Monday, December 31, 2012

And am laughing at the post about powercuts now.

I don't feel that great turmoil now.

It seems absurd, that I should be speaking about mosquitoes and disorientation.\
What was all that fuss about, really?

Not that the power situation has changed. We just seemed to have go t so used to it. Learned to live with it.
Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthihiiiii
Happy 2013 everyone

I spent the last minutes of 2012 with an online student of mine. She was writing a narrative poem. BOOM!!
"What was that????" she asked.
"You know, It's twelve in India. New year!! You should wish me."
"Oh!!! Happy New Year"

One of the happiest New year moments in my life actually. Guess am never as happy anywhere as I am in my class. Ofcourse, I was msging people who were wishing me happy new year.
It was good.

Happy New year again

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Not written by me ...but a passionately written poem about 21st c entury English...Magical and logical Written and performed by Dizraeli for

The 21st Century Flux
English. The new disease?
It pours out of television speakers and computer screens
Disregarding Babel with its very cocky fluency
Sticking on its labellings at every opportunity.
Nothing’s safe; it won’t stop when it begins to spread
it dominates the airwaves and reigns/rains on the internet
leaving cultures altered and confused as to what’s what
turns the dialecting of the youths to a hotch-potch
rag-tag scrabble bag; everyone’s affected
the little languages will not survive unprotected.
So hold your own, but get a firm hold of English
and every last one of us shall be a multilinguist:
Sing it!
Shampoo juggernaut moolah hullabaloo
ad infinitum, pow-wow, kudos, déjà vu
Won ton, billabong, beef, potato, hobo, dream
Wha gwan with the wigwam boogie
Mr. Chimpanzee?
Welcome to the twenty-first century flux
for now, English is the language of choice
and when it dies, as every tongue eventually must
let it be said you added your voice.
The professor said, “Pif! What language is this?
Degenerate slang isn’t Standard English!
We at the top must establish limits.”
I said “Prof! Language is the people that live it.”
Get loose, give it some vision and foresight
and juice; we can fling the dictionary door wide.
I live in a city where it seems like
every single idiom is intermingling stream-like,
Like streams, that know no barriers
No matter what dams and channels are established –
they are irrelevant. What matters is the message that is put across,
and the passion that’s invested in it. Nothing’s lost
it merely mutates, and lets the people speaking it
tweak it in new ways.

Monday, October 8, 2012

We have power supply for only a few hours out of the twenty four these days. The climate is no help too because it's scorching hot outside these days; sweaty and sultry inside rooms. My house is an exception. A very old house, it has a roof that is ten feet high and is cool at all times of the year. There is also a backyard with a few trees and a well.
I try to sit there on a stool under the trees and work on my lap top. It's wonderful to sit under a tree, even on the hottest of days. The problem wit sitting outside is, that there is a radio station right behind my house with a very noisy generator. So the minute power goes out, a deafening roar from that machine fills our back yard.
It's only when the machines are shut off when power returns that we experience an intense relief from that drilling sound.
Power cuts are a horrific experience. Mosquitoes, sweat, disorientation caused by sudden darkness, that makes us forget what we had planned to do, sometimes making it impossible for us to finish our chores, inability to use or even charge gadgets are all crippling the routine.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The magic a child can weave

This is a part of a  conversation i had with an eight year old, whom I am tutoring online.

Me: So tell me your friend's name.

Kid: Helen.

Me: Helen is a proper noun, while friend is a common noun. You understand?

Kid: yeah

Me: Now tell me the names of some flowers.

Kid : Daaaiiisy.....mmm White Daaaaaiiiisy.... Yellow daisy.....mmmm Pink.....mmmm

Me: Think of another flower.

Kid: Poppy.....White poppy....

Me: hahahaha ( very irresponsible of me...)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Played a prank...:P

HAHAHAHAHA laughing to myself about a prank i played on an unsuspecting person...

For the past one or two weeks, I had been much irritated to see a "funny" post on facebook. The post is based on a comedy track of Vadivelu's where he classifies women into three types - jill (gorgeous) jung (not bad looking) and juck (ugly), Some wise guy had taken a picture of three girls in their early twenties and labelled them JILL JUNG and JUCK. A few other guys were sharing this pic around and it kept turning up on my wall.
I felt sick thinking how the girls would feel if they saw the pic. Today, however, one young person came on chat and told me to look at his posts. He said he had posted something funny and guess what!!! He had jill, jung and juck on top of all of them. Here is what transpired when i continued to chat with him.

    • Me: I think all the three girls are looking good. How do you think they would feel if they saw this pic? Just you wait!! One of the girls is gonna file a legal defamation suit on you
  • Young person: Why are you getting flustered? Are you among the three?

    • Me: Yeah!!!!! The one in the green saree ...thats me from my younger days!!!!

