Bethany School Days

 

It has been more that 12 years since the last time i was at Bethany! I have never been back there even once since then (hopefully i will go sometime). I remember some things and i have forgotten some, so i thought it will be a good idea to pen down my memories in a blog post.

In this post, i am intentionally not naming any specific teachers or friends as i can’t mention everyone and i don’t want to leave anyone out…

I was part of Bethany Convent School from class 2nd to 10th. I have some wonderful memories of school. The teachers there literally created the foundation of my life. The quality of teaching was so good that me and all of my classmates never went to tuition class till class 10th! And these days we see school kids in nursery and KG going for tuition classes! The teachers there were top notch and most of them loved teaching! From facebook i know that many of them teach even today…

Although Bethany is a Catholic led school, there were teachers and students who were Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others. I have friends from all the religions and it was always fun to know about their festivals, traditions and customs. We celebrated Eid, Diwali and Christmas with same excitement! There were never any implicit or explicit ways to enforce any religious beliefs on others. Even in the moral science class, we were taught generic life principles while the Christians were separately taught about Bible. Looking at the intolerance in people over small small issues these days, i think Bethany specially created a notion in us that progress as a whole is only possible by taking everyone together ahead as they are without enforcing our beliefs on others!

They knew back then that rote learning is of no use in the long term. I remember, when i was in class 3rd, they was an announcement that from now on in the exams, the questions won’t be just from the questions at the end of the chapter, they can ask anything from the textbook! I remember there was question, “Which is the longest bone in the body?”, it wasn’t there in the pre-defined questions and i didn’t remember the answer and the teacher wrote on my answer sheet that the answer is “Femur” and to study the chapter thoroughly 😀 Even in higher classes, it was never mandatory to answer the questions, exactly as it was taught in class. We could write it in our own words and it would be okay as long as the answer meant the same / similar thing.

Bethany gave me some of the most awesome friends for lifetime! I am not in touch with most of you guys, but i do remember most of you.. From having lunches together, playing games like Basketball, participating in events, interesting discussions in class to just growing up together! You guys made school life fun! 😀

Some of the memories i remember of my school days (it’s a long list in random order)…

