6:00 am – Pleasant morning. Might be a good idea to do some history spotting and photography.
6:30 am – Reach Hauz Khas Metro Station. The shutter to the underground railway station is half down. No one around. Feel for the pepper spray can in pocket & proceed with the safe feeling it provides.
7:10 am – Spot a pillar saying “Mehrauli Puraathathveeya Udhyaan” (Mehrauli Archeological Park) confirming that you are not lost. Excitement replaces the anxiety of walking alone on a deserted road with every passing cyclist slowing down to stare at you head to toe.
7:20 am – Set up tripod at Balban’s tomb. Two men appear from the foliage and come near you. The thought of pepper spray reinforces confidence.
8:00 am – Metcalfe’s Folly. Few uncles resting after their morning walk strike up a conversation with you – “beta, filum banaa rahe ho?”, “aajkal bachchon ki shauk hoti hai. . documentary banaane ka”, “nahi? toh kyun purane building ke photo lenaa?”, “aise hi? waah [all laugh]”. You think the world isn’t all that creepy anyway.
8:20 am – Marvelling the the moss near Quli Khan’s tomb. Over-protective uncle-ji arrives to give you a lecture.
“Nahin? Kahin akele to nahi ghoom rahe ho?”
“Akele? Photo lene? Dekho beta. . Itni subah akele maat ghooma karo.”
“Kyun? Kyun ki yahaan gandhe gandhe aadmi hain”
“Aise akele kyun jaana? Pata hain na zamaana kitna bigad gaya hain? Khud danger ko paas bulaana teekh nahi hain”
“Ghar mein tumhe aise akele kaise ghoomne dete hain?”
“Aise mat bolo. . Aaj kal ki ladkiyaan bhi. . Badon ke baat sunte hi nahin”
You can’t take it any longer. . You give him a lecture on how not just ‘subah’, ‘akele’ is unsafe and how the ‘gandhe aadmi’ attack people even at their homes. Show him pepper spray & in general, make the old man curse himself for attempting to give out unsolicited advice! 😛
8:35 am : Rajaon Ki Baoli. 5-6 dogs frowning at you for having invaded their privacy, but aren’t interested in protesting. You want to go down into the stair-well & click a few pics. But. . there is a young man who saw you coming and sat on the wall at the entrance. He has been looking at you since then. You think “Is this one of those ‘gandhe aadmi’?”. Idea of descending into the well dropped!
8:40 am : Searching for Gandhak Ki Baoli. Intend to go searching for the Bhoolbhulaiyya – Adham Khan’s tomb from there. Few more men pass you giving you the looks. One on a motorbike takes pleasure in startling you by whizzing past close to you. Dense foliage all around. Only dirty pigs and dogs there aren’t questioning your presence. You decide this is the area of the ‘gandhe aadmi’, turn around and walk back. With the pepper spray can in hand, one finger ready on the button.
8:50 am : Walking back to Qutb Minar Metro Station. The road that has come alive with vehicles, cyclists, fruit-cart-walas and pedestrians assures you of safety. The pepper spray has gone back to it’s nook in the backpack.
Thank you Uncle-ji. I gave you a piece of my mind confidently. But you managed to kindle the subconscious paranoia. I owe you the ‘pleasure’ of missing Gandhak ki Baoli & Adham Khan’s tomb.
Isn’t it sad? How we are programmed to assume that the world is creepy & dangerous? How you are never allowed to forget that? Especially if you are a female… Let alone over-protective uneducated uncle-jis in parks, even Profs tell you to lock the lab door if you work alone all night. . And to
try to make sure that atleast 2-3ppl are around.
I’m wondering. . Isn’t this “cautious” behaviour implicitly acknowledging that the ‘gandhe aadmis’ are in-charge? That the world is theirs to indulge in all kinds of crime? Telling them “We are afraid of you. We would curb our freedom & try our best to avoid you. But we’d never try to claim our right to be free by defying your taunts & threats. Please go around behaving as you please”?
Read all mushy posts for Teachers day a couple of weeks back..
Get outraged by the kind of innovatively wrong answers students come up with while checking exam papers a week back..
Witness both clever thinking and pointless-ly done assignments a few days back..
‘Enjoy’ an all time high interaction with students as a TA (in teaching concepts, clarifying doubts, arguing abt the correctness of their answers etc.) during the past few days..
You tend to think about the way teaching & learning is perceived by students & teachers.
You realize that there is a clear divide. Feel it more since you yourself are positioned ON the dividing line.
You find the divide depressing & put up a status message saying..
Looks like an entire generation has been ‘educated’ to believe that Good Teaching=”preparing short notes of a text book & presenting them in class as slides” and Learning=”memorize slides vaguely.. you can let your imagination run wild to interpret them when confronted with questions in the exam“.. Sadly, Thinking & Appreciating concepts do not find a place.
Well. . that sounded more like I am lamenting on behalf of the teacher (which I was doing), and it was quick to provoke heated arguments with friends. . All who have been only on the student side of the divide..
I say : Students do not utilize a teacher’s earnest effort to put across concepts in interesting ways.
