ICT test- ‘I c the’ test

” This is one of those times when you see something adorable. As a teacher I had the privilege of spending time with young and energetic 15 year olds. Even during assessments they portray unique  charactetistics which make me feel amazed. Here is one such experience.”
On Thursday morning 25th July 2013, the usual class test atmosphere prevailed in the class room (IGCSE 2014-B) with students taking their places; some with seriousness; some out of obligation; some doing it as if nothing affects them. One can see their attitude spilling out in their smile, talk, body language and in some, a sense of stoicism that beats the others.

All seated orderly; a few late comers rush in, after going through their notes/books for the last minute, and take their places. The papers arrive. The ICT –Information and Communication Technology paper. Initial ritual of opening the sealed pack completed, they are dished out to each one of them.

Time starts. A two hour paper, that turned out to be an onerous one for one and all,starts. Instinctively some flip through the thick test booklet which spans 16 pages; makes a mental note that it is timed for two hours and is sure of completing within the time stipulated.

They start the paper. First few questions are the usual ones- always slick and smooth to give you a feel of ease and comfort, before the examiner throws in the tough meat to chew through.

It is not the toughness that catches them; it is the repetitive chewing that bores them. Tough is OK with them, they know how to handle tough. For those who are prepared, the tough is only a challenge, so it is fine; for others it is just a matter of attempting or leaving it unanswered. The choice made, the rest goes easily.

The easy ones are handled with a characteristic nonchalance/ arrogance befitting the teens. But some try to be extra cautious and make mistakes unknown to them, then.

The medium- hard questions and the unsure ones are dealt with equanimity by all.

Observing them is like watching a drama staged. At the start, all serious and ready for whatever that comes their way. Face bent down, eyes scanning the questions, mind sorting the easy ones from the hard and the hand trying to match the mind’s speed to fill the answer sheet.

After the initial half hour, there is a subtle change; not all are pouring over the paper- some have started to shift on the chair, some looking around casually to note how many of their classmates’ eyes they could catch. There is some satisfaction in knowing that you are not alone in doing what you are doing  (NOT doing the test). When their eyes meet the teacher’s they immediately go down to the paper.

Time crawls for some, runs for some others; after about 50 minutes into the test, the ubiquitous paper pattern begins to surface. One by one students begin to notice the discrepancy in what they are asked to give against what they would be getting (marks).

16 pages of a paper where more than two-thirds hold questions and marks that are incongruous. It dawns on them that the question demands a lot more- it asks for a 10 line answer of description with just a 1 mark reward; 0.5 marks for 4 lines answer and 20 lines analysis for just 6 marks.

This bewilders them first. It exasperates them next. It frustrates some. It challenges some others. It also amuses some.

Some show resilience; some display irritation; some portray a stoic countenance. For others who are challenged enough, time sits heavily on their shoulders and their fingers are crippled by an invisible thread of boredom.

As the passing hour comes to a close, some are bold enough to vociferously express their disdain. This, the invigilator tries to quell with a menacing stare.

What a relief when the time tolled, all sprang from their place handing in their answer sheets with an unbeknownst sprite and rushed out!

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I am fifty today

I am Fifty today – 16th December 2015

Second only to the womb’s warmth ever is
To be cushioned in mother’s arms.
This best eluded my mind’s recesses.

Eager crawls towards distant glitter and
Faltering steps righted by firm hand;
My growing grey cells shunned.

Vague images, a fluttering screen;
Double plaited self, a three room house,
Voiceless father figure, as flashes seen.

Huge grandpa’s home, in which
Scenes of dad’s final parting rouse;
Next few years time’s hands did douse.

Hop scotch, hide and seek, lengthy prattles
Were the prime matters until youth harked
Its coming; pain and blood on me marked.

Girlish dreams decorated the mirror,
School and friends enmeshed together,
Time spun a glorious veil in a whir.

Teen age and college days rolled on;
Betwixt then grand pa, grand ma and aunt
To a world never to return, moved on.

Vows of marriage knocked my door,
Then began a procession of partnership
And motherhood with a squalling son- a long tour.

Tiny hand clutching my finger,
Cackling laughter assuaging my hunger,
Waddled along my daughter – verily a joy harbinger.

