Skeletons in #win’s closet

Posted on November 3, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I find myself intrigued by the smallest nitty-gritties of #win’s life before I knew him. I was once asking him various details about his school life, What would you do if your Mom did not come to pick you up on time? Which subjects did you like? Did you ever forget your homework? Turns out #win was the guy, whom I hated in childhood, though I did not know him then. He was the guy – that model guy – whom your parents wanted, but instead were stuck with you.

Me: So did you ever get punished in school?
#win: Umm, never. I was always the teacher’s favorite.
Me: Never :O? How’s that possible?
#win: (Taken aback. Seeing his wife for the first time) Well have you been punished?
Me: O yea. Of course, loads of times.
#win: For what?
Me: (Counting on fingers) well mostly talking/giggling in class, not doing in homework, long nails ..

Me: Have you taken all those 10565(#win’s favorite ‘random’ number) competitive exams? Scholarship, Pravinya?
#win: Ya totally.
Me: Wasn’t it a bummer? Sitting and reading during summer vacation, not that I ever studied ..
#win: Well not really! I’d anyways have been studying.

Me: Hey tell me, how do I motivate my younger sibling to study? How’d you motivate yourself to study?
#win: Never had to motivate myself. I loved studying.

#win is the success story of the Indian education system. He had flawless marks almost all throughout, got MS from a great US university, got a great job in Microsoft, left it since it bored him and now is enrolled in Phd, looking forward to a great academic/research career.

My academic story is checkered in the conventional sense. There are some moments of shining glory but there are some moments that I am not proud about at all. There were times when the expectations saddled on me were so high, and my opinion of myself so low, that I have totally wilted under the pressure. I had often thought that maybe I am not cut out for studying. I know better now. I too love studying now when I do not “have to” study, I am glued to Wikipedia learning about World War II and the history of medieval Europe. I am the nerd who loves going to museums and reading each and every note there is to read. I rifled through an old computer networks book (which I had hated in college) and found that I loved it. I realized that I was and still am ‘a free spirit’. I never liked studies under the expectations of parents and teachers and thus I did poorly as expected. Until recently, I counted myself a failure, probably even a victim, of the Indian Education System.

Now I am in the US, and have studied in their education system for a brief 2 years. I interact everyday with my mostly American colleagues and see that there are some pros in their education system that I admire. In their childhood, my colleagues did interesting projects – How can you make an egg fall from the first floor and not make it break? Many of them are athletic and have skied,  swum and rock-climbed since their childhood. However, some of my colleagues do not even have a college education (sometimes they do not have even a high-school diploma), but are self taught programmers and linux engineers. The beginning of their career was probably at a McDonalds or a Burger King. I admire their enterprise and self-starting nature. Once, my colleague confessed to me – I wish I had gone to high school, college and become an engineer. I regret not having done that. I asked him, Why did you drop out in the first place? He said, “Well Math was too hard at the time. No one in my family was an engineer, they all felt a college education is a waste of time and money. I wish I had been born in India or China”

I realized that the grass is greener on the other side and no system is perfect. What I think I am going to do next, is exorcise all the demons of my 12th std marks or failure to clear an entrance. I hope to define the parameters of success that best suit me and hope to achieve success someday. In the meanwhile, let me find out what other dark secrets #win is hiding in his closet, that will act as fodder for my next blog post.

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The Perfect Gift

Posted on June 25, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Chapter 1: The Decision

Karl and his friend John were sitting in a pub, on a Friday night. Both of them had downed a glass too many and therefore were more inclined to be more vocal about their thoughts and feelings.

John asked Karl, “So, how are things going with Gin? He meant Ginny, Karl’s college sweetheart.

Karl replied resignedly, “I am afraid, not so good.”

John asked inquisitively, “Oh, everyone in college thought you were the perfect couple! We all would say, ‘Yea they are going to so get married to each other!’ What happened there?”

