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Showing posts from August, 2007

The Purpose of Education

C. is staying with us now, and she forced this discussion on us : Who would you call an ‘educated’ person? As one thing leads to other, the thought trail went further – what is the purpose of education anyway and how does it affect anyone individually and also a society as a whole.

Big questions, these. Also, one needs to be qualified to answer such questions. But there must be layman’s answer: A sort of a generalist view, which may not earn a Ph D, but something which can be understood and can be used to explain some of the maladies of lack of education.

When the question was asked, a Sanksrit sloka came to my mind, which says Education gives you humility, which leads to success, fame and money. A very concise statement on the purpose of education, but slightly dated perhaps. Humility is not COOL. It is OUT. Self-advertising is IN. It is a Brand You world, as Tom Peters will say. So, has the purpose of education changed?

But if you look at the process of education, and the format of it,…

Room to Read

I am now reading John Wood's Leaving Microsoft to Change The World and am hugely inspired by it.



This is a story of his leaving a cushy job in Microsoft in China, and setting up Room To Read. This tells the story of his encounter with school children in Nepal and promising to come back with books for their library, tapping in his hotmail contacts, and finally going on to set up Room to Read.



I must admit I am inspired, and I wish to do something similar in India. I can see what a revolutionary role free public libraries can play, and know about Andrew Carnegie and his project. While I set up the English Training business, I see this as a worthwhile project to get involved in.



There are t-s to cross, and i-s to be dotted. But I have now got started on this - setting up a chain of free reading rooms in India. I am talking to a few Rotary clubs, and intend to speak to Indian businessmen as I meet them.

Calcutta Moment

Don't blink, or you go under.



The policeman sleeps,

The eve teasers hang about -

The eve is trying apple juice in the corner shop.



Buses everywhere.

A queue forms in front of the ATM.

Another, in the panipuri shop nearby.



This is Ekdalia.

The corner of joy.

An eternal Calcutta moment frozen in a frame.

Keep Going

There are moments when you think,
Life's not worth living.
Either boring or compulsive,
All is tedious, and repulsive.

These are moments when you see
What we live for, is the key.
Money matters, but we know,
There are limits it can go.

So is love, or sex if you please,
Happiness appears more of a tease.
Friendships matter, but waver too,
No one lives just as you.

These are moments when you choose,
To keep going or cut loose.
All of us have habits to keep,
Even on board of a sinking ship.

So, keep going, keep going till you die,
Because you can't change, nor can I.
Head down, and throw up hands,
Or say, let us dig in sands.

Englishwala

So what do I do? When I get into a conversation, the question inevitably comes up.

I have noticed I try to answer this differently every time: 'I am a business man, setting up training business', 'I am in International Business Development and setting up a training business' and 'I am a training professional, setting up a training chain'. There may be another few variations but I don't recall it at this time.So, when I thought of getting used to one straight answer, this is what I arrived at - I am Englishwala, and my job is to set up a business of training English.

Yes, worldwide, and as my job title will say - India is included. I always wanted to do something worthwhile with my life. My Calcutta childhood did not show many possibilities, and my indifferent academic results did not inspire others to think of anything other than a standard office job for myself. So, I did - as destined - start off as a computer operator, gradually moving into customer facing…

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