Mallu-A wonder to behold

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Take a walk along any crowded railway platform or foreign currency exchange center, you will find him – either carrying a baggage stuffed with homemade delicacies and pickles or talking loud over a mobile phone. Go, talk to him and he will give you an opinion on anything and everything. Placing one hand over his oil dripping head and the other over his belly, he would laugh aloud at regularly fixed intervals. You can call him malayalee; better known as “Mallu” all the world over and “Malabari” in the Middle East.
Mallus are always a sight to watch; especially when they are out of Kerala. One thing that Mallus deliberately boast about is of their literacy rate. The civilized intelligentsia of the state make it a point to ensure that that their kids are convent educated. Once the education is over, they are ready for an exodus-to destinations expanded all over the globe.
One can spot them amongst those software techies in the US or nurses in the UK. In case they are a little less educated, they would be placed behind the glass counter full of Seiko watches at the Dubai airport.
The gulf returned king makers who return periodically to recruit young nephews and delinquent cousin brothers for the Middle East job markets are the nerves and sinews of the brotherhoods of the malayalee boys.
Well! It is for sure that all Malayalees are not Mallus but all Mallus are malayalees. If you can see a vehicle parked along the pavement with a dusty window glass bearing a hand drawn caricature of a cupid’s arrow; be sure, it is of a malayalee. A lady wearing kilos and kilos of gold ornaments all over her body is undoubtedly again a Mallu. In corporates, it is easy to pick out a Mallu form the whole team-indeed the heavily mother tongue influenced English is the major contributing reason. Thanks to the Cuticura powder, they manage to make their presence noticeable with a powder plastered face.
Despite of all of these Mallus are respected all over the world. Their flexibility in the work environments and ability to adapt to any kind of topographies gives them the tag of “most wanted” in the job markets across the globe. No matter where they are or what the others think, Mallus live with their customs and traditions.
Finally, they visit their homeland once in two or three years, now rich enough to invest money in the real estate business, marry girls and take them away. Meanwhile they construct bungalows in their home towns, hiring some Tamilian or Biharis workers; to enjoy a retired life at home enjoying the fruits of their hardships at the foreign land. This story continues…Brain drain increases, but more revenue flows in each year.
Kerala, when offered to the world is a package wrought of color, traditions dainty foods, coconut lagoons and beaches; where green and light,100 % literacy and Ayurveda ,boats and elephants ,all find their place- God’s own country, the brochures tell you. But beyond all of these, there is a magic in this land that keeps each NRI Mallu coming back to his homeland-the reason why any Malayalee would say “only if you have lived here will you understand what this place is all about”.

Faulkner’s Light in August and Beginnings

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The Bookshelf of Emily J.

The word “August” has many meanings, and William Faulkner uses all of them and the accompanying symbolism in Light in August (1932).  I was struck by his use of the word, as both a month and as something delayed or ending.  Yet the title, in coupling the word August with “light” suggests that endings can be a good thing or that when one thing ends another begins.  I’m not sure of all of the meanings we could make from the novel, but I will try to explain my thoughts.

light in august by william faulkner

 

I must say that I’ve never been a fan of Faulkner’s work.  I find it intimidating and hard to read and understand, as I wrote about here.  I have trouble focusing when I read one of his novels, and I often miss good chunks of the plot because of this.  He’s known for stream-of-consciousness writing and dense run-on sentences. …

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Dude, competition matters…..

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After prolonged days of anxiety and suspicion, yet another class X and XII CBSE board results were announced yesterday; though not with much pomp or show as in the previous years. I sat with my mother, a teacher by profession, staring quite impatiently at the computer screen. The images of my school days incessantly came to my mind in quick succession-those late night preparations, never ending revision schedules ,the race we had in the examination hall, the fear and anxiety that made the nights sleepless and ultimately, the fun during the ‘merit evening’..The people around looked at us with bulged out eyeballs and said “go learn…it isn’t the time for you to play. You are in class X”. Those were the days when I felt that the class X board exam is the biggest of hurricanes that can happen in one’s life.
Unable to hold the pressure any longer, I asked my mom, “who comes first this year in Xth?” To my disappointment, she said…”well, everybody who wrote the exam is a winner; and apparently there is no loser”. This reminded me about a fancy dress contest we had in the kindergarten class. The judges, not to hurt anyone’s feelings, gave equal marks to all the participants and all of us were given the same red and black ribbon. I understand that the authorities were trying to convey a message that everyone had done a great job. But I worry that a different message was sent, that losing is a hardship nobody should have to face.
Perhaps it is the same trend that even the examination boards are following these days. It is as if the grown-ups believe children are too fragile to handle defeat. Here, everyone plays and everyone wins. This sounds good in theory, but where is the incentive to keep playing? Without a potential winner, any examination loses its excitement. If there is nothing to compete for, the drive to do our best is replaced by ‘what’s the point’ attitude. Competition is symbiotic with motivation. It’s part of human nature to be competitive; after all, survival of the fittest is the basis of evolution. A competitive spirit is the key to our success as adults; why shouldn’t we foster it in children too?
In a country where ‘after school’ is all about competitions and ranks, this is absolutely inevitable. To get an admission or to secure a good job, one needs to face multitude of competitive examinations; wherein there is no process of generalizing or grading, but individual ranking.(check out the cutoff for the DU admissions and you will know how fierce the situation is)
While examinations illustrate the importance of drive and determination, they also teach children how to lose. And with that come the other valuable lessons-about learning from mistakes, searching for ways to improve and finding the will to try again. Yeah, Competition does matters, because to grow up right, we need winners and losers.

