A teacher in a rural school …. killer of English language….. 1. Pick up the paper n fall in the dust-bin ! 2. Both of you three .. stand together separately ! 3. Will u hang that calendar or I’ll “HANG MYSELF!” 4. Tomorrow call your parents especially mother and father ! 5. Why are you looking at the monkey outside when I am in the class…? 6. I have TWO daughters: both are girls. 7. Stand in the middle of the corner ! 8. The boy behind the last boy, please stand up…!! 

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During the period when I joined the Bank, the 1970s, job in a Bank was comparable to the present day IT sector job….Good pay, a lot of respect in the society…..we had a prominent place in the top ten amidst the highest paid jobs in India. Bank job was a real ‘white collar job’, a very prestigious one. We were hard working, were accurate in figure work, knew to value our customers and cater to their Banking needs diligently. Locating differences in books of Accounts and tallying them were a passion for most of us. We loved the working environment, and were looking forward for more and more challenging opportunities. Over a period of time, the job started losing its charm. After promotion, we were transferred to different places, and also loaded with higher and risky responsibilities.Being the Head of a few Branches, especially out of our native State Kerala, we were made to suffer like a ‘Maddalam’, – getting blows from both sides – the top management and the subordinates. We used to get periodic revisions in our pay packets, each time resorting to demonstrations, strikes and what not….. Our brethren in the Central and State Governments on the other hand were getting hikes and better service conditions with much more ease – through Pay Commissions, much higher than their expectations and even eligibility…… A glaring disparity exists now between Bank personnel and Government staff / officers with regard to service conditions and pay. What prompted me to jot this down now is the offer of the Government during negotiations on 5.5.2018 for a hike of 2% in pay…….the revision is due from November last year. I feel it will be worthwhile for Bankers to forego any increase…, a novel way of showing protest……

JOINT FAMILY, A THING OF THE PAST

Once upon a time, we had a joint family system where there were so many people to give us the much needed counselling in times of need, comfort when in distress, and also companionship where uncles, aunts and cousins, all lived under one roof. It was like a huge banyan tree with several branches. There was the head of the family in the form of the oldest family member or members, like grand parents. Of course there would be their own parents and several cousins in each family. There was no dearth of space since the house would be adequate to accommodate everyone. It was an unwritten code that the menfolk were the bread winners and it was left to the womenfolk to rear children and look after the well being of all the family members.

Gradually this system was changing in the natural evolution of things. There was also the migration of the family members to different places. Families became smaller by the day and the mindset of people also changed. There was more concern for their own families. Children and the parents still met at regular intervals and holidays were often spent together.

It was the same with all joint families. Nucleus families were a necessity more than a choice. Children lost their family contacts and love; they got more involved with their studies and then later, with their careers. Their visits were restricted to available time. One cannot say there was no affection, but in a more restricted way. Women had multiple roles now and no longer confined to their homes. They formed a responsible part of all the social changes, be it as a working women or as homemakers, whose roles were no less important.

All the same, changes did affect the deep affection we had even for a distant cousin. Grand parents, parents and their children formed an immediate family. Even that is disintegrating as an evolutionary, social change which is also becoming a necessity. Let us get along with this change and remember the good old days.

In retrospect, this post is very typical of an old timer. Generally I do not easily admit that, but once in a while it is good to feel old.

Walnut Creek, California

Viju and Maya had been living at San Bruno, California till recently. They have now moved to their own home at Walnut Creek.

Walnut Creek is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, located in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, about 16 miles east of the city of Oakland. Walnut Creek serves as a hub for its neighbouring cities because of its location at the junction of the highways from Sacramento and San Jose and San Francisco and its accessibility by BART. Its active downtown neighborhood features hundred-year-old buildings and extensive high-end retail establishments, restaurants and entertainment venues. An urban oasis surrounded by unspoiled hillsides, Walnut Creek is embraced for its mild Mediterranean climate and picture perfect setting at the foot of Mount Diablo.

Walnut Creek offers a distinctive blend of urban flair, suburban grace and peaceful wilderness. With its central Bay Area location and easy access to BART and major roadways, Walnut Creek is one’s perfect getaway in San Francisco’s East Bay for shopping, dining, the arts and the outdoors.

Walnut Creek offers culture, fab food, shopping, music scene, movies, the outdoors, access to good transportation.

Qualities of a Good Teacher..!!!

Empathy

You have the ability to bond with your students, to understand and resonate with their feelings and emotions. To communicate on their level. To be compassionate with them when they are down and to celebrate with them when they are up.

Positive Mental Attitude

You are able to think more on the positive and a little less on the negative. To keep a smile on your face when things get tough. To see the bright side of things. To seek to find the positives in every negative situation. To be philosophical.

Open to Change

You are able to acknowledge that the only real constant in life is change. You know there is a place for tradition but there is also a place for new ways, new ideas, new systems, and new approaches. You don’t put obstacles in your way by being blinkered and are always open and willing to listen to others’ ideas.

Role Model

You are the window through which many young people will see their future. Be a fine role model, having vision of foreseeability.

