Monthly Archives: November 2011

A leaf that lasts a lifetime

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I remember that day, it was the first day of our ninth grade, and having studied for nine years in the same educational setup, I pretty much knew what to expect. It would be a day when new teachers come in with an effort to make a good first impression, or rather an intimidating one, to make sure the class is under control for the rest of the year. It would be the usual introduction of herself, followed by each of us introducing ourselves with our names. If the teacher happens to be one who has already taught us before, it would be the usual claim of how different this year, her class is going to be, how the bar of intolerance has been lowered making it impossible for us to limbo.

She was our new kannada teacher, taller compared to average south Indian women, confident, and she walked in with a smile. The smile was not one of those, which spread the friendliness, nor was it a forced fake one, which would be followed by establishing the power equation between the students and herself. It was one of those , a tad sarcastic ones which gives you an impression that she knows what she is going to be put up with.

Kannada language is mother tongue to many people in karnataka. Having spoken the language all our life, we expect the command over the language, if there is one subject/language which we are sure of scoring well, it has to be that language. Its extremely difficult to be a teacher who teaches something which all the students are already aware of, its highly likely for the students to ignore the subject, and most importantly its extremely difficult to command their respect for the subject and the teacher.
The new kannada teacher had an unique way of introducing students to her. She started a simple exercise, all we had to do was, stand up with a text, and read the passage without making a mistake, stammer, or wrong pronunciation. The first flaw in the reading would result in the next person continuing.

It was a challenge which all of us thought was a piece of cake, we were sure that the book would never reach beyond two rows.
What followed was a hilarious few minutes, with people stumbling within first few words/sentences.
I had a big ego about my kannada, [In a sort of a way, I still do], when the book came to me, I was with full determination to complete a big passage. I stumbled right after the fourth sentence.

For some reason I have never forgotten this exercise nor the teacher. This ego bursting exercise has kept me on my toes even now. Every time I feel a little over confident I do this exercise with small alteration as per the field, and it has never stopped surprising me.

I don’t know where the teacher is, nor I have any idea if I will get to thank her for this “first” class of hers.

One two many

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As I was reading my book on my way to work today, I realized something. I read only one book at a time. I might have multiple books on my stand, but I always choose one, and read it till the end, before I pick up another one. I know many people who read many books simultaneously, my own dad does that.

I was thinking of possible reasons, why I don’t do multiple books simultaneously.  Not that I don’t do multitasking, infact most of the times I am listening to music when I am reading books, so its strange I find it odd to read more than one  book at once.

I think it has to be with the attachment and passion towards the characters and the narrator. I usually develop this attachment which generates curiosity and the also ownership of the situations which unfold in the book. It becomes very difficult to come out of it, even when I am not reading. So may be its difficult to have the same level of involvement in multiple subjects.

Books are not like sitcoms which we watch an episode, followed by another episode from another sitcom and so on. We then wait for a week to get back to where we had left off. In fact, even sitcoms, I prefer to watch all episodes together over the DVD. The idea of continuity seems to attract me more than that of the novelty and variety.

If we term it as “thought space”, the dwellings of our mind which get transformed as we read a book, know the characters, their problems, their stories and their life. This thought space seems to handle only one set of people, and prefer to focus more on few, then less on many.

I was just wondering how much of this applies to our real life as well.

Some of us tend to have a large space, filled with many people, friends and family, people whom we just know, and end up not focusing on people who matter to us most. Some on the other hand have a very little people place, and end up focusing too much on them. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other.  Its just the way we are.

So what kind of reader are you?.