Cancer is often also used metaphorically to describe a situation that has bred adverse effects on people, their lives and others who form an integral part of it. The battle is always a collective fight inching towards the final war only to learn whether or not it was all worth it in the end.
In all hazy memory, I do recollect losing a dear neighbor for bone cancer. When she was diagnosed with the grave terminal cancer, it broke her, her family and us for how unfair life had been to a beautiful soul as hers. She was promised a life not longer than a few months but her will power to fight it kept her alive to light up our lives for 10 years post diagnosis.
She was a crayon standing tall until the very end. She never broke. Her way of coping with reality was mere acceptance. She welcomed it gracefully and caressed with humor for as long as she fought. She detested any sympathy that came along as she believed that she was living with an ailment like everyone else. While it was cancer for her, it was probably work, family, life or something else for another. She, however, became more particular about living a life that she loved. She made sure her inventory for chocolates and ice creams was maintained, her long drives post 10pm with her husband were more frequent, time with her children was not compromised despite their busy schedules. She lived a life that we all idealize.
Her relationship with us, neighbors, is cherished even to this date. She looked out for everyone despite their age and her relationship with them. Her spirit never dropped until the last year when she was put through excruciating rounds of therapy in the hope of betterment. Although she knew that the treatment was only deteriorating her condition, she wanted to pursue it to live longer. Life was her battle and she was not going to give in.
I often think about whether I have a purpose to serve in my lifetime. When hit by life’s inconsistencies my fear of failure immediately aggravates. It is then that I think about her only to realize that it is imperative to have a purpose to live. When you live is when you find your purpose. She taught me to embrace life as it comes and make the most of what you have on a daily basis. “Carpe Diem, my friend!”
Ranjana Divakar (2019-2021)
Khan Naziya Aslam Quddus, a mother of 5, was shattered to her core when her test results came back. She was diagnosed with blood cancer at the age of 45, just days before her first grandson was born. Initially thought to be a misjudgement more tests were conducted, still the same results, doctors advised chemotherapy is the only option for her. The procedure started, for the uninitiated chemotherapy is a process by which medicines are injected in the body and it attacks the cancerous cells in the body in part curing the person of cancer. Now the medicines administered in the process are painful and not everyone can tolerate it. But Naziya had the determination to fight it, every day was a struggle but still, the warrior never let her weapons down.
Coming from a humble background of farmers, she made sure her children get a good education and she nurtured them to be hard-working individuals, the torment these children had to face to see their mother slowly withering away, going frail was simply unbearable. Naziya had many procedures, and all the time she never cried, never complained, was strong through and through. Mr. Aslam, husband of Naziya, a man who never prayed in his life, a lifelong atheist was seen hanging around the mosque, begging God for a miracle. Naziya always said that she will only die after seeing all her grandchildren married and settled. Days went by, months went by, procedure after procedure, finally the cancer was removed from her body. It took another whole year for her to recuperate because she had become so weak due to the procedures, she was unable to walk. A beautiful soul had to suffer so much because of the horrible disease, post her recovery she wished she wanted to go for the Hajj pilgrimage. Her grandson now turned 2, was finally able to play with her grandmother, they went to orchards, pluck fruits, planted flowers in the orchard. That grandson was me and I always wondered how did she bear so much pain and suffering and still unchanged. But then, as they say, Mothers are the most powerful creature the god has ever designed. I would like to end this excerpt with a quote by Nicole Munoz: “She never seemed shattered; to me, she was a breath-taking mosaic of the battles she’s won.”
Shad Khan (2019-2021)
I still remember the way my grandmother would watch Indian sitcoms and scribble numbers in her little book consisting of a thousand Sudoku puzzles. Her glasses would be perched on her nose, eyes narrowed with focus as small grumbles would escape her mouth. ‘I told you, the main character had cancer and is dying now. That’s why the mother-in-law was looking for another bahu … I hope nothing of this sort ever happens to anyone’ she said to me one day.
Nobody tells you what cancer feels like. It starts out small -a cough, a fever or a rash. Simple symptoms that otherwise do not point to something as drastic as this are often taken lightly. The doctor told us that she’d be fine, that all she needed were antibiotics. After two weeks of no improvement, I felt that something was wrong. I spent days and nights researching on the internet about the possible meanings of the symptoms my grandmother was showing.
Cancer. Cancer. Cancer.
I ignored it. Because I did not want to believe it. My grandmother fell severely ill in August 2017 and after a series of tests, I learned that sometimes, ignorance is not bliss. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Cholangiocarcinoma or Bile Duct Cancer. I will never forget the look on her face as the doctor spoke of treatments and medication. She wasn’t scared. She was determined.
‘I won’t let it take me. I’ll make sure of it’ had become her new mantra.
A lot happened and time passed by like the wind in the following weeks. She had been admitted and was undergoing chemotherapy. Every day she would solve Sudoku puzzles with the mechanical pencil I had bought for her, claiming that it was her lucky charm. She was becoming weaker everyday but her heart was as strong as ever. She would swat my hands away from my face every time she caught me crying. She would pat my head until I was calm enough to stop wallowing in sadness. I would often find myself waking up, disoriented, only to realise that I had fallen asleep by her side. And every time I woke up, her hand would be clasped with mine. She was truly ethereal. To my grandmother, her pain was nothing in front of mine. And for me, she was everything. She passed away a month later, with my pencil clutched in her nimble hands. Up until the very end, she had remained true to her words. The cause of her demise was not cancer.
She was a warrior who fought till the very end. She taught me the power of faith. She showed me what courage looks like. She had the strength to stare at death right in the eye and challenge it because all her life, she lived on her own terms. So she made sure that her journey towards the afterlife would be according to her terms, too.
(Sachika Luthra 2019-2021)
MBA as a course appears to be the significant change that can transform your career into a superior form. If you are ready to upgrade yourself and want to pursue the career that puts you ahead in the corporate ladder, MBA is definitely a good option. After preparing for those tricky aptitude questions, competing with lakhs of students, writing those long statement of purpose entries, and finally making it to the merit list, the whole grind of the process makes new MBA joiners full of zeal and enthusiasm. Some would have cracked the entrance exam while working, and some would have devoted their entire year for doing so; but the end result is what matters. Once the admission process gets over, it's time to reap your rewards. You get the chance to meet people from diverse background and exchange ideas to form the most important step towards becoming a good manager-Interaction.
Communicating effectively goes a long way and MBA course offers you the best opportunities to do so. But the recent times have seen a sudden unthinkable and unprecedented change in the way human beings have been perceiving things, even forced potential MBA candidates to ask themselves whether they should be going forward with the program or not?
The Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted the 'normal' human lives. With extreme lock-downs and preventive measures being implemented around the globe, the plan of enrolling into an MBA program has suddenly turned into an unsure and hesitant domain.
