Why I Love Saratchandra

My Ma introduced me to literature and Saratchandra made me fall in love with it.
On learning about my fetish with stories, my father's friend gave me Badi Didi'. I won't say I wept like hell when Surendranath died, but the story was good. And when I read Ramer Sumati, I couldn't help imagining myself in Ram's place. Same thing happened when I was reading Parinita'. Only this time I was Lalita. Such is his style of writing that every word became alive. For a long time I read his stories and novels for their sheer romantic appeal. But Sesh Prashn (Final Question) opened my mind's eyes. t took me to another world, of right and wrong, of arguments, criticism. Kamal, the heroin of the novel, urged me towards asking questions.

I was in my final year of graduation ,when we were asked to write an essay on Taj Mahal in Russian. when I started writing, I thought about Kamal . She denounced Taj Mahal as epitome of eternal' love. She said if Taj Mahal was a token of love of Shahjahan for his wife Mumtaz then how come he had hundreds other wives in his harem. Shahjahan, like any other emperor, wanted to prove his greatness in front of the whole world. Mumtaz was only a medium to serve his purpose. As I fully agreed with Kamal I penned down my' thoughts. Though my family and especially my brother doubts my literary ability, but (fortunately) my teacher had other opinion. I got an A in that test.

Kamal surprises men by her rational thinking and independence, be it of ideas or life. She is accused of parroting Shivnath's immoral thoughts. It doesn't bother her. Imagine the accusations of high and mighty of society not worrying a woman! Here I m reminded of Anna Karenina .Who yearns to be free from a life of pretence and lies, finds love but succumbs to the pressure of living a life of pariah and inacceptance. Kamal couldn't have met the same fate because she lives what she believes and she has the courage to stick to her beliefs, which is thought as a man's prerogative even today. Kamal says she is not anybody's property. he owns herself and no other human can own her. At one point Nilima says, "had Kamal married traditionally, if she had husband and kids, then she would have totally devoted herself to her family. But if she felt that her husband is trampling her "self", she would leave all the happiness in a second." I agree with Kamal that marriage is one of the many things happening in life. The day it was made the sole purpose of woman's existence, the biggest tragedy of her life started.

kamal is my favorite (may be because we both are misfits) but I also like Bharati (Pather Davi) and Vandana (Vipradas). Some people say that the lady characters of Saratchandra's novels are weak and emotional and he glamorized their silent sufferings in feudal India. They are emotional I agree but I don't agree with the weak and fragile part. Take for instance, Abhayaa of Srikant. She comes to Burma in search of her husband who had promised to come back soon. She finds out that he has (re)married a Burmese girl. Abhayaa still stays with him. But when he physically abuses her , she leaves him. And decides to start life afresh with Rohini babu who has been in love with her. She asks Srikant that her husband took same vows in front of Agni but those were mere silly utterances for him. He broke each vow then should I be the only one to fulfill the vows and duties? Then there is Vijaya, (dutta) the brahmo girl, who does not shirk her responsibilities after her zamindar father dies leaves all the inheritance to her. Her rebellious nature makes it difficult for the wiley Rasbihari to take over her land. She also steps forward in recognizing her love for Narendra. She is not a pretty damsel (in distress) who needs prince charming to be freed from the clutches of evil Rasbhihari. She is capable to think for herself and her PRAJA. Her fiance doesn't want to allow villagers to hold durga pooja. He tries to force her to accept his decision but doesn't succeed.

Depiction of women was Saratchandra's forte. With an accurate and deep insight he could bring out subtle shades in the psychology of the contemporary Bengali woman whether an educated Brahmo girl of Calcutta, or an unsophisticated rustic housewife, or a prostitute. His sympathy for and understanding of their sufferings, their often unspoken loves, their need for affection, their fight for emancipation, made them stand out as authentic pieces of portrayal. Although he could never completely break away from certain traditional values and sentimental fads like admiration for enlightened landlords or a wistful longing for virtues in so-called fallen women, one has to admit that Saratchandra created a world of fiction where every woman could find a place for herself.

