Thursday, August 22, 2013



Yesterday when I was walking from home, a party volunteer gave me a notice It was as follows.....



I was amazed to see a notice decorated with pictures of onions that estimated that the common man would fall for such a cheap trick.Or could it be that he will...hmmmm...
Wouldn't it occur to any common man on the road to ask if the BJP would sell all the other costly stuff at a nominal petrol or gas or cooking oil????

Friday, August 9, 2013

I wish to put on record my gratitude to some teachers who have shown me what teaching is all about. My first thanks are to some of my own school and college teachers, whose lectures I loved, but this post is about some teachers who changed my way of thinking and doing things, after I started to teach.

Sivakalai- a young woman I met when I started teaching; from a small village in TN kerala border, a simple unassuming woman who had learnt Carnatic music at the village temple from a retired professor, and one who had managed to come to madurai and graduate from the the music college there. She was my children's music teacher. I was amazed to see how she repeated a single line of music several times and never moved on till the kids sang it perfectly. From her I learnt that a teacher's job is complete not when she has finished teaching but only after the student has finished learning.

Philomena Gomez - She is a physics teacher at a school where students study in tamil. The state government desists from creating a post for English teachers. Instead it demands that teachers who handle other subjects should teach at least one class of English. Everday, as we shared the ubiquitous Indian commute, the auto, I got to interact with her and we talked about teaching. What I learnt from her is something truly remarkable. Passion for teaching is not a quality found in teachers from cosmopolitan, elite, progressive schools.It was something that could be found in schools with thatched roofs where kids from, poor, backward families studied too..

Grace Rebecca - We would argue all the time. One day I was telling her that I was going to help one particular group of students instead of a set of brighter ones, as we had originally planned. "Oh what about the other group?" she asked. "O, they are bright, they can manage. It is the weak students, who need a lot of motivation."       "Who said so? Everyone needs motivation. Even smart ones."       Made  me think.....

Mala Parameswaran  - I could say she had the greatest impact on me.I had the opportunity of travelling with her and a group of students for a couple of days. I noticed that she maintained a distance with her students at all times. This way she was able to maintain her objectivity in assessing all their actions and keeping them under control.I know all about mingling with students and having fun. But this lady was more interested in providing the best leadership and being a role model, and showed me how a teacher's duty goes far beyond that of explaining concepts and honing skills.She brought about the biggest change in my attitude.

There are others too. Enough for now


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why did she commit suicide? That beautiful, bright,bubbly, quick to smile young woman, who was my student fifteen years ago; A last bencher, who was nevertheless attentive and respectful in a real way, that, over a period of time, her memory remained sharply etched in my mind, many years after she left the school, till she found me on facebook; and spoke to me at length about her teaching experience, and made me feel so proud and important?
What are we teaching our young people that a young woman with a son she adores, a job she enjoys and a life she flaunts about, constantly uploading posts on family trips abroad, trips to her hometown, weddings she attended, her new skates, her son's spelling bee, should all of a sudden feel she cannot face the world anymore?
Whatever be her reason for suicide, on our part, we adults are making a big mistake by making our young ones believe that life is a bed of roses.And that we should have perfect lives! We don't fight unpleasant realities and hedge around them, pretend that terrible things such as child prostitution, kidnapping and murder for organs, embryo harvesting, political murders, caste based carnages do not happen. We do not let our children work, and turn them into pampered pigs, who never realize that happiness has to be earned and can elude the best among us.
That life goes on no matter what you do and don't do and no matter who lives and who dies.
If you wanted to shatter someone's peace of sure did it, my dear....but if you had survived whatever shame was swallowing you, you would have got a lot more, and given a lot more too..Are you  resting in peace????

Friday, July 19, 2013

I remember how I lacked  career focus and didn't really care if I had a job or not, in my twenties.. I once quarreled with top  management loudly and rudely, and walked out on my job. I couldn't stand there when someone was shouting, "Get out!", could I? 
Momentous though that sounds, it was not earthshaking or shocking to me. I came home, went on about my work and at around two thirty switched on the T.V and started watching "Basic Instinct:" with rapt fascination. My dear friend Bhooma came over and tried to rehash the day's drama with me.I just nodded and tried to look serious every time she made a comment.But all I was thinking about was...Who dunnit?? How is the film going to end? 
Finally I could take it no longer. I told Bhooma." Listen. I want to see  how this film ends. Please let's talk later" But my assertion proved to be an effort that went in vain. Because of a Power Cut. No words can describe how disappointed I felt.But Bhooma started chastising me.."Here I am, rushing down to your place to console you and tell you not to worry...and look at you!" And we giggled so much over that.
Actually, I never got to watch the end. I am jobless today. May be I can catch up!!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

