Thursday, December 31, 2020

Rewind. Replay - 2020

Welcomed 2020 at home and travelled to Sirohi to meet the children and spend quality time at school. Three more months, fellowship was about to be ended. With a lot of vague plans, ambitious decisions, I welcomed the 2020.

Never I have ever imagined the COVID crippling us to stay at our homes for months. I realised how fortunate I’m to have a home to stay in. There were a lot of people who struggled to live during these tough cruel times. Lockdown has given me a lot of time to reflect. At beginning, I thought a lot of death. Over the time, I began to be at peace with all the situations that were happening around me.



Learnt to be grateful for everything I have. COVID-19 has showed me the inequalities of the society in magnifying glass.

I began painting in 2020. Done with more than 30 paintings.

I also began waking up at 5am. I always assumed; I can never be a morning person. Reflected on the futile attempts of staying awake at night and began waking up early. Enjoyed the sunrises and early mornings.

Read 33 books in which I completed the books, I badly wanted to finish since a few years.  Loved the biographies of Leonardo Da Vinci, J.R. Moehringer. In fiction, Pearl S Buck, Murakami, Anthony Doerr were enjoyed. In non-fiction, got introduced to Sherry Turkle, Nicholas Carr, Robert Sapolsky. Need to explore more genres and authors.

Watched 104 movies in this year. A lot of movies could be skipped. I began watching Bengali movies this year. Began watching the classics of Mrinal Sen, Satyajit Ray.

Collaborated with Shivani Sharma and wrote poems for ten days without a break.

Completed the first draft of ‘Window Seat.’ Got a lot of work done on it.

Scribbled a lot of synopsis and ideas for the next draft. Happy with the ideas I got on for upcoming books, I’d be writing.

Thanks to Pandemic, I turned more regular at blogging and published 464 posts. An equal number of drafts are lying in the box. Will upload them soon.  Went in field and interviewed a lot of individuals

Not always a big fan of virtual meets, I began my work through virtual mediums. Facilitated 10+ workshops. Pursued 5 courses through MOOC platforms.

Got introduced to the literature on psychology.

Travelled in and around of Sirohi. Trekked around 3 places, visited a lot of waterfalls. Travelled to Kumbhalgarh, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Tilkeshwar, Maha kundeshwar.

Spent a lot of time at home, playing with Mikey.

Grateful and happy to reflect my journey so far, in 2020.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Travel Tales- Jaisalmer

 

Jaisalmer in winters is fun. Woke up early morning to view the sunrise through desert. Swati,Shankar, Azhar and I went on a drive to get into the desert. The sky turned blue, the sun is about to rise. We got onto the sand and it's frigging cold!



Swati and I at our own spaces

This was for Azhar. He insisted for sillhouettes



Sand Therapy



Camel ride with Shankar


Pallavi, Swati, Myself, Shankar and Azhar







Thoughts- The Act of Reading

 Read Paulo Freire's act of reading. 

He emphasizes on meaning. He focuses on the act of knowing the world through the word. And the journey of knowing can't be mechanized. It's true that language progresses life. If we do not learn the word, we will have a tough time learning the world. 

Excerpt from the article:

It was precisely my parents who introduced me to reading the word at a certain moment in this rich experience of understanding my immediate world. Deciphering the word flowed naturally from reading my particular world, it was not something superimposed on it. I learned to read and write on the ground of the back yard of my house, in the shade of the mango trees, with words from my world rather than from the wider world of my parents. The earth was my blackboard; sticks, my chalk.

When I arrived at Eunice Vasconcellos's private school, I was already literate. Here I would like to pay heartfelt tribute to Eunice, whose recent passing away profoundly grieved me. Eunice continued and deepened my parents' work. With her, reading the word, the phrase, the sentence never entailed a break with reading the world. With her, reading the word meant reading the word-world.




Soliloquies - Sunrise view

Everyday, I get a chance to witness the hill sunrise view. "It's beautiful. Sun is rising through mountains," exclaimed Shankar. It does every time, I retorted him. 

Reflecting on the usual thing, I feel grateful to live in such a sophisticated place. I get to spend beautiful mornings with such views. I can enjoy these till I'm in Sirohi. What if I have to move away, will I miss them? 

Before I move away and miss them, I can enjoy it every day and be grateful for it.  Here's the moment from today's usual thing. 



Soliloquies- Draft Stories

From various journals, I took out a lot of conversations for my memoir, Window Seat.   I couldn't get all the notebooks in which I wrote about my hitchhiking.  I missed writing about a few experiences.  How much ever, I try to rewrite the experience, it's gonna be only from my memories. The memories give out another outlook on the experience. Cursing myself for not jotting down in my notebooks, I redesigned the whole style of a memoir, keeping the journey, that is documented in these notebooks.  