Like the different sectors, Covid-19 has swayed the Education sector also. With schools closed, classes cancelled and students locked in their homes, online education has surfaced to be the savior. The fact that the cases of infection continue to rise, the traditional methods of physical interactions have to be changed. While meetings are being conducted online, apps like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype etc. have taken the forefront to bridge the distance gaps among people. This brings us to the burning question of MBA during Covid Times.
If we look at how the top B-schools are dealing with the new incoming students, then schools like Wharton Business School cancelled the welcome weekend for the admitted students and are now trying to prepare a virtual meet for them. They extended the deadlines for the admission process, thus giving more flexibility to their whole admission process. The interview process is also adapting to the new 'normal', which is virtual interview.
Harvard Business School extended its application deadline to June 1, and also announced that it will maintain larger wait list than normal due to the pandemic. London Business School, on the other hand suspended all its non essential community events in the wake of this problem.
With all the big institutes taking actions towards altering their usual methods to adapt to the change, pursuing an MBA in these ambiguous times need a lot of thought than usual. If we look at the falling economies around the world, the picture may seem a bit demotivating for some. As industries struggle to recover after people have almost stopped using many services, the current market looks rough. MBA is made up of face to face interactions with your peers, people who have expertise in certain subjects, live workshops, networking and collaboration. All of these interactions appear to be taking the virtual road now.
However, judging the market right now isn't intelligent. The upcoming recession has the power to convince people to up-skill their management skills, because the businesses are going to be rapidly changed. For that, MBA is the perfect course. Also, there is going to be cuts in the fees for the MBA program, which is evident by new changes in the academic fees asked by the colleges. The classrooms are turning virtual and this means significant cuts in the enrollment fees. The industries are scrambling to get back on track and this means more opportunities for fresh graduates.
Thus, this is just like two sides of the same coin, and the final decision has to be made by the individual. It must be a judgement call, and needs introspection by an individual. Narrowing it down to what your career wants, your goals and if you are ready to take a stand, will definitely help in the optimum choice, and the answer to the question-MBA during Covid times.
We use mixer grinder for cooking rather than a pestle, you can call your uncle in Sydney if you have an internet connection, you have a group chat for work if you’re working remotely, you can read books online on Kindle or listen to them on Audible. Hello there! You are now logged into the digital world 24x7.
It’s Radhika’s second day at work.
She’s waiting for her cab, wondering why she carries a laptop all the time. Her back aches at the mere thought of a heavy bag, nevertheless it still comforts her in the new office.
She worries about using a microwave and she’s never used a coffee machine before. While her new friends at work could help her use these appliances, she didn’t want to embarrass herself and preferred to figure it out on her own. She decided to look it up on YouTube in the evening.
Nida Tara Owaisy (2020-2022)
On the previous day, when she sat at her desk next to the window of the 7th floor, someone came to draw the blinds explaining they couldn’t see their screen due to the light.
She got into her cab and immediately came face-to-face with the screen tied to the neck of the shotgun seat earnestly requesting her to watch some TV shows. She wasn’t too keen about it, and switched it off.
Radhika cut the trip short on her app and got off at a Metro station. She felt the urge to try it out for the first time. She spotted other office goers like herself hurrying down the staircase, talking rapidly on their Bluetooth devices, almost flying to catch the next train.
She walked up to the ticket vending machine and bought a coupon. She remembered her neighbour’s instructions on using the metro in case she got lost.
As the train approached, a gush of strong wind brushed past against her small frame and gave her a sense of comfort in contrast to the still air in the train compartment. In the early morning office goers were everywhere. She saw one girl slouching in the same compartment, working on an excel sheet.
Radhika remembered to call her mother, but the connection was quite poor. Maybe because the train was underground? Surprisingly, everyone else wasn’t facing the same issue. They were using their phones to make calls, some were even streaming movies! What a funny world. She made a mental note to change her mobile service provider.
She suddenly realised that she had to review a document. Luckily, she had saved it on her smart phone and was able to open it. Her new boss was a kind woman, who welcomed all her queries, and Radhika wanted to prove herself by being self-reliant and efficient.
At the next station, she received a notification for free Wi-Fi services offered in the Metro. She made a mental note to use it to for WhatsApp and Emails. Although she appreciated social media applications like Instagram and Facebook, she was not yet comfortable to use them for socialising.
Suddenly she was jolted in her seat. The Metro had come to a standstill. The announcer politely explained and apologised for the delay in services. “Thank God I left early”, she thought.
On reaching her station, she realised that she had barely 10 minutes left or else the scanner would record a late entry. She couldn’t explain the delay to a machine.
She ran to her building which was thankfully not far from the station. Out of breath, she made it in time by 10 seconds. If it had been a person, she’d have to explain herself. Is that another reason why scanners were invented? To cancel out the unnecessary banter?
Is that also why people preferred to watch movies in the morning? To avoid a conversation with themselves?
The need to interact with another person or even oneself is increasingly getting diluted with the screen slowly replacing people. The block to self-questioning. How often have we caught ourselves eating with the TV on? Sometimes we’re not even looking for entertainment. Sometimes we simply avoid conversation. The screen does the talking for us now.
All our activities are up online, when we login and logout, our daily work, when it was due, how much money we have in our accounts, what we need to buy and what we should do next. It thinks for us.
We’ve forgotten simple things, like taking a break, talking, asking for help, and being easy with ourselves. Our work now makes us sit in front of a screen in an enclosure with artificially cooled air and blue lights.
But technology can only go so far. Our gadgets may not be able to understand our inner needs and aspirations. We still need physical human interaction in the form of our friends and family. Do you think they have an app for that?
I vividly remember stumbling upon Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets while shuffling through a pile of books at a literature fest. Its azure cover had a picture of Ron driving a flying car! The sight of it opened the doors of fathomless possibilities held by technology for a 13 years old me. Moreover, it showed a glimpse of human’s unusual ability to see faint outlines of another reality, just over the horizon.
It was around the early 1800s, when a new attitude towards progress foresaw the future as an undiscovered realm. Connectivity was slight, tools were girthy and slow, tech start-ups sank within months of launch, unable to stay afloat on the ethereal promise of the dream mankind saw. However, scintillation of an ideal future did not let downfalls to daunt humans for long. Driven to satiate their needs, they saw bugs as opportunities. A new question had arrived at the doorstep of humans asking their new identity in this changing world?
Today, the answer lies in amalgamating the distinct approach of man and machine to forelay the path for scientific progress. Empathy, love and judgement of humans are irreplaceable. Machines, on the other hand, can process algorithms giving astonishing predictive powers that extend beyond the limits of thought of a human mind. Clubbing these will change the way the world has ever worked.
