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Friday, December 30, 2011


OpenBook: REFLECTIONS ON THE YEAR 2011: As the clock ticks and time passes away from the year that we just lived, many thought come to my mind and today I want to share some of t...


As the clock ticks and time passes away from the year that we just lived, many thought come to my mind and today I want to share some of those thoughts with all of you who have given me so much love and affection. Many of you may not even understand how much you all mean to me and how you have been part of my life.
For me the most important aspect of living life in the year 2011 can be measured only by how much I have gained from you all. I would probably not be what I am today had it not been for the trust, faith and support that I have received from all of you. The year was one of great achievements for me as it gave me a new opportunity to put a new team together to build something new and different. During this period I came across a number of new faces in my life and could never anticipate that in such a short span they would become part of my life. I had my ups and downs with new people but I believed that everyone has a hidden talent that I could use. It was just my job to make them realize that they were on to something big in life. Some of them thought that I was kidding; some thought I am diplomatic, and some may have even thought that I am crazy. However, as the year passes by me, I am happy that most of them today do realize that there is merit in what I was telling them all along. I can see the spark in the eyes of the people who work with me and I do hope I have earned their support. Today I just want you to know that you have shaped my thinking and I value your frankness and sometimes the anger you expressed on what you did not like about me or my ways of doing things. I have sincerely reflected on all those issues and am a better person compared to a year back or when I met you for the first time.

Then there is another group of people who have shaped my thinking this year and they are my old and existing students. I can confess that I have learnt a lot from them. I shared their sorrows, difficulties and apprehensions. I gave them a shoulder to cry when they needed it from me but I also gave them the values as teacher that I have practiced all my life. Sometimes you as my students have amazed me and at times you have disappointed me but I always took it in the spirit of learning. I continued to have faith in your abilities and I will always continue to do so because I think I have taught you to hear to your inner voice. That should always be the guiding light in your life. Today many of you have made remarkable progress in your life and it is all due to your own efforts and perseverance. I do not take any credit for what you are today, I just am so happy that you let me be part of your life for some years that we spent together. There have also been some sad stories about students that I do not wish to share at this point in time but would like all those students to know, I still care for all of you and do not give up hope, the world does not come to an end tomorrow.

Before I begin to say goodbye to 2011, I want all of you who have been in some way been connected to me (even if we have never met) to know that we are not the center of the universe and the creator has given us a life as the most intelligent species in the known universe. We all should make effective use of this gift for the benefit of not only us but those around us at the least. Here are some of the things that you may think of doing for the next year.

1.       Try and make at least one person happy everyday by just listening to them. This will give you 360 days of credit in your account next year.

2.       Go out of the way to help someone who needs help the most, it may be your students, co-worker or someone you may have never met.

3.       There are so many people who are dependent on you for their livelihood. They could be your driver, servants, or gardener. Just help them educate their one child for one year. It’s a great gift you can give.

4.       Control your anger this year, it speaks a lot about you as a person and not about the person you are angry with you.

5.       Spend some quality time with the family. It is an important part of living life.

6.       All away carry a smile on your face it does not cost you anything but makes life for everyone around you good.

7.       Make up with friends you lost in 2011. Get back to them and say sorry if you have to say.. you never know how this year is going to be.

Happy New year and have a great 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Consider the following:

1.  No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2. There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

3.  Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical).

This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.

This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4. The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight.

On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that 'flying reindeer' (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine.

We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy per second each.

In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second.

Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.> In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

(NOTE: This appeared in the SPY Magazine (January, 1990))

Saturday, December 10, 2011


As we move on in our life with ups and downs each day, we seldom think of how much difference we make to the life of other people. Listed below are some principles that you can follow to make life more meaningful to ourself and to others. See how many of these you are following today. Make an attempt for a week and see how your life will begin to unfold with a different perspective.

