Saturday, August 31, 2019

My walk into Azim Premji Foundation

My walk into Azim Premji Foundation Fellowship

Harry forwarded the mail saying to check out the program offered by Azim Premji Foundation. Interested in learning, life skills, I bought the idea of experiential learning. I gave out the form and applied filling out the basic information.

I was not anxious about getting in it as I had no clue what was it all about. Experiential learning would be of any type. I was ready to learn through experience rather than sitting in a room.

After a month, I received a mail for being shortlisted for the exam. I had to appear for an exam. The exam had basics of English, Math, General Knowledge, and essay writing. Too basic to sit and study and too tricky to be complacent. I brushed up my basic math skills and attended the exam. I was given a topic on Kerala floods. Sharing out my opinion, I also gave out a few views on the floods. I thought I did a decent job.

I walked out of the exam and checked out their timeline of the interview process, if selected.

It ranged from November to February for every process.  If shortlisted through written test, we had to write SOP. If gone through the SOP process, phone interview and even if phone interview is checked through, In-person interview.

After all the process, they’d select if they feel we’re worthy to be in their fellowship.

Seemed a lengthy process but also attracted me for its detailed process. They’re not in a hurry to select any other people. They want to scrutiny and find whom they wanted.

 I retired on the day and carried on with my life.  3 weeks passed, I received a call from Piyush from Azim Premji Foundation.

We had a lengthy conversation on my interest in joining the foundation. I was clear in my responses. I wanted to learn. I was ready to live in remote places. I was up to give up all the urban privileges.

I never hated my job. My choice of taking up another learning or domain was not because I was hating my job. I loved my job. I also wanted to check out the other lives.

Done with 21 years. I studied enough to earn money. I was earning money. Landed up in the office learning management and the dynamics of the world. Is it all? Or is there anything beyond giving meaning to our life by our reality or finding new meanings by changing the reality?

With all the reflecting thoughts, I wanted a change.  I shared these thoughts, ideas with Piyush. He was patient enough to listen out to my views. He wished my luck and ended the conversation.


Well, I had to be myself. I did not want to sound who I am not. I had no clue of education. I wanted to learn. That itself was my own reason to join the fellowship. The fellowship was vague. I had no clue what it was all about, but I knew I was there for great learning.

Comes December 18th, I was called up for an interview. I reached Bangalore before I realize what was happening. I walked across the corporate Wipro buildings and landed up in a beautiful space decorated amidst the trees.

The architecture was vibrant. It was breathable and everything about the building was aesthetic.

Deprived of sleep, early morning flight, I took a leisure walks over the buildings.

We were invited for the lunch. The lunch was provided. We were asked to settle in before the interview starts.

10 of us were called in for a presentation. Mandya Leader gave out the presentation on how what do they really work on. Gave out the information that was present on the website. Too general to enquire about, too new to ask the inquiries from.

As the interview started, we were called out to visit the room.

While I was at the desk waiting for my turn, those silent moments are what it all mattered. The inner anxiety was all true to experience. No issues in experiencing but letting it override my emotions or confidence were critical. I was anxious of the whole interview process but, didn’t think of how I’d perform. Clueless of what would happen, I didn’t imagine more than what I need to be at that point of time.  

I was welcomed by Aanchal. I was given an introduction. As the conversation went on, I was asked to present my topic.  Frankly, I wasn’t socially conscious of third world topics.  I could empathize with learning, relations, and those micro problems that we generally face. I talked about reclaiming conversation. I talked about how technology is letting us be at our worst with our friends. How is it deeply ruining our lives by making us crippled to make friendships and apathy towards others?

I do not know If I could call it a social topic but according to me, anything that’s with us and other people involved it’s a social problem.

 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Teaching Journal- SCN Meeting

I visited the office room on a purpose to have a word with Hitesh Ji, co incidentally, the conversation at SCN meeting was on English language teaching in the school. The parents said, “Bacche thoda English pade toh, accha rahtha hai.”

