Celebrating Myself

FEB
3
Celebrating Myself
The topic of the contest is so apt, as I am celebrating myself for being a lecturer. Being an English Lecturer is not an easy task when you teach students who have chosen commerce or Science as mainstream. The students mainly concentrate on the optionals and English being second language is easy too. The challenge is to hold the attention of this lot.

I usually introduce the lesson by narrating a story of a book, movie or even anecdotes that I come across on FB, so that they can relate to the theme. Even grammar topics like ‘Idioms’ always go with stories during my sessions and assignment is usually to play ‘Dumb Charade’ wherein the idiom is enacted and the others guess it and the person finally narrates the origin of the idiom. Little practices like these were implemented wherever possible to create interest, rather than to scare them about facing an imaginary ‘Tough English Exam’ ( It is very easy for them to score above 60 )

I believed in ethics like ‘My good work will speak for me’. But when it came to being offered a position I was not my boss’ choice as I am a frank person who opinionates without hesitation. Nor was I given higher classes to teach. Over a period of time I came to realize the bitter truth that all the creative and arduous work was entrusted to me but never a promotion.

My hopes soared when there was a change in management, but dashed quite rudely as the new management wanted to ‘encourage’ ‘new – comers’. I was dejected and was trying desperately for another job as all my five years’ work had gone in vain.

I was crossing a road when I saw a boy rush towards me. I was taken aback, but he had a huge welcoming smile on his face. He was surely one of my students, I thought and he was. He said he was in final year engineering, soon three more joined us, all were my old students.

They recollected so many stories that I had narrated, the ‘fun’ of learning idioms and how they recall my classes whenever they come across any of it in newspapers. They also complimented me on my blog and told me I had considerable ‘fan following’.

To top all this they even said they try to read the books and watch movies that I had suggested in the passing, just to make the class interesting. After my ‘re – union’ with them and a ‘chaat treat’ we parted.

I felt invigorated , after all, my arduous work had not gone in vain. They brought in me a sense of pride about being ‘myself’. Wasn’t this sense of ‘fulfillment’ more delightful than a promotion?! My students made me feel like a star and I celebrate myself. A good teacher teaches from heart and they implied that I was one among the best.

Posted 3rd February 2013 by Usha Srikanth

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AUG
10
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Mr.Bhaskar was an IITan and an IIM guy. He was selected for his dream company, proved his mettle there too and leaped the ladder of success. He was now in-charge of a team which consisted of engineers and even MS grads.
The dead lines had to be met , the work had to be accurate, he was famous for satisfying both, the team had their own opinions to quote, but opinions did not matter to him. Everything was discarded , all were ‘motivated’ to work over time. He was applauded again. Now was the time for incentives.
Its an era of boss rates you , you rate the boss and Bhaskar was rated out. He was a failure as a leader and over a period of time he saw no great promotion, he was stuck forever.
What went wrong? Where did he fail? These thoughts plagued him forever.
Now lets watch a tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9s4ADmIp_pI

What is the difference between Bhaskar and this little one here? What did the baby sense that he didn’t? Mood changes, reactions, Emotional changes, attitude changes of his colleagues. Now lets see another visual http://youtu.be/2JgpARGvBnc

Who is correct? There are two sides to a coin, always.But people who are emotionally weak do not sense the other half . They fail to see view points, opinions, tension. Basically in this case Bhaskar was an emotionally weak person. Emotions play an important role in life. They are the spice of life. EQ. is as important as IQ, sometimes even more. Babies sense and respond to emotions, but as we grow many people lose this touch. What are the emotions that we have dominantly? Joy, sorrow, fear, excitement, anger, sympathy etc. How do we recognize these? Through facial gestures, expressions, body language and words. From where do these emotions emerge? amygdalaFrom a tiny part in the brain called Amygdala The bonds that we share with our family and friends is a simple example to show that EQ matters more than IQ. The question that really matter is – How is EQ going to get me what I want?to get me what I want? Lets see

This was the speech given by our Swami Vivekananda at Chicago. His sentence “Brothers and sisters of America” fetched him utmost respect despite being ‘Indian’. He played upon the emotion called ‘love’.He got what he wanted. Now lets see this.
The father of our nation did get us our freedom, by playing upon our strong emotions which worked against the British.http://youtu.be/yE6MNIKbNXc

Lets take a look at thishttp://youtu.be/UVLEnqEkGEk

That was Hitler making one of his best speeches, he did have half the world in his grip. He created ‘fear’ and cashed in on it.

Lets see this
This was Mark Antony making his iconic speech; a ‘nobody’ was able to turn the entire Rome against the powerful senate.
So, being emotionally intelligent gets you what you want.
The best example in our recent times or in our times are the film makers and our own T.V. queen Ekta Kapoor.
In conclusion I would like to sign off by saying that we should be responsive to others’ emotions not reactive at all times. It has been proven by live examples that socially aware and emotionally intelligent children grow up to become effective leaders.
Posted 10th August 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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JUL
25
Maya
“Memsaab, the car is at the door.” Said the driver. Maya got ready, to leave her cabin, she took one last glance at the I – Mac to see if its shut down. She was the C.E.O of a top networking company, the brain as well as the spine of the company.

Clad in a figure hugging knee length dark blue business skirt, a beige round neck, full sleeved formal shirt, bought in Marks and Spencer was a perfect wear for the formal meeting she attended today. The beige colour formal shoes completed the entire suave look. She took a look at herself in the elevator mirror and saw a wheatish – fair, dark eyed, oval face staring at her, the layer – cut hair sat perfectly at her chin, giving a ‘care – free look’.

“Memsaab, shall we leave?” Asked the driver
“Yes. Gopal” Maya replied.
“Hey Maya!” It was Sunil, her co – worker , who was vying for the position of M.D.

He had the characteristic handsome look and the chauvinistic air to complete the ‘don’t mess with me’ look.
“You’re off with your driver? Yesterday I asked you out.”
Turning her head towards him, she smiled ” You asked, I didn’t reply.” Sunil was baffled! No one had the cheek to deny him, no one had, in fact, in a long time now, especially not women.

A quick rush of blood, flushed his cheeks
“Ye, I mean right! But Maya you do understand? Don’t you?”
All she did was smile again.

‘Maya’ The name, the bewitching smile ,which could make any man go soft in the head, had worked its magic on Sunil.
“Maya…..don’t I stand a chance?”
Sunil was stranded for the third time in 2 months.

Maya opened the window of her Chevy Cruz to let the smoke filled, damp wind to enter, she took in a deep breath as if she were inhaling pure oxygen, put her head back and relaxed, oblivious to the buzz of the drivers’ maniacal honking.

“Maya!!….My goodness!!What have’ve you done to your hair?” Her gran-ma screamed, before she could retort, a tight slap resounded.
“Dadi! Don’t you dare hit me again,its my hair”
“Why did you cut it? To woo boys? Of course!! What else could be expected?”

Maya was too stung for words to make way, she was 16 and understood every syllable of the underlying unspoken words. Her new look no longer fancied her and she rushed to her room. She grabbed the knob of the closet, drew out the only picture of her mom and spat at it!!

The next day she awoke earlier than usual to ‘meet’ her extremely busy father, ” He will like my hair – cut” she thought.
“Baba, look at me!”, “Sir, doesn’t she look like a little diva?” Said Baba’s secretary.
“Ha – Um” Said Baba, “Say something nice Baba” Maya pleaded, already sensing her father’s withdrawal from her. It had always been like this since her mom had left them 5yrs ago for another man. Baba picked up the phone “Rajan, regarding the tender….” Maya dismissed herself.

Maya was not magical, she was a taboo, Baba resented her as she was a liability to him now, a living reminder of a humiliating relationship. Dadi’s punching bag, as her son couldn’t rebuild his life by remarrying , Maya was the impediment. Maya was the butt of mockery with the servants, friends and a new dimension added on with her 15 b’day…. the boys had decided she was an easy catch!!

