Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Monday, September 28, 2020
Harry celebrated his birthday on Sep 28. He turned one more year olf. However, he is turning young at heart.
"If there's no word(concept) like age-appropriate work. Then what will happen? Which possibilities will open for us?
During my childhood, learning was never an easy task. "Study till 21. You study to get a job." I was told. I believed it. But, in life, We can't live without learning. We do not learn to live. We live to learn. Harry, a life long learninger, challenged himself to take up a 5KM jog. "It's kinda walk and jog but, I am happy to finish it," he mentioned.
Harry shared about his day and the celebrations. "Most of my close friends, often do not remember my birthday. This time, I decided to remind, for I wanted to catch up with them on the special day rather than waiting and ending the day with only expectations."
Instead of expecting others to recollect and respond to our birthdays, we can also initiate the conversations. True. I had the same experience where Shreya helped me to reflect on this.
A few memories were shared. More on routines and books, we spoke for a long time and called it a day. Good time.
I begin my day with my love, The Moon.
Silent roads. Dew rests on the steel trail on the terrace.
Darkness fades into the blueness
Blueness fades into the white skies.
Before the sunlight strikes,
The white moon hung in half
smiling at me.
Happy to see you. Happy to begin my day with you.
What does Ruskin Bond do to our lives? He brings out his life and welcomes us to leisure on a backseat and enjoy the journey he takes us on. No violence. No gory stuff. Binya's laugh. Prem's love. Bond's whispers. Nature's time. Little love. Little kindness.
He writes of little things that matter big time in life. Thanks, Ruskin Bond.
At a corner, it bloomed amidst the stains
The dirty red and muddy brown
Made from 1954
The pristine white flower blossomed
amidst the closed walls.
The white flower. The red stains.
At a corner, it fell amidst the stains
Tansen. Mahek. Pan Masala.
A few hours of sight.
Did anyone witness the magic of being?
Today, we played a full-court game. 11 point game. We finished it with a lead. We began another game. During the next game, the opponents started taunting and distracting our players.
Mental focus is the key to a good game. If distracted, we let our emotions hijack and indulge in our egos rather than winning the game.
Funny. Inspiring. Based on the life of Nadir Dendoune, this movie is directed by Ludovico Bernard.
I assumed Nadir took the journey in the same funny way, the protagonist does for a girl, in the movie, but, alas! I was astounded when I got to read about Nadir.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
I love walking barefoot. In the past, I walked barefoot during my college days. My college, BITS Hyderabad, Goa. I always looked for a reason to walk barefoot. I used to enjoy it. On an early morning, before I began to run, I walked barefoot and enjoyed walking on the sand. It's quite therapeutic. I could experience it.
Curious to learn the science behind it, I watched this documentary "Grounding."
Jawwad talked about it. Shobha mam also discussed this. We are insulating us from the earth. Time to reconnect and get grounded. Grounding helps us to have a better blood flow by paving the way for better electron flow.
"Practice what you preach or change your speech."
It’s easier to preach than practice. How better the world would be if we begin to practice all that we preach. We often help, support others however, at times, we can help ourselves also by inculcating all the good practices we preach.
We organized an event on reflective writing. We discussed the importance of reflective writing. We shared our stories, Anne Frank's story, how Anne Frank's writing changed the world. We inspired each other to begin writing. As a part of the event, Saket also talked about it and shared the idea of reflective writing.
Observant of the idea, Saket thought of the effects of writing. Reflective writing is not an idea specific to only one set of people. Everyone can practice it. Reflection through writing gives us clarity.
A little reflection. Saket observed everyone writing and bringing more productivity in their lives. He wanted to try out the idea. He bought a diary and began writing. Began with daily schedules, he also started writing his thoughts in the diary. “Maza aare likhne mei.” He shares as he opens his diary to jot his thoughts on various things. Next time, when he talks about reflective writing, I am sure, he would communicate the idea with more conviction as he practices by himself.
Glad to see Saket practicing what he preached. Keep it up Saket.
