3 Friends. One Semester. An Adventure of a Lifetime. The story sketches an experience of three Indian students who are selected for an exchange program in Canada. The semester of their dream gets underway! Amidst the various stumbling blocks of problems – academic and personal, they find themselves in situations that test their temparaments and characters. The exchange experience changes some of their deeply rooted perspectives. Suddenly, one plate starts becoming too many. Will they thrive? Will they succeed in this lifetime opportunity? Find out a story of how three run-of-the-mill Indian students innovate a whole new world for themselves and break the shackles of what the world calls education.
Genre: Fiction/Contemporary Drama
Format: Kindle eBook/Paperback
- Kindle eBook: 100 INR/$5.00
- Paperback (available only in India): 250 INR
My Ratings: 4.5/5
A fictional, philosophical and insightful take on the education system. Rhushikesh, Sahil and Parth get the opportunity of a lifetime to study in Canada for one semester. What more could three best friends want than getting to spend a six-months long vacation together in an unexplored land? Yes, that’s what they think it is only to realise soon that the education system there isn’t just about rote learning and cramming up theory to pass the exams easily. Read to know how these three fare in the exams, and in much more beyond the curriculum.
What I liked about the book:
—> All the little anecdotes (calling the Babaji, learning to do laundry, the cooking mishap, going skinny dipping, etc) are so hilarious and relatable. We’ve surely done similar things with our own friends or would love to pull of such pranks and experiences together with them, after reading the book.
—> How Parth, the one who is considered the lowest scorer back in India, turns out to be the dark horse in Canada.
—> The management course and the professor who was teaching the subject.
—> The skydiving incident and the scene right before jumping off the plane is straight out of my own life ( I did skydiving in Australia in 2016)
—> Hamza’s character – how he readily agrees to help the boys with their plan, how he saves Rushi from failing a test and the fact that he was a Pakistani did not matter at all to the boys in Canada, because there they’re all the same (desi)
—> The differences pointed out between the Indian and Canadian education system but not belittling the Indian system in the end.
—> The quotes at the beginning of most of the chapters.
—> There was no unacceptable and impractical magical end to the semester; the boys got the grades they deserved.
—> The whole jet spray idea was completely genius and relatable for me (as I’m an NRI)
—> It was like a virtual and theoretical ride through Canada and its many quirks.
What I did not like about the book:
—> I would have liked to know more about Sahil’s and Parth’s experiences in the semester. We only got to know about Rushi’s experiences.
—> Maybe a chapter or two about what happened after they returned to India would have added more depth and given a better closure to the story.
—> Our mind is a powerful ally – it can sense things before experiencing them.
—> Life finds a way of coming together that most people don’t even dream of.
—> It is one thing to study to earn, and another to study to learn. What most Indian students miss out on is this tiny differentiator. Most tend to know that a job is the safest bet when it comes to earning. So, they study – and no one can challenge Indian students in that aspect – they study immensely well. Without getting into the debates of rote learning or conceptual learning, one thing is very clear, learning can be accomplished. But this intent to learn is aimed only at eventually earning “more” … whatever that means. So learning is contingent on getting more out of their jobs, more out of their careers, lives.
—> Ask an Indian student if they study to learn, and you will find a disproportionate minority of them live up to that ideal.
—> Whenever I see someone reading a book, I have this curious urge to find out the book’s title, wonder about its contents, and relate that with the reader’s mental disposition. ( this is totally me!!!)
—> You won’t always get what you want so learn to adapt to things that you can’t change.
—> This is how peer pressure worked. Without any real rationale, one simply starts running the rat wheel because the others are. And once you are in, you feel the need to keep up.
—> One thing I learned from Mr. Chandler Bing is that you don’t joke around the airport.
—> My skin color is such that I start feeling guilty in front of any white security officer for no reason. You know, I start salivating excessively, and I get that nervous urge to swallow. It’s racist with me on the victim-end, but somewhere, I have come to terms with it. No wonder, I was asked to step aside for a random check.There’s nothing random about it.
