Saturday, May 4, 2013

The difference between simply receiving an education and actually being educated.

Hello there!!

It has been a while since I posted anything on my blog which is partly due lack of time and mostly due to a lack of any inclination or inspiration towards the same.

The fact that I am sitting down and writing today, however, is an effect of circumstances very different from the ones that have pushed me to write in the past.

Reading through my blog today made me realize that although I do blog about things that happen to me and also whine about them at times, inspiration has always stemmed from emotions such as happiness (as in the case of when I learned to ride a bike), self-realization (when I realized that I shouldn’t take life too seriously), amusement (at our stupidity on that fateful night when we couldn’t find the main switch) or just silly, girlish rambling as in most of my posts. This is not a fun post. It is not a rant either. I am writing today about something that I believe is a huge issue in our nation that has somehow been overlooked due to circumstances. If you are not in a mood for heavy reading, I would suggest you either scroll down to the other posts or just go to another web page.

Today I write out of a feeling of great sadness and a sense of extreme disgust. I feel let down and things that I have long believed in and ideas that I have always held very close to my heart as being solutions to problems that I believe plague our country and prevent us from being the superpower that we could be are, as I have discovered, not really solutions at all.

This brings me to the title of this post. I am fortunate, I believe, to be born in India and yet belong to a section of society that can afford a college education, speaks fluent English and believes in educating a female child. I consider myself very fortunate. I thank my stars for it every time I see beggars on the road or children in slums. I have often wished that we could be richer as a nation and fast so that we could educate those people who need it and bring them up, hence making us a more empowered and understanding nation.

I have very recently discovered, much to my anguish, that educating a nation isn’t as easy as sending a child to school or college. Education involves wiping out ignorance and ignorance is NOT easily wiped out. Ignorance stays. Ignorance in our nation is a powerful force, pushing itself through every nook and cranny, entering the deepest and darkest crevices, till I find to my disgust, that it is around me too. It has found its way into this wonderfully comfortable world that I have made for myself with my fancy college course and English speaking friends. I believed that I was and would always be surrounded by people who are educated. What I am actually surrounded by is people who are most definitely “very literate” and “above the levels of required literacy levels” who have also “studied things and are pretending to be a part of an educated India” but are in reality only doing what they have to in order to get a degree which may enable them to make money. It is pathetic but they have not even attempted to actually educate themselves and become “educated individuals” that they should. They are still ignorant and stand to be a conspicuous example of how the Indian system of education has failed and continues to fail.

It must be killing you by now, if you are still with me, as to what I am so angry about and the events that have brought forth this rant. To answer that I would have to give you a little history about who I am and where I come from. If you have followed my blog in the past or know me personally you would know that I am Indian, 22 years old as on April this year, I am South Indian (Mallu to be precise) and have spent most of my child hood in Chennai first and then in Manipal, which is in Karnataka.

I will have to admit that through the years, being from a very South Indian family I have heard many awful things being said about people from Northern India. When I learnt that I would be going to college in Pune, the first bit of advice I received from my grandmother was

 “Please make friends with South Indians. North Indians are money minded, racist and cannot be trusted. They come from families that are not very educated and do not speak good English. If you mingle with them you will also become crass and the boys will beat you up.”

It made me very awkward to hear these words as I wanted to vehemently disagree and create a scene. I had to bite my lips and repeat “she is old” in my mind a hundred times before I could finally force a smile, pretend to agree and say “yes ammumma” and change the topic into something that would not make me want to go into a psycho rage and start screaming.

Needless to say, I did not heed to her advice. Of my closest friends from my batch only ONE is South Indian, that too, only by blood. I specify that because he has grown up in Delhi and as a result, the only Indian language he speaks fluently is Hindi. In fact, I would not be wrong if I said his Hindi is as good as his English. He stands to be yet another example of South Indian tolerance and our readiness to imbibe other cultures.

I came to this city as a person who could not speak a word of Hindi. I never had to speak it in the past and hence did not have the opportunity to learn. Today I can hold a conversation in the language. Yes, the grammar is horrific and the accent is downright awful but I can convey what I mean and that is the ultimate aim of a language right? I am also trying to learn every day.

Additionally, I have also discovered a deep rooted love for Punjabi music. Somehow, I have a knack for Punjabi songs and I am not exaggerating when I say that I can sing Pehli Waar by Imraan Khan and Sadi Galli and get the lyrics right (the accent, off course, is still messed up.) I love Honey Singh and swear by many of his songs. I have been known to suddenly start dancing when Punjabi beats play. This behaviour has been greatly encouraged by my friends, one of whom is a Sikh from Chandigarh and is also one of my favourite people in the world.

It is being around people like him and the others that shut me off and made me believe that backward and archaic ideals like regionalism and racism are concepts that no longer exist in our society. I brushed it off as a myth and as something that exists only amongst the poorer classes and the lower echelons. “We are all united because we are educated and know better!” said my mind.

My stupid, naïve and clueless South Indian mind.

