Tuesday, October 7, 2014

because there is a gypsy in you...

I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.

Third day of the Chandigarh Arts and Heritage Festival. My heart hammered even as I held on tight. A silence followed, of the loudest kind. Have I heard it right? Few seconds back, amidst thundering audience, I am being summoned to receive the honour. The most coveted award for any Indian classical danseuse. So, finally I am there. 

As I moved on to grab on my fruit of labour, I thought...this has been a long journey. Exactly that's what it is all about. Unbridled You. Being in touch with your deeply passionate, creative side imparts a touch of magic to treaded alleys of life.

Don't we all have real us, folded neatly within us, who is unleashed in the company of good music, crackling bonfires, thunderstorm rains, a walk in the hills- and of course in the right company. Been through that feeling? When you may want to rejoice free spiritedness, spontaneity and float as a five-bladed flower helicoptering gently to the ground in the cool breeze; you may want to sing and dance as if you are alone in your living room.

…And, then one understands the vanity of limits which we set on us each day. That little child each one of us carry within us, one who peeps out almost all the times but is quickly frightened by "char log kya kahenge". And suddenly, in that one moment, you have been introduced to your innate, powerful side which beckons you to go and paint the world alive.

Meaningful it would be, to give thought to what brings that reigning moment for you? That goose bumps feeling when you hear your favourite song on a loop? That thrills of seeing your child laughing heartily? Or, exactly making your life's do-to-list short brings out the vibrant you? Whatever it is, nurture that source, because it makes you meet real you. 

...because if your real side is lost in the humdrum of life


...it was pouring and I was standing right there, day dreaming. Until the phone rang. I rushed inside. It was a call from my masterji. I was getting late for Bharata Natyam classes.

Aaah,it was a dream. Nevertheless, I took a deep breath and listened to the new brag of the heart. I am, I am, I am almost there. :) 


* picture courtesy http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/kathak,uk/Interesting

Thursday, July 24, 2014


...I was saying, when I got my present job, the advertisement they had put in the papers implied that they wanted someone who knew English like Shakespeare, Punjabi like Amrita Pritam and Hindi like Tulsidas - Salary: no constraints for deserving candidate. And in response they got me. I had all the qualifications, but a little mixed up. Yeah! with Punjabi, definitely like Shakespeare. 

Does that mean I was not appointed?  

January 28, 2014 at 11:00 am

I was sitting on a plush sofa opposite the huge reception, trying to look totally relaxed and unperturbed. While waiting impatiently for my turn I could hear words from within, "Listen, today you have to look really serious. That means less of that twinkling eyes and impish smile and more of that solemn looks. After all, future of some 20 odds would be in my hands."  

After ten minutes, while I was just about to reach later stages of Subway Surfers,  I could hear "Ms. Anushree, your turn please." All engrossed, waking up from my reverie, I rushed towards the cabin. 

Excerpts from an interview for the post of pre primary teacher:

"Can you speak English?" 
In my mind (Eh, well yeah, like most of us), "Yes, pretty decent, if not like Shakespeare." 
"Can you handle kids?"
"Yes, I believe I can. I have a year old daughter." 
"What do you think has been the most exciting thing happening or happened in last few years?" 
"This whole advent of technology." 
"Interesting, go on" 
"Well, now, as we talk about tablet- shaped classroom, I really think we have come a long way and it's time to make our education paperless.

And then, rest today I am working with something, or rather, for the system of progressive education. And still remember the words by one of the interviewee there. 
"Exactly! let's break free of rote education. We want our kids to become an author and not a scribe". 

and while you read this, also think 

...if a pen is mightier than a sword. really? 
...can my dog eat my homework?
...think about the money school can save in the long run? True, making a Google school can be prohibitively expensive at least in initial years. 

The textbook isn't about to die a sudden death – especially not in India, where many children still do not have access to the internet at home. But, that day is not far behind, hopefully, when homework would be done at the click of a mouse. :)                      ........................................................

P.S: Title of this post has been taken from HT Brunch's weekly column by Rajiv Makhni. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

RIP, cursive writing.

...So, the much adored fancy style of writing heading to a universal ban? 

Well yes, at least that's what the digital age and changing times suggest. Curvise writing, as the trend indicates is way past its expiry date. This is not just because we've learnt to save time (time lost in forming curves and loops in curvise writing) and use SMS language more often, but as modern pedagogy suggests there is no inherent logic in pretty writing style!

Infact, most schools in India are slowly digesting the fact and hence are putting less emphasis on writing curvise letters.  That flamboyant flow of writing style is no longer a measure of child's achievement, rather a questioning mind is. (http://m.timesofindia.com/home/stoi/deep-focus/Schools-are-writing-off-cursive/articleshow/23601901.cms). 

