Dear Library…

Come Sunday, I’ll be in a place I call ‘home’ in every sense of the word! The mere thought makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I badly need the change of scene.

Last night, while on the verge of falling asleep, I remembered something that I had wanted to write about. I read something a couple of months ago and made a mental note to blog about it whenever I found time. But then, I got busy (like always) and the ‘note’ was pushed off to some corner of my mind. Only to resurface as a half-conscious thought, last night.

I came across this article in The Guardian about libraries – how they were ‘in danger’ and about a campaign that invited readers across the globe to write “love letters to their favourite libraries”. The idea had an instant connect with me and I knew that I wanted to write one, too.

My love-letter is to a very special library, one that does not exist anymore. Sometime in 2004, when I was in 8th standard, our school campus was relocated. While the library was, technically, shifted to another place, it wasn’t the same as the one we had in the old school. That library will always be a part of my fondest and most cherished school memories, for reasons more than one.

So..here goes!

Dear Library, 

You might not remember me but I could never forget you. They say you always hold your first love as a dear memory. I think that applies for libraries as well. Atleast for a bookworm like me. 

You were my very first library (and love)! I remember getting a glimpse of your interior sometime when I was in 1st or 2nd grade. Since then, I couldn’t wait to get inside and check out all those books. Finally, when I did enter the room, a year or so later, I was on cloud nine! It was love at first sight!

Dimly lit, with a mysterious air that hinted at all the treasure troves (read: books) waiting to be discovered, you had an old world charm about you. I loved spending time there, amidst shelves and shelves of books. We used to have a Library hour once every week and I remember waiting for it so eagerly. Waiting to meet you, to explore all that you had to offer me. Crossing your threshold was like entering into an entire new world, a space where everything else ceased to exist. It was just me, you and books. Even the air smelt of books, old and slightly tattered, adding to the magic. 

You introduced me to Enid Blyton. I couldn’t get enough of Famous Five and the Five Find-Outers. I kept yearning to see more of you, and read more. You helped me take the first step into ‘Bookwormland’ and guided me along the journey, delighting me with the beautiful classics you held. I remember those years as a blur of Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, E. Nesbit (to name a few) and gems like Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna and Jane Eyre. 

I could never thank you enough for all that you have done for me. In so many ways, you made me what I am today. Hell, you might very well be the reason I write! Even though we had to part ways, I’ll never forget the time I spent with you, the happiness you gifted me. I know I never told you, but I love you; I always will. I believe you knew it all along. Every time I see the present library, or any library for that matter , I think of you and miss you. This is my way of trying to give back atleast a tiny bit of what you’ve given to me. 

Yours,

An ardent reader/admirer

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Rain, Rain, Come Again :)

It’s night-time. Dark, silent (almost) and a tiny bit eerie. I don’t remember the last time I stayed up to blog. Since afternoon, there have been so many thoughts in my mind that I can’t help but sit down and let them out. Considering how lazy I can be, it surprises me that I’m staying up to write about some random thoughts I had earlier during the day. Maybe the fact that I could not go to sleep without doing this shows how much of an impact these thoughts have had on me.

I had been feeling quite low for the past couple of days.

Today afternoon, while walking back home with a friend, it started drizzling. It wasn’t unusual (it has been raining on and off during the past few weeks) or sudden (it has been cloudy for a couple of days). But it changed something within me. It felt good. I felt an urge to stay out in the rain for a while longer. It evoked a kind of happiness in me that I can’t seem to explain. It was not an overwhelming emotion…just plain happiness. A good feeling within, just a sense of being content and happy with wherever I was at that particular point in life. I went up to the terrace and sat there for a while. The rain had stopped by then but I knew it wouldn’t be long before it returned. At that moment, sitting there, watching the sky and lost in thoughts, I felt a deep sense of contentment with life. Almost like I was living solely in that moment. Even though I believe in the concept of living one’s life fully and in the moment, I have to admit that I hardly ever come across moments like this. And when I do, they touch me far deeper than ever; they leave me filled with thoughts that demand to be let out! (Right now, I feel flooded by so many thoughts, I don’t know which ones to let out!)