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Disappointing. Over the OTT platforms, the usual formula is boring. bang with the fight, heroine introduction song, shallow female protagonist, a little romance, end the climax with fight, twist and an item song before all that.
Maybe, it's fun watching this movie on the big screen. Nani's hard attempts to act scary were nothing but, puerile.
I picked up this book to explore the theme, "The biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst." How does our biology work at our best and worst? Best, while we love. Worst? While we harm others?
The book starts with a piece of advice, "stop categorical thinking." There’s no particular factor that causes behaviour. Not a gene, hormone, neuron, neuron transmitter. Everything is contextual dependent. "....And it’s officially complicated," mentions the author.
I loved understanding the working of the brain, neuron, neurotransmitter, and then what happens a second before a behavior occurs, a minute before, a month before, a millennium before.
Amygdala, hypothalamus, Pre Frontal Cortex. Oxytocin. Vasopressin. Testosterone. There are a lot of things, I got to know about. Glucocorticoids.
In the first chapters, answers to a few questions like, "Does alcohol makes you aggressive? Does oxytocin causes love?" seemed interesting. A special mention was given about childhood. Childhood is important. It molds our life. Does a terrible childhood define a terrible life? No.
Uhh. Yeah, told you so it’s complicated.
I was bummed to read about genes. I didn't have any knowledge of DNA, RNA, Genes, genomes. Enjoyed reading about how genes/ environment interaction works. How a few people exploited the genes and used them in the justice system to escape out of trials. MAO-A variant gene! A lot more on it.
Further, going back a millennium before, I read about evolution. What’s with evolution? reciprocal altruism, game theory, neo group selection. There’s a lot more than Darwin and evolution.
There is also an interesting story from the Mt. Abu region. Never expected that I would read a story of Mt. Abu from this Robert Sapolsky’s book.
Also, the Prefrontal cortex, how it’s not developed fully till Mid 25s. Why do youth take more risk?
Through this book, I got interested in molecular biology. How do our thoughts affect our brains? I hope, I find answers to my questions in this book. So far so good.
Robert Sapolsky's classes are also interesting. Good humor. Not at all boring.
I am so done with this. I can’t put it down. I can’t just skim the book. It’s understanding. It’s confusing. It’s gripping. It’s jargon.
It’s completely new. It’s not too academic. The writing style is nice. It’s well written. Need a lot of energy to read this book.
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Roommate tested negative!! Uff. However, many of my colleagues whom we met at the office for a meeting tested positive.
While I was preparing myself for home isolation, this news is a big relief. But, the stress we go through before we get the result is incomparable.
Most of the people from the Marwad region migrate to different places in India. It's been happening since Mughal times.
One of my student's mother was also a migrant to Andhra Pradesh during her childhood.
"I lived there for 16 years. I studied there. I enjoyed living there," said Manju Ji.
She began speaking Telugu. And I was speechless struggling to speak Telugu all of sudden listening to her speaking Telugu fluently.
"I studied till 7th class. It was more of Telugu and English. We didn't learn much of Hindi there. I enjoyed studying but, I returned here when I got engaged. I got engaged at a young age," said Manju Ji while little Harsha stared at us not understanding a word of what we were speaking.
Manju ji spent her childhood happily in Andhra Pradesh without having much to work. And when she returned here (Mandwa), she had 40-50 cows to rear.
"All my life, I have never touched cow dung there. And when I came here, I had to work on everything here. I struggled at the beginning."
"Even now, I would love to study. I was never given a chance," says Manju Ji, mother of four children lives with children while her husband is working in Dubai.
Thinking of English Teachers who taught me during my schooling, I think of my 2nd class English teachers, Annie. the first English teacher, I remember the name of. Before that, I do not have any memory of particular teachers. It was all vague.
Annie was my 2nd class English teacher. I shifted the school in the middle of the year, she made me feel comfortable while, helping me cope with the new school, new friends and a new environment. She took my half yearly exam and gave fewer marks as I had no clue what was the exam about and why I didn’t write anything.
Later, she helped me and taught me. I remember causing trouble in her class. Not intentional though. I only remember that she was angry with me and also my friend. That would be Srikanth.
