Why Does Dumbledore Never ‘Deal’ with Severus Snape?

Well, everyone is aware, at Hogwarts, that Severus Snape, the great Potions Master is less than fair to Harry Potter and goes out of his way to penalize him and Griffindor every possible chance he gets.

He is ‘harsh’ taskmaster by Hogwarts standards. He seldom smiles or makes any effort at being friends with his class. He flaunts his dislike for some students openly, brazenly in fact. He is quick to suspect Potter of unlikely crimes.

He is hardly cordial even with his colleagues, some of whom have been his class mates. Dumbledore has been his Teacher. And yet…

McGonagal or Dumbledore doesn’t come running to rescue a student every time they are detained or snubbed. Other teachers are never caught running rabid whispering campaigns behind Snape’s back, although it might have been easy to do so – had the culture prevailed at Hogwarts, which DOESN’T seem to be the case!

The fact that he is undoubtedly one of the best Potions Master and does his best for his class seems to be enough consideration for his colleagues to leave him alone, even respect his decisions, even when they sense it might be biased – everyone is extremely courteous and careful to not start in-fighting among Teachers.

On the other hand let’s consider student behaviour : we do not find Malfoy running to his father with complaints about McGongal or Dumbledore quite as often as we would have expected. Although, he does manage to get Hagrid in serious trouble. Here again, funny thing happens. Dumbledore and Potter and company somehow manage to get him out of that scrape….

Or Griffindors running to their house mistress or the Principal, at any point of time – complaining about any of the other teachers.  Dumbledor does receive letters and even howlers from influential Wizard Parents, but the children are NEVER EVER allowed to get embroiled in any of that.

Does Hogwarts NOT LOVE its children then???

Now, my question is -is this – are these hall marks of a great institution then? What does it teach us – if at all – about “good” leadership in a school? What does it teach us about peer behaviour? About good governance at a citadel of learning?

What would have happened to Snape or Dumbledore or Lupin or MadEye Moody – had this been an Indian school for the noveau-riche?

What would have been Harry’s education like in an Indian school, with a history like he has? Would he still have had so much extra trouble as he did at Hogwarts – teachers pushing him extra hard nearly all the time – the good teachers, for his own good and safety, the malicious ones to get him down as much as was possible within the sanctimonious Teacher-Student relationship?

Those who do not know the story do excuse me. Those who do, what would you say?

Enjoy this funny post from Ranjani Mitra

Ranjani teaches at Riverside, Ahmedabad, and had mailed it this afternoon. Eeett eej  re-elly  phunny, so I  owanted to share it with you gyj.  Hope you hab phaan 🙂

This is ABCD definitions of Bengalis created by another Bengali.

 A is for Awpheesh (as in Office). This is where the average Kolkakattan goes and spends a day hard(ly) at work. And if he works for the ” West Bengal Gawrment” he will arrive at 10, wipe his forehead till 11, have a tea break at 12, throw around a few files at 12.30, break for lunch at 1, smoke an unfiltered cigarette at 2, break fortea at 3, sleep sitting down at 4 and go home at 4:30. It’s a hard life!

B is for Bhision. For some reason many Bengalis don’t have good bhision. In fact in Kolkata most people are wearing spectacles all the time.

C is for Chappell. Currently, this is the Bengali word for the Devil, for the worst form of evil. In the night mothers put their kids to sleep saying, æNa ghumaley Chappell eshey dhorey niye jabeö.

D is for Debashish or any other name starting with Deb-. By an ancient law every fourth Bengali Child has to be named Debashish. So you have a Debashish everywhere and trying to get creative they are also called Deb, Debu, Deba with variations like Debanik, Deboprotim, Debojyoti, etc. thrown in at times.

E is for Eeesh. This is a very common Bengali exclamation made famous by Aishwarya Rai in the movie Devdas. It is estimated that on an average a Bengali, especially Bengali women, use eeesh 10,089 times every year. “Ei Morechhey” is a close second to Eeesh.

