Error 404

I have just entered eleventh grade, the land of the sleep-deprived, or my junior year of high school, and as was the case in tenth grade, I have two words for my academic life now, Information Overload. For once, I’m not talking about the academic pressure, (yes, of course, it’s presence is unfading, but it’s something that has almost become secondary when the rat race of securing admissions in good colleges is taken into consideration). Most students enter eleventh grade knowing that academic pressures will be high, but few know that their conversations will, over the course of the next two years, be solely dominated by comparisons of elite colleges and universities.

With an influx of advice from experts such as career counsellors and online portals engaging in career mapping, students like myself often end up becoming more confused, with various adults conducting psychometric tests on us poor lab mice to determine the ‘best fit’ career options for us. They also suggest other back-up careers which support our interests in case our first choice fails. No doubt, in India, this is a relatively new service, and in many underdeveloped areas, where children do not receive career guidance at home, these counsellors are providing some excellent help. In addition, let’s face the fact that it’s a fantastic business opportunity as well; the fees, per student, for a few sessions and some personalised help, range from Rs. 7000-10,000.

The fundamental problem with many of these psychometric tests, apart from the standardisation, is the fact that they suggest careers, on the basis of which they outline career plans, including best fit colleges. However, perhaps a more functional solution, maybe not perfect, involves regular sessions of workshop vocational training, where students interact with experts from various fields including medicine, law, performing arts, pure sciences, engineering, business, etc. Teaching students the real-time requirements and aspects of a career, along with potential future advancements in the field is the ultimate way to get them decided on what they like or dislike. Personally speaking, one of my friends, unsure of her goals, has appeared for five consecutive psychometric test, each with divergent results. Now, she has reached a point where she believes that she has no focus and can never get anywhere. If she had actually met some experts from the various fields she is interested in, she might have found her calling or her ‘dream’ career.

Another major problem I see with psychometric evaluation is the intense focus on the ‘dream’ college. The career coaches suggest ways to get into those colleges and get the brand name of those colleges on a student’s resume. In eleventh grade, no one talks of anything less than getting into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the University of California, Berkeley, without realising what they actually want to do there. For most students, regardless of the course they’re pursuing and its alignment with their goals, it’s just the brand name of the university that matters. And counsellors thrive on this branding and marketing; after all, thirty of their fifty students are In Ivy League colleges. As much as I’m programmed to want to get into one of these colleges myself, sometimes I feel that these colleges are only selling membership to an exclusive club. Indian entrance examinations are another ball game altogether, where there’s no subjectivity whatsoever, scores and only scores matter for top-notch colleges.

For all those students criticising their parents or teachers for pushing them in a certain direction, I just want to say one thing. They have observed you for the last fifteen to seventeen years of your life and will always be with you; they can give better advice than a counsellor who has known you for little more than two hours, and that too, via a psychometric test. I would like to add that I’m not demeaning the work of counsellors, this is just an opinion, but I’m tired of the ‘I’m going to a counsellor for career advice’ fashion statement that comes from students these days.

With that, I’m signing off, to probably go and write another mandated psychometric test. 😉

Advertisements

Just Another Fake News Channel- A Fresh Outlook

This is an excerpt from my recently updated post – Questions and Answers with President Trump.

[…]

Welcome to my imaginary global news channel, ‘A Fresh Outlook’. I am senior international news correspondent Maanini Singhvi and once again, I have had the privilege to welcome the President of the United States to a one-on-one interview, concerning his latest political moves, his impending meeting with the leader of North Korea and the even more petrifying possibility of a meeting with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Here is the full transcript of our conversation.

24th May, 2018-

Me- Welcome, sir. I trust that you have been informed of the subje-

President Trump- Yes, yes. I know why we are here. Hang on a second, will ya? Put on this mask that I made. Well, Ivanka helped me tape the rubber band on.

Me- Sir, that’s a mask with the face of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

President Trump- I know, I know. My lawyers, mainly Rudy Giuliani, ’cause everyone else left, wanted you to wear it so that we can practice for my ‘inevitable’ meeting with that Mueller guy. ‘Inevitable’, isn’t that a good word? I overheard it, when Mike Pence was talking to his staffers about his chance at the presidency. He later told me that it means ‘never’. He’s a really good guy.

Me (rubbing my temples)– Ohhhhh…Very well, sir. Do you have anything in mind regarding your interview with Mr. Mueller? For example, have you rehearsed any answers?

