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Why should you be in permanent beta? Here are 10 reasons to consider.

Why should you be in permanent beta? Here are 10 reasons to consider.



In the first part of LearningUnlearning, we discussed about why we ought to think of ourselves as Beta products. You can read it here. And in this part, we are going to explore the reasons behind why should you be in permanent beta? Here are 10 reasons to consider

1 Growth and progress are better than getting bored and stagnated. No matter how painful, difficult and stretching it may be, it is better to grow and progress in life than to be bored out your brains and stagnate. Isn’t getting bored boring? Of course, if you love what you are doing, that is great. Even if you are already doing what you love, there is still room to be better at it; there is still room for progress, right? Do you want to grow in your work? In your relationships? You might want to keep sharpening your skills and get better at them or get out of your comfort zone and learn new skills that will take you to the next level.

For those who have been less fortunate, with no basic skills, learning can literally be the difference between life and death. If you are to grow in whatever you are doing, you need to be open to learning. There is no growth without learning. No progress without learning.

2 Success is a vulnerable place to be in. You know all the stories of some of the biggest, most successful companies going bust overnight. Why did that happen? They were too comfortable in their own success and so they didn’t see change coming. This could even happen to an individual; it could happen to you. If you don’t keep learning and improving yourself, you are likely to be caught off guard. Why should your success last? Why should you continue to be in the position you are in, just because you got there? It could be tech change that makes your job redundant, or competition from other firms or even nations. No matter what you have been successful in – business, at work, building a wonderful family – you need to keep learning just to remain there, let alone going even higher. If you are not moving forward, you are slipping backward.

3 Reaching your true potential is important. What else is your potential for if not to be fully realised? What good is it dormant? I’m not suggesting you even know what your potential is. Knowing what to do in life is a real luxury that only a few people have.

This is where learning comes in. Whether you know what to do in life or not, either way you need to constantly learn in order to fully realise your potential; be it constantly exceeding the limits of your capabilities or just finding out what game you are supposed to be playing in the first place.

4 Keeping active and healthy is one of the most important things. Research has shown that as you age, if you keep your brain and mind exercised, occupied, by learning new things, you tend to feel healthier, especially psychologically. Learning new things stretches you, broadens your horizons, you meet new people, and most importantly you feel challenged as opposed to feeling left alone. Getting healthy will also mean giving up bad habits (unlearning) and picking up new habits (learning). There is plenty of literature out there on the power of habits and so I’m not going to labour on that here.

You can even be superhuman by habit. In this day and age, it is so much more difficult to stay healthy, but only because of distractions, mind you. Work pressures, availability of junk food, stress, and, in some cases, complete apathy. Blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes are hyper-prevalent. While genes may also play active roles, most of us are not helping ourselves with our habits. You need to have a growth mindset, a learning mindset to get yourself out of the rut.

5 Learning is a passport to new possibilities. You now have unprecedented access to resources, thanks to the powers of the internet and other technologies. You now don’t have to stay in the same place doing the same thing for decades. External forces acting against you is one thing and preparing for that is a kind of defensive move.

You can now be on the offence. Pursuing your passion is easier now than it was a few decades ago. You can now quite easily set up something and work for yourself, be independent. Finding a market for your product or service is easier than ever. Your newly learned skills and knowledge can take you to places you have never been to.

6 Being global and local at the same time is tough. Our interconnected world is pushing us to our mental limits as we constantly negotiate between being a world citizen and locally rooted. The global and the local are constantly shifting landscapes, with one affecting the other. Your city, town or village is in some way affected by the world and vice versa.

They may even tug at each other in opposite directions. You will have to learn to cope. You now need to learn to negotiate between that part of you which is global and that which is local. Else, as the ground beneath you shifts, there is always a risk of being swept away or lost.

7 Your ability to solve some the grandest challenges of our times depends on learning. Now you may not be in the “saving the world business”, but some these challenges will affect all of us, including you, in one way or another, whether you like it or not. From climate change, water shortage and other depleting resources to universal education, healthcare and diseases, these challenges will continue to shape our lives, and in most cases for the worse.