F is for Feeesh. These are creatures that swim in rivers and seas and are a favourite food of the Bengalis. Despite the fact that a fish market has such strong smells, with one sniff a Bengali knows if a fish is all right. If not he will say ‘eeesh what feeesh is theesh!’

G is for Good name. Every Bengali boy will have a good name like Debashish or Deboprotim and a pet name like Montu, Bablu, etc. While every Bengali girls will have pet names like Tia, Tuktuki, Mishti, Khuku, etc.

H is for Harmonium. This the Bengali equivalent of a rock guitar. Take four Bengalis and a Harmonium and you have the successors to The Bheatles!
I is for lleesh. This is a feeesh with 10,000 bones which would kill any ordinary person, but which the Bengalis eat with releeesh!

J is for Jhola. No self respecting Bengali is complete without his Jhola. It is a shapeless cloth bag where he keeps all his belongings and he fits an amazing number of things in. Even as you read this there are 2 million jholas bobbling around Kolkata- and they all look exactly the same! Note that ‘Jhol’ as in Maachher Jhol is a close second
K is for Kee Kaando !. It used to be the favourite Bengali exclamation till eeesh took over because of Aishwarya Rai (now Kee Kando’s agent is trying to hire Bipasha Basu).

L is for Lungi – the dress for all occasions. People in Kolkata manage to play football and cricket wearing it not to mention the daily trip in the morning to the local bajaar. Now there is talk of a lungi expedition to Mt. Everest .
M is for Minibus. These are dangerous half buses whose antics would effortlessly frighten the living daylights out of all James Bond stuntmen as well as Formula 1 race car drivers.

N is for N ishchoi. This is the Bengali word for Obvious . It is the most interesting word in any expression !
O is for Oil. The Bengalis believe that a touch of mustard oil will cure anything from cold (oil in the nose), to earache (oil in the ear), to cough (oil on the throat) to piles (oil you know where!).

P is for Phootball. This is always a phavourite phassion of the Kolkattan. Every Bengali is born an expert in this game. The two biggest clubs there are Mohunbagan and East Bengal and when they play the city comes to a stop..

Q is for Queen. This really has nothing to do with the Bengalis or Kolkata, but it’s the only Q word I could think of at this moment. There’s also Quilt but they never use them in Kolkata.

R is for Robi Thakur. Many nany years ago Rabindranath got the Nobel Prize. This has given the right to all Bengalis no matter where they are to frame their acceptance speeches as if they were directly related to the great poet and walk with their head held high. This also gives Bengalis the birthright to look down at Delhi and Mumbai and of course ‘all non-Bengawlees’ ! Note that ‘Rawshogolla’ comes a close second !

S is for Shourav. Now that they finally produced a genuine cricketer and a captain, Bengalis think that he should be allowed to play until he is 70 years old. Of course they will see to it that he stays in good form by doing a little bit of “joggo” and “maanot”.
T is for Trams. Hundred years later there are still trams in Kolkata. Of course if you are in a hurry it’s faster to walk.

U is for Aambrela. When a Bengali baby is born they are handed one.
V is for Bhaayolence. Bengalis are the most non-violent violent people around. When an accident happens they will fold up their sleeves, shout and scream and curse and abuse, ôChherey De Bolchhiö but the last time someone actually hit someone was in 1979.
W is for Woter. For three months of the year the city is underwater and every year for the last 200 years the authorities are taken by surprise by this!
X is for XÆmas. It’s very big in Kolkata, with Park Street fully lit up and all Bengalis agreeing that they must eat cake that day.

Y is for Yesshtaarday. Which is always better than today for a Bengali (see R for Robi Thakur).

Z is for Jebra, Joo, Jipper and Jylophone.

Slumdog Millionaire

well, the story seems well researched, the costumes right, the settings perfect, the actors do justice to what has been assigned to them, they look their parts too, the music brings out the pathos, accentuates the horror of the characters’ experiences, Rahman Saab, you have been wonderful… the shots are neat, stylish too – and yet, I am afraid I couldn’t like Slumdog Millionaire as a movie.

