Sunday, 17 September 2017

Testing times

              Too bad the creative muse has been elusive for a while now. So here's something I wrote when I was young and foolish and full of hope. (Edited for length. Rants retained.)

             “Cut-off” – So popular is the Indian context of the word that if you look it up on the internet, only two results give the actual meaning of the phrasal verb. For those who do not know, cut-off is the term referring to the aggregate marks scored in 'core' subjects (excluding languages).

              The Board-exam season is also the time when a good number of students attempt to commit suicide. Debating the morality of suicide is failing to address the core issue - the perils of high-stakes testing.

              So passé, but the current system of education tests nothing but memory. It doesn’t even demand complete knowledge of the topics dealt with. If your answer sheet is a photocopy of your textbook, you get to sail past everything and land in a reputed college. Else, you’re doomed - or that’s what it's made out to be. A three-hour memory test to decide on a child’s potential - bright idea!

             ‘Practicals' do form part of the syllabus, but observations and inferences are written long before the experiments are actually performed. We actually go about memorizing the procedure, observations and, hold your breath, even readings! Not to mention the common accusation - schools teach nothing about practical skills like financial management.

              The textbook prescribed by the Government is addled with mistakes and is outdated. The Class XII Chemistry textbook, the first edition of which came out in 2006 (and is still in use) states that India ‘recently’ launched SLV-3. India has launched a lot of other space vehicles after this one. Maybe this is one reason why students from the region find it difficult to fare well in competitive exams.

              Compounding the misery of rote mugging, there's this notion that Medicine and Engineering are the only two fields that are lucrative. All parents want is for their kids to settle. Well-meaning as they might be, they kill and bury their kids' dreams (especially artistic ones) and allow themselves the liberty of making decisions on their behalf. They either don't want their kid to fail at all (which is impossible) or they want their kids to achieve all that they themselves couldn't.

              Lucky are those whose passion (which, apparently, by its very nature, is non-profitable) is their profession. I do not wish to live the same year sixty times over and call it a life.

              I really wish that some day, someone reads this and wonders, “Looks like a piece of fiction!”

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Features of a client contract brought to you by CIK Corp. in association with MC Inc.

               Some gossip. Some swear. I write. If not anything else, creative expression is a way to vent and cope. And those who work for CIK Corporations that work for MC Incorporateds most definitely need to vent while coping.

A couple of bad pictures - I am still Photoshop-illiterate.





If I manage to keep my job after this post, who knows, a few years from now, I'd write about this from other positions on the spectrum. Life is scary.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Oh, puh-lease

               Policing seems to be all the rage now, what with the self-appointed protectors of <insert anything of perceived cultural value> and all their gallantry. Though the following lynch-at-sight aggressors differ in their expression, they have a unifying spirit - one of oppression.




Gestapo - Gestures:
               The Gestapo have applied themselves to defining, adopting and forcefully imposing on fellow humans, gestures they deem appropriate to express <insert anything of perceived cultural value>. (Think standing up when the national anthem is played and the like.) While the Gestapo is free to define and adopt arbitrary gestures, is it not presumptuous to impose those gestures on those with differing sentiments? Anyone who is tempted to exclaim 'What will you lose by standing up for a bit?' is missing the point.
My pet peeve: the Gestapo's laughable claim that the gestures they hold so dear somehow translate to love or respect for <insert anything of perceived cultural value>.




Pork Mince Police - Food:
                 The Pork Mince police go about butchering anyone who is seen consuming or is suspected to have consumed food items that have failed their 'allowable for ingestion' test. I might be okay with such imposition if the test didn't have such dubious parameters - animals with perceived cultural value disallowed. (Sorry, I lied; any form/degree of dictation is anathema to me).
My pet peeve: mobs asking dissenters - who reply with 'No, thanks. I'll have <redacted item>' when the 'allowable for ingestion'  menu is shoved at them - to leave the country.


Climax Police - Pleasure:
                  The climax police take policing to unthought of heights - dictating sexuality, shaming non-conformists and even deciding which gender deserves more coital pleasure. To think that genital mutilation was carried out under the pretext of curing lesbianism!
'But there are women who choose to undergo clitoridectomy.'
'For fear of ostracism? Hardly counts as free choice.'
'What about cosmetic clitoridectomy?'
'You mean elective surgery? Elective being the key word?'


                   Forced veneration is like canned laughter - it kills the spirit.


                   I plead guilty to thoughtcrime.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

I'm not done obsessing yet




(When you lack Photoshop skills, you need internet research+MS Word+document conversion+screen capture skills.)

