The Curious Case of my Sister

The Curious Case of my Sister

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Last night, I came to know that my cousin sister was suffering from depression. When my aunt narrated the whole case to me, I felt anger, worry and disgust at the same time for various things and people.

She is in her junior high school final year. Her final exams are going to decide her fate for high school admissions. Apart from the fact that those exams were necessary for her further studies, they got her into clinical depression. However, the exams were not the only reason for her illness. There were other reasons involved too.

—–

When I had last met her, she was doing her homework. Out of curiosity, I peeked into her work. She was writing word-to-word, punctuation-to-punctuation from the textbook into her notebook!

I asked her if she was given any punishment or what, that she was copying each letter out of the textbook.

She replied that this was the way they taught at her School. It was a general practice to write the whole chapter two times word-to-word from textbook. So that they could remember the whole text and answer any question they might ask in exams!

At that time, I had pointed out that it was not a correct approach and that she should work more on understanding the concept than on scoring marks in exams.

My sister replied that her School and her Board/University expects Students to write exactly the way the textbook prints. If they wanted a good score, they had to mug up the textbook to score good. Writing answers in their own way would only give them passing marks or even less. And if they don’t get good marks, they won’t get admission to reputed colleges/institutions. The degrees and certifications won’t be that valuable while competing for job in big companies, as they shortlist candidates based on their final score.

This highlights a serious problem with the education system in our country and the systems dependent on it.

—–

While her teaching approach was as useless as her teachers, another thing that got her into depression was lack of rest. I got to know her daily schedule from her mother.

– Wake up at 5 am
– 7 am to 12 School
– 12 to 2 pm Extra Classes and Tests at School
– 3 pm Reach home for her first regular meal of the day
– 4 to 6 pm Tuitions
– Reach home and start working on homework (such as copying of whole textbook) from School and Tuitions till late night 11-12.
– Then go to sleep dreaming about tomorrow’s day at school, taunts from teachers when she’s not able to recite word-by-word from the textbook and the test.

And after this hectic schedule, she was not even able to understand the practical implications of what she was studying! Her teachers would first humiliate her in front of the whole class and then call her parents, if she didn’t complete her homework or couldn’t recite the textbook fluently. And her teacher wouldn’t accept any other answer or concept suggested by other authors, but only the things written in their textbook.

—–

So the reasons that caused her depression were hectic schedule, pressure from teachers and school, pressure from society and future, illogical and orthodox educational and evaluation system and ignorance by parents.

I see our educational system going on a wrong direction of marks-based evaluation. Several tests, semesters and projects are loaded onto the over-occupied minds of students and then they are pressurized to score well. Competition among the students adds to the pressure and the silent support from parents serves as a multiplying factor.

So what can be done about it? Anything at all?

From Backpack to Backache

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I parked my bike and went inside the rusty building. As soon as I entered through the front gate, the smell of hospital made me feel sick. I remembered the mild back pain, which I had since last two months. I had almost forgot that pain while driving.

I had a small backpack with me, which contained nothing but a few papers and a other usual accessories. But still that was a burden for me…

——–

I jumped out of the School bus, skipping two steps at a time. I ran towards the entrance gate. I had to reach the first class on time and sit on the best bench possible besides a cool company. And for all that I had to reach the new class on time.

The heavy load, heavier than my own weight felt nothing to me. It was part of me at the school. Elders used to feel pity for us to have such a heavy load in our backpack, but I felt it was just a bag – with my favourite cartoon character on it.

——–

I walked towards the doctor’s cabin and was feeling a little weird. A huge age difference was visible in front of me if I compared other patients with me. At the age of just 24, I was suffering from backache. I couldn’t ask for more, but my dad also recently had the same issue after sitting 40 years on a desk. And he laughed at me when I said that I am having this problem after sitting just 1 year, 9 months, 3 days behind my desk!

I wondered what went wrong! My lifestyle had not changed totally and I followed all the ergonomic guidelines at workplace. Further, I used to move around every hour. So what exactly went wrong…!?

——–

It was a hectic day! My friend was miffed, my teacher caught my mischief and I didn’t get any thing in that day’s English lecture about some sort of poem. And that day breakfast was not so intriguing. So, in all the day wasn’t really good.

