Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Some commonly heared conversations

As I was waiting for the tum-tum near my hostel, I overheard conversation between two parents who had come with their children for the IIT-JEE counseling. The conversation took place in Hindi, but for my benefit I'll present a translation.

Parent 1: Where are you from?

Parent 2: Kota.

Parent 1: Who has got selected to IIT?

Parent 2: My son.

Parent 1: What is his rank?

Parent 2: 540. What is your son's rank?

Parent 1: Some response that I cannot hear.

The conversation then moves on to what branch is to be selected, which IIT to go to, jobs etc. This has become a common feature, where relations are based on the foundation of something prestigious. The two parents who began to discuss stuff, came together only because their sons had a JEE rank to brag about.

Many times, discussion between two PhD scholars is also along similar lines. After the initial hi-hellos, come the patent questions- "How many publications do you have?" Followed by- "How many journal ones?", "What is the impact factor rating of the journal?" After these questions, each of them decide in their minds, what kind of relation should be maintained with the other. So, the quality of a PhD scholar is benchmarked by the number of publications he manages, rather than the quality of his work. What also happens is that this then leads to marking of the sincerity of the particular scholar.

People are making judgments on insufficient statistics. The basis of the relation is something which makes you feel either superior or inferior to that person. So, if you are superior, then you try to become the boss. If you are inferior you try to play second fiddle in the relation.
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