Sunday, January 18, 2015

This quarter one of the courses I’m taking is “Child psychology: development in early childhood”. As a part of the course, I spend four hours every Thursday in a nursery school observing and taking care of children. Boy, how I like the sound of ‘teacher Sujeet’! The school has children of two to four years of age. So far, it has been really fascinating to look at how they behave, how they interact, how they resolve conflicts, and most importantly, how they learn. Here, I’m going to share a few incidents which I found funny, intriguing, or thought provoking.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

While reading Mary Kom’s autobiography ‘Unbreakable’, I came across a passage where she described, when she was a child, how she studied and what her home was like. Her home didn’t have electricity. They used to put cotton wicks inside a glass bottle and use them as lamps with kerosene. That reminded me of the lamps we used to use at home when electricity went off…

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Just a couple of days ago, I met with Praveen Gedam, a medical doctor, who has chosen to nurse more than just diseases. Dr. Praveen Gedam, an IAS officer of 2002 batch is Maharashtra Government’s famous troubleshooter with an interesting history. Few years ago, a businessman donated Rs. 1500 crores to the Vitthal temple of Pandharpur on the condition that the government must come up with a rock-solid plan for development of Pandharpur, where every penny is accounted for. The way he was assured of transparency and efficiency was: Dr. Gedam was transferred to the district as the collector!

It was Dr. Gedam’s bulletproof paperwork and intolerance of corruption that saw powerful Maharashtra politicians behind bars for Gharkul Housing Scam involving 216 crore rupees. Usually, when most of the scams are exposed, and the accused escape through some loophole or the other. Here was an example, a politician, whose party was in power, couldn’t avoid jail because he was so thoroughly exposed with impeccably detailed evidence and paperwork.

You know how exams used to be held at and around my place? Students didn’t study for exams, they copied. There was an elaborate system in place for copying. Invigilators would turn a blind eye, peons would carry printed answers to the candidates. “Anti-copy squad” was a joke. Exam centers would know beforehand that the squad is going to visit the center, just before the visit of the squad, chits, notes, and whole books would be collected from the copying students in sackfuls and thrown away, making the center ‘clean’. Boy! How I hated it! When Dr. Gedam came to my district as the District Collector, he put an end to it. He showed that all it takes to do away with most of the filth in our society is one strong-willed officer!

When I was a kid, a very small kid, I used to say “I want to become a scientist when I grow up”. When I grew up a slight bit more, it changed to “I want to become an IAS officer!”. Dr. Gedam made me change that to “I want to become an IAS officer like Dr. Praveen Gedam!”. That hasn’t changed till date.

I had a lot of questions about IAS as a career option. Friends and relatives alike have told me that I shouldn’t be a starry eyed kid gung-ho about IAS. I should actually try to find the ground truth. I should try to find out how it is like to be an IAS officer for real, because they feared it is something I won’t actually like. Who better to ask these questions to than Dr. Gedam himself! And that’s how, on a fine Saturday morning, a government holiday, I ended up in his office, 350 km away from my home.

Friday, November 14, 2014

हेमा-रेखा-जया संग डोलें,
शक्तिमान से सॉरी बोलें,
वो बचपन!

टूटीं खिड़कियाँ, चौके-छक्के,
माँ की मदद से वादे पक्के,
वो बचपन!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

He heard thunder. It’s going to rain! He and rain — they went way back.

He would come back from classes, fold his umbrella, fling his backpack on the bed. That stupid little bag full of books! It always forced him to use the umbrella. Now he was free. Free to soak in the rain. Free to run, free to splash, free to dance!

Rain was freedom.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dear reader,

I’m confused. I feel clueless, untethered, like a boat without a compass, in the midst of a storm. I’m thinking in circles, and boy it’s tiring! Will you help me?

This is about a teacher, and how I feel about him.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

MemNet loading… [####...... 42%]

Akshata was intently staring at her phone screen. “Come on, I haven’t got all day!” she remarked impatiently. The 128 cores in her phone, whizzing at a blazing 4 GHz were sweating under MemNet’s strain.

An hour passed. MemNet’s welcome screen didn’t look particularly welcoming to Dr. Akshata. It had now been almost a year since she got the Turing award for her work in neuroinformatics and just this morning she had sniffed-in her last dose of pico-bots. She could never quite get rid of the tiny panic the pico-bots induced in her brain, but she was quick to get used to that minor inconvenience.

Start scan? [yes] [no]

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Actually, this post could as well be empty, the title should suffice.

I changed my name a few days ago. I had good reasons to do it. Bulletproof argument, right? Oh I forgot what a fucking coward I am! That’s where things go wrong, you see…

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Till a few days back, I went by the name Sujeet Gokul Gholap. Now, I’m Sujeet Kausallya Gholap.

A few days back, on the occasion of teachers’ day, I wrote about how my mother is the most influential teacher that I’ve had. It got me thinking… My mother (Aai) has contributed to me, my personality and my views as much as my father (Pappa). When Pappa took me to science exhibitions, Aai taught me household science. When Pappa imbued my childhood with a strong sense of morality and idealism, Aai exemplified how to be caring and loving. When Pappa made me interested in history, Aai made me like poetry.

It struck me odd that having played equal roles in shaping me, my name has two words from Pappa’s name, and no words from Aai’s name! “Let’s fix that!” I thought.

