Jabalpur, A town known as cultural capital

I was born in Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) in India. The town is famous for various personalities who made it big in spiritual circuits. Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, Mahant Swami Maharaj & Osho (Rajneesh).

The small town has some disadvantages when one charts a career for the want of resources and connections.

River Narmada at Bhedaghat, Jabalpur (M.P.) India Image Courtesy www.pratikpatki.com

Just two days back i joined a “Books and Beyond” group in WhatsApp on an invite by a young friend and well wisher. I was excited, curious and wanted to know more about books.  I felt a bit perplexed. One because the group had 99% ladies whom i hardly knew. Secondly the books being discussed were not read by me earlier and i felt same low self esteem as i did when i was studying in Hindi Medium School till class 8th.

Studying in Hindi Medium School strengthened my Hindi vocabulary and vernacular first language but in career it was English which i knew was going to help me speak a global language and help in clearing competitive exams in career.

I took some early lessons by a English Teacher in my colony who was catholic christian and help me get on with Wren & Martin in class 6th and 7th.  I am still learning the language and vocabulary but it caught me on with the language.

As luck would have it my job in IT Industry started with Indian Languages on Computers i.e. with Multilingual Computing and we did killing business till Unicode came into picture and global software giants also adopted it.

The point about small town syndrome is that being in a place and studying in a college where local politics and mindset were not so nurturing, i personally haven’t gone back to my Alma Mater since 1995.  But recently when i wanted to share memories of the place and town Jabalpur, I got enthusiastic responses and collaboration proposals for writing and curating blogs on Jabalpur.

The images shared are by Pratik Patki from Pune & we hope to bring more blogs on this topic soon.

Till then, Enjoy your weekend.

(To be continued….)



Most Memorable Travel Journey

In this age of sophisticated planning, GPS and Mobile, we travel for the sake of uploading pictures on Facebook and pushing tweets on twitter. At least i do it now.

However, my most memorable travel journey was in the pre- technology dominated days when we (5 friends) decided to travel at the snap of fingers. The nearest hill station was Pachmarhi and there was no google in those days. We just heard that it’s a tourist place.

In my earlier Facebook post “The Dark Train and a Bottle of Rum” , i just gave a glimpse of the journey to Pachmarhi.

Little did i mention in this post about the freedom given to us by our parents for adventure. In teenage years and as youth we even don’t count the pocket money and moral support given to us by our parents in these growing years.

Looking at the current generation, such trips are business ideas being en-cashed as travel and tourism grows up by various entrepreneurs.  For us it was a natural process. Now it’s a school or a company customized travel trip which allows an access to natural places such as hill stations or a hike in the valley.

To explore some awesome travel journeys which are unplanned and at the snap of finger, please follow this link to join my WhatsApp group: https://chat.whatsapp.com/58FI6ZChSDACLaPEyAOdNO

Age group for this above group is 25-50 and you must be an active contributor to website and WhatsApp group to be invited for such trips. So please do participate proactively.
I look forward to your comments about your childhood experiences and especially the current generation facing a gap of such adventure activities.  Ciao and Enjoy your weekend!!

And I wrote the Ocean

And I wrote the ocean
January 02,2017

During the train journey yesterday (Jabalpur-Somnath Express), I met Mr. Roopak P., Regional Manager of Navdeep Publications. We chitchatted a bit and had the same interest in school publications due to our previous career paths. I shared him one incident which leapfrogged me into writing and I never hesitate to write. Here is the old collection of experience.

My father sent me to a Hindi medium school because of the nature of transferable job and possible rural postings. I studied till 7th grade in pure Hindi medium schools. Then as chance would have it my father got deputed to New Delhi and I got admission in another Hindi medium school called MBDAV Sr Sec School in Yusuf Sarai. As luck would have it CBSE gave us a choice to study science subjects in English medium from 9th grade, I opted for this. So 9th and 10th grades were in English medium and I enjoyed reading dictionary from word to word.

In 1988 I scored good marks and stood 3rd in the class/school for 10th exams. My father again got posted back to Jabalpur and we decided to take transfer from School. All we remember was a inland letter from school offering me 100 Rs. per month in scholarship. But I was finding it good to go back to small hometown.

We returned back to Jabalpur and somehow I was head-bent to go to Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central School) as it was co-ed. I had never studied in a co-ed school. There were four KV schools in Jabalpur and we tried seeking admission in all but were duly rejected as my father was not in central services but state.

My father asked me to go back to old Hindi medium school as the other two convent schools had closed their admission procedures. I was not in favour of it and totally rejected the idea as I wanted to be that upper league of English education. I didn’t want to let go of the Delhi chance as a waste.

Few days later my father took me to buy a bicycle to The Central India Machine Company. The owner Mr. Basant Nigam was chewing pan (a famous mouth freshener in India) and offered us a cup of tea. He then asked me to look around to select a Bicycle, I had one glance and selected “Street Hawk”. He remarked thats the best one in the store. I still remember the Street Hawk’s price was 1300 INR in 1988. He then inquired about my school and understood my story.

