A Quest on Overdrive … :)

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


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Of pigtails and Pig Tales :)

There are certain days, certain people, and certain occasions, for who/which this rambler goes sincerely crazy. Otherwise, she’s just… weird. Yep, this rambler is certified… and she’s also oxymoron 😛
Like in the current flavour of the month (hers-movie wise), where I am at, this movie Moana, she (Moana)  asks her Grandma:
Moana: Why are you acting weird?
Gramma Tala: I’m the village crazy lady. That’s my job.
Kind of sums me up, you’d agree 😀 I’ve watched that movie, most of it, at least three times a day, from 25th of this month. 😛 So I know! And when you do too, enough times, and have a faint personal knowledge, you shall most certainly nod your head in total agreement. In fact, you millennials would probably go… tots bro!
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Ammoomma Monkeying around 😛

Chalo. But this isn’t about the rambler, though she wouldn’t mind wearing pigtails all over again.
It’s about a wee lass, her grammie’s, her Ammumma’s “cutie pie”,  darling, “kujikutty”, her momma’s “chinnooomaaaa”, her Arjun’s delightful daughter. Naina. Duh. 😀
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Pigtails Poser!

That “cutie pie” in pigtails, she’s turning three today. Woah! I tell myself. Three! Wasn’t it just yesterday, around this time I was pretty much worried as hell, because Pratibha had to stay overnight in hospital because of a “false alarm”? When I was all ready to fly across here, on 9 April, because the baby was due only on 11 April? And a few hours into the day, about 9.30 in the morning, I receive a call (expecting Arjun to tell me that Pratibha is back at home!) saying “Amma, a girl!”  It beats me how I found the will (rules and regulations notwithstanding 😛 ) to stay on another week, almost, finish the required work at school, and then head to Nainuland, to hold her in my arms, on 5 April, 2014. Sigh. Sigh… *Wanders off into those memories*… ❤ ❤
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5 April, 2014!

Three years of unmitigated fun, ever’growing love, impossible amounts of laughter, all kinds there are, and the omnipresent, omniscient worry and anxiety, that comes when you have every spare inch of your thoughts filled with a prayer for the well being of this tiny, perfect (and you’d do battle with anyone who says otherwise 😛 ) girl who rules your heart. (Every other member of my family is going to go ballistic when they read this – a certain one for sure, but then the subject of this blog is equally all pervading in her influence, so that voice shall also be concomitant to the views expressed herein 😀 🙂 )
Awesomeness needs no captioning! 😛 …⇑⇑
Not to forget the never diminishing sense of wonder and amazement, the sheer pride that threatens to consume you 😛 when you speak endlessly (yes, grammies are like that, they can’t stop once they start !!!) about every tiny facet of this beautiful gorgeous girl! No matter that she giggles and bursts into a riot of laughter to tell you “You’re sho funny!!!” as you try and gracefully eat spaghetti, saying, Ammoomma eating wiggly worms (laughing uncontrollably…) Ammomma eating wiggly worms” She can call you any kind of names, and you’ll beam with joy that is bundle is actually saying those things! 😛
Sample this. A few friends visited on Sunday, and the conversation turned to children speaking. There were toddlers present, ranging from 1 – 3 years old, and we began to speak of how kids pick up language, English in particular. Nainu has never ceased to amaze us with her range and recollection and her apt usage of the words. Apparently, she was using the word “grumpy” (gwumpy, as she says) with understanding. And her mother was saying, “Arre, I didn’t even know there was a word called grumpy till I was in high school!” Yeah. That sums it up for many readers here as well, right?
So how did she manage this? Exposure to language (my pet soapbox topic 😛 ) She, I do believe, is the finest example I could give you on how you could pick up a language if you surround yourself with it, on your own 🙂 She listens to nursery rhymes, and watches a few films, repeatedly, when she isn’t engaged in role playing with her army of toys, cycling around the house in her tricycle, reading from the tiny books she has, and watching videos of her favourite… wait for it….PEPPA PIG AND HER FAMILY!!! The movies range from Nemo, Tangled, Frozen, and now MOANA! (Those who’ve been in my class will now understand why I would recommend movies, quite apart from their sheer entertainment value 😛 ) Also, Nainu has perhaps picked up the linguistically strong genes from her father too! 🙂
Just a couple of days ago, she  received a set of her Peppa Pig toys, the entire family, consisting of  (yes, I know them ALL!!) Peppa Pig, her brother Georgie Pig, Daddy Pig, Mamma Pig, Granpa Pig (who’s grumpy sometimes 😀 ) and Grandma Pig. She took down her Elsa doll, a toy that moves on wheels, singing away “Let it Go!” , placed Peppa’s family on the petal like protruding bits of the doll, at the base, twirled it, singing Let it Go!!, and toppled the whole family to the ground! She did let them go!
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Naina and her Peppa Pig Collection! The Little one in RED is Peppa Pig!

She speaks quite clearly, my wee lass does. She speaks in English too! Which constantly surprises us, because no one has ever even tried to get her to sample the words and sentences. But she tries, on her own, right or wrong, and is quite oblivious to the joy, and the freak out sessions we have (duh. I have… 😀 ) when I hear her! Once in the car, she asks, Where we going? Once she’s had enough of the outing – Leshsh go home!  At play time, in her grandparents home, her Naani’s home, she asked her cousin to  come out, with a Lets go and build sand castles!  in the sand pit they had outside their home! I mean, Woah Woah Woah, not yet three and she says, sand castles?
The mystery was solved as to her acquisition of that when I was introduced to her Peppa Pig, finally, when I visited her last month. That’s a delightful family of yes, Pigs 🙂 Them brainy brainy creatures, cute as buttons 🙂 Complete with excellent, proper English, in an English accent. 🙂 These are kids (Peppa and Georgie)  who question, are curious, and equally naughty! She loves them so much, that when she was asked about her Birthday and what she wanted, she said Peppa Pig – and now she is the proud owner of a set of them figures, a couple of mugs, a backpack, thanks to Nammu Aunty, and a set of 6 small books! The happy birthday party theme? Duh! 😛
(Random off topic diversion – there had been a link, I shared on Facebook, speaking of how Peppa Pig shows create disobedient children, and cause … of all the things… autism! Cripes! How do people even write such things! Thank you Neethu and Rehan for telling me about it too!)
I hope the title is clearer now. I’m a fan of the entire clan Peppa Pig’s too! I love how stereotypes are broken there, how each of those films she loves has so much to inspire, about following one’s heart, of being cheerful, of having a loving family! It matters so very much what children read and watch, so much! And at this point I cannot not tell you how proud I am of her parents, Arjun and Pratibha, for keeping her grounded, and giving her her head in so many matters, letting her decide too, tiny tiny decisions… 🙂 A shoutout to another amazing person in her life, her Class Teacher from her Yellow Class, in Play School! Sheetal, you are a wonderful wonderful, empathetic teacher, who reaches out and helps foster that spirit of confidence in the tiny tots in your care. I know for certain that you shall ever remain her most favourite teacher in a long long long time. (Psst. I’ll tell you a secret – I’m jealous of how she so utterly  loves you, and even runs to you and hugs you, endlessly 😛 But I’m also glad that her impression of teachers will always be positive, thanks to you! The other teachers in her life have a huge image to aspire to, definitely! 🙂 🙂 )
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Naina and her Sheetal Aunty  – How a Teacher-Student relationship goes beyond … 🙂

 

Yes, I’m waxing poetic here, I know, but that is how this grandmother is. Absolutely, completely, uncompromisingly nutty… about her grandottie!
At almost 1400 words, I still haven’t told you ALL about her. An epic sized book wouldn’t suffice, as any Grandparent would tell you, when it comes to their precious bundles of joy! But yes, let’s leave some for the days and years to come, shall we?
(I heard that Phew!! Thank God, we’re nearing the end of the tunnel kind of sigh of elation  😛 😛 )
Naina. That’s who this is all about. My darling, My Sweetie Pie Naina. My Kunjikutty. Her birthday is today 🙂
Happy Birthday, my darling Nainu! May warm marshmallowy moments, and soft sweet and chocolatey (she loves chocolate 😛 ) dreams fill your realms and keep you sweet. May the craziness and naughtiness you have lead you on to be bright and independent. May the stories you hear and the stories you weave continue to enthrall and delight (she’s quite the story teller, and loves loves loves to have you read to her!  Or read from her own collection of books ❤ )! May the colours (and boy oh boy!! you do know almost ALL of them) fill your life with rainbows of feelings, each one precious and each one a journey to your own self. May you be blessed with good health, and this same sunny disposition! And may you continue to enchant us all and keep us loved and loving ❤ ❤
Psst… Thank you to her lovely parents too! Arjun and Pratibha, who’ve consistently given me parenting lessons, all my grandma wisecracks notwithstanding 😛 , for their patience and encouragement, and letting her have her head, or reigning in her over enthusiastic explorations, when occasion warrants it 🙂 May you continue to do your job just as wonderfully…! Blessed be!
Sigh. Sigh. I love you Nainu! Happy birthday sweeti pie!
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28 March, 2017
Birthday Blogs for Naina ❤
2015 (LINK)
2016 (LINK)
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“Discover Wildlife! Be a Teacher!”

… so goes a quote, anonymously posted, that I discovered in my casual stroll through the WWW yesterday! I was totally captivated by it, and immediately shared it where it would reach a wider audience, especially those who have the taste for the hatke. Obviously, Facebook 😀

In the comments sections, produced herewith, with the help of a screen shot(click to enlarge pic 🙂 ) is a telling reminder of how much fun it is (Leenuka 🙂 ) and how we can even discover new species in our adventures 🙂 (Abby!)

Ok 🙂 So that may not show up clearly, but I so liked the responses from two wonderful people I know there- one of whom is an awesome teacher I look up to, and am a big big fan of! Abby 🙂 (((Hugs)))

Doing a post for Teachers’ Day is also getting to be a tradition too for this blog 🙂 This in 2010, and this one last year. What more can I add? I guess enough to make me want to write something.

