Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Karma Confusion

(for "mature" and broad minded audience only)

It is said in the scriptures that the decision whether our souls would be saved or not, would be based on our actions. In the Hindu perspective, the philosophy which I adhere to, it would mean that the decision would govern whether my soul would be exposed to the procedure of rebirth, in some life form. In the Christian philosophy, the decision would govern whether my soul would see heaven or hell. (I am specifically not pointing to other philosophies because I do not know much about them. I save myself from the habit of commenting on things which I do not really know about!).

Now, if there is any God (I am not still sure, if there is any), in His (I am also not sure if God has a gender) perspective all souls should be equal, independent of the life form (the physical form of the body). It is in this perspective of equality, that I have a question.

Consider a sequence of incidents and a list of life forms; a human, a cat, a donkey and a cow. The human is a hardworking washerman earning an honest living by washing clothes. The cow has recently given birth to a calf. The donkey and the cat are pets to the washerman, the donkey usually carrying the washed clothes back from the washing place, and the cat saving the household by eating away the rats. One fine morning, the washerman has a fight with his wife, he goes to the river with the soiled clothes, washes them and puts the clothes on the donkey's back and shouts on the donkey. The donkey was feeding on the grass by the side of the river, gets annoyed with the washerman and gives him a kick on his groin. The washerman writhes with pain, but returns home with the clothes. He goes to milk the cow, with the recently born calf tied at another corner, and the cow kicks the washerman again. Somehow, the washerman manages to milk the cow. After half an hour, the washerman keeps the boiled milk at the corner of his house and goes outside to nurse his injuries. In the meanwhile, the cat feeds itself on the milk kept for the children and the wife. The Washerman returns home, sees the empty container of milk, gets angry and beats the cat badly.

At this point there is a huge earthquake, and the world is destroyed. Now it is decision time:
  1. The washerman complains that he has been honest throughout his life, but he has had to bear sadness and pain due to the cow, the donkey and the cat.
  2. The cat says it has been faithful to the washerman and feeding itself was the only way to keep itself alive. The washerman beating the cat was not justified.
  3. The cow says that her milk is first for the calf and then for anybody else and therefore the washerman is not justified about complaining.
  4. The donkey says that it was feeding on the grass peacefully and the Washerman's anger was not justified.
It can be seen that it is the same incident, the same story, the same set of life forms, but Karma changes perspectives according to the character and dharma of the person. Therefore, in our perceptions of the Karma (that is the life forms on earth), a decision on who would go to heaven or hell is not possible.

Now, can we conclude that thieves, backstabbers, nymphomaniacs, kleptomaniacs, pedophiles, sadists, psycopaths cannot expect to be judged on the same platform as normal people? Would the normal people agree to be judged on the same platform?

 This is my Karma confusion!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Directives for men: The Sexual Harrassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013

At the outset, I would like to thank the women who agreed to deliberate with me on the various issues (in person and over the phone), with respect to the professional and social interactions between two different genders are concerned. I would also like to thank, Ms Archana Gondhalekar, whose speeches I listened to, two times.

I would like to clarify here that the word gender used in this article are limited to "Male" and "Female" only, although the terminology, as on date, has been extended to include LGBT also. It is also worth mentioning here that this article has been written with Indian people in mind, therefore the international audience might find some terms incomprehensible.

This article deliberates on the various implications of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, and the corresponding rules, for men. Why was this act needed? In the society, mostly the rules are drawn out for people who do not "fit" to an acceptable social norm.

The history of this act, goes back to the days when an Angan Vadi worker, Smt. Bhawari Devi dared to protest against child marriage. Child marriage, at that point of time had been declared illegal, and therefore Bhanwari Devi had done nothing wrong. Some of the villagers aged from 20 to 70, perhaps with a feeling of malice, or with a motive to "set her right", gangraped her. As expected this lead to litigations, formations of sexual harassment guidelines and lately the creation of a parliamentary act in 2013.

