Monday, November 24, 2014

These are cold days

It's cold now. Just sixteen degrees, and yet to my unprepared South Indian self, it's cold. I had not get any footwear for this weather out of the closet. (For those of you who are not familiar with South Indians: Deep down the south, people, in small towns and villages, don't wear any footwear at all. And you have to tell new comers to the city, that they should own at least one pair of black shoes. And they reply. "Why? We don't get it!!!" I am actually forbidden to wear footwear inside a building. You will find people from some parts always removing their foot wear before they enter a home.) So today I found the floor to be icy cold.

During my online class my feet started to tingle with cold. so I decided to get my blanket. Zelda was lying on it, and growled at me. So I pulled another black one and threw it around.

The warrior princess  was enraged to find a mammoth black creature walking about the house, and barked so loudly that my on line student realized that his teacher had taken a break without excusing herself.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Black black black curse of the caste system

Many educated Indians are uncomfortable talking about caste! They say, "All that has changed!" We don't believe in caste any more, is what they think. The truth is they have not given the matter much thought because these people are usually from the metros which have a cosmopolitan environment. They do not realize the way in which caste is embedded into our psyches.

To explain it from my own experience, a great Marathi woman lived opposite to my house. She deserves a separate post, and I will merely mention that she was a honest high ranking official, who stood up against very powerful and ruthless politicians and yet spoke in gentle tones and was totally unassuming. Behind my house lived a family of Bengalis. The lady of the house taught a variety of Indian dances and made all the kids perform on stages that are coveted by professionals. A Hungarian national with eight kids lived next door. There was a rumour that the man was the third husband of the woman, and we all gossiped about it pretending that such a thing was unbelievable. Actually, we kids were mute witnesses to the cheating and flirtation that adults in our society indulged in, just as they did in probably every human society.

What I am trying to point out is that the metro city can be very cosmopolitan, and children brought up in such places do not know how caste in India actually works. The metros are a very tiny part of India, although they support millions of people. Millions more live in second tier cities, millions and milllions more live in towns and villages, and here a human being is classified based on his caste. High caste people insist on being revered for the simple reason that they were born into high caste families. Low caste people are looked down upon as of inferior birth. And this is just the beginning of the unhappy tale of rank cruelty and injustice. What can we do about it, if we don't even know it exists?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Logical seven year old.

And then there was this third grader in my online class to whom I had just said that a sibling was a brother or a sister.
"So, is the step brother or step sister also called a sibling?"
"No!" I said instantly.
But that was a brilliant question!!!!
"Any way some step brothers or sisters could be close and could have been brought up together and may feel like siblings."

Over the one hour we were on line, we did a lot of other work, but towards the end of the class his question kept niggling my battered brain. So I looked it up on line and found something to tell him
A step brother or sister is called a half sibling.
A logical lawyer in the making...that kid!!!

Horror is the new magic!!!

Horror seems to be the favourite theme for teachers this term.My student online wrote this after we watched a couple of horror clips in class.

Once there was an eight year old girl, who had to be left alone after her parents got invited to a place. The girl got bored and so she put on the radio, and listened to the news. Suddenly there was a headline about a man, who was a murderer and who had escaped from prison. She got really scared. So she turned off the radio, and went to her room. She hada dog to keepher company. Thinking that she was under the bed, she put her hand under the bed, and it started licking her hand.
After a few minutes,she ran downstairs to get a snack. Then she heard a loud howling noise near her bathroom. So she ran up to see what happened, and when she stepped into her bathroom, she saw her dog howling in the bath tub. She got really upset. She chanced to look into the mirror, and there she
a writing in blood saying, "Did you check under the bed?"

Sharing my students' work seems like a great way to blog!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Magical treats...

Ever heard of  a teacher trying to eat in class without the knowledge of her students? Especially in an on line class with a particularly brilliant and committed student?
Do you think she should have resisted the Hyderabad fruit biscuits?
Why even cut open the plastic cover on the box with a pencil, in stealthy silence?
Is a mere language teacher such an expert at moving her head away from the camera to bite into the treats?

Should she have eaten so many?
Was she seen? Did she appear normal to the student?
Well...The student sounded cheerful enough when she said ,"Bye!"

Thursday, November 6, 2014

POOF! POOF! End of some magic.

Heard that we have lost my favourite star  Shah Rukh khan's health and creativity to hard drugs, and in spite of being considered a brand in his own right, he is over. The last few films are a proof to his decline. Nevertheless, he has come a long way, made his mark and of course, accumulated unimaginable amount of wealth, apart from having millions of fans.
In this imperfect world, we are better off thinking of the several moments the khan managed to enliven the silver screen with his special brand of charisma. We have to acknowledge that those moments will always overshadow the mediocrity that we see in his recent work.
True, there must a few in the entertainment industry, who are not victims of substance abuse, but they are so few in number. The goddess of commercial art demands sacrifice of such individuals, it seems.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The magic of cinquain

My student, a girl of  eight or nine wrote these cinquains.
A learning experience for me....

yellow, purple
dancing, swaying,hanging
A colourful picture in view

playful, naughty
chasing, playing, staring
Soft furry skin against my foot

massive, concrete
spinning, walking, shopping
We saw the London bridge open

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Being Logical...

People's perception of their financial situation is largely based on how their family members think of and speak of their status.When children hear a parent complain repeatedly of financial troubles, they believe that they are in deep trouble. I have counselled students who begin by talking of a financial crisis in the family, but no sooner do I quote the fee for a high end course, than they pull out the full sum in unsoiled currency notes.Such young people truly believe that they are in deep financial trouble.My guess is that they have an extrovert for a parent, who constantly talks of how difficult it is for them theses days, to pay bills, to manage, etc..

When it comes to paying the fee for a course, it is those who are perceived as 'very rich', who pay late. The ones from a lower middle class or even impoverished families pay the fee in instalments, but on the exact dates on which they promised to. The obviously 'rolling in cash' types, in very expensive coiffured, clothed and perfumed glory, rattle away for weeks without shelling out a single pie. But it would seem deeply offensive and cheap to remind them of the fee. Sometimes this goes beyond the last date for payment.

The moral of the story is each person should understand finance in an objective way. Then we would know how much money we need, and plan exactly how to spend our time based on those needs. Or else we would undergo undue anxiety and stress.