President Trump- Oh, I have a lot in mind. Just don’t publish this, okay? (Whispering) I’m going to go against my lawyers’ advice and go totally unscripted for the interview. I’ll tell Mueller all about Vlad.

Me (visibly flabbergasted)– Sir, forget I asked that. Would you like to elaborate on why you chose to back out from the Iran nuclear deal, which was one of the signature achievements of your predecessor?

President Trump- Well, the Iran Nuclear Deal was badly negotiated and never benefitted the United States. It made Iran rich and could only have led to a ‘cat-as-trophe’. And (inaudible), the United Shursh (inaudible) would only be benefitted if I undo Obama’s policies, ‘cause those policies never got us anywhere. You look at North Korea, people say I deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for that thing. But, we’ll see about that, we’ll see.

Me- Sir, my question was about Iran, not North Korea, but since you did bring up North Korea, I would like to ask you about the constant efforts of President Moon Jae-in of South Korea in bringing the North to the negotiation table.

President Trump- President Moon and I are best friends. Literally, best friends. Sorry, Macron, I won’t brush off your dandruff anymore, (inaudible). President Moon has certainly been instrumental in talks with Little Rocket Man ‘cause they both speak Korean. Also, I personally hold the belief that my unpredictability has scared Little Rocket Man. I’m so unpredictable with my foreign policy that people, including my own staffers, say they never know what’s coming next.

Me- But, that is precisely what ‘unpredictable’ means-

President Trump (continues)– I’m such an unpredictable person that Little Rocket Man destroyed his own nuclear testing site so that I would agree to talk to him. But alas, the June 12th summit may not work out. It’s very unpredictable right now.

Me- Sir, the testing site is unstable, on the verge of collapsing, after he conducted his sixth test there, according to studies conducted by China. Further, your national security adviser, John Bolton, made explicit references to the 2003 Libya model when speaking about North Korea. What are your views on that?

President Trump (grunting)– Well, if I lose support for my Nobel Peace Prize campaign because of him, John Bolton is going to go down either like the Spicer or the Scaramucci model. Also, I like Little Rocket Man. I promise him; if this upcoming summit, whenever it happens, goes according to plan and he agrees to denuclearise, he’ll be good, rich and happy.

Me- Sir, there’s no campaigning for the Nobel Peace Prize. There is a committee that decides the winners. And are you threatening to fire Mr. Bolton?

President Trump (shrugging)– Yeah, I might fire Mustachio, ‘cause I had to do a total 180 on Twitter because of him. You know how hard it is to do a 180? Plus, I have never, ever, ever flipped on my promises. Oh, and are you serious? No campaigning involved for the Nobel Peace Prize?! That’s great! I’m anyway very good at winning things when committees are involved; I won the 2016 presidential election because of the Electoral College. Did you see that beautiful map?

Me (exasperated)– Yes sir, I am a journalist; I covered it on election night. Anyhow, you have been very vocal about your distaste for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. What did you think of the comedienne, Michelle Wolf, who performed this time?

President Trump- She was actually pretty funny, but I can’t admit that, can I? Just don’t publish that statement. I’ll say this, though, she totally bombed. You can publish this statement. The reason those dinners aren’t successful anymore is because I never attend them. They’re just a bunch of fake news journalists, gathered in a hall, deciding on their next fake news story. Did you see their TV ratings this time? They probably broke the record for worst ratings. CNN probably gets better TV ratings than those dinners ever do. Ughhhh…  (Inaudible). And I want to take this opportunity to thank Seth Meyers and President Obama. Their 2011 roast was the reason I ran for President. And I also ran to ‘Make America Great Again’, of course.

Me- Sir, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. Before, we leave however, I would like to ask you…Yanny or Laurel?

President Trump (gasps)– I’ll call Michael Cohen to get him to pay both.

Me (shocked)Sir, no! I meant the recent auditory illusion that has become an Internet phenomenon.

President Trump- Oh, that thing, it could be Laurel, but to be honest, I heard ‘covfefe’. Don’t give me mini-panic attacks like that. And plus, I think you’re fake news, too.

Disclaimer: This is an attempt at political satire. No offence intended to anyone; this is simple, light-hearted comedy. I sincerely hope that everyone, regardless of political affiliation, is able to enjoy this post. Thank you, Mr. John Oliver, for that amazing ‘Scaramucci model’ joke.

