Learning and educating the Zen way

Image: google: OkyDay.com
Sometimes we have to unlearn what we have learnt so far to create openness and space within us to accept fresh ideas, to look at life in a different way. Our traditional forms of education have sadly bridled our minds with preconceived ideas and notions and we have formed a nasty habit of rejecting all that does not fit into the accepted mould of beliefs. This article here: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/286039/unlearn-learn.html is a lovely exercise that we need to practice on a daily basis to perhaps get rid of the cobwebs accumulated in our thoughts. Interestingly, these are the very practices that are taught in yoga camps and forms of meditation.

This other one here: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/286038/is-resource-room-redundant.html
again reinforces my belief in the Montessori way of teaching. Keeping the child as the focus, rather than the syllabus is the way to go ahead. A subject can be presented in various forms-audio, visual, through stories, art, craft- to enable the child grasp the concept in the manner the child is naturally inclined to learn rather than forcing the child to learn the method in which the concept is presented. Creative learning needs to find place in our education system. Challenging the traditional way of looking at and presenting ideas need to be done away with.

Yes, as the article says, all this comes with the challenge of having trained teachers at all levels and until this happens, atleast a resource room needs to be encouraged in all schools.

There is a serious need for change in our education system. Hope that, these methods will be a part of teaching methods soon and there is never a time in our children's lives where they need to unlearn what has been learnt and that learning becomes a seamless and continuous process that does not pose a challenge in finding solutions in practical life.

Updates from R world

After a week of festivities and 4 crazy days without the internet, I am happy to be here before my favourite gadget. Really, I might have mentioned this before but a period of abstinence from the computer/virtual world makes me want to climb up the wall. I may not voluntarily want to write or interact with anyone virtually for days, but give me a non-functioning net connection or machine and I am ready to bawl or bug the husband.

But, the enforced downtime gave the mother-son duo the bonus hours to bond qualitatively as well as quantitatively. R was happy to have the mom a.k.a ready partner to play cars and aeroplanes and read out books as much as he liked while the mommy too found it easy to play without the guilt of neglecting work. There is only so much following up and pestering the cable guy even mommy can do!

The little frisky guy is growing up to be a big boy in many ways. He has calmed down in his manners- he no longer is the restless toddler at home (at least not at all times), always upto some mischief or antics, rather, is able to sit down patiently for a while with a toy or a book. (However I cannot say the same for the outdoors, or shopping at malls: these places still lure him to run around uninhibited.) The recent parents-teachers meeting at R's Montessori reinforced our observation and it made us happy to hear from his teachers too about how initially R could not sit in one place for even 5 minutes but can now easily sit to finish an activity even if it takes him an hour. Whether it is the Montessori effect or is it generally a part of growing up, I can't say. All in all, it is definitely a more peaceful phase of parenting than ever.

R has always loved books and am glad that the interest has not waned one bit. I try and keep adding different kinds of books to his collection. There are some books that pique his curiosity and interests more than the others and it shows in the level of repetition. He knows a few of them by rote and rattles off the sequence of events from his mind as he turns the pages.

R is increasingly losing the baby lingo and is constructing many long and difficult sentences. He comes up with things that make us go LOL or red in face depending upon the context. I must say kids do have the knack to say the darndest and sweetest things to say at times. A charmer, he knows when I am really upset, makes a sad face and says, "sorry amma, I won't do it again". And, he can get very persistent in getting my attention. For.e.g it is not sufficient anymore to absent-mindedly say a 'hmm..','ok', or even 'good' to some of his statements. He catches the disinterest and lack of attention and pleads in turn," amma, nee R kitta paesaen..." (amma, why don't you talk to me?") :-)
Trust me, it is not easy to listen to constant mindless chatter and to be able to satisfactorily respond to statements like "this car is going phut phut and fell down with a thud" or questions like "why a certain car is a Alto and not anything else" or a random shout of objects identified from a book.

As you can see, the obsession with cars and other vehicles is pretty much going strong. Even a fleeting glance of an advert with vehicles while skipping channels catches R's attention and he demands to watch it, "I want to see that car/truck/plane. You also see that. Don't watch this." Hmm.

