Monday, September 29, 2008

Monster in a teacher`s disguise Part II

Today morning I met TT after my Yoga class.Early in the morning, I like to keep to myself.
TT walked up and said,"Hi!Your friend had come. Her daughter has stopped coming for classes(G)."
I glared.
TT," She is a lazy girl".
" But what you did was wrong. How can you..."
TT," Arrey, you don`t know these parents. They only want marks and if the child doesn`t perform, toh meri gardan pakadte hain(They hold me responsible).We can`t raise our hand so how do you discipline them? You have to scare them, nahi toh sar par chad jaayenge."
"Yes , but this is no way. You can`t demean a child.."
TT cuts in," What demean? They are so chalu.. You know if they don`t listen then finally my sister handles them".
"What do you mean..handles them?"
TT ,"She walks them to the police station and tells them that if they don`t study then they will broom the police station. That gets them cracking. And anyways ,I have 30 children coming for tuitions. In the past 2 years G is the second child who has opted out. What to do ,some parents have ego issues. Let them find their way out."
I am speechless.
TT, ' See you. Have to rush. Got a class."
I stand on the road with mixed feelings. I am digusted with myself for not firing her. And soon a feeling of utter helplessness spreads over. The attitude of parents, the education system, our obsession with marks..I am bugged because I realise that there is a grain of truth in what TT said.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monster in a teacher`s disguise

A 30 something Lady who takes tuitions in a suburb in Mumbai (TT for convenience)

A 10 year old girl from a reputed English medium ,ICSE school in a suburb in Mumbai (G for convenience).

The concerned, harassed mother of the girl (M for convenience).

Tuesday evening 4.30 at TT`s residence.

M drops G for her tuitions. G is tired after a long day (school from 8.30 to 3.30) and has been dropped here straight from school. On the way , in a rickshaw, M fed her a sandwich and she sipped cold flavoured milk. G is sweaty, tired and just wants to lie down.

G enters the class. There are at least a dozen more such students sitting around with their books. She walks up to the TT , “Good evening Miss.”
TT ,” Oh! Good you are here. Sit down and quickly show me your handbook. Prisha ,have you finished learning? Hmm G show me your work.”
G listlessly opens her handbook and shows it to TT.
TT, “ok let`s start. Have you finished the home work I gave you yesterday?”
G fearfully shakes her head and mumbles, “No, Miss.”
TT thunders ,”Why?”
G, “ It was my friend`s birthday. After tuitions I went home and changed and went to her house. I came at 8pm and was very tired ,so I went off to sleep. There was no time.”
TT,” No time? You lazy girl. You just don`t want to work. Get up right now. Pick up that broom and sweep this room. That`s your punishment. You don`t study ,then this is what you will do when you grow up. Become a maid and sweep houses. Get up”. She pinched G.
G is sobbing, “Please Miss, sorry Miss.”
TT, ‘You get up right now. I am going to click a picture and show it to your friends in school.”
G is traumatized and hangs her head in shame. When M comes to pick her up G is sullen.
They reach home and G bursts out. “You don`t love me. You know what the TT made me do today?”
She narrates the incident and the M turns around, “But Beta , it is your fault. You must finish your work on time na. Now , now. It`s ok. She wishes well for you.”
M is taken aback by the incident but thinks it is wise to keep her thoughts to herself. The TT may throw her G out of the class. Better to be quiet.
This is a true incident. It happened to my friend. She shared it with me and asked ,“What can I do?”.
I just couldn`t take it. Where are we going? All of us are to be blamed. So caught up we are in the rat race, that we do not realize the harm we cause to our own children. We cry ourselves hoarse over capital punishment but what about Mental abuse?
It is so demeaning and demoralizing for any individual to be treated in this manner.Mental abuse erodes a child`s self esteem and self worth. It kills the will to excel and cripples him emotionally.
As for the TT shame on her. Anyone who treats children like that cannot be a teacher. She is a monster who will devour any child`s self esteem and confidence. Beware of such monsters in a teacher`s disguise.

p.s. I wish we would actually listen to our children. We tend to brush off their fears and complains and constantly push them to be strong,smart,brave etc etc.

p.p.s. Would any of us brush the incident if it happpened to us as an individual? Why can`t we stand up for our own children. Why do we find faults with them and justify the teacher`s actions ,no matter how shameful they are??

pic courtsey

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Maa Tujhe Salaam !