    • Y P: Gosh!!! you are Juck!!!!

    • Me: Exactly!!! Now you see why i got so bugged?

    • Y P: Is this the truth? It's really You???

  • Me: It's me alright. I used to wear reading glasses then and used to plaster my hair with oil.
  • Y P: Hey !!! Sorry!!! I just shared that. I didn't upload that picture.
  • Me: hmmmmmm...Now you understand how I feel!!! when you comment it's all jolly and fun. But when joke's on you......hmmmmmm
  • Y P : I said sorry...sorry ok?
  • Me : alright!! Don't post such stuff again.

  • Y
     P : ok ok ok coollll...
    • i

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

chaos-the magic of it and the logic behind it
I lead a chaotic life, fun filled, indulgent and frantically moving from one type of activity to has its magical moments, but the truth is that I belong to the small percentage of people who don't actually have to slog for food. And I can be more useful than this. 
Good decision. How to implement it? How to be a useful person? or more useful than I am now?
The first thing is to change  my attitude. Adopt a serious attitude. So I searched for asanas that improve concentration and here is one that might be useful to all.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I watched the movie "The Help". A good watch. It was about racism in the late fifties and early sixties of the twentieth century. The camera, screen play, acting were all above average. Not too predictable, but definitely a feel good film. Like all average non intellectual movie watchers, I love feel good films. The face of the actresses who played the stoical, talented and loving black nannies and maids made an impression. One  of the faces was unforgettable, that of Octavia Spencer's. I later read that the film won an award for outstanding performance of the cast.
Reading this made me realize that the 'bad' white women in the film had acted extremely well and looked extremely good and well dressed. Wiki said that some black people's human rights organization had considered the film and the book on which it was based, to be an unrealistic portrayal of the plight of black people, as it did not portray the sexual harassment the women were subject to. The article in Wiki points out that there is a discussion in the film about such ill treatment meted out to some other characters.
It was a feel good film. It portrayed a social evil, but focused on the funny side,and at the same time made the more spirited, kinder, cleverer people its main characters. The aim of the film was to entertain and make people feel that we were once racists and had been cruel to a whole race, but were over that part. I realize that but let me repeat! It was a good watch. A very visually strong film with faces and images lingering on in my mind.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Today I listened to some songs sung  by M.L.Vasantha kumari. How original, creative, refreshing her singing is! I also listened to a song she had sung for a film. The difference in presentation was great. The film song had an elementary rhythm and MLV had dutifully fitted the song to the rhythm. But it did not carry the flavor of the raga. It was monotonous when compared to the song sung in the traditional carnatic style. In the carnatic song, she had let herself go in a relaxed way and come up with variations that brought life to the words. And the irony was that, the lyrics for the film song was by Bharathiyar and had a life of their own. Even someone like me, passionate about language, had to accept that language became subservient to music, when some one like MLV took over the lyrics.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Staged magic

I watched a play on mythical Hindu Gods and Goddesses.It is impossible to portray Gods. Gods are perfect Humans are not. The play was much appreciated and I would probably write a review of it highlighting its success with the audience, but here i will record how men failed in appearing like Gods.
1. Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, had a slightly manly voice.
2. The actor portraying the all powerful Narayana, was plump.
3. The Rain God, the Wind God and the Fire God had common features and were so obviously men in their twenties.
4. Hiranyakashipu, the mighty villain, was a handsome young man, who should have been at least ten years older,
5. Thilottama, the celestial temptress, famed for her beauty was obese, although she danced quite well.
6. For some unfathomable reason, the mask of the lion faced God was a bright white. The actor had the structure of a short teddy bear, This was the strangest looking Narasimha that  have ever seen.

 Hard, isn't it? for humans to look godly? However, some veteran actors bring out the divine through their acting skills, although they look far from perfect. Tamil actor, Shivaji Ganesan for instance, could portray any God or king , young or old , very convincingly, although he had a typical short statured, broad shouldered, plump structure typical of the majority of average looking people.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

