Wednesday, 18 August 2010



Freedom, you are an elusive bird,

You tell me that freedom means,

The right to express myself!

The right to sing loudly,

To move wherever I wish freely,

Without fear!



Freedom, you don’t mean licence,

But to respect others, to choose,

What will be best for me,

That I should be what I be,

Dear Pa, I want to be a Rock-Star!



Freedom, you mean freedom from

Fear, that I might stand before

You without trembling! to be

What I want to be, a flame

To ignite young minds to be

What they will be, a bright star in the sky!



Freedom, you free me from

The shackles of slavery, from

Tradition, custom and ritual,and superstition,

That I might be different from you!

I will be what I want to be!


Freedom, you guide me to the stars,

Of thought and new ideas and dreams,

That I might strive to be what

I wish to be! You tell me best,

That I might be what I can be,

An engineer, or a teacher to lead others!



Freedom you free me from fear,

To speak my mind, and sing my heart’s elation

And go where I like! You give me joy to live,

Not as a slave to custom and tradition, but

A maker of mine own rules , customs and destiny!

I will be a drummer or a singer!



Freedom you are surely an elusive fairy,

To guide me through immense possibilities, to

Invent what I want, to travel back in time,

To view the future, of what the world might be!

You have taught me that I am the maker

Of mine own destiny, and fate.

The Joy of Photography

A photograph is a tool for capturing a moment in time.It helps us in freezing an important moment for posterity. Agreed, but then there are those lighter moments in life which you often wish to capture, but unfortunately you might not have your Nikon D-SLR with you so you miss capturing that precious or funny moment! Not so, today we have mobile phones which have very good cameras with a sensible resolution, and it is here that the versatility of mobile phones endears them to you! I keep a Nokia 6303 classic mobile phone which has a decent 3.2-megapixel camera on it. since I carry it with me always, I often use it to take photographs on the spur of the moment, as events take place! Given below are some of the candid and surprise photographs taken by me:


Winters in Delhi can be quite severe, and so people love lighting a fire to get some heat from it! Some of my colleagues were enjoying the heat of the lit fire and I took their snap without their knowing it!


Functions in my school take place in the Library Hall and it is on these occasions that I find some interesting subjects to photograph. Notice that the subject has an interesting expression which would have been spoiled by the bright flash of a D-SLR!


Again, this photograph was taken on another occasion in school Library. The boy with the eyes wide open had in fact been dozing off, and somehow, opened his eyes just when I clicked him. Still, there is an interesting expression of surprise and bewilderment on his face which is worth capturing in a photograph!


Ah, caught you! Who says men can’t cook! Need I say more?


Somehow I find the attitude of animals very interesting. The dog was relaxing on the railway platform at Kandaghat, Shimla. Perhaps he is meditating?

The puppy in both the photographs slept through morning assembly with a total lack of interest!


That day the sweeper had forgotten to sweep and dust the library, and this is what a student traced on the dust on the screen of the T.V.


Here are two sheepish-looking children. They were not in the classroom, so I went looking for them, and there they were! Drinking water is a common excuse with all students!


Manali’s scenic beauty draws you to it year after year! You’ve got snow, mountains, fresh air,…need I say more?


Just today while going up the hill towards the Hindu Rao Hospital, I came across this strange looking vehicle. somehow, call it intuition, I sped uphill, took out my mobile phone, and,..well there it is! It seems to be an electric Rickshaw!

So, it seems some of the best photographs may not have been taken with an expensive camera. The trick for good photography is to be prepared for the unexpected, be spontaneous, and have an eye for the unusual! Look for angles, and yes most important of all, your photographs should be able to tell a story!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Epiphany Church, Gurgaon:Annual Convention-2010

The Annual three-day Convention of the Epiphany Church, Gurgaon took place on the thirteenth, fourteenth, and the fifteenth of August 2010. The Guest speaker on the occasion was Brother Alan Goodwin from Mumbai. The theme of the Convention was, “ My People are doomed because they do not acknowledge me.” Hosea 4-6.The Convenor of the Convention was Mr. Robin Moses, and the Co-Convenor was Mr. Sunil Masih. We were Graced on the third day of the Convention by The Rt.Revd. Sunil K. Singh, Bishop of the Diocese of Delhi (C.N.I. Diocese). Revd. Samuel Ashish Jacob, the Presbyter in charge of the Epiphany Church Presided over the three day event.

