Tag Archives: school

Full Pocket Search

The market is full of backpacks because the schools reopened in June. The rush is less this year since the classes are held online. I came across this backpack. It has a number of pockets. This reminds me of a school bag I bought when I was in sixth grade. It had seven pockets. I thought I would be able to keep my things organized in it so I requested my mother to buy it. The bag I used the previous year had less pockets. It was difficult to keep everything arranged in it.

On the first day of school, I kept the textbooks and workbooks in one of the two larger pockets and notebooks in the other. There was a separate pocket for tiffin box. I kept my handkerchief in one of the remaining small pockets. The classes began, and everyone noticed my bag. After 2 classes, I felt a loud sneeze approaching. It was one of those moments when the teacher had asked for pin drop silence in the class because one of the students was reading a lesson. I frantically started looking for the handkerchief in my bag but was unable to find it. The movement caused noise and so the teacher sternly looked at me out of thick rimmed glasses and said “Stand up! what is the need for so much unrest”. She had barely said this when I sneezed loudly. The entire class jumped on their seats. The teacher again scolded “Where is your handkerchief? You should keep it handy”. She would have continued scolding but the bell for recess or break rang. I was saved from further scolding. It seems I had forgotten the pocket in bag where I had kept the handkerchief so I had to do a full pocket search of all pockets to find it. From then onwards I tried to keep the handkerchief pinned to my uniform as that was the easiest place to find in case of emergency. Even today, I prefer a backpack with 3-4 pockets as too many pockets end up confusing me.

The Patient Teacher

There are so many things that our parents teach us by their actions. The best part of their teaching is their patience. They would correct us no matter how many times we go wrong. There is one such activity which I learnt from my father. During my school days, it was required to dress up in properly ironed uniform. Our uniform included a shirt and pleated pinafore. I started ironing my uniform when I was in fifth grade that too after observing my parents. My father was very good in ironing. He taught me how to iron the shirt. He used to iron his clothes on Saturday evenings or Sunday afternoon. I would wait with my newly washed shirts while he ironed. Once he was done, I would iron mine. If my work was not up to the mark, he would iron it again to show me how a properly ironed shirt looks. Many times I used to do a poor job and he would correct it. In the process, he would iron all my shirts. This continued till I was in 9th grade. I was so lazy that it took me years to learn ironing like him. Recently when I was ironing a shirt for office when my mother told me Baba(father) always knew that I did poor ironing in school because I was lazy. He was so patient that in spite of knowing I was lazy, he continued to teach me.

Whenever I go to a new city, the first thing I buy is an iron. The habit of ironing clothes on weekends has stuck with me even today. There are times my roommates have complemented it. The credit goes to my father. He was the epitome of patience while teaching me. Ironing the clothes on time and keeping the shoes clean and polished were habits which he kept up without failure. We learnt this just by following him. He was the Patient teacher who taught us again and again regardless of the number of mistakes we did. Today on Father’s day, let us take an opportunity to thank the most patient teacher of our lives, our father. Happy Father’s Day.

Board Game Matches

Today I came accross an old board of Snakes and Ladders. This used to be my favorite in school days. There were days when me and my sister used to play this game with Papa and Mummy. We even used to maintain a score board for these board game matches. This was a good way to reduce screen time and spend quality time. Those were the golden summer vacations of school days.

Although the game seems easy, one does not win easily. There are so many times one slides down after encountering a snake. There were moments when me or my sister would start crying and almost give up. Our parents would then console us with stories of how people have risen from failures. A simple game would end up in a story session with a lesson. I think those were the ways our parents chose to teach us the virtues of patience, perseverence and sportsmanship. Whether we won or lost, mummy would cook some sweet or one of our favorite dishes. As I look at that board today, it reflects the struggles of life. We do not reach our goals easily. There are times when we feel we have almost reached but like the snake at 98, we may encounter something and end up a number of steps behind. Sometimes we are unable to proceed at all. But everytime we start we try to rebuild our strategy which means we learn to be careful. Life would be so boring if it were straight forward like accessing a channel in television. Just like the game, each up and down makes our life interesting. We remembered the good times and played a game of Snakes and Ladders. Although we are not kids anymore but this game managed to bring out the child in all of us.

Penning on the Pen

Something came out while re-organizing the old cupboard which motivated me to pen my thoughts on the pen. It was my Grandfather’s fountain pen shown in the image above. I was in third grade, when I saw it for the first time. It was very special to my mother so one had to be really careful while holding it. I just wrote an ‘A’ with it and was simply amazed at the smoothness. From then onwards I started looking forward to writing with fountain or ink pen. Every time my mother re-organized that cupboard, I would take up the opportunity to use the pen. Most of the great litterateurs like Rabindranath Tagore, William Wordsworth, etc used to be shown with a Fountain pen. Seeing them a childhood fantasy began to take place in my mind. I started thinking, holding a pen would motivate one to write better.