Directives for men on the various aspects of sexual harassment in the purview of the act 

Unwelcome advances and physical contact 

One of the many points mentioned in this act is about "Unwelcome advances". Men might wonder on this point. How does an individual decide, what is welcome and what is unwelcome? Consider this example. You are enjoying a warm cosy evening with your family, while there is a knock on the door. The "guest" is someone whom you do not like. Even if your background or previous generation has taught you, "Atithi Devo Bhavah" (The guest is divine), you might have to politely ask the person to leave your house. Arguing similarly therefore, the woman (your colleague) would tell you what she "likes" and what she doesn't.

The dress and the seduction 

When it comes to sex, sexuality, and expression of sexuality, men happen to think in binary. If I were to quote many feminists, I would write "Men live with their brains between their legs". When it comes to women, their expressions are two fold. First comes attraction, and then comes seduction. Therefore, if a woman is wearing an amply revealing dress, it does not imply "Come and have sex with me!". Instead, it means "Look at me! I am beautiful!". Stop misinterpreting the dress as a gateway for sex or sexual advances.

She hugs other boys, so she should not mind if I hug her! 

No! At the workplace, hugging is completely inadvisable! In my opinion, hugging is an act of intimacy, whether it be a "feeling" of father-daughter, or "boyfriend-girlfriend" or "brother-sister" or "teacher-student". Keep all your hugs, caresses, touches at home, while you leave for the office.

Also, "she hugs other boys, so she should mind if I hug her" sounds illogical and similar to "She has sex with her boyfriend, she should also have sex with me!". A woman has the right to chose, who she loves, who she marries and with whom she has intimate relations and moments with. In no way, can a man dictate that.

Can I touch her hand? 

It is worth mentioning here that women rely on their sixth instinct to distinguish between touches. Therefore, you can touch her hand only if you seek her permission first. If she refuses, stay away. In the best case, avoid any thought of touching the hand, or any other part of the body. In my opinion, in the light of this act, it is advisable that women be greeted either with a courteous bow, or with a polite Namaste. All that nonsense about "professional behaviour requires shaking hands" can go for a toss.

Verbal conducts of sexual nature 

The act mentions "Sexually coloured remarks" which might confuse men too! Many men are habitual of vomiting adult jokes at the slightest provocation. Many also use double meaning. Men, therefore are confused when women make sexually coloured remarks either on themselves or about some other people in the public. In such cases, it is advisable to stay away from controversy.

No double meanings which might lead to misinterpretation or malicious use of "setting you right". Whatever, the case may be, however hard a woman might try to get some double meaning out of you directly or indirectly, keep your tongue in control.

Non-verbal conduct of sexual nature 

Staring at women 

Men are confused about the staring clause popularly used by women, owing to the following different reasons:
  1. It is natural for a man to look at a woman irrespective of his marital status. So, how can one avoid looking? 
  2. Men have the habit of staring into empty space with a thoughtless mind. They might keep on staring into the empty space for hours together (this video from the Canadian comedian Russell Peters tells us a lot). Can this be misconstrued? 

In my opinion, the act relies on the sixth instinct of women. As per the women I have conversed with, a woman would know, if a man is looking at her in the "wrong way". However, men are advised that the "sixth instinct" or the "gut feeling" may misfire in some cases. However, women are also usually watchful about the event occurring repeatedly over time. Therefore, do not keep looking at a woman for more than 5 seconds, when you are not talking to her.

Showing pornography or asking for sexual favours 

Seriously? Are you a nymphomaniac / pervert? It is a serious NO! However, "close" you might feel, the woman is to you, in no way should such acts be committed!

Is this act necessary? 

Yes! It has been observed that women have been subject to continuous harassment in the society. With time, these events are on the rise. It is therefore fair enough, that women are given a platform, a strong one at that, to voice their views and raise objections, against certain age old practices.

Is this act biased towards women? 

 No! The preamble of the Honorable Indian constitution and the Honorable Indian constitution itself, rule out any gender bias amongst the citizens of the country. Therefore, in this country, no law can be founded that is biased. In the context of this article, refer to clause number 10, in the rules document, where it says that complaints with proven malicious intent shall be dealt with the same severity as those mentioned in clause number 09.

