Educated, or not

What a statement – the greatest gift of education is that you know nothing at all! It summarizes, to an extent, my 21 year ordeal (and maybe many of yours)! I always argue that there’s a humongous difference between literacy and education – a few people get it. But a lot of them don’t.

To be honest, although I went to some of the finest institutions to gain my education, I now feel sorry that my parents ended up wasting a whole lot of money on me, for I haven’t gathered much at all. Okay, that would be an exaggerated statement… I’d rather say that I didn’t know until it was too late as to why I went through all those painful formulae, or why the digestive system began at the mouth and ended at the anus. What I never understood till date was the discomfort my biology teacher faced, while explaining what ‘sex’ is!

School was one place I went, to be part of the ever-growing scandals. Mom always told me while braiding my hair in the morning – “Be good to teachers. Be good to friends. Don’t get into unnecessary stuff. Go to school, make friends but don’t forget to do your work!” when I reflect on it today, I understand that she knew I’d never been the wallflower I always portrayed I was. Oops!

But seriously, ‘education’ while I was at school or college, would be those episodes when my history teacher would throw her book aside and just have a casual conversation over why Mahatma Gandhi had to protest against the British over salt tax by walking all the way from Sabarmati to the shores of Dandi.

After miserably failing a math exam, my teacher would tell me, “Look Deepika, it’s simple. If you want to have nothing to do with mathematics, ever, you’ve got to pass in it.” I took that advice and it’s been 6 years since I went back to (a+b)2 = a2 + 2ab + b2 – Oh… so that’s how it works! Damnit!

I never got the concept of “burning the midnight oil” although that’s exactly what I did! I never got the marks I was expected to. I was never known for the answers I write but for the answers I’d give back, verbally 😛

When I’d flunk a social studies paper, I’d have to hear stuff like “So, you might want to consider learning a few current affairs if you want to become a journalist.” Who LEARNS current affairs? I’d stink as a journalist if I had to learn current affairs! See, that’s exactly what I never understood about the education I received – why does everything have to be swallowed in thoughtlessly?

I guess my education, per say, has begun now. I sit all day in front of this screen – read, write – gather so much about the things I never knew at all. Get to know people, their stories and understand that life is beyond those text books and examinations. It’s about novels, about a book of handwritten poems, about understanding why refugees need to scamper out of their own country, their own homes and into the home of another, rather than learning about it.

Before you start thinking that I advocate against education, let me clarify. I’m not against education. Jumping from school to school, I’ve come to understand the different aims of educational institutions. For some, it may be means to be the best school performing at the boards while for others, it’s to provide individual attention to all students. But in the course of competing and giving individual attention, I believe, there’s a distance created between the the literal definition of ‘education’ and the one receiving it. I’m unfortunately, in that category of distanced receivers.

So, in response to Writing 101’s Day 5 assignment, the tweet above is what struck me as soon as I read it.

And I hope someday, I’ll make my peace with the concept of education but until then I’ll have to find solace in knowing that I am indeed lucky enough to discover the greatest gift of education – I know nothing at all! 🙂


Table for one, please!

I wonder at times what’s actually wrong – choosing to be alone, or being lonely, in itself. It’s a little confusing when I’m asked why I’m at a place all by myself… why not? I guess it’s the general tendency to connect absolutely irrelevant dots – “she’s alone, oh the poor thing… she might have had a bad break up” or “she must be depressed about something” or even “nobody might want to hang out with her, let’s go and talk to her so she might feel better…” seriously people… ever heard of the phrase “me time”?

Today’s Writing 101 assignment was to get inspired by a picture. When I scanned through the ones on Unsplash, I came across this picture of a single cup of coffee on a table.


I thought of the days I visit coffee shops or ambient lounges by myself and ask the staff for a “table for one”. Frequently visited spots greet me with a smile and an occasional bowl of complimentary snacks, while I sit down to a cup of hot coffee or a mug of beer, with a book in hand – either to read or to write. I don’t know if they do it ‘coz I’m a really nice person or because they feel I’m a lonely soul.

If ‘lonely’ is equal to being unwillingly alone, then that’s not me… But I choose to be by myself at times, most of the time actually. I love being at my own disposal, not dependent on another, doing what I like when I like and more than anything, not having to explain the myriad shades of my mind to anyone while I stare into space.

Yes, there are times when being alone is the last thing I want. For those days, there are a few special ones standing by to make sure I’m not alone.

But honestly, I don’t get the whole concept of “No one ever wants to be alone” it’s a really sweet gesture by the one who thinks about it but there’s always this need for me to clear my head, to understand stuff, to work, or to just freak out. Being by myself lets me appreciate the little differences made to my life.

From couching at home, to sitting at a coffee shop, I’m never the ‘alone’ that’s perceived by people around. It’s just about having the choice to believe that my life is not defined by the people I’m with but by what I am, whether it’s solitarily or socially.

We love hanging out with those select few people who we call friends. Well, I’m my friend and I know that no one could understand me better than myself. If spending time with someone who understands you, gives you the happiness much needed, then what’s so painfully different about me being the “lonely” one?


<a href=””>Me Time</a>