Thursday, April 11

New beginnings!

It's Navreh and Ugadi. The Kashmiri new year and the Kannadiga new year. A Kashmiri by birth and a Kannadiga in spirit. I don't think I feel confused by the fact that I don't belong to any one particular state in India. The heart is where you can feel love and be loved by people. So, this is the best day to re-start my blog. Not that I'm superstitious about dates and auspicious times. A good beginning should be made with a clear intent and loads of confidence than diffidence. So here's wishing all of you a happy new year.

To new beginnings and hope you find new ways and new paths to happiness. Keep smiling!

Friday, July 31

a time to celebrate !!!!

Excuses are the only explanation to why I haven’t been able to write anything on this space and my school, is the only explanation for this excuse.A lot of people scoff whenever I say this,but I have no other way to convince them, except pray that someday, when they make the difficult choice of being a‘ teacher’ ,they’ll agree .The new session has started in school.WELL, it started almost a month and a half back, but the pace at which it’s moving, I won’t be surprised that it’ll be over before we can say ‘start’. Usually new sessions have a slow tempo to them, which gives both the kids and the teachers enough time to snap out of the holiday mood. But, this year is different. It’s barely been a month and a half, and everybody just seems to be running at a maddening, hectic pace to finish portions,projects,exams,workshops..sometimes the kids. The number of teachers switching over to sneakers,just proves it so.

Our school is spread across three floors,with classes never close enough to take a gossip break with the 'teacher next door',and in spite of all the complicated and time consuming time table scheduling,the co coordinators spend numerous hours on,there are always a unlucky few who have their classes all across the three floors(it’s a great excuse I give myself whenever I skip exercise).Our staffroom on the third floor, like our students in class, is the nosiest and the most notorious of the three. We often thank our stars for being the canopy of the school, because we know that, thanks to ‘high noise levels’ ,the principal would have needed an extra pair of hands to keep the teachers in check. In happier times, last year ,we even had to shut the door of the SR most of the time, to seal the sound of guffawing and peals of laughter(in spite of the elevation). This year,however the staffroom resembles a railway station cloak room,when it should ….a waiting room. People use their desks more to park their luggage than themselves. The chairs are never occupied and lunch time has suddenly lost its flavour. Teachers come in with a huge payload of books, check a mountain pile of notebooks and go back home with yet another huger consignment.Some ….actually most of us carry a bigger and a heavier bag than our students.

The only time(these days) you hear someone speaking loudly is, when they are making an announcement. The announcements too, are never about cheerful events, like a sudden holiday or a staff picnic or ‘you can go home early today’ news(teachers are simple creatures).They are always about impending doom i.e deadlines..notebook checking deadlines,assignment deadlines,event deadlines,exam deadlines,question paper deadlines and thereafter correction deadlines. Not that these deadlines didn’t exist last year,but they were always booed,commented and cribbed about.At least they were commented on.This year its more of resignation.


You know for sure that people(teachers) are awfully busy when they don’t comment on each others sarees.Comment doesn’t always mean compliment.The fact that no one in the staffroom has time to even criticize confirms the fact that women are unwell,blind,busy,stressed or (people like me)have no taste for good clothes. Even if they can’t see eye to eye,they’ll always keep an eye on who is wearing what. Right from the necklines to the mismatched petticoats. You can’t escape a teachers eye.Once a teacher always a teacher,even though theres’ a colleague on the receiving end.
And then, suddenly there was a whirlwind of enthusiasm in all three staff rooms. The energy and chatter was infectious.It’s the same kind of energy that is witnessed when either Kumble or Dravid or both of them, come visiting or to pick up their kids or for a school event(at such times there are no prizes for guessing why so many of us opt for the VIP reception duty).I remember making the mistake of mentioning, that I saw Dravid at the school reception, (standing at the staffroom door). I nearly got crushed by the stampede.Oh ,I digressed.So,suddenly,all the teachers(most of us) who leave at the stroke of three thirty,were in no hurry … they strolled and walked out .The coffee wending machine, was working overtime and became a gossip exchange server. It was time for the annual increments to be announced and we were under a strict professional oath, (that was the first line and the last line of the fine print) not to disclose any details to each other,to maintain professionalism.Easier said than done.Teachers are the worst ,when it comes to following rules. You(I) suddenly became an identity and my raise was part of that identity, which everyone was most curious about.