  • There were just two openings in class 2nd and more than 50 kids had applied! We had a three hour entrance test! Me and one more girl were selected and the school put up our answer sheets on the board to justify to other parents why they took us and not others 😀
  • The day i joined, there was some song competition in which the entire class participated and i felt so left out..
  • In class 3rd, the two sections were interconnected and there was a door in between. Whenever one section made noise, the teacher from other section would come and say, “why are you making classroom a fishmarket!” 😀
  • In class 4th and 5th, when we started writing with ink pen (which was a big deal back then 🙂 ) we were taught to write in cursive the proper way, and i’m sure if you check anyone’s handwriting from my class, it will be nice and beautiful!
  • In one class, when the class teacher used to be absent due to some reason, she used to send me detailed notes as to what was to be done in each period, so that we were on track and didn’t waste time. And i liked that kind of responsibility.
  • In primary school, we used to discuss freaky Aahat stories (a horror show) in breaks! 😀
  • As kids, it was fun for us when teachers used to ask us to bring chalk sticks or to keep the notebooks in the staff room 🙂
  • In primary school, we used to quickly finish writing the exams so that we could play with our bench mate till the time is up 😀
  • Whenever a teacher was absent, we had a substitute teacher and in primary school we always wished that our substitute teacher was our games teacher or PT Sir so that we could go out and play 😀
  • That reminds me of the games class, it started with some basic PT exercises and then we were free to do whatever we wanted. Our games changed over the years… From just running around, Skipping, Hide and Seek, Ice-Water, Kho-Kho, Man in the middle, Kerchief game, Badminton, Table Tennis and Basketball.
  • We were divided in houses by color: Red, Green, Blue and Yellow. I was in Blue house and blue was my favorite color. But almost all my friends were in Red house. In our graduating year, Blue house won the best house award 😀
  • Specially in classes 8th, 9th and 10th we had some interesting poems in English and Hindi literature and we had some very interesting discussions in class. I don’t remember the exact discussions now, but they are some beautiful memories.
  • Parent teacher meeting and result day was a big thing! We were curious what comments we would get in the report card and what our teachers would tell to our parents. Also it was fun to get new books each year and to put covers on it during the vacation. I read all the English and Hindi chapters as stories as soon as we got new books 😀
  • In class 10th, slam books were a craze, people filled them up with glitter pens 😀 That reminds me i should look for my slam book somewhere 🙂
  • We said prayers atleast three time a day, in the morning assembly, before going for lunch and before going home.
  • I was part of the school choir and i was so fun to sing some of those songs! The first song in our song book was “All things bright and beautiful”.
  • Our morning assembly had a specific structure: Prayer, Prayer Song, 5 minute meditation, Thought for the day, News Headlines, Message from the Principal, Another Song, Pledge and National Anthem. We had speakers in every class, and on all days, except one day we had morning assembly in the classroom.
  • On every Thursday, we had a long meditation session instead of the usual assembly. One of the teachers used to conduct the meditation starting with breathing exercise and then there used to be a long pause. One student used to go to each of the class room around that time with a dhoop (incense stick). The school had a unique clam vibe during those meditation sessions. Our school knew about the benefits of meditation for students before it was a fad!
  • The sports day and annual day were so much fun! We used to prepare for it for weeks in advance and it used to be a grand event.
  • Celebrating festivals was awesome! We used to have inter house patriotic song competition on Independence and Republic Day. And i still remember how the auditorium used to sound and the overall vibe when 50 kids sang Vande Mataram or Maa Tujhe Salaam or Chhodo kal ki baatein! It literally gave goosebumps!
  • For major festivals, we used to have a separate longer morning assembly with related cultural programs like skit, dance and song performance and talks!
  • There were boards for each house and there used to be (monthly?) competitions as to which house decorated their house board best!
  • Being Secretary in the school cabinet and then winning the Best Cabinet Member award are some of the memories i cherish! One of my responsibilities was to conduct morning assembly everyday.
  • Our school library was a cool place and it was stacked with books! Those days i was a huge Enid Blyton fan and read Famous Five, Secret Seven, Adventure Series and Malory Tower series. Later i read some of the classics here. We used to have one library period per week when we had to issue and return books. However one week was too long for me, i used to gulp down these books in a day or two! 😀 During summer vacations, one special request, i used to get multiple books issued to read over the vacation.
  • We were so competitive during school days, and i guess that’s why i got it so much ingrained in me. After exams, we could never wait till the result day to know our rank in class. So around 10 students in our class, each created a table with person wise and subject wise marks. We updated the table when we got the marks of any subject. Finally we totalled it out to calculate relative rank and percentage! I mean seriously! 😀 Just like it is prohibited to reveal salary details in corporate, it should be prohibited to reveal marks to others in school 😀
  • In class 9th biology, when we had the plant and animal kingdom hierarchies and weird names and it involved so much of memorization! That’s when i decided i won’t take Biology after 10th.
  • In mid school, our science notebooks had the left page blank and the right page was ruled. We used to draw the related drawings on the blank page. I was really good a drawing from plant details, organisms like amoeba to digestive system. Getting a good, very good or excellent for a drawing used to be a big deal 😀
  • Till primary school we had Art and Craft class where we learnt drawing and making origami. From secondary school it was converted to SUPW, where boys learnt painting and girls learnt a variety of stuff like different stitches, knitting etc. I started with these things but sometimes it was difficult for me complete them as it needed a lot of patience and repetitive work 😀 So finally i used to seek my mom’s help 😉
  • Those days i could write really nice essays with relevant quotes on a variety of topics very fast. I have hardly written in hindi after school, i hope i haven’t forgotten the script!
  • Our campus was awesome! There were huge neem trees all around. A huge ground to play. A big auditorium. And spacious well lit classes with big windows! A seat near a door or window was treasured 😀 There were benches under the neem trees all around the ground and that’s where we chilled in our games period and lunch breaks. The red and white brick building had a charm of its own!

