Shishuvan’s Project Day 2014

2014-07-26 10.27.15Kavya’s school, Shishuvan held their Project Day 2014 on July 25th and 26th. As has been the norm every child participates in the event (will not wax eloquent on that lest I stray from my thoughts) The theme for Kavya and her class IV was India and her neighbours. Kavya had sung the Bangladeshi song (she said it was written by Rabindranath Tagore), the Pakistani song (which was more like a nice prayer) and the Chinese song not to forget a song in different languages including French and German words considering my little knowledge of all the languages. She was to introduce the Chinese song so as a Toastmaster in the making, it was my duty to coach her which I did and she carried it off with aplomb during the rehearsals at home.

Friday being a working day, I could not attend but Saturday made it with her by 0850 which was her reporting time. There was so much knowledge to imbibe from children. I went to her class first and was greeted by a huge map of India showing mountains, plains etc. and children would ask questions. It can be embarrassing believe me to tell a 10 year old that you don’t know something. They would then explain it all to me. Kavya and her friend were talking about National Symbols and would pose questions on that. There were a lot of other things including a word search in Hindi which for me was very tough. Then they had capitals of states and I was wronged when I said that the capital of Assam is Guwahati – It is Dispur for those who think like me:-) Learn from me!!! I learnt it from them. The children even wore the traditional attire for states and had the delicacies of that state on the table. The vada paavs and other items were sure tempting and I would joke with the kids if they were meant for me. The musical event then started and so I witnessed that as will be seen from the video links below. Kavya spoke well so yes she can be a Toastmaster if groomed well. Potential member in the making for Bombay Toastmasters :-)

After that I strayed into the Class V rooms just to see what was in store for Kavya next year. It was impressive to see children at that age discussing solar photovoltaic and solar water heating systems. They even had a complete chart on the Solar Park in Gujarat which was worth reading. Sometimes you skim through news paper or magazine articles but these posters are short and the copy is crisp so you can gain the gyaan you want. Try it if you haven’t.

Came back to Kavya’s class ie Standard IV and saw the Indian monuments made by them. Well, don’t expect models to be replicas of what you actually see but these were children’s ways of portraying. Kavya had chewed my head over some words on Howrah Bridge which I gave to her thanks to Google & Wikipedia. Lo and behold, I see those words there along with their model of Howrah Bridge. Children maintain that veil of secrecy honestly. She wouldn’t divulge what to expect and it sure came as a surprise to see so many models made by the children.

The revelation for me was that they had actually contacted a school in Bangladesh and exchanged Powerpoint presentations with each other showing them their school, the country etc. And they received similar presentations from there as well. Wow. That was impressive indeed. I always wondered that pen friendship was all but over with the advent of Social media, e-mail etc. but no it is there in some other form. How I wish Kavya takes to pen friendship like my Dad (her Grandfather) and me. We have both enjoyed and continue to enjoy writing to friends over the years and they are now more than family to us.

Then heard this rhythmic loud drumming which was quite impressive so went up to the 4th floor and saw these two boys from VII standard playing drums (sorry but for a layman anything would be a drum even if it were a tabla or mridangam). They showed great dexterity and the crowds were equally enthusiastic in cheering them. Worth a dekko any day.

Enthusiastic parents and grandparents thronged the school but honestly it was the enthusiasm of the students and teachers which could be sensed in the air and that made the whole event a memorable learning experience. Keep it up Shishuvan and keep it up Kavya and all students. Proud of you all.

Photographs available here

The beginning of the musical event with the children saying Hello available here

The Bangladeshi Song is here

The Pakistani Song is here

Kavya’s video introducing the Chinese song available here. Coincidentally I ran out of memory just when she finished speaking so couldn’t get the Chinese song.

Random thoughts mid air

thoughtsThese are thoughts that came to my mind when flying back from Delhi to Mumbai on July 31, 2014 onboard the Go Air flight.