I miss Switzerland

Just arrived home and I am already missing Switzerland with all its scenic beauty,cow bells and marvelous and ever-ready to help people.One of my husbands friend had already been to Switzerland and he provided us with a tour plan for four days.We had four days and there was so much to do and see. we tried to squeeze in everything that we could. Instead of staying at a hotel in Interlaken( it was suggested by our friend. and all the Indian crowd invariably land there). Interlaken is in the center of Switzerland, so it can be made base for the tour, but my husband had already talked to his friend in Lausanne and we stayed there for our trip.Laussane is the Olympic Capital" since 1994.It is home to the Olympic Museum, the most visited site in Switzerland.Béjart Ballet of Lausanne is world-famous. From what I have seen of Switzerland, I can say that every inch of this country is beautiful.Not only the landscapes but people too.It is also worth mentioning that the swiss people don't talk in English but that won't be a problem if you want some help. They always try to help strangers.(I got a rude shock and back to reality message on board the N2 bus from London Victoria station.a drunkard started cussing a lady with a child, saying she wasn't a good mother. The baby started crying.The lady asked the driver to throw the man off the bus but got no reaction, ultimately she herself had to get down earlier.Then the guy turned his attention at ananya, who was blissfully sleeping through all the clamour,but thankfully nothing untoward happened.) THINGS TO DO : For adventure sport enthusiasts, Switzerland is a gold mine.You can go trekking on beautiful alps,river rafting, ice skiing, skating, cycling on mountains.Switzerland has a cycling tradition which is not generally seen in London.swiss trains even have special space provided for cycles.I saw double decker trains for the first time here.There are 3300 km (2046 miles) of well-marked interlinked trails, most of which offer easy cycling. Bicyles can be hired at most railway stations and at many other locations. Those hired at stations can then be returned to any station at the end of the tour.Lakes such as Lake Geneva, Lugano, and Neuchâtel offer sailing, water-skiing and canoing. Rowing can be done on Lake Zurich. hiking is a national passion in Switzerland, and hikers are very well catered for. Approximately 50,000km of trails lead through all kinds of terrain in this spectacularly beautiful country.We went to rhein falls on the first day.It is a photographer's delight.We had luggage with us and there was no place to put it. So we had to drag it with us all the way up and down the stairs.While coming back to the platform we found out that the place where people were depositing their belongings for a ride in boat was very near to platform.
: If you have luggage with you then go down to the left from platform,its hardly 50 meters.The person who takes care for the luggage charges 1 frank per suitcase.

