Category Archives: photos

a handout for my lovely pupils… (and to myself!)

Generally, I deal with batches of adolescents from a few schools these days – as part of the game of a double edged sword called ‘education.’

The subjects that I pretend to teach range from history to sciences to choir music to computer programming. It has been fun.

Following is the sample text of a handout that I dish out to any given fresher to my sessions, for your edification.

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I believe…

that you are a smart cookie.

For that matter, any and every individual is very smart, there is no exception whatsoever to this rule… of course, I am not being factitious here!

One may be bored or tired or lazy or whatever, but the fact is that every child / boy / girl is smart & super intelligent…

Why do I believe so? Why should we believe so??

Remember? In the first session we talked a little bit about the various parts of the brain, and the fact that all of have, more or less, the same amount of brain cells and that all of us at sometime or the other use 100% of our brain capacity (as opposed to the funny urban legends about most of us using only 5% of the brain) etc etc.

but we focused on a part of our fore-brain called Cerebrum.

  • This is the seat of our consciousness.
  • It is the center of mental activity.
  • It receives messages from the sense organs and enables us to observe our environment through them.
  • The information gained through the sense organs is stored in memory / cerebral cells (we all have the same number of them) – and are used when necessary; we commonly refer to it as the ‘memory power.’

The most important aspect of this cerebrum is that it is the seat of:

  1. Intelligence – all of us have the same amount – irrespective of what urban legends say.
  2. Emotions – all of us are capable emoting normally, with a few genetically wired exceptions.
  3. Reasoning power – we all have oodles of it!
  4. Imagination – ah, this is where some of us lack depth – but we can learn to imagine!
  5. Will power – and yeah, some of us may not be persistent cookies – but we can always train ourselves to enhance our will power.

So, it is the lack of the last two – the imagination and the will power – that largely makes us & molds us into mediocrity and poor performance – whereas all of us can be great models of excellence in our chosen fields…

In other words, there are no ‘born geniuses’ – the genius in us is always, without exception, brought out by the continuous application of our imagination and will power.

First things first…

There are some quotes in this section – for us to reflect on and internalize…

Ricki Riscorla (The principle of 7Ps)

Proper prior planning & preparation prevents poor performance.”

[Ricki was a much decorated US marine and a great leader, doer & and a humanitarian – he believed in planning and training and leaving nothing to chance]

Richard Feynman (on knowing and problem solving)

… you do not know anything until you have practiced.”

… You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, and people will say, “How did he do it? He must be a genius!”

[Dick was one of the finest scientists that graced the earth – and an incredibly multifaceted one at that; besides being a Nobel laureate, he was a code decipherer, drummer, saxophonist, lock-picker, juggler and what not]

Yo-Yo Ma (on how to learn – coupez la difficulte en quatre)

When the problem is complex, you become tense, but when it is broken down into basic components, you can approach each element without stress.”

… then, when you put them all together, you do something that seems externally complex, but you don’t feel it that way… you know it from several different angles.”

[Yo-Yo is a great Brit cellist and a fantastic meta-learner]

Laura Ingalls Wilder (on perseverance and cheerfulness)

Things that have to be done, must be done cheerfully.”

[Laura was a famous American author of ‘Pioneer’ books – especially the series called Little House on the Prairie’]

Ralph Waldo Emerson (on Self-reliance)

If our young men miscarry in their first enterprises, they lose all heart. If the young merchant fails, men say he is ruined. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards… it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life. A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not ‘studying a profession,’ for he does not postpone his life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances. “

[Of course you may already know of him! He was an American author of many other facets]

Robert A Heinlein (on the capacity of the human potential)

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

[He was an American, popular science fiction author and a great engineer among many other things]

Perhaps you can use the Internet to research and know more about these folks and much else.

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The idea of this series of sessions (a few times a week) is to get an overall bearing on the basic building blocks of science & math in general – but with a particular reference to social sciences and the things around us.

