Fire Extinguisher का नियम

Have been thinking of writing on this for days. But was filled with so much of anger and shame , that I could not put my feelings in words.

The other day, as I finished my tea and got up to prepare dinner, I got a message on my mobile from a student of mine, who was holidaying in Delhi. The message said, “Did you come to know about that five year old girl in Delhi?” I answered,” What happened?” Prompt came the reply,”Its on TV. See.” I switched on the television and checked the news channel.

News was that a ‘five year old girl was raped in Delhi’. I felt repulsive. Further the news said that there were three candles and a 200 ml hair oil’s plastic bottle in her stomach. I wondered as to how did she manage to swallow them. I did not have to think for long as the news said that they were inserted in her vagina by the rapist.

Oh Lord!!!

I felt as if they were being inserted in my vagina. I wondered that the penetration itself must have been so painful for that little baby. To add to it, he actually tried and succeeded in putting all possible things he could lay his hand on, inside that delicate body.

I switched off the TV as I could not take any more. Believe me, even as I am writing this, I have a strong desire of throwing up.

I was filled with anger, shame, repulsive feeling….

Where is the society heading!! The news channels started reporting rape cases on minors or say girls below 6 years of age from all over the country. The other day newspaper reported that a 65 yr old woman was molested in Pune while she was sleeping outside her house. it means …age is no barrier… And of course the regular news of candle march, protests, police’s inefficiency and arrogance, politician’s promising heavy punishments to the guilty were there on all news channels.

I sat thinking when and how will it stop!! What can we do for this cause – something concrete!! Not just protecting the girls before the incident or taking up the case after the incident. What?

Suddenly I remembered the demonstration given in our school on the use of fire extinguisher. After explaining the equipment, the instructor came to practical demonstration. He told that the fire extinguisher generated carbon and that it was to be sprayed at the BASE OF FIRE. He repeated and re-repeated that if it was sprayed ON FIRE, it would only subside the fire temporarily. and soon fire will erupt again. He emphasised that it was important to extinguish fire from the base – the origin, so that it is completely gone.

Don’t you think it holds true in this case also!!

We are wanting to find the guilty and are asking for severe punishments to them. I am also for it. In fact as a rule, I say that the punishment should be so severe that a criminal will not dare to commit the crime. But the ‘fire extinguisher demonstration’ made me think why don’t we strike at the base – the root of all these problems. As mothers and sisters are we not failing in bringing up the boys! I am not accusing any body. But I think we need to tell our boys to respect women. We need to tell them to treat other girls, the way they would want their sisters to be treated by other men in society. Our boys must remember ‘they’ are also somebody’s daughters, sisters and mothers.

Of course I am under no illusion that it will stop the menace. But I think prevention is always better than waiting for a crime and protesting for severe punishment.

Let us name it Fire extinguisher का नियम.

