CHILDREN, little millennium, marathon, Olympics, school, Surat, Uncategorized

THEY RARELY MAKE HEROES LIKE HER ANY MORE !

img-20190120-wa0224It would definitely not be a hyperbole to state that the Indian Track & Athletic  Queen, PT Usha, belongs to the limited edition series !

A wonderful opportunity enabled me to interact with the Payyoli Express at the Little Millennium Kids Marathon at Surat. She was the Chief Guest at the event , aimed at motivating parents to nurture physically agile and alert children (along with cognitively alert) . The city was excited at the news of her arrival, the parents of young kids even more so !

Tall and athletic , she carries herself with the grace of a seasoned athlete.  Her face bears attractive lines of a well experienced International athlete . She is a much travelled lady and she understands  people and cultures rather well. She wears her celebrated feats  with such a charming ease that it comes as a pleasant surprise to all who meet her. You would expect a winner of 103  International and 800+  National medals, the winner of Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri ,  to carry such weight heavily on her shoulders . But not PT Usha. She carries her accolades , her achievements, her talent , her perseverance with an angelic simplicity and charm.

She carries her own bags. She travels without a fancy entourage.  She moves around unfettered without a posse of sychophants.  She happily stops and poses for selfies. She shakes hands with people who way lay her at the airport , the shopping mall or the kerbside. And always with a smile . There are many who walk up to her with a questioning brow (while raking their Olympic memory) and ask, “What is your name ?”. She smiles and says, ” PT Usha”.

She doesn’t stand in a special queue at the airport check-in and nor does she expect any preferential treatment. You may keep throwing endless questions at her and in the middle of it, if you chirp in,”Are you getting late ma’m ?” . All she says is “No Problem. Please carry on”.

And she is like the girl next door when she quietly quips in nonchalantly , “Can we manage to go shopping  ?”.  Hallejullah , she’s a true blue female like us 🙂

She talks about her first International exposure  as a 16 year old to the 1980 Olympics , when many of us saw her on our ‘black and white ‘ television. She travelled without her coach , saw a synthetic track for the first time and was in awe of the burly athletes competing with her. Yet , she made her mark.

She talks of travelling to Pakistan for a tournament  on an unreserved seat in a train and how it was absolutely normal for athletes in those times. They did not concentrate on the frills , they concentrated on the performance !

If I could do it then………..your children can do it ten times over , now “, was her address to the parents .

Parents thronged her to seek her blessings (and selfies). Some made their children touch her feet to draw upon her magnetic strength, someone brought their 3 year old straight from the hospital and still on a drip , while another brought a 2 month old baby – just to seek her ‘touch’.

Long hours of travel , delayed flights , hours of waiting make most people restless and short -fused. But not our lady. She  has a short power nap, stretches a bit and smiles and turns around and asks, “What’s next ?”

One of the biggest lessons that this International athlete taught to many of us was ” Good things do come in simple and honest  packages as well !”

To the children at the marathon , she was a perfect Real Hero . A real hero to emulate. To learn from & follow.

Cinderella and Red Riding Hood have been a part of their bed time stories.
PT Usha is their ‘hero at dawn”. If she could do it , so can they .

For the world, she is the “Golden Girl of Indian Athletics”

For us , she is the “Girl with a Golden heart and purposeful stride

PT Usha, you left behind a trail of fans at the Little Millennium Surat Kids Marathon …..

 

Uncategorized

COURAGEOUS WOMEN & FEARLESS MIDNIGHT RUN

6y2a2151 (2)A group of motivated  and passionate women ran a Fearless Midnight Run in the city of Durg -Bhillai recently. They all came dressed in pink, in singles and as families , from young girls to young mothers to women in prime . Cheerful , enthusiastic and keen faces thronged the arena which reeked of high energy and great camaraderie.

The moment I read of the event , it set me thinking.

The word used was ‘Courageous women’ – in my eyes two synonyms used at the same time !

I mean, the word ‘woman’ tantamounts to courage , isnt it ?.

The very DNA of a woman speaks of courage . The very fact that the only homosapiens who dare to nurture , is a woman.

The one in whom Nature bestowed the life giving womb , is woman.

And in my eyes, to nurture and recreate is one of the biggest act of valour.

To all the women who made the darkness shine with their abundant energy on the night of the Run, the effort will bear complete fruition and multiply further  when you carry it to all the days ahead of you .