Why So Mysterious?

Thank you to Sophia Ismaa Writes for nominating me for my first Mystery Blogger Award; I don’t know why I seem mysterious, but I gratefully accept the honour. She is a genuinely brilliant writer, fiercely passionate about bringing positive changes in society and is unpretentious; her writing showcases her true beliefs, whether it is about politics, justice or feminism. Please do visit her blog.

Here are the answers to the questions asked. (Honestly, I found them really interesting to answer and hope that everyone finds the answers just as interesting to read.)

1. What is one book you read that made an impact on you?

-For all practical purposes, all I can hope is that my textbooks have left an impact on me. A lot of my dream career hinges on that.

Although I’m committing an act of injustice to the multitude of classics that I have read, I think the most impactful book would be ‘The Story of My Life’ by Helen Keller. Through her book, she allows the reader to experience everything she felt in her early years, the frustration, the moments of pride, her equation with her teacher, her graduation, etc. Her sheer determination really speaks volumes to the reader.

2. What is the strangest, weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

-Where do I start? Peas, broccoli, cabbage….Those aren’t bad enough? Okay, let me try better than that.

Just this past year, my school had planned a trip to Coorg, a hill station close to Bangalore for all us tenth graders. (I still feel bad for the teachers accompanying us. Ma’am, if you are reading this, the-loitering-around-the-resort-like-ghosts-at-11-PM was not my idea, I promise.)

The hotel room I was sharing with three of my friends did not have a functional microwave, so we only had a tea kettle to boil water. We had a packet of noodles with us that we decided to cook, or in more teenage terms, have a ‘Maggi party’. You are probably wondering what could go wrong with that. When teenagers are involved, practically everything can.

One of my friends decided to demonstrate the superiority of her cooking skills and boiled an excess amount of water in the kettle. Then, she forgot the pouch of tastemaker (masala) inside the wrapper and proceeded to throw it out. (To this day, I don’t know whether it was a prank or not.)

The rest of us, who were totally unaware of what she had done, spent the next half-an-hour trying to eat/drink flavourless noodles submerged in hot water. I advise you, never try that. Aware of our own cooking abilities though, we did not criticise her at all, we just made fun of her for the next three months. Excusable, right?

3. Name a few things about blogging you love and certain things that irritate you.

Things I Love About Blogging-

-1. I love the fact that most bloggers, at least on WordPress, welcome new ideas and are ready to have discussions without ridiculing one another. This is really heartwarming, considering that in an era of social media, it is extremely easy to troll and bully people under the garb of anonymity.

-2. Blogging is a great creative outlet which allows readers to share their views with the blogger. The interactive environment and immediate feedback are conducive to high levels of discourse. Personally, I also feel that blogging enhances the quality of my writing. When I used to write essays just for myself, I had no incentive to improve upon them. Now, I am increasingly trying to get better in hopes of satisfying and widening my existing readership. Yes, I am praise-oriented.

Things I Dislike About Blogging-

-1. It takes a long time to acquire a readership. I am certain that every blogger reading this can relate to that. Becoming an overnight sensation is next to impossible and although we all dream of that when we start blogging, it just doesn’t happen to most of us. No matter how good you think your content is, readers come gradually. The most important thing is to continue posting your best work while waiting for readers to notice you.

-2. Lecturing bloggers like ‘A Fresh Outlook- Maanini Singhvi’ are quite agonising to be around. However, she asked me to endorse her in this post, so I will. Please visit her site. She desperately needs readers.

-3. Sophia Ismaa asking me complicated questions like this one is something that absolutely terrifies me. 😉 (Please do excuse my humour, Sophia. We’re friends, right?)

4. Take BuzzFeed’s: ‘Everyone Has a British Food That Matches Their Personality Quiz’ and post your results; food and description included!image1And I thought I was going to get Welsh cakes, because I’m so sweet. But no….

Well, as they say, BuzzFeed knows best.

5. Recommend a book in one paragraph (3 sentences max)!

-Khaled Hosseini’s ‘And the Mountains Echoed’ is truly a masterpiece, beautifully written, yet painfully sad. It is an interconnection of stories that span nearly 60 years of Afghan history, delving deep into the consequences of an act of separation that scars the life of two young siblings, who reunite much later, but under completely different circumstances. The reunion is not one which the reader wants; it is not hugs and tears; rather, it is heartbreaking and riddled with the bitter truth of reality.

