Saturday, 30 April 2016

An Open Letter To My Students

My Extended Family!

It's a wrap. A year has passed, so swiftly. Summing my year at S.P.I.T, it was an amazing year, work wise, touch wood.

S.P.I.T is family to me. You, the students and the people I work with are a part of my daily life. By God's grace, S.P.I.T has been such a fun place to work! When people around you are so welcoming and cooperative, you are bound to feel comfortable always!

And you guys, I always saw you as friends.

Harshal Mahajan and Ashwin Mishra requested me to blog about my experience at S.P.I.T! And nonetheless, I gave it a serious thought. I write, I own a blog, I have been a contributing author for three anthologies and this gave me a kick to write something. 

Here's a letter wishing you all the best ahead, for your final board exams and life.

I may or may not teach you ahead, but the fact that I am emotionally connected to all of you and S.P.I.T makes me pen this down.

I always wanted to be someone - I needed, when I was younger.

Many might not know, Engineering was never my plan; yet I took it up, did a Masters and I am happy with what I do now, because teaching was always a noble thing to do, for me.

I could identify myself in many of you - how some are sincere yet fun loving, full of energy, chirpy - that's how I still am!

I believed in delivering quality education, I am of the opinion that any of you, if any of you, had to take external help for the subject I teach, it is a slap on my face. It somewhere means, I am lacking in what I do. 

Many of my friends, discouraged me when we all discussed our future plans, post B.E. They would snub off the idea when I would say, I want to be a Professor. They were of the mindset that no one comes to college to study. I did want to change that stereotypical mindset and break the cliché. And it was so good to know from some of you that since I was going to teach you, you didn't take classes for that subject. I was so humbled, for the trust that got built between us, made me know, wherever I am going - I am going right!

Having been associated with S.P.I.T as a student too, I understand what environment you are in. And believe you me, S.P.I.T is a place to flourish. The grass is greener on the other side, always. But you are in a very good space, trust me. Do not believe anything other than this. Do not end up believing your friends are in better colleges. You have got the best! And, no, I get nothing to endorse S.P.I.T!

I am very fond of all of you. Even the mischievous ones. I never wanted my classroom to be a terrorized environment where people are forced to shut up and be what they are not. Some did misuse this aspect though and after a point, I realized I cannot change them. 

But, my experience has been very, very nice. You have made me feel super nice with some lovely feed-backs throughout the year; some of which were overwhelming at times! To get a feedback like this, helps me grow personally. This is my report card, in true sense! 'A' grade again! Consistency, becomes a habit.

My friends tell me they can't believe students can be so nice to teachers, when I tell them about you guys. And at times, it becomes difficult to digest for me too. But I then realise, I have been nice to you too. What goes around comes around!

Some of my readers might have started judging me for giving a lot of 'bhaav' to the students. I don't think teachers like these, exist in a large lot these days. But, I believe the college is because of the students and so are the teachers. I wish every teacher caters to students' needs first. It so much helps to boost the teaching learning experience.

I have mentored and counselled some of you, in ways I never thought I could. I have discovered the counselor in me, I have comforted few souls and got comforted in return for the things that troubled me at some point in life.

Leaving S.P.I.T for a few reasons would definitely not be welcoming, for me atleast. I am feeling as if I might have to not go home.

As a teacher (who observes a lot) it becomes a daily routine to see the same faces every day, start knowing them, getting to know their habits and nature to an extent by simply observing them. And knowing how they will react to a thing you say! And I always knew, what I would do/say can cause what impact. So I avoided the things I knew would not be taken positively. To be honest, I don't appreciate stress and negative vibes around. I tried my best to keep things smooth and not to trouble anyone, just to gain sadistic pleasure!

I disliked a few students for making chaos in the class, the dislike which was purely momentary; even they know, I never held back any grudges ever. And the next day, I would be found laughing with them. Well, they know who I am talking about!

