Month: February 2003

Square pegs, Round holes

Square pegs, Round holes

Have you heard about the unhappy engineer who would’ve rather been a doctor but didn’t, due to an erroneous decision he made during his academic life, and has now become a patient suffering from depression? This is a typical example of a square peg in a round hole. And there are many such examples – of individuals who don’t like what they do for a living. Most of them land up in their jobs/professions due to misinformed, misguided, or worse still, casual career decisions made in early academic life, which are irreversible for most people.

Each year, thousands of students enter college, undecided about their ultimate direction in life – many have little idea about what they want to do when they leave higher education. This is more often the case for students from non-vocational courses but is by no means exclusive to this group. Most students have great difficulty in choosing the subject to major in, and the job prospects associated with it. Finally, even if they are sure about the sector of industry they wish to enter, they may be unclear about the actual jobs. It is not easy to consider mid-career changes and therefore most individuals simply continue with their ill-fitting jobs/professions.

Career choice is a time-consuming process, and not something that must be decided thoughtlessly. Yet, often students of class X and XII opt for pursuing a path that is based on reasons other than pure aptitude. Quite often decisions are made by parents on behalf of their child – and mostly these reflect the aspirations of the parents themselves and have little to do with their child’s propensity towards that path. Peer pressure is another important factor that determines what students opt for.

Therefore, when it comes to careers, it is extremely important that students make the right decisions at the right time. The multiplicity of career options in the present times isn’t making it any easier for the already hassled students. Thankfully, there is a way out of such confusion. That way is found in career counselling. Well planned career counselling can offer some sound advice that can help students make sensible decisions.

Class XI and XII students of Thane can now avail of the benefit of a career counselling service being jointly offered by the Rotary Club of Thane, DnyanSadhana College and Saraswati Vidyalaya High School and Junior College.
The primary function of the counselling service is to assist students in identifying their personal potential so that they derive maximum benefit from their educational pursuits. The service comprises of a scientifically designed computerised aptitude test, which attempts to reveal the student’s talents or preferences for certain activities. For example, a person who likes to tinker with machinery would probably score highly on a test of mechanical aptitude. Such a person has an aptitude for mechanical work – and at least a fairly good chance of succeeding at it.

An aptitude test alone is of no use, unless it is properly interpreted. A qualified counsellor will help students with this aspect. The counsellor will not only talk to students but also to parents, who have an equal, if not more, important role to play in deciding the future course of action that students take.

Dilip Soman, president of Rotary Club of Thane says, "Most career guidance seminars only provide information to students about the various options available to them. But each student has unique skills sets and that is what needs to be explored. Our objective would be to help each student connect with his/her own talents and abilities. The mandate of this counselling service is preventative – such that students do not regret tomorrow, the decisions they take today."

Principal of Saraswati Vidyalaya, Meera Korde has decided to subsidise the cost of the test for city students. Furthermore the Rotary Club will bear 50 per cent of the cost. In the bargain, each student will have to pay a mere 100 rupees for the test plus counselling session. The sessions will begin soon after exams. The Rotary club evens plans a few guest lectures for the benefits of the students. For more information, students/parents may contact Dilip Soman on 25804408/3549; 25820734

Imagine doing what you love and being paid for it! The value of "doing what you love" cannot be stressed enough. Students must be made to realise that they will have to live with the consequences of the decisions they make today. Therefore they must not take such a critical issue lightly. Lest they become square pegs suffering forever in round holes.

Sweeping Changes

Sweeping Changes

Mahatma Gandhi would have been rather pleased with the way Thaneites observed his death anniversary last week. On January 30, 2003, which is also observed as Martyr’s day, 600 students from 10 city-based schools paid homage to the freedom fighters and other martyrs in a novel way – they toiled in the hot sun to clean the garden area surrounding the Upvan Lake.

The students were participating in what was called the Shram-Sanskar Shibir (or work-philosophy camp, organised by the Jidnyasa Trust in association Srimati Savitridevi Thirani School. The programme was aimed at inculcating the habit of cleanliness among all. From 9 am in the morning, the students began to clean and painstakingly picked the scattered junk thrown by insensitive citizens. At 11 a.m. the students gathered to pay respects to the martyrs. Afterwards, each student took an oath that they will "conserve nature, protect the environment and keep the surroundings clean." Surendra Dighe, the head of Jidnyasa, reveals that the oath is actually a reminder of what the Indian Constitution has laid out – that it is the responsibility of every citizen to keep his surroundings clean.

