I dream in green…

By Arushii Nadar

(This is the second article from Arushii, a Std X student at Shishuvan. You can read her previous article here.)

I have a dream, a dream shared by many others in this world. A dream, that is now becoming very well-heard of, especially for the school kids like me. We hear about it all the time at school, but most of us don’t think it’s such a big deal. Me? I always thought different. That was always my biggest dream, and I started doing little things in my daily life, that would help me live it. My dream, is a green planet Earth, the way it was, before we humans starting blundering around, making “helpful” new inventions.

I used to enjoy bursting fireworks, going on bike rides with my dad and uncles, playing holi with lots of water and colours, and I used to frequently just throw stuff away on the roads. But then, one day, it all changed. I no longer felt happiness when I saw fireworks, I felt angry and upset. I hated the fact that my cousins would beg their dads (my uncles) to take them to the shops on the bike, when they could easily just walk down. I started refusing to go with them, and urged them to just walk. I stopped playing holi, unless the colours were natural, and no water was used. I started nagging my mom, cousins, and other family members not to throw stuff just anywhere. What, you ask, caused this great shift in my behavior? It all happened one day when I was reading a book on endangered animals. I don’t recall how old I was then, but I do remember feeling so sad, and upset that these amazing creatures were suffering because of us ; that the few minutes of happiness I got from crackers and bike rides, was causing them so much distress. I was always fond of animals, and I hated to see them killed for meat. So, you can imagine the toll it took on me, to see so many animals dying. I knew, from then on, that I would never, ever do anything that would hurt our planet and its residents again.

After that, my life became pretty simple, no wasting electricity, water, or fuel. Especially fuel. I badger my mom to travel by buses or trains wherever possible, or to carpool with her friends on her way to work. I don’t even want her to get a car, because I know, after a car comes, there is no way I can persuade her to travel by public transport. I don’t mind giving up these little “pleasures” though, because I know I’m helping my planet, and that’s good enough for me. This is the biggest source of ecstasy for me, to see other people sharing the same dream as me, join hands together… I hope you are one of those people…

 

Mummy, I want to be a teacher

By Aditi Shah

(Aditi is studying in Std X and this is her second article to the Shishuvan blog. You can read her first article here).

I don’t really remember how it began. Or why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place. All I know is that someday, I wanted to stand in front of that blackboard and enlighten those little minds with wonderful things. I wanted to know how it felt to be there to guide people. I kept thinking how wonderful our teachers must feel every time they walked into the class and how they would patiently wait for their next visit.

But this was forgotten after a few years. I learnt more. I heard things. I was made aware. And so my mind became a mess. What do I want to be now? A psychologist? A mathematician? A historian? A linguist? A journalist? A philosopher? I have no idea. Things were simple just a couple of years ago. I had known what I wanted (at least I thought did) and that was to teach.

Oh, why must life complicate itself.

Anyway, I hadn’t thought about teaching till like two weeks ago. My mother and I were discussing how a friend of mine was doing a side job sort of thing at Savla Boarding and it hit me then. I wanted to teach too. I told my mother I’d like to do that next year and she said I could do it this year itself, even though I am in grade 10 right now. Well, what can I say. My mom is too cool.

One day, in school, I was talking to a couple of friends about what they had wanted to be when they were younger. Somebody wanted to be an astronaut. I told them about my desire to be a teacher back then. The responses I received astonished me in a manner rather annoying. I heard an “ew” and a “yuck, why would you want to be a teacher?” and a “are you kiddng me, bro?”. I had not expected this. I didn’t realize teaching was uncool. We would all be illiterate if not for teachers, gosh.

My mother then went and spoke to the authorities at the boarding and told them I would like to help the kids there with their studies, particularly English. After a few days, they told me I could. And after all those years, I went to teach. For the first time ever. It was a dream come true.

I did Mathematics with the kids. They were three lovely seventh graders. We did a bit of multiplication and some division. Just to gain insight on their level and things like that. Two of them were rather noisy, and energetic, and lovely and the type everybody loves. One, on the other hand, was a more quiet and shy child. he reminded me of myself. They are all so lovely. And rather smart. They need help, yes. But it is only small things they need to work on like adding numbers that they carry over and I will be the happiest person on the planet if I am able to achieve that. I get to see them around once or twice every week and that makes me so happy. You should have seen their faces when they realized they were finally understanding how to divide or that it was only a small error they could rectify if they paid a little more attention to what they were multiplying with what.

This is going to be such a wonderful experience. Teaching seems to make me happy.

 

From a teacher’s desk

By Prachi Ranadive

(Prachi teaches Geography to students of Std. IX and X. She also heads the subject department of Social Studies, and works with teachers of History and Geography across the school to help strengthen their curriculum planning, pedagogy and assessment practices.)

I wonder if teaching is really a profession or is it being elevated and given this dignity.  Usually considered as a job fit for a bahu or a prospective bride, it is preferred and recommended by conservatives.  Historically a male affair, now it is finally a domain with female dominance!