I cannot recollect the exact words but the parents wanted their kids could read English text. I sat for the conversation and we discussed how we’ll take it forward and concentrate on English language reading.  I couldn’t say anything but, “Give us 4 months’ time. We’ll show you improvement with data.”

“Kids are fluent with Marwari. We teach them Hindi and then English,” was also another statement shared in the meeting.  True that, with English becoming a third language there’s been a difficulty in bringing the focus among the students.

There was also another thought on children learning English, “our kids are studying here from their first class but looks like they haven’t read much in English.”

I walked out of the room promising the parents that they’d be an improvement given a chance of 4-month time.

We know the factors of this issue in the school. It’s been years since we’re unable to find an English teacher. We know the hardship of slogging at the worst conditions. Let’s reflect on our processes and brainstorm the best possible solution for improving the basics of English.

English language in a society became a skill rather than a mere language for the communication. We use language for communication and expression but when the majority of the world communicates in English language, the demand made it to be a skill rather than just a language. Every person in the society wish to be skilful in regard of opportunities.  Parents are rightful in expecting their kids to read or learn English in regard of better opportunities.

How are parents measuring the kids learning?

They may simply hand out a bank pass book, certificate, or an invitation card and ask the kids to read it out when needed.  Even they are aware of the medium of the school, they would not expect the kids to speak in English fluently but read out few words when there’s chance or need.

Any kid with basic reading skills would at least attempt to read it. But in the case of our students, very few can decode the words in foreign context and read the text. There are children like Suguna(8th class), Kanchan, Ravinder (7th class) &  group of kids in 5th class who display their confidence in trying out to read a foreign text given a chance. Others are not inclined to read English.

 

 

 

How do children learn the English language in general?

Teaching a language can be seen in two ways. Formal learning and informal learning. Kid who is frequented with foreign tourists also speaks English. Thanks to his environment. The more exposure he/she gets, the more he learns. This can be one way of informal learning.

 

 In formal learning, as the kids walks into school, we teach the kids, a script. We give them the symbols or shapes giving out a sound and meaning of the symbol.  Besides the script, we give them the exposure eventually. 

We’re doing a good job in primary classes teaching the kids English through phonics. Kaveri, Satvir are working exceptionally giving their best efforts. Anuradha  is teaching well, focussing on the basics realising the importance of the script and the sound. Anurag  is building up the confidence of the kids to teach language beyond the textbook. In upper primary, Ramakantji & I are settling up, understanding the need of the basics of the language. I’m quite optimistic about the learning of the basics of the language in our school as our teachers are ready to learn new methods, processes which can help children learn in a better way.

What needs to be done?

Let’s focus on the upper primary classes for they lack basics. 8th class kids do not have time to brush up their basics as they can’t afford to miss out the board exams in the dream of achieving the basics.

 7th and 6th class kids can make it up to learn the basics.

In context of an English Language as a second language. Basic reading of a text and writing down the sentences can be regarded as basics.

Kids are inferior to learn English.  Whole language approach has been tried out till now but, we lack the nuances of whole language approach. We do not understand what “Writing” means. We did not give importance on sounds and spellings with the stereotypical thought of English- second language. The basics can’t be taken as a high level learning.

What are basics?

Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing is all about language.  These are the basics of the language and also the elusive parts of the language. Let’s focus of Reading and Writing. Listening and Speaking will develop on a parallel note.

Reading a text comprising of alphabets is the basic outcome of language learning.  Irrespective of context, reading the particular writing is the basic of language learning. Once children read out, they can comprehend when they know the meaning of the words.

Writing is about expressing, communicating, describing their thoughts, questions through the script.

Let’s focus on reading for it’s the foundation for the writing. The more you read, the more you can write.

Focusing on pronunciation is an extreme as everyone has an accent but focusing on the sound letter relationship is the basic.

Basics of English can be seen as understanding the script and usage of the script. In simple terms, reading and writing.

What is reading?

Reading is decoding of the symbols and comprehending the meaning through words.  In upper primary, kids are expected to read and comprehend.