-(I can’t believe that was three sentences.)

My Questions:

1. Describe your personality in five words (a single sentence). List any five novels you would recommend to readers of all ages.
2. What is your take on the proliferation of xenophobia and other fears regarding immigrants worldwide?
3. Do you believe in aliens or non-carbon-based life? (Humour intended).
4. Do you think that Artificial Intelligence can take over the world?
5. If you had to visit the beach or an amusement park, what would be your choice and why?

My Nominees:

1. superheroes009
2. Rida Yumn Ahmed
3. poeticallyyours360
4. KraftingThoughts

All readers are also nominated.

This award was created by Okoto Enigma to celebrate blogs which captivate, inspire and motivate bloggers. It is a fun way for bloggers to get to know each other’s interests and preferences better.

Tagore’s Ideals and Our Progress

Where the Mind is Without Fear- Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake
.

In light of certain cases which have currently been dominating the news feed in India, let us take some time to compare our visionaries’ inspirational ideals to our current conditions with a line-by-line analysis of this beautiful poem. 

Rabindranath Tagore’s “Where the Mind is Without Fear” is a poem that envisages a country where there is no fear of oppression, where discrimination is eradicated, where illogic and superstitions have no place and where the people have dignity and embrace reason and knowledge. In the form of a prayer to the Almighty, Tagore sets the ideals that he believed would make India flourish. Even the Constituent Assembly adapted Tagore’s ideals into the Preamble of the Constitution, where India is declared to be a sovereign republic, free from internal and external coercions. When the Constitution was brought into effect, India became free from external oppression, but internal compulsions have still not vanished. We still cling to some of the worst issues that a society can possibly face.

In the decade of 1940, the world saw two iconic events which continue to be explored today in extensive detail. The pre-independence struggle of India spread a powerful message of rebellion against imperialism, whereas the Holocaust intended to revive hatred and discriminatory beliefs against certain minorities. At the same time when the horrors inflicted by Adolf Hitler on Jews and other minorities in Europe spread ramifications all over the world, the non-violent Gandhian struggle for India’s independence spread another powerful message; a message that the world respected, a mass freedom movement, Satyagraha, that relied on truth and insistence, ultimately forcing the British to withdraw and transfer power. It later influenced the American civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr., and the anti-Apartheid movement of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. In spite of our glorious freedom struggle, the question is, have we attained the ‘heaven of freedom’ envisioned by so many revolutionaries apart from Rabindranath Tagore?

No country in the world has truly achieved freedom, in terms of mindsets and societal issues. Even the seemingly perfect Western democracies have a long way to go, suffering their own problems of mass-shootings, hostility towards immigrant workers and increasing jingoism. The growing culture of Trumpism is creating intensely nationalistic conditions worldwide. So, in India, is our problem the lack of nationalism? Certainly! Saluting the flag, standing up for the national anthem, beating up anyone who does not do so and spewing hatred towards people online under the garb of anonymity is our brand of nationalism. We do not pay adequate attention to the constructive nation-building programmes, in which we can actively participate. We are a nation which happily discusses the political views of actors and celebrities and maligns them for days, considering ourselves nationalists. To achieve Tagore’s ideals, we must be selflessly patriotic, not selfishly patriotic, which is what we are heading towards.

Tagore envisioned a country where the mind exists without fear; even today, there are several fears among people. There is fear to speak out against wrongdoing; the resulting severe backlash and the branding as being ‘politically incorrect’ forces people into submission. There is fear to expose corruption of high officials, consequences being harassment and even killing. Money and wealth define status; people in impoverished communities still cannot hold their heads high with dignity. People blame women for the crimes against them and lawyers defend those criminals. Victims of such crimes still have not been empowered enough to hold their heads high with dignity.

Knowledge is still not free; government schools lack the infrastructure to cater to the talents of their students and private education is still the monopoly of the higher income groups. Even reservation systems in schools are exploited by those who do not need it. Economically stable students portray themselves as backward to cash in the benefits of the reservation system, depriving those who truly need it. This is only leading to an increase in the number of sub-par engineers, sub-par doctors graduating. A sizeable population of ‘independent’ India still represents an emaciated nation submerged in poverty and illiteracy.