Having all the time in the world

The other day I went to a doctor for a bad throat. After the usual examination and questions, he began writing the prescription and advised the usual saline water gargling. After which, he asked me a cursory question as to whether I'm a homemaker or a working woman. Then, he said," aah, then you have all the time in the world. You can gargle as many times you want in a day!"

Why o' why do people assume so many things about others. Especially about lives of people they have no inkling about. Even if the woman had been his mother, I'm sure the fellow would've had no idea the kind of work she did around the house so that he could stick his neck up in the world pooh-poohing homemakers of the world.

Is it no work to keep warm meals ready? Does the house miraculously change into a habitable place from a war-struck zone? Or perhaps entertaining and feeding a toddler is not a big deal. There are day cares around, right? Well, when you need the day cares and have enough respect for people who run it, can't you extend it to the mother, the housewife, who has chosen to remain at home to do it instead? A day without the housewife, even the maids cannot salvage the house. So, why do you imagine her to have truck loads of time to kill just because she is not going outside the house to work? And, even if she is having time on her hands, it does not warrant advice or comment from anybody else. Her life, her time. Period.

Now, I am in no way judging people who have outsourced the above activities. Every person has the right to live the life they want to/need to. My only grouse is the scorns and smirks that the title 'homemaker' elicits. The automatic perception of someone who has nothing better to do all day. I definitely hate these terms-homemaker, worse, housewife! Homemaker is just a sugar-coated term for housewife. Don't ask me what is the suitable word then. Why categorize at all? 

The husband has simple solutions. "The next time someone asks you, say you are a freelancer. You work from home", says he. Maybe that's best. Until time changes for the homemakers of the world.

Someone considers me a favourite

The interval between my blog postings is really widening. Although, the amount of official work I do does not amount to full-time on paper, it is in reality eating up my blog-time. I do need to get myself more organized. Working from home should not translate into working all the time, right? And, like the proverbial icing on the cake, the Dasara holdiays for R have begun and this does not help my cause at all.

Of course, I am not here to rant about all this. This is infact a long overdue post that was lying in my drafts.  Me of Privytrifles had long ago passed on the "Liebester Blog" title to my blog. I had meant to take this up immediately but somehow never got around doing it. This has been the first time, I've taken so long to acknowledge a fellow blogger's token of appreciation. My heart-felt apologies to "ME".

Me of Privy Trifles is a wonderful writer. Her blog is a wonderful mix of fiction and non-fiction. Her salt and pepper series is something I look forward to each week, as she weaves her experience and learning into wonderful though-provoking posts for us readers to reflect upon.

The Liebster Blog means the 'favourite blog' in German. It is indeed flattering to know that someone who writes so well considers my blog as one of her "favourite blogs". Thank you, Me!

I am bypassing the rules of the blog award this time to just answer the questions framed by Me.

Define yourself in one word. 

Unique-just like anyone else. I may possess characteristics similar to someone yet there is something that is just entirely me. I can be difficult at times, easy at other times, emotional in one moment, practical in the other, strong in certain areas but wavering when it comes to certain other areas. I could be just anybody around the block, yet there is no one completely like me :-)

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

I'm not too particular about a certain number. I like the current phase I'm in and I'd like to retain the goodness that this phase has lent me in whatever chronological age I get to in future.

If you knew the world was ending in 2012, what would you do differently?

I'd probably pack my bags and drag my family along for a world tour, not worrying about the finances.

If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

 I'd like to see our country breaking free of dishonest and corrupt leaders, becoming more attuned to the nature's ways of living, a global leader in the real sense and our countrymen taking responsibility to make all this possible, in whatever small ways possible. This will be an event in itself, right? Albeit, a long and painful one. But I hope to live to see such a time for us.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

Sherlock Holmes. I wish I had the observational and deductive prowess that he had.
If you got a magic wand and could change only one thing, what would that be?

 Reverse the global warming condition  :-)

If you could ask your future self one question what would it be?

Anything I could do better now???

What is your most prizest possession? Why?

My family and friends. Without their encouragement and support, I don't think I can move ahead.

What is the one thing you feel is most mis-understood?

I think love or concern for the other is often misunderstood/misinterpreted because each one follows a different set of rules while showing concern or love, which probably is not understood or appreciated by the recipient.

