The Indian Express | 1 week ago | 19-03-2023 | 01:45 pm
Suvendu Kar, an IIT Madras student, achieved an all India rank (AIR) 1 in the GATE 2023 (Mathematics paper), the results of which were declared on Thursday. A farmer’s son, the topper believes that making the best of your situation and following the passion are the only two things every aspirant needs to keep in mind.This was Suvendu’s first attempt at the GATE exam, in which he secure the highest rank with a score of 941 (50.33 marks). He has also recently earned AIR 47 in the CSIR NET exam (February 2022 attempt). The topper now aims to pursue either MTech from IISc or PhD in the same subject.Kar hails from a small town of Egra in West Bengal, where his father works as a farmer. “I come from an economically weak family, and while many think that it would have become a hindrance for me, however, it was actually the other way round. I found smarter ways of utilising all public resources,” he told indianexpress.com.The 22-year-old got a scholarship for BSc Mathematics degree in Calcutta University (CU) in 2018.“My college also provided me financial assistance. When I was leaving for Calcutta University, I told my parents that I may have to enroll in some coaching centre. However, they were a little hesitant due to the financial constraints at home. This motivated me to come up with creative solutions. I started looking for free resources (provided by the government too) on the internet which were very helpful. Other than that, I reached out to my friends and professors to get my doubts cleared,” he said.He also shared that one of his closest friends at IIT Madras, who often helped him clear his doubts, secured AIR 4 in GATE 2023 (even though he is from the Mechanical Engineering department).Unlike many others, the Mathematics topper did not enroll in any coaching classes and believes that the common belief of you cannot ace this exam without the big coaching centres is “absolutely wrong”.Kar’s believes college studies are sufficient to crack such exams. “It is important to pay attention to what is being taught in your college. The things that your lecturers explain in their classes is usually similar to the syllabus of these competitive exams. I used to focus on my lectures, come back home and revise what was taught to us at IIT Madras the whole day and then make short notes on the basis of those lectures. Doing that alone helped me get a good rank and have fundamental clarity of all subjects and topics,” he said.Kar added that making short notes can be another good technique for learning and revision. “I make short notes for every topic and lecture. While studying, I make small notes side-by-side and that helps not just in understanding and grasping the concepts, but also during the revision,” he said.Another important suggestion from Kar is to solve previous year questions papers. The topper also has advice for those who do not like to read much. “I don’t like reading much either, so I started watching YouTube videos of several tutors and experts and making short notes from those videos. That is a very effective way of gaining information without getting bored,” he shared.When asked if achieving this rank was difficult and mentally draining while pursuing the final year of MSc Mathematics from IIT Madras, Kar said “if you follow your passion, nothing will seem like a burden”.“If you pursue the career that you are interested in, then it will never feel like a burden. Instead of adding to your mental pressure, it will help you stay focused, motivated and the results will give a sense of satisfaction. On the other hand, those who blindly follow the herd often feel burnt out and face failures,” he said.Another advise that the Mathematics topper has for GATE aspirants is that one should “opt for online classes only if you have that kind of discipline. It is very easy to get distracted in the virtual classes, so if you tend to get distracted easily and lose focus then instead opt for offline classes. In physical classes, you will also be able to meet your friends and get motivation from them.”
Exposure to road traffic noise could elevate the risk of developing hypertension, according to a new study.The risk was found, by researchers, to increase in tandem with the noise “dose”.These associations were found to be held true even when researchers adjusted for exposure to fine particles and nitrogen dioxide.The researchers at the American College of Cardiology, US, found this through a prospective study, conducted using UK Biobank data from more than 240,000 people, aged 40 to 69 years, without hypertension at baseline.Over a median period of 8.1 years, the scientists followed up the participants for data on how many people developed hypertension.They estimated road traffic noise based on the residential address and the Common Noise Assessment Method, a European modeling tool, they said in the study.The scientists also found that people who had high exposure to both traffic noise and air pollution had the highest hypertension risk, showing that air pollution may play a role as well.“We were a little surprised that the association between road traffic noise and hypertension was robust even after adjustment for air pollution,” said Jing Huang, lead author of the study.“It is essential to explore the independent effects of road traffic noise, rather than the total environment,” said Huang.The authors suggested policymaking that may alleviate the adverse impacts of road traffic noise, such as setting stricter noise guideline and enforcement, improving road conditions and urban design, and investing advanced technology on quieter vehicles.Studies to understand the pathophysiological means through which hypertension develops from road noise are underway.The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.📣 For more lifestyle news, follow us on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook and don’t miss out on the latest updates!
