Monday, March 24, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Baby forgotten at airport

See this.

These parents would be in their late twenties, I guess.

That means people their age were my pupils 12 to 15 years ago, maybe 20. I remember I used to tell them out of sheer exasperation over their habitual carelessness and irresponsibility, 'What kind of parents and teachers are you folks going to grow up into?' Remember, too, that most of these are educated and 'important' people too - doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants, journalists - at least in their own eyes.

What should I say to the kids I handle today?

Friday, February 14, 2014

'emotional fasting'

Look up this website, which I found while surfing the net in a half absent-minded state. It talks about the nine chief moods identified in classical Hindu art/literature/psychology, and how best to deal with them.

While I was reading it up, the line that was playing at the back of my mind was from Chandidas: 'rasik rasik shokoley kahoye/keho toh rasik noy/bhabiya ganiya bujhiya dekhile/kotitey gutik hoy!', that is to say, everybody likes to think of himself as an aesthete, but the true aesthete is one in ten million...

Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Fair? no thanks

Sriranjani sent me this link to tell me why she doesn't like to visit the Calcutta Book Fair any more. I worked there for eight successive years, and I don't, either, for virtually the same reasons...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Now that is called snow!

This is a photograph taken in Kashmir, not Canada or Siberia.

As I keep telling my daughter, you get virtually everything in India...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Smart, smarting, gone...

Look up this link.

How much 'smarter' do we need our phones to get?

And how much longer before these uber smart machines start thinking 'Why don't we just get rid of these dumb humans lumbering around like dinosaurs and still thinking they "own" us?'

Thursday, January 16, 2014

English in India

Look up this link. They need to conduct 'scientific studies' of this sort to verify home truths like 'an education in English improves your chances of getting a fatter paycheck'! My dear study conductors who suffer from disguised unemployment, hundreds of millions of Indian parents know this already, thank you very much. It is they, and not those who conduct such utterly useless 'studies', who have kept the likes of me in gravy all my working life!

One interesting claim made by this study is that 'only 20% of the Indian population can speak in English, and only 4% can be considered fluent'. Now given my lifetime experience, I think that the first figure is likely to be a gross exaggeration, unless you insist that even the dhaba boy who shouts 'aiye, aiye, bread-butter milega' can 'speak in English'. As for the latter figure, ahem. I suppose all my ex-students now in their 20s and 30s might be technically considered to be fluent in English, but I wonder, truly... I know how many of them talk pidgin or Facebookese, and find it 'too difficult' to write articulate comments on my blogposts!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Teacher, salaam

Being the kind of teacher I am, it always interests me to see teachers being talked about with understanding, appreciation and respect. So it was good to hear Amitabh Bachchan saying in Arakshan, and Saswata Chatterjee reiterating in C/o. Sir that there's no such thing as a 'great' school, and a good educational institution is not made by airconditioned classrooms with wi-fi internet connection: all it needs is a good teacher and a blackboard (funny, I myself have never needed even a blackboard, and it's been a lifetime!)

The girl in the latter movie also made a telling point: the same school and the same teacher's best efforts can still produce scoundrels... it will be a long time yet before something as incredibly difficult as teaching (and I am not talking about mere 'instruction', be it in plumbing or surgery) can be reduced to running pat algorithms with totally predictable results, assembly-line fashion.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Science, or plumb craziness?

Interested in reading some really bizarre stuff of the science fiction/fantasy variety? Try this.

I was fascinated by this sort of thing as a youngster. Wonder why it doesn't thrill me half as much any more, though I keep in touch...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

New 'revolution' in Dragon country

Does history really go round in circles, then?

They have just finished the Third Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party.

A century ago, countries like Russia and China were planning to take the 'revolutionary' step of getting rid of capitalism and building a socialist paradise.

Today, they are taking the 'revolutionary' step of going back the whole hog.

What price a century of mind-numbing arguments, quarrels, riots, wars, pogroms and general mayhem?

Anybody who wants a peek at what was going on in Beijing may read this.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

There really are civilized nations on earth!

I wish I had been born in Iceland. See why.

It's a country where most 'educated' people read and write and don't spend all their time telling their kids to become engineers so they can shop mindlessly all their lives! 

