Soar

If I were to tell you

That wings are for free

That skies won’t thunder

And the Sun will not blind your eye

And that a soft breeze is going to pamper

Your heart and your soul

Will you then

Take the flight

And venture against

Gravity,

And all that held you back.

Tell me if wings were free

Would you then take the flight

Would you rise

Would you soar…

All gratitude to Eugenia’s weekly word Prompt Soar.

Why Literature is so Personal?

Yesterday I heard a few complaints, about a student who does not respond in Online Classes. He simply ignores all modes of addressing by the teachers, never speaks out at all.

However, during my sessions, strangely, he is the one who constantly talks! I had no idea the child is so reticent otherwise. It was unbelievable.

What then, makes him speak in one class and hold back in the other.

Interest in the subject?

Maybe, but I know he is not literature-wise; I conduct their Language and Literature Classes. What is it then?

The point is, Literature is more personal. The poet or the writer is someone who you relate with. The most honest writings with far reaching effects are ones that are lucid and/ or autobiographical. The other day we talked about “Losses”. We were reading “The Ball Poem”. I had prepared a list of questions before even starting the session. Sort of a pre reading task. It preps you for what is coming ahead. And it mostly works.

These were my questions:

1. When was the first time you cried over the loss of something precious?

2. Were you offered any consolation? Did that help?

3. Now if you see a kid in trouble, crying over the loss of some important possession, do you reach out and console?

4. How does the experience of losing anything change a person?

And here is the poem that was to be studied…

The Ball Poem


BY JOHN BERRYMAN


What is the boy now, who has lost his ball.
What, what is he to do? I saw it go
Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then
Merrily over—there it is in the water!
No use to say ‘O there are other balls’:
An ultimate shaking grief fixes the boy
As he stands rigid, trembling, staring down
All his young days into the harbour where
His ball went. I would not intrude on him,
A dime, another ball, is worthless. Now
He senses first responsibility
In a world of possessions. People will take balls,
Balls will be lost always, little boy,
And no one buys a ball back. Money is external.
He is learning, well behind his desperate eyes,
The epistemology of loss, how to stand up
Knowing what every man must one day know
And most know many days, how to stand up
And gradually light returns to the street,
A whistle blows, the ball is out of sight.
Soon part of me will explore the deep and dark
Floor of the harbour . . I am everywhere,
I suffer and move, my mind and my heart move
With all that move me, under the water
Or whistling, I am not a little boy.

A simple yet profound insight on how coping with losses is necessary. Students talked about their experiences…like losing an ipad! A teddy bear! A bicycle!… These might seem superficial, but they meant the world at some stage.

I’m glad I don’t teach Science or Geography!!😃

Well, the questions above are for all of us to ponder.

How do losses change us?

Magnanimously…I would say.

P.S. – What answers would you give to these questions??

It is morning…..

And yet, it is morning again,

The stars had beckoned….

Lovingly,

Had carressed all the pain…….

Invigorated love,

Desires afresh…..

Every star had smiled

Last night, in the dark mesh……

And yet, it is morning again

Where the night was autumnal,

When biting winds swept within;

And every heart was in denial.

Upon every dark night

The torch bearer is restless;

Brighter he has to shine,

With grace and with finesse……

And yet, it is morning again…..

The dark night perchance happened;

Having slipped into oblivion,

When hopes had been dampened……

So we move on from here,

Knowing this for certain;

Some treasures are too dear.

What do you hold within

Today I spoke to a student I have been mentoring over the past few days. He is, well, he is special if you understand. He, he is, dyslexic, has OCD, with slow grasping power and needs special attention. We have these students in our school. They have easier curriculum and subjects. So did he. But the problem is something else.

The session started with discovering that the child needed special attention and needed to be a part of the SEN Department, The Special Education Needs cell. He has been shifted, from my class to this other one that caters to his needs. The thing is, he calls me everyday. Without fail. For the one month he was with me, I have no idea what it was, he grew close.

And now when he calls and talks in broken syllables, all he manages to say is ….. “Ma’am, they have taken me away, I want you…you… you…you are are a very good teacher”

This is what he hung up with.

What followed was a series of calls to the school counselor who assured me it will be taken care of.

His mother called especially to express gratitude. What in the world can be more gratifying than having someone who treats your child as his/her own. I can sense that.

As teachers, this is what our days, evening walks…are made up of.

As humans, this is what our humanity surmises.

And as women, this is what we hold within.

The sanity and the groundedness.

Learn – Unlearn – Learn – Repeat

When was it that the world told you it would be easy. Learning is never easy. And if it is, it isn’t learning. We spend a mountain of lives forming convictions, developing coping mechanisms and deciphering outcomes.

Voices of education fill our minds. Here are certain do’s we have grown up with. Let us see how they hinder our true selves from evolving…

Planning For the Future

There is no such thing as planning for the worst or unpredictable circumstances. Insurance, savings, retirement plans….they tell you it is important. But what is more important is to understand that there is no future. It is just the present. In future, it will be your present. Plan if you must, but do not deny the present it’s due.

Follow Footprints to avoid faltering

What is unknown is dreaded. We naturally incline ourselves to the known. We know that it is important to settle, to marry, to raise children and once they settle, retire. What we don’t know is that our hearts may be screaming for something else. It is scary because half the time you wouldn’t know what is that unknown cliff you want to scale.

