The Third Gender

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Hijras or the third genders have always been a matter of inquisitiveness and fear for me since childhood. I can recall that I grew up witnessing them as they roam the busy marketplaces in groups, terrorizing travellers in train hustling for ten or a hundred rupees. With manlike voice shouting cuss words and meeting their palms in the trademark clap, they prey on credulous passersby, who will part with their cash sooner than be treated to the sight of the group collectively lifting up their saris and flashing castrated genital areas right in their faces.

This morning while I was busy doing some household chores, I heard some noisy disturbance downstairs. I hurriedly rushed to my balcony to peep outside. Three manlike structures draped in colourful sarees and ill-fitted blouses, caked in cheap rouge and lipstick, wearing abundant gold plated shoddy jewellery were waiting outside my landlord’s house to bless the newborn. They created a commotion outside the house and danced with great fanfare. People from the neighbourhood started gathering around them addressing them ‘Maata ji ashirwaad karo ‘ As the tradition says, their visits are regarded auspicious on such occasions as it is believed that Hijras possess mystical powers, and their blessings – and curses – are both considered potent. They sing and dance and create a commotion outside the house until the mother has allowed them to look at the baby. Once they have blessed the child they demand absonant sums of money in lieu of their good wishes. Generally nobody wants to be accosted by them, so, people end up giving whatever they charge for their blessing.

Being considered freaks, unable to gain acceptability in society like the rest of us do, just because they are born in a way that is considered abnormal, these people end up becoming beggars, or enter into prostitution to keep up with their lives. They stay in areas where outsiders are strictly unwelcome. It is sad, tragic and heart-breaking how some people are born that way and how some of them are converted into Hijras by castrating their genitals.

The life that they are forced to lead, because of the way our society functions, is contradictory in itself.

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Hello New Year

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Hey you Mr. New Year!
What makes you come every year?
Hanging like a bag of rocks,
Are these the resolutions, my dear?

You come as a question mark?
And leave as a period.
In my prayers,
I seek joyful rides and lot of cheers.
But sorrow and laughter often come in pairs.

Embracing your uncertainty,
I await to unfold some beautiful chapters of life.
Please deliver a hope in my letter box.
Not just pain and strife.

Be kind to yourself,
And let your kindness flood the world.

So, what will you promise?
Mistakes , worries , fear !
Or a blissful happy new year?

Moments….

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Lend me some moments
From your clock.
Hard , is it for you?
Showing up at your door,
Might allow me a glance,
What if I want to sight more?

Last meeting is fresh in memory,
Wondering how distances affect!
Yesterday tried healing with the treasure of memories you gave,
Fruitless proved my endeavours,
And went my prayers in vain.

Once meet, and meet me forever.
Kill the curiosity of these lips
Combining yours’ together.

Hear the clamor of isolation inside me,
Like a spirit begging to be free.

Call me lunatic or what you may,
Bless me just once and only once for the long awaited play.
I wonder each and everyday,
Is that moment on its way?

Vocabulary Development Strategy: Frayer’s Model

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Frayer’s model is a very supportive teaching strategy which utilizes a graphic organizer to make children comprehend difficult key concepts and is often considered a fantastic classroom management tool for vocabulary development. A graphic organizer isn’t just a worksheet, but a whole thinking routine. It helps students to present information and their understanding in a visual manner. They also take the intimidation out of writing assignments because students aren’t staring at a blank page.

This technique requires students to

(1) define the target vocabulary words or concepts

(2) apply this information by generating examples and non-examples. This information is placed on a chart that is divided into four sections to provide a visual representation for students.

Frayer’s Model is a beneficial strategy for students as it promotes critical thinking, can be used individually and in groups, and draws on students’ prior knowledge. It can be applied very well in various contexts and not just vocabulary development.

A graphic organizer can help your students keep better notes, understand difficult information, or stay awake during that less-than-enthralling lecture. Why not try one today?

 

Hands on Learning Strategy: Money Exchange

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The International Baccalaureate accentuates the value of hands on learning throughout their program. Gone are the days when the teacher used to give lectures for endless hours and children learnt almost everything sitting passively. This is the era of interaction, activity, acquiring skill based learning and understanding concepts not just theoretically but with their practical application.

For our trans-disciplinary topic ‘Money’, my co educator and I instructed our students to bring their collection of different currencies and set up currency exchange counters in the classroom. We were quite surprised to find that there were so many numismatists in our class. We assisted our students to set up an exhibition of these currencies and collection which ranged from barter coins to Bitcoins. They also played Monopoly and made miniatures of market which further enabled them to learn how money is connected with market place.

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Under this activity children learnt how to exchange from one currency to another. They noted down their amount in Indian currency and then went to several counters where they exchanged it in Dollars, Pounds , Dirham etc

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Through this activity they could easily understand the arithmetical operations applied and how the world has changed into a global economy where money exchange holds a significant value.

Collaborative Reading Strategy: Literature Circle

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Literature Circle is a collaborative and pupil centered reading strategy in which pupils come together and take charge of their learning by reflecting upon a book which they all are reading. Students use their experiences to create meaning, make connections, and have lively discussions about the book . The strategy focuses upon thoughtful dialogue in consideration of sharing experiences and reach to a deeper understanding of the piece of literature.