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Advertisements की दुनिया

Advertisements have always fascinated me. Earlier ( I mean in the early seventies ) the jingles sound sooo…. melodious that at times one would sing them in the bathroom too. By the way, I have noticed my children also singing the advertisements jingles. Then came the advertisements on television. How impatiently we waited for them. I remember the first advertisement on Doordarshan was that of Topaz Blade – a still advertisement.
I have been thinking of posting something on ‘advertisements’ for quite some time. My first inspiration was an essay ‘विज्ञापन युग ’. I have forgotten the author’s name. I shall update the author’s name as soon as I find out. Then, when I started teaching ‘advertisements and sales promotion’ (unfortunately I never studied this interesting topic as a student ), I found this topic amazingly interesting. Hold on! I am not going to narrate the features and types of advertisements here.
To begin with, let me tell you the types of advertisements that hit our sentiments.
I hate those advertisements of home appliances where they show that an unkempt woman is running the house and the moment she gets that particular appliance, her clothes, hairdo and personality changes to match a film star’s. I remember my mother cooking on an अंगीठी . She moved on to kerosene stove, electric heater and finally a gas stove. She was the same all through – in an unironed  saree at home and a crisp one, while going out. I loved her the same all through.  I have yet to understand how a mixer-grinder or a washing machine can take away all the drudgery so that the lady of the house will always be dressed to go for a party.
Some advertisements make one feel that the children are not being brought up well, if  they are not being given a particular supplement in milk. Others tell you that black hair is the key to acceptance in society. One of my colleagues who doesn’t  colour her hair is accepted and respected for what she is. I am not against hair colour. But certainly no one goes into depression over grey hair. The biggest gimmick and the biggest cosmetic industry – The Fairness Creams;  and now for men too. If one was to believe the advertisements, Shahrukh Khan’s charm, John Abraham’s physique and Shahid Kapoor’s cute face are meaningless without their fairness creams making them fair. And here, Mills & Boon taught me ‘tall, dark and handsome……’
The worst advertisements are the ones showing children smarter than their parents, teachers, elders and so on. No please! I am not saying children can’t be smarter. Of course, they are and they should be. But, when they show them ridiculing or back answering their elders, are we not condoning and encouraging it in the process.
Then there are those advertisements, oops! I should say all of them, where the advertisers exaggerate their claims. I am confused which detergent to use. All of them clean whitest, are soft on hands and cheap too. I know people using fairness creams for a big part of their life, and still they don’t find any significant change.
I wonder how many of us realise the scope and strength of Food colouring & photography in advertisements! How many times our mouths have watered, seeing those perfect green, perfect round peas in that delicious looking “mutter paneer”. And when I try to cook or go to a restaurant, I find the peas shriveled up. Oh! That mouth watering tandoori chicken in the picture looks so juicy and succulent. Again, when it comes on the table, it is shriveled up. Actually for advertisements raw peas and raw chicken are painted to look like cooked. I know, some of you will not believe me. Ice creams are an all time favourite cutting across all ages. I love them in winters as they don’t start melting before I have enjoyed it. How about you?  Now tell me, if ice cream is kept out off freezer for making an advertisement how long will it not melt? And that too with so many retakes and heavy lights! Can ice cream survive them? Actually, boiled potato is mashed properly and coloured as required to show various flavours. This is not my imagination. A friend of mine, who was in this industry, told me.
Nevertheless, advertisements are here to stay and have become a big part of our life. I am seriously thinking of watching TV serials on You Tube. I will be able to wrap up a half an hour episode in 15 to 18 minutes.
P.S. My colleague Charutta Sharma told me that Mohan Rakesh penned “Vigyapan Yug”.

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मुसीबत Overweight की

During all my visits to the doctor, my greetings are answered with, ” You must lose weight.”

As if, gaining weight is my hobby. Honestly speaking, everyone wants a slim, trim body. Don’t you want it? In my case, the irony is that my doctor is in her early 30s and, excuse me, although not obese, she is overweight.

Why am I overweight? …… Probably, genes, or is it my thyroid problem. My age has also joined the party. Or the fact, that without telling me, my doctor gave me steroids, And I took them for good 6 yrs. Interestingly, I started with thyroid medicines, long before I started with thyroid problem. Thanks to the doctor! My thyroid tests were done when I was hospitalised because of dehydration and my whole system was awry. Later, I suffered from severe allergy problem. It was bad. This time, I relied on Ayurveda and started with ‘Pankaj Kasturi’, from some Kerala pharmacy. What a relief! I recommended it to all and sundry. Then my nephew’s wife got it tested in AIIMS for steroids. My ‘elixir’ passed the test. Results were positive. I did it for the second time. Again I had pamperd my body with steroids. In return my body swelled with ‘happiness’.  शरीर फूल कर कुप्पा हो गया .
Now, all and sundry advise me to lose weight. Even I want to. I am told to exercise, to be careful with my diet. Frankly, I do give both of them a sincere try. Of course, I can’t follow everybody’s advice. Else, I will land up exercising through out the day, without eating anything. Yes! without eating ANYTHING. Because some say, dont eat this, others say dont eat that. There is a difference of opinion on which fruit is to be eaten and in what quantity.

