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Sunday, November 16, 2014

And Announcing...The Next Performance...

                                   How I Learnt Learning

                              And Announcing...The Next Performance...

“And announcing, the next performance, by grade 7! They have prepared for the dance since two months…missed precisely what they came to school for…tired and drained their bodies for a two minute performance…and not actually learned any kind of dance…the ones who were good shall enjoy the centre while others, who have spent as much time and money as the supposedly superior, will just shake their hands in random movement…”
                     Only if the anchor was frank enough!
“And now 22 children shall play the cricket game we all were waiting for! 22 shall be playing…and ten to twelve students who have wasted their days practising in the scorching sun shall go about standing idle…giving water…imagining that they shall be on the field soon…they be the thirteen, fourteenth or fifteenth man and walk dumbfounded cheering for others…hoping someone will cheer them someday…”
                  Only if the commentator was frank enough!
Today is the sports day and we are going to have lezim and the heats…hurdles, sprints and relays! We have spent incredibly large hours wasting time on the creation of this sports day. Teachers have missed their lectures and are unable to finish their portion…which makes them exceedingly frustrated. We have called for a special chief guest, who in my view has by hearted his plastic speech for the sports day. The events are highly disorganized…while on one end the prize distribution goes on, on the other end is the relay race…the parents sit a mile away from their children…and this is going to be a regal disaster…
                      Only if the reporter was frank enough!
Copy paste all this into one block and highlight the words for me
And truly this was a disaster… let’s begin with these functions in the school I attended when I was a primary student…the sports day…annual day…extracurricular activities were a la grande! The premises being too small, and fees and budgets being very high, extravagant auditoriums and gigantic grounds were the locations for these events…
Earlier it was fun…it was great to stand on the stage and dance! Okay, not dance exactly but at least stare at the crowd in front of me…a heap of people piled onto one another on chairs and terraces is a better way to describe the situation!!!

