A Quest on Overdrive … :)

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


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Elsie Abraham, Teacher Extraordinaire!

3 December, 2014

Elsie Teacher passed away early this morning. Rest in peace, teacher. You ARE so missed.

Today, 14 April, 2014, is yet another special day! The birthday of a very very special friend, mentor, guide, soul-sister. Mrs. Elsie Abraham, of the Social Science Department in our school, who has just retired after twenty-three years of dedicated service  in her vocation. I had written this piece for the School Magazine, ‘Bhavana Jyoti’, but I know that there are a lot of her former students who would want to share in this, who might not have the opportunity to share in celebrating her, and her birthday, collectively, otherwise. I do wish that each of you, who read this, and have some memory of her to share, will do so in the comment section at the end! I know for certain, that it would be one of the best gifts she would receive this day! 

Sometimes when you meet a person, for the first time, you wonder how it could be that it was the first time! A déjà vu strikes. Haven’t we met, sometime, some place, before this? That feeling is so real, but rather rare – for that is when you meet a kindred soul; someone who instantly gels with your thoughts, and meshes into your world.

How glad I am, this day, to tell you, that Elsie Teacher has been one such person in my life. Mrs. Elsie Abraham. Our beloved Elsie Teacher, to all of us. Also, how poignant a moment this is when I realize why I am writing this. After 23 years of exceptional service to Bhavan’s, Poochatty, Elsie Teacher has bid farewell, as she retires; only from her work, at school, as I see it! She never could leave our school really, for we would talk of her, sometimes even to her, knowing her presence would still stay, vigilant as ever, in our Staff Room!

Elsie Abraham, Teacher Extraordinaire!

Elsie Abraham, Teacher Extraordinaire!

I must tell you more – which of course, you would probably already know, and if not, you would nod your head in agreement, for sure!

If popularity polls on a favourite teacher were conducted in school, it is certain, that Elsie Teacher’s name would be right up there in the top few. Her knowledge of the ‘subject’ she taught, her manner of ‘teaching’, as it were, the ubiquitous thread of humour, kindliness and firmness, strung together with her ever present warm smile, which was never far even from her eyes, always, is part of what made her a beloved and unforgettable teacher. I know this personally, for even though I was not fortunate enough to be a student in her class, the kids in my family, sons, nephews, nieces, have always considered her to be a firm favourite. So also the innumerable ex students I have had the good fortune to interact with on a regular basis. Elsie Teacher rocks, is, I’m sure, a firm tagline for her! That in itself, speaks volumes for me.

On Teachers’ Day, when Elsie Teacher’s name is announced, the spontaneous burst of loud applause offered with such uninhibited joy is something I look forward to, each year. I’ll miss that the next occasion we do that!

She inspires. For ever so many reasons. Her skills, obviously, in class. Her diction and language – unerring in its use as well. Her warmth and non-judgemental nature – something so rare these day, everywhere! Her indomitable spirit in managing problems in health. That has to be perhaps the greatest inspiration from her. Her never-say-die-spirit! A lesser person would have buckled under the overwhelming pressure to just throw the towel in, and taken the easy way out. Not Elsie teacher. Her Devotion to Duty (there are awards, in this category given to the Defence Services, announced on the Eve of The Republic Day – Elsie Teacher would certainly qualify for this! ) and the integrity with which she sustains are exceptional. With all the vagaries of humanness – the spirit within her has fought and won the day!

Each one of us has something special about us, don’t we? Something that sets us apart from our fellow beings. Elsie Teacher’s, apart from her indefatigable spirit, is her infallible memory! Her gift for remembering things is legendary – parts of a conversation, of an aeon ago, Birthdays and Anniversaries of friends, colleagues, their families, extended families – gosh! It’s a constant source of wonder to all of us who know her. We’ve warned her that the awesome ability of her will definitely be called upon, and she should prepare to be constantly bombarded by phone calls from us, to know, and be reminded of all kinds of things! Many a time when we were stumped for words, dates, we’d turn to her unanimously, to supply all the missing bits. And, to our relief, and collective laughter, that would ring out from the staff room, she would oblige.

