Musings Over Hindi Medium

Starting with the first scene of the movie, it introduces us to a young girl with a promise of turning into a feisty woman in the near future. She tries to up the sartorial game by instructing the tailor to stitch up a suit with a deep cut at the back- a seemingly bold choice vis a vis the conservative locality she lives in- i.e. Chandni Chowk. But the tailor’s side kick- the young Irrfan Khan reassures her by promising to design the suit just the way likes. And thus, turns into a hopeless puppy frolicking around the lady.
This, ladies and gentlemen, sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The love lorn guy manages to win over the girl, ups the shoddy tailor shop into a swanky showroom frequented by brides to be, thus becoming the “local tycoon”, in selling rip off’s of latest collections by the top notch designers. While the girl possesses the tendency to dare think outside of the limit, that is, what the lively, homely and jostling for space, recognition and attention Chandni Chowk can afford to provide, Irrfan readily supports her.
She aims at securing a seat for their daughter in one of the elite schools of Delhi. Symbolically in a scene, she mispronounces ‘Eton’, but is comparatively aware of its existence, unlike the clueless and territorial Irrfan. And thus begins the saga of Hindi Medium.
As a student of literature shifting gears to the field of education, this was one movie I was waiting for. Since I spent some fifteen days at a government school for the observation period, I can safely proclaim myself as eligible to comment and critique the movie.
When it comes to the elite schools, we know the drill- well to do ambitious parents, scoffing at Hindi and at everything outside of their esoteric realm reek of supremacy. The lead pair moves to the upscale Vasant Vihar in a bid to ease the process of becoming like “the Other”. But something or the other gives the facade away, making them the centre of ridicule. When offering a bribe or taking lessons from the consultant (who’s booked by parents during “the first trimester” in order to prepare their children for such schools) fails, they grope the vein of RTE( Right to Education). The messy (and at times, funny) turn of events to look and act poor does secure a seat but at the cost of Guilt. Yes, with a G.
The episode where they try and deal with it by donating books, furniture and improving the infrastructure ( Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan coming into the frame with clean toilets and related habits) is particularly interesting. The government school I went to was sorted in some of the arenas but I am aware of how a lot of schools struggle to avail the students the basic facilities. But the part where the child prattles in perfect English by reading those books was a bit difficult to digest for me. The kids in tenth standard find it difficult to string a few words together, furiously translating/noting the words from English to Hindi in a bid to remember. In that period, I came across just one teacher who was excellently donning the role of a language teacher. The rest just read the lesson, turning the class where the medium of instruction was supposed to be bilingual, into just another Hindi lesson. So, how can assuring good textbooks solve that particular problem? Yes, I agree that there is a huge gap in the demand and supply of textbooks in govt schools, wherein the NCERT books are deemed compulsary. The existing books are of a poor paper quality and the private publishers aren’t allowed to foray into the scene. On top of that, the no detention policy is like the rotten cherry on top.
Nonetheless, coming back to the movie, it was evident they focused on the two ends of the spectrum- the government schools and the elite ones, with no mention of the ones in the middle. Amrita Singh’s character as the seemingly villainous woman is etched well. She is the quintessential principled lady, draped in luscious no nonsense silk sarees. She’s a success story; a product of lower middle class who’s crossed over to the other side by lunging at the opportunity offered to her in the form of education. But she never gets over the ill treatment of her rich counterparts while at school; the scars of which determine her to vie against the boons of the scheme. Irrfan Khan, as always, managed to unnerve me. Deepak Dobriyal and Saba Qamar were brilliant alongside him. The song- Ek Jindari really perked me up, hitting me with a flash of nostalgia. For I started missing my girls at the government school.

Loosely translating the lyrics-
We are standing right here, with a goal of crossing over to your ( read the elites’) side.
Don’t downweigh us.
We are determined. And highly passionate.
One life, a thousand desires,
We’ll fulfill all of these, one by one.
It’ll be difficult( for anyone) to stop us.
And this sets the tone for the ending. Hugely optimistic. But not out of bounds. Right?

