Salute Indian Girls

Women’s Day was full of messages, wishes, posts, political opportunism, which was quite melodramatic. There were lots of debates stating the pros and cons. I had almost decided of ignoring it however, while going through the data from my course on edX, I found something worth sharing.

We all are concerned about the current state of education in our country, however we should remember that the deprived lot always has fire in their belly to catch up. I witnessed this when I compared the data sets of my course offered on IITBombayX and edX. I have offered this course on IITBombayX five times so far and over 17000 learners have enrolled.

Data shows that 35% of female learners have enrolled in these courses. When I compare this with the edX course, it shows that 22% of female learners have enrolled in the course.

This data (see the screenshots below) may not be conclusive enough however it shows a positive of our country where more girls are striving for knowledge upgrade to modern avenues such as MOOCs. This also triggered my interest to see the completion rates of male and female learners in the courses. will come back on this in a new post later. For now, all I can do is salute the Indian women for their vijigishu (विजीगिषु) approach!




Lifelong Learner!


Maria Athaide left us on the 3rd March 2018. A news that rekindled many memories of hers, during the span of interaction last few years. I met her first time when she was an academic consultant with the Azim Premji Foundation. I went to meet her at her office, and the moment she came to know that I had come to Bangalore for a conference to present a paper on educational animations, she immediately set up my interactive session at her office, and called her colleagues over. It was a classic example of her pursuit for knowledge! During my interactions later, I got many such examples!

She then invited me to her house and cooked most wonderful roasted eggplant slices, and choicest of chocolates as dessert! This meeting was also a trigger to a series of events, and her son Noel who was (just) a friend, became my brother-in-law (as he married my cousin: Pallavi).

During that stay with them, I realised that she was a curious learner. She not only wanted to know about new things (be it a craft, poem, teaching method, or even a new software), but also know it thoroughly! Every meeting always started with her question: What’s new?

After many years, when I shared the news of my first MOOC being launched on IITBombayX, she not only congratulated me, but also floored me when she said,

“I am going to enroll in your course. I have been thinking of learning animation for a long time now. It is a good time to start!”

She was 65+ that time, and an accomplished teacher already. She did not stop at mere verbal assurance, but surprised me one night, by asking about the installation process of the software I was using in the course. “I saw your first lecture”, she said, and added, “but I am unable to install the software”. I explained her the process, and she was up and going! I later reminded her to give feedback on my teaching, which she shared with some very pertinent comments!

Although technically, she was a ‘student’ in one of my online courses, Maria has taught me one of the most fundamental principles: Learning is a life-long process!

Rest in peace, You will always remain my inspiration to learn!

साहचर्य | Companionship


Wishing my parents a very happy marriage anniversary today! Got a chance to click this snap during their visit here! For all of us they represent a perfect example of complimentary relationship, where in each of them stands up to support the other one in every situation and deal with it collectively!

Most importantly, I admire them for acknowledging the ageing phenomenon so graciously! Wishing them many more years of this lovely companionship!


Cherished | संस्मरणीय

img_0088.jpgSome events are unforgettable, and some reactions make it memorable. Way back in 1984 (34 years to be precise), as a young kid, I chanted a Stotr (Ramraksha), for my grandfather. Like any other grandfather, who feel the pride when his grandson accomplishes a task, he decided to give me a reward. The reward was another challenge in itself, because, it was a book of Marathi verses (Manache Shlok) by Saint Ramdas. 

I remember cribbing about it that time, however, when I saw this book today, I laughed at myself. Even after a long gap of 34 years, I can not only remember the event clearly, but also cherish this tiny booklet (almost of the size of a passport, and priced at a rupee and a half!).

While congratulating, wishing, remembering each other on the special occasions in life, we typically resort to electronic message communication. Be it a phone call, a short message (SMS), a WhatsApp message or a video call, and many other variants. All these definitely make the person (you are wishing) happy, however, are you offering something that he/she can CHERISH? Probably NO.

Try and write a small note on a paper, a ready made greeting card where you can write a message, or make one yourselves, even a small book mark can provide this ever lasting memories of your wishes! Try out next time.

In fact the examination season around the corner is an excellent opportunity. Wish the kids by sending a two line best wishes. It will not only remain with them, but also avoid the disturbance they encounter of speaking the same thing to every caller who is calling to wish them luck!


PS: If you are looking for any other opportunity, my birthday is 23rd May!