I did not feel the excitement that I had felt with Shekhar Kapoor’s Elizabeth, that too a movie with a Director dealing with a foreign subject, foreign locale, actors. Or the way I felt with Matrix or Tarein Zameen Par or even Dil Chahta Hain or Rahul Bose’s Directorial debut Everybody Says Am Fine.

Of course I do not pretend to understand such things. I pay for my ticket and I watch with my heart mostly and eyes and I take some expectations along too that are predominantly to do with seeing a spectacle unfold on screen. I usually am quite willing to suspend my disbelief. I expect a tight story, fluently told, with racy pictures to go with it to aid my not so bright imagination. I mean am average, can only deal with routine gaps, but not quite capable of filling in huge chunks of the zigsaw missing and having to figure that out makes me lose my way in the spectacle. It is distracting.

I also fet that somewhere, it lacked “soul”. The films I mentioned are flawed too, they have nitpicked on these and everybody ignored Everybody Says-. Yet, you come away from the movie with a hand on your heart. The build-up ends with the much needed catharsis…

I would not have missed the film for anything.  I do want the children to go watch it. Yet, I do not feel ok with it. There are these gaps in it that are disturbing. Something is simply missing… in this movie. I know all my blogmates would hate me for saying this, especially with the euphoria all around, but then those that love me, like me for my honesty.  I have been honest.  Could be am dumber than people think…

Ichhyamrityu – Privilege & Right to Choose My Death

An Indian term for Auto-Destruct

The premise of this post is, no one can guarantee my life, so why should the State have any right to prevent me from planning my own death?  Why should auto destruct be considered an offense? Why should people that fail in their attempt to self destruct, be put in jail afterward, if they survive ? If a computer program can be relied upon to decide its own end, why can’t an intelligent human be trusted with his own life?

When I talk of Ichhyamrityu I  am NOT discussing Suicide.  Am not suicidal. Nor a quitter.  And am not depressed although I am definitely disturbed – even unhappy.

In ancient India, sages (Munis), wise men (Rishis), some kings and queens practised and enjoyed the privilege of auto-destruct or Ichhyamrityu. Ichhya is the Sanskrit word for ‘wish’/’choice’, Mrityu is the Sanskrit word for ‘death’ ‘end of one life cycle’.

Among epic characters, Bhishma had used this privilege. One can read about him in the Mahabharata. The idea appeals to me. The power and privilege to choose when, how, where I breathe my last,  gives me a far better sense of control over my present as a whole.  It also enhances my status as an individual in my own mind. It also implies I leave when I wish to.

I visited Kolkata recently – I noticed the city seems to have slided from being bad to worse in terms of negligence. Wherever you happen to look you observe an apparent lack of caring or inability to take responsibility for welfare or well being of citizens, travelers, passers-by, dwellers. Things like roads, buildings, transport look like “put together” “managed” – as opposed to planned, well thought out, as it should be, in a developing or prosperous urbane space. I realized that I do not wish to die there.

I realized that I wish to die in a serene and beautiful place – maybe a jungle, or the quiet, lovely, musical, eloquent cleanliness and privacy of my own bedroom in my home somewhere. (I haven’t been able to create it yet, I live off my suitcases still, being a poor and lonely school teacher fond of travelling, in Gujarat, India).

It set me thinking. I thought about how I want my end to be. I was sure that I did not want to die SUDDENLY. Or unexpectedly, leaving behind unfinished work. I do not wish to die of DIS-EASE. I do not want to die accidentally or in the hands of a terrorist. Or a petty thief or a rapist.

Even in the West, people plan their end when they plan their burial  – they keep money aside for funeral expenses, choose and reserve a place in the burial grounds, choose and buy stone that would be at their graves, some even write down their own epitaphs – the matter they wish to be carved on their headstone at their grave.