I cannot end this blogpost without “personalizing the context”. (Bless CELTA!) I put up in Faridabad, which in the 90’s, boasted of a few schools. And Apeejay School, of which I am a product, was the school every parent made a beeline for. It celebrated its silver jubilee the year I took admission into it. DAV schools were still budding, while DPS was just established. Apeejay had a good screening procedure with an elite cliental. And every alumni (or Apeejay-ite) vouched for their alma mater’s role in shaping their lives, which made it an obvious choice. Now, of course, a hundred schools have cropped up in my sleepy town. And needless to say, the population has also spiked up. But the quest for getting in the best school seems never ending and prone to turning ugly. And Hindi Medium voices this concern aptly. A must watch if you wish to churn your soul a wee bit!

Nanimaa❤️

My dearest Nanimaa turns 70 on the 21st. And here I am, lazing around in my pyjamas, thinking of what to do for her special day this time around. As some creative ideas float around in my mind, my heart is held captive by one realization. I am so, so lucky, I conclude. Not everybody gets a grandmommy in their lives. I live in a joint family and my cousins’ maternal grandmommy expired way before they were born, unfortunately. So they grew up clueless about what a blessing it is to have a Nanimaa. I quickly touchwood the moment.

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Nani in her salad days.

I was born in the military hospital at Mathura, where my Nanu, a Colonel, was posted at that time. Like many other babies, I guess I was having a ball in the womb and wrapped the umbilical cord around my neck, threatening suicide if they tried to get me out. Hahah! But, but, the army doctor managed to convince me otherwise. Funny as it sounds in hindsight, it might have been a scary situation for my grandmommy, awaiting the birth of her first grandchild. And so happy she was, that after the news of my arrival was conveyed to her, the lady dragged my Nana to a rather secular darshan, in a bid to thank the God(s). Quite in the MMGC spirit of the Indian Army. Beautiful, right?

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My aunt was quite a poser! 😉

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It was she who fed me honey as part of the Janam Gudti tradition. They say the child takes after the person who offers the sweet. And I think it is quite true. I spent a major part of my childhood (and beyond, to be frank) with my maternal grandparents. Every school holiday began at their place. It was only after I had soaked in my much needed Nani time that I let my parents materialize their plans for the break. My Nanimaa is very beautiful. Not a biased opinion, folks. She is. I can still visualize her coming out after her bath, hair dripping wildly, with her trying to drape the cotton saree. She still wears sarees. I think the major reason behind me being a saree person in this era is her.
She was so accommodating of my crazy demands as a child. Where a mother puts her foot down, the Nanimaa smiles and readily agrees for it. Want to have cornflakes in a strawberry milkshake, sitting in a bathtub? Check. Wish to try hanging onto her saree pleats? Check. Wish to jump on the sofa with the dog? Check. Want to draw a peacock on the walls? Check. It was she who made me feel like a princess every night. It was a ritual, I daresay. I used to put on her nightgown. I, a three feet tall child. And she proudly held the (loose on me) garment much like train of a gown, announcing my arrival to the fantastical commoners. That brings me to the morning memory. I am an early riser and again, it was because of her. She had a habit of waking up early, walking upto the garden with a box of bajra in her hands, and it was quite a we time for us, feeding the pigeons around. I never missed the ceremony for a few hours of sleep. She often had to dodge the dog Buzo, who competed with me for her attention all the time. She made me sponge balls, knit beautiful hats for me, force fed me butter and nuts on a daily basis, made singsongs alongwith me, which served as secret code words when the (clueless) family was around. She taught me how to make the worls’d best halwa; a skill I am rather proud and sure of, of all the other feathers in my hat.
She still makes me listen to her stories/anecdotes/life lessons and I always turn into this child, who can never have enough of her grandmommy. I am an only child. But my mother isn’t. Haha! So gradually, the other cousins came into the picture. I had no qualms about sharing my grandmommy with my maternal uncle’s two brats, for she was their Dadimaa. But I went and still go into this territorial mode with the jealousy meter striking an all time high, if any of my maasi’s kids try and be cozy with her. It’s as if, she’s exclusively my grandmommy. And though she will never say it out loud, for she’s a sweet soul, but deep inside, I try and be content with the whole situation. For I know no child has that place in her heart as I do. For they never spent that enormous amount of time I did with her. I made a point to celebrate my milestones in life with her. Be it my board results, my college farewell, or any other occasion, she was by my side. It is a family joke that the guy I get married to might have to move in alongwith two oldies, in addition to me. Haha.
She being the seasoned army wife personifies strength, grace and beauty for me. She’s taught me some valuable lessons in life. For I realize my choices in life have greatly been influenced from her. She made me realize the importance of a clear conscience. I pray for happiness, peace and contentment the way she does, choosing to sideline every other petty or materialistic thing. She’s taught me to analyze a situation from multiple perspectives and then take a step forward. She’s always ingrained this sense of patience in me. Life is a series of impossibilities, coincidences and events. And we have no control over these. So take life as it comes and try and have no regrets. She’s taught me to value my self respect more than anything else in life. As a woman, these are the contents of the rulebook according to which I live my life. The ideals I would take to my deathbed.
Today, I was thinking about how a person seeps into your very existense and how exactly does it happen that you cannot imagine your life without that person. That person turns into a habit and even if you don’t get to see them often, you are content with the fact that they are there somewhere. And thinking about my grandmommy in that context, I became very emotional; fighting tears. The very thought of her not being around at some point in my life in the future disturbs me a great deal. I don’t want to think about it, but I do. Witnessing the death of my Dadi had a profound effect on me. I realized you never come to terms with the loss as great as that. It leaves a permanent void in your life, which torments you to no end. You turn inconsolable. Maybe it is this fear that compels me to do silly things. I make her write her life stories, take candid pictures of her whenever I have the opportunity to and record her voice relentlessly. I bear hug her like there’s no tomorrow. She asks me with that puzzled expression if everything is alright, and I beam with an extra effort, for I don’t want to voice the unknown fear. It takes great courage on my part to even write about this and my throat feels heavy for some reason right now.
But, anyway, shoving this rather black thought at the back of my mind, I have to remind myself that it’s her birthday. I have already given her all the possible gifts I could think of all these years and written heavily emotional letters, which gave us silly moments as a grandmommy granddaughter duo. So, this time around, I have decided to give her a rather weird note. I have learnt Urdu recently, which thankfully, both my grandparents are proficient in. So, I’ll surprise them with this rather funny quatrain.

