A week ago, the denizens of my city woke up to what makes news, meaning, man biting dog, or to be more specific, a student in a school that may well be described as elitist, in that only the well-heeled could send their offspring to one such, had whipped out a knife, and killed the lady-teacher, in broad daylight, ( after all, schools, except for ones conducted by the likes of Fagin, don’t conduct classes in the nighttime ) and the supposed horror of his classmates, and who knows, some of the little buggers who witnessed the obviously gruesome death of a lady who may well not have spared the rod, literally and figuratively ( meaning, marks ) may have been ticked off by their parents to hush up their feelings, that the teacher had in fact, met her just deserts. The electronic media had gone hopping and clutching their cameras, the previous evening, at just the kind of stuff, that the print media relishes, to bring the dog metaphor once again, as a bone.
The banal sonorous song ” Why this kolaveri-di” suddenly acquired macabre overtones. Analysts went to town – in this land that has a hoary tradition of students like Eklavya, we had come to this pass. Had this juvenile belonged to one of the nondescript woebegone houses that pass for an institution of learning that the indigent patronise, this bit of insanity would not have merited a by-line in the laughable interior folds of any yellow tabloid, let alone the front page of any august newspaper.
But now, to the larger malaise. In this bicentennial celebration of one of the great literary masters who lived to create characters that we witness about us daily, close to two centuries on. I could do no better than reproduce this :
THE BOY WHO ASKED FOR MORE !
I was drawn to this ultimate picture of what every young boy needs, food for thought, physique and soul, as soon as I read the story of that boy who knifed his teach, and refused even to meet his own parents, which again, any shrink would interpret as a double-edged knife, in as much as on the one side, he did not wish to visit the shame and ignominy incumbent on this man-bites-dog kind of story that would noxiously stick on to his parents, or on the other, that he felt so guilty he could not face the very parents who, with the greatest of hopes pinned on their dear little one, had let those very hopes dash to smithereens, or as you, dear reader, would have it, a bit of both.
And while the keepers of the law, meaning the police force, would have been a little nonplussed as to how to deal with this crime, I do hope that the justice system will find a way out for this kid, and not make it pour encourager les autres.
And that brings us to the wider repercussions that this should have, before it is conveniently forgotten. Our educational system, is nothing but a grind. The crass idea that we have to be masters of all trades, and jackasses of none, is taking a toll of young lives before they could give their best, and that best, is best left for them to judge. Stories like Chetan Bhagat’s Five-Point Someone, made into movies like Three Idiots may cause a ripple, and a few laughs, but they do hold a mirror. And that mirror avers, not everyone should possess more than just enough ambition to be a moron, or that all should merely scratch their asses to assert that the world owes them their daily bread anyway.
A day before the snuffing out of a teacher’s life in the hallowed heritage institution occurred, while on my way to work by bus, I inquired of a school-boy, weighed down like a beast of burden, by an enormous bag of books strapped across his shoulders, whether his own weight was less than that of the bag, and he bravely said yes, to the accompanying laughter of co-passengers. This was because during my own schooldays, I was always fascinated by one popular story of the bumble-bee, which ostensibly defied the laws of physics and flight:
Science tells us that with their weight wing span and movement
bumblebees should not be able to fly. Can they?
Well they obviously fly, so there must be something wrong with our understanding of the laws of Physics.
This is now a urban myth… Rest assured that this problem has now been resolved. Modern computer simulations agree with the fact that bumblebees do fly. So what was wrong before?
Previous simulations used the same aerodynamic parameters that would have been used for much larger objects such as airplanes.
This is wrong, because as size gets smaller, the viscosity of the medium becomes more important. For an insect, the air appears more viscous that it does for us (not as much as water, but half-way between our sensation of air and water viscosity). So, to some extent the bugs half fly, half “swim”.
This is well illustrated by the fact that their wings are not rigid, they twist as they complete a cycle, “paddling” the air out of the way.
This phenomenon has only become completely understood after many careful studies using very high speed cameras and was also not accounted for in older simulations.
So… bumblebees can fly. No weird physics involved.
Eureka ! Street Urchins or uniformed preppie-school kids, they can carry more than their own weight !
Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man