Unless, of course, we start acting responsibly and begin part of the solution than being part of the problem. Guess what? To be part of the solution, you got to learn to live anew. I’m not suggesting you go and get some specialised degree or start living like a hermit. Just taking a keen interest, reading up on these issues, and sharing your new knowledge with your family members is a great way to be part of the solution.

8 Being a teacher is going to be one the most important roles you will play. I don’t mean to say that you need to go and become a certified, qualified teacher in primary or secondary school. Or that you become a lecturer in a college or university. The act of teaching is not, by any stretch of imagination, limited to the walls of an educational institution, nor is it the sole duty of a qualified teacher. All of us can be teachers. Teaching is also an act of leadership. We all can be leaders too. There is so much knowledge and experience within you that can benefit others. Whatever it may be – cooking, math, astrology, sewing, a sport, music, marketing. You can teach your children, your family members, your friends and colleagues, your community.

There are few things more important – and perhaps satisfying – than imparting knowledge to others. A good teacher is also a reflective practitioner. To be a good teacher, you need to be a good learner, and a lifelong one at that.

9 Greater civic participation is becoming ever more important. You don’t want to be taken for a bad ride, right? Nobody does. While there are still a few places out there that are governed by bandits, most of us are fortunate to live in democracies. To uphold our democratic ideals, we need to continuously engage. Whether it is standing up for your rights or fighting injustice where you see it, you need to be able to engage, and that is not possible if you are not willing to step out of your comfort zone and learn. We cannot have constructive public debate if we are not informed ourselves. Too many of us have become apathetic, and then complain about issues we face. Unless you are actively engaged, you are likely to get a bad social deal.

10 Self-knowledge is priceless. Ultimately, what matters most is your pursuit of self-knowledge, your inner voyage. In this busy world, we tend to be lost, without a sense of belonging and meaning. Knowing yourself is a true lifelong endeavour. Everything else depends on your wisdom – your relationships, your work, the world. Self-knowledge requires a lifelong commitment to understanding who you are, your thoughts, being self-critical, being aware, being present. There is no greater subject to meditate on than yourself, because, ultimately, it is you who lives and makes a difference (if you choose to).

Rahul Nair is the Founder & CEO of Storiyoh, a podcast discovery and marketplace platform and premium podcast production company

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How can Indian language assessment tests overcome existing issues to meet international standards 

Tests in India need to benchmark themselves against internationally accepted tests so that individuals can find better career opportunities



Language assessment tests in India suffer from ineffective infrastructure, high costs and many other issues. To judge test takers accurately, it is important to have accurate, unbiased tests. A comprehensive assessment of language skills makes the hiring process smoother. Assessment tests in India can overcome existing issues in the following ways:

Automated testing – ִּIntegrating technology in language testing offers convenience to test takers, and accurate results to the employers. Artificial intelligence offers less bias and quicker results. In addition, technology allows verified results even for remote users, and can provide high levels of test security. Without adequate technological advancements, the assessment process will continue to be tedious and inaccurate.

Holistic approach – Language proficiency includes multiple language modalities – speaking, reading, writing, and listening. Each of these four skills comprises several sub-skills which contribute to language proficiency. The tests must evaluate all these with some depth to accurately provide full picture of an individual’s language proficiency level. Many tests fail to meet the needs of employers because they focus on a limited subset of language skills. To combat this, tests in India must take a holistic approach towards language proficiency.  

Internationally recognized standards – Tests in India need to benchmark themselves against internationally accepted tests so that individuals can find better career opportunities across the globe and companies can identify workers who can communicate with speakers of other languages. The use of tests with different rating scales leads to confusion and lack of testing transparency. Use of an internationally accepted standard will make sure that the test-takers can take advantage of opportunities abroad with test results that are accepted internationally, and companies can understand more clearly whether their potential hires will be able to do the job. 

One of the major pitfalls of language assessment tests currently available in India is their inherent bias to accents

Widespread accessibility – During the pandemic, many workplace and academic institutions pivoted to an online or a hybrid model. While many sectors adapted to this change, the assessment sector in India is still operating in the old way. Test takers are required to travel to designated centres on specified dates. To tackle this issue, the existing tests must allow test-takers to take the tests online and at a time of their choosing. This increases job access to those in rural areas as well. Proper proctoring needs to be in place to ensure no one cheats during these online tests.  Technology based anti-cheating solutions enable remote testing while ensuring authentic results.