Since it was the rain that led to this “outpour” of thoughts, I suppose I’ll let rain take the limelight here. Today, while it was raining, I had so many thoughts going through my mind…and when I paid attention to these passing thoughts, I realized that they were mostly vivid memories, all related to rain. Some of them were almost long-forgotten. I thought I’d list out a few, to pore over on some other rainy day.

Rain reminds me of:

1) How I used to long for rainy days during childhood. I loved floating paper boats in the puddles, getting drenched in the rain (although that rarely happened) or just listening to the rain falling outside. Since rain wasn’t very common, I used to love whenever it rained, even if it meant mess and mud and dampness.

2) Schooldays! I loved going to school on rainy days. Inspite of the fact that I hated getting my feet wet, I enjoyed rainy school days. I used to love the small puddles on the school ground. Not the messy corridors, though. We used to make excuses or happily carry out errands for the teachers, just to get out of class and go out in the rain.

3) Quite contrary to school time, I hated rain during college. Perhaps because there was an excess of it! I dreaded going to class on rainy days. I hated the muddy paths, the drenched uniforms, the cold, everything! One distinct memory is of an instance when one moment, we  (classmates) were all walking slowly, ‘navigating’ around muddy puddles and talking, and the next moment, it started raining cats and dogs, and we ran to find shelter, splashing mud all around (need I add we ended up looking very much pitiable).

4) Songs. Experiences – Every time it rains, the first song to come to mind is Unnai Kandane (Parijatham). It has become almost synonymous to rain. Apart from all the memories of travelling on rainy days or of curling up in the bed, listening to the rain outside, another rainy experience I’ll always remember is the one I had while I was at Kochi – going up to the terrace with a PGmate/friend and enjoying the rain.  Evidently, it was good enough to make me blog about it. The memory and the post, in particular, have immense significance for me!

5) And now, rain will always remind me of today and the happiness it brought forth in me. Because it happened at a point when I badly needed it. Or perhaps, because it made me see things I had been overlooking, like the need to be happy by oneself.

So, what does rain remind you of? 

 

 

Randomly Amusing

I’ve been away for so long that it almost feels like I’m blogging for the first time.

As usual, work’s been eating up most of my time and even if I want to blog during the weekends, I can’t seem to find the inspiration to do so. Although, there’s been no lack of ideas!

Work’s been going fine. Yes, it’s still tiring and leaves me with less time for myself and a sore throat. But there are certain moments of clarity that make me realize how much I love [the major aspects of] what I’m doing.

Anyway, this is going to be a random blah-blah post, about nothing in particular.

On Thursday, I had my first Parent-Teacher meeting. As a teacher. Right when I stepped into school, all tensed about meeting the parents, I saw one of my favourite teachers. It felt great seeing her after so long. She was surprised to know I was working as a teacher.  So, the evening started off on a good note. The meeting went well. I was, literally, gushing about most of the students, trying not to blurt out anything stupid that would belie my serious demeanour. Well, I admit I did have some moments of silly comments. But, on the whole, it went far better than I expected (and feared).

Talking about students, there were a few interesting, amusing comments I heard in class, which I wanted to blog about.

* As part of the special programmes put up for the school’s 27th birthday, there was a skit by some senior students, focussing on the rape-issues happening in India. That day, while having a random conversation in Class 3, I asked them if they understood what the ‘moral’ behind the skit was. A lot of them raised hands, volunteering to answer. Some responses I got were:

“Save the Earth!” (We had an Earth Day celebration two weeks prior to it; so maybe the kid connected both, hence the response)

“We should all be friends, not enemies” (Close enough, in a way)

“Save the girls!” (The kid had no response when I asked “From what should the girls be saved?”)

I just smiled at their reactions. How do you make a 8-year-old understand the concept of rape and the need to stop it from happening? Perhaps, it’s better to keep their innocent minds untainted by the malice of the world. Atleast for now.

Another interesting incident was –

In a particular activity, the students had to rearrange some jumbled letters to form words and then fill up sentences using these words. One sentence was: ‘This is the ________ where Krishna lived. (Hint – a p l c e) [Answer is, obvioulsy, place]

A kid came to me, saying he didn’t know the answer. I told him it’s easy, to try once more and read the sentence out loud. His reply: “Ma’am, I’m Christian (Krishna being a Hindu god).” I smiled at his innocent comment. I explained that religion was not the context and told him how to do it. But I couldn’t forget his reply. It still makes me smile. It will take some time for them to realize it’s wrong to consider religion as a basis of difference.