Rewind. Replay- Movies in 2020

Of all the movies, I managed to watch some classics and some foreign language movies.  During the first lockdown, I watched a movie every day. There are a lot of movies that I'd skip watching. Need to curate the movies on OTT platforms further. 

  1. Mallesam
  2. Raaja Vaaru Raani Gaaru
  3. Falaknama Das
  4. Neevevaro
  5. Nayakudu
  6. V
  7. Ala Vaikuntapuramulo
  8. Merupu Kalalu
  9. Krishna and his Leela
  10. Janma Bhoomi
  11. The Colour Photo
  12. Beecham's house
  13. 12 Strong
  14. The Creative Brain
  15. Madness in the Desert
  16. Find me Guilty
  17. Sleepless in Seattle
  18. Race
  19. The Portrait of Lady on Fire
  20. Blue Jay
  21. The Perfect Date
  22. The Judge
  23. J R R Tolkein
  24. My Broken Brain
  25. The Social Dilemma
  26. Elizabeth
  27. Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  28. Parasite
  29. Sobibor
  30. The Other Boleyn Girl
  31. The Law Abiding Citizen
  32. Zero Dark Thirty
  33. 1917
  34. The Indecent Proposal
  35. Klaus
  36. The Big Short
  37. Invictus
  38. The invention of Lying
  39. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
  40. Grounding
  41. The Climb
  42. Yes Man
  43. Stray Bullet
  44. Clara
  45. Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare
  46. Chaarulatha
  47. Do Aankhen Baarah Haath
  48. Manthan
  49. Bulbbul
  50. Raat Akeli Hai
  51. Gangs of Wasseypur
  52. Gangs of Wasseypur-2
  53. Manto
  54. Dil Bechara
  55. Nauka Dubi
  56. Jodha Akbar
  57. Chokher Bali
  58. Kadambari
  59. Teen Kanya
  60. Bhuvan Shome
  61. Midnight's Children
  62. Thappad
  63. Newness
  64. Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai
  65. Chaman Baahar
  66. Barakah Meets Barakah
  67. Samskara
  68. Atonement
  69. Cargo
  70. Killa
  71. Soorma
  72. Wadjda
  73. Kaalidas
  74. Fukrey
  75. Comedy Couple
  76. Saand Ki Aankh
  77. Mahanagar
  78. Kapurush
  79. URI
  80. Naal
  81. Cycle
  82. Kappela
  83. C U Soon
  84. Unda
  85. Oh My Kadavule
  86. Asuran
  87. Soorarai Pottru
  88. Visaranai
  89. Jallikattu
  90. Sillu Karupatti
  91. Vaanam Kottatum
  92. Instant Family
  93. Sethum Aayuram Pon
  94. Paavai Kathaigal (Series)
  95. The Family Man (Series)
  96. Made in Heaven (Series)
  97. The Last Dance (Series)
  98. Paatal Lok (Series)
  99. Puthum Pudhu Kaalai (Series)
  100. MEGA ICONS (Series)
  101. The Last Czars (Series)
  102. Anne Frank: Parallel Stories
  103. Panchayat Series
  104. A Suitable Boy (Series)


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Rewind.Replay- Books in 2020

At the beginning of 2020, I wanted to read some big fat books. I had Leonardo Davinci, Team of Rivals, and a few more. Thanks to lockdown, I could read all of them at my own pace, enjoying those big fat books. Also, the lockdown period has given me a lot of time to read a lot. I picked up a few authors whom I always wanted to read like, R.K.Narayan, Philip Pullman, Prem Chand.  

I got a chance to read James Thurber's works, thanks to Navnit for introducing interesting books and authors.  

These are the books, I read in 2020. 

1.Letter from Peking

2.The Swallow and the Dark

3.Stories At Work

4.Leonardo da Vinci

5.Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

6.Granny's Sari

7.a baby lion learns to roar

8.Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

9.The Why Why Girl

10.A Gallery of Rascals: My Favourite Tales of Rogues, Rapscallions & Ne’er-Do-Wells

11.A River Sutra

12.What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

13.The Tender Bar: A Memoir

14.Squiggle Gets Stuck

15.The Illicit Happiness of Other People

16,Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

17.Swami and Friends

18. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

19. Talkative Man

20. All the Light We Cannot See

21. The Bicycle

22. Fish Friends Three (Karadi Tales Junior) (Book and Audio Cassette)

23. Where the Wild Things Are

24. The Brave Ant

25. Many Moons

26. Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

27. Northern Lights (His Dark Materials, #1)

28. The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

29. The Shroud: Stories

30. The Champa Flower

31. Click Clack Moo Cows That Type: kids books ages 3-5

32. Minu and her hair

33. Stone and Bone

The book, that changed the way I think about people is Behave by Robert Sapolsky. This book helped me to be more reflective and not jump to conclusions about others' behavior. This book has also inspired me to take up a course in psychology to understand a few more concepts better. 