Tagore idealised a country where narrow domestic walls do not fragment the nation and words emerge from the depth of truth. However, in undeveloped regions, age-old prejudices, casteism and honour killings still persist. In the name of diversity and adequate representation, the huge body of Parliament exists, but its sessions are washed away with trivial issues, blame games and politicians trying to defend their self-worth. Resolutions do not come out in benefit of the people and the depth of truth, rather the interests of the ruling party. The judiciary hesitates in implementing the Uniform Civil Code across all religions.

The poet prays that the clear stream of reason does not vanish in the dreary desert of age-old customs and superstitions do not override the ability to make right judgements. He wants the mind to be led forward by the Almighty, into open-mindedness and a willingness to embrace change. With growing urbanisation and the rise in a younger, more free-thinking population, people have indeed abandoned their superstitions and are gradually eliminating irrelevant age-old customs. However, due to the restrictive nature of our education systems and mindsets, even with such a talented and young population, India still cannot boast of twenty-year-old billionaires and innovative start-ups. We are a country where the Prime Minister needs to start a cleanliness drive (Swachh Bharat Mission) across the nation to remind us to keep our surroundings clean.

India so far is the most developed of the developing countries and our country’s youth and large working population is our biggest asset. We are growing and becoming self-aware, however, there’s a journey of a thousand miles ahead, which we must begin with a single step. We must focus on helping the underprivileged, caring for our own surroundings and empowering each other. We must actively encourage the feelings of brotherhood in our community to completely dismantle the goals of any politician trying to play by caste or religion and only then can we truly be selfless patriots and say “I love my India”.

Many of these thoughts have been coursing through my head for a considerable period of time now and I must admit, I am also guilty, to a large extent, of not participating in the constructive programmes that I have described. I have written this post, not to criticise anyone, but to put my own guilt into words. I sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading this post!

Several Milestones- One Post

Here we go with my Academy Award acceptance speech-

I have reached a milestone both in my experience as a blogger and as a student. ‘A Fresh Outlook‘ has recently crossed a hundred followers! When I started blogging, I had one email follower, my friend, Katie, in the United States. This number has grown to over a hundred now, implying that I have been able to assimilate into this beautiful WordPress community of thought-provoking ideas. This experience of blogging is an ongoing one and every day, there’s something new and delightful to read! Thank you all for your continued love and support!

As a student, I’ve reached the culmination of my tenth grade finals, (affectionately called Board Exams by the student body in India). 😂 This is the first major academic milestone of my life, and I’ve made it through with extensive support from my parents and teachers.

The task of simply making it through each exam, day by day, was arduous and now, it has come to a point where just the fact that the exams have reached an end is enough to give a feeling of excessive gratification, before the anticipation of the results sets in…;)

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank superheroes009 for nominating me for my first Sunshine Blogger Award and Rida Yumn Ahmed for nominating me for my second Sunshine Blogger Award.

End of Academy Award acceptance speech. 😂

(I have combined the two award nominations in one post to create a more comprehensive set of answers).

Sunshine Blogger Award #1-Nomination by superheroes009– Questions and Answers-

1. What does the name of your blog stand for?

-My blog’s name stands for my perception of the society we live in. It’s a series of unrelated articles that I write on the spur of the moment. Nothing elaborate or deeply meaningful. Uhhh….Sometimes, I wish I could be Shakespeare.

2. What’s the one thing that makes you feel amazing about yourself?

-I can’t answer this without indulging in self-praise, can I? I guess, the best thing about me is that I’m not a rebellious teenager….

“This comes too near the praising of myself; therefore no more of it…”–Portia (The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare, Act III, Scene 4)

Thank you, ICSE English Literature. I can’t be Shakespeare, but I can quote him.

3. What are your hobbies other than blogging?

-I love learning languages, especially French. I aim to be fluent in it.. Along with that, I’m a full-time student. I like following Donald Trump’s antics as well.

4. What/Who is your source of inspiration or motivation?

-Helen Keller is my inspiration; I cannot even begin to describe a deaf-blind woman who overcame all deterrents to emerge as one of the most versatile and self-reliant people of the twentieth-century. Her versatility ranged from performing onstage to writing to charity work and fundraising.

5. Describe yourself in six words.

-I am sociable but mostly introverted. (I was trying my best to stretch that sentence. Honestly, I really do not know).

6. Do you think your current leader or government is propelling the country in the right direction?

-Yes, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is performing decently under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP members are intrinsically nationalistic in their approach and I disagree with their jingoism, but I think they are economically quite a progressive party. Their economic moves, especially demonetisation, introduction of GST (Goods and Services Tax), though poorly implemented by the administrative officers, were probably flawless action plans on paper.