So, with memories of such seemingly-small incidents, I go on from one day to the next. Let’s hope it won’t take very long for me to come up with the next post.

Of Writer’s Block & Joys of Teaching

This is what I wrote in a mail to a friend: “I want to blog so badly. It’s like there’s so much in my head that I want to blog about but for some reason, I don’t feel that urge to write…or even when I try to write it out, I don’t feel satisfied. Like, I was typing out something right now. But I feel like it’s a half-hearted attempt… I don’t feel anything driving me on from one sentence to the next…after every sentence, I come up against a dead-end and I kinda push myself.  At the end of a paragraph, when I read what I just wrote, I feel like it’s not me, not true, not complete. Like I haven’t put myself into it, which is true, of course. ”

Maybe this is a kind of writer’s block, wanting to write but unable to do it. When I read some blog posts, I get reminded of how much I have to write about and how I keep pushing it aside for later. So, right now, I thought I’d just write out something to pacify the guilty voice plaguing me.

So, I joined as a teacher in my school…completed over a week. And, yes, I’m happy. I’m still not very used to the whole system and I keep talking to some colleagues to get a better idea of what I’m supposed to do. The tasks that come along with teaching and being part of a school system aren’t very appealing. But I love the experience of teaching. I love the rush of emotions when I’m able to successfully put across a topic. I absolutely adore my students. Yes, there are a few who get on my nerves and are difficult to handle. But that doesn’t make them less loved. I enjoy getting to know them, bit by bit, each day.

At the end of the day, I come home tired and drained, usually with a sore throat and a headache. But ask me how my day was and I’ll always tell you it was good. Because when I look back at what I did in those classes, I feel a sense of happiness I can’t explain. It was fun, yes. But more than that, it meant something to me…standing there and teaching them, even if all that they grasped from it was a single word. I feel so lazy when I think about the next day. But once I’m there, I have to admit I’m happy in a way I can’t explain.

So, that’s what has been happening with me. Enjoying the new experience while trying to learn the ropes of the system. And trying to overcome this writer’s block. Or whatever it might be.

 

 

A Not-so-Equal & Opposite Reaction – Part 2: A Letter to the Person who was Taught by “People who Didn’t Want to do Anything”

Readers, in case you don’t enjoy this as much as the other posts, I apologize. This is exactly what I wanted to tell the concerned person. I couldn’t have said it any different if I truly wanted to empty my mind.

 

Dear Person,

Well, I might not have enjoyed the time I worked at your company but I did find you a wonderful boss to work with. It’s a pity you had to ruin it all right now, right when I was about to leave with a good picture of you. Of course, I’m sure my dislike won’t affect you or your business. I’m just telling you what I have in mind, what I want to tell you.. The effect it may or may not have is irrelevant to me.

Getting to the point, so you tell me, “People who don’t want to do anything, teach.” And you couldn’t really give an explanation for that. Were you just trying to discourage me and make me see how I should be in your company if “I want to do something?” Or were you genuinely voicing your thoughts? Either way, I’m sorry to tell you, it was very stupid of you to say something like that, especially being someone so intelligent  and understanding. I’ve lost all the admiration and respect I had for you, which probably won’t matter to you.

Anyway, I’ve noticed that you speak very good English. I suppose some poor soul who didn’t want to do anything must have taught you the ABCDs…and then, grammar and how to string words into sentences correctly & coherently. Oh, and surely, there must have been so many other people in your life who didn’t want to do anything…People who wanted to do nothing but the worthless job of teaching you subjects like Maths, Science, History and many more. And, yeah, none of that is probably of use to you right now. I mean, who cares how to multiply when you have accountants to do it for you; why would you care to know if the Earth is round or if it revolves around the Sun; why bother knowing what/who made your country what it is now… Why would you care about the lot of other stuff that these people taught you?

I think I totally see your point. Who would take up a job like teaching except people who don’t want to do anything? Who else would be jobless enough to sit and teach kids just so they can be something in life, like you became?