On all three days, the Epiphany Church Choir presented soul-uplifting numbers in the praise and worship part of the programme.These numbers helped create the proper atmosphere for the programme so that we could appreciate the message delivered by the speaker. The choir was directed by Mr.David Sannoo. Members of the youth fellowship, and children of the Sunday school also sang some spiritually uplifting numbers.

The speaker, Brother Alan Goodwin reminded the congregation that whoever gives his life in the Service of the Lord need have no fear in life and that the Holy Spirit  resides in each one of us and the body is a temple to the Almighty! He reminded those gathered in the Church that there is still time to devote ourselves in the service of the Almighty! If Jesus is with you, then there is still time to serve him! He talked about our relationship with the Almighty lord and what is required of us, the need to build a relationship,the role of fellowship, and how to develop fellowship with the Almighty Lord.


In the above snap we have Revd. Samuel Ashish Jacob leading Brother Alan Goodwin into the church on the first day of the Convention.


In the above snap we have the Convenor, Mr.Robin Moses welcoming the Guest Speaker, Brother Alan Goodwin.


Brother Alan Goodwin at the start of his message to the congregation of the Epiphany Church of Gurgaon.


Our Bishop, Rt. Revd. Sunil K. Singh was with us on fifteenth August and on the occasion of Independence Day, he unfurled the Tri Colour.


The Rt. Revd. Bishop of Delhi, Sunil K. Singh addressing the congregation of the Epiphany Church on fifteenth August.

Some More Glimpses of the Convention:









DSCN2060 DSCN2065

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

We Need To Change Our Parenting Skills!

Today, more than ever, Parenting has become a challenge for parents! Whereas, for parents, the most important issue is the Education of their children, various other issues come into being! An important issue today for parents is the health and safety of their children because this limits what the children are allowed to do! As such, the Government needs to formulate policies which can help encourage healthy parenting. Although, the family has been a unit not to be interfered with, soon however, even this will change! With corporal punishment being banned in the schools, soon, the Government is bound to formulate various rules for Parenting a child. This would include a code of conduct to be adhered to by the parents! Thus, as a parent, thou shall not spank your child, or reprimand him for wrongdoing! If you do so, then your child can take action against you, and action will be taken against the erring parent,good grief!

I have noticed a gradual change in my students who belong to class nine, ten, eleven and twelve; this can be seen in their noisiness, garrulousness, and hyper-activity! Children will do only what they think is right or what they believe is beneficial to them. Even my children will not do what I tell them at the first instance. If I reprimand them, they come up with explanations somehow seem to be rather rational and correct, so I have to keep quiet! Sorry, maybe they were doing something important, and I asked them to get me a glass of water and they took too long to get it! Maybe we parents are really growing old, old fashioned and out of date? So shouldn’t I be surprised if my younger daughter discusses cars with me, while my elder daughter discusses the facts of life with greater understanding and maturity that I could show when I was of their age? It seems as though, we parents need to change our attitudes as parents since, perhaps our children are more aware about the world than we were at their age! Today, if we have to instruct our children then we have to do so by convincing them, or perhaps make them see that what we are telling them is backed by reason and rationality!

Today we need to cajole our children into doing what we think is good for them, and the society needs to understand the responsibilities of parenthood! It is very easy for the Media to criticise parenting, but do they understand that today parenting comes with greater challenges than it used to do in the past? Our children are more informed than we were as children in the past, and parenting has greater challenges than it used to have in the past. Today your child is better informed than you were, and he or she needs to be convinced that you are working for his or her betterment or well being! Unfortunately today’s parents are more busy than their parents were, and it is the lack time that they can give to their children that is taking its toll. so don’t be surprised if your children are more conscious about their appearance because they get to learn everything from television! Whether it is Deodorants, or Sanitary Napkins, they know it all, thanks to the Electronic Media! I was surprised when a student of class tenth sent a friend request on Facebook, but then realised that things have changed, and we as parents and teachers have to change according to time! So then it means that we might as well bid adieu to the Guru-Shishya tradition or the traditional system based on the statement, “spare the rod, spoil the child!” Forget all those old adages, and accept the fact that today’s teacher, and today’s parent is the child’s  best friend for today’s child is “the father of man”!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Why are Indian Teachers a Stressed Lot Today?