A few years ago, on a humid Buddha Purnima evening in Delhi’s Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), as Carnatic classical vocalist Bombay Jayashri Ramnath, seated under a peepal tree, chanted Buddham sharanam gachhami, it began to rain. Soon, she invited the audience to join in the guttural prayer. Soaked to the bone, she segued into a Pahari, without a microphone (which had to be switched off due to fear of short circuiting), and concluded with, as is tradition, raga Bhairavi. “It was an instance of how music can be so rewarding,” said 58-year-old Jayashri, who, earlier this week, was awarded the distinguished Sangeetha Kalanidhi for 2023 by the famed Music Academy.The award is a coveted cornerstone for Carnatic musicians all over the world and the past winners include violin legend T Chowdiah (1957), vocal virtuosos MS Subbulakshmi (1968), DK Pattamal (1970) and M Balamuraikrishna (1978) among others. More recent names include vocalists Sudha Raghunathan (2013), Sanjay Subrahmanyan (2015) and Aruna Sairam (2018). Jayashri was awarded “for her melodic and meditative style of singing” besides “training underprivileged children in music and contributing through her art to social causes,” said the statement from the Music Academy. A post shared by Bombay Jayashri Ramnath (@jayashriramnath)In an interview with this writer in 2021, after the announcement of the Padma Shri for her four-decade music journey, Jayashri had said, “I feel a lot of gratitude.” After the declaration, the artiste’s first call was to her 92-year-old mother, Seethalakshmy Subramaniam, a Mumbai-based music teacher, who has always been more than just a doting mother for Jayashri. Back in the day, she was an exacting guru to a young Jayashri and an unrelenting taskmaster, who wanted to live her own dream of wanting to be a professional musician through her daughter. “I was not allowed to do things that my friends did, like go out and play. I had to practise,” she says.Jayashri, however, was a reluctant student. She resented the prospect of singing and practising, but her mother would not relent. “She pushed hard,” says Jayashri. “I had to wake up at 3.45 am every day and practise. Often, I’d continue into a film song that my mother had liked on AIR’s Sangeet Sarita. Then there were lessons with this or that teacher because s/he taught something that my mother felt I needed to imbibe, and then also go to school. It seemed like I had no choice in what was happening in my life,” says Calcutta-born Jayashri, who otherwise enjoyed listening to the melodies of Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Farida Khanum and Mehdi Hassan, among others.Jayashri was three years old when her family moved to Mumbai’s Matunga. Her father, NN Subramaniam, was also a Carnatic vocalist and she’d often wake up to him singing Omkaram (Lord Shiva chants) and go to bed with music playing on the radio. She was six when her father passed away. The responsibility of bringing up three children — Jayashri and her two brothers — fell on her mother, who would teach music to children and women in the neighbourhood. Her remaining energy was put into training Jayashri, who, in her teenage years, started learning from Carnatic vocalist TR Balamani, who also taught composer Shankar Mahadevan. She received Hindustani classical training from K Mahavir Jaipurwale and Kirana gharana exponent Ajay Pohankar. Her learning also included Bharatanatyam and theatre. A post shared by B Prasanna (@b_prasanna)Jayashri was about 16 when her mother began taking her to perform everywhere — at weddings, village concerts, Navaratri pandals and Ganesh Chaturthi functions. “I didn’t know where it was going. She would say, ‘sing here, sing there, this temple, that stage’. I would just go and rattle out something. There would be days when I would not speak to her. But she didn’t care. She knew this was her dream and that I, perhaps, will be able to achieve it. It wasn’t a waste of time for her,” she says.It was only after she entered college (RA Podar College), in the early ’80s, that Jayashri started enjoying being on stage. She discovered that her new friends appreciated her knowledge of music. “My self-esteem was defined by the fact that I could sing. I started to realise that this was a blessing which I may have ignored,” says Jayashri, who won a few college competitions. She soon landed at Mumbai’s recording studios, singing TV-commercial jingles for brands such as Bournvita and Rexona. “It allowed me to learn how to project my voice,” she says.She was, however, still unsure whether music was her calling. Her move to Chennai in the ’80s put things in perspective. An art form that was just an expression earlier now became her identity. Her maternal grandfather was friends with the late violin virtuoso Lalgudi Jayaraman, under whom Jayashri began training. “He taught me to befriend the swaras (musical notes), make this world my own and swim in it,” says Jayashri, who gradually understood that music can be an inward-looking personal pursuit. The calm she achieved then would reflect in her singing years later. A post shared by Bombay Jayashri Ramnath (@jayashriramnath)Performance opportunities started pouring in. Successive seasons at Chennai’s famous Margazhi festival and, soon enough, Jayashri became the toast of the town. With her singular focus, grammar and poise, her concerts became an experience for her listeners. “On stage, flanked by my fellow musicians, we attempt to be on a journey together, to reach destinations that music is capable of taking us to,” says Jayashri, who has collaborated with a plethora of artistes including Shubha Mudgal, TM Krishna, and Alarmel Valli, among others.Jayashri is accessible to her listeners, old and young. She breaks the mould that classical music necessitates and has traversed genres, from Hindustani to Carnatic and film music (such as Vaseegara/Zara zara, Narumugaye and so on). She asks her audience to sing along with her in Carnatic classical concerts, which is rare for classical musicians, who are often caught in the idea of intricacies and technicalities. “If I’m delving into Bhairavi or Todi, then it’s a lonely journey. But I have enjoyed singing with the audience and believe in giving them the experience, however small,” says Jayashri, who was nominated at the 2013 Academy Awards for singing Pi’s Lullaby in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (2012).The story behind her rechristening — from Jayashri Subramaniam to Bombay Jayashri — is an amusing one. As is the tradition in south India, the village’s name is prefixed to a classical artiste, and so, Bombay (where she comes from) got prefixed to Jayashri’s name while she was still in Chennai. “To them, I was Jayashri from Bombay,” she says. A few years later, at Mumbai’s Shanmukhananda Auditorium, the emcee announced: “We welcome Bombay Jayashri from Madras.” She smiled and broke into a profound alapana.