Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Teaching Diaries

Never give out what you're feeling to the kids when kids act to skip the work. Don't express that things are beyond your control. Kids sense and gauge your patience. They've their ways to check if they can trust you.

But it's a subtle line to mean business and also have fun with the kids.

Nice read - 7 Things You Should Stop Doing NOW if You Want to be a Writer

It's a need to tell ourselves all the time few do's and don'ts if one wants to become a writer. 

I consider myself a writer. All it needs to be a writer is to simply write. 

Shaunta Grimes has written the article jotting the main things that every wannabe writer goes through. Helpful for all the writers to reinstate in their craft. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Thoughts- Life on the other side

"She went to US yaaar," said one person who's envious of the working on the other side of the world. 

I thought onsite fever was only in IT. Then reflecting on discussions with many people. I realized it rooted back to the proverb, "Grass is greener on the other side."

No chest-thumping about our country but I'm interested in knowing how a foreign country has become elusive.

I've seen the employees being motivated for onsite opportunities. They've changed their jobs to move for a better life. The onsite idea echoed with a better future.

"It all depends on how you see it. Regarding experience, money. The bill rate, the client. It all depends," said few who had lived in a foreign country for a long time.

What I realize is the new place a few new options and opportunities but, we always do not need a new place for the change we seek in.

Learnings on Public Speaking

Google got its open courses. Public Speaking seemed to be a fresh revision to all the important pointers that I wish to follow.

It's an hour course, easily done reading through transcripts.

Important things to look out before Public Speaking.

First, be okay with the nervousness. Everyone goes through it.  Prepare well to perform well. Consider every speech as a performance.

  1. Find out to whom you are talking?
  2. How familiar is the audience with the subject one is going to present?
  3. How the presentation is going to be? What's the style of the presentation?
  4. When is the presentation and the duration of it?
  5. What are you going to talk about?

More than all this, the purpose. That needs to be outlined first. 

To prepare the content, make two columns.

Before and After

In 'Before' write what the audience would already have. In 'After', write what you wish them to listen to and come out with. Filling the gaps, build the content between these columns.

Be aware of the verbal tics. Practice well and be conscious of all the unnecessary fillers. Try to reduce them.

Non-verbal communication. 
Stand firm, display positive posture and try to look at everyone, following a 'W' pattern and reverse it.

Thoughts on Education - Teacher

A teacher job is a doer job. One of the satisfying job and adds meaning to life. One can witness the learning in primary classes. The learning process is interesting.  Kids do not learn what we teach but they learn what they want to learn.

Looking at the kids gathering every day in class to learn is a big motivation for a teacher to do what one can do.

Quote of the hour - Public Speaking

 "The key to a good presentation or performance is preparation. Preparation allows you to focus on the what, when, and why you are speaking."

Friday, October 25, 2019

Quote of the hour- Toby Mac

'Do more things that make you forget to check your phone.' 

                                                                          - Toby Mac

Nice Story- The Cockroach Theory.

TEDx Stories - Interview the TEDxer

These are a few ice breakers and questions to know the TEDxers more.

What was the big dream that you achieved? (big to you by your capabilities back then)

What are your dreams? What do you want to achieve??

What routine do you follow to achieve your dream?

Which dream scared you the most?
(The dream where you couldn't see yourself achieving.)

One thing which keeps you moving?

At full potential, what do you think you can do best?

What were the most courageous things you ever did in your life??

What’s Your Greatest Failure, And How Did You Overcome It?

Favorite books??

What are your great discomforts?

What triggered a paradigm shift in your life??

(TED related)

How you got introduced to TED and TEDxVNRVJIET?

What impact does TEDxVNRVJIET has on your life?

What’s the one thing that people always misunderstand about you?

What are the 3 things to change in TEDxVNRVJIET?

If you want to relive at any moment from TEDx dairies what would that be??