How do I certify my integrity? 

The former Director of IIT Kanpur, Prof. S. G. Dhande, had repeatedly said during many orientation programmes for the new students that "You should have your certificate of integrity in your pocket". It is a shame that honorable men, or men with their integrities in place would have to resort electronic devices to certify their integrity in the light of this act (malicious intents cannot be ruled out).
  1. In this context, make sure that your workstation / workplace has a camera / CCTV mounted, and that the video feeds have sufficient backup. Also make sure that you have enough space to move away if any unwelcome advance is made upon you. 
  2. Always prefer a working place, where there is a fellow worker or workers watching you (for most of the time), inspite of your innate quest for privacy even at the workplace. 

Your relations with colleagues (male or female) 

Workers who work day in and day out for generating good academic records, peer-reviewed publications, patents and have their names mentioned in the annual reports of the organisation they are working for, need to take special care. The risk of jealous colleagues thinking of "setting them right" is high.

Further, as far as my conversions with overtly performing colleagues go, people in India, inspite of the Honorable Indian constitution in their hand, have not learned to respect others' rights to their own opinions. It is quite possible that jealous colleagues (male or female) might feel that the best way to stop you from performing (to set you right) is to allege sexual harassment against you.

On the positive side, protection exists in the form of rule 10, although, on the flip side, it would be best to avoid crossing swords with anybody.

How to begin a conversation with a female colleague?

Frame the question well in your mind. If unsure, write it down on a piece of paper. Make sure that there is no double meaning, vulgarity, white or dark sarcasm in the question. Do not sneak up to the woman from her behind (in case she is sitting with her back towards you). Call her politely and ask if she has time for a question. If she says yes, proceed with the question. If she replies in the negative, just walk back to your seat and do not insist. If she is interested, in what you were saying, she would ask you later. If she does not, you should get the hint. 

What to do if I find a female colleague staring at me? 

Just as males find it sensually pleasing to stare at women, women too, once in a while, like to feast their eyes. However, this is NOT at all an invitation for physical proximity or activity. She might be a spy for someone, and might be keeping an eye on you, as well.

In summary

The infamous Canadian actress Sunny Leone sums it up well in this video, where she complains about a co-contestant wrongly "touching her". To paraphrase the conversation, "When a woman says NO, it means NO. It does not mean YES, and it doesn't mean MAYBE!"


  1. The Sexual Harassment of Women (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013; Last accessed April 10, 2014. 
  2. The Sexual Harassment of Women (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act - Rules, 2013, Last accessed April 10, 2014. 
  3. Constitution of India (2008), Last accessed April 10, 2014. 
  4. Russel Peters: Women are thinkers, Last accessed April 10, 2014. 
  5.  Sunny Leone complains against Amar Upadhyay, Last accessed April 10, 2014.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

An open letter to Lord Voldemort

Dear Lord Voldemort,

You may fail to recall this incident, but I do not. In fact, I cherish it with a sprinkle of pepper and salt everyday. Your lame attempts to teach arithmetic to your kid, and his replying that 1 and 1 make 11 still brings a lot of amusement to my peers and colleagues.

You may wonder why I chose to call you Voldemort. Don't! Because, believe it or not, your demeanour and spirit lie akin to the Dark Lord in J. K. Rowling's creation of the Harry Potter series of books. You consider disagreement as a personal threat, and your habit of throwing the weight where it isn't even necessary is a sharp indicator in that direction. Pardon me, if I call you a Bolshevik as well.

I do not know why, but it seems to me that you breathe and live under the belief that the world needs a messiah or a saviour, all the time. Did you misinterpret the following message from the Bhagavad Geeta? Did you see yourself as a mighty saviour yielding the Sudarshan Chakra?