After Annie, Kiranmayi was our English teacher. Jyothi was our Telugu teacher.
Kiranmayi mam encouraged me to read out the lessons loud in the classroom. I took pride in reading out loud with the right intonations and also I was good at it. I followed her classes well.
Throughout the classes, I had no trouble with English at all. I was enjoying it. In 2006, Thanks to Dad's transfer, I changed school, St.Paul’s school. I heard a lot about my English teacher. Bal raj sir. He looked serious. He never laughed. I never saw him laughing in front of students.
He beat the children a lot. I had a lot of fear. I made sure, I wrote his notes as neatly as possible. Also, complete without any postponement. I missed a few deadlines a few times and got a taste of his stick. It pains a lot. Even till today, his angry face is vivid in my memories. So strong was his fear of me.
Post-Half-yearly, I saw him smiling when he heard me give my monologue. That was the only time, I saw him acting like one of us. Other than that, he was always very angry.
In 2007, I changed my school again.
In Netaji Pilot High School, My 7th class teacher was Ramana Reddy sir. Old man with a good accent. Proper diction. Punctual about his work. He taught us grammar, especially after school hours. I never had to refer to a few of the English grammar rules, thanks to his classes. One of the most I remember well was the difference he taught between 'Between' and 'among.' I remember them very well.
'Vedhava' was his usual slang word. I was not his favorite. I was not even the bad one in his sight. Hardly people acknowledged my presence.
In 2008, I moved to St.Joseph's High School.
My 8th class English teacher, the sweetest of all. Anitha sister. I had a good rapport with her. Of all, she understood me and communicated well during my teens. I was not at my best but, still, she coped up with my erratic behavior and handled me well.
Mani was the final teacher I had a good time with English teachers. He gave me a sense of what is it to write. His words had a great influence on my life. "Everybody knows English. Nobody knows English," he encouraged us to enjoy the language. Thanks, Mani sir.
In Gowtam Model School, my 10th class Teacher was Ratnamala. I cannot remember the teacher who taught us at first. Ratnamala reminds me of Santosh and Pratyusha. For all the pranks we made in her classes. Thinking of Santosh, I recall our last biology teacher, Santosh’s favorite. Unable to recall her name.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
There have been plenty TED talks emphasizing the need of sleep during these unprecedented times. I never bothered to know more about it. My roommate got sick. He felt weak. There’s no proof of COVID yet, there’s an unconscious fear between both of us.
Delving on the what-if the situation, I hit the bed early and the unconscious fears crept in scaring me about the COVID-19. Consciously, I didn’t bother about it but, the COVID worried me. It disturbed my sleep and I turned anxious more than ever.
Dreams flashed bringing all my dear ones at one place and the conversation, sequences are all about death, grief, sorrow.
Take it easy. Don’t worry. I know it but, emotionally, I feel different than what I think. My sleep affects my day. And my thoughts affect my mood and eventually my work.
It’s important to address these issues more than ever. The anxiety, suspenseful situations. It’s a lot to take in!
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Musical.Mesmerizing.Romantic. Kajol's first South Indian movie is entertaining. There are a few songs that outshined the other songs. Only after a few years, I discovered the other songs that became my all-time favourites.
During, 2006, Dad got his first out-of-state posting to Gudiyattam, Tamil Nadu. I remember listening to these songs in Tamil, thanks to all the Tamil music channels. In TamilNadu, Dad embraced the language challenge and was learning Tamil then.
Most of the time, I pick up the talker role. I always talk. I can talk for hours and hours. I took pride in it. The urge of sharing my thoughts, experiences, and memories.
However, trying to understand other's experiences, emotions, taking interest in others' lives pushed me to pick the listener's hat. Listening actively to others helped me to listen to understand rather than to reply. Listening helped me to be attentive and give my full attention to the people whoever I am with.
Listening seemed to be more fun than talking.