The single most impactful moment during the times of TEDxVNRVJIET

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Stories from Sirohi- Samaj Nahi Aaya

 Samaj Nahi Aaya.  The freedom to say, "Samaj nahi aaya" in class amongst friends, classmates and in front of a teacher is quite a daring task. There are a lot of assumptions that goes behind before asking this question, there's fear of being ridiculed as well. 

I was in a class and told something about grammar, which usually bounces off students' heads. On being asked, "Did you get it?" Chiku said, "Samajh nahi aaya." Attending her, I asked, "Kya Samajh nahi aaya?" the question that should never be asked a student when they say, they didn't understand.

If we ask, what you didn't understand, you're not helping them to articulate their thoughts, instead, we can give them options. "Did you understand that this happens in this way?" "Are you thinking that how it can be worked with other statements?"

The alternatives are plenty. To articulate such questions, we also need to know where the students usually get stuck and most importantly, we need to be patient and kind to the students. Our body language, tone matters a lot. Children perceive more from our presence than our words. Time to work more on articulating my thoughts in the class. 

Friday, October 18, 2019

Quote of the day - Jai Pausch

"I was learning not to look at today through the lens of yesterday which made the promise of tomorrow all the more magical."

                                                                            - Jai Pausch, author of dream new Dreams. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Thoughts- Time

For a reason, it’s called Sunday chair. Inclined on a Sunday chair, I listen to the music and stare into the walls. The blank stare into the walls reminds me of the flow. It's uncomfortable to sit and do nothing. Can we take pleasure to sit in calmness? 

Sit and witness the world flow, the birds doing its business, the air that’s changing its dynamics according to the heat of the sun. The trees swooshing leaves to the air. The presence of beings and it's the effect on the environment. 

What’s time for these trees and birds? I measure the time by year, season, day, and night. How do these creatures live accordingly??

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Stories from Sirohi

We spoil the future of the kids with the theories that cloud our actions. We cripple the children by pushing notions on them. "We need to control children, if not they're uncontrollable." "We're responsible for their growth. The family is responsible for their traits." We bring Us and Them and blame. Them. 
Nanu and I spent the 1st hour in the library. We have cards that I put aside to play with first-class kids.  "Thodi der Khelo na," she requests while I get ready for the class. She put the cards aside and distribute them.  She plays the vegetable vendor role. I play the seller role. "Bhindi Lelo. Sabji Lelo!!!" she shouts. 

"Kya hai aapke paas?" I ask and she offers what she has and I am obliged to buy things by handing out the cards she offered. While I run out of money,  she redistributes the cards.  "Ye Tumhara. Ye Mera." And we repeat it until one of us leaves the room. (She never leaves!)  

Today, I thought I have to make up a story to convince her and run away from her. But, I decided to be honest. I told Nanu, "I have little work. I need a little time!"

And she nodded! "Teek Hai." 

She listened to my situation and sat next to me watching me plan for the day. I didn't expect such response from Nanu. I assumed that, kids need to be told lies to escape from them. I was wrong. Kids can understand us. We don't need to underestimate them. .

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Thoughts on the weddings

I'm thrilled to attend weddings of all the near & dear ones. Wedding seemed to be the big step that people take and to see the friends getting hitched is a beautiful moment to witness.

People organize weddings in their own style performing their own rituals. Witnessing the rituals reveal a bit about the culture, customs, and a lot more stories. 

Knowing friends and watching them decide to live with one person is indeed seem to be an interesting moment for me.

One of the best moments I witnessed was Elsa's happy tears when Sijo put the ring on her hand. Nikita & I were the only two who were excited to see how true and intense the moment was. Paul & John were singing while Elsa and Sijo were exchanging the rings. In the presence of the family, friends, they got engaged in a church. It was a beautiful sight indeed.

Thanks to Elsa's wedding we had an amazing time in Kerala witnessing the monsoons. 

We attended a programme hosted at Elsa house which included prayer and handing out a lot of sweets to the bride. We went to her house situated in a remote location. The ride during rainy seasons turned out to be an adventure indeed.

Marriage at church was simple and elegant.  Post exchange of rings, the couple were escorted to party hall and were invited with A.R.Rahman's music in the background. One of the dreamy moments for me.

Marriages at late night(Early mornings)

There are marriages and there are marriages that never end. One of such marriage was Pragjna's as she got married during the early morning.

Elsa, Nikita & I were right next to Pragjna, seeing her do all the rituals. It's quite a moment to see her as the bride. Besides the never-ending rituals, we had fun watching out how restless a few were and how excited others are.

Pragjna's Wedding

Couple vows. 

It's interesting how these people took out their oath. It was always 'we' whenever they were telling the oath. I loved the way they put it. God bless Celine & Edwin.

The Happy Couple

The Big Family

Celine's Wedding

Sophia's Wedding

To see the senior getting hitched is quite a happy moment. I had her friends with me cheering her all the way while she walked the aisle. Precious are those moments to bless the couple while the they walk the aisle. God bless them.

Book- Landour Days

Reading Ruskin Bond’s stories, I reflect and get a kick to write many reflections and moments from my life. He writes simple things in an elegant way. Marvelous. I think only a few can do it his by investing one’s time and thoughts.

Landour Days is collection of writings from his journal. It seem personal but has general trivial woven with anecdotes. Right from different plants to writers’ bar stories, Bond shared a lot of interesting stories.

Be it about the writers who tried their luck at the mountains, or the frequent visitors to Ruskin’s room, ranging from Warblers, cosmos flowers to spiders, tweeny birds.
Book has chapters that are divided into seasons. Flowers get a special mention in all the seasons he wrote about.

Ruskin’s anecdotes on darkness at mountains leave me a vivid imagination of nights in the hills.  In fact, he ended the book by a poem he wrote after a nocturnal night walk.

The mountain is my mother
My father is the sea
This river is the fountain
Of all that life can be
Swift river from the mountain,
Deep river to the sea
Take all my words and leave them
Where the trade winds set them free
Oh, piper on the lonely hill,
Play no sad songs for me.
The day has gone, the night comes on,
Its darkness helps me see.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

No man is an Island- Prosenjit

Prosenjith Laithangbalm.

Few days into the first company, we got into our seats fiddling with the systems that are no good for our erratic browsing and social media surfing. Behind us sat, Abhay and Prosenjit who always seemed to be on banter but, they worked. They worked a lot. They were the only souls who had a clue of what we gotta do and what we’re working on. I’m talking about mainframes, tables, programs what not!

Swift in clicking and handling the PC. Gamer’s habits. Dota player Prosenjith loves gaming. Hailing from Manipur and post graduated from HCU, Prosenjit got a lot to talk but ice breaker to get into a banter is all about games, music and either reddit stories or jokes.

Poised for everything, he doesn’t get irritated at all. Even if he’s irritated by few nonsense, he deals with it a lot of disengagement and handles it lightly the way it’s seen.

From March to june, we were in training. Prosenjit was with us, and later got shifted to Banking project where he can’t take the phone.

Prosenjit and phone are the synonymous things.  I ran into him every time I visited Synergy Park. Nothing much about the work, but we always talked about all the random things.

Elsa, Prosenjit and I  ended up as trio when my whole gang gave up on the work and took their ways. Elsa and Prosenjit were on their work, I filled in their casual times.

Prosenjit and I joined up for Elsa’s marriage. The perfect travel partner to have. Doesn’t fuss about any change of plan or the arrangements. “Worry is the least form of the imagination. Why do we need to worry.” Says prosenjit.

He didn’t had a frown nor sad face when we are about to miss the flight. We got the flight by the nick of the time. We enjoyed our trail and went on a nature walk, enjoying in our own solitude.

He introduced Philip Pullman stories to me by gifting the Philip Pullman triology. I really enjoyed his stories.