We need people and relationships, and yet can't tolerate many of the first and don't feel satisfied with most of the latter. We know the importance of relationships but fail to invest in them. Most people who claim to be in relationships just seem to be playing nasty games with each other.Why do people keep trashing their own lives?
A young woman aborted her foetus, because she had been selected to join the team taking a trip abroad for official work.She had not informed her husband, parents or any one of it.The doctor who did the abortion spoke about it to another woman from the same office. News spread fast and she was terminated from service. People in her office believed she had committed a murder.When her husband came to know of this, he filed for divorce, and got it too.
While everyone I discussed this with in and outside my class believed that the woman had to be fired, some questions keep popping up my mind.
1. Why did the doctor let the girl abort the child, if she did not think it was the right thing to do?
2. Why does no one think the doctor did something wrong in aborting the child?
3. Why did the doctor not inform her family, but told someone from the office?

Wonder where the girl is now?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

limericks in class

Here's a limerick I wrote with a ten year old student from my online class

There was once a young boy called Sam
Who was allergic to ham
He checked his sandwich everyday
 Although his mom wouldn't give it anyway
She always made them with jam

Cool huh???

An energetic young girl named Molly
Tried to do a rolly polly
She did it in the end
Her body she had to mend
So it wasn't that jolly

Not bad!!!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Marching on...
March was a month of changes. Relocation to a metro from a small town had me adapting in no time, because at heart I am a metro person, being born and educated in one, before I began my career in a small town.
After a short trip to the fascinating pink city, which is not pink at all, I quickly found myself, in a week, three jobs; two online and one offline; enough to sustain me through my stay here not just monetarily, but spiritually
The spiritually uplifting part is working with students and making them work. Two of my jobs are related to that. But I have also found a job that is downright immoral.Did not realize it at first because the website just said it was offering me writing assignments  for so many dollars. I took their grammar test; scored full that...took a number of tests on research methodologies and scored a bit less than 75%; was asked to send in an essay of two fifty words on a topic given to me.
Well I got selected and was working on different topics like novels, plays and newspaper articles,w hen it suddenly dawned on me that I was doing student assignments for a price. From one angle  it looked like this. After teaching just language for years and years, I was actually getting deeply involved with literature;  reading whole plays of Shakespeare, and acclaimed novels barely discussed in Indian colleges and brilliant works of lesser known eighteenth century and nineteenth century women play wrights...and the hard truth was that I was  making a mockery of a sincere teacher's attempts to make his or her students work.

I so love the job. No Indian college is going to pay me a decent salary to teach literature. I spend two to six hours a day soaking in literature, my first love. But when I read detailed teacher's descriptions of how exactly  he wants the essay, what aspects she wants discussed (that's how I realized that it was ghost writing, that too for students) I feel like such a cad.Am addicted to this website, and am online here all the time.I don't think I will stop doing this immoral job, till I think of something else to do. That's how selfish I turned out to be in this matter.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

How we react to art, shows how we change, grow and mature over the years. I was watching an old black and white classic maya bazaar; the memorable scene in which the royals open the magic box which shows them what they love the most. I saw the Queen of Balarama open the box. Her eyes grew wide with greed as jewels and gold coins  appeared inside the box. I smiled, thinking how she was so much like some of my friends.
Then I remembered the moment,. I had watched this scene as a kid. I distinctly recollect being terrified by the expression of greed on this Queen's face, when I watched it that time. I had feared evil, as a kid. Now I was just amused and on top of that had a psychological explanation for all things negative.
I also look back at how my reaction to Archie comics changed over the years. When I was a kid, I had thought of them as "annas" (elder brothers) and akkas (elder sisters.) As a young woman, they had been, "those teenagers' to me and as I grew older they just shrunk from 'high school kids' to 'those kids'. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Please remember..Women are human beings first...

To those who say "All men are the same."

and to those who say "All women are the same."

I only want to say, "All men and all women are the same."

We were unicellular organisms that got divided into male and female, for conveniently sharing the tasks of protecting the newborns, while providing for them at the same time.

