Thursday, July 14, 2005


Education for all - A distant dream?

The government of the day finally promises to make primary education a fundamental right for children. A promise like this, after more than 50 years of independence seems a little too late in the day, yet such is the state of affairs of education in our country that this is hailed as a big event and makes it on all news channels (oh, offcourse it figures well after the main Salman Vs Ash headlines grabber). To turn this promise into something concrete, into reality, a meeting of all states is conveyed and as expected the states fail to reach a consensus with the centre. In case you are wondering what is holding the sates back, it is the lack of adequate finance (or so they claim) to fund this education project. Well, the states have to rake up finances for metro rails, expressways, IT Parks etc u see, so how can they waste their money on non glamorous education projects?

The lousiest remark of the day had to be this one "I have told the Central government that as it is we are special category states and we won't be able to provide even one rupee towards education reform" - Assam Chief Minister. Brilliant remark indeed!!! Truly,brings out his immense commitment to the cause. Well unfortunately in our country education is in the hands of uneducated fools, what can one really expect from these specimens.
One of the fastest growing economies in the world, special invitee to G-8 summit, grandiose visions of India 2020 etc, sounds great indeed but what's use is it if we none of these benefit the vast majority (urban India does not constitute the whole of India) who are still deprived of the very basics amenities of life.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


The Free Factor

Had been to a shop with my friend. While he was busy paying for the purchases at the cash counter I was looking around and happened to notice this book titled 'City Information'. The book contained some info about Bangalore, about places to see, hotels, a map etc. To remark that the information in the book was basic or minimal would be an understatement. I have a book for each of the above mentioned categories , hotels, maps etc at home. I would never have thought of picking up this book, until the salesperson in the shop uttered the magic words 'It is free'. Immediately I picked up not just one but two copies of this book. No thinking involved, just pure reflex action when I heard the word 'free'.

Each and every working day of the week, sharp at 5:45 PM I get these uncontrollable 'hunger pangs'. The desire to eat at this time has absolutely no correlation with however much or however little I had for lunch. Nothing can stop me from having the snacks served in the canteen, not even if the snacks was 'Akki Roti', something that I really do not enjoy eating. what really is the mysterious force that causes the hunger pangs and propels me to the canteen? No prizes for guessing, its the magic word 'free' again. I wonder if I ever was mentally conditioned to believe that 'Free snacks' is meant to be devoured even if its a oil slick like Poori or Channa Batura.

I am trying (and I trying really hard) to recollect the last time that I actually witnessed the muhurtham of a marriage or the pooja of house warming ceremony or the main event of any ceremony or a function. However, I was present at every marriage or ceremony on time to have lunch or dinner. I can always come up with excuses, I was busy at work, tight deadlines etc etc. But despite all these odds I somehow managed to make it for the food. Strangely, I have convinced myself that this kind of behaviour is perfectly acceptable.

Though there could be 'n' number of people exhibiting the same traits I shall steer clear of any controversy by not generalizing this behaviour as being omnipresent in our society. I sometimes ponder over it but I eventually do nothing to change this lure of the 'free factor'.

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