Coming to the ‘intense nationalism‘ propagated by the party, I think that this is a problem which plagues the entire world right now. Nationalism is good to the extent where it helps in constructive nation-building programmes, but jingoism is flawed and only builds hatred for other communities. So, BJP should change in that sense by giving up its extremely pro-Hindu stance. And the Indian National Congress (the Opposition Party) should focus on staying secular and stop all the minority appeasement, which they do only to obtain votes, not with any good intentions. The British focused on minority appeasement when they ruled over India, and now the Congress is doing it.

7. Name any of your five favorite movies.

English-
Pixar is truly the most amazing thing that has ever happened to the world of filmmaking.

1. Toy Story trilogy (especially Toy Story 3)
2. Ratatouille (This ties in with my interest in the French culture and I think the movie is seriously underrated)
3. The Dark Knight
4. Baby’s Day Out- (Yes, I’m sorry, but I loved it!)
5. Dunkirk (I really liked the lack of spoken dialogue in this film. I think watching the movie in IMAX really enhanced the experience).

Get Smart (Steve Carell) was probably the first Hollywood movie I watched; I was five or six at the time, didn’t understand anything, but loved the slapstick comedy.

Hindi-
1. Dangal
2. Rang de Basanti (I enjoy social issues portrayed in a unique perspective)
3. Airlift (Tells the story of the real-life civilian evacuation of 170,000 Indians living in Kuwait when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. It was the largest-ever civilian evacuation in history and was carried out by Air India….My mom and i both adore this movie).
4. Lagaan- (Finally, a movie which makes cricket even remotely interesting)
5. Hindi Medium- (A parody of the current state of the Indian education system, very intelligently scripted)

8. Name any songs you’re hooked onto.

-Anything by A.R. Rahman or Coldplay. My dad introduced me to music. He likes ghazals, couplets with an intricate rhyme scheme, sung by Jagjit Singh and written by Mirza Ghalib (my dad even learned Urdu for this). So, at age seven, I asked him if there’s anything better in the world of music, (normally, seven-year-olds don’t enjoy ghazals). 😂 That’s how it all began.

9. What’s your idea of a healthy friendship?

-A healthy friendship is one where both friends don’t have any expectations from each other. I don’t have much experience here…

10. What is one message you want to convey to your readers?

-Start writing. It’s fun.

Sunshine Blogger Award #2- Nomination by Rida Yumn Ahmed– Open-ended Prompt-

Haters will see you walking on water and say it’s because you can’t swim.”

-This is a great question for an essay, but I have just a simple response. Don’t bother too much about what haters or followers think, you can’t keep everyone happy. I’m currently in the fast downward-spiraling vortex of trying to please everyone and it’s not fun down here. The only person you are accountable to is yourself and let the negativity of the haters be channelized into positive energy.

The question initially prompted me to think of Moses for some reason…Anyway, thanks for the nomination and the beautiful prompt!

My Nominees (For the same set of questions):

1. Zankhana Goyal
2. KraftingThoughts

All readers of this post are also nominated. 😊

Liebster Award 2018….Thank You All!

Thank you to KraftingThoughts for nominating me for this wonderful award! You can visit KraftingThought’s amazing site here.

Here are some answers to the questions posed. 

1. If given a chance to choose between a solo trip or a family trip, what would you choose and why?

-Oh, I would definitely choose a family trip! It’s a far more exhilarating experience to create memories together instead of just being alone. As far as self-discovery is concerned, I’m severely restrained by my inability to get up in the mornings. Adventures like hiking, boating, kayaking, etc. are all up my dad’s alley. My adventures are limited to reading a book in bed.

2. Do you prefer dusk or dawn? Why?

-Dawn, because I’m never around to see it. The best place to be at dawn is in bed. At dusk, if you’re in bed, people frown. But yes, on a serious note, the diffused sunlight in both cases is beautiful.

3. Which is one characteristic of yours that is completely different from your current personality? Share and explain.

-I’m a talkative introvert. (My favourite oxymoron right there). I mostly blabber only to close family members, but they all smirk when I call myself an introvert.

