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Face Off!

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The world around is a large place, quite a large one infact…. And sometimes one finds it hard to keep in touch with the happenings of one’s own friends, leave alone the rest of the world. Luckily, the media’s role has been awesome. Right from Times of India to Facebook to Wiki to just about everything you can think of, it has changed our life in ways more than one… Some articles you read and forget, some linger in your mind and very few can really impact your thinking. Here are two articles, not so recent that kinda affected me. Reading them, you’ll understand the meaning of the title “Face Off!”.

Shamelessly Plugged from Times of India. This is an article written by an IIT’ian Rahul Awasthi abut his friend… Being an IIT’ian myself this has really stirred me up.

I read in a corporate bestseller sometime back that the highest job satisfaction is enjoyed by those in least-paying jobs, like in NGOs and social organisations. This sounded ironical, but still exciting enough to mull over, for those of us in the corporate world, chasing a mirage called job satisfaction and often confusing it with high salaries. Five years ago, I was posted in Kolkata to look after the eastern region. This is where I had the soul-stirring experience of meeting Shreesh at Belur Math, the Ramkrishna Mission’s headquarters. Away from the city’s boisterous roads, Belur is tranquility personified as its sylvan surroundings are placed close to the mighty Hooghly. It had been 18 years since Shreesh and I had passed out from IIT, Kanpur, where we spent our days in neighbouring hostel rooms, and 14 years since we had last met. In the course of lunch that day at Belur, he unfolded his post-IIT story, which marked a turning point for my own view towards life.

Shreesh Jadhav was ranked second across India in the JEE and completed his B.Tech in computer science with a perfect 10 CPI. A recipient of the President’s gold medal at IIT, he spurned all offers of plum scholarships from top foreign universities. Instead, he went on to do his Ph.D from IIT, Kanpur. As his neighbour, I was familiar with Shreesh’s leanings towards Swami Vivekananda and Ramkrishna Paramhans. Often, when I barged into his room for a chat session, I would find him deep into reading their teachings. These had an impact on his dayto-day actions as well. An example of his austerity was the fact that he managed to pass those four years with just a pair of white kurta-pyjamas. Top brain that he was, the toughest assignments were cracked by him in a jiffy and his answers matched up to the second decimal of the model answers put up later outside the exam hall. He also found time to take up the cause of mess workers, which temporarily invited the ire of IIT authorities, but eventually bore results. Through his Vivekananda Samiti, he taught several of the mess workers’ children, besides other poor employees of IIT.
With three sisters, he was the only son of his parents, and the entire family along with many of us, egged him on to study abroad. I occasionally mocked his convictions and told his parents that he would eventually succumb to the lure of dollars, just like several of his batchmates. But, he couldn’t be deterred from his single-minded pursuit of serving humanity. He would explain, “Just like Silicon Valley, social sectors too desperately need intelligent people.”
He continues to positively impact the lowest rung of the social ladder. Recently, he helped save the life of 12-year-old Sarita, who developed a hole in her heart. Her operation in Bangalore cost Rs 3 lakh and on reading Shreesh’s email, I had contributed my bit, but was doubtful if he would meet the target. But, as I recently found out, Sarita was back home in Kanpur after a successful surgery, making me put my faith in Shreesh’s words that “there are a lot of good people in the world, we just need to reach out to them”.

Unmarried he has dedicated his entire life towards a social cause. He joined the Ramkrishna Mission after his doctorate and, by now, has taught computer science to several thousand students at their university, besides managing various projects spread across the country. He also humbly believes that Belur Math has given him the opportunity to achieve his mission. Yet, his journey continues.Shreesh’s story is beyond inspiration. When I look around at my batch-mates, many of whom head companies, I consider Shreesh the biggest success story of IIT. His story should be a catalyst for all those who want to bridge the social abyss created by market forces and government inaction. As I write a cheque for Rs 15,000 for my three-year-old son’s quarterly fees, I’m reminded of an education system gone horrendously wrong. Unlike many of us who keep trodding known paths, Shreesh Maharaj — as he is popularly known in Belur — has clearly found his own path and left a trail.

And this:

DEVIL worshippers in Russia butchered four teenagers in a Satanic ritual – stabbing them 666 times each and eating them.

The teens – a youth and three girls aged 16 or 17- had their gentitals mutilated and were cooked on a bonfire before being eaten, The Sun newspaper reported today.

Police found body parts dumped in a pit beside an upside-down cross, a symbol of Satanic worship, in a rural area of Russia, the newspaper said.

Eight people have been arrested over the slayings.

Police believed the teenagers, who were all friends, were lured to a cottage and encouraged to get drunk before they were slain.

The discovery in Yaroslavl, 480km from Moscow, has sent a shudder across Russia – where Satanists are feared to have committed a string of mutilations and killings.

The victims, who disappeared in June, were named as Anya Gorokhova, Olga Pukhova, Varya Kuzmina and Andrei Sorokin.

Police began tracing the gang after finding out all the victims had made phone calls to alleged leader Nikolai Ogolobyak.

The rest of the cult were described by former teachers as being of low intelligence and moody.


Written by Chronoz

September 27, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Posted in General News

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. How exactly did an article on cannibalism ‘stir you up’ and ‘impact your thinking’?


    October 7, 2008 at 4:49 pm

  2. It was just to provide a contrast. *sheesh.. anyways, you are too insensitive for all that.


    November 1, 2008 at 10:24 am

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