Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bad News First

Everybody loves a good news. Be it in exams or job or family, or health, we welcome the good news.

I was chatting with an IT executive and he told me that he wanted to hear about bad news first and good news later. The logic was simple: you can do something if you hear the bad news early. He narrated incidents when he broke the bad news to his clients early and was appreciated for that.

That discussion got me thinking. It is said that before the truth takes off, the lie travels around the world. It may also be true of bad news and good news. I have often shared the bad stories with students and parents first. A few of them have appreciated the idea.

In our culture, the bad news is often not shared but the good news is gloated upon. Personally, I think no news is good news and bad news is worse news. One has to keep both eye and ear open for the bad before it becomes a news item.

Here are some good news and bad news jokes.

A man receives a phone call from his doctor.The doctor says, “I have some good news and some bad news.”The man says, “OK, give me the good news first.” The doctor says, “The good news is, you have 24 hours to live.” The man replies, “Oh no! If that’s the good news, then what’s the bad news?”The doctor says, “The bad news is, I forgot to call you yesterday.”

Here are some quotes about good news and bad news.

“It is much, much worse to receive bad news through the written word than by somebody simply telling you, and I’m sure you understand why. When somebody simply tells you bad news, you hear it once, and that’s the end of it. But when bad news is written down, whether in a letter or a newspaper or on your arm in felt tip pen, each time you read it, you feel as if you are receiving the bad news again and again.”
― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

“There's good news and slightly less good news.”
― Joanne Harris, The Gospel of Loki

“The bad news is nothing lasts forever,
The good news is nothing lasts forever.”
― J. Cole

“In my experience , big words ornament bad news.”
― Roshani Chokshi, The Star-Touched Queen

“Bad news has good legs.”
― Richard Llewellyn, How Green Was My Valley  

First Convocation

There is something special about First. Often in the family, the first child is special. In movies the First Day First Show is special. The first day of your life is special and is celebrated as the birth day.

For the Institute the First Batch will always remain special. They have gone through a lot of hardship but got a lot of attention from the faculty and administration. The First few faculty members will also be special as they have built the Institution.

Our first convocation will also be special. It is the most important event for the Institute became an University.

The Institute became an University in Jan 2014. Therefore, the students graduating in 2014 were awarded degree by the Institute. However, we did not hold the Convocation in 2014 and 2015. The reason being the we were working on many formalities demanded by the University Act. In the last board meeting, it was decided to hold the first convocation in 2016. It was also decided that Hpn'ble CM Sri Naveen Patnaik will be the convocation speaker.

We started preparing for the Convocation by seeking a suitable time from the HE Governor and Hon'ble CM. Once the dates were finalized, we prepared the long check-list of thinks to do. The check-list was long and included items like stitching the robe, medals, tent, and many other items. We wanted this event to be memorable. We wanted the event to be executed to perfection. We wanted the event to be crisp and precise.

We started the event on time and finished in an hours time. The timing was nearly perfect considering that it was the first convocation.

We has unexpected last minute challenges we had not anticipated. The security requirements of the Hon'ble CM had to be complied with at the last moment. The certifications - civil, electrical and fire - for the temporary structure had to be obtained at the very last moment. The police demands for frisking had to be complied with at the last moment.

There were disappointments also. Some students inspite of our clear communication came late and were not given the robes and the certificates on stage. Many parents commented on non-serious nature of a delay by a few minutes and the Institute's undue hard stand on the same. While we have our sympathies with them, I believe that they failed in their professionalism in not reporting one time.

All Student volunteers, staff members and the faculty members did a wonderful job. I thank each one of them for making the First Convocation an event to remember.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Dhanada Mishra and his wife Babita Mishra are my good friends. Dhanada is slightly crazy (which may be an underestimation). He studied in India, USA and worked in Australia. Then he returned to India and now plays politics in AAP. But the couple do wonderful things like running Spicmacay chapters in Odisha.

Here is an extract from Wikipedia about SpicMacay

SPIC MACAY (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth) is a non-political, nationwide, voluntary movement founded in 1977 by Dr Kiran Seth, Professor-Emeritus at IIT-Delhi who was awarded the ‘Padma Shri’ for his contribution to the arts in 2009.

SPICMACAY’s intention is to enrich the quality of formal education by increasing awareness about different aspects of Indian heritage and inspiring the young mind to imbibe the values embedded in it. It seeks to inspire youth through experiencing the mysticism embodied in the rich and heterogeneous cultural tapestry of Indian and World Heritage, with a hope that the beauty, grace, values and wisdom embodied in these arts will influence their way of life and thinking and inspire one to become a better human being. For this, the most accomplished artistes of the country render programmes of Indian classical music and dance, folk, poetry, theatre, traditional paintings, crafts & yog primarily in schools and colleges. In 2011, SPIC MACAY was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana award in recognition of its contribution to youth development.

I had my brush with Spicmacay in IIT Kgp in 70s, IIMB in 80s and XIMB in 90s and 2000s. I always made it a point attend the Spicmacay programs and witness some great performances by icons of Indian classical music.

It has been my dream to start Spicmacay programs in IIIT-BH, This year we had three classical performances - the latest being by Sarod Maestro Pt. Tejendra Narayan Majumdar. The programme was enthralling. The claps from the audience reflected their appreciation.

We hope to have many more such programmes and more so from local artists.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tragedy Strikes Again

In my interactions First Year students and their parents, I often narrate many tragedies that have struck the Institute, its students, staff and faculty. The objective being we learn from those mistakes and prevent such tragedies in future. While some learn from such narratives, others do not.

The tragedy happened again this Monday a day before the Republic day.

Five of the First year students went to Puri on Monday. This was a working day. They took an auto rickshaw to go to Puri. They went into the Sea, There was a huge wave. They lost balance and were being dragged into the sea. The Life Guards swung into action and rescued four of them. One them could not be rescued. He went missing in the sea. His body was discovered 2 days later in a lonely beach 7 kilometers away from the main Puri beach.

Sourav Kumar was a decent, studious and honest boy. He was in his full senses when he went into the sea. He and his friends went into the main Puri Beach where hundreds of tourists, shop keepers and life guards found. Many people take bath in the sea. While accidents are rare in this beach, they happen with distressing regularity.

The Institute truly saddened by the loss of life of promising young boy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the grieving family members of Sourav's family. We hope they will learn to live with Sourav's loss quickly.

However, I am concerned with us missing lessons from such tragedies. To my mind following are the lessons for the Students and their Parents:
  1.  The students must keep their parents abreast of their movements and coordinates when they go out of the campus.
  2. The parents must keep track of their wards at all times.
  3. We feel powerful in a group and underestimate the risks involved in our actions. Being aware of risk and having a plan to mitigate the risk is important