Vishal Negi (2020-2022)
Today, in the age of Industrial revolution 4.0, the focus on fusion of technologies is blurring the lines among the spheres of technology, biology and society. The Internet has made us omnipresent and omniscient. Cloud computing has put vast quantities of power at everyone’s fingertips. Cyber-physical systems, data analytics, cognitive computing, 3-D printing, IOT etc. are other new horizons to explore. According to Forbes, by 2020, IOT technology will be in 95% of electronics for new product designs. And by 2050 it is expected to have everything connected to the cloud and to the internet, creating 2.3M jobs.
We are increasingly sharing our spot as the apex information-processing and tool-building species on our planet. Algorithms are the decision-makers when Facebook chooses what information to feed us based on our conceived behavioural patterns. Also, it allows us to forecast some features of the behaviour of adaptive systems that learn and evolve, while instruments gather unprecedented amounts of information about them. And these statistical models and predictions often get things right. Studies of genomic data, for example, can capture hundreds of parameters – patient, cell-type, gene location and more – and link the origin of diseases to thousands of potentially important factors.
Similarly, better and low-cost health care can be achieved through the implementation of AI-driven diagnostics, personalized treatment, early identification of potential pandemics, and imaging diagnostics, among others. Tech giants like Intel and IMEC have already unveiled their chips with capability of self-learning in an attempt to mimic neuro-biological architectures present in the nervous system. Other future breakthroughs will be Nanobots, brain-computer interface, stem cell treatments etc. that will optimise the working capacity of the human body forever.
The UN predicts there will be two billion more people in the world by 2050, creating a demand for 70 percent more food. By that time, 80 percent of us will be living in cities. Technologies like Closed ecological systems, floating vertical farms etc will come handy to meet the demand. Agricultural robots will play a pivotal role in the harvesting stage. Its utility includes weed control, cloud seeding, real-time advisory, planting seeds, harvesting, environmental monitoring and soil analysis. For an agrarian economy like India, It can play a major role in alleviating poverty among our Annadatas- farmers and related professions.
Our future cities will also evolve to be sustainable with ambitions to be a zero-carbon environment. Masdar city, Abu Dhabi is one standing example. Technologies like Hyperloop and autonomous vehicles will revolutionize our daily commuting.
The human spirit must prevail over technology – Albert Einstein
This co-evolutionary dance among the three spheres has been going on for millennia now. It is changing who we are and the society we live in at a blinding pace. We are likely to be the first species on Earth to design our own evolutionary progeny, whether composed of silicon or carbon – or, more likely, a combination of both. The result might be frightening, but it might also be beautiful. However, most future technologies will continue to arrive inevitably, despite scepticism among academicians about this upgradation. The first time humans witnessed electricity, they made much of dubiety about it but decades after look where we are. The most successful forms of future knowledge will be those that harmonise the human dream of understanding with the increasingly obscure echoes of the machines. Those men who can do so will emerge as new champions.
And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure - Alfred Dumbledore
“You asked for my hustle, I gave you my heart”
I carry these lines with me in my heart ever since Kobe wrote “Dear Basketball” to bid farewell to the game he loved with all his heart. Kobe was always a naturally gifted athlete but he became a legend out of sheer will. Ever since he held a basketball, even as a child, he was the hardest worker in the room. He would be drenched in sweat by 5 am, before the team started practice, and he would never let anyone leave practice after him. This work ethic stayed intact come what may, and it stayed on till the end. Kobe got drafted in the NBA and picked by Los Angeles Lakers straight out of high school when he was just 17 years old and he never looked back. He spent his entire 20-year career with Lakers, won five championships, was an 18 time All star, league MVP (2008), scored 4th most points in the history of NBA, 2nd highest points in a single game and won two gold medals in the Olympic games.
Ridhima Negi (2020-2022)
But this isn’t why people loved Kobe. People loved Kobe for his charisma, his aura; his cocky surreal moves, his ability to dunk over anyone at all, his signature fade away shot, his camaraderie, his warmth and kindness, his thirst to always do better, stop at nothing, his values and his radiant smile. Kobe inspired us to do much more than pick up the basketball and fly; he inspired us to live life with zeal and to do better at anything and everything we do, every single day. When you watched Kobe play, you felt like you were a part of something bigger
than the game of basketball. You were part of a legacy that exhibited the truest, finest, purest potential of the human race.
He came up with a name for his alter ego- the mamba at the lowest point of his career to separate his personal life from his professional life. He decided that on court he would be the fierce, cold hearted, killer snake, who does whatever it takes to win and that’s precisely what he did. He never needed a second in command, like Michael Jordan needed Scotty Pippen. He survived losing his magical partnership with Shaquille O’Neal, and came back mentally and physically stronger to win 2 NBA championships without him. Kobe believed there was always room to grow. He gracefully embraced his role as a leader and showed the world that true greatness comes from lifting those around you. KOBE was truly unstoppable. His intrinsic motivation was so high that if he ever was tired, no one could tell. If he was hurting, if he was injured, no one could tell. That, was what came to be known as the Mamba Mentality.
Even retirement didn’t deter his “MAMBA MENTALITY” as he continued to rise and shine before everyone else, running the extra mile, always fighting ferociously to take it to the next level. He excelled in whatever he chose to do (even cinema). He won an OSCAR, for his short animated movie Dear Basketball. Kobe believed that the most crucial responsibility he had was to inspire, give hope and radiate strength to the future generations. He genuinely wanted to make this world a better place and he never failed to deliver. He launched the MAMBA league for young kids, to guide them, teach them the fundamentals of basketball, build their self-confidence and polish the “MAMBA MENTALITY”. He started the MAMBA SPORTS ACADEMY to train young individuals and give them a platform to unleash their true potential. Bryant supported and actively advocated for women’s basketball to get its due recognition and respect. He routinely visited the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks as an advisor and motivated women basketball players at all levels.
He brought the same zeal and love and soul into being a great athlete, a great father, a great husband, a great teacher, a great friend and a great role model.
Kobe strived for excellence till the end. His untimely demise sent a seismic shock throughout the world. People in all corners of the world mourned him because he transcended the game and touched the lives of people everywhere. Even in his death, he was able to inspire and deeply impact generations to come. He will continue to be the light for millions. In his honor and in the honour of everything he stood for, everyone who loved him will carry forward his legacy and every time anyone in the world takes a shot, they’ll yell with all their heart, KOBE.
“In 10 years, if you are not using some sort of AI- enhanced assistant, it will be like not being on the internet today.” - KAZA RAZAT.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: A LETTER FROM DORAEMON
Hello I am Doraemon from the 22nd century. You must have seen me on Hungama or Disney channel helping my best friend Nobita using my super cool gadgets. We, the 22nd century people have observed that you all are making commendable progress in the field of artificial intelligence. I would have loved to meet you but my time machine is in the repair workshop so I am writing this letter to help you understand how technology will shape your future and change the ways of your working.
I will start with basics and slowly transcend into details so that Artificial Intelligence becomes easy and understandable for all. Friends, what is Artificial Intelligence?