“How easy it was when I was ignorant” She thought.
With a skip in her steps and a tune to her lips, she set out to college…..That was Maya

“Hiya gal!! You look kewllll…..” the gang complimented,”Hey WOW!!You look mind-blowing” That was Sanjay, a boy from a conservative family but with a ‘modern outlook’
“Thanks” Blushed Maya
“Say, why don’t ya teach me this Trig prob? Kinda eating my brains out dude”
“Ohhhh…….” hooted the gang and took the cue to leave them alone.

Maya was an outstanding student, both in academics as well as co – curricular activities. She felt the strong ‘need’ to ‘excel’
“Since when did ‘you’ start doing home works Sanjay?”
“Oh Hell! You know why I came” Sanjay tousled his hair and gave an innocent grin.

The car screeched “What happened Gopal?”
“Sorry memsaab, these cows….”
“Oh! Its already 7, I hope we reach soon Gopal , I’m too tired”
“Go back to sleep memsaab, I’ll turn the AC on, close the window.”
“No, leave it , after all its filthy everywhere, you can’t turn it off by turning the AC on”

With that Maya drifted off to Mumbai……
“Sanjay, how was your day today?”
“As usual, but dad had called me, he’s coming in a week”
“Wow! that’s nice”
“Oh, cut it out! You know what’s gonna happen”
“Sanjay, you keep running away from reality”
“Maya!Stop being ridiculous!Snap out of it,you run away from reality all the time”
“What’s stopping you ? Why do you want to keep me away from your family?”
“You really want me to say it?”Sanjay was mocking and Maya was baffled
“Your mom left you and your dad, like a slut, You had your share of flings in college,You eloped with me and here we are. What kind of dignified family would accept ‘your type’ as a bahu?”

Maya’s world was shaken, the ground beneath her gave way.

“I thought you loved me Sanjay”
“OH, I always will, but telling my family is a NO – NO””Maya ,I thought you were smart enough to take all this”
“Sanjay, do you remember I am pregnant?”
“Oh no! I gave you the solution and you want to go ahead with…… with THAT!!”

“Memsaab, we’re here.” “Okay Gopal tomorrow same time in the morning”
Maya opened the door to her paradise.
“Woof – woof” Said Tammy wagging his tail thirteen to a dozen
“Mummy!You should see this circular, they’re taking us to picnic – 3days, I will go! I wanna go”
This was ‘Diya’ , Maya’s 10yr old daughter. Maya ‘lit up’ to Diya’s voice and they ensued in a string of chatter.Tammy too contributed largely to the conversation.

“Maya beta, dinner is ready” Said Shanti the live – in maid.
“OK ma! good night”
Diya brought sunshine into Maya’s life, she smiled to herself and closed the door to her room, to see the cell – phone light up. A message.

“Maya , your smile says it all. I’ll be waiting in the Sheraton tomorrow (sat) at 11.30 AM”
Here we go again…….. Oh Sunil…… Maya closed her eyes.

Sunil waited in a striped blue and white T- Shirt, blue faded jeans, Nike shoes, the sun burnt face, which mirrored maturity, love and gentle firmness looked more handsome in the Ray – Ban.
Maya, stood still, her heart racing as it did, when she had a crush on Sanjay, No it hammered even more, all she wanted to do was to get into his arms, experience the warmth in the soothing sunshine, this was a new beginning, there would be MAGIC after all…….

“Ma, Ma!!”
“Diya! What happened?”
“Ma I’m scared, I can’t sleep, I went to the trip and when I came back you weren’t there.”
“Ma, I don’t want to go. I don’t want you to go anywhere leaving me.”Sobbed Diya
” No, darling”Maya took her into her arms “Ma’ll always be there…….”

Maya’s eyes welled up with tears, she closed it ‘Once – More’, to see Sunil fading away as the light from the ‘Diya’ the ‘sunshine’ of her life shone brightly.

Posted 25th July 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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JUL
21
I Stood Up!!
I stood at the bio-metric machine at office, it was 6.00 P.M., I was supposed to be feeling happy as I had finished a long tiring day at office and was headed home. Somehow, I just didn’t feel like it , all my colleagues exchanged cheerful ‘good – byes’ and got into their cabs.

Mine dropped me at my doorstep and I stood facing the door, which would open only to confine me within the four walls.
I was an H.R. executive, interacted with many people in one day, read their moods and responded aptly, I drew respect, not by force. My salary was handsome enough to suit my job description.

The door opened and as usual my ma – in – law opened it, with the same condescending look as always. A feeling of compunction engulfed me, as always. I really don’t know the reason behind it.

“Freshen up and prepare tea, we’ve been waiting, you are 15mins late than usual.” My ma – in – law said, I finished this mundane chore and was granted 5 min to finish my tea.
“Start cutting vegetables, don’t do it watching T.V., finish – off soon and put the clothes in the machine, its been lying there all day.” The tone was so indignant as I wondered what the reason was, it was the same authoritative, business – like tone each day.

Finally, at 9.30 P.M all the cumbersome work was done, I picked up the phone to call my mother.

“Hello ma” I said. “The day at office was real exciting, I had a meeting with the M.D. He is usually on tours abroad. He seems very happy with my work and hinted at an incentive.”

“Sneha, good!! But beta you sound so drained out!” “WOW!!” That’s a mom. “Ye, but it is the house – hold chores, not the office, You can sense my tiredness on the phone, the people here are blind to it, though I am right in front of them. Ma, please …. I can’t continue like this…. She piles up the entire day’s work just for me to come back and do it . Mornings too I have to finish breakfast, put the vessels for the maid, do the beds and so many other things before I step out !”
“She doesn’t want another maid.”

Ma said “Stop complaining beta, she is old and what’ll they think of your upbringing, if you speak like this?” Here we go again……

The weekends were dreadful as it involved more such arduous work, which neither, fetched me an appreciation nor a friendly reaction. I was so caught up with the dilemma life had in front of me,whether to live it my way or sacrifice even the tiniest of my happiness for the sake of the family I was wedded to.I was more of a slave and taken for granted . I finally drew the line.
One day I said “I have come home from a hard day’s work, you should be the one offering tea.”

The house went quiet!! My ma – in – law sulked until Rajat confronted me. He said “Who is forcing you to work? Am I not earning enough? I married you on those terms itself.”

“I am equally educated” I said. He said ” Your are a woman, your foremost duties are towards your husband and in – laws”
“I can’t give it up! I love working and it has helped us to build this house isn’t it?” “Sneha!! This won’t go on, you have to give up your foolish ambition OR we split!”

“How can you say that? I am not a puppet that you tire of and discard, just because you realized that the puppet was actually ‘real’,with a mind and feelings of its own.”

The time had come, I had to choose between ‘What I wanted and What I had to do’ because I was an Indian woman with ‘Good Upbringing’. My parents didn’t support my stance of continuing to work one little bit as I was a shame who had come to my parents home and had decided to split with Rajat. I was persuaded to go back after a month, but I was firm to live my life on my terms as the stakes were same with both the partners in a marriage. If I should be shunned by the society so should he….. but it was not so. I did not get support ,nor wanted it any longer as I was clear and the ‘guilt’ no longer nagged me.

Then I stood – up for myself. I told Rajat it can’t be a win – win situation only for him. I wanted to be myself. I said ” You had loved the same ‘frankness’ now you call ‘audacity’, the free spirit you call ‘lack of culture’. I haven’t changed,nor will I, I have only one life and want no regrets of not leading it my way.”

Long silent days and nights were spent, cold war prevailed until the people stopped complaining and using accusatory tones, a new second maid was appointed. Rajat too had a lot of introspection to do, my own mother as well ,as her daughter had decided to live for herself First and then for Others.

These stories never make headlines,as the only thing that is harassed and finally smothered
is the spirit of the woman, unless she stands up for herself.

Posted 21st July 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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JUL
16
Read Between Lines
“Su chale chu?”, “Su, chale chu?!” This change in punctuation causes a change in tone thus making a perfectly innocent question – “What’s going on?” to something of a teaser like ( direct translation to all those who don’t understand Gujrati) – “What, going on?”. I hope the sarcasm behind the lines is understood. Of course, it is said in a lighter vein.