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  • Eagles used to circle over the ground during lunch breaks and would sweep down to pick up a fallen chappati.
  • Our class was very united. At no cost did anyone rat out others, we faced the consequences of our mischiefs and pranks together 😀
  • Every group had a specific place for lunch. And it was fun to discuss stuff and have lunch together! In primary school, we were in a hurry to finish lunch as soon as possible so that we could play.
  • We had to make thermocol models in classes 10th and i remember i had created sulphur extraction cut out and reproduction in amoeba cut out myself! It came out really well, and all these models by each one of us were put up in the labs.
  • Science labs were cool! From looking at things under a microscope, creating a herbarium file classifying leaves, experiments like titration to doing experiments with lenses and prisms it was always so exciting!
  • The motto of our school was Love and Service 🙂 And the logo is below:

logo

  • We had an yearly school magazine, and we submitted articles and poems which were shoristed and included in it.
  • Visiting Sisters who stayed in the convent on Christmas, admiring the crib they decorated and relishing the Christmas special cake was fun!
  • We dressed our best on yearly class photo shoots with ironed shirts, blazers and polished shoes. Now it is so fun to look at our own and our friends’ younger versions in those photos 😀
  • After entering the school, there are two trees, the left one was planted in front of us on some occasion.
  • All around the school, there were boards with inspiring quotes written. Just near the stairs near the KG section was the quote – “Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, Small minds discuss people.” One needed to just walk around the school to get inspired!
  • Maths was always one of my favorite subjects! I especially liked trigonometry. During boards, we did rigorous practice of maths problems as this was the subject we wanted to score a 100! I still remember i made a mistake in the tax calculation problem in my boards and missed the 100 because of it  😦
  • Once a week, we had to wear white dress in school. It was fun to wear our house t-shirts on that day. The school looked very colorful and bright. Also sometimes white shoes were checked and it was required that the white shoes are white and clean. We had chalk pieces to our rescue in such cases 😀
  • It was so exciting to take part in a variety of events. In class 3rd, I wore saree for the whole day with such ease, where we were showing how people in different states of India dressed! Our team went till the state final in Indian Science Congress in class 7th where we created a project on importance of nutrition. In a science demo, I presented metal ball rolling in a loop to show centrifugal force.
  • Celebrating birthdays in school was so fun. I could never celebrate my birthday on my birthday as Christmas is always a holiday. It was all the more fun when it was your best friend’s birthday as in that case we took a round of the school distributing toffees to all the teachers 🙂
  • In primary and mid school we used to have dictation test to make sure our spellings were correct. There were separate grammar books in English and Hindi. Thus now, mostly our spellings are correct and our grammar is good and we cringe when someone makes such kind of spelling / grammatical mistakes.
  • Sanskrit was a difficult language to learn. And if you didn’t understand it correctly, then a lot of memorization was required! Still remember – ti, taha, anti 😂

Overall, Bethany Convent School was an awesome school! We knew this back then too, but in hindsight it is even more evident.. I have some of the most precious memories of this place! Had some of the most amazing teachers who loved teaching and were actually interested in shaping us and cared for our well being. Made some amazing friends for lifetime whom i can always reach out to even though i might not be in regular touch with them.

Thanks Bethany for being an ideal school that a kid needs as a foundation for life!

I wish i was not in a hurry to grow up back then, probably would have had some more fun in school then! They say school days are the best and most carefree and fun days of our life, but then, kids in school don’t know that when they are in school!

P.S.

  • My friends from Bethany, please feel free to add some of your memories of Bethany school days in the comments.
  • All pics except the first one are from BCS website.
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IIIT-B, My Alma Mater

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It says it all !

Two years have passed ! Yes, two awesome years 🙂 It seems like yesterday when i had applied for masters at IIIT-B. It seemed to be perfect to me in every way. The news of being shortlisted for interviews … The preparation for interview … And then my first visit to Bangalore, which became my favourite since day one and then IIIT-B ! The campus just wooed my heart. It is a small cozy place. I distinctly remember sitting for my turn for the admission interviews and looking outside of the windows to the huge trees which lined the entrance, that’s when i had thought that i just want to be in this place. Interviews were good and i had a nice quick trip. And then the acceptance letter sent me on cloud nine 🙂 I was sooo happy !

