Monday, 26 January 2015

Heritage School celebrates 26th January as Family Day

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Preparing for the flag hoisting ceremony
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After the Flag Hoisting Ceremony
Twenty-Sixth January was celebrated as Family Day in The Heritage School, Gurgaon. It was a red letter day a moment that all the employees looked forward to as a family! In keeping with the mantra of inclusion, this was an occasion when family members were invited to celebrate Republic Day as a family. We were told to dress in comfortable clothes so that we could participate in the fun filled events slated for the event. For me as a family man and an employee of the school it was a proud moment when I could showcase the school to my family.  The day started with the unfurling of the tricolour by the Principal of the school, Kaye Ma’am, and then this was followed by a fun-filled day for all. The Principal of the school, Kaye Ma’am, and the Vice Chairman of the School, Manit Sir, addressed the gathering. Republic Day was an occasion for promoting Inclusion as the philosophy of the school! Without saying more, I would like to share a few photographs that I took on the occasion with my family and the extended family called The Heritage School! For me, as a proud employee of the school, this was a moment when I could proudly tell my family, ‘look, this is a wonderful place where I work!’ I have pasted below some photographs that depict the spirit of inclusion that the school promotes as one of the fundamental principles of its philosophy.
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Getting ready for the activity
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Negotiating the minefield blindfolded
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Crossing the minefield
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A promise fulfilled
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My Niece and Daughter preparing for the task in hand
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Nidhi at the parachute event
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Nidhi, Raima, and Aastha preparing for the parachute event
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Patakh Ji holding one end of the parachute
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Tossing the balls off the parachute
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Addressing the gathering, Manit Sir and Kaye Ma’am
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Raima my niece and Aastha
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Mother and daughter
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Of course, I was there too!
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A dance where all participated!
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A dance for all occasions
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Everyone shook a leg!
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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Ode to a Woman

I
 Saw her
Smile a golden smile,
A smile so
Sweet, my heart 
Did skip!

A Smile so fresh my heart did drive -
The clouds so dark that brood so deep.
If only could  I trap her smiles,
But bottles will not last awhile!

But then,are smiles
Difficult to trap 
Except for poems
That last awhile!
Thus 
 Do I
Write about
The one I saw, that
Kindled smiles with a heart
Of gold, with smile so pure that 
 Hearts did heal! A healing that'd shame
 The best, a woman she was  with a
Heart of gold, a princes fair and a person pure.
She stole my heart with a smile so bold,
With a smile so bold, and a heart of gold.
And I, the traveller do search for my heart and love!

              A heart of gold!                                              A smile so bold!
         A breath so fair.                                             Eyes so rare!
                   Drove the sad,                                              With sense so glad.
           Look for her where                                       I last saw her.
                         All that remains,                                            Is the smile that reigns
                     In a heart that pains,                                     For smile that gains
                        Of love that planes,                                     The thirst that maims.
                                For a smile I wait,                                        While the day does wane!                                                                                                                  
                                
                               

