Confessions…

Pir Vilayat Khan said: A perfect human being is a man in search of his ideal of perfection. Nothing less!

But, is anyone perfect?

I am born as a human being, faltering at every step; falling and then rising; failing and then succeeding. I am not perfect; I am not all-knowing! I am just a simple human being, made of flesh and blood and having a heart that beats and echoes countless feelings and emotions.

I smile often, but not always. I cry often and get angry too. I am a moron always, but often an enthusiast too. But, that’s me! Accept me or reject me, I will be the same till I breathe my last.

I know not, which behaviour or attitude of mine has hurt myfriendsand relatives. But if it has, I apologise. I am temperamental, rude and harsh at times, may be always, but I am not arrogant.

I own nothing that can make me arrogant. A life half lived, a journey half traversed, wealth not amassed yet, a career not strong enough. I just own one thing that makes me feel rich, and that is my family – My mother, my siblings and my husband. Their love is all that I own, that makes me proud, yet not arrogant.

I have loved enough, yet want to love more. I have lived enough, yet want to live more. I want to dance in the rain, count the stars at night, walk through the flower valley, sing melodious songs and collect countless pebbles and shells on the sea-shore.

Dreams unlimited, desires countless and worries boundless — These are my assets. Dreams and desires make me going and my worries keep me awake. This is life..my life in a nutshell.

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A Teacher – What does she mean to YOU?

Having spent half a decade in teaching profession, I had the opportunity to work and interact with the most unfortunate fraternity of the most powerful, yet the most helpless souls on earth – teachers – and yes, I was one of them.

I am calling teachers the most powerful souls because they shape a country’s future, by nurturing its potential resources – students. But, why am I calling them helpless? You will get to know in the next 3 minutes of reading this post.

Year 2003: A woman, in her early thirties or late forties, wakes up at 4 am. Cooks lunch for her old in-laws, husband, and children. She packs everyone’s lunchbox, including hers. Makes breakfast at 6:30 am and feeds her school going kids and her husband at 8 am; sends them off to work and school. Then, breathlessly gets ready to rush to work (misses her own breakfast in the rush to reach school early, before the school assembly starts, and to avoid the nasty yelling of the school Principal).

Reaches school at 8:45 am, almost discharging all her energies all the way enters the classroom, comprising 45 teenaged students. Tries to calm a noisy class, fearing the Principal and other teachers might consider her incapable of managing a class.

Then, she starts the class. Forgets all her stress she has undergone since morning. She teaches her students with all her efforts and abilities. Tries her best that she communicates well, and her students understand what she is explaining.

She spends all day doing this. In the end of the month, she is paid a meager 2500 to 5000 bucks. But she doesn’t mind! She loves her work of interacting with students – guiding them – being their friend, psychologist, and parent – performing multiple roles.

There is no scope for promotion and no hopes of a good pay. Because there is no performance management process in place. But, she strives hard to do her best.

During this journey of being a teacher, some students leave a mark on her mind and heart, by their abilities to do better – in academics, sports, or cultural activities. She gets closer to these kinds of students. In the process, she never forgets others. She tries to find talent in others – because she believes each student is blessed with a unique quality. At times, she is successful in doing this, at times is not.

But, she never gives up! In Creative Thinking classes, or in proxy classes, she makes her best efforts to interact with as many students as possible. Understand them and their issues – makes efforts to resolve them.

When her students perform well in class, she feels overjoyed. And when they don’t, she works hard to make them do well next time – encourages them to do better day by day.

On occasions, her patience gives way (not to forget that she is a human being after all!!). She slaps a student and tells him what a worthless effort it was to have expectations from him/her.

Gets back home with the burden of slapping a student, whom she is nurturing with all her care, just so she feels proud of his/her achievements, years later. For her, slapping, punishing, or admonishing a student is just like doing the same to her own child.

But the world outside – comprising the school authority, parents, and also her students for that matter, don’t think that way. Their expectations are very high – incommensurable! For them, she is super-human – an epitome of patience, knowledge, and a field of undying energies. They forget that she is a human being who is underpaid and overstressed, yet helps her students graduate from one class to another – learning concepts to concepts – developing them mentally and psychologically, preparing them to step out to the BIGGER world outside.