Our Main Block
Our Main Block

Joined IIIT-B on July 13th, 2012. Met people from all over India. Its always a bit difficult for me to make  friends, however somehow we just all got together ! I had the coolest gang of gals here 🙂 Initially everything felt a bit new, somewhat different. But since i have already stayed in hostel during my undergrad days, i could gel in soon. New place, new friends, new weather, new food, new languages and thus overall a new life 🙂

Initially for around one and half months we had prep semester, where we studied the basics and got ourselves adjusted to the new life. I still remember the Linux installations and system crashes 😛 The seniors were all very helping and ready to guide their “juniors”. Our 2nd floor hostel corridors used to be packed sometimes when we all were listening to seniors’ advice. It was just the beginning of the life ahead. During this time, learnt and practiced basic programming and mathematics.

Very soon it was time to begin the first semester. The SAC elections, the campaigning both online and off-line. The freshers party! And then the serious stuff started. Four subjects, random project team allocations, whole night project meetings, coding, numerous demos and vivas by TAs, quizzes, mid-sem and finals. Sometimes it all seemed too difficult. But then we had seniors as our inspiration. They had been through this and so we felt that we could do it as well !

But it was not all that hard ! There was always preparation going on for some festival. Had a great time celebrating so many Indian festival with friends from all over India. Enjoyed the matki-fod Janamashtami, awesome Diwali with firecrackers, beautiful flower rangolis on Onam, one day Ganesh puja, Republic day and Independence day and many more. These special events added spice in daily life and made it more colorful. And then there were Ravali calls every now and then on birthdays 😉

Second semester started and it was time to choose the specialization. Time to choose two electives. Time to be part of a lab. For some it was easy, while for others it was very difficult to choose. However very soon things fell into place. Everyone was busy again doing some awesome projects in courses and labs. Second semester is awesome for two reasons:  SPANDAN – It is the time for all IIIT-B students and alumni to meet and enjoy playing and watching sports for three days. You ask any IIITBian and they will say that Spandan is perhaps the best time and it seems as though we are in a different world altogether ! And the second special event of the second semester is Open House. This is the time when we present our work to the outside world. Had a great time giving demos and presentations and got some amazing feedback and suggestions. And then very soon, again its time for final project submissions, demos and exams.

Then we had a mini semester called the summer sem. During this time, we studied some management lessons and technical communication. Being tech guys, management lessons were somewhat difficult for us to grasp initially. Had a great time in TC presentations, movie and book reviews and most of all the Mad-ads 🙂 Our group’s product was an umbrella, and i must say it was a really cool multipurpose umbrella 😉

Third semester started and it was time to be ready for placements! Oh those days! It was difficult to handle both studies and placements. Those group studies. Those intense problem solving sessions. Karumanchi, the hottest book on campus during placements. It was so much in demand that it was out of stock on every online portal. Some amazing KSMs by our classmates. It was all very stressful but finally worth it ! The placement week. The written rounds. The coding rounds. A few rejections … This is the time when “real friends” supported and motivated. And then sweet success 🙂

At IIIT-B, one does regular coursework+projects for three semesters and the last semester is for either internship or thesis. In these three semesters i studied some amazing subjects, taught by some of the most awesome profs i have ever met. They were always there to guide and support and to clarify doubts if any. I was a member of OSL lab and got to do some cool projects. Experienced some fantastic unconventional ways of teaching and learning. The projects taught us to get our hands dirty, work on some real problems and to work in teams and manage the group. Overall it was awesome experience.

In my final semester, i choose to do thesis as i was highly interested in an area and had an amazing Prof. as my guide. And i am very proud to say that it has been one of the best decision of my life. These six months have been perhaps the best days of my life till now. I have never been so happy 🙂 I did some cool experiments and simulations. Had numerous brain storming sessions and discussions to crystallize the ideas and generate appropriate results. Time just flew when i did my work. It was not work but play for me, as i enjoyed doing it. During this time, I realized that sometimes, its difficult to understand the implications of one’s own work! In such scenario, one needs a guide who has wisdom to see the bigger picture and who can connect the dots. I also understood that academic writing is very different from regular writing. It needs to be a lot more diligent and precise.  This semester showed me my area of interest, my potential and what all i can do ahead ! Also i have completed a full circle at IIIT-B. Gave my M.Tech thesis defense in the same classroom where i waited for my turn for admission interview!

