Category: Experiences

The young victim

This poem is dedicated to all of us- victims of a suffocating educational system with burdensome evaluation patterns. It is a matter of shame for any educational institution when the institutional torture it inflicts upon students is so severe that even the most hardworking and sincere ones cannot perform their level best.

I am the child carrying a bag bigger than herself
I am the student rushing from one tuition to the next
Or one who is just a month away from my degree
Bombarded with work he can’t finish in a century

I run, unaware of my destination
I collapse, gasping for breath
But I stand again to finish one more chapter
As my own will experiences a slow death

There are expectations from elders
Dreaded punishments from teachers
Ridicule from rivals
Contempt from competitors

I read but do not register a line
I write but the words don’t seem to be mine
I study but do not critically analyze
I think but produce no ideas

I now know what Marx meant by alienation
When nothing feels like your own
Neither your dreams, nor your goals
And work makes you feel overgrown

I don’t want to wake up to a new day
Because I will have to continue what I left before
At this young age, I want to disappear
Rather than read, interact and explore

My brain refuses to concentrate
As my heart isn’t into what I have to do
The bird wants to sleep undisturbed in its nest
So that tomorrow it can begin a journey anew

I don’t want to fulfil expectations anymore
I don’t want to match any standards
I want a free reign for my imagination
I want to explore different worlds

Frustration, depression, irritation
All gate-crash like uninvited guests in a party
The rebel within roars in indignation
To surpass every institutional limitation

Nothing can be learnt from too much work
It just becomes an imposed formality
Done in haste, whether good or waste
Life staggers between ‘dead’lines

I succumb to pressure
I lose my enthusiasm and motivation
“How much done?” displaces “How are you?”
My existence revolves around marks and submissions

Freedom and time are what I need
To think of new ideas, to try and try again
To learn from my mistakes
To knowledge  and wisdom so gain

When I see little kids play
Naughty, innocent and carefree they chirp..
They look so cheerful and happy
I wish I never grew up

Short hair and an existential crisis

Let me tell you something about myself. I am twenty year old girl; tall, thin and usually dress in western attire. Not more than a fortnight ago, I got my hair cut very short. Short enough that I do not require to comb them. This is when my story began.

In the past two weeks, I have been asked more than a hundred times whether I am a boy or girl. I find this question completely baseless. What does my hairstyle have to do with my sex? Who decides the haircut I like? Why is it mandatory for girls to have long hair and boys to have short hair? Why can’t the society accept a girl with short hair as readily as it accepts one with long hair?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. I am the only child of my parents. When I go out with them, people joke around saying “You have a son now.” They have heard enough taunts already for not having a son. Now people ask them whether they have a son or daughter while they look at me.

The point is that stereotypical ideas of the appearances of boys and girls must be done away with. Many of my male classmates have long hair. If they like their hair long, nothing else matters.

Dear society, I will keep my hair the way I want to. If you cannot recognize me anymore, I too refuse to recognize your stereotypical and patriarchal notions of femininity and masculinity. I am no less a female by keeping my hair short. I am and will always be proud to be a girl.

Parasitism in humans?

Parasitism may be an entirely biological phenomenon peculiar to certain species, but why can’t it be said that it is found among humans as well? Not biologically but socially we are parasites.

We depend upon the machines we ourselves invented. We are handicapped without the internet unheard of until 26 years ago.

Humans created smartphones; smartphones created dumb humans.

We cannot spend a day without checking our social network or updating our fake, exaggerated and masquerading identity on our social profiles. We cannot while away time unless messages keep pouring from various contacts and groups. We cannot consider ourselves worthy unless we have a thousand virtual friends we need not have met in person.

We are dependent upon fashion for making our choices. We rely on celebrities to select what occupies our wardrobe. Without cosmetics, we cannot enrich our external beauty. Without material possessions, we cannot build our self-esteem. We cannot celebrate birthdays devoid of cakes and parties. Without flaunting all these, we cannot conform to societal norms.

We bank upon the society’s approval for choosing our actions, behaviours, careers and life partners. We eschew anything that shall attract the indignation of the society we stay in. We feed upon our own conscience to nourish our desire for being included in a society whose rules were framed aeons ago.

We breed upon anger, envy and lies. We prosper in the adversity of the other. We thrive in the decline and misery of others. We flourish when we are appreciated more than others and perish when we are outdone by them. We take huge strides trampling others on our way.

Not only are we parasites, but also we are gradually turning into slaves. We are slaves of the phone that maddens us with anxiety if it does not buzz every ten minutes. The internet which brings the world to our fingertips and thereby deactivates the thinking faculties of the mind. The likes and comments on our pictures which judge the identity that never belonged to us. The gifts we exchanged and the money we made which determine our status and position in the society. We are enslaved to our own greed, anger, desperation and desires.

The only way to end this bondage is to love oneself. It is important to be true to oneself and there is nothing to be ashamed of being what one is. No possessions except truth, love, hope, compassion and conviction are invaluable.

Let us rise above these trivialities and embrace the truth of life which lies not in things but in living itself; fighting battles each day and evolving into an independent, sensitive and sensible individual. Nobody but we can emancipate ourselves from the shackles that bind us to the negativity we want to refrain from. Remember, life is a circus and you are your own ringmaster.

Live for yourself. Live free!

livefree

Superb summer school!

I belong to the category of workaholics. Those around me have never seen me go out for a vacation or enjoying a holiday. I am precariously occupied with making and following my ‘To do’ lists. This month was no way different but maybe it was, because I joined a short two week summer school in my ‘the best’ H.R. College organized by King’s College, London.

We had Prof. Michael Bedward flying in from King’s College, London (ranked among the top twenty universities in the world, whoa! ) who was our course tutor. The course was called ‘Managing innovation’. It was all about innovating in business, corporate cultures and organizations. Truly, it was an experience of a lifetime in many ways.

Prof. Michael was one of the most enthusiastic and patient professors i have ever seen. He always seems to look so fresh and energetic- he radiated some positive vibes in the otherwise very cold classroom. He made his own presentations for teaching and was not someone who talked all the time. In most of our lectures, we students spoke more than what he did. No questions or arguments ever seemed to deter his zeal for teaching. He was always interactive and entertained us with his dramatics. A raucous classroom or a silly question never bothered him. He went on with a smile all the while. I am his fan already and maybe each one of us in the class was. He gave an opportunity to each one to speak on the microphone and corrected those who were not clear. A person of order and discipline; he has a thorough understanding of student’s responses to his teaching. He often took feedback from us about how the course had been going. He believes that constructive feedback rather than praise makes one better.

Well there were unpleasant experiences too. I was the youngest student in the class. Most people out there came with their friends and never went out of their comfort zones to interact with new people. We were given two group assignments to do. I had a team which wasn’t contributing to the work, they were uninterested. They only rejected my ideas and discouraged me all the time. I was taken aback, mainly because I am used to being in teams where everyone is passionate about the goal. However, I dealt with them. I was leading a team where everyone was elder to me. This was the biggest thing I learnt here.

Finally came the day of our presentation. My team members did not do well because they never took the pains to research and rehearse well. I was the last spokesperson from my team and I covered up for all the other’s shortcomings. I became the star that day and everybody in class praised me, except my team members of course. I had done my best and got what I deserved. I was happy.

The last day of the Summer School, I was chosen from my class to share my experience. i spoke in front of a crowd of almost 200. My Principal as well as Michael sir praised me for my speech. It was a happy ending in spite of all the mixed experiences. At the end, I was really sad because it got over very soon; but at the same time, I was happy because it happened! 😀 🙂