Archive for the ‘Children’s Education’ Category

A Political Love Letter to My Son

This is post done on March 4th, 2016 on my Facebook page (Here) . Kind of emotional !
Dear Rimil Peter, my son..
Thanks for watching Kanhaiya speech in JNU ..with me for 45 minutes. I have explained how a colonial law ..which was used on Bhagat Singh being used to define our patriotism and allegiance to our country.
You enjoyed the style of his speech delivery (and also of Ravish).. how we need to argue out our differences of opinion ..with ABVP, the saffron brigade ..who are not ‘enemies’ but the opposition group / ideology.
My son, though you are yet to witness ..what a university is like narratives of my days in Jamia Millia Islamia ..and cultural youth activism with friends like Kapil Sharma whom you have met ..and will do more.. will surely help you to understand and visualise or dream of spaces ..which allow free discussion on democracy, diverse perspectives on autonomy, culture, sexuality etc.
What you saw as a movie in Rang De Basanti happening with a different script present JNU times. The young voices are being crushed ..forced to suicide (Rohit in Hyderabad University), or being put in jail. Kashmir and Bastar (Chhatisgarh) cannot be discussed publicly by citizens.. as these are issues of national security !
My son (and all young ones).. Do not allow your questions / enquiry to end. Keep the child in you alive ..and question your teachers the most absurd questions you have. As change comes when you are unsatisfied.. A radical change brought by a collective effort is what a Revolution or Inquilab is about. इंकलाब ज़िंदाबाद means Long live the Revolution.


You Are My Sunshine

December 7, 2014 Leave a comment

I met a nice guy Stephen a few days back in a human rights workshop. Youngish American playing guitar during all the free time he had, and helping us learn whatever Yoga he has learnt during his an year of stay stretching 2-3 years (has been visiting the Tibetan movement led by Dalai Lama).

I caught him the first day in the evening and practised singing with him. And the song was…. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine , you make me happy when skies are grey. I was listening to the song after a gap of, say 25 years, at least. So later in the night hours I googled, and downloaded info and songs versions by various artists.

During a chat with another young TISS person , I was told by her that the song has some issues with it (about the Civil War version)… then researched fully all different lyrics versions and though I could sense a ‘possessiveness in the love’ .. there was nothing so bad as to draw a critique for it. Now in 15 days of practice, this is one of the favourite song for Khushi, my 4.5 years daughter.

Yesterday I came home after a trip of 5 days, at midnight hours. Deepti (my wife) made few chapatis for me, and then a coffee, slept at 1am. As I usually sleep in the front room, and not the bedroom, where wife and children sleep, …when Khushi awakes in the morning, she comes straight to me, to lie besides me.

Today when she came in the morning to lie besides me .. I sang 3-4 songs for her. You are my Sunshine, Country Roads, Saanvli Si Raat Ho (Barfi), …. The more I sing with her, the more she learns the song, and sings along with me !

Bhaag Milkha – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

We have watched Bhaag Milkha Bhaag more than twice on home television.

Why I write about Milkha over here, is the mention it has found in my daughter Zohra’s conversations. When I was exercising one day (which I rarely am able to do regularly.. just 2-3 times in a week), she admired my exercising in shorts and vest ..and said that I was jogging like Milkha.

Then whenever I play the songs of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara …and the poetry recitations come she again says ..its Milkha speaking. Yes, that’s it .. Farhan Akhtar has played the role so well that his voice is synonymous connected with the character he has played.

Listen to his Farhan’s wonderful narration of Javed Akhtar’s poetry … यह जो गहरे सन्नाटे है, वक़्त ने सबको ही बाटें है Ye Jo gahre sannate hai, waqt ne sab ko hee baatein hai …. these mysterious silences resound in the lives of each human being, it has been equally been placed in each human’s life .. to make their own effort to understand it.

