Sunday, September 29, 2019

Book- Stories on Women by Premchand

Premchand is a pen name. Originally named Dhanpat Rai wrote a lot of stories under the name of the pen name, "Nawab Rai." He was summoned by the Britishers to warn and advise him on his stories. 

From then, he changed his pen name to, 'Premchand' and wrote the stories. Such progressive stories during the pre-independence era are motivating. 

Women are the central characters in all the short stories compiled in this book. In one story, women are bold and thoughtful, in another nagging and cynical. Premchand got out the stories depicting women in different shades. I loved the Godavari's suicide and the co-wife for the conflict in the story. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Stories in Frames

Medha showed up in Hyderabad to attend TEDxHyderabad. We catch up over a strong black coffee and Osmania biscuits. 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Gulzar Presents: Haldhar Nag | Virtual Bharat

Glad to see the kind of stories, Bharat Bala is presenting.  The icing on the cake is, Azim Premji Foundation funding this project. A must watch.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Book- a Gardener in the Wasteland

Reading different perspectives on Hindu Mythologies, I enjoyed the book how ignorance and inability to know the world around us can be taken as a chance to manipulate us. In the past, the exclusion of education crippled us to know the world around us. 

This book, "a Gardener in the Wasteland" is a graphic novel talking about Jotiba Phule's Fight for Liberty. 

I never knew the story of Savitri Bhai Phule and her contribution to education in India. I read her story in this book. It's interesting how Srividya Natarajan shared the story in a simple and gripping way by taking sarcasm way explaining Hindu Mythologies and Joti Ba's fight for liberty. 

Will read more about Savitri Phule. Thanks, Kaveri for another good suggestion. Loved reading the book. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Stories from Sirohi- Today is not yesterday

Fifteen days into teaching, I am pumped up to do a lot with the class 8th. Without proper observation and assessment, we started with the 'tenses'. Eighth class students were put up with us and our tenses. 

I assumed they were learning. But, they were merely finding the pattern.  A few days into another judgment on education,  Board. Syllabus. Should not delay. Let's start with the textbook lessons, we began teaching lessons. We tried teaching one lesson in different methods. 

A few more days, 

Aravind walked into the class, "Why are you late today?" I asked. Hoping he'd understand my question and answer me in Hindi. Indeed, he answered. "Bhaiyya, ye today kya hotha hai?"

All my tenses and the lesson tension got evaporated. "Today maane aaj." And I began sharing the words, Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow. Idealistic, aspirational, I was. However, I felt into the bondage of syllabus, learning outcomes, textbooks, and couldn't dare to go beyond normal. Time, I get out of this trap of rote based learning. 

Stories from Sirohi- Sun bathing

It's 6.34 am and the dark skies have given way for the tinge of orange hues. The stranger has walked in swinging his hands to make himself warm. The sun hasn't risen. Unlike yesterday, today, the sky is free of clouds. 

The chilling cold began to wither as I began walking warming up my body. The sun has risen and we got guests to sunbathe. They took their places at different terraces, soaking themselves under the sun. I continued my walk humming Rashid Ali's songs, 'Kahin Toh.' Soon, I ended up humming the classics, Tu hi re. Happy times.  Good day to begin. 

Friday, September 13, 2019

Stories from Sirohi- The 'School' Story

Comes the first term exams, students were preparing for the English test. On the exam eve, kids have to copy the whole lesson from the textbook to the notebook.  All the activities need to be copied in order without even missing the crossword puzzle. Despite filling the notebooks by copying, kids were unable to read the text. When a few could read, none could comprehend the text. 

Despite no hope on any learning, I was sure of their performance in exams. Nevertheless, at the end of the day,  exams matter. Children memorize the letter(application) and displayed their efforts commendable memory skills by attempting the letter and writing at their best.   

Got a chance to take oral tests of the children. We ask basic questions. The spelling of 'school.' Out of 20 kids, 2 kids got it right. "Spelling doesn't let you leave out the chance to judge kids." A few say.  But Hey, this shows the need of the hour. We need to focus on the basics. By the way, I am talking about 6th class children. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Productive reads - Creating rather than consuming

Motivating article with a lot of quotes and life advice to act rather than be distracted by entertainment. 

Quote of the Hour

“The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth.”

- Ryan Holiday

Quote of the hour

“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” 

                                                                                          -Hal Elrod

Quote of the hour

Easy Choices. Hard Life. 
Hard Choices. Easy Life. 

