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Change the System

The inspiring story of the tech entrepreneur Deepak Ravindran (“If you don’t innovate, you die”, Apr 17) reminded me of the famous quote by former Indian President Abdul Kal-am that “the best brains of the nation can be found in the last benches of the classroom”.

That an innovative person like Deepak had to drop out of college to pursue his dreams raises many questions regarding how we approach education in India. Many countries — including the UAE — now recognise that the greatest natural resource is the minds of children, and are revamping their education systems. Unfortunately, in India, we have — for far too long — underestimated the power of these minds and the alienation that they experience with the current educational system that celebrates conformity.

Stories like this remind us that we need a system that can also cater to those who think out of the box and not treat them as outliers as we do at present.

Another impressive aspect of the article was the advice provided by Deepak on how to thrive in a world of constant change; that should serve as a guide to those who find excuses to hide their resistance to change. I fully agree that the key is to understand the day-to-day problems of people and use technology to find solutions.

Last, but not the least, I hope such stories serve as a wakeup call to the Indian telecommunication giants who are lobbying against net neutrality because their profits were affected by the technological advances. I hope that instead of lobbying for an unfair law that will discourage entrepreneurs, these companies reinvent themselves by making use of their resources to solve the numerous problems the common man faces.

Congratulations on your winning entry, BEENA JOSE! We will be in touch shortly.

Real Women Empowerment

Spotlight on Deepika (Bollywood, Apr 17) made for an interesting read. As much as I respect every woman’s — or, for that matter, every man’s — right and freedom to choose for oneself, I believe it must not be an impulsive act based solely on selfish interests. It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities, JK Rowling once said. Just as choosing is our undisputed, fundamental right, so is the responsibility to choose wisely ours as well.

We are social beings and our choices can have a bearing on the people around us. We cannot be unreasonably insensitive or inconsiderate to the feelings of others. Imagine the chaos that the world would be plunged into, if everyone resorted to choose only what pleased them without any thought for others!

Deepika has always come across as a girl with spunk and one who can speak up for herself — but the video she is portrayed in sidesteps the real issues women face in their everyday lives. It showcases the privileged women from the higher economic strata, who do not represent the vast majority of women who struggle inside and outside homes doing multifarious roles, often abused and exploited.

Why is it that women rush home to make dinner after putting in an equally hard day’s labour as the men, while the latter only put up their feet and relax? Why are women paid less for the same kind of job, compared to men? Why is this disparity seen even in the field of sports? Why is it that when a woman is abused in any way, the shame is more for her but less for the man? Why is it that most women, even in this day and age, fear being single? I think real women empowerment is about seeing women treated equal to men, both at the workplace and at home.

It’s good that Deepika doesn’t open up about her private life too. What she does away from the arc lights is her business and it’s high time that the public learns to respect the privacy of celebrities and concentrate more on their own lives and what they have to offer to society. Khalid Mohamed, meanwhile, is right on cue when he cautions against the trap of narcissism. Beauty is not what you see in the mirror but as Kahlil Gibran puts it, it is a “light in the heart”.

Mathew C, by email

Lost and Found

It felt amazing to read Friends Again (Apr 17) — especially on the heels of a real-life surprise that I experienced a week back. I am not a regular user of Facebook. The coincidence happened when I signed in recently, and found a friend request from someone I hadn’t connected with in 30 years. I wasn’t even sure it was the same guy I’d studied with, till I went onto his page and discovered old photos from our school days. The real reconnecting spree started in earnest for us now, as we tried hard to recollect the names of other long-forgotten friends. We are already five in number now. Thanks, Zuckerberg, for uniting us with our friends — who we lost touch with well before your birth! Here’s hoping we can find as many of us as we can — and real soon too.

Rama Krishna, Abu Dhabi

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