Self love is important

No, it isn’t. It is important to love people around you. Give them attention, explore their insides, follow their ideas, passions and ambitions. This will strengthen your core – it will offer you a clearer perspective of who you want to be. Love yourself, but not at the cost of hurting others. ‘I think I know enough of hate / To say that for destruction / Ice is also great’ said Robert Frost in the poem “Fire and Ice”. Indifference can kill. Self love stems from compassion and not from aloofness.

The earlier you learn, the better it is.

No, no, it isn’t. Learning is a lifelong process. Never say never. Learn, unlearn, learn again…Let the process enrich you. Experiment. Experiment everything,till you find your comfy chair. Isn’t that what we do when buying furniture. I’m 44 and I’m still taking courses and evolving. I’ve changed job profiles, encountered accidents and faced financial turmoil. What I didn’t give up was – learning.

Think of what your life has shaped as. You have evolved, despite all challenges and threats. Forget whatever practical advice is offered by the so called success books. You know what you are made of once the storm is over. Be your true self under any circumstances, soft or loud, demure or fancy, upbeat or a dreamer…The world is big enough to fit all.

You are born to learn, to grow and foster life in your own unique way.

No one can be you.

It is easy…

It is so easy to be kind

And so difficult to be cruel

So easy to smile

And so difficult to frown

It definitely is easier

To understand

And much too difficult to be oblivious

If such easiness flows within you

And nurtures your soul

Then come what may

Humanity is your only goal.

© Shalini

A Pine morning…….

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“I can’t  see you”, she shouts out to him.

“Silly, turn to your right and follow me in the cove. And quiet….”, he places his finger on his lips and beckons her to follow.

Suddenly, as if lightning has struck, she stops in her tracks. The endless track among the pines this morning has a dreamy effect on her. She looks at his eager form, his agile moves and the silence around her. She has been here earlier too. But this morning has something more to it. How is she to understand where this omen seeps into her?

She has sensed her soul flowing out from her being, traversing through the rough trail, right there, ahead of her. Her feet seem jammed into the wet earth. She tries to close her eyes and come out of this stupor. Now she is among the pines, one with the mist, dancing away through the uneven tracks.

“Hey”, he calls out again, this time whispering. There, she can see him now, bending over a nest housed by two lovely birds. The mist is rising, she can see his face clearly now; the contours of his face clearly refined and the spark in his eyes.

Her soul has flown back into her bosom. The pines are distinctly visible. All is right with the world. Here they are, picturing birds in a tender cove, she smiles with him, eager to move on.

Tethered

Shilpa had never come this far. This clearing in the forest was new. How come she missed it every time they had walked together through the woods. For a decade, Arjun had been her only confidante.

“Wait, the tethers have not yet broken.He’s here, isn’t he?”

He….he cleared this space for her.

He knew Shilpa would walk this way, for sure…he knew what she didn’t.

The clearing in the midst was her stage.

To perform, to be herself.

Word Prompt – Ink

when the lives intertwined
were swept away…
like ashes undermined.

the ink in
your pen…

waiting…

for words
unsaid, undeterred…

flooded the sky.

– Shalini

22 words
Word Prompt was ‘Ink’ given by Sammicox

Parenting Tips

No, these are not actually parenting tips. These are snippets of self attained wisdom accidentally hammered while handling nasty situations at home. The subsequent lockdowns have all the more made us confront our teen day in and day out. Now we can’t seem to decide who is stepping over whose boundaries.

Yes, boundaries. Wait, did your cat hear this? The macavity lurks in corners, drenched in gadgets and books and will storm into the kitchen when hungry, grab it’s meal and again disappear like forever. As if it wasn’t there. And you’d better not notice it, else the fangs…you know them well by now.

Taking this further, I jotted these down while the cat meowed all the while we drove around town. I have insisted that I want the back seat, originally the cat’s. And here I mouth some random voices you may well identify with, if you’re parenting a teen.

Avoid all “shoulds

Shoulds like “You should not waste your time.
You should clean up the mess.
You should watch better movies.
Go out.
Make friends.

Three days, just the three days’ magic works.

Do all that you want them to do. Exercise, don’t look at them. Call your friends, talk loud, but don’t look at your cat lurking in the corner. Cook, but don’t ask for help. Clean, but sing while you do it. Eat, but don’t ask them if they’re hungry. Yes, yes….do all this and more….for THREE DAYS!!!

It works.

Every second around them is an investment.

Yes, the gold capital that turns out immense returns. That collar of hers you wanted to put right while she shrugged you away….? That, that is an investment.

Look, but don’t stare

This is an infallible word from a teenager’s mom. Look at them, and be concious of what your eyes show. Mine knows me from the way I stack utensils in the racks, the sound I make , the speed at which I walk. If my sounds are noticeable, she’s the first to react… WHAT’S WRONG NOW!!!

Do not give instructions

Tell your rebel cat that you are in a fix, and they love to rescue. Believe me when I say, they love to be heroes, knights in shining Armor, that know how you feel. Yes, your heart tugs at them. But they know when you feel low…No, they will not say anything to comfort you. They will only DO. So, don’t instruct, let them see the real you. You are human, you get upset and they are your hero. Period.

Believe them totally

They have an uncanny hunch. When they see something, they keep quiet, but drop you hints. Look out. They mean it if the other kid has been mean or is morally challenged. You’re still a parent. More than a friend. Trust her instinct. Act.

Let them go, they are raring to fly.

They are not yours to keep. Love immensely, hug tight, but know when to let go. If you bind them too close, you deny them opportunities and risks…..risks that make a life complete.

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