This art of reading between lines is not an easily acquired one. It comes effortlessly to some but the others who believe in effective direct communication would be greatly perturbed by this ambiguous tongue. This was used as a subtle form to express the – If I could say “Unsayable” generations ago, but in today’s world of ‘professional diplomacy’ people are often clueless as to what a person actually means. Like:-
Direct Speech (DS): How you been?
DS: good!
READ BETWEEN LINES(RBL): what’s wrong?! is it so obvious on my face I was ticked off by my boss!!
Sometimes a person who is not interested to talk to you.
DS: hey! long time……
DS: oh! so nice you called, I was just thinking about you… but can’t talk now, will call back after 10 mins….
10 days, 2 months…. no call.
RBL: Loser!! I cannot waste my time on your call.
The worst is in an interview.
DS: How have I fared, would I get the job?
DS: You were great!! But there are few more formalities…
RBL: You can look out for another job!
When often asked about your opinion about anything for example a performance:
DS: How was my dance?
DS: WOW!! did I know you could dance so well!!
DS:Will I make it to the next level?
DS: That is definite!! but will get back to you after mins…
RBL: You have 10 left feet.
Sometimes:
DS: you look lovely today!
DS: Thanks!
RBL: What’s the catch? As if I look sloppy all other days!!
Often when two people are together:
DS: (to person one) You are always good, helpful and kind would love your company
RBL (often done by the one standing next to him): what does he mean? Am I not helpful? No one would love my company is it??
Many a times:
DS: HIIII!! I am near your house, shall I drop in?
DS: Oh WOOOOW!! Imagine having you, what fun! but sorry not today, I’m at the office. TOOO BAD…
RBL: Buzz off!! Of all the people to spend a Sunday with!
Many more such examples can be cited, but this lingo is the most dangerous one. It lifts peoples’ expectations and spirits only to drive him up a wall.

Keeping the communication direct and simple always builds lasting relationships as there is no food for unreasonable thoughts and heart breaks.

Posted 16th July 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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JUN
14
Divya Gyan In Droplets
India is a land of spirituality, most well acclaimed spiritual gurus and their philosophical books hail form this land which offers spiritual knowledge at every foot step.

Every Indian has a “Personal Spiritual” experience and at a pretty early age is proficient enough to release a book of “GYAN” of his own. An average example of an average Indian upper middle class person can strengthen my stance.

The most relevant one would be to discuss about the water problem. Water reserves have to be checked every few days in our area, then a load must be ordered in advance to avoid further problems. I had a fine experience this time, as , being a resident of a posh locality all the inhabitants can well afford the private water supply in tankers. Though , this time the shortage was so acute that the owner wouldn’t answer the phone calls, the only alternative was to zoom to the source and ‘Order for a tanker load’.

The wait began and frustration too, by the second day the taps ran dry,our patience also. But the next day all I could do was “Be the early bird to catch the worm” First one to wait at the doorstep of the tanker’s owner.

A whole lot of accusation and objections were taking shape in my head which I intended to hurl at the owner. The wait got longer, till all my voices died down, the ego too took a beating as no – one would take heed. Finally at the end of two hours many people had joined me to wait. At last we had the divine darshan of the water supplier. I learnt the spiritual lesson that fuming and raging won’t fetch a farthing.

In the mean time another person impeccably dressed , got down from his car to join the wait, he threw a jolly fit of rage, uttered a whole huge list of influential names that he expected would yield the desired result. All this outrage was in vain, I was wonderstruck to think our country has finally attained the “True State of Democracy” (nothing works).Another lesson – no short cuts towards success.

People came and went as I stood my ground, at last the person took pity on me and the tanker was sent. Another lesson learnt – Humbleness and humility does pay off.

My neighbours could only raise their eyebrows, the next day I had a similar ordeal with the BWSSB authorities, not to mention the number of phone calls. By now ‘ego’ was out of my person. I had reduced to ‘Pleading’ for water. Again perseverance paid off and a tanker was sent.

This time my neighbours were seething with jealousy ,one even had the spine to say “You got one load yesterday and one today, we don’t even have water.” This was incomprehensible especially because I wasn’t the cause of stoppage of water supply. ( In India nothing is delivered to your doorstep, you have to put your large share of hard work to get it). The driver promised them a load too, only to get away from there. The people returned to their homes with a beaming smile across their faces. We had learnt to live for the moment.

The amusing part was no one was ready to discuss the greater problem , unify for a long – term permanent solution. Afterall we are the true followers of our spiritual preaching.(Be happy about what you have, do not yearn for more, as nothing is permanent)

Most of learn a lot form similar ordeals – with Electricity board, Payment of bills through machines. Haggle with the telephone exchange etc. We have learnt to be content with little or nothing. Power, money, influence are meaningless jargon in many situations. We believe in enjoying and cherishing the moment ( This is the biggest impediment of progress). Patience and perseverance seep into our beings unknowingly because of many such experiences. We have also learnt the greatest eternal truth that – Heaven and Hell both are to be found here on this Earth itself.
Posted 14th June 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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MAY
15
Be Responsible too..
‘So many students end up not writing their exams due to shortage of attendance’. This is the same story every year and in almost all colleges. This was the topic of discussion amongst three of us – two colleagues and myself. One happened to be a visiting faculty conducting classes especially addressing issues like this to students – Time management, anger management etc.

This person in subject had only one thing to say “we have to change ourselves.” Not getting the point we asked him to elucidate. He went on with his theory that lecturers had to be more modern in their thinking, not stereotypical in their ideas of discipline, outlook has to change…Still looking at our quizzical faces he went on more lucidly that – we were to not pull them up for having a ‘little chat’ with their neighbors, smiling or chuckling irrelevantly, shifting in their seats. Adding PJs now and then to lighten up or liven up the classes would help a lot. whereas, he continued, the lecturers take a very stiff stance in , matters like these, in turn creating a lack of interest in the students, hence scaring them away from classes.

Now THIS was no longer a conversation. My other colleague was bemused and I was too appalled, this soliloquy had no credence. ‘I’ who suffer from the ‘foot in mouth’ disease for once planted it more firmly in my mouth not coming up with a befitting repartee. The person in subject was older than me and it would be audacious on my part and cheeky too even if I were to speak the truth.(Our country suffers from the wrong notion of respect)

We are a set from a gen not too old, majority of us have a ‘modern outlook’ as we have been there, done that. Be it cutting classes, passing notes, chiding teachers, hiding from them, evading parent interaction, substituting someone else as friend’s parent etc. This is just not new, the other activities too – having ‘flings’, playing cupid,name it and we’ve done it. ‘So, what comes out of this?’- ACCEPTANCE,TOLERANCE, because of the sense of deja- vu that we acquire when we interact with the lot, most of us are tolerant to all this.(Limitations,Conditions apply)

The answer to ‘outlook’ is right here, we are not a gen who don a chignon, high – necked blouse with a collar,’kora kagaz tha yeh man mera’ type glasses. Heavens Forbid! To be precise we do not look ‘intimidating’, little liberties are always there and no – one’s pulled out unless it is the cause of major disturbance. Whatever makes people think lecturers are zero tolerant to gumption and are sticklers to perfection form their wards?, The entry of PJs and exchange of pleasantries can practically happen for minute or two at the most, the syllabus has to be covered, in the language classes exchange of thoughts can take place more frequently lending to a lively environ, but the same cannot be shared by other subjects whose syllabus is vast and heavy, to put it in lighter vein – a lecturer cannot strictly do a ‘Sushmita Sen’ of ‘mein hoon na’ just to convert the ‘methyl alcohol’ ie; the syllabus into ‘ethyl alcohol’ an intoxicant. Time is scarce and voluminous portion has to be covered. So, if everything else under the sun is discussed other than the subject, the whole purpose is defeated.

Boiling back to the same point. Students cut classes due to lack of their own interest in the whole system of education(As shared by many whom I’ve interacted with) many others to spite parents who’ve forced them into a certain stream, many who have no clue why they bunk!!(habit maybe) it is very puzzling.

