Monthly Archives: August 2011

ramjee EXPOSED! (thanks to Mister Aaaj…) *gasp*

The third mail (and the last one) in the series, exposing me,  a la ‘tehelka‘ and am once again thankful to Mr. Aaaj for excoriating me.

But, have you read the previous three related posts to make sense of what is all this nonsense please… (in reverse chronological order)

=-=-=-=-=

From: Aaaj <…@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 3:22 PM
Subject: Tsk, tsk, Ramjee !
To: Ramjee <… @gmail.com>

Tsk, tsk, Ramjee !

Out of curiosity I recently looked up the nammashale blog.  It was abruptly, unceremoniously dumped in 2009.  Just like Nammashale itself in 2011.

So very typical !

But how to cover the true stripes?  Simple, deny admission to an innocent child  after ‘thorough evaluation’  and other such ‘loyalty’ tricks.  Poor Rama will remain convinced of the bonafides, even at that last stage.

{ On my last Himalayan trek to Roopkund, I noticed a natural event above 12,000 ft. A certain worm gets in to the body of a larger worm, starts eating the innards systematically except the digestive system, finally when the big worm is all but dead eats up the digestive system and rips up the belly to come out and look out for a new worm!}

I hold you squarely and solely responsible for Arun not getting into Nammashale.  Shame on you !

But what else can one except from you whose only theme  in life is YOU.  Sloppy clothes, staccato speech, a mien of studied wise look. Dead give-aways of incurable self-absorption, only I was credulous.

I am sure it will be another school and another management to sidle up to.  But I hope there was only one gullible Rama in this world.

I request you falling on your lotus feet  please don’t bother to reply.  Consider it a sort of reply for your previous long winded mail and I will even promise to read it sometime.. I have no stomach for another eruption of  pseudo-intelligent tripe (felicity  with English language is no substitute for an intellect and a heart).

Wish you happy trampling small children until you reach your goal or , more aptly, your are tripped up.

— Aaaj

=-=-=-=

Life, I celebrate thee!

My comments (if at all)  to Srimaan Aaaj’s loving mail, would probably be in the next post and so enjoy (or regret as the case may be!) your life, in the interim.

Postscript: I have taken the feedback from Mr. Aaaj rather seriously. I have stopped wearing sloppy clothes. I have resolved to improve my spoken English – but the problem is that my darn Tamil (=idly-sambaar) accent refuses to go away, sorry. I am also cultivating an unstudied dumb look – luckily this comes naturally to me.  Dammit, I have even started shaving regularly. Oh the horror!

I have one question to Mr Aaaj: Sir, thanks to a good physique and misguided and quarter-baked martial arts training in the distant past, I have a good chest (‘cut’) that is slightly embarrassing at times. So may I start wearing a suitable brassiere too please?

Life I berate thee! (juzz kiddin’)

 

suppandi responds to suppandi…

This is the second of the three email conversations. Of course it is long winding naturally! It was written by me, dammit!

But, have you read the previous two related posts to get the context please?

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Ramjee Swaminathan <… @gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 8:48 AM
Subject: by way of an explanation
To: Aaaj
Cc: rama reddy <….com>

Dear Mr Aaaj:

Thanks for calling me early in the morning today – apologies for not
calling you last night, as I came home very, very late and was tired.
I got to see your mail to Rama now. This is my personal response to
you, based on the official discussion that  Sudha and I had with you
yesterday.

Normally I would not take so much time or energy to respond, but I
feel that I have to clear the air of accusations, emotion laced words
and misunderstandings. Besides, we have known each other personally
for a few years now.

I checked up with Rama for the mail that she said she sent to you a
few weeks back – and we were not able to retrieve it – the yahoo
mailing system server for school’s id had a glitch and crash a few weeks
back and we weren’t able to recover a whole lot of sent data as also the
inbox. We did not realize that her mail did not reach you. Perhaps your
mail was lost. Knowing the Internet mail system, am not sure what
really happened. But we looked at the pending tasks last weekend  and
asked Sudha (the admin) to reconfirm with you. That’s why she called
you and you spoke to me too.

You said in the mail:

> 1.  Arun doesn’t fit in in the Nammashale system

I did not say that. I said that if he had come in at 2.5 years of age
it would have been fine. I was about to start talking about planes,
normalization and stuff – but you were not willing to listen to me –
you only wanted a review. Each child is different – that is the beauty
of it.  Anjana is different and Arun is different. So there is no
standard set of rules for them. You would know this as a teacher
yourself. But, there should be physical strength and ability (to spend
24 hours in school) in the teacher, if one has to deal with each and
every child as per the needs of the child. The school does not have
the strength now, and we are actually looking at reduced and more
handleable numbers. I said, we can’t honestly take him because we are
not equipped now. I repeatedly said that it is NOT a reflection on the
child. It has only to do with our inability to handle.

