Debating, have we got it right?

I debated in various forms for the entire 4 years of my college life, and as I’ve grown with time and experience, I genuinely believe we’ve got the concept of debating completely wrong in the education system.

The intent of all debates in schools/colleges currently is to ‘win’ the debate and convince the other person, that your opinion is the correct one, and must be agreed upon – no matter what it takes.

While the intent of any debate/discussion should not just be to speak, but to listen, learn from the other person and on occasions, even change your opinion, completely different from what you had when you started.

This flawed concept of debating is one of the major reasons why we have mediocre political debates with friends and family, brainstorming discussions at work where all of us have been trained to have such little egos, and do whatever it takes to be right, ‘win’ the discussion.

The definition of good debaters needs to seriously change from good orators with good convincing skills to people who who don’t just speak, research well, but also listen, empathise and respect reason.

Happy birthday, dear 25 year old me

Happy birthday, dear 25 year old me. I like 25.

I like 25 because it’s kind of young, and it’s kind of old. I like 25 for it makes me realize that one-third of my life is over, for it makes me realize that life actually is too short, for that Kal Ho Naa Ho songs never made more sense than how much it does today.

I like 25 because it gives the rishtedaars a reason to crib, and I love how they crib. I like 25 because I don’t know who I love, and what I love, but kasam se I’m trying hard. I like 25 because I can still break, and fail, and fall into pieces, into so many pieces that it’s hard for anyone to recollect, but I can recollect myself because I’m just 25.

I like 25 because I’m not ‘kiddo’ enough to hit on that girl elder to me, and not old enough to hit on that girl younger to me. I like 25 because 25 feels just right.

I like 25 because the alcohol is legal, or maybe I don’t like 25 because the alcohol is not going to be fun anymore.

I like 25 because I like ‘liking’ that MBA college status, that happily married status, that raising of a million dollar funding status, that viral video status of 25 year olds like me. I like 25 because I know I’m still not there, I know I can get there, and I know that even if I don’t get there, I’m going to be just fine.

I like 25 because of the number of unanswered questions it gets with it, because life ahead is uncertain. I like 25 because I like uncertain.

*This post was written on 11th September, that’s when my birthday is 🙂 *

Yes, it’s hard after a bad board exam result

Bad board exam results
It’s hard after a bad board board exam result

So the board exam results came just today. And like every year, I wasn’t amazed by the amount of philosophical content that came online which talked of how unimportant marks are in the long run.But sadly enough, they were mostly people from IIT/Stephans/SRCC/DCE/NSIT writing those statuses.

But lets be honest, in most cases, the marks that you get is what you worked for. If you’d worked hard, you must’ve scored well and if you didn’t, you didn’t score well.

The heartbroken ones are actually the ones who’ve work really hard, but end up being in mediocre colleges because they didn’t get it right on the day of the exam for various reasons. And it’s these students who end up with mediocre careers because they give up too soon, because the society forces them to believe that their brains are lesser compared to that Stephanian, SRCC, IIT, NSIT guy.

I was in a Tier 2 engineering college for a year, and then worked hard to move to a tier one college the following year. And I can tell you for a fact that being in a tier 2 college isn’t pleasant for the ambitious folks.

If you’re a class 12 kid who has got great marks in your board examinations, congratulations. Make sure you continue working hard; beautiful days lie ahead of you.

But if don’t have that amazing scorecard, yes it’s a tough bumpy ride ahead of you. Companies aren’t going to accept you quick, investors aren’t going to believe in you easily; not because you don’t have a good enough idea or traction, but because they won’t that IIT brand on their portfolio, and of course Sharma ji kaa beta is going to piss the shit out of you because he made it to IIT/SRCC/NSIT. But what’s going to be awesome is that you need hustle more than Sharma ji kaa beta,

Good colleges atleast in India is majorly not because of some ground breaking education they teach us, but because of the amazing students the ‘Tier 1’ colleges have.

At NSIT, I was surrounded by such smart people throughout my 4 years, and what being surrounded by smart people does to you is that you become smart yourself. You know skills and dimensions about yourself that you never knew existed before, and even kick ass in a few of them.

So here’s to those guys who’ve failed in the boards. Badhai ho, life has hit you sooner than the ones who didn’t, and it’s time for you for you to get your shit in place and work hard. Harder than Sharma ji kaa beta. Really hard.

Surround yourself with really really smart people. Go out and say hello to that guy who built his company at 19, to that amazing topper of SRCC and learn how he does what he does. Some are going to reciprocate, some won’t. But make sure you keep at it.

Go in debates, writing, coding, business plan competitions and beat that student from IIT, SRCC, DCE, NSIT. Don’t let the world ever tell you that you aren’t smart enough. Shit is not over, shit has just begun.

Remember your english exams?

One of my cousin sisters told me a while back that she had our final term examinations in her school, and because I write a bit, she asked me for tips on how she could score better in her English exam. But before I went on to give her advice, I thought to myself on the kind of advice/perceptions I used to get from people (friends, teachers, parents and padosis) on how to score better in an English exam. Do you remember them, particularly the 10 mark essay that we were to write in the exam?