Just a few days back, a Sanskrit teacher was complaining to me that the students were simply not paying attention to what he was teaching in class, somehow, more time was being spent in getting them to keep quiet! One common topic of discussion among teachers today is how difficult it has become to teach students in class! The noise level has increased, and students simply barge into the class room. Today students have become more selfish. They speak out of turn, and don’t give other students the opportunity to answer questions. If the teacher is a popular teacher, then everyone wants to grab his attention!

Somehow, the role of a teacher has changed drastically over the years. Today, the teacher is a friend, a confidante, and encyclopaedia of knowledge not just in his own subject, but also in all the other subjects! One can forget the golden days of pin drop silence in the class rooms, or raising of hands for answering questions. Any kind of punishment is a no no, so the poor teacher has to use emotional blackmail to get the students to pay attention. Such tactics include pleading with the students, begging them to keep quiet, or telling them that if they don’t keep quiet, then you will not take them on the next picnic! Unfortunately, all this subjects the teachers to a great deal of stress!The teacher often has to shout loudly to make himself heard above the noise created by the students! Parents themselves find it very difficult to handle two children at home, so how would they feel if they had to handle fifty or sixty students in a class room?

Today the teacher’s job is anything but teaching! The teacher is a clerk, he has to collect fees from the students, and issue them receipts. Then he has to maintain records of students performance in the so called formative assessments.The teacher then has to play the role of liaison officer, by communicating with parents about their children’s performance. Then the Education Department may demand information on the instant, as for example, whether the child has siblings or is an only child! How old was he one year ago? The system of continuous evaluation has added to the stress of not only the teachers, but also the students.

It is a common belief today, among teachers that the teaching profession has become a rather thankless profession. Our policy makers have ruined this noble profession by intentionally straying away from our traditional system of education which gave much importance to the teaching of the values of respect, not only for elders, but also for one another.The Guru-Shishya system of Education inculcated respect for the teacher! This respect was reciprocated by the teacher through his dedication, and passion for teaching. Today, the whole world is lacking in compassion for one another   and respect for each other! How then do you address this problem of deteriorating moral and social values! Well we can begin by making students learn to respect their teachers, as they did in the past. Unfortunately, a section of the Media has taken unto themselves the responsibility of exposing the defects in our system of education by directing their ire at the haplessly overstressed teacher and not the policy makers, or the boards and departments of education. The media in its overzealousness even caused an innocent Government School teacher to be thrown into jail, and the Department of Education was ever hasty in terminating her services without constituting an enquiry committee! Today, the teacher is a very scared professional and he knows he will be made a scapegoat in any incident. But you never know, you mild rebuke might drive a student to suicide, or make you a target of student violence! Unfortunately, the teacher has become the person whom the Society loves to hate! Thus it wouldn’t be wrong to say that teaching in India has become a very risky job!  They say it is part of the game, or an occupational hazard! No wonder their is an acute shortage of good trained teachers in India, and this is because, teaching as a profession is becoming less popular. Fewer and fewer people want to become teachers because the Occupational Hazards are too great. None of my students of class twelve wants to become a Teacher!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Do we need to teach Clauses to students?

About three or four days back, I thought we had enough of prose lessons, so I decided to take up Transformation of sentences, and  clauses with students of class eleven. When I started with Simple Sentences, they followed everything very well. The students began to have problems however with  Compound sentences! They had problems in understanding the function of coordinating conjunctions as opposed to subordinating conjunctions. The greatest problem was felt when I started teaching them about complex sentences! Somehow, I lead them through adverb  and adjective clauses only to encounter puzzlement when I took up noun clauses! It was easier for the students to understand the function of the adjective clause as that of modifying the noun/ the object of the principal clause, or the function of the adverb clause as that of modifying the verb in the principal clause. With the noun clause, they were however dumbfounded! It took me time to explain to them that the noun clause acts as the object or subject to the principal clause; that it is in apposition to the verb of the principal clause! Finally, the students were able to get the hang of the different kinds clauses and their functions.

The difficulty that student had in understanding such concepts as clauses,  conjunctions, and complex sentences shows how far behind students following the English Core stream are from those following the English Elective Stream.The students had not had enough classes in grammar, they had not learnt about clauses, they did not know how to differentiate between a phrase and a clause. My Daughter who is studying  in class Eight in a Public School has clauses, and transformation of sentences into compound and complex and vice versa in her English syllabus! So then isn’t there such a huge gap between the English syllabus of Public School students, and Government or Government Aided Schools? Unfortunately, it is true! Earlier Government, School students started learning English relatively later than their public school counterparts, and of course, there is a big difference between the syllabi! To improve the standard of English,  clarification of  concepts should take place in the earlier classes like eighth, ninth and tenth. There should be more of formal grammar at all levels in school. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have formal grammar in twelfth class. Unfortunately,  the Interactive and the Communicative app roach in the teaching of English don’t seem to give much weight age  to the teaching of important concepts of English Grammar. Although today, communication and inter action are no doubt important,  garbled communication however is undesirable! Garbled communication results from not having a proper knowledge of grammar!

