Honesty is the best policy. Preached by many but practiced by only a handful.

We start telling lies when we learn that we don’t have to listen to everything our parents say. We can do whatever we want too. We might have also started lying with one mistake or bad decision that forced us to lie about something. With one lie, the others come naturally.

By the time we’re teenagers, we either start doing things we’re not supposed to do or don’t do the things we’re supposed to. We hide things from our parents and not call it lying. Well, guess what? White lies are lies too.

What about the excuses we come up with to cover up things? I mean, our brain goes into full power at that time. Our creativity blossoms like never before. If only our parents knew how smart we can be when we actually want to be!

I fully understand the temptation to not tell your parents everything in your lives. Maybe because they won’t approve or because you just don’t want to tell them.

School and College just give teenagers another outlet to lie about things.

So many of us have come up with amazing excuses to bunk class when we are just too lazy to go. Of course, we don’t need to come up with excuses if we have friends who are kind enough to give a proxy for us. The irony is in the number of proxies one person gives in one class.

Teens lie about practically everything. What, where, when, why and how. Can you think of one thing teens today haven’t lied about?

I mean, keeping everything mentioned above aside, why lie? You have no idea what you are missing out on.

Your friends doing your assignments and homework for you makes your friendship stronger. Agreed, but they are getting double the practice doing those problems than you are. You’ll have to work twice as hard during exams.

What do you get by bunking classes and/or giving proxy? More time to sleep? Attending classes yourself will save you time and energy when you’re studying for your exams.
You lie to do the things you know your parents won’t approve of. Ever wondered why your parents won’t let you do it? Suppose your dad’s not letting you drive a bike. Maybe he had a bike and had a bad experience himself or knows someone who did.

If you’re lying because of peer pressure, that just means that you’re hanging out with the wrong crowd. If they ask you to lie AND you do it, God knows what they’ll ask you to do next. Don’t you have any morality in you? And how moldable can u be?

Well, here’s what I have to say to all the Pretty Little Teenage Liars out there. You know your parents brought you up with the lack of absolutely nothing. No matter how much your teenage hormones make you disagree with what you know deep inside, you know that you are where you are because of them. The least you can do for them is be honest. It’s a lot of ask. I know, I’m one of you too but your parents deserve it and you owe them that much.

Another way to look at it and a sort of negative reinforcement to dare you to not lie:

You may not be willing to admit what you did or didn’t do because you’re not proud of it and/or you’re worried about what others will think of you. First of all, don’t do it again. Now that you’ve already done it, be fearless. If you made a mistake then admit it. Lying about it would just be another mistake. Also, one lie leads to another and before you know it, you have a weaved a whole story. (Creativity blossoming alert!)

Lies do no good for anybody. Eventually- when you get caught in the lie, you’ll be in double the trouble you were avoiding previously. So instead you can be fearless by being honest.

-Mariam Sunil Varkey

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The Tipping Point

More often than not, people tend to confuse the two words ‘literate’ and ‘educated’ and use them synonymously and interchangeably. However, there is a stark difference between the two that not many can fathom. While being literate simply means to read and write, being educated encompasses a myriad of other features than just that. One could say that while literacy teaches us how to read and write, education tells us what to read and write. Education maybe described as that element by the virtue of which one listens carefully, is able to think critically and analyse the situations in a clear manner. Setting all of this aside, the major factor that differentiates between ‘literacy’ and ‘education’ for me, is consciousness.

In my opinion, with education comes great power and we all know that with great power comes great responsibility. Rather, it is education itself that makes us responsible. True education necessarily means that as individuals, we are aware of the world around us, we are sensitive towards it and nurture within us a spirit to give back to the world that we owe so much to.

It is our education that empowers us to think of the society at large and not remains trapped in our own bubble. An educated person does not only gain knowledge but with it, also get a sense of purpose of how to apply his knowledge. I sincerely believe that literate people cannot make this claim and that being literate does not mean that one is educated!

There are people who claim that they are “educated” only because they have undergone formal education and hold degrees. We call them ‘uneducated literate’. This brand of people is what most individuals in today’s world come under. The reason for this is simple. From early on in our lives we are taught to overlook many aspects of what education really means. In the race for trivial things like marks, society often conditions us in ignoring the principals of ‘artha shanti phala vidya’, which is that the true aim of education is to bring peace.