While I want this blog to remain a personal blog .. and hence have not given any external links so far.. but here is the the link on ZNMD on wikipedia.. (During the writing of this blog I understood that Farhan is also called Imraan … and Imraan’s Shayari here is that of Javed Akhtar)

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag .. is a film about great sportsman of India Milkha Singh .. who won many Olympics Gold medal in atheletics.

While coming out of Social Development Centre (SDC) in Ranchi one day I showed the publicity board of a girl in a Judo Karate dress … this was an advertisment of the classes that take place in Purulia Road for girls. I told her that’s the way Mary Kom (the Indian women’s boxing champ) looks like… and that some time later soon she can join the classes to be as sporting as Mary.

So that’s how characters play their effect on children’s minds. And they can be tremendous mover .. and today’s generation of children have smart brains.. they catch things very fast !!

Clash of the Titans VS Taare Zameen Par

Usually, I do not keep English movie pack, but as Tatasky DTH gives a scheme on each Saturday, I added the pack of English films when it was offered for Rs 5 for one whole month. (Did it thrice in the past one year.. watching English movies at just Rs 5 for the month)

Yesterday, I was watching Clash of the Titans on WB Channel. It was a one break movie and was enjoying /learning Greek mythology. Soon Rimil and Zohra joined.. they were in a Birthday party upstairs. Rimil looked into the movie information (2-3 lines about its story)… and started enjoying.

Soon there was a break and I picked up the Remote Control to scan the other channels. Taare Zameen Par was happening on Zee Cinema, ..watched for sometime .. and then after the long break pressed the Back button to go back to the English movie.

But Zohra (Khushi) insisted on the small boy film, the trailer of which she had been watching the past days. Deepti (my wife) also insisted for TZP. And finally after a 5 minutes argument between Rimil and Zohra, I finally decided that TZP is the option to be chosen.

There is immense fan following for Aamir Khan amongst my children, and whenever there is something worthwhile for children to listen to / watch .. the preference is for them. Exciting to watch in the film .. teeth of the protagonist boy (Ishaan), Aamir’s entrance into the classroom as a Joker and singing – dancing the while swirling his hips. the song Maa about mother’s love for the child.

Lesson – there is a vast amount of packed action on the small / big screen ..but there are few moments of true love and emotions .. which children (and all) need to watch and experience for them to get the taste of love (beyond conflict and violence which is immense in society, and he / she will confront in real life).

Get Offline, Kids !

January 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Is there a life beyond or should I say in the absence of online / digital world ? This is a question I feel is very pertinent to be asked to you young kids – boys or girls. Each one of them are now engaged with some digital communication tool or the other for something like 3-4 to 7-8 hours.

When I say digital communication, I am talking about satellite television channels, mobiles, touchpads, laptops , computers, camera etc. They are consuming thousand kilobytes of information every day, with their contribution in the production of information being very little or nil.

With the new range of touchpads and 3G enabled devices they are regularly sms-ing, tweeting, liking on facebook, watching videos on YouTube, sharing, chatting on WhatsApp chat application … Is this a healthy habit ? Well, anything in excess of a certain limit is bad for health ..

In the past 1-2 years I have come across children who have a strong addiction to these, to an extent that it has hampered their communication with the family members. Such children show an inclination to keep off human beings around them and to maintain minimal verbal communication, with full attention to a relative or acquaintance.

This kind of digitalization of human relationships and communications is very dangerous. Today’s parents have a great challenge in front of them to enhance their own verbal personal communication with the kids near them, so that the kids find the adults more interesting. Gone are the days when the parents could get away with just giving their children’s fees and expecting the teachers to fulfill the role of preparing the children for the forthcoming future. Now the parents need to be more creative and aware to guide their children to make the best use of these digital equipments.

The crisis can be huge, and it is the moment we need to take charge of the situation, to make the best children for our future – children who value the relationships, who maintain equity in gender relations, who are non-violent and who support the aged. This is required with the change, now very much evident, in Indian society.

