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Accountability


Once in a while a question shakes me up and soon gets me on a ‘thinking’ spree. Today it was from a young colleague of mine.

“Aren’t you worried how people would react if you do things differently?”

Let me make the context clear. The topic was ‘how to make the online classes more interesting and creative’. After watching one of my recorded classes she hesitatingly raised this question. And now it has got my brain buffering.

A teacher is supposed to explain the topic, the meanings, discuss the questions and prepare the students for the exams. Fine. The teacher will be paid and no one would point a finger at her. But is that enough? For me, no.

I have two options.

  • Option one: Take my students up to the museum gate and announce, “Hey kids, this is the museum which houses a lot of famous antique pieces and artefacts. Clear?
  • Option two: Get the tickets, lead them in to the museum, and let them have a close look at those curios, and let them bask themselves in that ambience of antiquity.

I would go for the second option.

Fit in or stand out? Follow the crowd or follow our hearts? The latter ones seem more thrilling and acceptable to me, not just for the sake of being the odd one out or to show off, but for the gratification of doing the best for the children destined to be with me for an entire academic year. It demands sheer hard work.

“That is the one unforgivable sin in any society. Be different and be damned!”
― Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

Each lesson opens up doors to the unseen magical world around us. The possibilities are infinite depending on the creativity and willingness of the teacher who handles it. Is it necessary to walk that extra mile? After all, it is just a lesson meant for some ordinary middle class students. Is it worth sacrificing our precious time and energy for these kids who may never recognize or acknowledge our efforts?

What about the colleagues who are content with the conventional methods? Let them be. There’s nothing wrong in it. I don’t expect others to join me or imitate me, though sometimes I may try suggesting to some. But I give up at the slightest hint of disdain, as unsolicited advice is unwelcome too.

“There is a certain way of being human that is my way. I am called upon to live my life in this way, and not in imitation of anyone else’s life. But this notion gives a new importance to being true to myself. If I am not, I miss the point of my life; I miss what being human is for me.”
― Charles Taylor, Multiculturalism

I shall always remain accountable to my students. The rest will ensue, naturally.

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Each time I see my profile pic
And an inviting blank space
Below each and every post
By those unknown ‘post’ers,
My heart starts pounding –
How should I comment on…

the lady who made dosa today,

the girls who had cupcakes and selfies,

the boys who tried beer and adventure,

the man who stood beside a Rolls Royce,

the activist who was infuriated,

the journalist who was ‘enlightened’,

the teacher who came across

another meme that resonated,

the business man who hosted

another dinner for the celebrities?

My material soul utters scornfully:
Loser, it’s your turn to impress.

My Files


Thus I was born with
those few basic programmes.

As voices and visuals poured in
I felt I got access to more.

Later I had my own words
Making me edit, delete,
Update and add more.

More faces, words, deeds
Knowledge, experiences –
The evolving continued.

Then the teenage rebellion!

The ordeals of life
Overhauled them often.

At times they were futile
Making me look pathetic.

Now here I am today,
digging into the enormous,
tangled pile of life files
searching frantically for
my disaster management docs!

‘Alarm’ing!


I hate him –
the rigid precisionist
who axed the climax
of my thriller dream.

I tried feigning sleep
but the unkindest cut
was too loud, fatal,
leaving me ‘clueless’!

Now who will tell me
what happened to me
after I came out of
the palace-cum-barn-cum-mountain?

 

 

 

 

Anarchy


Control – iron-fisted!
Power – absolute!

Perspectives mutate,
Priorities shuffle,
Focus shifts,
Vision blurs,
Mind shrinks,
Greed roots,
Anarchy thrives.

His heaven
Our hell!

Experiment


She is in the lab
Doing an experiment
For the first time
in her life.

She is confident
Yet, from time to time
she cross checks
With her Guru.

The powders measured
like gold, with utmost care,
since she fears
Even the minute variations
may affect the final outcome.

And it is ready !

The testing –
the tasting.

The verdict –

Aha! That’s my cup of tea!

[That was my daughter making her first cup of tea for her father, just now! 🙂]

Now I know what’s wrong with those doctors


(STORIES FROM THE SCHOOL – III)

Unit: The Road Not Taken

What’s your ambition?(The same old innocent question)

I was pretty sure of the statistics for the answers.

As usual one-third of the class proudly claimed they want to be doctors. What kind? No idea. That’s fine.

Each one of you loves to be one? What’s the main attraction?

Yes!! Money!

And the prestige?

Yes, yes, of course!!

So that means you would ‘love’ to be with sick people all your working hours? How many of you – now?

*

*

*

To my utter dismay, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM!

Oh, what did I do? Did I ruthlessly eradicate a batch of doctors? Sorry, that was not my intention.

Wait! There were two – but one,  a wannabe politician and the other a wannabe journalist. But a politician… and a journalist… and the sick…?

Think of that teacher who doesn’t want to be with students, that salesman who doesn’t want to be with customers, that vet who doesn’t want to be with animals…

Now I know what’s wrong with the doctors these days.

Now I am thinking what I can do to help (at least some of) my wannabe doctors to be REAL doctors.

Tell me your secrets


I could hear Wind roaring
In languages unknown to me.

It was lonely –
Lonely as the cold desert!

Sometimes loud and scary
At times silent and creepy.

I could feel
His dry tears of loss.

I was weather-beaten,
And my brain – tired!

I tried and tried
Oh, but Wind
Never let me
Know his secrets!

SOS


(STORIES FROM THE SCHOOL – II)

Girl 1

She couldn’t answer –
Today too!

Meet me later.

What is the problem, dear?

I’m sc..a..r..ed..

Hmm… no more questions.
Let me know when you are ready.

Girl 2

She was late again-
Third day in a row.

Why?
No reply – as usual.

Her shabby uniform,
Skinny frame,
Terrified looks
Were no good signs.
Time to poke my nose.

Unashamed


(STORIES FROM THE SCHOOL – I)
She readily agreed to get into the Barnie costume.
May be she enjoyed it, may be she just did it
without even second thoughts.

She stood out in that pretty purple – in every way!

Did/could she actually see
the twinkle in the eyes of the kids,
the surprise on the teachers’ faces,
all the smiles that she induced?

Just a costume could do all that!

Still, we hesitate to make the faces bloom.
Why? Shy?
Ashamed of looking silly?
The anonymity involved is not worth it?

Thank you, Lamis!