lack of logic is -----eccentric

One of my old students called me an eccentric...He is a young person and my middle aged line of thinking must have appeared crazy to him. But when I come to think of it, there are some things i do, which others don't and can be called , yes, "Eccentric"
1. I prefer to stay and work in dark places. When I was a kid, my mom used to yell at me for sittinginside a dark room, near the door, and reading with the lights from another room. The other members of my family constantly tell me to switch on the lights when i work in the kitchen.
2, There are pictures of me on facebook. But thats it. I took them because i was enamoured with it when i saw the cell phone which could also take photos, for the first time. There are no other pictures of me in my house. I dont keep photographs safe. When i am photographed on public occassions, i just dont collect these pictures.Exceptions are photos of me on a visit abroad and my daughter's wedding.
3. I dislike dressing up. I am often underdressed because I dislike the ritual so much.
Anyway this turned out to be a boring topic. As I took the trouble and time to write it, am gonna post it anyway.
BTW the pic of me on blogger was my experimental first picture on a laptop.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Arun came to see me today. If any of my students read this, they would see a different Arun each, because every batch has an Arun. In fact, one of the batches with just fifteen students had five aruns.This one was a baker and was in charge of a bakery in a well known restaurant. A tall skinny young person in his early twenties, with an army hair cut and moustache. He was from a village and told me that he had gained admission in college in the U.K. This was in 2009. So he wanted to speak in English.
As we got to know each other, he told me that he had paid an exorbitant sum to his consultant in Mumbai. I asked to see his admission letter. It was a photo copy of an admission letter for a diploma course. He told me that his consultant would get him into the country and that he would get him a job, and that he really did not plan to attend college. I saw the hope in his eyes but did not hesitate to tell him that I suspected a scam there. Educational consultants do not charge such fees, as the universities pay them.There was a remote possibility that someone would smuggle bakers into U.K in an organized way. But it was most probably a scam.
He then told me that his consultant was postponing the process everymonth. We wrote several mails to the consultant.
Arun had got his sister married, but she was sent home by her family, as he could not give her the promised dowry. She was now nursing a baby and he was intent on working abroad and paying the dowry, so that his sister would be united with her family.The young man was miserable. I was sure he had been cheated. His progress in English was tolerable.Then one day he stopped coming. I did not hear from him till today.
He told me that he was now working in the U.S base in Russia.He also told me that he had got his money back from consultant. His story went like this. He had  chanced to meet an Underworld dada from Mumbai, in his native village at a wedding ceremony. He and his friend had shared their woes with him. The dada had invited them to Mumbai. They had stayed with him for a month, working in his theatre, issuing tickets. Finally, the dada had found time to investigate his case. He took them to a lawyer, who had contacts in a telephone network. they found where the consultant lived. Abducted him. Had the police inspector threaten him.At first the villain had refused to pay up. Then when he came to know that his wife had also been abducted, he gave in and paid the two young villagers.
 Arun had stayed on in Mumbai and attended several interviews before he got the job in Mumbai.What a delightful story i got to hear today, because i would often think of Arun and wonder what had happened to him. I never imagined even once that his story would have a happy ending. He's flying back to Russia at the end of his vacation this friday! God Speed!

Monday, June 4, 2012

When you have a vision....

I read somewhere that having a very high goal is a great motivator. True! It can make all the difference. We can  easily identify a person who has set his heart on the skies. The way he moves about, the way he walks, talks, looks, makes him stand apart from his peers. He does not get bored or frustrated easily, for in his mind , he sees not just the drab physical reality around him, but the superior vision, which provides him with a psychological reality, that goads him forward.His vision helps him in two ways. First, he keeps moving forward, despite the odds, because he is not discouraged. Secondly, he solves his everyday issues better than his peers, and because of this attitude and reduces , however marginally, the drabness of his circumstances.
I also read somewhere (bad acknowledgement again) that people have problems with goals because they think goals are boring work oriented things and dreams are unattainable fun fantasies. But goals and dreams are one and the same. I totally agree with this.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why I miss the rain....

Summer 2012 was strange because it almost forgot to visit my city, Madurai. We almost didn't experience summer because dark thick stacks of clouds covered the blue of the sky and it rained and poured on, till the second week of May. It still leaves me dissatisfied and I miss the rain because of all this.
a. There's water water everywhere, everything getting a great wash.
b. The temperature is pleasantly low before, during and after the rain.
c. The spectacular audio-visual enhancements such as the lightning, thunder, the various water sounds such as pitter patter, splash, swoosh, pounding, drumming, and dripping. I miss that.
d. The trees and plants are no longer covered in dust and sprout bunches of leaves.
e. The smell that fills the air when it starts to rain.
f. Walking in the rain and racing someone.
g. Riding a bike in the rain through the busy city roads, with your eyes crinkled and getting drenched to the bone. If you screamed or sang aloud no one would hear. Awesome.
h. Rain brings memories of college, which always opened in the rainy season. Transports me to my youth instantly.
We also feel re assured that this year we will enjoy good water supply and that farmers wont complain.
Praise the Rain!
Some one read my blog and mailed me saying that it was funny. This was not the comment I had expected to get about my random insights.
So I re-read my posts to see if I had written anything funny. My posts are a chaotic mess.I guess i don't like being predictable. So in order to write about unexpected things, I take the risk of writing in a disorganized way. There are a few funny lines here and there. But the blog is funny only to the extent life is, or only to the extent we stop to laugh at it, in middle of our other obsessions and observations. I hope this commentator had really read the blog. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It’s kind of a funny story

