Passion to Profession!

The world of colors was my home. An introvert by nature, I spent hours pouring my emotions into my paintings. They gave me immense joy.

“You cannot make a profession out of painting. How much will the paints and brush help you earn?” Dad snatched the brushes from my hands and put these instruments in them instead.
Forced to pursue Math and Science, I became an Engineer. On the day I graduated, I presented to him, my degree certificate.

“I did what you wanted me to do. Now please let me follow my passion”, and picked up my brushes again.

Today, my paintings are exhibited the world over!

In India, even today Engineering and Medicine, are the most preferred career option the parents want their children to pursue, despite their child having no interest in it.  While it is encouraging to see a gradual shift in the mindset of parents to allow their children choose a non-science professional course, it will take a long time before all can have the freedom to opt for courses akin to their interest.

To be judged or not?

My daughter is a creative girl blessed with a flair for sketching, painting, doodling and now trying her hand at digital painting too. I always felt her work was decent enough and would goad her to take part in art competitions. She would always answer in negative.

One day I questioned her as to why she didn’t want to participate in any competition. To which she replied, “Art is a very subjective personification and a creative extension of oneself. If the competition is to replicate an object or still life, then yes there is scope to judge the piece. But for example, if the topic for the painting is “Peace”, how can you judge the entries? A tranquil scenery depicts peace, a person meditating amidst a raging storm outside maybe at peace, a young baby’s innocent smile may bring peace, a person enjoying a soulful melody may feel at peace or it could be universal brotherhood which is the essence of peace. Each person has his/her own perspective to an idea which he gives shape to. In the same way the person judging the art piece also may have his/her own interpretation to the topic, which may not be in sync with the artist’s work. All of them have put their feelings and emotions to paper. While one can give their opinion on the piece, it need not translate into comparison with other pieces.”

Well, I felt she had a valid point here. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

The blank canvas awaits its destiny

as a melange of ideas brew

in the ingenious niche of

the artist ‘s mind,

working in tandem with

dexterous fingers

as they get on with their creation.

Hours of labor brings forth

 the insipid white to life,

with a potpourri of hues

satiating the creative indulgence!

 

Virtual Classrooms!

Happy to share that this poem is featured in prohzeonline publications.

Young lady typing on keyboard of laptop in living room
pexel.com

Normally at this time of the year, the schools here in India, would witness a fusillade of squeals and chatter, welcoming the students after a two month vacation. The glee and excitement they feel on the opening day, is absolutely contagious. Dressed in a new uniforms, with new books, new classrooms, meeting old friends and new, they are all geared up to take on another academic year in their stride.

But alas, this year things seem to have gravitated from the normal. With uncertainty looming large in all aspects of life, and no clarity on how long this pandemic will last, schools have resorted to virtual classrooms with online classes for most of the grades. It is a huge adjustment for the teachers and the students alike. Everybody is desperately waiting for things to fall back to normalcy.

The deserted school waits in vain

for its classrooms to be filled,

with boisterous brats and nerdy brains,

 innocent laughter that echoes to the corridors

tiny hands that crayon a masterpiece

the endless debates of the thinking minds

experiments, hobbies and art classes

assignments, projects and field trips

 endless squabbles and punishment

the favourite teacher, the secret crush,

surprise tests, boring classes,

cheering buddies and bruised knees

pandemonium on playground,

innumerable memories created

within the periphery of school.

Today,

the languid souls confined to their rooms,

desperately try to focus on the lessons online

missing out on all the fun and learning.

Restless, they wait in anticipation

to step back into their classrooms

to fill  the canvas of their school life

with bold strokes of joyful learning.

Learning!

 

Image result for quote on learning

At each stage in life, we keep learning, seeking knowledge. The teachers imparting this knowledge may differ, but the lessons learnt remains with us for a lifetime. Teachers, professors, family, experiences, incidents all have an indelible impression in the molding our personality.

“Once a student always a student”. The one who follows this maxim is a good student. Graduating from college is just a few steps we have taken in our ascent to gain knowledge. One who ceases to learn, stagnates. Many life lessons are learnt beyond the  four walls of the school and college.

Learning a new language, hobby, sport, inculcating a new value, keeping abreast of the fast changing technology, learning to be more benevolent, forgiving, learning to embrace and adapt to changes…….it is an eternal journey and life is the best teacher!

Image result for quote on learning

Do share your life’s learnings beyond the portals of education!

 

 

 

 

The fear of failure!

Loser, Failure, Finger, Suggest, Board, Scaredy Cat
ic:pixabay

“The greatest mistake we make is living in the constant fear that we make one “ John. C. Maxwell

They say failure is the stepping stone to success….yet we are afraid to fail, aren’t we? We are hopeful that all our endeavors culminate in success. Many skip an opportunity if they are unsure of a positive outcome.

If we learn from our mistakes, then why are we always so wary not to make one?

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, be afraid of not learning from them”.

Looking back, I believe that all through our childhood we were conditioned to do everything right. Failure was looked down upon at school and among friends. People would be chided or belittled for going wrong, not to mention the tirade that followed, “It’s your fault”, “You can never get anything right”, “I told you so”….the list of such degrading comments never ceased.