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत ।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ||
परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे||

"Mujhe change chaahiye!" is and has been your motto! Yes, change is good, if for the better. But, still better is improvement! Improvement comes from knowing a system, by understanding what might have gone through the minds of the people while they framed the "holy constitution", rather than sheer, abrupt and unprepared change. What was riding on your mind? Satan? Couldn't you understand, that changing a "system" or an ecology might alleviate the problems, but would bring in a new set of issues that you might be hitherto unaware of? If you know what the problems were, couldn't you lead the people to trust the system and improvise it? But no, your evil ego overcame the sheer common sense that one might expect from a person of your stature.

It is amazing that you trusted a set of people who first preached on your behalf that you were a messiah, a leader of fresh change. The same set of people used your name, and threatened various units in the campus. The same set of people were found abusing you and kicking walls and windows in the campus. I named them the "Smart Munnas", but if I were to use a Harry Potter simile, they were the "death eaters", with no life / opinion of their own, but feeding on the ideas and happinesses of other people.

There were also a small set of people who wanted the people to benefit. Call them the Mensheviks if you will, but they were ready to cooperate for the sake of the system, with YOU. But you saw them as a threat.

You lay your belief on them, who would merely seem to ejaculate on your "holy" command. You never stayed inside the endroit and you think you knew all the people? You didn't. But instead you wanted to threaten all the people who wanted to help and improvise.

People asked mysterious questions during the various gatherings, didn't they? You think, we didn't understand? You were wrong! You lay your belief on those, who favoured you at one time, but forged signatures to vote against you. You think, we didn't know? You were wrong! Each and every time, the advice from a small group of us was to avoid clashing against the big rock. But, they didn't understand. Did you, consider our position?

You threw away the most hardworking guy away from the endroit, the one who used to work 12 hours a day, without seeking any extra remuneration? Our only understanding was that you were overcome by your Satanic ego, to prove that you were the boss and trying to "save" the endroit. The hardworking guy, went away and so did the practices of systematic working. Total disarray was visible.

You never, reconsidered your decision did you? Perhaps, you would, when you grow old and feeble, Voldie.

Our only hope was that you left your ego, and saw reason.

Sincerely and yours truly.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


आज खुश तो बहुत होगे तुम ! लो चुप्पी ठान ली मैंने ! तुम्हारे रोज रोज के ताने, तुम्हारे रोज रोज के शक़।  तुम्हारे हर बात में यह ठहराना कि मैं हर मायने में गौण हूँ। त्रस्त हूँ पर फिर भी चुप हूँ। ह्रदय पे बोझ है तो क्या हुआ? चेहरे पे झुर्रियाँ बढ़ रही है तो क्या हुआ ? दिन-ब-दिन सिर के बाल सफ़ेद हो रहें हैं तो क्या हुआ? तुम्हारी ख़ुशी तो जरूरी है ना?

तुम्हारी बात को ठुकराई तो तुम बात करना बंद कर दोगे, खाना नहीं खाओगे, ताने मारोगे! जानते हो, तुमसे बात करने से पहले चिंता होती है कि आज कौन कौन सी गालियाँ सुनने को मिलेंगी? तुमसे बात करने से पहले अपने ह्रदय को पुख्ता कर लेना होता है कि कहीं तुम्हारी चुभने वाली बातें मेरे कोमल मन को चोटित न कर दे। तुम्हे मुझे चोटित कर कौन सी ख़ुशी मिलती है?
किसी को एक्सपीरियंस या तजुर्बा होने पर वो सही नहीं हो जाता।  तजुर्बा उन लोगों या समाजों तक सीमित होतीं हैं जिनसे तुमने चर्चा या विचारों का आदान प्रदान किया हो।  किसी बंद कमरे में बैठकर लोगों के सम्बन्ध में अंधी राय बना लेना और उसी राय पर विश्वास करने लगना मात्र बेवकूफी कि निशानी है।  तुम बार बार कहते हो न "मुझे थर्टी इयर्स का एक्सपीरियंस है"! यह मात्र एक छलावा है जिसमें तुमने अपने आप को फंसा लिया है।  ऐसी बातें सिर्फ हास्यात्मक कार्यक्रमों तक ही सीमित होती हैं।

