My life story

Some says, it is orthodox. Some say……….

Patriarchy.

Way of life.

Destiny.

Well let us just add some positivist touch to the stigma, shall we?

I will rather choose to call myself getting redefined while I accept society. Well, I don’t know who exactly started the whole concept of letting either of the genders to take control of the different societies around the world. But I do know, you make yourself look weak the moment you use the low key propaganda to spread empowerment of any sorts. I also think “it takes two to tango” and “there is no smoke without fire” !!

As for me, my roles kept changing with time. So did my plans. Priorities? That is a good question……you see all our lives we look for scopes and places to feel secure and happy. It just different people and places that we find both at different phases of life. That pursuit keeps getting layered with selflessness and attachments with every new responsibility……may be that is when we feel trapped and think LIFE SUCKS!

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When I was a kid, I was happy and attached to my people who got me colors, dolls and candies.

The ones who would sing me songs and tie my hair…..

When I was a little older my plans changed. I had more friends to laugh with……I learnt to feel the breeze on my face in a moving car…..learnt to love the rain and it’s smell……

Time comes when I feel secure with the person who is happy with my curls, lips, curves and hips…….sometimes, not always.`

But hey! I still have some aspirations which are unsettled. Some unfinished business that cannot be done…….with an occasional heavy heart, I move on…..

Now I grow as my little ones do…..As I grow, this personal journey of finding happiness made me think; what if there are no priorities but only harmony? What if these different phases and different layers of responsibilities are the ways to my happiness?

So now what do I do with the rest of my life?

It was Diwali 2017 that I questioned my existence. After the long flashback, it was quite impressive to take pride of the list of accomplishments. Well, it is not exactly how I planned or rather prioritized things, but hey y’all, I found happiness.

I found pride.

Fulfillment.

I found my life story worth sharing…..

I am a regular Indian housewife. The one you see in Bollywood films with a sweaty face, frizzy hairdos, wearing Sari or preferably a “maxi” if it is a hardcore household scene. I am mostly found in the kitchen with a spatula trying to strain the perfectly deep fried Poori out of the boiling bubbling oil. I am often the last person to go to bed and the first one to wake up in the morning. Yes, it is not frustrating but it is rather very satisfying to help my family get ready to head out for the day.

And that is not a maid who does the chores. Sometimes, she is the one who gets my aura better than my relationships living under the same roof with me.

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I am a working woman. I am just not salaried. But I get to lead the household, enjoy perks of motherhood and freelance with my gardening skills too…..Now doesn’t that sound independent? Beyond all the stigma, propaganda and society, it is me who found that little loophole and found ways to embrace self-reliance and I am exactly how I look in my photographs, content and happy.

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From the personal ESL file

It has been quite sometime that I have been walking on the ESL avenue. English, is not a language, its business, its lucrative connections over the world makes it as popular as money. If you Google, you will find random surveys where they say there are more speakers of English as a second language or a foreign language than native speakers. As a matter of fact, I still doubt the numbers. There is a constant need to upgrade once proficiency in this language for better survival. Population is ever-growing and so is the demand of English. Be it a job, a new school/university, student exchange programs in native countries, you know what’s your #1 priority. Countries with colonial pasts, now majorly thrive on tourism and if that tourism can also connect them with the powerful language, it just serves the nation with a better dream. This is one such angle where ESL teachers get to actually enjoy the whole idea of “travel and teach”. That is just one perspective. However, let us now discuss what it takes to be a good (if not successful) ESL teacher. With my miniature experience as a ESL teacher trainer, here are few of my observations:

