I forgot to buy him yogurt…

Blissfully unaware

Blissfully unaware

It’s an act that is small enough for anyone to say, “so, what?”

Somebody didn’t get something as trivial as yogurt and yet after 3 months, this ‘little’ miss continues to haunt me. So what is so big about forgetting to buy yogurt? It is all about the context.

Consider a knight who is loved, respected, honoured but most of all is a visible icon of success. Kings, dignitaries, and even the common man die to be in the same air space as this king. For years his words are hung on to by every wannabe and kings and royalty lap up his every suggestion. He commands a presence that few have, rising from penury to become iconic. He creates history in his world and is nothing short of a living legend.

Now think of the same knight stripped of his glory, shunned by kings and loathed by many. His own countryman does him in and humiliates him. It’s almost like there is a conspiracy to bring this knight in shining armor down. Then picture the knight in prison. Gone is shining armor, gone are his trappings and he looks more common than a commoner. He is deprived of basic luxuries even his love for yogurt.

I met this knight a couple of years ago when he was still going through the bitter trial that questioned (and continues to question) his integrity. The same trial was to end in catastrophic failure, stripping him off his armor. Even at that time I could see the blazing eyes and the determined posture. My friend had given me some background; after all the knight and he had known each other since 6th grade. The first meeting was a fleeting one. The second interaction was a long distant one. The third one in my friend’s house brought it all home to me.

I got to see the man from the inside. I got to hear about a disturbed childhood, the struggling teen years, the fascinating college years and then it skipped to being a father and a grandfather. The years riding his many horses, conquering many hearts, winning accolades and leading crusades were almost irrelevant in his eyes. He was being tried for a crime he couldn’t believe he was being tried for. His every pore cried out his innocence and his every smile reflected the forced reality on him.

I saw in him the father finding solace in the words of his daughter’s song while his eyes stared into the distant; probably viewing an abyss whose bottom still eluded him. I can’t remember the song, its words or the tune but I cannot forget the knight’s sullen eyes. I didn’t know what the hostility was directed against−was it against the system? Was it against the accusations? Or was it just plainly against himself? We spent two days talking, playing cards and trying to keep our ‘chin up’ at the trial that was at that time still on.

I got to know the sensitive side of a man I hardly knew. My assessment didn’t carry the baggage of having known him as a child or as the head of a global institution. I just got to know the friend of a friend who was fast becoming my friend. I had read about him and I had read about the trial before I had met him. A thousand questions raced through my head and not a single one made it to my tongue. I watched him move with the grace of a swan and the pride of a lion. In his voice I heard conviction. It was in his thoughts and in his speech that I got a faint glimpse of where he went wrong. His thoughts betrayed him because at many times he was distracted by the conversation; he was seeing the speaker, but his mind was racing elsewhere. In a bid to cover his thoughts he would respond with a “yeah, yeah, yeah” in quick succession. My mind raced to the words at his trial; the prosecutor had used this set of responses to prove that the knight was a co-conspirator in a heinous crime. And that was the first time I thought that perhaps the justice system had gotten it wrong.

He drove me to the airport in his spanking new Audi A6. We hugged like friends before I entered the airport to board my plane back home. Over the next many months I wrote to him but didn’t get any response. I knew there were a thousand things going through his head at that time. A response to me could wait. I watched the news and kept Google Alerts on for news of his appeal. And then one day the appeal, the sentencing and the wait were all over. He was found guilty and sent to prison.

Life seen in black and white can look frightening

Life seen in black and white can look frightening

I called him up the moment I heard the news; our time difference made me wait before I could get him on the phone. I remember his words “I am treating this as another phase of learning in my life.” I didn’t know this man to say I was shattered or be melodramatic with my words, but somewhere deep inside I felt hollow. I called my friend who was his friend and I spoke to him. There weren’t any options but go to prison. The appeal would have to be contested from within the system. The sentence was for 2 years. To me it sounded like 2 lifetimes. He went to prison and I spent the next 5 months getting permission to visit him there. I didn’t know when I would be able to since the prison was many thousands of miles away from me, in a foreign land. And then I got the opportunity to be in a city not far from the prison. I knew I had to visit him. I had to keep my promise. I had to keep the faith and most of all I wanted to be a friend in deed. The day arrived sooner than I thought it would but even then the knight was already in prison for 6 months.

