Thursday, October 30, 2014

From A.E.Housman's "A Shropshire Lad"
 Nature's beauty inspired the ones who cared to luxuriate in it, as well as those who moved through life half awake,and whose subconscious would still have gained from its glorious beauty.Today,the barrenness and toxicity of polluted and contaminated environment have the opposite effect on us.May we all work towards making the earth a greener place.


          Wake: the silver dusk returning
           Up the beach of darkness brims,
          And the ship of sunrise burning
           Strands upon the eastern rims.
Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters, Trampled to the floor it spanned, And the tent of night in tatters Straws the sky-pavilioned land. Up, lad, up, 'tis late for lying: Hear the drums of morning play; Hark, the empty highways crying "Who'll beyond the hills away?" Towns and countries woo together, Forelands beacon, belfries call; Never lad that trod on leather Lived to feast his heart with all. Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber Sunlit pallets never thrive; Morns abed and daylight slumber Were not meant for man alive. Clay lies still, but blood's a rover; Breath's a ware that will not keep Up, lad: when the journey's over There'll be time enough to sleep.
News, of wars in Ukraine, Syria, Nigeria and Iran.....So sickening and scary to realize how different life is, depending on where you are born. Maxims, ideologies, words: all aspects of language seem totally incapable of describing the chaos of reality, and the convoluted working of the brain of the animal called man who creates this chaos.
The lesson seems to be that we have to pay for the consequences of being less than totally watchful for signs of discord. An editor of an Indian newspaper has written that although having a government with religious affiliation is a negative, it has at least torn of the hypocrisy of secularism that pervaded in India.
How many times within the doors of a home or in the middle seat of a running car, or during the casual conversations of acquaintances and distant relatives have we all heard disparaging words that describe people who belong to different religions and castes? Within India, violence is mostly caste based, although the minority religions live in varying degrees of comfort or discomfort, depending on their level of education and economic status.

India is hardly aware of or owning up to the injustice within the nation. Divisive forces love this situation, as it gives them scope to draw loyalists to their camp. To top it, there are posts on social media about our military capabilities and how it will be strengthened. Luckily, there are only a few, because Indians rarely watch the news. Only cricket and cinema interests them. But this lethargy is not sufficient to save us.
Today, I read an account of the American journalist who was in captivity in Syria for more than two years, and could feel that he wanted to say so many things, but could not.

Millions are not aware of what's happening, and are blissfully ignorant of how this could happen to them too.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My online class was tough today. It was with a student preparing for his GCSE. For a person his age, this student is quite serious about improving his writing skills, and getting good grades. But when he is not working on an assessment and is attending a class without a goal, he is sometimes distracted.

I began by asking him what he did in school that day. He said he was doing AQA fact finding, I feverishly typed the words trying to find some work for him to do, while at the same time making small talk about it.
First my connection was slow. Then I realized that the file I had downloaded was not about English but dance. So, I quickly found another one. But the class proved to be tough.

Its North Indian Diwali today; people completed their Lakshmi Pooja and started bursting crackers, just as the class started. It was horrible for three reasons.
  1. The student has no deadline, and was not focussed.
  2. his mike is horrible even on days when he is serious
  3. there was a din of crackers and drums outside the home.
We indulged in a shouting match, and I was winner, because he just pretended not to hear anything.Then he kind of excused himself and went somewhere. I don’t like these moments not only because my authority is totally ignored, but also because it is not good in the long run for my profession, if students don’t gain from such classes. I can visualise the student wait for the opportune moment to say, “Oh that class is not all that useful.” and the parents and others agreeing to stop it. Hmmmm….
Any way, the last twenty minutes I got him to do an exercise.