Our kids in the school cannot read and comprehend. Spare me for being extreme but it’s true. On a honest conversation with the 7th class students, we came out with their language learning process.

I wrote “Calculation” and asked them to read it out.

Few tried reading, few never bothered to pay attention to what I was saying.

I wrote “CAT” and didn’t even asked them to read.

Everyone said in uni voice, “CAT”

“How did you read it?”

Everyone put a face thinking I’m being silly. ‘What do you mean byकैसे” ’ was the response.

Of all, a student understood the question and shared their process. Everyone agreed to her.

“First, someone tells us this word. We memorise it. We repeat it till we get it. We write it down. And we keep learning it. “

Kids are being exposed to the words. They’re learning the new words and speaking when they’re demanded.  Looks fair and good from the outsider perspective. 

In kid’s mind, CAT is a word with sound CAT but not the mix of letters C A T

Any word that’s introduced to the children are given as sounds for the words but, not decoded to letters and sounds. It’s the processes that needs to be done at basic level.

Now a day, Kids are given a lot of reading from a text book. Daily repetition of reading exercise made them realise that they need to read somehow. They do not have basics. They do not know how to pronounce consonants, “Cl” “Fr” “Th” “oo”  “Wh”

Kids being kids writes down the Hindi pronunciation and read whenever asked. 90% of the kids don’t even do that and lose out interest when we call out for reading in the class.  Blank faces, fearful expressions are the replies we get when we ask them to read in the class.

We fall into trap when we see them recognising the common words. When the word, “Close” is given. They can read. Because of mere repetition of the word countless times. Give a word, ”Clamp” Kids are unable to say it out.

What’s the need of the hour?

All of us, adults in our schooling never studied the language through letters, sounds. Phonics was never a practice in our learning.

The reason how we learnt our language, basics despite these sound- letter practice is just because we were compensated by the environment.

We generally decode words through sounds without our conscious effort. Given so much of our environment, we know how to read without a need of rules or phonics.

We should not think that mere 40 lines in the school premises and 40 minutes in the class is enough for the environment.

Repetition causes them to get into rote learning of the words and blurt it out when demanded in the reading sessions of the class.  Functional usage needs to be created in the form of giving environment.

With our own elusive theories and without a reality check, we are thinking language is being exposed to them, kids would inevitably learn the language.

But, in real Kids are saving their skin to entertain us but not really learn English.

GOAL

Teach the kids the formative structure of the language for a period of time.  The basic reading and writing. The argument that it’s need to be taught in the primary classes have to put out because, the possibility of the kids being in the English environment and learning the language in their later life is, beyond skipping our responsibilities.

 If we do not teach basics, we leave them out by implanting a false notion that they learnt English in which way every other school in India is educating our children.

Since the kids already have a reasonable word power. We need to focus on the

The formative structure of the language that should be taught through defined, well planned processes of

Phonics

Picture Reading

Bilingual story telling

(All the English language teachers would huddle up for sharing of ideas, suggestions, resources and come up with lists of practices)

Mere focus on all these will not give out the results but thoughtful implementation and execution will definitely bring out a huge learning among the children. I request all of you to reflect upon the reality check and come up with your thoughts.  

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Holidays with Harry- Article on Learning

http://harimohanparuvu.blogspot.com/2019/08/new-column-in-new-indian-express.html


Great learning through an engaging story.  Enjoyed the reading. 

Anjali & I - Her poems

http://harimohanparuvu.blogspot.com/2019/08/anjali-poem-that-travelled-to-rajasthan.html


Poetry pervades across the places beyond time. I remember reading the poem written by Anjali on trees. When I got a chance to talk about trees and cutting the trees, I introduce the poem reading as a pre-work to 8th class students. 


Just before I thought, since it was Anjali's poem, I wanted to present it the way Anjali would've loved it. I rolled the poem. Winded it with a  band and gave out to the kids. 