-Jerzy Gregorek

Stories from Sirohi- Sorry, English can't be tolerated

Dyu & I was having our late lunch at a hotel. Over lunch, our conversations went on cinema, sound, and alot of other banter. After lunch, we were just hanging out talking a lot. The person who sat next to us requested us to  stop talking, " Baat mat karo." May be disturbing.

Public place and etiquette. For a moment, we thought we were loud and almost obliged his request. Before we even decide, he added, "You can speak in Hindi whatever you want but don't speak in English."


"Why?" we asked.


Because I'm against English. Can't tolerate English. Angrezi ko mei goli lagana chahta hu. Aap ki basha kya hai?" "Telugu" I said. 


"Talk in Telugu. Even we stay in Madras. I know that language. You can speak in it but not in English."


We laughed being dumbfounded by his sheer policing. His demands and absolute lack of knowledge on what language is spoken in what state and this guy demands us to stop talking in English.



It's not about language. I assume. It's about the identity they chose. I'm sure he'd be sending out his kids to English medium schools. He'd be wishing for his kids for a great job with more money and work in places where English is spoken. Why this hypocrisy then?


Leaving all this aside, if he was disturbed by our loud conversations. Reasonable. But, have a problem with us speaking English? We'd be spared if spoken Indian language because it's Indian.


Common, grow up, big kid. I speak Telugu, he speaks Odiya. I'm not fluent in Hindi. Both are fluent in English and we converse in a language we're comfortable in at our own place.


If public places are also policed by these ignorant people, can't understand what kind of individuals are we having around us?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Corporate Lessons - Boss request is always an order

Boss' request is always an order.

My boss never ordered. He always requested for the work. I wondered why he had to be polite and always requesting when he can simply give an order to work. After all, I'm responsible for the work.

On reflection, I wondered how the choice of words really matters.

"Can you please come to office by 10am tomorrow?"

" Come to office by 10 am tomorrow."

There's a difference. There's no harm if you order but, if you request, you leave out the associate to work in a manner he wants to do.

There's a difference between compulsion and by own's wish.

I've learned from my boss about making things happen by requests but not orders.

Do not take the stature granted. Do not make things hierarchical when you can make the work done by being kind and simple.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Teachers Day Greetings.

After all the teachers day celebration, a student walked in saying, "I couldn't come to school yesterday. Couldn't wish you and give you this card." She gave out this card and wished me, "Happy teachers day." 

Hand made greeting Card

11-year-old kid finds fun in my name.

She appreciates with question marks. *Sarcasm at it's best.* Leaving out all the teaching, she declares how I'm good at "Kuch Bhi" but teaching.

11-year-old kid understands the nuances of language and uses it against me only. Proud and surprised by the creativity.

On being asked about, why written in Hindi, she said, "Abhi Nahi is good in Hindi but not in English" God bless me.

No man is an island Stories - Karthikeyan Santosh

Reading "No man is an island - stories of friendship and bonding by Ruskin Bond, I'm inspired to share my stories of friendship. Straight from the journals,the story of Karthikeyan Santosh. 

Karthikeyan Santosh is my 10th class friend. I remember writing about him in my journal a year back. Watching him live through various situations, times, puzzles me. Once he is ambitious, once he is wandering. Once he is focused, the next moment he has given up everything. 

Amidst all the extremes, he takes up things with a contagious intensity and ambitions.

His friendship provides a sense of confidence. I studied 10th and Intermediate with him. Along with my friends, I'm sure his engineering friends and all others would vouch for him for the sense of confidence he instill. He is famous for his intensity and adventures. 

I met Santosh in Gowtam Model School. 

We studied 10th together along with the whole gang including Varun, Sai a.k.a Laddu, Pradeep, Manish, Sandeep, Abhishek, Abhilash, Jayadeep, Lava. I  met all these in the school itself. Unobtrusively, we became a band and had a great time in school.

In school, we had few teachers we had to put up with. Santosh had a great deal in interacting with Srinivas sir, our class teacher. 

Santosh is mysterious in his studies. He used to prepare a tough schedule for himself. He studied a lot without a sense of stress. He liked it. I used to get scared when I imagined myself in his shoes. 

Being on the extremes simultaneously, he chilled out at great extent. At times, besides studying, he used to bunk the exams sneaking out of school. 

School stories remind me of all the fun.

Further, in Intermediate, thanks to our college Narayana, we didn't have to be ambitious by ourselves, we were given no time to think except anything but studies. 