If there's any book, I'd love to pick up again, that would be  Leonardo Davinci's biography. Loved it. 

The Spy and the Traitor is the book, I casually picked it from Bill gate's list and couldn't put down the book. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

Travel Diaries- Sam Sand dunes

 "Beta complain nahi hona chahiye. Zara dekhe" repeated Joginder Singh thrice, advising Aamir to drive carefully. 

Why is he so concerned, what kind of drive are we going to witness, I assumed. Shankar, Azhar, and I stood behind the Jeep, to enjoy the drive. A few minutes, we were off the road and got onto the sand. Aamir sat at the corner fiddling with the phone, while hitting the wheel and wavering the steering. 

Thrilling speed, heart-pumping bumps, I was sure, we'd fall at any moment if we leave the bar. Enjoying the drive, Shankar taunted Aamir to go fast. Aamir was on his job, talking to people, taking turns, it was a beautiful drive. 7 minutes of the thrilling ride, we entered the sand dunes. Camels, sunset, people. Enjoyed the evening. 

There are camels everywhere, tyre paths paved the sand. We were excited to be at the sand dunes. We were told to wait and get onto the camels. 

Little children were handling the camels. People were running around. I wondered how days would be without any tourists here. Travellers going through sanddunes on their camels, it's not as fancy as we're enjoying these sand dunes. 







Travel Diaries- Jaisalmer

Quickly planned. Pallavi, Azhar, Shankar, Swati & I were off on a drive to Jaisalmer. We stayed in Moustache backpackers hostel. A perfect place to stay in Jaisalmer. Just in front of the fort and at a prime place. 

We met Aadi, Anand, Shurya during the stay. I couldn't stay awake till late night but, the boys had fun catching up on long conversations. However, on the next day, Anand and I went on for a walk to try out the street food. We had Poha Kachori, Dal Pakwan, Moong Dal ki Pakodi, Aaloo ka Kachori. Relishing on all the dishes we had, we attempted to have Poha once again. 

Enjoying the street food, we were up to taste a few more kachoris and sweets but, I had to reach out to the hotel to meet the gang. 

Rajasthani Musician

Caring conversations

 It's tough to be there and see the person grieve over the loss. How do you pay condolences? How do you process the sudden death? How do you go through it? 

Visited Sruthi's home. We have lost Charan, Sruthi's brother in a swimming accident in the US. COVID times, away from the children, uncle and aunt were lost in the storm of the loss. 

Why did he do that? Why only him? Why us? where a lot of questions that ponder even before we realize the loss we got. 

These are the questions that we can stay through all life but, never reach any answer. Aunt and uncle were grieving in their own way. 


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Travel Diaries- In dialogue with Iqbal

 Iqbal, a resident of Sam village visited the Ahmedabad Desert Camp to perform for us. "What do you love to do?" I asked. Pointing to the Harmonium, he said, "Bajatha hu. Accha lagtha hai." 

At the desert camp, there were two people who were performing for us. An hour into the performance,  the music got stopped and the phone was connected to the amplifier and blared out various songs. I could get this music even in my home, I thought. People were drunk in this cold night, everyone were dancing getting out of their inhibition. We danced a bit. Got bored of the DJ and went and sat at Iqbal, to know his story. 

"We go for performances at the off season. During winter and rainy, we perform here only." Iqbal shared smiling in between his words.  I asked about his work. He was revealing himself. A little laugh and a joke, we were there enjoying the conversation. "I have five siblings. three brothers. two sisters." 


At the end, Iqbal offered us pagdi to wear and greeted us to spend good time at his place, Sam. Thanks Iqbal for the words and the performance. 



Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Souvenir- The Black Suitcase

My father worked as a manager. He carried his files in a suitcase to the office. In the 2000s, he was going to the office in a car, carried a suitcase, wear a tie to conferences.  I used to wait for my Dad every evening because of the junk food, the ice creams he bring me every day. I am not supposed to eat it before dinner. My mom instructed. ‘You’ll skip the dinner,’ she reads my mind before I scheme out plans.

The moment I hear the horn, I rush to the gate and look at the beaming lights through the gate. Dad enters in. He quickly parks the car leaving enough space for him to open the door and slip through. I used to open the rear door and look for a new thing other than the usual suitcase and few diaries.

