A Quest on Overdrive … :)

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


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Love Looks Like This – III

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The grace of golden years
They wear it well 🙂

They’re the first expression of Love
The first feeling shown, lent, given,
For they are the first faces …
An umbrella, as it were
Sheltering, nurturing, sharing

Caring. Always.

Love. Daddy and Mummy ❤

29 February, 2016

Day#17 of #RamblingsInFebruary 🙂

february ramblings

 


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Perspectives

Yesterday, we had Class Parent Teacher Meeting in school. We’ve had numerous PTA Meetings, where attendance is usually limited to parents who want to make an noise and bring in complaints (never, till date, have I ever seen a meeting here, where something positive, either about Student/Teacher is expressed!), and some grouped meetings, that Parents of some classes grouped together are asked to attend to discuss common matters pertaining to that class. Usually to do with syllabus or general developmental issues (of Children ie).

In the newly patterened meeting, the Parents of one Class, the same division of the class, met together with the Class Teacher and their children, in a full group, had a general session followed by individual one on one meeting for those parents who wanted to have more to say/ask. From nine in the morning to twelve noon the room was fully populated 🙂 Well I have 52 students, most of whose parents did attend 🙂 .

A lot of common issues were taken up first, else what usually happens is that the same question gets asked innumerable times. Eg. My son/daughter does not read. How can I get him/her to do so? Or He/She just does not open her text books! What can we do.
(Mind you, this same question would have been asked by the same parent, on all the previous occasions we would have met 😀 Do you get the exasperated feeling I sometimes have? )  So these were addressed early, in the whole group, thinking that it would not get repeated later. Boy! Was I wrong! Now I know I shall have even more patience with their kids! 😀

A few pointers were also given. Asking parents to be aware of what their child does on the internet, their use of FB, who calls, what is discussed 😀 And also the fact that most times notes are copied over the phone, instead of being completed in class, where they are given time to 😀

The moment I indicated that the general session was over, my table was surrounded. Fighting panic, I suggested the parents join a line that had already formed, to my right, where there was more space. I must admit that they complied. Perhaps because I did not listen to anyone’s remarks/questions/ suggestions, but only smiled, broadly and insisted, patiently that they do. The smile I am sure did not reach my eyes! 😛 And, well, they probably knew what their kids had told them about the ogre I could be 😛 😛

While most parents were kind and inquired after my health, and expressed they were glad to see my (typo, do excuse me :D) me back, one particular irritable parent came with his stubborn looking son, and his long suffering wife. (This child had, in the previous year, been caught for being part of a group of boys who supplied/exchanged/ shared pornographic films – they’re known more familiarly here as “Blue Films” – in school. Sigh. Please believe this to be entirely true. 😦 ) The child in question, let’s call him A, was all ready for a verbal lashing from the teacher (me) to his father, who was adept at it, and who looked belligerently, daring the teacher to say anything kind about him. I mean, here was a child, who has never had much positive said about him, either at home, or at school (an only child).

Father: Teacher, what do you have to say about him? (Pointing to his son, whose expression was filled with daggers at his father)

A (his thoughts, probably): Dad, can’t you just shut up?!

Me: Oh, A? Yes, well, he’s improved vastly, and he pays attention in class. I must tell you that was one the few children in class who had completed his notes and had even done it neatly. I checked yesterday. Isn’t it, A? (A. nods, quickly looks at father, and the sullen expression is back when he sees no smile on his father’s face.)

Father: But, teacher, he does not speak in English at all!

Me: Oh he does, to me, in English class. And in most of the other classes!

Father: But to others in class, he does not. (all this is spoken in Malayalam 😛 )

Me: (Smiling through my teeth 😀 )You see, Sir, why does anyone use a language? To communicate. And if A can communicate in Malayalam, when there is no need for him to use it (read, no Teachers are around to check 😀 ) why would he? Would you? Language as I see it, is need based, and if they can get by in another language they will. Most kids I know, who can speak English fluently still use Malayalam to interact with each other. All classes. And if he were to continuously speak only in English, he would be laughed at, here. Peer pressure is a strong deterrent, so while I am sorry he does, not, and because we do not have “punishments” to check that, sometimes this happens. But , I assure you, he can speak, and well too.

Father: (more annoyed) But something has to be done! He does not read at all!

Me: Do you? (turning to his wife, who had a deadpan expression, and let her husband do all the talking; I’ve been told that neither her son, nor her husband value her words or opinions) Do you?

