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Set the bar high, watch a miracle happen – Classroom Tactics

Years of working with young people has taught me a lesson or two in dealing with them and bringing out the best.

I have realized that the mistake we do when we interact wit young people is that we underestimate their strengths and abilities. The cascading effect of our observation and feedback on the person’s performance as an adult or a teacher leaves a long lasting impact on the individual and then the class.

What. then is the best way to go about in training or teaching?

Set the bar high, really high.

I really mean this. The last semester we had a course on Design Thinking for the students. Students were supposed to work on projects of their choice in groups of 6-10. As the groups set out to work, I said, ‘This very classroom in which you are seated now, has witnessed some very good presentations by your seniors. In fact, there were times when I was propelled to my feet out of sheer enthusiasm generated by the excellence of the presenter. I am sure you can do that too maybe even try and out do your seniors.’

As the days went by and it was time for evaluation, I was more than impressed when the students carried a huge apparatus to the classroom. They had been working on it for weeks together, they said. They met after class hours, pulling themselves out of their comfort zones to bring out a miracle.

I was staggered in surprise and shock and was absolutely speechless.

What could I say to such ingenuity, to such a show of sheer grit and hard work?

As the students carried the working model of a car to the class, they said that everyone on the corridor wanted to know what is that really?

It made them feel proud they said.

You really pushed us to outdo ourselves, mam, they said simply.

Surely, it was not me but their team spirit and enthusiasm that won the day so much that I was compelled to propose the idea of hosting an exhibition of Design Thinking and Team Building and the enthusiasm it created in the student community, re-emphasized to my mind the thought that the higher you aim, the higher you fly.

To the sheer strength of spirit and joy of creative inquiry, three cheers!!!

classroom creativity

The escapist

From mint chutney, to gongura chutney to dosa podi to sambhar powder, my kitchen was witness to frenetic activities.

As glass jars were filled one after another, and as excellent sambhar and rice, with pappadam made its way to the dinner table, I realized how I was busy circumambulating my area of fear.

How I was not doing what I was supposed to do.

How when I sat down to write I was busy writing exactly what was not incumbent upon me.

It became clear to me that I was playing the quintessential escapist.

It was also clear that this was going to land me in trouble.

I sweated out as I tried to write.

I was so nervous that I shut the system and pretended to sleep.

My young garden bore green chillies that makes my maid go..awwww didi, nodi, nodi, eshtu chanagithu nodi! in Kannada.

The tomato plant is brimming in green and the aloe vera is still trying to find her own space in a new home.

Hopefully I too will find my niche and be sure footed in my academic writing.

Surely it can’t be difficult.

It must the mental blocks that is making me so jittery.

It is just a matter of getting a hang of it.

Stay on

Your sunshine is seeking you.

Maybe this is not escapism.

Maybe I am just trying my best to get ahead in this new area of work.

Maybe I am just about there.

Yeah, maybe that’s it.

If only you heard me once

You would hear me everytime

really

she smiled confidently

her bushy brows

arching in excitement

if only you heard me out once

just once

coz I am super addictive

even to myself

(so I see!

he wrinkled his brows

pulling at a beard strand )

well, it has been so always

you know what

she thumped her feet

stood up to face the window

(he looked at her silhouette

he sighed)

if you only you had the patience

the nerve

the compassion

the wisdom

(so, now it is on me

it always is!

he thought)

to look beneath the moods

read between my grunts and disgrunts -whatever

(what is she, Monica Seles!

crazy woman

so consumed of self)

to ponder over the depth in my eyes

my sights and my sighs

if you only took the trouble

to get up from that chair of yours

where you are glued

morning to night

to follow me to the kitchen

to the garden

to the cycling trips

where handsome men

stop and stare

at the pretty sight

me, of course!

you would have known better

perhaps you could have learnt

enough to hold a woman of mettle

in your hands, keep close to your heart

(I just came stopped by

and here she goes off on a tangent

best known to herself

my girlfriend should be anxious now)

but you, miserable poor heart

of little sense and zero sentiments

what would you know

how would you fare

any better with such laggardness

so go now, Sir

your girlfriend must be anxious

rush to her please!!!

hold on to what you have at least.

(footsteps receding)

Meowing Mantras

a handsome cat

with a pretty posterior

to boot

at least he thinks so

he carefully places

his rump on the softest

of materials

mostly dresses

one likes to wear

to plunge in to a mode

of emptying the can

an expulsion of

the unwanted

now the otherwise

gentle seemingly wise

marjara, andrew, the cat

assumes a rather

saintly disposition

when in ‘vajrasana’

he seats himself

closing his eyes

in deep contemplation

a master at meditation

chanting meowing mantras

on the purposes of lives

catly and otherwise

slyly scheming to leave a mark

wet and rather stinky

a territorial conquest

in this game of hide and seek

he comes out the winner

despite what I believe

is my foresight

even daintily making

choices of material, color and contour

he thus expounds

truths of living

commentary on my life history

metaphorically conveyed

of which I am yet to decipher

the comprehensive truths

hidden behind such

seemingly savage acts of ceremonial expulsion.

