Friday, March 9, 2012

Did I really waste a seat of IIT?

Having graduated out of IIT Delhi, I chose to be a writer. Like most of the IITians, by the time I finished my degree, I realized that I was not interested in engineering. I didn't want to push myself into the assembly line and take up a high paying job, serving someone else for any other sector like finance or consulting and I chose to go full time with my writing. I chose to do that I was interested in.

Once my struggle period got over, I encountered a weird kind of hostility amongst some people for me. I always find people who complain to me that I wasted a seat of my college. If I didn't want to become an engineer, why did I give JEE? Why did I waste government's lacs of money spent on me?

Generally, I do not reply to such an allegation, since people don't realize that a 17 year old guy, who hadn't yet seen the world, who hadn't done anything else other than dating his books for most of his high school, can't decide what does he want to do in life? It's only after he sees the world, gets exposed to different professions, art and cultures, that he could realize what is his real calling. And that's not all, sometimes, even after our college lives, we are yet to find our calling. For some, who know their calling, lack of family support or lack of will becomes the major hindrance.

Having chosen to pursue my inner calling, I would like to enable this feeling of satisfaction of discovering and pursuing what one really likes doing in every student. To accomplish this mighty task, I realize that we need a drastic change in one of the key issues of the youth. Schooling. Not only the primary, secondary and high school level, but also at the college level. The current system of schooling follows promote-the-best-forward ideology, which could be clearly elucidated by the fact considering any competition in which the school has to represent its student, teachers no doubt choose the best suited student for that competition. What about others, who might be equally or more interested in participating in that competition? Just because they could not discover whether they have the potential to excel in the other field, they get sidelined. What this results in is a narrowed development of an otherwise talented student, who gets involved in a particular activity and just because she's good in that, she is cut off from all the other interesting activities which could have otherwise opened her mind and made her personality all-rounded.

To explain with my own personal example, I had never written anything other than my answer papers in my school days. I came to IIT, started writing and realized that I was good at it and loved it. I pursued it, got better and much more interested. The reason I never wrote in school was because nobody motivated me to write in school. There were few students, who were good in English and they dominated the school editorial scene. Now surprisingly, none of those students are into writing. Tell me, had I been in the same environment  all the while, would I ever have been able to discover the fact that I'd a flair in writing? No, never.

From where I stand, I can see two ways to move forward in this regard. One privately, by starting a company which trains teachers in holistic teaching and conducts seminars in schools and colleges to enable students discover their hidden talents, by exposing them to different fields. The other is by promoting a club like environment in schools, which thankfully exists in a lot of schools, where people get to participate in group activities in different domains and take them on tours to witness what professional life actually is and when they say they want to become a doctor, they should understand by experience that it's not just about medicines, but also about carefully handling several lives, being hygienic, and on one's toes all the time.

I think that the current schooling system needs restructuring to impart more holistic education along with more exposure to different professional scenarios, so that people choose what they would really love to do and such digression, like me, from one's primary career line doesn't take place so often, leading to a situation where when a student decides to take up engineering, he actually wants to become an engineer.

Written for Stayfree Time for Change contest for indiblogger.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

मेरे जूठे हाथ

खाने के मेज पर
माँ के हाथों बनायीं हुई गरमा गरम सब्ज़ी
जब मेरे हाथों से चावल के दानों के साथ मिलती
तो मानो एक अलग ही एहसास होता
लगता कि ऐसी ख़ुशी, पूरे कायनात में न मिले
नानी के हाथों बनाया हुआ आम के अचार
जो बिन बताये ही मेरे उँगलियों से लड़ता, उन्हें छेड़ता
फिर मैं उनसे जूझता, तोड़ता, मरोड़ता
और ख़त्म कर देता
उँगलियों का रंग सब्जी के रंग में कैसे तब्दील हो जाता
इसका कभी भी पता नहीं चलता
उँगलियों को अपने ज़ुबां से साफ़ करता,
चाहते हुए कि वो कभी साफ़ न हो
और चार घंटे बाद, शाम के खेल ख़त्म हो जाने पर
दोबारा वो मेज, दोबारा वो बेजोड़ ख़ुशी

खाने के मेज पर
खुद की बनाई हुई सब्जी
जब चम्मच से चावल के दानों के साथ मिलती
तो मानो एक घुटन सी होती
लगता कि ऐसी घुटन, पूरे कायनात में न मिले
नानी के हाथों बनाये गए आम के अचार की कमी खलती
मेरी उँगलियाँ उस कटे हुए आम की गुठली से जूझने को तरसती
फिर मैं खुद से लड़ता, अन्दर ही अन्दर मसोसता
और चम्मच को कहीं दूर फेक देता
उँगलियों के रंग सब्जी के रंग में कैसे तब्दील हो जाते
पता भी ना चलता
उँगलियों को अपने ज़ुबां से साफ़ भी न करता,
और उस दिन, दस घंटे बाद, मैं घर पर, माँ के साथ
दोबारा वो मेज, दोबारा वो ख़ुशी और मेरे जूठे हाथ |

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

खुद देख लो

अक्सर मैं इस सोच में डूब जाता हूँ
कि ज़िन्दगी अगर थोड़ी सी अलग होती
तो क्या होता?

मैं देर तक सोचता,
जवाब ढूँढने के फ़िराक में
पर ज़िन्दगी भी साली बहुत तेज़ तरार है

मेरे सवाल को चकमा दे कर
कब गायब हो जाती,
पता भी न चलता

कुछ अलग करने की चाह,
दोस्त बन कर ज़िन्दगी के साथ
बैठ कर चाय पीती, बतियाती, और मुझे चिढ़ाती

कहती, पहले ज़िन्दगी को समझो
फिर उसके साथ छेड़-खानी करना
फिर उसमें अपनी कलाकारी दिखाना

ज़िन्दगी को जानने के लिए
जुर्रत से ज़्यादा अक्ल की ज़रूरत है
और अक्ल से ज़्यादा रूह की सुनने की

क्यूंकि जब अपने रूह से रूबरू होगे,
तो पता चलेगा
तुम्हारी ज़िन्दगी अलग ही तो है,

अलग ही तो है, खुद देख लो
अलग ही तो है, खुद देख लो
खुद देख लो.