Accent agnostic – One of the major pitfalls of language assessment tests currently available in India is their inherent bias to accents. India is a nation with varied dialects and accents. To assess language proficiency comprehensively and objectively, tests need to be accent agnostic. This ensures that the test takers are assessed on their actual language skills and not their accents.  

All of these features will help the Indian language testing sector to meet international standards. The Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) lists assessments such as Speaknow, Learning Matters, and Progos along with others on their website as those meeting these standards.

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A Mother Goddess



Am a Blessed Soul, my Ammaa !
Am not lonely, Mother Dear
Never lonely from the beginning
Mummy ever with me always
From my first breath onwards
Ever since stepping In here
First cries to beaming smiles
Birth to birth and rebirths
Life to live and living Alive
Feeding strength always as own
Feeling lively from umbilical cord
Musical ways Of Mother Nature 
Chords Of contentment and pride
Notes Of love forever required
Am a blessed soul my Ammaa
Am not lonely Mother Dear ..!

Ammaa, you inculcated my character
That all women are God’s Own
Mothers be God’s own particles
Mums,the sufferers Of man’s identity
Every woman, a Mother-Goddess!
So God be present everywhere
A forever ally Oh Mom
Praying forever you are Omniscient –
So, none preys upon righteous me ..
No stronger bond there is ;
No emotion simply as divine;
No more natural a bondage ;
Source of sustenance in adversities ;
All pain swallowed in love;
Am a blessed soul my Ammaa;
Am not lonely Mother Dear …!

My silent protector par excellence
Shield of Nature forever motherly
Shelter from all woeful aches
All shocks cushioned ever happily
Heaven on Earth – your Noble Heart
God in person – It’s You  Ammaa..!
Godliness in action – your care
Religion in display – all motherliness
Beginning of growth – you Alone
Drinker of all my tears , Mother Dear
Epitome of nobility  – only motherhood
Joyous creation of almighty God
Sacred bond cast upon us
Bound In love of a Mother
Am a blessed soul, my Ammaa
Am Not Lonely Mother Dear..!

Mother dearest  : light of love
Mother sweetest : beacon of hopes
Mother mightiest : strength of lives
Mother noblest : source of confidence
Mother ablest : supreme God’s Presence
Mother, Goddess incarnate , Amma Dear
My Mother dearest – devoted , dedicated
committed, exalted, exemplary – constant, forever Love alone
Mother always endearing – nonstop,endlessly
Alpha to omega – infinitely adorable
Are you alike in all generarions?
Aren’t you awake in whole humanity?
Oh Mother Divine, bless all world
Aren’t all creatures blessed alike?
Oh Mother Supreme , Bless Mothers
Am a blessed soul, my  Ammaa Dear..!

[ From ‘Chasing a Shadow’ by Pamarty VenkataRamana ]

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Teachers and Parents as Role Models for Students – Why Actions must replace just theory

School wasn’t just a platform for learning (nor it is even today) but was a place that students looked forward to going every day, with cheer



The moment a question during a lecture or discussion on Role Models is asked, especially to school students, answers of different types crop up, possibly based on their thought process and the traits they hold close to their heart.

We have been promoting the idea of Role Models in life, to make sure, at least for practical purposes, that students think of or emulate someone for whom they have a high level of regard or respect in life and also those that align with their own frame of mind.

He or she could be anyone-from sportsperson to businessman, from scientist to movie star.

One of the striking aspects these days is that the number which quotes the names of teachers or parents is diminishing. This is in contrast to the earlier times when both teachers and parents were among the favourites to be considered as Role Models.

So, a Ronaldo, a Mohanlal, Dr.APJ or a Bill Gates are more common answers.

What then, has been the reason for a change?

Predominantly and predictably, technology has played a major role in this change and so have social media. EASY access to information and the glorification of many characters including celebrities from various fields through umpteen channels and other platforms has possibly been one of the reasons. Added to this are the marketing campaigns, brand endorsements, stage shows, writeups and so on and so forth, available just by sliding a finger on hand held devices.