I guess, I am overweight, because my family is a Foodie family. My son says, “Everyone likes good food. WE like food”. So any food, we respect it and eat it. I can blame it on my mother too. She taught us to respect food. So no wasting of food. And, food would never go into ‘waste’. So what, if it went into our ‘waist’. Ironically, I have passed this mindset on to my children also. So much so, that when my son was small, and some food fell out from his plate, he would promptly put it in my mouth. You see food could not be wasted and he was not supposed to eat anything that fell from his plate.

This is my sincere request to all, please don’t start advising people to lose weight, unless asked. Believe me, they also want to lose weight.

By the way, if you have any tips, you can post them here. Don’t worry, I am asking for advice. 🙂

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Quirky habits – अंदाज़ अपना अपना

I read a post on Zephyr’s  blog ‘Cyber Nag’ on Quirky habits and decided to write a post on the topic rather than leaving a long comment. So here I am with my quirky post on my quirky habits.

 

It is interesting to note that we never find our habits quirky or stupid and irritating, even though the whole world cant stand it. One of the habits of mine, that irritate others is a peculiar one. I am told it is a unique one. I dont fold any of my papers, nor do I allow anybody to fold my papers. No body gives me folded papers too. So much so, that if they fold any of my papers, they have to make another document for me, as I refuse to accept a folded sheet of paper. All the new colleagues are told about this habit of mine before they face the brunt of my habit. Owing to this, I dont lend my books also, lest I get them back with dog ears.

 

Once, I was reading Iravati Karve’s ‘Yugant’ and wanted to share the contents with my colleagues. I knew I would not be as effective as the book, so gave the book to one of my colleagues to read. Since everyone wanted to read, they decided to take turns. I need not tell, what was the condition of my book after a fortnight. I knew, I cant handle the book anymore, so decided to get another copy for myself.

 

Not that I am proud of it, I dont find anything wrong in it either. I follow it, as the papers look neater like that and believe me, their life also increases. Simple!! But once this habit embarrassed me. One of my seniors wanted some information which was with me, so I handed over the required papers to her. Obviously on returnable basis. Later, I remembered that she was unaware of my ‘style’. Promptly, I went to her and requested her not to fold my papers as folded papers have no place in my files. She assured me that they were safe and would not be folded. Later, I went to the administrative block for some work. I was going through some files, and my senior entered (obviously, did not see me sitting there) and asked for a photocopy of  the documents that I had given her. You can imagine our expressions when we were face to face and she was hoding my papers – folded!

 

Two habits that irritate my children are –  I dont want my clod drink – cold. It should be absolutely chilled. And my snacks – crisp, with a capital C. So, the moment these two things arrive on the scene, I consume them immediately. Otherwise my cold drink wont remain chilled and my snacks wont be crisp. My son advises me to have ice flakes – they will be chilled as well as crisp. And no calories!

 

My students cant understand why am I particular about buttoning the collar button and wearing the tie with a proper knot, even when the weather is hot and humid.

 

I am sure I have more of such quirky habits. I request the readers to remind me of those. I dont promise that I will do away with all of them. But certainly, shall drop some of them.

 

And yes, through my blog let others know of any quirky habits that you and your friends may have.

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From ‘ हम लोग ‘ to ‘ ना आना इस देस मेरी लाडो ‘

On 15th 0f September, 1959, at 5 pm, Doordarshan started its telecast from New Delhi, with Pratima Puri as the first one to appear on TV.

Of course, I came to know about this ‘wonder box’ (Yes! in those days, it was not an idiot box) much later. If I remember correctly, the programmes were aired for only two hours every day. One Hindi film was shown in a week, in two parts on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Besides this, we had Chitrahaar, Phool khile hain gulshan gulshan, and of course Krishi darshan. And yes, we enjoyed everything that we got a chance to view. Not that every family owned a television. So what! neighbours welcomed anybody and everybody who wanted to view any programme. Subsequently, transmission started in Bombay on 2nd October, 1972 and soon it spread in the whole country, faster than swine flu. Can you believe – NO ADVERTISEMENTS! Viewing was so enjoyable! If I am not wrong, the first ad was a still ad of Topaz Blade. Believe it or not, we anxiously waited for advertisements to start on TV. Little did we know, that in the years to come, we will wish for a ‘break’ from ‘advertisement breaks!