We were allowed to use pens from grade 5. The results of an academic session use to come by post during summer vacation when I was in school. From the day, my Fourth grade results came, I started pestering my mother for an ink pen. The moment the ink pen came, I started studying the language textbooks and solving the assignments. Everyone was surprised since this happened 2 weeks before the school opened. They thought I was going through the change phase when mischievous kids become responsible. The reason was the fantasy. I always wanted to excel in language and have a beautiful handwriting. That is why I had took on the language textbooks. Even after the school started, I used to love doing anything which involved writing using the fountain pen. My school work was always up to date although my dress and fingers had ink stains. I realized my fantasy when I was in grade 8 and had moved to ballpoint pens. It is one’s thoughts and dedication which motivate a person but sometimes a fantasy inspires one to improve. Luckily I found a few fountain pens in an old pouch. Its so nice to look back and smile on those childhood fantasies.

A Day for Science

Today (28th February) is National Science Day in India. This is celebrated to mark the discovery of Raman effect by Sir C.V.Raman. Schools conduct science exhibition on this day. It started in our school when we were in 9th grade. We were supposed to bring projects for the exhibition. We started looking for project ideas in everything from boiling milk to vehicle wheels. When this happened, the books on science projects in school library were all issued. In those days internet was not there in every house. So the next option was requesting our friends in other schools. It seems they too were facing the same situation since their school too had science exhibition. We used to discuss about project ideas from the doctors and engineers of our neighborhood. It used to be fun gathering all the information and making the project. Finally the day before the exhibition we would arrange the tables in the hall and other rooms to be used. We would try to think of all the questions that might come from the guests and prepare answers for it. Our guests were the students from junior classes and teachers. It used to be a huge thing standing in front of our project in freshly ironed uniform and polished shoes. We would speak about our project as if we were in some big science conference.

This used to be a big school event in many schools till last year where parents were invited as guests. Although this means work in addition to studies for students, it is an event to look forward to. Theoretical knowledge starts appearing interesting when it is put into practice. This event enabled us to view science beyond books. We were able to put the concepts learnt into practice. Preparing the theory for presentation helps the students develop their presentation skills. Today the world is looking at science to come up with solution for the pandemic. On this National Science Day, I wish all the best to the science community to find a vaccine for Covid.

World of Bicycles

Colorful bikes

Summer always reminds me of vacations. We used to cycle around our neighborhood in groups until we were called for dinner. With the sunny days coming around, it was high time to explore the city. This year, I began with the bicycle museum of Pittsburgh. It is the largest bicycle museum located at a quiet neighborhood. You are greeted with rows and rows of colorful bicycles as soon as you enter the museum. There are bikes everywhere, on the floor, the walls and even at the ceiling. Its not just the regular cycles but the earliest of them. It is fascinating to see how the bicycles have evolved over the years. There are bicycles used for special races. Some of them even have the trophies along with them. Each one is tagged with the year and make. Few of them reminded me of Charlie Chaplin movies.

A historic cycle

A Harley-Davidson bike

There are miniature models of cycles on the walls. I was so engrossed reading through the labels and history at one point that I almost lost the way. Over the years, bicycles have been used for bringing awareness and marketing in addition to sports and transportation. There is a bicycle made by Harley-Davidson. Bicycles have a special place in childhood for most of us. I am glad there is a museum dedicated to them. So the next time you plan to explore Pittsburgh, do ensure to visit Bicycle Heaven and be mesmerized by the world of Bicycles.

Happy Holi

The festival of Holi is an opportunity to bring out the mischievous side of a person. It occurs towards the end of winter in the month of march. This is the last festival of the academic session before the exams. Its the best time to say sorry. The dry colors are ready a day before. Traditional sweets are prepared in every house. We visit each house, put color on each other’s faces and have sweets. Its the only festival where one does not need to dress up.

My colleague mentioned his daughter has given him the list of colors to bring. This reminded me of the Holi when I was in Sixth grade. A new liquid color was in market. We (me and my sister) had requested our father to bring us that color as well along with the dry colors. My strict grandmother declared no liquid colors. My mother tried to pacify us by saying those colors don’t get removed easily. On the day of Holi, we had played with dry colors and visited everyone’s houses. Still the feeling of enjoying the festival was not there. My sister was almost in tears for the liquid colors. My grandmother had a long list of activities which included cleaning the prayer area, taking a shower, plucking flowers and then performing the ceremonies. The moment she started these activities, my father, who was quietly watching us, handed us the packets of liquid color. He always had a solution for all problems. After that me and my sister had the time of our lives, coloring each other and all our friends. My mom was right, the color didn’t go easily. Even after multiple washing and scrubbing the next day I went to school with one ear red and one ear green. My sister had a red cheek and blue chin.

Holi, the festival of colors, is the time to forget the wrongs of the past and make new beginnings. Even if people dont speak the same language, you can simply put color on each other and hug. As if to start life like a blank canvas and fill it with colors of joy, happiness and love. I hope this Holi fills everyone’s lives with colors.

P.S. Just incase you are wondering what happened in school, the teacher had a hard time controlling her laughter standing in front of a class of students with Rainbow colored faces.