कभी पतंग को उड़ाया है तुमने? जब कोई पतंग उड़ती है तो उसकी डोर को पहले खींचते हैं, फिर ढील देते हैं। ऐसा करते करते पतंग उड़ने लगता है।  लेकिन इंसान पतंग नहीं होते।  ऐसा करने से इंसान उड़ता नहीं, कन्फ्यूज़ ज्यादा हो जाता है।

चिड़िया उड़ का खेल
याद है बचपन में वो खेल हुआ करता था - चिड़िया उड़? किस तरह किसी खिलाडी के द्वारा गलती करने पर उसे मार पड़ती थी? उस मार से तो चलो आदमी बच के निकल भी जाए, तुम्हारी चुभने वाली बातों के मार से कौन बचेगा या बचाएगा। कुछ कहने लगेंगे तो फिर वही खाना बंद, बातें बंद| लो अब अमूल मक्खन कि मालिश करो चार दिन तक! झूठी माफ़ी भी मांगो, चाहे गलती की हो या नहीं!

इसीलिए अब मैंने चुप्पी साध ली। खुश रहो तुम! काश कि तुम ऐसे ही खुशियां मनाते रहो, मुझे दुःख पहुंचाते रहो, और मेरे मुँह से आह तक न निकले! एक जीवित लाश में परिवर्तित कर दिया है तुमने! मुबारक हो! एक नयी कठपुतली मुबारक हो!

-- निशा 

Monday, January 06, 2014

Goodbyes and Hellos - 2013

My year began with a goodbye to my Hall of Residence Four at IIT Kanpur. I had stayed there for eight long years and more. I definitely had my share of learnings, in  terms of building a progressive society, motivating people and more. I made good friends too, from the very famous Tony Jacob to the very humble Vivek Mehta. It has been a privilege knowing them. I might have left the Hall, but its memories remain etched in my mind. 

My supervisor Dr. Bharat Lohani insisted that I take the opportunity to deliver an invited lecture at Dr. Babasaheb Marathwada University Aurangabad. The visit to Aurangabad was a lesson in how humble beginnings might lead to great achievements. Dr. Suresh Mehrotra's amazingly inspirational way of motivating people left me astounded. At the same time, meeting Dr. Pravin Yannawar, Dr. Ramesh Manza and Dr. Bharti Gawali Rokade were indicators that I should put in more efforts in my research work and publications. 

MGM's Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College, Aurangabad
My visit to Aurangabad and a probing question by Dr. Suresh Mehrotra - "If all good people went to `good' places, who will come to the place which are not `good'?" motivated me to start a conversation with a college of Aurangabad. I came for a visit to Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College and was floored by the welcoming nature of the Principal Dr. Sudhir Deshmukh, his motivated talks and willingness to develop the college further into an institute of national repute. My meetings with Dr. Sanjay Harke, Dr. Ravindra Deshmukh and Dr. Abhay Kulkarni were enlightening. I was especially impressed by the infrastructure developed by MGM - IBT, where Dr. Sanjay Harke is the Director.

With Shitla Tripathi ji
With Ram Kewal Maurya ji
I finally had a chance to take a degree at the convocation, the previous one's being either mailed to my place of residence, or being brought in by a third person. Instead of partying around, I chose to spend time with Shitla Prasad Tripathi ji and Ram Kewal Maurya ji. If I have gained a lot from my fellow research workers, I have also learnt a lot from Tripathi ji and Maurya ji. For each and every technical problem of mine. They were a great help.

Remember Narayan dada, the one about whom I talked about in my blog last year? I saw him frail and shaking. When I saw him, he got down from the cycle, and told me that he was diagnosed with a cancerous growth in his throat. It was surprising that all through his trauma, he had been looking for me for support, and people had been telling him that I had left the campus. I talked about his condition to the residents of Hall Four and most of them went to see him. Some even called him from outside the campus.

