Her silence, his words


They fought a fortnight before the special day. Words were exchanged, tears were shed.
But usually he would call her, coax her and make her laugh. And she would fall for him again, just like a teenager would, for her crush. Then, quite effortlessly they would resume their quixotic romanticism. Their ‘journey’, as she called it. Journey marked with highs of love and lows of ego and possessiveness.

She was hopelessly romantic. She used to make those handmade greetings, bake chocolates, and dance to those creepy desi item numbers especially for him. She used to call him ‘Captain’ as he loved playing with words, just like Robin Williams of Dead Poets Society. His virile words would make her fly on cloud nine. She envied his words because he loved them more than he loved her, she thought.

He was an idealist. He had different notions about love. Love made him more vulnerable than her. ‘Love should set a person free’, he used to tell her. ‘Marriage sets a person free. Marry me’, she used to quip. He was hardly creative when it came to their relationship except that he proposed her on 29th February of a leap year. (…if that counts as being creative). And like most of humans on this earth, he was idealist at heart, while arrant practical when it came to mind. He suffered from cognitive dissonance while she would think and act consistently.

It was 29th of February today, their first anniversary. Anniversary which comes once in four years. So, she knew he would call. This was their record silence. 14 days without exchanging a word or emoticon or voicemail. She used to sing a line or two and voicemail him. He hardly used voicemail. He connected more with her voice and she connected more with his words.

Finally, her cell beeped at around 1 PM. She skipped her beat. ‘One message from Ineffable’ it read. It made her smile.

‘Are you free? Let’s catch up’, he had texted

‘Yes, I have half day. When? Where?’ She hinted that she premeditated this.

‘Same place. 5.30 PM’

‘K’, she shot back.

He came to Marine drive and sat on the stone wall facing the Arabian Sea. The less energetic waves came and hit the tetrapod shaped rocks. He ruminated how the nonchalant waves were analogous with the relationship he shared with her. She came and sat by him and smiled. He tried smiling too.

‘What is it Zee…..Zeeshan?’ she threw.

‘I think this is it’, he said with sheepish moist eyes.

‘This is it?’ Radha accentuated each and every word.

‘Hmm….’

Tears went swiftly across her cheeks. She tried persuading Zee but in vain. Emotional Zee was cold. He was unusually silent that day. Her heart sank and time was heavy. She quickly reached her purse and handed Zee a gift. It was a Matte finish black and golden Sheaffer fountain pen. The anniversary gift became their parting gift.

‘Thanks. I need to go’

‘Zee, Can you wait for five minutes?’ came her vulnerable voice.

‘I just want my last five minutes with you’

‘Hmm…’

She let her head free for the one last time on his shoulder. She closed her eyes and travelled their relationship. Laughter, Joys, Tears, Teasing, obtuse talks, intelligent ramblings. Her heart beat faster than usual.

‘Let go! Maybe he cheated.’ said her mind.

‘How to let go?’ questioned her heart.

Her teary eyes made his shoulder wet. She regained her composure, took a deep breath. She stood up.

‘I am Sorry’, he said.

‘No, you are not!’ she shot back and left.

All he could see was her moving silhouette amidst the setting sun. She left him puzzled. She chose silence over words during those last five minutes. She used words only when they mattered. She could have asked why are they breaking up. She chose silence. The silence was her loudest voice. She felt if he really knew her, he would fathom her silence.

Meanwhile Radha remembered Zee’s favourite lines of Ghalib Saab. His voice echoed in her lifeless ears,

Ragon mein daudte phirne ke hum nahin qayal,
Jab aankh hi se na tapka to phir lahoo kya hai.”
(We are not convinced by running in the veins,
Unless it flows from the eyes, it is not blood.)

The setting sun was trying to say something to the Marine drive. The sunlight of many such relationships was gulped down by the magnanimous sea of caste, religion and class differences.

In her eyes…


Every time I look into those ocean eyes,
I feel as if I’ve lived a life;
Would stumble for days over your guise,
Till I discover the new you, each dying moment.

Those mascara clad idiosyncratic oculi,
are more than stars in the dourest moonlight.
‘would enlighten my benighted evening,
more than the brightest daylight of zing.

For those eyes, not for a moment, take cognisance,
of this blear, effete versifier.
He knows her sublime eyes, perhaps are dunce,
or fears they are snubbing insightful ones.

Still, he knows his ineffable muse would even make Leonardo da Vinci covetous,
as she elegantly comes through the invincible Mona Lisa.

