Looking beyond the AIEEE

Tonight I share an article where my father expresses his views on a situation many Indian parents end up facing  –
9th June, 2012 11:44pm
 
I was half sleep when a text message woke me up. It read – ‘AIEEE 4111′. It was from one of my ex-colleagues whose son was aspiring for an admission to one of the top engineering institutes in the country. The rank, 4111, was a really excellent one  in the AIEEE exam, considering especially that more than a million candidates appeared for the exam in May. In fact, what makes this rank even more remarkable is the fact that the first 3000 – 3500 students may not even join any of the institutes available through the exam as they would be most probably be joining one of the IITs or dropping an year to improve their JEE ranks the next year.
 
The message made me wonder about 2 other students, whose parents I knew.  I informed them immediately that the AIEEE results were out. On calling them the next day, I found out that one of them had secured a rank of 45,000 while other had ranked around 2,35,000. Creditable as they were, such is the cut-throat level of competition for the limited number of seats, that they would normally not be enough to make it to one of the  nationally reputed top engineering colleges.
 
The first question that came to my mind was – What should be the next step for these two students ? What if one of them was my own son or daughter? Would I consider this a failure on my child’s part? Sadly, in India, most parents do. What they need to realize is that this is definitely not the end of the road; but rather a great chance to explore other exciting education and career opportunities. We have, over the years ended up building a regime of expectations from our children, where the two most direct routes are –
 
Engineer -> MBA
 or
Doctor
 
In my view, only if a student is really interested in the various engineering courses offered, has appeared for other entrance exams like the BITSAT or State entrance exams and scored well, should he/she opt for pursuing the engineering route. To me, it makes no sense what so ever, in both settling for a mediocre institute or in bluntly keeping on banging for an engineering birth by dropping an year (and possibly more). I would rather sit with my son; discuss our options; take a hard, long look at his interests; and pursue a field that would play to his confidence.
 
I would not really go into great detail, but here are some of the opportunities (assuming a science background in the +2 years of school) you might want to explore if you find yourself in a similar situation –
 
-A direct officer level entry to the Indian Navy (Logistics Branch) or a Marine engineering degree through the navy or otherwise.
-Look for an esteemed career with the Indian Army beginning at the NDA
-If you have a penchant to sketching or design, try for an admission to one of the top architecture or fashion design institutes.
-Take up an under-graduate course in Hotel Management or Business.
-Take up a course in sciences if your child has a dream for it. Remember, there are always excellent opportunities available in R&D, especially in bio-sciences, pharmaceuticals, space, etc.
-There are several courses very similar in structure and opportunities to engineering like BSc (IT), BSc (Computer Sciences). One could always pursue them even whilst preparing for another attempt at the engineering exams, instead of entirely wasting an year.
The list is of course long, and great success always follows wherever passion and hard-work are. I can only advise and eventual success depends upon the individual’s drive. In the end, it is of utmost importance to understand the psyche of each individual student and providing the right counsel.
– Sudhir Kumar Pant
With over 30 years of experience in IT & Telecommunication, Sudhir is one of the founder members of the safalmantra initiative and the prime visionary behind the idea. Over the years, his counsel and initiative has been helpful to many young students looking for the best career option.

Apologies ‘Mr. Minister’

First of all, I’m not yet ready with the promised piece on architecture as a career option. However, in building the work, I have compiled a basic set of questions which I shall be covering –

1. Why should you choose architecture ?

2. How do you prepare for the various architecture exams during the formative (+2) years ?

3. What exams can you give for admission to the best colleges ?

4. What colleges can you choose, by cut-offs ?

5. And finally, which are the best rated architecture colleges in the country, according to both, students and employers ?

I hope it makes informative reading. I should confess, at this point, that I haven’t been able to go too far in my research as yet.

Now over to the day’s review. The highlight has to be Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai. I went into this movie with high expectations, but somehow it never really clicked with me.

Not for a moment, would I blame it on the performances by the cast. I thought Emraan (sir) was once again excellent, and Abhay Deol was a perfectionist as ever. Kalki Koechlin was once again on her ‘wacky’ act (which, although strong, has now started becoming repetitive and irritating). There was that imaginative camerawork and story-telling, but then it all just didn’t click. Why ? Because it was all just once too much. It was all that modern cinema in a story told too many times – about corrupt politicians, innocent rebels becoming victims, protagonists fighting for their rights and so on. Shanghai is slow-paced, and grows up on you so much so that by the end you just want it to end. I am a fan of this brand of movie-making, but I don’t accept redundancy easily, unless it has a spark about it.