The raise is a boon, coz something is definitely better than nothing especially when a majority, are fighting to get their salaries into their accounts and I know, that ,the fact that our salaries were raised ,would naturally make us a subject of envy, discussion,awe in short demi gods.Had these been unrecessioned and happier times,this raise would have competed with peanuts and lost sorely to them.For as long as I can remember WE have always been content with the nobility of our professions' than with the pay packets.It has always been that ‘last things on my list ‘during interviews.The truth is that teachers need the moolah as much as any other ‘real professionals’. They love the children they teach ,but they also love to have a cup of that Jamaican Coffee at Barista.WE love our jobs but we can’t survive on love and fresh air alone. So,once in a while WE get greedy and talk money instead of morals.
So,while we bask in the warmth of this raised status, we do know and hope that it’s not long before, time, money and salaries will catch up with us.After all,WE are the ones preparing all the future economists,in our laboratories called classrooms.Till then and even after that we shall be celebrating.

Monday, June 29

rules..happiness ka naya funda

This year,I am not a class teacher and am not teaching anything. In school, any rumour about anything remotely connected to free periods, holidays or teacher- on –leave and any class without TEACHING travels like wild fire .So, a teacher who will not teach is a fact that kids find difficult to believe and accept. They always have a sneaking suspicion that we are saying that only to get their attention.(most of the time we do).The sad thing is that kids are so conditioned to being TAUGHT, that a class without teaching seems like a paradox to them.
My new project probably deserves a full post. But, in the meanwhile here' s a small excerpt from a book, that I discovered accidentally and read out in class as an opening activity.

‘Seven habits of happy children” by Sean Covey has seven wonderfully written stories, that are interesting,funny yet convey the message in a very non preachy kind of way.(kids are very very wary of moral stories and they have this remarkable ability to pretend to listen to such stories with their minds completely off).

Read the book and the 'happy rules', if you have kids aged 5-12 years or if you are a teacher or work with kids and above all if you have a grumpy kid locked inside you somewhere .
I incidentally fall into all of the above three categories.

1. You are in charge of your own fun.
You can make your own fun.You don’t need others to make it happen. Just look around there are things waiting to happen.

2.Say sorry,if you have been rude, much before you are asked to apologise.

3.Plan your tomorrow.Be it clothes or homework.or your day.Save time,it saves money too.Plan ahead of time.

4.Don’t procrastinate.Be proactive.

Do what you have to do so that you can do what you want to do.

5.Seek first to understand,then to be understood.Listen before you talk.Listen with your eyes,your heart ,before you listen with your ears.

6. Complete your wish list. It’s your wish list and only you can fulfill it.

7.1+1 synergise,value differences, but work together to make a difference.

Some of these rules may need explanation especially when you read it out to the younger ones.Let me know what you thought about the book.

Tuesday, June 9



Monday, June 1

Run Maddi Run

On Sunday May 31st,if you were on the road at 7 a.m with your sneakers on,with a large beaming smile,chances were that you were headed towards the Kanteerava Indoor stadium.If it wasn't the sneakers, then the little rug sack with the bright sunfeast logo gave you away.In our case,it couldn't have got any more obvious.We had our pin numbers proudly pasted on our tees.The autofellow didn't need any coaxing.Nobody seemed in a hurry to get to anywhere,yet looked focused. It seemed all roads in Bangalore led to only one destination.Even if they didn't ,everybody intended to make it to the same place.For a change being just one among thousands didn't feel as bad.This wasn't a race,it was more of a carnival.
You don't get many chances of running a marathon,not winning it and still feeling like a winner in the end.

Marathon statistics

Total participants 2009 sunfeast: 23,150
Majja run participants: 13,000
distance covered : 5 kms
race war cry: RUN MAADI RUN
Total Time spent on training : 2 weeks
last time you ran a race ever : NEVER
personal race timings : how does it matter !!!
No. of smiling faces in the stadium(including the sick bay): countless
race motivation factors:Milind Soman,cameras and being captured by the media.
prize trophy:an apple,a packet of biscuits,a sweet bun that never tasted better
and loads of memories.

in the picture,in order of best timing

Anshul finished the race first in 30 mins and spent the next 30 mins looking for his mother and the next 3 hrs rubbing my(poor race timings in).Padma was extremely focussed,on tracking Milind Soman,so she came in second and Shanu and Me decided to share the third position,as we felt the podium generally accepted three positions only.