The examples for the basic ideas / thoughts will mostly be from the sciences – but they are mappable to the rest of the knowledge realms.

Rules of the game:

  1. In every session a few basic ideas will be discussed – and some examples will be given.
  2. There would be some homework (not too much at all!) based on the ideas – post every session – that you will work on over the next couple of days. The submission of the homework is your feedback on what’s happening and this is important. Please give it the attention that it deserves. Non submissions will have definite consequences.
  3. Punctuality is an important attribute of life; lack of this will likely have its consequences.
  4. There would be simple but unannounced tests – and so regularity and rhythm in ‘studying’ will help a lot.
  5. Negative feedback in respect of 2, 3 and 4 will indicate your non-interest and we would need to discuss this to take some appropriate action.
  6. Look, nobody’s forcing you to ‘learn’ – and of course, nobody’s forcing me to ‘teach’ either – you and I are here, only because we want to be in this arrangement, voluntarily. If you feel that this not true, let us discuss.
  7. Believe me, learning (in terms of being curious, questioning and validating assumptions, unlearning, relearning, and thinking) is fun, if we are able to focus.

The idea of giving you these quick ref notes is to give some pointers – you may have to take your own notes to help yourself; as you see, these ref notes are not even grammatically complete! 🙂

Now… on to the rest of the notes, and to life and learning, please!

rainwater saving – an erdkinder occupation

During the course of the current adolescent programme (erdkinder) – we have had a few ‘2 month stretches’ of real life professions & occupations. One of them happened to be on rainwater saving – and as part of this, the children completed the setting up of a rainwater collection and saving structure (for one of the school buildings) apart from understanding the necessary theories and concepts behind the idea.

We were helped in this occupation by Karan Singh and Avinash Krishnamoorthy of Biome Environmental Solutions Pvt Ltd. These two young men have been part of a small team, evangelizing ‘Rainwater Saving’ and are implementing solutions all over India, having been ably guided by Vishwanath – the ZenRainman.

Here is a link to a detailed blog post of Karan (about the nammashaale programme): http://biometrust.blogspot.com/2010/10/teaching-rwh-at-nammashale.html

Avinash’s video of a school session: www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9WFBX9p0MY

The URLs of the entities in which the two young men are involved: www.rainwaterclub.org,
www.biome-solutions.com

Thanks Avinash and Karan – you did a great job. 🙂

more pics: 15th august, 2010

The original and offending post is here: 15th august, 2010 – this being the jaundiced coverage of the celebration of  the 63rd anniversary of Indian independence at nammashaale.

And yes, young Vinod too has uploaded his photos at: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0SauGzdwyYsS2

Thanks, Vinod!

eclipse, brain damage

What would one do, if a beautiful event, that doesn’s happen or comeby often times, because it is such a rare exhilerating thing – just happens to happen near one’s very doorsteps?

You would expect that people would get out of their couches and rush out, yeah? They would see and soak in the whole environment, taking in everything that the event has to offer, drink of its delicate probablities and be overcome with the immense humility that a grand celestial event would naturally warrant…

WRONG.

Actually, many folks would instead, prefer to rot in front of their idiotic TV sets blankly watching the TV coverage of the event by various ‘breaking noose’ channels, pouting statistics and breaking air through anus… Sorry.

This is what happened on 15th January, for the poor partial solar eclipse – at least in Bangalore!

Obviously, the self appointed eclipse-experts and protectors of people had managed to pursuade millions of folks who possibly were on the path of totality (and many more that were not exactly on the path, such as Bangaloreans) into relinquishing perhaps the only chance of their life to experience the beauty and awe of this stellar event! Sad.