My frustration is not from being a teacher as much it is from being looked at like a specimen of inferior quality.

If you ask 100 students of tenth grade, hardly will you ever get an answer that he or she wants to become a teacher.  Does that indicate that failures turn towards this profession when they have nothing else left to do?  Or if I have to look at things from a positive angle, is it so noble that hardly anyone dares to commit to it?

Today the field of education is colonized by politicians and businessmen who have found a sector which will give consistent output.  With population on the rise, schools have to make profits.  It’s not about money as much as it is about quality people involved in it.

When will educated and talented people turn towards this sector? It is necessary to create an awareness among the youth that teaching is no more a 6-hour daily job.  It is becoming challenging and creative.  What it needs is people who will revolutionize it.  Do not stand at a distance and comment on it, get in and help to change it!

And The Entire City had Fallen. ..

A Story by Yashvi Gada

(Yashvi Gada is a student of Std. VIII. She serves in the Ministry of External Affairs in the School Parliament at Shishuvan.)

Mimi Chan’s excitement just couldn’t be controlled. Her father was finally returning, after 6 long months of work outside the country.

The house was buzzing with chaos. There were many preparations to be done, and her father would arrive in the next hour. She clacked around, wearing her new shoes, waiting for her father.

She waited, half an hour passed, and there was no sign of him.

And all of a sudden everything was very bright, so bright, that Mimi was almost blinded. Almost immediately after the light, came a force so powerful that her entire house was blown apart, and her heart stopped beating.

She was dead. Her mother was nowhere in sight, and her younger brother seemed to be crushed under a wall, but it could have been a doll.

Just after this, a train stopped at Hiroshima, from where a man stepped down, just one man- well built, wearing his best suit a black and shiny one, with an eager look on his face.

He walked out of the station, humming one of his favorite childhood songs, when all of his dreams fell crashing down.

His entire city had fallen, all of it, just gone…

Then he sat on what was left of the bench outside, thinking that if he had gotten here earlier, at least they could have died together.

A Teacher’s Prayer

Maxim with Krunal, a student of Std. VIII

By Maxim Wen

(Maxim is the music teacher at Shishuvan. He enjoys directing musicals, and would like to stage a production at Broadway someday. We hope that day comes soon.)

Open my eyes, Lord,
That I may see my students
For who they truly are
And what they are capable of being;
Let me not be blinded
By my own biases and prejudice.

Open my ears, Lord,
That I may be able to hear
Their silent cries
And listen to their innermost thoughts;
Let me not be deaf
To the sounds of a heart that is hurting.

Open my mind, Lord,
That I may be able to understand
How they look at and relate
To everything in their lives;
Let me not be indifferent
and ignorant about things that matter to them.

Open my heart, Lord,
that I may always accept them
For the treasures they are;
May I never forget
What they are truly worth
And what I’m worth
Because of them.

The boy who stopped looking like his face

By Snehal Vadher

(Snehal taught English at Shishuvan. He now works with The Pomegranate Workshop and teaches Creative Writing at St Xavier’s College.)

There once lived a little boy in The Land of No Mirrors who wandered day and night, from the dense coniferous forest in the north to the icy riverbed in the south, and if you chanced on meeting him while you were passing that region by, but never entering, you would want to ask, “What are you looking for, friend?” or “Have you lost something, son?” And as soon as you asked the question the boy would disappear—you would hear clearly the gurgling of the river, which in the outskirts becomes a slick stream of silvery fluid sucked by the sea—you would see the swaying of the pine tops in the wind (they would look like a giant, invisible hand caressing dog’s fur) and some tiny creature—a fox or a beaver—would come out of the forest, appearing to you nothing more than a black spot in the distance. But the boy would have gone. You continue your journey northwards, to The Town of Voices, where you search for a place to spend the night and with that heavy rucksack you lugged all the way, almost without stopping to take rest, you hardly realise it is night until a kind lady has offered you bed and warm onion soup by the fire, which is now and then showing vestiges of its former life in the coals. You tell this woman—whose age you cannot fathom: it could be anywhere between twenty five to fifty years—about the boy you met on your way and she would listen with her large glistening eyes and believe every word you utter until your spoon clinked with the china bowl, when she would politely excuse herself and wish you goodnight. You would toss and turn inside the blankets—their freshly-laundered smell too strong in the quiet of the room—where the light from the half moon, streaming through a window just above your head, would let you keep your eyes open and fall in and out of your thoughts until they became part of a dream. In the dream, you meet the boy once more, but this time you have journeyed into The Land of So Many Mirrors and this time, it is the boy who asks you a question, “Why have you come back?” he asks, in a manner that conveys his indifference to your answer, which you try to formulate in different ways, beginning sentences and letting them trail off into incomprehensible phrases like ‘o deer rain’ or ‘running off…the blue’s stone.’ You would soon awake to the meowing of cat inside your room and outside there would be bright sunshine and a clear sky, making you want start on your journey soon, a feeling that the delightful breakfast the kind lady would serve you would only strengthen, especially the raspberry compote which she made herself using wild berries. A song or a tune that went with the rhythm of your walking would quicken your pace and birds of various kinds, none of which you would have seen before, would keep drawing your sight further into the trees, sky or rooftops, as you approached The Town of Celebrations, where you would be surrounded by people awaiting your arrival and laughter and kisses would make you forget to give one or two gifts, which would lie at the bottom of your rucksack, and someone would have made your favourite curry.