Earlier, the teachers accompanying the students as well as the several VIPs, who attended the programme, set an example by venturing into the lake and getting rid of the floating litter. Dighe said, "Thankfully, the lake was not as bad as last year. So it did not take much effort to clean it."

Thane’s Deputy Mayor Subhash Kale who presided as chief guest, praised the students no end for their effort. He emphasised the importance of cleanliness saying, "It is our duty to keep our neighbourhood and our city as clean as we keep ourselves and our respective homes".

Most of us will agree with what Kale said. Unfortunately, as a society, our sense of cleanliness is indeed lopsided. Indians certainly believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness. So we keep maintain cleanliness in temples and other places of worship. We take extra care to keep these places free from dirt. We leave our footwear outside. Bathing (cleaning of self) is also an equally important part of Indian culture. Yet, when it comes to our civic sense, all these virtues are forgotten. Most of us litter on the roads without ever thinking twice. Spitting in public is another common phenomenon. This is not just a civic problem – it is a common social ailment – something that must be eradicated, if only to maintain our own health. Hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness ought to be given much more importance than is being given today – both by the government as well as the community at large. Strangely, it takes epidemics such as plague to shake up the mindset of the people in our country. Sadly, even that is soon forgotten.  

By cleaning the Upvan area, the 600 students have reminded us that it is our collective responsibility to keep our neighbourhoods and our cities clean. I think its time for a sweeping change (pun intended). Let us all emulate the 600 students by taking an oath to conserve nature, protect the environment and maintain cleanliness all around. After all, even our constitution demands it!



Participants of recently held workshops on Vedic Mathematics in Thane were blown away by this ancient system of mathematics, almost as if they had found magic mantras. For those unfamiliar with Vedic maths, the set of 16 algorithms and 14 sub-algorithms in Sanskrit meant for performing simple and complex computations, are no less than magic.

The growing popularity of Vedic Mathematics among Thaneites is simply a reflection of a worldwide phenomenon. Even students from the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are said to be relying on these ancient techniques for quick mental calculations. So what makes Vedic Maths such a winner?

Vilas Sutavane, who regularly conducts these workshops in Thane, believes that Vedic Mathematics is India’s gift to the world. It is well known that foundation of modern mathematics was established in India. The Vedas, written around 1500-900 BC, are ancient Indian texts containing a record of human experience and knowledge. Thousands of years ago, Vedic mathematicians authored various theses and dissertations on mathematics. It is now commonly believed and widely accepted that these treatises laid down the foundations of algebra, algorithm, square roots, cube roots, various methods of calculation, and the concept of zero.

The term Vedic mathematics refers to the group of sixteen sutras (algorithms) written by Swami Bharathi Krishna Tirthaji. These algorithms help solve all mathematical problems in pure and applied mathematics. Practitioners of this striking method of mathematical problem-solving opine that Vedic maths is far more systematic, coherent and unified than the conventional system. Complexly arranged modern mathematical problems can easily be solved by simple mental mathematics through these methods. The solutions can be obtained much faster than any other method – a reason behind its enormous popularity among educationists and academicians.

Now you need never rely on calculators to do arithmetic. All you need is a crash course in Vedic Mathematics. To find out more about Vedic Mathematics workshops in Thane, readers can call 25400859 or 25383483.

Try these out…
One More than the One Before
For multiplying numbers like 74 x 76 where the first digits are the same and the last digits add up to 10, you multiply 7 by the number "One More", which is 8. So 7×8=56 is the left part of the answer. And then multiply the last by the last to get 4×6=24 as the last part of the answer. This gives 74 x 76 = 5624.

If you want to find the square of 45, you can employ the same principle (called Ekadhikena Purvena sutra in Sanskrit). The rule says since the first digit is 4 and the second one is 5, you will first have to multiply 4 (4 +1), that is 4 X 5, which is equal to 20 and then multiply 5 with 5, which is 25. Voila! The answer is 2025. Now, you can employ this method to multiply all numbers ending with 5.

Multiplying a number by 11
To multiply any 2-figure number by 11 we just put the total of the two figures between the 2 figures (for numbers whose sum is greater than 9, there is a slight variation).

26 x 11 = 286
Notice that the outer figures in 286 are the 2 & 6.
And the middle figure is just 2 and 6 added up.