Hubris as a Tragic flaw leads to the downfall of Julius Caesar and Brutus

Shakespeare true to his style employs the concept of hubris ( tragic flaw ) in the portrayal of his principal characters in 'Julius Caesar'. Hubris (A Greek word) refers to insolent pride and a sense of security. If Shakespeare wanted to portray the tragic downfall of important characters, by exposing the tragic flaw within their characters. Both Caesar and Brutus suffer from the same tragic flaws in their characters, both of them are filled with overconfidence and a sense of security that leads to their undoing! The greater the fall, the greater was the tragedy, take for example Mark Antony addressing the dead body of Caesar and expressing his sadness on seeing such a grand and powerful man brought low in death!
In Act II, Scene II, Calpurnia pleads with Caesar, begging him not to step out of the house because she believes that the dream she saw the previous night was an indication of the great harm that is going to fall on to Caesar. Calpurnia says to her husband, ‘You shall not stir out of your house today.’ To which Caesar replies, ‘Caesar shall forth; the things that threaten’d me na’er look’d but on my back; when they shall see the face of Caesar, they are vanished.’ So confident, Caesar is of his invulnerability that it takes all the pleading of his wife to stop him, that is until the coming of Decius Brutus! Another speech that brings out the tragic flaw of false pride in Caesar’s character reads, ‘The gods do this in shame of cowardice; Caesar should be a beast without a heart if he should stay at home today for fear. No Caesar shall not; Danger knows full well that Caesar is more dangerous than he.’ These utterances suggest that Caesar is too confident of himself, perhaps, bordering on arrogance towards - even the ‘gods’! The personification of ‘Danger’ is intended to to complement the brave and mighty Caesar, both companions, who share the same courage, ferocity, and terribleness! Unfortunately, it was this false confidence that led Caesar to accept the company of the conspirators that fatal day leading to his death by the foot of the statue of Pompey, an ironical statement about the manner of Caesar’s death (he had defeated Pompey and his men and yet was stabbed by the foot of his enemy’s statue). Caesar’s arrogance is brought also, when he refers to the members of the senate as ‘Greybeards’!
Calpurnia is quite aware about the flaws in her husband’s character, and she very clearly states, ‘Your wisdom is consum’d in confidence’ and it takes her strong powers of persuasion and a readiness to ‘upon my knee, prevail in this.’ She would surely have managed to save Caesar if it had not been for the visit by Decius Brutus. Decius Brutus had been specifically been sent by the conspirators to draw Caesar out of his home so that he could be stabbed outside. Decius Brutus was a very shrewd and wily person who knew about the weaknesses in Caesar’s character and it is these weaknesses that he that he attacks when told by Caesar that he will not step out doors. In Act II, Scene II, Decius re-interprets Calpurnia’s dream suggesting that the blood spouting from his statue signified the ‘reviving’ which would take place during his reign in Rome. During his reign, Rome would regain its lost glory, and the people of Rome would so love and respect Caesar that they would ‘press for tinctures, stains, relics’ that they could preserve and show to others with great pride as trophies of great value! As if this is not enough, Decius Brutus ups the ante by further informing Caesar that the ‘Senate have concluded to give this day a crown to mighty Caesar. If you shall send them word you will not come, their minds may change’. How can Caesar resist so tempting an offer? Moreover to make Caesar let down his defences, his alertness and wariness, Decius Brutus keeps stoking his ego and false pride by constantly addressing him as, ‘mighty Caesar’. How ironical Caesar's statement to his wife is after talking to Decius, ‘How foolish do your fears seem now, Calpurnia! I am ashamed I did yield to them.’ Unfortunately, he should have listened to his wife than to Decius who was so flattering and fawning!