Then there are sophisticated computer programs that are designed to auto-destruct in a state of dysfunction, or when its life cycle comes to an end, or when it thinks it has becomes redundant. The program is designed to read the situation, interpret data and take the decision to auto-destruct.

It made me think – if a little computer program can be relied upon to handle such a huge responsibility on its own about its own life cycle, should not intelligent, highly capable, healthy humans be also endowed with such control and rights over their own lives?

We could still not make up our collective minds about Euthanasia or Abortion and I know this would come to the community at this stage as a shock. I know am way ahead here. A Mother cannot decide the inheritance or fate of her own child? Abort if she feels its bad for it? Too bad.

Euthanasia on the other hand,  is about a receiving death in an incurable state of pain or agony, implying that if that state of pain was corrected, the person may change his mind about terminating life. A patient is definitely not in the best position to DECIDE or make a CHOICE. So the debate here is understandable.

But, a perfectly healthy, normal, happy, intelligent adult is or should have this privilege. Unstable people,  patients, the frail, weak, dependent – animals cannot be expected to do it (although they do, in fact).

All literature dealing with Section 309, the Law Commission’s recommendation to scrape it talk about desire to die in terms of respite from duress – physical, mental, emotional, social. It talks about the criminal aspect of it when considering death caused by a suicide bomber to thousands of innocent unwilling people.

Somebody discusses Santhara in a blog post condemning auto-destruct but also clearly underlining the fact that though the State opposes on grounds that life is resource and hence precious – it has no way of providing for any decent level of security at all really. Another person points out how it is actually a waste on the State exchequer dealing with it the way it has been traditionally.

What about the more pertinent Rights issues regarding the individual’s choice? If I am slogging for a certain quality of life, I am equally concerned about the quality of my death.

The motive is important here :  whether I choose a manner of death for  my own well being  or with evil intent.

If I am the person that has to take care of my personal well being, I would want to take care of this too, myself.  The State,  if it really thinks of me as precious resource,  should actually help – ensure that I die as planned and not by accident or through machinations of an evil terrorist or a petty criminal.

As soon as motive becomes an important consideration, it becomes easier to  think about issues like  “what do we do with suicide bombers?” They intended to hurt the community.  Well, put them in court and try them for murder.

But the hard working,  intelligent,  contributing,  able adult  gets what he deserves –  good death.

Jains have a tradition of planning their end,  so did ancient Hindus. Culturally, Ichhyamrityu  has always been there here in India, seen as a boon to be granted,  as a precious privilege.

Choosing how I wish to die is the flip side of self-preservation I think. An insurance against accidental death,  if it can be made possible to exist as a privilege and right granted to a citizen.

Why do the State Laws  make it seem like the citizens are like children? That they need to be protected from themselves, be it with Section 377 or 309 (by now the second one  should have been repealed).

Are we so bloody miserably poorly evolved  that we cannot be more responsible than an otherwise stupid human designed computer program ? Or have we become less wiser than those old Rishis and Munis of yore with passing time that we cannot handle our own lives or deaths  anymore?

There is a poll here that you could take to indicate your choice or opinion.

being positive

when I hear people say that, I think they mean to say that one should look at the dark tunnels and not be scared, but think of how if it is a tunnel, it would open out in the end – to light and a way out.

how do you know you are in a tunnel or inside a hole? you don’t know. you can’t know, unless you can see a glimmer of light somewhere. or, unless you believe you are invincible and life is safe and you expect your prayers to be answered. always 🙂

not every dark pit one enters is a tunnel – that nicely fans out somewhere in the distant future, into a nice lighted path out of the darkness, leading somewhere beyond the present. some pits are just that – dark holes.

having accepted that, I guess ‘being positive’ would mean you are expected to scramble out of it, scream for help, beg, borrow, steal, break rules too – and make an attempt to carry on, (so you can fall into other holes and exercise “being positief” once again).  and be what? wiser? nicer? makes me laugh.

it is funny, but when I stop to think about the way life is, if I cut out the lighted parts, and the sensation of colour, which is basically my mind rejoicing and celebrating life because of what it is,  in itself, life has been a series of these falling in and out of pits and practising “being positive”.

where has it all led to, by the way, is what am trying to contemplate now. what does it all amount to finally? what’s the net result of all that scrambling in and out of holes? what good have I ever done to anybody else or even my own self, except to have stayed alive only to be a nuisance once again?