I’d revel all my life gazing into those deep confidante eyes,
But for I know, unfeigned love better be set free,
and literal emotions never die for reciprocation.

Strategy for Civil Engineering Paper II


Firstly sincerest apologies for posting detailed strategy for Civil Engineering so late. I am no authority on Civil Engineering but due to requests from aspirants, I decided to go ahead. I freezed my optional subject almost year after my graduation. So it wasn’t easy as I didn’t have my notes (Well who makes notes in engineering 😛 ) but I knew I could do well since I had decent pointer during my graduation.

Let’s come to the point. 2014 was my first shot at CSE.

Positives of Civil Engineering as optional:

  1. Assured marks if you’ve adequate command over the subject.
  2. You are already familiar with the subject unlike the strange humanities optionals 😛
  3. Once mastered, you can go on to get a good rank in subsequent attempts unlike humanities where scores fluctuate like Chinese share markets.
  4. Actually it’s good to have such optional as GS & Essay are subjective. Studying such subjective GS at stretch can be monotonous. So mix of CE & GS would be a wonderful combination

Negatives of Civil Engineering as optional

  1. Competition is very high mainly due to aspirants from reputed colleges.
  2. Syllabus is huge, like really really huge. Imagine remembering those eccentric formulae from Transportation Engineering & theory from Building construction at same breath.
  3. Also subjects are related to each other unlike other branches of Engineering. Survey, Soil Mechanics, SOM, Fluid Machines are exclusive sets, I believe.
  4. Time invested is much higher vis-à-vis other humanities optional

 

Civil Engineering Part II

  1. Construction, Construction Technology & CPM

Books: Building Construction by Arora & Bindra, CPM by UK Srivastava

Analysis: Questions are diverse & mostly predictable. Refer previous years’ IFoS & CSE papers & study accordingly. Prepare your own notes & it’ll help you revise faster. Questions from Engineering Economics are popping out of nowhere. UK Srivastava has covered it beautifully. Also I feel in this humongous theoretical section, one should study with photographic memory. Memorize diagrams & not data. Let the answers flow from your perfect diagrams.

 

  1. Surveying

Books: BC Punmia (Laxmi Publications)

Analysis: Please do Photogrammetry without fail. If you want to skip this topic you can, but do photogrammetry without fail. Remember basic things here like levelling & PT survey

 

  1. Railway Engineering

Books: Saxena & Arora (Dhanpat Rai publications)

Analysis: I did most of this part from NPTEL videos however I’d recommend NPTEL videos only for ‘Points & Crossings’ part of Rail Engineering. Questions are mostly simple & attemptable. However be ready for bouncers like 2014 CE questions.

 

  1. Highway Engineering

Books: Justo Khanna & NPTEL softcopies of same course.

Analysis: Since syllabus is huge, don’t spend much time on any particular section. Solve numericals from Justo Khanna. Do signal designs well.

 

  1. Hydrology

Books: SK Garg (Primary source), Ven-Te-Chow (optional)

Analysis: Over the years, direct questions on UH, no. of rainfall gauges have reduced. Focus is more on complicated topics as far as numerical are concerned.
However theory questions are much on the lines & predictable

 

  1. Irrigation Engineering

Books: SK Garg

Analysis: Syllabus is crisp & previous years’ questions can help immensely. Do theory well

 

  1. Environmental Engineering

Books: SK Garg

Analysis: This topic I feel needs most number of revision. There are less formulae so do them well. UPSC has knack of asking unconventional formulae from this topic (Eg. 2013 CE question on plume).

 

Common denominator of all topics of Paper-II

  1. Make notes & revise them multiple times
  2. Strictly follow the syllabus
  3. Keep an eye on previous years’ papers.
  4. Questions these days are a step ahead of what we generally study. I mean you’ll find questions in exam from mostly skipped topics.

(Give me 1-2 days to write strategy for P-I of Civil Engineering)

Is our education system delivering?


François Resoles, an eight year old kid cries, waiting for the school bus with his mother. Behind the chirping of his classmates, his mother tries to lure him by giving chocolates asking reason for his indifference towards school. He replies naively, “They teach me how to fly kite, how to swim….but they never teach me why kite flies or why we swim. I want to be an explorer mother. I want to learn why of things.” The bus arrives at the bus stop. His mother persuades him to go to school first. He enters the bus with moist yet shining eyes. The shine of those eyes geometrically decline with time.
After few years, the explorer inside Francois dies. His mother is happy though as he doesn’t cry while going to school.