Kids opened the poem in surprise and read it out. They liked the poem. On being asked to guess the age, kids mentioned the poet would be 50 or 60. 

To their surprised, they found out the age of the poet is 11 years. I hinted if they would like to appreciate or send out any message to the poet. 

Appreciation is always through a good heart. Chiku, in a direct tone, wrote, "I liked it." 

Kids thought well that since they were sending the letter to the kid, they wanted to decorate it and also they loved decorating it. 

They decorated the card with so many colors and creativity. 

The cards were all posted and Anjali received it with a surprise. Happy to see all the kids appreciating and spreading out good thoughts. 





Sunday, August 25, 2019

Quote of the hour

A reporter once asked the Dalai Lama if he was angry with Chinese for having taken over Tibet.

The Dalai Lama responded, "They have taken everything from us, should I let them take my mind as well?"

Stories on wheels - Time & Trust

Skeptical about getting the ride, I rose a hand while crossing the road. A person stopped in between and offered me ride till metro station. 

"Are you a student?"

"No, I'm working."

I seem to be too young to work in an MNC. We got onto a conversation talking about his whereabouts. 

The person is one of the Directors from a reputed engineering college. Started with the few ice-breaking conversations. We started sharing stories.


From the side of the teaching position, he shared the parenting stories.

"Parents assume they're giving the best to children but, kids do not need the best. They need a bond that can help them achieve the best even in mediocre conditions.

There's one bright kid who seemed to attain a great percentage in intermediate, thanks to only studying but nothing. He joined our college. His father works as a senior executive in the an airport. Too busy to give time to his own son.

Clueless about what the kid got into, he failed in all the subjects in 1st year. Continued the streak in the second year.  He seemed to be a bright student but clueless about his presence in engineering college. Unable to adapt to the new environment and clueless of what he is into  made him find no interest in studying. Hence, he flunked.


We called out parents to visit us. There was no response from the parents. The student was frightened about consequences that'd happen if his father gets to know about his  failure stint.

He wrote a suicide letter and put it in the suit that Dad wears to the airport. Father left to the airport and saw the letter after he reached his workplace.

Shivered through the spine, he raced to the college. While the son was gathering up his guts to kill himself, father reached the college. 

The moment he saw his son, he sobbed uncontrollably.

On being asked about such thought, the kid said, 'I'm afraid. I can't tell my dad that I failed.'

The utmost thing the kid needs is time and care.

Failures are inevitable in life. You face them at some point in life. If a kid can't share his failure with his parents, who does he have when he hits the rock bottom?"


Trust builds with time. And if parents do not find time to listen to the kids, I can't imagine the state of loneliness and a clueless feeling of where to go and with whom to share.



Movie- Agent Sri Sai Srinivasa Athreya

A town detective is desperate about a big crime to solve in. He's framed in a crime that he in return solves. Amazing screenplay with sensible humor.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Swirling in the sweetness of the time.

Education- Neighbourhood

I visited a few homes as a part of the community visit. I feel powerless and weak listening to their stories. No one should be discriminated or differentiated by their community. There are homes settled at the corners of the village. Utmost corners of the village. The neighborhood is nonetheless their own community. 

Even though there's no strong discrimination as untouchability, I'm still dumbstruck by the presence of the neighborhood by their own communities. 

I can't imagine myself in their shoes. How does one live with a reminder that they're not privileged enough to lead a normal life?

I visited the house. The elderly person shared his story,  "I'm a state champion. I had everything good in my life. People were jealous about my future and tricked me into fights and then police cases, if not I'd have been eligible for many jobs."

Talking about the importance of education, he told how he finished his education. 
"I walked 10 km daily to attend school. Took a lot of punishment. At one point in time, I couldn't understand the education and I left for Bombay.

Later, I realized it's better I finish the education. I returned and finished the 8th class." 

The neighborhood, environment plays an important role in our growth. Being constantly reminded by the lack of their privilege to be normal is haunting. 