1. Thou shall not worry needlessly about mistakes: You aren’t unworthy or incapable just because you made some mistakes. Remember that mistakes are necessary for growth.
2. Thou shall not control things: Your way is not always the best way. Remain open minded, and don’t worry if things don’t go as expected.
 3. Thou shall not blame others: Don’t make others responsible for your happiness. You are in control of your happiness, and you can choose to make the day a positive one.
 4. Thou shall not worry: Don’t worry about the things you cannot change or have no control over. Have faith that storms never last long and tomorrow will be brighter.
5. Thou shall never surrender: You must try to climb that hill even when it seems too steep. No matter how difficult the task seems, it’s better to try than to wonder if you could have succeeded.
 6. Thou shall grow: Never think that you have to stay where you are in life. Every new day offers an opportunity for change.
 7. Thou shall not judge others harshly: Try to accept other people for who they are. Just because some one is different from you, doesn’t mean they are inferior. Everyone was created in God’s image.
 8. Thou shall not fret over other’s opinions: Not everyone will like you, and some people will criticize you, nut you must not feel unworthy. You need no one’s approval to be you.
 9. Thou shall not doubt your ability: You should always have faith in yourself. Refuse to give the negative voice in your head an audience.
 10. Thou shall not fix the world: It’s good to help others, but remember that you cannot fix everyone’s problems.
Note: These are not my words but I fully believe in these principles and thus though I will share it with you all. Hope you enjoy it.


It’s been over 26 years now that I have been teaching students at both the undergraduate and the postgraduate levels. Today as I look back at all those years, I feel that how much I have learnt from my students. In fact they have contributed so much to my growth and development as a teacher. Many of my students have made success stories in their life and so many of them could not make it and that has always been a concern for me at the personal level. The thought always comes did I do the right things or did I miss something that was so important for them to have become a success story like others. There is little doubt that we as teachers take great pride in the achievements of our students. But we also need to reflect and think of all those students who did not make it. These thoughts have given me some time to reflect on my role as a teacher and how I can be an instrument of transformation.

It is important to remember that the teacher is the first person that a student will approach when he is lost and is unable to find a direction in his life. Many a times this may not be because he is academically weak but more because he is not able to find his place in the social structure of our society. In such situations what is my role as a teacher?

Most teachers tell that their job is to go and deliver lectures in the class and finish the course so that students are prepared for the exams. I however, feel that there is another exam for which we don’t prepare our students and that is the exam of their life. Over the years I have been able to develop the ability to look at a student and clearly identify if there is something bothering him/her. I have taken the task of asking him to see me and I have found talking helps them to a great extent. It is my belief that if you don’t care for your students, then you cannot be a good teacher. Caring teachers become role models for their students. This also puts additional burden on teachers to live up to the image that students carry about them. Everything that we do is being observed by them and therefore we have to ensure that we do what is right all the time. The relationship between a teacher and a student is one of respect and trust and that has to be maintained at all times.

A good teacher will always try and give all they have both intellectually and personally. Caring for our students has nothing to do with the job or the salary that we get. It is more about creating a culture of confidence and preparing for good citizenship for the future generations. Unfortunately a lot of teachers of modern world should not be in this profession to start with. They do not have the feeling of being a teacher. For them teaching is a profession and it is like any other 9:30 to 5:30 job as they would do somewhere else. However I think those who desire to be teachers should remember that we have a greater responsibility as we deal with young minds that can be swayed by all sorts of ideas and ideologies. Sometimes we try and teach students what we know but the fact is that we should be teaching students what they should know. Such teaching converts resistance to interest in acquiring knowledge. This requires that we as teachers understand the difference between information, knowledge and wisdom. Many teachers in today’s educational environment have the task of only providing information to students. We fail to help students in converting information into knowledge and from knowledge to wisdom. For good teaching to happen, this gradual transition from Information to wisdom is essential. All teaching has to connect the subject to the art and craft of life management.

When I begin to think of some of the people that I have met in the field of teaching, I become so sad that such people exist under the mask of a teacher. Probably they are responsible for the loss of faith that students have developed in their teachers.

My advice to all those that want to be teachers is to first ask yourself if you have what it takes to be a teacher to start with. Do you carry the values that are necessary to be a teacher and are you ready for the sacrifices that are necessary to be in the field of teaching? To be a teacher par excellence you should have the ability to touch the heart of your students. You should be able to earn the respect of your students and should not demand it from them. This is one of the most important tests of a good teacher. If you have to force your students to respect you, then you probably should not be in the field of teaching. Always love your students the same way you would love you children, care for them as you would care for your own child. The greatest satisfaction will come not from the salary you get paid but by touching the heart and the soul of your students. They will remember you throughout their life for what you have dome for them.

Let us all work towards creating a bright future for the next generation. What we do today as teachers will determine the future of our society and the place that our children will have for themselves.

Happy reading..