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Showing posts from 2015

When to rhyme was a crime: A week of poetic madness at Shibumi

It always thrills me when I get a chance to work with poetry. As an avid fan of stories and prose, poetry came to me much later in life and since then I've been hooked. So, when Shibumi suggested I work with the children on poetry, I grabbed the chance.
My first task was to dispel all common notions that a poem has to rhyme. We attacked haiku with a vengeance in the Kiri and Thulir group. By giving them a simple formula, and some examples, they were soon spouting haikus about stones, puppies, mice, and even about people. Their young minds grabbed the chance to step out of the structures of a poem, and the imagery they captured in three simple lines was fantastic. As Sarayu said, "I love haiku because it's infinite. Anything is possible." Of course, we had to trim and tweak some of the 'poems' which irked our budding poets, but they eventually succumbed to some edits here and there in their masterpieces. We also sketched and doodled about existing poems and h…

Library Day

Shibumi has been exploring the possibility to look a fresh at the functioning of the library. We have no dedicated librarian and to keep the the library alive is now the collective responsibility of all the teachers, students and some parents who have plunged in. What is the intent of the library? It is a demand for awareness:  Of the collection. Of the various aspects of use; of the joys of reading; Of the nature of the library; Of the care inherent in its smooth running; Of the necessity of individual and collective responsibility, ownership, active involvement and accountability.  We are coming to understand and enter into this intent, and things are happening without tremendous effort or confusion. One of the ideas to keep the library alive was to have a dedicated day to bring attention to the library and celebrate it. Once in two months perhaps. When we brain stormed about all the activities we would like to do on such a day, the ideas were many. We recently had our first library day.…

Growing, learning and eating together!

Sharing a picture from some years ago on Teachers day. After our Sunday meeting, the parents organised a yummy surprise potluck lunch for all of us.

Isauras visit Bangalore’s ward no 30, Kadugondanahalli

As result of Kabir’s illness last month, we fell short of teachers in senior school, but saw it as a window of opportunity to travel. So for three days, our older students visited schools and health centres in KG Halli, on Nagavara road in north Bangalore. In my role as a doctor, I have been working in the urban health project of the Institute of Public Health with this community of 42,000 people since 2008.It would be described as a low income melting pot of humanity with three languages and three religions represented in 0.7 square kilometres of city space.   It was interesting to see the context afresh through the eyes of these twelve young teenagers. They had the opportunity to visit, with the field staff, Ms. Nagaratna and Ms. Leelavati  three schools, where they interacted with students of classes five, six and seven. Some visited homes of people in these crowded lanes along with Dr. Mrinalini and all got a detailed tour of the Sarvagnya dialysis centre with Dr. Triveni and Jom…

Glimpses of the KG Halli visit

IPH Home Visits

On Tuesday morning we were brought to KG-Halli to visit IPH (Institute Of Public Health) which was where Roopa Aunty had worked earlier. We soon found out that the area was broken up into many wards and we would be spending our time in ward 30. The van dropped us off near the main IPH clinic centre and we were divided into three groups. Kailas, Mansi and I were to go on home visits within ward 30. The aim of the house visits was to find out what the response was to the IPH diary. This diary was given to a sample of people some months ago; all of them were suffering from diabetes. We would be visiting them and finding out what the response was towards the diary after all these months. The personal diaries were given as an alternative for the doctor’s prescriptions that are received by the patient. So, to keep tabs of doses of what medicine to take when, this diary is a much more convenient way of having your medical records in one place rather than on loose flying sheets of paper which c…


A couple of hours away is a place bustling with sounds. Cramped, polluted and smelly, what is this place we have found? People from all cultures, their apparel so unique to their ways, This place we have come to know, is worth a visit I must say!
The dialysis center, a building bathed in peach, Located central to the ward making it convenient to reach. The entire ground floor is dedicated to the poor and their kidneys For the cost for them is nil, treatment is without a fee. Lying on the beds, the patients are bored and tire quite fast. I can only imagine how they must feel when their four hours have gone past. Although the patients suffer from boredom and pain thrice a week, They smile and see the positive, I can hear it when they speak. The spirit and attitude with which the dialysis patients live their life, It’s truly an amazing thing, especially with all the strife!
 On the first floor amongst the crowd there are a few draped in white. Doctors and nurses confined to their little sites. As the pa…

On the KG Halli visit by Rajat

The dialysis ward was brightly lit, well ventilated, and was neither too cold nor to hot. It was not a very large room, and therefore one could see all of the ten beds in the ward; next to each one of which sat the large squat machines in whose innards the process of dialysis took place, clicking and beeping. The room was empty, as the clock had only just struck eleven, and the first patients would only arrive at a quarter past that hour.    To the casual onlooker, these environs would not have seemed grim or foreboding, and yet my stomach lurched and a sense of dread welled up in my stomach as I imagined the dialysis machines at work.    We whispered to each other in muted tones, discussing the functions of various aspects of the dialysis machines, and the intricacies of the procedure itself with Jomon Kuriakose, one of the managers of the institution. As we talked, we moved along the rows of beds, and then retraced our steps to end up in our original position. Occasionally, Kuriakose …

Carboard Fun

What a gift the simple cardboard box is! We make it a point of saving all the cardboard boxes we can put our hands on. From making impromptu trucks or carriages to sit in to houses there are many, many ways with cardboard boxes! Cardboard lets them fly with their imagination. The children create many stories together with their props made out of cardboard and can play for long periods of time.

Math and I - Bhuvana (14yrs)

Math and I

Is math a science or is it art, or is it a religion like Calvin says?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. Science on the other hand, is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Does math fall into one of these two categories?

Now, this a difficult thing to say because the very definitions of science and art are so broad and complex altogether. For example, if I take a vase, fill it with flowers and place it against the sun onto the floor in an empty room, what would you have? It will form a very pretty shadow on the wall. And then again, it will demonstrate that it is the nature of objects to cast shadows onto flat surfaces …
In early December 2014, a group of ten tiny tots ( ages 6 and 7) were accompanied by two teachers on a three day visit to Thiruvannamalai. We were in time for the mela at the Marudam school and there was eating, watching performances, face painting, rock climbing, weaving, painting and much more! We were super thankful that Arun anna and the Marudam family made our stay so comfortable and we felt at home. me. Our favorite time spent was in a children friendly park that Govinda and his team have carefully created.

Opportunities to connect with the world outside of the familiar family and school is a great platform for learning!