Nothing else matters

Not in the sudden stormy

outpourings of suppressed emotions

but the warm steadiness of the waves

lashing against the shore

in gentle lullabies

lies the secret of a heart’s

true yearnings

small steady steps to

a far away mountain

whisper of love that is true

a light far too small

yet burning in the darkness

far too long

moves a heart too often

when ‘times hurrying chariot’

claims lives aplenty

a hand familiar

is what a heart desires

a soul gentle and kind

a forever companion to keep

for when eyes turn bleak

bones go frail

spirit falters

whatever mattered more than love!

The yoga mat conundrum& the useless cardboard box of the toothpaste

The yoga mat at my home serves more as a scratch pad for my cat Andrew than anything else. It looks like the one below but is much more traumatized and weather beaten.

Yoga mats available in the market, non durable, environment unfriendly

This means that every day the rug is torn apart and tiny rolls of plastic and rubber material floats around in the house.

In fact, every day I sweep the dirt off the floor before the arrival of the maid so that she does not complain or feel offended.

As it is Andrew’s attempts to snatch at the broom or take ownership of accumulated dust every single day must irritate her!

But think of the collective dirt that is being dumped into the waste bin. Now if this much dirt can go from one home, the kind of dirt , I mean avoidable mess that has to be swept off millions of houses must truly be overwhelming.

That is why I now realize that mindful shopping is a thing we need to reinvent from the past. My parents for instance would never spend a penny to buy anything they think won’t last two generations, and that is a minimum.

I am sure in my place,my mom would have looked for a cotton jhamkalan or carpet like material to serve as a yoga mat. Not for her the fancy stuff!

While it looks like being thrifty one also understands today why being thrifty is a good virtue after all.

Long lasting, made of cloth

But how we shift thinking towards being more environment friendly, how do we decide that balloons are really not essential for every party, even though they are cheap, how do we now accept that sparse is good after the overt indulgences in glitter and pom poms to beautify?How do we now tell our children that mall grazing is not perhaps conducive to good health and that going to a park or sitting down by the lakeside is as good or even better.

What is the mid way to stop the mess we are dumping on the planet? I do not have any answer.

In Iceland for instance, tooth paste is sold without the cardboard. Can you think of any single purpose of packaging tooth paste and other such consumables in card board when they are already sealed and leak proof?

Read the article below for more details.

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/trends/what-is-the-use-of-a-cardboard-box-in-which-toothpastes-are-sold-colgate-palmolive-3425611.html

Stop cardboardbox for toothpaste. We don’t need it.

Sweet Innocence and You

The brightness of a classroom, the sweet love of children

Adhyapika

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…

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Some Love it is

Some love it is she thought to stay put for the longest time.

It is a winner, a true winner, to have forever faced roadblocks and to have been alive and kicking.

Forever it has faced obstacles, one too many first the diffidence in her, then the search for words, then the fear of inadequacy, then the succumbing to pressures,then his being taciturn but inspite of her many efforts to forget, it has lived within and grown consuming her heart and soul and growing in her a desire a deep yearning to hold him, to care for him, to love him.

For years, for decades, it reached out to her in dreams of floating clouds every single night and even during the day sometimes as a sudden flash that often made her look vain.

Many times in the morning as she woke up she looked to him or the feeling of him next to her that felt so real and true that it either left her elated through out the day or feeling low.

But she has never missed him as much because her feeling of him is so real that it gives her strength and courage.

She goes on with her work and keeps the smile bright on her face.

People tell her so many things, I thought you are so & so because you are so positive.

The truth is it is him or the thoughts of him that held her through.

It is strange since when have they interacted so much.

In fact she told herself for a long time like amma told her that he is younger and she is older and she will grow ugly and he will not like her…. and that scared her into marriage literally…

later she told herself that he is hi-fi party, that his likes and dislikes are not like hers…

then she thought of going to a psychiatrist thinking it is a fantasy for the unattainable that drives her so much

recently though it is becoming very clear to her it is just love for his soul, for him as he is…however he is that is holding her

She keeps a smile always… even tried to talk to a few guys …..but it tires her and she knows for sure that is not for her

She just needs him in her circle of life

If not she said he can give her some solid reason as to how he is immensely happy in his life and how he is not keen to change anything.Like you know, hear it from the horses mouth.

Why he never ever felt anything for her

and that he is tired very tired of her efforts to reach out.

They say one should love and be with those who love you immensely.

She said that she is not sure of his love but of hers to him there is no doubt

and she knows that she is equally deserving of love so there is hope in her love.

As she sits waiting for his call or message she has not moved from near her phone.

Some may call her foolish or impractical and what not but to tell the truth when death walks in what excuse will she have for not giving her best for a life worth living.

will her soul not regret it

she is clear that she does not want that to happen

not because there was no effort, no care, no attempt, no reaching out

maybe then she and him will walk together

maybe they will watch films together

and they may sip a drink

maybe then she will write maybe not

maybe he will read aloud

and sleep or utter those monosyllables

and she could simply watch him sleep and be happy

Sometimes life is a searching for purposes

Sometimes nothing holds the faith in self