Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Cut Off – Entry into College Education (after School in India)

Come the month of June, and all the students who have passed their class twelfth board enter into an important phase in their live-the Battle of the cut offs! It is only if they make it through the cut off that they will be able to get admission in a college with a course of their choice! While the powers that be, and the policy framers have made it easier for students to pass from lower classes to the class tenth level, (what with the removal of formal, traditional board exams at the secondary level), things become difficult when they try to get admission to a graduate course in a college in Delhi.

It is rather ironical that today a large number of students passing the twelfth boards are getting higher percentages and pass marks than before, and yet are not able to get admission in colleges because they haven’t scored the magical percentage of 96%! A large number of pass outs from school would, thus not be able to get admission in S.R.C.C., or L.S.R. or Hindu, or Stephens in the Economic Honours course because they don’t have 96 or 97% aggregate marks in their best four subjects at the class twelfth level! Recently, one of my students from Delhi called me up and told me that although he had scored 95% in his aggregate of best four subjects, he was not able to get admission to the Economic Course in a reputed college because he was short by 1% or so! It was surprising to know that even some of the lesser known colleges had upped the cut offs making it difficult for most students to get through!

The educational reforms introduced recently in education at the school level and the admission procedure at the college level seem to be rather diametrically opposed and conflicting! While the radical reforms at the primary and secondary levels in schools seem to do away with stress related to scoring of marks and competition with others, the admission procedure at the college level might be doing just the opposite! The largely inflated cut offs at the college entrance level seem to be making a mockery of the reforms introduced at school till class tenth! Students till class tenth are passed to the next class so liberally that they lose their competitive edge that comes through healthy competition! Perhaps excess leniency in awarding marks till class tenth might be raising the hopes of students to exaggerated levels making them unfit for competition at the college level and even for competition in real life!

That a large number of students graduating from school will not be able to get through regular college run by the Central  or State Universities makes it convenient for the entry of Private Colleges run by Private or Foreign Universities! Thus you have a mushrooming of a large number of B-Schools and private colleges many of which are unrecognised and nothing but Education Shops! Thus for a tidy sum of money the student can join a B.B.A. or M.B.A. programme run by a private institution affiliated to a Foreign University. What makes things even more depressing for the student is to choose an institution which is recognised by the Government, and future employers. often, after spending a huge sum of money and wasting valuable time. The mushrooming and  unrestrained of a large number of B-Schools has diluted the quality of M.B.A. and B.B.A. programmes in the country. A large number of M.B.As. and B.B.As. are gullible victims of fake, spurious, or unrecognised institutions. Some advertisements of these institutions are so misleading that they project the private institution as Ranked at The Top, and they even advertise issue of free laptops (Which are paid for by the Parent at the time of admission or  E.M.Is. spread over the duration of the course).

It all boils down to the extremely high Cut Offs posted by colleges, the fact that there has been a sudden surge in the number of students passing out from school with a higher percentage in the aggregate of best four subjects, and thus higher expectations. It is clear that something is amiss at the college level or graduate level  education as far as the admission procedure is concerned! Colleges today cannot provide education to most of the students passing out of school. Isn’t it ironical that while at the school level we are discouraging competition ( because it is stressful ) at the college entrance  level however we are doing the exact opposite! This antithesis between the system of selecting candidates for the graduate course and the system of stress free education at the school level is too great to be ignored!

The first cut off comes and goes, leaving most of the aspirants disheartened. The second cut off is announced leaving students disillusioned and further disappointed! Some opt for least popular courses offered by colleges,others go for the Distance Learning Programme,  and others opt for private institutions. In our greed for the perfect 100% have we not perhaps ignored a large workforce a valuable human resource of our country?

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Monday, 20 June 2011



The luxurious tresses fall over a graceful shoulder,

Her eyes liquid pools, a Doe ,she smiles, face full of

Kindness and love and innocence. If I fancied her,

Who could blame, for she was the best friend of

All! That innocent yet kind smile have I never seen!


The lack of guile, and readiness to smile, away the

Woes of life was her forte. We used to play games

Of childhood, and when she went away, sadness

Enveloped us. But who can stop the flow of time ?

Oh, I had to go away to another place to study!


Now, all that remains are fragments of memory,

A perfect smile to remove the pall of sadness,

The tinkle of laughter, the scent of incense dispel

The shards of indifferent times! An image of beauty,

Sheeba incarnate, a Queen of the land of Axum!


It was a friendship of childhood innocence, games of

Fights and reconciliation! We fought in morning by

Evening became friends, to share stories about fairies

And demons. The pain of separation all forgotten in

Games of childhood. A woman who’d be my Guenet!


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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Photographs are for posterity,especially those that can be stored and shared!

While browsing through some of my older C.Ds., I came across some old snaps that dated back to 2004, 2003. This was a time when the school I was working in gave me a Kodak digital camera which had a maximum resolution of two megapixels! I guess the decision was a wise one as is proved from the fact that photographs in the digital format, stored on  a C.D. have a better archival value, and they last longer than photographs on photo-paper! Or, perhaps it is that the compact disc is more resilient than the paper on which a photograph is printed. Whatever might be the case, I very strongly feel that photographs have an archival value, they represent a slice of time, photographs capture a moment of time for posterity. I guess people I know will agree when they go through the photographs pasted by me below:

Picture 003

                               Picture 004

                                Picture 001

                                                    Picture 005
The snaps given above were taken on the 20th. of November 2004 on the occasion of the Annual Day Function of the Dhanpatmal Virmani Sr.Sec.School, Roop Nagar. Mr.Vineet Virmani was the then Chairman of the school.