The story of François Resoles raises the very basic question: Is our education system delivering??

The ultimate goal of education is definitely not earning money for sustenance of human life but holistic growth of human mind along with the positive externalities on the society. Education teaches us to apply the mind and come up with rational and humanitarian inferences which can then be put to make this earth a better place to live-in. The rationality is education should provoke us to contemplate and take decisions considering this whole universe a sustainable eco-system. Education is something more than schooling; it is something more than rote-learning. It should craft an explorer inside us just like François Resoles desired.

“I have never let my schooling affect my education” – Mark Twain
Obviously not everyone as a kid would be as mature as Twain. The onus directly rests on the guardians and the democratically elected government to shape the nascent and mouldable minds by showing the pristine path lighted by innovation, morality, truth and more importantly the constitutional principles of liberty, equality and fraternity enshrined by our fore-fathers.

Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule realised the importance of education quite early when the nation was crippling economically as well as socially under the British Raj. Even an illiterate yet visionary woman like Savitribai Phule realised the importance of education. She proposed, an educated woman educates the whole family but an educated man generally walls his knowledge due to societal obligations and stressed on women education and hence empowerment. Right from William Bentick’s Education Act, 1835 to Right to Education, 2009, the education in our country has witnessed several paradigm shifts at conflation points mainly due to change in winds of global education and innovative policy making of government. Rajiv Gandhi’s IT revolution attuned India to Global educational world and the GDP of $1.9 trillion majorly rests on services sector today. What is essentially required throughout the history till this present day is immense will, efficacy of efforts, prudent policy making and thoughtful implementation taking into account the crude realities of India. The chronicles of events in the history have reiterated the lack of effective implantation sans innovation as major setback.

The deliverable or efficacy as discussed needs to be checked at various leak points. The much awaited ASER report unequivocally points at the positive aspects of increased spending on education like increase in enrolment, improvised library facilities & appreciation in teacher-pupil ratio. Also the report displays the bitter truths: Less than 50% of 5th standard students are unable to operate 2nd standard maths calculations and write & read with fluency. Apart from improvising the formal education, pragmatic education like financial literacy, social dealings and more importantly gender sensitization should be imbibed in naïve minds of children. For instance, our esteemed PM, Dr. Manmohan Singh stressed on the need of financial literacy for the ‘resilient elephant’ to continue its growth story. Financial literacy spurts in making future-citizens aware of the possible investments options, how-these-investments-work and thus make them finance-friendly. We must ‘catch-them-young’.

The amount of money invested in education is ostensibly not linearly proportional to outcomes as evident from the domestic milieu. The Economic Survey 2013 figures at less than 3% GDP spending on education, one of the most important social infrastructure which paves way for overall development of an individual. The socialist policies need to be efficiently implemented and the loopholes at various administrative execution points should be plugged. As the Keynesian economists point out, spending is not the sufficient condition but necessary condition for translating into social growth via means of health, social security measures and importantly health. Kothari commission report advises 6 % GDP spending on education, the rippling nature of which will bring in quality R&D programmes adding innovation in turn improvising the quality of lives of commoners. J.R.D Tata’s dream was to see a happy India first irrespective of being economic power; Education is that key to the ‘happiness conundrum’!!

The world famous ‘Fraunhoffer model’ of education propounded by the Germans to build the practical disconnects between the industries & education institutes are being mooted by the Indian government. The Apprenticeship Act purportedly fails to connect the apprenticeships with the institutes fearing intertwined laws & regulations. The exposure of a practical world asks for innovation and opens the world of exploring. Education built in with collaborated efforts of Public and private sector along with active role of industries and business houses will prove to potential gem in the present days of Macaulism.

The world class universities tag is not yet associated with Indian education institutes which have one of the toughest entrance examinations, incubating the brightest of Indian minds. The intelligent minds after entering the universities either stagnate due to too theoretical syllabi or bask in their glorious achievements. Firstly, more practical oriented teaching is the need of an hour. An IITian who went for masters in MIT was asked to sum up the difference between teaching methodologies of two elite institutions. He replied, “In India, they made me solve numerous problems on Stress-Strain relationship. But in MIT, they made me feel ‘concept of stress, strain’. I was able to comprehend things better.” Secondly, we need to sensitize the bright minds about the social predicaments India is facing today. The solution should come from within. The intelligentsia shouldn’t shirk their responsibilities lest it would be harmful for nation-building. Finally, adequate freedom must be provided in curriculum to learn various subjects of one’s choice. Most of the graduates from premier institutes like IITs, NITs etc. turn away from core field. We need to incubate this class.