You said in the mail:

> 2. If he is admitted then he will be a drain on  teacher resources

I said, each child requires special attention. And that there is a
very reduced strength of adults in the elementary now as it is! So I
said it will be difficult for the adult to handle more new children,
especially when we are curtailing / pruning down the numbers. Indeed
it makes no sense to decrease and increase the numbers at the same time.

I said, if your child gets in because of your pleas – it will not do
justice to the child, to the adults and to the rest of the children.
The ‘drain’ is because of these three reasons – and the child Arun
will not have to be blamed for this. I said it is not AT ALL a reflection
on the child. Besides I personally know the child to be ‘smart.’

In the call you made five different observations.

  1. questioning the competency of a non regular teacher to observe a child
  2. nammashaale is acting like casteists (hinting at a hidden,
    despicable agendas)
  3. the bad treatment meted out to a parent in respect of
    communications – not replying.
  4. If it worked for Anjana, why not for Arun.
  5. References for how a child admitted at 6 wont work in a montessori school

I will handle them one by one.

1. Please note that every teaching adult in nammashaale has the
requisite montessori qualification and expertise – excepting perhaps I
– and I did not observe your child. Besides, if you are questioning
the competency and the professional integrity of the teachers for a
regular thing/process such as observing the child, how can you be
comfortable in entrusting your child to them? If I were in your
position, I would not even bother, leave alone asking for a review or a rereview. I think there is a cognitive dissonance here.

2. Hmm – this really sets me thinking. If I really think that
nammashaale is casteist or showing caste like ‘narrow’  tendencies,
may be I would stay away from it and not ask for a review. But if you
had said it in the heat of the moment, I would understand you, but
definitely not agree with you. (personally, I feel that many of us
don’t understand caste at all! – we think that it is despicable, based
on some random knowledge that we have. I don’t think so. But, that’s
my opinion, not that of the school)

3. I said nammashaale mail id gets a humongous amount of mails – there
will be slippages. Besides (in our opinion) mail response was sent to
you – but there were followup calls from your side. We are really
sorry that we currently do not seem to have the energy to repeatedly
deal with issues. I would say that your point is valid. But think
about this, I said clearly about the response from school – which was
based on a previous internal discussion – you didn’t want a no and
wanted a review – so I promise to talk to Rama for a review – I did
talk to her – I then conveyed it to you – and again you want a rereview
and come up with all kinds of hints… What does one do if issues do
not get closed or the message is not clearly received (by both sides).
All of us seriously need to think. We do not seem to like ‘sorry’ as
an answer at all. Why isn’t a very considered and genuine ‘no’ is not
acceptable at all? Would you want us to be dishonest with you and
weakly accept the child and not deliver on it? Woudn’t this be a gross
injustice tp the child, to us and to you??

4. I am happy to here that you are satisfied with this aspect of
school – that it worked for Anjana. IMO, it did because there was no
major strain in the teacher resources at that point. This delicate
balance continues as of now – the next year will be difficult. So we
are not allowing ANY lateral entry now at the elementary level because
of the strained and stressed nature of teacher resources. Surely you
want all children to be as happy and as developed as Anjana?

5. There are the books written by Montessori which deal with the
concepts of normalization, sensitivity periods – there are a zillion
of them. You can go thru them at your leisure. But my point was more
from the management perspective. How does one pay individual attention
to a fresh, lateral entrant child, if there are not enough adults
likely to be available to manage the existing strength. As it is, the
adults work between 8.30 AM to 3.15 PM every day plus a minimum of 2
hours at home plus weekends plus handling parents’ calls at home,
checking emails, finding the money, dealing with haggling parents –
while drawing only a ‘basic living’ compensation.  I also agree that
all these are parts of the package. So we should find ways to deal
with this, while retaining our sanity. We are all plodding along in
our lives, voluntarily, of course.

Teaching in a small school with a heart, is not  at all like teaching
at higher levels and in other schools; I would even say that these
places are rather cushy and can put up with a lot of indifference and
incompetence from teachers, leave alone dishonesty – surely, you know
and appreciate that, being a good teacher that you are.

—-

You have a right to your opinion about 1) competency 2) narrow
mindedness and 3) irresponsible nature of the school. In fact, your
right to your opinion will be defended by me. But I would also frankly
agree that I was disgusted at some of your thoughts and hints, and am
really sorry I slammed the receiver down – I was also groggy – not
enough sleep and you called at 6AM – which does not normally happen.

I really understand your anxiety and the fact that Arun going to the
same school as his sister would have helped in terms of logistics too
– apart from your perceptions of quality education etc etc.