The government has tried to reduce the illiteracy rates by introducing several projects. Consequently, they try increasingly to make more and more people literate, thereby turning us into ‘literate society’. This, of course, is a very good thing but what it isn’t is the solution. How can it be when we have misunderstood the problem itself? We need to realise that the primary problem is fact that we are uneducated and lack awareness and not that we can read or write.

To bring about such a change is not easy as it requires not only change in education systems and policies but also change in the mindsets of the people. We ought to be a society with the soul and with an active thought process. The only way to overcome this is by rectifying the root causes of the issue i.e.  the people of the society. It is for us to remember that the moment we translate literacy into education we shall reach the tipping point. The point where the clear stream of reason shall emerge again from the dreary desert sand of dead habit where it was lost.

-Japneet Kaur Saluja

I didn’t use Facebook for 6 months and here’s what happened…..

I didn’t use Facebook for 6 months and here’s what happened…..
Like most of my millennial peers, I find it hard to stick to something for long and by saying that I don’t imply I can’t stick with my parents any longer (or maybe I do) ; I imply that I find it hard to stick to a particular phone model or a subject book the night before the exam. Having said that, I’ve probably established in your mind that I am fickle. Fickle, not enough to ruin my exam tomorrow, but surely enough to jeopardize my social life and image by letting go of the most trustworthy ledger of my conscious life – Facebook.
I joined Facebook when I was a few months shy of twelve and ever since, my social life has been recorded on it, although I was an introvert throughout the school. It was the only portal to connect with friends and show them where I was traveling with my folks through pictures. It served me well for long but something drove me to quit this public digital diary. At the peak of my social life -engineering, where I meet new people every semester, meet with friends every weekend and am a part of a dozen student groups, it was a chaos.

socialmedia

As if having 700+ plus socially hyper active friends who post about anything and everything from shoes to hair to bikes isn’t enough, one is plagued by over-the-top cheesy birthday wishes. What’s worse than the wishes is the hype that’s built with countdowns and you’re in for extra cringing if you are single and these posts in your circles are mostly for people’s significant others. Even if I could keep up with this, I lost when people around me start stalking exes, ex-crushes, ex-friends, ex-schoolmates and oh, of course, current crushes, current friends, current unknowns and blah blah blah.
Last December, my New Year resolution was the same, exercise often and do better at exams but suddenly in January, it was “stay off of that” and voila, I erased myself from my circles by deactivating my Facebook account. How did I last 6 months you ask? Well let’s just say I was that fed up with the drama and smaller circles on WhatsApp, snapchat and Instagram helped (they really are small!).

So what happened in the past six months? Something astronomical (OMG! She quit FB!?) or something atomic (She quit FB! Bleh!)? Well, I won’t act old and say I saved time or say this has indirect health benefits. I would rather call the change in me, sagacious.
Firstly, the realization that I don’t need Facebook to validate my social life along with the absence of the chaotic super flow of irrelevant media and information has helped me rebuild my image and concentration. Not that they were very broken before, not that they’re perfect now but I do feel better when I look in the mirror. I feel relieved sans the constant dumping of posts into my brain.

Secondly, I connected better with friends and family and talked more with them since I didn’t have prior knowledge of what they were already doing and where they already were. I finally was no longer an introvert. Ironically, although I connected with everyone I knew on Facebook, I was still an introvert.

Thirdly and most importantly, pulling off something as random and crazy in public opinion as this for this long gave me confidence that I had the willpower to do anything and the reassurance that I still have a social life, actually with the closer ones now.
In a nutshell, it did me better than harm but hold on there if you think I’m prescribing you abstinence from this virus. You are your own doctor here and need to judge your own medicine. Think twice before you quit because Facebook without glamorous socialites is very dull (laughs) also where will you get that many memes?