Even in such times, we both found an escape, wandering in the cities during college times. Thanks to Preeti, whom we credit for letting us leave college during college hours. 

Santosh is always focused on enjoyment. He studied when he found joy in studying and when he finds no joy, he dropped it without any thought of what would happen. 

Continuing the same craving for enjoyment in life. He focussed on creating something of value. He pursued his creative interests, cricket, and what not during engineering college making the most of it. 

He came up with Elyuxen, digital media newspaper at the starting and built it over the years with commendable management skills. Once he'd be working with an NGO building fund for a cause. Next time, he'd be working with the organizing part of a cricket league. Thinking, he's into different things, he'd come up with another idea pursuing his interests. His interests are varied and got, "never give up" attitude. Amidst all this, money was never the only motive in all his works. 

Money never lured him to work. Being in our youth, hearing many of my friends being awed for big fat paychecks, salary packages, Santosh never bought the idea. He could make money if he wishes to. At the same level, he doesn't think twice if he had to spend it all. 

 He doesn't' think twice to start off anything when he is broke. His confidence scares me for he scales up all his financial deals when he is utterly broke. On being questioned how he would manage, "Thelidhu, Kani vachesthayi,( I don't know but I'll get  the money by end of it.)

And making things happen, he used to get it what he wanted by the end of the day. All thanks to his sense of confidence. There were also the instances where he failed but, failures never defined him. 

During my first year of engineering college, all our school friends gathered for a small party. We had a small adventure during the party. Santosh, Manish & myself along with Jayadeep went on a ride and that turned into an adventure.

By the end of my engineering college, when I was penning down the story for my first novel, pondering about the character name for my first book, "In between the bridge," I decided on the name inspired by Santosh characteristics. "Karthick" I named him after the name, Karthikeyan Santosh. 

Even he would never know about this until he reads this may be. 

Being in different colleges, we met once in a blue moon with our gang. Lava, Laddu, Manish, Varun, Abhishek were the regulars whenever we met. 

Hope to huddle up soon for more stories and adventures. 

Book- No Man is an island by Ruskin Bond

‘Stories on Friendship and Bonding.’

Ruskin Bond books are not easy reads for they choke me up with the little evanescence of life. Ruskin talks about his friends from his youth. His forte, ‘observe, recollect, reflect’ is a magic potion that makes his writing simple and gripping.

Ruskin’s first short story, “The untouchable” is published in this book. Every story left me out with a sigh being grateful for life. Reading the simple stories of simple people, I’m motivated to continue to write on what moves me rather than trying to be larger than life.

Ruskin’s advice on writing is simple. “Keep writing.” Thanks, RB for your words. This book reminded me of all my good friends and their stories.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Stories- The footpath

The footpath was his creche. The plastic sheet was his roof. Traveling seemed to be his daily life. Keeps moving from place to place. Sometimes under the scorching sun, sometimes under heavy rain. Nothing could stop his family from moving because, they do not have  a place to stay which they can call it as, 'home.'

Family of five. All the used clothes are his brothers'  All his life he has seen various things. Being back on his mother, peddling a the footpath seemed to be the life, for he doesn't know any. On a night as the family retired for the day. As the old man, though not fluffy like Santa, wearing a red mask, gave a red balloon that could float high on the air. Spending his life with nothing he could possess, he played with the red balloon. 

His joy was as beyond the limits of his range. Like any other day, he lost whatever he wished for. The red balloon was slipped from his hands and floated in the air. 

He jumped high to catch the balloon. He saw the balloon vanishing into the darkness. He was okay with what he lost because nothing really stayed with him. 

Movie- Matilda

Matilda remakes her own world, thanks to her powers. Beautiful movie. Thanks, Anjali for the suggestion. 

The Renaissance Man by Harimohan Paruvu.

Biography of Doc MV Sridhar by Harimohan Paruvu has a lot of takeaways to learn.

Starting with the way book got started, it’s interesting how little things ripple and make a difference in life.

Glad to read about Sridhar and take great learnings home.

MV Sridhar is a doctor by qualification and a cricketer by passion. Sridhar wore many hats in his life being at his best doing everything possible that would be of help to others and spread happiness.

Starting from his whereabouts, his grandparents were introduced who played a pivotal role in doc’s life. For their wishes, he became the ‘doc’ It's interesting how he took up the corporate role and then Indian Cricket team manager role. 

His service to the Indian cricket is immense. anecdotes by Indian cricketers, administrators,  HCA success says it all.