  • Nurture your daughters to follow their passion freely
  • Nurture your sons to speak of their fears freely
  • Do not fear to accept yourself the way you are
  • Drive away the cliché fear – what will people say ?
  • Stop fearing change – it’s the only constant in life
  • Do not fear another’s talent – appreciate it
  • Do not fear asking for help – it is actually a brave thought !
  • Courage does not mean absence of fear. It means taking a step ahead with ‘fear’ neatly packed in a backpack and slung over our shoulder.

 

On a lighter note , why do we never hear of a Fearless Midnight Run by Men ?

Does it mean that men are proven fearless and don’t need to re iterate that ?

Certainly not. A lot of gentlemen will agree that they are caught by fear many a times – fear at work, fear of wife :), fear at learning a new skill , fear of parent and so on. Its just that societal norms do not encourage men to talk openly about their fears.

And to the contrary , societal norms encourage women to feel the fear ! To be fearful at every new step.

When will Fear turn gender neutral ?

The day it does , that is the day we will celebrate as an epic one .

That is the day we will pehaps have many ‘Midnight Fearless Run by Men as well ‘.

Till then , a cheerful high Five to all the women out there who ran the midnight marathon !

Not just the night , but carry the spirit of fearlessness into all your waking hours as well.

 

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LET’S MAKE RESOLUTIONS A TOPSY TURVY AFFAIR

scrabble resolutions
Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

Every New Year witnesses a deluge of resolutions, steely resolves, promises and silent vows.

Then follows a flood of Whatsapp and Facebook posts , taking  snide potshot at all those burly resolutions.

And poof ! a lot of them start spiralling out of the window.

Lets turn the game around.

No resolutions.

Lets just break some rules instead.

I don’t mean to sound like a renegade or a rebel at all.

All that I am saying is that let’s make the resoultions a bit fun. Lets put them in a ‘new box’ altogether.

You have always enjoyed a late morning in bed. Break the rule . For once or twice, get up to see the sunrise and do nothing perhaps – just gaze at the sky with a cuppa coffee.

You are the diligent variety who goes to work diligently and reserves all leaves for sickness or family weddings or emergencies.

Break the rule – take a leave on a healthy day. No rhyme or reason at all. Just a ‘me’ day. Chill out the whole day with no To-Do-List. I guarantee, that you will love this outbreak.

You are a parent who wants to be the perfect role model for your child. Great. You are so mindful of the way you walk and talk. Awesome. Just reverse it for a day. Go drop your child to school in your pyjamas, pick up some candy floss on the way, ditch the car or bike, take a rickshaw perhaps . Enjoy the freedom you get when you break away from your routine.  Pick up your kid from school with a balloon wala by your side or perhaps an ice cream cart in tow. Treat the whole lot of kids to a simple ice candy. Your child will get to see the fun Mom or Dad in you . And all that happened because you broke a rule !

If you are a teacher and a disciplarian to the core (rightfully so ) , at least one day present before your class a ‘different‘ you.

Mix around the desks, ditch the black board, hang a placard on the back of each child and and ask the kids to scribble on those hanging behind the child in front. Get the desks out, spread out a few rugs and cushions and  voila the class is on the floor.

Wow ! ma’m broke a rule ! (albeit a harmless one) . Now  sit down on the floor and get the kids undivided attention!

Whoever heard of learning new stuff while breaking a rule ?

You take the elevator to your flat every day. Just for today , don’t ditch the elevator, just get down halfway. Admire the floor you got down at. Bet, you had never seen it before !. Now keep climbing up casually , soaking in each floor and neighbour, one at a time.  Look at the richness you gained by just breaking one routine.

The list is endless…….

Don’t just whatsap your family a god morning on one Wednesday. Call them instead.

While crossing a traffic signal , wave and mouth a big thank -you to the traffic cop standing there. You didn’t really break a rule , yet you will see a jawdrop ever so pleasantly.

Each of us enjoys a mid day coffee / tea with our colleagues. Break the rule – have this mid morning coffee on one Tuesday ,with your support staff – whether at home or at work. Get to know their world too . You broke a routine but I am sure you will get admiration in plenty.

TGIF – Thank God Its Friday . Turn it to TGIM – Thank God its Monday . Because Monday means work / office / routine. And this is what gets us our bread and butter. So why not be thankful for a Monday too ? Change your attitude towards Monday. The whole week will fly by in a jiffy.

Instead of finishing all your grocery on a Saturday , do it mid week. Break the routine. Squeeze out some time mid week.  Fridays will then have extra time for some more fun stuff.