Either I am too sweet or I have a problem of not giving back to people the same that they give me. But teaching has taught me to be patient, sarcastic, and forgiving.

I am no one to preach you, but, I have a brother of your age and so I know what goes on in your head at this stage of life, but know that -

1. While there is life, there is struggle. Life is not going to be easy always. And, sometimes, it is not going to be fair, either.

2. Life will take its own way. I too met good and bad people, but I knew, what I had to take from them. Every person shall teach you something, just take the 'right lesson' from each. Get inspired from good role models (because there are bad as well) who can be beacons of light to help you.

3. Take charge of your life. Trust yourself, because each one of us has an indomitable will power. You will realize many of them are against you, but no, each one is with themselves.

4. To speak with candour, I always, advocate- Reach not just the top of your game, but also manage to stay there! Consistency is the name of the game.

5. Ask silly questions - That is when your concepts become clear, don't stay in self doubt.

6. Follow your passion and do what you love. Never settle for anything less.

7. Truth is always the right path, may not be the easiest though.

8. It doesn't take much to be kind. Make the world a better place!

9. Truth shall prevail, hard work shall be recognized, persistence in the right direction brings results, shortcuts in life have a short life.

10. Life is a balance sheet and in the end, there always is profit and everything tallies.

As I lock my cabin these days, the thought that I might have to leave this place is obnoxious. I will miss turning left from my cabin and entering your classroom.

I have had funny incidences in your class, that I would smile over even after the day was over!

My convocation! The highlight of my day is in this photograph below! Thank you to all, who made it special. You came up to greet me, said sweet things and clicked pictures with me. Always so grateful for the adoration you have showered me with! 

Over the time, my work helped me triumph over many apparent insurmountable obstacles of life.

SE EXTC 2015-16 will continue to remain special for me, as it was the first batch in my teaching career. And, you were awesome!

I hope all of you, get good placements and do what really is your calling! Thank you for the cooperation. Coming in huge strength, even on a non-instructional day, really marveled me. I hope you remember me, and I hope, I was instrumental in creating a positive difference in your lives.

For those of you who have been meeting me for the last week, saying "Maam, don't go. Is this your last day? We really wish to have you around. And it feels like home, when you're there." These things melt my heart, really. I will miss each one of you too, if I have to leave. The missing part is mutual, trust me.

It was for people like you I prepared hard for the lectures. Who actually paid attention and valued my efforts. Initially, when the subject was allotted to me, I was apprehensive if I would do justice to it; given the fact that very experienced faculty takes up this subject usually. But, that is true - I have worked really hard for Analog Electronics II and your class did push me to become better day-by-day. Thank you, for bringing out the best in me.

My parents always taught me, "wherever you go, go with all your heart. No chair, no position is forever, your work creates a ripple effect, and the memories you collect all the way will last forever!"

A Teacher’s job is extremely demanding! He/she has to have thorough technical knowledge, good oratory, command over communication tools, organizational skills, ability to learn and evolve and above all, a passion for teaching! A Teacher’s occupation is perhaps the most responsible one, as he/she handles the most sensitive, most vulnerable and most valuable resource - the young intelligent minds.

I hope, I did my bit, now is your turn - give your exams the best shot and make me proud.

Until we meet again,
Stay humble. Stay blessed.
Best wishes, always.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Book Review #60 : You Raise Me Up

Book Title: You Raise Me Up
Author: Arjun Hemmady
Paperback: 364 pages
Publisher: Frog Books
ISBN-13: 978-9352013883
Language: English

You Raise Me Up by Arjun Hemmady is a heart touching and intense novel that will surprise, conquer and awaken in you all kinds of emotions, from joy to fear, from candid love to passion. This book is a realistic account of urban romance.

Aalok Sharma, a 27-year-old, chartered accountant, has never experienced true love. But when on a flight from Delhi to Mumbai he meets the bubbly and gorgeous Priyanka Mehra, very different from the classic girl you would expect, he is at once ensnared and they are right away fascinated to each other, though fully opposite in nature.