4. What is that one moment of your life that you wish to live again, but have severe doubts about its comeback?

-I have two such moments…

I want to be a five-month-old baby again; no stress, no high school, no career choices to worry about; my mom cooing over me and brushing my hair lightly with her fingers, my dad playing with me as soon as he gets home from work. Those were the days. Times were simpler back in 2002, no internet or devices stealing our attention or our parents’ attention. However, the problem with turning into a baby is that I have to live through all these years again. Plus, I would have to take all those painful vaccinations again. Sighhhhhh…

I want to relive the day of my sixth grade graduation party; we had successfully completed elementary school. That was probably the best day of my academic life. I had more certificates than I could hold. I am really scared that I won’t be able to live up to the expectations and have another, more ceremonious day ahead.

5. If you are given a piece of land to construct a building, what kind of building would you get constructed? Why?

-I would probably want to construct a library that boasts of a fusion of technology and paperback books. I would perhaps even want to get an orphanage constructed. But whatever the building is, there would be a lot of greenery surrounding it.

6. Do you prefer foggy-sky-and-snow-filled-mountains or clear-sky-and-green-mountains? Why?

-Foggy-sky-snow-covered-mountains are just ethereally beautiful and picturesque. If they’re tall, rugged peaks, my dad wouldn’t take my mom and me hiking there. We would just admire the landscape. That’s the main reason I prefer them over clear-sky-and-green-mountains, where we’ve done a lot of hiking, (this involved a lot of screams, tantrums, getting up early in the morning, more screams and tantrums).

7. When was that one time you fell down, but adamantly got back up? Think & share.

-I fell off a swing once, when I was alone on the swing-set of my elementary school playground. I then got back up quickly before anyone could see that I had fallen face-flat.

I’m kidding….I had once really hoped to win this photography contest that my elementary school had participated in, but I didn’t even make it as a runner-up. I still pursue my interest in photography, with some very patient advice from my dad, (as well as a lot of disagreements and deleting).

8. What is that one social issue which needs to be talked about, but has not been given its due attention yet? (Try to give us a new perspective of the issue).

-This question deserves to be an essay topic for a 10,000-word dissertation. Expectations from students and the resulting academic pressure are quite under-addressed social issues. I think the global competition for standardised test scores and admissions into universities has increased so much that it has become a major cause for teenage depression. Although teenage depression is a well-addressed issue, this cause is often overlooked. Nothing can be done about it either. You cannot control the cut-throat competition, but the only way to deal with it effectively is through educational reform.

9. Lastly, share some random well-known 5 facts about yourself, that create a puzzle in the reader’s mind regarding your personality. (Describe five traits which your family and friends are aware of. Write those 5 traits in an elusive manner, which are relatable to the reader.)

1. My dream destination is Paris (of course, it’s only a part of a larger Europe tour); it’s a bit cliché, honestly, but it would be so amusing to see my parents’ awestruck faces at all the French they would encounter. It would be further amusing to see how they would react when I am unable to communicate effectively in French even after years of training in the language. (I can write, but I don’t have the parlance of the natives).

2. I have monochromatic vision, yeah, go look up that term. Even I found out the meaning very recently.

3. My favourite cuisine is Thai, though I’m Indian. I love pad-ki-mao, vegetable fried rice, Thai green curry and vegetable massaman curry, (I’m vegetarian).

4. I have no fondness for animals. We co-exist in the world, and that’s enough. I occasionally find some pictures of animals cute, but that’s it.

5. With reference to my mother tongue, Hindi, I can only read and speak it fluently. My writing ability in Hindi is equivalent to a fourth-grader’s. This is because I grew up mostly in the United States and had little writing practice in the language. The irony lies in the fact that my mom had Hindi as a minor in senior high school and my dad is well-versed in the language, reading works of poets even in his engineering and business school years.

My Nominees- (For the same set of questions):

Firstly, I would like to nominate any blogger who writes keeping their readers in mind.

1. da-Al
2. Brian Lageose
3. Ben Aqiba
4. juliehcares
5. soiba

Hope to hear from you all and thanks to everyone for reading my blog with so much enthusiasm! I would like to request everyone to refer to The Global Aussie for rules of the Liebster Award 2018. 

The Role of Education in A Democracy

I recently came across this prompt in an ICSE English Language exam, ‘Democracy cannot survive without education. Give your views for or against the statement.

So I tried to answer this question with some painstaking edits from my dad….;)

So, can democracy survive without education? I don’t think so.