Time and tide pulled me across the globe;
Into my life, teaching strung along to probe.
I learnt more than I taught and the joy stayed.

Partner in life taught me to love, care and work.
It is drudgery I felt while doing things I hated, but
When flowing river I became, the pain abated.

Like all others who came before me and went
I asked the right questions of life – what, how, why and when
In asking I was no special; so I stopped.

Play well, the cards dealt, is my motto
Amidst all, I yearn to be me, in toto.

To stand and savour the sun’ s warmth,
To smile at butterflies,
To marvel at the crawling ant,
To relish the dance of swaying leaves,
To soak in the cool shade,
To hear the skies whisper,
To live a million lives through books,
And to love and to be loved!

I am fifty today;
I yearn for another fifty this day!

Perceptions alter life

In this matrix of
Life, perceptions are the only
Determinants!

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The dictionary meaning of the noun ‘perception’ states that it is “the act or faculty of perceiving, or apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding.”

The cognitive understanding of all things around is put together by almost the entire human brain- the Frontal lobe, Parietal lobe, Temporal lobe and Occipital, except for Cerebellum which focuses on motor activities majorly, but cannot be neglected as brain functions are interrelated. It is also the single unified awareness derived from sensory processes while a stimulus is present.

Leaving aside the science behind it, if we just consider what it entails into, we are forced to focus on the sensations that it leaves us with.
What we see, hear, feel, taste and smell all collectively or separately influence this cognitive understanding forming either a picture or a thought that evokes a response in us. This response is processed and stored in the brain for future use.

For example having realised that fire is hot and it can burn your fingers if touched, we will not even attempt to touch it after this cognition and if brought too close to that by force, a fear emerges and we only react. Thus perception is the most integral part of all human activities.

In the social context perceptions are everything as it defines our status as to who we are, what we are and how we behave with others etc. Essentially our perceptions define us as it is reflected in our behaviour.
If at one side perception is seen as ‘sagacity, acuity and smartness which gives hope that a perspicacious person will endeavour to judge the situation wisely and so would aim to be fair in his thoughts and actions considering the difference in view points, it is also noticed to be ‘deceit and guile and conceit’ which will only enhance antipathy in any given situation.
Perception also holds within, a man’s capacity to know, understand and interpret. If it has to be fully functional, all parameters involving all senses need to be exercised and at every situation the faculties must work anew to give an in-depth insight.

But the fact that all senses are involved makes the process sensitive attuning to emotional overtones, hence making it irrational.

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Humans are emotional is given, and so the perceptions are bound to be coloured with emotions and get hijacked is imperative.

But similar to cognitive skills developed through methodical training, one’s perceptions can be altered too. A training to see, hear and feel after careful assessment of the entire situation will result in evolved perceptions. It would be rational comparatively and would reduce the emotional override that entails prior to knowing.

General behaviour pattern rides either on emotions or on cognizant indifference. If you are indifferent then you turn a blind eye and do not involve self in anything that does not concern self. However on the other case, if you are emotional, you tend to read unsavory tones in all that happens around you.

The question here is how perceptions affect or alter life. It does, to a greater extent than we begin to believe or accept. In fact it can trigger butterfly effect in every sphere and bring about phenomenal changes.
The fact is that perception is a state where multiple factors play their individual role and increases the probability of the outcomes. Within one mind many factors function resulting in a myriad of perceptions that can be labelled in over million variations. And this figure gets exponential when more than one human is involved. For this matrix of innumerable probabilities to match, would not only be difficult but improbable too. If it happened then it is pure coincidence.

All the trees and plants have green leaves and yet not one single green of a tree matches with the other. They are all shades of green. Similarly every perception is unique as every individual is unique and there could only be a generalised concurrence and not a perfect match ever.

Human perceptions are increasingly falling into an infinite matrix system where what they perceive is affected by multitudes of combinations that the actual eludes them.” As per Plato’s theory of Forms, which holds that the true essence of an object is not what we perceive with our senses, but rather its quality, and that most people perceive only the shadow of the object and are thus limited to false perception. Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher states in his Critique of Pure Reason that people come to know and explore our world through synthetic means (language, etc.), and thus this makes it rather difficult to discern truth from falsely perceived views. This means we ourselves are our own agents of deceit, and so in order for one to know truth, one must choose to openly pursue truth.”