 It was fun being the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz and an Alien too…telling those miniature two sentences…in front of a crowd! An exposure, well! It was a great experience to receive awards…
Later on, it grew into a mess and a chaos…or maybe it always existed but I was too na├»ve to understand the actual scene behind the glamour! I think the latter fits the puzzle!
I actually remember entering the stage, for my fifth grade annual performance through the wrong wing!  
        Come on! We actually practised and practised and practised for months in particular positions and sides and on the final day we actually end up dancing in spots we never expected! And just because the teacher was unaware of the wing and corresponding positions? Why wasn’t there a coordinator? Why no arrangement? Why no discipline? Why such a hurry?
But here we talk about the hard work, actually wasted!!! But what about those whose money and time were wasted? Some children actually were on the back of the stage just fumbling and doing nothing!
Maybe they were embarrassed or felt awkward dancing! They felt inferior! They felt as if all the importance, screen space and attention were for the central and first row guys! Why? Because they wanted to fit 25 students on a small little stage? Because they wanted to just get it done! Anyways only the galore matters, doesn’t it?
       The students and parents don’t actually get any kind of consideration! Their work is never acknowledged because at the very beginning of their lives, at the point when they are creating a personality, that they will bear for many years to come, they will lose confidence! Self-esteem! Dignity!
The feeling of “I am someone important” is gone…or never actually created! Or given rise to! Why? For the only reason that the school was more interested in creating headlines and have the most glorious annual day, than in nurturing the child’s skills!
 If a child is good at dancing, make him dance! But not those who hate it and is not their cup of any beverage!
       Let the child speak…he may have excellent oratory skills…maybe he is an exceptional singer…maybe he is a very confident anchor! Maybe he has some skills that can actually enhance the actual quality of the annual day rather than the galore and splendour!
       Rather than making parents spend and run after dresswalas! Rather than a boy or girl just standing at the back and rolling their arms…just waving their hands and weeping for no reason at all!
       Wait a minute! There is a reason! The reason is…the child does not at all want to be a part of what he is a part of! He wants to speak those lines that a fool fumbled in a play before them…and the one who fumbled, he wanted to dance! But does it matter?
         There are huge tables kept and mikes in front of them. 10 children sing into one mike! How many are heard? Actually speaking none or maybe hardly one or two…the ones closest to the mikes!                     Some are just giving lip sync to the song…because one girl out there wanted to be a part of the anchoring team! But no! No entry because you have been told to just sing! And that’s final.
       We do see movies that say, “Let children do what they want in life!” So, why just in life? Why not in our annual days that make us do things we don’t want to and just for the sake of it? Why is the focus completely on the schools accomplishments and what the school has been doing instead of what children of parents who pay the school (without whom it is just a building and not any kind of institution!) have won…the school has got award for the best school or whatever…why this? Why not the students’ accomplishments…
One thing that bugged me and continues doing so is the attendance award! Cycles and huge trophies for just being the most regular one! To just come every day! It’s like a forum awarding a member who comments and replies and gives baseless stupid inputs, for being active! And someone who is enhancing the quality of the forum is being excluded! Schools were doing just that! I was quite regular in school, I missed some days but was regular with my results, too!
            But there were junooni parents who actually made their children be dragged to school to get that God forsaken award! My parents were lenient and told me to be the best in my study work!  Because at school, what we thought was that is what actually matters! We were wrong! All that mattered and deserved prizes were best attendance! Awards for coming to the school!
And then we have commercials made for these things…use this amazing soap or tissue or liquid and your child will get attendance awards! He will be regular!
Come on now if the TV says that we should strive for these stupid awards, we need to! If not buy the soap we send them daily…my friends, coughing, sneezing, puking, would say, “We attend school so that we can get the award for best attendance!”
      And now, I be like “What the hell???” they actually wanted that damned thing! One of my friend’s mothers actually fought with the principal to get her child a consolation best attendance award for he had only missed half a day! Whoa! That’s hilarious but also insane!
If I had to rate my parents on the scale of 1 to 10, based on dragging me to school, making me not take any holidays if I felt not well or was tired, when I was part of the school, for a futile award, I’d give them zero…thank you for never doing such a thing, and then six months back, doing such a wonderful thing for us!
I am more concerned not for the fact that best attendance is actually an award because there are no real awards for children who have done so damn well in what the school is actually supposed to make them do! The exams! The results! No felicitation for those who actually worked so hard to get those marks! Waiting and hoping forever that someday they will be awarded!
Although, my previous one was quite anti-exams-in-schools but I feel strongly that if the school is making children study, why let the work go unnoticed! I secured 96.45 and 97.14 percentage in both my semesters in fifth, respectively! And what did I get? Nothing? Teachers said, “Congrats” some came up to specially congratulate me! Some patted me on the back! It’s a feeling that I got at those times, which is irreplaceable…but what about those awards?
 Isn’t it actually neglecting someone? Shouldn’t the ones showing improvement be told that “You are good!” that will do…the announcement on the mike is a feeling that many strive for…some need it and some want it! For that they do extraordinarily well…not only in studies but in sports, drawing, origami, singing, music, dance and drama! But is it being told to the one thousand parents? The next day, the names are forgotten…the awards are forgotten…but it will definitely leave a lifelong imprint in the mind and heart of the child “I am Special!
It is a feeling that every child desires…but the child is kept away from it for reasons…
The student wants to be a part of the drama. He is fluent…he has amazing oratory skills…but no! Why? Why, because another child who is the best friend of the Co-ordinator’s son? Because they are bunch of people who have been doing it since a really long time? Why not introduce new talent? Why not allow others who want to be seen on stage, and maybe emote really well…what can this be called? Partiality? Yes, precisely! They do not want a child to fumble…however good he may act! Why not allow a child to make mistakes? If one doesn’t make mistakes, how does he learn? How does he grow?
And for the dances, the centre is only reserved for those who the school believes should be the highlight…or be seen because the ones at the back, however tall they may be are just invisible! I was always a part of the anchoring in kindergarten and then always from the second to fourth grade…what I realized was that the exposure that I got, the two lines as an Alien, maybe three or four as the Tin Man, I got the confidence to speak in front of that many people!