Oh, and your children are probably being taught by a bunch of people who don’t want to do anything. Don’t you think that would be horrible – being taught by people who are aimless, who find joy in doing something so worthless? I’m sure your children probably want to be something in life…and they should definitely be taught by someone like you, who is something. But then, how could you teach? You aren’t one of those people who don’t want to do anything. Ah, well, who needs teaching anyway, right? Your children probably won’t.

I could go on like this, trying to (sarcastically) put across how some teacher(s) must have contributed to what you are today…how you could have ended up being nothing, how your children are also dependent on a bunch of teachers to become something in life. Someday, you’re going to realize it and I hope time helps you to correct your thought. Not just because I’m going to be one of those people, but because when you say something like that, you are insulting and degrading the teachers who took the effort to teach you just so that you could be something in life while they remain the same. And yes, you’re insulting yourself. Teachers might seem weird (who else would spend their lives helping others to be successful and stay in the same position themselves). But that definitely does not make them people who don’t want to do anything.

Best of luck for the life ahead. Hope it brings you more success and better realizations.

 

Yours sincerely,

Ex-employee.

A Not-So-Equal and Opposite Reaction

There’s so much that I want to write about. But, for some reason, I don’t get the words when I try to do it. I get it in my head, at times…while at work, while trying to sleep, at random instances. But rarely when I try to write it out. What disturbs me most about the situation is – it never used to be like this. I could get the words so easily and put my thoughts across in the exact way I wanted.

For a moment, I wondered if I’m losing touch. But no, I think I’ll know it if I lose touch with something so integral to my being. So, I guess it’s probably because whenever I’ve sat down to write, I have been too tired (mentally and physically) to take a substantial effort to write.

It feels so suffocating when you have so much in your mind but cannot bring it out completely. Which is the reason I decided to try writing in the morning, when I’m much more relaxed and alive than during the remaining part of the day.

So, I’m done with the boring job at Dubai. Finally! And now, I’m going to do something that’s been on my wishlist. 🙂

When I came back to RAK, one of the first suggestions I got (in terms of a job opportunity) was to join my school (my alma mater) as a teacher. I was told that I could, probably, teach English or something in one of the lower classes. I was very happy with the idea but kept that as an alternative and continued searching for other opportunities. Which eventually landed me in the boring job.

Since I have had enough of office jobs, I have decided to finally take up the job at school. So, long story short, I’m going to teach! I love teaching. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do although not as a long-term career. Well, I’m excited. Very much. Obviously!

While basking in this excitement, something happened last week. An incident (or rather, a comment) that infuriated me. And, you know, writing is the most effective (and paractical and satisfying) way of taking out anger, for me. Especially when the person on the receiving end is going to be my (recent ex-) boss.

The background situation: I was offered a permanent position at the place where I was working until Thursday. But I turned it down because I wanted to teach.

What happened: It was on Monday. I think. The Boss said, “I had told [the concerned person] that you could work here in the media section but he told me you’re going to teach.”

Me (beaming face): “Yes, sir.”

Boss: “People who don’t want to do anything, teach.”

Me (I don’t know what my expression was, but I think I tried to keep smiling): “Why do you say that, sir?”

Boss: repeats same line. Adds “It’s like that.” (Or something as weird as that)

“Oh, I didn’t want to do anything in life. So, well, I teach. What else would aimless people do?” :-/

And, from that moment, I’ve wanted to tell him a lot of things. When he said it, a lot of emotions crossed my mind – amusement (I wonder why he said that); curiosity (Why would he say something like that?); rage (Why the hell would he say that?); intense hatred (WHAT THE FUCK DID HE JUST SAY?).

I had a lot of respect, admiration and liking for this man. He is intelligent, very much capable, likeable, approachable…all that he should be in order to run a successful company in Dubai. But the comment sort of drained everything I had for him. I’m not judging him, I’m not saying he’s a bad person just because of this statement. He is still a good man. Just that I’ve lost my liking for him, whatever reason he might have to justify what he said. I tried to list out possible reasons, too.

a) He was trying to provoke me, I don’t know what for. Maybe to make me think my decision was stupid.

b) He just likes saying such stuff. You know, kill your happiness.

c) He was trying to discourage me (and ended up enraging me!)

d) That’s what he really thinks

Well, none of the reasons seemed good enough to serve as justification (to me, atleast). So, I have irretrievably lost whatever liking I had for him. And there’s a lot I’d like to tell him (yes, that does mean there’s going to be another post, very very soon).