*If both, senses and cognitive developed language, will fail true perception of objects and situations, then how will man ever function in this complex world? For him to achieve true perception is impractical as one person cannot be in the mental framework of the other ever and given that, perceptions will vary vastly. There can only be overlaps and a possible concurrence may emerge and beyond that absolute similarity of perceptions can never be attained.

Even in the field of science where every hypothesis is tried and tested hundred times over, there comes a day when the whole hypothesis is changed (example of earth being the centre of the universe). Knowledge is growing exponentially and so human understanding is expanding in the same manner.

One possible solution is to look at the situation, its priority and weigh its pros and cons to come up with a common perception that benefits most in the society. To reach here, all involved should first concur to objectively look at the given situation at hand and be ready to openly hear other perceptions and come with the most common and most beneficial one. Basically all must agree to disagree. This, however, is time consuming.

*Then how does an individual cope up with the situation when he neither has the time nor has the objective inclination? A big question indeed.
Before answering that let us explore yet another important aspect which is ‘the reality of perception’. *What is it?
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”- Albert Einstein.
“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.”- Douglas Adams.

So your perceptions are paramount to you and similarly for others. Thus we find people around us who are run by emotions, who decide quickly, who refuse to think from other’s perspective and who cannot change their set minds. No wonder we encounter myriad emotions exhibiting it selves and running riot which are the direct effect of perceptions conceived in their own columns and rows of matrices.

*Then how does the human society function if no one can concur fully with the other?
The answer to this and all the previous ones* is just one.  Rules!
The primary aspect that keeps one in place despite his warring perception is the rules of the society and added to that are the tenets of the religion, the discipline induced and enforced and even one’s financial, social compulsions and some self inflicted compulsions.

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In addition, we need to consider perceptions changing with time. As generations pass by, cultural outlook and societal norms metamorphose. What was considered taboo or violation of social norms in 18th and 19th century is accepted and embraced in 21st century ( widow remarriage, dowry system, fashion and food to name a few). This exponentially increases the probability of varying perceptions coming into play. Given that, generally most people agree with the other to get going, to avoid friction and to go away from warring emotions that can only drain us emotionally and make living a hell.

Co existence is possible only when we accept the existence of this variation and adapt self to work with or work around the elements that are warring with our perceptions.

Harmony can be achieved if we learn to embrace. As long you are you, your perceptions are yours and they have to remain so. But only way to survive is to look for common ground and work together.

Yet, there is another way to work through these multitudes of perceptions and that is to step out of the ‘perceived self’, analyse the situation from all different angles and to slowly work towards finding the ultimate truth which will emerge as a combination of all perceptions and learn to accept that and go forward.

This will take a cool head, devoid of emotions and an analytical mind. This can come with practice and immense patience. Does that mean human beings stop being sentimental and stop feeling towards anything? No! Emotions are equally important to bring passion into the equation without which there is no life. But one must at the same time know how to analyse with a cool head as well. A balance of both will give a beautiful life.

First decide. Decide what you want to do with your perceptions. Life is a matrix of perceptions, solve it!

Pennies in the Pocket

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Pennies in the pocket
A sweet rattle that soothes many a mind
It buys you a piece – bread and bed
It makes men mill around you until you get tired
It is a necessary evil which you cannot shed.

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Pennies play the devil
Bringing all evil to the life’s anvil!
People lie and cheat
Thieve and fabricate
All to hear the pennies in their pockets jingle.
Even the hard working and honest
Need these pennies to their lives to manifest!

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It buys milk and Hashish
With equanimity that belies its crassitude.
Silk and diamond abound
Where in sacks it is found!

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Monk and the maid equally seek
The pennies to assuage their needs so to speak.
It gets you houses and vast lands.
It amasses all luxury with no bounds.

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Icecreams it buys but cannot stifle the agrieved soul’s scream.
Oft it greases the palm that favours you out of slight
But never can it tease a grasp of strength in times of stressful plight.

Bed of silk it furnishes but cannot give the love while your mother’s bosom you milk
The delicacy of caviar at your bedside with wine in a glass that shines it places
But no clanking will the joy of your head on the shoulders of your lover it graces.

