Let us Start
A toucan rests on a branch in the Braullio Carrillo National Park, 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of San Jose, Costa Rica June 5, 2012. According to a recent poll, Costa Ricans would agree to pay higher taxes if it is used for actions to promote the environment, according to local media. Costa Rica, with more than 30% of its territories held in national parks, celebrates World Environment Day.
Ram Singh (L) and his relatives, dressed in traditional Hindu saffron-coloured clothes walk on a garbage-strewn beach against the backdrop of monsoon clouds on World Environment Day in Mumbai, June 5, 2012. According to the United Nations Environment Programme website, World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5 to raise global awareness and motivate action for environmental protection.
A dead tortoise is seen near the shores of Lake Xolotlan, also known as Lake Managua, which has an area of approximately 1000 sq km and has been receiving raw sewage from Managua’s one million residents since 1920, in Managua June 5, 2012.
The Rio Sucio or ‘Dirty River’, where one branch is colored yellow/brown by the minerals it carries from the Irazu Volcano, is seen mixing with the clear waters filtered by the tropical rainforest in the Braullio Carrillo National Park, 50 km (31 miles) east of San Jose, June 5, 2012.
An aerial view during a media tour by oil company Royal Dutch Shell shows an illegal oil refining site with the runoff from crude oil covering the banks along the Imo river, 30 km (20 miles) west of Nigeria’s oil hub city of Port Harcourt, September 22, 2011. Illegal refineries along the Imo river, first discovered in 2009, were cleared in a joint security operation with the government in 2010 but has resurfaced in January 2011, according to a Shell media release during the tour.
Masses of seaweed is cleared away along the French coastline at Saint Michel-en-Greve, Northern Brittany, August 2, 2011. The mysterious death of 36 wild boars on France’s northwestern coast baffled authorities on Tuesday after tests suggested large amounts of rotting seaweed strewn across beaches may not be to blame. Environmentalists had said that toxic, foul-smelling hydrogen sulfide gas emitted by the rotting seaweed had poisoned the animals in the Cotes d’Armor region of Brittany. Ecologists say that nitrates pollution in rivers from fertilisers used in intensive farming has boosted the growth of algae along France’s coastline.
(source : http://lifestyle.in.msn.com/green/world-environment-day-pics-1#image=1)A toucan rests on a branch in the Braullio Carrillo National Park, 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of San Jose, Costa Rica June 5, 2012. According to a recent poll, Costa Ricans would agree to pay higher taxes if it is used for actions to promote the environment, according to local media. Costa Rica, with ...
Recently I overheard a Father and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure of her
Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the Father said,
‘I love you, and I wish you enough.’
The daughter replied, ‘Dad, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Dad.’
They kissed and the daughter left. The Father walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and
needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, ‘Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?’
‘Yes, I have,’ I replied. ‘Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?’.
‘I am old, and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is – the next trip back will be for my funeral,’ he said.
‘When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough.’ May I ask what that means?’
He began to smile. ‘That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone…’ He paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and he smiled even more. ‘When we said, ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.’ Then turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
He then began to cry and walked away.
They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them; but then an entire life to forget them.
(contributed by: Mohan Rao on 08.02.2012 )Recently I overheard a Father and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure of her plane. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the Father said, ‘I love you, and I wish you enough.’ The daughter replied, ‘Dad, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ...
NEW DELHI — For more than half a century, one aptitude test has determined the self-esteem, future and even the spouses of generations of Indian adolescents, chiefly boys. The Joint Entrance Exam of the Indian Institutes of Technology is a brooding cultural force that is visible across the nation, on signboards and newspaper advertisements, as “I.I.T.-J.E.E.,” the first abbreviation many Indian children learn. It is an ominous inevitability for millions of boys, a fate decided in their cradles, a certainty like death. Last year nearly half a million candidates took the test — one of the toughest exams in the world — to compete for about 5,000 seats in the best of the I.I.T.’s and nearly as many seats in the less sought-after institutes. Coaching for the J.E.E. is an industry valued at billions of rupees. There is so much demand that some coaching classes have their own entrance exams. But the J.E.E. is now on its way out.