As the jet touched down at… (to be continued)

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Careers in Publishing

Publishing is NOT printing. This is perhaps the reason many aspirants shy away from considering mainstream publishing. It’s true that publishing began with printers and printing presses, however, this changed when printing and publishing became specialised. Today, hardly any publisher owns a printing press.

There was a period in the late 1990s and early 2000s when publishing was going through a phase of reinventing itself. The digital age was dawning and the Internet was spreading its web. Since then Publishing has truly matured and there has never been a better time to explore this as a prime career option.

Look around you, do you know the web page you visit, the article you read, the ad that you love so much and even the product information you seek are all a form of publishing? There isn’t an area of life that publishing doesn’t touch and yet very few think about joining this industry.

It’s true that when one thinks of a ‘publisher’ one tends to use it as a synonym for ‘book publisher’. And that is where people confuse themselves. Publishing is about disseminating knowledge (content) and NOT just about putting out a book. There are many types of publishers but there are some common opportunities across all types of publishers.

Editor: at last count SAGE had about 16 definitions for this term. I am going to focus on the top 3 types of editors.

Commissioning/Acquisition Editor: This editor is the one responsible for acquiring content for a publishing house. At one time these were perhaps the most powerful individuals in a publishing house and their craft was hidden under many layers. There are just two basic traits one needs to be able to excel at this:

  1. The first is a clear understanding of the publishing vision and or publishing priorities. Each publishing house has a clear focus area of publishing. It is the responsibility of the Commissioning/Acquisition Editor to ensure that every type of content clearly aligns with the focus area.
  2. The second is commercial sense. A good editor knows where the content will sell, how much it will sell for and how much of it will sell. Yes it takes some time to develop this but in today’s world, the learning (as can all learning) can be fast tracked.

This is a front facing job where the person is expected to travel and meet with potential authors. It needs someone who is an extrovert, knowledgeable in a given subject area, articulate in the language one wants to commission in and the ability to be a sales person. No, he is not supposed to sell the content to the end consumer, he needs to sell the publishing house to the content creator AND to sell the content to internal stakeholders within the publishing house.

Production Editor: this is the editor that takes over from where the commissioning editor acquires content. In smaller publishing houses the role of a Commissioning Editor is merged with that of a Production Editor. This type of editor coordinates the cleaning, structuring and finalizing content. He (she) is aware of the language styling and content structuring that works for the publishing house. There are two clear needs of excelling at this job and a third that is great to have.

  1. A very good command of the language. Good production editors are fluent in the language they are working in. They need to have the ability to spot errors especially in areas such as titles, section headers etc. They need to communicate efficiently between the content creator and other types of content processors (such as language editors).
  2. The second is the ability to multitask and manage schedules. “Time is money” is their mantra and every task they work on must be completed within an agreed timeframe. And there are always multiple projects running concurrently.
  3. A third skill that works but isn’t an absolute essential is diplomacy. Production editors typically handle lots of sensitive authors.

Copyeditor: if you have a love for the language and the ability to spot errors, it this sort of editor that is valued very highly. They have to have outstanding language skills especially written ones. The rest of the skills can be learnt.

Away from the editors are a host of jobs that are equally challenging.

Sales: With publishing changing the forms of delivering content, sales has now opened up possibilities like never before. Gone are the days when sales people had to haul backbreaking loads of books. Digital catalogues and computer data are today’s tools needed to sell content. A bright person with a charming smile and a can do attitude will help make a great career in sales.

Marketing: Many people confuse sales with marketing and that is where the similarities end. Marketing is about highlighting the virtues of a product or series of products and placing these before the correct (target) audience. The Internet, online selling, web pages, social media, etc. require loads of targeted data. This is where design, branding and timing come together to produce marketing materials that drive sales.

While publishing is synonymous with publishers there is another universe that very few people are conscious about. This is the universe of service providers. While China became the manufacturing capital of the world, India quietly created a dominating position in knowledge processing. Today almost all types of global (English) content (static text, images, moving images, animation, web, etc.) flows through India. This industry hires more than 3 times the number of people all of publishing hires.

 

So when you think about careers in publishing don’t just think about books or magazines or journals, think about content, its structuring, cleaning and dissemination. While publishers do this directly, service providers do this indirectly. The result is a great rewarding and fulfilling career in Publishing.

