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Education and Learning

Fourteen years of school. Three - four years of undergraduate college. Two years for a graduate degree. Start working or making babies.

Sound familiar? It should, it’s what the majority of lives in this country look like. Ten years ago, I was headed down the same street. Engineering, MBA and then on to a fat pay check, like countless other teenagers, products of a system seemingly obsessed with stability and an extreme aversion to risk and failure.

While I did end up getting 2 degrees and the pay check (with a stable, GOI company no less!) I also realized I hated it. Going to work from 9 to 7, doing the same endless, mind numbing, repetitive tasks, sitting in the same chair for ten odd years before getting promoted and dodging responsibility in order to retire with a pension suddenly seemed a lot less attractive when I was looking at it from the wrong end of 35 years!

And history shall say I quit. But now what? I did what any sane person without a job and all the time in the world would do, I  decided to learn something. I was done getting educated but I wasn't done with learning as yet. Lucky for me I have resources unimaginable to anyone even a decade ago. You couldn't just learn anything willy nilly. Oh no, you had to pick a course offered by a good university, pay for it, dedicate the time and resources to it and you had no flexibility regarding when or how to work.

But not anymore! Thanks to the Internet I can now take courses from one of the top universities in the world or learn from experts leading in their field, all for free. That was when I came across Coursera, a website which offers free online courses from some of the best universities in the world on a range of topics from cryptography to sociology to medicine. Perfect for someone interested in knowing a little bit about everything.

So starting today, for the next ten weeks, I will be taking a course on Fantasy and Science Fiction taught by Prof. Rabkin, of the University of Michigan. And of course I will chronicle my first foray into online learning on this very blog. Guess I’ll finally find out if learning for its own sake and without the pressure of exams really does make a difference!


  1. Take it from someone who has a few years of experience in this: it rocks!
    It is customary for me to use a quote every time, so here goes:

    One thing life has taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.
    ~Eleanor Roosevelt

    All the best

    1. Thank you. I'm looking forward to having a great time with this course.

  2. Do you have to score an A ? if it is, then I don't see much difference whether it is a web course or not ;P

    1. You don't have to score anything, if you don't want to! That's just the point. You can score an A or B or nothing at all. You can just do the readings and join the discussions, write some essays and if for some reason you can't send in some entries, that's cool too. You may still get a score. The point is doing the course and doing it well is entirely up to you :D

  3. Hey fellow student :) I'm glad to have found you and I hope you don't mind that I've included you on my list:
    It's shaping out to be an interesting experience and I'm sure we'll all take a lot away from it!
    - andrea

    1. Hi Andrea! I'm happy to be on that list. I've just started on the readings and glad that I have already read Dracula and Frankenstein before, although writing an essay means I'll have to read it again anyway. More carefully this time!

  4. Hi! Another fellow student here :) Adding your blog to my feed reader as we speak... :D

    1. Thank you Amy! Looking forward to having a great time and learning something as well.

  5. Thanks to Andrea I found your blog. I'm waiting for your essays ;-)

  6. i guess you are married now , not seeing any new blogs

    1. was LIC job so bad, i am writing LIC exam shorty AAO exam....any feedback woud be appreciated

    2. It depends on you, actually. I know plenty of people who're happy to be working in LIC because it's a govt. job with pension, nice salary etc etc. All the usual perks are present. But being young, intelligent and female works against you in this company. I don't mean any active discrimination or anything, but doing this job becomes very complicated when you're all of the above.

      Your job depends on getting your team of assistants to work, your team will not work if they don't like you(you can't fire them so no incentive for them to actually work & if you yell at them, they'll go straight to their union) & they'll only like you if you're like them. Since your team will most likely have old, stupid men on it, being female, young & smart is a disadvantage.

      If you're expecting a cushy, govt. job where you can leave at 5, this is not the job for you (AAOs never get to go home quickly, your assistants on the other hand will drop everything to go running home by 5 or even before 5).

      Basically being a AAO in LIC means working like in a private company but without the high salary.


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