Thanks, Saikat, for sending me the link.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Without comment again

This is a news story in today's edition of a national daily.

Whither proletarian revolution?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Toilets and primary schools

This is to my mind one of the most important articles carried by my newspaper in recent times, and it tells succinctly why I shall never call India a developed or civilized country, even if the roads become chock full of BMWs, every urban middle class male has become an IT engineer and every young rich female has become some sort of classical artiste.

As for the reasons cited by the author for why these two shames never go away, I just don't know...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

matrimonials

Subhadip Dutta sent me the following. I hope the advertisers eventually have satisfactory married lives.

These are actual profiles from 
shaadi.com, hilarious they are 

Disclaimer: I am not responsible if you forget your basic grammar after reading this mail 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
I want very simple boy. from brahmin educated family from Orissa state she is also know about RAMAYAN, GEETA BHAGABATA, and other homework. 
(Can smbdy plz explain What 
Homework???) 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
I want a boy with no drinks. If he 
wants he can wear jeans in house but while steping out of house he should give recpect to our cast. 
(by not wearing his jeans? What the 
hell...! )  
~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ 
HYE I AM A GOOD LOKING GIRL,WHO HAS THE CAPABILITY TO MAKE ANY BODY TO LOUGH. 
I BELIEVE IN GOD AND ACCORDING TO ME FRIENDS ARE THE REAL MESSENGER OF GOD. 
THE 3 THINGS I AM LOOKING FROM A BOY THEY ARE, 
1. THEY MUST BELIEVE IN GOD. 
2. THEY HAVE TO LIKE MY PROFFESION 
3. THEY SHOULD NOT GET BORED WITH ME WHEN I WILL TRY TO MAKE THEM LOUGH. 
(I am loughing {laughing}) 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
whatever he may be but he should feel that he is going to be someone groom, 
and he must think of the future life if 
he is too like this he would be called the man of the lamp. 
(I am clueless, I feel so lost. Can anyone tell me what this girl wants A 
LAMP ? ?) 
~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ 
I love my patner i marriage the patner ok i search my patner and I love the patner ok thik hai the patner has a graduate ok? 
(the 'Ok-syndrome' K K) 
~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ 
I am pranati my family histoy my two 
brother two sister and father & Mother. 
sister completely married 
(somebody please explain how to get married ‘completely'?) 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
My name is farhanbegum, and i am 
unmarried. 
pleaes you marrige me pleaes pleaes pleaes pleaes pleaes pleaes pleaes 
(Heights of desperation! ) 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
i am kanandevi. i do own businas. one sistar. he was marred. 
(“1 sistar…he was marred”. I’m dead…) 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
I am Sharmila my colour is black, but 
my heart is white. i like social service. 
(Is she a Zebra..???) 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Splendour of colours

Thank you, God, for all Your blessings.

Click on the following link for a sumptuous visual treat. Then pass it on to all you love.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

genius... or, the trouble with being carelessly bilingual

A 15 year old in my class said two days ago, quite unabashedly, 'My dada (elder brother) is three months older than me.' When I observed that that is biologically highly improbable, she looked blank, and was demystified only when a few friends who had caught on faster explained it to her over giggles. She had meant her cousin, of course... most Bengalis refer to cousins like that, rarely pausing to think about complications it can cause.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Janmashtami


The ‘most complete avatar’ of God was born today. The street below me is thronged with merry crowds visiting the only local ‘tourist spot’, the Ram-Sita Mandir, and it’s awash with bright many-coloured lights, and the junk food vendors are making hay (mercifully they have spared me the loudspeakers blaring the same old bhajans they have been playing for nearly three decades now).

I have been musing. In the whole vast Hindu pantheon, Krishna is my favourite god. And not just for his balgopal roop, I was not telling the whole truth there (the last lines of that blogpost). I am thinking of Hari, and Janardan, and Ananta, and Gopal, and Jagannath and Keshav and Vishwaroop and Achyuta. But most of all I am thinking of Shyam Muralidhar Purushottam, Lord of Radha, the Ultimate Lover, of whom we mere mortals, despite our most strenuous and earnest efforts, can at best be only pale shadows, and that only for a  fleeting moment in time, to only a few…


Ask if you want to know what I have been thinking.