I stand completely for the motion that democracy cannot survive without education. Democracy is defined as a form of government which is ‘of the people, for the people, by the people’. Members of a democracy govern themselves through their elected representatives. Democracy is supported by the pillars of liberty, justice, fraternity and most importantly, equality. In a democratic set-up like India, people are endowed with some fundamental rights, which they must put to judicious use to further personal as well as national interests. This can only happen if people are aware of the society they reside in. This awareness is generated through education.

Education here does not refer to the rigid classroom bound structure that we think of when we hear the word ‘education‘. Here, educated people are those who have some degree or qualification which demonstrates that they are capable of understanding the issues which face society today. Education is a fundamental element that allows people to make the right choices regarding the election of their representatives and leaders. By being aware of the policies and promises of their politicians, people can demand results and hold them accountable. A sense of general awareness keeps people from being scammed by the government. The media runs daily criticism and provides insight into the functioning of the government, allowing people to be socially aware.

History is witness to the fact that humans have come a long way in the path of self-governance. From early human nomadic tribes to tribal chiefs to barbaric rulers to monarchs to oligarchs to dictators, humans have seen it all. Democracy is not at all a new phenomenon; it has been prevalent since the time of the ancient Greeks. The vibrant, thriving Greek democracy had many scholars and revolutionary thinkers like Plato, Aristotle and Socrates who raised the standard of public discourse. In contrast, monarchies and dictatorial regimes suppress individual opinion, their discourse consisting only of propaganda and rumours.

In India especially, absence of education and legal awareness would lead to rule by hooligans. Mobs, mafias, fringe groups, violent protestors would emerge, ravaging the streets and attacking schoolchildren in buses, (cough, cough… Karni Sena). India’s biggest asset is its educated youth, who knows how to use law and put an end to rule by hooligans. Even in India’s struggle for freedom, it was the youth who was at the forefront to put an end to the foreign government in the country.

Even the founding fathers of India were aware of the importance of education in a democracy and debated whether to extend the Universal Adult Franchise to all adults or only to the educated. Their carefully crafted Constitution today successfully governs the largest democracy in the world. For all the reasons enumerated, I firmly believe that democracy cannot sustain itself without the very vital element of education.

A Graduation Memento…

Final exams are yet to start, however, Greenwood High School has given a crystal trophy to each of us, the ICSE tenth grade students, for achieving the academic milestone of a successful tenth grade school year.

I would like to thank Greenwood High for this beautiful honour and for the four wondrous years I spent as a student in this institution.

A2ECA9E8-6BAA-409C-9E97-B36D18CDFA6B

The Youth- La Jeunesse

This is another one of my attempts at writing in French. This article is a bit longer than my previous French article, but I hope you enjoy!

La Vie Des Jeunes-

La jeunesse est une chose que tous les adultes ont expérimentée. C’est une phase qui est très dynamique et active. Les jeunes sont toujours pressé. L’avènement de technologie est un autre facteur qui a accéléré le dynamisme de la vie des jeunes. La vie présente des jeunes est remplie d’ambition, d’intrépidité et de compétitivité. Beaucoup de nouvelles entreprises, aujourd’hui, ont été créées par les jeunes.

Les jeunes sont perçus comme impulsifs. Beaucoup de fois, les jeunes font les choses qui sont terribles et imprévues comme l’intimidation, la violation de la loi et le mauvais comportement avec la famille. On trouve que les jeunes d’aujourd’hui veulent, seulement, une voix dans le monde et d’attention. À travers de médias sociaux, ils obtiennent ces choses. Mais, je ne pense pas que les médias sociaux sont mauvais toujours. La manière d’usage de chaque individu est différente. Il y a beaucoup de jeunes qui utilisent les médias sociaux dans la manière propre, donc, je ne pense pas que la perception de jeunes comme impulsifs est juste.

Les jeunes d’aujourd’hui sont capables de reconnaitre un problème ou un besoin. Ces problèmes sont les déclencheurs pour les jeunes; ils travaillent pour les résoudre. Par exemple, le créateur du site, Facebook, a vu un déficit/écart dans la manière que les gens ont communiqué, donc, il a créé ce site. En plus, les jeunes, au début de leurs carrières, rêvent à grande échelle. Ils espèrent d’être médecins, journalistes, chercheurs, ingénieurs, danseurs, chanteurs, physiciens, etc. Ces rêves inspirent les jeunes à faire une différence et ces rêves des jeunes forment l’avenir pour tout le monde.