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This, until a more crackling idea bangs my lid. *fingers crossed*
And lastly, reluctantly closing this post by dedicating a few lines by Walt Whitman for my sassy, unmatchable, unbeatable and a gem of a grandmommy-

“Women sit, or move to and fro—some old, some young;
The young are beautiful—but the old are more beautiful than the young.” 😉

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So on their 50th anniversary, we went cheesy and did this with their photograph. Heh

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*TOUCHWOOD*

Women’s Day! Anecdote In The Making.

Women’s Day.
Not that I fervently believe in the relevance of celebrating one day for womenfolk, when it should happen all year round, it’s just that this day saw something unusual at my home. And quite an event it was. Now, now! I’ll borrow what Maharani Gayatri Devi had to say about her mother- “it is difficult to describe my mother without slipping into unconvincing superlatives.” I revere my mother in the same manner. She is the only woman in my family who has exquisite sartorial choices. She is, to be honest, one of the classiest women I know. Every female relative seeks her advise when it comes to buying clothes. Even my grandmommy waits for her nod to finalize any saree she drapes, something which makes me giggle, for it seems like a role reversal to me.
So a week before this day, I did something out of the blue and bought a dupatta for her. Big deal? Yes! Since I am the permanent member of the ‘we need her approval’ club, it was quite a move when I decided to gift her that on women’s day. And I proclaimed my intention loudly. As expected, her face scrunched up quickly, with a ‘I hope it’s something worthwhile’ expression sitting nonplussed all over. I had the same apprehensions. But anyway, D day dawned upon us and bang in the morning, I saw her wearing a Fabindia plain green silk kurti. Perfect, I beamed. I unfolded my surprise and as expected, her mouth twisted. I pestered her to pair my dupatta with the kurti. I told her if anyone wrote it off at her workplace, I’ll gladly take it back for myself. She was hesitant but looking at my determined attitude, she had little choice, I must admit. I, on the other hand, fervently prayed that it garnered praise or else she’ll remind me of my weird choice all my damn life. I was waiting for her to return home like anything. The moment her car entered the driveway, I dashed downstairs to get the verdict.
And voila! Everybody at the workplace raved and ranted about the dupatta, she informed me in surprised tones. I had the last laugh. Though adding bluntly that she  would’ve appreciated it more, had the work been done on a silk dupatta instead on a cotton one. But I just nodded sheepishly. I was jumping with joy. I even called up my grandmommy to gloat about it.
There’s something called a women code. We get overjoyed if a woman compliments our sartorial choices instead of a man. We women do dress up for ourselves and to dazzle each other. While studying at a girl’s college, we had days when we took extra care to dress up and if any classmate was absent that day, she was greeted with a ‘I looked hot yesterday, you missed out on that, lady’ remarks instead of a hello. Haha! Back to where I was, while we were having lunch, my mother was telling me about how they celebrated women’s day at work. I interjected her, politely informing her, grinning all the while ofcourse, that she just unknowingly followed up the International Women’s Day 2017 theme- Be Bold For Change. She looked confused and I took a bow while telling her you did a bold act by accepting that my sartorial choices are exquisite afterall. And we both laughed for what seemed an eternity.
Keeping the humor aside, be bold. In your choices, ladies, be it for life or otherwise. Take a tough stance and decision, hold the reigns of your life in your capable hands and be confident of yourselves. Do what makes you happy and kick all the bullshit out of your life which threatens to attack your peace of mind and balance in life. Because we are women, and we are all supposed to celebrate ourselves, in every way possible. Love and Hugs to all.

