Counter with confidence

One benefit of  teaching as a profession  is the endless opportunities it provides one to serve wisdom on a platter .Not that the listener is always keen! But it does pay to listen to the finer nuances of learning in a classroom . Nuggets of wisdom from the young!

Its amazing how children carry such wisdom on their young shoulders and they carry it lightly too. While  pointing out errors in language  to a student , I was stumped to silence when the student countered nonchalantly  that he was a good shooter, a great swimmer and excellent at carpentry. Does it matter so much that his English is not so great ?

To every individual who dithers at the threshold of confidence ,think of those moments of your personal greatness ..the smallest of the smallest achievements  and that build your self belief on those because you are what you think you are! There is so much more to you than what anybody might read in you or refuse to read in you.

The society sets up numerous  standards  and constantly nudges you to try  measuring yourself against them… the charmer, the handsome hunk, the diva, the sports star, the hard working student, the most obedient, parent’s pride , the super successful so on and so forth . The ads , the films , the need for the likes all build up the steam.

For you to be truly happy , forget what is expected of you and just be yourself , be true to your own expectations , dreams and aspirations ..the rest is bound to follow!

Not off to a spinning start , thankfully!

And this felt good.. I had announced rather childishly on my facebook page on being declared the Best Speaker at the Toast Masters Club.  I was still reeling under the pleasure of having ventured beyond my comfort zone to find it strangely comforting , when I was suddenly thrown off my balance.  As I  was trying to get up from my bed the next day, I realized that the world around me and myself were on a dizzying spin. This is interesting , I had thought initially to be on this merry go round , all alone and sans apparatus , sans tickets! Soon, though , I realized the seriousness of the situation when , my head spun too fast and all I could do was to manage to totter unsteadily to the toilet to vomit . I panicked  as my subconscious ticked off all the wrong boxes , terrifying prospects of joblessness, pain, humiliation and what not.  Then somebody told me , its possible that this has been brought about due to stress . Really! I felt relieved , then I can handle it . I immediately decided  upon a routine of meditation and yoga and thankfully , I am not off to a spinning start any more !

Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda’s simple yet evocative poem urges us to pause for a moment and introspect upon the consequence of our actions. The poet address mankind at large, exhorting us to count till twelve and to keep still while the count lasts. The poet reminds us that this one action of not doing anything for short duration will u break the barriers of language and geography and unite us in a silence that binds us to a higher purpose. The poet feels that these few moments of silence will save the earth of much damage and will help us to reflect on the impact of our deeds. The fishermen at sea and even those who constantly prepare for wars would for a moment be united in a brotherhood dedicated to a good cause , the betterment of the planet. The poet makes it clear that he is not advocating total inactivity because inactivity is even more dangerous. The poet says half jokingly, he wants no truck with death, he is not asking for total annihilation due to lack of positive action. He laments our lack of purpose , our solidarity to the preservation of the planet. If we do not unite ,we might just continue to expedite our own destruction . According to the poet , it is sad that man kind does not realize the harm its actions cause to its own survival . He hopes that we would learn a few lessons from the nature of earth , that of a seed etc which seem dormant yet is so full of life. The poet , does not insist nor preach , he just gives a suggestion for us to ponder on and moves away from the limelight.

The desire of the modern man for fast paced development has done much harm to the environment . Most of the so called development comes at a huge cost , of that of nature , its other inhabitants and men themselves.
Its time for us to ask ,development at what cost rather than seeking it blindly.

Questions & Answers

1. What will counting up to twelve and keeping quiet help us to achieve?

The act of counting twelve and keeping quiet will help us to reflect upon the repercussions of our actions in the name of the welfare of mankind. Not only that, this short duration of inactivity will save many lives and minimize the adverse impact of human activities on the planet.

2. Do you think the poet advocates total inactivity and death?

No, the poet is not advocating total inactivity. Infact , he cautions that we should not misunderstand his message. He wants mankind to think about the negative impact his actions has upon the earth. He hopes that introspection on our part will help us to minimize rapid pace at which the planet is heading towards destruction or total annihilation.

3. What is the sadness that the poet is referring to in the poem?

The poet says that it is indeed sad that mankind does not realize the simple fact that by destroying nature , he is destroying himself. As a people , we are single minded in our resolve to progress to move on . The poet wants us to be single minded in our resolve to save earth as well.

Aadu Jeevitham by Benyamin- A Review

As unusual as the title sounds, Benyamin’s Aadu Jeevitham translated as Goat Days is definitely a must read. Considering that it is his first novel, the writer shows a great deal of maturity in the choice of  theme and the way he has tackled it. Through his sensitive and poignant portrayal of the trials and tribulations of Najeeb, a gulf employee , the writer draws our attention to the dark underbelly of the much eulogized life of a gulf malayali. The riveting flow of the narrative and the twists and turns in the story ensure that the reader has to finish reading the book at one go.

Najeeb migrates to Gulf like many other of his compatriots  in search of a better life.His dreams are razed to dust when he falls into the hands of a Arab goat farmer who exploits him in the most despicable manner.Yet the fact is that  Najeeb does not nurture any ill will against his employer and nothing seems to shake his belief in god , who he thanks at every turn . The portrayal of Najeeb as a man caught in the web of time and fate unable to shake himself free, gnaws at the heart of the reader. In fact what comes through is the author himself, his sensitive and understanding stance of life.

Benyamin whose real name is Benjamin Daniel is a revelation. A writer who revels in the usage of the most simple form of language devoid of pomposity of any kind , yet so successful is a rare phenomenon. To those keralites who dream of the riches of the deserts of the gulf , this story is an eye opener. The writer himself has had his share of grief and pain in life and perhaps this has made his view of the world more humane.

What can one take away from this book? Well! Najeeb’s unflinching faith in god is inspiring, so is the fellowship and care each affected show to the other. The kindness of the hotelier , who saves Najeeb and has saved many like him before stands out too.

Aadu Jeevitham , is a book like no other . It will occupy a special space in Malayalam literature . The debut raises much interest and curiosity in the writing of Benyamin and one realizes that here is a work not tied down by barriers of language , region , religion or time. Benyamin is a writer who deserves a global audience.