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A pint of drink your lonely self it buys but cannot elicit delightful laughter over a shared meal.
Wheels to traverse the globe the promising pennies acquire
But the soulful communion with nature while you trot the streets they cannot procure.

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Pennies in the pocket
A sweet rattle that soothes many a mind
It buys you a piece – bread and bed
It is a necessary evil which you cannot shed.

A Fly that took a ride

The Fly that took a ride!

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A bold fly
On a morning, cold and rainy, it came by
And sat on my sleeve
After he took his leave!

He put his hands together
In anticipation to gather
Some bit of grime that happenstance
On my travel weary blue flannel
To savour during the tour!

Just then the bus moved
The fly came under stress
As his rear four slid
He unclasped the front two
And dived he into the flannels gorge so wide!

Eyes on the forehead
Darting everywhere
All six grasping at the sides to spear
A hold; the silvery wings a flutter
Did he scream?
May be yes!
Much softer than a mutter?

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His metallic green hue
Turned sharper and deeper due
To the adrenaline rush?
Then came a gush
A stormy wind
To wind his time
From the flannel drive
So he went away in a flash!

A bold fly he was
No grime he could gather- alas!
But adventures he did amass!

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LEAVE ME ALONE- I’ M BEST UNBORN

Leave Me Alone

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Creeping into the mind
Chewing my thoughts to a grind.

You come every day
Like those vines knit tight around the trunk you lay.
Let me have myself alone I pray

It was just the other eve
You kept moving into my space never to leave.
Criss and cross, back and forth bumping into me
Mixing your smell with that of the air around in a spree.

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You hover near
Like a crow,a watchful seer
Who waits to point out all errs I do with a sneer.
All with the intention of being so dear
And yet quelch my natural growth with an underlying leer.

You talk your way into the wall
Chink after chink
Your heart bleeds and yet you persist without a blink.
Alas the wall closes with a clink.
Your eyes strain for even a weaker link
That would keep you afloat and not in the loveless world of abysmal darkness sink.

Your heart wants more
Your eager mind craves to possess all that you see of your amour.
Alas your wants and my needs do clamour.
I lose my space and disfigured in disdain remains my pallor.
You dress me the way you see fit and bedecked I appear in your eyes.
Bleeding eyes belie its pain, crying soul muffles its plea at every whim you force.
What you see is not what I am and soon I will lose self with no trace.

You are a silent virus that spreads rapidly.
My efforts to thwart your vigour is lacerated and I walk away enervatedly.
Subjugation is what you rear and straining nerves lie in wait albeit calmly.
Your every move chokes and suffocates me grimly.
When you see me wilting won’t you stop verily?
Only after my destruction would you realise the pain evenly?

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The marks you left on my soul are indelible.
Fate brought us togerher, but when did you turn unreliable?
The avarice you show in the name of care churns my inners making me irascible.
Alas even my temper is beaten by your machinations so vile.
My patience and resilience are misused to raise in vain my bile.

Termite you are that eats me alive from inside.
A slow poison that bores the bones and kills the marrow.
An RFID forced on to me to know my every move.
An invisible bond that slowly constricts me.

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Leave me alone and let me breathe my share of air in peace and not croak untimely.
Leave me alone so that I live my life in my own pace and grow and fall to raise again truly.
Leave me alone to find myself to revel in my glory and to repent in my folly.

Creeping into the mind
Chewing my thoughts to a grind.

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Leave me alone.

I AM BEST UNBORN!

– for all those innumerable female population in India and across the globe who suffer abuses both physical and mental in the hands of their own fathers, brothers, husbands and other male members of the society!

I ‘d rather be

I ‘d rather be

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I’d rather be a flowing river than a boulder in the way

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So that I can traverse far lands and meet many friendly souls on the way.

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I’d rather be a wafting breeze than a resisting storm

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So that I can take the odours of true labour and care in my arms.

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I’d rather be an expanding sky than a shrinking cosmos

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So that I encompass more lands and be never at a loss.

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I’d rather be a soft giving earth than a hard terrain

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So that I am bed to many plants and a vessel to hold the torrential rain.

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I ‘d rather be a light and warmth -giving fire than a burning inferno

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So that I make hearts realise the importance of giving than saying ‘no’.