A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)


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Commemoration of Kargil Vijay Divas

… at my school, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Vidya Mandir was a deeply moving experience this year. It is the fifteenth anniversary of that conflict, fought on the snow covered, harsh terrains of the mountainous regions of the Kargil, Drass and Batalik sectors of Kashmir. A period of time when we sat at home, glued to our TV sets, following what perhaps later came to be known as the the pioneering “live coverage” of such an event – a war to be precise. It was a time when we watched, hearts in our mouths, and experienced first hand, almost, the despair, the sorrow, and even the hardiest cynic doffed his hat in respect to our soldiers who lived that line of daring to go where the brave fear. A memory that is an unhealed sore, even though we have declared victory, especially if you had lost someone dear, or knew of someone who did.

July 26, 1999, when the conflict was done with, and victory was ours, unfolded even more horrors when the stories of battles and hardships began to pour in. What followed too has lifted our morale and our belief in our country and its defence services! In the next few years, there were greater numbers of young people, both boys and girls, wanting to recruit in the Armed Forces, in whatever capacity they could. Ten years after, on the tenth anniversary, the NDTV took families of the martyrs to spend some time at the spots of conflict; Capt Vikram Batra, PVC (Posthumous)- whose answer to a question put to him just before he died, taking down about five of the enemy “Yeh Dil Mange More”- had a twin brother, Vishal, who was one among those who did go, describes his brother, and his visit thus (click on link to read). This is only ONE story. What about the hundreds of others’ stories – soldier, or Officer, who perhaps were not as widely known?

At school, the planning of the Commemoration began a few weeks ago, and the idea of sharing a soldier’s life, his dreams, the family he leaves behind when he attains martyrdom, were some of the themes considered. Finally the Hindi Department, led by Smt. Vrinda Pradeep, conceptualized a short programme detailing it. The key to the success of reaching out to the young learner group in school lay in some hard work that the chosen students would have to undertake. Learn Drill. The Military Way. As luck would have it, in drops a former student at the right time – a young lady who was an exemplary NCC Cadet while in college too! The Act was coming together. Krishnaja, the young lady afore-mentioned- Senior Under Office Krishnaja K, to be precise was equally enthusiastic about working with the young students! She began her training, with her friend in tow, and within the hour of starting, the body language of the group had visibly and energetically improved! They looked up to her with the kind of respect that we teachers, who were present, envied. She coached them in the different steps and methods of drill, literally drilling posture, movement, leg and hand co-ordination into them! Also helping with the Slow March was Shri Prakash, of the 148 BN, BSF. He spent a couple of days with them too. At the end of about 5 days, they were a fine bunch of soldiers indeed! And dancers, and fighters, and actors! Having observed them, from the moment they were selected, to the moment of their performance, I am proud to have known them and learnt with them.  You readers also need to know that most of the boys selected were what a lot of “teachers” would call as the mischievous ones in class. They changed. In a week. At least for the performance. That was a lesson for me – the potential is there, and we need to tap into it, by inspiring them, not degrading and insulting and pushing them down!

A group of students from Class 10 were inspired to present a mime on the same theme.

Shri Prakash, 148BN, BSF, Thrissur, addressing the audience

Shri Prakash, 148BN, BSF, Thrissur, addressing the audience

As the day, Friday, 25th July approached, the skies grew darker, and the rain incessant. This was a problem as the whole programme needed to be done in the Assembly Ground, the quadrangle, which was spacious enough to accommodate the performers and the entire school, of more than 2500 students. Prayers were breathed, fingers crossed, but no one, not a single person spoke of Plan B. There simply wasn’t any. The words of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho worked that day. The deep deep wish, and prayer was granted, and it stopped raining about half an hour before the programme. The sun came OUT. Shone and blessed the show. And after the last command was done, simply let loose heavy heavy sudden rain. A Miracle. Duh. What else? 🙂

The Sun Shone. And on the ground the Stars of the Day shone in the brilliance of their dedication in their performance. It was one of the most moving performances ever, and the audience, gathered around the quadrangle, were one, in the way they responded, muting their usual over-the-top inappropriate cheering , and going on to give us a lesson on how to watch with absorption of the spirit. Truly a moment to cherish.

As the heavens poured, at the end of the performance, the Guests shifted to the corridor, and a special occasion followed, with the distribution of the letters of Appreciation, sent by the HRD Minister, Smriti Irani to the Children With Special Needs (CWSN), applauding their efforts and reminding them that they should continue to show their committment to their learning. Three students of Class 10 last year, received the letters.

At last the programme was done, but the appreciation for the participants and the teachers who worked behind scenes continued to pour.