They say : I haven’t seen too many teachers put any kind of effort! May be they do in YOUR dept, in YOUR institute. . But how many teachers do you remember from your previous institute who made learning interesting?
I say : …
I say : Students refuse to learn & appreciate basics or contemplate about any concept in detail. . They refuse to go beyond what the slide says.
They say : They would do that when someone provokes thought in them.. When someone makes them see that learning & thinking is fun. Who does that?
I say : It is a 2-way process. . Learning can be fun only if both parties put in effort.. For instance, students should be thinking why an assignment is framed the way it is. . What it is trying to make them learn/experience/appreciate. . and THEN attack the problem . . there is no point in mechanically doing an assignment and presenting a solution which most of your peer group agrees upon. How many do that?
They say : Do we have the time for that? You give us assignment after assignment, deadline after deadline in course after course. . If we sit & meditate on each assignment, when are we going to finish? And when are we going to find time to enjoy life?
I say : Well. . You can enjoy learning too. . If only you stop treating life as a rat race where courses are laps finished. Students seem to be more interested in scoring more than their peers than in learning. Why worry about “Am I getting a half a mark less than that fellow? Should I fight/beg the TA for that half a mark?” instead of thinking “I made this mistake & lost marks. . I have learnt what not to do now” ?
They say : Life IS a rat race, honey!
I say : Why do students (esply the post graduates who have graduated from non-IITs) seem to think that ‘covering’ a textbook is better teaching? Why do they prefer a prof who runs through every detail in the textbook in marathon-mode to a prof who takes it slow & steady & tries to get the class to think & appreciate the stuff? If I had to ‘cover’ a textbook, I would sit under a tree & read it. . not come to class at 8am in a cold November!
They say : …
They say : For all that talk, how many profs approach teaching with a passion? How many approach each classroom session with an infectious enthusiasm? They do a mechanical job, we too go through it mechanically.
I say : As long as students do not take the course seriously & show enthusiasm & commitment, how do you expect profs to retain their enthusiasm and do a great job? They are bound to get frustrated from seeing no fruit for their efforts. That means, you get a poor course experience cos you did not respond positively to the Prof’s efforts.
They say : !!! Profs get frustrated? I thought they’d be cool with their jobs. . Though it may be thankless & boring.
I say : !!!
Clearly, the arguments lead nowhere. . They are never-ending. . But they do throw up some interesting points..
- When would teachers retain passion for teaching & approach each class with an aim to put across basic concepts & provoke thought?
- When will students realize that going through the works of a course mechanically is mere waste of time & effort?
- When will teachers recognize the need to pause the grilling for a while & help students realize that their active role is important in making the course worthwhile?
- When will students realize that not all teachers fall in the category of “know nothing. . repeat something from textbook. . gives a damn about whether I learn something or not”? That in most cases, a lot of thought goes behind the way a course is conducted?
- When would this student-teacher divide be bridged?
Questions sound too idealistic & utopian eh?
Legend : RR = “Raji’s Ramblings”
Category : “Philosophies of Life” (Self-proclaimed)
Type : Often long and Decidedly Boring for Anyone but me
Warning : Stop reading if you are not in the mood for philosophical stuff!
(This is a non-photography post . . a rare one by the way I am functioning these days!)
Its simply AMAZING. . When, after quite a number of gloomy days of trying to come to terms with reality, feeling blue and angry-cum-irritated with the way some ppl tr8 u or behave in general… days when even getting ur first paper accepted did not seem too energizing.. you suddenly feel full of life, enthusiasm and happiness for no particular reason (in spite of being in physical pain) 🙂
Accepting the reality of life with respect to what is happening with your life is an obvious first step. In fact, it happens whether or not you put conscious efforts towards it. . Just that it happens a wee bit sooner if you do 🙂
The other part. .the “people around you” part, is a different ball game altogether. Human relationships can be astonishingly simple or ridiculously complex. While a few people vibe too well with you right from Day 1, a few other people just dont seem to be made of compatible material! And there are people who oscillate between these categories as well. Somehow, irrespective of the many people whom you are so happy to have in your life, the handful who manage to irritate you leave you grumbling regularly. I know. .its completely unfair towards the former group. .but thats the way it is!
Even as you learn to accept people as they are and love them, there are always people who never seem to fall short of ways to irritate you. There are a few who never try to understand you and worse, never even realize that they are hurting you. However, they never fail to expect too much from you and complain whatever you do! Whether you see them every day or meet them only once in a while, the effect they have on your blood pressure and peace of mind is the same.
On analysis, I propose the following theory :
Just stop wondering why they behave or think the way they do, what can be done to change the dynamics of the relationship, and whether they would change at all! They are probably not going to change, and its no use changing yourself and feeling that all your efforts have been wasted. Even ceasing to love them is ok. .but do not start hating them. Be happy you have all those nice people and that life is going the way it is. 🙂
To put it slightly shorter..
Get involved with the people and things that make you feel nice. . And with the others, as they say it, be “thaamirai ilai mel neer pol”. . for the urban kind. .like water on plastic 😉
[Yes. . I keep trying to find the “most stupidest” of ways to insert my photography into the most unlikely of contexts 😀 ]