Sunday, January 31, 2021

Thoughts- The first rays

The first rays, I see at our home. The place that's filled with darkness get a glint of light through the windows from the picturesque sunrise. Enjoy these little things. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Book- Do and Don't

 This little black and white book is a good tool to discuss with children on what do they like and what they don't like to do in their life. It's common that children don't like to go to school to attend classes but, they do like to go to school to play with friends and to go out for a picnic with them.  During childhood, at times, I didn't like going to school to study. During class, 1&2, I planned a lot of times to miss the school. I'm glad, I could recollect those fading memories by reading this small book.

Stories with Geetika- Non violent Communication

"What's the aspect of time in storytelling?" asked Geetika. 

"In the history of oral storytelling, there's no aspect of limited time. In olden days, women had different songs for different works. When they grind, they have songs, when they work on field, they have different songs. In the same way, through sharing stories, their stories, someone's stories, they entertain themselves and also live in that way." 

I blabbered on what's storytelling to me and what little I know of storytelling. A patient listener, she nodded listening to my thoughts. "As I listen to you, I observe that you're interested in self-reflection, storytelling, listening and talking. There's non-violent communication which you should check out."

I was grateful to have her listen to me in person for long time and point out what I'm interested in and suggest an idea/theme that's in my interest area. I never heard of it, non-violent communication. Thanks Geetika for sharing it. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Travel Tales- Mandvi Beach

 The last time, I visited beach was in the year 2018. I wanted a beach filled with less crowd. Just like how I wanted, Mandvi beach was with less crowd with more camels, horses and ATVs.

Camel ride at the beach seemed exotic. Pushp and I got onto the camel and enjoyed the ride. The sight of the sea from camel's height was different. I enjoyed to ride on the camel. Camel walks in a rhythm. I sat along, letting my body sync in it's rhythm. Azhar found a shade and dozed off on the shore. I joined him, working remote. 

An hour later, while Azhar and Pushp were into the sea enjoying the sunset, I was on the shore, working remote. I was there, at the sea but, was concentrating on the work. The sun was setting into the sea, I was listening to the discussions. I couldn't stop myself from walking into the sea. I walked to touch the waves. Put off my headphones for a while, witnessed the sun setting in, switching off the sky into dimness. 

I could discover the value of being present in the moments. I found it futile to be at multiple places. It's futile to multi task simultaneously. 

Soon after the sun was set, I walked along the shore, attending the work. Azhar and Pushp were put up with me. They let me work while they spent time in the sea. As the darkness seeped in, cold winds blew, the sand got cold. The little crowd I found disappeared. Camels & horses returned to their stalls. There were three to four huddles enjoying their time at the sea. We crashed into their huddles and broke the ice. At one huddle, there was a photo shoot. The photographers offered chewing gum and we had a little talk. Another huddle, we hung out with doctors-in-their-residency. Pushp had great time discussing similar interests with the doctors. They shared their smokes with us. We hung out with them for long time, listening to music. The sea waves in the background set a soothing rhythm. We listened to Atif, A.R.Rahman and many more inspiring musicians. We collected the little wood we found on the beach and continued the bon fire. We stayed with them until they left the beach. 

We crashed into the last huddle, a gang full of boys with guitars and cajon. Under the moon light, we couldn't see each other but sang out loud, laughing, enjoying the classical songs. Revving the mood, the gang sang the Gujarati songs. Enjoyed it. It was a lovely night. 

We spent the next hour, laughing out loud with them, cracking silly jokes and posing silliest puzzles. Good time. 

Travel Tales- Bhuj

 A day before the trip, I called Azhar if we have any itinerary regarding Bhuj trip. "Yes," he replied in a diplomatic tone, he ever uses. Unplanned journeys are fun but, not when we got to balance the work a bit also. I was skeptical of the trip. Like I thought, we began our journey carrying my laptop, opening up at all the places, to edit the documents and share with others. 

Cautious of train journeys in winter, I carried a blanket and I got saved. I had a good sleep in the train. Before arriving to Bhuj, the train halted and we strolled around while Azhar and Pushp had chai.

We were about to begin our journey in Bhuj, I had an urgent work to attend. Azhar and Pushp were kind enough to let me work while they waited and checked out what we can do around Bhuj. An hour later, we headed to bus stand wondering if we had to stay in Bhuj or move to Mandvi, a coastal place in Gujarat. 

"Don't stay in Mandvi. There's nothing. Stay in Bhuj," were many suggestions we got from all the auto drivers and bystanders. We were determined to spend the night at beach. We headed to Mandvi. 