Later in the day, I collected pictures, and three videos – one by our school photographer Mr. Bastian, one taken by a student who was instructed to do so, with his own handycam – Neeraj Namboodirippad, of Class 10, and the third taken by our School’s Man Friday, Mr. Kuppuswamy. Armed with this collection, I set out, on Saturday to make it into a movie, using Windows Movie Maker, which refused to work on my system 😀

Plan B (yes, here I did have one!) – to call on my nephew Kiran’s cousin, Abhay Krishnan (also in Class 10 there), who is rather fantastic in photography and makes tasteful videos, all in sync, to help out. So, on Sunday, between about 12 noon and 10.30 at night, we worked, with appropriate meal breaks, and power cut breaks :P, to produce this film, shared herewith. This here is an awesome picture of us hard at work, taken by Kiran 😀

Abhay and I, at his house, working on the video

 

Many many thanks to the Hindi Dept. for their creativity, the Principal and Vice Principal for their support to the teachers and students who were involved in it, and the most of all to each of those thirty odd students who help us to constantly learn and understand – life really is simple, provided you make it so 🙂

I would like to acknowledge at this point, very sincere thanks, to even my nephew and niece Kiran,and  his sister, Lakshmi, for their valuable inputs. It was great fun learning and working on the video – my contribution to the actual structuring is the captions mainly – apart from the PJs and the stories and anecdotes on the side while working. But Abhay sat through the whole thing, despite his cold and cough, to enable me to wrap it up asap 🙂 Here’s a huge round of thanks, with applause to you, young man. You do have great talent, one I hope will find more expression and reach a wider audience 🙂 No more pictures are being shared, for the obvious reason that the entire video is here! It runs to about 26 minutes, and well worth each second it contains! And no, I am NOT biased! Please remember it is the effort of a young lad, an old teacher, and a heart full of enthusiasm and deep respect to all those who guard our borders!

For those who simply want the link, here it is:

I know for sure that it will be a great motivation to not just Abhay, but other students with such talents too, to have your words, and comments here at the blog, or at the video link that is going to be shared. It is a heartfelt attempt, amateur maybe, but presented here with our hearts and head held high – in regard for the brave soldiers who have, time and again, shown us the way in not hesitating to go beyond the call of duty.

Jai Hind

27 July – 28 July, 2014
Post No. 499 🙂

Links from last year:

https://ushus.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/fourteen-years-on/

https://ushus.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/truly-a-vijay-diwas/


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The Chronicles of a Class

… or how we got our Nine days of Fame, thanks to Deccan Chronicle 😀

I know. Sigh. Trust me to get all cheesy, even about something as wonderful as getting appreciation, state-wide, well actually Nationally and Internationally when you think of the number of readers we reached out to, via shares on Facebook. That’s why I laud the social networking sites, while I still fight the engaging way they never let you go.

Cris, the awesome writer of this article, made such succinct beautiful sense of a rather long and garbled out-of-focus rambling, in answer to some wonderful questions she asked, during our ‘interview’. I must thank her for her patience and for her ability to sift through all of the rambling and come up with the required 250 words. And what do I say of Harish R Varma, the instigator of the interview, and therefore the write? Certainly creating and taking forward the creating of Happy Days for as many people as he could 🙂

(Click on pictures to enlarge and see in full resolution – as full as can be 🙂 )

 

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(The above was written in here, on 11 July, just before the World Cup came to its fantastic close 🙂 – and here I am, on 19 July, catching up with the many things that have happened since )

The Article, published in The Deccan Chronicle, on 3 July, 2014, in their Classroom Page, which is a space for news on/of/ from campuses across the nation featured my class and me! All thanks to Cris and Harish 🙂 A shoutout to both of you wonderful people. You have brought joy and sense of achievement not only to the famous 47+1 but also to their families and the school! God Bless y’all 🙂

You’ll find that the content is self explanatory. And for those who do wonder at my having played the WC anthem of 2010, I have shared a picture, a screenshot, I think, taken by one of those kids who did remember, Vaisakh, where he has highlighted the relevant part 😀 I cannot tell you what joy that brought! The comments that followed are soul food. Thank you to each of you. (Click on the picture to enlarge, and read)

The Article – highlighting done by Vaisakh

The poster competition, referred to, in the article also brought good news for the class. We received the First Prize, a shield, which proudly adorns our wall 🙂

 

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The First Prize for the Poster Competition, on FIFA World Cup 2014, rests proudly in our Class!

So, what brought us this fame? It was these expressions of creativity, mainly, that I had shared, along with my crazy football updates, most regularly on Facebook! When I asked my class, and the other classes I go, if we could update our Black board, or any other space in class with information and pictures, the immediate response was a resounding yes, from X’D’ – MY class. However, the next Monday, when I saw the uninspired writing of JUST the highlights, my face fell, and I certainly did mope 😀 I did sound disappointed too, and told them that it was OK, and we’d stick to whatever they could 😀 By the afternoon, when I was invited back to the class, there was a sea change, a transformation of the wallscape, where collage was taking shape, and the greenboard assumed festive colours. We were in Samba Land 😛 There was no turning back! And since the publication of that charming write up by Cris, the rest as they say, is History 😀

We did Rock the Samba, all the way down in our Class!

