22 December 2014

Hanumad Vratha

Today is a very auspicious day for Hindus. This day, associated with Hanumaan, the greatest devotee of Shree Raam, is celebrated with Hanumad Vratha. In some parts of India (for example Tamil Nadu) this day is also known as Hanumad Jayanthi.  

17 December 2014

Konarak Dance Fest 2015

In many parts of India, winter is usually accompanied by seasonal cultural fests. One such fest is the Konarak Dance Festival held on the banks of the sacred river Chandrabhaga in Odisha. Held annually since 1986, this year's events included dance performances by foreign artistes. As someone who spent 4 wonderful years in Bhutan, I thoroughly enjoyed classical dances by Bhutanese dancers, thanks to Bharati TV Channel.

07 November 2014

Spectacular sense of the sidelined snail

We often associate snails with inactivity and slow movement which I think, is due to our unreasonable superiority complex. Let me share an interesting experience that I encountered on a rainy morning a few days back.

I and my mother reside in a cottage rented out to senior citizens. It is a reasonably well furnished cottage with a corridor and green plants in the front. Our food is supplied by the management. Usually after completing eating, we place our plates at the corridor and workers clear the plates (and left over food) away.

Once when I went out to the corridor to see as to whether the rains subsided, I was surprised to see a snail coming out of its shell to feed on the breakfast left-over by me. Let me share my observation that proves beyond any atom of doubt that snails aren't inactive.

28 October 2014

I'm glad to be back after a few days of severe sore-throat, cold and mild fever from which I have recovered completely by His Grace.

There had been very important events that included our Hindu Fest `Deepaavali' (Festival of Lights), Lakshmi Pooja etc. I have mentioned about these in my posts somewhere around this time last year. 

There had also been very interesting but often unnoticed bits and pieces of our flora and fauna near my residence. I'll share them with you when I find time.  Thanks and wish you all the best until we meet next time on this blog. 

16 October 2014

The Beatles in History

I assume that many among us (including those who read a lot) seem to prefer watching TV to reading, as the farmer is easier. 

Though Spiritual and Classical Music programs are my most favorite TV, I continue watching programs in other areas like development, education and soft rock when I find time. 

Last week, there was a very interesting program on History TV 18 Channel as a tribute to The Beatles, my most favorite pop music group. It was Grammy's `Salute' to The Beatles and featured Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, two of the members of the famous `Fab Four'. I think that the program would have taken numerous fans like me on a nostalgic journey back in time! Songs such as `Get back' and `Hey Jude' were absolutely mesmerizing (though I don't like some of the lyrics of `Hey Jude' as they seem to be obscene to me). It is amazing how Beatles and their music continue to attract youngsters of today as they did 40 years back (at which time we used to enjoy singing their songs). 

I tried to provide a link to the program, but couldn't. However let me share a TV screenshot of the program as seen on my TV set.

29 September 2014

Modi in Madison SG

Hope you're all fine. I'm glad to be back again on the blog. Though I have watched many interesting events on TV, it is the first time to watch one that drew Indians not only across the US but also from other countries including India to Madison Square Gardens yesterday and share time with our charismatic prime minister Narendra Modi. It was nice to watch celebrities such as L Subramaniam with his family. Arnab Goswami's presence from Times Now TV Channel was a great treat as well.

18 July 2014

National Channel and Nelson Mandela

It was nice to watch a very interesting program about Nelson Mandela on our National Channel (TV) this morning. 18 July is his birthday. He was greatly influenced by legendary personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King Jr. In 1993, He and F W de Klerk jointly won their well deserved Nobel Peace Prize

Guru Pournima 2014

12 July was an important day for Hindus. It is known as Guru Pournima on which Shree Veda Vyaasa Maharishi, who wrote the great epic `Mahaabhaaratha', is worshiped. 

06 July 2014

This evening I had the pleasure of watching a Bhajan performance by Anup Jalota, one of my most favourite Bhajan performers, on Sankara TV. (I remember with nostalgia as to how I happened to hear his "Rang de Chunaria" for the first time in a friend's house in South Africa many years back). 

29 June 2014

Welcome, Mr Narendra Modi

I think that our new prime minister Mr Narendra Modi and his team will succeed in rooting out corruption completely. (I had the pleasure of working in Vadodara, a few years back. It was a nice experience to live in the city with very nominal auto-fares at a minimum tariff of Rs 7). 

Comedy programs on TV

Good comedy programs on TV have become rare these days. One comedy program which seems to be very interesting is telecast on Chandana. It involves common down-to-earth issues that surround many of our households. The lead actor who plays `Hanumantha Rao' acts excellently and so do others. They perform naturally with no over-action. Let me leave you with a few screenshots from one of the episodes of this comedy serial `Adechangaagi Kshamisi' (which I think is somewhat like that of R K Narayan's `Malgudi Days').

(I tried to provide a link to the program in accordance with the  hyperlinking policy of the channel, but couldn't).

It is good that the Delhi University versus University Grants Commission problem has ended amicably (according to last night's TV news reports) and that students can continue pursuing their 3 year degree programs.  