The central government has declared that women can now avail maternity leave up to six months. (It was initially 3 months). In addition to this, they can also take 2 years of paid leave as maternal leave. They may club this with the 180 days of maternity leave or spread it out and utilize it over a period of 18 years. What that actually means is, that a lady may choose to stay home for 2 ½ years or stay home for first 6 months or so and then use the rest of it later. When the child is sick, has exams, or needs nurturing at any point, till the child is 18. The scheme is applicable for 2 children. This, is a big relief to a lot of mothers.

I read an article by a mother of a 6 month old girl. This lady has recently shifted to Mumbai and has a nuclear family. She had to join her office, when her daughter was just 3 months old. They had no friends or family to take care of the baby. She had to leave the baby at a crèche with people she didn`t know from Adams. Her story was heartbreaking. So ,when I read the article about maternity leave ,I was very happy for her. But the bubble burst soon. I realized that the scheme was open only to central Government employees and not State government or the private sector.
And though,I welcome whatever little steps the government is taking , I still wish they would go faster and bigger. It is high time that a woman`s perspective is acknowledged and recognized. I met a friend recently ,who lives in the UK. She is very clear about not shifting base to India as UK is very child and woman friendly. She works as a supervisor in a primary school and puts in only 2 ½ days a week. She still earns enough to support her 2 school going children and manages to squeeze in a trip or two to India every year or so. Also ,she says that the terms are not so rigid. She has flexi options and can change her timings or days when her children need her. She also ,is never asked to stay beyond a certain hour as she is a single parent.
All this sounded like a fairytale to me. Just too good to be true. Now only ,if our Government and private sector would wake up and smell the coffee, we too could soar high. With so much of talent and potential around all we need is more women friendly policies.
But for now ,let us cheer for whatever little measures come our way. Just a passing thought- Why not grant a 3 or 6 month Paternity leave too? Dad`s are very much hands –on now and I am sure a lot of them would happily pitch in for child rearing. Hmmm , I am getting too greedy perhaps!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I have been tagged by D So here I go. All are spontaneous responses. Maybe if I had mulled over, I would have given different answers. But then, they would be thoughtfully crafted ones!

The rules for the tag are:
RULE #1 People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blogs and replace any question that they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.
RULE #2 Tag 6 people to do this quiz and those who are tagged cannot refuse. These people must state who they were tagged by and cannot tag the person whom they were tagged by continue this game by sending it to other people.

1. If your lover betrayed you, what will your reaction be?
I’d be hurt, angry,weepy,shocked...a whole lot of emotions!

2. If you can have a dream come true, what would it be.
Can`t single any one. One is that my kids get the best in life.

3. Whose butt would you like to kick?
The list is v start with-Terrorists, Govt...

4. What would do with a billion dollars?
Travel, Invest,Charity and then indulge hugely by Buying loads of Jwellery,clothes,bags,shoes,watches-hmmm materialistic me!Would also buy some jwellery for my MIL, daughter,sister,and nieces. In that order only!

5. Will you fall in love with your best friend?
We all love our best friends, don`t we?

6. Which is more blessed: loving someone or being loved by someone?
In the long run ,definitely being loved by some one.

7. How long do you intend to wait for someone you love?
Wait for what?Love doesn`t necessarily have to be reciprocated with the same intensity and manner..

8. If the person you secretly like is attached, what will you do?
Nothing.Wish the best for them and move on.

9. If you could root for one social cause, what would it be?
Education for the girl child.

10. What takes you down the fastest?

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Ten years!I am short sighted!

12. What’s your fear?

13. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Strong willed, creative,lively.

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor?
Married and poor to start with and then ensure that we both get to the rich part.So at the end rich and married!

15. If you fall in love with two people simultaneously who will you pick?
The person who loves me back more.

16. Would you give all in a relationship?

17. Would you forgive and forget someone no matter how horrible a thing he has done?
Forgive I will ,but Forget? I doubt.

18. Do you prefer being single or in a relationship?
Relationships are great if they work out ,else single is the best.

19. List of 6 people to tag:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A hug a day keeps blues away!

I read yesterday that hugs can relieve one from pain.
Well ,I tried this today, and here are the results.
I hugged my teenage son ,early in the morning ,when he was leaving for school. He was stiff, surprised,embarassed and mumbled "Mammma...I am not a baby." But I did catch a small smile.
I did the same to my 10 year old daughter who hugged me right back.Real tight.She snuggled and whispered"Chweety Mamma." That certainly pleased me.
I hugged DH on his way to office. He gave me a huge silly smile and winked in response.
Moral of the story? A hug does bring happiness-both to the giver and reciever.
Give it a shot.