Nevertheless, something is holding Aalok back as there is something about him that brings back what she had pushed into the depths of his soul, the memory of a painful past of Aalok that comes back to upset them.

Mysteries unfold through the burning pain, the most inconvenient truths, and the most difficult challenges to overcome. The genius of how every single detail of the plot can take place in the grand finale that the author has created, is disarming.

The writer is really a genius with strong narrative skills who with his pen will play with your heart filling it with overwhelming feelings and creating a sweet, dramatic yet spicy story that will touch your soul.

I loved the description and the imagery the author has managed to intersperse the book with. The metropolitan life is portrayed really well. Dialogues are a bit lengthy and could have been reduced to make a lasting impact. Sometimes, the events got a little predictable.

The book has strong characters, it is impossible not to relate to them, and the plot is strong too, which conceals twists and transmits very strong emotions.

The book is carefree, sensual, alluring punctuated by witty dialogues.

Even the sensual scenes, are characterized by a unique class that does make you hold your breath and heart beat faster.

The revelation about the past of Aalok is devastating and completely changes the course of the book. The maturity and strength of mind with which the characters face their destinies, push the story to the next level.

The author has created a mature, sensible love story that tackles the sensitive issue of love after marriage and divorce.

The life of a CA aspirant is clearly portrayed in the book. The despair, the struggle and the hard work to clear the exam is written so well. If you are a chartered accountant or aspiring to be one, you can definitely relate so well with a lot that is written in the book. The life of young professionals in a metropolitan city and sibling relationship are sketched quite well in the book.

You Raise Me Up is targeted towards young adult readers. With vivid descriptions and imagery this book is a simple, light read.

Rating – 4.5/5

P.S: This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Nano Fiction 34 : Animals Over Humans

Some people are weird. They care more about the animals' pain than humans around them!

I am not saying, not to care about animals, but I feel it is essential that you first understand what suffering a human is going through before understanding that of an animal!

And most of the times, it is that very human who cares for animals that hurts humans the most! Such people are afraid of commitments and are scared to be answerable to anyone! They are least bothered to make up for the harm they cause to humans, but boast about how they care for the animals! Hypocrites, I say!

The first thing that comes to my mind is that animals don’t lie and they don't expect. They don’t pretend to like you, they either do or they don’t. There is nothing false about them, they don't have hidden agendas! And other than, when they die, they don’t break our hearts. There are a many reasons to love and care for animals, but that doesn't and shouldn't make humans secondary to you.

I think, some narcissists relate better to animals than humans due to the fact that animals are fairly self-sufficient, don't demand much. Intimacy is a thing that scares the hell out of narcissists, and seems outside the range of their abilities. They don't want to give much - neither time, nor care to humans, maybe because they are scared to get attached or simply because they are plainly cold.

The only aim of this post is to convey that humans deserve care too, just like animals. If you can understand the pain of animals, please do care to understand what a person can go through too - do not turn a blind eye to that and then claim to be a true human being.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Nano Fiction 33 : And Still Loving You

A million stars up in the sky,
One shines brighter I can't deny,
A love so precious, a love so true,
Within your arms I had nothing to fear,
You always knew just what to say.

Even though we are miles apart,
You are never far from my heart,
Not a day goes by,
That I don't wish you know how much I love you.
Not a day goes by,
That I don't wish better for you.

No matter how hard the times have been,
My love has kept on growing for you.
Yet, in the still of this life;
Not a day goes by,
That I'm not praying for you,
And still loving you.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Nano Fiction 32 : Eternal Middle

"One of the hardest things you will ever have to do, my dear, is to grieve the loss of a person who is still alive." - Word Porn.

Have you ever loved someone to bits and lost them? You will relate to this post then, dear readers.