I missed observing the sceneries as I was glued to my laptop all the way. Azhar had a great day watching the windmills ands little ponds. 

Unsure of the stay, we checked our luck by walking into a guest house. The landlord was busy, painting the walls. He showed us the room and asked us to decide. We wanted to stay on the beach at some resort. The owner even suggested other resorts and gave out the phone numbers to contact. As every resort was full, we decided upon the first guest house we checked in. The rukmavati guest house. 

Spacious architecture. Cozy place. We checked in and rushed to beach. 

Walking in the lanes of Mandvi, we discovered these wooden ships being built. Through the narrow lanes, we walked, searching for Noorani hotel to hog on. A suggestion by a localite, whom we asked on the road. We didn't rely much on google for the suggestions. 

Tasty chicken, tiny rotis, we hogged and headed to the beach. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Stories from Sirohi- Kikkar

"What are you doing this weekend? Would you like to visit Abu Road," asked Geetika.

"Have other plans but, why do you want to go again when you visited this week itself," I asked.

"There's a lot we can do in Abu road. Sanjay loves environment and there's something we want to do there" she explained. Geetika explained the tree and it's story. 

Kikkar. The unwanted tree. Long roots. Dive deep and suck the water. No bird sits on this tree. No animal eats it's leaves. It's a weed and it causes harm more than any other things. Such trees laid around adding fuel to the fire and making the drought area prone to more drought and wasting the water.

"What can we do?" I was curious to know. 

 There are various methods. There are organic methods. There are creepers which kill the trees as they wind it but it takes years. Kikkar its called but it's not wanted by anyone of us. Such are so many trees that are lying. 

Travel tales- Rann Utsav

I neither heard much about Rann Utsav nor wanted to know about it. Couple of times, I saw Amitabh sir promoting Gujarat tourism. On an unplanned trip, I visited Bhuj and later Rann of Kutch. Azhar, Pushp and I reached Rann of Kutch at evening. We managed to get into the place when it was all dark. By the time, we left, it was all dark. 

We couldn't differentiate between what's white desert and what's normal land. We went till the end, reaching the huge iron maze structure. On our way, were the lights and trail of amazing architecture. We entered the white desert and walked into it enjoying the night. There were few people who were dismantling their carts and unbuckled the camels of the cart. There were very less people on the ground. Everything seemed salty. Once sea, now a desert. A different one from the desert I've seen in Jaisalmer. Walking on the desert, I enjoyed it. We called it a day. We took a break when we were returning. We were in our spaces, enjoying the solitude and the silence we had over the place. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Book- The Librarian of Basra

 True story. When Basra, a town in Iraq, is tumulted with violence and war, the librarian saves the books by shifting them to various places. Story worth sharing.  Enjoyed the bilingual book. I could imagine her home filled with books. Wish someone made documentary on this incident. Thanks Jeanette Winter for writing this. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

My walk into APF

My walk into APF

Harry forwarded the mail saying to check out the program offered by Azim Premji Foundation. Interested in learning, life skills, I bought the idea of experiential learning. I gave out the form and applied filling out the basic information.

I was not anxious about getting in it as I had no clue what was it all about. Experiential learning would be of any type. I was ready to learn through experience rather than sitting in a room.

After a month, I received  a mail for being shortlisted for the exam. I had to appear for an exam. Exam had basics of English, Math, General Knowledge and essay writing. Too basic to sit and study and too tricky to be complacent. I brushed up my basic math skills and attended the exam. I was given a topic on Kerala floods. Sharing out my opinion, I also gave out few views on the floods. I thought I did a decent job.

I walked out of exam and checked out their timeline of interview process, if selected.

It ranged from November to February for every process.  If shortlisted through written test, we had to write SOP. If gone through SOP process, phone interview and even if phone interview is checked through, In person interview.

After all the process, they’d select if they feel we’re worthy to be in their fellowship.

Seemed lengthy process but also attracted me for its detailed process. They’re not in a hurry to select any other people. They want to scrutiny and find whom they wanted.

 I retired on the day and carried on with my life.  3 weeks passed, I received a call from Piyush from Azim Premji Foundation.

We had a lengthy conversation on my interest in joining the foundation. I was clear in my responses. I wanted to learn. I was ready to live in remote places. I was up to give up all the urban privileges.

I never hated my job. My choice of taking up another learning or domain was not because I was hating my job. I loved my job. I also wanted to check out the other lives.