Thursday, April 30

cinema stubs

holiday homework.....A movie a day keeps all thoughts of work at bay !!!!!

1.Never judge a movie by its review.I stopped reading reviews and watching them after Rajiv Masand pronounced "Kabhi alvida...a brillaint movie"
2.I can't watch a movie in bits and pieces.I like them strong and on the rocks and I love having a celluloid hangover.
3.I am choosy and critical about the movies I watch.I often end up seeing reruns than new movies,if I can't find any.
A few memorable ones that I caught up with this vacation.

Dev D

Want to see some bOllywood ishtyle masala- romance-hate –romance ,chap films(that we can’t do without).Please don’t see Dev D.It’s one of those movies that take you by the collar and proudly declare that Indian cinema is experimental,bold,aggressive and dares to be different !!!and you are all shook by from the first to the last reel.

If you think remaking classics is foolish,then what do you call remaking and adapting a classic into a contemporary film that challenges conventions of its original masterpiece ….you can call it BRILLIANT.

It’s hard to ignore Mahie Gill as Paro,for her brilliance is partly conveyed through her expressions and sometimes just by her sheer presence(remember the scene where she vents her rage on the water pump).It is said that Anurag wrote Paro’s character after he met Mahie.

The characters are all there…Devdas,Paro,Chanda,chunni…..yet boldly reinvented.The moulds of the quintessential broken down by the bold and the brazen.Driven by love,lust,drugs ,anger and pacified by booze, this is the young and crazy India.

In case you were missing the songs,they are all there(all 18 of them),expertly woven and brilliantly synced.My favourite though is the Pardesi track.Beware the music is addictive.
It can’t get any better and we can’t wait to watch more Mr. Basu.

Slumdog Millionaire

You can either love it or simply hate it,but you can’t ignore the movie. It’s like looking at yourself in the mirror.You may not like what you see.There’ll be a lot of denial and blame on why things are the way they are.
The fact is that reality isn’t always perfect and beautiful.Let's leave that genre to Karan Johar and his band of men and women.

Why the movie made it to the Oscars and swept them all away is understandable.Precisely the reason why I chose to watch the movie weeks after the hyper -media –hype died down and despite the excessive oscarization(I have to admit) the movie does leave you with a bravo,semi patriotic,I am Indian(partly proud partly not) feeling.That’s what completes the Indianess in all of us.There’s a subtle beauty in all that’s grimy,dirty and filthy in India.We can’t escape that.That the world loves to see that filth and celebrates it, is also a bitter reality.Sadly,it takes a Brit to tell the world, the story about what lies beneath a shining India.
Rahman and Boyle deserve their due,but the real heroes were Azharuddin Ismail and Rubina Ali and all the child artists in the film.They manage to tug at your heart and stay right there(in it) even hours after the credits roll away.

Dil Kabbadi

Okay okay…it’s a miserable ripoff of Husband’s and wife’s.I was warned.But I am a sucker for Irrfan movies,so couldn’t ignore this one.

This movie starts where the others end.The classic seven year itch just got shrunk honey !! to a three year one. The film follows the lives of two modern day married couples – Samit (Irrfan Khan) and Mita (Soha Ali Khan); Rishi (Rahul Bose) and Simi (Konkona Sen Sharma),who are caught in the classic boredom in bedroom feeling after a few years of holy matrimony.The ’They lived happily ever after’,is but a myth known and accepted only by the privilidged many–the married.The other side of marriage not always love,togetherness and fidelity.If you thought being in love was tough,then being married is tougher and being married and in love consistently with the same person tougherer….

Irrfan is his brilliant self as the adventure-lust seeking husband,complemented well by Soha.However,it’s Konkana who manages steal the limelight and the attention with her brilliant portrayal as the passive aggressive…partly confused,wholly irritating,but gets what she wants.character..a winner in the end.Rahul is cute,but boring(and yes ...I meant Both the Rahul’s please)

Being married and in love is a paradox….. no comments please !!!!


A rerun,but one that amazes me every time I see the film.Definitely one of his def Naseeruddin Shah’s best performance,till date.It has a heady and brilliant cast of big wigs like Anupam Kher,Shabana Azmi and several other stalwarts.Vijay Mehta ‘s direction leaves you spell bound.

See the movie,it's difficult to describe what its made up of.It’s one of those classics where actors transcend mere acting and performances are so lifelike that you fail to see them(actors) being anyone else but their reel avtars.