This article has been published in the Employment news. You can read the published article at this link. Careers in publishing

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The state of K-12 education – a case study by a parent

 

My daughter is a bright student she generally stands in the top 3 of her class. But I haven’t really stressed her out when it has come to achieving results. She is competitive and a hard worker. She is currently in Class 7 but the case I refer to is of her final results in Class 6. It was thus a surprise that from a 10.0 CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) in Class 5 she dropped to a 9.7 CGPA (in her final report card). This is after she has been a 9.9 CGPA performer until the Final Exams. And one would infer that she did badly in her finals and hence the CGPA dropped. The truth is she actually performed best in her final exams. The school in question is the K R Mangalam World School, GK 2.

Here are some statistics.

Prior to her final exams she had an average of 93.4% and she had a CGPA of 9.9. At the end of her final exams her average for the year actually increased to 94.86% and her CGPA drops to 9.70. I first ignored the score until my daughter asked me a simple question

“Papa, if I did better in the finals and my average marks have increased, how come my results don’t show this?”

I had no answer to her question. I redid the maths and I visited CBSE’s website. I pulled out all her marks and all her assignments and plotted them in an Excel sheet. I contacted her class teacher who remained befuddled. I also got to know that following:

The topper in the class has marks totalling an average of 97% and that kid has a CGPA of 10.0

The student who got the second highest has an average 95.63% for the year and has a CGPA of 10.0

My daughter is the third highest and she has an average of 94.86% but has a CGPA of 9.7

The most glaring fact to me is that the difference between the 2nd and 3rd highest is 0.77% and the CGPA changes dramatically. Whereas the difference between the 1st and the 2nd is 1.37% (almost twice the difference between 2nd and 3rd) and there is no change in the CGPA. As a person who follows due process, I contacted the class teacher and sought an explanation. She in turn directed me to the “middle school in-charge”. I arrived at the K R Mangalam World School dropping all my appointments since the ‘in-charge’ could only see me that day between noon and 2 pm. I was there a little past noon. I sat in the waiting area ready with my statistics and the entire year’s worth of test papers assignments etc. The ‘in-charge’ walked there to greet me. She was in her late 20s or early 30s. She sat down politely and indicated that I may begin.

I began with my concern that an error had been committed and presented the evidence methodically. She listened with patronising patience and asked me if I had finished. I was taken aback. It was like she was on autopilot while I spoke. She replied by dismissing the evidence, ignoring the CBSE guidelines and gave me what was perhaps the standard pitch. I am listing them in random order.

  1. Marks for tests are only a section of the evaluation
  2. The teacher of each subject has access to a portion of the website where she stores marks for class work. Parents don’t get to see this
  3. The two types of marks (tests and teacher’s assessment) are then fed into a complex sheet received from the CBSE board.
  4. The sheet produces the end result.

I sat mesmerised at the speed with which this information flowed. It reminded of regurgitation.

She went on to elaborate that the report card reflected the academic marks but DID NOT reflect the marks the teacher has given. The final CGPA however, takes both marks into account.

I presented my interpretation of the information. In theory then, the marks my daughter got, while warranting a CGPA of 10.0 on their own, translated into 9.7 because the teacher added marks for classwork?

She vigorously nodded in agreement.

I then inferred that my daughter who was very good in answering tests was poor in classwork?

She agreed.

I stated that in all the parent teacher meetings and in all the assignments this was never discussed with us. I also have a few of the assignments and she has scored a 100% in each of them. I remained perplexed at the argument presented.

She stated that there was information about class activities that were with the subject teacher and the class teacher.

I inquired if I could get this so that I understand it?

She said it was confidential.

I said the future of my child is confidential from me?

She said it was a CBSE directive.

I had to add my CEO hat to the parent one I was wearing and I asked if she would like me to get this checked out with the board? As a publisher, I am sure I can speak to someone who knows about the issue.

She looked at me with a look that was a combination of disdain and concern. The concern was if I would actually do this and the disdain was probably a combination of “it’s not really my problem even if this is wrong.”

But the parent in me sensed that the child is at risk. Any action against the school would not be viewed kindly and my child might face the brunt of it. I had enough circumstantial evidence gathered over the years to feel this.

I thanked her for her time and left the school completely perplexed. Even a CEO who is supposed to be all-powerful is relatively helpless when it comes to his own child.

I spent the day in exploring options in my head. Later that evening I got a call from a parent. The parent wanted to understand the grade the ward had achieved. In a particular subject the grade entered was C. The parent told me the ward had a perfect score (close to 100% in all tests and exams) in that subject so the C wasn’t making sense. I asked for the CGPA and I was told it was 9.7.

