Tuesday, March 31, 2020

TED Talk- Taking Imagination Seriously.

Movie- Sleepless in Seattle.

Sam's(Tom Hank) wife passes away. His son wishes his father gets married again. In the story of searching for a bride for his Dad, the story unfolds and comes our Meg Ryan who's confused by herself in her relations.  How do they meet is the rest of the story. I like the soundtrack of the movie. It's peppy and romantic. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Behind the X- TEDxVNRVJIET Stories.

Leading the way, Meghana took upon the responsibility continuing to share the ideas worth spreading.  

It was a commendable leadership by Meghana for pulling off such a huge event. Meghana was focussed,  she knew her timeline and planned with the team accordingly. The team worked up on what they wanted to do in this edition. Acting on all the learnings, the team researched the ideas, speakers, themes. This edition, the theme was, “Paradigm Shift.”

As we unshelled ourselves for learning and had a great learning experience, we geared up the new journey and called it, ‘Paradigm Shift.’

The license was applied and given week's time, we were granted a license on 12.November.2016

Excerpt from the journal. 

Humble beginnings :) 

Day6- Lockdown Days

I started the day early and worked on the morning pages. Soon after the morning pages, I reviewed my notes on' Child's Language and Teaching.' I shared the notes with few friends and got back on to my painting routine. After a conversation with Oorja, I encouraged myself to explore and express in my own way. Oorja suggested a few books and a few concepts. I was interested in sculpting but, never got a chance to explore. I'm loving the process of playing with colors. I'll work more on painting.

In the course of the day, I called up a few friends. Received few calls.

Decided to give break from reading, I watched a movie, Yes Man. I liked the movie. Positive and happy movie. I can't afford to delve in negativity during times of distress.  I watched couple of TED Talks, I enjoyed discovering African artist, Vusi Mahlasela.

I worked out in the evening and continued my meditation. I started the book, Leonardo Davinci by Walter Isaacson. I always wanted to read another biography through Walter's writing. Davinci always enticed me. Looking forward to enjoying the book.

Day5 - Lockdown Days

Woke up at 8 am and started the day by dropping the water can at the shop. I cleared the kitchen and wrote the morning pages. Looking at myself in the mirror, I trimmed my hair. I caught up with the book, 'River Sutra,' I finished the book today and felt restless, pondering over the open ending it had.  Spent the evening by painting and worked during the evening.

I started to meditate for a few minutes. I managed to work on the draft for minutes.

Disappointed by the book, River Sutra, I wrote down the review and worked on a few other poems.

I called it a day browsing phone mindlessly.

Day4- Lockdown Days March 28 2020

Woke up at 8.30 and started the day with morning pages. I wrote 3 pages on what was going in my mind.

Later,  we cleaned the whole house.  In recent times, I’m discovering the cleaning and normal chores to be meditative. After the cleaning, I  sat down with the book, River Sutra. Interesting book. Today, we were told that Jannat hotel, which is a stone throw away, would sell us chicken.

I went out to collect it and cops didn’t spare anyone. They interrogated on my presence and knowing that I came here for chicken, the cop raised the lathi. My umbrella got the blow and, I escaped. I went in the mentioned given time, but the cops didn't spare. Lesson learned, Do Not Step Out at any Cost. But when do we have to get the essentials?

Perplexed of the experience, I returned home to relax. Spoke to Nikita for hours sharing various stories.

Jannat delivered the chicken to home and Dyu cooked Chicken for both of us.

Over lunch, I watched the movie, Killa. A Marathi movie. Realistic and pleasing visuals. I liked the sound design of the film as well. I spent the rest of the evening, painting and reading the book, River Sutra.

Spent the night with the phone browsing news, social media. Phone usage drained me and I slept early.

I texted a few friends. Today was Pragjna’s and Santosh’s birthday. Wished them. And carried on with journaling.

Poetry- Emotions

Emotions are choked. 

Normalizing the adversity and cruelty.

The gush of the world's violence is numbing me. 

Melt me into the living being, turning me compassionate for my beings. 

Vusi Mahlasela & Louis Mhlanga - Ubuhle Bomhlaba (Live)

I got introduced to Vusi Mahlasela through a TED Performance of his song, 'Woza'.

Attracted to the voice, melody, I listened to his collection and I'm enjoying it.


Book- Language and Language teaching

‘Children's use of language is closely related to the things they do with their hands and bodies and the objects they come in contact with.’