                               Presentation to The Governor     
The snaps given above were taken on the 26th, of February, 2004.I can be seen delivering a presentation of the Hindi E-Literacy programme being conducted by the Dhanpatmal Virmani Management and Education Trust to t Mr.Sudarshan Aggarwal, the then Governor of Uttaranchal, and Mr.Anil Virmani, the present Chairman of the Dhanpatmal Virmani Sen.Sec.School.


In the first photograph, the gentleman sitting in the middle is Mr.B.B. Nagpal, he was once the Bureau In Charge of UNI, and also one of my teachers of Journalism. In the second photograph you can see Mr.M.K.Vajpayee, an administrative officer of the school. The above photographs were taken on the first anniversary celebrations of the Hindi E-Literacy Programme run by the Dhanpatmal Virmani Education Trust and Management Society.


The two photographs pasted above are especially important for me because, I had just got the digital camera when I got the opportunity of photographing the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi, Mrs.Shiela Dixit. In these photographs, you can see her addressing students of Government Schools during a cleanliness drive launched by the Government of Delhi. Photographs were taken on the 27th. of September, 2003.


Mr. Pulak Gupta in the blue shirt is a well known expert and personality known in the field of  Philately. Here you see him in at a Philately workshop which took place in the Dhanpatmal Virmani Sr.Sec.School, Roop Nagar on the 30th. of July, 2004. Philately happens to be a hobby for me, but unfortunately, these days I hardly have any time for it. This perhaps explains why people are steadily ignoring Philately as a hobby!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Assan Wetlands-Uttarakhand

Today, on a whim, I decided to take my family for an outing to the Assan Wetlands.We hit the foot hills about thirty-five Kilometres from Jagadhri. On the way, we passed through the Kaleshwar reserve forest which lies in Haryana. We passed through Himachal Pradesh,passed by the town of Paonta Saheb, where the famous Paonta Saheb Gurudwara is located, and ended up at the Wetlands of Uttarakhand. The journey by car was of about fifty-five kilometres, and the road was quite good. In fact the lush greenery and the sight of taller mountains was refreshing. There was a slight climb from the Kaleshwar forest. We had tea at the restaurant at Duck View point,from where Dehradun is barely forty kilometres away!

I had been told by my driver that the Assan Wetlands are known to be the favourite resting place for migratory birds. Unfortunately, the owner of the restaurant at Duck View point told me that migratory birds arrive only during the winter season starting October.

Not daunted, we enjoyed the flora and fauna all around, and couldn’t resist taking some snaps! We even went for a boat ride at the water sports complex at Assan. I have pasted below, some of the photographs of the wonderful scenery, flowers and birds that we came across.

DSCN3828 Dad and Mom at the Duck View Restaurant

DSCN3830                             DSCN3836

My Daughters, wife and myself


DSCN3829              DSCN3946

My daughters with their Grandparents Left, and Right my whole family enjoying a boat ride at the Assan water sports complex










The flowers were most fascinating! Couldn’t resist the urge of snapping them!



The ducks seemed to be a couple!



                                                            Flapping Wings, or walking on Water?


DSCN3863                            DSCN3864

                Lessons in flight can be had by looking at these two experts!




My camera has a powerful zoom ranging from 28mm to 420mm, but still I found it most difficult to get these far away birds well in focus!





                                      The Mountains of Uttarakhand

The trees in the Assan Wetlands seem to sprout birds from every branch! Look below to see birds hanging on from every branch:




And finally look at these birds in flight!


       A Short Trip to the Assan Wetlands in Uttarakhand


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Tigiste-A Poem about a Beautiful Ethiopian Girl

The land of Tigiste, my first love, where have you gone?
The land of beautiful people, will we meet again?
I saw a girl with sharp features and milk white teeth at a Mall,
And asked her if she was Tigiste, and she said yes!

So I remembered where I was born, and Martha,and
Yeromnesh, and Dawit. Lost in sadness was I of a land
Lost to me, but for my precious memories of a past, rendered
Sweet in retrospect! To see you once more is my wish!

Tigiste, the damsel of my dreams, you visit me but
Fleetingly. And I saw you, and was taken to my past!
That guileless smile of yours, reminded me of a childhood,
Of fairy-tale people,  lush green forests,and Injera!

When I saw you, Tigiste I remembered
A coffee-dream world of endless game and adventure,
A world of Fairy tale possibilities,  fishing for Nile Perch
And gazing at  crystal clear streams of Arba-Minch

That was a childhood spent in the lap of Nature,
Where lessons were taught by beautiful people
About Honesty, Love, Truth, Friendship, greatest
of all respect for Nature!  Tigiste reminds me of them!


Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Island at War


The island goes to war with a powerful foe,

The enemy ships ring the island,  lights

Dancing  in the distance. They don’t dare come

Forward, but wait and watch. The sea becomes

Rough and threatening, the wind whips flecks of

Foam, the defenders watch  patiently their foe!


Dusk turns to night, the lightning strikes the sea,

The ships at anchor watch the tiny nation so

Brave but doomed! For who can withstand sheer

Numbers? But the tiny nation hopes against hope,

For a Saviour to grant them reprieve. For Nature

Seems to favour,for who dares land in a storm!


The wind quickens, it blows  a wagon off the quay!

Into the drink it goes crashing, waking the sleepy,

nodding with sleep, ever watchful, but oh so tired!

The night stretches till dawn, old Sol beams on

A now calm Sea, ripples barely visible! The watch

Rubs his eyes, where oh where have the ships gone?


The Enemy have fled, chased by whom none know!

The tiny Nation doesn’t rejoice for who knows what

Tomorrow will bring! Men go about their work,

Knowing well the enemy will return, till then they must

Eat and gain strength for battle another day! Pray and

Worship they do for a Saviour to save them another day!


Have Faith in the Saviour who will save you against all odds!