My mind was whirring. My daughter had straight ‘A’s and ‘A+’ and not even a B. She gets 9.7. Here is a child with at least one C and it gets a 9.7 too. I asked for all the grades and marks. They were shared with me. I did my own calculation and the child had an average of 91.4%. This just didn’t make sense! How can 91.4% and 94.86% have the same 9.7 CGPA?

I asked the parent to meet the teacher and or the ‘in-charge’. The parent ended up meeting a different ‘in-charge’ since the two children study in different sections. I got the details about the meeting and it shook me to the core.

The in-charge was adamant that the grade was correct.

The same routine was followed but with one critical difference. The C, the ‘in-charge’ said was a result of academic marks + class work.

I was stunned.

I explained to the parent that this is NOT what I was told. I was told the grade in the report card reflected the marks achieved in the respective tests/exams. The CGPA was arrived at AFTER (mysteriously) adding marks for classwork in some mysterious Excel sheet. The parent was as aghast as I was.

How could the same school give two different stories to two parents? I think the only plausible answer is that they don’t think parents will compare notes.

How could they blatantly lie? I think because they know they can get away with it.

What is the worst that could happen? There were two options:

  1. The first is to stay in the school and fight the system. I firmly believe in this and I had put this to the test earlier. The test happened when my daughter informed me that this year the school is taking a bunch of kids to the USA. I looked at the proposal and said “Yes” in-principle. But I had questions about the trip and the disclaimers I was being made to sign. I did the correct thing. I typed up the concerns and sent them to the class teacher requesting for an appointment to discuss the issues. I didn’t receive a response. At the PTM where we were to deposit the first part of the payment, I again raised the issue. The teacher sent me to the ‘in-charge’ (Yes she was the same one that I was to meet for the CGPA issue a couple of months later). She feigned complete ignorance of my email and this is after 2 weeks of having sent it. She promised to ‘look into the matter’ and get ‘an appropriate person to talk to me.’ No one ever called and my email till this day remains unanswered. So do they care that I didn’t send my daughter? Not at all! Most parents are not even aware of the illegal clauses that they have signed up for and in the event of any mishap, the school or the tour operator is completely absolved of any responsibility. In the case of the CGPA issue, I knew it was futile to go to the principal or worse the chairman of the board. There is also the collateral damage that I am aware of as a parent. The wrath of a teacher/principal/chairman could fall on my daughter.
  2. The second is to find a different school for my daughter. Eventually I did change her school. But do you think it made an iota of a difference to the principal or anyone in the administrative board? To be fair, I got a lot of support from some teachers and parents. They urged me to talk to the principal. But I guess it was too much to expect a principal or the ‘in-charge’ or even someone in the administration department at least asking me why I wanted to change the school. I am sure that there is a mandate not to do this. The mandate is clearly a profit motive. My daughter got into K R Mangalam World School with hardly any donation and at a time when the school wasn’t as well-known as it is today. I am sure when word gets out that there is a vacancy many takers for the seat arrive. I am equally sure the donation has been severely hiked today and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other channels through which parents are made to pay extra for getting their child in.

 

That is the state of our education today. There is a paucity of schools and parents don’t want to fight the system. The only ones who fight the system are the ones who don’t have the ability to pay their way through. The rest sadly think giving money solves the problem. There are just too few seats for the number of aspirants in the country. There was a time schools were run for philanthropic reasons. Our laws still prohibit ‘for profit’ in education but it is this very law that yields the highest profits to those who know how to abuse it. Take a look at the balance sheet or net worth of founders of most private institutions. The net worth pre and post entering the education sector is staggering. Yes clever accounting hides the path and the Income Tax department is only concerned about the extra tax they are collecting. In the end it’s the children and the parents that silently suffer.

 

My daughter wasn’t even in Delhi when I made up my mind to change her school. I know that in the past she had resisted changing since she was very popular with her teachers and fellow students. I spoke to her on the phone and told her that I didn’t want her to feel bad and I would abide by her decision (if she didn’t want to change the school). It was her reply that gave me hope.