And all this happening much to parents's chagrin. The stinging dismissal of curvise writing have certainly caused many parents left wondering. As a child, growing up under the tender attention of my parents, I remember mastery in curvise writing held a very special meaning for me, after all it earned me a good number of handwriting awards in school. For a student with a neat hand, it used to give an edge over other classmates who were happily busy scribbling pretty worms in their notebooks. But inspite all this, i can never thank enough my parents who used to think that the curvise wrting is not the only catalyst for growth and development. They encouraged me to be curious enough and were always ready to bear my inquisitive mind.

It's a irony of our educational system that it remains a religion that few would choose had they not been forced into by parental pressure. Though it's a debatable topic and an endless discussion, but why do we force our child to have the world's most beautiful handwriting when the child can have an option to have the world's most observant mind!

I may be new to the world of teaching, but what I am sure of is that I am not going to plague my student's learning experience with the lack of excitement and enthusiasm for anything educational.

As an individual, let's decide to make our children have the emotional demand for education, let them be free and carve their own world rather than forcing them to learn the art of carving neatly!

I have an year old daughter, and I am going to let her free to explore the world around and not succumb to the pressure of rote education.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Don't drive silly, cos road is hilly!

Only some 200 kms away from Chandigarh, one can see board with big bold letters inviting "LEARN TO SPEAK GOOD hindi IN 30 DAYS". In a place where goras flock to attain spirituality each year, some decided to stay back forever in that elusive search of moksha. All the more better, if those fews learn our national language super fast.
And me... well, me and my husband were at Rishikesh for what anyone can expect from 20+ somethings, a weekend getaway and a quick river rafting!

We thought to be brave. Refusing the luxury of a boat, in which someone else toll, letting the excited tourist practice crazy poses and smiles for FB uploads, we decided for a raft where it is all about team work. The ticket comes with a warning though, if we get stuck in the middle of a huge Ganges tide, we might be thrown cruelly into the river by the ferocious current. But then, well, we had an experienced looking guide with us, a pretty sturdy life jacket and yes, our all willingness to give it a big yes! "So what! If it is raining, this is the best challenge Rishikesh can offer, we shall take it up, mate."

The raft went as promised, scared our wits out at every single high tide. We screamed and sang along! The weather too blessed our efforts, with a brilliant display of sunlight which seemed a huge relief for drenched with water souls. About three hours later, our raft hit the jetty. A little tired now and very hungry, we went back to the ashram where we met our parents with whom we came along.

After few minutes, sitting inside a restaurant, waiting patiently for lunch to come, suddenly we saw a new Rishikesh. The immaculately dressed Rishikesh, radiant even in her old age, the feel, the smells, the sights and legends surroundings the city beckon us. :-)

The city which seems like a abode of a householder and a wandering ascetic both. The householder who refuses to budge from the cosy nook, and the latter who has no home at all. I found both within the city. Rishikesh has, as my father says, changed a lot and steadily growing into a residential place. Earlier it was out and out a tourist mecca.

I had a life time experience in those two days, ate piping hot Maggi sitting by the roadside, felt the air which has the classic hilly contentment that one only reads about but rarely finds anywhere else, few tea-and-snack stalls, locals sitting peacefully around, drizzling which happened every now and then, we ordered chai post lunch as I thought over few lines, read few months back,

"The summer no sweeter was ever,
The sunshiny woods all athrill,
The grayling aleap in the river,
The bighorn asleep on the hill.

The strong life that never knows harness,
The wilds where the caribou call,
The freshness, the freedom, the farness, Oh God! How I am stuck on it all."

Sigh! the real world called us back soon, but for this Rishikesh, we would happily return.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Young and foolish!

...You Live Only Once :-), now just a month back I stumbled upon this idea. Well, to be precise, yes, it was Twitter and a leading publication who rather suggested me this one, and I realized that this is me!
unabashedly, in perennial state of YOLO (You Live Only Once). Infact, in a way, we all are, aren't we?

...Are you not happy that we have been living in this age of social media boom, AAP effect all over, aare...why don't you Google it thought, please WhatsApp me that pic fast.

...don't you want to live each day as if it were your last?

...itching to go into unknown territory even if it's full of unknown risks so that you get to learn something new?

...make spur-of-the-moment mistakes and be cool about it?

...lol, have you ever thought to do try bungee jumping again at the age of 80?

...always want to learn a new skill every year?

...not afraid to experiment with your wardrobe, once a while?