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Two tales

               Nothing can occasion a comparison of Pride and prejudice and A thousand splendid suns other than my having read them one after the other. Also how long it's been since I obsessed over/felt depressed by a book this much. So, there.


               Spoilers abound.


              As for the titles, like Elizabeth Bennet says, 'One has got all the goodness and the other all the appearance of it'. As it turns out, one book is like an uplifting song, and the other, a fresh wound.


               The former is replete with literary merit, the latter a heavy plot.


               The former so exhilarating it takes a lot to keep still, the latter so saddening it takes anti-depressants to go on reading. Interestingly, one Tamil (yeah, I'm dropping the 'zh'; it seems like an affectation) word captures both these sensations: கிளர்ச்சி.


               With one, you wish it were true; with the other, you know it's too real to shirk off.


               While it is almost effortless to break out of the former's charm with the realisation that it is fiction, it is not as easy to shrug off Mariam and Laila as mere fictional characters. Maybe it's just negativity bias, or my pessimism, but forced marriage, domestic abuse, preference for male offspring and the pervasiveness of political unrest on everyday life seem so familiar that even the hope-filled end does very little to help with the feel-good.


              Elizabeth's eloquent rejection of the tedious Mr. Collins, Mr. Darcy's curt gems to Miss Bingley and Elizabeth's incredible verbal duel with Lady Catherine - all, in effect, Jane Austen's brilliance - make one gush with admiration. Gutless Jalil, the failed escape of the women, resignation to cruel fate (all of which remind me of Sivagami from Sivagamiyin Sabadham), stoic Aziza and the cowardice of rebels who demolish historical artifacts, on the other hand, make one tremble with outrage.


               In the gradual metamorphosis - from hatred to embarrassment to love and matrimony in one, and from a progressive father to a bad marriage, to love, matrimony and hope in the other - they are similar.


               In the ultimate reward - Jane-Bingley, Elizabeth-Darcy; dead (brutally slain) Rasheed, Laila-Tariq, a recovering Afghanistan, (can't think of a convincing one for Mariam) - they are similar.


               Guess I can no longer criticize people who discuss TV soaps with unrelenting passion, without feeling a little hypocritical.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Forgive me, this one's a filler





“Watch me;


Don’t touch me.


I will buffer;


You will suffer.


You will do it my way”,


Film websites say.


 


 


“You can’t toggle,


You can’t pause,


Do it, you’ll struggle,


Not without cause.


“Adverts,


Pop-ups,


With me, you will bear,


Although you swear.


 


 


“Ten minutes in,


You’ll be asked to log in.


Curse, you may, (but)


You’ll do it my way”,


Film websites say.


 





Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Gita by Swami Cloy Ant



That very ridiculous science of the relationship with the Client is today told by Me to you because you are My consultant as well as My slave; therefore you can understand the horrific aspects of this science.

That worker who is attached to the fruits of his labour and who passionately wants to enjoy them, who is greedy for peace of mind, envious of those with healthy personal relationships, impure owing to lack of time for daily ablutions and is moved by happiness and distress, is a normal human being, and hence unfit for consulting. (Refer our policy on hiring, exploiting and dealing with hapless consultants)

The whole of your time is under Me. By my will it is wasted again and again, and by My will it is annihilated in the end.

What is night for all beings is the time of overseas client calls for the consultant; and the time of awakening for all beings is indeed the time of awakening for the consultant as well, come on, obviously.

Consultant said: O Client! First of all, You ask me to go ahead with the current document, and then again You recommend frivolous changes, wording the request as if I failed to do my job. Now will You kindly tell me definitely that this document is good to go (where no one will read it)?

You have a right to perform your prescribed duty (and the duty delegated to you by my boss from the US), but you are not entitled to a personal life or weekends. Never consider yourself to be beyond my capacity for torture-by-iterations, and never be attached to my non-nitpicky side, as you will discover that it exists only in your dreams.

But those who worship Me with servility, indulging my every whim without question, to them I carry what they need - money and future business opportunities - and preserve what they have - My contact.

When your mind is no longer tempted by the flowery language of the corporate slogans, and when it remains fixed in the trance of repetitive, mundane, meaningless routine, then you will have attained Ultimate Indifference.

nirasir nirmamo bhutva yudhyasva vigata-jvarah
Therefore, O consultant, surrendering yourself to My service, with mind intent on Me, without desire for acknowledgement or praise, free from self-respect and urge to smash the laptop on my face, slog.

(Inspired by https://krishashok.me/2013/04/30/th3-g1t4/)