Sunday, May 27, 2012

Selling Education

When I was in school, the schools did not advertise to get students. When they started selling education, they had to.

I started seeing

XYZ School / College  -  Well qualified and Dedicated teaching staff, Regular tests,Well stocked library, Personal attention etc etc.

Then it was

Well ventilated class rooms, Hygienic Canteen facilities and  Stress on all round development.


Air conditioned hostel, internet in Library, Landscaped surroundings and so on and so forth.

Now, this school in Panjim highlights  ‘Jeans and T shirt for uniform’  but only has ‘improvised’ class rooms. (I hope at least the English teacher knows the difference between improved and improvised.)

What I suggest to other schools to beat competition.

Free mobile phone on admission and mobile charging points  on every desk.
Valentine day, Friend ship day, Rose day etc etc officially celebrated - classes off.
And if space permits,
Movie theater on campus.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Narrow Escape

Today is the Goa Panchayat (village bodies) Elections in which I was to be a candidate requesting valuable votes with folded hands. I narrowly escaped.

Wondering what went wrong with this fellow who appeared to be sane till recently?

Some time back I was talking with a likeminded friend of mine about the social and moral degradation that we are witnessing around us. After deliberating over the matter over a length of time, we concluded that 1. Our elected representatives or whom we call politicians in general , play a big role in the matter. 2. Unless we have elected representatives of good character, there will be no improvement in the situation 3. ‘Good’ people should not hesitate to enter politics 4. We the concerned citizens should not simply talk about it for ‘time pass’ but should act. And  5. We need to act from inside the system. 

Considering the last three points seriously, especially the third (!) we decided to contest  elections and thereby try our best to  improve things.

We realized that we should have come to this conclusion and begun in right earnest a few decades earlier if we ever hoped to contest an assembly or parliamentary election but thought that it is not late to have a go at the Municipal or Panchayat elections and make a beginning.

My friend resides in the municipal area where the elections are due only after another four years and so retained the right to keep talking and commenting for the next four years without presently getting into any action. I reside in the Panchayat area and the Panchayat elections were announced soon after our decision. Now, I had to prove that I was serious and so, had to contest in the elections.

I mentally went over the situation that I had put myself into and planned my approach. I did have a ‘decent’ image, I knew many of the voters who incidentally were my patients, I had done some ‘social work’ (we had a street light in our street and the road had been ‘hot mixed’ because of my efforts) and  if I could dangle some innovative carrots like ‘right to recall’ and ‘openness’ in panchayat transactions (new flavours) and if my voters did not remember the pain that they had suffered at my hands as my patients ( banking on public memory which is said to be short) I should at least be getting my deposit back.

Deciding to contest an election is one thing and actually doing so is another. As the elections were announced and nominations were invited I was getting jittery. Till date (by hook or crook) I had managed to retain a good image. People really thought that I was ‘respectable’ and ‘decent’. Should I contest a muddy election and soil that image? Won’t I be painted with all the dirty hues of a ‘politician’? In case I win I can dance even with the dirty paint on. What if lose my deposit? Can I walk straight again? What would people say? Forget about people, what would my wife say? Rather, add to all her sayings? Won’t I be handing her a Bofors to fire at me in future?

It was time to act and I could not afford these negative feelings. So I informed my wife about my decision and after getting a sarcastic “so, when are you taking oath as PM ?” I started on my way to the office of the returning officer.  I had never contested an election before and this first visit was to be a reconnoitering visit to gather information.

On the way I entered the temple to collect the blessings of god almighty like a true politician and had to stand aside (unlike a true politician) to make way for a group of ladies coming out of the temple. One of the ladies whom I recognized as my neighbour’s wife hailed me with much more cordiality than usual. “Hello doctor, nice to see you here itself. We were about to come to your place. You must have heard about the Panchayat elections. This time our ward is reserved for ladies and I am contesting. I came to offer my prayers before starting canvassing. I will visit your house but am requesting you to please support me”. She handed me a card and they left.

With the immense relief that I experienced, I was unable to put my foot forward. I sat down on the steps of 
the temple to recover. I had heard that our gods do not desert the devout but was not aware that sometimes they acted even before a seeker entered the temple. My belief in gods trebled and I returned home with a light heart after offering an extra prayer for the benefit of whoever decided to reserve our ward for ladies and save me. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mango Season

First few fruits of this season.  King of fruits is late this year. And few. I believe we get a good Mango harvest alternate years. This year must be lean. As a result the price is high and the fruits are beyond my reach. A dozen of good quality fruits cost about five hundred rupees and even if I make up my mind to buy, I will be anxious while cutting each one of them. Will it be rotten inside? Will it be sour? Will it be very fibrous? I usually do not get mangoes which confirm to my standards. If two fruits out of a dozen turn out bad it is nearly a hundred rupees down the drain. Taste of mango is not worth the tension. So I don’t buy. The mangos in the picture are on our table because of some good friends who have mango trees in their garden.  Good mangos and really good friends - if they could decide to part with these valuable fruits.  I have some more friends who have mango trees. If they remember me at the right time I may get a few more. I simply have to wait.

The other alternative is to pick up a stone and try to hit one of those on the tree. It is the roadside tree and every passerby has a right to them. No one will shout at me unless I hit the window pane of the house right next to the tree. But I hesitate to pick up a stone because of the following reasons.

First, the act of hitting a mango tree with stones is usually for five to fifteen year old boys and not for fifty five year old (almost senior) citizens. It will be very odd. Second, I am not sure of the quality of mangos and do not intend wasting efforts (which I can ill afford) on bad fruits. Third, I doubt if my eyes will be successful in picking the right fruits to fell. Fourth, even if my eyes pick the right one I am not sure if my hand can co ordinate with my eyes and heave a stone in the right direction. Fifth, even if they co ordinate and heave a stone in the right direction I am not sure if my shoulders co operate and  produce enough force for the stone to reach the fruit and dislocate it from the tree. Sixth, they may produce the force to dislocate the fruit but with the same force may dislocate themselves from their sockets thereby putting me out of all other actions for a few months.  All said and done it is better to act my age and just appreciate the sight rather than trying to taste and ending up with a bad taste.