  • You realise the value of games only when you are on a flight, tired and nothing but the phone in airplane mode for company. Why did I remove all of them?
  • Kejriwal is back to his usual antics. Saw on a rickshaw in Delhi about his dharna or whatever on August 3, 2014. No kidding!!! Sunday barbaad Delhi waalon.
  • Delhi flyovers are so flat that they accumulate water sufficient for a child to swim. Glad Mumbai is not so bad though can’t say the same about the Dadar fly over!
  • Usage of whatsapp for school homework transmittal reminds me of my days in VJTI when we had to photocopy and post stuff to each other.
  • I used whatsapp today to do some google research for Kavya. Collected material while at Delhi Airport and sent it to wifey so it is done before Kavya sleeps. #collaboration
  • Co passenger has a headache and requests for a pain-killer. Air hostess checks and asks “have you eaten anything?” #courtesy #goair
  • Traveled without shaving foam just so that don’t have to check in my bag. So when I get off I can say my bag was the first to arrive which has never happened!
  • No news papers on board. How boring. Can’t kill time and no online access either else would have posted these on social media. Need internet in flight like in the US.
  • Do they actually measure what is trending on whatsapp? Today alimony, hotmail and hot male were trending on all possible groups on whatsapp!!
  • Mumbai’s climate showing up already as we pass through a bumpy patch. Will it be raining when we land? Yesterday’s landing at Ahmedabad was kinda scary with water every where.
  • Captain makes the magical announcement that we have commenced our descent into Mumbai. Those are the words everyone longs to hear after a tiring day.
  • Reminder to self – get the cycle fixed you idiot before you forget cycling!!!
  • Should I make all of these into a blog post? Or should I post individually on Facebook? Confused!! Mind is constantly thinking.
  • Why don’t people turn off their cell phones? Mid air I hear someone receive a message on a Samsung phone going by the sound. Also why don’t they install jammers? Jhanjhat khatam!!!
  • With 10 minutes to land I am now feeling sleepy. Hang in there Manish, go home and sleep like a baby. Considering my girth can I be called a baby??? Oversized maybe.

English Gaffes found during trip to Kashmir

These are pictures I took during the trip to Kashmir in Summer, 2014.

The first one was taken on the drive from Katra to Srinagar. While Ladies is fine, what is Jinds? Some 4th sex?? Supreme court should regularise this one too.

The second picture was taken in Pahalgam market. Pastre??? Paties??? I sincerely hope they don’t botch up spellings on the Birthday cake like this.

2014-05-31 18.52.46

 

 

2014-06-05 17.21.44

Uncertainties of Life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASorry if the visual is disturbing but the mind keeps wavering to what happened suddenly. Yesterday at 1845 I got a call from my wifey who had spoken to me barely ten minutes ago. As is typical of me, I blew up at her as I was just wrapping up the last few things at the office. She then conveyed to me the news that left me numb. Her aunt, Tejalkaki had passed away as short while ago at 1825 following a massive attack. To say that I was shocked would have been an understatement. She was barely 52 or 53! And we had met only last Friday ie 5 days ago when she had invited us for an upcoming celebration in the family and now you hear she is no more. Gosh how uncertain is this life. Just can’t get over this. May God rest her soul in peace.

Rains in Mumbai but I am not complaining

People wade through waterlogged streets of Mumbai after heavy rains in Mumbai on July 2, 2014. (Photo: Sandeep Mahankal/IANS)
After an acute dry spell all of June not to mention the scorching heat, Mumbai finally received rains yesterday. And the rains Gods well and truly opened their hearts out. No it wasn’t like the July 26, some 8 or 9 years ago but it did bring respite from the sweltering heat.

People went ballistic on social media (yours truly included) talking about the rains. Everyone was either posting pictures or discussing rains. Hot topic of the day it was.

As expected, life was out of control with flooding, traffic jams, potholes, you name it and you had that…

But I for one was surely not in a mood to rant. It brought the much-needed respite from the heat. The sun went into hiding for almost the entire day as the grey clouds took over the skies. Just that the clouds opened up so temperatures dropped from the 35 degrees + that we were living in to under 30. May not mean much to all but it meant the world to Mumbaikars.