Behave, a book on the biology of humans at our best and worst. The last time, I read biology text was in my 10th class, a decade ago. Reading about genes, DNA, RNA, Nucleus, I refreshed my basics. Currently, the theme of the book has nothing to do with my work. Out of sheer interest and curiosity, I began reading this book. As I started reading this, the content is getting complicated and various disciplines are being included (neurobiology, neuroscience, endocrinology, nucleopeptides, MAO-O gene variant!) Woah. There’s a lot to understand!
Jumping through disciplines out of curiosity is helping me to get a new perspective. It's hard but, fun! I am enjoying this.
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Brilliant. I am currently reading a book written by Robert Sapolsky. I assumed it would be dry but, Robert has shattered all my assumptions. By all his witty, spontaneous narrative, he made the reading experience joyful. However, the subject, as he says, "... is complicated."
The more we give attention, the deeper it grows in our system. Listening to the music that oppresses us, can make that a reality itself. Glad to discover Madame Gandhi and her message. Liberating beats as well as the message.
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Never believing the pals I got, I went on with my day. Basketball court. Game. Home.
As I walked into the home, they began their day. Everyone is terrible at decision making. There was an idea but no plan.
After a lot of sulking, Biju and I got on to the bike, heading towards Sirodi.
Biju in his usual mode had a lot of stories to share. I, as ever, was the pillion rider nodding for every story he had to say.
25 kilometers. 35 minutes. We took a break waiting for Azhar and Dyu.
"We are 20 minutes away,” mentioned Dyu. Thus, we resumed our ride.
Steering off-highway, we entered the village. Trees. Shrubs. Fields. And the silhouette of mountains. In the vast blue skies, white clouds sailed upon screening the sunshine at times.
Dinesh Bhai, Saket, Ali, Biju, and I were on our way into villages of Sirodi, heading to Mahakundeshwar.
A stream of water divided our pathway to a destination. In the ankle-deep, pristine water stream, boys were catching the crabs, a little girl was washing her clothes. The other boys were crossing the streams.
A beautiful sight to see but, we had a situation to solve. The road to the falls is locked by a gate. Forest rangers
The gate was locked and we couldn’t directly get on to the path. We had to take an alternative path. Dinesh rode the bike in all-terrain mode raising the dirt on the ground. Rocky path. Hilly ride. It was rough and we enjoyed it.
6kilometre ride. We were elated by the sights we got to see.
It was a stairway to heaven.
We rode all the way to a point. We rolled up our sleeves, pulled our trousers, and trudged on the rocky path, watching our feet through clear streams over the pebbles and stones.
We reached the falls that took away our breath. Maha Kundeshwar Falls.
Clearwater flowing over the huge rocks. We couldn’t stop getting into it. These waterfalls reminded me of all my friends who lost lives in those flash floods. Such is contrast and life. Reminded of the death, I got in the water. I was happy. I was sad. I was enjoying it. I was reflecting. I had a great time.
Watching Biju dive, I got reminded of the diving I took on the Death Circuit race and I also went on to dive. In the deep waters, I dove and Biju pushed me to get a hold on stones. Worth experiencing.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Pallavi on her firebrand Dugdugi revved past the trucks, listening to all the songs she wished to listen to. It’s the driver's day. We can’t afford to deny the chief’s wishes.
Cheerful Pallavi, a friendly chief was okay to listen to any kind and every kind of music. We listened to Telugu, Malayalam, African, Hindi, and many other language songs.
Bhavya got on to the console, changing the mood in the car by changing the tunes on the speaker.
Prateek Kuhad. A.R.Rahman. Mohit Chauhan. She got the groove right. We were on a roll enjoying the drive.
It drizzled. It rained. Hazy windows. Blurry sight. We drove ahead while the wipers swept the water off the windshield. I enjoyed the drive being nervous of all the miraged potholes that helped us to go at our own pace. Snail pace.
Boosted by the music and cheerful laughs of Pallavi, Priyanka, and Bhavya, we went ahead talking, laughing, and also forgetting our road. "Journey is more important than the destination," we told ourselves enjoying the drive. We strayed off our road by 20 odd kilometers. We drove into the Gujarat state. We missed the road. A little doubt and google maps helped us to get on to the right road.
Azhar joined us on our journey. Poet in the company of happy souls. Nothing could get better.