Done with 21 years. I studied enough to earn money. I was earning a money. Landed up in the office learning management and the dynamics of the world. Is it all? Or is there anything beyond giving a meaning to our life by our reality or finding new meanings by changing the reality.

With all the reflecting thoughts, I wanted a change.  I shared these thoughts, ideas with Piyush. He was patient enough to listen out to my views. He wished my luck and ended the conversation. 

Well, I had to be myself. I did not want to sound who I am not. I had no clue of education. I wanted to learn. That itself was my own reason to join the fellowship. The fellowship was vague. I had no clue what it was all about, but I knew I was there for a great learning.

Comes December 18th, I was called up for an interview. I reached Bangalore, before I realise what was happening. I walked across the corporate Wipro buildings and landed up in a beautiful space decorated amidst the trees.

The architecture was vibrant. It was breathable and everything about the building was aesthetic.

Deprived of sleep, early morning flight, I took a leisure walks over the buildings.

We were invited for the lunch. The lunch was provided. We were asked to settle in before the interview starts.

10 of us were called in for a presentation. Mandya Leader gave out the presentation on what do they really work on. Gave out the information that was present on the website. Too general to enquire about, too new to ask the enquiries from.

As the interviews got started, we were called out to visit the room.

While I was at the desk waiting for my turn, those silent moments are what it all mattered. The inner anxiety was all true to experience. No issues in experiencing but letting it over ride my emotions or confidence was critical. I was anxious of the whole interview process but, didn’t think of how I’d perform. Clueless of what would happen, I didn’t imagine more than what I need to be at that point of time.  

I was welcomed by Aanchal. I was given an introduction. As the conversation went on, I was asked to present my topic.  Frankly, I wasn’t socially conscious on third world topics.  I could empathise with learning, relations and those micro problems that we generally face. I talked on reclaiming conversation. I talked on how technology is letting us be at our worst with our friends. How is it deeply ruining our lives by making us crippled to make friendships and apathy towards others.

I do not know If I could call it social topic but according to me, anything that’s with us and other people involved it’s a social problem.

Stories from Sirohi- Same Story, different audience

Krishna Kumar has talked about storytelling in his book, “What’s worth teaching.”

“Thirty stories that the teacher can tell at will can transform the ethos of the first two years of primary schooling, provided of the course that the daily curriculum finds an honourable place for storytelling for its own sake.”

I believe in the power of storytelling.

Storytelling gives a great channel to think, play around and also learn. As a storyteller, there are many skills that needs to be practiced for an effective storytelling session. The storytelling has various aspects. The kind of story and also the narrative offering the right level of detail. Too little and the story is not vivid; too much and it gets bogged down.

Storytelling is more of a performance, how we emote matters. Knowing our audience does also matters.

I read this small book, ‘The smartest giant in the town,’ picked up from the school library.

I loved the pictures. I wanted to share this story with everyone I meet in person. I took out the book and walked into the class to narrate the story and find out if they like it.

1st class.

I walked into the class with the book and sat at one side. Colourful red book in hand, kids are always curious to find out what I bring to the class.

“I’ll tell you a story. Story of this boy.”

Kids gathered around me. Always finds a spot near enough, not letting the other kids see the book.

I had an A4 sized book.  Big enough for 10 kids to see clearly.

I wanted to talk about this boy, I wanted the kids to talk about the boy as well.

‘What could be his name?. Tell me.’

‘Buddhu,’ was the response.

Yes, Buddu is this guy and in which village does he live?


‘Yes, Mandwa.’

‘Buddhu in Mandwa is quiet poor and he doesn’t have proper clothes. We all have good clothes na. He doesn’t have  it. He walked into shop where everyone in town are small.’

Emphasizing on big and small and I kept repeating these two words. Continuing the story, I narrated what happens next.

‘He buys the shirt, pant, tie, socks, shoe, belt.’

Tie was the only thing that was bit out of context to the kids. Kids kept repeating moja moja pointing out the socks. I learnt a new word. Moja it is.  

‘He bought a lot of these things, how much he’d have spent?’

‘2 rupees.’

‘Yeah, 2 rupees.’

Continuing the story

He meets Giraffe who feels cold.

‘Buddu ne Tie dediya.’

I went on with the story flipping the pages and repeating the English words.

I flipped the page and asked the kids to identify the animal. The kids saw and immediately said, it’s a rabbit.  It was a goat but, they saw it as rabbit. I was all in for their story rather than my story. I said yes, rabbit.

I shared the story with rabbit.

The story included the animals, the clothes and the Buddhu gave away a lot of things to lot of animals.