A scene at the CC Canteen @ IITK
The month of August began with a goodbye, with me bidding adieu to the city I spent nine precious years in, Kanpur. There were small meetings with Prof. Onkar Dikshit, the person who supported me a lot, morally and financially, and my thesis supervisor Dr. Bharat Lohani. Dr. Nandini Nilakantan also invited me for a luncheon at the Campus Restaurant. 

Arun Nishad, your help for packing up my things was one of the greatest helps that I would remember. On the day of bidding goodbye to the campus, it was raining, and I, perhaps inspired by the clouds, shed a tear or two, in the moments of loneliness that I found on the railway platform. I was en route to Chennai then, and met a lady Tarzan during the journey! 

The next few days went away like a breeze, and I entered Aurangabad. A small and dusty city yet to learn the values of maintenance and cleanliness, but yet consisted of people with big hearts. Sachin Deshmukh helped me to find a place of stay, and Prahlad Pawar ji was kind enough to rent me the place. 

I taught two courses this year. Teaching mathematics to the students with no mathematical background was one of the challenges that I took. The results would say if I was successful, which are yet to come as I write this document. 

The end of year enlightened me with an emergent thought. The expression of "Independence" is expected to arrive with a feeling of an exclamation mark, but instead in many of us, it exists with a question mark in terms of daily life - common feelings like hunger, love, sadness, sleep, thought are well affected by this question mark.

With a desire that you are able to convert this question mark into an exclamation in the coming days, I wish you a very happy new year.

हिंदी रूपांतर 

भारतीय प्रौद्योगिकी संस्थान के चतुर्थ छात्रावास को अलविदा कहने से मेरा यह वर्ष शुरू हुआ।  अनेकों झगड़े, रात भर का जागना और दोस्ती इन्ही सब की यादें समेटकर मैंने हॉल ४ को अलविदा कहा। हॉल ४ में रहने के दौरान अनेकों से मेरा परिचय हुआ जैसे विख्यात टोनी जेकब और विनयशील विवेक मेहता।  हॉल ४ से मैंने कई चीज़ें सीखीं और आशा है कि इन सीखों को मैं अपने जीवन में उतार पाऊंगा।

मेरे पी एच डी के मार्गदर्शक डॉ भारत लोहनी ने मुझे डॉ बाबासाहेब आंबेडकर विद्यापीठ में जाकर व्याख्यान देने के लिए प्रेरित किया। यहाँ मैं प्रो सुरेश मेहरोत्रा से मिला। डॉ प्रवीण यन्नावर, डॉ रमेश मंझा और डॉ भारती रोकड़े से मिलकर ऐसा लगा कि मुझे अपने शोध कार्य में और अधिक मेहनत करनी चाहिए।

इस व्याख्यान के वजह से मेरी बातचीत औरंगाबाद के एक महाविद्यालय से होने लगी। डॉ सुरेश मेहरोत्रा ने पूछा कि " यदि हर अच्छा व्यक्ति "अच्छी" जगह पर जाए, तो हमारे यहाँ कौन आएगा?" अतः मैं पुनः औरंगाबाद आया। यहाँ, जवाहरलाल नेहरू इंजीनियरिंग कॉलेज के प्रधानाचार्य डॉ सुधीर देशमुख से मिलकर बहुत अच्छा लगा।  वे इस महाविद्यालय को राष्ट्रीय स्तर के प्रसिद्ध शिक्षण संस्थानों कि गिनती में लाना चाहते थे।  इसके अतिरिक्त मैंने डॉ संजय हर्के, डॉ रविन्द्र देशमुख एवं डॉ अभय कुलकर्णी से भी मुलाकात कि।  जैवविज्ञानं और प्रौद्योगिकी संस्थान के आधुनिक प्रयोगशालाएं और कम्प्यूटेशनल शक्ति देखकर मैं दंग रह गया।  अतः मैंने जवाहरलाल नेहरू इंजीनियरिंग कॉलेज कि ठानी।

आखिर वो वेला आ ही गयी जब मैंने किसी दीक्षांत समारोह में भाग लिया।  इससे पूर्व मेरे समस्त उपाधियों को में व्ययक्तिक तौर पर ले नहीं पाया था।  समारोह के उपरांत जहां लोग होटलों में जाकर खाना खाने कि योजना बना रहे थे, में शीतला प्रसाद त्रिपाठी जी और राम केवल मौर्या जी के साथ फ़ोटो खिचवा रहा था।