1. The 10 mark essay question was to be written in less than 250 words, and you had to fill a minimum of 180-220 words to score well in the 10 mark question.

2.  Good vocabulary (read: ‘difficult’ words, ‘impressive’ words, words that other students wouldn’t understand) would fetch you more marks.

3. An impressive beginning and end would get you good marks.

What I did to cater to all of this was mug up a few ‘difficult’ words from books like BBC, Together with English, Golden guide etc., learn a generic beginning and end that would fit in most article topics so that I was ready with at-least 70-80 words before-hand. All I now I had to do was fill was just a hundred more words to reach an 8 out of 10, smooth!

I used the exact same strategy till my class 12, and I ‘thought’ I knew how to write articles. It was later that I actually started reading in my college days where I was exposed to some pretty articles/content which made me realize that a 50 word article, without one fancy word, but just an interesting opinion that made me think on the topic made a great read for me. Do you think such an article would get a 10 on 10 in an English school examination? No.

I really wish the education system moves in a direction where the thought is give more importance than the number of words, where a student pays more attention to the flow of the article than counting the number of words in it, where an article like the one I mentioned gets a 10 on 10. We’ll have so many better writers in our country that way.

And wait, what did I tell my sister? “Go read BBC and Together with English, teachers waheen se topics pick karti hai :P”

But I did give this perspective to her too 🙂

All the best if you’re giving your school exams right now!

What’s the hardest thing to do in life?

Moving on, that’s the hardest thing to do in life. And no ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t just have to do with moving on with from your exes. There’s much more.

Back in college, I was very passionate about theaters. Post college hours, I would invest all my time and energy in building that character that I had to play on stage, in getting that line, that emotion right. So much so that the character would become a part of me, and that would reflect on stage too. But once I was done performing the play and had received my share of appreciation/criticism, the hardest thing for me was to move on to the next play, the next character I had to portray on stage. The hardest thing for me was to kill that part of me that I’d worked on, built over weeks, months and move on to the next one.

And gradually over time, I realized that this was something that each one of us felt was terribly hard for each one of us to do. Moving on from the school/college friends who gave us the best time of our lives to our workplaces, moving on from the jobs that you worked so hard to get into because you don’t like it anymore, moving on from being complacent about that successful venture you built, that song you wrote, that act you did that everyone is talking about to the next one, from that failure has bogged you down and broken you into pieces to the next face of your life and of course, moving on from your exes. You know the last one pretty well, I’m sure.

And I use this lesson that I’d learnt from my experience in theaters, that like every good or bad act comes to an end, every high or low in life does too. And no matter how much our heart wants to stay with the part of us that we are presently, it is important for us to move on.

Khushi se itna pyaar kyun karta hai tu?

Khushi se itna pyaar kyun karta hai tu,
Ek baar gam se haath mila kar toh dekh

Jeet ke itne peeche kyun pada hai tu,
Ek baar zara saa haar ke toh dekh

Khushi mehsus karne kaa Mazaa hi kya,
Agar gam kaa aansu nahi piya.

Pyaar karne aur paane ki voh ada hi kya,
Agar tanha nahi jiya

Jab mausam chaar hai, aur phool anek,
Toh khushi ko gam se zyada pyaar kyun karta hai tu,
Uss dost ko khone ke bhay se, pyaar karne se kyun darta hai tu.

Buzdil ki tarah ghut-ghut ke kyun jeeta hai,
Ek baar apni awaaz duniya ko suna kar toh dekh.

Khushi se itna pyaar kyun karta hai tu,
Ek baar gam se haath mila kar toh dekh.

Placements aa rahi hain, resume review kardo?

So it’s that time of the year again! The placement season for most of the final year students is round the corner. I, like most of my folks of the Batch of ’15 have received a lot of “Resume review kardo” requests of late. And I’ve tried to make sure that I review all of them, just like my seniors did in my placement season. Just wanted to wish the students all the luck in the upcoming placement/internship season. Before sitting for any company, just remember that it’s just a job!

– In the next few days, it’s going to rain elated Facebook statuses on your wall. One of them could be your status, or probably not. Just keep working; you’ll get a good job, or a decent one atleast!
Big congratulations to you if you get that dream job early on. If you don’t, feel happy for your friends who did, hug them tight and most importantly, like and comment on their Facebook status. 😛

– The only thing that you’re going to miss out on life if you don’t get that dream job is a slightly high CTC, and a few proud padosis who only know of Google, Facebook and Samsung as the only companies that exist in this world in the first place. You’ll reach where you want to be, if you genuinely love what you do. Most importantly, your placement is never going to be the reason for your friends, and family to love you more.

-Remember, your placement could be a great job, an average job or a very bad job that you never wanted. But it’s going to be your FIRST JOB. It’s going to be the job that’s going to make your earn your first salary, it’s going to let you buy stuff by yourself, and is going to shape the person you become in the next few years. All of this is a really big deal, take pride in your first job. You’ve earned it.