A Quest on Overdrive … :)

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


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2014 in review

As always, most helpfully, and educatively, the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog, with interesting inputs and stats 🙂 Many thanks to all of you who had dropped by this past year, and more so to those who left their valuable words for the posts; among them you precious people – Shail, #1 :D, followed by Uma, David, Proactive Indian, and Indygurl 🙂 The number of posts has decreased, and so has my visits to others’ blogs, which I hope to remedy (a promise to myself 🙂 ) … But, what has really made a difference is that now I have kids from my own school, too, leaving their comments here. Wooohoooo, I want to -errrmmm- say? 😛 So here’s a toast to you all, and wishes for a great year ahead, in 2015!

 

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Classroom Cameos

Classroom activities always spring a surprise, on all those in the room 🙂 . Fact.
The earlier post on Limericks is one example (LINK)

The learners, being of a mixed group, in terms of not just size and shape and interests, but expressions, abilities and competencies as well, bring in that element of suspense and anticipation, especially when we do speeches – speaking skills exercises. From a learner’s point of view, I have always felt that speech making is what they dread most – knowing that they have to perform, and be assessed rather immediately. There is no lag, and there is no anonymity while actually doing the task. Right here, right now. And that there are rarely second takes, unless one is terribly unfortunate in memory (not in preparation, in moi class 😛 – you don’t take it seriously and prepare, well, you have to face the consequences thereof, and receive the grades that performance is due 😀 ) – or one makes a request, which, based upon the circumstances involved (not the student, per se 😛 ) will be considered. There. I told you – you really have to rethink whether you want to be in my class 😀
That said, I must tell you that speech times are fun too – most especially the wonder when the ‘speaker’ realizes that he/she can do it well, when they get appreciated by the class, and by the ‘assessor’/teacher, when questions are asked as to meanings of idioms or phrases used in the speech – and they are prepared for it 🙂 🙂 Oh the joy!!! I know it to be one of the most confidence building and will strengthening exercises in language learning, and also in general comportment and expression. It goes a long long way, when that appreciation comes from the class and the teacher, together 🙂 Last week one such dramatic moment happened, among a whole lot of other dramatic moments, in the speech sessions, in Class 8.
The learner group was given a choice of three topics for making the speech- “Where there is a will, there is way”/ “Treating the Disabled with Respect and Dignity”/ “Sometimes War is Necessary”
Except for about four students, EVERYONE spoke beautifully – but, for me, one stood out, in terms of the content and the immediacy, in terms of it being relevant to how one responds and reacts – whether personally, or as a nation. The young lady, Sona, did a magnificent job of quietly and conversationally giving this succinct speech on the topic “Sometimes War is Necessary”
As I share the text of the speech – I must add that it being done so to appreciate the young lady, and for the fact I felt a connection with some points raised in the speech. Well done, Sona – and thank you for emailing the content and permitting me to share it here, so that it may touch others too 🙂
She spoke- Quote-
“If anybody ever asks me what I think about war, I’d say that it’s necessary but just as a last resort. Ever heard that it takes two to tango? We can all be peace lovers but if the other side is not reasonable we can’t force them to come to an agreement. War has always been there and it always will.  It’s part of human nature to fight or argue.  How else do we stand up for what we believe in? There’s a quote “All it takes for evil to prevail, is for the good men to do nothing.” If we don’t stand up for what we want, that’s it, nobody else is gonna do that for us.
Some people say that we are not animals- we are worse,we are humans. Many of us can’t even fight (argue) without getting into a fight. But sometimes I guess we have to. Like if we saw a friend being attacked – would you take a chair, sit down and reason with the attacker, while your friend is being attacked? No way! we’ll immediately take action and stop them. Well sometimes it comes to this in war too.
You know how we say that “just a spark can ignite a fire” – the same can be said with war too.There’s a story in which a war breaks out just because some guy accidentally spilt a drop of honey. Unbelievable, right? But that’s the story and that’s also the truth. Most of the time it’s just these small, silly things which leads to big,big wars.
Thank You. “
Unquote.
It wasn’t so much the notions as against the manner in which it was spoken and the quiet confidence, along with the easy and relevant content that grabbed my attention, and made me want to share it. Thank you,  all of you from the said class for the wonderful moments I have had during the speech sessions. Keep the creativity and confidence flowing 🙂
13 December, 2014


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Microblog Mondays 6: The Gift of Memories

This is one impromptu post; but one that has been prodding relentlessly; urging fingers to take charge of the words that linger, lean and push one to let them free from captive thoughts.

Over the past couple of months memories have surfaced more than usual, with the personal loss of a dear dear friend, guide, colleague; and two beloved father-figures. Even when one believes that it is time to let go of someone, something, some very strong tie, most times, prevents one from doing just that. There are, one believes, things left undone, still more to be done, people to meet, things to say, things to undo… it never is the time to let go. And this, with people who, some say, “have lived a full life” – I myself am guilty of using that cliche once too often, at least thinking that, in consolation to myself.

So to the memories that visit – and often- I welcome them, I really do; some visits are so real, I wonder if I’m in a time-warp, so much so that at times I’ve pinched myself just to be sure. That, probably, was the reason I really loved “Inception”, and wrote this (LINK).

