Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bumblebee, hold on there!


It's been a kind of depressing week. Mountains of work, not making much progress. Things haven't worked out the way I wanted them to. I built magnificent castles in the air, castles with no bases whatsoever. They crashed a few days ago. I felt weak, hopeless and lost. Angry and devastated. I spent a few hours crying, moping and cursing over my fate. As a result, I achieved nothing but red eyes and a terrible headache. Lesson 1 learnt (yet again!)- there is nothing worth crying over. What has to happen will happen. There is probably a divine will behind it. Who can challenge the power of the Cosmos?

Lesson 2- Life is not meant to be spent building on expectations. Once again, I realized the essence of the Gita- "Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana, Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani". Literally translated, it means "You have a right to perform your prescribed action,but you are not entitled to the fruits of your action." I am reminded of a beautiful comparison of our roles in this universe with that of a puppet. We, as puppets, have to play our parts. But the Puppeteer alone knows when to move the puppet and how to do it.

Lesson 3- Learn to be like the bumblebee. Scientists say that the bumblebee cannot really fly because of its heavy wings. (OK, I never was a science person, so I really cannot explain this stuff, but I've heard this somewhere, so yeah...) But the bumblebee doesn't know of this fact and so it keeps trying to fly! We all have our limitations. Just ignore them and keep trying. Bumblebee, hold on there, the Puppeteer will not let go of the string!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Chat with Sadhana


I wrote about my experience of volunteering at Isha Vidhya, a school for children predominantly from the rural background in Tamil Nadu earlier. Thanks to today's technology, I have been able to keep in touch with some of those wonderful kids. It always makes me feel optimistic and cheerful- their happiness is infectious!!

Just a few hours ago, I chatted with Sadhana, a smart little third grader who would frequently call me at home when I was back in Coimbatore. I had spoken to her aunt a few weeks earlier and she told me that Sadhana was doing very well at school. So today I congratulated her for her good academic performance. She told me that she now has a new pet- a cuckoo! Then she told me that all her friends- Sowbarnika, Srimathi, Pradeesh and Mouli are fine. I was really touched when she said that they all miss me. It was such a simple conversation, but it brought me immense joy.

Of late, I have been thinking about what exactly is the meaning of this life- Is it just a mad, mad rush for good grades, good jobs, pride, power, position? I sometimes feel disillusioned when I think of the futility of this rat race, a sense of disappointment, a nagging worry that everything will one day go. But then I remember these simple chats with Sadhana- there are certain things that do last a lifetime. Maybe, I should follow my passion for teaching- is that the meaning I'm looking for?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Remembering Lena's

Well, today's one of those days where I just cannot get to work without having blogged about something, anything that I'm thinking about right now. So I decided to blog about the very first school I attended- Lena's School, Lovedale. Lena's School, tucked away in the village of Lovedale (dare I call it a village?) on the outskirts of Ooty, will always remain special to me. In my mind's eye, I can still see the school, set against the picturesque backdrop of the Nilgiri Hills, mist floating everywhere in the vicinity. I haven't read Edmund Hillary's "Schoolhouse in the Clouds" yet, but the image of Lena's always pops into my mind whenever I think of the book, making me want to read it all the more.

My parents used to work at the Lawrence School, Lovedale, which is just a stone's throw away, so I guess it was quite convenient for them to leave me at Lena's. I remember my first day at kindergarten. Mom and dad took me to the Principal's office- Sister Ann Joseph. Stern yet kind, always smiling, always ready to help us. I also remember Sister Sheeba who taught me math in grade 2. I think it was she who scored out two pages in my notebook where I had eagerly written down my even and odd numbers, anxious to be the first one in the class to complete the task. I was dismayed when she pointed out to me that I had labeled the pages wrongly! So Sister Sheeba was the one who first taught me the virtues of "looking before leaping".

Then there was Shyamala Miss who taught us Hindi. Oh!! I remember the agony of reading my Hindi answers out to Mom so that she could write it down in English. Weird? Yes, there's more to it- Neither Mom nor dad are experts at Hindi . Come to think of it, after all those years, neither am I. Our education system is like that. What to do? But I digress. So before every exam, there was a little ritual followed at home. I used to rattle off all my answers to mom who used to check with my notes to see if I had learnt well. So that was how mom learnt some Hindi- jotting down my answers in English!

I recollect an incident where Lena's suddenly decided to use question papers for examinations in grade 3, instead of the old system of having them written on the blackboard. This was introduced so that we wouldn't be surprised when we did get in to Lawrence for grade 4. My teacher wanted to give us a dictation and by mistake those words were printed on the paper, and then hastily blackened out! I remember going back home and laughing over the whole episode.

I remember with fondness, my first friends- Monica and Kaumudi. Joyous days spent on swings and slides, squabbling over the silliest of issues, laughing while on the merry-go-round, singing Christmas carols in December...It's been a long time from then, but I still feel the warmth in my heart when I think of those days. Thank you Lena's for all those precious memories...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Universal Prayer

"May the whole world be happy
May our compassion increase.
May we all sing in one voice together
May the world find peace.

Lead us from untruth to the truth,
Lead us from darkness to light,
Lead us from death to immortality,
Lead us from blindness to sight.

Lokaha samastaha sukhino bhavantu!"

P.S: I came across this beautiful prayer in a video of the Hugging Saint ( my guru Amma) titled "Embracing the World". I thought it was such a simple message, yet so powerfully written! A harbinger of hope indeed :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bumblebee, hold on there!