I divided the students of Grade 4 into groups based on their skill set and competence. Then they were introduced to the five jobs:

  1. Summarizer– The one who gives a synopsis of the things read in his own language.
  2. Connector– The one who connects the incidents of the book with real life through sharing any incidents or stories connected with the text.
  3. Discussion Director– The one who holds a discussion among all the students by asking arguable questions.
  4. Vocabulary Enricher– The one who takes charge of finding the meanings and pronunciation of the new words from the text.
  5. Illustrator– The one who illustrates the ideas of the text through art.

In the first session itself students excitedly became part of the groups and prepared above expectations. They accepted their roles with surprise and efficiency. They all carried out their jobs quite successfully and were keen on doing this more than once in a week.

Literature circles are a strong language development and brainstorm strategy. It was a wonderful experience for me as a Grade Tutor to listen to their thoughts and ideas about the book. I appreciated their efforts and presented token of appreciation for the best five among them.

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Happy Reading ❤

Hurricanes

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Hurricanes come and go,
Making you realize that the earth beneath the feet should be felt every day.
Often people mistake in love,
Thinking they are on cloud nine.
In their sincerity,
Every person is a well wisher,
Every situation is a test of God,
But, I wonder if that is actually true?

Hurricanes don’t respect boundaries.
It hits, it strikes,
Moving the very foundation of hearts.

Too much modesty
Leads nowhere.
One day will be left with nothing,
but a past affair.

You shiver, you sulk, you cry and complain,
But who is there to share this pain,
Or a relation which sustains?

 

Blessed to be a Teacher

5th of September is observed as one of the most auspicious day in the life of an educator. Although everyday is joyous and full of learning with students yet we simply cannot overlook the solemnity of celebrating Teachers’ Day.

It’s a day when our dear students take all the pains and go an extra mile to make our day special. They make us realize that Teaching isn’t just a profession , but a promise and a lifelong relation between a student and a teacher.

I consider myself lucky and feel really proud that my students love me for what I’ve done for them. From listening to their problems to preparing them for the real world, a teacher always makes sure to influence a child’s life for eternity. I feel accountable for each one of them because I want them to pick up the best of everything and become a better human being.

Spent a wonderful day with my students and I’m glad that my students find me worthy of all the love they showered on me today. When I saw their twinkling eyes, felt their immense love in their hugs and kisses, and addressed my cupcakes this morning, and tears in my eyes, I felt overjoyed.

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The Window

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A window is not just a window for the admission of air and light, it has functions beyond that. If you observe closely, it seems like a fissure to a potpourri of myriad stories to expose. With that hot mug of cappuccino, you need to tune in for stories, the ones which appear as commonplace and nugatory at times, yet these flimsy stories become special and fill us with gratitude, when we realize how these show the ropes for a better acceptance of life. Sometimes when we are irked.

There are moments when we are so caught up in our own lives that we hardly seem to know our neighbourhood. Indeed we all are trading with severe tribulations and are gravely affected with the reign of all-pervading satiety and tedium, and it is within those moments of distress that in the loneliness of our room, we fortuitously unlock the window, hoping to get some fresh air. In an attempt to alleviate the troubled brain, we get lucky as it serves just a little more than that.

A little boy playing with his mother while the mother running after the toddler like her world revolves around him and the moment she gets the hold of him, she unfolds an ethereal smile. Wow! isn’t the gesture extremely gorgeous?

And then there is another story when the little kid has evolved into a quick-tempered teenager. He, who once found peace in his mother’s arms, now finds happiness and excitement in the outside world, a world which is unruly and cruel. Just at that moment you feel like telling him to not get carried away and be too conclusive with the false image of the world. Somehow, you are able to see yourself in the haughty teenager and it’s almost like revisiting yourself down the memory lane.

Before you get time to ponder upon how time flies and toddlers grow up into arguing teenagers, you find yourself witnessing another story where a man in his forties is struggling with the loneliness which has become his constant companion after having lost his mother. The creaking sound of the rusted doors is the only sound in his house, the broken window panes seem to be shattered already without a wind stroke and the cracked walls define the untold tale of his dis-favored life. He has peacefully embraced life as it is.

Finally after absorbing the gist of these trivial tales, you settle down your puzzled mind by deliberating a good deal over the thoughts which were obstructing your train of ideas and optimistic views. Unknowingly, you compare your situation with theirs and get an answer for what was troubling you. In the end, you may not be able to get all the answers, but certainly it made you know that this too shall pass.

Always remember most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes we need to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.

Ethereal

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When the shimmering beams of sunlight,

Traces its way down,

To the vicinity of their world,

Lightens up her face with the morning beauty,

She curls up in his arms,

To hide an unexpected disturbance.

 

To her wonder,

He holds her in a curious warm embrace,

Like a kid,

Holding on his favourite toy,

As if to allow no one,

To take her away even in those unconscious moments.

 

Giving away her chastity,

She hasn’t lost but gained a world she had never dreamed before.

A world where,

He stays, she lives.

A place where,

He says, she materializes.

A room where,

He orders, she pursues.

A time when,

He departs, she cries.

An abode where,

He loves, she worships.

 

The moment when she gazed at herself in the mirror,

She discovers how his touch has glistened every bit of her.

How his care has adorned her existence,

How his ethereal love has enamoured her disposition.

At this juncture,

She cannot help but smile,

And thank the lord,

To embed a gem forever in her life.