For those who do not know, Elsie Teacher grew up in Madras (now Chennai), having studied in Good Shepherd Convent, and Stella Maris College. Her fondness for Tamil is just as legendary here – and many a time we’d witness lively conversations and songs between her and other teachers like Meera Teacher (who is now in the Pottore Bhavan’s) and Lakshmi Teacher.

Perhaps the feeling of empathy, of being on the same wavelength with Elsie Teacher, that I had was due to the fact that both she and I (and others in school) had grown up outside Kerala, and so we came with what the natives of Thrissur called an accented Malayalam. All of us in this rather exceptional state of being NRKs for a major part of our own youth have this instant empathy, and sorority – the hapless Malayalee in us needs the support of the other.

My own association with Elsie Teacher is from 1996, when I first joined this school. I do remember meeting her, and she (but, of course) remembers the first thing I asked her, after the introductions were made! I did not, when she mentioned it to me recently! So amazing is her recollection of facts, dates and happenings! 18 years is a long time, is it not, to remember first words spoken to each other! Hats off to you, Elsie Teacher. I know I am blessed for the good fortune of having been in her company for the years I’ve spent in school, and more so, for I do enjoy it, a feeling shared by all who know her! I hold her amongst my closest and trusted friends. Just talking to her, unburdening sometimes, is calming – in fact, life looks up. Her interest too, in our well-being, be it a student, a support staff or a teacher-colleague has been consistent and heart-warming.

I’m tempted to take liberties with Shakespeare’s words, right out of Mark Antony’s speech from ‘Julius Caesar’ and say this of Elsie Teacher –

“Here was a Teacher!
When comes such another?”

And, I’d respond too, just like that citizen in the mob:

“NEVER! NEVER!”

Elsie Teacher, you’re one in a zillion. Each time we miss you in school you’re going to sneeze and cough, for sure. Just so, you know, we’re going to be a mighty (dis)comfort to you, even when you retire! God Bless! (for each time you sneeze thus, too!)

Khalil Gibran says it best, and I know these words are for Elsie Teacher too –
“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.”

Written in February :), perfect for 14 April, 2014, Elsie Teacher’s brithday!


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Looking to the future …

… is the only way to go, this day. Merely resting on the  laurels of our recent and distant glorious past, and some of the questionable and deeply debated parts of our history too, cannot take us forward. It’s the norm. Cliche though it be, the answer is what the future represents, and what we have with us, to take this country forward. The youth, the children, but of course. They are the greatest strength we have, and yet the weakest link, if not groomed, honed, and melded, and forged with the steel of resolve, to do the right thing, to not be swayed by the innumerable wayside lures and shortcuts to life. Is that going to happen?

Any school would be that melting pot where it can at least take frail wings, and if nurtured and followed up, a certainty of the success will follow. And while we seem to focus only on three or four days in a year to do that… THAT… to surround them with the colour, noise, and festivity, so that they remember something, anything, I still believe there is a chance that some hearts will be forged with that resolve of steely determination.

Today in school, we had the Independence Day celebration, as usual. I went with a heavy heart, and the weather seemed to echo the pall of gloom in my heart, which was filled thoughts of the families of the crew of the INS Sindhurakshak. How does one celebrate when the Navy and the families of the crew who are missing are mourning? But, as someone put it succinctly, life goes on. And we move on, from grief to hope.

DSC00463DSC00461At school, the atmosphere of festivity was infectious, and through the light shower that continued during the flag hoisting, the children stood steadfast, without a murmur.

The activity for each child that day was to make their own tiny tri-colour to don, on their uniform. I was lucky and got three 🙂

The tricolour display I carried around :D

The tricolour display I carried around 😀

The top, a printout of the sort we wanted to make for our class, finger painting; the second and third given by my students – in fact the third one is finger painting. The venue for the rest of the programme was the major auditorium where a patriotic song competition, a dance and a skit were to be performed, apart from the usual speeches that children give.