Travel Diaires - Ellora Bakery


Ellora Bakery, the oldest bakery in the town, Dehradun, famous for its' pastries. On a casuall stroll at the Rajpur road, I discovered this bakery. There are two bakeries. One is the oldest one which is narrow and small in size. They constructed the latest one which  I liked the tarts and pastries here. 





Movie - Brochevarevaru ra

Brochevarevaru Ra is a thriller weaved with a lot of comedy. The background score complemented the visuals aptly. The story writing seemed to be simple but to set things in simple is difficult. Great work Vivek Athreya. Beautiful movie. 


Friday, August 23, 2019

Happy Birthday Pratyusha

During my first days in my last school(10th class) Aishwarya is the first girl whom I spoke with. 
She's of a girl gang with 5-6 people who always hung out together. 

9 years passed and still, they are the same. I feel good to see them hanging out even during their own busy days. During school days, everyone from the gang turned acquaintance to a friend with me.  Pratyusha is one of them who always was there to drop in a message or a word during my most important times. 

Of all the school friends, few stays in touch, few acknowledge the presence of each other online and few forget.

And this gang has always been together, and I tried to stay in touch. 

During the school days,  I noticed a girl who seemed impulsive in her responses and always retorted back with witty answers. Pratyusha, acquaintance turned friend. 

2009

I vividly remember the day. Pratyusha and her friend, Ramani walked in with a packet of chocolates. August 22nd is her birthday. Wished her and remembered the date August 22nd as her birthday. Like fragrances give memories, dates remind me of a few memories and her birthday is one great memory I keep recollecting for no reason.  From then on, every year I keep recalling the day and wish her. Never relied on facebook reminder though.

Few acquaintances turn into friendship over time. And Pratyusha is one girl whom I hardly spoke during our school days. 

But I remember a few instances where we broke the ice and had a few good times.  

In 10th, we had an English teacher Ratnamala. We had a bet over a teacher's response. I bet that on asking a question, the teacher response would be in only one way. Pratyusha and I went on to the teacher asking her a dumb question. I won the bet as a teacher gave my predicted funny response.

L to R Sneha, Pratyusha, Srujana, Aishwarya & Yasaswi


Back then, we were never serious about topping the class. I'm sure about myself but, not Pratyusha. We ended up in an IC batch which is supposedly meant for kids who can ace the 10th exams with great marks. I was the only odd one in that group. Pratyusha was a topper in 10th. She's a fun-loving girl.  And also she is quite good at whatever she takes up.

We both had a similar centre for board exams. Place where people feel tense, nervous. I do not remember anyone from that centre being tensed. Abhilash & I were in the same centre. Same is with Pratyusha. Few conversations before and after exams, we never knew then if we were gonna meet everyone again. 

Over time, thanks to a few gatherings and conversations, we met and wished each other well whenever we talked.

Done with school, I took up M.P.C, Pratyusha took up the CA path. Was amused by her decision then, and as I said earlier, she's good at whatever she takes up, she has been doing great wherever she is.



As days passed, we spoke through social media and we got onto a few conversations as she speaks Tamil and I'm affined to Tamil. We simply used to talk, learning Tamil together. It was fun. 

Today, I'm happy to wish her again on her birthday. Happy birthday, Pratyusha. I cherish all the beautiful memories. Hope I huddle up with your gang Aishwarya, Srujana, Yasaswi & Sneha sometime soon. Happy birthday. God bless you. 


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Travel Diaries - Gratitude Tales


Soon after a stroll in Mussoorie, I decided to walk down to Landour. I  went on recalling the directions from a person, I missed the route and I went down the road to Dehradun. Upon asking a person, he directed me to Landour. 

The clouds turned foggy throughout the place, I couldn’t see what’s in front of me. In such weather, I walked up to Landour in search of Ruskin Bond’s house. En route, I didn’t stop even in heavy rain. I continued walking up being drenched in rain. I went up to his home and found no one. I walked down to Mussorie while it was pouring throughout my commute. 

It was a 30 minute walk and I was drenched feeling heavy by being soaked in the rain.