Along with other covers, I carry the suitcase home. I leave the suitcase at its corner and gorge to check out what Dad got. Sometimes it’s vanilla ice cream sometimes, it’s snack or puffs or any delicious stuff. 

Few routines make you. Carrying the suitcase home, I often used to enact him, imagining myself as a big manager. I fancied myself in suits, attending meetings.  "I will wear only suits when I grow up." I used to assert to my Dad.  

The suitcase was one more fancy thing I always wanted to handle. In 2002-4, Dad got a shining dark red colored suitcase, replacing the slim rectangular grey suitcase. I eyed it and said, "I want it. I will use it."

From then on, I used it. At first, I used to cut some newspaper cuttings and put all the papers in the suitcase. Years passed, I received the first letter from a close friend during my schooling. I treasured it. I began treasuring all my slam books in it. Letters, greeting cards, souvenirs, I had them all in the suitcase. The grey suitcase became a happy memory box.  

It is nearly twenty years old and the trend has changed. My dad got promoted to various roles. He does not carry a suitcase anymore. He rarely gets any files home. I still use the suitcase Dad has left for me  20 years ago. ‘ANAND’ it’s written with stickers but I am the owner of the suitcase for 20 years.

 


 

 

 

Stories from Sirohi- Waterless times

I always dreamt of Rajasthan as hot dry land,  full of water scarcity. When I landed here, I could witness it. However, grateful to my house owners, they got a beautiful house with all the amenities. Despite our nearby got water problems, we never faced it. We always had running water taps. 

At times, I took the service for granted but, I always reminded myself, how privileged I am. In recent days, our motor got damaged and there's no water pumped into the tanks, further to taps. It was all sudden and at night, we do not have water at the house. It was tough. Spending a night without water seemed to be a nightmare. The world without water is tough. I knew it till past. Now, I have experienced tough times. Can never take the resources for granted.  




Memories- Time management sheets

I can't remember when I was this particular about my time management during schooling! I'm impressed by my teen self. I'm sure I have done this in high school. I'm not sure if I have tried out this in 8th class. I'm happy to see this paper after ages. 

Looking at these papers, I'm making it a habit to add a date in whatever piece of paper I jot on. Just to help me to feel nostalgic in the future relating the writings to dates and memories. 





Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Holidays with Harry- Clarity and Confidence

 In recent days, I called up Harry now and then bombarding him with my fears, confusions, and a lot more blabbering. 

"Sir, I want to open up an institution. I want to start a non-profit. I want to pursue writing. I have nothing much happening here. I don't like what's happening around me." A lot of confusion and frustration. He listened through all of it and suggested a few actionable tasks. 

"Talk to people to gather more information on whatever you're intending to do." He added, "Put out everything on paper."

"Ohkay. Let me see what happens." I thought and worked around it. I began writing, jotted the ideas, dreams, ambitions, called up a few people. "I realized that I have a 15-year goal but, not 5 years." I reached out to Harry. 

"Well keep talking to people and approach it like a project," he advised.  



If I am serious about my dream, it's sensible that I approach it like a project rather than like just a daydream without anything concrete.

I began writing it out. I began approaching people, asking them about their experiences and their opinions. 

The information has given me clarity. Clarity has given me confidence. I was ready to act on!

Ask. Talk. Reach out for help. No matter, how many times, I believe in all these, I often forget to  act at times and Thanks Harry for reminding me to act on these little tasks that matter the most. Ask. Talk to experts. Reach out for help.  

Monday, December 21, 2020

Virtual Event- Compassion Integrity Training: Emotional Awareness

Compassion Integrity Training has several modules, in which I have attended the master class on “Emotional Awareness.”

Through this engaging session, I’ve interacted with several individuals, sharing my experiences and learning from others’ experiences on emotional intelligence and awareness.  

Emotional Awareness can be stated as the ability to be aware of the rising and falling of our mental experiences on a moment-to-moment basis and to understand the difference between beneficial and harmful mental states.

With a lot of engaging questions and possibilities, the facilitators have garnered the responses from the participants and made me feel comfortable in engaging the discussion.

There was a discussion on how beneficial mental states lead to genuine happiness for us and others. How harmful mental states distort reality and lead to suffering for us and others.

One big take away from this session would be the discussion on the Atlas of emotions.

How thought is triggered and how it transcends to a mental state, how there is a possibility of constructive action and destructive action, and how our mental states influence our work and status of being. 

Also, we practiced the art of active listening through break out rooms. Listening to the strangers’ stories and their experiences on how being aware of their emotions changed the course of their actions.


 

Do check out the atlas of emotions. It’s visually appealing as well as informative.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Thought of the day

How do people value us by their own perceptions? How do all of us fail to value others for their worth and capabilities? In the work scenarios, often, as managers failed to acknowledge the resources, the teammates would be demotivated to show up and work. "They're not effective," opines managers and the cycle never ends.  