During the early stages, words and language do not have a meaning if children cannot associate it with their life. 

Focusing on the exposure of a child, Kumar discusses, how a child uses a language to express himself. 

A language is also a form of expression of themselves. The words the child uses creates the environment he is in. The words he hears create the environment he imagines. It’s all in how we perceive and produce the language in a given context. 

Language is about a lot of emotions. 



Describing the process

Directing other’s attention

Directing one’s own activities



Representing life. 

Language and Its interpretations. 

How do we interpret a language? Is it a tool for communication or does it have any other purposes? 

Krishna Kumar interprets the language and its use through a child’s life view. How does a child use a language not only to communicate but, to express himself? 

The child expresses himself in language through different modes. 

  • Explaining
  • Play
  • Directing other’s attention
  • Inquiry
  • Directing own’s activities
  • Associating
  • Anticipating
  • Representing Life

Various examples and explanations are given on each and everything they do with the language.

  • Finding:
  • Reasoning:
  • Projecting:
  • Predicting:
  • Relating:

In what way, does a teacher's attitude on language learning impacts a student’s learning?

How do we use language?

There’s a huge impact on the psyche of students because of teachers’ attitudes towards language. Emphasizing the attitude, Krishna Kumar does not write this book confining to any particular language or first language, second language. This book is written to portray a child’s point of view on language. This handbook suggests various formations in pedagogic techniques. 


“As we listen to a story our mind runs to the events and characters portrayed in it. Many stories are

about events that we have never witnessed in our own lives, yet we can imagine them. Similarly,

we are able to form an image of the characters even though we may never have faced people who are like these characters.” Stories. 

Good stories deserve many tellings.

Don’ts in the storytelling

Talking about the moral value of the story post storytelling. 

Equally, demand the children to memorize the story. 

The freedom to re-create a story and its characters in a way that is meaningful to oneself is a right every child must-have.

Stories prepare the children for Drama. In storytelling as listeners, Children relate to the characters and reimagine in their own way. 

 In Drama, it happens in an explicit way. 

establishing in the classroom an ethos in which play looks possible and right.

Spontaneous Drama. 

Communication is important and thoughtful communication with children helps you to improve your talking skills and also language learning. 

While the activities are important for learning. It’s also important on teaching children how to think. Helping them out to observe and express seemed organic. 

His lucid writing encourages the reader to read further. 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Being happy and living at the moment: Aisha Chaudhari at TEDxPune

Powerful Talk. Aisha shared her idea about happiness through her personal journey. She talked about happiness without a space for misconceptions.

I like the quotes she mentioned as well.

Book- River Sutra

Should a story have a start and an end? Is the story an absolute journey that drives you to seek answers? 

The question does not ask for an answer. A story does not see an end. Like the flow of a river, the stories flowed. 

An unnamed retired bureaucrat walks into a guest house wishing to live in peace, away from the world he lived till then. Wishes he, to resort in peace instead, he is shown the world at the river through the stories of Musician, minstrel, monk, Mullah & few other characters. 

With the Narmada as a common element in all the stories, the book is written with elusive writing and enchanting imagery and gripping poetry. 

Surprised to know about the writer, Gita Mehta, sister of Odisha's chief minister. 

Favorite Lines from the book. 

'The wandering poets and mystics who had made India's soul visible to herself.' 

Do not turn in loathing from me
O Beloved, Can you not see
Only Love disfigures me

O servant, where do you seek me? 
You will not find Me in temple or Mosque
In Kaaba or in Kailash
In yoga or renunciation

Sings Kabir, 'O seeker, find God
In the breath of all breathing. 

Movie - Killa

Realistic movie. Bright in visuals but sombre in mood. It's a story of a kid who tries to settle in a  new school with new friends. He is in a new place since his mother gets transferred. I liked the sound design of the movie. Worth watching but, I didn't like the experience of watching this movie in this lock down days.

Can't afford to watch dark, dull and slow movies now.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Music Memories

I remember listening to this song repeatedly out of the whole album. Unable to recollect the memories associated with this song. 

Movie- Find me Guilty

Between the new book and the new movie, I decided to catch up with the movie. I picked it up from Harry's blog and watched, 'Find me guilty.' 

Before watching the movie, I realized it's based out of true events. One of my favorite kinds. 