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View from my window 🙂

Some random pointers of IIIT-B – the green lawns, the mini pond, ducks and rabbits, lots of squirrels, the orange tree (African tulip tree) in front of my window, awesome independent room, MCR, smart boards, colorful canteen, mid-night Maggie, sandwiches and fruit juice, walks around the campus, small terrace on the 2nd floor, the musical fountain, the basketball court, table-tennis games, Spic Macay programs, Philosophy Club meetings, Movie sessions, i guess i can go on and on 🙂  There are so many things that flash in my mind when i think of IIIT-B.

And now time ticks by. Earlier i used to wait for the convocation day but now i want time to slow down … Very soon it will be time to throw the graduation caps high in the sky. To be there, together,  for the group pic. And then to wave good byes. I know its going to be difficult. Very difficult. IIIT-B has been like heaven for me. I have realized my potential here. I have understood what i am capable of doing. I am ready to face life ahead. It gave me some close friends for lifetime. It showed me, my area of interest for which my brain jumps with excitement and interest. I was lucky to study and work under the guidance of some of the most amazing profs here who are experts in their field. IIIT-B thanks for making me what i am today ! When i see myself now and myself two years earlier, i can clearly see a transformed myself. Adieu to MT2012 batch ! Had a great time with all of you. Its the memories which will be cherished forever ! And finally, IIIT-B, my Alma mater, thanks for everything.

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Batch of 2012
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IIIT-B made us and we made IIIT-B 🙂

 

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Exams end, Happiness begins

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Learning is fun, but exams are not !

Today is the day which i will remember throughout my life. I gave the last exam (Geographic Information System) of 20 years of academics from Nursery to M.Tech 🙂 In future if i do a PhD, may be i will give more exams but as of now this is the last one.

Assuming there are 10 subjects to study each year. 4 exams every year – 2 tests, a half yearly and a final. This means 40 exams every year for 20 years. OMG i have given around 800 exams till now !!! Even i can’t believe it 😉 But even after giving so many exams i always had exam stress. That’s because i am a perfectionist. And since 100% perfection is impossible to achieve, i was never 100% satisfied with my preparation for exams. Till the last moment i felt i could do something more. I know grades are not everything, its our attitude and work that defines the direction in which we move ahead in life. But still i was always worried. The stress, the tension, the anxiety OMG !!! I am sure exams are the biggest stress causing agents in a student’s life. Anyways the exams have ended for me for now. And i am very very happy 🙂

Seriously, can’t a better technique be devised to test one’s understanding of a subject. Are exams the only way out ? Is it right to study only for doing well in exams ? (Most do that !) What about the stress which sometimes degrades our performance in exams ? And also are we not limited by the syllabus of the exam ? (Who has time to study something extra, right!) I was lucky to take two courses which are graded differently. Its called Mandate oriented learning, a technique devised by Prof. Srinath. Click here to know more. I liked it a lot as it gave me the freedom to study topics as per my choice and style. It aims that the class as a whole has a collective understanding of the subject and thus we got a platform to share what we understood with one another.

Life itself is an exam and every day is a new challenge. I am sure after giving ~ 1000 exams i am ready to face the exam of life ! It is probably the most difficult exam as the syllabus is unknown, it is a surprise test, you cannot copy from anyone, no one can teach it, it can only be learnt by one-self, others can only share their wisdom. But however hard it may be, bring it on !!! I am ready 🙂

On a lighter note, i would like to share my happiness with all of you with this video. Enjoy!!!

With an image, video and text in this post, i can also submit this in the Weekly Writing Challenge – Multimedia Storytelling.

My First Blog Anniversary !!!