Education is a business, students are customers, customer is the king and should be kept happy. I definitely don’t mean let them be happy cutting classes, but at the same time the total blame or onus cannot be shifted on lecturers, students are young adults, they too must fall into the bracket of accepting and shouldering their duties and responsibilities. After all it is their future.

Posted 15th May 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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MAR
19
Whose the animal?
I know i’ll get a lot of ‘clicks’! especially to say – ” Lady get your English Right” The others would even add ” you are an English teacher! For God’s sake!!” This is just an anecdote to test how receptive we are.

This was a poster made by a student about ‘Eve – Teasing’. The error obviously caught all eyes. I being an English teacher could not help but read further. It even had a ‘Concluesion’. “I hate this auto – correct”

As any teacher would do, my colleague and I told him how blatant the error was and the poster had many more mispelt words, grammatical errors. To put it in one word it was an ‘eye- sore’.

The student immediately started the blame game. “The fellow who made the poster did it. The CD given by me was perfectly flawless…..”. A group soon formed around us. The one responsible for the poster.

We continued to point – out the flaws and telling them how it would look to an outsider…. the astonishing part was – the group very quickly said he was the only one responsible and dispersed within seconds. I had to admire the boy who at least stood there, even – though he was totally disappointed.

We moved – on to see the other posters only to be harassed by the boy who had the audacity to tell us that we were ‘inconsiderate’ to have seen only the blatant flaws. Not the colour scheme or the picture of a boy and a girl. He even added that he was awake till 2 A.M.,had not eaten his dinner for the sake of his poster and we had brought all those efforts to ‘naught’.

My colleague who has no stomach to digest this atrocity of ridiculousness started giving him a sound piece of mind. ” we are teachers and our job is to to teach, right the wrong.” What thought really perturbed me was, if these were impressionable young minds who could be corrected easily, then what were the scores of people who have the same attitude?.

We come across many elders with the same mind – set and attitude. I can recall one incident where one person had put – up placards with chapter – names and irrelevant quotes and passed it off as good proverbs or inspirational sayings. When pointed out the only thing that came up was – how rude could the person who highlighted these could get! Especially not acknowledging the fact that the person had stayed back very late int he evening to do this and had reported very early in the morning.

I can only say aptly that its like handing over a blank answer sheet and then blaming the evaluater to have given a ‘zero’ and not considering the fact that he had read thoughtout the night only to have fallen asleep in the exam hall.

All these excuses are to only divert the fact that ‘YOU CAN’T DO IT RIGHT’ simply because you haven’t learnt it right.

People, in my opinion are not at all receptive to corrections. They would like to hear only positive critisisms. Taking ‘no, never, not’in the right spirit and carrying it with grace is something many people lack.

They simply try to lash out at the person who happens to point out, mainly if the person happens to be equals not a higher – up.
The person who points out a mistake is definitely not perfect, nor is he trying to judge the other as a person. But for having done so certainly suffers a lot of negative critisism.
People misunderstand this as a personal grouse and try to find ways and means to attack the other to settle scores. For God’s sake!!its not a duel.
It was a mistake pointed out – rectify it.

Well! This is not as simple as I make it sound. Many of you might even say “There is a way of saying it.” I can just add “There’s A way not THE way”.This is one touchy side of all the nincompoops.

Posted 19th March 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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MAR
10
Brush aside – be happy.
I drew near the gates, the watchman’s smile was affable as usual. But somehow the gates looked unfriendly, the facade I was used to for the past 4 years seemed to be imposing, it seemed I was stepping into some unknown quarters. “why was this sense of doom descending on me ?”

As I entered the office, I couldn’t help but admire the ‘time – sense’ of the bio – metric machine, it was always ahead of all the clocks that I know. I ‘punched’ it with a sense of resentment.

I stepped into the ‘lift’ thinking that’d ‘lift’ my downtrodden spirits too. But it also started to close in on me with a vengeance.

I rushed straight through the corridors before I noticed any more hostilities.

I caught my breath at my table,the chair thankfully didn’t spurn me. I had to get these hallucinations out of my head. “What made my world so horrifying?” Just yesterday I was jubilating at my victory over 108 papers. (Finished correction).

I finally made an attempt to open my cupboard, now the ‘actual monsters’ were unleashed. The spookiest part was I could even hear a song in the background – “Abracadabra! The monster in the closet is giving me a fright”.

I understood the reason behind the hostile world. I had no moral right to revel in my glory of having finished correction, when a HUGE world of untouched work was conspiring to dampen my happiness.

They were victorious. This wasn’t fair war at all…. One against so many!!

This battle of compiling the scores, writing reports, compliance sheets, analysis, report cards, attendance …. was all fought just A FEW DAYS AGO.

Why this mutiny against me??

I had won that battle, now again a war – cry? oh no! This is a Hydra,YE! I could see one ugly head rising. I shut the cupboard just in time – before the monster attack.

“Relax , think clearly, you’ve been there before, it’s not all that bad!!” My sane mind said.

The insane one – which gave me all the hallucinations , the hostile perception of the entire world, gave me a better idea.

” PROCRASTINATE”

Ah – ha! Now things cleared up.My mood lifted as I walked away from my work – to try and catch up on some or the other grapevine always doing the rounds.

I could not shove it off for posterity, but procrastination has its benefits and it definitely provides immediate relief.

Posted 10th March 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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MAR
5
Practic-ail

Practic – ail
Hey! Look at how tall I‘ve grown, ‘. I heard a bunch of kids. I smirked and inadvertently ‘ enlightened ‘ them that it was a mere shadow , an optical illusion caused by the candlelight—— , I was cut midway by their “ will you leave us be.. ? Look.

My pride of being knowledgeable was hurt, but I took it in my stride and strolled ahead. My mind ticked away as I wondered what made me so practical, had I impeded their imagination? ‘You know? ‘At most times too much knowledge plays spoil sport? ‘How long was it that I stopped enjoying the joy a power cut could provide?’

When did I stop noticing the iridescent rainbow, the sallow sky at dusk or the twilight? Many more things add on to the list.

Wasn’t I the kid who wanted to hold a fistful of orange light at dusk, and store it so I could light up the house when there was a power cut? Well in short some one had already invented solar lamps, though the orange ‘halo’ is still missing. Didn’t we all want to fly to the moon just to say ‘hello’ as he was the hero. The handsome one in all bedtime stories, yes! This is done too! Only to jolt us with his marring craters and gray surroundings, very unlike him – the prince charming with a pet bunny.

Whatever happened to the most famous pass – time of staring at the sky – a beautiful blue ocean with cotton candies stuck and bedecked with twinkling sequins? This must have brought a curl to your lips, but out of mockery and not enchantment.

“Thanks to reality “. I’m sure we all were gaping along with the heroin of Jurassic Park when we first sighted the dinosaur, we most certainly do gape now too at the marvelous camera plus graphics tricks. Naturally we are too grown up to know man didn’t exist in Jurassic era or many after that (evolution of species).

We as adults do not marvel at sci – fi movies , but a child’s mind is triggered into a multitude of fancies he being the centre of it , probably making it hard for him to accept facts – well , we have to accept , they are very bleak and unexciting compared to fancy imaginations . Now ‘I ‘was doing some real thinking – why should all actions be reasoned out?

Creativity will take a back seat and lose its charm once confronted by reality – the Pandora box concept. All we have is a ‘feeling’ termed aptly “deja- vu “I returned to the kids who had by now given lives to their shadow animals and stories woven around them, I no longer wanted to shrug them out of their “ignorance” I wanted to slip out of mine, a sense of longing overtook me as I happily drifted away as a figment of imagination.

By Usha Srikanth.
English Lecturer.
Posted 5th March 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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akshar15 March 2012 at 05:35
good stuff !! keep it going 🙂

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lifeslittletwists18 March 2012 at 23:53
loved this post 🙂 and so true…looking at Chutku marvel at the twinkling stars and the moon makes me wonder where I lost out on all this simple things that used to make me smile…

Reply

MAR
4
confessions of a sleepoholic!