Journey(s)

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And today is a special day. 1st March.

It’s been one year since I witnessed and experienced something magical.

I am talking about my journey to the Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya.

Yes, I very consciously use the word ‘journey’ instead of ‘visit’. For I wish to draw home the point that there was no temporality attached to it. That brings me to another question- What is spirituality?
It is quite a broad concept, with room for a whole lot of perspectives to fit in comfortably. But to me, it is a sacred experience which touches you deeply, and makes you feel connected to something greater than your own being. As you might’ve read my post about the first encounter with the blessed place, today I stand tall with pride and happiness, as I feel I’ve managed to attain that magical level in my frequent trips to the dargah.
There is something about the Dargah that makes me go “I am here, I am here!” everytime I land up there. It’s the anticipation of something that makes me go alive there. I feel very peaceful just by being there, amongst other devotees. Not to sound pompous, but I feel the Mehboob-e-Ilahi has gladly invited me, as if wanting to see more of me in his home. I cannot say I have always wished for something or the other whenever I’ve been there, but yes, I do manage to have a ‘talk’ with the Auliya, discussing matters I am concerned about or the issues I am caught up with at the time. I just tell him everything and pray that he helps me see light at the end of the tunnel. And it does happen. He helps me everytime, in seeing the bigger picture, the broader perspective, something I feel I cannot, being a mere mortal.
Everytime I cross the Nizamuddin Basti when travelling somewhere, it happens automatically that my hands join in supplication towards the Auliya. I happened to read this somewhere on Instagram that “When God inspires your tongue to ask it, know that he wants to give.” And it’s upto us to believe that whatever his answer shall be, it’ll always be good for us. Allah tells us “I am as my slave expects me to be.” And borrowing these pious words to explain my state of connection with the Auliya, I tell you all that I feel the same for the beloved Auliya. There’s something else I want to tell you readers… If at all you visit the Dargah, do that with hope, love and lots of positivity. If you walk towards the sanctum sanctorum with doubts, fear and negativity, it won’t take you anywhere. Be full of trust. And believe in the magic of the place you’ve set foot in, for a few minutes vanish in a second there.

As a student of Literature, I might as well sound like I’m taking a cue out of Waiting For Godot (Haha!), but it is imperative I say what I am going to-

As a woman, I believe (or assume it’s safe to say so) that we womenfolk have a fancy world deep inside us and we all aspire to it (Be it the kind of life you wish to lead, or the soulmate you wish to spend the rest of your life with, or the occupation you see yourself befitting for, or be it anything else). Don’t ever doubt or question your creation of that pretty kingdom you’ve cherished in your head or on the basis of which you set your standards to choose, live and reject certain things around you, no matter what the world tells you. You have every right to keep close to that secret ideal, however unachievable or dazy it seems to be. All of us are waiting for something/ somebody to arrive. And that, I guess is a kind of waiting I’m referring to ahead. You don’t know when will “it” arrive, you might not know what it is exactly, but in the innermost chambers of your heart, you hope for it. You imagine and live your life for it. And for me, it is the Auliya and the Gods I kneel before to (for somewhere, spirituality and religion coincide for me), who have an answer to that.