Education should transcend all the porous boundaries of cast, religion, region and nation. An integrated and co-ordinated education would make dream of ‘Vasudaiv Kutumbam’ true. Terrorism, Violence, Regionalism and Communalism are nothing but offshoots of unbalanced development. The linkages could be stopped by empowering people with knowledge, by educating them. Victor Hugo once said, ‘By opening a school you close down a prison’; this adequately underscores the relation between education, knowledge and radicalisation, fundamentalism and more importantly, criminalization. Youth should be proactively engaged in constructive activities oriwise the bigot world would instil negative anti-social elements in the naïve minds. Parochial social thoughts like sex-discrimination, dowry, casteism etc. are liberated through a candle of knowledge.

The education system which isn’t delivering is worse than an education system which is trying to deliver the aspirations of children and hopes of mothers, yet failing. We have to plug in the loopholes, make the system accountable and transparent. An efficient education system is the one which caters to the needs of all the elements of the society considering economical frugality, social responsibility and quality of education. This gradual process has begun and it is time to give the nitrous boost.

In my dream meanwhile comes François Resoles a thirteen year old now. While he cycles down to his school these days, the energy used for pedalling cycle is paralleled with grinding grains which is attached in closed conduit in his back seat. He waves off goodbye to his mother. Her moist eyes made her feel all the more proud as her son gave a speech on ‘Unlearning & Learning’, youngest to do so in United Nations Assembly.

‘Education is not the filling of a pale,
But rather a fire that grows beyond control,
With flames that burn and reach high,
And contribute the pieces of your whole.’

THE LATE START


 

As the winds of change strike the World with ensuing North Korea’s aggressiveness, China’s velvet glove mesmerisation, Europe’s ever-continuing fiscal crisis, Africa’s impoverishment, India’s economic blues and finally strains in geographically and strategically most sound peninsula, the South Asia; I’m left to complete the already painted pictures. The idea is not to fix the jig-saw puzzle but to unlearn first and then try and make some sense while stroking the fine brush.

Earlier I used to write reflective things, but then crude reality struck me so hard one day that I was forced to wake up from my small world and look around. The milieu was corrupt yet honest, dark yet hopeful. This optimism asked me to take a step ahead. And this blog is one such effort to channelize the optimism and beat the black.

As Napoleon rightly pointed out once “The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people!”

I intend to pen down my thoughts, ideas and innovations with the sole aim of trying out those pragmatic themes.  My domain of talk would revolve around Governance, Economics, Politics, Philosophy, Foreign Policy, Geo-strategy and History.

This is my second innings…

All good things…..should end,no they MUST end!!


My dear blogger friends,
I was thinking about this since last couple of days and I have made up my mind.

I’ve been blogging for like four months and already blessed with ‘round 100 friends. All good things should end and if they don’t end…they turn bad and ugly. Same goes with my populace writing.

Within few hours I’ll reach ‘City of dreams’ after completing my graduation. And I’m feeling all nostalgic and I’m unable to embed this feeling into my mind, my heart.

I’ve decided to write for myself and I won’t publish it on my blog. I’ll click photographs but only for my atonement. Unfortunately I won’t be able to get email notifications from all your blogs.
I’m still unsure about how long will I stay away from reality but the fact is I need time for introspection, self-contemplation.

I have decided this as I’ll be writing something different from what I usually scribble. I’ll write about what I’m going through, unpointed thoughts and superfluous expressions.

Sherlock Holmes rightly pointed out, “Love is a dangerous disadvantage”. Be it love for writing, love for someone, and love for arts as a whole.

And plus I still have to figure out whereabouts about my career then I’m emotionally unstable too which will reflect on my thoughts and hence writing.  Changing lifestyle…lost friends, end of irresponsibleness. So it’s better to take a pause here.

Maybe it’ll be just a week before I join you back…maybe months or maybe years or maybe I’ll never come back.

Bye….and yes, I’m sorry. Hate it, but can’t help it. Take care.

And I’m uploading one of my photographs which I bask like anything, it soothes me.

My house, My world.

Victory and Defeat


“You smoke too much lately. Is it that you’re craving for love??” jested seven months pregnant Rahi.

Abhay kept on puffing with new vigour thinking ‘bout Kavita eluding his wife, mentally as well as physically.