Yes, if you heard a little yes inside, you are following YOLO philosophy like me. Come on, you won't get another chance to do it :-)

I was surprised to know that the philosophy has been in existence over the years, just that it has become more well defined in recent times. The history is evident, here's Bahadur Shah Zafar for you -

'Na dekha kahin woh jalwa, Jo dekha khan-i-dil main,
Bahut maszid main sar mara, bahut sa dhoonda butkhana'

* vague translation, I saw no light same as that came from within my heart. Much I battered my head in the mosque and looked for it in the temple.

I have decided to live by YOLO, because life is short. And...
Thank God, He has been kind to me for the husband whose WhatsApp status is "You are taking too much space, if you are not living your life on the edge." That's makes two of us! And just now I am going to fill YOLO under the religion section of my FB page.

And as I live by YOLO each day, there will be more to come on this. Till then, let me end by few lines of my favorite poet.

What were those wonderful lines of Yeats ?

" She bid me take life easy as the leaves grown on the tree,
  but I being young and foolish did not agree."


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bookworms shall inherit the Earth.

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies but a man who never reads lives only one."

It all started in year 2007 when I first read 'Alchemist' and the general mags such as Reader Digest, India Today. It seemed useless then but now when I realize that no one from my class has read 'The Kite Runner' or 'Sherlock Holmes's series', I feel proud and sad. I pity a man (or woman) who has never read a book. A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies but a man who never reads loves only one.

Have a look around, after all these selfless friend can bring meaning to our lives. They can do so much for us just by being books- all the more than what is actually printed inside. Below is what I think!

Person like me, would prefer to interior decorate my house on my own, rather than paying hefty sum to an interior decorator. And yes, i have loads of books for that decoration part. Oh! I just love the sight of that overflowing bookshelf. Come on, won't you agree that they convey a sense of intellectual depth to its owner :-)

And, what about personal décor? Sitting in a waiting room at a recent interview, I noticed the lady next to me was carrying a copy of a play by Shakespeare. Being casually acquainted with works of Shakespeare myself, I was impressed with this young lady, until couple of moments later, it was revealed that she was actually carrying the cover only with few pages inside to take down notes. Phew! I am still laughing out loud!

Patience. Reading makes us patient and curious. Anyone who has survived fifty pages of odd 2000 pages novel, will testify for this.

I am often asked: What do u like reading? Pat comes my answer, "I love reading what gives me joy"...and I say that shamelessly. Experiment. I experiment a lot when it comes to reading. I don't make anything my steady diet, its just like eating at restaurants, what's the fun if you don't try new cuisines every time you eat there.

For me, it's like that nothing can beat the fragrance of a new paper book (yeah! I sniff them, I am weird like that!), the glossy look, the feel of its spine, the musky smell of print and the hidden promise. That, that...aesthetic appeal of a stacked bookshelf.

Better to have your nose in a book than in someone's else business, isn't? :-):-)

P.S. i just finished reading Chowringhee by Sankar and I think it's a nice, quick, hilarious read. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Kirpya Khulllle paise de!

... कॄपया खुल्ले पैसे दे ।

The words, loud and clear on the Chandigarh-Ambala toll bridge, made sure that you don't miss noticing the extra emphasis on letter L in Khulllle. I have heard of khule, but khulllle!

That's the kind of effect Punjab has on you. :-)

The first thing I noticed about Punjab, on that first day post marriage, was the smell of different air. I was excited and delighted by it, in that first Punjab minute. It smells of ten thousands dhabas, with even walls coated with desi ghee, rather makhan. The spurts of dhabas lining the highway still amuses me. Of course, till that day I used to think that the ever so humble idlis and larger than life dosas comes under main course menu. Here, it tops the list of fast food menu. Amusing!

Then there were people. Otherwise where else on the Earth will you find turbaned heads held high in air with rolled up thick moustaches at edge! I have been living in the city for almost two years and believe me, the sugar coated punjabi accent can beat even sweetness in rusgulla by miles. Personally, i have never been a big fan of ever so pompous sardars, but here, in almost two years i have realised that no one can escape the charm and chauvinism of the community.The land which we better know as land of desis boys, thanks to the likes of Honey Singh, Yuvraj.

And, yes, yes, of course, I would commit a crime, if mention of Chandigarh's architecture is not done. "Oh, so u have shifted to Chandigarh. It's beautifullllll!" :-), Just heard that 209th time last week. Like any other big city, traffic moves at snail's pace here too, but the scents of spices undulled by diesel and petrol fumes is prevalent everywhere.

The city seems never sleeps. Howsoever new you are to it, it will make sure that it makes you feel at home in a jiffy.

As i hope to stay here for years...the conversations and bonhomie, the flowing food and celebrations just at the drop of a hat will surely keep my spirits high!


P.S- The city has given me a lot, including my streaked hair. Now this one is interesting. My bosom buddy, Shilpi, ".....finally yours hair streaked, now u r typical Chandigarh kudi" ! ;)