Air, road and rail traffic was all thrown out of gear. The first rains always do that in Mumbai but we are used to it so the typical “chalta hai” Mumbaikar braved it all. As usual it debunked the usual claims of the municipal authorities that they had done their work and there would be no flooding etc. But still “chalta hai”

As I write at 0630 on Thursday it is raining outside. I could not go cycling as it was pouring hard but I am surely not complaining. Just a hot cup of coffee with R D Burman music would do the trick for me.

Rain Gods, please continue to pour. Mumbai (and the whole of India) very badly needs rains. And also please pour in the catchment areas so that the lakes get filled up. Mumbai’s annual water supply is at stake already.

A blog anniversary, giveaways and YOU

Manish Kamdar:

A very nice thought. Maybe time for me to conjure up something like this? But no following I guess:-) Loved the post on Matunga. Sion Fort is something that I have never been too despite being right in my backyard.

Originally posted on My Favourite Things:

Earlier this week, this blog of mine celebrated its 4th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, I decided to have a special and exciting event on the blog, something that has never been attempted before here.

And that something, dear reader, is the First. Ever. Giveaway. on My Favourite Things. Did I say Giveaway? Correction. It should be Giveaways as there are two of them. Details with regard to what they are, how you can participate and win them, and the Terms & Conditions are given below.

GIVEAWAY 1

Giveaway 1 is a bundle of 4 books: The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz;  Land of Seven Rivers; A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal; Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair; and Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction by Geraldine A. Johnson (see photograph below). The books are not new, but are in excellent condition.

Blog Giveaway

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Holidaying in Kashmir – Some thoughts

2014-06-05 10.54.44June 7, 2014 8.12 PM

Just returning from a week-long holiday in Kashmir. Honestly it is a beautiful location, truly blessed by nature. Tourism can really boom here but…

1. Inclusion – People are still aloof I felt. I don’t care about the political aspects of it but honestly the locals lack opportunities for employment. Education is predominantly in Urdu no complaints but post completion of graduation – what? We had a guide by the name Sanaollah in Gulmarg. His son was soon going to complete his bachelors in commerce from Srinagar university and his question was hard-hitting – what next for him? Tourism is the major business in Kashmir and employment was scarce for graduates. We should definitely include them in the growth story. Another incident that struck me was in Sonmarg where we had a teenager helping us climb up the snow. He was studying in his class 10 and after school at 2 pm he would do odd jobs to earn some money. Yet another child who came with a horse in Pahalgam for the kids. He just be 12 or 14 years old. Wants to study and earns money that way. Maybe just feeding the family? A common grouse is that the tourist season is on for 5 months in a year and that is when they earn money. Balance 7 months?? Idle mind is a devil’s workshop. I won’t elaborate on that anymore.

2. Infrastructure – roads are terrible. I know it is a hilly terrain so The Border Roads Organisation are doing a fabulous job but we need to improve this and at a much faster pace if we have to bring in tourists. Electricity goes off at any time but this is a malaise affecting the whole of India so won’t like to say more. The Dal lake is full of weeds and muck. Why not make it a pleasure to live in the houseboats?

3. Fleecing – the locals simply believe in fleecing tourists. I know this is everywhere in the world but we just need to draw a line somewhere. Everywhere you see them ganging up talking in their local language and then asking for a bomb despite rates being published by the government everywhere. And mind you the rates are more than handsome so why fleece further? Luckily we found someone in Sonmarg and in Gulmarg too who helped us but found a lot of tourists fleeced. Even foreigners weren’t spared. Our tourism policy must bring about a change honestly.

4. Food – challenging honestly. We found just ONE Smokin’ Joes outlet in Srinagar! We should have quality restaurants too. I am not asking for the fine dining types but basic hygiene should be maintained. My nephew is picky and shrieked at the sight of a cockroach in the restaurant (rather dhaba). Why can’t we have some standards? This is not just applicable to Kashmir but to the whole of India.

All in all a great place to visit and had a great time too but then we need to do something to bring more people to this glorious place too. Maybe the new government will bring about some change.

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