Showing posts with label education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label education. Show all posts

June 10, 2012


Many South Koreans are striving to improve their English skills, which are by and large nonexistent. Youth from wealthier families frequently go overseas to learn English and see a bit of the world at the same time. For those not blessed with the same opportunities, Korea is well stocked with white ESL teachers and bookstores providing learning materials.

Not only are Koreans eagerly learning the de facto official language of the planet, but also about the unspoken melodies of sound and smell that are enjoyed around the globe. As I flipped through the pages of an English language study guide, a certain section captured my undivided attention. Under a Korean headline, were the following scintillating subheadings:

1) Why People Fart
2) How Farts Are Made
3) Amazing Facts about Farting
4) Why Men Fart More than Women
5) Secrets about the Speed of Farts

October 28, 2011

Blowing In The Wind

How many roads must a man walk down,
before you call him a man?

My career as a public servant lasted through university. I quickly transitioned to the private sector after graduation, whereupon I allowed notorious companies such as Satyam to profit from my talents. Endowed with responsibility and managerial powers from a young age, I never maximized the amount of rent that I could extract from my employers as long as I enjoyed my work. When the excitement cooled and the learning peaked, it was an automatic trigger to explore new opportunities.

And how many times can a man turn his head,
and pretend that he just doesn't see?

Having spent two and a half unforgettable years in China, it was time to shift gears. After completing a circuit of Southeast Asia, I came to Mumbai. In a country where 58% of children do not complete primary school and only 6% of the population make it to university, I entered the non profit space for the first time. I joined Teach For India, a movement of young leaders intent on ending educational inequity in the nation.

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind,
the answer is blowing in the wind.
- Bob Dylan

March 09, 2010

Higher Learning

ARNABlog began to chronicle my globetrotting adventures after I graduated from Simon Fraser University. The campus was located on top of Burnaby Mountain, giving it the nickname "high school on the hill". The dull grey buildings and the isolation from the society below also gave it the moniker of "Simon Fraser Minimum Security Facility". Every day, I would join busloads of diligent students on the trek up to the peak. If it snowed just the right amount classes would not be canceled but the buses would not make it all the way up the steep incline, depositing students midway to their destination. We would trudge uphill in snow with heavy backpacks full of textbooks and notepads, leaving our bodies exhausted but our minds still thirsting for knowledge. 


"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." ~ William Butler Yeats

July 02, 2009

Lonely Planet

After my presentation at Peking University concluded and before my Q&A period had commenced, I had been instructed by the organizers to ask the audience a trivia question related to my speech to make sure they had been following what I had been mumbling.

In true Slumdog Millionaire style, I provided four multiple choice options. Many hands went up in the crowd. I selected one eager individual and he answered my question correctly. One of the event organizers came up to me and handed me a Lonely Planet travel guide. The chap who had correctly answered my query ran up to me and vigorously shook my hand. I reciprocated before waving to the adoring audience and walking off the podium.

They immediately burst into laughter.

The Lonely Planet book was actually the prize for the person who was first to answer my question properly. I handed the book to my hand shaker, who was still waiting on stage to collect his reward. A female fan later told me that I had a severe case of the ARNABlushes during the incident, with my ears turning bright red.


"The world, I found, has a way of taking a man pretty much at his own rating. If he permits his loss to make him embarrassed and apologetic, he will draw embarrassment from others. But if he gains his own respect, the respect of those around him comes easily."
- Alexander de Seversky

July 01, 2009

Q and A

After my speech at Peking University concluded I ate Indian food with chopsticks for the first time. A newly opened Indian restaurant in the student area had generously provided dinner to all the attendees of the seminar. After finishing my meal and posing for a few photographs, I was rushed back on stage. It was time to answer some questions from the audience. The Q&A portion of my inaugural lecture at an institute of higher education drew great interest.

1. What is the religious composition of India?

The computational knowledge engine known as Wolfram Alpha spit out the following facts:

80.5% Hindu       
13.4% Muslim                                          
2.3% Christian
1.9% Sikh
1.9% Others (Buddhist, Jain, etc.)

They were in line with the estimates provided by myself using the computational knowledge engine known as the ARNABrain.

2. Are there really cows on the street? (The girl asking this warned me beforehand that it would be a "cute" question.)

Yes, there are many cows to be found on the streets of India. Delhi is supposed to have at least 40,000 holy cows wandering its streets alone. The blessed bovines are revered by Hindus, so they are free to roam the roads unharmed. 

3. Why does India have significantly more developed IT and bio tech sectors than China?

This was the toughest question of the bunch, warranting further investigation. I muttered a convulated answer about how China has much greater infrastructure than India and equivalent educational instituitions, but is severely lagging behind in English language skills and in the free flow of information and knowledge that is continually transferred between India and the West.


“He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.” -  Voltaire

June 29, 2009

Speaking at Peking

I was invited to give a speech at Peking University, following a long line of accomplished orators such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. Consistently positioned at the top of China's university rankings, Peking University draws the brightest minds in the nation. There were four speakers including myself, each responsible for discussing a different geographical region of India. I gave an overview of my time living, working, and traveling in South India. I focused on my time in Bangalore and Hyderabad, briefly touching on trips to Kerala and Pondicherry.

The audience was made up mostly of Chinese students who gave me their complete attention. They were captivated by my delivery and awed by my gravitas. After my speech concluded and the applause died down, I was asked several intriguing questions by the audience members:

  1. What is the religious composition of India?
  2. Are there really cows on the street? (The girl asking this warned me beforehand that it would be a "cute" question.)
  3. Why does India have significantly more developed IT and bio tech sectors than China?


"We do not need to proselytise either by our speech or by our writing. We can only do so really with our lives. Let our lives be open books for all to study." - Gandhi

June 28, 2009

How Cute

Many foreigners come to China to cash in on the highly lucrative English teaching industry, charging exorbitant hourly rates to teach a language that they themselves may or may not be fluent in. I had no such aspirations and offered my services free of charge, providing my coworkers with tips on the correct usage of words and their meanings. Somehow my female colleagues at Force Research ended up with the misconception that the word "cute" meant intelligent. As a result, whenever I did something clever (which was not a rare occurrence) they would tell me how cute I was.


"You so cute." - Chinese girl

December 02, 2007

Back to School

Sixteen long months had passed since I last graced the halls of academia. A firm believer in lifelong learning, I decided to reenter the educational arena upon my return to Canada. I would not return to the atmosphere of excellence provided by my alma mater Simon Fraser University though, as I chose to continue my scholarly endeavours at Kwantlen University College. Taking classes part time would allow me to concentrate on finding a job without the burden of a full course load. In the sinister scenario that my superior skill set was not being adequately appreciated by the marketplace I would have the freedom to scale up on the number of courses I planned to take or scale down if I had become gainfully employed. For the technically inclined, here is the pseudocode for my continuing education algorithm:

Let x = number of courses Arnab is taking

If employed
x = 1

If unemployed but still actively seeking employment
x = 2

x = 4

June 07, 2006


I graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Science in Computing Science and Business Administration. Let the adventures begin!


"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." - Mahatma Gandhi