One thing you would like to tell Me

Keep writing,Me. Your writings are inspirational and have a soul.

Health, weather and work

We battled out a nasty viral attack in the past two weeks. All the three of us were affected in varying degrees, starting off however with the same symptom- a bad throat. Poor R was the most affected of the lot. It took him a week to recover from the fever and associated weakness and he is still regaining the lost appetite. Not to mention the weight lost, regaining which will be my headache for the next few months. You take all the pains to make your child have nutritious meals in the hope to see the upward graph on that weighing chart, and suddenly in just a matter of few days, all your efforts are blown off by one stroke of the malicious virus.

Bangalore has been seeing a lot of these bad throat-viral flu combination in these past weeks. And, predictably so. The weather has been at its worst. Having almost nil rains this season, the sun is at its battering best. To top it all, the temperature fluctuations have been very steep and frequent. If it is sweltering in the day, it can become quite windy and cool in the evenings and then in between these hot and cold days, you also receive unexpected short bursts of showers. All in all a deathly and sure shot recipe for all kinds of illnesses.

Nature seems to have unleashed her fury this year round by not providing us with timely rains. Her way of punishing us greedy mortals for having milked all the goodness dry and not giving back a dime in return. Forget returning the good, it is the case of killing the golden goose.The global warning signs that started years ago slowly is definitely catching up its speed and if we do not stop, think and improve ourselves, we'd soon march our way to doomsland.

In other news, I have begun work on a part-time basis from home. The job involves writing-something that I've begun to enjoy in recent times. Nothing major, really. Yet, a beginning is definitely made and it is keeping me fruitfully occupied. So, that crosses off the final task that I'd listed out for this year. Hoping for a smooth and sweet 2012 ending. Sweet endings make good beginnings, right?

Tantrums of an elevator!

I am perplexed and annoyed at how the lift functions in my block. At almost all times when I’ve needed its service, the damned box has infuriated me with its cat-and-mouse play.  And, it is just this particular lift that seems to have taken an aversion to stop at my floor. The other lift seems to work just fine.  Ironically, the one playing truant with my nerves is the one situated right next to our door. 

Now, each block in our apartment complex is equipped with 2 passenger lifts. However, to save power and with the noble intention of doing our bit to the environment, many a times, there is only one functioning at a given point of time. So, the option to always use the other one does not exist at all times. Talk about convenience!  

We live on the second floor and thankfully do not essentially require the lift most times. Even then, there are times when I am running late or I need to take R and R’s new bulky bicycle to the playing ground when I do count upon this blessed invention to come to my aid. Alas! The devil chooses to play truant even then.

Image courtesy: eatdrinknbmerry.blogspot.com
Let me explain. Imagine this scenario: You wish to descend a couple of floors. You press the relevant call button for the lift and wait patiently. The lift, which by the way is parked at a level below, outrageously bypasses the floor you are on, travels to some floor high above. The call is still registered on your floor, so you still wait patiently, assuming it will pick you up on its way down. The snooty box comes at its own pace and even as you look expectantly for it to make a stop and open its doors for you, it does it blinking act again by zooming past and stopping at the floor below!

Most people might give up by now. I have too on most occasions. But, there have been times I’ve still persisted to see if the lift obliges me at least now. You might think I finally get my chance? Not quite so. This time lift does show some concern to at least stop and open its doors for me but lo! Behold, what do I see? A smiling set of people waving a upward sign at my face. *rolling eyes*

Scenario number 2:   You press the call button. The lift comes and magnanimously stops for you, the doors open but only for you to realize that the lift is going in the direction opposite to where you intend to go.  You have two options: to either join the prevalent group to wherever they are abound and then proceed to your destination, or to wait for the lift to return empty for you. If you choose to wait, you run the risk of scenario 1 repeating. In either case, you are waiting endlessly to get to just one or two floors below you. 

Stumbling into this piece has freaked me out further. And, not without reason, you see.
Image courtesy: fromthepews.org

These days, I choose option 3, even when I’m in hurry or especially when I’m in a hurry. Which of course is,
taking the stairs: Haven’t you heard this is a healthier alternative to the elevator??