27 June 2014

Degree in doldrums?

Recent confusion over Delhi University's decision to extend its 3 year degree courses by one more year is an example of how our decision makers in higher education systems function. DU should not follow what American Universities do without proper analysis and planning. Science curriculum that students study in their 1st and 2nd year of their 4 year Bachelor's degree Courses in the US and the one that students in our Higher Secondary Courses study are not very different in terms of sheer content. What makes the difference is in terms of quality. Every knowledgeable educator knows that what we have in our HS Courses is quantity without much quality (except in the Indian School Certificate Syllabus). I think that our decision makers in Education should make changes only after in-depth analysis of all relevant issues involved, including any possible impact on students.

20 May 2014

Standards of recruitment and sub-standard textbooks

Last week I had a phone call from Orient Longman (Publishing Company), Chennai, in response to my email seeking a freelance editing position. (I sought a freelance position which would allow me to work from my home so that I can take care of my mother).

The guy asked me to let him know of a convenient date and time on which I could take an editorial test in their Office. I told him that I'd let him know after some time. He replied that he would call me in half an hour's time. But he didn't.

In 2008, I had applied for an editorial position at Oxford University Press, Chennai. I attended their editorial test. After a few days, I was called for an interview at a 5 star hotel in the city. The interviewer was an individual (no panel). This guy who was as old as I am, said that he didn't believe that a good writer could also be a good editor. The result of the interview was obvious: I was not selected. I heard that a young person with no experience in K-12 classroom teaching or curriculum development wasn't selected for reasons known to market (instead of quality) oriented K-12 textbook publishing industry.

Well, one of the main reasons as to why our textbooks are not as good as those developed in the West and countries such as Singapore may be that many of our textbook publishing companies are headed by non-academics.

When I was working in the Chennai regional office of Macmillan India Limited from 1998 to 2002, my regional vice-president (to whom I had to report) was a non-academic with no teaching or curriculum development experience. He had a lot of experience selling FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) other than school and college textbooks. Regional office of Orient Longman situated next door was headed by someone qualified in architecture. (Oddly enough, such a trend exists in many of our K-12 school systems, which are managed by people with no relevant experience in classroom teaching or educational administration).    

Our textbook publishing companies should aim at quality, plan appropriately and recruit right professionals at all levels so that our textbooks can be toned up in quality. Our textbook publishing industry has a lot to learn from Singapore and Western countries, develop stringent standards of recruitment and avert sub-standard textbooks. Otherwise, our textbooks may continue to contain conceptual and linguistic mistakes thereby misleading children (and teachers who don't have adequate time to review and develop their own lessons). 

14 May 2014

Koorma Jayanti

Today is an auspicious day for Hindus. Once upon a time, Lord Shree Mahaa Vishnu incarnated as a tortoise on our planet. This day is celebrated as Kurma Jayanthi. `Kurma' means `tortoise' in  Sanskrit. 

13 May 2014

Shree Narasimha Jayanthi

Today is a very auspicious day for Hindus worldwide. This is the day on which Shree Mahaa Vishnu incarnated as Shree Narasimha billions of years of back to destroy evil (Hiranyakashipu) and establish good (Prahlaada). This day is celebrated as Narasimha Jayanti.

08 April 2014

Traditional New Year's Day

March 31 was an auspicious day for Hindus who speak Marathi, Telugu, Kannada etc. as mother tongue. These people celebrate the day as New Year Day.

Hindus who speak Tamil, Malayalam etc. and those in countries such as Cambodia celebrate 14 April as their New Year Day. Historical evidences abound to prove close cultural ties between people of India and many South East Asian countries. (In fact Angkor Wat and numerous other temples were built when kings from the subcontinent ruled Cambodia). In 2009, I had the pleasure of joining in their 3 days' of festivities in Phnom Penh (which began getting flooded with Cambodians from all over the country as well as tourists from abroad, in mid March itself). I was glad that I was based in Phnom Penh (one of the fastest developing cities in South East Asia). 

Today is a very auspicious day for all Hindus. This was on this day that Shree Mahaa Vishnu was born as Lord Shree Raam during Tretaa Yuga.


20 March 2014

Hello ladies and gentlemen. As my mother is not well (hospitalized four times in the past one month) I'm not able to spend as much time in writing my posts as I would like. I'm writing this post from the hospital room. However by God's Grace, her medical problems seem to be controllable by medication. As I have to take care my mother, I hope to spend more time (though not as much as I used to previously) after my mother gets discharged from the hospital and by God's Grace, her health condition improves. Thanks once again for visiting my blog.  

14 January 2014

Shree Hari, Sun God and Sankraanthi Fest

Today is an auspicious day for Hindus. They celebrate the day as Sankraanthi, Bhigu etc depending upon their region and traditions. Some communities celebrate the day tomorrow. On this day, The Almighty Shree Hari (Shree Mahaa Vishnu) is worshiped in His manifestation as Soorya Naaraayanaa riding a chariot with 7 horses, symbolizing 7 colours of which Sunlight is composed.

About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.