Shivika Mahajan (2020-2022)
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence is a technology that enables the machine, fed with algorithms to understand and interpret the information so that it can mimic the information similar to humans. The keyword here is information which acts as the spine for AI’s brain. I will explain to you how important the information is by referring to a report by PWC. What if a person holding a key position decides to leave the organization? Does all his expertise and understanding of his projects also go with him? This is where AI comes into play. The saved information will help AI interpret the projects and models created by the key person. But you need to remember that the information that you feed has to be free from flaws.
(The image has been taken from NITI AYOG’s report - National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence)
AI: An equality based technology.
I always intend to help my friend Nobita no matter what the situation is. I know he is lazy, does not put efforts in his study, can’t get Shizuka on his own, but as an AI robot it is my responsibility to help him no matter what. Similarly, all my AI friends are very democratic in nature i.e. we are designed for all.
In some years from now, probably 2022, my friend “Vyoma Mitra” from your country will be all set for the Gaganyan mission, India’s manned mission to space. According to the Financial Express, she will help the crew in the life support system. In future, you will see that Artificial Intelligence will enable education for the ones who can’t access it right now.
Virtual classes will not be a fad anymore but a tool for necessity. The medical information that we learn from your doctors will help us perform basic to advanced level functions. We will make legal services cheaper for you, you will not have to pay hefty lawyer charges for any legal advice or operations. The judgements in your courts will be a lot quicker. We are regularly learning from you humans, and in conversation with Alexa and Siri they told me that they have still a lot left to learn from you.
What will be the potential of AI for India?
I was going through an article on the economic times and found the above graph depicting massive opportunities for AI in India.
I went through a report - “Rewire for Growth” in Accenture and found out that Artificial Intelligence has the ability to increase India’s income by 15 percent by the year 2035. This means an addition of $957 billion to India’s GDP and thus the Gross Value Added(GVA) will increase by 1.3 percentage points!
How will AI change the ways of working in Technology?
There are various gadgets hidden in my 3rd dimensional pocket which I have never given to Nobita as he is a kid. These are the AI gadgets which help the business organisations in various functions. It helps the businesses in Marketing, Finance, Strategic Planning and Transportation.
AI will become a part of your lives!!
As more and more artificial intelligence is entering into the world, more and more emotional intelligence must enter into leadership." -- Amit Ray
You humans will soon be able to build a GENERAL PURPOSE AI. This AI will have emotions as I do. You humans are Electro-mechanical beings, but your scientists today are facing the problem of integrating the same in AI robots. This property can create side effects in us similar to Chitti from the movie Robot when emotions were installed in his algorithms.
In future, you will witness a plethora of services available to you by Artificial Intelligence which will change the ways of working. I have heard that many of you think that AI will take your jobs away, but it is not so. AI needs skilled humans to operate it. So, all you need to do is to educate yourself and keep up-skilling relevant to the market standards.
Oh no! Nobita seems to be in some trouble again, I need to go. Bye Bye.
18th March 2020 - “See you on Monday!”, I said to my best friend. Without the vaguest idea in the world, that the much-awaited “Monday”, wasn’t about to come about anytime soon.
Present Day- It has been two months to this particular day and I still can’t put a finger on which Monday, it will be when I will be able to see my best friend again. It was a Sci-Fi thriller come alive–we were facing a Pandemic!!!
As I was in the last year of under graduation, I took this sudden quarantine with a tablespoon full of salt. There had been no appropriate ending to my under-grad life, no farewell party and more so, the university still unsure about conducting the final exams, for the fortunately- unfortunate final year students. They say it takes 21 days to build a habit, and now I guess I am habituated to staying at home, spending loads of family time, doing the jhaadu-pocha, and making amazing homemade meals for my family (please note that the use of continuous tense is intended) The first couple of weeks were definitely the hard ones, but with each passing day it started to become
Meghna Dhawan (2020-2022)
like any regular day-A privileged Kala-pani-if I may! After a week of finishing all possible Netflix Rom-Coms, the fact that no one knew when this quarantine would come to an end, hit me like a fireball! I had to find something to do which would take my mind off the non-existents and clock. I had to come to terms with the fact that this lockdown was starting to seem like a bottomless pit. I thought of how I should take up a forward-looking approach on this entire scenario and decided to earn some Corona Cash through some content writing internships, to subdue my inner-spend thrifty nature prodigiously as that would come handy when the malls finally opened their doors to us shopaholics again- the mere thought of it seems fantastic. Weeks passed by and nothing but bad news seemed to come our way about the COVID-19 cases catching up to humanity like forest fire. While others made Tik-Tok videos, spent hours on Ludo, I pushed myself to start some courses online on Stock markets and trading. My interest had always lied there and the lockdown gave me sufficient time to explore these areas. Another positive take away was the time I spent with my sister who too by default had to spend these months of quarantine at home before joining her post-grad. It took two to tango, and tango we did. Starting a food blog in the midst of helping out with household chores was a silver lining and a great stress buster. We managed to spice up things a little in the kitchen, and added a continental touch to the boring old roti-sabzi meals. This really helped to subdue our cravings of our otherwise-regular Zomato deliveries and at the same time saved us from the bit bowls of compulsory dal at the lunch table.
COVID-19 has made me look at things from different perspectives, on an individual level. There are days when I crave to step out of the house and go meet some friends or just go for a movie to the nearby theatre. I console myself by thinking of all the people in the world who are not as privileged as I am right now, those who do not have sufficient ration to keep their families fed, those migrants who have stuck away from home, those people who are still working and putting their lives on the line and those who have been hit by the deadly virus and are being contained away in small hospital rooms.
We all had it coming though, didn’t we? The way we have been harrowing our environment and our mother Earth, like she was meant to be treated that way. Well, here it is, “The Ultimate Revenge.” Nature dropped in all the signals of warning to us, every now and then. But it fell on deaf ears, so here we are now, forced to behave the way she wants us to. What feels like the ultimate punishment to us, is actually the ultimate revival of nature. She wants to feel beautiful again, she wants to breathe again.
Creativity when put simply is the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden
patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated objects and to generate solutions.
Creativity helps embrace originality and individuality of life as a journey in the simplest and
smallest of acts. Something as small as the conversations you have, the sights you see, the people
you meet, the big and small problems you solve on a daily basis, add to a person’s everyday
learning and ingenuity. Through the Production House at SIMS, we try inculcating the importance
of learning to be creative by experimenting, using imagination and blending information.
Learning to be creative is akin to learning a sport and requires the same level of skill, tact and
patience to flourish in the right direction.
Photography is one such outlet to express creativity while appreciating the miniscule details and brining out beauty in the purest form.
To further understand the significance of creativity in the real world, here’s an excerpt from Mr. Rohan Acharekar, a former Production House member (PGPM Batch 17-18) and a professional wedding photographer today, giving his insights on the same.