CONFESSIONS OF A SLEEPOHOLIC!
A happy night’s sleep.Mom’s pleadings for me to wake up…but I am awake just had my coffee.O no! That was just my dream!
“O shut up!!Stop shouting early in the morning.let me sleep!”
“Its not early in the morning! Its 10 AM! ”
“Its still early mom!!!!!”
Reading this you might get an idea what a sleepy bear I am. Guess I have inherited it from dad. It’s a known fact that minimum 7 hours sleep is required for a sound body but no one ever said 10 was bad! And this has been getting on my mom’s nerves for quite a while now. I make it a point not to miss my afternoon’s nap.only to be woken up by my brother’s return from school.Hungry and foraging!
This happened on yet another slumber afternoon. I woke up from my sleep only to find my mom sitting next to me. I expressed my obvious desire to rest for some more time. It was then that she asked me a question “Is sleeping a means of escapism for you?”.OK! That was bad.No one had ever called me anything close to an escapist before and now here is something I find it so divine and my mom calls it ESCAPISM!!
I sat in bed.Still under my covers and wondered why I did not retort at that. Because I did not have a stand. She was right. She was right to the dot in the question mark. I was sleeping only to escape from the routine dismays of life.
I have a fortnight to go for my 2nd PU board exams. I have taken a few preps, some with preparation and others with luck! My scores aren’t great but I am quite happy for what I got and what I had prepared. Now i have 24 hours of a day and 15 days at my disposal. I have to study. But I am over confident. I am bored to study the same things again and again. So if I prove that there is no time to study, I just need not. I started sleeping all the time only to escape from studying.
But can someone really believe that I slept almost half a day only to escape studies? Yes, the answer is no.
I am not only bored of studies but am also afraid of loneliness. Imagine you spent 10 hours a day with your bench mates for a whole year and suddenly the next day you don’t see them! This separation from friends is grilling me. But I should not be complaining..We all have mobile phones! Now that’s the biggest complaint..it pisses me off when I have to keep staring at my phone expecting a text from at least one lazy person like me..But none!!This is a call.I should be studying. I open my books. I text a friend but no reply. I study a page or two. C’mon I know this..Yes! There I go… Slack again…
Beep beep! Yay!!! I got an SMS.But the yay no longer lasts. I only get an opportunity to envy her. She is shopping at a mall. And here I am…I crib..I accuse my mom of not indulging me in all my fantasies. Poor her. She changes all her plans to please me.”But no! I don’t want to go. I don’t want to beg you to take me out and you say yes..Are you giving me alms?”Of course these words are concealed behind my lips. I just say that I am tired and am off to sleep again.
It’s not only my mind that has deceived me into this lethargic world. I am the delicate darling of the family. So even if just frown complaining of headache or sneeze once or twice, I am pumped with medicines and invariably these med are sleep inducing. I often protest that I should not be taking so many tablets, but my mom’s justification puts me off “I can’t see you in pain, Baby.”
Over the past few days, these are the only things happening. I am guilty of not studying. I am scared looking at myself in the mirror cause of the way I have blown up! Yet I am sleeping away to avoid TIME, the time in which i have to be studying but only sit and brood.
You might be under the impression that I am not a happy girl. I do not love my family. But that’s Bullshit!
If not for my mother, I would have never thought of accusing that pebble which made me fall into this dungeon of laziness. If it was not for her motivation, I would have never found the small crack, the light through which gave the poor soul in the dungeon, a hope, a positive energy that she could come back! I want to make this small crack a beacon motivation. I am off to study now and have made up my mind to cut down on sleep because never again do I want anyone to remind me, “Sleep can also be escapism.”
Sushmitha.M

Posted 4th March 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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MAR
2
Graduate to greater heights
As I sat with a bunch of girls ,helping them out with the compering for the PU Graduation Day 2011-12, I was given this profile of the chief guest, one retired professor from IIT Kanpur, retd professor from IIIT Bangalore. The profile was so weighty that any reader with even little knowledge of what all the degrees there mean would be awestruck as i was!

My wonder was washed off as another student entered the room and had a look at the profile, his immediate reaction was “OMG””A whole lot of degrees he has collected , he must’ve spent most of his life doing nothing but burying himself in books.”

That would no doubt would be one part of it , but one must have an IQ to digest all that he reads and then work hard to reach such heights, was my reply.He shocked me by saying that many such degrees and many more would be available at any market ,only if you had the money to buy it,he was even confident to add that instead of collecting such trash one should help many people and they would certify and tag you with greater degrees than those.(Typical down- market movie crux)

Well this was so shocking and surprising that words failed me.

This might be the attitude of the present generation – at least 75%of them.
Nerds have always been butt of jokes, criticism etc from times immemorial but what I failed to understand was how could one just be so impetuous and judge that a man who was so highly placed wouldn’t have helped anyone?how could one even judge another by just a piece of paper which told nothing about the person other than his educational qualifications?

The D-Day arrived , the guest alighted the dais to deliver a speech.

He looked pretty aged, with a charismatic out-look, clean and neat in a crisp shirt and trousers, very formal. He started to talk and time just flew…., he was so humble, clever at tapping the attention of 18 year olds, all he spoke about was the students and how THEY were an inspiration to a grand old man like him who had 51 years of experience in the profession.How they spread cheer and good will, how their enthusiasm and love for life keeps people going.

He even emphasized the need for IQ but more so the need for EQ emotional quotient. How one can climb greater heights by being able to connect and not disconnect with people. For a generation which calls themselves “socially active” by having hundreds of friends on networking sites none in reality, being emotionally intelligent was essential.

He was an epitome of humbleness , humility,he showcased this by not feeling irritable at the technical glitches that was caused.The motley crowd was mesmerized and charmed right through his speech.

What I would like to convey to my students and all the young friends is that .

Never judge a person by their profile,even if it SCARES you.
Nerds are winners and they carry it with grace and humbleness
They do not seek success , success seeks them.
They are ready- to- help human beings like all of us.
They reach -out better and interact better as they do not suffer from complexes,as many do when they meet such people

Next most important things are

You can buy degrees,not knowledge
You can become rich, not humble ,without fighting with your own demons
You can buy what you may term ‘success’,but cannot become ‘successful’
Respect others – you have nothing to lose.

Posted 2nd March 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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FEB
28
Path to salvation

“Oh lord Krishna, help me find my organizer” And where in the name of Good Heavens is my secretary?” “Ah! Here is my organizer, mind you it does cost a lot – complete with blue – tooth, feather-touch, I- net access, a high resolution camera, Oh! Many more features.” Here walks in my secretary too , I do need one _ to read out my organized schedule after all I am no gizmo freak of the tech – savvy world to know how to operate these super sophisticated gadgets.

Did I sound like one? Krishna, Krishna! I am a holy man, a humble servant of god – a person who has renounced the world – a sadhu. You say” what about the organizer?” That was a gesture of devotion from a politician devotee. Now let’s check my weekly routine –

Today being Monday – I have a discourse on “how relevant is Bhagvad Gita in today’s world.” “Sounds too weird? “Well I can only see the irrelevance, but I possibly couldn’t say that. next ,

I have a ‘ Padapuja ‘ in a businessman’s house, he’s publicly vowed he would honor me with Rs 50000 ‘ dakshina ‘ , now that’s something !

Tuesday and Wednesday seems regular with devotees thronging for blessings and queries , they do offer something humble – maybe basketfuls of dried fruits , or imported fruits , fine blankets , shawls , leather bags , suitcases , – could be of use when I travel abroad .

‘Well! Nothing to be surprised ‘of course I travel abroad, with fame widespread, one’s person can hardly be chained down to the banks of Ganga alone. Well! The almighty says Ganga, Thames or any other – water knows only purity. Not that I have a fetish for traveling around the world. I may have hardly visited 5 of the 7 continents, hey! Don’t get me wrong, I am no traveling businessman to be able to afford the charges, I am sponsored by devotees. You guessed it for discourses such as the ‘Bhagvad Gita …….’