But it runs deeper than that…

Friday, September 5, 2014

“Wow! It looks, so… nice!” marveled a boy of four, standing on the terrace’s parapet, wide-eyed, taking in all the beauty of the sunrise. He did not know the word ‘beautiful’ then. Things were just ‘nice’, some were ‘cool’. His Aai (mother), stood by, smiling… Had he been observant, surely he would’ve seen her eyes crinkling too.
“Listen to the birds chirping.”
“Yeah! Sooo nice, Aai!”
“See that mist?”
“Oh! Wow!”
She taught him to appreciate the beautiful world they lived in.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Upvotes have almost stopped trickling in, and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t share the experience now.

A few friends and I were discussing Anonymity on Quora and veracity of anonymous answers. That discussion still fresh in my mind, I saw a lot of my programmer friends upvoting an answer to “How did you meet your first girlfriend/boyfriend?”. What makes this answer get a 1000+ uvotes, I wondered. If you look at the ridiculous number of “IITians and girls” questions on Quora, you’ll realize what made that answer so popular.

“Hmm… the answer appeals to all those hardcore computer science students for whom, a girlfriend is just the stuff of dreams. When they see someone finding his girlfriend in a programming contest, surely the answer’s gonna sell like hotcakes. Further, true to the typical Indian mindset, quite a few readers would find ‘we are going to marry soon’ very aww-inspiring.”

“Can I come up with a formula, which takes such factors actively into account? I want to beat this answer in number of upvotes. I want to engineer an answer which will be the highest voted answer for this question!”

Monday, August 4, 2014

“This is photoshopped, right?”
“#nofilter, mind you!”

I’m sick of people pointing out photoshopped pictures, and people being proud of their ‘#nofilter’ pictures, and yeah, people asking “nice pictures! which camera do you have?”

Why don’t you ask “wow! nice poem! which pen do you use for writing?”? Why not discuss whether J.K.Rowling wrote drafts and then edited and refined them or whether she wrote stuff and published it without giving it a second look? Why not ask whether an artist ever used the eraser while he was drawing that drawing? Sure, remix in music is fine, florid and articulate language in literature is welcome, highly stylistic films get rave reviews because they are stylistic but… but… deviate a little bit from what our eyes see and a photograph suddenly becomes ‘photoshopped’ and dismissed right-away.

You take pride in reading between lines, but you refuse to see between the pixels! Every photograph has its own story, you know… Stop thinking of photographs as representation of reality. They are rendition of the reality as seen through the photographer’s eyes, touched by the photographer’s imagination, wanting to tell a story, deliver a message.

Friday, August 1, 2014

“That’s what we get, and deserve in the end
Around the corner… a vanished friend”
(Charls Hanson’s “Around The Corner”)
डूबा रातोंकी झगमगाहटोंमें;
नयी उम्मीद जगानेवाला सवेरा मैंने खो दिया

गहराईओंमें मोती ढूँढ़ते ढूँढ़ते;
मन को सुकूँ दिलानेवाला किनारा मैंने खो दिया

छिछोरे चाँद को तांकते तांकते;
हरपल राह दिखानेवाला सितारा मैंने खो दिया

“मैं!” “मुझे!!” “मेरा!!!” कहते कहते;
“मैं हूँ ना” कहनेवाला कोई प्यारा मैंने खो दिया

चूहोंकी दौड़में भागते भागते;
मेरे हमसफ़र तुझे, यारा मैंने खो दिया

Monday, July 21, 2014

“Sujata to Ground Station: exiting ISSS for spacewalk 13 on sub-mission 2-b in 57 seconds.” Captain Sujata Rao sent a voice-message to ISRO ground station from the International Super Space Station orbiting Mars as she was about to go out on a short mission to fix a couple of mechanical issues. She’d get a response in another 25 minutes.

Sujata thought that the sun was a bit unusually brighter. She shrugged and proceeded toward the bolt she needed to tighten by 10 degrees more. She didn’t find a need to activate her jetpack as the micro-thrusters in her space-suit were adequately powerful.

As she approached the bolt, a static started playing in receiver. ‘So jarring!’ she thought, irritated. The specially designed automatic spanner registered a significant temperature rise in the bolt. Her jaw dropped when she saw the sun had grown 10 times its size. Before she knew it, the static had gone from unbearable to ‘extreme torture’, impairing her hearing forever.

A superbright flash… an explosion… a hundred thousand suns bursting into life…

Nothing… no Captain Sujata… just individual atoms floating in space…

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Here begins my experiment: just type away as my thoughts ramble and wander… letting them take me to places and times — here and yonder! I’m typing out… in the end, I’ll have to do some minimal editing and little bit of censoring here and there and boom! I have a blog post!

So yeah, this is an attempt to pen it down as my thoughts branch out and new topics emerge. I’ve always found it very hard to be on the top of a particular topic for long and the ‘very hard’ part invariably makes me think of [deleted] from where my mind travels to places like Agra. I think of Taj Mahal and how acid rain is ruining its beauty. These goddamn Agra people! So much pollution! I know, right! And why does pollution make me think of population? Is it just word similarity or is there a deeper meaning to it, I wonder.

Yeah! Wonder Woman! Supposed to be some famous comic book character or something. Nah! Never heard of her. I know Captain America, Batman, Flash, Superman, Spiderman and all that, okay! But Wonder Woman? I’m just barely aware of her existence in the comic-verse. Yeah, yeah, the universe portrayed in comic books, not like “a verse that is funny” but yeah, why not? Verses can be funny too! And you know what? There was this guy in my school, his name was Phani (pronounced exactly same as ‘funny’). Boy, was that funny! Okay, okay, I know I shouldn’t be making fun of people’s names and all that, but hey, this is what’s coming to my mind right now.