By- Ananya Bal 

Air India: A case against privatization

The government recently announced plans for privatization of Air India. In a time where you will be hard-pressed to find articles screaming for its disinvestment, THEPCKartikeya Jain brings you a counter-narrative

If you would have asked me some years back, I would have been scathing in my condemnation of the unending cash pile being afforded to Air India. Why must a taxpayer bear the burden of governmental inefficiency and bureaucratic red tape? Indeed, a couple of weeks back one of my colleagues, in this very space, branded Air India as a vestige of the License Raj. But in the true spirit of devil’s advocacy that I’m fond of, I will tell you why the government washing its hands off Air India mess might not be the best path ahead.

The logic behind disinvestment can be summed up in a single statement: governments are inefficient in running businesses. Air India is evidence enough to support this claim. It has racked up intolerable debt (most of it capital working debt arising out of operations), its balance sheets run in red and it has given way to political pressure (both in the form of pandering to employees and appeasing government officials).

The prime argument against privatizing Air India is that the measure is just botox against larger, more systemic structural problems. What do I mean by this, you ask? Well, the idea that the government is inefficient (especially ours) is absolutely true. What I believe, however, is that this inefficiency and its causes are not limited to Air India, but rather exists in every space the government operates in: from ministries to RTO offices. The focus, therefore, should be on trying to create accountability mechanisms to keep the government in check. The attitude that drowned Air India, pervades in almost every other governmental operation. It is a known fact that prime flight spots were given to private to private players under duress, there is a considerable clout exerted by politicians which negatively impact the airline and the airline is subject to bureaucratic red-tapism. But don’t these factors exist in some form in almost every Sarkari Daftar from pension offices to industrial land grants by state governments.

By this, of course, I’m not trying to say that Air India’s failure is justified. If the Prime Minister hopes up to live up to his slogan of ‘Maximum governance, minimum government’, it doesn’t mean that he has to cut the fat, but rather he has to jog the entire system and make it healthy. It is high time that offices, even Sarkari ones, take lessons from the corporate and operate with efficiency. Efforts were made in the case of Air India with Railway services officer Mr. Lohani (who did a tremendous job as the Managing Director of MP Tourism) taking over Air India’s top job. There were numerous shake-up efforts, but all that turned out to be futile. The simple reason is that the inertia was too large to break. Air India could have easily monetized the prime real estate it sits on and cleared off a major portion of its debt, it could have chosen to streamline operations, but none of that happened. The true essence of this story is that we need to make sure the government is responsible for its actions. Just because Air India is a visible failure in a competitive industry, doesn’t mean privatizing it will wash off the government’s sins. The government needs to be made accountable and efficient even in its own offices and places where no competition exists. Because of its visibility, Air India is just a good way of forcing the government to tackle its structural problems.

One major pitching point for privatization supporters is that it would restore investor confidence by showing that the government is willing to reform. But as I said, in the larger picture this move would be simply cosmetic. India falters on major points. Even after this dispensation’s pro-business reforms, we still rank 130th on the ease of doing business while out corruption perception rating remains towards the lower end. If we want to build true investor confidence, our government needs to work on those critical points. While some steps have been taken in the direction, the inertia has not changed a lot. The right path, therefore, is to make sure the current government lethargy is removed from all its places, much like how a corporate function.

Even if we keep aside the dire situation of the industry Air India operates in (only one company has booked consistent profits), there is some value attached to Air India. For instance, Air India brings back flies and brings back empty planes in the Hajj season, it was involved in the brave rescue of Indians and other nationals from Yemen and is a charter for the government. More importantly, Air India connects a number of remote destinations which might not necessarily have high passenger traffic. It operates in over a 100 airports, which is far more than its closest peer. With the focus on regional connectivity (which caters to places with low passenger loads, thus not lucrative to private players), and a levy on airfares for the same, it is not far-fetched to assume that the industry may be subject to more regulation. In fact, some MPs had raised the demand of capped or fixed airfares in the Parliament. With the Prime Minister flagging off an Air India ATR from the Shimla Airport under the regional connectivity scheme, it is obvious that the Air India helps keep the private airlines’ airfares in check and aid the government objectives.

In conclusion, while privatizing Air India might seem like the chant that every pro-reform pro-business liberal Indian should have on his lips, we can’t truly be a pro-business efficient state unless we make sure that the government imbibes corporate lessons and efficiency rather than washing its hands off of the places it fails in.

-Kartikeya Jain