She said, “ Daddy, I worked very hard for my exams and I loved representing the school in all the competitions. I did everything I was asked for and I even took the blame for things I didn’t do. I don’t want to be in a school that lies.” I knew she had a rough year adjusting to the gruelling schedule of representing the school and having to perform in her studies. I am blessed that my daughter understood me and I was able to take an informed decision for her. But it left me reeling and thinking of all the parents who don’t have options or are too scared to raise their concerns. Don’t their children have a right to being treated fairly? I also wonder if the day will arrive when schools will be equally accountable to parents and to themselves.

My daughter is in a new school and she is happy. I am glad I could handle this effectively. This post is about sharing my experience. I leave it to the reader to draw their own inferences one way or another.

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“Snubbed by cops…” a familiar Indian tale

Friday’s paper had an article talking about a father who lost his savings to a fraud. The article describes how he didn’t let go of the fraudsters, traced them, and finally got them arrested. He still awaits getting his life savings of about ₹ 2 million. His photo and name are published.

Pardon me if I don’t reach for a box of tissues. I have little sympathy for the man.

Paying bribes is somewhat an accepted way of life for many. I don’t think the man thought twice about parting with his money to secure the ‘promised’ medical seat for his daughter. I am a father of a daughter. I wonder what lesson my daughter would learn from me, if I behaved in a similar fashion? Would she think giving or accepting bribes is acceptable?

I paused to think about this man’s daughter. Why didn’t she get a medical seat on merit? There are many possible answers – she probably didn’t qualify, or she didn’t get the college she wanted are two of the ready explanations that come to mind. So if she didn’t qualify, is it safe to assume she isn’t bright enough? Would she pass her medical exams or would daddy dearest try to bail her out with another round of bribes?

What if she did become a doctor, would she then think its OK to accept a bribe to treat a patient? After all she would feel obligated to repay the ₹ 2 million her father paid to get her into med school. What choices would she make in accepting the bribe?

Would it be preferential treatment to a rich paying customer to get preferential treatment over a poor person in dire need of medical attention?

What sort of human being would she become?

I am particularly close to doctors these days. For personal reasons I have had to visit a few for an ailing relative. I have closely observed doctors of all ages and experiences. There are the young ones eager to learn with a lot of decency in their approach to all who interact with them. They give me hope. There are senior doctors for whom patients are a side of meat. They are as polite as a butcher and as sensitive as stone. And yet they are truly remarkable in the work they do. I sympathise with them because I know how tiresome it would be to interact with a deluge of people every day. I think even if they sound clinical and cold, they are methodical and very good at what they do.

And then there are the ones I want to put on a pedestal and worship. These are experienced doctors with hearts of gold. They have the patience to answer every inane query the patient or relatives have. They have a smile that warms the room and they make you believe in the power of science and God.

So I wonder if these doctors got in on merit or did their fathers pay bribes? Did they graduate because they passed their tests or did they pay their way through to the degree? Would I trust a near and dear one to the care of a person who had perhaps never legitimately qualified to become a doctor?

It’s worth looking at the bribe paying father. Isn’t he aware that even paying a bribe is a punishable crime? What about the police? Are they not aware of this law? And the media, what about them? Why do they need to eulogise a person who has tried to beat the system with money?

I want to share a more positive experience though. I needed to get my driver’s license renewed. There were some formalities I had to complete before hand and I had a friend pay the renewal fees. On my appointed day, I was in and out of the Regional Transport Office in about an hour. The work was done methodically, courteously and without a single rupee being paid in bribe to anyone.

This is the India I want my daughter to see. I don’t want her to believe that money will set a wrong right nor will money buy her everything she wants. To the doctors who give people hope and to public servants who work honestly, I salute you…

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Will an Indian University have a world-class university press?

collage_logos_2

 

In the last week I have been asked this question twice. My answer has been YES and NO.

When anyone speaks of university presses they first think of Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Harvard University Press. I also think people will talk about a country specific university press and I think that is fair. There is a clear pattern discerned from these responses. The truly global university presses with visible brands are only in two geographical locations. The other truth is that all of these are at least 100 or more years old.

So does this mean the time for university presses is gone?

Here are some facts of the top three

  1. In the first few decades of their existence, these presses were not run as profit centres. They were run as cost saving centres.
  2. They began as service providers to their own academics.
  3. The word profit entered their lexicon late in the 20th
  4. They reinvented their business models when the word ‘profit’ had to be addressed.

The key to their survival and their growth lies in the 4th point – they had to reinvent themselves. That is also the answer to growing a truly Indian University Press.