The jovial, jolly, spontaneous, sportive are few of his traits. He enjoyed making friendships and valuing everyone for who they are without judgement. 

It’s interesting how his traits have helped him to hone his skills to be the people’s person. His stints at drumming, acting portrayed how he was a seeker in life. 

Becoming a doctor is not a simple process, for its hardships and a long duration. MV pursued MBBS just to please his grandfather. I’m amused to see how he managed to do things he loves besides pursuing medicine.

Reading this, book, I realized how important is to be at our best selves before we are specialists in any field. It doesn’t matter what we hold as a qualification. Being at our best as a human would take us to places to change the world.

Everyone has a way to work for the change. Sridhar worked for immense change in all the places he worked. And he changed.  

Reading this book, I learned what made him achieve the things he achieved. Along with his story, his failures, successes, adventures and a lot more learnings are well put.

The biggest reflective moments for me is when I read, “Listen to them, allow others to talk. Understand them. Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”

Love the pointers at the end of the chapter, can reread it at regular times.

Harimohan Paruvu did commendable work in bringing out this biography for great learning as well as sharing doc’s story. 

For all the interviews, anecdotes, stories, and the final book. You've worked your way for the change by bringing his story into the light.  Amazing work Sir!

At Shreya's home

Lunch at Shreya's home is as welcoming as a home call. Grateful for the invite. Home food is a rarity these days. Thanks, Shreya.

Sourab joined us over our lunch sharing a  lot of stories. We spoke on various things and we spoke of our childhood. Shreya shared how she ended up being independent. "It's okay to have your way," says Shreya without any air of ego. She is comfortable in being herself rather than striving to be others which she is not.

Shreya grew up on strong values she chose. "There are few things that define us. And it's important to be instilled with those values," said Shreya.

She is the energy booster and life support in all the works I have engaged in. Glad to catch up with her discussing the stories that made us who we are. 

Thoughts of the hour- The first thoughts

A lot of memories are shared when I'm experiencing it. I travel and I share. The first thoughts are shallow of my experience. At times, the thoughts can be mediocre as well.  Well contrary to that, we wish to have the best of the first. Emotion or expressive can't be the best in first. There is nothing but shallow, superficial thoughts on our experiences. 

Happy Birthday Vineel Anna.

4 years of my engineering story is incomplete without a mention of VNR Basketball. 
Classes I may have seen at times but, the basketball court is where we spent most of our time in college, creating memories and learnings in life. I cherish all the memories and moments we had during all our college days. 

Today is Vineel anna's birthday.  Glad to recollect all memories and celebrate Vineel anna's birthday. 

During my first days of the college, he was there, mentoring what really college is. No need of a special mention, he hailed from EIE branch. Jovial, jolly, Vineel anna is notorious for his one-liners and humor at very odd times. It's a rarity to see him being serious off-court. On the court, of course, he needs the business to be fair and clean. Play the game and win it. No more deviations.

On & off-court, Vineel- Meher Bhai duo needs a special mention for their affectionate swearings and banter. 
Vineel & Meher 

Off Court Talks
Got many stories and scenes to share from this league

He makes people comfortable with his words. People love to be in his company for his anecdotes and fun. 

Ranging from our first Srinidhi's tournament ragging to Goa beach nights, Vineel anna needs a special mention for his care towards us. 

During his last days of the college, he had to put up with me for my erratic absence at the court. Never for once, he lost his cool while he was dealing with me. His sense of duty or dedication for a thing he's engaged in is absolutely a lesson to be learned.  

His presence makes a difference wherever he is. Wish him a great life ahead. Happy birthday Vineel anna. Wish for a huddle again to recollect all the good old times and to make many more memories. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

Poetry- Thank you Children

Grateful for all the wishes and greetings on teachers day.  Dedicate this poem to all the teachers. 

In the scheme of joyous moments
I cherish all your smiles, wishes

I live my childhood
leaning on to your learning

I see you all looking at myself
Learning to be as joyous as you 

Students, sail over the sea of life

Beaming hope and love

God bless you. 

Teachers' Day Card

My 4-year-old friend sees us celebrating teachers’ day in school. She saw us receiving cards. She went home and insisted on his dad writing a card for both of her friends. After he wrote out the names, she scribbled and got them today.

“I got a card for you,” said Nanu leading us to her bag. She gave out the cards. I got Dyu’s and Dyu got mine. We both exchanged and thanked her.

