Posts

Showing posts from July, 2015

WHY ARE OUR TEACHERS SO HARSH, SO MEAN, AT TIMES....

Image
Pic.: Pradeep Nanda
Rest assured, we teachers will never keep our mouths shut. And, rest assured, that it is for a very good and very noble reason….
In my case, rest. also, assured, that I won’t stop ‘preaching', either!
Teachers are our friends, guides and philosophers… motivators,  mentors… the ones who don’t lose faith in us… the ones who don’t give up on us… the ones who see our tomorrows much before we do…
Our teachers are our cheerleaders… our best well-wishers…
But, then, our teachers are, often, too strict, too critical, too mean… Aren’t they?
I had, in my life, the sweetest as well as the hardest teachers, both… The teachers who seemed least interested except in their monthly salary and the teachers who did not care for their monthly salary and went out of their way to help us, shape us and inspire us…
And, I don’t think such mix – such reality - has changed or will ever change…

Why is a teacher so hard or harsh at times… even most of the times?
I had some teachers, who I had, …

TELL ME SNEHA, IS THIS FAIR?

Image
Pic.: Indu Varier
At seven in the morning, today, my wife received a call from Anita, her cousin. “Rebecca expired at night,” was the sad news.
“Oh, not again!” was my wife’s immediate response.
Rebecca got married to Anil, a cousin of my wife, some twenty-five years ago. They were madly in love with each other and got married at a very young age against the wishes of their respective families… Soon, their two daughters – Aleen and  Ayril – were born…
Anil, an enterprising young-man, faced a business setback from which, he couldn’t somehow recover. They had to sell their house to pay off their creditors, and ever since then, they have been moving from one rented place to another…
Seven years ago, Anil died of a massive heart-attack He was 41. Rebecca was left shattered… She did not have a job… Aleen, the elder daughter, had just started her first-year engineering… Ayril had entered her ninth standard…
“You need to cry… You need to grieve,” I remember the Priest consoling Rebecca, who stood…

'APPRECIATE' ONLY MEANS 'APPRECIATE'... WHY PAINT IT WITH DARK SHADES?

Image
Pic.: Alwyn Mathias

“Gd mng sir. Can you please sms to me * Punit’s number? Appreciate.”
I used a nice smiley at the end of my message. I wanted Punit’s number very urgently and knew, that my architect friend had it. But, I, also, knew, that he generally did not respond to any phone calls or messages during those hours. So, I was aware of my limits… I was aware of the meaning, value and depth of that one last word I had used at the end of my message – ‘Appreciate.’
The very next minute, my architect friend had sent me both - the cell and landline – the numbers of Punit.
“Thank-you so much sir. Really appreciate,” I replied quickly.
“My pleasure sir. My duty,” came back the response with a bright smiley.
My heart swelled with simple joy… A very simple and sincere request and a very simple and sincere response…  That’s all… Nothing beyond it…
Till this thing happened….
There was a person (who was known to my architect friend) sitting next to me in my office. I spontaneously expressed before h…

HE DIED WITH HIS BOOTS ON

Image
Pic.: Pradeep Nanda


“To shine like the sun, first burn like the sun.”
- APJ Abdul Kalam
This eleventh-standard (ISC) girl called me just now. “Sir, do we have class today?”
“Of course yes,” I said, “why, what happened?”
“Sir don’t you know ‘our President’ – APJ Abdul Kalam died?”
“Yes beta, I know,” I said, almost choked, “he died with his boots on… Please come for the class at 3.”
I do not know if this sixteen-year-old understood what those words – ‘He died with his boots on’ – meant… and why I was using it, in the current context…
This girl comes from a different generation… Not the kind who would be easily fascinated by the kind of lifestyle – unbelievably simple for a highly qualified, acclaimed and, above all, for a  nation’s President -  Kalamji chose to live by… or the kind of rustic dialect with which he spoke… Yes, there was nothing visible that could fire up the imagination of masses – cutting across their age, religion, region, political or intellectual affiliation – in our former…

FOR, THE PILLARS OF THE TEMPLE STAND APART...

