Friday, May 09, 2008


Random walk through a standard British High street shopping complex. Visible are the many children who are out. The sun is high and thereby a lot more people are outside their homes. This is the place with next, Oasis, HMV, M&S, Clarks, Primark, Boots, River Island, Debenhams, Top Shop...etc etc..

I see: an English Couple..who I think were in the Chav category. Her in a tight fitting low cut top, and a short denim skirt, loads of makeup, hair scraped tight against her skull, about 4 ear piercings and what looked like too much fake gold. Him in a hooded sleeveless Tshirt, jeans slung low and bright red sneakers. They had a child of about 4 sitting in a push chair. Above his head with animated faces I saw him telling her how the new toy works. The toy in question was a big black plastic gun which was had been bought by him for their little one. The conversation was animated in appearance and the child looked quite involved in the whole thing.

Slighly further on I see: An Asian couple. The standard jeans and T shirt with white sneakers for both. Standing with their 4-ish year old. The child was staring at distant nothing while the parents above his head were busy discussing the new book they had bought for the little one. A book on how to improve handwriting in 4-7 year olds. It was a serious looking discussion with much frowning, shaking of the head in the horizontal 8 figure, gesticulation and finally nodding. The child did not look interested or excited in the least. He was strapped into his pushchair.

What struck me was the seriousness of the second conversation. What made me notice the two cases was the fact that these 2 couples were standing only a few feet away from one another. I do not understand the promotion of guns as toys. Do 'boys' really need them to turn into real 'men'? But what I do not get either was the need to push your child into perfect handwriting..specially with the schools on a break and the summer holiday for schools not far off.

Did I notice them because of the colour of their skin and difference in their activities based on stereotypical image of race? - perhaps yes. What made me write this was because the situation was one which appeared black and white to start with and turned out to be completely grey when analyzed.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Dr Morpheus...

I passed. The viva was tough, I got asked the generic questions I expected..but also unexpcted detailed, specific questions..between two people..they went on firing question after question, with no was not fun!
But they concluded..I should get the Doctorate..and I did.
I have some corrections to do..which do not worry me..we all (at PhD level) get them. So yup...I am done. Its been a roller coaster journey..with me hanging on to the need to finish..the reason to finish. Loads of times I did feel the PhD was taking over my did...but life goes one wise friend of mine cant put your life on hold and get into 4 years of research..truth!!

Challenges..personal, financial, emotional...they all came. But with two to cajol, encourage and comfort me, and one who kicked my arse got done.

The Man gets a special mention..for making tea, getting me everything from paper, to post-its and asprins. From telling me I will finish, I better finish..and ofcourse..the last one before the viva..if you dont pass..we buy a one way ticket to India..and stay pressure then huh?

Family and friends..who encouraged, used negative psychology on me..pestered me, asked me..pestered me..told me things like..'I am growing old watching you study', 'now everyone knows you are doing better finish it', to saying..'ofcourse you shall do it, ofcourse you shall doubt is silly, but we shall pray for you anyways'..

Thanks one and all.

But..mum gets the last word..'I never thought YOU would would walk around school, cut classes at Univ, scrape past in Physics, fail miserably with single figure marks(out of 100) at Maths..get bored and get told off for staring out of the classroom. You wanted to not graduate but do a fine art course..I am happy and surprised that you have managed to climb up the furthest on the education ladder..there is nothing beyond this..I am proud and stand corrected in my judgment of what children are capable never does know'...

Thanks Ma.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pass or Fail

Why do I need to think about this...for the past few weeks I have been worrying about defending my thesis. The problem in UK being..there are no assurances of a pass, you have to defend a thesis completely and competently..else..a FAIL is a possible..very possible option. I was told only 40% of UK researchers who start a PhD complete it, the rest drop out. I was also told that only 30% of that 40% pass the viva :) SUCH FUN!!

Now I am sitting and earnestly wishing I had rewritten some parts, used a lot more than the 327 books I read..but hey..I think its too late.

So I shall crack on with preparing for any question in or outside the book. Apparently a PhD is given to those who:
- make a useful and original contribution to a field of knowledge
- who show expertise in the area they are working in
- should know all work done previously in the field at all levels
- should be able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the field
- should have used academically acceptable sources and methods of work
- should have in thesis presented a coherent and well sustained argument about the work

..and the list..goes on..

Problem do not get marks - its a pass or a fail. hmmm! yup!! Thats the way it is..

I shall get back to my books!