Pic courtsey

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lend a helping hand

Today morning at my Yoga class, the teacher announced that they are collecting Clothes, utensils and grains for the Bihar flood victims. ''Please donate whatever you can.Please ensure that the clothes are clean, folded, not torn(at least not beyond repair). Please see this as an opportunity to declutter your house and life."
I looked around.Everyone was busy with their Aasans. Did even one of them HEAR?I doubt.
We have become immune to the poverty and sufferings around us. It is better to live in our own cocoon and not look around. It will only add on more misery to our lives. Most of us feel that way.And why help?How do I know the donations I make will reach the needy?The middlemen, polticians will all gobble the lion`s share. What ultimately will reach the needy is inconsequential.
Then there is another breed who will happily donate . Last time when my class collected stuff for Tsunami victims, we were pained to see that most of the things from these well-off people were trash. Old,torn clothes,tattered blankets, chipped crockery,pots with holes,broken toys.I wish my teacher did not emphasise on decluttering. Because what these people ,who are on a Saintly,' oh! we are so noble 'trip ,just dump the trash for which I am sure a Kabadiwala will charge for clearing.
I looked at my teacher and said, "But will it reach the needy?"
She said,"I certainly hope so. This Doctor couple is going to a village and are going to carry all the stuff. And you do your karma..Leave the rest to God."
And even though ,I am very sceptical, I will still do it. It is a win- win situation for me. It makes me feel good, I add good Karma and even if ,One biscuit reaches a hungry child and brings a smile on his face-I am happy.
So what are you doing for the Bihar flood victims?


I`m Loving it!!

Brilliante Weblog award

has decided to give me the "Brilliant Weblog Award". This is given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design.
The rules are:
When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it,together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back
Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design
Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brilliant Weblog'
Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize(optional).
And pass it on!

First of all Let me take a bow..Renu thanks a lot. It`s a great ego-booster. To recieve an award from your fellow blogger, is indeed great. I love this wonderful spirit of acknowledging and encouraging others. I am sure ,together we all will grow.A huge wave ,paving way for a brighter tommorow.
I must ,specially ,thank you for very conviniently overlooking my non existent technical skills!! Design is zilch.
And now for the tough part. Passing it on. Since ,I am very new to blogging have`nt really read many. The ones I like have already got the award.
Hence I shall reserve a few for the future.
For now I will pass it on to-

DeeplyDip- Her Stylaouge is brilliant. I love fashion and D`s whacky sense of humour.

Reflection- I love her emotional posts
Piper -For her simplicity
Nisha- Her`s is the first blog I read-My journey started from here...
Devaki's - I love her aesthetic sense
AneriI like both the design and content here!!!
Over to you Girls..Bask in the glory and shine always...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Atithi Devo Bhava

Who ever said that we are losing our cultural identity needs to visit Mumbai during Ganeshotsav.I have been visiting friends and family for Ganpati Darshan. And I am now convinced, that every and any one in India believes in this dictum.
The minute we step in someone`s house ,barely have we bowed our heads to Ganesh, the drinks appear. No amount of earnest pleadings for a glass of plain water are acknowledged. “How can you have only water? No, No ,have this fresh juice”.Or ,”Try this Khas Sherbet. Maasi send it last week”. Or, “You have to have this Blue Lagoon. My friend from Hong Kong send me the recipe.”So there we go sipping exotically named Mocktails, Fizzycolas, Sherbets etc. But plain water? No Sir, not at all. We are guests- how can we have that?
And this special treatment is not reserved for drinks only. Snacks follow.”Aise Kaise. Prasad hain. You have to eat a little”. So every where we go we eat at least 2 pieces of any snack, one drink, 1 piece of sweet. This followed by Prasad. But we just had Prasad! “OH HO!That was for you. Take this for rest at home.” So we get fresh fruit, small packets of dry fruits, Modak,/peda/mithai, panjeeri, slices of fresh coconut. And some places small Ganpatis as return gifts. One gave us a set of face napkins with Ganpati embroidered in one corner. Another gave us scented candles.
This year specially, I have tasted various cuisines in the name of Prasad. From paneer pita pockets to hummus and pita bread, to Canneloni to mexican tortillas…you name it and we have had it. Not to be overlooked are the Sweets. Modaks-I tasted at least 20 of the 51 varietes of modaks at a friend`s place. From the traditional one to mawa, blue- berry, strawberry, chocolate, pista, kaju, mango, dry fruit, the list is endless.
So though we are still on the 6th day of Ganpati, (he goes on 14th September) we are already a picture of this cute God. With so much of Prasad we look like mini Ganpatis! DH finally hit the gym this morning in desperation. We still have this whole week to reconfirm our beliefs in traditional values.
p.s. I do wish people would offer their guests a glass of water. I now carry a bottle in my car, lest my host insist on Sherbet et al.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ganpati Bappa Morya!