If Caesar is so confident of himself, he is too trusting towards others. Doesn’t this readiness to trust anyone and everyone in Rome, even those who might bear a grudge against him for banishing their kin border on naiveté and perhaps gullibility? And thus, with the words, ‘Good friends, go in, and taste some wine with me, and  we, like friends, will straightway go together.’ he first welcomes the conspirators home and then they step out of Caesar’s home on to the irrevocable act that will change the politics of Rome forever. Gullibility and naiveté in Caesar is noticed by Brutus who in an aside remarks at the end of Act II Scene II, ‘That every like is not the same, O Caesar, the heart of Brutus earns to think upon!’ Not everyone is a friend, when you are Caesar, you cannot afford to feel secure, nor can you trust everyone.  Caesar was led to his death  by his vanity, false pride, Hubris, and his readiness to trust others!
But then Caesar was not the only one who suffered from Hubris other tragic flaws. Brutus committed a few very serious mistakes after killing Caesar. This first perhaps was that he should have killed Mark Antony immediately, if not, thrown him into prison.He was, like Caesar overconfident of his skills as an orator, so much so that he allowed Mark Antony to speak in the Order of the Funeral of Caesar, and what makes this even worse was that he didn’t even stay back to listen to Mark Antony deliver his speech before the common people of Rome! Brutus moreover trusted Cassius too much, he thought that Cassius and the others had espoused the lofty ideas of Freedom, Liberty, and Enfranchisement in the truest sense, but then this was not so. When confronted by Antony in Act III, Scene I after the assassination of Caesar, Brutus says to him, ‘O Antony! Beg not your death of us…our hearts of brothers’ temper, do receive you in with all kind love, good thoughts, and reverences.’ What is surprising is how can someone expect to be friends with the closest friend of the person one has just assassinated? This naiveté bordering on a rather innocent form of gullibility suggests a high degree of impracticality, wistfulness, fuelled by the dreaminess of a person who dwells too much in Philosophy and Poetry perhaps? Cassius, on the other hand was the more practical of the two, and sure, he was grounded in reality unlike Brutus!
Later, when  Brutus gives Antony to speak in the order of the funeral for Caesar, Cassuis warns him with the following words, ‘You know not what you do.Do not consent that Antony speak in his funeral. Know you how much the people may be mov’d by that which he will utter?’ – Act III Scene I Brutus brushes his fellow conspirator’s advice rather too lightly when he tells him that he will step  to the pulpit first and profess to the gathered people that Antony has taken permission from them to speak! Brutus then turns to Antony and makes him promise, not to speak ill of them, and to inform the gathered people that he has taken permission from them.Things turn out not as planned by Brutus and his friends when Antony manages to turn the tide against the Conspirators with the help of a tactfully delivered speech where he is careful not to speak directly against the conspirators, whom he calls ‘honourable’ men!
Shakespeare brings about the sense of disillusionment that engulfs Brutus when there is a falling apart between Cassius and him in Act IV, Scene III. The scene starts with Cassius blaming Brutus, ‘That you have wronged me doth appear in this: you have condemn’d and noted Lucius Pella for taking bribes here of the Sardians’.Brutus reminds Cassius of the high ideals (he feels)  for which they killed Caesar and how these had been betrayed by ‘one of us…for supporting robbers, shall we now contaminate our fingers with base bribes? And sell the mighty space of our large honors for so much trash’? But then, Brutus had not really understood what the true motive of the conspirators led by Cassius had been when they contacted him and convinced him to join them against Caesar, this was the tragic flaw in Brutus. Like the half brother he had in Caesar, Brutus too was full of tragic flaws that led to his ultimate demise! He was proud about his skills as an orator, he was confident that he had planned for any eventualities that might disrupt the Coup including rogue elements like Antony, and Caesar, Brutus had been too trusting of Cassius and the conspirators.
Two people, two principal characters, one a legitimate offspring while the other an illegitimate half brother, but then how much more similar they were to the other, they shared the same tragic flaws in their character which were, ultimately responsible for the kind of deaths they received!