Speaking of abroad I have to leave for Australia on Thursday. You ask’ what about food? ‘ let me remind you I am an austere , I travel only in the VIP class , my disciples have ample ammunition , I do abstain from star hotel food , my devotees get a simple meal cooked with 5 different sweets, a variety of main dishes, – oh ! I told you it’s simple let’s not have a perusal of it.

OK , back to schedule I’ll be back on next Tuesday , the trip is short and I am sure I’ll be pretty fatigued by all the VIP , luxury sedan travel , I’ll take a day off from darshan .

” Renunciation “is certainly a well chosen” profession “ though chosen by my parents – as you know the six preceding generations of a ‘swami’ attain ‘moksha’ and “why wouldn’t they ?” with one person toiling hard worshipping the lord day and night , they are bound to attain salvation ( I do remember god even in my search for minute things like an organizer . ) One man’s hard work, six generations of paradise?!! Yes I emphasize – the path to salvation is certainly cumbersome.
Posted 28th February 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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FEB
27
find a solution not a scapegoat

“10 std exams to go.” this is what glared at me when I picked up the The times of India newspaper a few days back. The caption was beyond my comprehension, was this even debatable!? Hadn’t generations accepted the examination as the conclusive factor to one’s basic education? OR I was wrong, this is modernization of the Indian education methodology, now it started sinking in, it has been abolished then and there are fair chances of it being done now. Yes, the precedence was set with 7th std state board exams being exterminated, them thwarting the spirit of rank system by tagging it unhealthy competition. Now the noose around 10th std board exams.

The rational being the increasing number of suicides .but trauma lies in the weightage allocated to the consequence of the exams, not the exams itself. This has been a burning issue since quite a number of years. Our previous generation – maybe our parents’ one had only one avenue and maxim – the much allured government job, the only determinant was luck largely and not merely exams. Our generation – I mean people born in the late 70s or early80s like myself grew up with fancy words like “globalization”, “Hi- tech city”, “IT- city “so on and hence forth many amendments were brought in the educational stream in the name of modernization. A student who previously had to ‘memorize’ and ‘apply’ (it is a paradox – I know) around 20 – 30 axioms and theorems in math, had lesser burden in my generation, with only a handful to study. I would like to quote an example of the changing education pedagogy (courtesy randomspeak.blog)

50 years of math (in USA)
1. Teaching math in 1950s.
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100; his cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?
2. Teaching Math in 1960s.
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price or $80. What is the profit?
3. Teaching Math in 1970s.
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production $80 .Did he make a profit?
4. Teaching Math in 1980s.
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20.your assignment – underline the number 20.
5. Teaching Math in 1990s.
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest, because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question. How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers and if you feel like crying, it is OK).

No doubt the syllabus changed and the level deteriorated drastically (put in a senior’s point of view) Maybe rocket science was altered to everyday science. However, it didn’t ease anything, students continued to fail, then it was accepted to be a failure and finally it is a fashion statement now termed “flunk”. Now again it is a fetish only among the elite. , The predicament of our generation was that – though the syllabus was not cumbersome, there was only one-way to ‘globalisation’through ‘computerization’ of humans (hope you got the pun) here began the plight of plenty.

The world was closely knit by the web of computerization but the determinant was the 10th, 2nd PU , the CET, REC, IITJEE etc exams in a row that students had to not only endure, but pass, and then not only pass but with flying colours (which these colours were , the marks would decide)the colours would get them entry to this “global village” and finally the rest of his life would be rolling in riches, undoubtedly they had their own demons to fight, but the demons themselves were termed very eccentrically as ‘projects’, ‘deadlines’ , ‘intellectual’ , the people who were denied entry to this world became theETs, who were not included in the MNC talks , nor were able to afford frequent foreign trips, worst so, not being able to acquire the NRI brand.

This trend thrived(ing) for 25years or more to come. So it became a predilection for parents to produce entities of “globalized glory” not ETs .the brand factories were the exams. These branded students as ‘hi – tech‘or ‘others’. The paranoia of being branded ‘others’ is what makes one suicidal. If other vistas were unwrapped and if latent talents were to be made potent (not the other way round) then the crisis of suicides would be overcome.

Now again this tendency is more typical to India than many other developed countries, wherein, menial labours like carpentry (here) are not labours but essential knowledge and also a promising occupation, this is just one example.

In our country the ‘others’ are pursued only as hobbies it is quickly throttled if a middle- class converts his hobby to fantasy , it is not the parents’ fault as the ‘hobbies’ have no luring future, it only cries ‘doom’ as there are simply very few opportunities to pursue your dream and make a living of it?! So coming to exams, they are not the antagonists the problem lies elsewhere .if students are not branded, if a surreal situation right now, could make a head start towards reality, then the solution can be found.

Students should be assessed, but only as an assessment of their positives and pursue them. Market must be created for other talents too, as India consists of mainly the middle class; it is not fashionable for them to “flunk” as not all of them have “papa’s business” to follow.

Just as a concluding statement I will re – state that exam is not the problem, but the results are! Even if the majority considers this a problem then the solution has to be found. The solution does not lie in abolishing the problem itself, if this were to be done then in the near future an entire generation of zombies will prevail, with lack of motivation and action without thought, assessment of basics are essential , otherwise in future one of the largest democratic republic will turn out become the “largest banana republic.”

Usha srikanth.
Posted 27th February 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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FEB
24
Pangs of bhakti

Hey, mom it is still drizzling, oh, no! No fun, but we gotta go. Nope, we were not attending a party. It was my hubby;s strong influence on my son , I noticed , he had already turned a “small – devout.” You got it right , it was Thursday “ Raghvendra swami – day “, oh, all days have been attributed a god or vice versa (whatever) .

we were on our way to the sanctum sanatorium , party or pilgrimage it was impossible to suppress an eight year old’s excitement to venture out of the house . to seek the Almighty’s blessings was most essential, especially so as it was my son’s b’day.

I wonder / fail to understand , why it cannot happen at home, despite the fact that it’s a mini temple complex in itself. Well! There has to be something different, some unseen power that lures “devotees” like us. The aura and air was serene and pristine, the tune of the melodious bhajans were drifting through the air.

I felt myself swaying to the first, ‘still’ for the second,

The third one was a patience tester, I half expected the fourth to be spontaneous enough but I had a “reliever” a valiant lady who chirped that it was getting late. I admit she was courageous to have said that, but no…….. She was a contender to the opposite gender, it was just a diplomatic way of getting her chance,

OK I had to bear a few more devotionals, the more you invoke the god, the more you are blessed. but , my ‘ bakthi’ is as short lived as my temper, I glanced at my hubby hoping he would get the cue , I only got a cold stare in return, I managed to send words through my son , but the answer was , we were to stay for the Prasad .

Ah-ha!! The magic word, isn’t that the big difference, from home? I had to find a means of passing time, my son was already flirting with an insect at his toe , I had to strike a poise , seem interested , unlike my son who was disoriented . I found my fingers toying with my cell phone, I discovered that I could do a lot many rotations in a minute ,

I was done with that and shot my hubby another glance hoping he had given up on the Prasad . He did not even notice, by now I had started drawing attention and nasty glares from even the farthest ends,

“my goodness! I wasn’t trying to seduce my husband!!” I contained my urge to yell this out, but a sarcastic squirk had boisterously made its way to my lips, this was a getaway, I was pretty sure I would be shown the gates. I regained composure , not making it conspicuous , the aartis had begun , even the priest shared the mind frame as mine and made it evident by not being audible and restricting each aarthi to half rotations contrary to the regular 3.

Finally the ordeal was over, anyway patience and perseverance is the path to success in life, this holds good even for a Prasad or rather especially for a Prasad ,
Posted 24th February 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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24
PIETY DIFFERENT VIEWS

Let’s begin with what a Brahmin is.-a learned man, a holy man, a man with uncanny abilities, a noble, divine, privileged (upper caste), a man beyond all servile ties and bonds, lastly as “I” would proclaim, a rather insignificant cry-a man who is true to himself.