I entered the bus after everyone was inside. I sat on my favouite spot – just next to the driver. From there, I could see everyone in the bus, and it also made sure that I would get a sitting place. I talked driver into playing my favourite tracks, even when exams were going on. And I would watch him drive past different vehicles with ease.

That day, I saw her. She was sitting directly on the straight line drawn from me towards the end of the bus. She also glanced back at me at times. And then shied away. That made my day. 😛

I got off the bus and went home. My mother hugged me and then realized – “Where’s your backpack?”

‘Oops!’ was my reaction. 😀

——–

Doctor said that there are many reasons that I got this backache at young age. The most probable being that I had a sitting job and that I was a little too thin for my height.

He gave me medication and suggested physical training to help ease the pain. I wanted to kick his ass, so I paid him and went away.

When I got the bill, all I saw for the next few days was that ‘Total’.

——–

At such tender age, we start lifting huge backpacks and go to schools. Most of the schools in our country do not have locker system or promote education through screen. So heavy books were bound to make our backpacks heavy.

But those backpacks for 12 long years couldn’t give us any kind of backache or physical pain, which this office desk gave just in a year.

I wondered where was my life heading… I wondered how would be my life 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now. I wondered – “Am I living to die?”

——–

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Well, it is the truth. Sitting at your desk may earn you money right now, but it is surely gonna kill you painfully.

As they say it, “sitting is the new smoking“.

Doesn’t matter if you exercise, doesn’t matter if you follow the ergonomic guidelines, no matter what you do, it is killing you slowly.

So what is the solution?

Ditch the damn chair! … I’m serious.

There are many options:
1. Use combination of sitting chair and treadmill chair or cycling chair

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2. Sit in proper position and then take a walk in a ratio of 1:5. That means every 10 minutes of sitting, take 50 minutes of physical activity during the day.

3. Avoid sitting with sloth, totally. (Like in the first image)

4. Use a combination of cardiovascular, stretching and weight exercises at home and at office too.

5. Eat healthy, if you can, at least try or fake it.

6. Kick that boss who tells you to sit all day and work.

7. Change that office policy which requires more sitting than doing work.

Can we do any of this?

See This for more info and stats:
1. Info-graphic showing illl-effects of chair
http://www.diygenius.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/truth-about-sitting-down-infographic.jpg
2. Article showing statistical data for sitting
http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/21/health/sitting-will-kill-you/

A Year of Papyrophobia

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After almost one year of booklessness, I started reading again…

Few years back, I was pursuing this professional course, which required a little too much reading on my part. By the time I had completed the course, I felt so much annoyed whenever I had to read anything on paper. Forget about reading a book, I couldn’t even read a newspaper. I had even stopped peaking in to what someone else’s reading while sitting in the bus. I switched over to my phone for all the reading that I needed. I had completely dumped all the papers from my life. You can even say that I had almost behaved like having Papyrophobia.

And then I got in to IT industry, which was almost paperless work. It took me almost a year to recover from that phobia and to accept reading books again.

Yesterday, I started reading a book, and guess what! All the memories started flooding in my mind. All the books that I had read, the feeling when you flip through those pages, trying to know more and more of what’s written inside and constantly thinking about what the author would serve you with on pages to come…

I remembered and practiced all my reading styles – sitting, sleeping, upside-down hanging, walking, above-the-cupboard reading, laying-on-the-grass reading, sitting-on-the-water-tank reading… (Yeah they will sound more than just weird, but that’s me… :P)

I read the book constantly for about an hour and then I realized how much I missed it. How much I wanted to read those books I had planned to read for all the time! How many books I had in my wishlist…!

Reading makes you think and interpret and try to guess what the author would’ve wanna say, and then think over it again and again. Reading gives you so much of new information, increases your vocabulary and even is a nice pass time – a minimal effort activity even. Reading is exploration, reading is imagination, reading is going beyond boundaries, reading is finding yourself… Reading is fun.