The above given title is not my comment on the film. It’s the title of the film. Attractive title. Kinda funny seems interesting as well as funny. This would not be the case if the title had just been It’s a funny story or a very funny story.
The first scene is from the dream a boy has recurrently. He is going to commit suicide. His parents try to stop him. He jumps off and falls and wakes up. But this time he falls into water. The visual effect/ graphics in this scene made an impression on me.
Receptionist: WHAT DO YOU WANT
boy : i want to kill myself
receptionist: ok fill this form
It’s an ironic remark on how psychiatric treatment, which was taboo in certain times and places, which is scarecely available and is considered a mysterious mumbo jumbo in some others, is considered as being matter of fact and common these days, in some places. The boy displays intelligence of the highest order. He is intuitive when speaking to other inmates, changes track three moves before things go wrong . Very mature. The highly activated imagination, an inevitable aspect of an insane mind is portrayed in this film. For instance, the boy draws a city in the drawing class and each student interprets it in a different way. Then, he is transported into a hi-tech auditorium in his mind, when he sings in the music class. All the inmates appear in flashy heavy metal make up and costumes
There’s one punch line too…the moral of the story- “If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying.” Personally, I know a third kind too…those who are busy going in circles.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I love noisy roads in cities. I dislike the quiet of the villages. Technically speaking, the badly maintained sidewalk is a symbol of lacklustre city life. It's polluted by dust, carbon dioxide, monoxide, the hooting of horns, the whizzing sound made by a variety of vehicles  and a million other by products of the frenetic traffic. But it's exactly here that my heart swells in joy and i feel totally at home. But in one way villages score over cities. There are many playgrounds for kids here. A teenager from a village told me that his village panchayat leader has purchased sports equipment such as nets and volleyballs and get to play these games every evening. Many young men from villages also speak longingly of the natural pools of water, or large wells, in which they would swim regularly. Sigh!!!! How many children today get to enjoy these things? Some builders however, make it a point to construct a swimming pool in their apartment enclaves as a value addition to tempt buyers. Let's hope this trend catches on.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ten reasons why India doesn't produce sportsmen.
1.Schools have no or very little ground space. Parents only check if the buildings are good, not if there are sufficient courts for various games or if the school has purchased games equipment such as hockey sticks or nets.
2.There are only one or two hours allotted for games every week. One young person I used to despise in every way, once made a very sensible statement, "If I were the principal of the school, I would have one hour of games every day." Personally , if I became the director of school education, I would have two or three hours of games every day.
3. The games teacher handles the difficult task of space management, by asking the girls to sit in small groups and chat, while letting boys use the only available basket ball court or volley ball court.In case the school has no such facility, the boys still manage to play lagaan cricket.
4. Parents constantly tell children to study.Guests ask kids if they study well. No one asks them if they play well.No encouragement. Low awareness of the importance of games.
5.There are very few government schemes to help sportspersons. There are complaints of favoritism, as children or relatives of coaches and government officials make use of the schemes for personal profit.
6. There are no playgrounds in cities. The concept of the play ground has ceased to exist.The once popular haunts of kids, where children used to play games such as catch and blind man's buff, have now been converted into apartment blocks.
Am sure there are ten reasons. will write them as andwhen i remember.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Very heavy in the heart after having watched a 1976 Italian movie, whose title google translated as "Ugly, dirty and bad". The movie on you tube has no english subtitles. The visuals spoke so much that there was no need to understand even a single word. It is about squalor and slum life. Not something totally new to me. I have read about it in stories and a couple of movies. The energy and the survival instincts of the extremely poor is portrayed along with all their gross ways of going about tackling the insurmountable odds stacked against them. The sound track became a little pleasant when children were shown.

I however, felt terrible when i saw the end. It was an uncompromising end. It showed no ray of hope or scope for change in the lives of all concerned. The movie begins with a  prepubescent girl beginning the day with an assortment of cans in which she fills water from a public tap. The little girl is shown as responsible for taking care of kids, shepherding them into a wired enclosure, as the parents go to work, taking care of them during crisis. The director shows her run to a hedge and jump on  a few stones playfully on her way to fill water. She does exactly the same thing in the last scene. Only now she is pregnant.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Haven't been recording any of the stuff happening....when stuff keeps happening all the time.... any way thought i would be regular if  i began with funny stuff from college. The notice board in one of the colleges i go to, is a blackboard, where info is chalked out. Primitive, but useful. Yesterday, the board carried the names of the staff who were in charge of issuing hall tickets to different groups of students. One gifted student decided to modify his teacher Deepa's name. He rubbed off the D, (gender bias intended, am sure it's a he) and wrote a P in it's place, making her name Peepa, which means 'barrel' in tamil. The enraged teacher went to the Principal and requested him never to put her name on the board again. She would do any duty assigned to her, But since it was a small college, it would be sufficient to put up the room number, where the students had to go.