He then suggested us to meet Mr. Brij Bihari Singh of Christ Church Boy’s Higher Sec School. His son was studying in the same school and was admitted in ICSE Board. The school had recently introduced this new curriculum from 1988.

My father told me to go and inquire as he had a working day on Monday. I was feeling fresh on the new bicycle and in the rain rode to the CCBHSS. The assembly had just dispersed and classes were about to start. I went to the school office and inquired for Mr. B.B. Singh. He came out of the office after 10 minutes or so and heard my story and enquiry. He saw me drenched in rain and asked me to come the next day with my father.

The next day I was accompanied by my father and the teacher had a discussion with my father. They both came out and Mr. Singh was carrying a paper with him. He then asked me to write an essay in an empty classroom for 30 minutes odd and gave me a topic “Ocean”. Write an essay on this topic, he said.
I was ready for the experiment. I splurged the ink on the paper as if I was a fish in the ocean, seeing all the world under the water and sharing my experience on the paper. I wish I could have saved a copy of that essay I had written. I enjoyed writing for the first time in my life as this essay was a bit different from the ones given in the classrooms. One it had an abstract topic, two purpose of writing it was different. I wanted to get into an English medium school that too the best one in the town as I was told.

My Singh took the paper, went inside with a promise that he will come back shortly. He did come back with the paper and I could see read circles around words, some underlines on sentences and the colour blue was equally mixed with colour red.

It seemed for a while that I will have to go back to the old Hindi medium school, Pt. Lajjashankar Jha (called model school) but I never wanted to go to the classrooms with water dripping from the roof during raining season and we students sitting on the floor.

Alright then,so here are the conditions, Mr. Singh spoke. For ICSE you have to compulsorily pass in English subject for promotion to next grade. That’s the rule of ICSE, Will you be able to cope up with the challenge? I immediately said yes. Fine then please take the admission rules from office and join the school from tomorrow. Mr. Singh took me by surprise as I was concerned about the red circles on the paper.

Years later somehow I recalled that incident and narrated it to Mr. Roopak. I realized one thing that Mr. Singh might not have been able to force down Macbeth in my limited understanding of English literature, he gave me a chance risking his reputation. I am still wondering why he did that as a teacher.

I wish the records in schools were digitized so that future generations are able to reflect on their learnings. Street Hawk gave me physical agility to ride the roads of Jabalpur for many years but red circles on ocean became a lifetime lesson and that lesson is “Red Circle on papers do not matter,as for the fish there is always an ocean to explore”.

Is it Mobile or Docile?

Is it Mobile or Docile?
Part 2

As an adult I keep looking at my pocket now and then, to check if that precious thing called Mobile is there or not.

‘All my classmates have mobile except 2 of us. It is so useful when we are out of home’.

My daughter actually asked to possess a Mobile. ‘We exchange class notes on WhatsApp’.

Well this argument is true. She actually uses her mother’s Mobile during exams or leaves.  As a father I am all in to gift mobile to 12 year old.

‘No, She will spend time and will get distracted.’ My wife advised.

When I look from her perspective, yes even we as adult get distracted with gadgets.

So what is the right age for a Mobile?

Many a times there are no right or wrong answers but experiences to sail through.


08:27 am

Be Indian, Feel Indian

“Be Indian, Feel Indian”
Part 1

‘They are taking us to NASA’. My daughter came back from school euphoric and ecstatic.

‘How much does it costs?’ I asked. ’ 3 Lakhs only. Here is the brochure’. ‘Hmmmm. Are your friends going?’ Yes all of them are. It is just 3 lakhs.

My 8th grader daughter didn’t know that we survive for one full year in that amount.

‘You are too young to travel to another country alone, and that to US, even I haven’t been there’. I gave in a trump card.

But this conversation disturbed my thought.
1. I can’t afford it
2. How can school allow a presentation from a private company at school for evoking a feeling of poorness in a child?

(Believe me it was the toughest communication for me till date to tell to my child that we couldn’t afford to send her to NASA).

Well but that’s just the reality. It is tough for single income, rupee dependent economy salary earner to afford such dreams. I even thought of writing a letter to principal but I didn’t.

Did my parents face similar situation? Well at least schools in those days never dreamt of sending kids to NASA. At least the one I attended.

So answer to first question. Can I afford it? Of course I can, the cost is just equivalent to my credit card limit.

To the second question: The school probably wants kids to explore the world and may be this is the need of education for a global world. But isn’t that a justification for something which I truly do not feel comfortable inside.

Why not ISRO? Why did the school not think of taking kids to ISRO? That would have allowed all the kids to see how satellites are made and know about some science.

I called up my friend who works at ISRO if such trips are possible to be made to ISRO? ‘Yes’. He answered.

My 16 years of sales and marketing experience told me, Americans are good at marketing. They could market NASA to a private company, to the school and finally to an 8th grader who was totally sold to the idea of the US trip.

So that’s when I saw the emergence of Real e-commerce (educational commerce).