Loss is personal; it is private; it sharpens the moments you have framed within, a sliver of thought, sometimes, and a lot of affection surges within, without, with the torrent of tears, maybe, laughter- the gift that this is, if you accept them moments, relived, is something else.

Remember, memories can be gifts too.

8 December, 2014

Written for Microblog Mondays 🙂

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Microblog_Mondays


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Microblog Mondays 4: Creativity

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Creativity is the most sought after skill these days, by employers, organizations, governments, teachers ( 😀 ), parents (???) – in short everyone. It wasn’t so always, since there was a different set of beliefs, way back: of how it is innate, inborn, instinctual, yada yada; for creativity was thought to be THERE, or not at all, in the NATURE of the individual.

The difference in perception is that now creativity is known to part of everyone, and has to be honed as a skill, not worn to the bone, and be made non-existent, as some school standardized syllabi, and “dinning principles” into the head by grown-ups to children have shown; and this skill can be a weapon or a tool, depending on the situation one finds oneself in.

So, if it is a skill, it is something to be developed- out of the box thinking, lateral thinking, divergent thinking, all these are buzzwords now, thanks to Edward de Bono, Dr. Ken Robinson and other crusaders of this skill, who would have been deeply impressed by my class 😛

My personal perception has been that  creativity is a set of skills, which seem to detonate within, to produce a kaliedoscope of…. well, whatever you will produce- notions, entirely disparate, gelling together in a new and never-tried-before-way 🙂

We had such an excellent example of a chalk holder, in the form of a Styrofoam cup, decorated with pen sketches of smiley faces, which got damaged by a certain young man, accidentally, let me add. So he was told to contribute another one, just as artistic in nature 😛 , and he did.

This.

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Hand crafted!

 

 

The Joker! Now that is bringing another dimension, ain't it, into the class?

The Joker! Now that is bringing another dimension, ain’t it, into the class?

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For the teacher to read, when she takes the chalk, I was told!

 

 

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Wise? Or is it Wise? 😛

 

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Love this side of the box too!

 

Enchanting, is it not?

There is however, a fallout (as I have experienced personally too 😀 ) – the detonation has a tendency to disintegrate “discipline” – in whatever way one might take it 😛 😛 The same class has these extreme taglines right now – creative and all – yes yes yes – but the kids!!!! Shyoooo!!! As their (proud??? ) class teacher (who you all know to be the model of everything discipline is NOT 😀 ) what else could one expect! The upside of this experientially-derived deduction was another colleague’s observation that this is a natural by-product of creativity 😛 Needless to say, SHE does not “take” class for this lot! 😀 😀

What, by your own assessment (don’t you give a dayymn for others’ thinking 😀 ) has to be the most creative things you’ve done, recently?

17 November, 2014
P.S. (In school, after accepting that lovely chalk-box, spiriting it off to the Staff Room, for pictures, and an assurance to the class that it would feature in my blog, with the said young man featuring the second time 😛 , the first time being with this one – LINK

Other links: Sir Ken Robinson and Creativity – (LINK)

#MicroblogMondays 1
#MicroblogMondays 2
#MicroblogMondays 3

 

 


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Microblog Mondays 3: Lucy’s Limmerick

… alternately titled, “Learning from Lucy”, this post is about an awesome Monday 😀 , specifically the third period of school today which saw me in Class 6, reading Mary Howitt’s “The Spider and the Fly” – a personal favourite, when I decided to introduce the learner group to rhyme scheme.

So, class six, and I did some rhyming words after which I put up four nonsense lines, kept shuffling them, and putting the “a” and “b”, according to which ever line they happened to be in- the group was getting into the act 🙂 Finally, we arrived at this aabb stanza, as given in the picture – an absolutely absurd, nonsensical four liner, when Lucy’s clear tones piped up from the second last row of the class!

Teacher, if we add one more line we would have a limmerick. Astounded (for I KNOW even a learner from the higher classes would NOT be able to identify this form of verse!), I asked her what it was, to which she said, very casually, a silly verse which has five lines, and the first two lines rhymed, the next two rhymed, and the last line rhymed with the first two. I gaped, I did; seriously- and asked her to make it one, by suggesting the last line! The class gaped along with me- this  sweet, absolutely laid-back, earnest, young lady sure had us saluting her knowledge! Hers is the last line, and hers is the Limmerick! (I know, I know, I have misspelt the darn word, but shall let it be… just to let you know, I am still a learner 😀 )

This post is incomplete without adding a line about the Queen of the Limmerick – Gulshan, whose comments on a few blogs here are all in the said form 🙂 She manages to churn ’em out magically, at the drop of a hat 🙂 🙂 Gulshan, meet Lucy, who I hope is going to follow in your creative footsteps!

And kudos to Lucy’s parents too – for having introduced their daughter to the wonder of the language and its forms! This is what I have learnt today- that each day I shall find magic, and be amazed 🙂 – Open-mouthed, and with utter glee 🙂

What did you learn today?

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This part of the #MicroblogMondays series, about which you can read up more, when you click on the picture below 🙂

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10 November, 2014

Click on the titles below to read the earlier editions of this meme 🙂

Microblog Mondays 1

Microblog Mondays 2