Mumbai is celebrating Ganeshotsav.I spent the whole of yesterday and almost half day today,going for Ganpati Darshans.It is great fun but after 2 days of this hectic schedule,I want to lie low.
Popular folklore says that you must see at least 11 Ganpatis in a day.Actually 11,21 or 51.11 is a reasonable, practical number for lazy me.21 is for ambitious and 51 for super duper ambitious souls.
I clicked pictures of all the Ganpati`s I visited(God bless camera phones).Kindly overlook my technical and photography skills-they are non-existent.So go ahead do Darshan and May the good Lord bring you peace and happiness.

psst...these are more than customary 11!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Once worn Twice shy

Today I went on a cleaning spree- along with my young 20 something maid. She absolutely loves to help me clean my cupboards, drawers, shelves, shoe racks. I can see the colour green all around. But hey hang on .There`s a reason and you will find it soon.
The neat shelves give me a big high. I absolutely love it when the maid (M for convenience)brooms and removes mounds of dust, scraps of paper, my lost pen, safety pins, crayons, some more crayons, that very important circular that I had searched and searched in vain last month etc. Ah! The treasures that these sprees bring are worth every second. I don` really care much for Feng Shui and all that but must say that once the cleaning spree is over I feel content, smug and dare say a very pious ,dedicated Naari!!
Now the secret for M`s delight at this very unpleasant chore. .Everyt ime we clean my cupboard she gets one of my outfits or a bag or a nighty. And the shoe rack obviously gets her footwear. And all this is done with great secrecy. You see my Mother-in-law (MIL for convenience) believes every bit of clothing and footwear needs to be preserved. We must use it till it can be used. Never mind if that lasts forever. I could kill the manufacturers of these slippers. They just don`t tear and if they do (Thank God for small mercies!),she promptly sends them to the mochi. Hence you see I have to be very discreet when passing on clothes and stuff.
A girl -okay make it a lady ,needs clothes .Period. Now I know that DH (Darling Hubby) can be painful while packing but its humble me ,who takes the cake when it comes to the number of clothes and accessories that I absolutely need. Forget the number part because its infinite you see.
Now I have these regular jeans ,t-shirts, shirts, tunics, trousers, capris , skirts, pajamas . Ditto for formals. Not to forget party clothes. Also Indian wear-Sarees, Salwar- Kurtas, Shawls, Strolls. And accessories. Bags-casual, party and formal. In black, white, blue,pink,brown –one in yellow –it’s the colour of the season. And then matching footwear. And Jwellery, makeup. Gosh !I already am getting sick of the cumbersome list. That`s a lot of stuff to hoard. Besides, trends change at the drop of a hat.
Last year I was into flats and bling chapplas. This year ,I feel I carry heels with a lot of élan. The big Blue bag with gold trimmings is’ oh !so not happening ‘this season. And that pretty Rani pink kurta with Kundan work is just so passé. So what do I do. I don`t have a younger sister in town (and even if she was she wouldn`t be caught dead in my stuff!).I cannot pass them to the local ashram or to the good old bartanwala. Pssst. Do they still exist? Friends? Well we move in the same circles so that is like social hara kiri!
Also I need to keep updating my wardrobe. You see I can repeat a outfit ,specially the formal and party wear, only that many times. Then what do I do with it ?If I hoard them, like my MIL expects her dutiful DIL to do, I will have no space for anything new. Anyone living in Mumbai will empathize with me-we all face extreme space crunch you see. And I strongly believe that the only constant thing in life is change! I just have to buy a outfit and then shoes, bags ,jwellery to go with it. Else I could buy a bag first and then go on to the rest.
So I pass them on to M, who is really thrilled with them. She tells me that she wore the Rani shocker for her cousins wedding in the village. And everyone was so impressed with Mumbai that they want to shift here pronto. The tunic she says she will wear when she goes ghoomne bahar with her husband. Bambai mein nahi haan.Sab hasenge na phir. She blushes.
So there. The secret to a happy ,hard working M and a relieved me . What are you waiting for?Go ahead and just do it. It will bring a smile on at least 2 people`s faces. You and your M. As for MIL –well that`s just something you deal with. Alone!