panjabi, press reporter and ex-banker, digs deeper, he realizes that he has stumbled upon a global conspiracy with far-reaching ramifications - a secret that could not only destroy the bank, but also cast a shadow on the entire nation.
With only thirty-six hours left at his disposal, he must fight the clock and trust no one if he is to stay alive and uncover the truth. ---

Nov 15, 2012

A Cynic's Take on Education : Methodology

Suppose I tell you that if you cook an egg under direct sunlight, the yolk will turn violet, or suppose I tell you that when you type Turn Off in a text file and save it, the computer turns off. Or that some trees actually walk at night between 2 and 3. What would be your reaction? Somewhere between laughing and walking away with contempt, I guess.

Now tell me, what would be a reaction of a 5 year old to this, or 6, or even 7 let's say. Chances are that the kid would believe at least two out of these three, if I act serious enough and tell him/her that it's a fact. And chances are that (s)he will go and tell these amazing facts to his/her friends too.

There you have it, flesh and bone of Indian education system. I say Indian because the topic itself is so enormous even by assumption of talking about only the Indian education methodologies that it is almost impossible to cover the rest of them here and in so limited time.

In India, and I am sure in many other places, education is approached always through just one door, which reads mug-and-pass/top-the-exam. Learning by heart without any need to understand is the formula which has been followed for decades and which is still actively promoted in almost every part of the country. And it is not limited to social sciences and english, I've seen students mugging full physics numericals and math sums for the exam, not understanding even one bit of them. And if you ask me, having exams which rank students on it's results is perhaps the most lethal weapon to attack the real purpose of education with, knowledge. Moreover, promoting competition among children for something as inherently useless and unfair as the end-of-term exam rankings is putting the last nail in the coffin of interest.

A Cynic's Take : Why?

Before I begin with the 'A cynic's take' series of posts, which I start today, I think I should write an introductory post about it. A simple forward later in the first post might have also served the purpose, but I think a separate post is better. Let's see how it goes.

By this phrase 'A Cynic's Take', and after reading my last post, you might think that these are going to be some cynical posts where I'll be mocking things while I write on different topics in a tongue-in-cheek manner. I am sorry, but that's not how it might turn out.

I originally intended to write on the most obvious inefficiencies and problems in the most common things that I see around me, and which affects me and you in one way or another. The things which we ignore or are completely oblivious to in our busy city lives, but which actually are a major part of it.

I chose the word cynic because most of the times, when you point out faults in a seemingly okay system, the regular state of things, or when you think too different or rather freely, not conforming to standard accepted ideas, then that's what you are called. So I thought why not add it already.

And it's called a cynic's take because I am not going to just point out faults in the things that I pick up, like most people do. I'll try to give some other ideas or possible alternatives for their remedy. And I sound all boastful and gyaani here but you'll know what I mean. And sometimes, the ideas might look too different or even radical, but I believe they could have far reaching effects. So I request you to keep your minds free and open and empty, as we all know that,

Thank You :)

Nov 1, 2012

Perfection, The Pursuit of

Sometimes, I get totally annoyed with myself and feel completely enraged with the things that happen to me I do to myself. Procrastination and not being able to complete things(goals which I set for myself) on time, turn out to be the main reasons for this rage most of the times. And it's not that I freak out at the drop of a hat each and every time, but I do feel angry and even helpless sometimes when certain tasks or things I intend to do keep on getting delayed.

The recent reason, and big enough to actually write about it here, is one article, actually not just one article but a whole series of articles that I intend to write as a sort of something special on this blog for a long time. And I have an idea to do something like this since forever. I know the theme, I've decided on the subjects I am going to write on, I've even thought about format a little, it's just the content which is keeping me from writing it down and posting.

I found this image after writing the post. 
The core problem which stands, and have always stood in my way with stuff I love or take seriously, is that I strive a little too much for perfection. I always want my work to be perfect, how it actually turns out is a different matter altogether. I specially like what I write to be nothing short of perfect, to be just rightly balanced, to be complete. And I am not trying to boast about my awesome qualities here. It's actually a very big problem, a curse even.