The true meaning of the word has been mangled and transformed (as to put it in my opinion) in the course of time. Let’s have a 21 century opinion, as the passing of millenniums; the Brahmin community too has undergone a massive and dramatic change. Leaving the 4 divisions and its numerous sub-divisions untouched, let me just tackle the 3 categories, categorized rightly and justly by me, but I am pretty sure you all can synthesize with me and even with these divided class.

The classification is as follows:-
a) The rigid class
b) The liberated class
c) Well! I have not a specific name for this class-Let’s just put is as ….. The confused bommans.Now unfolds the detailed definition:-

The rigid class:- this cult claims itself to be upholding the dharma,karma,punya and paap(even to this era of kali or the kaliyug,right from the tretayug)When I say rigid, it’s rightly said , this rigidity is flaunted with utmost pride, be it their attire or the attitude. The attire being the conspicuous one consists of vermillion or vibuthi smeared across their forehead, it is also not rare to get glimpse of the ‘etchings’ on the face and body (mudras)of sandalwood, nor the ever so prominent fork shaped design extending upwards and downwards, can go unnoticed. This is only the visage, it is highly fashionable for men to grow their hair and sport a ponytail or maybe a “puny tail” The traditional Indian attire ‘dhoti’ completes the male picture. Now to the other gender.

Actually it is highly complicated to explain or justify their outlook. Let’s say they bedeck themselves with vermillion, but it is shape specific-conforms to spherical or elongated hyperbole meeting ends-the tilak,colour specific too-red.Well!Down the ages, the artistic ability to draw a perfect round or an upright tilak has taken a backseat, so people have resorted to bindis(it is still considered rigid)Bangles, a dozen on each hand is the expected number, maybe it has dwindled a bit as it can be highly uncomfortable, and as glass is the only element that completes the rigidity picture, it is damaging too.

Now, to the magical herb or spice-turmeric. This is a well known bleach (can help a bit) an
anti acne –septic, hairgrowth stopper. At times, when machine-made cosmetics weren’t invented it was in vogue for its various advantages. The mystifying question is “How did turmeric stop being just a cosmetic and when was it promoted as one of the significant signs of being a sumangali?”It is definitely mystifying, the other signs are –of course adornments like bangles, vermillion, colored sari and long hair. The misgiving of these people is they are stuck to a fashion which is old, outdated.Change is unwelcome to them, and they have very conveniently labeled it the sadvi Brahmin look.

A 21 century average Indian woman clad in either an elegant salwar kameez or a body covering cool looking jean-top, with a comfy haircut and devoid of all the mentioned decorations would be termed”unchaste”,”Too forward”. They do not realize the difference between basic grooming and being glamorous for a fashion parade, or maybe too close minded to accept the failure of the “Waxing” quality of the magical herb. In short this category mostly dwells by suppressing their inner self.

Now to their attitude, I do not mean their demeanor-it is highly polished, it glares so garishly it becomes difficult to penetrate through the glare to get to the root. It is the beliefs of ‘karma’ they follow ,they have numerous ways to salvation, the easiest one is to chant the sahasranama,the shobane, or ashtotra .Don’t be offended, I don’t find this wrong as any of you wouldn’t too. But there is a serious flaw It is that-the’number’of the chant always becomes important than the chant itself .As each god is assigned a day of duty, adhering to the day and right god is of paramount importance. Starting the pooja at the auspicious time, ending it at the appropriate moment is what counts rather than devotion itself; again the right dress code too is a matter of concern.

A highly uncomfy expensive silk saree is most suited per contra to a friendly cotton salwar-kameez wherein you can breathe better and concentrate on the puja better. Starving yourself and waiting for the puja to finish and almost rushing through it by thinking of nothing else but food, is also the most suited and easy path to heaven. These are the very basic ones leaving out the various rigid customs like certain diet food in a certain month and the likes (chatur masa for eg) skipping which an enormous cauldron of boiling oil in inferno is a guarantee.Oh! I almost forgot, these are the people who are ;not to be left behind, they claim all that they follow is proven’ scientifically’ –only god bless them if they do it the right way.

Now the liberated ones-They are not confused, they are focused about their choices but at the same time have a different, probably better and a holistic view of religion and god. They appear friendly not outlandish or garish, I am happy being one among these. The idea of salvation is not of utmost importance, not to be mistaken we are not aetheists, but we believe that being a Brahmin lies in ones ‘karma’ and not by being born into the caste, nobility of caste is a non-entity, as god himself is believed to have said-everyone is his child, it is what we imbibe that makes us a Brahmin-the overview:-

· Indulge in good acts or deeds
· Abstain from intoxicants or Provo cants
· Non-violence, loyalty

.Let me make it clear this is not a figment of my liberated fancy, but this is what the holy book’ bhagavat gita ‘ imparts, I stumbled upon it while teaching my son the 15 chapter “Purushothama yoga” my cousin who is a member of ISKON and an ardent follower of the sermons helped me rid my compunction of not being able to read the already mentioned sahasranamas or indulge in elaborate poojas, the frequency has lessened due to time constraints and let me accept it sometimes because I did not have the right mood to do it. There seems to be nothing to worry about, when the action and attitude is right, I do not proclaim I am a great sadvi (in the right sense) but I am not guilt ridden as I remember god for what I am today, I believe he lies inside me directing me in every move, let me clear myself, I am sounding like an angel, I am as human as anyone, only liberated of the wrong notions of the rigid caste.

A Brahmin is who has complete control over his five senses and mind- I am nowhere near this- I give in to fits of temptation be it food or a new dress, I believe I am born for what I have done in my previous birth maybe my life is a reward or a punishment. Only time will show , but I thank him and pray to him – whenever I feel it, only do not count the number of times nor do I keep track of the matching gods and days and visit the respective temples on respective days. I do not consider someone inferior because of their birth or caste or social status, ‘this’ I believe is the sure shot way to Satan’s abode.

We abide by the virtues of Brahmin and let god be (by not tormenting him by false prayers and false notions) will certainly help us cope better with the mortal fellow beings, as the holy scripture says, we are all born with a motive, a meaning, a karma to fulfill, doing this with happiness and selflessness is what the almighty expects not I’m sure a convenient one to follow too, a lot of the confused group might surely introspect. Shifting attention to the confused bommans.

They are baffled completely inside and outside, they conform to the Protestants in their dress – code (outlook) but would rather accept the rigid (puritans) in their ideas of piety. If they have anything to claim their identity it is the “Blame gene” The puritans are facilitated by this blame of the celestial bodies and thereby exists the modern soothsayers a wide variety of them.

This Hamletian race has invented something called “Dressing to the occasion and place” Yea! They have mastered this aspect of presentation skills, the rigid get up when among the pure and the cool guy / gal get up among the libs. But their conscience does a flip when they fail to match the two perchance, thereby entering the fire of sin (this idea is fed by the puritans) Matrimonial ties between a lib female and a confused male is most ill suited. The blame shifts to the weaker sex as they become harbingers of ill luck by the lack of performing the required number of poojas, this is a ridiculous idea under the name of “Pativrata Dharma” (let me not have a perusal of this, as it require months to get even a general idea) To sum up – this lot is neither directed towards the harsh rules and rituals of the rigid nor guilt free like the libs. In this 21 century, this is the group which exists in majority.

Let me try to conclude on a non offensive note. Whatever maybe the category as already mentioned –a person true to himself is a true Brahmin. The rigid practices of the puritans were formulated to enhance and spread the theory of cleanliness, concentration of mind, control of the body and thought in action and speech. But again, over the centuries the theory has been neglected or probably not been passed on at all¸ habits remain and are performed only to be rid of a heavy heart, practices too have reformed in accordance to false notion of dharma, but a true Brahmin is a self made man emancipated of falsehood, greed and selfish motives and this the only dharma the lord or the inner eye of knowledge recognizes and accepts.
Posted 24th February 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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Education in a girl’s life

“Educate the girl child.” We see this slogan ever so often in our motherland which is the devotional hub of all ‘Maatas’.The stress is more on the weaker sex and education is supposed to be making them strong. Ok! Let’s just take a reality check on this statement.

