Tag Archives: Children

186: Little Conversations And Happy Vibes

6 Jul

It was yesterday while at school that it struck me how surrounded I am by different people. While my students put up what was perhaps the best assembly so far this year, I watched on like a proud class teacher would, and felt a connection with them for the first time I think. They picked the very apt, very relatable, very important topic “self-acceptance” and delivered a marvellous job which only spoke to hard work, effort, and a great connection with the subject. As the audience stood in rapt attention lapping up all they had to offer, my kids ladled praises that came their way. Much deserved and worthy of bragging, most definitely.

I’m not a very social person or a very open person. My walls are high, my boundaries very marked. I don’t cross lines and no one crosses mine; not beyond a point i.e. But I’ve been noticing this uncanny phenomenon which has been happening off late that can only be attributed to kids and their ability, to either lovingly or annoyingly, gnaw their way into a person’s heart. I’ve a varied bunch of kids from all walks of life – they’re all amazing in their own way, and equally challenging to handle.

They’ve slowly but surely started inching closer towards me, and I towards them. Professionally, of course. And somewhere in this entire process I’m reminded about just how many variant vibes I’m surrounded by – happy, jovial, youthful, energetic, humourous, beautiful vibes. I’ve been having conversations with myself, telling myself good things, even. Opening up to these youngsters all around me has helped me take these little conversations to another level; to open my eyes and see that there’s so much good energy all around me to sponge off from, to give to, to engage with.

People are strange.

But magic is stranger.

102: Extras

12 Apr

The misconception about the profession I currently am in, is astounding, and hilarious, to say the least. Hilarious in a not so happy way, to clarify. No teacher has it easy, and no teacher’s work day ends before he/she retires to bed. There’s always something to do, even for the ones who are seasoned, and have been there and done almost every other that. So I’m baffled when people nonchalantly say “oh, but you’re just teaching”, or “but you’ve the whole day and evening to yourself because you only can teach set hours in the day”, or even worse “you have summer holidays, be thankful”. Not that I am not grateful to be off when the rest of every single other kid is off as well, because yay that’s exactly what I’m looking for when I want a secluded, quiet holiday – kids everywhere, screaming in free abandon, but I don’t know how that automatically justifies every single mind-boggling piece of madness one has to endure for the rest of the year X every child you interact with. It’s a fair of kids of all shapes, sizes, thoughts, and attitudes. It’s a candy store, if I may. A candy store I’m not particularly keen on visiting. But here I am, at this said candy store, day in and day out, wondering why people think it’s as easy as they think it is.

There’s always a pile of extras, larger than the regulars you’ve to deal with. Extras that you want to avoid making eye contact with, extras that loom large over your head till you surrender. Extras you didn’t think you’d ever voluntarily have to deal with. Ever.

It’s a tough juggle, and there’s madness everywhere.

The Puzzle And Its Pieces

12 Jul

With the past few weeks culminating in a very busy weekend, the most I could do come Sunday night was pass out by 9pm and wake up feeling like someone still had that energy-sucking straw stuck in me, the next morning. But when your once packed and routine-filled day suddenly frees up, one doesn’t really know what to do or how really to celebrate this blessing that is free time. And so I let the day flow by languorously, feeling rather odd and out of place; lazily picking up laundry that needed completing, disassembling that growing mountain of unfolded clean clothes that needed folding, and easing into that much needed head massage and head bath, as some sort of consolation prize…because head baths cannot be rushed, you know?

I’ve realised, after all my excited celebration, that it doesn’t rain in this city. Or rather, this city, it seems, is the last to see rain. The clouds just hang around all day like a tease you just don’t want to see anymore – because stationery clouds only mean unbearable humidity. I’ve never, ever seen an unwillingness to just rain and give us some relief, than over here. Of course, the husband says that once it rains, the flooding thanks to the city’s so called drainage system, makes you want to not see water. Oh well.

Yesterday was all about spending time with my family who stays here and with my aunt and uncle who are visiting for my uncle’s chemotherapy. It was a wonderful day filled with conversation after conversation, interspersed with laughter, madness, lots of nail painting, mango snarfing, ice cream gobbling, chai, food, and of course, photographs. There really is no better remedy than finding joy, solace, comfort and love in these small moments. A lot of it involved drawing my uncle out to talk about all that was on his mind – his childhood, his love for food, his stories which eventually led to him speaking about his pain and letting us in on his journey, his battle. It’s a nasty battle and one that is beyond gruelling. But that’s me just skimming what lies on the surface of it all. Sometimes it is important to not shun talking about suffering, pain and hurt. And so we talked and I learned a little more about his journey, his perspective, his understanding – there can be no other way to learn about somebody’s walk than from their own selves.

In the midst of it all, I’ve no idea how time passed us all by. There we were, yapping about the good old times like they happened just yesterday, and here we are now – all of us grown up, our parents inching towards retirement; their faces masked behind the veil of post retirement insecurities and fears, the unanswered questions of what lies next and where they’ll end up – there’s so much we leave unsaid, so much we do not talk about and push under the carpet for that tomorrow which isn’t far away. It really puts things into perspective and makes me look within to see where I stand and just how far I am from handling my duties and responsibilities. It’s real and it’s just around the corner. To not think about it and address these concerns is that sort of denial that’s pleasant to live in – because which child ever wants their parents to grow old? – except it’s that sort of denial which comes with a limited period offer tag. This time warp is an illusion and one that needs snapping out of, immediately.