आपको नारायण दादा के बारे में याद है? उनके बारे में पिछले वर्ष मैंने लिखा था।  उनको मैंने बहुत कमज़ोर और शिथिल रूप में देखा। पूछने पर पता चला कि उन्हें वैद्य ने बताया है कि उन्हें कर्क रोग है।  उनका एक बार शल्य चिकित्सा हो चुका था।  उन्होंने बताया कि वे मेरे बारे में पूछते रहे और लोग उनको बताते रहे कि मैं आई आई टी परिसर छोड़कर चला गया हूँ।  मेरे पूर्व छात्रावास के लोगो को बताने पर कई उनसे परिसर के हेल्थ सेंटर में मिलने गए और उन्हें ढांढस बधाई।

अगस्त का महीना मेरे लिए कठिन रहा। जिस परिसर में मैंने ९ वर्ष बिताये उसे विदा कहने का समय आ गया था।  विदा लेने से पूर्व, प्रोफेसर ओंकार दीक्षित, जिन्होंने मुझे कई बार धैर्य बंधाई और आर्थिक सहायता भी दी, के आशीष वचन प्राप्त करने आवश्यक थे।  इसी के साथ मेरे पी एच डी के मार्गदर्शक डॉ भारत लोहनी से भी मार्गदर्शन प्राप्त किये।  डॉ नन्दिनी नीलकंठन ने भी मुझे मध्यान्ह भोज के लिए आमंत्रित किया।

श्री अरुण निषाद ने मेरे सामान को समेटने में जितनी मदद की उसकी प्रशंशा करने के लिए मेरे पास शब्द कम हैं।  आई आई टी परिसर को विदा कहने के दिन वर्षा हो रही थी, और सम्भवतः बादलों से प्रेरित होकर, रेलवे प्लेटफार्म के अकेलेपन में, मेरे चक्षुओं से दो आंसू छलक पड़े। मैं चेन्नई की ओर अग्रसर था और रास्ते में एक लेडी टार्ज़न से मुलाकात भी हुई!

अगले कुछ दिन बड़ी तेज़ी से बीत गए और में औरंगाबाद में कदम रखा। यह एक धूल भरा शहर है, परन्तु यहाँ के लोगों के ह्रदय विशाल हैं।  सचिन देखमुख ने मुझे एक रहने का स्थान ढूंढ़ने में मदद कि, और श्री प्रह्लाद पवार जी ने अपने घर को मुझे किराए पर दिया।

इस वर्ष मैंने दो कोर्स पढ़ाये। जैव विज्ञान के छात्रों को गणित पढ़ाना शायद कठिन था। मैंने अच्छा पढ़ाया या नहीं, यह तो परिणाम आने के पश्चात ही पता चलेगा!

वर्ष २०१३ के अंत में एक दुर्दान्त विचार मेरे मन में कौंधा।  यह कि हम कहते हैं कि हम स्वतंत्र है, पर अधिकतर भारतीयों के लिए स्वतंत्रता छद्मवेश में परतंत्रता का ही नाम है, चाहे वो सोच, विचार, निद्रा, क्षुधा, प्रेम, अनुराग कुछ भी हो। इसीलिए स्वतंत्रता एक विस्मयादिबोधक चिन्ह के साथ नहीं वरन एक प्रश्नवाचक चिन्ह के साथ हमारे मन में उत्पन्न होता है।

वेद कहते हैं "तमसो मां ज्योतिर्गमय" । इसी प्रेरणा के साथ कि आप इस छद्मवेशी परतंत्रता को वास्तविक स्वतंत्रता में रुपान्वित कर सकें और प्रश्नवाचक चिन्ह को विस्मयद्बोधक चिन्ह में बदल सकें, मैं आपको नव वर्ष कि शुभकामनायें देता हूँ।