Friday, 23 January 2015

Heritage School bids students of grade twelve a warm farewell

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The farewell function for students of grade twelve took place at the Meditation Centre of the Heritage School on the 23rd. of January, 2015. For all of us present, it was a moment loaded with emotion and feelings of pride. Most of the students have been in the school for many years, and on the occasion both teachers and students shared their fond memories of togetherness. Without saying too much, I have decided to let my pictures speak louder than words!
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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Foreshadowing in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar


The role of the supernatural, atmospheric disturbances, portents, visions and curses
Perhaps the most ominous words in the list of predictions used by Shakespeare in Julius Caesar are spoken by the Soothsayer in Act I scene II while Caesar and his entourage are proceeding towards the festival at Lupercal - ‘Beware the ides of March.’ In spite of all his  outward bravado, Caesar is within his mind perturbed by this prediction!The fifteenth of March is the day Caesar will die, and the pervading sense is that no one can escape what fate has ordained for them, not even Caesar the Great! Shakespeare makes a very liberal use of visions, portents and atmospheric disturbances,and curses in order to create a foreshadowing of the events that are going to take place. Suddenness, or unexpected changes in the plot are simply not tolerated! The use of foreshadowing does help Shakespeare develop the plot of the play along the expected flow of the classical plot line where  all the events are plotted rather nicely along that triangular plot line which starts with the introduction of the characters, goes on to the introduction of the problem - the conflict the upward movement dealing with the conflict coming to a head in the assassination of Caesar at the turning point or the climax, followed by the downward movement of the plot leading to the the anti-climax, and the tying up of the loose ends or the denouement.
It would be a good idea to look at some of the examples of foreshadowing that Shakespeare uses throughout the play. The first would be the description of the thunderstorm that takes place prior to the assassination of Caesar. Act I Scene III starts the sound of thunder and sight of lightning. Casca describes the violent storm in the following words, ‘never till now, did I go through a tempest dropping fire. Either there is a civil strife in heaven, or else the world, too saucy with the gods, incenses them to destruction.’ It is clear here that atmospheric disturbances are directly linked to supernatural events, in this case, ‘civil strife in heaven’. Such disturbances augur disturbing events in the near future, they foreshadow events that will take place after the assassination of Caesar. A little later, Casca goes on to describe the celestial events as, ‘this dreadful night,that thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars as doth the lion in the Capitol-‘. Calpurnia too dreams of the dreadful events that are going to take place soon and in Act II Scene II she describes to Caesar what she had dreamt, a vision, no doubt tempered by the actual celestial events of thunder and lightning, ‘I never stood on ceremonies, yet now they fright me. There is one within, besides the things that we have heard and seen, recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch. A lioness hath whelped in the streets, and graves have yawn’d and yielded up their dead; fierce warriors fight upon the clouds in ranks and squadrons and right form of war, which drizzled blood upon the Capitol; the noise of battle hurtled in the air; horses did neigh…these things are beyond all use, and I do fear them.’ This is a description of a vision, a dream which is no doubt fed by the thunder and lightning that struck Rome in the night. The blood drizzling down on the capitol foreshadows the dreadful event of the killing of Caesar. The raindrops were thick and heavy as they fell on the city, they take up a tinge of red suggesting drops of blood, drops of blood that will spout from the body of Caesar. Unfortunately, Caesar doesn’t want to show to Decius Brutus later when the latter comes to get him out that he believes and fears the vision described by Calpurnia of his statue spouting blood. This desire to project an aura of invincibility despite of the visions and portents is probably points out to the tragic flaw in Caesar’s character. He was too confident about his invincibility that Calpurnia says to him, ‘Your wisdom in consum’d in confidence’. Much to Calpurnia’s chagrin and despair, Caesar walks to his death and with welcoming hands embraces it like a fool consumed with vanity. He had been warned by the thunder and lightning, and Calpurnia’s vision, and the soothsayer’s prediction and yet fell headlong into what fate had predicted for him.
Curses too play an important role in the play in so far as they help to foreshadow and predict the course of events that will be taking place in the near future. Shakespeare probably made it a point not to tax the simple minds of the common people who formed his audiences ins spite of his choice of rather difficult themes and plots, and complicated historical events with the help of the tool of foreshadowing, otherwise, surely the people would soon have lost interest in his plays. We need to remember the fact that Shakespeare wrote his plays for the common people and not for intellectuals. Antony’s curse and prophecy in Act III, Scene I, after Caesar’s death is yet another powerful example of foreshadowing, a favourite tool in Shakespeare’s style of writing. Looking at Caesar’s bleeding body, Antony vows to avenge him in a monologue that is most powerful and so relevant even today, ‘Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood! Over thy wounds now do I prophesy…A curse shall light upon the limbs of men; domestic strife shall cumber all the parts of Italy;…and Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge, with Ate by his side come hot from hell, shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war’. Some of the words remind me of the book titled, The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth suggesting that Shakespeare is relevant even today, even if it means supplying the title: The Fault is in our Stars! The Curse of Mark Antony would be a suitable title for this monologue. A foreshadowing of the civil strife that will follow the death of Caesar, the rather graphic descriptions made by Antony remind us of the strife and violence that take place even today. Civil strife is all about the drying up of the ‘milk of human kindness’, the inability of human beings to feel for others; it is all about desensitisation, dehumanisation, and  emotional detachment that result from being exposed repetitively scenes and examples of extreme violence and extreme depravity. And yes, the events that follow this monologue are exactly as predicted. The ‘dogs of war’ follow each on of the conspirators, till they have  no option but to fall on their upturned swords rather than face the wrath of the combined armies of Rome headed by Ocatvian Caesar.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Analysing Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar - Who was the better Speaker, Brutus, or Antony?

 

Who was the better speaker, Brutus or Mark Antony?