I sat through committee meetings of two universities where the setting up of their own press was discussed. Within minutes of hearing them I asked a simple question.

“What is the single most important reason that an academic (your own or external) would want to publish with you?”

Let’s just say I heard lots of ‘reasons’ and demonstrated that each one of them was actually not going to get people queuing up to be published.

I recall the MD of one of the top 3 publishers mentioning the state of affairs with academics. He mentioned the author Stephen B Hawking who first published with the press, gaining academic integrity, and prestige in the process. When he was ready to publish what he thought was his seminal (and commercial work), A Brief History of Time, he sought a true commercial publisher. This is the mind-set of academics the world over. There is nothing wrong in the author’s action. Academic presses have an aura and a business plan that is distinctly different from commercial publishers. It is this difference that authors by and large are unable to understand.

There is a space that is no longer profitable for publishers to remain in. Some publishers have become ‘pay to publish’. They strive hard to distinguish themselves from the likes of vanity publishers and I don’t think they are working too well. University presses can fill this void.

What’s really stopping Indian University Presses from scaling?

There are a few presses in India; some in the private sector and others in the public sector. I could go into a long analysis but that’s not the point I am trying to make in this article. The biggest problem with University Presses in India is that they are running like the government in India. The decision-making is not driven by any sense of quality or commerce. In a bid to please, many shoddy and sub standard manuscripts get published and that doesn’t help in building the brand of the press. I am not pointing fingers or stating that there is any wrong being done deliberately; it’s the charter of the press (to publish research from the institute or from collaborating institutes) that is limiting the scope of what they can refuse to publish. Many times the press is treated as a printing centre and not a publishing one. The printing centre is to print whatever comes its way, exam papers, annual reports etc. Many a time this is at the cost of true researched content.

I was mildly amused when a representative of a major press claimed that they were tying up with an Indian university press. I am not sure what value one major international university press will bring to a smaller Indian one. The synergies though evident are more difficult to implement let alone scale.

I personally don’t think any Indian university press tying up with a publisher is a long-term solution. As long as there is transfer of publishing knowledge the model is worth exploring.

There is evidence to suggest that reinventing the press is possible even today. Technology is a key catalyst but somewhere the ingredients need to come together. Here is an interesting article about a university press where the elements have come together. This is the University of California Press putting together a monograph-publishing platform (Lumious) and an open access journal-publishing platform (Collabra).

I firmly believe if there is a university that actually wants to build a truly international press, it certainly can.

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The India on the other side of my balcony just got smaller

In August 2014 I wrote about the India across my balcony. Today I came to know it just got smaller. The house across the street is still there but a voice in there is no more.

If it were age that snuffed out a life I would be philosophical. If it were a natural calamity I would console myself. But I don’t know what to think or how to react because a young life got snuffed out because of human error.

Some of you may have read the news report in yesterday’s papers. A young girl was trampled to death by an elephant in Rajaji National Park. Her family and she flouted every single guideline on safety. They were in the middle of a forest, alone, after dark, and they shouldn’t have been there. The girl lived in the house across my balcony. I watched grow over the last 5 years. She is gone at the tender age of 14.

We can talk about life, we can debate about right and wrong. But the one thing we can’t do is ignore the fact that a young girl (not very much older than my own daughter) lost her life.

I go back to what I have been constantly saying; as a nation we are complacent about laws. We view warnings and safety recommendations with contempt. We want to take the path of least resistance even if we end up dead! Traffic lights are jumped and safety measures bypassed. I honestly don’t know what it would take for us to collectively get out of this slumber we have put ourselves in. When I see people jumping lights or whizzing past in a dangerous manner, I am tempted to chase them down and ask them where the fire is. What is so important that there is scant regard for life and limb not just your own but of your fellow human being?

Sometimes I feel I sound like an old man nagging away at a non-issue. And then sometimes I am confronted with the death of a young life. I know the death could have been avoided; the parents had no business being in the National Park. I want to go across the road to the house and I want to shake down the father. And then I wonder if the punishment he is currently going through behoves his crime.

I wish I could have told you Moumita that I watched you grow from a young girl to a young lady. I wish I could tell you that from across the balcony I saw a different world; a world you helped create with your smile. I wish I could tell you I am devastated that you left this world so early.

I wish I could tell you I am teary eyed.

I wish…

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The challenges facing publishing in 2015 – a Podcast

 CCC interview and podcast

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