—> The biggest disappointment of the flight, and writing in hindsight, of any foreign country, is the tea. Tea, as per the global standards, is just a black tasteless, watery liquid that is barely made drink-able by the whitener cream and sugar. Tea is not chai. And for a chai-addict who gets all grumpy without this basic morning beverage, I was grief-stricken to be served such a dull “tea” for the first time in my life. I wanted to eat my heart out. I mean, a Benadryl cough syrup would excite my taste buds more than that tea.
—>I always thought that spending Rs.125 for a coffee at Starbucks or CCDs in India was ostentatiously costly. But there’s something about spending the same amount in Loonies and Toonies, which makes it sound very cheap in Canada. It took me some time to get over my conversion-mania. But I realized that if I kept thinking in rupees, I would be living like a miser. I understood why “Earn in dollars, spend in Rupees” becomes such a popular Indian dream. A thousand rupees become just twenty bucks over time. (Again completely relatable for me as an NRI)
—> It was always better to focus on “what now?” rather than “whose fault is it?”
—> It is always easy to socialize when there are friends alongside you. Even if you mess up your words or don’t find them, you can always resort to some internal joke and avoid an awkward silence.
—> I always thought that the over-crowdedness, the rush with time, and jostling for space were signature attributes of Mumbai locals only. But then, in that morning rush-hour of Toronto, this Union station felt just like a tad-polished version of the Dadar station.
—> If the people on Dadar platform stopped splitting around, throwing litter and embodied a little courtesy for others, there wouldn’t be much of a difference left between India and Canada.
—> But what good are those grades, if I couldn’t apply the learnings and solve such problems in real-life scenarios? This is what happens when one studies simply for the sake of passing. You learn but don’t assimilate. You get the hang of a subject, but don’t apply yourself. You identify problems but find yourself incapable of solving them. Currently, the world needs problem-solvers. But our education system is mass-producing a bunch of knuckleheads.
—> Jealousy is just a lack of self-confidence.
—> The world is an easier place if you are pretty-looking. It’s easier to get attention. It’s easier to find romance. It’s easier to find that magic in life.
—> Travel is always a pleasure – be it solo or with a group. But the thing is – traveling with new people is like flirting with life. It’s like saying I would stay and love you, but I need to go. However, when you share it with friends or a special someone – it becomes an unforgettable memory…that stays. It builds onto the relationship and brings you closer.
—> Outside India, it is uncommon for anyone to take up their education without any interest in it. Regardless of whether its passion or not, they are at least committed to it.
—> A man is at his best when he does something with passion.
—> The simple fact that someone understands your jokes and laughs with you is the best thing in the world.
—> “There are two kinds of missing. One, where you miss having someone with you.The other where you miss that someone within you.” – Quilled thoughts
—> “Its never too late to correct mistakes that setback rather than to move forward without correction” -Success Song
—> It made me understand, if not condone, the reason why so many students opt to end their lives after academic failures. It is never just about the marks, but it stems from their environment – the environment of loneliness and cut-throat fierceness, the misplaced perception that one’s future is a consequence of one’s marks and most importantly, the lack of a support system to simply tell them that “it’s okay to fail, do better next time.”
—> “If today was the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?” -Steve Jobs
—> Don’t give cash to any beggars, they will spend it on alcohol and drugs. If you want to give something, give food.
—> When I was choosing my field of study, the point of debate was which stream yields the best placement package? Which stream has a better scope of the jobs? …But do I like that field of study or not? That was insignificant, or at best, secondary.
—> The problem with us is that we look at education as a means of earning or securing income. We don’t value any passion for learning. We don’t value the “learning component” of education at all. All we care about is to what extent does a degree translates into money.
—> Was getting an education the only way to earn money?
—> “Problem Solving is like hunting. It is a savage pleasure, and we are born to do it.” – Thomas Harris
—> Earning money and education aren’t necessarily relevant. But what is always relevant is solving a problem.
—> The world needs problem solvers more than degree holders. A degree may get you a job. But problem-solving will get you business.
—> It’s easier to talk in hypotheticals; I could have done this, I could have done that – rather than taking charge and grinding for one’s calling. It’s convenient to do a half-hearted B.Tech/ BE degree, which assures a sense of security in the society rather than, let’s say, toiling on the field without the assertiveness of getting in the national cricket team. Everyone likes the end-result, but no one wants to work for it. We tend to settle for what looks safer and easier. The choice is convenient, maybe even practical, but not always correct. Perhaps, there’s an underlying issue with us – not the education system.