And then arrived the first TV serial – HUM LOG, on 7th July 1984, and got the nation hooked on to it. Its popularity was amazing. I doubt, if any other TV show or TV serial has ever touched its popularity. Its greatest attraction was its simplicity, – its realistic characters. As if, it was happening in every house of the country. There was no ‘saas-bahu tussle, no scheming buaji or chaachiji! All characters were grey in colour. One could bond with the characters, the family and the story line. And of course, after every episode Dada Muni would come and in his own style say bye for the day.The serial had 166 episodes.

Hum Log was followed by quite a few serials which did not leave a mark on viewer’s mind and memory, except for ‘Buniyaad’ based on partition times’ crisis, widow marriage, unwed mothers and so on. Again without any scheming buajis…… And yes, fortunately the women in the serials were not decked up ready to either attend a wedding or get married themselves.

These were followed by ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat’. These epics had grand studios built up for them. The story demanded it.

The entry of various channels in the field brought in more competition (read more serials, bigger sets, decked up women – even when they are cooking or sleeping). As of today, TV is flooded with channels and each channel is in turn flooded with serials. It is interesting to see that most of the serials have the same basic theme – suppression of women  by the women. It is equally interesting to see that if a women is pregnant in one serial, all the serials have pregnant women, if one serial has a wedding organised – all serials will get one or the other character married. And the list  goes on and on.

There is no denial that technically, the serials today, are much superior. But, with those umpteen flashbacks, showing each character’s face three times and later freezing it individually at the drop of a hat, takes away all the charm (provided it has). As if this is not enough, each half an hour episode will have at least two commercial breaks. I wonder is it a commercial break or in between advertisements, we watch some story, which does not even seem to progress.

Television is meant to not only entertain, but broaden our outlook and vision. Unfortunately, serials like Balika Vadhu, Phulwa, Na Aana Is Des…., etc are dragging us back. No please! they are not showing reality. Yes, it does exist. But by showing it not only are we popularising it, but accepting it as a fact and part of society – sort of approving and condoning it.

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शिक्षिका – par excellence

ये ब्लॉग शुरू करते समय ही मैंने तय कर लिया था कि मैं हिंदी में भी लिखूंगी. सच कहूं तो लिखना मैंने हिंदी में ही शुरू किया था – वो भी स्कूल में. और मेरी प्रेरणा थीं – मेरी हिंदी शिक्षिका – श्रीमती रजनी किसान.

यूँ तो इससे पहले भी मुझे कई शिक्षक – शिक्षिकाओं ने हिंदी पढ़ाई थी, परन्तु श्रीमती किसान का अंदाज़ निराला था. पता ही नहीं चलता था कि उन्होंने कब पढ़ाया! उनके बोलने मात्र से ही सब समझ में आ जाता था. उनकी वाणी की मिठास कानों में शहद घोलती थी और दिल – दिमाग उनकी ज्ञान की बरसात में भीग कर निहाल हो जाता था. बड़े-बड़े शब्दों को वे इतनी आसानी से संधि-विच्छेद कर के समझाती थीं कि लगता ही नहीं था कि हिंदी का कोई भी शब्द, चाहे वो कितना ही बड़ा क्यों न हो, कठिन और अभेद्य हो सकता है. उन्होंने हमें ‘शुद्ध’ और ‘क्लिष्ट’ हिंदी का भेद समझाया. और तब मैंने जाना कि जो मिठास शुद्ध भाषा में है, वो बड़े बड़े शब्दों से लैस भाषा में नहीं है. आज भी मेरी कोशिश यही रहती है कि मैं भाषा चाहे कोई भी बोलूँ – शुद्ध बोलूँ. इसका ये मतलब नहीं था कि वे बाकि भाषाओं से चिढती थीं या उनका तिरस्कार करती थीं. उन्होंने समझाया कि जिस प्रकार एक परिवार आगे बढ़ने के लिए दूसरे परिवार की कन्या को अपने परिवार में अपना कर अपना वंश आगे बढाता है, ठीक उसी प्रकार हिंदी भाषा की उन्नति के लिए अन्य भाषाओं के शब्दों को अपनाना अनिवार्य है. पढ़ाते वक्त, या बात करते वक्त कभी मुहावरों का, तो कभी लोकोक्तियों का प्रयोग – आहा! कितना मधुर लगता था. किसी पाठ को समझाते समय उद्धरणों का प्रयोग – कितना विस्मित और रोमांचित करता था. आज जब मैं बात करते या पढ़ाते समय उद्धरणों या मुहावरों-लोकोक्तियों का प्रयोग करती हूँ तो उन्हें याद करती हूँ.

