She told the sky

Stay with me

she told the sky

who raised his thunder

and played his lightening

sometimes with the bright blue clouds

he danced in circles

at times he sang a few songs for her to hear

brought out a rainbow

and caused the birds to fly across

He brought music to her ears alone

raining a few raindrops

he quenched her thirst

Opening new pages

reading new lines

he stood by

to tell stories

with animated gestures

filling in her life

the music of staying alive.

The eyebrow man

The sofa sank under his weight

the cushion cover wrinkled in complaint

the back of the sofa groaned in surprise

not used to such exercise.

She watched his hands that reached far

the other end of the seat

His head was tilted to the balcony

his long hair brushed against the wall

dancing in the wind raised by the electric fan

He picked the coffee mug and drank noisily

a drop of coffee hit his beard and sat confused

before deciding to tumble down on to his chest

and get lost in the hair again

the little coffee mark sat shy on the shirt

till the wind of the electric fan dried it off

he picked a cookie and raised his eyebrow

reading the name of the cookie from its chest

his neatly cut nails rubbed against the cookie

before his fingers pushed a side of it

into his mouth to be crunched and grounded

crum, crum the air said in between the deep sighs

he lifted his eye brows again to ask for water

water came to him sitting in a glass on a tray

he sipped it noisily

he nodded his head twice

as she sat demure

waiting for the eyebrow to move again.

Sky soul

This way, this way

I urged the sky

walking ahead

and creating space

I wanted to shut the door behind

when I knew he was fully inside

his tail of clouds and fancy breeze crown

his stars that shone and the sun that burnt

oh! you forgot the moon?

I asked surprised

He was busy, said sky casually.

Fit him in as I tried

I could not and I felt exasperated

I sweated profusely

anxious tears and fears of losing

ran down my cheeks

He laughed at me and gently sat

his ether butt on the foam chair

you need not tie me down to have me

neither should I

we are but free you and I

he held his arms and gathered my soul

a few thought strands he calmed them down

he planted a kiss on my forehead

and held me close

what is, is what is not

what is not, it is

I looked bewildered at his blabbering

and then smiled, and he joined in.

Am I not as smart? To Remedial or not

Am I not smart enough? Is that why I am in this remedial class? Why have you so segregated us?

Often and on, we in the teaching community face this question from students who we chose to give some extra training or attention.

For the years I have been a remedial teacher and have conducted remedial classes to many students. We have had fun in these classes, my students and I, whenever I have been successful in winning their confidence and have ensured them that they are in good hands and that this is not a punishment, it definitely is not.

Though I remember once I had mentioned the need for the child to focus more in education or learning, in this case, English, which was my subject, to my great shock and extreme shame, the father had lifted his hand to hit the child right in front of me and other parents. I felt guilty and rightly so for having been the reason for this public embarrassment for the child.

I realized the absolute significance of my words as a teacher to a parent and the child and how my words can impact their relationship and also impact the child and his/her mental and emotional health in the long run.

Thereafter I remember being extremely careful of what I speak and how so much so that students often chose to get their parents to meet me first, ‘mam, once you speak, no, they would joke, my parents will feel good and if someone complains later also, they will not take it badly.’ This sort of became a pact between some of my students and me.

I had another eye opening, life changing moment when I encountered another student of mine, Prabodh and tried to question his lack of interest in improving his English skills. Instead of accepting my observation or taking it negatively, Prabodh countered me, ‘Mam, I am very good at carpentry, Hindi, swimming and some other skills. Why should I be good at everything? It’s ok that I am not great at English’.

I laughed at my own folly, on hearing this confident counter. Indeed, why so? Why was I bent on shaming Prabodh for his poor English when I completely ignore his many other talents?

Again in one of my 11 th standard classes, I had another experience of a similar kind. I was advising Mukul Yadav to work on his English. The entire section of boys in the class, literally growled back, ‘ Mam, he is the state swimming champion. He is that and he is this….’ and while Mukul basked in the glory of collective compliments, I definitely had to retract my statement and politely add, ‘well, no harm in learning English as well!’.

But what am I driving at? I am trying here to point that to build on a new skill set, we need to acknowledge and appreciate, what is already present.

For example, when some of my students hesitate to speak in English, I allow them to speak in their mother tongue in the class. The class applauds the speech, poetry or any other presentation. This adds to the confidence of the student. I then gently interject to point out that it is a matter of pride to be able to speak your mother tongue fluently. It is a great achievement indeed.

While this being so, we still need to build our English skills, only because it is language in which academic interactions and expressions happen mostly, at least in our country. There fore we need to acquire this skill set.

This I have seen has often helped me to not shame a student for the skill he/she has already, but emphasize that we only need to build and improve on what is missing and needs betterment.

In my early years of teaching English, I have often approached the topic of imparting English language skills with an evangelistic zeal, somewhere though, after much reflection, and humbled by various experiences, I realized that gentle persuasion works better than any kind of shaming.