📣 For more lifestyle news, follow us on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook and don’t miss out on the latest updates!
For over a century, universities in the UK have been the cornerstone for science and technology, having inspired ideation and invention through training in technical subjects. Today, when the global economy is increasingly driven by technology and innovation, and there is a growing demand for workers with STEM-related skills, the UK has the potential to give the world what it needs across STEM education.Scientific and technical education not only provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the demands of the job market but is also essential for driving innovation and addressing global challenges in areas such as artificial intelligence, healthcare, renewable energy, climate change and more. STEM education also fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills and allows students to work collaboratively to find solutions.The UK government has always invested in research and development, which has supported innovation and the advancement of knowledge in STEM fields in the country. Notably, the UK has given the world some of the most successful people in science like Charles Darwin, Stephen Hawking, Tim Burners Lee, Michael Faraday to name a few. Additionally, the UK has a strong track record of producing Nobel Prize winners in STEM fields like Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Alexander Fleming, Peter Higgs, and more. The revolutionaries from the UK have rewarded the world with their life-altering innovations.With such a rich legacy, the UK has been a popular destination for Indian students pursuing STEM education. According to the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) for the academic year 2019/20, approximately 49,000 Indian students were studying STEM subjects in the UK. The most popular STEM subjects among Indian students were Engineering and Technology, followed by Mathematical Sciences, Computer Science, and Biological Sciences.Here are some key reasons for students to opt for higher education in STEM subjects across the UK – Research CultureThe UK is a leader in research and development with a strong research culture. Universities in the UK are at the forefront of many areas of research. Students who pursue higher education in the UK have the opportunity to work with leading researchers and be part of ground-breaking research projects. Students studying STEM subjects in the UK have the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research projects, work with leading academics and researchers, and develop valuable skills in research and development.Academic QualityThe UK is considered to be one of the leading countries in the world for STEM education at the university level, and it consistently ranks highly in international rankings, with state-of-the-art facilities, including labs and resource centers. According to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022, UK universities perform very well in a wide range of STEM subjects. The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the world for multiple STEM subjects, including mathematics, computer science, engineering, and natural sciences. Other UK universities such as Imperial College London, University College London, and The University of Edinburgh also rank highly for STEM subjects.Availability of New Age CoursesUniversities in the UK offer a wide range of new age STEM courses to keep up with the rapidly evolving fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Some of the new age STEM courses offered by UK universities include:Career opportunitiesStudying STEM subjects in the UK can lead to exciting career opportunities in a range of industries, including technology, engineering, healthcare, and many more. Many UK universities have strong links with industry, providing students with opportunities to gain work experience and develop their skills to complete tasks in real-world settings. This also positively impacts employment rates and provides students with access to careers advice and support. The UK’s post-study work visa also allows international students to stay and work in the UK for up to 2 years after graduation. Students graduating from the UK are widely considered highly employable as they receive high-quality education, practical experience, and the opportunity to develop valuable skills. Additionally, studying in the UK can help students develop their language skills, intercultural skills, and networking skills, which are all highly valued by employers in today’s global economy.ConclusionFinally, it is important to remember that the UK government and universities offer thousands of scholarships grants to foreign students to be used towards tuition, living expenses and other educational costs associated with studying in the UK. One such scholarship for STEM education is the British Council Women in STEM scholarship. Applications are currently open for 48 spots are open for women STEM scholars from India and other South Asian countries, which will be awarded on merit basis alone. Students may check out the brand website for respective timelines.