यकीनन वे नहीं जानती थीं कि वे मेरी प्रेरणा-स्रोत थीं. उनका सगर्व हिंदी में हस्ताक्षर करना तो मुझे इतना मोहित करता था कि मैंने भी हिंदी में हस्ताक्षर करना शुरू कर दिया. अक्सर मैंने लोगों के चेहरों पर अपने हस्ताक्षर को लेकर मिश्रित भाव दखे हैं. और हर बार मैं उन्हें याद करती हूँ – उन्हें धन्यवाद देती हूँ.

जब मेरे बच्चे हुए और वो अच्छी हिंदी बोलने लगे तो मैंने उन्हें कोटि कोटि प्रणाम किया. ये उनकी ही शिक्षा थी जो फल-फूल कर मेरे सामने आई. यद्यपि मैं हिंदी की  अध्यापिका नहीं हूँ, एक बार आवश्यकता पड़ने पर जब मुझे हिंदी पढ़ाने को कहा गया तो मैं तय नहीं कर पायी कि ये मेरी हिंदी भाषा की पकड़ को सम्मानित किया जा रहा है, या उनकी शिक्षा को. मुझे संतोष व गर्व है कि मैं अपने विद्यार्थियों को हिंदी के प्रति जागरूक कर पायी.

स्कूल छोड़ने के बाद उनसे संपर्क टूट गया – पर सम्बन्ध कैसे टूट सकता है? कई बरसों के बाद facebook के ज़रिये मैं उनके बच्चों तक पहुंची. नहीं जानती कि ये मेरे लिए ख़ुशी का अवसर था कि दुःख का! जहाँ एक तरफ उनके बच्चों से संपर्क स्थापित होने की ख़ुशी थी, वहीँ ये दुखभरी खबर मिली कि अब वे हमारे बीच में नहीं हैं. शायद इश्वर को भी स्वर्ग में अच्छे शिक्षकों की ज़रुरत है.

उस महान आत्मा को मेरा कोटि-कोटि प्रणाम.

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मेरे प्रिय students

For once, I have timed my post correctly. Although it could have been a week earlier, but I was too excited to put together my thoughts.

In our school days, we all have written essays on ‘My favourite teacher’ in English as well as Hindi. Interestingly our ‘favourite teacher’ changed with change in the subject and they say children are innocent, बच्चे मन के सच्चे , etc.

Today, I want to write about two of my favourite students. They are not favourites, because they were outstanding in their achievements. but becuse of their nature, the type of human beings that they are. Incidentally, I did not choose one each from boys and girls.

Meghna Singhee was my student for junior college. I just did not like her in the first instance. She ‘appeared’ to be a carefree girl with an attitude. What went against her was that she was the Principal’s pet and had the liberty to talk to the Principal as if she was her friend. All this, when not only the students, their parents as well as the general public, specially residents of the area were scared of the Principal. I was thankful that she did not study my subject. After about two weeks of the academic session in progress, she expressed her desire to study Economics. Since the school did not offer Economics, there was no teacher for the subject. The Principal asked me if I could teach Economics. Since I could, I said yes. How would I know that I had to teach Meghna!