It was then that the tiny spark of hope, for me, flickered into a flame. One I hope will be fanned into a steady fire of love and deep sense of duty towards our country. I do have the faith. I hope they find it too. As the next hour unfolded, I was able to take a few pictures and videos of the performances. A couple of them are shared here.

The youngest group, with their song impressed me, for the lyrics, which bespoke of the hope I nurture, that the youth, these very children hold India in their heart and their hands. May they find the strength to nurture too.

****

I’ve only got a part of their song,  the lyrics that I created in the google transliteration page 🙂

देखो करम तुम्हारी
हर्गिज़ न डगमगाए

रस्ते बड़े कठिन है
चलना संभल संभल के

इंसाफ की डगर पे
बच्चों दिखाओ चलके

यह देश है तुम्हारा
नेता तुम ही हो कल के

तन मन की भेंट देकर
भारत की लाज रखना

इंसाफ की डगर पे
बच्चों दिखाओ चल

Translated to mean:

Make sure you never waver
While doing your duty

The path ahead is difficult
Tread that path with care

O children show how you can walk the path of Justice

For yours is the Nation, and you are the leaders of tomorrow

Keep up the honour of Bharat
With the gift of your body and mind
(By giving your body and mind)

O children show how you can walk the path of Justice

For yours is the Nation, and you are the leaders of tomorrow

Do excuse the translation which is at best a weak reflection on the powerful words of this song!

*****

The dance performance is by slightly older students, innovatively choreographing and enthralling the audience. With just a few days of preparation; the support of the PE teacher; ideas galore; creativity unlimited; favourite songs thrown in for good measure; there is hope for us, that the spirit is young, it is energetic, enthusiastic, and hopefully these colours will imprint in their hearts, for their country!I thought I had  taken the video, as they performed for the audience, only to find that I got carried away by the performance and forgot to start the recording. Grrrrr… I am SO mad at myself. The good thing was that there was still hope 🙂 (that word again!) and I got them quickly to do it again, immediately before they had to leave. So while it might seem a bit down,it really was an awesome performance!

And then, the fervour of ‘Go Back Simon’, with the youth of a long time ago, agitating against the Simon Commission.  Even though there was a bit of fumbling, the less than 10 minute skit sketched the entire period effectively.

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In the final count, yes, I do believe we have a future, and it is bright. However, till then, we have to deal with what we have, the best we can.

Jai Hind.

15 August 2013

It’s now a happy day. For some very special reasons too 🙂


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A Woman …

Am I, am I.
And glad of it.

I’m Daddy’s Girl, still Growing Up
And I wonder if I’ll ever be
The Right Age 🙂

I’m that Little Girl yet
Who hasn’t given up on dreams,
And Carousel Rides 🙂

I wish I was stronger.
But then I might give
Mr. World a run for his money.
Thank you. I am happy this way 😀
For now. 😛

I’ve lived Sepia Dreams
And coloured them bright 🙂
I have my reasons and seasons 
And most times, I am defiant 😀

Today, too, like other days
I celebrate me. And you….
All of you, who be humane
Who loves and respects another,
Especially a woman; for then,

You truly live.

8 March, 2013
Wishing every reader here, both men and women the best of the day, and of life, as you walk through the world, sharing your respect for everyone, especially women. Happy Women’s Day.
And for a change, I shall not excuse myself for a self-aggrandizing post, linky linky one at that 😀

Listened to, as the first song of the day, “Woman” by John Lennon. Magic 🙂


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I Know You’ll Dance…


(Lee Ann Womack’s beautiful song “I hope You’ll Dance”  is the inspiration for this title 🙂 The video is embedded at the end of this post, dedicated entirely to an awesome dancer, in the family! The one who never sat out a single dance in the course of his life. My second born. Ashwin.

The steel grey Gucci Suit Wala Dancer – Ashwin!

Royal in Blue 🙂 Ashwin!