Again I would reiterate that the decision is NOT about a particular
Arun – but because of the school’s current inability or the bandwidth
to handle many children – with same quality and care.

I wish the very best for you, your children.

Best:

ramjee.
ps: I have copied the mail to nammashaale yahoo id, and  I consider
the matter closed, which please note.

=-=-=-=

Next:  Mr. Aaaj exposes ramjee aka suppandi… (*gasp*)

suppandi scribes…

This is the first of the three email interchanges between Mr.Aaaj and I.

Have you read ‘suppandi strikes again (oh NO!)‘ – for the background and context?

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Aaaj <redacted>@yahoo.com>
To: Us at the nammashaale school
Sent: Mon, March 14, 2011 1:25:49 PM
Subject: Hi

From,
Aaaj
Bangalore

I had a conversation with Ramjee with regard to my son Arun’s admission.

The drift of what he told me as I understood is that

1.  Arun doesn’t fit in in the Nammashale system
2. If he is admitted then he will be a drain on  teacher resources

I cannot argue with your conclusion.  But can I request you for second interview for Arun? My grounds for such a request are as follows

 Apparently,on the day of interview a stand-in teacher was on in place of a regular teacher ( Sorry, I am using ‘teacher’ for want of a better term). He was not asked to join the children as was the case with Anjana. He was given some tests as in a regular school .

 Arun is a child who readily joins  play groups, even with children unfamiliar to him. He is slightly diffident when  adults unknown to him are present. Then he needs a small smiling prod.

Probably that turned the opinion against him.

Whatever is the case,  can I request you for a second observation for him, a second chance?  I am convinced in my mind, even discounting my parental bias, that he will be a good montessorian and you will not regret having him.  I would  go so far as to suggest you admit him for an year and we will take him out if  you find  he is a liability to you, but I know that is an unfair demand from all perspectives.

Thank you,

Best Regards,

–Aaaj

Next: suppandi responds to suppandi

suppandi strikes again! (oh NO!!)

…and oh, I am back!

Life is but a Sine Wave, with its own crests and troughs, or as my lovely school children would love to correct me – nodes and anti-nodes!

But the waves are progressive (and not stationary, pardon my useless ‘science’ pun) even as I continue to happily regress, instead of egressing…

This is a set of five posts that have happened (are going to happen) after a few months’ gap. There has been a hiatus, I agree – though, I also know that nobody really missed the blog.  Still...

Well, the reason is that, in the past few months, I have moved to another place, another time, another life. I like my pauses and comma-s, obviously!

Besides, there were elections happening to the government in my homestate of Tamilnadu, India. I was busy campaigning, in my own way – for I love my King,  PBUH and my land.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

=-=-=-=

Now,  what is life without a story… That too, a story that is told in three emails – and a fourth, a reflection – mostly unedited and un-embellished. I have anonymized and modified the names involved, to protect the NOT guilty.

Of course, all the GUILTY, criminal and coarse people such as Sudha (the nammashaale Administrator, and a tireless taskmaster, a relentless troubleshooter at that), Rama (the nammashaale Director, and THE best elementary teacher that I have ever seen in my life – the phrase that floats up when I think of her in this context, is pure magic!) and Ramjee (the Scribe with obviously nothing better to do than blog about insipid things and inane folks) have all been named.

Alea jacta est.

… And so, this father of an ex-nammashaale child (let us call him Aaaj henceforth), who is in a respectable position in an educational institution had already admitted his daughter (a sweet child actually, which child is not?) – a few years back, in nammashaale – let us call her  Anjana; our young Aaaj, then, asked for admission for his son too (let us call him Arun, again a smart a little child, (which child is not?) – not at 2.5 years as a typical child  would get admitted in a good Montessori school – but much later, primarily because it was convenient for Aaaj’s family in terms of logistics – that is, in terms of the sad cases of elder daughters saddled with the stifling responsibility of ‘looking after the younger brothers‘ mode – just so that the parents are ‘helped!’

dammit, don’t the parents deserve the furtherance of their own careers and research and development and parties and agendas and booze and travel and TV and fillums and farts and pontifications and long-email-writing and blog-posting and whatnot??

Anyway, not because of the aforesaid ‘sibling child-sitting’ reason (I came to know about this sad fact much, much later), after much thought and evaluation, and considering the adult team size in nammashaale, we clearly told Mrs Aaaj and Mr Aaaj that, it is difficult for us to accommodate the child, I think, circa December 2010 time-frame – an email was also sent to this effect to Mr Aaaj – which he says he didn’t get – he could be correct here too, am not sure; but, Mrs and Mr Aaaj would not take a ‘no’ for an answer, even if it is conveyed again politely, even if it is the most truthful and honest and ONLY meaningful option from the side of the school.