Since, I could not find one book, which had all the subject matter in it, I would consult some books, make my own notes and teach. Meghna used to come for games (she was a perfect all rounder) in the morning before school. So invariably she was tired and hungry when she came to the class room. Since, she was the only student for the subject, I had to teach at her pace. I would stay up late in the night, making my notes for about two days of teaching. And this Meghna! She would say, “Miss, I am sleepy let me read the notes, otherwise I’ll fall asleep while you are explaining”. I asked her as to how will she understand if I didn’t explain. She assured me that she would ask for explanation, as and when she needed. I was surprised seeing her read so fast and she would not even stop for any explanation. Now, that was too much! Her arguement was that since the notes were so comprehensive, she was able to follow everything. Of course, her statement smelt of flattery. I asked her a few questions, which she answered correctly. Not to be defeated by a ‘mere Meghna’, I started making more notes, so that she was not able to finish them in a day. But her speed of comprehending the notes was more than my speed of making the notes. Later some more students joined Economics class (Thank God!) and we had to slow down our speed. But Meghna was impatient with my speed. She would put her head down on the table while I was teaching. Now tell me, which teacher will tolerate this! On being reprimanded, she rattled out whatever I had taught. I was stunned. For the first time I admired that girl. Earlier, since I disliked her , I only saw or tried to look for her negative side. And now when I started admiring her, I realised she was a carefree, down to earth person. I have yet to come across a more compassionate student. Then I saw her using her charm to support her classmates in front of the teachers and the Principal. She was amazing. Always ready to help anyone who required it. She passed out school in two years and went to college. We lost touch but I always remembered her. My students in the years to come were told about her. Most of the students I taught after she passed out, know about her. She was a complete student, taking part in all the co-curricular activities and did fairly well in academics also. She was the school Head Girl for three consecutive years. Never heard of such a distinction. In her last year of schooling, the Head Boy left the school and she shouldered all the responsibilities on her own with a grin on her face. Yes, grin not smile. She is constantly grinning. And now, I find her grin soothing and contagious. After about 12 years I found her on Facebook. Thank God! Her grin is intact. She is married and happy. God bless her.

Ashish Thakare     His name raised eyebrows. He  also, was my Economics student, like Meghna. And the similarity ends there. Instead of grinning like Meghna, he would laugh aloud. Since he joined Junior College after passing out from an outstation school, everything in the school was new to him. He would question everything in the school and we would have arguements over several policies of school. He was staying on his own in Pune, since his father was serving in Kolhapur and so, was quite independent. He found our concern for student’s behaviour or their mannerisms as ‘interfering’. Of course later, he understood our intentions. In fact, he admitted it also. This is something, I have always appreciated in him. He is an honest and straight forward person. So much so, that once he politely refused a teacher when he was asked to tell lies. Later, he confided in me, and wanted to know, if he was right. Of course he was. Since he would have had to go against his principles to oblige the teacher. It is amazing, that he  was clear about his principles and goals since the time, he came into class 9.  He wanted to be an IAS officer. And going towards his goal, he chose Humanities, even when the students were shying away from this stream of subjects. In Economics class, we would often land up debating. Neither of us wanted to give up. He thought, he was learning from me. Little did he know, that I was learning from him. It is very rare, that the students come out with their views and have healthy discussion/debate with teachers.

O yes! like Meghna, he is also available to anyone, anytime if one requires help. Unlike Meghna, we never lost touch. He was there to help me (even my famiy) whenever help was required. He reminds one, of those शिष्य one would find in गुरु-शिष्य परंपरा .

After graduation, he got down to serious preparation for his UPSC Examination. In the meanwhile, he took up teaching. I am sure his students found him as amazing as I did.

Now, I shall tell why this post now! One fine day, early in the morning I read about UPSC results in the newspaper. I decided to call him up later. As I sat checking my mail, I went on Facebook, and saw his status!!!! I was thrilled. I immediately updated my status with the thrilling news, that he had secured 98th position in UPSC Examination and called him to congratulate. As humble as he is, he gave credit to his teachers.

I am sure, he will remain as humble and as honest as he is today. Today’s students (not that he is old) can learn perseverance, determination self control and so on from him. I feel lucky as well as honoured that he has been my student.

This post is dedicated to Ashish Thakare’s  success. May God always be on his side. I wish him success in life, in whatever he does and where ever he goes.

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