SOME INTELLIGENT THOUGHTS

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“You ought to be intelligent to understand this” –even after hours, the declaration made by a professor continues to echo in my ears. The impact that it made was so massive that it thrust right on to my heart. It would have been better if someone could precisely define the meaning of ‘being intelligent’.
When I say there isn’t exactly any standardized format to analyze one’s intelligence level, it would sound totally odd and unacceptable. In simple terms, intelligence is the capacity to acquire knowledge and understanding and use it effectively in different novel situations. However , with IQ test being conducted right from the school level, emphasis is given to the areas of logical, mathematical, verbal and reasoning skills, thus making the concept more complex than ever. Further, the term intelligence today is more closely associated with one’s carrier opportunities too; a major reason for the emergence of the ‘corporate intelligence’ concept.
So, is it true that a high measured IQ is an evidence of one’s ability? What if a person has a low measured IQ, but is outstandingly artistic, creative and has practical prowess, combined with personal characteristics such as ambition, good temperament and compassion? It is exactly at this point that we need to rethink. The biggest fault is that majority of us still view intelligence through the academic perspectives and hence tends to forget about the ‘theory of multiple intelligence’. Some of us may be great musicians but completely hopeless when it comes to fixing a technical problem; others may be championship-class chess players
but would never be able to smash a tennis ball into the opposing player’s court; and others may possess great linguistic skills but feel completely at a loss trying to make small talk at social gatherings. The fact is that no-one is talented in every domain and no one is completely incapable in every domain.

An interesting study made at the department of education of the Harvard University has identified 7 major types of intelligence; say:
1. Linguistic (verbal, writing)
2. Kinesthetic (dance, drama)
3. Rhythmic (music)
4. Logical (mathematics, problem solving)
5. Spatial (designs, drawings, color schemes)
6. Inter personal (empathy, communication, collaboration)
7. Intrapersonal (concentration, insight, self understanding, strategies)
These types are for most part independent of one another, and by no way is more important than the other. In such a case all of us are intelligent, in one way or the other. The only thing is that we need to identify our area of interest and start nurturing it. The more we practice, the more dexterous we become. So, why do you wait? Let’s prove the world our real worth.

IN PURSUIT OF MY DESTINY

ImageI stood there, all alone watching the droplets of rain trickling down the window glass. Staring at the vastness ahead, I had no clue. It wasn’t the soft breeze that swayed by me…it wasn’t the chattering of the rain droplets, it wasn’t the loud thunder…it was something else that bore the unusual power to shatter my senses altogether. At times, I was flooded around by thoughts .At times, I was as blank as a plain white canvas.

An unknown fear drifted in the air surrounding me. It was a single question that ran along the entire length and breadth of my mind “should I do it..?” To make a decision meant walking back to those good old days. But destined to live in a world that embraces changes, I was afraid about my chances to succeed. I could hear the conscience in me shouting “do it, friend.” And me? .Yeah.I wanted to do it, yet there was an unknown reluctance. But from where does it originate? God! Only if could find it. I felt as if I was thrown to ground by a wind that I had never known before. The area was swirling in dust so intense that it hid my senses. ”Why, What, How”…Questions were thrown to me from directions unknown and I was caught amidst all of it, totally speechless..Unable to bear these atrocities any longer, I gathered all the power in the universe and shouted “not anymore…” Slowly, I closed my eyes. I could feel two tear drops trickling down my cheeks and I knew I was crying…

Finally, after hours of prolonged darkness and silence, I woke up to sunshine. While trying to walk again through those old trodden paths, my mind resembled to that of an octogenarian in search of his long lost friend. The previous night was that of permutations and combinations .Finally I have chosen my destination. With confidence, determination and satisfaction, I looked around. I could sense an air of serenity around me. Upon realizing that it’s time for me to start, I simply smiled, took out a letter pad from the cupboard and started to write. Yes, there were butterflies all around….