There is a dearth of romantic dramas in Hindi cinema now. But there was a time when filmmakers were obsessed with the romantic genre. Romantic films with a wide variety of plots and also the classic tropes: enemies-to-lovers romance, romance with parental restraints, college campus romance, and childhood friends-to-lovers romance, were available in abundance and even found an audience. Of course, watching a meet-cute of the hero and heroine, then seeing them falling in love and fighting the odds to stay together, is always pleasurable.So, with nothing good coming out of the genre and trying to get over the terrible aftertaste of Luv Ranjan’s trashy Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar, I decided to watch the widely appreciated 1981 rom-com, Chashme Buddoor. In all honesty, the other reason for me to go back two decades to find a romantic drama is my love for Deepti Naval and Farooq Sheikh as an on-screen couple. I was in awe of the simplicity the two stars brought on-screen in their 1982 film, Saath Saath.Chashme Baddoor, directed by Sai Paranjpye, is the story of college graduate Siddharth (Farooq), who, unlike his two friends and roommates, Omi (Rakesh Bedi) and Jomo (Ravi Baswani), is engrossed in books. The posters on his walls are world leaders and not pin-ups like Jomo or ‘sher-o-shayari’ that Omi prefers. Like many college graduates, he often ends up at a local paan and cigarette stall owned by Lallan Miyan (Saeed Jaffrey) with no money. His life changes with the entry of Neha ‘Miss Chamko’ Rajan (Deepti).The meet-cute of Siddharth and Neha is charming given its simplicity. She appears on his doorstep to give a sample of a detergent powder (Chamko). He tries to shoo her away with excuses. One of them being, “Mujhe kahin jaana hai, aap baad mein aaiyega (I have to go somehwre, please come later)“. This reminded me of simpler times when my mother would tell me to send away salespeople by saying, ‘Mummy ghar par nahi hain, baad mein aana.’ But, ‘Ms. Chamko’ has a target to achieve and insists on showing a demo.When Ms Chamko waits five minutes for her detergent powder to do its magic on Siddharth’s already clean towel, they have a ‘real’ conversation. They discuss each other’s interests, he offers her a homemade laddoo in a cup (of course, how can you expect a bachelor pad to have proper utensils), and they fall for the other. Behind this, there’s the comic effect of ‘Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Band Ho’ followed by Siddharth opening the door to make his intentions clear. This entire scenario might be hard to comprehend for a generation that can’t look up from their phones for a second – let alone invite someone in for five minutes.While creating Neha and Siddharth, Paranjpye made sure not to make fantastical people out of them. Just like Saath Saath, here too, Farooq looks like every man with nothing heroic about him. He is no pushover when he tries to woo Deepti. In fact, it is fun to watch Siddharth and Neha make fun of Bollywood’s classic trope of lovers breaking into a song randomly in a park – empty despite the country’s population with a string quartet and lyrical genius to boot.Paranjpye, in her autobiography ‘A Patchwork of Quilt: A Collage of My Creative Life’, had written that the bachelor pad of Siddharth, Jomo, and Omi was in a Defence Colony barsaati. Had I been unaware of this, it would have been difficult to believe that the film was set in the capital. The Delhi shown in the movie is a Delhi that I have never known. At one moment, I exclaimed, ‘This definitely can’t be Delhi, nowhere is there a pond – let alone this clean.’Chashme Buddoor rewards the simplicity of its lead actors and is comforting to its viewers. That is if you ignore the problematic behaviour of Omi and Jomu who chase women on streets and in parks and refer to them as ‘shikaars‘. For instance, when a girl is waiting for a bus, the duo stop their bike nearby to check her out from head to toe. Not just them, Siddharth pushing Neha to quit her salesperson job after he’s hired is a massive red flag.Many might argue that it was ‘made in that era’. That era or this, stalking, possessive behaviour of lovers, and casual sexism are all major red flags, and you can’t just ignore them in the garb of a film being a celebrated classic.Chashme Buddoor can be watched for its well-meaning performances, not just from Farooq and Deepti, but from every actor and well-intended script. This movie showed the millennial me that there were simpler times when even a film’s hero and heroine were identifiable people. But what stops me from strongly recommending it is the voyeuristic overtures of its support cast.
