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.

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!

10 Things to do in college life

We all have those few things in mind, that always want to do when we join college don’t we? I had mine too, and I did manage to live some of those and a few more. This is an article that I wrote a month before I was about to leave college, and got a pretty awesome response. Pado 🙂

As I write this post, less than 30 days remain for my college life to get over.  I’m an undergraduate student at one of the best, and one of the most unknown engineering colleges of India called “Netaji Subhas Institute Of Technology”. But this college has rightly given me the most four beautiful years of my life. Trying to list down a few things that made these four years so beautiful. Hope they help!

1) Date: I thought of starting with the most interesting one first! I’d recommend everyone to date atleast once in their college lives. It could be a serious relationship, a fling or just a cup of coffee with a guy/girl. Oh and stop cribbing about the fact that you’re not good enough! You don’t need a six pack, or a hot figure to be attractive. All that you need to do is strike a good conversation. And that ain’t rocket science! Trust me you’re always going to remember your first date, relationship or heartbreak. It shall teach you lessons that you shall always remember. And the feeling of being liked by someone from the opposite sex isn’t such a bad feeling! So stop stalking her on facebook. GO, ask her out!

2) Fail: This is something that not a lot of people I see are willing to do. If you genuinely want to achieve something big in life, you should be willing to take risks, and more importantly, willing to fail. Your failures, wrong decisions are going to teach you lessons that no right decision ever could.

I was always fascinated by the idea of taking the stage in school, and I couldn’t even string a few words of English on stage back then. I tried taking the stage a number of times in my first year. And honestly, my first few experiences sucked. I was literally booed at on almost all the occasions, but I stood my ground. I slowly kept getting better with time, and the same audience cheered for me after a few months! As a result, I’ve anchored a lot of events in and outside college, been a part of, and won a number of debates, acted in several plays, given a number of presentations and represented my college at Harvard! And the funny part? I still mumble, chew up words and forget my lines quite often. There still are events where my experience on stage isn’t as good. But I make sure I learn from my mistakes, regularly.
But yes, just don’t fail in your academics. Those backlogs are really hard to cover up, trust me.

With Veet in the backdrop, I know it looks like a pretty hilarious picture. But the picture above shows one of the first events, that I managed to anchor successfully.

A picture from the Harvard National Model UN, a debating event organised by Harvard University at Boston, where I had the opportunity of representing my college.

One of my first presentations. 😀

3) Study: Yeah, this sounds like a depressing one. But not many people will tell you this. Please make sure you don’t stop studying. If you’ve made it to a good college, just don’t rest and assume that your college is going to land you in a good job. If you haven’t, don’t lose heart. A lot of people I know, who are not from the “elite colleges”, and have made it big. Just be regular with your classes, and study well in the last few days, and you’ll be fine. Even if your passion doesn’t lie in your field of study, a good percentage doesn’t hurt, does it?

4) Travel: Make sure you travel a lot in your college years. It could be with your friends, family, a bunch of strangers or a solo trip. It is not just going to give you great experiences to cherish, but will also tell you a lot about the people around you. One of the most amazing things that one of my friends said a few days back:
The real character of a person shows when you live, work or travel with the person”

Travel, clearly is the most amazing and fun means to know someone. The good and the bad sides of a person are so much more prominent when you travel with him. I’ve got a lot closer with the people I’ve traveled with, and I think I understand myself a lot better post every trip that I go to.

5) Pull an all-nighter: Yes, this is a must do for all college students reading this! It could be a night stay, a night out, a drunk night, or just a night where you had to stay up to pull off a college fest. You’ll remember these nights the most, when you look back at your college days.
This is me at 4AM in the night on the top of the entrance gate of my college, trying to put up a flex. 😛

6) Try and find your passion: A lot of students, atleast in India land up in courses where they did not want to be in the first place(Most of them ending up being engineers, doctors or lawyers, that is). This happens mostly because of parental pressure, or log kya kahenge(What will people think of us?). It’s okay if you’ve landed yourself in the wrong course, this is the time for you to give your passion a serious shot. It could be dance, music, theaters, sports, photography or just starting up your own company. Yes, you may fail and fall in the process, but that is only going to make you stronger. Who knows, you might just make a great career out of it! If you fail, you always have your college degree to fall back upon, and you have great story to tell your friends! 😛

7) Talk to as many people as you can: In the four years of your college life, you’ll pass by a total of 7 batches. Make sure you talk to as many people, in and outside your college.
In the process, you’ll come across two types of people, as Vir Das rightly puts it:

“Type 1 will make you feel better than who you are. Type 2 will make you feel worse.

If you meet type 1 first, make it last, do whatever it takes.

If you meet type 2, you will know. You always know. Have some fun and wait for type 1. They are probably right around the corner.”

Follow this, religiously!

8) Read: This is one of the most important habits that you can possibly develop in your college years. Read fiction, news, entertainment, technology or anything that interests you! But make sure you read regularly. Regular reading is one habit that is not just going to add on to your knowledge and creativity, but shall also give you a perspective to life, that not many people will be able to give to you.

9) Learn the art of not giving a f*ck: This is something that I feel is of UTMOST importance. You’ve spent your entire school life thinking of what your parents, friends think of you. STOP giving a f*ck about what people think about you now. Everything that you do, will be judged upon by people. Trust me, everything! You study too much? They’ll label you a nerd. You talk too much? They’ll call you obnoxious. So just learn the art of being comfortable in your skin, and accept yourself for who you are. You’ll not just make a great career, but will also make unadulterated friendships. Friendships, where people love you for who you really are.

10) Have a few really close friends, or at least one: Yes, you’re going to meet a lot of people in your college life. But make sure you have those bunch of close friends by your side. Friends with whom you can be yourself, share your happy and sad times with, who you know will call you to ask where you are if you’re not around, and who you would want to stay in touch with for the rest of your lives. You don’t have to force friendships like these on people, they just happen with time. When it feels right with those few people, don’t let them go!


This, well is my bunch of close friends.

Live, love, laugh, fall, cry. Feel every emotion in these four years. Make sure these four years of your life make a beautiful story worth looking back to. 🙂

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.