12 Nov 2014

#81 Cultivation


Like always, in the morning I went over the terrace to extract the inspiration of the day, observing the surrounding full of life and energy. Really, the view from the terrace has always been so enticing and has provided motivation for this post. I observed something today which is worth mentioning. As I looked down from one side of the terrace, I found that a barren piece of land lying adjacent to the periphery of my hostel’s boundary had got beautifully transformed into a cultivated land producing crops and cereals. The meticulous division of the land for the purpose of growing different crops looked no different from the political maps representing demarcations of different regions in geography books. The putting up of scare crows (artificial human beings) dressed up in today’s fashionable attire (for protection of the crop from birds and animals) added an extra delight to the sight. I recalled those days I visited my village few years back and such scenes were quite less in number , even though the frequency had reduced to a great extent due to the effect of urbanization and modernization. The architects of that field lived happily near it in a temporary settlement reminding me of another one which was once existent in another side of the hostel.

I reflected for a moment that whatever I was witnessing then, was the result of relentless toil of those people. They took every care to convert a barren land into a productive one. I could relate that land to our minds and the crops to the countless thoughts which are required to be cultivated with utmost caution. Our thoughts make us who we are. In fact, we are the portraits of our own thoughts. All our emotions like pain, suffering, joy, sorrow are deeply connected with our thinking process. That’s why someone has very well remarked that “We suffer more in our thoughts than in reality. We become happy or sad because we revise the thoughts of our past. Thoughts keep on creating utopian environments continuously in our mind. They have enormous power to transform us into anything.
“You never can tell what a thought will do
In bringing you hate or love-
For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
Are swifter than carrier doves.
They follow the law of the universe-
Each thing creates its kind,
And they speed O’er the track to bring you back
Whatever went out from your mind.
Looking at the importance of thoughts, Napolean Hill has advised everyone to devote sometime for analyzing one’s own thought pattern because our mind processes each destructive thought the same way as in case of a constructive one. Both problems and solutions are present in our mind according to a saying there are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge. Quoting the author’s statement from the novel “Think and grow rich”, “We are what we are because of the vibrations of the thought we pick up and register, through the stimuli of our daily environment.
Concluding this post with some of the most powerful lines taken from the bestseller “Think and grow rich” by Napolean Hill,
“If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you are lost,
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with fellow’s will-
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclasses, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battle don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man
But soon or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.”

Taking care of your thoughts is as important as taking care of your body. So, take care of them.
Swati Sarangi

5 Nov 2014

#80 Homework_A short story


“Shriya, have you completed the homework?” asked Maya to Shriya hurriedly. By being a sincere student of the class, Shriya would never avoid home works.  Rather she completes all the tasks assigned to her enthusiastically.

“Aww, actually…..I had attended a party yesterday, so I could not find any time to complete that”. Said Shriya in a low voice. From her body gesture, it was quite visible that she was lying.

“But, you told me that you had returned from that party quite early. Still you haven’t done.  It’s strange.” She knew that Shriya was lying but she never did that for homework.

“I fear that you are hiding something to me. I’m just guessing any reasons out.” She raised her eyebrows high.

“The thing is that I have tried many times but failed everytime. New madam is very strict and since morning I had been giving a lot of excuses to bunk the classes. But she did not agree and………….”.Suddenly she paused.
Their conversation was interrupted by ringing of the school bell and it was the prayer time. All the students had to assemble at the playground of the school.
All the students along with Maya and Shriya marched towards the school ground but Shriya was very tensed. Their topic of discussion was completely based on the homework assigned by the new teacher, who had started taking classes a few days back.

This teacher had been very strict from the day she had joined the school. Everyone was afraid of her because of her behavior. Shriya was the one being constantly targeted by her in class because of her poor performance in Hindi subject.  The teacher would assign extra home works to her than other students.

This behavior had annoyed Shriya a lot. She was a very good student but lagged in Hindi subject. For her, the new teacher was paying extra attention. She would never appreciate her.

Prayer leaders stepped on the stage and prayer began with these lines accompanied by tune played on synthesizer “
“All things bright and beautiful and
All creatures great and small.
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all”

A large number of students hummed this prayer and it got echoed throughout. Prayer makes morning beautiful and that’s why it is an integral part of each day. Even a two-minutes-prayer provides peace and satisfaction.

Each lip of students got engaged in singing the prayer while Shriya’s eyes were busy in catching the faces of teachers present there.

She lost her concentration in prayer because of her homework. She prayed God to make her Hindi madam absent for this day only, as the first period was allotted to the new Hindi teacher. She did not want this day to go in vain due to homework. All kinds of thoughts terrorized her. She felt horrible and kept thinking of the consequences of not completing homework until she entered the class 5-G.

First period began with ringing of the school bell , class monitor started filling all the details mentioned on the class blackboard like date, period, subject and name of the teacher.

While seeing the name of the teacher being written on the blackboard, Shriya stood up from her seat and asked abruptly “Is Meeta ma’am present today?”

“Yes.” Gautam replied in a grave tone. Gautam was the class monitor and favorite student of Meeta madam because of his proficiency in Hindi.

“But I did not find her in assembly.” She uttered just after the class monitor finished his statement.

“She is supposed to check your homework first and you are asking whether she is present or not!” He mocked at Shriya which was one of his habits.

Meeta madam entered the class with an attendance sheet and a Hindi poetry book in hand and each student rose up from his seat to wish her good morning. She started taking the attendance by calling out roll numbers of the students.

“Roll 36……”She called out loudly. She waited for the response and the sequence of calling out the roll number of students broke in between.

Pin-dropped silence was observed in the class and madam called the roll number 36 twice and louder this time.