These happy thoughts were crushed on one fine day in March during a get together at a friends’ place. We were discussing Chennai as a city and about living there. I agreed completely with people who were cursing the weather there and also to their inhospitable nature with regard to treating people from the North. I teased one of my batch mates, who hails from Chandigarh, about how her life would suck if she ended up in Chennai. She however, decided to end any chance of humour or pleasantry that conversation may have brought up by saying:

I can’t live there because I am not black enough.”

I stopped smiling and I couldn’t help but say “What?!?!” in a very surprised tone. It was also a slightly angry tone. Not because I was angry at the statement or that I felt it applied to me (while I am dusky I am not what one would strictly call black) but because the statement came from a person who I had always respected. A girl I had always considered as one of the few whom I could have an intelligent conversation with. I had seen her as a friend and as a person who was, as I mentioned before, educated and bright.

It breaks my heart to say that I cannot think of her that way anymore. She broke my little delusion. I suddenly felt stifled by ignorance and an utter lack of class. I left the room. One of my other friends I had mentioned earlier came and said sorry knowing that I was annoyed. The problem was that although I could forgive the statement itself, nothing he said could take away the fact that my delusion had been shattered by that single statement or that I saw in it the failings of my nation, which I very much love.

Two weeks later I heard another one of my friends make a derisive comment about how we should stop eating watermelon with our hands “like south Indians”. This time I let it go because it came from a person whom I really cared about and hell, my delusion had long since been shattered anyway.

Today I log onto facebook and I see a status update by a person on my friend list that goes like this:

At a signal in Delhi while I was riding, an uncle in a car pulled up beside me and with absolute conviction asked:

"Bhaiya, woh madrasion ka mandir aage hi hai na?"

Delhi. :D”

It actually amused me and I shook my head and smiled. I commented on it and moved on. I receive a notification a few hours later and the same girl had commented on it with a cold and blunt “hahahahhaa brilliant”.

·        We have legislations in place that make calling people from the north east “chinky” a crime. (Win! )
·        We have reservations for our SC’s and ST’s (Win!)
·        We even try to protect our religious minorities (Win Win Win!!!!)

Why then, is it okay to make racist and demeaning comments against people from the South?

I say this at the risk of sounding obnoxious but we South Indians have contributed to this country in a billion ways. We have brought in Classical music and classical dances. We have produced individuals like A.R Rehman, Aishwarya Rai , Adhoor Gopalakrishnan and Shashi tharoor amongst many others.

Our Literacy rates are higher as is our sex ratio. We have a larger percentage of our population doing professional courses and actually studying. To top it off, most of us speak at least a minimum of three languages AND we are mature and cooperative enough to learn Hindi as well, just to make it easier for everybody.

Yes, we do not make a fuss.

We do not riot or ask for special rights and privileges.

Nor do we comment upon the stark differences that we see everyday with regard to our families and upbringing and that of people brought up in the north (as I mentioned before, my grandmother actually gave me that bit of advice in perfect English)

All we ask of you, dear North India, is to let us be and not force us to.
I could go onto Google and bring up a list of reasons why we should be accepted, not discriminated and treated with respect.

Then again it would be pointless because after all, I am South Indian and hence “Black”.

Why would they even listen?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

How to feel daft for a day.....

We just got our wi fi connected yesterday. We used to have wi fi before as well only we decided to get it changed. This is because our network provider (a certain company who's name rhymes with "fairtel") gave us service that provided us with extremely fast internet for those five minutes a day that it actually worked before citing weird errors and getting disconnected.

We were really excited about this new fast internet except for a tiny glitch. It somehow only worked for one person at a time. After discovering that this was because we would need to get a special wi fi router to ensure that it would work we managed to get the right router from our good friend Jeevith (who also made it a point to add that he would need it back at the end of the month).

I was half asleep when my flatmate (who was busy figuring out how to connect the router) woke me up because the lights had gone out. This wouldn't have been a huge deal except it seemed that it was just our flat that had no electricity. We spent the next hour trying to find out what had gone wrong.

We first started by lighting candles and using our torches to try and see what had gone wrong. I was glad to finally be able to use the battery powered lamp that I got for Christmas. A really useful thing I must say! We then decided to walk down and talk to the watch man. I must have been around one am at the time and since its winter, we were freezing in pyjamas.

It struck us once we had gone downstairs that the watchmen were more like odd job men really because none of the three were actually watching the building or anything in particular. In fact, to be completely honest they were nowhere in sight. We were both also pretty sleepy at the time, since it was a Saturday night, making us even more confused.

After calling out for the "night watchmen" for ten minutes we decided to check the electric board ourselves. For the first time, I was actually unhappy to find out that there was NOTHING wrong with it. This meant that we had no clue what the problem was. We did discuss for a couple of minutes that it could be the main switch in our flat that had tripped but we decided that it wasn't possible because we had lived in this house for a year and had never seen anything that looked even vaguely like a main switch. 

