Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Look back

Tenth CBSE board results were declared today. One of my friend's younger brother gave the exam this year. He got good marks (atleast we considered it good when we were in tenth standard) and yet he was sad... very sad. A few marks less than a friend, one mark less in science and two in maths is enough to unsettle you. This seems to be the most important thing in the world and you can go to any limits to ensure you do well. The whole world revolves around boards. I read news of kids committing suicide because they could not take pressure of exams or because the result was not good. This becomes a thing more worthy than your life and if you fail one exam you fail the exam of life.... I am not trying to say that we should abolish exams, thats not the point. I believe that we should teach kids to work hard and still accept failures sometimes. Life is not fair afterall.
Anyways I remembered that long..long time back I must be in the same stage. I did not take studies very seriously untill college first year and I am sure I did not cry after boards... but I am sure I must be greatly disappointed because of some exam some time. I have also been sad that I made some silly mistake in maths or was not fast enough to write in my social sciences paper.... It felt nice to know that, that was not the test of life... that theres more to life than a few exams here and there. That these are phases of life and that they pass. Today when I look back at my tenth board I can just smile at the thought that I considered it so very important. It felt good to hope that this is also a phase of life and that phases pass... someday I'll be able to look back at today with a certain fondness and smile... So heres to that day :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Delayed yet there

Perhaps the only interesting thing in my life these days is the weekends... when we teach kids. Hence, probably more than necessary posts will be dedicated to the same. We 3 girls teach 4 girls basics of Hindi, English and Maths. They do not go to school and obviously lack the motivation at home to study. We try as much as our impatient and lazy selves allow to teach them.

But somehow, no kid prefers study to fun. I know for sure my brother and I would have turned into road side ruffians had it not been for my parents. And if that is not there, it is difficult to retain interest in studies. We are thinking about bribing them with chocolates to study :)

One of them is quite young and its a delight hearing her "one tu thlee... " Its fun when she and her teacher fight over whether the alphabet she wrote is beautiful or not and should she repeat that. But at the same time, its not easy to have attention of a five year old. Yesterday after 90 minutes of repeating "A B C", one of my friend suddenly stood up and said, I cant do this. I could understand her plight quite well. Its not easy not shouting, not scolding and yet not giving up when all you say falls on some uninterested young ears.

I was almost on the verge of crying after repeating "Na, Na main EE ki matra NEE" countless number of times and hearing "Na, Na main EE ki matra EE" another countless number of times. I didnot know what I was doing wrong or how could I make her understand that. There must be something I could do. Something to hold her attention longer than 25.5 seconds, long enough to know basics of language!!!

Two of them are almost of the same age and one is faster at learning things than the other one. Today I overheard a conversation where the faster one said with a sigh, "She is so slow and what do I do". Immediately the other one lost whatsoever interest she had in those books, claiming that she is not fast enough and can never learn. I could say that the other one is a bit elder and hence a bit faster. But I guess, thats not the case when you have 40 kids in a class almost all of the same age.

I understand we are not professional teachers and perhaps a formal degree can teach you a lot. But I still believe it takes a lot of patience, dedication and understanding to teach a batch of kids in school. To be able to find that one troubled soul in a shouting and impatient lot, not to kill innocent questions by a lost temper, to channelise the competition in a healthy direction, to maintain interest in books. I know I have never been hit at school and I can not claim to be an ideal student. It must have been difficult controlling your anger sometimes. So heres a delayed thank you to my nursery and KG teacher, Apte ma'm... Thanks for teaching me "One, tu, thlee and A, B, C and Aa, Aaa, ee..." :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Back to basics

For some time Miss X, a good friend has been asking for some alternative career options. She happens to be comfortably placed, qualified(as per degrees) software engineer, working half an hour a day, staying in the office for 7 hrs, claiming to be working for 9 hrs and extracting a salary worth my 12 hrs. So X, heres a list of jobs that one can take without any additional degree and too much of pain in case one wants to quit/ gets kicked out of a comfortable paying job.

1. You can play agony aunt on newspaper. Its easy and not to mention fun when people ask you what to do if they are sad that their parents are not allowing them to own a pet or that their colleagues are playing dirty politics or gossiping against them, etc etc...

2. You can play Love guru on the radio. With nearly zero direct experience on love and all types of love experience vicariously, trust me only sane, home-breaking advice can come ;)

3. You can always work as an apprentice at a beauty parlour. That is as close to an air conditioned office one can go, without working. And if you are bad enough, you'll be asked just to do the fetching and cleaning stuff ;)

4. One can(not you X) start teaching kids at home. One can also open a creche.

5. Anybody with one bit creativity ( that can be learnt) one can start teaching art, craft, mehndi, silaai, kadhaai, bunaai, cooking, etc at home. What should be your target group depends on your skills and your ability to tolerate kids.

6. With a little internet working skills, one can start online trading/ getting tickets booked/ pay utility bills/ sell and buy things on net. You can also start blogging and earn from that or may be contribute and earn from fan-fiction/ soap story writing.

7. You can also buy cheap stuff from Sarojini nagar and sell in sector 25, Noida.

8. The easiest way to be a parasite still remains being a house-wife. Just try to look so frail that you are never asked to do any house work.

PS. This is first cut of available career options. I'll update the list when I find more suitable jobs for you. Happy working. :)

As promised and decided, here are the additions:
9. You can get associated with any newspaper/tv/ etc etc and start going to different dhabas and restaurants and comment in the new outlets. The known foodie you are, it may be good for all. One(not you again) can also get paid to shop and comment on the shopping experience!!!

10. A new coffee shop with some good coffee, tea and snacks can be opened. Imagine a rainy day and a cosy shop serving good chai and pakoda... I'll certainly be your first customer

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hindi meri matrabhasha hai

We recently started teaching (recently means about 4 months) to some small kids who do not go to school. We teach them basic Maths, Hindi and English.

And today I realized it’s a lot easier to teach Hindi than English. With Hindi if you know the alphabets and maatrayein, you can make words and sense. But in English, you have to know words to make sense. For example, if you have to write “Ladakaa”(boy) in Hindi, you can teach Ladakaa = La + Da + Ka + aa. You just teach the kids to split the word into smaller parts and then write each one of them. But how do you make one learn to write “Boy”, well… Boy = B+O+Y. that’s it… no reason, no breaking into smaller parts… hai to hai types

I suddenly felt like singing “Jai Bharati” and proud to be an Indian and “Hindi hai hum watan hai Hindustaa hamara”… but then I also felt sorry that I haven’t read as many Hindi authors as English, that my blog and writings are in English and that slowly I am becoming more comfortable in English than in Hindi

I will try to change that. I hope to someday read Maithili Sharan Gupt, Mahadevi Varma and Sumitra Nandan Pant out of interest and not out of compulsion like in school times. But if I fail, I’ll take that guilt to grave.