 Started up with jazz music, the movie is about the drug dealer Jackie, played by Vin Diesel. I liked Vin Diesel's acting.

This movie is about fixing up the mafia family under the RICO act. The protagonist loves his mafia family and doesn't want to give in to the FBI. 

Watching the documentary of making a movie, I was imagining how this movie was shot. Especially the wide-open court scenes.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Day 3- Lockdown Days

I woke up at 8.30 observing the coldness in the room. Is it not summer? I doubted. I woke up, I wore a jacket and walked out of the house. It’s hazy. I couldn’t see the Sun anywhere. Under the blue sky, the big huge clouds were sailing to long distances. I stretched myself and walked into the room.

I started my day and wrote morning pages. Three pages long hand, writing whatever comes to my mind. Dyu went out to get the vegetables.

Later, I continued reading Ruskin Bond’s Gallery of Rascals. Together, we ate Cheese Scrambled eggs and Roti. During the lock down days, I’m getting the best food.

Post breakfast, we were into our rooms, engaged in a conference call with colleagues. And also spent time in painting. I’m enjoying the process. I’m observing, reviewing and improving. Today, I painted with only blue and black colors. I enjoyed it. 
While Dyu was making sumptuous lunch, I was relishing on the Ruskin’s hill stories. Lunch time, I had Tomato Baath, rice and mashed potatoes. I enjoyed my lunch while I was watching Madness in the Desert.

Finished Ruskin’s memoir as well as documentary. Spent time writing my reviews on both and watched ‘find me guilty’ movie.

Worked out a bit, enjoyed the evening walk at terrace. Worked on the memoir I’m writing. Wrote a poem instinctively and shared with Shivani. End of the day, Catching up with a book again.

Spoke to few friends, Biju and Vikas. I Called up Vikas and spoke for good time. Heartened to hear his voice after a long time. Glad I spoke to him after long time. 
Phone seemed to be the distractor. Till yesterday, I was anxious watching news every ten minutes. I was waiting to read the breaking news but, I realized I’m conditioning myself to negativity. I reduced my phone usage today. Picked up two new books today, 'Meghadhutam’ by Kalidasa and ‘River Sutra’ by Gita Mehta.

Painting of the day

Movie- Madness in the Desert.

Madness in the Desert- Making of Lagaan.

Written and directed by Satyajit Bhatkal. I picked up a book on Lagaan making at Harry’s place. I finished it and enjoyed reading about the process of making the movie. It was two years back and I chanced upon the documentary on making of Lagaan on Netflix. Now, I understood, from where the Lagaan music-making clips came from. It's in this movie. This was released in the 2000s. Documentary on the making of Lagaan was a great idea, whoever thought of it.

I enjoyed watching the process and there’s a lot of drama in the documentary as well. This movie documented the hardships, and challenges that were present during the movie. I could connect it a few with the chapters I read in the book. The background score for this documentary got picked up from Lagaan’s background score. Lead actress Gracy Singh didn’t have much to talk. I expected more of A.R’s and Gracy’s interviews in the documentary. This documentary helped me to acknowledge the hardships people go through to make a vision reality. I love the Assistant Directors of this movie. Enjoyed their anecdotes.

Book- A Gallery of Rascals by Ruskin Bond

A Gallery of Rascals by Ruskin Bond

I was having a hard time choosing from the collection of Ruskin Bond. ‘Check this out, it’s the latest book,’ said the owner of Cambridge Book depot, the place at which, Ruskin Bond visits every Saturday.

Attractive cover and tongue twisters in titles, I picked it up. A gallery of Rascals: My favorite Tales of Rogues, Rapscallions, and Ne’er-Do-Wells.

This book is a collection of 30 odd stories and it’s not an easy read because, Ruskin Bond’s reflective writing tempts you to put the book aside and reflect on your life. Ruskin Bond can talk about anything. Be it about the birds that perch on his windows, bottles that were laid on the table during winters and about the elders he hung out with during his childhood.

I’m a big fan of Ruskin’s uncle Ken. Tales of Ken are funny and nevertheless introspective. I discovered two tales of Ken, ‘ZigZag Walk’ ‘At Sea with Uncle Ken.’ Uncle Ken is a star and he brings out the joy in his life by doing nothing, literally ‘nothing’ all the time.