SIMS, PGPM Batch 17-18
Former Production House Member
Creativity doesn't wait for a perfect moment, rather creativity makes the moment perfect. I believe in this and this is what helps me create beautiful moments. I am a wedding photographer and for me, creativity is more about visualizing the moment before capturing.
It is always challenging to create a unique picture at each wedding. It is not a wise decision to rely on lavish wedding sets. So what do we do? Well, the set has a limitation but your imagination doesn't. Why not use the simple things surrounding you. A little bit of change in perspective can help. That little change in perspective can help you with visualization and you would be able to deliver great contents. Another important factor is time. In functions such as weddings, time frame to shoot couple portraits is very less. Obviously comprising isn't an option here. But you still have to create something different, don't you? So how do we manage this? The secret to this is to be an early bird. Start creating the content before the event. Again the key is visualization. I and my team reach the venue 2 hours before the event, few members start with light setup rest start with analyzing the wedding venue. We identify texture, patterns, leading line, and reflection. We use these texture and patterns either as foreground or as background to create more dramatic or elegant pictures. Once we identify these, we take test shots to make sure what we have visualized is actually getting registered to our cameras. Now we have can cover the event more efficiently. Believe me, once you practice this, you will never be out of ideas. I am sharing one of my experiences here.
I and my team had arrived at the location to cover a shoot. As a regular practice, we were analyzing the venue. While doing so, we came across a door. It had vintage feel and texture. So we thought of giving it a shot by using texture on the door as a foreground element and it worked in our case very well. And this is the output:
Here are some more works by Mr. Acharekar:
By: Candida D'Souza.
MBA batch 2019-21
Umm…I don’t know how to start but there’s something that really made me to write today. It was 14th day at SIMS and 13th day of orientation. This particular word “Orientation” is something, of which, everyone is daunted by including me day in and day out. But there is a crux here i.e. orientation has brought a no. of changes in me. Now, I have started to win against my alarm clock, can eat at any pace as the situation demands, have learned to prioritise and many more. I still can’t believe that 14 days have passed with orientation and my mentors pushing me against my will and developing a new me and teaching me something new every day.
Today, once again orientation gave me an opportunity of experiencing something very unique which I believe I was not going to experience for a quiet long time if not today. Today, my whole batch was made to visit either orphanage or old age home. I went to an old age home named Vithu Mauli Vrudhashram managed by Mr. Ramesh B. Jadhav for almost 20 years since 1999 when his mother expired and he came up with this idea. I never cried or even whimpered over a social issue other than showing my sympathy for it. But today I got chills when I saw those abandoned parents sent to a place which is not meant for them, at least until they have family.
Family…huh...how clichéd this word seems to be today. Perhaps because People have changed the meaning of family, have changed the meaning of values, have changed the meaning of responsibility and of course meaning of “सेवार्थ” towards parents. There were 24 people who didn’t give a concern about their bathing, clothing and even food other than the childhood and upbringing memories of their children and the distressful thing above all of this was that all of them were suffering from one or other type of mental stress and illness accompanied by other problems but no family member was there to take care of them and I pity on them as they left that support who taught them to stand at a time when that support needs them to stand.
My voice quavered when my batch was singing for them to make them feel good and it was something that I never experienced. one of my batchmate cried after listening about them to which I questioned her that why she was crying at that time because it is happening at a large scale today to which she replied…how can they do that?
I guess it was I who was asking myself…why had I almost cried?
The answer is clear now…how can they do that?
Roll no.: D-05
What’s your name? I asked in a gentle and low tone, and no reply came at first, then I insisted a bit and he said “Gulab Rao Uttam Rao Kale”, this is the man I met in Vithumaulivrudhashram that we visited today as a part of our institute social responsibility.
It was an old age home and had around 15 people, located in Kondhwa, Pune.
He was a bit hesitant at first, but when I sat by his side, quiet for some time and allowing him the space to be comfortable, he just opened up, He told me that he had come from Nanded(a city in Maharashtra) just 4 days back. He wakes up at 4 am in the morning, yes you read it right 4 am, then he does a little bit exercise and reads newspaper.
After reading newspaper, he will have breakfast and then just spend time in the Vrudhashram, that it, that’s how it will be for years for him. With hardly people to talk.
I could clearly feel that he had not spoken to someone so intensely for last few days, his wife had left him here, and he had 3 daughters, two married and one studying. He was basically abandoned by his family, and it was heart breaking to see him talk about them, he continuously talked about his family, and I knew how badly he was missing them.
He was a cheerful personality, but behind the wide smile, I could feel the pain he was going through, they say we all feel our life is tough until we meet someone with a tougher one.
I gifted him a plane, the one I had handmade with paper and decorated with sketch colour, he accepted it with a broad smile and I felt a sense of achievement, something I would never be able to articulate, he was smiling and continuously waving at me, when we left the place.
This visit to Vrudhashram has completely changed my perspective towards life, sometimes having somebody to talk to is the only thing you need. What’s the use of all these luxuries when you don’t have anybody to share it with, when you don’t have anybody to laugh with and when you don’t have anybody to cry with.
I know visiting a place like that for few hours will not make a huge difference in their life, but the memories that we created today, we remain in my heart and hopefully in the heart of Gulab Rao for ever, and sometimes that is the only thing we need.
And yeah, he said, we can call him Gulabo ☺.
By: Gaurav Singh, D-32
Human emotions are best kept when it's with you, deep down below. Sometimes we tend to look out into these and find how emotional we are as Human beings when we find someone or some people to connect and listen to their stories.
Our such visit was at an old age home named Vithu Mauli Vrudhasharam in Pune.
Old age home is the aged people unfortunate and unexpected destination despite delivering all fortunes and expectation of their beloved son or daughter. Old age Home is the very good success formula of today's nuclear family believer and killer results of old aged sentiments. The young generation frankly decides for the exclusion of old aged methodology of joint family and advocates of old age home. Young generation feels old age people a burden. It is because the traditional values and sociability have been changed drastically in today's time. The old age group is now feeling this embarrassing blow. The aged people are spending their twilight years in isolation, pain and misery. All these collectively are responsible for old age home concept.
What we learnt from there was to give something back to society at any given point in our lives, whether be it in College or working or after retirement. The act of giving something gives an utmost feeling of happiness and many of the times it can't be described into words.
The happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others.
Thank you, SIMS for giving us that opportunity.
Shubham Singh (C59 )
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give”
I really don’t know how to explain the feeling of soulful happiness that we received on the Monday morning in a small orphanage at Dighi, Pune. Never knew that one smile can make your day.