काही प्रसंग अविस्मरणीय असतात, आणि त्यावेळी मिळालेल्या प्रतिक्रियांमुळे ते संस्मरणीय ठरतात. खूप वर्षांपूर्वी (नक्की सांगायचं तर: ३४ वर्ष, सोबतच्या छायाचीत्रावरील तारीख पहा!), मी रामरक्षा म्हणून दाखवल्याबद्दल माझ्या आजोबांनी मला एक बक्षीस दिलं. ते बक्षीस कमी आणि काम जास्त होतं, कारण ते ‘मनाच्या श्लोकांचं’ पुस्तक होतं! साधारण चाळीस पानाची आणि दिड रुपये किमतीची ही पुस्तिका बक्षीस म्हणून मिळाल्यावर मी खरंतर नाराजच झालो होतो! आज हे पुस्तक हातात घेतल्यावर, मी नाराज झालो ह्याचं मला मनापासून वाईट वाटतंय! आज ३४ वर्षानंतर हे पुस्तक मला रामरक्षा पठणाचाच प्रसंग नव्हे, तर त्यासाठी मिळालेली आजोबांची शाबासकी सुद्धा मला आठवते.

आपण एकमेकांना विविध कारणासाठी शुभेछा देतो, आणि त्या अनेकदा दूरध्वनीवर बोलून, मोबाईलवर लघुसंदेश पाठवून, किंवा व्हिडीओ कॉल करून एकमेकांना प्रत्यक्ष बघतो! ह्या विविध प्रकारे दिलेल्या शुभेच्छा त्या व्यक्तीला नक्कीच आनद देतात, परंतु त्या संस्मरणीय होऊ शकतील का? कदाचित नाही. मोबाईलवर आलेले संदेश, छायाचित्र कालपरत्वे पुसले जाऊ शकतात. परंतु, हाताने लिहिलेल्या दोन ओळींचं पत्र, भेटकार्डावर लिहिलेला मजकूर, किंवा पुस्तकात खुण म्हणून ठेवण्यासाठी बुकमार्क  मात्र सहजासहजी कोणीही टाकून देत नाहीत, आणि ह्या गोष्टी त्यांच्यासाठी एक ठेवा बनतात.

सध्याच्या परीक्षांच्या काळात ह्या गोष्टीचा उत्तम उपयोग करता येईल! सर्व विद्यार्थ्यांना फोन करून शुभेचा देता तेव्हा त्या विद्यार्थ्याची परिस्थिती लक्षात घ्या. त्याला/तिला अशा संभाषणात तेच – तेच ऐकावे लागते, आणि तीच उत्तरे द्यावी लागतात. त्या ऐवजी, तुम्ही त्यांना प्रोत्साहनपर दोन ओळी लिहून पाठवल्या तर त्यांना ते पत्र नक्कीच स्फूर्तीदायी ठरेल. प्रयत्न करून बघा…

ता. क.: माझा वाढदिवस २३ मे रोजी आहे!

आनंद! Happiness!

The earlier generations have so much to offer..! They had few occasions to interact with each other,, fewer mediums to interact, and very few resources to afford the interactions. In spite of these odds, they used these ‘few’ opportunities to maximise the effect.

Recently, I accompanied my mother for a family get together of her cousin, who became great-grand mother. The scene was exquisite! All the cousins (above 70 years of age), re-winded back in the time machine, and relived the wonderful moments they spent together. There were smiling faces, and positivity all around!

Looking at them, when they all posed for a group picture, I realised the true definition of ‘Happiness’!


आपल्या पालकांच्या पिढीकडून अनेक गोष्टी शिकण्यासारख्या आहेत. त्यांच्या काळी भावंडांना भेटण्याचे प्रसंग खूपच कमी असायचे,  दळणवळणाची साधने कमी, संवादाची माध्यमे खूपच कमी, आणि ह्या सर्व सोयी वापरण्यासाठी आवश्यक आर्थिक पाठबळ सुद्धा कमीच! ह्या सर्व अडचणी असूनही, त्यांनी मिळालेल्या संधींचा उपयोग, आयुष्यभराच्या स्नेहामध्ये परावर्तीत केला!

नुकतेच मला माझ्या आईबरोबर तिच्या मावसबहिणीच्या एका कार्यक्रमाला जाण्याचा योग आला. कार्यक्रमाचं निमित्त म्हणजे: तिच्या मावसबहिणीला पंतवंड झाल्यानिमित्त सोन्याची फुले उधळण्याचे! सर्व बहिणी (सर्वसाधारण वय ७० वर्ष) जमल्यावर तिथलं वातावरण एकदम बदललं! सगळ्याजणी थेट ५० वर्ष मागे भूतकाळात गेल्या, जुन्या आठवणींना उजाळा देणं चालू होतं. सर्वांचे हर्षोल्हासात न्हाऊन निघालेले चेहेरे… नकारात्मकतेला थाराच नाही!

