The Rich, Vibrant, Open, Young Minds At Paramarsh 2015, Vadodara...
By Faridoon Shahryar
It is such an encouraging experience when you interact with enthusiastic students who are keen on acquiring the wealth of knowledge and that too with an open mind. I delivered a lecture to the students of the faculty of technology and engineering at Maharaja Sayajirao University here in Vadodara at the final day of their annual college festival 'Paramarsh 2015'. I spoke about the changing face of journalism in India. I shared a few of my personal thoughts and experiences but I specifically harped on the importance of 'Credibility' and why 'Honesty with a little bit of common sense is still the best policy'. Six students came forward and I interviewed them. We spoke about their future plans, why travelling is very important to open windows of the mind and why they need to work towards becoming better human beings to dilute the burgeoning competitiveness that puts undue pressure on young minds. What's the point in burning out when there's so much to do, so much to see, so much to treasure and so much to be happy for. I also emphasised on the importance of communication skills. You may be having the best of technical knowledge but if you can't put your point of view across in clear terms, it will always be a drawback. People are the most important resource and how you communicate with them can either distance you, or endear you to them. Choice is yours. Efforts are yours. And, its all worth it!
I genuinely hope that the young minds that I met today and the young minds of this great country will always put merit, liberal mindset, equality, rationality and inclusiveness above anything else. I hope they will shove out the obsolete, divisive and dangerous mindset out of the way and usher in a new India that's the pride of the world. A boy said that he likes cinema that advocates rationality, films like PK and OMG-Oh My God, films that denounce superstition, over emphasis on religion and backwardness. It was really nice to hear his thoughts.
The student volunteers took wonderful care of me. Phaphda, Jalebi, Chhole and some other Gujarati delicacies kept my taste buds truly satiated. One of the coordinating students, Nensi Patel showed me the campus of the faculty of technology and engineering. The campus is partly based in the Palace of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad and partly it has been built by the government. A very strong 45000 students force is studying in MS University, Vadodara. I was told about an App that has been created for the university and has had 15000 downloads. All the information pertaining to the University is regularly updated on this App. Paramarsh 2015 is entirely organised by the students, who've gone out and sourced many sponsors. I saw an Eifel Tower made out of newspapers, a painting that celebrates the beauty of Venice and many such creations dotted the lawns of the campus. I was felicitated during the closing ceremony. It felt as if I've become a part of the grand institution.
My friend Atik showed me the more modern side of Vadodara in the evening. A vibrant city dotted with malls and multiplexes. A city blessed with the rich heritage of Maharaja Sayajirao Rao Gaekwad and his family, sprawling cricket grounds, Parsi Havelis and much more. The wide roads are a treat. We savoured the succulent Bhuna Gosht at Marhaba Restaurant. The aroma and the taste lingers on. Paan from Paras Pan Bhandaar was divine as well. The cool breeze was intoxicating as I ruminated about a memorable day. It was surely inspiring to work towards many more such memorable days in the future. Inshallah. Good night!