I’d go for a 2/5 for Shanghai. I do recommend it as a one-time watch, especially for the great Farooq Sheikh

The evening ends here with a very well-deserved win for Croatia over Northern Ireland in the group C game of Euro 2012 at Poznan. The entire Croat squad really impressed me tonight, and with Spain’s draw against Italy earlier, I would really fancy them to make it to the quarter-finals.

Have a safe night everyone.

Are we terrorized?: The Good Year- Analogies with a Joker

Its been troubled times lately. The world all of a sudden seems a much more gloomier place than it was an year ago. And NO its not about the dementors ( i guess ). “Its chaos, and right now its the rule”

We’ve been seeing the physical terror striking every now and then. New militant groups spring out of extremist ideologies each day, they kill innocents, and innocents for whose cause they supposedly fight keep getting branded as miscreants. Multiple blasts in various cities across Asia have suddenly hindered the progressive peace and prosperity drives that resulted in significant financial improvements in the region. Political leaders keep playing the blame game, and well-wishers of the common are numbered. “People are dying out there, what’d you do? ”

Money changes hands, money disappears, and keeps re-appearing, but money lives on- So where’s all the money gone now? Global Credit Crunch, Inflation, Rising Interest Rates, Taxes, Crude Prices; frankly i heard about most of them, this past quarter. Its not that money was easy to handle before, but its become a lot more difficult to understand now. People lose jobs each day, they kill themselves for their situation, its not because they don’t have the money now, its because they have seen it before, they’ve been on the highs, and now can’t live on the lows.

What we probably do not see very easily, or still pretend to be apathetic towards, is our very co-existence with the earth. I call it co-existence now because it seems we’ve come to a point, when either humans manage to exist somehow, or the earth end our existence naturally, through one of its ‘disasters’. As an eg. we keep celebrating the usual pleasures of Formula-1 racing ( the author included ), even though we all know what its worth.

What we’re witnessing are times when the water slowly rises above our necks, you can still breathe, but inside your head you know you’re not seeing a way out of this; so you re-assure everyone around you that every thing’s gonna be okay, even though you barely speak through all the choking; in turn you believe someone’s giving you hope, when that someone is you, yourself, the drowning man.

So isn’t it like one of the many days of terror that Gotham witnesses, isn’t there a Joker somewhere around who keeps laughing on our faces, and asks us

Why so serious?

Barack Obama – An Indian Review

Barack Hussein Obama II might soon go on to become the world’s most powerful man. But what does this Hawaii born African-American Change preacher mean to the Indian Wannabe hip population force??

For starters, in choosing CHANGE, senator Obama means a lot to Indians.

Race might be a hush, denial n oppose topic to the west, but in India, it holds high. The west might see everyone equal, but Indians see whites as whites, n blacks as blacks, infact for most Indians, whites are angrez (foreigners) n blacks negros. N we know we come closer to the latter. An Indian ( like most across Asia, n Africa ) has an automatic favorite for his choice as the next US president, n that has to be senator Obama. We might deny it, n silence it, but in the end the tantalizing idea of seeing a black US president excites us, even if he eventually turns out to be a strong anti-Indian, bcoz dats the only way we think. We don’t want an army guy McCain, to us he’s another Bush, or a celebrity Clinton. We’d love to see Obama up there 9 times outta 10. He’ll always be 1 of our side, the darker side.

The victory of the underdog is another aspect that excites Indians (probably bcoz we’ve long been 1), and seeing a non-existant black suddenly take over the US would be like winning a personal battle. N we luv winning small wars. Then we’ll hv our eyes wide, in anticipation, of how our winner acknowledges us.

Obama’s youth (at 46) raises an Indian’s hope. We look upto our leaders to take cues, to shift power to the youth, we’ve had 70 yr old leaders for too long, n in Obama’s example, we see possibility of change. Whether Obama’ll be able to bring about changes for real, i don’t know, but again the prospect of our way-past-retirement leaders meeting him formally n trying to understand his stand is interesting. To us Obama is cooler.

The US will chose their president next year, but i can foretell, inside every asian, a small tiny percentage of perception towards the US will change, for the good, if Barack Obama is at the helm. Asia, where the US struggles perennially to improve its image, will make US feel a bit more welcome……