 Thanks Prosenjit for the gift. 

Book- The Firework- Maker's Daughter

The Firework- Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman. Thanks, Prosenjit, Elsa for introducing the Philip Pullman stories to me. 

This is the story of a girl, Lila, and her ambition to become a firework-maker. Her father does not help her to become one. Determined with her ambition, she starts her journey to become a firework-maker. Her friend Chulak, an elephant Hamlet help her out.  

Woven with magical elements and imaginative landscape, Philip wrote a brilliant story. I was surprised to read the Indian names, Lila, Lalchand, Jembavati. Vague in the geographical location, the story seemed Indian. Enjoyed it. 

The Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Quote of the hour- positive and negative thoughts

“It’s a curious truth that when you gently pay attention to negative emotions, they tend to dissipate — but positive ones expand.”

                                         -Oliver Burkeman wrote in the Guardian, 

Interesting article - Movies are for change

This movie, "Maadathy" is on the subject of caste and history. These are the stories that will trigger a dialogue for a change.

Book- Cage of Desires

Beautiful cover, good narrative, and mediocre story. Not a fan of chick-lit but bought the book by judging the book by the cover. 

Poetry- Stuck & Eternal

Let the world get stuck making you eternal. 

Neither the time warped world doesn't make me eternal. 

Yevaru- Movie

Adapted from the movie, Contratiempo a.k.a The invisible guest. 

Despite watching the original I was curious to see how the change(gender) of leads would be in the movie.

Regina's acting was mediocre in the aspects of the dark side. 

Stories on Wheels- Kumbalgarh

There’s a lot that happens before the moon shows up above the hills. The orange hue is dimmed, the colorful sky rests to the darkness, the birds give out their evening calls, then the night would be called in for. 

Shankar, Aman, Azhar, and I began our evening walk near Azhar's place. Too pleasant to hurry, too lazy to get out of the township, we didn't want to get out. However, we went out to fill our craving tummies. 

“In normal times, it takes at least half an hour to receive your order,” says the food joint guy explaining the popularity of the food joint. 30 people or 3 people, he took the same time to give us our order. Over the conversations and stories, we called it a day to begin a new journey on a new day. 

There’s a lot that happens even before the Sun arrives. The orange hue is thickening. The moon stands high in the sky, hung amidst the cloudless skies. The hills are rising through their silhouettes, the darkness has painted. 

We began our journey towards Kumbalgarh. Before the sunrise, we were enchanted by the moon, that stood above the passing trees, concrete buildings, and high mountains. Thirty-minute drive onto the highway, at a far distance we were welcomed by the sunrise. 

Cruising trucks, Heavy chilled wind. Warming our hearts and the earth, the Sun rose up above the hills, making the drive more beautiful.

60 KM drive, a few breaks here and there, Shankar was inquisitive of the water stream, that’s flowing along the road. The water stream reminded him of the elusive waterfalls that he failed to visit in the span of three years. “Where’s the Tilkeshwar waterfalls?” we asked. 

“5 Km ahead and 20 KM drive into hills, you’ll find the falls,” suggested the villagers. 

Change in the plan and change in the course of the trip, we took a road for waterfalls. Wavy roads, lush green grass meadows, we enjoyed riding above the hills. The pleasant morning Sun was kind to us. We enjoyed our ride, halting at water streams, Sitaphal trees, and everywhere to take a moment, breathe in and enjoy the place. 

 We climbed down a hill to check out the attractive water stream. We went in and began our photo spree. At the same time, Gulab along with her Bhabi walked in for a bath at the water streams. It seems to be a usual routine for the 10-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl to take the bath in water streams. The girl waited for the strangers (us) to leave. Trenched by the trees and plants, a few rocks at place brought in the force for water to tumble down. A place worth living for. A swim at this place is a daily routine for these kind people. Deprived of nature and holed up in urban fuss, we were grateful to spend some time in nature and take those little pleasures. 