I continued the story focussing on clothes, animals, emotions and a lot more. I let them guess each character and I was not forceful in saying English names, when a kid says, Chua, I say yeah, Rats.

When kid says, Nahi chuha, I say yeah. Chuha, rats bhi bolthe hum.

It was important to acknowledge what they say. Respecting their opinion is one step to make them accept you.

Going through the story, I made them guess the actions of the character Buddhu.

In the story, after giving away every garment, he goes in a jolly mood.

I asked them what he’d be doing.

‘He’s singing.’

‘Which song?’

And the kids picked up the Hindi Rhymes, aaloo ka Chaaloo beta.

When there was another instance, they sang another Hindi rhyme.  3rd time, I said, ‘If he had to sing English rhyme, what he’d sing?’

Kids joined to sing ‘twinkle twinkle little star.’

After the English stint, I didn’t have to hint them, they sang another English rhyme, “We are happy family.’


It was a bilingual storytelling session, focussing on the clothes and animals. Kids contributed a lot to the story and went on reading the pictures from the book.

After, I finished the session, I left them to go back to their own scribbling in their free period. I left the story book in the class and kids took turns to read the book through pictures. Following up with coloring worksheets seemed a great idea.

Idea didn’t turn up into execution.


2nd Class

Another free class, I walked in with the book into the 2nd class sitting at the centre of the class, asking if they’d like to hear a story. Few kids accepted the invitation, few rejected it. I was contended with the number of audience I had. The rest were minding their business. They were silently working on their scribbling.

I started the session with questions. Kids named the character, Kumar and the village Mandwa.

In this class, kids identified the animals right. A fox is a fox, not a dog. They were telling the animals’ names in Hindi, I was helping them with English names.

Asking the budget of the clothes purchase, the kids said, 4000. ‘Chaar hazaar bhaiya.’ They said.

Acknowledging and accepting their numbers, I went on with the session. I kept asking them to guess, if they can read the pictures and voice out their guesses. Kids in the 2nd class are active listeners and wanted only me to talk. They didn’t like any interruptions.

Everyone were busy reading the pictures, they also enjoyed the storytelling session.  I read them out the greeting card, animals write to the character and said rhyming words from them.

By the end, I had everyone in the class listening to me. Kids who were minding their business also joined in between and listened. It was full house session, discussing clothes, animals and a story.

Follow up session on clothes, animals was a thought but didn’t see the light of the day in execution.


3rd Class

Narrating the story in 1st and 2nd classes, I thought to do it in 3rd class as well. Always in a demand of stories through videos, kids were excited for a storytelling session.

We sat in a circle on the floor and started the session. We made sure everyone gets a good glance of the book.

I started the narration showing them the pictures. They were identifying the animals right, guessing the story right. They were contributing to the story. They were repeating all the English words that were emphasized.

Everything was good until I came to the last page.

Since I read out the letter written by animals to the character as a part of story narration, I started reading it in 3rd class as well.

Out of 12 kids, 2 kids sat with me as I started reading the letter. Everyone just got up and sat in their places. I was surprised to see their outright rejection in reading the text.

  Were they not engaged in the story? Didn’t they like the story? Their interaction signalled me that they were interested.

Since I was not strict at making them listen, they opted out of listening to the reading of the text. With such disinclination, to reading, I thought I need to work on their assumptions that makes them feel averse to reading or listening to the reading.

Over all, narrating a single story to all the 3 classes left me out with how kids respond to stories. Every kid loves stories. Every kid loves reading through pictures. Picture reading is a great activity to interact with the kids simultaneously teaching the language.

I remember Shoban ji’s words telling us what all aspects are covered in the design of pictures for picture reading. The search and selection for the picture reading seems to be the work.

During my childhood, textbook reading made me averse to the reading habit. Till schooling, I never read anything other than textbooks. Post schooling, thanks to few friend’s consistent suggestions, I picked up reading. I started with non-fiction and slowly covering to read all kinds of literature.

I haven’t read much of children’s literature. Book suggestions are highly appreciated. Thank you.  


Stories from Sirohi- The Board Dilemma

The Board Dilemma.

With the new change in Education policy, I was glad to see the devil of 10+2 leaving, but, I tell myself, it’s just the change of number.

8th the board. Do not touch them. Do not experiment with them, they have the board. They need to pass by any chance. Simply pass them out of the bucket.

Given the classes, the fear is passed to the children as well. 7th class is seen as one more year from board, 6th class is seen as 2 more years, there’s a relaxed time.