    1. We have to carry around our ECG always- empathy, creativity and generosity. Language is the barrier, so you gotta understand that even to crack an unbiased joke, ECG is absolutely necessary.
    2. A lot of times non-natives complain about not getting jobs. What most of us do not understand is that there’s something called pronunciation and by that I mean, the sounds of English! It is unfair, I know, but you cannot deny the fact that people do not wanna take classes from someone who doesn’t sound like a speaker of that language; if not completely, but almost. May be that’s how the whole idea of near native/neutral accents became popular. People, we know we are not natives, but if we still want the job, we gotta work it out!
    3. Grammar is not restricted to only the generic terms and activities. What about……vocabulary and their usage? Their synonyms and antonyms? Collocations? It is about the understanding the best possible ways to know the differences in applications that make communications proficient, if not expert? See what I did there!
    4. Classroom management. Well, well, well…….from the moment you step inside the class, this button should be active in your mind controls. The age of your learners, level of comprehension, cultural background, ethnicity and community, and so on essentially contribute to a positive learning environment. Facilitating the fact that the classroom belongs to them more than you. If you are the typical “travel and teach” ESL educator, or aspire to be one, remember that you are the alien, they are not! Your personality should be adaptive.IMG20190924095810
    5. No certification is bigger than your dedication. There are various TEFL/TESOL/TESL in-class and online programs that are available in the market. Do not confuse the certificate as a confirmed ticket to get a job. It is a skill not a passport. As interesting as it may sound, the ESL industry is full of ambitious and determined educators/facilitators. With changing times, the demands keep changing as well. So, it is extremely important to be dedicated to your arena and keep yourself updated with the latest teaching designs.
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Happy ESL life!
  1.  Your lesson plan is your willingness to connect. It is when you can deliver the lesson plan in English and keep the cultural context in mind, you will know your major work is done right there. You will be a favorite teacher if you can blend local references to set the tone of your topic. Everyday will be a success if you keep yourself away from grammar translation method and replace it with effective materials and teaching resources to connect the lessons better.
  2. Age and level of your learners have got nothing to do with intelligence. Body languages are universal and gestures play a key role in ESL classrooms. Use them wisely and rationally!

 

Too fresh to fade

It’s not loneliness. May be it’s just my unaided pile of desolate emotions. I don’t know…….sometimes it’s just the thoughts in my head that are so loud that I can barely hear the noise of  the world around me. IMG-20190913-WA0044

Silence has a voice too- very few can hear it. I listen to it. There is laughter. There is tantrum. Anxiety. Pain. Separation. Every time I walk into my thoughts, glimpses of those memories play hide ‘n’ seek with my reality.

The morning alarm goes off. It is yet another day. I get ready for work, eat breakfast, avail the affordable commute, sign in to work. As I sit in my cubicle, the world around me is a big blur. Sure I do participate on and off, but it’s all just a big pit of mindfulness and political dynamics that is just way too disturbing for an already disturbed mind of mine. The time seems to function way too fast. I’m never able to catch it. A little less respectful, a little less polite. Indifference, may be that’s the word. May be it’s just a phase.

It’s every night when I close my eyes away from reality, I see even more clear…….IMG-20190911-WA0009

Days of being abused; not thrown but used.

The days I can’t undo……

May be it is not delusional to create illusions around myself. You see, people are always better in imagination. They make me believe in harmless possibilities. After all these years of growing up with violent memories and deep rooted mental scars, shifting in and out of reality in my head has become quite fluid. It not madness, its just another escape tool. Very much like listening to your current favorite single on loop.IMG-20190911-WA0015

To the world, I’m a regular adult. To me, I’m still hiding under the bed trying to get away from what is now, a dreadful memory too fresh to ever fade…….

Denial!

I saw this man at my cafe today. I keep seeing so many people come and go and grab their orders. He was different. He had this unusually perfect man lips! I could see a spark in his eyes when he looked at me.  It was weird at first, but then I realized, it was the smell of the fresh brewed coffee that made him look around the place with that expression. He moved towards the counter.

“Good morning! How are you today?”, the barista always had this obnoxiously hyperexcited way to greet the customers. I mean relax Kevin! He will buy our coffee. Don’t be this extra!

“Depends on how soon I get my coffee.” The  man replied with a straight face.

I literally had my best laugh of the day.