The battle of the orators takes place at The Forum in Act III-Scene II. Brutus decides to go first, that is before Mark Antony and this is apparently a convenient way to discredit or nullify any adverse impact that Antony’s speech could have had on the common people of Rome. In fact, Brutus was himself so overconfident of his skills that he gave Antony permission to address the common people of Rome the order of Julius’s funeral in spite of Cassius’ warning not to do so! At that moment, Brutus had replied, ‘By your pardon; I will myself into the pulpit first, and show the reason of our Caesar’s death:What Antony shall speak, I will protest He speaks by leave and by permission.’
At the forum itself, Brutus immediately grabs the attention of the common people of Rome, effectively silencing the first and the second citizens. Brutus addresses the gathering in the following words, ‘Romans, countrymen, and lovers! Hear me for my cause, and be silent that you may hear: believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses,…’. Here I would like to draw your attention to the very first words, ‘Romans, countrymen and lovers’ – a very formal address indeed, and yes this formality doesn’t provide scope for closeness, something that we will see in Antony’s speech, which, incidentally turns out to be more informal and warm! The next few words, ‘believe me for mine honour’ seem to suggest that the people should listen to him and believe in him just because he is an honourable man, (ironically and intentionally, Antony would be using the word ‘honour’ in an ironical sense later in his speech while referring to Brutus and the conspirator) now if being ‘honourable’ is cause enough to believe someone, then I guess Brutus was taking too much for granted. Anyway, the gathered citizens of Rome are so impressed by Brutus’ speech that by the end, they want to ‘Bring him with triumph home…Give him a statue with his ancestors…Let him be Caesar.’ It looks as if Brutus has finally stolen the show and people are already turning away, not giving a second thought to Antony. It takes Brutus’ exhortation to them to ‘let me depart alone, and for my sake stay here with Antony’. By now Brutus is fully convinced that he has nothing to fear from Antony, much to his folly! This sense of invincibility, and confidence in his own powers of oration suggest a tragic flaw in his character which will lead to his undoing!
It is true that Brutus was the better and more accomplished orator of the two,(Mark Antony makes this clear in one of his speeches in Act III, scene II when he says, 'I am no orator, as Brutus is') but still, his speech pales before  Antony’s speech which, although devoid of the superior skills of oration, is nevertheless, powered by truth, honesty and sincerity. Brutus’s speech is clearly hollow and devoid of specifics and facts and the single point that he focuses on is the assumption that Caesar was ‘ambitious’ and that life under his rule would be devoid of any form of freedom or liberty. In fact, Brutus binds the common people through his sophistry in such a way that they don’t dare challenge the reasons and the appropriateness of the conspirators’ need to kill Caesar. The question, ‘Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slave’ suggests that if Caesar were allowed to live then everyone would be a slave and whoever protests against the conspirators would be acknowledging that he was a slave! The common people are so enthralled by Brutus’ sophistry that they dare not challenge him lest they should reveal themselves to be, ‘base…a bondman, so rude that would not be a Roman’. No body dares speak! Apparently, none of those present dares to challenge Brutus lest they appear to be 'vile, bondmen' and not so patriotic!
Antony, on the other hand is less formal with his audience, and this is probably what helps him  touch a common chord in the people of Rome. Unlike Brutus, he addresses them, ‘Friends, Romans, countrymen’. The word ‘Friends’ is less formal and more friendly than the word, ‘Romans’ that comes first in Brutus’s speech. The rest of Antony’s speech is ultimately more effective and powerful than Brutus’ because he uses irony very tactfully to demolish Brutus basis for killing Caesar, and the arguments in his speech are based on fact. Antony uses the word,’honourable’ frequently and ironically too while describing the conspirators. The first truth that Antony uses to refute Brutus’ allegation that Caesar was ambitious is that, ‘He hath brought many captives home to Rome whose ransoms did the general coffers fill’. In other words Caesar if Caesar had been ambitious, then he would surely have filled his own pockets rather than deposit the ransom money in the public coffers, but then Brutus claimed that Caesar ‘was ambitious’ and ‘he is an honourable man’ so Brutus is right and I am wrong.The second fact that Antony presents before the amassed citizens in support of his argument that Caesar was not ambitious is that ‘When …the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept’ meaning that Caesar was concerned about the common man and so he was not ambitious. The third fact is that Caesar, when he was offered the crown thrice in the festival of Lupercal refused the same thrice. ‘Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; and, sure,he is an honourable man.’ The premise is clear, Caesar was not ambitious because he refused the  symbolical crown (of Rome) thrice. Brutus’ honour, and that of the conspirators is at stake here because clearly their assumption that Caesar was ‘ambitious’ has been proved wrong by Antony. By this time, there is a stirring and a sense of restlessness in the gathered people and the third citizen even states, 'I fear there will a worse come in his place.'
Antony’s tactful presentation of facts coupled with a judicious use of irony and the right amount of sarcasm, somehow penetrates the clouded perceptions of the people present. Antony keeps his trump cards up his sleeves for the last moment, and when he sees that his words have somehow  begun to have their effect. He first hints about the will that Caesar had left for the people of Rome, and then keeps them guessing about the contents! When the citizens can no longer contain their curiousity, he reveals that Caesar had left to each Roman seventy-five Drachmas and his public walks, but then Antony literally draws the citizens to impatience by not revealing the contents of the will immediately. The other ace up his sleeve, is of course the cloak that Caesar had worn on the last day of his life, that is when he was stabbed. In what might be a most graphic manner, Antony describes in great detail each rent and tear in the fabric made by the daggers of the conspirators.
The gathered Citizens of Rome are finally incensed and inflamed by Antony’s speech and they decide to take revenge on the conspirators. In a dramatic manner the tides is turned against the conspirators headed by the great orator, Brutus. What carries the day in favour of Antony is his speech. Brutus might have been an accomplished orator, but then while his speech was built on a foundation of empty facts, sophistry and cleverly contrived logic, Antony’s speech came straight from his heart, it was built on a foundation of truth, it was based on true emotions and feelings and this is what finally gets across to the common people of Rome!  
Finally it can be said with great confidence that it was truth  coupled with a strong belief in his friend Caesar that empowered Mark Antony. Truth prevailed over the sophism and the skills of oration that Brutus was equipped with. Brutus may have been a better trained speaker than Antony, but then it was Antony's truthfulness and convictions that lead him to victory. His skillful use of irony, while referring to the conspirators as 'hounourable' and his oblique hints that Caesar might not have been, 'ambitious' after all turn the tides in his favour. Antony's tact, and the fact that he keeps his word by not  criticising the conspirators directly, or even blaming them ensures that the citizens realise the truth themselves by adding two and two. The speech wouldn't have been as effective as it was if Antony had taken on the conspirators head on. So what then is it that makes Antony the better speaker of the two, for according to him he has 'neither wit, nor words, nor worth, action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech'? -Act III, Scene II. He is, as he confesses, 'a plain blunt man'. The answer to this question lies in what he says while addressing the common citizens of Rome when he professes his 'love' for Caesar. While Brutus speaks through practice, and guile and clever words, but words without a substance of truth, nor any emotional connect, Antony says that he can 'only speak right on'! He speaks from the depth of his heart while Brutus speaks from the depth of his mind!
Note: This is an analysis of the play from the point of view of a reader and not a member of the audience viewing the play. In many cases it depends on the skills of the director and the actors playing the roles of Brutus and Antony that really matters. This is the basic difference between a play and a novel, that the emotions and expressions of the actor carry more weight than the written description, and the power of acting lies in the ability of the actor to put his all into the role! 