We continued the ride and trekked for the falls. Trees stood tall, in their own graceful shape. A walk over a few pebbles, stones and big boulders, we were at the water falls. 

Nature is not all warmth, soft, and pleasant. It’s also wild, rough that can gobble us up in a trice. We went till the place where we could go. A further step, that could be the ticket pass to take our last breath. We enjoyed the view we got. Jealous of monkeys, that can jump all over the places, we leisured over the rocks and ate the junk food we got from our homes. While monkeys were gorging on the fruits from the trees on high mountains, we were eating chips and biscuits from our plastic wrappers. Who are privileged? I thought. 

Later, I lied on the rocks and under the tree shade, I took a nap. The rustling of leaves, trickling water, I closed my eyes, experiencing the environment. Azhar found his place reading a book for a while. Shankar, a swimming newbie got excited about water and played in water for a while. Aman managed to trek to the temple. Went halfway and returned. “It’s risky” he mentioned. I was comfortable with water, trees, rocks. No interest to visit the cut-rock. 

While Shankar was playing in the water, Azhar and I observed the crab that climbed the rock where water was flowing in force. The crab climbed against the water stream. Slow and steady, it climbed. The more we observe, the more we appreciated little acts, little things, the moment of ‘being.' How much more is happening in this nature?. I wish I learn to be appreciative of the world a bit. 

Every few kilometers, I observed the kids playing on the roads. One climbed the tree, another sat at the trunk. One ran along the road, the other demanded us a ten-rupee note, “Dus rupiya de,” the kid shouted. 

One kid carried the water, others carried the fruits. They were going on with their life. Observing their daily routines, I found them being in their zen mode. They were there, present, doing what they were doing, unlike how we were distracted. Managing to see nature through screens and filters to share but, not to experience. 

On the hills, there was this kid who had this toy made out of three tiny wheels, three wooden sticks. Creative kid, I say. He made a cart for himself to slide through the tar road. We stopped and I requested to try it out. 

Happy teen offered me the ride but, the little toy couldn’t bear my weight. I moved a few inches, fumbled to slide down but, I had fun during the little distance I covered over the road. 

It reminded me of the slides, I played in my childhood. Never, have I ever expected that I would slide on the road, like the way, I used to slide as a child. Thanks, mate for the experience. 

“80km away from our destination, can we reach before 5?” I asked. Before we realized the time, we spent the whole afternoon at the falls. We hurried to our destination. 

Shankar and I sang throughout the journey. “You sing in Telugu, I’ll sing in Hindi,” suggested Shankar. Leaving the over-dependence on youtube and music players, we sang our hearts out. Unconscious of what others think, we were singing out loud and surprised all the people who listened to us for a second. In another second, we moved ahead, surprising the audience who sat ahead.  5 songs, different words, different pitches, a few more hours, we reached our destination. Lal Bagh Resorts. 

Resorts reminded me of my college memories. All the outings with Bala, Elli, Vikas, Sachin, Faddy, Shaik, Sathwik, Sam, Ding, Raul, Kiddo. What did we do during the college days?. We were making memories. 

Recollecting all the college memories, Azhar, Shankar, Aman, and I was looking forward to enjoying and creating memories. 

Sudden decisions and adventures make trips awesome and interesting. Garima and Swathi, Mainly Azhar's and Shankar’s friends were on their Kumbalgarh trip and were staying in the same resort. Coincidence! how often do we run into our colleagues on a holiday? 

Swathi and Garima were cool pals to have. I enjoyed meeting them. 

Swathi is sweet and shares stories with calmness while Garima brings in the energy, sharing stories with hearty laughs. 

Amidst the moonlit night, we hung out at the poolside, sharing our stories and what ticks us. Conversations never stopped. Thanks to the poor network area, we were hardly distracted and disturbed by our phones. 

It’s the people as well as the vibes. We enjoyed the night filled with conversations and songs. While Aman sang the soothing melodies, Swathi was making sure to bring in the best dinner for us. Shankar was still learning to swim. Azhar was trying to capture the moon as it was without polluted light. 

What was Garima doing? Garima was appreciating all the acts done by everyone by her one-liners. 

Thanks to Swathi, the resort guys presented the best dinner, they could ever make. Under the stars, scolding Shankar for the wild decision to sit in open space for dinner, we had our Dal, Chawal, and Roti. 

Thanks to the dinner, we were back in full swing, gathering to talk and share our stories with full energy. A walk on the deserted road, at the resorts, we retired at the swing and had fun over the drinks. 

Drinks didn’t last for a long time however, the talks went on. Appreciating each other’s lives and sharing what matters to us, we went on talking. The clock struck 2.30 AM, not thought about sleep. 

Around 3am, We all returned to our rooms. Swathi stayed all night without sleep. “Waking up before 11 is a sin,” shouted Garima and retired in her room, only to wake up at 6’O clock in the morning. Azhar tucked himself in a towel, so did Aman, and waited for the Sun to rise. 

A new day. A new beginning. So were the stories. All new. 

Stories on Wheels- Day-2- Kumbalgarh

 Deprived of sleep, I took comfort in a cozy soft blanket and dozed off. In less than 3 hours, at 6.30 AM, Azhar walked near me dragging me out to witness the sunrise. 

We were surrounded by hills. I walked out carrying the blanket to beat the cold and watched everyone awake, looking at the sunrise.

Am I the only one who wanted to sleep?!

Swathi was out on the terrace, Garima at the window, Azhar & Aman on a stroll waiting for the sunrise. Shankar seemed to be in search of his tonic. Everyone was awake. Watching the tinge of orange over the hills shook me up from the sleep. Sunrise over the hills was therapeutic.

I walked up to the terrace to watch out the sun heading over the hills. Azhar signaled for a trek. All of us followed. We rushed to the hills and realized, we do not have the energy for such a long trek. We changed the destination to a lake. 

Six of us headed towards the lake. Pleasant waters, bordered by little hills, a long stretched giving the best view of the lake. We settled there at the lake. I slept over the cemented beam, watching out the clouds, hills, and the water. Shankar, Swati, Aman & Azhar were stubborn ongoing for a trek. They explored a few places while Garima and I tailored stories out of these four people’s actions. 

Peasant, Sarojini Naidu, Bapu & Thakur, we named them and went crazy with all the stories.

Shankar and I also played the game of ‘What shape is the cloud?’  

Calm, the lake looked but, we listened to some scary and sad stories. A group of four friends drove in a car and fell into the lake. The car got drowned at the corner of the lake. After a few days, bodies floated at different spaces in the lake. Deep, the lake looked. Wonder what all it holds under its belly!

After the usual photo session at a scenic place, we headed for Chai. “Abhinayyy,” texted Shreya. I realized that it’s important that I wanted to listen to her. I called her and began talking. “Better walk towards the resort side, we’ll pick you up,” suggested friends. 

Listening to my friends, I walked towards the resorts. Shreya on phone shared the happy news about her marriage. Celebrating the joy, we began talking. 

Pleasant morning, surrounded by hills and meadows, I began walking while talking to friends. I walked 7km talking to her. 

As soon as I reached the resort, I jumped into the pool rejuvenated by cool water. 

A 2-hour-play in the pool, we had great fun. Soon after the swim, I went for a shower. Refreshed, I settled on the swing, watching the tree and the sun rays slithering through the branches and leaves of the tree.

The magic of being. Experiencing the tree shade and the wind, I wished to spend the whole day there itself. Change is the only constant. We got our lives engaged in various other things, through which we strive to make meaning out of our lives.

 Wrapping up the holiday, we packed, laughed, hugged each other and headed to our places. Time well spent. 

Universe of Music- A R Rahman

 He's always evolving and emptying his cup. Grateful to have him and be a life long learner.