There were many and oft repeated and random requests from Mr. Aaaj (and meaningless occasional & gratuitous offers to  ‘contribute to the school’ – that is, to present some Math related stuff to our nammashaale children, which would never materialize in spite of my followup – in retrospect, it is good that Mr. Aaaj did not ‘contribute’ at all! Oh, the horror, the HORROR!) so, Sudha and I once again call up these parents and convey the news most politely. They then asked for another review (in fact another re-review actually) and still, I thought it was fair enough and I promised to talk to Rama and get back them and, I did both. Do you think the story ended there?

Again they were not willing to listen to the reality or to the actual and polite words spoken. They just could not get the context right.

In fact, this attitude of these parents amazes me no end! Too much of random talking and pontification and advising to all and sundry – but very little (if at all!) of actually doing something!  It is just that there are only a few parents with this rather difficult mentalscape –  but believe me, they are enough to drive one insane!  These folks who demand & take a disproportionate amounts of time and energy, and sometimes money too – make one really wonder  about the sanity of running a well-intentioned schooling system. Anyway

… So, instead of looking at the other possible options or even introspection, Mr Aaaj wrote a mail to us in the School, obliquely accusing me of bias and wrongdoing. (mail #1: In which the conversation with Ramjee is alluded to)

…. and soon, Mr Aaaj also calls me up one morning and (c)rudely wakes me up at 6.00 AM on 14th March, 2011 (and I have a recording of it – I could post it as a raw mp3 file, but that will definitely reveal the identity of who Mr Aaaj is – which is not fair, I think) and shouts incoherently, calls me names, rubbishes Rama, rubbishes the school, makes all kinds of accusations of casteism and other allied nonsense!

Hmmm… after a few futile attempts on my part to infuse some sense and after 10 minutes or so of the useless drivel, I did not have the patience to listen to him blather on and on and on any further – and so I slammed the receiver down – I was initially mildly disturbed and shared my bewilderment with my spouse – but then, after some time, was actually  laughing at the folly of it all! A sane headed third person’s points of view helps, after all!!

… I normally do not respond to canards, baseless rumors and motivated slander.

But, I sent a detailed & polite mail (since I have known the whole family of Mr. Aaaj, have gone on an ‘outdoorsy’ trip together, have roamed around SJP road many-a-time to help him with computers etc, have shared a few evenings (& books) discussing random things including his computer problems, given a few DVDs to him which are yet to be returned etc etc *gasp* – and oh, what a waste of time!) and I thought it was only the correct thing to do – and this happened right on the next day – on 15th March, 2011 itself. (mail #2: In which Ramjee tries his best to respond meaningfully, even after he, the school and everything else is slandered by Mr Aaaj)

I left it at that, hoping that the time will heal and make all of us see the light of the day. But alas, some of us folks prefer to dwell in the bleakness and in the recesses of the dark dungeons of our psyches, much like in that Joseph Conrad’s novel – Heart of Darkness (1902).

Hmm…  Some four months roll by – bringing with it a zillion changes, new milieus and fresh mindscapes to many of us – but I surmise, the pointless hate must have brimmed over, and singed the heart of this gent all along – and oh what a waste! It is perhaps high time, this gent ‘grew’ up. And me too!

And so, I suddenly receive a mail, a month back or so (25th of July 2011, to be precise!) from Mr Aaaj, detailing his feelings and blessings etc etc – it also shows my true colours, exposes me for what I am.

I am thankful to Mr Aaaj for all the feedback. (mail #3: In which Ramjee is exposed! Touché!)

Anyway, I thought I will share all these’ publicly’ with only a few name changes – but with all the name-callings intact. Of course the speeling mishtakes, bad grammar are all there in my mails for you folks to chuckle over… Me and my felicity with English, what crap!

Enjoy – or ponder over what is life, what is hate, what is humour, what is sickness and what is What… what??

*sheesh*

Post Scriptum: My best wishes to the fine child Anjana. I used to know her personally. I wish her and her brother, the very best of all, including that of their parents.

I also wish the parents  – Mrs and Mr Aaaj – good luck, happiness and peaceful times ahead.

After all, in future, we may even meet again and chuckle about this insignificant fracas and loudly wonder what was wrong with all of us then!

The hope.

=-=-=-=

Connected posts:

(I will soon edit (anonymize) and publish all the involved email-exchanges)

Updated all links as on 31st Aug, 2011

========

breaking noose…

...Sarkaaria... Nagarwala... MISA... Bofors... Harshad Mehta... Shibu Soren... Laalu Prasad Yadav... .... Suresh Kalmadi... 2G (Raja edition)... 2G (Kanimozhi edition)... 2G (Dayanidhi edition)... Baba Ramdev... Yeddiyurappa... Anna Hazare... (to be continued...)

… what a nice feeling of déjà vu! 🙂