It really puts our entire life cycle in perspective, especially when faced with the realities that lie ahead of us. They said getting married by a certain time was a good idea and they make sense even now. No, we do not need anyone’s support to get by, because like ma says, humans are born to strive and survive; humans make it through and that’s why we are the species that we are. But to have someone by your side doesn’t indicate weakness or incapability; far from, actually. A time comes when the pieces of this unfinished puzzle start falling into place. All those unanswered whats and whys automatically wither away… I’m beginning to learn that not everything has a verbal answer to it, as I once assumed and very vehemently believed.

Spending time with family and spending time with one’s own self helps put things into place. Whether it’s the continuous circle of life or the endlessly rotating wheel, it’s evident that movement is mandatory. Life goes on and will do. I’m certain no amount of banners, sloganeering and vociferous posts on social media can do a thing about it.

I believe it makes sense to walk on, because time really isn’t stopping for anyone. There’s so much to do, so many things to say, so many unfinished businesses to close and move on from, so many i love yous to say, so many laughs to share, so many kisses to savour…there are just too many things to be done; some good, some unpleasant, some ugly. But the promise of moving on is one that life makes to each of us and it’s an eye-opening one for sure.

*Update – the rains have arrived.

**Latest update – the rains have vanished.

Perception

26 Jun

I’d like to believe that I have the skills to put together a mean PowerPoint Presentation (ppt) complete with the looks and finesse a good ppt ought to have. I don’t go overboard with flashy lights and music popping from unforeseen slides, etc etc because I have a style and I like to keep it that way. And here’s what happens when someone sniffs the skills out – you become the family ppt maker. Especially now that my baby cousins are in the throes of understanding and learning about technology in schools that revel in the vast amounts of competition they inculcate, it becomes more than necessary to have a so called “ppt maker”. I’m not bragging because I’ve way more to learn. I’m just saying that when you’re even decent enough in your family, you get put on that pedestal. And even if my views on education and learning differ, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. And so I make ppts for my babies.

The point isn’t as much about being a ppt maker as much as it is about learning and relearning. Making presentations at work or for clients is one thing. Making ppts for kids is another. And I find that the most challenging. It’s been an insightful experience throughout. Where one could come up with a ppt within minutes because a client was drumming his fingers in wait for it, here it takes more than just that. The experience of it all actually made me come here and talk about it because it really isn’t easy to get back down to a child’s level, or a level that isn’t akin to your own cognitive levels. I don’t know if it involves unlearning as much as it involves accommodation of new perspectives. I’m not unlearning how to do a ppt or make a presentation/project. I’m accommodating new perspectives and perceptions to put a point of view across. And like I said, that has been most challenging.

I don’t know what a 12 year old thinks like. I’m far past that mark to go back and recognize how exactly a child of that age comprehends his/her world. And yes, I was 12 once upon a long, long, long time ago. But that doesn’t help. It really doesn’t. For one, times have changed and I think a 12 year old me would feel completely out of place with a 12 year old today. I mean, that’s just natural and it’s called a generational gap. But it’s interesting nevertheless to have yourself in such a situation because it’s not often that you get to shift levels of perception and thinking.

Having studied cognitive process and developmental psychology does help in that I know there are various levels which comprise numerous characteristics pertaining to each stage of growth. But like I said in my previous post, life isn’t and never was a text book because no matter how much you read, you’re always gonna be back on page one when you’re bam in the middle of life and trying to figure it out. I love it nonetheless. It challenges my mind in ways my mind hasn’t been challenged because I obviously do not need to think about how children think, feel and communicate just about yet. So the only hands on experience I’ve got with kids is making ppts. And I really do not know if what I do is what is required. Have I deconstructed knowledge and its presentation more than I should have or have I become too technical or have I done too much are questions I have. And perhaps always will because education today cares about the end result in marks and competition, not the processes that make us who we are and how those can be nurtured and bettered.

It’s interesting to step out of your zone and look around. The worldview’s drastically different. And that’s maybe why I make those ppts. And as we speak, I’m stuck on making an 8 slide ppt on the physical characteristics of our country. It’s easy-peasy, you might think. But try making one with pictures and diagrams and text and all the vast amounts of knowledge that’s out there in the great www. Just try silencing the million squeaky voices in your head that shout out to be heard – take this, take that, no leave this out, no this has to go in!!!! It’s cray! See, I’m resorting to newer terms of words and expressions as well. When the hell did crazy become cray or cray cray? Like did you sleep and miss the z? Or does z stop existing anymore? Oh wait, I’m sorry, I understand how difficult it must be to add just another teeny, tiny letter to a huginormous (I made that up right now!) word! Sigh.

No. I.do.not.feel.old.

I feel awesome that I still get to think and comprehend like a kid from term to term.

And I love crazy.

<Goes back to ideating for an 8 slide ppt.>