Monday, January 10, 2011

Food for rumination

My friends have been kind enough to introduce me to these quotes which, unlike most others, strike a note somewhere within me.

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us walk together.
- Lila Watson

Yesterday, I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me,
Because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”
And so I shambled after.
- Jean-Louis “Jack” Kerouac

Visiting a Teach for India classroom

After being selected for Teach for India (TFI), I received an email from a current TFI fellow, Pukhraj Ranjan, inviting me to visit and observe her class, her school, her day. So I took up this chance as soon as I returned to Bombay.

Visiting Pukhraj's class was a great experience. The school is about 5 minutes walk from Dadar station. Situated on the 2nd floor of a building housing 2 other marathi and gujrati medium schools, the chitter-chatter and bustling of kids was palpable before one entered the building. The The school principal was very warm and friendly while I waited for Pukhraj.

Meeting Pukhraj's class and watching her teach was immense fun. After I was introduced, I was a little self-conscious sitting at the last bench, but it disappeared with time as I was completely ignored as the teaching began. :P The children were adsorbed in the teachings, however, that did not stop them from sneaking furtive glances at me and each other. I was asked my name in hushed voices by kids around me as soon as they found Pukhraj not paying attention to them. Contrary to my expectations, all the students were very well-behaved and could understand English well. Of course, there was the usual cross-talk and the nudging and the day-dreaming.

The first class was on English. I was keenly paying attention to the teaching methodologies used throughout the class. It was a real learning on class management.
The second class was math. Both the classes were an hour long. At the end of the math class, I helped explain and reinforce the concept of perimeter to a small group of students in the class. I loved it. The kids were awesome. We drew various shapes on a slate and figured out their perimeter. Then we all high-fived and sniggered at the shapes given for the homework because we had just done those shapes. Now it was time for lunch break. All the kids took out their tiffins and seeing the delicious home-cooked food made me realize how hungry I was. I was also surprised about why I had never appreciated my tiffin during childhood.

During the break, I got a chance to meet 3 other TFI fellows. They were all fun, eclectic and interesting. Neha, a graduate from NYU, had her birthday that day so there was a huge cake for her (which was delicious!). There are 2 more classes in that school managed by TFI fellows. Class I is co-taught by Neha and Dhanya and class III is taught by Prabhu. I was warmly invited to see their classes as well, something which I intend to do in the coming weeks.

Magic Carpet Ride

All I wish is that you remember the times that we spent together for what they were. The excitement of attraction, conversation and exploration. They were some of the best times of my life. I hope they were good for you too. I never intended to be a hindrance and now, as you embark on your journey to seek what you want, I wish you best.