erdkinder do zodiac predictions… (hic)

Move over, you ‘world famous astrologers’ such as Besan Daroowallah, go start making besan laddoos, or even start brewing liquor… But, stop making those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad horrorscopes please! Try to earn a honest day’s wages, surely it is not that very difficult…

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I pretend to ‘do’ mainly science with our ‘earth children’ – but I also drift off in various directions, to do history, geography, angrezi (hic), math and stuff. Heck, I even pretend to be a choir conductor. Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few other adults (who actually are more able & capable than yours truly) in the picture too, so there is no need to ring the alarm bells… The truth is that, they are all busy working, whereas I am busy posting blog entries!

In any case, all the ‘adults’ do all the very many things at nammashaale, where the damned (and much maligned) teacher-student ratio is not very good as per the grand understanding of the hoi polloi. However, this fact is actually very good – so, if you are surprised, you may want to read ‘student-teacher ratio’ and the rest of the ‘education faq’ series.

Now, I would admit it upfront that I hate the ‘zodiacal prediction’ columns that appear in irreparably trashy newspapers and magazines such as the ‘Times of India’ and ‘Outlook’ – from the bottom of my heart (and I love & respect the fact that ‘The Hindu’ does NOT publish these kinds of trash and is quite sensitive & sensible, but then, ‘The Hindu’ has other trappings).

It is not out of place to mention here that, every once in a while, we do things that are ‘show-off’ worthy at the erdkinder environment, so that our earth children get the feeling that they can participate in the adult world – and do a damn good job of it (among other pedagogical goals & aims, that is).

So, on a lark, we decided that we would ‘master’ the ‘art’ (actually it is more of a programming science than art) of these astrological predictions business and then deliver our pearls of infinite wisdom, on the unwary elementary children and the rest of the adults (actually adults = ‘teachers’ in Montessoriese).

This is the algorithm that we used:

  • Looking at the general stereotypes associated with zodiacal signs & individuals born in a given ‘sign’ (example: ‘scorpions sting’) and enumerating various attributes of the stereotypes.
  • Going through the rather nauseating ‘prediction’ columns from trash newspapers such as Times of India, DNA, Bangalore Mirror – for the previous one month and analyzing them for various catch phrases.
  • Analyzing them for ‘content holders’ or ‘basic types’ for any given sign, such as romance, finance, health, travel, career etc etc.
  • Each ‘astrologer’ has his or her own style – so analyzing them each for some common denominators and stylizations of expressions – such as ‘surprises await you’ and ‘travel is on the cards’ (ha ha!)
  • Noting various modes of expressions such as random contrapositives, ‘this will happen, but if you do that that will not happen’ kinds of delightful nonsense, across astrologers of various hues and skin pigmentations.
  • Deriving a set of predictions – based on the all the above. (of course after all that, correcting the speeling mushtakes in the writes-up, hic)

The result of these efforts were 4 sets of ‘predictions for the week’ – with very impressive artwork and layout designs– all very tongue in cheek and hilarious – if one had gotten wind of the background to these (pre)posters. But some folks (who were not in the know) had taken the predictions(!) rather seriously – needless to say, there have been a few children and even some adults, who have taken to these predictions, hook, line and sinker! After all it is we people who make the world! Aren’t we the microcosm of what exists at large??

Of course, sideways, we also learnt a few things about astronomy, relearned some specific constellations, what does ‘zodiac’ mean, history of our understanding of the same  & stereotypes and all that – and most of all, how easy it is to derive some respectable humour value from some popular misconceptions.

I seriously wonder, whether this would constitute an ‘occupation’ for our erdkinder within the strict Montessoriese underpinnings. Heh! Are thoroughbred Montessorians listening please?

Hmmm… A couple of children told me at the end of their rather successful exercise that, they may not want to do such things in future. I felt sad, terribly let down and all that; however, I pressed on and asked them why. They said, they didn’t realize that this is how these starry predictions are made and now they were feeling rather angry with me that I had taken out the sense of wonder away from them, at least with respect to this shade of shady astrology.

I agree, Yes, mea cupa. I have sinned. But gladly so. The children agree, of course! (that I have sinned)

And, I have plans to teach them Scheme (a delightful dialect of LISP) with which, eventually they can program a computer to get such outputs. Then, they will see how easy it is to write (or program to write) like (my pet peeve) Enid Blyton – or for that matter, our own Indian version of popular trash author such as Grand Madame Arundhati Roy (my pet nemesis). And, um, I still can’t recover from the fact that Ms Roy got a ‘man booker’ prize for her work! Sheesh!

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