But when I thought over it, it was a little difficult to read now, after a long pause. Not due to the pause, but due to the way our lifestyle has changed over these years…

Earlier I used to charge my phone once in four-five days, and now I have to charge it twice a day – not that the battery is bad, but my usage has increased a lot. My idle time, which earlier was occupied with reading or writing some stuff, now goes wasted in checking people’s status updates online.

I used to love reading stories and used to read them (almost) over a go… But now, that is replaced with watching movies. I seldom “try” to read anything, b’cuz probably all of it is available either in verbal or visual form and I don’t want to put more efforts in getting the information.

So have you felt this way lately? Do you see a change overtaking us, a change in the pattern we spend our time? Apart from wasting it at office and sleeping, do we have started wasting it over those screens?

So I would suggest you people, put your smartphones aside and go out do something “real”… you might be surprised what you have had missed for all this time you were looking on that screen 😉

As they say, a phobia is only in our head. Just do it and the phobia is gone…

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From 20 to 50 in 6 months

“Are you alive or just waiting to die?”

I was driving to my office and saw this billboard on the way about some Club or something. But the line above got marked in my brain.

I kept thinking about my daily life. How was it before 6 months and how it has turned out now… I was supposed to be happy – I had cleared my professional course in stiff 3% passing result, I had a job in a reputed company and life was smooth. But I didn’t feel ‘happy’ at all!

People now wish me, congratulate me, that I have achieved things in 20 years of age and I should be proud of that. I felt happy to hear all that. But then, again I thought about it… Do I actually feel like being in early 20’s?

From a student, all of a sudden, I was transformed to an employee; from a boy to a man… Earlier people used to smile at me when I would be watching ‘Tom & Jerry’ on Cartoon Network or playing GTA Games on my PC. And now, when I speak of it, they give me weird looks! Earlier, I used to roam with friends and they used to say “He likes exploring!” And now when I do that, they say “Don’t roam like a Vagabond! Concentrate on your job!”

Talking of planning my life, I used to plan my weekends with family and friends, parties and hangouts! Now I plan my income statement, my goal of buying a home, car and other stuff for me and family…on weekends! Earlier, my mornings used to be fresh, I used to come out of bed without any help of alarms, I used to walk out to my balcony and watch the pigeons make funny movements with their heads and tried to imitate them for hours! And now, it has been months that I had been to my balcony (except to dry the clothes).

I lost half a dozen of my friends (as I used to call them), b’cuz they think that I have developed ego on getting a job and all, and that I do not find it fun to spend time with them or even give them a call. But no one asked me once that whether I am free enough to talk even to my parents at the end of the day? Am I happy enough that of how things have turned out? They say that at least I could have forwarded a message! But none of them remember, I have never done it, even before when I was free all day…

At night, I used to watch movies and then sleep, dreaming in my dream world about my angel and superpowers and stuff… And now, I hardly dream about anything! I usually get up surprised in the morning that how come it dawned so quickly!

In school, we were told to study hard, that we could have fun after school. After school, there were grades to look forward to, fun was not the priority even then. And then came college, which was totally not like we see in movies or comedy series. And then the professional course never let us remember the fun once we wanted to have in our lives.

And now, after all the busy years gone, I appeal to have some fun, I get the remarks that now the time to have fun is gone! That my life has shifted to a new gear and that I will have to maintain that seriousness in life! That now I am a grown up. And that I should start acting like one…

And I’m like – “Hey! WTF! I missed something here…!!!”

I feel like I have grown up from 20 to 50 in just 6 months… Or the society and parents and relatives and teachers made me grow old so quickly.

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Did you feel while reading the post that I was speaking all from inside you? Do you feel the same?

People tell us that we can have fun while working and having our responsibilities… I ask them, do you really mean that? Will it be the same as it was before?

They say that the sooner you accept the reality, the happier you’ll be! I ask, will it be happiness, will it be satisfaction? Or just a compromise…

If at all there is a way we can reverse the clock, where would you want it to stop? I would like it to start from the early days, when we were not crushed by responsibilities. I would take responsibilities with me while having fun…

Time is never enough. But it is, as much, in our control.

Fryday

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Today’s Friday. Oh Sorry! Fryday… Why “Fry”day? You’ll know in the end.

