XOXO to Team 4B

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Last moments of Spelling Bee competition finals for Class 4.

Tie between 4G and 4B.

The tiebreaker question is to find a single word substitute for “One who works for free”

The team that spells the correct answer first will be the winner.

Hectic discussion between the nine year olds. There were four members in each teams.

Team 4B first with the buzzer.

“M – O – T – H – E – R   Mother”

There was a moment’s silence in the hall.

A moment of confusion.

The Spelling Bee master’s assistant, the scorer,  froze in front of the whiteboard.

Turn of Team 4G.

“V – O – L – U – N – T – E – E – R  Volunteer”

“Mary ma’am hugged them first… kissed them too… She is 4G class teacher! And it was 4G who won!” Vinayak is furious, he was in Team 4G.

“But I saw her hugging and kissing you all”


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What is there in a title!

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“You have to lose battles to win wars” tweets the unit head at 11.59 pm on the last working day of the month.

“My dear Watson, what do you infer from this?” Sherlock Holmes who happens to see this asks his buddy.

After a moment’s silence…

“The unit head sleeps in a tent in the battle field… someone steals his…”

“Tent!… he wakes up and sees the stars!!… you idiot! You are yet to get over that old Readers Digest joke doing the rounds in  facebook”

“Watson… first, the poor guy failed to meet the monthly target this time. Second, he got a dressing down from his boss this evening. Third, it was done in front of  the XXXX [a reference to the nationality, a synonym of ‘charming’] secretary  and, last, he did not open his mouth during the entire ceremony”

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I apologize

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A participant from a recent technical training session forwarded this to me…


The teacher was amazing…

Headwind, tailwind, wing angle of attack…

Great information indeed!

I had asked her “ma’am how I’ll estimate the wind direction”

She pointed a blower to me and giggled…

“Look at the feathers at your tail… if they tilt left, the wind is to left.. that’s it”

You all laughed at me!

I memorized everything she mailed me… everything!

See what happened!

I was just looking at my tail feathers

To feel the crosswinds as she told

To adjust my wing angle before landing on the cliff

Just as she told!


The message is clear. My apologies.

But Mr. Eagle, how come you landed in a high school course session on basics of flying?


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Why I discontinued the edX course …

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A google search for study materials on fundamentals of mechanical vibrations a few months back led me to an exotic world of free online learning.

Yes, I am talking about edX [Let me warn you, it is highly addictive].

I became a regular visitor and tasted many of the archived courses.

edX 1

There were many subjects  I have been longing to learn for long.

Great teachers. With due respect to all those who taught me in schools; a class apart…

And great instructional technics…

And the freedom to take the courses at one’s own pace and convenience…

I soon found myself addicted to www.edx.org

One course that caught my attention recently was the Introduction to Marketing course, started in January 2016.

edX 2

Why Marketing!?

You may be wondering…

What is that interesting in marketing for an automobile engineer who is almost lost among machines?

It is something like…


What shall I compare it to!?

The little swallow of Happy Prince may understand it better!

Yes… the little swallow!

Anyone remember the little swallow in Oscar Wilde’s Happy Prince who courted the ‘most beautiful reed’ the whole summer?

“He was flying down the river after a big yellow moth, and had been attracted by her slender waist that he had stopped to talk to her”

Wasn’t it something similar?

I followed the course diligently the next couple of weeks…

It was contagious…

Soon the twelve year old left the online magic courses and joined me in edX with an archived course in Geometry.

edX 3

The improvement he made in Geometry in three weeks! You have to see it to believe it.

A CRDI engine with a strange complaint at a distant location and a level 3 course in NVH troubleshooting kept me away from edX for a few days.

By the fourth week of January when I sat with the twelve year old again he was completing a survey at the end of the geometry course.

“How do you compare this course with the courses of Khan Academy?” a seemingly innocuous question in the survey had an option “I don’t know about Khan Academy” as answer which was duly selected by the twelve year old.

We never heard of Khan Academy before. Neither son nor father.

The twelve year old did start another edX course in Algebra the same day. But the third day he dropped out of edX.

edX lost one of their customers to Khan Academy!

Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning, Branding… By this time I had started planting terms like these in casual conversations with unsuspecting colleagues.

“So he flew round and round her, touching the water with his wings, and making silver ripples”

And the twelve year old left edX for Khan Academy which was totally unknown to him till the survey at the end of the geometry course.

Someone comes to buy a car from you. A FXXX or a TXXXXX or a XYZ…

You take him around…you explain the features…you let him drive the demo car… and when he is about to leave, he has not made a decision yet, you ask him ‘How do you compare our XXXX with the SKYACTIV Mazdas?’

‘SKYACTIV? Mazda??’ it seems the customer is unaware,  one moment please… this is just an example… but I have seen recently a Nokia 3310 owner, an aged vegetable vendor in our village ridiculing his friend’s touchscreen mobile “12000 bananas! And not even a single button!”

So what do you think? Will the customer forget the ‘SKYACTIV’ and ‘Mazda’ on his way home and come back to take one of your cars?

I don’t expect that… he may come back… in his new SKYACTIV Mazda3 or CX-3, if he could pull his heart off the charms of the MX-5… to thank you!

That question of yours was a blunder my dear!

So was the survey question from edX. “How do you compare this course with the courses of Khan Academy?”

I am not here to compare Khan Academy with edX. I am leaving it to you.

I felt disillusioned with the edX course in marketing… How can I continue after I see them making such a blunder!

“You have been trifling with me”, the little swallow cried, “I am off to the Pyramids. Goodbye!” and he flew away.


A loss of face

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“Acha how many faces does a cylinder have?”

I did not see the trap PQM2 has laid.

I conferred the title PQM2 to the eight year old recently.

The elder one, now twelve, is PQM1.

Oh, I forgot to tell…

PQM is Perpetual Question Machine.

Hope you remember PMM1 and PMM2… and the time and paper wasted on designing one…

PQM1 is no more active.

He has found more reliable resources.

PQM2 is a little mischievous.

I had observed on many occasions that he already knew the answers of the questions he asked.

Internet, Britannica, an elder brother who has answers for all the questions that can ever be thought of…

Then why he asks me!?

I often wonder…

Usually he starts firing immediately after I finish some telephonic conversation with colleagues on technical issues.

He watches me closely.

The elder is into intergalactic travel and does not find automobiles that amusing.

Lengthy the conversations will be…

I will be taking notes, referring manuals, …

He waits patiently till it ends.

May be he just wants to to show that life is not that easy at class 3 either…

“Three… three of course!… two flat and one curved…”

“And how many edges?”

I could see streaks of a mischievous smile piercing his tightly closed lips…

“Two… what happened Sid? It is very clear… three faces and two edges”

“You get zero marks!” he is emphatic.

“See this definition” he opened his text book ” a face should be flat… so only two faces for the cylinder… and the faces do not meet… so zero edges!”

Mission accomplished…

He has proven again that it is easy to make a mistake in mathematics…

“Don’t worry acha”

He is considerate over his father’s feelings…

He opened another text book.

“See this XXXXX School text book! What you said is correct. Three faces and two edges”

“I checked in net… XXX says three faces and two edges… YYY says two faces and zero edges”

XXX and YYY are two educational sites his big brother is frequenting.

“Acha… Alex got a baby sister… Alex says it is a Christian baby… Last week Yasir got a baby sister too… it was a Muslim baby… Acha…. what was I when I was born?”

“I see! But, Acha how did you find that I was a Hindu baby?”

A few weeks back I had overheard his brother enlightening him  on how to distinguish a baby boy from a baby girl.

Is he expecting some parallels here?!

Sid is always like this.

He jumps from one question to another.

I pretended I didn’t hear the question.

An answer will be taking us all the way to Adam and Eve.

“Acha which one will be faster… an yellow… nonono… a yellow… a … a yellow Camaro or a green Camaro?”

Sid is always like this.

He jumps from one question to another.

MazTech Middle East & Africa 2015

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It is hard to reach the top…

MazTech 1

How is it to remain there…

IMG-20150902-WA0022 (2)

Ask Team Galadari who retained the Top Spot at the recently concluded MazTech ME & AF


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