Father: Yes, I do. And I buy him books.

Me: Do you read, with him? I mean, during the same time, share things with him, etc?

Father: But he does not! (he hasn’t answered my question, but I’ve had it with him, and am beginning to feel sorry for the child! )

Me: Have you tried incentives? Do, please, and do remember that they’re at an age when it is difficult for them to cope with so much of stimuli around them. I assure you, A will do well, and he will be able to do all of this!

A. by now is looking rather astonished at this exchange, but quickly brings back the stubborn expression when noticed. The unhappy father, the long-suffering mother and their recalcitrant son are then gently signalled off, with a sweet “thank you, we’ll certainly work on this”, and the next parent invited to come up! Phew!  I almost wiped imaginary beads of sweat from my brow, theatrically 😛

The next parent had been all ears, at this exchange and the moment she stepped up with her son B. , who is A.’s classmate, she said, Teacher, you don’t have to say anything more! I know what you’re trying to say, and yes, I did want to tell you all about B, being this way. But yes, the peer pressure is a factor we do need to take account of! Thank God for parents like this 🙂 They give me back my faith in humanity 🙂 🙂

For three hours, I stood (as did my brethren at school 🙂 ), smiled, talked, endlessly. But I must say that it was fruitful. We did not give out report cards, we simply shared what we knew of the children, discussed ways and means for their betterment, sometimes complained a little (both parents, and me 😀 ), ranted a bit (me 😛 ), and I do believe we have all taken away something positive from the interaction.

This meeting was something a lot of us were against saying that it would have been better had it been a bigger group, not small individual class groups, but I know I was wrong in thinking that. Tired, and rather exhausted though I was, I learnt a lot, and gained much by it. For once, I’m happy to be wrong 🙂

22 January, 2012
(I’m Keeping My Promise to myself (posting each Sunday), though I’ve decidedly become wordy again! 😛 Can’t help it 🙂 )
#92


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Teach, better yet, learn…


5 September, 2011. Teachers’ Day 🙂

It’s that time of the year, when we, in India, suddenly remember it’s time to look up our Teachers from school and college; for those still at school it’s a day of celebration, when suddenly, all the Teachers are nice, well, suddenly, even if for a brief period 🙂 It’s a time when some of us teachers rest our radars, and ultra-sound sonars as far as stuff in school, like noise levels and boisterousness, goes :D! It’s a day we speak of the Guru, and spend a few moments, in retrospection, on the Great Teacher, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, who re-defined and moulded our perception of teaching and our attitudes towards teachers.

In India, most certainly, the profession of Teaching is much respected and looked up to. It is the heritage of the Aarsha Samskaaram, the legacy bequeathed by our Rishis. We still live it, to a great extent, even schools that have been started by the Missionaries,  or by those of other faith.And that is good, it has its due dignity and place.

How much, however, do the teachers themselves, this day and age live up to the legacy they need to live up to? Questions on this abound the discussions on many forums. When I was in school, and that is more than 30 years ago, in the seventies, the Teacher’s Word was final. Parents and students did not question it. Even if we felt we should, and we did, more often than not, our parents would side with the Teacher, and we learned to respect even that. So why is it not so today? I’ve seen the sea change that has come (well, it has, in practically every sphere of life, but as far as schooling, and education is concerned, you expect certain basic things to stay the same… 😀 )

Now? Well. Sigh. Yes, I grant you the argument that children are of a different generation, they are victims of inflotion (information explosion :D), they live by a whole new different set of rules, and play a different ball game altogether. Granted. But as I see, teachers have become punching bags. For students, for parents, for the Administration, most times for society itself. Yes, that is an extreme and perhaps a rather harsh statement, but what one sees in the final account, is just this, the shortcomings, and very little of innovative and proactive things they do. Fact. Been there. Heard that. Seen that. Experienced it.

Somewhere down the line we have lost the big picture in the analysis of detail. Each Class Meeting, or Open House, or a PTA Gen. Body, one hears of suggestions (most welcome) , listens to rants (welcome again, for we grow with each one), are treated to endless repetitions of the same item, by different people (because each person has his/her child to cater to), this we could do without.I admit there are many in the Teaching Profession that bring it a lot of shame, what with growing cases of Child Abuse, and less than Professional or Empathetic conduct both in and out of class. But to judge the entire lot by those yardsticks is to do great injustice.