… … …

I was going through my phone’s internal storage to clean-up unnecessary junk. In that I found a video of ‘How do we feel Fridays vs Mondays’. I laughed at that again.. It was damn funny! A penguin depicting a person going home fridays and a polar bear depicting a person coming to office on Mondays.

I replayed the video again and again. And slowly my laugh subsided. I saw that “Going home Friday” part repeatedly. And I couldn’t actually relate it to me. I too, like others, had Friday as the last working day in the week. I too, like others, went home at the day end. But, unlike others, I didn’t feel the way they did.

For me Fridays were Frydays… The day I would be so engraved in troubles that you wouldn’t find me smiling at all. All my weekdays would go in unnecessary ‘Stretches’ that my boss makes me do telling some or other ‘priority’ reason. Everyday, to complete some or other ‘urgent’ issue, we have to leave office early after late…

And then on Fridays, when we are waiting for the day to end and go back to our ‘actual’ ‘normal’ ‘our own personal’ life, we are fried with different oils in the frying pan called ‘office’!

… … …

I was getting ready for the office. Today we had a casual-wear day. I dressed up in my comfortable jeans. Just when I was about to leave for the office, I got a SMS from office. “Today, we may give a presentation to the client. So do the needful”

I changed back to formals and went out of the house, looking like an idiot!

… … …

I walked to the boss to give him the status report on the assignment he mailed me last night after office hours… When I enquired about today’s agenda, which he quickly shared with me, he even added “Why do you ask? I hope you are not planning to leave early today! ‘Cuz there’s a very important client meeting I need you to attend and conquor!” I wasn’t even dreaming to leave before 9 p.m. today, but just that I thought that may be, if I do not have too much work load, I’ll leave, may be, at 7 or 8 in the night… (FYI Official working hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
I shook my head and he sat back in his comfortable in satisfaction. I walked back to my desk, turned on the computer and saw the desktop background. It was a sunset at some random beach with beautiful natural scenery. So much in contrast with the real world!

… … …

After lunch, we and my fellow collegues, went on a walk, ‘cuz it was still a few minutes that the lunch break would be over. Mr. Fate send yet another boss to my way who asked me “Why are you not on your desk!?” I was about to say “Why aren’t you?” but my bloody mouth replied “It is break time, Sir!” the last word with utmost difficulty!
He gave me a disgusting look and left… I thought I’d have better replied the other statement, ‘cuz anyway the look he gave was the same!

… … …

I was working on something, when all of a sudden a shadow blocked the light falling on my desk. I knew who it was, so I continued working without moving my head around. It stayed there for a minute or so, then went away.
Instantly I received a call from the boss “In my cabin.. QUICK!” I went there, and he was ready to ‘ask that statement’ which I hate the most! My Fryday was ready…

“You are coming tomorrow, right?”

The question mark is only to make the grammer correct. Otherwise, it was a statement, for which I must reply in conformity!

I asked him instead “Sir, I don’t have any urgent work that I need to come on weekends!”

“You don’t decide urgency here! I do! I don’t want to hear anything more…”

I stood there for sometime, and then calculating my odds, went back to my desk to continue working…

… … …

I think, I’ve made my point, How my Fridays were Frydays for me!

I read a nice para somewhere-

“Love your job, but don’t love your company… Because you may not know when your company stops loving you.”

Always Leave Office On Time

1. Work is a never-ending process. It can never be completed.
2. Interest of a client is important, so is your family.
3. If you fail in your life, neither your boss nor client will offer you a helping hand; your family and friends will.
4. Life is not only about work, office and client. There is more to life. You need time to socialize, entertain, relax and exercise. Don’t let life be meaningless.
5. A person who stays late at the office is not a hardworking person. Instead he / she is a fool who does not know how to manage work within stipulated time. He / she is inefficient and incompetent in his work.
6. You did not study hard and struggle in life to become a machine.
7. If your boss forces you to work late, he / she may be ineffective and have a meaningless life too…

But it doesn’t give any way to tackle the blood-sucking boss…

… … …

If you press a spring too much, it will break or will bounce back with higher force… – Some Great Man.