—> You can’t control everything and everyone. Sometimes, it’s better to just let go.
—> When life gives you a hundred reasons to break down and cry, show life that you still have million reasons to smile and laugh.
—> Pizza has always been a life-saver.
—> The chapter remained unfinished. It’s the worst place to be.
—> The right person will come along when the time is right.
—> “Talent won’t make you rich. Education, by itself, won’t make you rich. Only two things, Investment, and Inheritance can make you rich…” – Grant Cardone
—> Had I been rich, I would have never discovered my passion for teaching. Had I been poor, I would have never risked investing in a business. I don’t know if I am successful, but I am surely happy with where I am.
—>If you don’t have to worry about your very survival – managing your rents, food, and electricity, I think you have a perfect poise for entrepreneurship.
—> You know where middle-class person goes wrong? It’s when they start earning some extra money. No sooner we are handed our first pay-check than we spend it on unnecessary things.
—> Invest money in creating real assets and cash flow. Take calculated risks. Invest in a life of “Oh well”s than “what if”s…”
—> Higher the risk, higher the reward.
—> When someone tells me, I can’t have an ice-cream, I start wanting an ice-cream even if I would have preferred a milkshake before.
—> One’s reaction to a situation can change the situation itself.
—> As an investor, one should look at the person instead of the idea.
—> “Dreams without goals, remain dreams.” – Denzel Washington
—> Good communication skills meant conveying the necessary information effectively. As long as the information was correct, and I looked confident presenting it, the people on the other side were responding well.
—> What mattered was the content. If I could make the content more appealing, I could convince them to invest in it.
—> The feeling that someone does not like you can shake your sense of self.
—> Eventually, I learned to let go and be myself simply. I stopped trying to change their minds or conform my nature to their perception of how I ought to be.
—> You will work hard on your passion, and you will eventually get tired.The impulses will fade away no matter how badly you wanted it first. But the million-dollar question is – will you push through it?
—> “Any dream or goal that has been planted in your mind also comes with the power to make it happen.” – Rhonda Byrnes, The Secret
—> The Fall season was at its peak, and there were fabulous colors spread out everywhere. It was the most beautiful time to be in Canada. (Seriously the Fall season is the best time to be in any cold region)
—> Any foreigner who hasn’t tried Bhakarwadi always ends up with a newfound love for it.
—> Why would you waste your young age doing the same things over and over? Life is short. You are going to die!
—> Life is meant to be spontaneous. Life is meant to be magical. Sometimes, we let this magic fade away in the pursuit of structured living and planning careers. We work for a piece of paper for years and seek stable monotonous jobs that engage the rest of our lives. We live in fear and never take chances. Why do we keep forgetting that we are not immortals? We prepare answers for questions like – Where do you see yourself in five years, or ten years? But what about the present? Are we making the most of today? We plan our careers with bachelors, masters, and even PhDs. We become an asset ourselves – an asset that needs to work for the rest of our lives.
—> Legacy will last even after a person is gone. Even entrepreneurs can create this legacy. Business is something that one can inherit. Assets that provide a cashflow are something that one can inherit.They become a strong foundation for anyone’s pursuit of passion.While degrees and jobs – they fade away with the person or make the person himself an eternally working asset.
—> Death could be the most inspiring part of life. The degrees and jobs that I was grinding so much for – they would be useless after I die. Everyone’s replaceable in this world. So, instead of being afraid of death, I should be taking more chances and be more creative with my life. I should aim to be happier. I should explore more. Importantly, I should work towards creating more and more assets and cash flows that would give my kids and me the freedom we all crave for.
—> “Success is where preparation and opportunities meet.” Bobby Unser
—> The problem is not the education system at all; the problem is with how we utilize our education system. Everyone has a particular set of skills and intelligence – something that they are good at. Passion is nothing but working hard on honing those skills and becoming great at what you were already good at. Education should simply be seen as a tool for it. No one can teach you creativity and no one can do the hard work for you. It’s an individual’s responsibility to identify their calling, work on developing their skills, and try to solve problems that they can. Education should simply be seen as a tool for it.
—> When you hang in there for just enough time, work hard for what you really want, and try persistently to get there, Destiny is obliged to give in. It doesn’t have a choice.