No, we are anything but perfect. Just like you. Yes, we are human. Just like you. And maybe, we aren’t always right ( 😛 ), maybe like you?? But this I need to say, on behalf of each teacher who has tried his/her darnest… 🙂

  • You know, we do actually listen to the children…
  • Yes, we realize there is a problem, and we are willing to share it with you, and move forward by finding common ground; after all, we too are concerned about your child
  • Could you, perhaps, refrain from bad-mouthing teachers in the presence of your child?
  • Could you, also, recognize that we are NOT here to find fault, just help, and maybe you need to see your child for who he/she is and what he/she could become?
  • NO, we are not on the other side, we really are on the same side
  • We’re listening. Yes. Could you also listen? Not just to us. To your child too?
  • Do you read? Yes? Wonderful! Share that with your child!
  • You don’t read? No time? Oh! Perhaps you’d like to share reading time at home with the entire family reading for just 20 minutes each day? Great!
  • Do you talk? I mean like TALK, to your child? Good. Now, do you LISTEN? Great. Pl. continue to do so… 🙂
  • Ah! Is that so? Maybe you need to share what your child has said with us too…. and then see if you can really believe it!!
  • Oh, he doesn’t speak much English? Do you? Don’t worry, in English Period, he does!
  • How to improve it? Well, exposure to it, of course 🙂 You know, instead of serials and movies, why not a bit of news now and then, in English?
  • Perhaps  you could come more often to meet us?
  • Do you read the diary your child brings home?
  • You know, I’d rather meet and talk than endless talk on my phone, usually at 8pm when I’m busy at my home. I do have a family too, you know 🙂

These are but few of the rants I have today. I’ve lived each of them 🙂 But I send out my appreciation to all my colleagues, wherever they are, doing that thing they do, best. For, even though they say “Those who can do, and those who can’t teach”, I’d rather laugh it off, for it reveals just an earthworm tunneled vision of them that do say so 🙂 🙂 Taylor Mali’s Video , on his poem “What Teachers Make” is an alltime inspiration for me, from the time I have read it. So also, Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to his Son’s Teacher (mentioned with this post written, same time, last year :D), and the film, “To Sir, With Love”.

The Best Motivation for a Teacher? Be a Learner, all your life. Nothing inspires more than the curiosity you carry with you, and nothing will impress and engage and enliven the learner group you become part of. Heck! Teaching, anyone can do. Learning? Now that is something else 🙂 So Teach on, and keep learning too, all of you Teachers, Mentors, and Influencers … you all deserve an applause 🙂

Happy Birthday, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan! And Happy Teachers’ Day to all my Comrades in Arms 🙂 🙂 You are among the best of persons I have had the privilege to know! God Bless!

4 September, 2011.

For 5 September, 2011, Teachers’ Day.


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Golden Moments


തനി തങ്കം. Thani Thankam. No, no, this is not a piece on the Grand Shopping Festival of Kerala, and it’s myriad Jewellery Stores! It’s about two special people, and their special Golden Moment. This phrase in Malayalam best describes them. Pure as gold. The kind that is tested by the hottest fires, and still holds the golden sheen, soft and malleable. Daddy and Mummy. And this day, 7th December, they celebrate 50 years of togetherness. A golden moment, is it not?

Quite apart from the fact that they are MY parents ( 😀 ), what makes them special is that they have been just that, to ever so many others. Irrespective of age, sex, social status (and that is a big criteria, you can be sure, generally, in India, not to mention down under, here…!), or whatever…

But most of all, it is their togetherness that, I feel, they have been blessed with- right through their lives, that envelops them in that aura of a gentle mist of gold.  (I may be overusing that word today. Do excuse me. I cannot not 🙂 )

They came together fifty years ago, she, a shy diminutive, pretty, dark-eyed beauty, and he, a tall, dashing, dark and handsome Navy man. The early pictures of them have always charmed me. Mom’s kohl lined pretty eyes, the ever-smiling face (even now), the sporting gal (all the more now!), and by my word, I must confess she is perhaps the only one I know who grows younger, with age. Silvery haired, still diminutive, still beautiful woman. An awesome cook, an empathetic friend to everyone, especially in the neighbourhood…. ഷാരത്തെ അമ്മുമ്മ, “shaarathe ammumma” (ammumma means grandmother,  and shaarathe, for Pisharathe the house name) is what she is known as 🙂

