Friday, August 19, 2016

Silly talk about millennials

I enjoyed this article on so-called 'millennials' so much that I had to link it here. If you know me, I won't have to explain why I liked it. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What fools these mortals be!

Look at this photograph and the news item alongwith. It happened two days ago, in my own town. The newspaper is dated 8th August 2016. I displayed the item in class and then told my kids to debate on the topic that parents always know best.

Given that 'parents' can be this cavalier in this country with their own little children (in some countries you can lose your driving licence for putting a child on a motorbike under any conditions, and even face a charge of criminal negligence), do you still think they deserve to live in a democracy? More and more, I incline in my advancing years to think otherwise. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sally's coming

This newspaper article 'excites' me as technology-related stories rarely do. A senior executive at Google claims that driverless electric cars will develop so rapidly that his 11-year old son will never need to get a driver's licence. That means ten years from now. Allowing for hyperbole, it might be the dominant reality in the US within twenty years, and in India within maybe thirty.

Given that the oil-powered automobile is one of the worst polluters, space-guzzlers and killers in the world, I cannot but laud this development. (I have been a victim myself, remember, and I got off lightly. I wonder whether they will come up with driverless motorbikes too?) It will certainly bring about far wider and deeper changes in society than the mobile phone has done, that's for sure. Some driving lovers like me will be sad over the passage of a long era. But I have been lucky, I have almost had my fill, and these days I find the roads too crowded and dangerous on average for driving to be much of a pleasure any more. And anyway, by the time driverless cars become the norm, according to the above projections, I shall be past eighty, so I would like to be driven around anyway.

Provided those 'brainy' cars are safe and reliable. Those who are literature-wise challenged, look up Isaac Asimov's chilling short story 'Sally' (you will find it here), or the movie called 'Christine' based on a story by Stephen King.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Art, knowledge, wisdom, sacredness, freedom

A large crowd of women (of various, ages, races, shapes and sizes) posed naked in public to protest against Donald Trump’s candidature for the presidency of the United States.

I am a great believer in freedom of expression. So let them go ahead. Why merely stand around in the nude … why not chirp and squabble and swing from the trees? Our still-surviving ancestors habitually express themselves so much more freely than we normally can, restrained by this oh-so-backdated-and-uncool baggage called civilization!

The organizers also said this was a form of Art, and the assemblage was celebrating the ‘knowledge, wisdom and sacredness of women’.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Reflections

Lavona sent me this. How wonderful that she retains this kind of robust and ticklish sense of humour at her time in life! God bless...


"If I had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they'd eventually find me attractive. 

I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom, until they're flashing behind you.

Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool, so I gave him a glass of water.

I changed my password to "incorrect," so whenever I forget it the computer will say, "Your password is incorrect."

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

I hate it when people use big words just to make themselves sound perspicacious.

Hospitality is the art of making guests feel like they're at home when you wish they were.

Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.

Ever stop to think and forget to start again?

When I married Miss Right, I had no idea her first name was Always.

There may be no excuse for laziness, but I'm still looking for it.

Women spend more time wondering what men are thinking than men spend thinking.

Is it wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly?

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

The grass may be greener on the other side, but at least you don't have to mow it.

I like long walks, especially when they're taken by people who annoy me. 

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Sometimes I wake up grumpy; other times I let her sleep.

Money is the root of all wealth."

Monday, February 15, 2016

from the net


To think that a sixteen-year old brought this to me!

It's good to think that boys of this generation will not suffer the way we did...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Facebookese

"We waste words. We use words like awesome and wonderful like they're candy. It was awesome? Really? It inspired awe? You use the word 'amazing' to describe a sandwich at Wendy's. What's going to happen when your first child is born? How will you describe it? You already wasted amazing on a sandwich!"

Louis CK, quoted in Reader's Digest, January 2016.

[Sorry to have neglected this blog for a long time]

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

English children being taught English

I just learnt that my younger sister - the history prof settled in the UK - takes free remedial classes for British high-school graduates who cannot write three lines of their mother tongue sensibly and grammatically. Reminded me of the fact that so many of my daughter's pen-pals from English-speaking countries have complimented her for writing far better English than they do! This is ulto-puraan with a vengeance. It all comes from forty years of 'experimental/progressive' ideas about how education should be 'comprehensive and enabling and enjoyable', combined with language acquired through social networking via computer. Even two decades ago they were saying in 'Yes Minister' that teenagers could be sent compulsorily into the military, so that they might receive a 'comprehensive education' that could make up for their 'comprehensive education'! Now the results are there for all to see.

The tragedy is that, as with so many other things, we have been blindly copying the west in this too, trying to make education continuously easier and more 'fun'. God help us. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Indians sporting 'great' names

I had known for a long time that there was a political leader down south called Stalin. It appears that one Hitler Chowdhury is a rising politician in north Bengal now.

I wonder about the ancestors who chose the names...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Yes, men are frequently better

I had gone to a diagnostic centre this morning for a routine check-up. All three attendants and technicians were women in the 25-35 age bracket, and only the doctor was a (grandfatherly sort of) man. Something the girls said while doing me over made my day. They were murmuring among themselves as they worked, and one said, 'The last three were males, now it's going to be a female'. Another replied 'female gulo niyei joto jwalaton. dhong o korbe dosh goon beshi, bojhateo shomoy lagbe onek' (It's these females who bug me. They will fuss much more and take much longer to follow instructions: I have used her exact words in Bengali). The other two, far from protesting, merely sniggered.