Weekends are for mall hopping and shopping. Break the rule . Do go to a mall. Go hit the Café Coffee day . Buy a coffee  and sit in a corner with a book. All by yourself perhaps. Get to know ‘yourself’, right in the middle of a hectic weekend.

And pray , why do we reserve just the morning or the evening for our prayers ? Our conversations with God can be anytime , no ? Break the rule . Give a call to God at peak noon. He just might be more free in these off- hours and you may have a better conversation too:)

So, my friends resolve to break the mould. Resolve to make your life fun and easy and only regimented and compartmentalised.  There are some rules that are to be followed in letter and some in spirit.

Likewise , there are some rules that cannot be broken in letter ….but breaking them in the right spirit ?

Well, its all up your sleeve and entirely your choice !

 

CHILDREN, school, teacher, Uncategorized

ALTRUISM AT ITS BEST

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The dictionary states the meaning of ‘altruism‘ as unselfish regard or devotion to the welfare of others .

If that be so , there can be no better champion of altruism than a teacher .

A teacher is ‘born’ for the sake of children.

Its very difficult to pinpoint the moment when her / his altruistic journey begins.

There is no course or syllabus that can totally equip the teacher  with the much needed  ‘ child facing techniques’. There are hundreds of theories that she/he rote learns but none prepares them for dealing with the most spontaneous , pure and intelligent of the species – the child.

All theories fly out of the window when the teacher is left alone in a class full of expectant and dynamic energies.

There is no single glove that fits all hands , there is no single trick that works the magic.

Gauging , innocent , mysterious eyes watch every single move of the teacher (no mother in law in any Hindi serial can beat this 🙂 )

She is ‘one’ and the class is ‘ many’. And the teacher is devoted to all.

The teacher  does not give up.

Emotions are at the heart of what teachers do and why they do it. Educators take up  teaching with dreams of changing the odds for disadvantaged children, inspiring a love for learning or developing critical thinkers.

Maths and Language are taught through books  but there are no periods  for teaching ‘thank you ‘ ‘please’ and ‘ May I ?’.

Those are not a part of the teacher’s  penned down role and responsibilities , but it’s a given.

Teaching is an emotional practise but no teacher training college has a curriculum that helps them build these competencies.

The teacher takes it up very very bravely and goes ‘beyond the curriculum’.

She still does not give up.

A teacher is required to be omnipresent . The Prime Minister of a nation can manage to take a trip overseas but the teacher finds it impossible to leave the class even for a minute . Tired muscles and aching feet – a smiling child is all they need !

The school bell rings but it doesn’t cut off the teacher’s umblical cord. She carries the children in her heart and mind (and these days the phone 🙂 as well )

Her family is the audience to a hundred tales of  children in  her class. Their antics , their concerns , their behaviour is passed around more than the casserole at the dining table . Her students squeeze into her ‘family time ‘ so very neatly.

There are so many rules in the school almanac that talk about how to deal with children.

But there is no rule  in the Parent Handbook that talks about ‘How to treat your child’s teacher?’.

She faces parental disappointments , their anxieties and fears like a champ.

She still doesn’t give up

Literacy is a given goal but she takes great effort in cultivating emotional literacy as well. She diligently makes progress notes, tracks family history and studies children’s behaviour in the playfield, library and all arenas out of the classroom as well. Does she need to do that ?

I guess not but still does so , for some strange reason.

There are many  who dare to mock and call her ‘just a teacher . The pay cheque at the end of the month never spirals her  to the HNI segment , nor entitles her to enjoy  a bank’s wealth management services.

She still does not give up.

Children graduate to the next class and eventually storm the world and make their own niche place. Some come back with an occasional thank you note and some do not. She knows that years later , she may just be reduced to a middle spot in the class photograph .

She still does not give up.

Rules and policies change more often than the text books  and many a times they clam and choke her.

She still does not give up. She is doggedly loyal to her children.

All she remembers is that those 20 or 30 or 40 cherubic faces in her class are dependent on her . And that gives her a motive.

No pay slip , no promotion and no appointment letter drives her. What drives her is that she feels ‘good about doing good ‘. She gets a helpers high . It is the children who energise her.

She neglects her health and willingly sacrifices her ‘me time ‘ for her class children.

She dares to nurture those ‘not borne from her womb’

Can there be a better example of altruism ?

On this Children’ s Day , let us salute these altruism unsung heroes and send out a cheer for them.