Acceptance for failure is never total. I guess that is primarily the reason we still shun any form of failure!

“People often avoid making decisions out of the fear of making a mistake. Actually the failure to make decisions is one of life’s biggest mistakes”. Noah Winberg

Would love to know your opinion on this.

Marks = Intelligence ?

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“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein .

Jubilation, celebrations, disappointment, reprimands, humiliation and in a few cases suicide! This is pretty much the scenario in many Indian homes in the months of May and June as it is the season of results. The boards and many other competitive exams are out with the results of lakhs of students who appeared for various exams across all formats, ages and classes.

This breaking news dominates all newspapers, social media, workplaces, parties, meetings etc. The question arises, why this hullabaloo for student’s marks? Grades are just a quantitative indication of one’s performance in academics. While one should appreciate the hard work put in by children who have done well, it is equally important not to humiliate or put down the others who did not measure up to the expectations.

“ In school we learn that mistakes translates to bad grades. This unfortunate lesson gets burned into our brains, and we go through life shunning challenges that might end in failure. ” Mark Frauenfelder.

I am pained at how some schools and parents stop all other activities for their wards with the sole aim of cracking the exams with top grades for the Xth and XIIth boards. By doing so, they fail to realize that they are laying impediments in their child’s path to progress in the long term. With the prime focus only on the numbers, they ignore training the child in life skills which is so essential to deal with challenges that life throws at them. No wonder today the demand for child physiologists and counselors is on the rise, in our country.

I truly believe that marks are not the true reflection of a student’s intelligence. Is it fair to judge a student solely on his performance for the 3 hours of exam? I still can’t fathom the Indian parent’s obsession with their child to achieve a near centum in all subjects. As parents, we all want our kids to do well academically, but if his results are not top notch, it definitely is not the end of the world. Our society seems to link the grades in this crucial years to a matter of life and death.

“Grades don’t measure tenacity, courage, leadership, guts or whatever you want to call it. Teachers or any other persons in a position of authority should never tell anybody they will not succeed because they did not get all A’s in school. ” Thomas J. Stanley.

With the ever changing world, isn’t it time we changed our outlook regarding this grading system? Today there is no dearth of opportunities for a student to excel in any field.  His interest and passion for a subject can help him make a successful career out of it. As parents and teachers, it our responsibility to identify this in our kids and allow them to pursue subjects of their choice.

“A child’s mind is not a container to be filled out but rather a fire to be kindled.” Dorothea Brande .

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Let’s not link our child’s worth to his mark sheet, but give him wings to soar across the beautiful horizon and charter his own path to emerge victorious!

So, do you think marks = intelligence? Would love to understand your views on this system.

 

 

 

 

Inspiring Personalities!

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What is common among…….

  • Walt Disney, Harrison Ford, Ellen Degeneres, Martha Stewart, Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Being in the wrong profession earlier, they had the courage to listen to their heart and start afresh.

  • Mother Teresa, Hellen Keller, Florence Nightingale?

These are people who believed in the art of giving and helping the lesser privileged ones, with always a smile on their face.

  • Nick Vujicic, Deepa Malik, Stephen Hawking, Helen Keller?

Despite a physical challenge, they went onto prove that once you make up your mind, nothing is impossible.

  • K. Rowling, Amitabh Bachhan, Colonel Sanders, Michael Jordon?

In spite of multiple rejections these people refused to give up and went on to become world famous.

There are many living examples of people around us displaying admirable grit and courage, fighting against adversaries to emerge champions.

How often have you come close to giving up on your dreams, how often has rejection left you heart broken, how many decisions in life have you regretted not taken? We tend to blame our failures and eventually lose faith and give up.

But the above personalities refused to be bogged down by failures and challenges. They kept their faith and marched on, in spite of the obstacles, till they realised their dreams.

How are they different from us? No, they are just like you and me. The only thing that has helped them reach the pinnacle is that they never gave up. They have qualities of humility, courage, vision, never give up attitude and always a positive outlook as their mantra for life. No matter how bleak their path ahead looked, they refused to let go of these qualities. They consider failure as a stepping stone and bounce back resilient, after a setback. That is why they are an inspiration to the entire world!

Let’s look up to them and follow our passion earnestly. Who knows, one among us will inspire many others tomorrow !!

 

 

A tribute to Teachers!

A guide, a guru, a teacher, a mentor, an educator call them by any name they mean the same.

In India, teacher’s day is celebrated on  5 September every year to commemorate the birth of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan.

There is no denying in the fact that the teacher’s have played a very important role in moulding our personality and shaping us in who we are today.  A child is like wet clay, waiting to be sculpted into a beautiful piece of art. The teachers carry a huge responsibility of shaping the young minds!

On Teacher’s day, I look back in gratitude to all the people who have influenced me to be the person who I am today.  Parents, siblings, teachers, friends, husband, children, strangers, experiences and above all our greatest teacher “Life”!