Have you loved them so much that you loved studying his/her face? Just like that? For no reason, whatsoever. Like how and when their skin glows, when does that little drop of sweat makes way through their nose and makes it shinier? How adorable they look when they tell you about their parents? Have you felt the dire need to crawl into their lap, face them closely and just look at them for long hours?

They are the centre of your circle. And then - you lose them. That stomach churn, that loss. Have you felt it ever? The knowledge of never ever having them back - is disgusting to your mere existence.  The pain is difficult to endure.

But you continue to live, because you don't have an alternative! You get up-work-show like nothing's wrong-cry-sleep-REPEAT. That grief of an unprepared loss is always there with you. Sometimes you break down too.

Then you hear people say "Everything happens for a reason. You will grow."

These words are responsible for nothing less than emotional, spiritual and psychological violence. Because then you start finding "the reason", which is even more frustrating. That's the kind of bullshit that destroys lives. And it is categorically untrue. 

If you've faced a tragedy and someone tells you in any way, shape or form that your tragedy was meant to be, that it happened for a reason, that it will make you a better person, or that taking responsibility for it will fix it, you have every right to remove them from your life.

Grief is brutally painful. When relationships fall apart, you grieve. When opportunities are shattered, you grieve. When dreams die, you grieve. When illnesses wreck you, you grieve.

Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried. However heavy is their weight, you willingly carry them, because you treasure some things.

While loss made me acutely aware and empathetic of the pains of others. I have a more cynical view of human nature, now, and a greater impatience with those who are unfamiliar with what loss does to people.

My pain has never been eradicated, I've just learned to channel it into my work with others. And probably, by being happy reliving the memories in my mind and being grateful for the "eternal middle" I had, it is still better than "nothing at all". 

Monday, 18 April 2016

A Little Bit Of Heaven

After a super hectic day at work, what comforts me is a laptop, keypad, my words and coffee. And.. kids! I love kids. And especially my neighbor, oh my God, she is a munchkin!

Just, as I came home today, I found her playing with my kitchen set and dolls! I don't remember playing with them so often, like she does! It's total 'paisa vasool' for those toys now, in true sense. I love her to bits. When she asks me 'Kyun, Aayesha didi?' for some things, I go 'Aww, I have to answer this in the best possible way I can!'

She is an amazing rejuvenating agent to me. Sometimes, I realize, no one can fill the void of some people, I have loved and lost, but children - they are a bit of heaven, truly. I forget all my worries for the time I am with her.  All the wrinkles of stress from my face, fade away at the sight of her face.

I don't understand, why people do not like daughters. They are so adorable. I am again a kid, when with her. We play kitchen set, doctor-doctor, ghar-ghar, we blow bubbles and watch them fly in air, I  put her funky nail colors, style her hair, we watch cartoons and do so much more together!

Children are such pure souls, so innocent. They see everything with a nice eye. They don't judge, like we adults do. I wish we remained child-like even after we grew up; though unfortunately we learn to become cunning to survive this world and hide the child within us.

I can snuggle this cutie up for hours and feel so happy about life. Sometimes, I can just hold onto her, and share my vulnerability by not saying anything at all. It is fun listening to her tales; though I wish I had her to listen to things life puts me through, but then I realize I don't want this pure soul to ever know what life actually looks like. It can be cruel. She won't understand it and I do not want her to understand it too. Because that smile on her face, I want it to last forever and never fade away.

When I look into her eyes, I see trustfulness, curiosity and joyfulness. Her thoughts and heart are uncluttered and that is the very reason that she is so radiant. Her mind is so transparent and never scheming or cunning. And the cutest part, kids believe what we tell them.

"A child and God are one by character." I so much have started to believe this. I'd much rather see the world through the eyes of a child. They have an innocence about them that is genuine and very real.

May God, protect her from all harms, today and always. Thank you, Allah, for the positivity that Vidhi brings to my life. Really grateful.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Ek Tu Hi Nahi

Yun toh zamane bhar ka dhyan hai humpar,
Lekin jiski hum chahein, uski nazar bhi nahi padti..
Kehne ko toh sab mila dilnasheen,
Ek tu hi nahi..