Acknowledge the existing skill set of the student.

Give him the credit he deserves.

Gently reason out the need to learn a new skill.

Most often than not, the student decides to collaborate with you in picking up the new skill, which he sees is going to benefit him.

Mission accomplished 🙂

Collaborative learning makes classrooms healthy happy spaces to be in for the teacher, as well as the student.

എനിക്ക് പോണം

കൊച്ചു വെളുപ്പാൻ കാലത്തു എങ്ങോട്ടാ?
ഞാൻ കുളിക്കട്ടെ.
എന്തിനാ ഇത്ര നേരത്തെ?
ഇന്ന് ഞാറാഴ്ചയല്ലേ
അതിനു.

വെള്ളം വീഴുന്ന ശബ്‍ദം.എന്തെങ്കിലും ആവശ്യമുണ്ടോ?ഉണ്ടെങ്കിൽ പറയാം, പിറുപിറുപ്പ്.

അര മണിക്കൂറിനു ശേഷം
കൊള്ളാല്ലോ, നല്ല ഷർട്ട് ആണല്ലോ
ഭംഗിയുണ്ട് ട്ടോ
പുറത്തേക്കു പോകണ്ടേ അതാ
ആര് പോണ്?
ഞാൻ?
അതെയോ?
എന്തിനാ?
ഞാറാഴ്ച അല്ലെ?
അതോണ്ട്?
അവൻ വരും
അപ്പൊ ഞാൻ വേഗം തയ്യാറായതാ. വൈകണ്ട ന്നു വിചാരിച്ചു. അതിപ്പോ?എന്താ പ്രശ്നം?
എനിക്ക് പോണം . അവൻ വരും. ഇന്ന് ഞാൻ പോകും പുറത്തു. ഒന്ന് കറങ്ങീട്ടു വരണം. എത്ര ദിവസായി എങ്ങനെ? അത്രയ്ക്ക് അസുഖം ഒന്നും എനിക്കില്ല. ആ ഡോക്ടർ ഒരു പൊട്ടനാ.
സന്ധ്യക്ക്‌, അല്ല മാറില്ലേ നിങ്ങള് ഡ്രസ്സ്?
ഇല്ല, അവൻ വരും.

മോട്ടോർ ബൈക്കിന്റെ ശബ്ദം.
ഗേറ്റ് തുറന്നു. അവൻ വന്നു. അവളും.
അച്ഛൻ എന്താ റെഡി ആയി നിൽക്കുന്നെ
പോകാൻ , പുറത്തേക്കു പോകാൻ.
അതെയോ
ഏട്ടാ? അച്ഛൻ?
വേറെ പണി ഒന്നും ഇല്ല വയസ്സന്. കൊച്ചു കുട്ടി ആന്നോ? പറഞ്ഞ മനസ്സിലാക്കണം.
ഇത്ര ദൂരം യാത്ര ചെയ്തു വന്നതാ ഞാൻ. എനിക്കൊന്നും വയ്യ ആരെയും കൊണ്ട് പോകാൻ നീ പോയി പറ.
ഹും
അല്ല അച്ഛൻ കിടന്നോ?
ഹും
രാത്രി എന്നും ഒരു കറക്കം കറങ്ങിയില്ലെങ്കിൽ അവൻ ഉറങ്ങാറില്ല… ഹും .. എനിക്ക് വയ്യാഞ്ഞിട്ടല്ലേ.
വരൂ നമ്മുക്ക് പുറത്തു നടക്കാം. ഞാൻ കയ്യ് പിടിക്കാം.
വേണ്ട മോളെ. വേണ്ട.
രാവിലെ തൊട്ടുള്ള കാത്തിരിപ്പാണ് മോളെ . പാവം വിഷമിച്ചു കാണും .
എനിക്കാരുടെയും വിഷമം കേൾക്കണ്ട. ഞാനും കഷ്ടപെട്ടിട്ടാണ് ജീവിക്കുന്നത്. ഇന്നത്തെ കമ്പനി ജോലി ഒക്കെ എത്ര ബുദ്ധിമുട്ടാണെന്ന് ആര്ക്കെങ്കിലും അറിയോ? മാസാമാസം ചെലവ് ഞാൻ നടത്തുന്നില്ല.
ഓരോ അശ്രീകരങ്ങൾ.

എനിക്ക് പോണം എനിക്ക് പോണം ന്നു പറഞ്ഞോണ്ടിരിക്കും. അതാ പോയി.
അങ്ങനെ അതും കഴിഞ്ഞു.