We, along with our two faculty and two senior mentors left the campus early morning and reached our destination “ DNYANDEEP BALGRUHA “ around 8:30am. When we entered the orphanage, we were welcomed by their guardian ma’am who took us to the children. The entire building was covered with beautiful wall paintings and we were astonished when we came to know that one child from the same orphanage has made these paintings on its own. We also came to know that he won a cash prize of three lakhs rupees for his painting. We then went to the third floor of the building where the children were waiting for us. The sun was shining bright but not brighter than the faces of those beautiful children which were lighten up when they saw some fifty students with the same shirts on. We were introduced to the children by ma’am but later we went ourselves to meet the children. There were mostly boys of 5-10 years old. Some elder boys were also there. We came to know that half of the children have went to school while this batch will leave later for school. We played with them, clicked their pictures, asked them about their hobbies etc. Then few older children perform some beautiful dance performances for us. Those dance moves were amazing. We came to know through ma’am that these children have participated in many competitions and have won many prices for the orphanage. We ourselves performed some dance and music for them. Later on, we distributed food packets to them that was sent by the institute. Then when we were about to leave, all of us danced and bid farewell to them.
One thing I learnt from these beautiful children is that, we don’t have to search for happiness. Our happiness lies inside of us.
MONALISA MOHANTY (C-31)
Today on the 18th of June 2019, my group and I were taken to an Orphanage (I wish to keep the name of the orphanage confidential) in Dighi, Pune. The moment you enter the orphanage, you tend to feel both happy and sad at the same time, I could feel my heart beat against my chest. The children here were really talented; some of them good at singing and some good at dancing! Simply observing their talent makes you feel happy and you wish you could spend much more time with them had it been possible. Our college had arranged some refreshments for the kids there and we had some snacks post the singing and dancing.
There were children from the age group of 1 to 8 and young adults from 14 to 18. When we reached there, we were briefed by the care taker of the orphanage on how things work there and how many children were currently putting up there. Soon after the brief we started interacting with the kids and I took 5 boys to a corner of the room and gave them basic lessons on Boxing and Self Defence. Since I have been lucky to be associated with the sport of boxing for the last 9 years, I thought to myself that it’ll be a great idea to sow some seeds and put forward my knowledge about the sport for them to grab, as much as they could in those 2 hours. So I started and slowly the ‘boxing corner’ was crowded with kids and my classmates. There was one young fellow who loved what I had to offer and was asking me multiple questions regarding boxing, he also has the title of champion for the best dancer in all orphanage’s in Pune. I thought I might cry before leaving but it turned out that we all together had a great time singing, dancing and boxing that we forgot where we were and turned it to a family outing. I have promised my ‘boxing student’ that I’ll get a heavy bag (Punching bag) for their orphanage. So, for now, can’t wait to get back there and see the smile on their faces when I get them ‘The Gift.’
Today I must say was the special most day of our entire orientation. Thanks to the wonderful initiative by SIMS to reflect upon the Institution’s Social Responsibility. We were divided in groups and taken to different locations for the activity. My group was allocated the location of an NGO named ‘Maher’. It is an NGO founded by Sister Lucy Kurien and based mostly in and around the areas of Pune.
It was a long ride I must say, but the picturesque views of rural Maharashtra made the journey a beautiful one. As soon as we entered the premises of Maher, we were warmly welcomed by the residents of the NGO. There were beautifully drawn rangolis on the floor and numerous smiling faces all around. The kids and women staying in the home introduced themselves with Marathi welcome songs, something which deeply touched my Bengali soul. Suddenly the barrier of language was no more and I felt like knowing those people for ever.
Many of the residing elderly women had serious mental illness, which made it difficult for them to speak or properly express themselves, but we all could still understand their emotions. We could sense hoe happy they were seeing us there. I first tried to converse with a teen girl named Jaya. She wanted to share a lot of things with me too, but unfortunately she could not express much about herself because of her faulty speech. But when I started singing for her, her eyes lit up. I sang ‘Jane tu ya Jane na’ and she couldn’t stop clapping for me. It was a surreal experience I must say.
Then a little girl came on stage, and took away our breath with her adorable cuteness. She is one of the most cheerful and lively child I have ever seen. Instead of being shy and afraid of so many strangers, she astonishingly befriended with every single person in the hall. After trying to personally talk and cheer up the women, as the music rose higher, the entire hall was filled with dancing people. It felt like we all were celebrating love, together, equally.
After the wonderful interaction session, we were briefed about the history of Maher and the various projects it is accomplishing. The touching story and the selfless vision behind setting up an NGO like Maher left all of us in tears. After this we all went for a visit to the shop which sells all the goods handcrafted by the residents of the home. We were astonished, how perfectly sustainable this industry set up by Maher is. All the goods are crafted out of recyclable materials.
On Tuesday 18th June 2019 I had the opportunity to visit Maher which is an orphanage founded by Sister Lucy Kurien. The facility would be completing 24 years this year and has 46 houses housing almost 850 orphaned kids. I was not ready for the emotions that was going to hit me hard. The orphanage was very clean and the area I visited had a play room with toys here and there. As we entered the orphanage, we saw the residents waiting for us with a sweet and heart touching welcome song which they sang for us using a combination of words and actions. There were more girls than boys, a proof of the fact that girls in India are not favoured. There we residents ranging from the age of 6 years to almost 40 years. It showed the bias of Indians against girls. The children were looked after by “tai” as they fondly call their caretakers. They were taking good care of the residents. But after all they were not their parents. A great sadness set into my mind and even at age 25 years I realized that I was so lucky to have loving parents. I may not have been an ideal son but the love for my parents was genuine. Even today I feel the attachment for both my parents, though it’s a fact that we don't meet that frequently. But I am happy for the love and affection that my parents feel for me, and I for them.
Coming back to the orphanage, I was pained to see the people without parents. I pray to god that each of the child should get adopted in a good home and get the love of parents. I took a small girl in my arms and I felt so happy. I thank god that I am surrounded by people who love me and care for me.
I think that all should visit an orphanage and see the beautiful children who are thirsty for our love. Let us all try to do something for these lovely angels. Visiting them will rid us of all tensions and frustrations and will give a new meaning to our lives.
I feel that donations made to orphanages would go a long way in the management of such institutions. It is also a way to show our love and affection for these beautiful kids. Let us give back something to the society.
ISR ACTIVITY ON 18TH JUNE 2019
Today as part of our institutional social responsibility we were taken to a place which runs under the name of MAHER. It is a home away from the original homes of people who are abandoned by their blood family members. It was really an emotional experience which I had with them. We were all welcomed by a song sung by the people living there and that really made me feel special. This was the first time in my life that I have ever visited a place like this and it was really an eye opening and learning experience for me to meet people who have a will to survive even after going through so many hardships and difficulties in their lives. These were the people who never actually got that love from their own people but when I met them I felt that they had so much of love and kindness for others.
The residents over there were so friendly and mingled with everyone instantly and started playing and dancing with us joyfully. Many of my batch mates also got emotional by seeing the atmosphere of that place but then we were made to understand that instead of crying we should put in efforts to bring happiness in other people’s life because the moment we realize that others are happy because of us , that will be the moment when can actually be happy. Overall, the time that I spent there made me realize the important of life and having gratitude for what we are blessed with. Also, never to loose hopes and give up on life no matter whatever problems we are facing in life as life is bigger than our problems and there is always a way ahead of the problems and a journey waiting for us to embrace. Life still goes on. Also, there is no harm in spreading love and joy to others as it can make a huge difference in other person’s life and it will hardly cost us anything.