James and the monsoons

By Tanay Patel

(Tanay is a student of Std. VIII. He enjoys reading, music, sports and filmmaking. He serves as a minister of IT and Communication in the School Parliament at Shishuvan.)

James and the monsoons

it’s raining  it’s pouring

and James is roaring

on the street

wearing shoes on his feet

he is wearing gum boots

he is still as the roots

of a very old tree

he is busy as a bee

then he gives John some water

he gives it to his daughter

the water gets hotter

his daughter gets shorter

his daughter gets sick

James runs very quick

over mountains and hills

taking energy pills

he comes into a city

he finds a little kitty

the kitty is sweet

as red as a beet

there is firing everywhere

for a big brown bear

James runs very fast

and then at last

he reaches his home

in the shape of a dome

in an old village

from the stone age.

Tesser Through Time – A Book Review

By Sahir D’souza

(Sahir is a student of Std VIII. He also serves in the Ministry of Human Resource Development in the School Parliament at Shishuvan.)

If you looked at the title ‘A Wrinkle in Time’, what would you think? Would you think of a tesseract? Would a sentence like this spring to mind: “WWEE ARRE HHERRE!”? Would you think of a merry Happy Medium? Probably not.

And yet, all that and more is contained in this astonishing book by Madeleine L’Engle. It is a book labelled ‘science fiction’, but one that goes far beyond the boundaries of this genre.

It is a story about Meg Murry, her exceptionally bright younger brother, Charles Wallace, and their friend, the steady Calvin O’Keefe. Meg’s scientist father has disappeared; although her mother refuses to believe them, the village is alive with rumours about his whereabouts.

Into this world, enter Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which, three very, very old but extremely capable ladies. This triplet whisk Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin away into space, to find their father. They travel to the outer reaches of the universe by ‘tessering’, or via a tesseract, which is a very special form of time-travel (you will have to read the book to find out more). They encounter, along the way, IT, a Happy Medium, a Black Thing and Aunt Beast (who speaks through her tentacles), among other delightfully unearthly characters.

Mrs Whatsit is a caring, doting lady. Mrs Who cannot express her feelings in her own words, so she quotes celebrated writers of the past and various languages, which she then translates. Mrs Which speaks in a string of repeated consonants (as you saw in the beginning).

A uplifting and poignant novel, this book won Madeleine L’Engle a Newbery Medal. It is the first book in the Time Quintet, followed by A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters and An Acceptable Time.

This is an exceptional book. It will raise your spirits, no matter how high they happen to be already.

 

Columbus’ Diary!

(These imaginative diary entries were written by Param Maru, student of Std. IX, who seems to have enjoyed reconstructing the experience of sailing in Columbus’ shoes, and ship, of course)

Dear Diary,

Monday 12th October
Today was our first day of sail
Everybody was checking their mail
Soon I left in search of land
With my faithful band
We left to sail at nine
My ship’s name was Constantine
Tuesday 13th October
My ship’s speed was 20 knots
We had food and beer lots and lots
We were far away from shore
I was very -very bored
With nothing to do I played cards with my crew
This is one thing for which my day got screwed
I lost all my money
My crew thought it very funny
Wednesday 14th October
It was our third day of sail
I thought our missions going to fail
My crew members lost all hope
Returning home –there was no scope
Thursday 15th October
My crew members revolted
And almost had me assaulted
I wish god’s grace would shower upon us
And my crew members would stop making a big fuss
Friday 16th October
Today was my birthday
It was a very lucky day
We found land
A very big island
We explored the huge piece of land
All it had it was sand and sand
I named it the Indies
It was beautiful very much indeed
We camped there for the rest of the night
As we had no plight
Saturday 17th October
We set sail early in the morning
And returned back to Rome
Ah! its such a relief after all
Home sweet home

 

A Strange Wish

By Sini Nair

(Sini teaches English in high school. She loves writing poems, and is happy to share them with people who like to read.)

It’s a strange wish to lose myself

It’s a deep desire to perish

The thought of being the grain of sand

The feel of being a dew drop on a blade of grass

The heights that I can touch as a cloud

The depths that I can delve into as a wave

Makes me want to merge

Makes me want to dissolve

Makes me want to disintegrate

The strength to be a whole is lesser

When we compare it with being a part

We so frivolously connect to the whole

And ignore the parts that make the whole

Only if it was simpler

Only if it was clearer

For all I know is that

It was never so strong in me

It’s a strange wish to lose myself

It’s a strange wish to perish