The Motor Loader Chowki at Bandra — a dark, grimy room with rusty lockers, a framed B&W photograph of B R Ambedkar and plaster peeling off its pink walls — was where Mayur Helia reported for work at 10 every night. Here, he would mark his attendance, before setting off with his colleagues in one of the designated garbage trucks.It’s a routine that Helia followed for the last 12 years as he worked as a motor loader (the men who tip garbage into vans) with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Starting next month, Helia, 30, will step into a completely different routine as he heads to UK’s Lancaster University to pursue a fully-funded PhD, working on a project titled ‘(Hazardous) Sanitation Labour: Historic Legacies and Shifting Realities’. Last month, he resigned from the BMC.Helia was 18 when his father, who too worked with the BMC’s sanitation department as a motor loader, died of a prolonged illness, thrusting onto the eldest of three siblings responsibilities far beyond what he had imagined for himself.In 2010, when he was offered his father’s job on compassionate grounds, Helia didn’t think his occupation would take him far beyond Room No. 5 in Borivali West’s Padmabai Chawl, where he lived with his mother, younger brother and sister. After a failed attempt at his Class 12 Boards, he couldn’t have given himself much of a chance anyway. But his first day at work would prove to be a “turning point”.“It was a horrible start. I had to pick up garbage from an area where there are several chicken and mutton shops. Since I was new to the job, I wasn’t skilled in the way the bin had to be picked up and tipped. So in no time, I had blood and animal waste all over my clothes. I knew right then that this is definitely not what I want to do with my life,” says Helia, who reappeared for his Class 12 exams in 2012 and cleared them.Helia then enrolled at Mumbai’s Wilson College for an undergraduate degree in Political Science. Passionate about boxing and after having won a few trophies in school, including one at the state level, Helia was thrilled to make it to Wilson College, among the few colleges to have a boxing ring.“After my night shift from 10 pm to 5 am, I would eat samosa with sambar from one of the stalls and attend morning lectures at Wilson College. After classes got over around noon, I would go home for lunch and catch up on my sleep. Then, I would be back in college for the evening boxing practice, eat 4-5 boiled eggs outside Bandra railway station, and then head to the Loader Chowki for duty,” he says, adding he couldn’t afford to choose between his job and college. “I knew I had to do both.”It was at Wilson that Helia first heard about the Tata Institute of Social Sciences — “from a classmate who was preparing for the TISS entrance exam”. He says that by then he had resolved to find a path that would help him lead his life with “dignity”.Helia soon enrolled at TISS for a a Master of Arts in Social Work in Dalit and Tribal Studies. While at TISS, he says, his BMC colleagues, the garbage truck drivers, would drop him off at the TISS campus every morning around 5.30 am. “I would try and get some sleep at a friend’s hostel room and wake up in time to get ready for classes. I hardly went home because I didn’t want to waste time travelling,” says Helia.After completing his Master’s in 2017, Helia went on to pursue his M.Phil from TISS.Dr. Shaileshkumar Darokar, Associate Professor at TISS, under whose guidance Mayur completed his M.Phil, told The Indian Express, “Mayur Helia’s background and his rise from a sanitation worker to exploring a completely different career path… his journey is inspiring. While his determination is definitely worthy of appreciation, his rise will inspire many others from his community, who will now dare to aspire to come out of their trapped structural reality.”As her son prepares to fly out of home early next month, Helia’s mother Shanta Helia, 55, says, “I only studied till Class 7. But I always insisted on good education for my children because that is the only way to a better life. I remember the time when my family was against my decision to enrol my children in English-medium schools. Today, they are proud to associate themselves with us.”