An essay on, say, Prof. C.V Raman or Srinivasa Ramanujan was an arduous task then, that required flipping through books or pages of printed matter. We had to depend on teachers or parents to get more information about them. We looked up to them for inputs thus forming a different impression about their level of awareness. The same could be done with effortless ease today, thanks to anything and everything that is available online or in the Cloud.

While we had relatively fewer modes of entertainment then- the cinema, or a restaurant, park or an outing or social visits and of course much more of play- teachers and parents gave us frequent doses of knowledge by mixing them with classes or through bedtime stories and during the ‘family time’.

There was much for us to learn from them as the time spent together was qualitative in nature and openness was obvious.

We saw in many or most of our teachers, a value that could be hardly substituted by anything else and looked forward to their sessions as they taught from the heart and not from the books alone. They were assumed to be power houses of knowledge and looking back, I for sure, on a personal note, could say that without a second thought.

Value Education which is separated today, was an integral part of their lesson plan, be it Hindi or Mathematics. Their experience, passion, commitment and their roles as mentors played a significant part in this change among students, not to forget THE FREEDOM THAT PARENTS GAVE TEACHERS IN DECIDING AND EXECUTING WHATEVER WAS BEFITTING. Even the mention of parents being called to the school was enough to send chills down the spines of students.

School wasn’t just a platform for learning (nor it is even today) but was a place that students looked forward to going every day, with cheer. It was a like a get together to learn life skills along with lessons, most of which aren’t very different today either. Naturality was evident as technology or gadgets weren’t the topics of discussion, nor were Facebook or Instagram posts or likes. Friends laughed their heart out through the common things. There was much fun and play. Teachers had absolute control.

At home, both parents weren’t working. As children, we knew that money never came easily as it does today. Pocket money couldn’t be dreamt of, leave alone heard about. We saw the struggles of parents; we didn’t dare question them. We didn’t have the luxury of selection of many things, but were happy about what they chose or bought for us.  Somewhere, we had this feeling that there were pairs of eyes constantly watching and guiding us, wherever we went.

There was an invisible guideline on what we were supposed to do

Connection was real, not virtual. Lack of time was never discussed. There was better communication, more time for each other and together. An impact was created, gradually.

There was an invisible guideline on what we were supposed to do.

Times have changed, they have to. A new world driven by technology is already visible. Sadly, there is also cut throat competition that is mostly unhealthy and thus follows a mad rush to be on top, just academically, more than anything else. Money has lost value and spending for more than what is required has gone up. A majority of children has the impression that parents have enough with them. Parents too go beyond means to provide the perceptible best for their children.

On the contrary, what has to be more evident is the foundation that existed earlier, one that was strong morally and ethically, without more of monetary considerations. Learning the hard way was natural for most of the students themselves.

While a majority of the current generation of teachers and parents is definitely knowledgeable and is tech savvy, it would have this rather sensitive and difficult task of making an impact on a student community that is only just short of gadget addiction, in keeping with the times. Elders too seem to be as affected by this, as their children.

Also to be understood is that the pressure on parents and teachers today is more than what it used to be long back, in the wake of a massive shift- culturally, economically, technologically and emotionally.

Practicing what is preached, supporting and guiding children to explore themselves, nurturing their talents and leading by example could put parents back on track to be their ideal Role Models.

Teachers on the other hand need to empathize with children, lift the ordinary ones to the higher slots, create a level playing field and an equal opportunity environment for all of them to get exposed, without bias. Most importantly passion needs to be a key ingredient of their sessions than just the rush to cover the portions.

This, on paper, may not seem to be missing, though reality is in stark contrast to hearsay.

While I am not under rating the present-day teachers vis-à-vis those of yore, it would take more effort and commitment, to be followed as a Role Model because the impact has to be felt amidst challenges, most of which were absent then or were of a different manageable nature.

It is possible and would lead to a better society driven by values and positivity.

While at school and at home, we have all heard of the adage, “Where there is a will, there is a way”.

For those who put this across to children, making it a reality wouldn’t be a tough ask if backed by systematic action.

May we have more of them.

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