Kevin went aside to brew the order after MY MAN paid for it. I was busy doing my own thing, when Kevin suddenly pulled me out from my service station! I was literally excited and nervous at the same time. Given his daily behavior, it was not something I will consider spontaneous. He tickled me with a pen. Well it seemed smooth given how close we were to each other that no one could notice anything wrong. It was our little secret! It felt right. Well, atleast for sometime…..

“One large Americano for Daniel?”, Kevin almost screamed.

The man with perfect lips took me off the counter and read his name. Oh boy, the tickle was wrong…..like every other time!

He scoffed as he read his name. “DENIAL? Huh?” He did not bother to wait for Kevin to answer anything and made his way out.IMG-20190918-WA0001

Well, as for me, I brought him happiness as he took the first sip pressing his perfect lips against mine. He opened the exit door to head out. The chill of December was shielded by my warmth while he had that manly grip on me. I found my short lived life’s pursuit! 

 

 

 

 

Learnings and laughters that mattered

We all want a 15-days long vacation where we can be whatever we choose to be. The whole idea of being home away from home, packing the best casuals and flashy outfits. From escaping into fun-a-thon of relaxation to clicking the best Insta-worthy pictures. It is a mental picnic of frolic, culture and indulgence. Of course decadence is summoned according to the budget!

It was my second visit to Pune. The first time was a wild plan few years ago that ended in nausea. This time it was more sensible. Work trip you know. As heavy as it seemed, I guess with lesson plans I have started to apply the anticipated problems section in my life as well! My biggest back up was this diligent and amazing support, Rutuja. She made my life easy.IMG20190616152841-01

Pune holds quite a lot of history under the rug. It was all about time when I got to experience, well, parts of it. I checked in the city on a Saturday. Just a weekend away from a completely new batch of TEFL aspirants. Rutuja and I planned to use it to our advantage before the pressure got on us. We went to visit this famous fort, Shaniwar Wada. It was built during the Peshwa rule in Maharashtra. Well, it was extended, fixed and renovated over time (just like our judgmental feelings!) The huge doors with spikes, narrow staircases, carefully planned  ventilators were quite interesting to understand. A whole lotta science and architecture!

After the history tour, we went up to Juna Bazaar to explore antiques. Oh my my, it was a long stretch of market with fresh smells from the old times! You ask for anything, and they had an antique for that (till you believe they are all antiques and not junk that is polished to look old!). It was worthwhile. Just be a little careful with handbags and purses. Few passer-bys will be really interested to find out what’s in your bag! Tulshi baug, MG Road are other major markets to hang around for pretty and fun street finds too.

After one week of rigourous enthusiasm to learn the psychology of language learners and how to deal with them, few trainees along with me planned for a day getaway to Mahabaleshwar. As the heat welcomed the party, we went to do the darshan at the Shiv Temple in Old Mahabaleshwar. We went up to the Arthur’s Point where we were hugged by floating clouds  and a warm, wet chill. The walk was mystic! After a couple of hours of “girls just wanna have fun” we drove down to the market area. Mahabaleshwar market has a lot to offer. From Kolhapuri sandals, wickerworks, unusually warm blankets, light weight happy jewelries to amazing cream cups at Bagicha (a must visit), it’s a paradise to for all the impulsive shoppers like me.IMG20190622161059IMG20190622160720IMG20190622150706

As we drove down to the city, we stopped by the Mapro garden for a farm fresh experience. We hogged on some of their freshly produced sandwiches and pizza for din-din. The affordable jams, juices, syrups, jelly candies; you cannot buy enough! It was a major weekend to look back for loads of awesome memories.

They say if you miss out on something, then there’s hope to always go back. I missed checking out the Aga Khan Palace and the Okayama Park from my bucket list. The pilot Pune TEFL program will surely be missed. Not only for the wonderful travel in and out the city but also for the learnings and laughters that mattered. My batch of this 12 enthusiastic ESL teachers. The 3-weeks journey was a memorable ride. Here’s hoping to another one soon!IMG20190701145836