“Pr……Present ma’m.” Said Shriya in a trembling voice.

“What were you doing before when I called out your roll number thrice??...Perhaps busy in talking. Just keep standing until the attendance gets over.” She was crossed by the attitude of this girl. She usually warned students to be attentive while she took attendance so that she would finish that within less time and proceed to the teaching.

Shriya wanted to hide herself by not responding to her roll call. At the same time, she wanted to bunk the very first period of the day.

“Today students will come to the front one by one and read out the poem given in chapter 3 of ‘Umang’(Hindi poetry book). Take out your books as I have already ordered you to practice it beforehand. Wait, from today onwards I will call out the names randomly. So, don’t raise your hands.” She clarified. “Calling out the names in order: Shriya, Satish, Medha, Mrinal, Karan……Please come to the front one by one.”

Shriya went to the front holding the Hindi book and browsed the content. She started reading in a not-so-confident voice. It was quite apparent from her style of reading that she had not practiced.  After finishing the poem she rushed towards her seat without much delay.

“Your performance is not at all satisfactory, rather it is poor and it shows that you have not prepared well.” Commented ma’am in a harsh manner. Other four students came to the front one by one and recited the poem. In the end, ma’am appreciated Medha.

Then arrived the most crucial period-homework checking. She glanced through the list of the students whose performance were going to be judged through their homework.

 “How shameful!! In spite of doing it for the fourth time, I still can find a number of errors this homework. ” She was very angry. She tore the pages from her notebook harshly and threw that away.

Out of embarrassment, Shriya could not lift her eyes up. She felt miserable and tears rolled down her cheek. She had never imagined that Meeta ma’am would do something like that. This was not just a   punishment but more than that.

The same behavior of ma’am continued for next two months. Daily, she used to tear the pages from homework notebook of Shriya until she corrected her mistakes. According to Shriya, it was gradually turning out to be one of the habits of Meeta ma’am.

“Good Morning to all students present over here. I am here to announce that our school is going to celebrate “Hindi Pakhwada” from next week. There would be several events such as poetry writing, debate, extempore, article writing, essay. The students who are interested to take part in these competitions, kindly submit their names to their respective class monitors. I request the students to participate in a huge number because lots of exciting prizes are awaiting.” Announced vice principle madam from the dais in morning assembly.

While returning to their respective classes, students kept on discussing about the forthcoming events. Shriya was not seem to be interested at all.

“I am gonna participate in two events, what about you, Shriya??” Enquired Maya with a sweet smile in her face.

“Definitely not, because it’s in Hindi. I do not want to embarrass myself once again.” Shriya showed her discontentment.

“At least, you can participate in any one of the events. It would just be fun. Please don’t deny. Just try once, take it easy.” Maya suggested and encouraged her to participate in the competition.

Gautam overheard their conversation and wrote Shriya’s name without her consent in a piece of paper and submitted the paper. On the day of competition, Gautam announced the name of the students in the class who had already given their names to him in addition to Shriya. This annoyed Shriya very much. In order to trouble Shriya, Gautam clarified that the names once submitted could not be omitted from the list. All the students had to assemble at the meeting hall.

She entered the hall and occupied the positions. The head boy entered the room and announced the topic of the article and the duration of the competition was 45 minutes.

All the students started scribbling on a piece of paper. Shriya kept on writing the article with a high speed without caring for the outcome. This event was followed by extempore and debate competition. The writing competition got over. All the students had to wait for the announcement of result after the completion of the following two events.

In a short span of time, other competitions commenced. Everyone was eagerly waiting for the performance of their friends. The two programs got over and name of the winners were declared by Vice Principle ma’am. Next was the declaration of the result of the article writing competition. The head boy stepped towards the stage and requested the panel of judges announce the result and hand over the prizes. It was just shocking news for Shriya to know that the panel was consisted of Meeta Ma’am, Singh sir and Vice principle ma’am. She had already developed a negative place for her Hindi ma’am for assigning her Homework daily.

Head boy handed over the microphone to vice principle ma’am for the announcement of the result.

“Good morning students, you have been waiting for this moment for long. It was very tough for us to choose the winners because everyone performed very well. It’s very glad to know that students have a lot interest in national language of our country. As per the design of the curriculum, only one subject is studied in Hindi. Their respect for the national language had got reflected in their writings too. Without delay, I’m  declaring the names…….3rd prize goes to Gautam, 2nd prize is a tie among two students Maya and Ketan, 1st prize goes to…………………… and 1st prize goes to “Shriya”, it was an exceptional article. Students please come to the stage for collecting prizes.”
Shriya headed towards the stage with a sense of derilium and vice principle ma’am presented her a certificate and Meeta ma’am handed her a story book of collected stories of Ruskin Bond. Other friends congratulated her and Maya and Shriya exchanged the books with each other to review the content. Maya found a sticky note pasted inside the book addressed to Shriya from Meeta ma’am, she could not resist herself from reading “I am extremely happy today for your success, for a moment I could not believe that you are the one who was so much afraid of making mistakes in Hindi. I’m proud to say that you are among my favourite students.” Read Maya who was amazed and remained dumbstruck for few minutes.

Shriya was thrilled and her conception about ma’am had changed. She had preconception that Ma’am disliked her for her poor performance in Hindi. For sure, it was possible only because of the Homework that had assigned to her daily. She had subconsciously developed interest in Hindi by completing the Homework. Homework had opened up all the doors for improvement and created a unique space for Hindi in her heart.   

She read the note again to make sure that, it was from Meeta ma’am only. She felt contended and smiled a little. She wished that may the first period be allotted to the new Hindi teacher forever.

Sweta Sarangi