Creative

You are able to motivate your students by using creative and inspirational methods of teaching. You are different in your approach and that makes you stand out from the crowd. Hence the reason why students enjoy your classes and seek you out for new ideas.

Sense of Humor

You know that a great sense of humor reduces barriers and lightens the atmosphere especially during heavy periods. An ability to make your students laugh will carry you far and gain you more respect. It also increases your popularity.

Presentation Skills

You know that your students are visual, auditory or kin’aesthetic learners. You are adept at creating presentation styles for all three. Your body language is your main communicator and you keep it positive at all times. Like a great orator you are passionate when you speak. But at the same time you know that discussion and not lecturing stimulates greater feedback.

Calmness

You know that the aggression, negative attitudes and behaviors that you see in some of your students have a root cause. You know that they are really scared young people who have come through some bad experiences in life. This keeps you calm and in control of you, of them and the situation. You are good at helping your students distress.

(Post Courtesy : Sandip Bhanose Ji..)

 

Coffee!

VALLOM KALI

PUB ON AUG 5, 2014

 

 

The annual Vallom Kali at Alleppey is just four days away …..Now, a small write up on the same.

Details about the race and boat are from an article I read today.

ANNUAL NEHRU TROPHY BOAT RACE

This race is held every year on the second Saturday of August;  it is called the Vallom Kali. It is held at the Punnamada lake, fondly known as Punnamada Kayal, at Alleppey. This year, it is slated for the 9th of this month.  August harbours the last part of monsoons in Kerala; it is quite common to see giant Chundan valloms cut through the waters during the customary monsoon vallom kali.

The winning boat in this race gets the ‘ever rolling’ trophy – the Nehru trophy.  The trophy was first given in the year 1952.  The then Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, happened to see this boat festival and was very much thrilled by its charm.  After getting back to New Delhi, he sent a model of the Snake boat (chundan vallom) made of silver as the trophy for the winning boat.  To this day, this ‘ever rolling’ trophy is the prize they compete for.  Pandit Nehru had signed it.

The mood will be exhilarating, the heat will be on, the lake waters will lie unruffled and there will be a mangle of rhythms.  There will be colour, chanting and also a frenzied passion as people cheer, bet, scream, push and almost trample each other !! The locals are used to this annual extravaganza; they come, stand and watch; then they scream, cheer and jump !!

In the midst of all the chaos, business like that of tender coconuts also flourish. If the consumer is a foreigner, it will be his pound of flesh. The crowds roar, people cheer on and Alleppey will be at her sporting best.  One can sense the euphoria as people chatter, dance, yell and scream.

To start with, a brass lamp. not less than 4 feet tall, is lit and then a group of women let out a shrill cry as they cover their mouths  (kurava idal – in Malayalam).  This is done to chase away the ‘devils’. Then comes the ‘drums’ in a rhythm that starts slow; the hum of conch shells join in.  All these will be more passionate than the game itself.  As the rhythm gets faster, the crowd will be at their all time high.

Suddenly, like a phoenix out of the ashes, the chundans (the mammoth snake boats) emerge.  They will be majestic; each one will slide over the lake like giant anacondas.
The boats are built according to specifications from the Sthapatyaveda.  They are usually about 100 to 130 feet in length.  The rear end (stern) points upwards, going about 18-20 feet up, into the skies and the front portion (bow) tapers towards the sky.  They look like ready-to-attack cobras.  May be that is why they are called ‘snake boats’.  They used to be built with huge planks of wood but these days, steel also is used.  The Punnamada Chundan is believed to be the longest snake boat at 144 feet.  It is also the first to be made from steel.  The boats, which belong to the village, are worshipped.  Only men are supposed to touch these giants.  To add speed during the race, the boats are rubbed with fish oil, eggs and coconut shell carbon.
Each boat is decorated with flags and brass or gold ornamentation.  Richly coloured silks helm the entire length of the boat.  Around a hundred rowers sit in two rows along the middle of the boat.  Their slender but muscular bodies drip with sweat and glimmer in the sunlight.  There will be about ten men standing ….they are the nilakkaras….their job is to cheer the team on.  Another five work as ‘helmsmen’ who are needed to steer the boat while the team powered the mighty snakes.  The drummers and the singers stand on the kattumatra – the windscreen where no wind can enter.  They would provide the much needed rhythm.
Some would say that the snake boat is powered by the rhythm, not the oar.
The banks of the lake would be packed … there will be men, women, children, aged people and even cows, dogs, goats and cats.  Everyone will be there to dream that their team will have the win.  The rhythms of the Chenda melam go straight through your bones and even if you were dead, you would move ! Crowds of spectators will move with the gliding snakes.  It will be amazing how a stampede is kept at bay.
The first 500 meters will be done in about two minutes; the next 500 and the boats would be halfway; the last 300 meters would arrive and the crowds will go crazy.  The oars are lifted high into the air as the rowers scream with joy.  The boat which glides past the finish line first is declared the winner.
Every chundan crosses the finish line and cheering just does not fade.  Every boat is a winner.