My Cup of Tea turned 1-year-old on Oct 2nd, 2012. I am so happy. I was busy with my mid-semester exams so i could not post on that day itself. And so i was craving for a Sunday when i could make this post :D. This one year journey has been awesome. I have discovered a new me via my blog. MCT is the first thing i mention as my hobbies (even in interviews) and it feels good to see that most people are interested in it (more so if they themselves are bloggers :)).

This journey has been memorable because of the blogging friends i made all over the world. It feels great to imagine that we live in different parts of the world, have our own very busy lives, we all face challenges on the journey of life, yet we all connect with each other via blogging. Blogging brings me in a completely different world 🙂 Today i would like to thank each one of you who have read my posts, liked them or have been gracious enough to take some time out of their busy lives and commented on a post. By reading my post, you read a part of my life, my experiences, my journey. Each one of you has inspired me to keep going on and post something new and interesting.

I can proudly say that MCT has been one of the best things i have done in my life. Even the thought of MCT brings a spark of happiness in me. Reading back through old posts, sometimes i am surprised how i could have written it 😀 But such things happen and we discover our own potential and capabilities. And so i believe that we have the ability to surprise ourselves 🙂

In one year i posted 45 posts including this one. I had imagined much more. But its ok 🙂 If you ever feel that i have forgotten MCT as i am not posting frequently, then you are wrong. I promise that atleast once in a day a thought of MCT passes my mind. Sometimes on a free day i sit down and read all your posts. My frequency of posting may have decreased due to my busy college life, but i can assure you that MCT will be a part of me, ALWAYS.

I still remember that day very clearly. 2nd October 2011. Since a long time i had been thinking of having a blog. I had done a lot of research on whether to go for blogger or WordPress (finally i picked WordPress, lucky me :)). I just could not decide on a name for my blog. I wanted it to be perfect so that i never feel like changing it again. And so on 2nd October last year a Sunday 🙂 i finally decided to create my blog. When entering the name of blog suddenly it flashed “My Cup of Tea”. And that was it. I just love it soooo much since that day.  Here is the link to my first blog post 🙂 My First Post !

Once again a Very Happy First Blog Anniversary MCT !!!

Happy Engineers’ Day

We have the capability to bring a change,
We have the potential to make this world a better place,
We are the future of tomorrow !
We are the engineers
We rock the world !

Nothing is impossible for us,
We can do things nobody has ever dreamt,
We are the foundation of the world,
We are the engineers
We rock the world !

We are brave enough to accept any challenge,
We can work day and night to meet the deadlines,
We are true of our words,
We are the engineers
We rock the world !

Think twice before challenging us,
Because we are used to doing daunting things,
So most probably we will win 😎
We are the engineers
We rock the world !

We can build bridges between enemies,
Our skyscrapers can reach the stars,
However our thoughts can take us to a different world,
We are the engineers
We rock the world !

We rise with double strength if we fail,
We are brave enough to accept our mistakes,
We are smart enough not to repeat the same ones again 😉
We are the engineers
We rock the world !

We have revolutionary ideas in our minds,
We have a sense of pride in our hearts,
We have peace and serenity in our souls,
We are the engineers
We rock the world !

HAPPY ENGINEERS’ DAY TO ALL !!!

Image Credits – facebook.com

Examssssss

Exams are the biggest stress causing agents in the student life.

Exams have its pros and cons …..

 

Pros

They say exams help in judging the subject grasped.

People can be graded according to their knowledge.

 

Cons

Can exams really judge the potential or subject knowledge ? Well i don’t think so.

Sometimes the best thing which is judged by exams is “learning power”  😀

I have myself seen many who don’t have a good subject knowledge but fair very well in exams. Then there is no difference between a person having actual knowledge and by hearted knowledge.

Sometimes it is easy to understand a topic but it is difficult to write.

Some are not able to perform well due to stress 😦

 

Solution

Its true that there should be some way to judge the knowledge gained on a subject.

But please not examsssssss 😀

Its time that we engineers build a machine which can measure the knowledge gained by a person on a topic.

Thus we can directly measure “actual knowledge”.

Tension free ……….. Exam free life !!!