While I returned in search of transport, the person who directed me found me and called me out. 

‘I told you the direction of Landour na, why are you here again?’

‘I went and I’m returning now’

‘Where are you going now?’

‘Dehradun’

“You’re totally drenched. Take a bus.”

He offered me an umbrella and took me to the counter. He enquired for my sake and discovered that long queue is present for Dehradun. Looking at it, he took me to the back of the counter. He talked to the concerned person and got me a ticket while I was wondering why he had to take efforts to help a stranger during a heavy pour.’

‘Take the ticket, I got you a window seat. You’ll be comfortable.’ He said.

Shaking a hand, he said, “Happy journey. Visit us again.”

Does he have anything to do with me? Was he expecting anything from me? Nothing. His help was voluntary without expecting anything in return. I was humbled by his help at such point of time.

“Thanks a lot,” I said and asked his name.

“Sandeep Rawat,” he said with a cheery smile.

Thanks a lot, Sandeep for help. I’m grateful for the gesture. I had a comfortable journey and was happy throughout for the help.


Monday, August 19, 2019

Corporate Stories - Mentors in learning

I was trained in mainframes coding but, was never into it. I reached my HR for mentoring and sought help in choosing the roles. I was given a chance to work at Project Management Operations. As a shoulder surfing process, I reached out to Ramya and Srikanth to learn about it. 

Ramya being a senior  (4 years exp) and Srikanth being a super senior (15 years exp) handled me in a great way. They never insisted on planned learning. They put me at ease with their conversations. They gave me a lot of tips on owning the work and taking responsibility at situations. Amidst conversations, Srikanth and I hit off very well on the poetry. We shared our poems and discussed our writing processes. 

After completion of session left them to work on my own. Whenever I travelled to synergy park to meet my friends, I also met Srikanth to discuss the progress in our writing. Srikanth got beautiful stories and creative narrative style. During my first days, I was amused to meet Srikanth who had his head engaged in complex economics and finance as well as the heart to appreciate the poetry. 

In dialogue with Jimmy & Sapna

Backpackers' hostel is a great place to meet interesting people. Met Jimmy and Sapna with whom I easily broke the ice and spent a great time sharing a lot of conversations.

With very few, you are at ease in a drop of a hat sharing interesting things.  Jimmy & Sapna are the kind of people everyone would love to hang out with them. 

Jimmy is calm during the most chaotic times. He has the ease of putting things in a simple manner besides there's a lot one can worry about. On the other side, Sapna is sweet in her words and one would surely wonder if she ever can express anger on anyone. 

They were on a week trip with a lot of adventures, surprises, literally skipping, hopping & jumping the places.

They planned a surprise treat for his friend's birthday leading him to various places making him play treasure hunt at places. After a series of traveling, they reached Dehradun. Despite being sleep deprived, they were up for a coffee and conversation. 

On a drizzling night, we huddled sharing our stories. 

Jimmy's stories never lack an element of surprise. Starting from the story of best momos in Dehradun, till his school stories are unending and full of surprises and joy. Always on the go, Jimmy talks about traveling.  "Traveling is about traveling but, not about reaching a destination and ending up in boxed rooms. I see people who don't like things to be unplanned. They want things to be perfect and can't afford to miss any so-called special things at places. The typical tourists.


I traveled to Kashmir in February, I was not allowed to enter. It was closed. I took a bike, travelled and at the check post, I got to know that it's closed. 

I'd have learned about it earlier. I did not cringe for not being able to visit Kashmir but cherished in the whole experience. Why do you cry about not reaching the destination? If you really love traveling, you enjoy it rather than complaining."


Just like how he enjoys traveling dedicating slabs of unlimited time, he works at every possible location without any weekday, weekend chaos. He appears to be as unengaged as possible being engaged in the work round the clock. Glad to meet Jimmy who's always up for a conversation sharing a lot of stories. 


Myself, Sapna & Jimmy

After a lot of creative strolls on FRI.