I very strongly feel that there should be more of grammar, formal grammar in the English syllabus today. Unless we take up concepts of grammar in earlier classes, students of eleventh will continue to be confused by Noun Clauses, and Complex sentences! If the Wren and Martin Grammar Book seems to be too difficult, then can’t we have books by Raymond and Murphy in our schools? We all know that the Grammar book by Wren and Martin has been the backbone of High School grammar for ages, but can we do without it now? The understanding of such basic topics such as clauses, phrases, sentence connectors,  types of sentences is highly essential and cannot be ignored!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Why do we have lazy students in our class rooms today?

I have noticed a steady decline in interest for learning among students ( in class rooms ) throughout my sixteen years of teaching. It is possible to take the horse to the water-trough, but you can’t force it to drink, if it is not thirsty! This adage applies very much to our students today. You may go to the class and do anything but teach, and the students will worship you! If you teach, then the students grumble!
Are we producing a generation of lazy students today? Yes, it seems, this is one of the reasons why students don’t want to learn in class today! There are a large number of Help Books for all subjects which provide students with all types of questions and answers possible. So, dkon't bother taxing their minds in doing  home work when everything  can be found all readymade  in the help books!
Students seem to have been taken up by the Instant Coffee syndrome, where we get instant results and readymade, tailor made products! My own children are given a lot of project work to be done during the Summer Vacations, and I have to pitch in to help them. Their friends however don’t bother a lot, since there are people in the market who will provide you with a Tailor-Made project, just for you, for a fee of course!
We are all members of a consumerist society, where everything can be had for a premium of course! Thus, students don’t learn in schools, because, they have a tutor who comes to teach them at home! School for many is just a place for meeting friends, cooling out, and chilling out. Unfortunately, the students who wish to learn are at a great disadvantage because they become the victims of bullying by students who have tutors!
One very disturbing trend is that now, students of even lower classes like ninth and tenth are becoming more and more lazy. As a teacher I feel concerned about the whole issue, and am seriously worried about the effect that commercialisation of education is having on our students today!For students who can’t afford home-tuitions, there the so called coaching centres which provide coaching for students in larger numbers ranging from  five or six to twenty-thirty students.
It is clear that coaching, tuitions, help-books, and refreshers are the reason why our students are lazy in class. But of course there is one another important reason, and that is our attitude towards the concept of education. Parental pressure on children to achieve higher marks forces them to go for tuitions and coaching over and above what they are getting from attending classes in school. If a students has to go for tuitions before school then how do you expect him to be fresh in class? I often see how exhausted some students are when I teach them. They can hardly keep their eyes open! Sorry, but this is what happens when you go to Akash, or Naraina right after school and by the time you return home, it is late evening. Then, you start working on your School home work, institute home work, and by the time you go to bed, it is late at night! Then that alarm chimes, and it is back to school!
What a hectic life it is for students these days,  they have  the so called Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation system which puts even more pressure on the students because they can be given a formative assessment test at any time! We have to take four Formative Assessments in a year, these can be activity based,  written, oral or project based. Unfortunately the system meant to reduce stress in students, might in fact be doing the opposite! It seems that the entire system of education needs to be overhauled. The student-teacher ratio should be brought down to 30, and parents should be counselled not to drive their children too hard.The fear of under achievement, feelings of insecurity projected on to the children by their parents are some of the reasons why our students are lazy in classes today! Why do parents wish to compensate for their inability to be engineers by forcing their children to be one? Somehow, one  wonders, are tuitions, and coaching classes indispensable for successful careers? What about those students who belong to villages, and who successfully top in the civil service exams? Did they take coaching classes, or tuitions? They answer, “No!” One of the important reasons why many students are successful is because they are not stressed out, nor are they tired. Successful students have fresh minds, so they are able to concentrate and grasp more than their brothers who go for tuitions!
All the stress and strain, and coachings, and tuitions make the students lazy in class! They become so tired that they find it very difficult to stay awake in class!

Image0337 Image0517