Sunday, March 30, 2008


Good morning/Afternoon/Eve dear reader

Let's travel in Chennai metro from Tidal Park/Thiruvanmiyoor to Thirumalai. Hardly 10/12 minutes.
I sat on the window seat, and saw the orange sun going down the dawn. Looking in to that in silence, I wondered; how much the sun rise and set inspires me.

A voice broke the silence "What is there to look at? Girls from Tidel Park? ". Oh I sat like that nearly 2 minutes. "Hm thank you for waking me up. Sorry for boring silence; after inviting you to the journey". "you are welcome. which is the book you read recently, Gireesh?" . "Oh its Notes to myself by Hugh Prather". "What sort of ...?" "It's sort of diary, his writings since he married; and published". "Anything attractive?" "Oooh , ya.. Did not finish it till now, but some of the notes make me feel like I have written it for myself....Hmm..... . when ever I see I am doing it wrong, a part of me wants to keep on doing it in the same way and even starts looking for reasons to justify the continuation".
"What is wrong now? " "Oh, its not mine, its from that book. You know, I read it and became silent for an hour or so. What do you think about these lines?". "May be true. It's you who said, you were in silence for hours, so you tell Gireesh,what you were thinking"
"Hmm, well..... It took me to the quotes of Gandhiji and Alexander Pope. Do you know why it's so peculiar? It gives pain, a lot of pain , not when others see you guilty; but you feel yourself guilty. It actually matches with the lines of Hugh. Even if you feel, you are wrong; at times some thing in you still make you do that. Matters goes worse, when you cross your own ethical believes by doing so. It may bring down your own self esteem, your confidence in you..."
"Oh!! Gireesh... I seldom saw you speaking negative. Why so peculiar about this subject?"
"Hmm... you felt this is negative. Let me finish dear. What I meant is, when you stand in such a situation; you see failures around you. You visualize people laughing at you. People who cared you, saying -I did not expect this from you .. . And you close yourself. You try to forget about the incidents, try to run away from that. Is that all over? May not be. There I saw a different meaning of Gandhiji's quote(or re statement of Jesus Christ's words ; thanks to jeslin for correcting me ) :- hate the sin, but love the sinner. Means try to get back the original you; not to bury you. After all ,as Pope said: -to err is human; and to forgive is divine-your divine part of mind should forgive you; so as the people who care you"
"Oh Gireesh..... I have to take back the word that you went negative.. hmm I too agree. Well let me try to forgive the sin of killing me with your thoughts. We are about to get down. see you another day with another thought. Bye"
"Bye bye my dear reader. Thanks for spending time with me. Meet you some other time. Be prepared to forgive me, because I may do it again and again. Lol ;=) "

Saturday, March 15, 2008

joy of teaching

gdm/gdaf/geve dear reader
I was thinking, what was actually a joy of a teacher? Is it simply a thing like, my student reaches heights, which make me pride? Or is it something like he/she is happily earning and make a living( this make me remember of the saying that "give me a fish, sir ; I will eat for a day. TEACH me how to fish, I will eat for a life time" ). Or is it simply a joy to convey what I know to my students, to use them or not in their future, does not make sense to me!! Is it an inspiration given to the students, to love the subjects I loved?
For me, I guess I have more than these ....... The joy of teaching comes more better not when the student get good marks or got placed in a company or so.. Obviously it's memorable and a kind of joy, I agree.
But there is more to it. I feel that joy more, when my student ; after the long struggles and facing near failures; realizes the concepts as in like a baby walking steadily without support for a distance for first time.
It's the same smile I had years back. The realization of what many walked before him/her enjoyed.
Once a student has such a smile, I will be more happy when he/she improvises it to see the world more better, to interpret the non spoken language of the world.

Friday, March 7, 2008

is it quality or culture which is dropping?

good morning/afternoon/eve dear reader

This time, its about IITM life after 2 months. 2 Weeks back there was a suicide and the guy was from CS department. I was attending the condolence meeting and the discussions thereafter. There were professors and students from B-Tech and Masters. B-Tech students expressed their frustration openly.
The talk was like "Computer Science is the only branch where we run our own lab at hostel room". What ever activity is there in campus, you hardly find a CS guy because, the programming assignments and lab assignments; can kill your time like anything. We do not know the spelling; you ask us to write stories".

On another occasion a senior professor was telling, "as time passes; the quality of students coming also get reduced".

The third occasion was yesterday's examination. I was attending an examination of a so called "best professor" in the department. Some1 call him "the best paper award". Statistics says he is most active in publication in international journals. In the exam there were 4 questions. 2 from his own book ( you find that kind of notations and unique algorithms in his book only. Search in the net; it will still point to his book: No other refer this/no one use this ;or more optimistically it may the best future technology") .The 2 other questions I do not understand well. After examination a search in the google gave me the questions and solution set from a site by the second author of the book( who is also a professor now).
You may be wondering what is the catch? The catch is "at least in some courses" as I know directly "plagiarism" exist. You want to score, get those "plugging web sites". Professors asks PhD student not to do it. But I guess they do not have to tell this. They just have to show the best examples from their community. But do not expect that in IIT students reveal how to find such sites. They won't. That is the culture built in the IIT system.
The same discussion of suicide, they were mentioning about such islands. Professors were replying, saying that you people are doing things together, there should be team efforts, you should share the ideas. Lol, thank god that they do not telecast the subject discussion , to decide about coming semester courses. As far as I heard, If they do it, it can make a local fish market person run away deciding not to go to sea again.
You may be wondering.; why all these incidents. What is the co relation.
The point here is, "It is utter stupidity; to blame that X's Quality is dropping" in due time. ( X means either prof/student ).Quality is always there. But coherence and mindset is not there. It's painful for me to write like this; because I was a teacher for 3.5 years; a job I like most despite many drawbacks.The educational system is failing not because quality is dropping. It is because the system is running out of order.

The aim of a teacher in IIT in early time was not to be famous in publishing paper day by day. They loved their subject, they showed the students how to fall in love with the subject. They hardly worried about money. They were happy with the position they hold. It was so in many old teachers. A student's aim was to learn more. Get better insight to subject they love. They choose their area and work to come up with new results. Industries loved such students, because of the culture they have. But what is now? Students say, "prof teach what ever they want; we study get grades; we are paid the best". Means, there was a culture existed; which was healthy for students and for the teachers. That system vanished.
The painful thing is not for those who changed; but it is for those who looked for the lost culture. If you are a student who looked for that culture, you may even suicide. If you are a professor; you may resign and get out.
This time no questions to the reader, no comments from me also. But you can think about it, if not for you may be for your kids ( the coming generation)

Bubye and have a nice time