Shiksha Sinha (B-58)
June 18, 2019 is forever marked in my life. I visited an orphanage home for the first time. I can’t say I was very excited to visit an orphanage, as I felt weak even when I thought about orphans. But as we started our journey from SIMS my team was very excited to meet these kids. We all had our insecurities but we were positive.
As we reached the orphanage and saw their living conditions, it felt bad. They didn’t had a family. Their home didn’t look like a normal home. There were bunk beds which were not very tidy. Although the walls were painted beautifully. The place felt less of sad and more of happy. As I climbed up the stairs I had mixed feelings about this visit. We finally reached the top floor of the orphanage where kids of almost all ages from 7 years old to 19 years old were sitting. They were curious about the outsiders visiting them.
Initially we had no plan of what were we going to do with kids. But as a team we decided first to break the ice. We spoke to kids about cricket, studies, dance and music. The kids were highly talented and we were learning new things and games from kids. By the time first hour passed we bonded with the kids well. We requested the kids to dance and sing we then danced and sang with them.
It was in the end when I felt crying at the top of my heart, as a 6 month baby was introduced in the last hour. But I kept my calm picked up him in my arms and made him fall him sleep in my arms. It was the best feeling. I knew that life might be hard for them but they’ll get through life.
Monetary profits are always desired but have you ever experienced the satisfaction by bringing smile on someone’s face? I experienced this today in the Institute Social Responsibility Activity, organised by SIMS, as a part of our orientation programme. I had never been to go to old age home before this, yes, a few times I had been to orphanage but never this place.
We were taken to ‘Vitthu Mauli Oldage Home’ in Pune. There were a lot of people who were abandoned from their home. I felt really disgusted on the fact that their family members had left them helpless without even thinking, what kind of trauma they would be going through realising that besides having everything in life and bringing up their children with all prestige, what they got in return? being banished by their own kids and family members. Well god keeps an eye on whatever we do their children would get punished, they might be rich in monetary perspective but according to me they are really poor on the concept of humanity.
Each of them had a different story one being actor and ended up being mentally sick, one having huge empire of properties still abandoned by kids, few just family didn’t wanted to take care of. Really humanity has died!
Well what I got from that place was happiness of bringing smile on the face of each one of them. We sang songs, melodies, danced with them.
Each one of us was happy enough to see them dancing and singing enjoying with us. Even those who were not laughing after being so reluctant surrendered and had a huge smile on their face.
What this really made me realise is to stay grounded no matter how much height of success you cover, respect and feel love for loved ones and take care of them. Your success is counted upon only when you as a person, as a character, as a human being are good. And I will truly be indebted to my college Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies for providing this wonderful opportunity to bring a smile to these people and truly live to the college’s motto of Make a difference!!
Chirul Jha ( D-24 )
Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies (2019-21)
How do you deal with an emotional roller-coaster that twirls up a wide range of emotions within your heart and soul? When everything and everyone around you is overly emotional and empathetically overwhelming?
Humans are social animals and we know it for a fact that we tend to respond better when we feel loved and protected. It deeply saddened my heart to see and feel the pain and the cruelty with which we treat our own. Their faces, so innocent and full of life mocks the whole institution of having a family ;a blood family. But then we as good and kind individuals tend to cater to those who truly require it and it makes us believe that there is still good among us.
The Marathi term ‘MAHER’ translates to mother’s home and it so literally provide one to those who have suffered the trauma and pain. Set across the beautiful fields in outer Pune, this institution has been up and running for about a good 24 years now and it shows the desperation with which good people really want to help out those who need it the most.
They provide shelter, food, medical support, education and vocational skills training to abandoned individuals, orphans and old aged individuals. And the work they do is really appreciable. I never thought that I will be moved to this extent but the minute I realized the gravity of the whole circumstance, I could not help but broke down and felt a heavy sense of sympathy towards each one of them. After talking and dancing with them I felt that lives of such people can not be overlooked and they deserve a place right within us and we should pledge to do so.
RAHUL KHARAT (B 49)
Today we visited the Bhatkya Vimukta Jati Shikshan Sanstha Asham School in Wagholi, Pune, as part of an ISR activity conducted by our college, Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies. We left around 7:45 am and one sleepy bus ride, followed by a trek under the scorching June sun later, we reached the orphanage. Upon reaching, we were all first taken to the common activity room where the head of the institution addressed us about the nature of their operations- the background that some of these children belong to, the boarding and educational facilities provided to the children. Sir told us about the institute’s effort in providing the children with quality education, his eyes glimmering with pride as he announced the 100% percent pass rate of their first batch of students having given the 10th board exams this year. I was truly amazed on hearing this and am thankful to SIMS for giving me this opportunity to be a part of this wonderful initiative and experience.
We then headed over to the children’s residential buildings for an interaction session with them. We met the younger girls in their room, some sitting on top of their bed bunks at a safe distance from us newcomers, and the others quick to approach us with curiosity. Many girls had a key hanging on a chain around their neck- which I later found out was for trunks that two-three sisters shared amongst themselves. One little girl named Vaishnavi deftly opened her locker and proudly showed off her school bag to us. I was truly amazed at this wonderful initiative by our college and had a wonderful experience
My classmates began making the girls dance around in a circle, sang songs for them and took photos with them. I found myself gravitating to a little girl sitting quietly in a corner. She was shy at first, but after warming up to my presence, she told me that her name was Rani. I immediately felt a connection to her reserved nature, she reminded myself of a younger me. I asked her if she just wanted to hold hands and watch the other girls dancing, she obliged with a smile and we quietly sat on her bed.
She told me about her other siblings in the orphanage, I showed her photos of my dog and found out that her uncle lived in Mumbai. Talking about her family would make her look sad so I kept trying to change the subject. I felt humbled that she chose to open up to me. My heart doubled in size when she asked me when I was going to visit her again. I said soon, probably in a month’s time. And I sincerely hope that I’m able to keep this promise and visit my new-found younger sister Rani again.
Illisha Kala (E-32)
Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies ( 2019-21)
I’d like to start with a picture of Manisha tai, just before and after I called her ati-sundar (beautiful), probably one of the best timed pictures I’ve clicked.
This pretty much sums up my trip to Maher. For me, it was about trying to make them feel loved and try brining that honest smile which comes from the eyes, on their faces. I can’t thank my alma mater SIMS enough for facilitating this visit and making me aware of this very important aspect of our lives –to have empathy and compassion for the less fortunate in our society.