It is not the only engineering entrance exam in India. Lower down the rungs, there are other colleges, which require other exams to qualify. Competition is fierce all the way. Disturbed by the number of entrance exams, the Human Resource Development Ministry has decided to devise a common exam that would govern the admission process of several engineering institutes, including the famed I.I.T.’s. The nature of the new aptitude test, which is expected to debut in 2014, would be different from the J.E.E. The selection procedure, too, would be very different from what the I.I.T.’s use today. So, the type of person who enters the I.I.T.’s in the future may be very different. Opinion is divided on whether the new I.I.T. graduate will be better or worse than current alumni.
The I.I.T.’s are nothing without the national perception of the “IITian.” And the perception is that he is primarily a he. And that he must be very smart. As some Indians point out with a hint of pride, in Scott Adams’s “Dilbert” comic strip, the brilliant Asok, who died on a Moon mission and reincarnated as part man and part Snickers bar, is from I.I.T. The fame of the institutes is an enduring relic from the years when socialism impoverished India and securing an elite engineering degree became the most elegant way for smart Indians to escape to America.
The I.I.T.’s were never great centers of learning by world standards.
Rather, they were museums that collected young Indians with excellent quantitative abilities. In the 1980s and ’90s, the migration of Indian scientific talent to the United States, deplored here as a “brain drain,” became a subject of intense debates in schools and colleges. Once, during the convocation ceremony at I.I.T.-Madras, the chief speaker received a standing ovation when he declared, “Brain drain is better than brain in the drain.” His words traveled with the speed of a rumor across Madras, also known as Chennai, through homes and schools, evoking laughter and applause, and delivering a bleak reminder to young boys that their lives depended on passing the J.E.E.
In Madras in the ’80s, many smart girls were not allowed by their families to take the J.E.E. for fear that it would then be hard to get them married. One girl I knew who cleared the exam was not allowed by her parents to attend the institute, probably for the same reason. But the boys who made it to the I.I.T.’s became the heroes of their neighborhoods. Other boys hated them, and pretty girls wanted to marry them. The adulation would follow them until the end of their time.
The glamour of the I.I.T.’s has always inspired parents to force their children to take the J.E.E. Increasingly, those parents are from modest educational and financial backgrounds. A few years ago, in Mumbai, I walked into a J.E.E. coaching class that conducted its own entrance exam to filter out 9 out of 10 applicants. An orientation program for parents was under way. A man who could not read English was sitting with brochures and study materials. He was disturbed that I was carrying a red book while he had not been given any such book. I told him that the book I was holding was a novel called “Love in the Time of Cholera.”
“Is it a guide?” he asked.
For a long time, the IITians were from urban, literate middle-class families, and it was inevitable that their success would inspire small-town Indians to prepare for the mother of all entrance exams.
Coaching colleges essentially dispensed with formal schooling and focused on the J.E.E. alone. As they became increasingly successful, it became evident that the J.E.E. was no longer an aptitude test but a giant goal that could be achieved through years of brute hard work and coaching.
I.I.T. professors and alumni have been mourning the falling quality of the students. Last October, Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of Infosys and an I.I.T. alumnus, told an audience in New York that the new IITians were substandard. “They somehow get through the Joint Entrance Examination. But their performance in I.I.T.’s, at jobs or when they come for higher education in institutes in the U.S. is not as good as it used to be.”
It is improbable that the I.I.T.’s will ever regain their old glory. The circumstances of the nation have changed, and the smartest Indians do not need an engineering degree to find a place in the world or to make a decent living. Also, the government has not invested enough in the I.I.T.’s, and the most talented scientific minds have the option to enroll in genuinely outstanding centers of learning in the West instead of being stuck in a place that has derived its prestige largely from the fact that only one in 50 cracks its entrance exam.
Manu Joseph is editor of the Indian newsweekly Open and author of the novel “Serious Men.”