That day was a holiday, at least in Bangalore, for Makara Sankaranthi. I had planned to visit a few folks on that day, but I was very wary of images of the impending traffic, that were forever floating up. But, lo and behold, the roads were all deserted. We were armed with a couple of x-ray sheets and every few minutes we parked our vehicle and saw the grand scene. Very peaceful and vaguely melancholic. Earlier we had watched the dramatic pin-hole camera images of the crescent sun, by merely looking at the play of light of the sun under the shadow giving trees. Fantastic.

However, the relatives who we wanted to visit, were all huddled up in front of their TV sets, while hermetically sealing their homes off from the ill and evil effects and harmful rays and what not of the poor and much misunderstood eclipsed sun. They would not answer the doorbell immediately because they were watching the eclipse so intently on TV or because they thought the evil effects of the sun will waft in through the crack in the door, if they open it carelessly, whatever! Some other relatives were busy watching films of their favourite stars or were doing rituals to ward off the evil effects (of course, without understanding even an iota of what they were mumbling and doing) – some of them were even actively twiddling their thumbs and were pacifying their growling stomachs, since they had not eaten anything from the morning!

In their bathrooms, the water heaters / geysers were switched on so that right after the eclipse, they could quickly go and take a ritual bath and eat some freshly prepared food. And, may be later they would ‘see’ some random expert talking about the eclipse, on their favourite TV channel…

Intermediated experiences are so surreal, but sometimes, they are also belly-laughteringly  hilarious!

Leave alone science and scientific temper and religious practices and rituals and what not – many of these folks don’t even understand what they are afraid of and what they should be afraid of (such as TV). Nor do they even seek to understand the principles behind the rituals – and the meditative & affirmative aspects of them. What Automatons!

But, the world is NOT ending, as the following mesmerizing photographs shot by Thekambattu folks, tell us. All is really well.

"A sequence taken in our Front Verandah during the Eclipse of 15th January 2010, where you can see that the dappled light moves from being close-to-circular to "eclipsed" back to close-to-circular"

a stunningly shot image!

All photos, some 9 of them, here: picasa web album.

Photos shared with the permission of folks from Thekambattu. Thanks!  Their blog post about the eclipse is here.

PS: Probably Pink Floyd realized it long back that eclipse is always followed (or accompanied) by brain damage. These two are incidentally, songs from their album ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon.” Now I know why many folks react they way they do, during eclipse! LOL!!

PPS: How can I let go of the opportunity! Of course erdkinder and I, had fun learning a whole lot of things about the solar eclipse, such is their lot.

photos: theatre, christmas days

Vinod, a NammaShaale parent has shared his photo albums:

nammashaale christmas celebration: link

nammashaale theatre day: link

Thanks, Vinod.

some photos – indpndnc day clbratns

This is a follow up post to: https://nammashaale.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/celebration-independence-day/

The following 4 photos, courtesy of Brinda Pathy, a NammaShaale parent – they were taken during the events of that day by her friend, who apparently was a first time visitor to NammaShaale. Brinda also mentioned that they took a lot of photos of the flora and the fauna. I now demand that my photos be shared too!

As a wag said: Each picture is worth a thousand kilobytes… Please bear with me while the photos load…

Thanks, Brinda.

a section of the children

a section of the children.. considering the fact that I am not at all in their line of vision, why are they slightly tense? some onstage 'impending doom' gripping them or what?

 

some aroring parents and admirable chikdren

some adoring parents and admirable chikdren; if you look close enough, you can spot some brand new, edible children...

this is a scene from the bapuji series, you can see the young karamchand with a topi...

this is a scene from the bapuji series, you can see the young mohandas karamchand with a topi...

very young ladies, admiring their and others' costumes (!) - I think they are they preparing for their madhappa dance?

very young ladies, admiring their and others' costumes (!) - are they preparing for their madhappa dance?

 In fact, I had specifically requested two young gents (who I shall not name – but may be we could just call them Vinod and Ashok, only for the purposes of this post) for photos, and I thought, they cheerfully agreed. But then, grahasthidom must be catching up with them…

I hope, they do remember and would deliver…