It's been a kind of depressing week. Mountains of work, not making much progress. Things haven't worked out the way I wanted them to. I built magnificent castles in the air, castles with no bases whatsoever. They crashed a few days ago. I felt weak, hopeless and lost. Angry and devastated. I spent a few hours crying, moping and cursing over my fate. As a result, I achieved nothing but red eyes and a terrible headache. Lesson 1 learnt (yet again!)- there is nothing worth crying over. What has to happen will happen. There is probably a divine will behind it. Who can challenge the power of the Cosmos?

Lesson 2- Life is not meant to be spent building on expectations. Once again, I realized the essence of the Gita- "Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana, Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani". Literally translated, it means "You have a right to perform your prescribed action,but you are not entitled to the fruits of your action." I am reminded of a beautiful comparison of our roles in this universe with that of a puppet. We, as puppets, have to play our parts. But the Puppeteer alone knows when to move the puppet and how to do it.

Lesson 3- Learn to be like the bumblebee. Scientists say that the bumblebee cannot really fly because of its heavy wings. (OK, I never was a science person, so I really cannot explain this stuff, but I've heard this somewhere, so yeah...) But the bumblebee doesn't know of this fact and so it keeps trying to fly! We all have our limitations. Just ignore them and keep trying. Bumblebee, hold on there, the Puppeteer will not let go of the string!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Chat with Sadhana


I wrote about my experience of volunteering at Isha Vidhya, a school for children predominantly from the rural background in Tamil Nadu earlier. Thanks to today's technology, I have been able to keep in touch with some of those wonderful kids. It always makes me feel optimistic and cheerful- their happiness is infectious!!

Just a few hours ago, I chatted with Sadhana, a smart little third grader who would frequently call me at home when I was back in Coimbatore. I had spoken to her aunt a few weeks earlier and she told me that Sadhana was doing very well at school. So today I congratulated her for her good academic performance. She told me that she now has a new pet- a cuckoo! Then she told me that all her friends- Sowbarnika, Srimathi, Pradeesh and Mouli are fine. I was really touched when she said that they all miss me. It was such a simple conversation, but it brought me immense joy.

Of late, I have been thinking about what exactly is the meaning of this life- Is it just a mad, mad rush for good grades, good jobs, pride, power, position? I sometimes feel disillusioned when I think of the futility of this rat race, a sense of disappointment, a nagging worry that everything will one day go. But then I remember these simple chats with Sadhana- there are certain things that do last a lifetime. Maybe, I should follow my passion for teaching- is that the meaning I'm looking for?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Remembering Lena's

Well, today's one of those days where I just cannot get to work without having blogged about something, anything that I'm thinking about right now. So I decided to blog about the very first school I attended- Lena's School, Lovedale. Lena's School, tucked away in the village of Lovedale (dare I call it a village?) on the outskirts of Ooty, will always remain special to me. In my mind's eye, I can still see the school, set against the picturesque backdrop of the Nilgiri Hills, mist floating everywhere in the vicinity. I haven't read Edmund Hillary's "Schoolhouse in the Clouds" yet, but the image of Lena's always pops into my mind whenever I think of the book, making me want to read it all the more.

My parents used to work at the Lawrence School, Lovedale, which is just a stone's throw away, so I guess it was quite convenient for them to leave me at Lena's. I remember my first day at kindergarten. Mom and dad took me to the Principal's office- Sister Ann Joseph. Stern yet kind, always smiling, always ready to help us. I also remember Sister Sheeba who taught me math in grade 2. I think it was she who scored out two pages in my notebook where I had eagerly written down my even and odd numbers, anxious to be the first one in the class to complete the task. I was dismayed when she pointed out to me that I had labeled the pages wrongly! So Sister Sheeba was the one who first taught me the virtues of "looking before leaping".

Then there was Shyamala Miss who taught us Hindi. Oh!! I remember the agony of reading my Hindi answers out to Mom so that she could write it down in English. Weird? Yes, there's more to it- Neither Mom nor dad are experts at Hindi . Come to think of it, after all those years, neither am I. Our education system is like that. What to do? But I digress. So before every exam, there was a little ritual followed at home. I used to rattle off all my answers to mom who used to check with my notes to see if I had learnt well. So that was how mom learnt some Hindi- jotting down my answers in English!

I recollect an incident where Lena's suddenly decided to use question papers for examinations in grade 3, instead of the old system of having them written on the blackboard. This was introduced so that we wouldn't be surprised when we did get in to Lawrence for grade 4. My teacher wanted to give us a dictation and by mistake those words were printed on the paper, and then hastily blackened out! I remember going back home and laughing over the whole episode.

I remember with fondness, my first friends- Monica and Kaumudi. Joyous days spent on swings and slides, squabbling over the silliest of issues, laughing while on the merry-go-round, singing Christmas carols in December...It's been a long time from then, but I still feel the warmth in my heart when I think of those days. Thank you Lena's for all those precious memories...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Universal Prayer

"May the whole world be happy
May our compassion increase.
May we all sing in one voice together
May the world find peace.

Lead us from untruth to the truth,
Lead us from darkness to light,
Lead us from death to immortality,
Lead us from blindness to sight.

Lokaha samastaha sukhino bhavantu!"

P.S: I came across this beautiful prayer in a video of the Hugging Saint ( my guru Amma) titled "Embracing the World". I thought it was such a simple message, yet so powerfully written! A harbinger of hope indeed :)