A must see.

Also watched...

Jodha Akbar

To sir with love

Bicentennial man (another brilliant watch)

Barah Aanah

(suggestions for any more movies are always welcome)

Wednesday, April 15


I have been making heads turn,off late.
For,it’s difficult to find a cross between Rudolf and Frankenstein walking in your neighbourhood.Add to that, one bloodshot eye that resembles Arnold’s in Terminator.I don’t blame people for staring.
In fact I forgive them.
My status has now been elevated.I am amongst the few(lakhs of women) who had to go under the knife to look like I do(stunning in every sense of the word). My lips have a bee stung look (which women spend Lakhs on).My chin is more well defined…sharper(am presuming..the rest will be revealed after the bandages come off) and the cheek has a permanent rosy err blood red blush. I wear my shades even when indoors and people are mistaking me for a celeb straight out of Page 3.

My current mental status too resembles that of some of the amnesia stricken characters from Bollywood.So,if I have lent you money in the past,there are chances I may never ask it back.
Unfortunately,the cause isn’t as interesting.No gang wars or mafia or family dushmans involved here.If you are amongst the few who believe auto drivers in Bangalore,then according to reliable eye witnesses, it was a classic case of slip..skid and fall. Something I don’t remember at all.All I remember was waking up in the hospital emergency and wondering why I was there instead of being in Lal Bagh(where I was supposed to reach that morning).

There were only two things on my mind as I sped on my two wheeler last Sunday morning.Meeting friends at Lal Bagh for a walk and the Pune trip,which I was so looking forward to." Life is what happens to you,while you were busy planning other things”
How…when and why??? is still a mystery.I don’t recall much about .I was lucky that I was wearing a helmet,I had a mobile and some consciousness left to call home for help.But unlucky that I chose a half face helmet in a hurry and was(probably) driving much faster than I should.
I was lucky.

Please wear a helmet to save your head rather than your wallet (from the cops).If you are tempted to go bare headed because it's just a drive around the corner. Remember that so could be death.I was lucky to find people who picked me up and helped.In most accident cases,people are too scared to help.Some lessons are learnt the hard way.Some can be learnt through others experiences.

BTW…am allergic to roses, so red and white carnations can be sent in their place.

(If this post sounds disoriented and disjointed you know whom to blame)

Tuesday, March 31

lights, scalpel and action !!!!

He held my hand tenderly and asked,”Are you nervous.”
"No”, I replied, lying blatantly.
"You are in safe hands," he said and I didn’t want to believe any other man on earth at that time.His eyes smiled at me,for that was the only thing I could see of him.
He was still there when I woke up,peering at me,gently, still smiling with his eyes.It’s not everyday that a complete stranger waits patiently for me to wake up and tenderly asks me. “how are you feeling, now”?
"Never felt better!!! "I replied."It’s am amazing experience. Quite like falling in love. Actually better than falling in love !!!!"
My anaesthesiologist laughed out loud and said that he had seen and heard lots patients hallucinating under anesthesia,but never one with an improved sense of humour.

An operation theatre is far scarier than it looks in the movies ,esp when you are wide awake and can smell the atrocious fumigation fumes. They smell like death itself. The nurses and doctors (for some strange reason completely forget that there is someone remotely human lying on the table).There's a strict protocol that they follow to get the patient ready before the doctors step in.It seems so mechanical,just when you are so vulnerable.
It’s an amazing experience to hit the sack of unconsciousness in precisely 1 /100 of a second(esp for insomniacs like me) and then wake up without an alarm blaring in your ears and still feel like you have slept a hundred years. That’s the power of anesthesia.
While I kept the spirits alive in the OT, with my trademark sense of humour,I was shit scared inside. The very thought of not waking up ever and seeing my family, is probably the worst fear I have ever encountered. It’s a feeling unparalleled,in every sense of the word.
There was just one thing on my mind(as I came back) and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops(at least to my doctors, who were busy discussing patients and medical jargon). “I’m alive !!!” I screamed but I could hear just a whimper.I heard everybody laugh in the OT,despite their face masks.For the first time in my life,I thought I wasn’t being funny and everybody was laughing.

I feel like dying,I must have said this, so many times in the past,completely exasperated with school,kids at school,traffic chaos, and homework .But,now I shall exercise special restrain in saying it again surely !!!!

P.s I’m alive, kicking and well and am accepting get well soon cards,flowers and chocolates.