Hours on the road, it rained heavily. Heavy rain. Hilly ride. I was not sure of what’s gonna happen? We took a pit stop before we headed to Mt.Abu.
The car was our kitchen. The car was our dining room. No hard feelings on all the mess we created in the car. We continued our journey to Mt.Abu.
A few minutes onto the road, the clouds were at the sight. Bhavya, at the front seat, got the best sight and was elated with joy. "Abhinay! Look at the clouds," she suggested.
I wished I had. I also knew that would be my last wish if only had I looked at the clouds. I locked my eyes on the cars and the curves instead of the clouds.
Occasionally, I was blessed by the sight of beauty. Canopies, Cars & ladies.
Few more minutes on to the ascent, the water streams appeared. Mist of clouds flowed. Mountains sailed in their own time. We, little humans, in our little car, were cruising in the madness crowd to the Mt.Abu
Constantly reminded of all the long drive memories with Dad. I was grateful to learn driving through him. I was surprised to observe myself being patient without losing the cool amidst the bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Music and the company blew off my fatigue. I was taking in the energy by songs, Jaage Hain, Maula Mere Maula, Arziyan, Tu Hi re and many more songs.
In no time, we were on Mt.Abu deciding where to go and where not to go. Thanks to Azhar for the timely suggestions, we went to the not-so-crowded road, free of humans.
Silence. Sailing clouds. Trees that speak through the tunes of wind. I enjoyed the sweetness of the air I breathe. Observing nature without the help of a camera lens, I was reflecting.
Like the clouds, whirl, surround the trees, and sail away. Does life come, entwines us by its charm, leaves our soul gently. Does it?
The tree. Life. The clouds. The time. I wish we spent more time. On the contrary, I was also worried of the night roads. I pushed my friends to get into the car. On our way home, we met Azhar's friend, Nalini aunt.
Warm.Generous. She offered us tea, sweets, and shared a lot of stories. Glad to hear the way Azhar and uncle bonded over photography.
We began our return journey contended over the clouds, connections, and myself for a quick nap.
Azhar recalled Green’s poetry, sharing us few lines from Gulzar. It was Gulzar's day! Pallavi finally got a chance to play the song, Tera Ziqr, Jaadu hai nasha. We took one final last stop to sit and enjoy the dusk and the play of clouds.
Silence. Darkness. Grateful for nature. Pallavi’s car. Dad’s lessons. Good music. Good company. Lived in the moment. The flow of clouds fluttered our feelings.
On our return journey, we discussed history, emotions, unconscious fears, and a lot more stories.
Highway songs. Guzaarish. Baawra Mann. Over the music and stories, we reached home. Good day. Great time. Thanks all of you.
The mist that embraced the tree
The life that passed through my soul,
River of clouds.
The sweetness of air I breathe.
The world spins on its own. I reflect watching the mist.
The mist that flows through the forest.
In a trice, we are embraced
By the soft touch of its entwinement
The trees play the hide and seek
We stood still observing the play.
"Let my mind stay still like the tree that observes
what goes through it and flows through it."
I wrote this poem after the Mt.Abu trip with Azhar, Pallavi, Priyanka and Bhavya.
Monday, September 7, 2020
Ek baar idhar se baahar jaaye tho. Hojaatha hai. Once, I get out of this place. Everything is going to be alright.
One teacher wants to get out of Sirohi, the place he is posted in. Sirohi with 0.4691 HDI value, (Human Development Index parameter) is in the dark zone. The district is put in a dark zone because of the lack of development.
"I am concerned about my children. Pali has a better education than Sirohi." shares the reason for why he wants to move out. The teacher who got promoted and got transferred to the dark zone thinks of their children’s education.
District is unable to cater better education. Better faculty is also the reason why there's no better education. Being a better teacher, doesn't want to sacrifice his children's education pulls all strings to get out.
He himself is in the system. While the Govt is trying to better the place by restrictions like you can’t get a transfer out of this place(dark zone), unless you get the replacement on your own. This is the place where hardly people wish to work unless they’re from this place.
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