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!