Showing posts from 2017

Playing God, or better than Him?

In an article in Scientific American , the author, Larry Greenemeier, presented a case about whether prosthetic legs gave an unfair advantage to athletes like the South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius or the Paralympic long jump champ, Markus Rehm. Even in today's technology age, a differently-abled person is not expected to perform as well as an able-bodied person, though we have seen enough inspirational stories of grit and determination that indicate to the contrary. These stories are exceptions than rule. Most people in this context will feel less equipped to handle the otherwise routine work carried out by able-bodied people. Well, this is going to change in the near future. In fact, I believe that completely able-bodied people will begin to opt for a prosthetic change instead of the one they were born in. Does this seem like science fiction? Read on... When my mother-in-law went through a knee-replacement surgery, the difference in her walking stance was stark. Had she

What's wrong with the Indian genes?

I have traveled a bit of the world, and my last trip was to Sri Lanka a couple of years ago. When I went to Melbourne, Australia, it struck me as a "civilized" society in the true sense and I admired the civic sense of being considerate about your fellow beings, following traffic rules and showing respect for other people's space. And I thought that this was a "white sensitivity" that I had witnessed. Then I visited some parts of Asia- Nepal, Philippines, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. I had anticipated brotherhood and similarity with India. I was disappointed. The streets were clean, people humble, and traffic- well organized. Cars gave way to pedestrians and cyclists were given space on the same road as other vehicles. In most situations, I was quite amazed to see cars exactly in the middle of their lanes and exactly the same number of vehicles as the number of lanes on the road. When traffic was slow or jammed for any reason, people didn't just try to c

National Open Grid for Student Performance

There is always an intense discussion about the support academic infrastructure to regular schooling. A few years back, I happened to meet the then CBSE Chairman for a brief moment. At Beyond Teaching, we had just begun offering preparatory courses for CTET. I wanted his views and ideas about this initiative so that we could make a better product offering. I didn't expect him to get involved with the effort, but what I didn't expect was his antagonism towards a coaching/ tutoring company. And the attitude is reflected in any governmental effort or setup. Right from the Ministry of Education to the school, nobody wants to even acknowledge the existence of the support function. It is ironical that parents of school going children are of the exact opposite view. An Assocham report in 2015 estimated the coaching and tuition industry's annual turnover at Rs. 1 lakh crore (about $2 bn) with an annual growth rate of 35%! This is even bigger than the 2016 allocation on entir

My father, my Superhero!

This is a personal tribute to my late father, who gave me this life and all the learning that I have had so far. He continues to live inside of me and motivates me to do better and good. Though this writing doesn't fall in the blog's genre, I have included this as a source of learning to me through my experiences with my father. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ As I sit next to the hospital bed, with  my  ailing father's hands in mine, the soft wheezing sound of his breath seems to defy the roaring life he has lived. I look at his face that has suddenly grown old and pale in the last one year, when his cancer showed up. Looking at his frail body, who would have believed that this same man was cycling 30 kms and more to collect small change from his clients just a month ago! It was quite unusual for us to see him lying down, from the tim