Do we need to work along just for the board?

what’s in the board that’s not covered along throughout all the classes.

Learning outcomes comes in a flow, the learning outcomes are no way special in 8th class.

The fear or the opinion of the class is shown in the teaching plans, the pedagogy and in most of the behavior that’s shown with the classes.

Poem- Warm wishes on The Wordless Conversation

Poetry is not everyone's cup of tea.  This is a warmth response I ever got on the book I wrote, including all the titles of the poems I've written. Thanks reader for reading my book, also for writing this piece. 

Hi. Hope lockdown is treating you fine


You are staying safe & hydrated.

*May be. Or may be not.*

Am not sure. But I do hope.

Truly, speech can go only so far.

But to brighten someone's day,

with just a smile,

Unknown of what they are going through...

A *wordless conversation* is worth it indeed.😊

Kahin suna hai,

"Ae bheed , tu itni khamosh kyon hai?

Sannate se seekh, cheekhna kise kehte hain!" 
The scream of silence ....

warns us to *beware of silence*,

surely, for we might get to hear those

realities of and about ourselves,

which we don't want to hear

or have been running away from.

Truly. How much more common,

can violence being romanticized and

expectations being fed, get?

Wish, one could really unveil the love and it's hostile truth,

with the help of *St.Valentine*. Or without.



"He already crossed the side and faded out of my sight."

Can't be undone, I agree.

But sometime when *Life* makes one feel his presence

not anywhere but within,

and when one asks, "After all this time?",

hope he'd answer, "Always."

Getting to know, *Know* , was interesting and funny.

More than anything, I believe,

nature makes one feel alive.

*Petrichor* is one of those life

enriching experiences irrespective of age.

One can find oneself too, in my opinion, besides god.

Retrieves faith, doesn't it?

I knew it's always good to have multiple perspectives.

But *Deprived of the sea* couldn't have made it clearer.

For, now I know it's important too along with being good,

to have multiple perspectives.


It's also about empathy.

"For the world will never end

But there seemed to be a human end."

Can't agree more. However, humans like you,

with art being the essence of their deeds may live on.

Shall live on. Through their art. *There's no end*, to artists. 

Unlike other poems I have read so far,

I could relate to many of them.

May be due to the way I interpreted them. 

It was a happy read.

Good day. Stay safe. 😊

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

TED Talk- How Creative Writing can help you through life's hardest moments.

Whenever I'm overwhelmed by an emotion, I do not attempt to express it through words. Nor do I record it in any form. Any expression would undermine the experience, I tell myself and do not write. Regarding the  hardest moments in my life, I chose to forget, perish those memories from my life. I chose not to write. On contrary, I think a lot about them as I keep repressing the thoughts and memories. 

In this talk, Sakinah talks about how we can use creative writing to help us through life's hardest moments. 

She suggested to write three things. 


2. Order of Events

3. How it made us feel

She even gave a few suggestions. "You don't need to panic about how to write. Every story has a beginning, middle, ending. Follow the same for your writing."

She even shared her writing about what she felt of an incident following these three aspects. I enjoyed the powerful recitation of her writing. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Movie- Art of Loving

In 2021, I couldn't decide which movie to begin with. Picking on Harry's suggestion, I watched this movie, Art of Loving. It's the story of Michalina  Wislocka, a sexologist. It's a depiction of her journey of publishing this book in a communist country.

Sex is taboo. In our country, I wonder if we are educated about sex, masturbation without any embarrassment. Biology is an interesting subject to learn. We are deprived of better sex education in our schooling. We are conditioned to a lot of beliefs on sex. These days, I believe that porn is altering a lot of beliefs.  I was introduced to porn (thanks, Sunny leone) when I hit 18. It started with curiosity and I read a lot about porn, watched documentaries(along with porn at regular times) I had to educate myself a lot on sex, emotions, feelings. Most of the time, I reflected and it didn't help. 

At a subconscious level, we are made to believe that pleasure is bad and sex is bad. There's a lot of repercussions to these beliefs. I'm not up to promote free sex either. I second that, education is important! To know ourselves and our bodies better. 

Michalina Wislocka contributed a lot to the education of society through her book.  Enjoyed it. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Stories from Sirohi- Trees and it's shapes.

Every time, I get on to the roads, I observe the trees that I hardly found in south India. A different shape, different leaves, different texture. I'm marveled to the distinct species of Rajasthan. During the winters, most of the trees can be found without leaves. There are few trees whose leaves are too small to cut. Love the shape of those trees. Here are a few pictures of those trees. 