A new Beginning

Today is First of January. The day everyone around the world wishes “Happy New Year”. Both 31st december and 1st January have always been unique even though they are not a festival. During my school days, when we only had Doordarshan, this was the only day when there were programs to watch till 1:00 am. In fact, entire family used to watch togather. I used to start asking for cakes right from 27th of december. My mother always found time to make one on 31st december. Generally the cake used to be ready by 10:30 pm and we used to have them at 12:00am. I miss those cold nights sitting togather with the entire family and having fresh cakes. With the advent of cable, different channels had different programs, so another activity of channel surfing got added to this day. Now as the day starts approaching we start getting invites for different events like fireworks show, DJ night, etc.

Another topic of discussion is RESOLUTIONS. This is the first thing that one asks after wishing new year. The biggest joke is they are made to be broken. On a serious note, we humans are never satisfied with whatever we have or are. We always want to improve. The concept of resolutions symbolizes this behaviour. We often set very high goals which require continuous dedication and sacrifice. Again most of us are too lazy to stick to it and so the resolutions are often broken within the first few days. This year I thought of welcoming the new year with lots of colors. It was too cold to go out and buy flowers. So I thought of creating my own flower. I always admired my mother’s ability to make beautiful things using crochet. So I tried my hand at crochet. After 4 hours of struggle, I was able to make the flower below.

My first colorful flower of Crochet

My first colorful flower of Crochet

I just wish all of our lives are as colorful as the petals of this flower. I was so happy that I also decided to make cake. This was another challenge as I had never made one before. Since its the new year, let it be a new beginning of my culinary skills (which need a lot of polishing). Below is the outcome of my effort.

My first cake

My first cake

The blurred face on cake symbolizes the unknown things that future holds for me in the year 2016 and that I will try to welcome them with a cake. Both these experiments just made my day. I hadn’t done any of these before all on my own. The best thing was I was doing it for myself. A learning from this is anything you do will be successful if you do it only for yourself.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

A new experience

Sight from my window on Gudi Padwa and Ugadi

Sight from my window on Gudi Padwa and Ugadi

Today is Ugadi(Telegu new year) and Gudi Padwa(Marathi new year). This was always a day of celebration in my hometown Baroda as well as in Mumbai and Pune. In school days, march was a month of tension as April used to be the month of final exams of the academic year. The classes used to be in full force with syllabus being completed for every subject. Everyday we used to be told to prepare for the exams by every adult we met, be it the teachers, parents or neighbours. Also the 10th and 12th boards would be going on. Hence the entire neighbourhood used to be silent. Still Gudi Padwa used to bring happiness and cheer. Some of us used to reschedule our new year resolutions to this day.

My best memories of Gudi Padwa are in Mumbai and Pune. In mumbai, I used to have a team mate Preeti. Due to our long working schedules we had become fast friends. Every year she used to bring Puranpoli for me on this day. In pune almost the entire city seemed to be decorated. People would be wearing new traditional clothes. The shops would be decorated. Sometimes the entire building would be decorated. Even in our software companies, ladies would come dressed in Sarees. There would be mails wishing everyone. Last year my maid specially made puranpoli for me.

Puranpoli

The month of march is really beautiful in Baroda(Vadodara), Pune or Mumbai. All trees are green and gardens are full of flowers. I loved to see the unripe mangoes(karies) hanging on the trees.This year I am in Baltimore and had a completely different Gudi Padwa. After a week of sunshine, it snowed. Hence instead of a bright I had a cold snowy Gudi Padwa making the new year a new experience. But then we all should have some unique experiences, thats what makes our life colorful. My work went smoothly throughout the day. Also 20th march’2015 is the first day of spring. Even google is celebrating it with a google doodle. I thank everyone who made this festival special for me.

I wish everyone a very Happy Gudi Padwa and Happy Ugadi.

The Christmas Tree

Christmas used to be a special occasion in school. We used to start preparing right from 1st December. Every class used to perform be it a play or a song before the school closed for Christmas holidays. The hall used to be decorated on that day. I used to look forward to see the Christmas Tree. Even as a grown-up I love seeing it. This year I was fortunate enough to be in USA in December. Hence as Christmas started approaching, it was available everywhere from Malls to offices. I even saw trees of different colors.

Christmas Trees in display

Christmas Trees in display

A white Christmas Tree

A white Christmas Tree

Some places had a decorated tree from first December itself. These trees gave a feeling of festive season.

A decorated Christmas Tree

A decorated Christmas Tree

The best part was visiting Washington DC on 25th December and witness a large Christmas Tree. It is decorated with lights of different colors. Although it was chilling cold, yet the whole scene was very warm with families surrounding the trees and the children happily playing around.

Christmas Tree at Washington DC

Christmas Tree at Washington DC

The Christmas Tree at the botanical garden had a small train running around it. This gave a feeling of Santa approaching. At another place a small village was created around it.

At Botanical Garden

At Botanical Garden

Train around the Tree

Train around the Tree

Village Surrounded by Christmas Trees

Village Surrounded by Christmas Trees

The whole ambiance was so beautiful and homely. It was also very peaceful as there was hardly any traffic. It was further enhanced by the Church bells ringing. I think this is the spirit of Christmas. To come together and spend time with your near and dear ones.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.