Sunday, October 10, 2010

This is for You, Kate!


Clean-up day – as it always is – I decided to clean up my book shelf! While dusting and arranging the books, I found a card that Kate, my friend and ex-colleague had given me on the day of our parting! It is such a plain and unadorned card, but …………………..! It is such a small thing but it makes so much of a “positive difference” I feel. I still remember – there was a smile on my face when I got that card and read that hand-written note that she had put in it. I read it again and when I read the last line – I felt she was telling it to me in person – “I am not saying good bye Sunita, I am sure, we will meet again!” 

She came like a migrant bird, overshadowing thousand of miles, all the way from U.S. After a year, she returned like a monarch butterfly, but, she left a lot of colorful memories. And in between these two journeys, she had inspired a lot of young minds and even me too. And I had seen, how skillfully, she brought forth talents and capabilities of kids, out of concealment. I have often wondered, why birds migrate thousand of miles? And, my friend Kate is an answer to that! 


25th May 2009

Kate and I joined the school on the same day. On the first day, we had a short meeting with all the staff members – old and new! Just after the ‘self intro’, this lovely lady came up to me and said – “ Cochin and Tiruvannamalai are two of my favorite places in India” – (In my intro, I had said that I am a native of Cochin, but have lived my life for almost 8 years in a spiritual town called Tiruvannamalai). We started talking and within no time, I could make out that she is a person who knows a lot about India and Indian culture! It was evident from every word she spoke! 

From then on, we were very good friends! There are soooo many good memories about her – A trip to Tiruvannalamali, an evening at the Osudu Lake, her visit to my house, our usual lunch sessions, discussions on the English lessons, her cooking experiments, her first “saree” day and many many more! But what I love most about Kate is her ‘free and frank’ nature. 

This is one thing which I have always noticed about Americans – they are never ashamed about showing their real feelings - especially the good ones! If they like something, they show their appreciation without any hesitation – very much unlike Indians! If they meet someone after a long time, they would not hesitate to extend a warm hug. If they are not so happy, they would not really mind crying out! I often feel, here in India, people are like dish antennas engineered to absorb channels of negative thoughts. If someone does something good, there is no way people can employ their tongues to compliment, but I bet you, there will be a big hue and cry, if someone does something wrong, at least in a very silly way! 

Sometimes, I feel, even small kids are so much into this kind of behaviour. There are many instances when I have told my students to stop laughing at others and instead, boost their confidence by expressing their real thoughts! Sometimes, I have noticed, even when they are so much impressed by something or someone, they can not really bring themselves into expressing the real thoughts! Expressing oneself is so important for any kind of relationship, I feel! Positive expressions are always better to keep negative expressions at check! 


Yup, I have noticed this always, I am very good at digressing! 

Coming back to what I was saying……… 

Just when I was done with my cleaning, Gauri came running to me and said, “You have a message from Kate Miss, Achan said!” 

What a coincidence!!!!!!!!!!! I ran to see the message! 

Miss You Kate! 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Adorable Swami!


"Ta na na tna na na naaaaaa, Ta na na tna nana naaa"…….. Most ppl in my generation would never forget this tune! Yup, I am talking about “Malgudi Days” which used to be aired on DD, some 20 years ago! 

Recently, I watched an interview with Manjunath, the boy who played the role of Swami, in Malgudi Days! From then on, I was planning to make a post on Swami! The reasons for my love for Swami are many! His simplicity, the way he tackles each difficult situation, his lame excuses and so on! Even his dress – his dhoti and the round cap! 

R.K.Narayan – Two things that strike me when I hear this name are Malgudi Days and Swami and Friends! I never used to miss a single episode, even on the re-runs! Narayan is a true literary genius. His style of writing is so simple, and of course, the choice of words is so meticulous and settings are soooo common. And most of all, the fictional town of Malgudi seems so real to me! Even now, I believe there is such a town somewhere and that Swami still lives there!!!!!!!!!!!! Such is the impression etched indelibly on my mind by R.K Narayan's fictional character. 

This year, I have taught two stories by Narayan – The Hero and An Astrologer’s Day! It was so much fun teaching “The Hero” to the 8th graders, Astrologer’s Day is a bit of a serious tone though!

I am literally laughing now, as I got reminded of the expressions of my 8th graders, on reaching the climax of Hero!!!!!

Anyways, I am happy that my resolution of being regular on blog is at least done this week!

Have a gr8 Sunday !

Friday, October 8, 2010

Am I Cribbing?

Today was one of those blue days, where everything and anything seemed just too depressing. I don’t like to crib, but today was one day I just hated!

I feel, in life, priorities keep changing and as they keep changing newer problems will surface and old problems would seem NOTHING! Yup, it happens – Just when I think I have solved one issue and settle down comfortably, another issue props up – which makes the previous one seem NOTHING!

I wonder – is it only me or is it the same for everyone?

Neways, the much-awaited Weekend is here – so, hoping for two brighter days!