Image
Pic.: Chetna Shetty
Just a while ago, a dear friend of mine called me up. She wanted me to call up one of our common friends to pep her up a bit…”Sir, *Nisha is, once again, going through a low phase… Can you call her up and cheer her up a bit.”
I told my friend that the best thing we could do to Nisha, at that moment, was to leave her alone… “She will get over her low phase… She has done it before, and, she will do it now, too.”
“But sir, what if she doesn’t get over it this time?” my friend asked me.
“Well, ‘What if’ is coming from our own fears… We have to first get over our own anxiety, and over-concern for others,” I told my friend, “Caring for our dear ones is one thing… trying to play a ‘rescuer’ is a different thing altogether… Nobody likes us to be their rescuers… They want us to be by their side, walk quietly with them along the dark tunnel… Too much of talking and pepping only backfires… They resist it… even become angry with us. Trust me, Nisha has enough strength within her …

THE BAMBAIYYA COMMON-SYLLABUS

Image
Pic.: Pradeep Nanda

Pranav, Yukta, Jhalak, Suraj, Rushali, Sukanya, Satnam… all these are smart college-teens. They come from very good families and schools… Great Boards, great teachers and great parents… and, above all, a great city – Mumbai. Amchi Mumbai…  These teens must’ve been just babies (or not even born) when it was decided to rename Bombay as Mumbai…
But, with the name change, the old and peculiar bambaiyya bhasha – the colorful street lingo of this city – did not change at all. In fact, it has been getting more and more colorful – and richer - over the years… SSC, ICSC, CBSC, IB, Cambridge or Oxford… whatever Board our kids here go to, and whether they live in slums or luxury homes, none of them are left untouched by this beautiful bambaiya bhasha…
I myself have a rich vocabulary and do use it quite effectively… even while teaching… yes, mostly, for ‘effect’… and, yes, to talk to these brats in their own bhasha…
One thing: I don’t use ‘filthy’ ones in my students’ presence… N…

BEYOND THE SUNSET WHEN THE DAY IS DONE

Image
Pic.: Pradeep Nanda
One of the greatest advantages – rather, privileges – for teachers like me is that because we are constantly in the company of our young and buoyant students, we tend to think and behave like them… young and spirited.
At times I wonder, what if I was not surrounded by these young-guns… who seldom worry about money, paying bills, serious relationships, health issues, and that mother of all the concerns – the death… yes, what if I was to work, surrounded by some grumpy oldies (sorry)… what if my young-ones were not there in my life… every morning, every noon, every evening… all day long till I landed home, late in the night?
Does aging weigh me down? Yes, it does. Health issues of not just mine, -  my wife’s our  my parents’ and  my young son’s – yes, I am not immune to any of them…
Death stares at me every day… and, it keeps me sane and grounded. It keeps me alive!

Last evening, some of my students were pulling my legs… “Sir what are the plans for tomorrow? Sir where i…

SOME OF US ARE LATE-BLOOMERS IN LIFE

Image
Pic.: Uaha Prasadh

While returning home, last night, I heard someone calling me from behind. . I looked back… It was one of my students’ mother. She just wanted to inform that her daughter had passed in the latest twelfth-standard Board exams. “Sir,* Prerna passed. Just wanted to tell you.”
So relieved this mother looked while breaking the news that her daughter had just passed with 51 percent!
The feeling of relief was palpable!
The daughter, a head-strong, confident girl, was not at all interested in studies… She was their adopted daughter – only daughter. The father had given up. The mother was wrecked with worry about this rebellious girl. I had told the mother, many times, one thing: “Ma’am, Prerna is a confident girl… she has a strong head… All that will happen – and, we should really allow that to happen – is that she will discover, eventually, what she has to do in life, and she will do it… She will get her fair share of success in life.”
Last night, I told the mother the same thi…
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...