While my observation period was on, another story was running alongside, swiftly and silently. In the initial days, they stopped in their tracks to stare at us, say good morning, or simply welcome us strangers into their school. Even we got used to being stared at every now and then. Then I was assigned a class, VI-C. And little did I know, these girls would steal my heart one day.
In the first week, I had this strong urge to know what did they talk amongst themselves, looking at me, and their innocent giggles caught me off guard. On inquiring the reason of their hush hush talks, the monitor, who is always the most confident of the lot, boldly told me- “Ma’am she says you have such nice, brown hair and also that you look beautiful.” That made me blush. Yes, blush. According to me I had a bad hair day and looked tired. But that one compliment made me feel so pretty. All in a time frame of one minute. You know nothing is more genuine than a praise from a cherub like heart. And on top of that, from a young lady. They say beauty is subjective or to complicate matters, it lies in the eyes of the beholder. That day held me captive. For I felt beautiful like I never did in years. As the days passed by, we discussed their English lessons, played games galore, sang, danced, cracked jokes, listened to snippets of each other’s lives, and unknowingly, a strong bond was etched between us all. And as the last day of the observation dawned on me, I realized the time to leave the school and get back to my own University had arrived. I reluctantly bid farewell to my class, my kiddies, as I called them. It was so emotional a moment for me!
I had a pep talk with them, urging them to study hard, keep smiling and do something worthwhile in their life. I advised them to be proud of themselves and remain strong throughout, come what may. They did nod their heads silently, absorbing my every word, hopefully internalizing it. A few of them did come to me, and in soft voices murmuring goodbye’s, hugged me tight and confessed to my delight- “We shall miss you ma’am. Please come to meet us soon.” And I struggled not to sob. And my heart went for a joyride, experiencing a variety of emotions. I couldn’t agree more with Nelly Furtado- Why do all good things come to an end? One last look at my munchkins, with a fervent prayer to the Almighty to bless them, I turned to the Principal’s office, handed over the thankyou letter from our Head of the Department, acknowledging her best wishes for our future, I walked in slow motion towards the gate. One look at the school and I thought how I might not come back here, but they shall always remain in my heart, as a reminder of how life is beautiful, given to us to soak in all the love, attention, loyalty and blessings we collect while journeying ahead.
Inspired from Louisa May Alcott’s title, I hope my “Little Women” shine bright in their lives and do us womenfolk proud someday. Amen to that!


Bachelors in Education
When you inform your relatives/family friends/ friends/parents’ colleagues about your decision to get this qualification in your kitty, you face myriad reactions. Why? Well, because everybody has somebody in their circle who has “done” this course while sitting at home. Because it is considered to be a wastage of time to invest for such a dainty, insignificant purpose. But when it comes to the leading Universities in Delhi, B.ed is taken very seriously. Getting a seat booked for yourself by clearing the entrance is a task in itself. Once you do so, it is no easy a road. For we have a regular 9-5 time table five days a week, with the regular subjects and add on’s like sports, Art in Education, House activities, Work Experience(Tie and Dye for me!) in tow. Not an easy life, let me tell you. It is very exhausting to say the least, just like the other fields of study and research, Education is one exhaustive sphere too!
Due to the ill informed peeps, my readers, B.ed has acquired a notorious reputation. And as a result, the quality of teachers we, as a developing nation, should have, is deteriorating. For being a teacher is the option supposedly chosen by those less talented, the ones not intelligent enough to pack their bags and go to engineering or business schools. To keep the negativity aside, I had the fortune of understanding the situation for gaps in achieving a good education system first hand. Now that they have increased the span of the course to two years, we spent a good 15 days this December for school observation. A group of five to seven people was assigned one school. Mine was a government school for girls, the location of which shall remain anonymous, for obvious reasons.
Coming from an English Medium, Private School, coming to a government school was a reality check. Having spent the initial months in discussing the pros and cons of the educational policies, or reading about philosophers, we had supposedly gauged the theory well. But what is the use of theory if not applied on ground. Here I learnt how much of a hurdle the no detention policy was. Sample this- there’s a class of about 80-90 girls, wherein they have divided the lot into the “reader” and “non-reader” group. The latter has absolutely no knowledge of how to read either Hindi or English properly. And you’ll find the segregation in classes uptil ninth. How difficult does it become for the teachers to teach, in spite of knowing that it’ll be an uphill task to bring these two sections on an equal footing. Now since they have to forcibly pass them according to the policies, even they cease to bother after a point of time. And since these girls are probably the first generation of their families acquiring an education, the onus is totally on the school to successfully “educate” them, in the real sense of the word. Not to generalize, for I did encounter exceptions, the lax and indifferent attitude of government school teachers doesn’t help improve the situation. Though we were there only for observation, we were often asked to teach, as in, when taking in the “arrangement periods”.
The girls were very shy and uncomfortable with English. So, I really felt guilty of having done this to the brilliant, aspiring girls. The pressure of learning the language as well as people like me has put an undue pressure on them. They are marvelous when it comes to having a command over Hindi, a feat I acknowledged every time I taught them. I tried putting use of the tricks and methods they’d taught me at CELTA. But I was unsure how long will they be able to retain the new terminology and concepts. In order to break the ice, I requested them to turn unabashedly confident. Also, smiling a lot, encouraging them to make mistakes and appreciating them for the efforts they put in did make a whole lot of difference. I advised them to read something every day, as it would smoothen their journey of conquering the colonial baggage thrust on them. Though they did promise me to work accordingly, I am skeptical as to how efficiently will they be able to stick to the it. Some teachers we met at the school initially questioned us the relevance of the two year duration. In hindsight, I can understand why it is so. Instead of learning the status quo as one embarked on putting teaching plans into practice, we got an idea about the way these schools function and this shall immensely help us to structure our lesson plans according to their caliber, instead of forcibly thrusting our plans down their throats, irrespective of if they’ll follow through easily or not.
Though it was a brief period of observation, I am glad I spent it fine-tuning my skills of being a good, impressionable teacher, with a roving eye, If I may add. Haha!