Just as joyous as Jimmy, Sapna is joyful expressing thoughtful stories. Sit with her and you get to listen to the best stories about art and the craft. I enjoyed listening to her talking visual art and performing arts. 

Discussing social media, I had several takeaways from her words. 

"Wow is just not the takeaway I want from any picture for that matter through Instagram. It has to be thoughtful at the least." 

Witnessing how influencers are turning compulsive and traveling luxuriously just for the validation, we gotta be conscious of what we're consuming through social media. I second Sapna's thoughts. 

Walking the talk, Sapna's artworks were just not solace but thoughtful and wonderful. Lover of tribal art, she does miniature art and many more. Had a great time discussing her works in detail. Also grateful for her company, I could pen down few poems at ease.

Cheers Jimmy, Sapna for all the great time we had. 

Nice Link- Indian Documentary on Growth

Nice Link - Rid educational institutions of interference and corruption

In dialogue with Tamara


I met Tamara during my backpacking trip around Dehradun. Tamara is on her worldwide travel trip trotting the world exploring 12 countries in a year. Tamara wore many hats in her life. She worked in management for years and decided to take a break before she takes up a new role.  “Everything helps you to understand things better. The experience you acquired at one place may help you in another field.”

Tamara has always been reflective throughout her school days. “I love writing down. I do not remember but my mom tells me how I was appreciated by my English teacher. I was asked to write down an essay. After I wrote it, my teacher approached my mom and said, ‘Her thoughts and writing are beyond her age.’ Tamara wants to write a book further her worldwide travel. ‘I love coaching.  Personal coaching helps you to be reflective and also help others.’

Tamara & Myself


Tamara studied Tourism Management, Marketing and other courses while she was working throughout her higher education. “My parents were okay to fund my education but when I can help myself financially, why shouldn’t I?”

From Life experiences to music, we shared a lot wishing each other the best in life. Happy birthday Tamara. Best wishes for all your endeavours.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

In dialogue with Santosh Chowdary


When I visited Store to meet Ruskin Bond, At Cambridge Book Depot, I met a teacher who started writing his memoir by the advice of Ruskin Bond. Mr.Santosh Chowdary is a teacher in Bhutan. His experiences speak volumes about the teaching profession as well as the beauty of teaching.

Talking about kids, Santosh said, ‘ Kids silence speaks a lot than the adults' words. On my last day,  gave out a speech. We distributed sweets to the students. My wife shared the sweets to senior students.  I shared with the primary children. While I was distributing, a  pre-primary student surprised me by her gift. She didn’t speak at all. She didn’t want to look at me.  She pulled the badge from her shirt in force and handed over it to me as a souvenir. I was touched by the gesture. The kid’s thoughtfulness and her action made my day. Her silence was intense and touching than any other thing else on the day.

'Kids are wonderful. They are living gods,' said Santosh smiling wide recollecting the memories.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

In dialogue with Ruskin Bond


"One best book is equal to hundred good friends but one good friend is equal to library."
                                                                                                       -A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

I’m grateful to have a good friend, Swathi who introduced the world of books to me. Even though I had books around me, neither I acknowledged their presence nor bothered to check them out. In 2010, I met Swathi and Susmitha at my last school.  Both Swathi and Susmitha are the reason why I tried checking out the books. I only had the role of listener whenever they talked about the books.
Do not know what made them to try their best in suggesting me some good books. I was given a couple of Sidney Sheldon books. I started them and finished them taking my own time. Though I didn’t like the long time I took to finish a small book, I enjoyed the reading.
Interested to gift the things Swathi loves, I started searching for her favorites. I was browsing titles like Little Women, Pride and Prejudice but never bothered to read by myself. I acknowledged the presence of the classics then. I was understanding the diversity of genres in books then.
On my 16th birthday, Swathi gifted me, ‘The Spirit of Music, book by A.R.Rahman.’