We went back to our dark a gloomy flat and discussed the mysterious problem of the "missing electricity." All we had was a candle and a battery powered night lamp. It started off as a fun discussion as we tried to convince ourselves that one night in the dark would be a fun thing. We even made a few jokes about ghosts in the house. We both pointed out at things and made scary eyes to scare the other person. 

As it can be expected in a dark house inhabited by two chickens we eventually scared ourselves. The dark night did not seem fun anymore. Also, the mosquitoes were beginning to buzz around our heads. I'm generally a very paranoid person and a bit of a hypochondriac so I started worrying about malaria and filariasis among other things like being eaten by the boogey man. We decided to call it a night. I went to my room and snuggled into my blankey wrapping myself in it like a kaati roll.

It din't take me long to fall asleep and when I opened my eyes again it was 12pm. I heaved a sigh of relief and woke up my flatmate. We went down to find our "watchman" who told us it had to have tripped and to search the house for the main switch. We scoffed at him saying that there was absolutely NO WAY we could have missed a box like that FOR A YEAR.

We go back home and I go to the sink to wash my hands before starting the big search.

I look up. I see a metal door.

I open it. I see a switch.

I push it upwards.

I am using the wi fi now. It is really fast and works like a charm. I guess there are such things as happy endings. 

Also, we feel very very daft.

At least we now know where the switch is huh?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Please vote for my friend!!

Hey, I know not too many people follow this blog however if you are here and it is before the 24th of September, please click on the link and add your vote for this person called Disha Oberoi.

Think of it as your good deed for the day!!

I love you all!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My sisters adventures with animating stuff

My sister has always wanted to be an animator for as long as I can remember. She is 12 years old and I just thought I would post her most recent creation on my blog for people to see. :) I think its really good for a 12 year old!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

To question what you actually want.

It is true what they say about life being all about ups and downs. You cant possibly be really happy without knowing that somewhere around the corner a big hard thud awaits you. It's uncanny the way it always happens. Makes agnostics like me question the presence of spiritual force a little less than usual.We need to know unhappiness to truly appreciate the happy moments.

I am technically going through a "down" in my life. I say "technically" because.... well.... there is another side to it as well. A week back I felt rejection hit me from all sides. Although this time it was to do with something purely academic it brought back memories of every rejection that I have suffered in the past whether it was to do with my work, love or even life in general. 

This emotion called rejection. It always feels the same. No matter what it is. It gives you that exact same feeling of disappointment and that sinking feeling of sadness that one associates with heartbreak.And oh! I did feel heartbroken. It was shocking because it is a feeling I hadn't really experienced in a very very very long time. That sheer inability to sleep, eat or do anything that normal humans should do, it was a feeling that I associated with bad times in the past and needless to say, it gave me a sickening sense of deja vu. However, in the midst of it all, I was still able to experience a slight happiness that I only realized much later.  It was brought about by the fact that although I was feeling heartbroken, this time it had nothing to do with a stupid boy who wasn't worth it. Even though the depression din't really help, it was nice to know that I have at the very least managed to get my priorities back on track.

And yes, I am sitting at home pretty much jobless at the moment. However, when I wake up every morning to Velyamma's cup of coffee or sit on the PS 2 with my sister (who is very soon not going to be a child anymore, she is already taller than I am, sigh) I find that it doesn't really bother me. In fact, I enjoy every single second of this chilling time.It has also dawned on me that these days are short lived and that as much as we expect them to, things never stay the same.

I spent years in this house when I was in school hating it and hating this town. I missed Chennai and the friends I grew up with. When I come back here for the holidays from college though, it is completely different. Being away from here has made me realize how attached I actually am. Going driving through places where I spent days playing cricket with my friends or "practicing" for "DD's club performances" (the beauty of these words lie in the fact that there are only 3 other people who truly know and understand the emotions behind them) or just sitting outside "hasta - shilpa" the local "haunted house" gossiping about silly things makes me nostalgic. I miss those times and they make me glad that I spent the important years of my  life in a small town. In a strange way, it extended my childhood.

I have years ahead to fight with the world and work and be all busy and professional.

These days when I can sit like this in a place I love and play on the PS 2 with my kid sister are numbered.

I now realize that I have been confusing the ups of life with the downs for a very long time.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Too busy.

Im afraid I have been WAY TOO BUSY in the past few days to blog. Also, I intend to not write much till the first of may anyway.

So till then, buh bye.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Awkward Situations.

I have always considered myself to be a social person.

That is, until today, when I heard a new definition of the term "anti social"

Just got back from this party full of people who were divided into two groups:

1. Whom I hardly know
2. Whom I know but dislike

The people I knew AND liked out of the odd 30 who were called were only 4. Also my flatmate unfortunately had to sit at home and struggle over her German for the paper tomorrow. (However, from the amount they seem to have learnt so far I think she could have come, stayed for a bit and still have been equally prepared.)

Apparently, being anti - social is to hate meeting new people and making small talk. I guess being a "party animal" around people you are comfortable with doesn't really count huh?

I love the fact that I am back home.

Shall use it to my advantage and get some well deserved sleep.

Good night.