This one, sweetheart, is just for you. The song, I know, was written with you in mind. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. This is getting to be really enjoyable, the build up each year, to 3 August; and I know this is one tradition I will keep, for as long as words allow themselves to be charmed into this space, for you. 🙂 🙂 Tradition. For this blog too! )

Right, before I go ga ga all over again, over my Lion Cub, I do want to share those “traditions” :D. It started in 2009, with “The Right Age”, the went on to “For My Little One” (incidentally he’s a few millimetres short of being 6 ft tall 😀 😀 ), to when he flew the coop, in “When Nestlings Fly”, and Metamorphosis and settled in with “Pride”  in 2010 and 2011, last year. And here is where he tells me it’s no fun doing something unless your mom says NO. So it is 3 August again, and, as my kids in school say, “his happy birthday”! 😆

What can I say, or wish him, that I already have not? Would you believe, I can 😀 (Ah! and you thought, here she is, quite having run out of more words, will allow us to listen to that song, and be done wishing him! But oh no…!) Oh yes, I can! *gleeful, evil grin on her face, and she anticipates the dammed words waiting to break and flow* … pun intended! 😆

Boy oh Boy! Am I going to enjoy this! *lifts fingers from keyboard long enough to rub her hands in glee* 😀

So here goes… 🙂

Years before, as a timid, tiny lion cub, you always made me wonder how you’d find your feet. I know, NOW, I needn’t have worried! Your feline sense of balance would help you land, feet firmly on ground, steady as ever.

Today, I want to extract each memory, as if from a pensieve, each shimmering thought strand, playing out a favourite scene of you, of how you used to be, of how we used to be… 🙂 (I wish I had those photos too, to go with these threads :), but could only manage these mobile pictures of photographs from the old albums 🙂 )

Happy happy 🙂

Shmaille no, pleaaase?

You, Achukkutts…
… your grudging smile, reserved ONLY for family and Anu/Ani, the little girls from the ground floor of the barsati we lived in, in Delhi (Just look at you, above.. 😀 That is how you were most of time, till you turned about 2 and a half years old 😛 )

… of how you idolized your big brother, right from the beginning and how you fought so hard with him later; and how I’m accused even now ( 😆 ) of being partial 😛 😛

At NDA, for Arjun’s POP, Khadakwasla, Pune December, 2007! Love this picture 🙂

Awww… he would smile only for his family 🙂 proof here!

Stolen from Malu’s collection 🙂 The smiles were getting bigger and more uninhibited 🙂

Awww… 🙂

… of your reluctant, first, LATE baby step – so terrified of gravity – after having done EVERYTHING else in record time: turning over ALL by YOURSELF, in 2 months flat! IMAGINE!!! Never thought it would take you over a year to walk!

Achchante Kunjunni 🙂

… your charming smile; how everyone loved to see it; how hard they tried to make you, and how you just did NOT! 😀 Ask Chitta 🙂

… how once you discovered that smile, you showered it with so much joy on all and sundry, and how you still do… Padmaja Teacher (HOD, Social Science) refers to you even now as a “smiling baby” 😛 😛

… how you made friends slowly, and how they always were forever 😀

Ashwin, second from right, along with Abey, Praveen and Hrithu 🙂

Ashwin Shining 😀 From an Onam Celebration picture at College. Ashwin in the Centre 🙂

Abey’s farewell treat? Or Hrithu’s? Standing: Govind, Hrithu; Sitting: Pious, Ashwin, Abey and Cezil 🙂

…how you make friends so darned fast, these days 😀 😀

… your Gita Chanting feats, and “Sherwood”, that memorable year, when you wowed me with your recitation! I still wonder at it!!!

… that proud moment, when you and Lakshmi became Vikramsila House Captains, and more so, the jubilant moment, when your house was Champion House!!! Those were days!!!
…how we pored over those Hotel Management courses, and that online test for MS Ramaiah! R.O.F.L.

