Oct 13, 2006

Four special Saturdays!

I can finally put a tick mark in my goals list for this year. Yes, I volunteered for Dream a Dream's Computer programme. Being a person who likes to teach (it's in my genes, I suppose), I wanted to volunteer for this programme the first time I heard about it. But due to time constraints and unavailability on certain Saturdays, it could never happen. When I came across Shashank's email a month back, I also realized that this is indeed the last programme for the current academic year. I replied quickly, confirming my participation.

The orientation session happened in the serene surroundings at Ananya. I spent a whole day with a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers and our trainer Dr.Rao who explained the minute details of how we should go about teaching kids. He made the session interesting with a lot of anecdotes and activities. It was an eye-opener for me. I was really looking forward to the forthcoming sessions.

The next week was a planning session. I volunteered for the Computer Basics - Part I module (the very first session !) and we came up with a set of objectives and how we plan to conduct the sessions with time limits set for each objective. The best part about DAD computer programme is the way things are planned and documented to such accuracy. It really helps while we execute the action plan.

The day of my session finally arrived. As soon as I woke up, I switched on my computer and opened MS Paint after God-knows-how-many-years. I started to draw a flower and it came out very bad. Then I started to draw my favorite face and it came out well. I added some colours and it looked neat. BTW, I did this task to show kids how they can draw and colour pictures using a computer. I also drew the same picture in a piece of paper and coloured it with a set of crayons. After a long time, I spent my time colouring a picture. I used to love that when I was a kid. I remember the Crayon Corner that used to come in Hindu Young World. I used to cut out the picture, colour it and put it in a file. How I miss those beautiful Saturday mornings !

I reached the Computer Centre on time. The feedback for the morning session was happening. I quickly recollected the activities that I would be doing. The kids and other volunteers were on time as well. I could sense the tension in my hands as I have never taken any class for the kids. Started off with the reasons of why kids should learn computers and the stuff that they can do, I continued onto parts of a computer. The kids were already aware of the parts and so my job was very easy. Then I taught about different mouse clicks, drag and drop functionality using a short role play. By the time I completed my set of objectives, I still had 40 minutes left. Thanks to www.jigzone.com, the kids spent the rest of the time playing jigsaw puzzles. This not only helped the kids to have fun but also familiarize themselves with mouse usage.

I volunteered for the other sessions on MS Paint workshop, Internet usage and google search as a coordinator while other volunteers would be conducting their sessions. This gave me an opportunity to sit with the kids and assist them. I was surprised to see the kids so much interested and involved. On top of that, they were quick learners and needed very minimal assistance.

While I was talking about parts of a computer, a kid asked me "Aunty, do you know what is CPU? It is central processing unit". He was one of the brightest kids in the batch. If properly nurtured, he could go places in the IT industry. There was another kid who wasn't interested in the theory I was talking but when it came to jigsaw puzzles, he was so enthusiastic and solved them in no time.

During the MS Paint workshop, the kids were asked to draw and paint their favorite picture on a paper. They came up with such amazing artistic drawings. I particularly remember a kid who was drawing a river, a house and a tree by its side. She was also drawing a reflection of the house and tree on the river in a lighter blue shade. Oh, how much importance she was giving to minute details ! She also drew a palette of different colour shades and in the centre, she wrote "Work is worship". And she is in her 8th grade.

They were asked to draw a railway track. And all I expected was two straight lines connected by small lines. I was totally wrong. A kid was using the curve option in MS Paint. I asked why her railway track is curved. She replies that her track is in a hill station. She even went further to draw a neat railway bridge. I realized that if I need to learn lateral thinking, I should spend more time with kids.

While the kids were trying out image search in Google, one thing that actually hit me was the fact that everyone of them were searching for their favorite movie stars. This made me realize how much impact movies and the stars have on our little kids. No wonder the multiplexes are on the rise and charging huge price for the tickets !

A memorable experience it was for me as well as for other volunteers ! Though there are many improvements that I can do, I'm glad that I have taken the first step.

As someone rightly said "Kids are the best teachers!".

Oct 10, 2006

Remembering RKN

Today is the birth centenary of a man who can spin interesting stories with simple words. He is none other than my favourite writer R.K.Narayan. My reading habit was reinstated because of his novel 'Swami and Friends'. Though I have read many of his novels, this one holds a special place. He is definitely one of my inspirational writers. I wish Malgudi is not a fictional town. There are quite a number of villages in India that has a flavor of Malgudi.

You can read a couple of my reviews here - Vendor of Sweets , My Days

Note to myself : I should go home and read a few pages written by this wonderful author tonight.

Finally, I watched....

Yes, I'm talking about Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu. A well-made action packed thriller. The director deserves a big round of applause for making such a good movie and managing to release the film after the financial hassles. The music was amazing and I started to like the songs even before the movie got released especially Vennilave and Paartha mudhal naaLe. The heroine, the one who comes in the first half is beautiful and her eyes are very expressive. Ofcourse, Jyotika looks stunning in sarees in the song Uyirile. Talking about the hero Kamal, he fits perfectly in the role of a cop although he looks pretty old.

The pace of the movie was superb, with Jyotika's part as occasional speed breakers. Some of the scenes were violent, especially the hanging finger amidst lemon and green chillies (dhrishti symbol !!) and the dead bodies.

In a perfect movie, what is the need of a dance song with skimpily dressed dancers? That's one of the two negative points I noticed, the other being wasting the acting capabilities of the calibre of Prakash Raj. He has been given a very small role with very less potential for his acting skills. His role could have been enhanced.

Overall, a brilliant "Tamil" movie which my hubby also enjoyed for a change :-)

Oct 4, 2006

ஒரு மாலை பொழுது

கருமேக கூட்டம்
சூழ்ந்திருக்க
செடி கொடி எல்லாம்
நின்றிருக்க

வந்ததே
தென்றல் காற்றும்
வந்ததே !
தந்ததே
புதுமண் வாசனையும்
தந்ததே !

சில்லென்ற
மழைத்துளி ஒன்று
கையில் வ ந்ததே !
பளிர் என்ற
மின்னல் ஒளியும்
கண்ணில் தெரிந்ததே !

கதிரவனின்
செங்கதிர்கள் மெல்ல
மறைந்ததே !
வெண்ணிலவும்
மேகத்திரையில்
முகத்தை ஒளித்ததே !

இது ஒரு
பகலின் முடிவா?
இல்லை, இருள்படர்
இரவின் தொடக்கமா?
இல்லை, வானிலையில்
புது மாற்றமா?

இந்த நொடிப்பொழுதை
கையில் அடக்கவா?
இல்லை, வார்த்தைகளில்
வடிவம் கொடுக்கவா?
இல்லை, என் ராகத்தில்
இசையை மீட்டவா?

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