Romantic Songs – My Initial Starters into Public Singing

January 9, 2014 Leave a comment

The songs or choir classes had not started as yet, but whenever there was some free time after Teacher had taken the class or in the absence of a class teacher when the class monitor was to maintain class, I was asked to sing a song. As far as I can remember there were another two friends who used to sing their songs.

When I was in 5th standard schooling the song that was my favourite was ‘Neele Neele Ambar Par Chand Jab Aaye’. The song is popular amongst the learners in guitar. The lyrics say about longing for the lover during a night sky with moon, and mentions ‘thirst of the heart’ to be fulfilled.

In 7th standard I had also taken to English songs. It was due to the Grammy’s Award telecast on the television, and we were looking at the pop charts closely. And my favourite was ‘Whats Love Got To Do With It’.  This Tina Turner’s song starts with ‘You must understand that the touch of your hand makes my pulse react, Its physical ..’

Now when I try to analyse I can see commonness in the two songs – a strong romantic element with lyrics about a boy-girl relationship.  So between the age of 10 to 13 years I was singing quite romantic songs and the boy-girl physical relationship were important themes of that era of my music life or life as a whole.

There is further to be written about socialisation with opposite sex which I will do in a separate post (the reason why I purposely admitted them for schooling in a Co-Ed school). But to strike the note .. the point is that some bit of attraction to romantic feelings starts coming at a young age. And this should get creative expression.

Allah Ke Bande

October 13, 2012 Leave a comment

This is the song that I want to talk about today. Sung by Kailash Kher, the latest hit amongst the Sufi music experience.

One of the song I had wanted to sing for a long time. But was not able to practice because of the low to high tone that it demanded. A couple of weeks ago, finally I was able to practice it. This was during my favourite practice session sites of mobike driving.

Maybe I forgot to tell you that I drive the roads of Ranchi, singing Khalbali hai Khalbali and Ru-Ba-Ru Roshni Hai, because of the heights of voice that these songs require. Rimil sings along, and the crowd on the road does not gets much disturbed as it is at least better than the horns of cars and mobikes.

So it was during my mobike travels in the roads of Pakur, in drizzling rains of Aug-Sept, driving 100 to 150kms a day, that I practiced the song with the MP3 player connecting to my ears, under my helmet.

In Ranchi when I come for weekend stay with my family, Rimil checks the songs in my Mobile chip, and starts playing his favorites. And what by chance ? He has also started liking the song, and he practiced with me for 2 days last weekend.

Zohra also says Allah Ke Bande ! She has been hearing a lot of Allah with the twin kids (girls of 4 yrs age) of our House Owner, saying ‘Hai Allah!’ at every small thing while playing. She has also learnt some other things which I am trying hard to help her de-learn, like carrying a dupatta and a small purse, and always using her hands to put them in place. I tell her, ‘No dupatta and purse in front of me’. At times he cries, but that’s how the hard learning is during childhood, and she forgets the issue in a very short moment.

Girl’s body movements have been restricted by their clothes, given to them through traditions. We need to break away such gendered way of upbringing and help our children to grow up as equals… with equal opportunity to boys and girls to play (all kinds of games), dance (all kinds of dance), and spread their wings.

Readers please read Kamla Bhasin’s ‘Ladka kya hai, Ladki kya hai ?’ for more information on gendered upbringing of our children, the role our cultures play and the need to bring about a change.

Reminds me, that few days back Rimil was learning ‘Paryayvachi’ words in Hindi (words with same meaning), and he was learning Naari (woman) has another word ‘Abla’ (Incapable and Dependent) with the same meaning. But that is what the women’s movement in India has challenged by bringing out a magazine ‘Sabla’ (Capable), which focuses on women’s capacities which have been utilsed in a very limited manner by society. I did not poked him at that stage, but will have to after an year, to tell what ‘Abla’ and ‘Sabla’ means.

%d bloggers like this: