Monday, January 14, 2008

Ode To The Board

Read this, and see if it rings a bell.

Oh still Black Board,
Thou solid presence in the class.
Thou on whose back words amass
Like sparks from the wand of the chalk-
Yello and pink and blue and deathly white
Make facts and figures come to life and talk.
The living dates lie dead on your side
Like people that are born, grow and die in a day
To be erased and forgotten in time's tide
Thou who died yesterday,
Will be there tomorrow
But live for today.
Be thou, still,black presence,
The spirit of my restless mind.
With the past erased, unworried in the future
Living but for the present.

PS: If Shelley were to read this, he definitely wouldn't think that his winter would be followed by such a spring!

My Ruler

My ruler is a funny thing
Yes, it's made of pliant plastic.
No, it's not brittle, or even straight
Definitely not metallic.
My ruler does not rule me,
It takes so many shapes.
It measures up my right and wrong,
It caters to my faith.
Others have rulers so rigid,
their feelings all neat and straight,
Their passion dead, their senses numb
Lives tied to a lifeless fate.
Go on, take out your ruler
Stand tall or short- as it dictates!
I'll use my magic ruler
Its rules are what I state!

Here was a Table , When comes another? A Parody of Mark Antony's Speech

Sisters and Brothers of my staffroom,
Lend me your eyes.

I come to mourn the loss of our Old Table,
not to praise it.

The evil of things present remain while they live,
The good is oft remembered when they are gone.
So let it be with the Old Table.
The Noble Madam has sent us new tables.
As they are new, they are sleek and attractive.
And attractive we do find them.

Sit I to write in the Old Table's memory
It was a friend, sometimes shaky and ugly to me
But Sreekumar has given us new tables
And Sreekumar is an honourable man.

I write not to show ingratitude to Birbal and the rest
But I write what I do feel.
It had held up many books and files for years
whose numbers did the general mess increase.
Was this a cause for discarding the Table?
Yet we all said it should be discarded.
And sure, we are all honourable people.

You all did know that the Table
stood ten years in the staffroom
And ten years did it serve us well (
Did this in the Table seem dispensable?
When the teachers have partied
The Table hath held up the food.
Dispensability should be made of weaker stuff.
You all did need the table once, not without cause-
What cause witholds you then, to mourn for it?

O Judgement thou art fled to heartless beasts and the teachers have lost their reason!

Bear with me. My heart weeps for the Table lost somewhere,
And I must pause till it come back.


Written on the occasion when handsome New tables replaced the rickety Old one.


Madam- Principal.
Sreekumar- School Manager.
Birbal- Carpenter.

I give you the original

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Best Friend

He's there when I want him
He never complains
He takes all my dirt
And never shows st(r)ain
He stays in the background
He's never seen
He's my dear, dear friend
My washing machine.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Time Management

In my own small world of the workplace and home, I've had vast experience and as I dive into its depth I pride myself on my brilliant inovations and profound theories.

I fear that such life-changing discoveries will die with me and so leave to the world a legacy to enlighten generations of women (men too?). Read on to obtain these gems of wisdom.

Law Of Time Management For The Indisciplined Individual
The question of time management arises only when you've got to do things that you don't want to do. You will find time for the others.
The law states : Never do early what you can do in the eleventh hour. This is based on the premise that pressure enhances mood, perspective, speed and efficiency in work. This is true while making question papers, cooking or correcting answer scripts.Take the case of preparing a qp. I've tried doing it a month ahead. I read and discard a thousand questions, passages, and sentences for being insipid/boring/long/short/ too easy/ too tough... My capacity to find fault is endless. Long hours have I spent on the net searching and researching stuff that will interest or provoke my students. I try to make the perfectest qp.I draft, cut, edit, polish, redraft until I know it by heart.

During and after the exam, I look at the students for the brightness of eyes, a smile of pleasure, a frown of deep thought... but they only look bored.

When I make the qp just two days before the exam , it gets made.The students are not bothered either way if it is an interesting passage with thought provoking questions or insipid ones. Ditto cooking.

While cooking (God, How I dislike it!), If I start early,I take double the time to walk to the kitchen- what with reluctance and all-,stare into the fridge, curse the notion of four meals a day,think of better things to do, close the fridge, open it again (you've got to), plan a menu, get the required stuff (hate to touch the cold veggies /frozen meat), peel the onions (aaargh), cook, clear away, wash (aaargh aaargh aaargh). Are two hours in a furnace with watering eyes and burning nostrils worth the effort? The food disappears, leaving more dirt and dirt-clearing work.
Cooking in the last ten minutes (yes, I've timed it)is more efficient, fast and practical.

I run to the kitchen, chop whatever I grab, and let the pressure cooker (mua mua my dear friend) and the fire do the work and presto the job is done. The point being one has no time to savour the misery and self pity. With speed cooking I've discovered the smart , innovative me. I've served chutneys without garnish, sambar with a single tomato, cheat-the-kids-pizza, payasam without pista. Hey it's healthy, saves time and money. Besides, the food is hhot and there are no leftovers (you haven't had time to make much, remember?).

So begone Benjamin (Franklin).


Time - That sly villain that creeps up behind
Scattering wrinkles as he passes me by
Crow's feet and calories and pain in the knees,
Grey hair and bald head - all in slow degrees.

Time - He robs babies from under your nose
Their puppy fat and crayons and tiny pink toes
The toy cars and teddies - oh where are they gone?
It is that rascal, he's been stealing along.

Time- Well... he isn't that bad after all-
He's gifted this young man who's grown quite tall.
Yes, Time has taken my baby away
But he's left me a lad who lights up my day.

Sure, Time has snatched my little girl too
But he's given me a friend to share all I do,
He's blown my tender bud to a flower
A new Me with wings to travel afar.

Ah my friend, Time, you've tied me in knots
But I'll find a way to straighten my thoughts.
So go on, continue your relentless flow
I'll steel myself for every blow.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


In my capacity as materialmom, I intend to enlighten the young and the uninitiated with practical wisdom.

Here is a drop from the deep well of my experience.

Your husband is getting ready for office and he shouts for clean socks. A good wife would produce the required item magically, the faint smell of detergent and wardrobe freshener lingering on it.

But you, being a bad girl, had left all the used socks piling and washed it all together- and now they are all still wet.

What do you do? What to do? Never one to panic, you pull a pair out of the washing machine-TGTM- put it into the microwave and start it up. (ooh how smart you are, girl!!)......... 'uh oh', you go as you open the oven and look at the two melted blobs- the darned things are synthetic.

What to do? Whattodo?? Now it is time to panic as your husband shouts again. You run to the machine and pull out two more- wonder of wonders- they are matching ones again. You repeat the microwave action, setting for a shorter time at lower heat. You pray to Ganesha, the obstacle remover before pressing the button. You wait, holding your breath. The bell goes and you open the oven door to find perfectly dry socks and take it triumphantly to your husband.

PS.1. A conventional oven gives better results though you'll need a little more time.
PS.2. Use only in emergency. Don't waste power.
PS.3. Even better would be to train the spouse right at the beginning to do his own laundry and never to shout orders at you.