My Tamil Playlist

Aaaaaand today, I’m going to unleash my Tamil Playlist.
What’s unusual about that, you might be thinking, right? Haha! My dear reader, I am a North Indian who doesn’t know how to speak, write or understand Tamil. Surprised? Yes, I know! Hah!
The tryst started when I was surfing channels one day (yes, an act which can be called the mother of all amazing discoveries!) And I came across a Tamil movie Sachein, dubbed (inappropriately) in Hindi as Ghamandee. The last scene was playing out, wherein the male lead was hugging Genelia, whose familiar face made me stop and see. The scene was, undoubtedly cute, worth going mushy over! But what stuck with me was the background score, which was very romantic, the kind which latches on to your soul. Without delaying any further, I downloaded the song and then started my mission. One song lead to another, Youtube played cupid, and I soon put the Hindi/English songs on a backseat and be it while travelling, having a bath, dressing up, dancing my bum out, it was Tamil songs all over. My parents found it strange, with my mother having suspicions about if I had caught a Tamil guy. Haha, but soon, she, hearing them at all hours, started humming them too, or liking them. They say music has no language, it’s true. For I realized it myself.

Anyway, here it is-

1. Kanmoodi Thirukkumbodhu (Sachein)
Devi Sri Prasad is a legend down south. I understood why. This is the song I’ll be humming even when I am old, I bet. The lyrics and their meanings are pure bliss. And how can you miss Genelia’s beautiful saree.
And, oh, cute movie!

2. Annal Mele Panithuli (Vaaranam Aayiram)
Surya looks heart stoppingly dashing in the olive greens. Don’t miss the maroon beret! The song, partly shot in the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun is close to my heart. The lyrics are, again, meaningful.
I’ve watched the movie with English subtitles (Bless Youtube.) Totally worth it!




3. Mazhai Vara Pogudhe (Yennai Arindhaal)
Loved the beats, the tempo. And the concept of how the relationship matures slowly and steadily between the two good looking actors. There’s one scene wherein the cop single handedly fights the goons. That’s realistic and well, the male lead looks handsome too. Bonus, bonus. The actress takes the cake with her dressing sense. So elegant!

4. Kaara Attakara (O Kadhal Kanmani)
A R Rehman is a genious! Beautiful soundtrack with the peppy pairing. Honestly, it was the trailer which hooked me. I wish this movie was available with the subtitles. So wish to watch this one!

5. Nee Korinaal
I’ve always found Siddharth handsome since the Rang De Basanti days. The song is such a romantic jingle.

6. Paiya Thuli Thuli
The song, as I researched, was composed in the moment when the writer saw a beautiful woman in the
rain. And, I must say, the song feels just that.