           This, I was happy with…earlier I told about the children who missed the chance to do this…why didn’t everyone get a chance to give it a try and at least take their first steps into public speaking! Why wasn’t everyone given a chance to explore? At least, there was a provision that everyone could participate in everything…an eighth grader, in the last annual day I attended of that school, on the top of his voice was screaming for claps!!! More louder! More louder! It was wrong English but at least he was freely expressing…
In the latter school, there was nothing that I could call as true exposure! The decisions of what a child shall do, was not at all in the hands of the child but in the hands of the teacher in charge…and the only motive that they had, actually was to finish of the Annual Day once and for all…
In the former school; it was grandeur and glory! But here, it was a function of the humblest of sorts…and more than humble it was just a formality!
Earlier it was showing off extensively and here it was finishing it once and for all…the chaos and problems were the same and disorganization an integral part of the Annual Day! Here, it wasn’t partiality; it was imposing something on children. Imposing what they wanted us to do…rather than we deciding what we actually want to do…
What I wanted to do, never happened in any of the events that ever took place! I was always given roles in language since my oratory skills were good…but not in English! In another vernacular language I better not mention…
Four events, all including portraying skills like language, reporting, acrobatics, dance (which can also be defined as the throwing and swinging of students from one place to another, where all modern dance forms are now leading us to)…and for all I was in the language activities for my speaking skills…only for the first time I was in English…and for the rest of the three in a language I hate…maybe because I had to bear it for six long months…two months’ practise for each event! It was so jarring and so frustrating to do something I didn’t want to!
It was like I was counting notes and making entries rather than cooking or something else! I felt like actually missing days…I would see some acting in English dramas...speaking pathetically, I am no one to judge but when you are in a position, where you see someone doing what you could have done…and done better…a feeling that is inevitable! It comes when you see Federer playing tennis…and you sit in your living room on your laptop making a presentation for your meeting next week….when you could have played with Federer!       
Well, at least you could have tried…my dad’s book explains this better…but here, there was no trying…just accepting fate! Hopes, feelings, desires, were just not allowed!  I still think that if I would have been in the English plays…or at least been made the anchor…or written the script for the presenters and performances, it would have been a better disaster; at least I would be happy I would have done something I wanted to…I wouldn’t have to do something that the school wanted me to do!
Nonetheless I would have at least written a script with some sense of humor! It’s that feeling that always remains!
Wasn’t the Annual Day or any such event supposed to be for enriching a child? For letting the child express what he/she wants to? For making the student confident? For letting the children do something that they will like seeing himself doing?
An event that occurred that I shall narrate to you…it was annoying and the worst behaviour any school could or would portray…
For the last Annual Day in my last school, I was stuck again with that same language…an old man…honestly speaking it was another version of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge…I was the Amrish Puri (father of the girl)…my friend was the Shahrukh Khan (a newspaper boy), and the girl, the Kajal of the movie…the only difference being the boy and girl become brother and sister at the end and that there was no train…instead of me throwing grains to pigeons, the boy is watching television and remembering his bad old days! This was the best way I could’ve explained to you this horrible and atrocious story ever!!! In which I was made to act…on the last day of the rehearsal, I was told to bring a stick (remember, I was an old man!) for no apparent reason! The most creative way according to them to show an old man was a man with a stick!!!
And my stick had become a fantasy for all the boys in the class...I had gone to the washroom, I was walking into the class and a ruffian, swung the stick…I was totally unaware what was going on! The stick hit the eye lid of my right eye…the impact was huge and it began bleeding…I knew what I had to do…I always did…
Firstly, I rushed to the washroom to clean my eye with cold water to avoid a bump. I was in pain…I ran to the medical room…one thing I was grateful to the school for. The nurse, who was well aware of my condition, applied ice packs on my eye and my parents were called immediately…a bump was sure to be formed. I lay on the bed and within a few minutes my parents had arrived. My mom and dad were very worried. They had been concerned even if something small happened to me and told me to be careful always…
But then it had been a strike on my eye that would swell into a huge lump. Many teachers and Co-ordinators had already gathered there. The Principal was in a meeting and refused to come…my dad made her come...afterwards I was taken to the doctor…the doctor casually told a lump would form and nothing was there that could’ve been done…
I had slept at home…later on we went back to the school! Why it had happened? Why the chaos? Why ask for a stick?
What happened in the meeting was a terrible thing. The Principal, supposedly of a huge institution, seeing that I had a huge lump on my eye…and I could barely open it, and hardly walk…she asked us, “Will he perform in the Annual Day tomorrow???” What???
 Seeing that I was not even able to see form the other eye, she wanted me to perform in the Annual Day? She wanted that I should actually go and act in that wretched drama with only half my eyesight? She wasn’t concerned about the pain? Instead of telling me to rest and apologising for the thing that had happened she actually was asking me, in front of my parents who were frightened and afraid to act! She said, “I’ll announce his name!”
Whoa! “Like I performed even though I was in pain!” And we, this school are the first to have someone do like this! Headlines???
        They couldn’t see the fright! They couldn’t see the pain! They couldn’t see what we all were going through and actually not understanding the gravity of the situation of what had happened! All that was important was that their annual day should happen and there shouldn’t be any hiccups! That they actually expected my parents who were so terrified, to sit and be a part of the annual day, and me to actually go on the stage and perform? Real mature?
The school authorities didn’t care that I would be going around with a black eye for an entire month? That for a week I will be going about holding an ice pack on my eye? And what for? An Annual Day? A drama? A play? A stick to portray me as an old man?” no one was truly concerned how I was! No one asked if my eyesight would function well? No one was concerned if I would be able to see! No one was, understanding or wanting to understand the pain I was going through…
On the next day, the counselor literally called us up. “Is Shahen going to come today and perform? I am waiting for him at the school gate to take him in.” Even after telling that I would barely be able to see, that I was having a huge lump on my eye, the counsellor was audacious enough to call us up and ask us if we would be able to come! And they expected a YES???

So this was the grand Annual Days we were told to be a part of! Where we could express all we wanted! Where there was no partiality! Where everything was organized! Where everyone could do what they wanted to! Where students were given more importance than the school! Where the school authorities were so very mature!!!

From The Same Series...

How I Learnt Learning...

Good Morning Continues...

~Let's All Assemble~

All Assembled, Now The Suffer Begins...                           

English Vinglish 

                                                    performed by Shahen Pardiwala

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