Stories from Sirohi- Development

 Too far from the town, the Government school Balwantgarh is located next to the highway. We engaged with the school team till late afternoon and headed to the office. We reached the town with starved stomachs. "What shall we have?" I asked Dyu. Too small to have a lot of options, I got disappointed on the place we live in, Sirohi. In the past, we could have a mutton biryani, tandoori, kababs, cream stone ice cream, what not! Zomato, swiggy, and a lot more to deliver us in time. What can fill our stomachs? I craved for a heavy lunch. Dyu suggested burger, the only shop that sells burgers. "When will Sirohi get developed?" I asked, having the burger ( not really a burdger, a bun cut in the middle and filled with a few cooked noodles.)

"It'll take time," Dyu suggested. We had two burgers and pizza.  "Kitna hua?" I asked. 

"Ek sau bees." the seller replied. 

"Still do you need development that could cost us a bomb for what we ate?" Dyu teased me. That's when I felt grateful to live in Sirohi, a decent town for an economic living. A town that caters our needs but, can't satisfy our craving wants and desires. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Morning Magic

Today, I woke up and passed through my windows. Streaks of light shimmered on the pockets of clouds that filled the sky. A sight I would love to experience for a moment. I put on my jacket. I went out in cold and had a walk witnessing the magic, sunrise. 

Thoughts- Internalisation and process

 Many times, we get influenced and our work has little traces of our influences. It's okay to have them. In the beginning, when we are exploring our voice, we can always create based on our influences. Over time, finding our own voice and exploring the originality is all that matters. 

How do we be original when nothing is original?

It's all about internalizing it and have it in our own way. Everyone listens to the greatest but, not everyone gets influenced in the same manner. Everyone has the access to the same tools but, still, not everyone creates the same stuff. They bring out their style in the creation process. It's all about finding our own voice and be on the path of exploring. 

I'm still in the process of finding my own voice. On the path of exploration. 

Sankranthi Special - Dahi Chura

 Saket and Kushboo invited us for lunch. At any festival, they heartily welcome us to share a conversation, food, and happy smiles. Today Bhabi cooked traditional dishes. We had Dahi Chura, Sabji, sweets I was unable to label. 

I'm getting used to having lunches that do not have any roti or rice. In past, we had litti choka and other dishes. In the end, another dessert was shared. I had a lot of sweets. It's time I begin work out.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Children and toys!

I met Ridhan at Verapura school while his mom was shuffling between work and babysitting him. 14-month-old Ridhan loves to run away from his mom to play. He manages to run on the steep slope. He trots on the sand. Too tall to climb the steps, he gets on his knees and climbs stairs one by one. Ridhan can do anything but, stay silent. 

Children love to explore. After walking along with him, playing hide and seek for half an hour. We settled in a corridor with my bag lying aside. He wants everything that's in my hands, an inquisitive observer. I handed him an eraser box. He looked at the box, felt it, turned it around. After a few minutes, he managed to open the box. Once, he realized how it opens and closes, he did it several times. He discovered that he could empty the box and fill it again with the erasers. Once, twice, thrice, he never got tired out of it. He loved emptying the box and filling it again. 

As he went on fiddling the paper box, different flaps of the box came out. He took out each flap, tried to remove it, and was successful at it. For thirty minutes, we played with an eraser box. 

I discovered that babies love to explore and experiment with the things they got. There's no point to give them random toys that they cannot fiddle with. Give them anything(keep safety in mind!) children would love to explore them. Instead of spending a lot of money on toys, one can always make creative stuff to entertain children, also help them for holistic development. Check out

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Memories- Diaries & dialogue


"Diaries. We should write daily in diaries," I suggested Azhar. 

"Yes. We should!," shared Azhar, "my dad used to write a diary and it's nice to read it now."

Azhar began sharing about his dad, with a laugh on his face recollecting the happy memories. "Mere Papa bahut likthe the. He even used to write matches and schedules. 2003. World Cup. What happened in the final."

Azhar lost his father in August 2003 due to health reasons. "What's your relation with your dad," I asked. 

"I'm the youngest of all. I'm the most pampered child, I believe." Azhar shared about his childhood. 

When I was small, I remember my Dad getting sweets every day. He is a teacher, well respected in the whole village. He's the most punctual person.  

A sharif and simple person, he never talked to anyone in a high voice. He greets everyone. I remember him getting either sweets or fruits to home every single day.

Azhar showed me his father's diary. "Went to school. Attended the meeting. India played Newzeland. Score...." It's heartening to read his diary imagining him write this every day. 

"Mere Papa, english mei Likthe the. Sometimes, I find spelling mistakes as well. He is a learner. He's the updated person I knew during my childhood," reminsced Azhar. 

Talking about letters, Azhar shared the three letters he wrote to different readers at different instances. Thinking of diaries, both of us headed to book stall and bought two dairies. A good way to start the year. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Mail from Mandwa- Lonu's play

 Everytime I meet Lonu, I got to play teacher-student or holiday at house. "Get ready. Brush. Wear Lehenga Chunni. Lipstick." These are the instructions she gives me to enact in a play situation. Sometimes, when we play the school situation, I get to bathe, wear my dress, comb my hair, spend whole time at getting ready. Getting ready itself is the play, the school situation is left out. 

At times, when we are at school and Lonu catches me sitting alone. She insists to play the teacher-student. She picks up the marker, scribbles a lot, and demands me to note down. "Book bandh karo. Chutti Hogaya. Awaz nahi karna." She instructs a lot and we need to follow her instruction due diligently. 

Where did she learn all these situations and dialogues, I reflected. She imitates her mom and the situations she witness whenever she visits school. How does play help in her thinking, learning, I thought. 

Pallavi suggested Vygotsky's theory, a theory on how humans learn. 

"Vygotsky's sociocultural theory views human development as a socially mediated process in which children acquire their cultural values, beliefs, and problem-solving strategies through collaborative dialogues with more knowledgeable members of society. Vygotsky's theory is comprised of concepts such as culture-specific tools, private speech, and the Zone of Proximal Development."

Interested more in child-play, social situations, I read further and landed upon a document,  "Supporting Young Children’s Learning in a Dramatic Play Environment" by Janine Hostettler Scharer.

In this document, the author has discussed about how play develops and helps in child learning. Many times, I hear parent's complaints about their five-year-old kid, "She always plays. Doesn't sit to study at all." I wonder why parents are worried about children playing. If they begin to study from age five, when would they play. For heaven sake, let children play, I used to think, even though, I had no idea, what's the behind thought on play. 

Karpov writes,  

When children are around 3 years old, they develop a strong interest in the world of adults, and they want to become a part of this world. Because this desire cannot be fulfilled directly (i.e., children cannot become a firefighter or a doctor), they enter the world of adults through imitation and exploration of social relationships through dramatic play (Karpov, 2003).


How play develops?

The roots of play lie in object-oriented activities of toddlers. During manipulative situations, children explore an object’s physical properties and how they are used. Later, when children use everyday objects in imaginary situations, play emerges (Bodrova & Leong, 2007)

There's a lot that happens during the play. Children begin to process out the real-life situations, manipulate them, relate to the symbolic  Most of the times, through action, children make meaning.  

Till how long does this play occur?

Children start to plan their play and set goals before they begin playing. Language becomes more important, and children can switch between their role and giving instructions. More and more roles and rules appear in one play situation, and more children can participate in the same play scenario. At the end of preschool and beginning of primary school, children start to only talk about their play and stop acting it out; time is spent negotiating roles and rules. Play as a leading activity of preschool starts to die out (Gajdamaschko, 2011) and is replaced by the learning activity (Kravtsov & Kravtsova, 2010). 

Importance of play

Play creates a zone of proximal development of the child. In play a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behaviour; in play it is as though he were a head taller than himself. As in the focus of a magnifying glass, play contains all developmental tendencies in a condensed form and is itself a major source of development. (p. 102)  

There's a lot that goes behind the play. There are questions like, how much adult interference is needed during the play situations? Can we join the play and observe the children or stay outside the play and observe their actions. What kind of dialogue can help to enrich the play. How much instruction should be given in the play. Most of the teachers parents would cry about completing the curriculum or academic work. How to balance it out? A lot to reflect on and study. Will keep searching for the answers because, staying in the questions is fun rather than finding the answers.  

In dialogue with Navnit.

"Aayie ji. Bhaitye," he offered me the chair, giving out one earphone bud to listen to the song. Didn't tell much about the song but, played it. 

Girmitya. At first, I couldn't understand what Girmitiya meant.  As I listened to the song and watched the animated video, I could understand what it was all about: Indentured labor. 

Navnit played another song. "Thoda patience se sunna," he advised.  Song titled, Fiji bidesia. Talking of Fiji islands, he said, "Look at Fiji, it's behind Australia. We can see all the places these people were transported to. 

Why don't you read what I shared, he prompted and shared all the resources he got on Girmitiya. He showed the documents he drafted and edited. Well, formatted.  A few stories on how indenture works, a report on how people got exploited. A narrative from the perspective of a family. There's a lot that's written. There was also song lyrics. On being asked about it, "Ye suniye ji,"  he played Chitti Aaiye hai song.  

He began with the trivia of the song. This talks about how one feels when someone goes to Pardes and the repercussions of it.  

I was done with the stories and stood up to getaway. Rukhiye na ji, He grabbed my hand and made me sit. Listen to this song. I thought he was showing me another song, instead, he opened the lyrics. Prompted me to sing,I had no clue how to read, he asked me to sing. 

Ye tune hai. He told. 

Dilip kumar gaaya hai. 

Mere Dil Todne Waala hai. He began singing. Mellow and soothing. I was glad, I obliged his request and sat. So that I got a chance to listen to him singing. We listened to him singing for a while. 

I wanted to talk to him about the book I read on indentured labour, Viriah. I wanted to listen more stories on indentured labour and also his perspectives on modern indentured labour but, I had to attend another urgent work and finish the report I started. So, I got away but, made a mental note to talk to him about indentured labour in detail. 

Mail from Mandwa- A match after a long time

During our first months of the fellowship, we used to play cricket in the little time we got before the assembly. Children always encouraged us to get into the ground and play with them. Even though we took away the chances of their turn in batting and bowling, they heartily welcome us. 

After a long time, soon after school, we began playing cricket. This time, Amol joined us. We played an single-over match. Everyone got a turn to bat and bowl. I got reminded of the times, I played with class 8 students. 

Despite playing every Sunday at school ground, I never recollected the sports period memories. Sunday matches didn't count as school matches. Today, soon after school, Satvir got the wickets, I got the bat and we began playing. Good times. 

Also, I have a change of role in my work. I'm back to school. Good to be back at school.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Poetry- Rahila's thought provoking poem

Rejoiced to read Rahila's works. She has this channel where she posts a lot of content of food, thoughts, opinions on various things. Good work Rahila. 

Friends- New Year Delight

2009. “All the best,” I told her, wishing the best in her life overwhelmed by the friendship we had over a year.

We bid farewell to our school seniors at Camford English High School. Of all those seniors, I missed her a lot. Rahila Wafa. 

In the year 2008, I joined in 9th, Rahila was in class 10th. Both of us felt like newcomers to the school. Over the year, we strike a conversation and appreciated each other’s presence, more than any other friends' in school.

2021. After twelve years of long gap, we got connected (thanks, social media). 

In 2009, Rahila finished school and I left the school for Hyderabad. Different destinations, we had different journeys. We couldn’t find a way to stay connected. In the month of March 2009, both of us filled each other’s slam books. We wrote messages for each other wishing for a bright future.

Hope gleams in midst of mundane life just like the streaks of lights amidst the clouds

Sharing each other’s plans, Rahila said, she would be leaving India sometime soon then.

Over these twelve years, I recalled her a lot of times wishing I meet her again, at someplace, at some time.  The only place, I visit to cherish the only memories that were left were the messages in the slam book.  Going through the slam book, reading the words Rahila wrote, I always wondered, if she’d recall our friendship, remember me. I was not sure If I’d meet her again then.

It was the same with Rahila, she shared how she cherished our friendship, remembering whenever she went through slams now and then.

“Abi, at first I was not sure but, as I went through your feed, I was sure that’s you,” Rahila shared how she discovered me.

We are talking after 12 years, yet it doesn’t feel like so. We shared what all happened soon after we left the school till what we are currently working on. Rahila is married and blessed with a baby.  “My supportive hubby encouraged me to pursue what I'm interested in," she shared about her happy family. God bless the whole family. 

I’m active on Instagram only on weekends. She followed me three days ago. Unaware of all of this, I logged in today and was surprised to see the name, 'Rahila's corner.' Went through the feed, wishing she's the friend, whom I saw 12 years ago. I texted her and Hurray, I got connected to Rahila after several years and it made my day. Great beginnings to 2021. 



Friday, January 1, 2021

New Year's celebrations

Welcoming the new year with mundane things in life. Office. Work. Merry mood. Friends messages. There's a celebration around besides the mundane life. Maybe, that's what life is all about. Find the joy in mundane things in life. 

Thought- Being healthy is a commitment

Being healthy is a life long commitment we need to give to ourselves. Many a times, many friends hinted me that there's a lot that goes ...