—> “It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then you can let go. Otherwise, you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.” – The Life of Pi
—> It’s pertinent to know that innovation and creativity are some basic human traits. Capitalizing on them should be appreciated, but it should also be expected. We should be looking out for problems to solve. We should be overcoming our fear of failing. We should be discussing more ideas. We should be encouraging innovations. We should be experimenting more. Above all, we should realize the potential in us. If everyone starts living up to their full potential, imagine how resourceful the world would be!
—> There are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family.
—> “Opportunity is always knocking. The problem is that most people have the self-doubt station in their head turned up way too loud to hear it.” – Brian Vaszily
—> Making a bold decision in life was much like the skydive. The toughest part is getting out of what you perceive to be safe and comfortable. Much like the airplane, life takes you up to a certain point where you are in a kind of comfort zone. It is all cozy and seemingly safe. But then, suddenly, a door of opportunity opens up. You know that you want it, your heart wants it. But it can look overwhelming at first. Your rational brain gets too worried and tries to make excuses. Why would you leave your comfort zone? Why would you try to break out of your easy-going life? But at that moment, you need to ask yourself, is this what you signed up for? Is that what your life is about? Or were you meant to explore a world of new and better possibilities? Remember, ships are safe in harbor, but they aren’t meant for it. You need to… you must take a leap of faith at this point. If you don’t, it would likely become a regret of “could have”-s and “if only”-s. Invest in the essentials you need for this big step – like the parachute or the goggles. Try to have people around who push you rather than pull you back.The toughest part is only the first step out of that airplane, that comfort zone. Once you seize this opportunity – it becomes a fantastic journey ahead. As you enjoy this new journey and the freedom it entails, you keep thanking yourself for that first step you took.
—> Education is an opportunity. An entrepreneurial idea is an opportunity. A new concept for a book is an opportunity. Life is full of possibilities. Seize them.And yes, luck does play its part. Some things are out of your hands and without any luck, you may not even get started. But it is your job to bring about a situation where luck can play its part. Be it the first time like us, or the third time like that couple – every dog has its day eventually. You must keep looking and trying. Take that first step!
—> Every time, the first step proved to be the hardest, but eventually, worth it!
—> “You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.” – French proverb
—> “The most beautiful turn of events is when the obstacles that were meant to tear you down, end up strengthening you in ways you never could’ve imagined” – FAIRYSFORUM
—> You always find a way to remain associated with people that you connect with.
—> There are these people who simply wouldn’t connect with you, no matter how many associations you find. It’s good riddance from such toxicity.
—> The education system is as it is. It is up to us to evaluate what we want and how we want to do it. It cannot be solely the duty of the education system to imbibe attributes like innovation, creativity, and vision. Yes, there are some changes which the education itself can do. But the whole point of getting educated is to discover yourself. Experiment with yourself. Build a vision for yourself.Then, commit to yourself. In the end, you are responsible for your life, and education is just a tool to get the best of you.
—> Education, in its pure element, is supposed to be about gaining knowledge, learning something that you like, finding a passion, and meaning to life. The job and the opportunities – those are peripherals.
—> The oil-well of engineering has already been over-mined. There is no easy oil nowadays. A combination of skills and talent is needed to draw any more oil effectively. There is no space for mediocrity.
—> No human on this earth was meant to be mediocre. We all have a set of talents. They need to be honed. And they could be really honed – if unemployment and education are treated as separate issues.
—> If you are passionate about a subject, you make it a point to work hard for it. “Excellence” entailing dedication, hard work, and quality come hand in hand with passion. But when you are disconnected from the career that you are taking up, it is natural to see that these character traits are missing in our graduates. Unemployment is collateral of not taking up education with the purpose of learning.
—> More often than not – the source of one’s earning and their education has nothing to do with each other.
—> If you take up a stream of education with the sole intention of earning, you are likely to miss out on the opportunity of finding your real talents, honing them and excelling to what could have taken you to the hall of fame.
—> You are meant for excellence not to stay in a shell.
—> If you blindly follow an institution for its job prospect, you are likely to remain mediocre and insignificant. The future will belong to talents – talents honed by relevant education and motivated by strong passion.
—> Educate to Learn, not just to Earn.