Then are the tales that included his Grandparents. ‘Grandfather’s private Zoo,’ had as many as stories as one could find. Ruskin’s observations have got him to write about the hornbill’s, the chameleon Henry, the crow Ceasar, and many more creatures. I enjoyed reading about these creatures through Ruskin’s observation. 

Ruskin’s observations seemed to be unprejudiced. He’s curious about everything and his observation with reflections brings out the enjoyable prose.

Above mentioned do not deserve the title of Rascals. The stories, ‘Strychnine in Cognac, Susanna’s seven husband’s, Job Well done, Masterji,’ are some of the stories that are full of rascals and rogues. The crimes, cruelty, violence written in a jolly manner. I sighed after every story for, the story ended and also the way it left me with a mix of various experiences. Ruskin's writings are honest and witty.

Thoroughly enjoyed it.

On reading this book, I reflected on my own life experiences by writing around ten pages. Ruskin Bond’s books are the route to walk back into the memory lanes of the childhood and relive the memories. Thanks, Bond for sharing the stories.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Poem of the day


This provoked imagery with metaphors that are sending out the meaning.

The Shroud by PremChand

Premchand is Indiađź’™

Ordinary tales of ordinary people narrated in an extra ordinary way.

This is @penguinclassics comprising Premchand's ever green stories on grief, fear, oppression.
The stories are full of dialogue and imaginative metaphors. "Shroud" is my favourite. It's been months, since I was trying to read a Premchand's stories in Hindi but solaces myself in translations itself. Ruth Vanitha did a good translation. Enjoyable. Would love to try this in Hindi.

Gratitude Tales

Today, I sat and decided to be grateful for all the people who helped me in my life directly and indirectly.

Poem of the day- Day 3

Poem of the day

Flatmates and friends

Hailing from Sholapur, studying from Fashion Communication. First-person to greet and help me in setting the room. I met Harshal on Shubam's birthday. Harshal and I caught up in conversation over dinners and lunches. 

Harshal is organised person in his own organised way. He speaks out his heart smiling and sharing all his NIFT experiences. He talked about the way his family friends shared info about NIFT. He had very less exposure to anything and everything. He was accepting the change in his life and he was looking for something that was in his interest. He worked out for quite a good time for what he wanted and got selected for NIFT. Never got out of his town, he had to come down to Hyderabad to study. He didn't have anyone to help out. 

'I've seen the good days. and bad days. I've seen elite life as well as street life,' says Harshal humbled of his life experiences. 

We always met over food. Harshal exclaims, "Biryani Bhai. Ek din, doo din, Har din Kaise Kaathe. Got fed up of it. A few Roti would suffice." 

 In fact, he took me to Swaad Hotel for the first time to introduce me to the rotis and thali. Not a fan of rotis much.  He talks a lot about his Kolkata friend. The one who was there all through his days. He got a good bunch of friends to look up for. 

"Bhai,  of the whole class, only 2 boys. And one boy didn't come to the first class. I was the only boy in the class. I was there. I felt inferior back then. Over time, I got used to it." 

I enjoyed catching up with Harshal and got to know about fashion communication a bit. 

Ramblings on Writing.

How badly do you want to write? 

Reading steve’s book on writing made me retrospect, if I want to be fine in the craft, I gotta spend my time and give my best. It’s the same question, how badly do I want it?
I stop writing, not because I can’t write but I can’t face myself. I can’t be vulnerable. I find it difficult to stay vulnerable as it affects me. Stay and fight, you’ll shine.

Memories- TEDx Conference

In the month of March 2016, I traveled to Bangalore to attend the TEDx Conference with all the TEDsters across India. It was held at Infosys Mysore. We got a chance to stay at the Mysore campus.

We gathered at Anand Circle, excited to meet all the strangers connected through TED. I met Abhinandan first. I met others from Bits Pilani. There were Sahil, Neeraj, Sharanya, Suhridh, Rohan, Sai Venkatesh, Pratyusha, Raashi, Sahana Medha, Vipul, Anitha, and many more people. 

Off we moved to Mysore on buses. Sahil came up with a game to guess the names and thus, started the game with a lot of guesses and ice breakers. Enjoyed the bus journey. 

Everyone was into the discussion.

Reflections- Reading

Growing in an urban scenario and studying in English medium private schools, I never had a problem with reading. At least, I felt so.  I considered the reading skill for granted.

Reading was associated with the textbooks I was obliged to read during my schooling. I considered ‘reading’ as only a classroom activity but not a way to learn about the world.