Violation of  woman's rights is nothing but the violation of human rights

Monday, January 7, 2013

you're my flashy neon sign
A Warm welcome to dine
Hey, I know it's not mine
your sparkle and your shine

I'm your tube light
  moulded to be most useful and bright
 slow starter flicker flicker 
I whine and whine, and then I glow

Stranded in the cross roads
I gape and grin at your flash
 flash is not food ; flash may be no good
but I happen to be there

You think a weary traveller like me
 would add a touch of mystery
But I'm not even hungry 
just so entertained by the glare

Though  i lived in a city of a thousand lights 
I never stopped to stare
But on this darkest of roads so  bare
your brilliance has no compare

I know it's not an ancient fire
that kept the nights warm and secure
But the blinking of the electric bulbs , the friendly jingle of your music 
Thanks, My weary heart did repair.

But then a host of guests appeared
I picked myself up and cleared
out.You see, when you travel light,with no baggage
Life is so much easier to steer.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Good and bad things about Kumki.
Good things
1. The cinematography
2.The scruffy good looks of the hero
3. His resemblance (perhaps imagined, perhaps real) to Shivaji, his grandfather
4. His ability to look rugged and romantic
5.The songs and the popularity which made the fans sing along in the theatre
6. The characterization of the killer- rogue elephant.
7. The newness/otherness of the tribal culture, though not so authentically portrayed
8.very well played, but underused minor characters such as the village head, forest ranger and some of the tribals, who looked authentic.
9. funny tickles from the loser-uncle of the hero character, almost all through the film
10. an attempt to show the hero's nomadic life style.
11. Graphics or whatever, but a watchable fight scene between the elephants
12. The sudden realization by the hero of the folly in what he did.
13. The village setting, the forest setting, the romantic meeting place of the couple.
Bad things
1. The inability of the heroine to look authentic.
2. Her limited acting skills and stylised body language, inspite of her good looks. ( she would have come under good things, if I had been a man)
3. the poor development of the character of the good elephant, which is sickeningly cinematic
4. the screen play got slack in the middle, when nothing seemed to happen but repetitive romance.
5. The funny loser uncle is also irritating
6. the sudden end with no atmosphere and not sufficient forewarning.
7. The subtle reinforcement of the Indian mindset which claims family customs are more important than 'love' . Being in "Love" is being unfaithful to the family and a shame to the community. I have used the word 'love' in quotes because, the films and the community concedes no distinction between mindless infatuation and mature love.

Who said we can solve our problems by working hard at office, working out and maintaining good family relationships.

Well, actually I did, in my previous post...but we get closer to the truth when we look at an African proverb (source: facebook post by my student Deepak)


Sensible words. When we assiduously finish our work and want sit to sit back, do you really think we can??? When there are millions who are simply struggling to find out what to do, how to go about life, how to survive and how to eat?
No way is any one going to applaud you for what you have done with your pretty little life. No way is anyone going to let you relax.

We should learn to change the way we think about happiness. We should tell our children about the only way they can be happy.

Unless those around us are happy, there is no way we can be, for all our goodness, all our planning, all our window dressing and all our dreams....They won't let  you be. There would be no quiet. Just whines,moans of pain, squeals of agony or stares  and stabs of jealousy.
I mean It's not that others want to mess up our lives. But however squeaky clean we may get their mess is just going to spill into our space.
What to do?
We've got to develop a completely new way of thinking. Not long for privacy, but check out if we can help people around us live well.
Only then will community minded politicians emerge from our midst.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Some truths (logic) and a bit of confusion (magic?)

The page views on this blog have gone up suddenly....53 people have viewed my page today...some computer glitch??????
Any way i wanted to write about some truths i discovered in my life

1. We love our families the most
2. Age or ageing doesn't matter as much as we think it does.
3. We don't have to worry much as long as we have the ability to laugh.
4. Hard work is important, but we don't get, or I have not got the hang of it....Lots of people have commented on the amount of labour I do...but that's just donkey's work, as one of my well wishers pointed out...not really what i am capable of. The last bit about what i am capable of, is not my well wisher's comment but my own.He just calls me a donkey.
5. Everyone should work out and listen to music.
6. Our society needs role models of generosity. I read an article in The Hindu, which had published this one by a foreign correspondent, who had noticed that Indian billionaires have not yet got the habit of donating and doing good, as billionaires in some other countries are doing. His article said that philanthropy has not caught on in India.
7. All those who have been married for long periods and who have got their children settled should consider themselves to be single, in order to recapture some spirit into their lives. I don't mean they should play around, just that they should plan their time as singles would, and relax and enjoy life.
8. Blogging can drive away feelings that we are alone and have no one to share stuff with.

Coming back to the point about page views, the one i wrote about kho kho players a year back has had 127 page views..Weird...
How does that happen?????