And somehow, when I go to the Dargah, I pray my wait ends soon, and I come again and thank the Auliya for providing me with what I wanted fervently. And come again. And again.
May peace be with you all.
And if you have not set out on your journey to the Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya, do so now! 🙂

Much like Trishanku

Trishanku. I see the word emblazoned on several pages in a diary where I took down notes during a lecture, drew doodles and wrote my name in different languages, a habit which is an unmistakable characterstic of self obsessed people, I hear. Well. Why does this word chug at my heart’s strings today? I bore down into the English and Hindi calligraphy shouting out the word aloud. I am Trishanku, I finally decide.

I am in a weird phase of my life when marriage proposals scare me. So does getting rishta-ed at social gatherings. And eventually, an irritation creeps up at times, when I’m not ready to accept the reality that the time has come, when the event you talked about as if it was too futuristic, is round the corner, peek a booing at you. And at times, I feel I am at that juncture, wherein I would love to share my life happily with a man I see capable of being my soulmate. But the very thought of leaving my parents, and settling in another house freaks me out too. For it’ll be a major change for a pampered only child like me. It is, for every woman, to be frank.

My Nani once talked of how, she was a rocking bride as she didn’t cry at all. But after what they call the ‘Pag Phera Rasam’, when the time to go to the “new nest” arrived, did the feeling sink in and needless to say, she was inconsolable. She still makes up for her not bauling like a baby at her wedding by doing so at family weddings or a movie scene, even the overtly dramatic ones, I tell you. She even cried at her son’s wedding, the daughter in law sobbing being the trigger. My mother and aunt had to pat her, consoling her with a lame “she’s coming to your place only, don’t you worry.” dialogue. Hilarious, right?

I guess that’ll be me. Totally mawkish at my wedding. But for now, It’s like I’m hanging nowhere, feeling incomprehensible and foolish. Why doesn’t any man fit into my list of an ideal mate, I ponder. Does that mean I have a list? Well, only in my mind; the contents of which I myself am a stranger to. For it seems hazy and so like a hideous elf straight from the stories of Enid Blyton, who pitter patters around. You can’t see it, but only hear it and feel it, looking at you being perplexed with a sly smile adorning the face, for everyone loves entertainment. Even if it’s your own mind and soul, which have been made to confuse you. Forever.

And on top of that, my Ipod playlist is mocking me too. I am listening to ‘Unse Mili Nazar’, the classic from the flick Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan. I love how the lyrics describe the myriad reactions and feelings of a woman when she stands mesmerized by a man whom she’s encountered briefly. It brings me into an “OMG I would love it if it happens to me soon” mode.

And then comes in Sona Mohapatra’s ‘Abhi Nahi Aana’. I must share some lines from the song that nail my mood-

“Mohe Thoda Marne De, Intezaar Karne De.”

“Thodi Door Rehke, Mohe Tarsaana,

Abhi Toh Main Chaahoon, Sari Sari Raat Jagna”

“Abhi Naa Jagao, Bane Raho Sapna,

Abhi Toh Main Chahoon, Aas Lagaye Rakhna…”

Another favourite for days when I feel I need more time for myself as a single woman. The song speaks of the joy of waiting for one’s beloved. Yes, I totally feel like that woman sitting at the jharoka of a splendid palace, sipping tea and reading a book, occasionally peeping out, smiling to myself and at my enigma. Haha! Also at the good luck of the man who’ll be mine. For he gets me, after all. 😉

Perhaps, In a few years, I’ll just laugh reading my own post, contemplating if or not, my husband deserves to be enlightened about the flimsy blogger that his wife was (and would still be at that point, rather.) Whatsay, folks?

LOVE IN 15 DAYS!

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!

B.ED DIARIES

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!