I was elated to receive such a gift from Swathi. I didn’t mind to sit and read it at one stretch. I completed it. And I was quenched enough to have the book with me all the time rereading the same words. I liked the experience of reading his thoughts, words in a book. Unlike an article, the book seemed to be a journey where I witness his life experiences for a good amount of time.

Comes 17th birthday, Swathi gifted me, ’The Man who knew Infinity by Robert Kanigel,’ ‘Life in Words by Rabindranath Tagore.’ (I hinted her for these books to have the experience of reading their thoughts in words.)

I’m not sure If I’d have the same interest in picking books, if not I received as the gifts. Swathi continued talking about books. And that kindled me to read more books on the subjects I loved.

Swathi is one friend who is equal to more than a library for, she helped me to see the world of books and enjoy them.

Today, I met Ruskin Bond. And asked him, “Can you please autograph to my friend who introduced books to me.”

He asked out the name. “Swathi,” I said.



Didn’t want to tell I’m a writer. I didn’t want to tell about my works but, I wanted to tell about my friend Swathi.  Sharing about her with Bond seemed important rather than any of my achievements. As a reader, I wanted to share how I got introduced to the world of books and then his books which helped me to enjoy the life.


Listening to my story, R.B gently smiled and handed over the book writing out a simple message with an autograph.   

Thanks Ruskin Bond for the autograph. Thanks Swathi. Wish you keep gifting me books ;)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

End to End for the new beginning.

Ajabul is on his ride from Reodar, Rajasthan to Siliguri West Bengal.  He's on a journey to go from end to end. Good luck Ajabul. 




Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

If I had read this book previously before I got into the writing process, I'd have neither valued nor finished the book. 

When I'm slow and down in my creative process, I picked up this book and it helped me to start my routine again. All the things Liz mentioned in the book encouraged me to stop the complaining and focus on the work I got to do. 

To get motivation through this book would be tough since the author writes with a lot of anecdotes that talks more about the creative process as a spiritual process. If one doesn't buy this idea, then everything Liz talks would be debatable to the reader. 




Movie- Jabariya Jodi

Bihari accent in the movie reminded me of all my Bihari friends. Parineeti is cute but, her makeup is awful. I didn't feel the movie to be watch worthy.


Travel Diaries - Couch Surfing.

I attended a lot of hangouts and met many couch surfers but neither hosted or stayed with any couch surfer till now.

In Dehradun, Saurabh hosted for me a couple of days. I had one of the best experiences staying with couch surfer, Saurabh. We shared a couple of messages and after a few days, I showed up on an early morning at his place. 

We broke the ice by talking things we love. The conversations were easy and all about things we love. In those conversations, we shared about ourselves a bit. We discovered that both of us are mechanical Engineers. We also talked about MOS, KOM, DOM, Design. Both of us shared the different college memories.

Every morning, we sat at the balcony having black tea sharing the sight of Mussorie Hills. Weather in Dehradun is always unpredictable. Before we finish our cup of tea, we would have witnessed the rain, sunshine and also the foggy clouds.  


Every traveler has his way of exploring the places. Saurabh suggested me the best options to explore the Dehradun. He suggested the offbeat places which were worth visiting. Morning, I was on my way to explore.

By the night,  Saurabh was off from his work. We rode on hills visiting special cafes and temples. I visited a temple which insists on not taking any donation. They were strict about not taking any money. We spent the night over the conversations sharing a lot of stories.

Saurabh introduced his friend Arun. Arun is from Lucknow. Talking to him is great fun. His Shayari and stories of Lucknow tempted me to backpack there as well.

Within no time, we were on a banter having fun. We were sharing all the Couch Surfer Stories.

By day, I was exploring. And by night, we were in the room having dinner and sharing many stories. 

Saurabh was kind and prepared breakfast, dinners whenever possible. On the last day, he even made lunch for me.


 I made good friends in Dehradun through Couch Surfing. 

Italo Calvino- The Black Sheep

https://blog.aladin.co.kr/common/popup/printPopup/print_Paper.aspx?PaperId=742005 Interesting story. Once lived a country full of thieves. E...