These are real working women, you see, and they can call a spade a spade from long and irritating experience: no generalized anti-male nonsense with them. God bless, and may their tribe increase!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

'time-pass' and true love

Just watched a 2014 Walt Disney animation movie called Maleficent. Bad title. In any case, though it's not what I'd call a great movie, I liked it, not only because it is an interesting re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty legend, but because it underscores pretty strongly something I have believed and said for a long time: that 'romantic' love is for kids. They say in the movie that nothing like true love exists, and then show that it does, but it is far more likely to come from parents - or, even more likely, parent figures, biological parents often being no more than brutes and bores - than the boy or girl in class you had a crush on. Good to think that it was my daughter who told me to watch the movie.

There are, of course, lots of people who cannot recognize or value true love when it is served to them on a platter - but why waste time on them? They cannot do anything more worthwhile than 'time-pass'...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Facebook 'discovery'

A 'scientific study' recently conducted in the US has 'discovered' that people who are insecure in their relationships are more actively engaged on Facebook - frequently posting on walls, commenting, updating their status or 'liking' something - in hopes of getting attention. (The Hindu, Kolkata edition, Feb. 16, p.5)

They could have simply asked me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dawn of the golden age in Delhi!

Ha ha ha... a certain fruit-people party has swept the polls in our capital city. So, within six months, for sure, there will be free water round the clock from every tap, no government babu will think twice about clearing files in a twinkling without asking for a palm-greaser, no student will cheat in an examination, the streets and garbage vats will always be spanking clean, traffic accidents will dwindle to zero, young drunken studs will prostrate themselves at midnight before near-naked girls having fun and call them 'mother', every daddy will report for work at 8:50 a.m., every mummy will be lecturing her friends about the importance of honesty and integrity...

Our squeaky-clean, Gandhi-worshipping middle class, long oppressed by dirty politicians and sleazy clerks and wicked wheeler-dealers (who are not people like us, don't be silly), has at last found its true spokesman and saviour.

Let the fun begin.

P.S., Feb. 11: This morning, Anna Hazare has set the ball rolling by announcing 'Arvind knows how to run a government. He is a graduate of IIT Kharagpur' (The Hindu, Kolkata edition, Feb. 11, p. 9). 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Full circle

Two years ago, at admission time, when I am literally swamped with frantic parents and work like a machine, hardly looking up from my papers as I go through the formalities, one woman, who had sat down in front of me with her daughter beside her said, ‘Suvroda, whom are you calling apni (vous in French)? Look up – it’s me, X, from the 1992 batch!’ The wheel had turned, and an old girl had brought her daughter in her turn to me. Isn’t this what is called the fullness of time?

Indeed, so many old boys and girls, now raising families but living far away, tell me their one big regret is that their children are missing the Suvroda experience that they still savour nostalgically, over and over in their minds. And I often say it is my great sorrow that Durgapur has never provided jobs to reasonably educated and ambitious young people, so 95 per cent of them go away – else my classes would have been full of the children of older pupils by now.

This morning an old boy from the 1990 batch came over with wife in tow. She told me that she has heard so much about me and so often that she sometimes feels she has attended my classes in person, and both husband and wife were absolutely determined their son just had to have a taste of the same. I am not often at a loss for words, but the kind of pleasure that this sort of thing fills me with – especially when juxtaposed with all the inhumanity and injustice that I have also suffered at the hands of so many old boys and girls who once averred that I mattered to them – that it is beyond my power to express. Thank you, whoever up there decides that this man sometimes deserves a bit of happiness too, and a reaffirmation that he has not worked in vain all his life after all. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Un-fair sex

'The idea that women are innately gentle is a fantasy, and a historically recent one. Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction, is depicted as wreathed in human skulls; the cruel entertainments of the Romans drew audiences as female as they were male; Boudicca led her British troops bloodily into battle.' - that's Naomi Wolf, the author, quoted in this month's Reader's Digest (Points to Ponder).

Many hundreds of my ex students, male and female, will hear an echo of me in this, of course: down to the very examples. I am, therefore, a misogynist, and Ms. Wolf a traitor to her sex.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Back!

This video recording showcasing the 'evolution' of Bollywood music caught my eye (and ear). Thanks, Pupu.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hit 'em hard!

According to a news report, a certain elementary school was recently faced with a unique problem.

A number of 12-year old girls had started using lipstick, and put it on in the bathroom.

Which was fine, as long as they used a natural or neutral tone, but after they put on the lipstick they would press their lips against the mirror, leaving dozens of little lip prints.

Every night the maintenance man would remove them, and next morning the girls would put them back.

Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man.

She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian, who had to clean the mirrors every night (you can imagine the yawns from the little princesses). To demonstrate how difficult it was to clean the mirrors, the principal asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.

He took a long-handled squeegee, dipped it into the toilet, and wiped the mirror with it.

Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

There are teachers… and then there are educators!


[This was kindly sent over by Lavona Areghini. She has been a schoolteacher lifelong, and so she knows just what this is all about, and why it matters. Thanks, Lavona!]