How was your week? And if you have had similar situations, I’m all ears. Always am. (Even if you just want to go blah blah about something random!) 🙂 

Physics, English & Roots

As time moves on, we tend to forget the causes and reasons which made us what we are today – experiences that taught us valuable lessons, people who influenced us in significant or trivial ways. Of course, we may not completely forget them. But as we move from one phase to another, we leave behind a considerable lot. And we don’t always look back to think of what made us what we are now. They become fond but distant memories…

A couple of days ago, I met a handful of people who played a remarkable role in having molded me into the person I am. Even without being personally close to me, they have had a very deep impact on my thoughts, likes, dislikes and perceptions.

Kiran is here in RAK. We met up on Saturday. I had a great time with her…talking nonsense, joking around and catching up with each other. She is one person with whom I can (comfortably) alternate between being stupid and sensible…and utterly stupid, again. And know I will never be judged. That day, we made plans to go to school the next morning.

🙂

As decided, we reached school sometime in the afternoon. I had gone there last month with Saba and some other friends. But this was a different experience. I did have to face some probing (and irritating)  questions about what I’m going to do next. Nothing new there, of course. Atleast it wasn’t as bad as I had expected.

Anyway, Kiran and I met only a select few teachers – those we really like and share a good relationship with (ruling out a couple of exceptions whom we had to meet). All the teachers we met were genuinely happy to see us and we spent some ‘quality’ time with them. While each teacher asked Kiran about her course, college and stuff, I was lost in some thoughts.

It’s been 3 years since we passed out of school. We have changed to a certain extent, be it physically or otherwise. But the teachers we met looked the same, and spoke to us with the same intimacy as before. It was almost as if time hadn’t passed, as far as our bond with these teachers was concerned. Looking at them, seeing their love and happiness, I realized how I grew into the person I am.

I love Science, Physics in particular. I wouldn’t say I know a lot about it, but I love it like hell, and try to learn more about the subject. I met the teacher who is the reason for this love (I hated Physics until 9th grade). She taught us Physics in 9th and 11th grades. She is an amazing teacher, takes a lot of effort to make sure the students have understood the portion taught… The way she explains the concepts, laws, theories and stuff led me to see that Physics could explain a lot of things in life, things that I had overlooked as normal or having/needing no explanation. And then, there was another teacher who taught us Physics in 10th and during the first few months of 11th grade. I admit his classes could get super-boring. But I adored him, absolutely ADORED him! And that just led me to love the subject with added fervour. I met him also, while at school. He is still the same…almost made me wish I could sit in his class, once more. Seeing both of them made me realize how and why I began loving what I love… It was something like going back to  my roots.

I also met the English teacher who taught us in 10th and 12th (and took some

Note the pun! 😛 This was a poster put up in one of the classes; found it while checking for some school photos.

random classes in 11th, I think). I wouldn’t say she is my favourite English teacher, but yes, she is someone I really like. She isn’t the one who made me fall in love with language (English, specifically), writing, poetry, imagery and words. But I did enjoy her classes a lot; they were fun (= some yawning, crazy jokes, lots of mimicking)! 😛 And she did teach me English…which means atleast a part of what I know right now is due to her efforts. But what highlights her in my memory is something else. She taught us Ode To The West Wind in 10th grade. Since then, it has been a favourite poem of mine. Even after so many more having been added to the list.

Seeing those teachers was like going back in time (especially since they didn’t look very different). So…what I’m trying to say is…sometimes, we forget how we began liking something, who/what influenced a certain habit of ours or basically, how we grew to be what we are right now. Going back in time helps reconnect with those reasons, those roots. And why that is necessary? No, I guess it isn’t necessary. But there could be times when you lose touch with who you are, how you got so far… The roots will keep you alive, and help you grow into who you want to be. 🙂