Abhay and Rahi were college sweethearts. Both had common interests like Mumbai, hostel life, soft rock, definitive literature, clove cigarettes, painting and poetry. Except for he loved it on the couch and she enjoyed it on the bed. They tied knots two years after their Masters in Business Administration. They knew each from head to toe.  She typically followed the other side of the Arabic matrimonial equation that is curtailing her liberty to move alone and secretly basked it. But he was a classifiable and predictive north Indian stud with a good physique ready to flirt with every other juicy girl he came across. Her parents dissented strongly after she eloped with him. Still she considered herself lucky as far as her marriage was concerned; reason being his intelligence, romanticism and tomfoolery.

Before marriage, things were different at least for Abhay. He was very much interesting, creative and expressive in the first place. Their ‘mental-intimacy’ clearly outdid physical involvement. She first proposed him during their masters, he rejected as he had a crush on some already set-aside damsel. As every XY chromosome bearer is a loyalist slave of testosterone, he was no exception. They both got together within a month. It was his second relationship while she never earlier dated due to societal obligations. And yes, he sensed some void in their affinity but couldn’t express his incertitudes to emotionally unstable and already imbalanced wife especially after her father left for heaven’s abode due to heart attack.

Everything was so foreseeable in their deadening relationship and so only they decided to turn into parents hoping that a child would light up their benighted aroha. Typical Indian couple!!

He brought her same pineapple cake since years on birthdays as clichéd surprise. Looking at his eyes on dinner table, she would pass on knowing what he needed. They knew each other too much to express in words. Eyes did all the conversation. He too realised that such quixotic stuff seemed good only in poems. Both were unknowingly going deep into the web weaved by ‘too much of love’.

Kavita:  fair, slim and aphrodisiacal girl who came in as intern was the new protagonist in his life. She as a single child always resorted to surrogate relationships after her parents separated. He started butterflying her hoping to complete his incomplete life. And it clicked between them. Never earlier did he experience such calmness and solace but his heart was torn apart thinking about unborn child. As always he thought she was the one, his soul mate. She was one devil-may-care lover and never took him that seriously for obvious reasons. His kinship with Kavita reached a celestial point and there was no looking back after that.

Rahi was admitted into a hospital during her last month. She easily noticed guilt in his eyes but kept mum. She kept on asking with her eyes, ‘Is she more beautiful??’ Once, such a great debater lost life’s most important case with a straight defeat. He did nothing but closed his eyes in reply trying hard to cry but couldn’t. Wild damaging and negative thoughts took over him.

Allah blessed Abhay with a baby girl.Rahi died during pregnancy owing to excess blood loss from her body.

He entered the hospital ward with mixed feelings. Went near his wife. Took her hand in his hands and tried hard to cry, again he couldn’t. Then he turned his eyes towards the new-born, her eyes clearly resembling Rahi’s. He was taken aback by the ‘Is she more beautiful??’ look which the baby gave him.

Tears came down his cheeks for the first time in life. He tried controlling his feelings….but eyes kept on pouring as if they were separated from his body, mind and soul!

Gulzar saab’s grave voice hemmed into his ears:

”Kisi mausam ka jhonka tha
Jo iss deewar par latki tasveer tirchhi kar gaya hai

Gaye sawan mein ye deeware yun seeli nahi thi
Na jane kyun iss dafa inn mein seelan aa gayi hai
Daraarein pad gayi hain
Aur seelan iss tarah behti hai jaise
Khushk rukhsaaro par geele aansun chalte hain”


(A quivering touch of weather, was it??
which has swung your photo-frame.

Last monsoon, these walls were as dry (and strong) as dead leaves;         
This time, however these are damped and damaged.
And the dampness crawls on the wall,
Just like tears leave a trail on (somebody’s) dry cheeks                           
A quivering touch of weather, was it??)

Innocent end of Innocence


 

 There was a little boy on the crew,
 And yet nothing did he knew.
 Amazed at the navigator's route,
 He still couldn't get a thing except his sound-proof 'flute'.

'Aye,don't you get a word urchin', bawled the master;
But he kept on playing his flute,
Neither countering nor eying his chief,
Just contemplating a baidara near the island of Aleut.

He was unmistakably thinking about the 'toothwalker',
Who had left him for callous broker.
His tinge on the baidara may have masqueraded the master,
Nevertheless artiste, was sure his deal was made by that giber.

Riddled with the HIS rationality,
Frightened, terrified, alarmed;
He jumped into the marine hoping for a blood-less life.