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

An Ode to my Dream Lady of time

An Ode to my Dream Lady of Time

You are known to be a capricious lady
Who changes lovers with an insatiable
Delight! For to be steady suits you not
Ever restless, ever thankless, your eye
Switches for victims new, and with joy
Untold, you strike at beauty and talent
Alike, and to dust do turn monument
And power alike! But you sure discern
Not between young and old, and the not
So handsome might not escape your gaze.
Nor might escape those that wake nor those
That sleep, all alike are victims of your spell.
But why does millionaire a beggar turn and
Why does beggar ride the rich man's throne
Know I not! Yet do you put the sick to sleep
And the dying to smile of times that were
With joy filled! But sometimes do you pour
Salve on wounds that burn, a healer one
Moment, reaper the next. But then Time,
Sure you are a capricious woman that discerns
Not between the sick and the fit, the fair or
The dark, the sweet or the bitter, young or
Old! Yet with one blow of your scythe do you
Level one and all! And yet you flit around the
World with light steps that traipse through
The seasons some fair and some so drab!
And as the shadows do lengthen and I the
Writer of this verse do fight the slumber of
Night, you smile at me one brief time and
Lo, in a split do write what ages took to
Think! For if I could grab the horns of time
Or swing on wings so swift, sure would I
Turn twenty-four into forty-eight! But alas!
Do you flee away with steps so swift,
And I do return to a slogging match to
Complete my verse in time for the morning
Light to read it with! Thus do I wait for a
Moment when my lady love would smile at
Me once more, but alas, she has many more
Worthier than me, the one toiling in the
Dark attic would scarcely a glance draw
From one who'd so capricious and fluid be!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Black Widow



Black Widow

A spider she certainly is not, but a woman with
A beauty that is deadly and enthralling, with
A sweet but deadly smile she'd entice; with
A web she'd trap a man to serve her needs!

So, after her man she convinced to kill and
Be killed, she escapes to a distant land
To bide her time in a lair dark dank and bland,
Nurturing her talons  and deadly beauty.

For the right time does she wait, for the one
To serve her well, till then she waits, the lone
One that licks her wounds from the one
Battle that left so many dead and hurt!

Thus she rests quietly, waiting for the moment,
To emerge from her hiding place-a moment
When she will befriend her beau a gent
With brawn but no wit to kill and be killed.

The Black widow she is and she waits to strike
At the world with a venom of hatred so like
The acid that melts the flesh into butter, to strike
At innocent humanity with a logic so twisted!

The Black widow she is but a spider she is not!
A beautiful woman she is but with tenderness not,
With hauntingly beautiful eyes to tie the victim in a knot,
Her first victim has she killed the next awaits his lot!

Beware of the one with hauntingly beautiful eyes,
And a smile so sweet, for an innocent plastic
Does cover a soul so dark, a person that led
Her prince to kill the innocent and be killed!

Pictures of the Altar Decorations of the Epiphany Church - Gurgaon on Christmas, New Year, and Third Sunday after Christmas

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Maya Menon Workshop at The Heritage School, Gurgaon

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The noted educationist, Ms. Maya Menon conducted a valuable  two day workshop for the teachers of the S.P.Programme of the Heritage School Gurgaon on the seventh and the eighth of January. Ms. Maya Menon, an educationist with an experience of more than thirty years in the field is known to have worked towards designing and implementing a wide range of school and teacher-related projects and services including the Wipro Applying Thought in Schools Teacher Empowerment Project initiated in 2001 and Safe and Sensitive Schools project in 2009. She is also known for setting up The Newspaper in Education Programme (Popularly known as NIE) for the Times of India Newspaper in Bangalore. It was a matter of great honour to have her with for two days.
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The workshop conducted by Ms. Maya Menon was based on addressing Effective Teaching  and classroom Management and Collaborative Learning in schools through Group Work. The workshop on the first day focussed on a review of current classroom situations, assessing teacher-student interaction, dealing with difficult students through role play by the teachers and the formulating of simple strategies for positive classroom communication. On the second day, the workshop focussed on creating strategies for collaborative learning in the context of students sitting in crews or groups rather than the traditional rows and columns. The focus for the second day was, circle time with an interesting activity labelled, ‘feely dice’, understanding the term, ‘group work’, analyzing the stages of group development, developing skills for group work. The workshop on the second day also addressed the theory of group work, roles and functions in groups, roles and functions in groups, making group works possible. The whole workshop was based on actual role play and experiential exercises.

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What I found, as a participant teacher in this workshop was that many of my doubts and queries regarding collaborative learning  were  addressed and strategies for taking this pedagogy were formulated. We have as educators and facilitators already moved forward from a traditional classroom structure to one that promotes group work, collaboration and a more student centric structure. The workshop has helped to promote a style of teaching that caters to greater student participation and a more experiential form of pedagogy.
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