Tag Archives: school

That interesting Series

April 23 was World Book Day. It was declared to promote the love for reading and writing books. There is some genre of book which pulls us towards reading. For me it was detective stories. I was introduced to the world of mystery by the “Famous Five series” by Enid Blyton. I still remember how I came across this series.

I was in fifth grade. It was in the first library class of the first week of academic year. We were allowed to wander in the library and issue a book of our choice. The books used to be kept in cupboards with glass doors. I don’t have words to express the excitement of opening each and every cupboard. I thought I would take the first book which makes me curious enough to read it. I went across the library openning each cupboard and looking through rows of books. There was one book which caught my attention “Famous Five: Five on a Secret Trail”. I was going through it when the teacher announced “We only have 5 minutes left. Please get your books issued by the librarian”. I had already made up my mind. I went to the librarian and signed the register. She too was impressed by my choice. It was so interesting that I completed it in a week. I realized this was the 15th book of the series and decided to read the entire series starting from the first book. In the next library class a week later I knew which book to issue. This time i went through each cupboard looking for “Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island”. I finally saw that book through the glass doors of a cupboard. That was the only cupboard which was locked on that day. I requested the librarian to open it. She informed me it was locked because the key got misplaced. I requested her if she could look for it once again. If i had a chance to meet her, I would have asked how she felt when a fifth grade, two pony tailed girl in a uniform asked her to search for a lost key. She asked me why I was so bent on getting that cupboard opened when all the other cupboards are open. When I told her the reason, she asked me to wait and started looking through all the drawers. Suddenly she found the key in one of the drawers. I followed her to the cupboard, she opened it, I immidiately pulled out the book as I had memorized the location of the book and said “Madam, could you please issue this book for me”. She smiled and issued the book.

I recently found a book by Enid Blyton among old books gifted to us. Her works have always moved my imagination. Even today I would sit and read her works. Those books introduced me to the pleasure of reading the entire series. This was my story of how I found that interesting series which increased my love for reading. On this World Book Day, I would request everyone to just wander in the library and pick the book of their choice. You never know the treasure you may find. Happy World Book Day.

Red pens everywhere

The months of March and April are full of examinations in India as the academic session comes to an end. The situation of students is discussed in a lot of forums but very places have mention about the teachers. Being the daughter of a teacher, I have witnessed the situation on their side as well.

My mother was a teacher and was very economic, she always bought pens with replaceable refills. She would plan her schedule way before the examination season so we will see bulk of red refills bought. As soon as the exams would start, she would get bundles of answer sheets to check. Mom would make sure she had all the resources to check answer sheets no matter where she was in the house. So red pens would be placed on study table, dining table, coffee table or any other place where she might sit for 15 minutes or more. As the exams progressed, the refills would start getting over quickly. One day I needed to sign some form and I picked a black pen. My father came rushing with a loud “STOP”. He asked me try the pen in a rough paper. As soon as I scribbled on the rough sheet, I realized the black refill of the pen was replaced with red refill. Even the refills of the non-red pens were replaced with red refill. He gave me a black pen to sign the form. He kept it carefully in the cupboard with a “This is one of the last few pens with non-red refill left in the house”.

Today when I see students going for exams, it takes me back to my school days when we would stand outside the examination hall doing last minute revision till the bell was rung. It was the thought of the long summer vacation after exams that would keep me going. Next time you visit the house of a teacher during exams, don’t be surprised to see red pens everywhere.

Welcome normalcy with colors

My plate of colors for this Holi

The festival of Holi was on 18th march in 2022. There are news of reducing covid counts in India which makes this festival even more special. This is also called the festival of colors. I happened to visit a nearby market a week before and found the shops full of dry colors. Also the different types of instruments to spray water are amazing. The sight of these takes me back to my school days.

We celebrate this festival by applying colors on each other. People prepare special sweets. We used to visit each house in groups and were welcomed with home made sweets during our school days. Its been a month since the schools have opened for all classes. Kids are happy to be at the school premises after attending online school for almost two years. People seemed to be so happy with return of normalcy that they have extended the celebration to two days. Since 18 th march was a holiday so students and teachers were allowed to play holi in school premises on 17th march. For a change both students and teachers became kids.

We play with colors from morning till afternoon. The mischievous ones even mix colors in water and user the water sprinkler toys to sprinkle water on others. Although most of the color is washed off but sometimes we apply so much color that it stays even after repeated scrubbing. Those left over colors show how much a person has celebrated the festival. Most of the neighbourhoods organize commmunity dinners. We too went for one. There a fifth grade boy had a colorfull chin and ear. I jokingly asked him how would he explain the colors on his face and ear to his teacher in school the next day. He very sweetly replied “Now we need not bother because both my chin and ear would be covered by mask”.

I hope the vaccines are found for all age groups and no one falls sick. May this Holi bring happiness, prosperity and health for everyone. Happy Holi to everyone.

Bravehearts on Bikes

We celebrate the Republic Day on 26th January in India. A large parade is organized in the capital New Delhi which is telecast live in national channel. It is a ritual in my family to watch the parade. We used to have a flag hoisting ceremony in school followed by march past. It used to get over by 8:30 am in the morning. I used to rush home to catch the national parade from the start. The parade has march past and tableus of different states and government departments.

This year we celebrated the 73rd Republic Day. One of my most cherished part of the parade is where formations were done on running bikes. The precision with which people stood on bikes and saluted always awed me. I used to wonder about the countless hours one must have spent in reaching that level. This year it was also done by women. If it was only possible to know the emotional and physical effort, it would have inspired so many people. It is strange we have so many stories of hard work around us but very few of them reach us inspite of so many mediums like TV, ott, etc. I wish the series makers would have taken the stories of these ladies and shared. It would have made a huge difference. This year we also celebrated the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhashchandra Bose who happens to be my favorite national leader. This made the Republic Day more special for me. I think these national days play an important role in reminding us about the fruits of hard work. Wishing everyone a Happy Republic Day.

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.