Let’s say a family which has contributed just one girl child to this over populous country and has done their bit of being patriotic at least in this one way they thought best. The girl was offered a life of comforts, lots of love, a good schooling, she had her take on all the decisions, which was valued by the family and upheld. The girl fares fairly well , turns out an above average student, finally completes post grad with flying colors sees a promising future for herself in her desired profession. Education had done its bit for her – economical independence, filled in sense of equality of sex, taught compassion, general know how, boldness and finally common sense.

Marriage happened as was supposed to and then the conflict began – the spouse was ‘well – educated’ too had a good enough job and totally an above average economic disposition. The girl was married into the family as is our culture, the mother – in – law was no way in comparison as she was of the older stereotype generation when girls were married off anytime mid – school. The exam commenced when the girl in topic was ordered to cook – well!! Ok this was a tragic flaw as she had spent all her time studying or doing something else which was more productive at that point of time, her blank look drew out a derisive smile on her mil’s face. The girl was smart she learnt this life skill ‘pronto’. Slowly as time fades and relationships no longer centre around lovey – dovey talks and making the other person comfortable, her mind starts taking the tiny changes that trickle in with the observation around her.

The father in law is crisp and curt and magnanimous at his profane litany at his wife even at the slightest of all things like lack of salt in the particular dish, she is shocked to see her mil wipe a tear in seclusion, this outburst of comments by the fil is carried on to a greater height by the sons as if that were the torch of glory of their inherent tradition, the girl knows better than to keep quiet – immediately rushes to the mi’s aid and says something in defense, the hubby abuses to show that he takes the calls on the matter ,but the final shocker falls when the mil asserts herself as to how “good and docile she is!! In contrast to this so called educated girl” who has no patience or perseverance to put up with little things as that in silence.

Education had taught her to stand up against injustice not to grin and bear it, as is in our so called culture. So it did not teach her to deal with a situation like that. Years roll on as the girl is caught up in this maze of education and liberty and culture and oppression. The hubby has now assumed the role of a ring – master; she is expected to take “PERMISSION” from him to go meet her friends’ and relatives ‘houses or to even invite them to her house, and otherwise it would simply be reprimanded as lack of respect. Her education had taught her to respect liberty not tyranny, her education had taught her sophistication in language to not use abuses but did not teach what to do when she was a victim of one.

The in girl in discussion is smart to drive a car, makes a great impression at her work place, teaches the kids, and cooks. Keeps the house beautiful – all this is marathon or an Odysseus task for one of the likes of her uneducated mil. But an uneducated person has mastered one greatest skill – satisfy the male ego, no matter what the stakes are. The problem was that the girl could not do that as the girl has an ego too which tells her she is great in so many things, which has been proved by her educational accolades. She has ego enough- not to be submissive but the paradox is- she is too ‘polished’ to use downright derogatory means to get what she wants. Education had taught her to ‘reason’ not to ‘revolt’ but did not teach her that all this did not work in our country; she is illusioned by it not ‘disillusioned’. What our country really needs is to “educate the boy and his family.”

This is the saga of 90%of the intellectual women in our country whose story never makes any headlines; they are caught in a very different web of males and their families who have a different education from a different school of thought.

They fancy an educated girl on paper. Who can speak of liberty not exercise it.
They fancy a girl who knows how to earn but should not know how to spend.
They fancy a girl who stands against atrocity but dowry is insisted upon at least in kind.
They fancy a girl who knows how to judge but never calls the final verdict.
If she displays any of the traits of education she is discarded as uncultured. So, to reiterate, it is a holistic and wholesome education of men that is required in our motherland and …Hats off to all the women who pressed that a ‘women’s day’ is not really needed – take a walk…. Ponder.

Posted 24th February 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde

Much can be marveled at the anatomy and mechanism of the human cerebrum. R.L. Stevenson alludes that everyone is born with a twin. Obvious mirth is derived when Hyde is in action, he assumes his dominant self when he has a horde to establish and exercise his anathema. Jekyll shrinks into anonymity.
This twin combination is more pronounced in men in power. The presence of Hyde is in direct proportion to the extent of power their position/designation can draw out. At the initial stages, Jekyll does atone for his twin’s misdoings and misgivings only to make his twin stronger and more powerful. The Jekyll then remains only a visage to his higher- ups, the ugly Hyde, who has by now lost self control and encouraged by Jekyll’s misdoings exercises his ascendancy, though only on his sub ordinates. Hyde has by now lost all reason too and revels in the glory of his supremacy for creating many more Hydes like himself.
The Hyde who is the epicenter of this write up is one who can be found in abundance in any govt or even private institutions. The misgivings of this version of Hyde are lack of reason, complete absence of Jekyll.

He is the one who cavils matters or issues.
He is the one, who suppresses problems and not addresses them,
He is the one who blames his higher ups conveniently for his lack of action or redressal of grievance
He is the one who forces his subordinates to bypass protocol, also giving them a dressing down for having done this.
The communicator is Hyde when it is downward flow and Hyde doing a Jekyll when it is an upward flow.
This is the stereotypical Hindi movie villain whom we watch and loathe but it is a heartrending overview of the political scenario of our country, we allow ourselves to be governed by Hydes, the Hydes inside or Hydes outside us. The above-mentioned are but only a few of the many vice traits of Hyde. The tragic flaw is that one Hyde propagates many others; it will continue being a vicious circle until Hyde meets Hyde – his nemesis
OR
The human cult sees the much awaited second coming.
Posted 24th February 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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24
Spare a thought

‘India is one of the happiest countries –says a study from Forbes’. This is one of the articles published in a leading newspaper, ‘A ninth grader stabs his teacher to death’. This again was the other headline that glared after a few days. A channel was showing an extremely melodramatic serial wherein the protagonist very carefully secures his bride to the bedpost and derives sadistic mirth by belting her repeatedly. Suddenly an ad pops up with sweet kids singing ‘ummido wali dhoop’ at the end of which there is a smile on everyone’s lips who watched it.

The next day you wake up to another article which claims India’s the worst country for girls. All these news in extreme contrast to one another are definitely enough to put any rational mind to a state of dementia. The question is which one is real? Do we want to believe that despite all these realities of suicides, murders, feticides we still are the nation of the Vedas. Upholding divine spiritual secrets which have to be imparted to the world? Where have we gone wrong?

Through the centuries we have been victims of many adversities not to mention the ones being created by our politicians, but we have adapted well and have sprung right back with a ‘killer instinct’. The adaptation is so much so that we have lost the thread of our own roots. ‘Survival of the fittest’ has always been the mantra, but we have adopted this and overdone it. The land of the most famous epics has declined to progress towards promoting literature. Why?

The answer is quite simple it does not fetch lucrative jobs, as we know now ‘money makes a man’. Pursing a PG or PhD in literature or arts is like buying a lottery ticket, whereas pursuing a science stream will surely fetch a job that’ll wrap a person in money.

Through the generations we have developed a trend to see ourselves materialistically happy thus inclined towards science oriented subject. But the sad part is arts has lost respect, it has become the study of losers, and the subjects which encourage the students to view the world with a critical eye have deteriorated. The frankness, the openness, the prudence which are a part of these subjects are dead with this decline. In pursuit of technology and money we have given up our culture. While literature which is the mirror of life is heading towards its doom, we can see the rise of a new cult which has no courage to face the bitter truth, rather they only give heed to the new generation hypocritical critics who equivocalize everything, in turn creating ‘sissies’ who are sensitive to every opinion and are impulsive to either ‘die ‘or ‘kill’.

We need to rethink about our attitude towards ‘education’ and ‘life’. Education is not business, life is not a bed of roses, and we must inculcate and give equal importance to moral education. The only way is to encourage literature and other arts subjects, which teach one everything- success, failure, hopes, distress, romance, and heartbreaks. To put it in a nutshell – what life is all about and the fact that yet it is worth living. By teaching our kids to be receptive to everything we can make them humans.

By Usha Srikanth
English Lecturer
Sindhi College.
Posted 24th February 2012 by Usha Srikanth

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