Since long

Since long I stopped

feeding fire with misery

of what could be

and what could have been

I learned to smile

at what was a slight

I weighed it less

what was told a praise

I kept moving though

in directions that opened

a soul stopped by

gave his company

and departed

a new friend appeared

and we walked a bit together

in a deliberate move

I turned sun-wards

found a secret song

and hummed to myself

I chose the light a little bright

I chose the sound a little loud

strange hues filled an empty palette

courage found in me a kindred soul

a little shy,but all too brave

aged with wisdom

young in spirit

aloft the mast

afloat danced she

the skies roared

the waters thrashed

as long as it shall

so long it will last

her smile silenced

a few more frowns.

 

Of the apparent disjoint between knowledge and wealth & the teaching professional

One of the earliest examples of the apparent disjoint between wealth and knowledge in the Indian social context comes from the story of the young Ashwatthama.

As Guru Dhrona’s son, Ashwatthama led a frugal life. He did not have the luxuries that his peers the Kauravas and Pandavas had. In fact, he had never even seen or tasted milk! A gullible Ashwatthama  was once led to drink rice water by the wily princes who later humiliate and make fun at the poor boy’s expense.

The story of Ashwatthama is relevant as the stereotypical ‘guru putra’ even today.

Surprisingly even the great teacher & king maker Chanakya was also a poor man that his wife, Yashoda was ridiculed for her lack of resources.

The construct of great knowledge and greater poverty being wedded to each other is reinforced through many stories in the past.

Is it what makes teaching not an inspiring career choice for young people? In over 17 years of my engagement with young people, I cannot recollect more than 5-6  of my students  who  expressed their keen desire to take up teaching as a choice for living. I certainly don’t know of many parents who actively encourage their children to become teachers either!

Does that mean that all the mushrooming educational institutions in the country have teachers who never wanted to be there in the first place? What keeps them in the profession then?

How could teaching be made more interesting and inspiring for the teachers themselves? What can educational institutions, the society, the government do to keep those engaged in teaching motivated? How can teachers themselves keep up their morale and continue to deliver excellent classroom interactions?

The only national leader in recent times , who tried to address the teachers and the students in his countless reaching out missions was of course, the late President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam.

For a craft that is emotionally, physically, intellectually and socially demanding teachers deserve better financial compensation, better social prestige and a higher moral ground what what they have today. I can almost hear the comment that ‘you earn your respect and that you cannot demand it’. Definitely yes, but a steady and solid financial compensation has a major role to play in determining social prestige accorded to any profession.

I am here reminded of that wonderful lady who had answered my innocent question as a young novice teacher, ” How many children do you have, mam?” “35” she had said without blinking an eye.

While every teacher who is hoping to make some mark today is competing with the modern gadgets, flitting attention span, increasing restlessness and the pressure of a demanding curriculum he/she would be better placed to handle the rigors of the job with a living standard.

Perhaps those teachers who intend to make a decent living out of their profession can  learn a little from the street smartness of Tenali Rama who when asked to choose between knowledge and wealth, stealthily plucked both the containers of ‘payasam’ from the hands of the ferocious ‘Kali’ and gulped in one go.

If only life situations were as simple!

 

 

Not What It Is

not every smile is a show of strength

nor every tear a fear

not every taunt a tease

not every jibe a pierce

what comes across is not what it is

not always

like eyes that twinkle tearing within

like hands that reach to push, to pull ?

like thorns that prick to heal

like a friend who loves to hate

like knowledge  and powerlessness

like action upon action  and inaction

like waters that burn, crying for help

like grounds that swell of reek and smell

like degree upon degree and a certain ignorance

like bedraggling life

drying you in memories of pain

on the clothesline of living

to give.to give. to give.

I stopped only so

I stopped only so you could catch up with me

I walked slow for you to get by my side

I leaned forward to graze your shoulders so

and I breathed to fill my heart with your song

I lived to to be lost in your wilderness

I broke to bring you in

and stretched to let you grow

I have since been waiting love, said the wall

to her that sent fragrant signs,the vine

live we will together

or meet the dust wound in one another

and the world will wallow

in its ancient miseries!

 

PS: what if the walls spoke?

Borrowed Sunshine!

Some times its just enough to listen and be told what to do

sometimes its just enough to have ‘amma’ run her fingers through your hair

or tell you what exercise to do and why

with evidences (of proved effectiveness)from her friends list

sometimes its just great to have ‘achan’ get you your favourite eat

and advice you to read more or write more

sometimes all you need is to sit down with your mom dad

fretting over what how less or more you eat

or how good or bad you are at something

sometimes its just a walk to the beach

or a visit to the thali temple

or a dinner at Paragon Hotel

or a trip to your uncle and aunt

who will serve you pickled gooseberries

or nicely cooked ‘vazha pindi’

and listen to old times talk for old times sake

and carry a bit of that borrowed sunshine back

to last you for a timed existence

of meeting dead end/line-s and making pretenses

of living happily ever after!

Sweet Innocence and You

When was the last time you allowed yourself the luxury of receiving generous love,simple warm and unadulterated love from a child? When was the last time you were visited by such a bounty of goodness? When have you in your busy life allowed love to seep into every core of your being, love that is innocent, selfless and all-giving?

When you are busy hurrying from one boardroom to another, when you are counting days for the pay check, when you are rushing from 1 EMI to another, one selfie to the next, to just heading nowhere in search of what you don’t know about or are sure of having, when every day is a long complaint and a constant crib then you should know that it is high time you spent some time with  children . That you allowed yourself to bask in the glory of love, a child alone can shower on you. That wisdom from the purity of his/her soul is all that you need to heal yourself.

And when you soak in that delightful sunlight of love that breaks all barriers of pretense and  sophistication, you will for sure, feel recharged, re-born. So fathers, mothers, aunts and uncles who have the blessing of having a child around you, drop everything and rush to his/her holy presence, its your appointment with divinity itself. Allow yourself the chance to be blessed 🙂