: Chocolates :Swiss chocolates are world famous.they give good competition to Belgian ones. My husbands colleagues at office had demanded that he get them swiss chocolates.We thought of buying them at duty free shops at Geneva airport but all the shops had already closed except one.( our flight was at 9.50 pm)The shop that was opened had very expensive brands but we had to buy them anyways.Advice:Buy chocolates from supermarkets like coop or migros. Frey is a good brand as well. Teuscher (try the champagne truffles) and Sprüngli are for fat wallets. Swiss Army Knife:this knife has a blade as well as various tools, such as screwdrivers and can openers.The term "Swiss Army knife" was coined by US soldiers after World War II, as they couldn't pronounce its original name, "Offiziersmesser".. Cow Bells: Of varying sizes, these cowbells are a great hit among Indian tourusts.hindi movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaenge has this scene where kajol and shah rukh khan argue over who got first to the shop to buy the cow bell.I also bought one but smaller and more cute.
: Rollex, omega,tag heuer,swatch,mont blanc, yes all these brands are swiss. cuckoo clocks:Its not a Swiss product, but clichés are stronger than fact.the cuckoo clock has nothing at all to do with Switzerland. It was invented in the Black Forest of southern Germany in 1738, the area which is still the center of their production. cheese Its said that anyone canmake the holes butonly swiss can make the cheese.Hard cheese, soft cheese, cottage cheese, cheese made in mountain chalets, cheese made in valley factories, cheese shaved into rosettes, cheese boxed in red pine, cheese melted in wine to make fondue, hot cheese dribbled over potatoes to make raclette...and what not.
Some Interesting Facts About Switzerland
: Many celebrities have made Switzerland their home.Boris Baker lives in Schwyz, in central Switzerland. The great Irish writer James Joyce moved to Switzerland from Paris because of the War. French actress Isabella Adjani settled in Geneva. Charlie chaplin lived for over 20 years in Switzerland. Roger Moor, the man who incarnated James Bond has lived in Crans-Montana since the end of his acting career. Former Formula 1 champion Michael shumacher has been living in Switzerland since 1996. Bollywood Connection: On an average, 25 Bollywood movies are shot in the picturesque backdrops in switzerland every year. Switzerland was first used as a location by Indian filmmakers in the 1960s, when Raj Kapoor and Shakti Samanta went there to shoot "Sangam" and "An Evening in Paris" respectively. In 2002, leading Bollywood director and producer Yash Chopra was conferred the Swiss Filmfare Award by the Switzerland government for his role in promoting the country as a preferred location. Switzerland is also home to the huge Nestlé food company. Punctuality:Not surprisingly for a country that is known for making clocks, the Swiss have a near-obsession with being on time.trains are never late.
Tour Information Tickets
: No need to feel hassled if you missed your train and now stranded on platform.Ticket counters at every station will give full detail (printed on small leaflets)of the timing,number of train, platform no.,trains to be changed and at which station to go to your destination.You can easily plan your journey with the help of these small leaflets. Geneva is no tourist paradise.Tourists expect a lot here in the international capital of Switzerland,but Geneva doesn't match to those expectations.Our last day was reserved for Geneva. We reached there around 4 p.m. Geneva is the costliest city in Switzerland. We got on a ride on city train, similar to the one at Lucerne but were fooled. The train only circled round and round in the botanical garden, never allowing us any glimpse of the city. There are private bus tours which will take you to the offices of a horde of international organizations.but Other than the Saturday flea market in Plain de Plainpalais where you can hunt for that rare music record there is nothing to do in this small city. The United Nations building that neighbors other international organisations like ILO, WTO, and UNHCR is a desolate structure.But like Lucern, Zurich andLausanne, you can take a streamer here too and spend four hours enjoying the scenery.Swiss rail pass gives access to all ferries and streamers.
CHAO There is a lot to write and share, but for now I wind up here.Lets meet some other day and discuss Switzerland over a bite of chocolate.

flying away to switzerland

Hi ppl. wat's up. I'll be leaving for Switzerland tomorrow early morning. Wish me happy journey and lets hope I bring home happy memories which I can share with u all.

Musings on Primary Education

MY nephew is two years old. He is loquacious, mischievous, naughty and what not. Above all he is the apple of our eyes. My sis is planning to admit him in a school this session. She is worried of course; will he get admission in city's most reputed school? How would he perform at interview? How should she and her husband prepare for that particular meeting? All these apprehensions and chaos for admission in a nursery class!

Well, this is the reality of the day. For me it is a crime to send a three-year-old kid to totally unfamiliar surrounding, in the name of educating him. When he should be running after birds and butterflies, he is being taught to count their number in a lifeless book.

When he ought to be making stories out of his own imagination, (whenever it's Manu's turn to tell a story, he improvises the ones he has been told by me or other elders.) and forced to cram and parrot rhymes whose meanings he doesn't know!

It is for the benefit of parents who are anxious to show their child's talent in front of drawing-room gatherings. Neither parents, nor teachers are ready to admit that classroom teaching is not enough to equip a three-year-old
to start learning about life.

Conventional schooling stifles curiosity and bland diet from textbooks kills motivation. These two essentials to learning are generally extinguished when, indeed, they should have been fanned to brilliance. A child is shown a picture of kingfisher and is expected to remember it, but how and why should he? Shouldn't the teacher rather take the kids out on a nature walk and show birds, animals and insects that are in abundance in their surroundings? Why is it necessary for them to cram the name of seagull which they've never seen? Why can't they be told about the weaver bird which has made nests on babul tree outside their school or the tiny sunbird which hovers on flowers in their school garden?