And he? Well. 🙂 I loved the thick curly mane that rose from his high, broad, intelligent forehead, the quiet eyes, the hint of a smile hovering, but not quite showing itself, the reserve that used to be there (now in shambles, ever since the advent of the first grandchild 🙂 – happens to all the taciturn men, doesn’t it? And that is just such a joy to see too!) Over the years, the hair has thinned and quite disappeared, most of it… from the top of his head, but he’s still my dashing daddy, especially when he dresses up – impeccably as always- be it is mundu- veshti or his format attire. He’s always been a stickler for time, and perfect turnouts, and still is. Dapper, even now 🙂 He is (I ought to say was, for he no longer is 😀) the reserved one. A natural reserve that drew a natural respect from all who knew him. A most sincere and committed Professional, be it while he was in the Navy, the BEL, Tata Telecom or Tata Elixsi – he inspired and continues, even now, to inspire the young… At the young age of 70, he mastered the use of a computer, and is now quite internet savvy too, lately having joined facebook as well! Mom went for classes too, and got the hang of it, but felt that virtual world was not as warm as the real world :), though skype wowed her, and FB sometimes facinates her. She’d rather interact personally 🙂 Wise girl!

Together? Just as beautiful, even now, as they were then 🙂 They rock!  \m/  !!!

Growing up , as with other kids, there were some moments of reserve, with dad, of sheer and unadulterated fun with mom, and her large brood of siblings (dad was an only child!).

There are no words to describe our parents, are there? To each of us, they hold that special something, that no other parent in the world does; and you cannot really put it in so many words. It’s the lasting ideals in life, the enduring of their spirit, the knowing ( now, especially,  when one is a parent), that they did a darned fantastic job with their kids, kept them grounded (sometimes, for real too!!!), kept teaching, with their lives, even the next generation, in fact a whole generation of their children’s and grandkids’ friends too, that makes my parents a world apart.

I cannot ever say my children might someday say this of me, but this I know, my brothers and I, for sure, feel this.

Have you read Dr. Brian Weiss? His book “Many Lives, Many Masters” is a revelation – how the knowing of someone happens the instant you meet, or sometimes even before you do. I know that if my soul were to find a lifetime again, I would be part of dad’s and mom’s life too. I’d want to be. Even one of the pets they have. Yes, indeed. A pet it ought to be 🙂 🙂

No matter what  sourest of lemons life threw at them, they had the gumption to toast a tequila with it, bottoms up! They have endured, and in a way that is exemplary.

Today their quiet celebration is with Lord Krishna at Guruvayoor, and some close family members… partaking of the Lord’s simple meal, and spending time in harmony with their inner selves. Another golden moment in their lives glides by.

My simple wish is that they continue fill each other’s lives and ours too, with the wealth of their love, their affection and their blessing. For as long as they can, happily and in good health. For they deserve nothing less. First, they say, you have to deserve, then desire. I don’t think they would desire much more, than to see all of us happy, healthy and together… and I hope their desires, all thoroughly deserved will be theirs.

As we are too. Ever. Daddy, and Mummy, a wonderful and happy anniversary to both of you! May the Lord Bless us to have you with us, hale and hearty, for a long time!

(for the 7th of December, 2010)

5 December, 2010 (Scheduled post)

Pssst… there is another one for them on A Quest, my other blog called “Golden”, if you have the time, inclination and energy after reading till here!


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Golden

Rich harvests they say
Come from careful tending
Golden grain, smiling with promise
The fruit of sheer love. Mirrored across!

Careful tending, such as
Only you can do.
Together, concerned.
Loving, protective.

Watering with endless encouragement
Pruning, gently, when needed
Watching over with pride
Each stalk, each leaf, tenderly.

Stepping back, so that they could
Soak the sun, be part of it,
Stand upright, all on their own.
Their own. Yours. Ever. Always.

And steeped in a heavenly glow
As would a hallowed halo
Still there, bound in a
Circle of love, enveloped in golden sheen.

Dearest Mummy and Daddy
You’re wished from our hearts
Filled with love, by your own.
Your very own. Us all!

Happy Golden Anniversary-

Dad and Mom
There’s Viju, and Vinu
And me, Trips and Anu…
Archie, Arun, Lakshmi n Kiru n Chotu and Kunju…
Not to forget… awww… achudu
Malu, Appu, Paru, Kuttan and Chinnu!

Remember, your family adores YOU!

2 December, 2010
(on a wave of sheer inspiration, in school :D!)
(For 7th December, celebrating our parents’ fifty years of togetherness!)
Psst… if you came here first, perhaps you’d like to go across to “Overdrive”, my other blog, where I have another one for them there, called “Golden Moments” 🙂