The Artlessness of Delegation – Part 2

Unwinding the smokey way…

The four in the Arun Nathani household had an unusual American holiday this summer.  2 weeks, 5 cities, 17 universities!  Objective: Hunt for an ideal college where we can park a big piece of our heart for four years.   It was a very hectic college road trip, but we had an efficient tour guide happy.  At each of the stops, Misha enthusiastically kept pace, Aneesh obediently followed behind, even Ritu cooperated by not wearing her heels during extended campus tours happy.  Not that anybody had much of a say; I was dictating all the terms—from college information sessions and tour schedules, to choice of airlines, hotels, and car rentals—everything! Even all the passports were locked in my pouch for safe custody; there was no escape! Except Ritu’s, of course.  She didn’t let me pound her passport; I suspect, more to prove a point…

Smokey picture for blog..
Bonding in Smokies

While it was turning out to be a highly productive trip from Misha’s perspective, the same couldn’t be said for her poor younger sibling.  It was quite a bummer way for a 14-year old teenage boy to spend his summer vacation.  The least Aneesh deserved was the Memorial Day’s long-weekend getaway when all the universities were closed.  And that’s how we ended up in Smokey Mountains of Tennessee midway through our trip.

The scenic drives were great, BUT an absence of wildlife was a disappointment.  The river-rafting was fun, BUT the horse riding was a drag.  Surely a nice getaway place, BUT our monsoon Mahabaleshwar and Khandala are more refreshing happy. Nonetheless, it was a good change of environment before resuming our campus tour marathon.  So after 3 nights of The Lodge at Buckberry Creek, the morning of Mon, May 27 found us back on the road. The destination was Asheville airport, about one hundred miles northwest of our lodge, from where we would be off to our next stop —Chicago—to check out Northwestern University and The University of Chicago. And that’s when it all started…

Before we get started on whatever got started, here is a pause-time (and perhaps one of the most debated) family question: how does our accomplished audience feel about the right choice of undergraduate education for Indian kids from “affording” families: a) Western countries (US, UK etc.) where the focus is on all-round development; b) Top Indian institutes (IIT, BITS etc.) where the focus is on exceptional academia; c) Any decent institute in own hometown (Pune, Ahmedabad etc.) where the young adult can flourish in a right balance of college and home environment?

Delegation, Original, Team, Style


  1. Honestly b) is not a choice for kids from a very well to do families as the entry bar is very high.I mean you need to have that fire in belly to make it big in life which is generally not there I would say even in most of the middle class guys so aflluent family kids are nowhere near that.
    So we are left with choice a) and c).I would say a) would be better choice because apart from education it is opportunity to learn about new culture,quite interesting to understand their way of life,their thoughts.So when you graduate you can juxtapose Indian and foreign way of life and pick-up the best from each one for yourself in each aspect of life.

  2. Interesting question I’d say, Arun. One that we have been toying with for the past 1 year. A strongly believed opinion is that India is better for under graduation and US for post-grad. However, those who have studied abroad will differ…the broad spectrum learning that can happen in a diversified modern culture like US ( ofcourse , not all of it desirable for traditionally protective parents like us) is possible only once the baby leaves the nest… So I guess, it all depends on how soon you are ready to let go. Personally, if given a choice, I would keep them close as long as possible.Eventually, we have to believe in our values and upbringing and have faith. You see, there is no right and wrong way here. Grow up beautifully, they will…whether they study here or there……life is all about learning along the way, isn’t it? For all of us!

  3. Very Interesting question, Arun. In today’s time, in fact this question has started troubling even affordable middle class after just few years of the birth of the child. Whether to send child in a traditional ICSE/CBSE/State board where focus is mostly on studies or in an international school where focus is on all-round development? If we send our child to an international school, will they be able to clear IITs, will they be able to handle exam pressure, will they learn western culture as well, and so on along with peer pressure :-). And if we don’t admit in international school, is my kid going to be inferior compared to the kids going in an international school.
    In my opinion, option B seems a logical extension to continue education in a very competitive environment alongside top talents in India. And post that, a more mature out-of-the-family-protected graduate may be more ready to explore, selectively adopt a new culture and flourish with an all-round development.

  4. Very interesting question indeed and the same that we (me and my husband) are facing currently. Students have to face fierce competition for entry into top education institutions – IIT,BITS… Even though Indian students are groomed from school days to face competition, making a choice and that too a right choice for our children (along with them) is very tough.
    Exposure to western culture and all round development is sure very alluring but will the child be able to cope up with all that freedom so early in life?

  5. Education for ‘affording’ families sounds definitely different when we read it here. In order to satisfy my curiosity, I asked the riddle to old good friend (might be of everyone) – Google. The question was simple – ‘What one wants from education”. In the result set I found a quote which was amusing to answer my question as if god here wants to tease us with google these days – ‘No one wants a good education. Everyone wants a good degree’ quoted by Rudolph, Lee.
    On researching this quote, I landed up reading abstract from some book suggested by Google again – “Conference Papers: Overcoming barriers to educational disadvantage which has some interesting insights about question raised in this blog. Insights basis age group and two observations that caught my attention were these:-
    – Observation 1 – Education is important to be a good person. You need good education to get a good job so you can have enough money to live.
    – Observation 2 – It can be good to learn if they make things fun to learn.
    In short everyone wants good education, good job and enough money to live. But these things hold true only for those group which target to push their kids beyond the circle or line of divide in society so that the kid can attain all these aspects of lives which the parents could not and simply education can do the trick here.
    When it comes to affording families, they know it very well their social position is reflected in society already and they tend to merge the same while educating their kid which is certainly justified.
    Come to think about it, I am educated from Option (a) or Option (c). Which one has chances to secure my future in any way possible? So answer here can be (a).
    If we put this insight in the options given here, I would definitely vote for Option a) Western countries (US, UK etc.) where the focus is on all-round development;

  6. Undergraduate – b or a
    Postgraduate – a

    But student interest and influence from mentors drives the decision.

    Also depends on future plan after graduation.

  7. The most important aspect is “Lakshya Kya Hai”…
    If that is defined, it is much easier to filer a, b or c.
    Another aspect is the environment around the student matters a lot. So if there is an option to go to the best university, then it should be the obvious choice.
    And yes in today’s scenario all round development matters a lot. It boosts the confidence and keeps the morale high.

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The Artlessness of Delegation – Part 2 - Arun Nathani Blog