Growing up through my boyhood, I never acknowledged the books and anything associated with reading till I passed out of my school. Thanks to a few of my good friends, I was exposed to various genres of books other than text books and hence, changed my perspectives on ‘reading.’

Without learning to read, I started reading to learn.

It’s all the same. All it takes, is the environment and children can read!.  I assumed. But, when I walked into upper primary classes, students taught me more about reading than what my teachers taught throughout my schooling. 

One out of 4 students said, ‘I can’t read. I don’t know how to read.’
They challenged my practices and assumptions by sharing their problems they faced when they read.

A few guesses the words, a few did not decode the words and a few did not comprehend what they read.

The kids were given different genres, different font sized books and various contextual setting books yet, couldn’t see any progress. 

Context Matters:

Kids were able to read the words that are often used in their communication, environment and they were able to read the word as a whole unit.  Excited to see the fluency, I checked if they can write out those words. 2 out of 3 words were written in wrong spelling.

They were able to read and make a meaning but they were unable to spell out the word.

Researching on these kind of problems and discussing with the fellows, I learnt what whole language approach is about.

“Like speaking, reading is natural to the children,” is how the whole language approach is interpreted.

Questioning the whole language approach, many people voiced out their opinions on how reading is not natural.

 "Language is a human instinct, but written language is not. Language is found in all societies, present and past. . . . All healthy children master their own language without lessons or corrections. When children are thrown together without a usable language, they invent one of their own. Compare all this with writing. Writing systems have been invented a small number of times in history. . . . Until recently, most children never learned to read or write; even with today's universal education, many children struggle and fail. A group of children is no more likely to invent an alphabet than it is to invent the internal combustion engine. Children are wired for sound, but the print is an optional accessory that must be painstakingly bolted on. This basic fact about human nature should be the starting point for any discussion of how to teach our children to read and write. (Reading Wars, 2000)"

The pedagogy was more of whole language approach and various practices were performed with the children yet, there wasn’t any effective result.

Solving the problem through continuous discussions and reflections, we figured out that there are sub-skills in reading and we need to strengthen the sub-skills like, phonic skills, comprehensive skills, print awareness, and few other skills.

We researched on phonics skills and realized it’s another vast sea to swim through. First of all, we learned that phonetics and phonics are not the same.
Understanding the difference between phonetics and phonics, we realized there’s a lot more in phonics than what we expected. Implicit, explicit, embedded and what not!!

Consisted of support by other fellows and reflection on our practices, we worked on implicit phonics and worked on ‘reading.’

Children were able to read by decoding but, they were unable to comprehend it.

Contended about at least one outcome, we focused on comprehension.

It took us several months and several discussions to learn, unlearn and change our belief systems on ‘reading.’

My co fellow, once mentioned, “Various countries have fought and debated intensely over the whole language approach and Phonics. They figured out that there needs to be a balanced approach.”

Reading the the article, “THE READING WARS: UNDERSTANDING THE DEBATE OVER HOW BEST TO TEACH CHILDREN TO READ” I realized the intricacies and theories on how we interpret reading.

I never heard about phonics till I walked into the foundation. I was skeptical about its effectiveness but, these lines pushed me to try out the method.

I tried the the implicit phonic method with upper primary class students and it worked. They were able to decode and it acted as a confidence booster as well.

“…to the extent consistent with the priority of learning decoding skills, phonemic awareness and phonics skills should be taught in a context that is interesting and stimulating, with real literature that invites understanding. Children who do not come from print-rich and literate environments, who have no reason to think that reading is important to them and whose parents do not read to them need the invitation of exciting, imaginative literature to give them a reason to do the harder work of phonics instruction. Particularly among children from deprived homes, the classroom will have to make explicit the connection between the discipline of phonics and its eventual results in the joy and necessity of reading that other child will discover at home.”

Witnessing the results in the upper primary didn’t wipe out the doubts I had about implementing phonics in first grades, as I read,

“………. allowing phonics to become the "dominant component" of reading instruction, particularly in the first grade, may be an especially bad idea if it is at the the expense of reading activities that focus, for instance, on meaning.”

Got to know about the balanced approach everyone calls out for but did not understand it to implement or share it in further circles.

Fellow reports and reflections helped me in a great way to understand the balanced approach but, I’m in need of the first-hand experience with first and second-grade students that’ll shift my perspectives.

Universe of Music- A R Rahman

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