Imagine a time years later: She takes pride to see her students doing well in life – someone is an IIT alumnus and an engineer; someone is a doctor; someone is a Business Consultant, while someone works with an accountancy firm. For her, all are successful in their own fields. She boasts of laying the early bricks in the foundation of their career.

She is happy and content. Whenever she looks at the mirror, she doesn’t regret growing old or seeing her greying hair. Her heart brims with pride that she spent her youthful days preparing her students for their respective careers.

But, one day she is in tears. She finds a page on social media, with hate speeches against her colleagues, made by her own students. She feels helpless – ruined – devastated. She finds a couple of good comments about her. But, how does that matter?

She told herself: This is what I nurtured them for? This is what I taught them? Did I go wrong somewhere in educating them? Didn’t I tell them not to follow the blinding and injuring principle of “An eye for an eye”?!! Was my love and care – motivation and encouragement not enough that they started expecting the same from all?

I taught them to be good in all circumstances – I taught them to be kind.

Tear drops go gliding down her aging cheeks. She buries her face under her wrinkled arms, and weeps for hours.

For the first time, in years of teaching, she realizes the thanklessness of the profession. She feels forgotten and lost. She feels broken from within.

The Edge of Desire – Tuhin A. Sinha: A Review

the-edge-of-desire

I read Tuhin A. Sinha’s first book, “That Thing Called Love”, in the year 2009. A randomly-picked book became one of my favorite books. Reason? Its simple flow of story and unique love tales – articulately woven and told. It became such a favorite, that I proudly treasured it in my bookshelf.

This year, when Tuhin’s “The Edge of Desire” reached my hands, I hurriedly started reading it word by word. My hectic work schedule kept me off my reading table. But, a short ailment and time off from work helped me spend some fruitful time with the book. Today, I finished reading it and couldn’t stop myself from writing a review.

The story spins around the protagonist Shruti Ranjan – a journalist turned politician – and her tryst with love, failure, humiliation due to a brutal rape, meteoric success as a politician, and various other dilemmas – professional and personal. There are other three leading characters in the story – Sharad (a leading politician and Shruti’s Godfather in politics), Abhay (Shruti’s ex-BF), and Rohit (Shruti’s husband and an IAS officer) – who are someway connected with Shruti’s life and have a role to play in her happiness, sadness, or success.

While reading the book, I encountered myriad emotions, like anguish, joy, sadness, and regret. Tuhin has effortlessly and successfully potrayed the emotions of a woman despite being a man. It’s unimaginable how a man so beautiful describes the feelings of a woman.

There are moments when the emotions of a rape victim are so beautifully and subtly described, that I forgot completely that the author of the book is a man! I got soaked in Shruti’s grieving self. I mourned with her for the brutality meted out to her, and also felt her resolve to avenge the wrong. Such is the impact of the thoughtful first-person narration.

The story speaks volumes about Tuhin’s good knowledge of Indian history and polity. There is a good balance of fiction and facts seamlessly presented in the story.

Despite talking at length about the Indian polity, religions, social issues, and history, Tuhin has maintained remarkable caution in not flaring up unwanted controversies. His writing has depth and deep understanding of a writer’s responsibility to communicate appropriate message to his readers.

There is a beautiful definition of “undefined” love in Shruti’s relationship with Sharad. A relationship that’s like Krishna and Draupadi’s or Krishna and Arjuna for that matter. In today’s world, when writers openly bring sex and lust into their stories dealing with relationships, or women precisely, Tuhin has been successful in pen-potraying the beauty of love – platonic and sexual.

I especially liked that part of the story where he tries to bring forth the various equations that make up a relationship. He has beautifully presented the human nature to seek love beyond love, and then repenting when it is lost.

What I liked the most about the book was its easy-to-read and fast-paced story flow. The language is intelligible to all classes of readers. A perfect read for all age-groups.

I am at loss of words at this point, but can surely tell you one thing – Despite having a completely unconventional theme, The Edge of Desire has the potential to develop into a full-fledged cinema of Ganga Jal or Rajneeti genre.

As a huge movie buff, I’d like to see The Edge of Desire on screen someday.