How often do we fail to recognize the talent, efforts of the teammates? How often do we fail to motivate them?


Travel tales- Udaipur

 Udaipur is a 2-hour drive from Sirohi. Azhar and I decided to visit Udaipur for a medical check-up  as well as to devour our favourite kebabs at favourite place. 

Our journey began at late morning, soaking in intense sun while the heavy wind is chilling our bodies. On a bike, we began our journey, looking out for Chai, to start the journey on high note. 

Shacks, next to the highway has a lot of traffic. We found a nice place to sip chai and have Parle G biscuits. "Don't go out while it's dark. People throw stones while you're moving." people talk. 

How do they do that? I was thinking. There were two people, who were brushing with neem sticks, got a call. They held a few stones, came out on the road, looking out for the cars. One guy almost threw a stone on the car. Looking at the number in the flashing speed, he stopped. 

Two strangers, Morning day light. Rampage, what's going on? I thought. 

"Police log hai. Kuch message aayahai. Do number maal aaraha hai." person next to us explained us.    And we observed the people. Military hair cut, police shoes. They seemed as police but not sure of their actions. They didn't drop the stones. A police car went across, the man put the stones behind, standing in attention posture. A few more calls, the two men, took out a bike, and went in wrong road, taking the stick to hit may be. 

We wanted to witness some action. We'd be in mess if we follow them. We dropped the idea and headed to our destination. 

"Let's not stop anywhere, we decided. One hour, we were tempted to take a stop and get on the hill. Looking at the meadows and hills, we slowed down. Tempted by the scenic view, we stopped and took a halt. 

A perfect place to camp, we spent some time and continued our journey. By afternoon, we were there, in the city, Udaipur. 

Hospitals. Malls. Food joints. We left Udaipur after sunset, when the moon shone high and the sun got obscured in the skies. 

Riding through the chilled cold. It was a chilling spine ride. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Stories from Sirohi- Identities

 I walked into the BRCF to help an official regarding an online meeting. 

"Welcome. Have a seat. Would you like to have coffee or tea?" asked the stranger. Warmth and welcoming, I assumed. 

"Will you able to visit us on monday and help us with the meeting?" He asked.  Polite, I assumed. 

So, Abhinay ji, Kaha se ho, aap? He asked. Curious. Breaking the ice, I assumed. 

Aapka Pura Naam kya hai? He asked. Abhinay Thummaluru. I replied. 

Matlab Kaunsa Jaath ke ho aap? He asked.  I mumbled to blurt out my caste. 

I'm a minority. 

Papa kya kartha hai? He asked further. 

I replied but, my spirit was bashed up, my self-worth was questioned. What do you have to do with the caste? I wanted to ask but, I couldn't blurt out the words. I was inferior of my status. 

I mentioned the same to my colleagues. He is not a bad guy. they said. 

 I felt the same till he tried to identify me through caste! I thought. 

Silences. Pauses. Colleagues got nothing, as they feel privileged to talk about their identities. 

Once a person wrote Shashi Tharoor, discussing Caste and privileges, "Oblivious to the caste is the luxury of the privileged."

Well my privileged friends were oblivious to my confusion and plight of the 'fuss' I make at them. 


Movie- Paavai Kathaigal

Numbing. Gripping. Haunting. Every movie has a story to share and talk about 'honor.'

Gruesome stories are captured with all the artful aspects. Enriched with the background scores, these are the stories worth reflecting on and think of our identities. 

In these short stories, we have a little space to reveal the characters. The stories are written with the little details that show the characters' stories well. I loved the way GVM reveal the characters through all those conversations in the story. 


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Captive - Lyrical Video




Sruthi's melody- captive, literally captivated me by its melody and those subtle humming, she elegantly hums, bringing a breath of space to smile and enjoy the voice, words, and the song. 

I skimmed the description of the song, "contemporary pop theme-" and hoped that the song got a few classical elements.

Turning my hopes alive, the song has a breeze of classical elements. A smile beamed on my face thinking, my hope turned true.

More interested in the story of the song, I read the description this time, "contemporary pop theme, flavored with Indian classical elements that come and occasionally go through the song."

I was glad, I skimmed at first and enjoyed the surprise(classical elements) of the song. Also, the lyrics of the song are worth reflecting on. Enjoyed it.
Commendable work Sruthi. More power to you.



Sunday, December 13, 2020

Book- The Spy and the Traitor.

Bill gates never disappointed. A few years back, I read the book, ‘When breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi’ following his suggestion on his website, I enjoyed it. The book has a special place on the shelf.  

This year, one of his few suggestions, the Spy and the Traitor seemed interesting nonfiction that can be picked upon.

I read the prologue; I couldn’t put it down. I began reading the true account of the journey of a spy and a traitor narrated in a riveting way.

Story of two double agents, one called as a spy and the other as a traitor. To understand discrimination, I began the book.




Oleg Gordievsky, born into a KGB family looked up to his father and loved his country as any other KGB family.  His brother and himself ended up working in KGB. 

He began questioning his country’s dogma when he witnessed the Soviet union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia. “This brutal attack on innocent people made me hate my own country.” He never expressed it.  

Posted in Denmark under diplomat cover, he got exposed to democratic freedom. He enjoyed the music, banned in USSR. He read the books, anti-soviet literature. He began to stray off from the ideologies he was born into. At the same, he wanted to progress in his work. He married another KGB official, Yelena. A cold marriage, just to increase the prospects of promotion.

Desk work. Dubious lives. The aversion towards his country was growing and the MI6, intelligence, Bromhead takes a year in checking on Oleg. Continuous meets at art exhibitions and at embassy parties, he finally, tries and approaches Oleg.

Fear of dangling and being exposed by the countries, they were cautious to make a move forward. Support from MI6, Bromhead, with a confidence, goes for a try and Oleg accepts the proposal. He’s turned, a double agent.  

The game begins. Oleg crossed the sides.  That’s unbelievable to MI6 as well as Oleg. The stakes were high. And it’s interesting, how Oleg agreed with the MI6 offer and went ahead.

Oleg played smart stating 3 conditions, on which he’d work for MI6. He didn’t expect money, he didn’t want the conversations to be recorded, he wouldn’t give any of his colleagues’ details, and also want them safe.

Oleg began sharing the intelligence, that MI6 was trying hard enough to work on, but still, obscure the source. After Kim Philby’s case, the British want to stay alert. Also, it wants to maintain world peace.

Oleg’s contribution was immense, none like the other agents who worked behind the iron curtain, because, he shared the psychology of the KGB people rather than any technological or R&D details. He shared how KGB works, how do they think, what do they aspire for.

During the 1980s, Reagon’s Psychological Operations against USSR, military spending, and NATO war games were perceived as war preparation. USSR was ready for Nuclear war and was working to do the first strike. Oleg’s timely information to MI6, further to the CIA, has put off another possible Nuclear War.

Oleg's escape from Russia to the UK through Finnish border is an account that’s pacy, gripping and wouldn’t let you put the book away.

Got an idea of how the countries were aspiring to maintain peace in the world. Espionage is interesting tradecraft. To protect a system, we break certain laws. And those who break a few laws in the system, are punished. It all depends on which place, you stay in the system.

Back to the title, The Spy and the Traitor. Oleg is called Spy and Ames is called a traitor. Oleg worked on ideology. Ames was avaricious, as the writer mentions, “Gordievsky risked his life for a cause, Ames wanted a bigger car.”

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Soliloquies- Pups!

Mike, our dog was brought home when it was an a-few-days-old pup. I never saw it growing. These little pups reminded me of Mr. Mike.  Spotted them when I visited Pallavi's home. These pups played under her car. The little brown pup walked near me as I was parking the bike. It grabbed my shoelaces with its mouth. I couldn't shoo her, I couldn't let her play. A few times, it tried and went to another place to play with its friends. 









 

Food Stories

Continental specialist, Dyu prepared the chicken sandwiches while Azhar and I, indulged in enjoying the movie, Jodha Akbar, appreciating the background score, music, and the dialogues. 

Thanks, Dyu for the yummy chicken sandwiches. 



 

Stories from Sirohi- Schools & Stories



Thirty Kilometres away from the main town, deep in the village, at a remote place without human presence en route, laid the school, built to educate the children of the village nearby. 

A lady teacher heads this small school. Single teacher school, she's the administrator, she's the teacher, she's the caretaker, she manages the school. In the hierarchy of power, she's at the tail end, barely have a little to say but, she tries her best to do what she can do. Teaching the children. Like her, there are many who are in the schools at the remotest places in India, educating the future of our country. 

 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Movie- Instant Family

 Heartfelt. A couple plans to adopt the kids. How do the kids adapt and how the couple steps up and care for the children. Enjoyed it. 


A a few moments, I felt it didn't hit the high mark making me emotional.  The movie was real. Subtle on what kids go through when they are adopted. Interesting topic to read more on. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Thoughts- Showing the reality

https://youtu.be/PRxYdOCAkcc

Jaron Lanier has mentioned that keep sharing what you go through to create those pieces. All the blogging and BTS actually helps how one achieves perfection. Sasha would have shared this with fun intentions but these really helps us to give a perspective that to create such awesome videos there's a lot of effort and editing. 

That helps us to stay in reality only. Thanks Shashaa. 

Thoughts- Decision Making

 I had a tough time making a decision on my higher studies. I went back and forth on my decision basing them on my dreams, beliefs, and biases. Harry suggested putting the process on paper. I knew the process but, I never managed to think of getting a solution or putting the process on paper. 

"Okay," I said. I began to write down my decisions, thoughts, plans on the paper. At first, I wrote down what I say to everyone, 'I want this.' 


Being alone with the paper and my thoughts, I questioned, "Do I really want this? What do I want.?"

I put down all the options. I tried to work on the question without expecting a sudden answer. The process gave me clarity and confidence to tackle the important decisions in life. 

Harry wrote an article on this. Informative and interesting. 

https://www.edexlive.com/opinion/2020/dec/05/the-art-of-making-great-decisions-16340.html

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Souvenirs- Student English Council Sheets

In ninth class, we had a group of people from ILM (Institue of Language Management) Bangalore to help us improve our communicative skills in English. I took immense interest in English, for I loved speaking. 

I loved to recite monologues in my mother tongue. I loved to participate in Elocution and speeches in English. It was fun. Then, thanks to ILM, we had a lot of opportunities to dabble with English. They rolled out a plan of having a student council that looks after all the language activities.  To set up the Student English Council. They suggested elections. Being in ninth class, we had the opportunity to take part in this process.  I nominated myself in the election competing against Satya Kumar Pavan, Sai Charan, and many more friends. 

I worked on my canvassing for the elections. I was confident of winning it while in girls, Swetha, Vanditha, Gnana, and a few more were competing for it. 

During my schooling time, Swetha and I were competitors in everything. We acted like cold rivals. I do not remember why we behaved in such a way but, we were cold rivals. I couldn't put up with her. She couldn't stand me. But, we always had an eye on each other. And we both won the elections. We were Director Generals of the Student English Council. We both had to head it together. 
Together, we worked and developed a respect for each other during those times. But then, both didn't want to come out and be good. We were cold to each other, we were criticizing each other but, at the end of the day, as heads of the council, we always ended up on the same page and worked together. After that, I left the school and surprisingly, Swetha and I became good friends. 

During ninth class, I didn't have a computer at home. Neither printer. I wonder how we had such detailed documentation of all the tasks. Most of the computer tasks was done at Satya's house. He got the computer at the house with an internet connection also in a separate room. We were serious about our work. We divided the school into zones. We formed teams. We assigned tasks to fellow students. We settled up conflicts if there were any. We weren't precocious as such. We had our bias. We were strict on people whom we disliked. I remember being harsh and removing people for their mistakes. In retrospection, I think that we could have changed a few decisions at those times. 

I'm amused to look at the meeting minutes. I do not remember having such detailed documentation of these meetings. "To speak English incorrect manner." Now, having a little experience in language learning, I would never ever let children have these beliefs that they come under pressure to speak the language in right way.  I can see how egoistic and childish were our actions then but, I am also glad to be ourselves. There was no harsh moral disciplining on us to behave in one way or the other. The teachers always allowed us to be ourselves but, made sure we never disrespected each other. 

I cherish the time I worked on this Student English Council with Swetha, ILM members and my English teacher, Mani sir. Good old times.









 

Memories- what's your time machine?

Nallai Allai is one song for me that takes me back to my first job times. I remember plugging in my earphones and get out to the office. During my training days, I begin my day with that song and end the day with that song. Good old times. 




Late night banters

It's been months since I did a night out. There's a high probability of a night out in Hyderabad as the night is young in Hyderabad. Sunny was home alone. Naveen, Jaya joined first. I joined them later.  So casual in our conversations. It didn't change much. Same gossip, same jokes, same comments over the time we had. This time, I appreciate the gathering better than before as we do not meet as frequently as in the past. 


Soliloquies- Back to home

 A month ago, when I visited my home, I felt at home. The same old house, a new with refurnishing.  Now, when I returned to Sirohi, I felt at home. Can we have two homes at the same time? Everywhere I go, I make the place home. It was good to be comfortable everywhere. 




Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Notes- The New Meaning of Educational Change.