Giving them space in their own world, they play, grow and outshine, more than one can imagine. Children need to learn but not exactly taught. I’m humbled by her actions. How kind of her to express love without so much complexity. Thanks, Nanu.

Nanu & I

Dyu & Nanu

Akbar and Birbal Tales by Amita Sarin

Picked up the classic after a visit from 1st class. I didn’t spend my childhood with books. Last year, Anjali used to suggest me the children literature and now, I got a whole library filled with children’s books.

Recollecting Amol’s suggestions as well, I picked up this book. Akbar and Birbal Tales by Amita Sarin. 

Akbar and Birbal stories are famous for their wit and wisdom. In this book, stories narrated with a few facts made it interesting to relate to the old age period.

I never knew that Birbal’s original named, Mahesh Das was almost 15 years elder to  Akbar. I loved the factual stories a lot which helped me to enjoy the other tales a lot.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Teachers' Day Celebrations

On, teachers' day, i'm humbled to receive all the wishes and greetings. Overwhelmed by the love and affection of the children. The biggest lesson I learn from these kids every day is the art of appreciation. 

Kids appreciate in a simple way. And that's the best way. Becoming an adult, appreciation is common to  impress but not, to express. Kids express rather than impress. These children are my teachers whom I owe my great learnings in my life. Many wrote in Hindi. Many attempted to write in English. Again, it's the act that means a lot more than anything. 

Roopi takes out the paper, grabs a marker and tried to write my name. Scribbled and handed it out with a beaming smile.

Shilpa, mostly silent and hardly expresses her opinions and doubts. She walks out giving these beautiful handwritten cards. I'm grateful for all the love. I'm delighted to see her attempting to write in English.

8th class kids with their Kavitha and creativity

Krishna, the happy chap walks in wishing me through the card. Thanks, Krishna

Greeting Card from 1st Class

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Back to Children Stories

After spending 2 hours in 1st class, I wished that before I read anything about education, I need to recall all the classic children stories. And also need to improve my drawing skills.
Given a role to teach upper primary classes, I rarely get a chance to teach or spend good time with primary kids.
Thanks to the School Committee Network meeting, I had to fill in for the 1st class teacher for 2 hours.
I’m no stranger to 1st class kids but, I hardly spend time with them during their learning. Children were excited to share everything that they were learning with me.
Spent the first half an hour listening to everyone’s stories. “Ek Jungle Tha, Ek bandar Tha……...” and all the stories went only through the jungle.  All the charts, pictures in the class were shown and explained to me.
Distracted were the kids through jungle stories shared by their friends, everyone dispersed and went haywire enjoying in their own way. 14+ kids decided to go on their way and I had a hard time to gather them and make them listen to me.
“Chidiya Udd” was the game I learnt from a 2nd class kid. We played that game for a while.
 Time was still a teacher to me letting me stay there, to learn patience by putting up with kids for long time.
I tried my storytelling skills with the kids and involved them in storytelling. Everyone shared about their last night dream. “Mera Sapna mein (1st Class teacher) Hitesh Bhaiyya aaya tha”
Patiently listening to them, I shared a couple of stories I weaved at the drop of a hat.  During the process, I realized I couldn’t recollect any children stories to share with little kids. Animals fables, classic rabbit & tortoise story, funny jokes, riddles. I couldn’t recollect any of these.
At last, icing on the cake, I got to search colloquial Hindi terms for all the things I wanted to share with them.
While I’m currently reading, “Storytelling: What is the use” from Krishna Kumar’s “What’s is worth teaching? I wish to read Panchatantra, Akbar & Birbal and all children literature to interact with the kids in a better way.
As kids weren’t interested in my anecdotes, they took out their slate and started drawing. “Bhaiyya Ghar Banado. Bhaiyya phool banado,” were usual requests.
Hail my 4 years of my mechanical engineering course, I could draw buildings, cars but not cats, dogs, and animals. The kid wanted me to draw a lion. And Lion I drew but it became a creature but not anything near to the lion.
After a banter of 2 hours, a kid walked up and asked me to draw something. Seeing her slate, I was sure I couldn’t do better job than her. Her drawing was quite creative and good.
Great lesson learnt. Time to take up few story books and drawing books.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Quote of the hour

"It is so much our servant that it would seem churlish to notice that it is also our master. "

Lines on Phone. 

Thoughts- Friends and Conversations

I never had to put a lot of efforts to catch up with friends. I'm glad I've decided to put efforts to reach out and not get disappoi...