Harr lamha.. teri dastaan keh jata hai..
Marr ke bhi na choote,  tera saath aisa hai..

Aapke ishq ki madhoshiyon mein dooba hai yeh aalam,
Shaamein laye yaadon ke toofan..
Kare dil ko giraftaar..

Tera sath kyun deta hai raahat,
Meri berang duniya ko?
Teri aadat ke maare..
Kya humari khataa..

Humara jahaan toh tujhpe hai fanaah,
Harr raste ki manzil ek tu hi..

Kehne ko hai choti choti baatein..
Fir kyun lagti hai itni badi?
Kahan uska pata karun..
Bepata hun jiske bina..

Friday, 8 April 2016

Nano Fiction 31 : Good Memories

A clean slate is something many seek to attain, but many fail to achieve.

Remembering is easy. It's forgetting that's hard.

Sometimes good memories are worse than nightmares. They haunt you more. Because you know you cannot have or make those memories back again. They keep you awake, or even if you manage to sleep, they wake you up. They trouble you, because a part of you wants to relive them again; but you also know, it is never ever going to happen again. Because magic happens rarely!

Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart, memories though stale, seem afresh when you just cannot forget them. That warm, familiar face that flashes time and again feels like home, you can never visit again, unfortunately. When you pictured happiness to be waking up in the middle of the night, shifting under the blankets and feeling the heat of the person next to you; and what it turns out is - you still wake up, drenched in sweat, when their memories haunt you and they are nowhere next to you.

There are memories we choose to live with all our lives. We know, they will do us no good, yet. Sometimes, we humans, cannot ourselves comprehend why we choose to cause destruction to our own self.

You really can't simply erase memories from your mind. For some reason, nothing works to keep them at bay. Maybe because of the people involved in those memories and moments.

Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart. There are memories that time does not erase... Forever does not make loss forgettable, it only makes it bearable. You get used to your loss.

Memories are bullets. Some whiz by and only spook you. Others tear you open and leave you in pieces.

I think there is always a little something left behind, even in the worst relationships, that you long for every once and a while. I read a quote somewhere that said: "even if he wasn't the best for you forever, he was the best, the thing you needed at that exact moment in time, even if just for a while." It's those moments that turn into the haunting.

Everyone has at least ONE person they will always miss, but it's kind of taboo to talk about it. As a writer, I feel my role is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.

Pain changes you and you are no longer interested to build any more 'good' memories with anyone, because you are too scared of any happiness coming your way now. You are scared of welcoming anyone new in your life and give them the opportunity to leave you in pieces again.  

Friday, 1 April 2016

Book Review #58 : Surpanakha

Written by Hariharan Iyer, Notion Press brings you a riveting book that is based on politics, murder, and conspiracies. Titled Surpanakha, the book is full of twists and turns.

Excellent work. Fast passed narrative. Political thriller. That is Surpanakha!

The title Surpanakha intrigued me to agree to review it. The blurb is interesting. I liked the way the author has written the characters. All the characters are true to life and very relatable. Once the book takes its pace, it is interesting and you cannot put it down.

The characters are very neatly etched out and Hariharan takes most of the beginning of the book to introduce the characters. At one point, you do feel a bit dragged and confused as there are too many characters and you tend to lose the track and connect to the story.

The flow of the story is quite swift and language is easy to comprehend. But, you need your own sweet time to read the book, grasp the characters, but the good point is, the book doesn’t disappoint story wise.

I had a perception when I started the book that it would have some historical reference due to its title 'Surpanakha' but there wasn’t any and that came as a surprise, when towards the end, Hariharan merges the story and the title flawlessly. It is the highlight of the book and made the read worthwhile for me! I’m sure the book will find many readers. I would definitely read the author's upcoming books!

Rating - 4/5

This review is for b00k r3vi3w Tours