Six recent studies, among many I could have selected, show that going deeper into reculturing is proving far more difficult than previously realized (Ball & Cohen, 1999; Cohen & Hill, 2001; Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform, 2005; Oakes et al.  1999; Stigler & Hiebert, 1999; Timperley & Parr, 2005). Ball and Cohen (1999) and Cohen and Hill (2001) talk about the persistent superficiality of teacher learning: “Although a good deal of money is spent on staff development in the United States, most is spent on sessions and workshops that are often intellectually superficial, disconnected from deep issues of curriculum and learning, fragmented and noncumulative” (Ball & Cohen, 1999, pp. 3–4). Teachers do not fare much better on the job, argue Ball and Cohen: “Teacher learning is usually seen as either something that just happens as a matter of course from experience or as the product of training in particular methods or curricula” (p. 4). Cohen and Hill’s (2001) study of California’s decade-long effort to change and improve mathematics teaching is another case in point. Their conclusion is stated up front.


The policy was a success for some California teachers and students. It led to the creation of new opportunities for teachers to learn. Teachers were able to work together on serious problems of curriculum teaching and learning in short-term professional communities. The policy also helped to create coherence among elements of the curriculum, assessment, and learning opportunities for certain teachers. Such coherence is quite rare in the blizzard of often divergent guidance for instruction that typically blows over U.S. public schools. Only a modest fraction of California elementary teachers—roughly only 10 percent—had the experiences summarized. (p. 9, emphasis added)




Thoughts:

In India, in the budget spent on Education, the least goes to teacher training. I echo the thoughts of Cohen and Ball on this. “Teacher learning is usually seen as either something that just happens as a matter of course from experience or as the product of training in particular methods or curricula”


I attended a couple of teacher training courses in different places. "At least people are sitting now." reminisced the old facilitators. "There's a lot of progress in the training." mentioned another experienced person. "Teachers are apathetic towards learning or teaching," observed another friend. 

The design of the teacher training course was far away from what was being implemented at the teacher training centers. Centres in the district have a few things to have adhered. And there are a few more centres in which the training is done according to the whims of facilitators. 

In such situations, I realised that restructuring takes a lot of time than reculturing. But, doesn't restructure initiate reculturing? What triggers for a reculturing?

 

 



Memories- Shreya Weds Nikhil

With no intonation, in the space of surprise, Shreya told Nikhil, "I'm getting married mama," on their wedding day. 

Shreya and Nikhil have been together since 2013.  "I want to be a nun. Marriage is not my cup of tea, " were Shreya's goals in her teenage. It's tough to believe I'm getting married but, I'm confident with whom I want to spend the rest of my life. Such is love, life, and relations we complicate with a lot of terms in our lives. 

Shreya's senior, Nikhil is a guitarist in the college band, CRESCENDO. Guitar, music was the first mutual interest that triggered them to spend more time together, discussing music, sharing interests, and enjoy each other's presence.  

Shreya is energetic, lively, bubbled up with lots of love, warmth, and affection. Nikhil is poised, observant and is comfortable in his own space, often less to offer to entertain any strangers. 

During the whole college time, we had our ways, living in our spaces. I know Shreya for the first time by her performance, Bon Jovi's It's my life in the college fest. Nikhil being senior Akash's friend and from the Automobile branch, I knew him. Thanks to TEDx, I reached out to Shreya, Sruthi, impressed with their band, "Rooh" Then began our journey of companionship and got to know Nikhil and Shreya more than what their social media profiles could offer. 

"When did this all happen? When?" many asked, curious to know their love story. 

Close friends mentioned, "They're together for seven years." Another friend said, "It all started with the excuse of guitar"

Every one of us knows the story in bits and pieces but, not a complete one. Need to ask the couple itself for the whole story. 

Happy to see Nikhil and Shreya getting hitched. Marriage would only nurture their matured relationship further ahead. God bless you both. Have a great time ahead. 



Monday, November 30, 2020

Friends- Srikanth & Abhilash bideu


It's been 2 years, since we met. In 2019 Jan, we went together for a trek. And now, we gathered for dinner after almost 2 years. Srikanth is settling in Bengaluru. Srikanth is planning to fly to US. 

Three of us in three different streams, yet  we have a lot of conversation to banter on. Books, philosophy, science, school of thoughts. We got it all covered. 8 years, we are there for each other sharing our lives once in a while. 

I spent half time in the car travelling together from one corner of the city to other corner of the city. And Ashish, Srikanth's friend hosted us for a party. Had great time catching up with the friends. 


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Day out with Dad

One more day, I would be traveling to Rajasthan from home. At home, I start my day by picking the newspaper to read the headlines. Dad woke up early, he held the district edition, I took the main newspaper. 
"Nagaravanam is opened today by 6am." Dad read.  "I want to visit," I shared. Dad dropped his routine for driving to Nagaravanam. 

Both of us headed to Nagaravanam. 15 Kilometre away from my home.  







Looking at the hills, dad shared his childhood experiences of visiting Palakondalu to fetch the wood. "Let me also join, I thought, assuming it as easy but, I couldn't reach till home. 





 

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...