From way back, in school, I’ve always loved Teachers’ Day 🙂 The day when Teachers were not teachers, and the fun we had with student teachers! How, on that day, our Teachers were ever so charming, and approachable, and how we could take liberties with them that day…. 🙂 Times have changed since then, of the perception of a teacher in class.

Teachers are not just approachable now, but I guess more vulnerable too 😀 You don’t really know what’s coming at you… either child or parent or the Administration! That is only the tip of the freaking iceberg that keeps growing, global warming in the teaching community notwithstanding! (And I am not even going to go into the fiscal aspect at ALL :D). And still, no matter what, I love what I do. That is enough for me 🙂

This is not going to be an organized and neatly compartmentalized post, let me warn you, before you get too deep in here. This one is a lark, a happy lark, singing to itself, a paean to itself 🙂

This is a tribute to the teachers who shaped me, and made me look at myself as a being with potential. I know for sure that what I am is because of them! It is not for nothing that Henry Adams wrote of teachers:

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. “

I know I still do things today because of something or other that has influenced me, in my own days as a student in college, or in school 🙂 We all do, I think! More so, when we rebel! 😛

Yesterday, during that stroll through various quotes available on the net, I did discover a few that I do want to share today 🙂

A teacher’s job is to take a bunch of live wires and see that they are well grounded” ~ D Martin 

Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself 🙂

Teachers touch the future.

There are three good reasons to be a teacher – June, July, and August.  ~Author Unknown
(in this case let me make it April, May, and 10 days each during August-September, and December!!)

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This particular post as I have already mentioned is a dedication to my own teachers from school, and from college, and one particular awesome teacher from College – Dr Shoba Venkatesh Gosh (She used to be Ms Shoba Venkatesh in college 🙂 ). Early this year, when I came across a search term, with her name on the dashboard of my blog, I made an effort to google and find out more about her! Was very very elated to make contact through an organization called SPARROW, to discover she is now a Professor of English at Mumbai University! Woah. Made my day, entirely… 🙂 Went back to being the adoring kid in her class, and wrote out an email, an adoring email, of course to her… a part of which I have shared below! Well so much for being a teacher 🙂 I’d rather be her student any day!

I quote from the my email (dated March 7, 2012) to her: “The other day, while writing in another of my rambles on my wordpress blog, I mentioned your name, as someone who has been an all time inspiration in life. And today, while going through search terms on my blog, I saw your name, and immediately decided that this had to be the day I would delve deep into the virtual world for traces of that memory, and see if I could find you, however virtually. 

 
So I googled Shobha Venkatesh Ghosh ( I remembered that part too!); and was shown many links, all referring to Dr.Shobha Venkatesh Gosh. Had to be you, of course 🙂 And you still look awesome, the self same tall, lissome and attractive lecturer I used to look forward to listening to in class, in JNC! (saw a few pictures on SPARROW’s webpage) ( Do you still do theatre?)
 
I do realize you would not be able to place me, neither would you remember what I looked like, for I was that eager beaver average ordinary (all said in one breath! :D) girl who hung upon your words in class. A sure case of adoration, one I still  have to get over! Sorry to come on so strong!! After all these years 🙂
 
Coincidentally, I am a teacher. A school teacher. English. (which I took , after doing Science in PUC, because of a sure and defining influence of a certain lecturer!). And each time a student who has finished school comes back with kind words I think of you, and even otherwise. I’ve quoted your name n number of times when asked randomly what inspired me; first and foremost it has been you 🙂 Glad that I can, at least now, let you know all of this 🙂 Your rendition (if I could call it that! It was a class act!) of Pontius Pilate still lingers, and though I have lost the words, thinking of your performance always brings a smile!
 
I shall not embarrass you anymore. I’m glad I could get in touch (provided of course you do get to read this schoolgirlish mail, from an almost 49 year old who refused to grow beyond 12 – that’s a private joke my son and I share 🙂 ). 
 
I hope too, to be able to mail you again, on occasion, if you would not mind. It’s great to know that I have been able to at least make a one sided contact.( Dear me! Provided, of course, that you are the same Shobha Ma’am.)” Unquote 😛
What pleased me more, made me more overjoyed that words can tell, is her reply, and the fact that somewhere she did have a fuzzy memory 🙂 🙂 What does one say to such “thrilled to bits” feelings that well up? 🙂 🙂
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To wrap up, here’s the song (lyrics in the description area) from the film “To Sir, With Love”, iconic as far as inspiration for teachers go :); sung by Lulu, years after she first performed it for the film itself, in which she acted, as one of the students. Evergreen inspiration!

Happy Teachers’ Day to all those who, each day, knowingly and unknowingly are part of the teaching process… so that is ALL of you 🙂

4 Spetember 2012, on the verge of 5 September, 2012
Teachers’ Day 🙂


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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 🙂 )
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