July 29, 2015

Symbiosis again!

And so Malini has joined college! Symbiosis University once again - and our love affair with Pune continues! I am handling it better this time since several of the earlier anxieties are behind us, with regard to the hostel and the college. She joined the Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts (SSLA), a course based on the US-model, that is new to us in India. Her subjects in the first semester are: Legal awareness, Computer fundamentals - theory and practical, Environmental awareness: Only one Earth, and the two electives - Introduction to Linguistics and Literature and gender.

The course sounds exciting!...she will study a range of core and elective subjects over the next four years, the major to be chosen in the third semester.

Choosing educational institutions is not easy these days. Unlike during our time, there is a lot of choice now - of courses and colleges - and it is quite confusing. Peer pressure adds to the confusion with several parents opting to send their children abroad for undergrad studies. Malini has had to answer questions such as, "If you want to do Liberal Arts, you should go to the US...the best colleges are there". However, we firmly believe that it is important to study in your own country and know your own country before venturing out to discover another. Finally it is important to do what you love, and to be concerned and conscientious citizens of one's country and the world. We have always gone by the rule of choosing either old and good institutions in India or the new generation ones with great facilities that are known to be trying hard to do well. SSLA falls into the latter category. It has a team of highly inspired and motivated teachers - headed by the dynamic and articulate  Director - Prof Anita Patankar - and we were very impressed by them, indeed. The team reminded me of dear Shantamma and the Vidyaranya teachers...what can be better than this?!

When Maloo came into our lives, she brought great joy to everyone around. As is common with second children, she was the bolder and the naughtier one, and everything seemed easier this time around! She made friends easily and conversed with people with confidence. The ease with which she grew up made me wonder, "why can't one have the second child first?!" Of course there were and are moments of worry and frustration...

In Montessori, much as she liked to sing, she refused to go to music class for months because, as it turned out later, she didn't like the music teacher's pepe hair cut! Maloo's antics inspired me to write the book of funny poems about children and childhood - "Autorickshaws blues...", which Ragini illustrated.

And then began her explorations into the world of music, and like Ragini, she chose to learn Hindustani music even while I was trying to get her to do something different! And even as she began to get noticed for her ability to sing, she suddenly chose to stop, and picked up the guitar and began to sing western music in her amazing voice, and our home reverberated with melody of a different kind!

I'll miss having this bundle of joy around at home in Hyderabad, but I know she'll come back empowered and confident-er than ever before!

When Ragini left home for college, I went through a huge emotional upheaval and this song constantly buzzed in my head.

Abhi na jaayo chhodh kar / ke dil abhi bhara nahi
abhi abhi to aayi ho / bahaar ban ke chaayi ho 

Four years have passed and a confident graduate in Visual Communication Design returned home, to stay awhile to freelance from Hyderabad. We are overjoyed!

This is a happy swap, with the children taking turns to go to Pune for college! 

July 05, 2015

Weather watch: Monsoon 2015

Photo of a beautifully lit up Saidanuma's Tomb 
taken from the car during the big rain.
There were rains in the first week of March and April. Summer wasn't really very hot until May. End May, it became very intense...on 28 May, I wrote on FB: "Bahar nikle toh dhoop thappadaan maarri baap!" (not my words...borrowed from Twitter). 

On 28 May again, I wrote, "Lagaan dance moment". So it was very hot and then it rained! 

And then it rained on 4 June, when I wrote, 
"Raindrops are falling on my head...
😊...and there is BIG rain. Take the heat away, rain!" 

We drove to Necklace Road and all along, saw the elaborate and grand lighting to celebrate Telangana formation week.  

20 June, when we went to Warangal, it was raining continuously. Really, nonstop...it became a little boring after a point. Apparently it was raining in Hyderabad also. Yes, and one day in the last week on June, it rained quite heavily and then Maloo and I reached the pool early and swam in the rain! It was awesome!

5 July: No rains for the past one week, and it is becoming hot and humid, like last year. Not yet as unbearable as it was in 2014. Predictions are that it will be like this for the next two weeks. 

29 July:There were two spells of rain on 27 July, the second quite heavy for about 45 minutes. Apart from that nothing. Not much humidity, though. 

It had better rain in August.

7 August: No major rains as yet. There have been random cloudbursts, though. Rains for 5-10 minutes and stops. Raining in other parts of India, though. Floods in West Bengal. Continuous rain in Maharashtra. 

10 August:  It is cloudy, and sultry at times. However, weather is mostly comfortable and some mornings you need a blanket. But the rain gods are still angry with Telangana and AP. 

16 August: I wrote on FB: "Just happy. The rain gods smiled down on us this morning." 

17-31 August: There were just two big rains, both at night - during one, there was such loud thunder that Ragini said she thought the world was ending! I slept through both these rains, though (whaaaaat?)! 

6 September: Beginning September, there were two showers, both for about 15 minutes each. 3 September was 36 degrees - the hottest in 88 years, apparently. This surely is climate change. 

Someone wrote this on FB today:  ...rains in june, then one in mid july and then rains in last week of august...most lands are dry and parched and most farmers lost crops....climate change...but the positive sign - the lands with organic matter and chemical free soils, have managed to retain the crops - as organic soils have greater capacity to store moisture for longer time...and so folks, finally my neighbours are noticing that it pays to stay natural and chemical free...



An apology to Africans

We have had a professional connect with Africa for a long time. While at ICRISAT during the eighties, we met and were friends with sever...