Tuesday, December 27, 2005

How old are you ?

Why is it that Students from Bengal (I'll refer to them as SFBs) are about 21/22 at graduation, whereas students from other parts of India are only about 18/19 ?

Consider the implications:

A financial disaster.

1. SFBs lose out on 3 more extra years of income at(or close) to their highest salary level, typically attained just before retirement. This is often much needed money for critical reasons - kids college, daughter's marriage, buying a flat etc - all very expensive affairs.

2. SFBs retirement nest egg (and gratuity/pension) has 3 years less to grow. This is significant. For example if one starts at age 22 and invests 10000 every year till retirement (at 67) with growth compounded at 8%, he has 3865056. But if the same person starts at age 19, he has left with 4901321 - a difference of 1036265 !! There are similar devastating repurcussions on pension benefits (upto 40-50% difference !).

Social setback

1. Late marriage, very often accompanied by late kids which again means SFBs have to bear big ticket items like their children's marriage and education out of their retirement income. If one choses to squeeze the time in between marriage and the first kid, its often a not-so-insignificant sacrifice of premium uncomplicated marriage time.

2. Many post graduate entrace examinations have age limits. In today's intense competition, our SFBs miss out on 3rd or 4th attempts with devastating consequences. For example, I know a person from UP who aligned his birth date so he could get the the maximum number of attempts at UPSC (for the Civil Service - IAS, IFS, IPS etc). And he got his birth certificate only after he cleared the entrance exams for engineering (so that the 3 attempts - thus 3 yrs- he spent for the engg entrace did not show).

3. Many SFB are employed outside Bengal. Here, the age difference becomes more pronounced. Their non SFB colleagues are younger, chirpier, more upbeat, happier and get married early. Early marriage is a neccessity in a conservative society like India if that society is to remain healthy. Our SFBs, bereft of their familiar social networks, not getting married until late, among other married couples, are lonely and miserable.

Very few parents will live to see their kids retire. Could this be the cause of the collective myopia blinding parents of SFBs to grossly underestimate the importance of an "early edge" in life ? Could it be that birth certificates are fudged much more readily outside of Bengal ? Or could it be due to some structural constraints of the Bengal school system ?

Whatever the reason, if you are a parent and your children go to school in Bengal, do whatever you can to shave off those 3 years.

Just do it.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Basic Instincts

This was on the wire a couple of days ago :

To summarize

1. Parents who have lost kids to the tsunami are desperate to have kids
2. Wives are undergoing recanalization
3. Husbands will divorce wives and marry younger girls if current wives cannot conceive.
4. Folks want double, triple or 4 times the number of kids they had before, as insurance against losing kids again.

The future :

1. A great number of miscarriages. Medical research proves that the more stressed the mother, the greater the likelihood of miscarriage.
2. These people were already at or below the poverty line even before the tsunami. Now that they are a lot worse off, how will they feed their children ? - and to top that they want to have even more children than before ! In all likelihood, they will probably lose many to disease, malnutrition, poverty or child trafficking.
3. The tsunami killed mostly women and children. Therefore there is already a scarcity of women. Outside their community, where will they get young women to marry hapless men who have lost everything to the tsunami ?
4. Maybe #3 above will cap the number of divorced/abandoned women. Dishonest menfolk will go for younger women every chance they get - especially now that they can easily blame women for being infertile.

Noone's envy, misery's pride.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Much has been said regarding the electoral roles of West Bengal being full of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. There is a new increasing threat that came to my attention on my last visit. On the Bono-gram line (popularly called Bonga line from Sealdah) there are schools full of students from Bangladesh. And these folks typically finish their Bachelors Degrees from Bangladesh, forge a ration card and a birth certificate, cross over and come and re-enroll in Class XI or XII in Indian schools. Next thing, they become engineers and doctors by clearing the Joint Entrance. Remember, they have had 3(Bachelors Degree) +2(XI and XII at the Indian school) years to prepare for the Joint Entrance Exams. And this is the same reason why the admins of the Indian schools look the other way and admit them. These folks usually do better than the Indian kids at the board HS exams - which the school can now tout. But just think about the losses to the Indian citizens. We pay taxes so that Jadavpur and Shibpore exist so that our kids can get a decent education and get established in life. And after we put in all that hard work for years and years, these folks come and steal our right to education and eventually all our good high paying jobs. Just think !

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I get off the lift. Strap on my board. The bitter cold wind cuts across my face. For a moment I'm scared. People die here every year. Doing this. I can do this. I have to.

Been there, want to be there. Again ...

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Hello World. How are you doing ?