A teacher,

ignites the young mind

nurtures the sprouts to take strong roots

clears the weeds of ignorance

helps the bud blossom into a flower!

 

A teacher,

Is a beacon of light guiding

like a candle who burns selflessly

to light a thousand new ones

enlightening the eager minds!

 

A teacher,

encourages her pupil

to flap their wings and soar high

instils confidence in them to

 tread on uncharted paths!

 

Salutations to all the teachers who

with their words of wisdom

can influence and impact

a student, beyond eternity!

 

Pic courtesy: The above posters have been designed by my daughter!

Cleanliness!

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ic:teachersdigest.com

Cleanliness they say is next to godliness. Cleanliness means different things to different people. Cleanliness refers not only to the way tend ourselves and our homes, but also the care we take to maintain the environment. The significance of cleanliness and hygiene cannot be overlooked by any society. Habits which are learnt at an early age get embedded into one’s personality. Let me give you an example. This incident happened many years ago, when our kids were quite young. On an outing, our son threw a chocolate wrapper which went and fell on the parapet wall. My husband was very upset with his behaviour and made him climb the wall, pick up the wrapper and put it in the bin. This incident left an indelible impression in his mind about the importance of cleanliness. Later, he was an active participant in many lake cleaning initiatives in our city. Cultivating the habit of keeping our body, homes and surroundings clean should be inculcated in children from a young age.

In India I have seen many educated people who drive big fancy cars but throw wrappers and thrash out of their windows. Why is it that our country is not clean? Why do we find litter all around us, overflowing garbage dumps on the roadside bins, paan stains on the stairs and every other corner. Why are our railway stations, public washrooms in such a sorry state? Even places like the pristine Himalayas are strewn with plastic bottles and bags. Apart from the not so pleasant picture we paint, they are also a haven for spreading of many diseases. Who is responsible for all this? Is it only the government? As citizens of this country are we not responsible to keep our surroundings clean?

Why are some of the western countries so clean? What do they do different from us, that their cities and towns are picture perfect? Let me share my experience on a trip to Europe a few years back. We traveled by road for about 3000 kms across 3 countries. Believe me, during the entire trip I did not come across any place which was dirty.  The small villages, the washrooms at public places, the stations were so clean and well maintained. I will tell you why. In Germany we were waiting outside our hotel for the bus. A lady parked her car across the road.  She had probably come back shopping, so she had many bags in her hand. As she was juggling the many bags, a paper fell from her bag. She kept her bags at the apartment lobby, came back, picked up the paper and put it in the bin. Again this taught me a very important lesson. Just as we are responsible in keeping our homes clean, every single person is equally responsible for keeping his country clean.

There is a dire need to educate and sensitize people about the importance of cleanliness. Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi started an ambitious campaign of “Swachh Bharat”. The media ,social workers, educational institutes can all play a major role in this direction but above all it is we as an individual who can make a difference. Let me narrate a small story about a college girl who made a difference. Their college had gone for a picnic. After sightseeing and enjoying various games they started munching snacks and recklessly throwing the papers and plates all around. One girl among them quietly started collecting all the litter in a cover. Initially her friends started making fun of her. But she quietly went on with it. Slowly her friends felt ashamed of their behaviour and they too joined in her effort.

Gandhiji rightly said “Be the change you want to see “. Just like the girl in the story, if each of us follows this and does our bit in the keeping our surroundings clean, we can definitely paint a picture of a cleaner and greener India! An article I read last week reiterates this. Indore, a city in central India, has been declared the cleanest city in India in 2017. It was ranked at #149 in the year 2014. This year it won the cleanest city award in Swachh Survekshan. How did this turnaround happen?  Point to ponder!!

What are your views on cleanliness? Have you contributed in any way to keep your surroundings clean?

 

 

 

Import Garbage???

This morning’s news item in the paper caught my attention. It read: “Sweden runs out of garbage, imports from other countries”!  It has a state of art recycling plant which runs on garbage.Oh! Wow!!! I couldn’t believe what I read.!!!

The article went on to elaborate that:

  • Sweden sources almost half of its electricity from renewables.
  • Less than one percent of its household waste has been sent to landfill last year.
  • The national cohesive recycling policy ensures that the energy generated from burning of waste goes into a national heating network to heat homes through the extreme cold winters.

In the present day due to reckless attitude of man in the name of development, we are playing havoc with the balance of the environment.  Conferences around the world highlight the threat of global warming. The alarming trends of the polar ice caps melting at rapid pace, drastic changes in temperature, isolated rainfall during monsoon, indiscriminate felling of trees keep making it to the headlines.

Here the landfills are rising at dangerous proportions, giving out toxic fumes. This has an alarming effect on the health of the people living in its close vicinity. The many initiatives such as Swacchh Bharat, waste segregation, ban on plastic bags have all lost their fizz after the initial gusto with which they were launched.

With the amount of garbage generated in our country, I am sure we can have a perennial supply of recyclables to run such sophisticated plants. I am sure if India and many more countries adopt this novel and innovative approach, our environmental concerns can be tackled to a large extent.

 

IC: http://www.google.com

 

 

 

 

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