We did Rock the Samba, all the way down in our Class!

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The Collage slowing taking shape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Completed! The Collage!

 

sheild The Architects of the Poster  poster1  After the reading of the Article at Assembly!

 

The 48!                                    The Poster Posers!             The Creativity!                 And the Joy! Oh! The Joy!

But, it does not stop there. No Sireeee! X ‘D’ does not believe in doing things by half-measures, and they certainly measured up in performances in the Cultural Fest which just concluded, but most especially, they are Masters of the Cliffhanger 😀 How? Ah! Therein lies the tale!

Gurupoornima was observed in school, on 11 July, 2014 – to mark the day for oblation to our own Guru; both, teachers and students, paid their respects in whichever way they could to their own Gurus. That day, more than Teachers’ Day was  a revelation! We had ‘paada puja’, led by our own Principal, Dr. Manoranjini, who honoured her Guru, the Chief Guest for the occasion, in the morning session, followed by students’ performances of both dance and music, tastefully done. It must be mentioned here, that this session where the paada puja, the washing of the Guru’s feet, and then paying obeisance with a ‘namaskaram’ at the feet, does not come easy to anyone, these days. Especially in public! So, it was truly inspiring to have the School Principal lead the way for all of us, teachers, and students to do the same, only if one wished to. This was done in full view of the entire gathering in the Auditorium, so that it transferred the sense of humility one felt in the presence of something far greater than ourselves. Respect.  No compulsion there – but we did, to those whom we considered as our Guru! It was a liberating experience too, to have been able to set aside one’s ego, and prostrate at the feet of those we did consider as our Guru.

So, what does this have to do with my class? Ah! The absolutely creative and mischievous lot they are, they did not wish me AT ALL, but looked suitably dumb in the first period when children from other classes came in, wished me, and even shared cards and sweets 😀 ! My class? Not a quiver of emotion. Deadpan. Puzzled I was, but did not say a WORD. Except at the end of the first period when I told them accusingly, that they did not even WISH me 😀 They smiled. Serenely 🙂 🙂 That was clue enough. The cliffhanger. I was there, but did not have time to wonder what exactly they were upto, for much work awaited, in planning duties for the upcoming Cultural Fest, due to start immediately after the weekend 😀

Last period. Lots of work. And two of my students come, terrified expressions, to tell me another girl in class has injured her leg when the desk fell on her leg – possibly a fracture! I dropped whatever I was doing, and rushed, heart in my mouth, directing one of the two to rush and get the PT Teacher. I reached the Class door, which was shut!

The penny dropped. I stopped. Looked at this other girl with me, who, incidentally, was trying hard to maintain the terrified expression. The smile, the mischief had started leaking through the frown 😛

Gingerly, I pushed open the door, and what do I see, hear, but an electric guitar strumming (our own George Mathew, ace guitarist at it 😀 ), along with Vivek on the Triple Drums, belting out, with the class, WE WILL WE WILL ROCK YOU! Oooooh! Ooooh! I did a Susmita Sen expression, (when she received her Miss Universe Title) – the jaw dropped, round eyed, happy, overwhelmed expression! And my heart started beating at normal pace once again 😛 Well as normal as can be, when you’re overjoyed! And then it raced again, my heart 😀 I was sure that the class and its Class Teacher were going to be hauled up for the racket emanating from the class! Shushing them down (duh! What a task! ) I went on to thank them – but no, it was not done yet – the Smart Class was switched on with a lovely message 🙂 Cards awaited 🙂 Shared below 🙂 And a lovely gift too! Sheepishly they said they wanted to surprise me, that is why they stayed mum all day 🙂 And boy oh BOY! did they ever!!!

I promised them a blog, to attempt to capture the sense of gratitude I have for them, for their affection, the sense of conspiracy I feel most times, with them, in all our endeavours 🙂 X “D”, you are the rock, not me 🙂 So, as the cliche goes, Rock ON! 😀

Shared here is their creativity, and that of the students of other classes, particularly Class 8’B’, 7″D” and 6″B”, along with cards from a certain lovely young lady in Class 12, and others from classes I do not go to, this year 🙂 All, all of them very very precious souls 🙂 Thank you, each and everyone of you. Stay Blessed!

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The Cover

 

XD card

Awesomeness from X D

 

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Collections of pure blessings from the kids!

Meanwhile, The Chronicles with this class will most certainly continue, you can bet on that!

Earlier, they have featured here,  🙂
And yet another awesome X D made a farewell memorable, here
Last years’ X D, when they were in Class 8, featured here 😀 (I bet you people did not even know, right? )

Comments are welcome, dear kids 🙂 If you cannot see the comment space below, click on the title of this write up, and it will follow. All you need to sign in with are your name, email id 🙂 The email will NOT be shared.

20 July, 2014
*Phew* Under 1600 words. Just. 😀

Lol! I just learned something. When you write X and D, without a space you get this XD ! Oh my!