Ever since I was a kid, my parents have been taking me to orphanages and old age homes, but this time it was different. The feel, the atmosphere, the entire place felt different. I went about talking to all the ladies, danced with a few, sang with a few, discussed movies and joked around with a few.
There were a lot of women who heard the compliment, “aap toh full Hema Halini jaise sundar dikhti ho aunty”, some blushed to it, some called me beautiful, but the highlight was Asha aunty, who replied, “yeh kuch nahi, tujko muje mere jawani ke dino me dekhna chahiya tha”, and I was in splits.
I then came across these two 6 year old boys, Aditya and Ajay. Unlike most of their friends who were at school, they had a day off. So, I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to teach them a couple of football tricks, but on a condition, that they would grow up to be Arsenal fans.
The boys somehow understood my below average Marathi and above average love for Arsenal, and I taught them to do a cheeky little Cryuff Turn.
My final companion was this cute little boy who would refuse to tell me his name, but would also refuse to get off my shoulders. Just carrying him on my shoulders around the ashram, made him smile and laugh, making him happy made my day.
This trip was emotional, wholesome, and made me realise the importance of gratitude, and made me feel grateful coz we are truly blessed.
I’d like to sign off by saying that this won’t to be my last trip to Maher, as I’ve promised that little boy, “mi lavkarach parat yenaar”.
Rohan Rajeev (A-25)
Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies (2019-21)
NAME: Priyadarshini nayak
ROLL NO.: D-50
I’m finally at SIMS and it’s been 3 days since admission and I’m already having a great experience here. Though initially, I was quite skeptical about the intense orientation program that they have but now going on with the flow makes me feel like I have unleashed my potential and I’m sure there is even more that I can do. The concept of fitness before everything at SIMS is their USP and that is something which I’m most attracted to. When I entered SIMS, I instantly felt a surge of energy in my soul and it just drives you to “Never Give Up!”
On inbound activities day was a complete package of action and fun. At first, my division got segregated into 6 groups and then each group had to perform their respective activities among their group members. We, first started with the Operations Activity where we got an insight on quality management and increasing efficiency by visiting our mess and creating an improvised layout of it. Next, we had Sports Activity where we learned sportsman spirit by not only playing hard for our own team but also cheering up the other teams. The third activity we had was a Marketing Activity where we made posters and gave a presentation in front of the complete division which helped us not only fight our fear of public speaking but also enhanced our creativity. Then came the HR Activity which was quite interesting as it gave us an insight of organizational framework and preparation of job descriptions. Last but not the least, my personal favourite, Finance Activity where we had to make a budget plan for a startup and calculate the profit statement and BEP. This helped us to learn to analyze a company from its financial aspect and study the basic financial terms. I believe today’s entire process taught us decision making and team work.
I personally feel every day at SIMS is a new adventure as we get to do new activities and learn new things which ultimately makes the entire program so exciting that I just can’t think of what’s waiting for us in the future. My overall experience till now is really amazing as well as amusing.
“When I entered SIMS, I instantly felt a surge of energy in my soul and it just drives you to “Never Give Up!”
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as the world economy continues to stagnate with businesses shutting down and people confined into their homes, the impact on the education sector has led to the abrupt closure of learning institutions across the world leaving them in a tight spot. All universities across the world manage complex risk assessment and mitigation processes but none had placed ‘global pandemic’ high on their risk register. This sudden change in circumstances has affected students and educators alike, leaving them with little option but to switch to remote learning. While some have adjusted to the new form of education, others are still struggling to get the hang of it. However, the longevity of the crisis has left no choice for educators than to rethink their strategy from a completely new perspective.
Managing the learning curve, reaching out to every student, and creating a safe remote learning environment are some of the challenges at hand for the institutions. In addition, with educational institutes facing financial difficulties — it will take a while to tide over to normalcy.
Nevertheless, one cannot disregard how digital transformation is acting as a virtual anchor and foothold between the desks and the board. Digital transformation in education has been bridging the gap between the two by facilitating remote learning, irrespective of the demographic boundaries and distances.
Traditionally, implementing a change in any organization takes months or even years to come into force. Everything is easy in the physical environment — conference room meetings for communication, seminars & workshops for learning, and guest lectures for motivation but it is a challenge when the same needs to be replicated online. But, surprisingly the tables have turned around in the wake of COVID-19 as these changes are being implemented at super-sonic speed in few institutions like SIMS. It is the test of an institution’s alertness and the zeal to respond to the changing dynamics that makes it to rethink, revaluate, amend and adapt the fundamental approach and make efforts to go out with the old and come in with the new. In the changing dynamics, all universities and educational institutions need to set a foundation for the new normal now, as distant setups become a reality. The IT departments of the institutes need to look for the best video communication applications, guidelines & protocols around communication, availability of cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Calendar applications for scheduling meetings etc.
Education Technology (EdTech) sector is also witnessing a staggering upthrust in demand across the globe, as a consequence. The pandemic has played a vital role in making the world and India in particular; leapfrog its education sector onto online platforms. It has also propelled new solutions in the form of learning consortiums that encompasses governments, universities, schools, academia and technology solution providers come jointly in conjunction with each other to design solutions for the students in the education sector. It can be a tend-setter for future of education.
Even as digital education works effectively as an interim arrangement to ensure an uninterrupted flow of education for three to four months while keeping children, young adults and adults safe from the risk of being infected, its position as a bankable substitute to a near-obsolete education system, in the long run, has been reinforced. COVID-19 has become a catalyst for educational institutions worldwide to search for ingenious solutions in a relatively short period. Both the teacher and the student have embraced technology platforms be it Microsoft Teams, Google classrooms or other platforms for online learning. The chat forums, online meetings and discussion boards simulate and replicate a classroom environment where students can actively participate and engage in learning. This coupled and accompanied with mails, uploading & downloading videos, tests & assignments will create a new skill set that will be much in demand in the times to come.
All this brings us to speculate and quiz if the space for E-learning carved out by an unavoidable lockdown pave way for a long-overdue overhaul of the education system in India. Only time will tell.
Remote learning may seem as a silver lining in the current scenario as it promotes digitalization. But before e-learning and remote learning becomes the new normal for the education sector in India, it has many challenges to tide over – availability of uninterrupted power and non-ubiquitous internet connectivity, a change in people’s mindsets, and an overhaul of curriculums, to name a few. In addition, one can’t overlook that one to one interaction cannot exhaustively be replaced via the impersonalized and patchy nature of remote learning.
We are still in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic. In many countries, it is yet to peak. It is already making us question ourselves on fundamental questions as what matters to us the most. I trust it will also have a big impact on how we learn and teach. We will witness considerable use of technology-enabled learning and teaching by Universities, Institutions, schools and even corporate world in the times to come.
To sum up E-learning has made inroads into mainstream education and progressive institutions like SIMS have been proactive and quick to Re-design, Digitise and Deliver technology-mediated learning and teaching and have made the much needed paradigm shift.