… and how you went and became an engineer, with the huge rank you had 😛 :P, with a course you wanted, in a college you wanted! Oh yes! you had your guardian angel watching over you. Still do 🙂 Achamma 🙂

…. and asking me if you could pierce your ears! High point. 😀

…. and announcing you found your soulmate… boy! was I jealous 😛 :P!!! Not anymore, dont worry, N!! 😀 😀

Soulmates 🙂

…and growing wings, trying them out, and sailing out, smooth and fluent, and free…. 🙂

I miss you. But I know you’ve gotta do what you gotta do, and be where you have to be 🙂 Life’s quirky ways. We know, don’t we, that’s the way we are, and no matter what you’ll always be the baby in my arms,

That tiny head, of the baby swathed in a pink wrap is YOU :D! At Viju’s wedding… all of 28 days 🙂

from twenty odd years ago, no matter you’re a hulking handsome young man now 🙂 🙂 Hugs, big huge bear hugs, my dearest!

Clicked by Govind? Classic Hunk 😀

Happy Birthday, Ashwin! You should be here, with me, considering this is the last bachelor party you’re going to have, for your birthday :D! May you be just as sweet, just as strong, just as fair, and just as loving, as you have always been. May God bless you and keep you safe, always. May you ever be loved, and may you always find love, in each and every moment of each day… especially when you’re down 🙂 May you always be in high spirits, and may the world take its cue from you, on how to be the best you can! I do love you so!

I do love you! Bear HUG 😀

And here it is finally:

“I hope you dance” by Lee Ann Womack 🙂

And another one, so so beautiful, it made my cry 🙂

My Wish” by Rascal Flatts

I found them both at this place 🙂

From 31 July to…1 August 2012
For 3 August, 2012.
Scheduled post 🙂


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And so…

I have officially welcomed a daughter into the family 🙂 (And that has been the reason for the long long break from blogging 😀 ) My son Arjun married Pratibha on 29th June, 2012.

I’m blessed. We are, my son and I. And it has been a wedding that was entertaining, full of song and dance, filled with all the emotions, laughter, tears, and endless late nights of catching up on news, gossip, zimbly-at-all-chatting and never wanting to sleep and miss out on spending time with loved ones. Weddings, get togethers are like that, aren’t they? Especially if it is all about the two being from different states 😀 😀

Finally the excitement and energy that has been on high for so many days is quietening down. Winding down is not much fun. Getting back to a workplace after that orgy of emotion and fun, even less :D! But we need that bread to sustain us, forget about the butter 😛 😛

There were a lot of interesting “comments” and remarks that got me writing this down! Some typical, like “Gosh! Now you’re mother-in-law! You are probably feeling the power of it all!” Gawd! Seriously?? I mean, what power, darn it? I’m still me, and I have a beautiful daughter to top it all! I feel the power of happiness, that is all!!!

“Oh my, one burden is lesser to carry around now, no?” (The other, presumably, is the younger son 😀 ) Burden? They are both my wondrous offspring, bits of me, lots of themselves, all entirely made of themselves, and filled with all kinds of everything that still amazes and fascinates me. They are lovely people, and I’ve never never thought of them as burdens! I’m entirely fed up of innumerable remarks which, worded differently, say the same thing! “Responsibilities”, “duties”… what have you! If anything, I have one more person to love, to cherish, to coddle to death 😀 :D! And no way can that be a burden, responsibility or whateva!!!

“We actually thought you’d look mother-in-law-ish” LOL! Do that category have a “look”??? I wonder what that could be! If anything I feel no different, and dress no different, and do things just the same! With more care and concern certainly that my daughter ( in law) should have a smooth passage into her life with her partner, my son.

And yes, I shall say daughter, though I have read somewhere that one cannot really say that; for she will always be her mother’s daughter, and a mother in law can never take that place. I certainly agree with the notion, but I do believe that it is possible to be that mother, and be that daughter too, even if it took a marriage to make it so 🙂 🙂 More so, with the cross cultural wedding this turned out to be!

To put it plain and simple: I’m still me, Parukutty , my daughter is still her, and so is Arjun, my son 🙂 🙂 And we are all really happy being what we are to each other! *Fingers crossed* that we may all be as blessed with the love we share with each other! May God Bless them, too, to be as loved and loving always!

A Haiku, for them 🙂

Wedded

Merging my soul in

Yours, I’m lost: only to find

Completeness in us.

15 July, 2012