Xmas Tree

Karl said, “Well, I keep traveling! I have not been able to see her for the past many months, because of my travelling schedules. I am going to meet her during the Christmas, though. I feel that already we have drifted apart.”

John exclaimed, “You know what you should do! You should give her the most stupendous gift ever, something that will blow her off her feet right into your arms!”

Karl demurred, “I never seem to know, what she wants for a gift.”

John reassured, “Oh, you are a rich man now! Buy her a diamond. Women love diamonds, you can never go wrong with that!”

Chapter 2: His Gift

The more thought Karl gave to John’s idea, the more convincing it seemed to him.  He decided to gift her the perfect diamond.  He began his search for it and almost immediately found just the thing, an 8 carat perfectly polished humongous stone. When he actually went to purchase it, he hesitated.

“This beast is worth 6 months of my hard earned salary”, Karl thought. But then he imagined the smirks on their college friends’ faces saying, ‘Oh Ms. Perfect and Mr. Perfect were not so perfect after all!’ Karl decided to give care a damn, and went ahead with the purchase.  After all no amount is small to win the love of your life, thought Karl.

The day of meeting Ginny finally arrived. Karl was very excited and a little apprehensive. What if everything does not go according to plan? He decided to banish these doubts and to focus on the excitement of beginning a new life with Ginny. In fact, Ginny had hinted that she also had a ‘stupendous’ gift for him, something that he had wanted since a long time. Karl wondered what it would be.  He half hoped that it would be one of the expensive tuxedos, which he had rented to wear during their prom. Ginny had promised him that as soon as she would have a bit of money, she would buy it for him. He was touched that Ginny had remembered that incident.

Chapter 3: The Meeting

Ginny had insisted that they meet in what had been their favorite restaurant as college kids.  He reached well before the designated time of their date. She did not keep him waiting long. As she entered, Karl looked at her and thought, “Somehow, she looks more beautiful than ever before.” They began talking.  Karl was put at ease by Ginny’s liveliness and friendliness. All his misgivings dissolved, and he decided to begin his real quest.

He said to Ginny, “I have a gift for you! But first let us see yours!” Ginny said, “Oh you are so going to love this!”

She removed a daintily gift wrapped box and gave it to him.  Karl opened it with shivering fingers. Out came a DVD. He looked aghast at it. His mind was in a furor. A DVD in exchange of a priceless diamond?

Karl burst out saying, “Oh a DVD! Wow, so thoughtful of you! You know what I got for you? A priceless diamond worth 6 months of my pay! Do you know how hard I work to make that kind of money? You should have told me, you are not interested, I would nothave bought this huge stone for someone who obviously does not care! So you have drifted apart. Had you cared,you would have taken the effort to get me something worth more than a damn DVD.”

Ginny replied amidst tears, “Thanks Karl! Thanks for everything! I knew you had changed, but did not know how much!”

She was sobbing uncontrollably now. She picked up her belongings and left. The diamond was left in Karl’s pocket.

Chapter 4: Her Gift

Karl was dejected. He walked home almost on the verge of tears himself, wondering how he could have been fooled by Ginny.  He tried to drown his sorrows in alcohol. In his drink induced stupor, he noticed Ginny’s gift lying beside him. He snorted, “DVD!” and on a whim decided to play it. A few moments into watching it, Karl came to himself. He could not believe his eyes. He was witnessing all the scenes, all the memories that he had shared with Ginny – their first date, their prom night, the time they had spent cramming for exams, the song that had been playing when they had first kissed… Ginny had spent countless hours on getting the footage from their old friends, compiling it from camcorders and shaky mobile cameras.

The DVD played on. Karl was now sobbing unabashedly. Towards the end, came Mariah Carey’s song,

“I don’t want a lot for Christmas, but there is something I need,

I don’t care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree,

I just want you for my own, more than you could ever know,

Make my wish come true, all I want for Christmas … is YOU!”

Authors note:  My entry for this competition in BlogAdda which is sponsored by Pringoo

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