7. Nenjukkul Peidhidum (Vaaranam Aayiram)
This movie. This song. A boy smitten with a girl. Love at first sight. Romance ensues. Heartfelt song. Plus, Surya looks yum!

8. Pachchai Nirame (Alaipayuthey)
If you loved the title track of Saathiya, this is the Tamil version.

9. Nijamellam Maranthupochu

10. Velicha Poove

11. Kalvare (Raavanan)
A song close to my heart for more reasons than one. *Secret*

12. Ennai Konjam (Kaakha Kaakha)
Surya and Jyothikha look so good together.

13. Kaatru Veliyidai- Azhagiye
Looking drool worthy while donning the uniform runs in the family, I guess. Karthi gives tough competition to Suriya here. Touching the sky with glory, eh? Also, a nice song to propose the girl you love. Umm.


14. Thalli Pogathey
A.R.Rehman. Enough said.

15.Maruvarthaai- Enai Noki Paayum Thotai
Loved the tempo. And the voice.

16. Neeyum Naanum- Naanum Rowdy Dhaan
If I could sing flawlessly in Tamil, this would be my song.


The other day, I got these cheap, wooden dolls, thinking they would look cute on my bookshelf. And my mother peered suspiciously at me, noting down that it was a “south indian groom”. Haha! Well, well. I am not complaining, but won’t mind that either. 😉
*Tamil Love*

The Game Of Last Names. Anyone?

This is a major vent out post. And on an issue which turns out to be, in several cases, a question on a woman’s rights, or let me term it as choice. It was yesterday during our evening walks that my mother was telling me the workplace gossip. One of her colleague’s daughter has got hitched recently. Now, the boy’s family was “encouraging” her to change her last name to that of her husband’s. I was dismayed. And I let out a loud and long “Whyyyyyyy on earth are they doing so?” immediately. My mother eye rolled and gave me a “Isn’t this obvious” look. And, I asked her, why did you change your surname, Maa? The answer to which was that “It was expected of me.” Being a teacher, she had an interesting tale to share.
She got married in February and right in March, joined back. March being the examination season in our country, she got busy in a round of examination duties. Now, as we all know, every teacher has to mark her presence in the attendance sheet. I’m talking about 1992, when they didn’t have the fancy electronic devices to do that by marking the finger impression. So, the peon arrived with the list and she got busy looking for her name. Since she has a fancy, though a ‘commonly popular’ name (that’s how I put it, Hah!), she had to search for her’s through the surname. Failing to do so, she sent the peon back to the incharge to edit the list. The peon, dillydallying, came back, announcing in a monotone that her name was there. She got irritated on checking it twice, and failing to locate it, was about to march to the incharge’s den, when the man in question appeared himself, and pointed out to her the name, which to her surprise had been changed. As in, they had already changed the last name. She had no say, and embarrassed (I didn’t understand why, though), she complied, for it had to happen anyway. Now, this was a classic example of the society forcibly putting into effect, it’s own rules down the woman’s throat. But my bone of contention was that why, in 2016, were we still in a dilemma when it came to the last name of a married woman? Why, oh why?
Isn’t it a woman’s choice entirely? If she wishes to keep her maiden name, good. If she wishes to keep the maiden name as the middle name or edit it out completely, that’s okay too (though, the latter decision could also be a desperate attempt just in case you have a hideous surname, man! Yeah? Heh). Some people choose not to have a surname at all, but that’s another debate altogether. My question is, does a mere changing of your last name indicate your love, happiness and feeling of togetherness to the new family you step into? Is that a marker of sorts? I am of the view that changing the surname is baseless. My mother considers it to be a hint of my adamancy and arrogance. Is it so? No! I have a sexy surname, and I have every right to keep it. Hehehe pardon my naive remark. Though I do have something against women who completely change their identity and merge it with that of their better halves, that is, adding their husband’s full name (name and last name) to their first name. How utterly claustrophobic does it look. And according to me it is a marker of dependency. For to me, it only sets out to cement your status as a commodity, which was transferred from one male to another. And to add to that, if a woman herself does that, joyfully, then, needless to say, patriarchy will have the last laugh.

So, ladies, take the reins of your life and identity in your hands. And do have a choice. And strength enough to voice it. And stand by it.