Days of My Life

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

What I say today is what mohammad ali said once , "It is very hard to be humble when you are as great as me". Lest people may be mistaken I am not into boxing. and therefore I resist from praising myself :)

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Farewell ...

After a month of hectic activity when elections got cancelled, I decided on a career and btw the end semesters were also held, I did relax seriously albeit for only a week. Was at home for that week and felt as close to heaven as any man ever did. Enjoying with friends at the hostel is memorable but with people who've seen you since when you were a gawky primary school student it is altogether a different experience.

Its also been a month of many send offs and farewells. My seniors at college are graduating. I was one of the many people who had respect only for a few of them. I always felt that the others did not fulfill their responsibilities as seniors. But over a period of time the feeling did go away. We all grow up, dont we ? I understood that different people have different priorities and who was I to decide that they had gotten their priorities wrong or right. But one thing was sure. My seniors enjoyed their stay here. Better still they made long lasting friendships. I miss most of them. Especially my two good friends Nirupam and my namesake Ravi Shankar. We gave a party to some of the seniors we know at Dhola-ri-Dhani and it was great fun. I was overcome by emotion (which is very rare) and gave a speech asking them to not forget us and grow high enough in their careers to help us grow too.

This system of helping juniors of your college to grow is a very interesting and beautiful thing.I believe one of the IITs (Kanpur is it ?) has a system called Bhai (elder brother) where a senior who was your Bhai helps you as much as he can to get admissions to schools in the US and to get a job and also as entrepreneurs and angel investors. For a growing place like IIIT we need as many Bhais as we can and also many Behans too :)

So farewell dear seniors. I miss you. And for some others whom I do not miss much ...

we shall meet again when fate has ordained
accounts to settle and works to end
never forget my right ...
For I will not your slight

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Reporting 0300 hrs !!!

Early to bed and early to rise, make a man wise... but here he cries.

Its been an eternity since I've woken up at 0300 hrs. Forcibly at least. It took me back to some fateful days in my life. Then there were three alarms placed strategically and timed to perfection so that they go off at intervals of 5 min. And each of them required me to travel great distances within my own room to switch them off. Just to be sure, there was a telephone alarm timed to a further 10 min interval. So one can be sure that there were lots of alarm bells ringing in my life right from the morning.All of it sounds very funny in retrospective. In fact it sounds so irrational today. Trading your common sense for some high fundu goal and on top of it being reminded day & night that the goal is only for people who are more irrational. People who attend classes on chilling winter mornings with no woollens and the fan in maximum. And having a bath was mandatory. Listening to classes with no passion for the subject, just to pass an exam. Not answering a question and the result being a premature send off to home with express instructions to come along with your parents the next day. A casual look at the female section of the class prompting a scornful look and a remark that made you the most lecherous and lustful human being since Ravan of Ramayan fame. Living in fear day & night and seeing your parents remark of what a once fiercely independent, cheerful and free spirited child been reduced to. But still adjusting in the larger 'interest' of the goal. Highly irrational. But then except for a set of numbers nothing was rational in my life those days. Why didn't I quit ? Partly out of love for parents and partly out of some feeling that maybe all that was required for the goal.

It amuses me when people attribute their success in IIT-JEE to all or some of the above lifestyle. One of the best books I've read till date is Taliban by a Pakistani journalist - Ahmed Rashid. And the methods were quite similar both in Ramayya & Afghanistan. Some successful JEE crackers even subjected themselves to Opus Dei (Extreme catholicism, described brilliantly in 'The Da Vinci Code') kind of treatments. Eating chillies so that their eyes remain red and they dont sleep. Having endless cups of mouth scalding tea. Not blinking for minutes on end thinking that it improves concentration. Visiting temples & mosques not out of any spiritual requirement or for divine grace or love but out of some unfounded fears. I definitely think they are insulting their own intelligence when they say "I wouldn't have made it but for such treatment". If you argue on similar lines Iraq, Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan under Taliban should have been much more successful than USA.

It made me smarter when two things happened - failure in spite of most of the above stupidity & seeing more rational people clearing JEE. When failure is a high probability there is no point in insulting a whole set of entities from your own principles to your parents. When there is a better way accept it. As a result of my stint at ramayya the major component of my value system is the belief in freedom.

I believe that free will is the greatest gift God has given us (Atheists may call it the power of reason). That is in fact the only gift we get apart from a hopefully able body.Its what we make of it that really counts. Intelligence & Hard Work reinforce our ideas and help us move towards developing them on a path that we have chosen of our own volition. One leads to Creativity and the other to Performance. When one decides to barter his/her free will to someone else's he is left with nothing. He is a pauper in the real sense. He has lost his power to make decisions forever. Any trouble he looks up to people. He needs constant help, guidance & approval. How low should a person's self esteem fall that he should wait for approval to carry out every minor task. Under constant fear of failure. I believe great societies cannot be built nor can great inventions be made under the leadership of such people.

I might negotiate with anything in my life.My will is however non-negotiable. It is & WILL be FREE.

Freedom hath a thousand charms to show,
That slaves however contented never know.