B/w - A two-day weekend -Thanks to Sonia Gandhi for her visit to Pondy !

Okie! Calling it a day!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

To Sir, With Love!

“The time has come for closing books and long last looks must end

And as I leave I know that I am leaving my best friend

A friend who taught me right from wrong and weak from strong

That's a lot to learn, but what can I give you in return?

If you wanted the moon

I would try to make a start

But I would rather you let me give my heart

                                                                                    `To Sir, With Love'”

Last Year, when our academic director mentioned that I have to teach the ninth graders, the novel – To Sir, With Love, I was really excited, mainly because I had learnt a chapter of this novel in my eighth grade! I thought I could relive my experience! 

I would never forget Ms. Caroline who taught me that chapter, for the way she taught. She just lived as Mr. Thackeray, the teacher who appears in the novel. Even now, I can visualize the way she taught it and her expressions that captivated me! 

This year, I teach it to the ninth and tenth graders! But, more than teaching, it is ‘movie watching’now.  The novel was made into a movie (1967) with the same name! But anyway, it is definitely worth watching. It is a heart warming film that makes your heart filled with emotions. I guess I have watched it more than a dozen times, with my students, but every time I watch it, I watch it as if I were watching it for the first time.. May be because, I too am a teacher! 

It is the story of a young black man,Mr.Thackeray, who is an engineer, joining a school to teach, when he does not get a job in his stream of study. The school he joins is the school that is run for the kids who are not so privileged. They are kids who work in the evenings and come to school in the mornings despite many financial and personal problems. They definitely do not lead a life of luxury. In short, the school is run for such unattended kids, who are rough, indecent and unruly. He tries hard to bring in a new approach among the kids. Though it was very difficult to bring them to his track, he wins their hearts at last. It is such a touching novel/movie for any teacher. 

Like an icing to the cake, the last scene offers you a wonderful song sung in praise of the teacher! Once you hear it, you may never forget those lines – it is so powerful that you may tend to hum it very often! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sau Saal Pehle.........

I am soooo happy! At least, I could make a post today!I had made one yesterday too!

Well…sometime back, I almost thought my blogging died.... anyway, I am happy that I have been able to find some time to keep this alive!

Yesterday night, I heard this song and I felt that I HAD to write about it somewhere. This is one song which I just LOVE! But, it has been ages since I heard it! Yesterday, while looking for a song for Gauri on the Youtube, I bumped into this link!

It goes ‘Sau Saal Pehle Mujhe Tumse pyar dha…………..” What a song!

The credit for ‘Sau Saal’ does not go just to its director Shankar Jaikishan - but to the singers – Rafi Saab and Lataji too ... They have sung it in such a casual way, as if the song just sprouted from their own being and are actually feeling what they are singing. It gives an exhilarating feeling to listen to them skimming through the lyrics in great pleasure. I even felt they gave me a small pair of wings and took me up and up, from the start to the end of the song.

And inevitably, when the song got over, I held up all that I was doing only to scramble for the back button - once again to be mesmerized!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Food for Thought!

I have been lately caught up with loads of work at school and at home. Due to reduced energy levels these days, doing my normal stuff is slowly turning tedious. Though I had taken a resolution that I would make a post at least once a week, I have not been able to keep up with blogging at all!

The other day, I got a set of papers on my table, where kids had written about themselves! I had asked them to write about themselves for the ‘Rosebuddy of the Week’ which I run for my School Blog! One thing, which I had specially mentioned was to write about their hobbies! I went through the papers and noticed that most of them had a long list of hobbies! The next day, I discussed these and kids were really excited about telling about their best-loved hobby! 

It went on for a while, when a guy got up and asked me, “Miss, What is your hobby?”

For a moment, I couldn’t say anything! I really wondered if I could give him an answer!

Then I said, “I think, these days, my hobby is correcting your assignments!” I was right!


Back home!

I just asked myself – Do I really have any hobbies now? I tried answering – YES – I have!

Household Chores! Nothing else!

If someone had asked me the same question when I was a teenager, I would have given them a long list of hobbies! Where have all that gone!!! I wonder!

With growing age and increasing work/home pressure - people are losing their hobbies... I guess, there are very few people in my generation who take time to go out for music/art classes, who read a book as a hobby, who play a few games that they love!

Most of us are too much into our work that we don’t really find anything other than that. We know everything and anything that is new in the world – we are more into earning more money for an easy life, that we hardly get time to spare a few moments to do something we 'once upon a time just loved doing'! 

I feel, once in a while, it is very important that we take out sometime out of our busy schedule to do something that gives us happiness, something which is out of the routine, something that will keep that "extra-curricular" vein in our body alive and tingling ... It is necessary for us to rejuvenate ourselves by spending more time with ourselves, to gauge where we are in life, whether we have attained what we wanted, where are we lacking, how happy we are .... and how many real friends have we made in life ... 

Believe me, spending time with oneself, can be really refreshing!