I did get some things I wanted for myself and didn’t get some. I believed that I had done some good to some people, but when I dig deep enough it looks like I was doing it for me.

I mean when I wanted a fantabulous class, I thought ‘them’, but wasn’t I trying to be “best of me” actually? when I fought the Principals or Directors for classes or for something for my class, I do think it was about “me”, giving “my best” “doing my best” “even at the cost of my well-being”. I think that was kind of pride that drove me. a passion for what I do,  self actualization (self-realization?) at work there. would have done that anyway, whether “they” were there or not…

it is difficult to get out of that “me” thing. as long as I eat, sleep, pull me out of holes, push me to ride out of the dark tunnels, am always being “me”. some people think it is ‘possible’…in a certain state of mind…I believe that it is possible to get to that state of mind but to go on actually without being “me”…not so sure.

what if I stop wanting that at some point? is that organic, natural? is it better if something goes on preserving itself or is it good to appraise once in a while to see if it is serving (it’s own or) some purpose somewhere? and what if the program can think and choose for itself and decides – well, whatever it is that it decides,would that be taken into account?

isn’t there a system where they program a ‘bad’ program to self-destruct? isn’t this an attribute of a really ‘good’ ‘sophicticated’ program?

and “good” or “bad” is in terms of what? what extent of it is with respect to “others”? how much of it is with respect to the intrinsic value of the program or the thing itself? I don’t seem to know.

if I do not know, if I cannot see what good/bad am doing, what does that make me? an unintelligent program, a bad machine, a lower order one I guess, dispensable? AND easily replaceable…?

in which case “being positief”, folks from Antwerpen, would mean what? free space and begone? or stick to it, no matter what, and let some outside agent abort you? isn’t that what a bad machine does? goes on scratching at your disk, killing it, until you actually force-flushout-eject it manually.

Not that am here contemplating my date of death yet, have yet to see my Godson, have things to do before I do. Only  I realize I would like to know, when and how. We still can’t make up our minds about Euthanasia, which is understandable.

This however is different. Would like to see if the votes say something.  You can vote without signing in. You can also see the results yourself in terms of percentage, you can even write your views down after ticking “other” option. Only it would provide for limited space I think, so it is better to use the comment box for that. Thanks.

Lines – mean Space n Peace

there are lines that separate, divide, demarcate the limits as it were and defines them…and then there are lines that warn, and threaten and cause wars and destruction

there are other lines though that DEFINE, gives shape to stuff, eases a mass of life into some recognizable form

it becomes easier to deal with life then. you know what is where, what should and what should not be perhaps. it also releases time, for you are not tied up to all of it at once. I do think Lines have a way of freeing one in some ways. especially, Lines that came to be because of consensus, consideration, and were forged with care.

am not scared right now. I actually feel thankful 🙂 it is like new grounds. new territory is usually unsettling, landing usually is fraught with those terrifying jerks of rubber making contact with hard concrete, but you have managed to do it well – it looks like it is going to be actually smooth landing – to where? Home I hope.

I do like this phase of my life. when I stand back and look, my life looks neater, tidier than before. and I go to sleep in peace.

it is a bit like after P has cleaned code helping me fix my blog page. it makes the messy mass look nice somehow (did I ever say thank you? I wonder, if I haven’t, “thanks” re)

yeah, Lines can be nice and comfortable. Lines mean peace. Lines create space to fly in and out of 😉 . I like the people who stopped by, to do it for me. thanks.