त्यांना फोटो साठी एकत्र उभ्या राहिलेल्या पाहताना एकच शब्द आठवला: आनंद!!



Flipbook animation Workshop@KalaGhoda Art festival 2018

I got a call from the organizers of KalaGhoda Art Festival (KGAF) 2018, asking me about the Flipbook animation Workshop to be conducted this year! Kaumudi and I had done it few years back, however, it was for kids. This time it was for the elders, and we really wanted to experiment.

The KGAF team asked us to get all the material required for 25 participants, and thus started the search for appropriate paper, pencils and other tools. We finally came up with a small and handy size of flipbook,which can give enough surface area to draw but also will be portable to slip into a pocket! That was just the starting, but the real challenge was to get them cut to size, and get them packed. That is when my friend Shyam Pawar (Asmi Printing and Merchandise), came in handy. He and his team (Haroon, Shashikant, and others) cleared the pressure off our heads, by not just creating the packets, but also delivering them right to our home!


Kaumudi came up with an idea to have few illustrations which will demonstrate the morphing or transformation, drawn in a single frame. This might help the first time ‘animators’ to envisage the flipbook. She made a couple of sketches, and APM promptly printed them such that they can stand by themselves!


We went there with all the required stuff, and were greeted by the cheerful and warm KGAF team! Savani (my daughter) took the control of the sound system, and provided a nice background music in the form of popular songs from animation movies. As planned, the organisers allowed (only the first 25) participants, and we got going with the session.


The participants were from a wide range of professions, age groups, and even geographical locations! Many had come for the KGAF specially from other states. The session was enjoyable for us, and also for them…as it looked like. Here are few videos of the flip books created by the participants:

Please visit our page for details!


Congratulations: Padmashri Arvind Gupta

Extremely happy to know that Shri Arvind Gupta has been declared as a recipient of Padmashri for the year 2018! This is an apt recognition of this yogi  who has been an evangelist of science popularization among children, using the most unexpected commodity: trash! His ‘Toys from trash’, series has over 500 toys which can be made easily by learners (of all ages!), to ENJOY the science hidden in it. As he says always, ‘Don’t complicate the joy of playing with a toy by loading it with scientific principle, let the child discover it on their own’.


He is a living legend, and I was fortunate to spend time with him at his lab at IUCAA, in Pune University! We had gone there to video shoot the toy making process and releasing them for hand held devices. During the shoot, (using our high-end cameras), he was inquisitive in knowing the medium, and diligently wrote down the technical specifications of the equipment.

Later, when we were back, we completed the post production and uploaded the videos. After a while, I saw that those videos had a healthy number of viewers. Excited, I mailed him a screenshot of the website. He sent me a link for his website, where he had created videos of over 200 toys, during that period, and the video aggregation website was showing a viewership more than 6 digits! Moreover, he did not forget to give credit to his team (Dr. Vidula and Ashok). That was an important lesson to learn!

“The best thing a child can do with a toy is break it” – Arvind Gupta

I requested him to speak a few lines in the film, where we wanted to show the ICT application for his website. He agreed immediately, and we decided to start the shoot. Before any other plan came up, he sat on the ground in front of his office, and said, ‘You can start, I am comfortable!’. Similar experience was when he visited us at our IIT residence. He was visiting the campus to accompany his daughter, who appeared for some exam, and the KVIIT was the center. I requested him to come home, instead of spending the entire time in the hot sun, and he agreed. He entered the house, and saw my daughter (7 year old that time). He instantly told us that he is going to talk ONLY to my daughter now. Literally, next 2 hours, he was showing all sorts of toy making to her, and both had a gala time.

My daughter learnt the ‘ship-and-cap’ story, and presented it every possible gathering! After one such successful ‘performance’, she actually wrote back to him and thanked him for teaching such nice story! He promptly responded! He also sent a DVD containing best animated films, when he learnt about Kaumudi!

Recently, I contacted him when I was leading a project in science popularization among speech and hearing disabled. We planned to create videos using the ‘sign language’, and chose Arvind Gupta Toys as the content. The power of science toys was once again evident, when we were showing the video to the science teachers!

Wishing him a healthy life!!!