കാത്തിരിപ്പിന്റെ ക്ഷീണം

സൗഹ്രദം
അറിയാതെ തുടങ്ങിയതായിരുന്നു
വേണ്ടെന്നു വിചാരിച്ചിട്ടും

നർമ്മം എന്നും ഒരു മോഹമായതോണ്ടായിരിക്കും
അങ്ങനെ സംഭവിച്ചത്

സഖി അതിഥി സൽക്കാരത്തിന് തുനിഞ്ഞത്
ഒരു സപ്ന സാക്ഷാത്ക്കാരത്തിനു വേണ്ടി ആയിരുന്നു

ഒരു തുടക്കം എങ്ങോട്ടോ ഉള്ള ഒരു തുടക്കം
അല്ലെങ്കിൽ നിശബ്ദതയുടെ കോട്ടക്ക് ഒരു അനക്കം

സത്യത്തിൽ ജീവിതത്തിൽ സ്വയം സന്തോഷിക്കാൻ
പഠിച്ച,

സ്വയം ജയിക്കാൻ പഠിച്ച,

സ്വയം പ്രോത്സാഹിപ്പിക്കാൻ പഠിച്ച
സഖിക്ക്,

അങ്ങനെയും ആഗ്രഹമുണ്ടാകുമെന്നു ഞാൻ വിചാരിച്ചില്ല

എന്നാലും രണ്ടു നല്ല വർത്തമാനം ആഗ്രഹിക്കാത്തവരുണ്ടോ
ഇത്തിരി തമാശയും കളിയും വേണ്ട എന്ന ആരാണ് വിചാരിക്കുന്നത്

ആമി പറഞ്ഞു, നീ ഇന്നും കുട്ടി തന്നെ എങ്ങനെ സാധിക്കുന്നു നിനക്ക്

വാങ്ങി വച്ച വീഞ്ഞ് കുപ്പി എടുത്തവൾ തുറന്നു
രാത്രി ഇത്തിരി വീഞ്ഞാവാം എന്താ
ആവാലോ. ഉത്തരവും അവൾ തന്നെ പറഞ്ഞു

എങ്കിലും ഒരു മാറ്റത്തിനുള്ള വകയുണ്ടല്ലോ?


ആണോ, ഞാൻ ചോദിച്ചു


പിന്നെ ഒന്നിലെങ്കിൽ മോസസ് അല്ലെങ്കിൽ ജീസസ്

എന്ത്?
ഒന്നുമില്ല
സഖി പറഞ്ഞു
അല്ലെങ്കിലും പകുതി തിന്നും, അവൾ എന്ത് പറയുമ്പോഴും

ചിരി കൊള്ളാം
എന്നും കാണണം എനിക്കീ ഇളി
ഹും

എന്നും ഒരേ പോലെ അല്ലല്ലോ ജീവിതം
എല്ലാം മാറും
എന്റെ ജീവിതവും, തത്വജ്ഞാനി മൊഴിഞ്ഞു

സിഗരറ്റ് കുറ്റി വലിച്ചു ഞാൻ പുറത്തേക്കിറങ്ങി
പെണ്ണിനെ ആർക്കും മനസിലാക്കാം!

Just a bit

Bold

Be bold

Strong

Be strong

Ask

Ask aloud

Resist

Resist violence

Don’t be talked down

But be careful eh!

I mean don’t be too bold, just a little

Don’t be too loud, just a bit

Don’t be too strong, maybe a bit

Ask, yes, but politely, you see

He loves you see

Even when he hits

He loves you , you see

Even when he taunts

He, the poor thing

with you the loud thing

very loud woman

poor poor man

He spiked your food

with prasad, oh!

It’s because he loves you so much

He is afraid of losing you

He talks you down

oh! its just to keep you in control

You have not been loved?

oh! which woman has ever?

He is a man

Just remember that

and be a woman! Ok!

Time’s Aside

In the town I heard

a new fashion is the trend

of walking upside down

stamping everything you find

and looking fierce and fiery

snapping at all

barking even

spite flowing free

under the pretext of

politics or faith or food even

when in times hands

we are all but her children

in a continuum of past, present and future

yet how we blight ourselves to stupidities

is beyond me.

Time: oh! chill. All I need to do is snap half a finger!

Last time I heard the crow was not talking to the cuckoo

so was the crocodile to the fish

the orangutan to the ape

and the ape to the monkey

grasshopper hated the very grass

the honeybees hated flowers

the sun hated the clouds

and the waters spite the land

the worms spoke ill of the insects

and the crickets of the toads

the peacocks had issues with peahens

and the foxes with the lions

the elephants found the rabbits irritating

and squirrels complained of the cats

not to talk of the whales who hated waters deep blue

and wished to walk on earth

things have come to such a pass

that I got to kick some ass!

Sky soul

I had not asked the sky to stop by

yet he did being kind

inclined to all things azure

he moved into my soul

he spent some time

clearing a few cob webs

pasting a few sweet smiles

rubbing off a few dark spots

and filling some heavenly fragrances

if nothing, he said

pick up that pen of yours

write, write till you bleed

and then I am there with you

He read out somethings

and I wondered how he knew

he smiled and said

I speak to you in your dreams

I drive away faces dark and fearsome

sometimes I hold your hands as you sleep

kiss away your fears and let you smile

I ask him if I would know him when I saw him

Let time tell you that, he said

and vanished blue.

Living to learn

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