Why aren't they told about the trees in their surrounding environment instead of being told about pines, again in entity unfamiliar to them? It's not that everything should be taught by providing a living example in front of kids, but it should be made relevant to them with the help of examples, pictures and stories.

One day I was showing a picture book to kids in my nursery class, there were large pictures of different species of apes and monkeys. For a while we transformed ourselves in to these monkeys and played a game of war. There was total chaos in the class; everybody was shrieking, shouting and crying (including me) trying to sound like real monkeys. When the mayhem subsided, I gathered them around me and told them that very long ago people had tails just like monkeys. I remember that my statement was instantly rebuffed by the little devils. To prove my point, I had to find and show them another book which had man-like creatures with tails. I was obliged with okay nods. And we resumed normal activities. When we got promoted to grade I we had a conversation on how to write an essay in English. I told them that we should write all we know about that animal (the topic). Like what it eats, where it lives, what are its characteristics and in the end you may insert other information like how many legs, eyes....and so on. So we started discussing on this pattern.

And from no where popped up this topic about how to write on man. (In some earlier discussion, I had floated this idea that may be man is an animal too and I was again criticised for not knowing anything!)

And lo! Someone remembered it. That man had a tail long time ago and it disappeared with time. There was a whoop of excitement and everybody started speaking at once.

Why are today's children not being taught to explore, to enquire, to marvel at the beauty of nature that surrounds them? The reason that comes to my mind is that the teachers themselves aren't conversant with such things. In India, many kindergarten teachers have no professional training, have a minimum education and they are generally working as KG teachers because they need money and not because they love the job.

Some of them may be BA, B.Ed. They are always waiting for better opportunities. In defence of these teachers, it may be said that they are paid poor salaries. Let's not blame them if they take their job in a mechanical way. It is the duty of the school management to provide and recruit staff which is capable of handling such impressionable and delicate minds.

So what must be done? First and foremost, a kindergarten teacher should be jack of all trades, be it art and craft, music or story in telling. He should be keen to learn, should plan the day's work ahead create an atmosphere in which the kids feel free to express themselves. It will help them in self-learning.

Try explaining unfamiliar topics with the help of various teaching aids like pictures, story, books, music, masks and puppets. Music can be of great assistance to channelize the kids' energy.

Go on nature walks. Children enjoy being outdoors. No need to pester them (to mug up the name) each time you see a Black Drongo sitting on a wire. Let them enjoy the association with their surrounding. You can tell them all about the fork-tailed black bird when you get back to school. Learn to keep your enthusiasm in check. Kids relish information they can associate with.

Start attending drama classes. Mimickry and buffoonery sometimes play an important role in reaching out to shy and introvert kids.

Worry not. parents

Ananya is 19 months. she likes me reading books to her, especially noddy ones by Enid Blyton.kids r fascinated by colors and pictures. Nannu also likes to watch animal pictures, either books or on net. she has started recognizing many things . though i don't intend to force her in to being a 2 year old intellectual wonder, but being a parent i relish the her stock of knowledge. my father-in-law used to say that we know she will walk and talk but that first step she took, the little mumbling-utterances r the sweetest words right now. we eagerly wait when the child will start saying mama, papa. some times when the natural growth seems to be delayed, its natural for the parents to be anxious. but NEVER compare your child with another child. each child has her own pace of development. some start walking as early as 8 months and some may take their first step well after one year. same is the case with speech. the son of my husband's colleague is 20 months and hasn't yet started speaking( most of the time he yells). i asked his mother to place all his toys out of his reach so that he will have to ask for her help. sometimes when kids get everything easily and without demanding then they don't feel the need to communicate.as their needs are being met.

raising kids

raising kids can b an hair raising experience especially when the power struggle goes endlessly. yeah! forget bush n saddam. our modern day autocrats are 1 or 2 yrs and yet making us dance to their tunes( which can vary being simply charming to hellish screechy). i devote most of my time running around little annaya. thought to preserve these moments of bliss and blast. so here i m.