When the comp takes time to boot – what to do?

I am a man – sorry woman – of work – doesn’t mean I am very productive – I just have to keep doing something. My computer is old and takes a bit of a time to settle at boot up – almost every day – unless there is a phone call to be attended – I end up rushing myself to do something within that time period – not that it is very useful or has to be done at that point of time – but I do.

I prep myself afterward – almost every day – that it is better to do ‘closy eyes’ and focus on the work am about to start. But it has not happened for as long as I can remember and now am sure it won’t happen.

In effect what happens is – I either get delayed in starting my work or I get tired even before I start my day or both. I work from home.

So what is the remedy? I have found a sort of middle ground – one where I can start my work on time not having got strayed away and yet don’t get bored to death while waiting for the computer to boot.

I tried the elimination method.

Option 1 – Sneak peaking into FB/app – Emotional turmoil

Now looking at facebook/whastapp/Insta/twitter etc has a couple of issues – I could get carried away. One comment or news could make me emotionally unstable and I might start typing in a comment which would then fetch an answer and the rally of messages could engulf me. Even if I don’t answer the issue might invade my deep thoughts and keep bugging me so as to lose focus. So no FB/app.

Option 2 – A quick look around home – Fatigue from jumping around

This is the second most dangerous of them all. A bit of arrangement and management around the house can kick one off the schedule like it didn’t exist at all. Even if it is as little as – ‘let me just dust the sofa’ – it will be followed by arranging the cushion, oh dear who keeps all these things on a sofa, those unwarranted things would then need to be kept at their proper places, once they reach their proper place – that place would demand arranging and so on and so forth it goes on and on. So ignore the sofa. Ignore everything that seems out of place.

Option 3 – Play with pets/tending the plants – Engrossing distraction

These are breathtakingly enjoyable and are so addictive that it feels work can go to hell, even if the work is something interesting and satisfying. There is nothing more distracting than these apparently harmless lovely things. Ignore the lovely darlings.

Option 4 – Keep a book/Rubik’s cube handy

Yipeeeeeeeeeee!!! This worked for me. But the book must be such that it can be read a page at a time. The Rubik’s cube takes about 10 mnts to solve. I normally do 1 or 2 levels at a time while the bootup. Yes, finally something that does not tire me mentally or physically and also doesn’t let my hyperactive brain get bored.

Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

The different guy – HR issues

Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

It was my first day in a spacious office with a not so huge staff. One of my present colleague also happened to be my ex colleague, quite senior though. He took me around and after a quick round of introduction I settled with a kappa of coffee at what was supposed to be my work space. First day, so not really loaded, I had ample time to assume, presume, judge and misjudge the people around me.

We take minutes to form an opinion and kind of stick to them and sometimes pass on the opinion to others, misguiding their thoughts. I found one particular guy very different. He sat hunched over his computer looking at the screen intently through his thick glasses. I remembered he could not manage to smile when introduced. At lunch he ate alone at his desk. During the entire day he got up only twice. Once possibly to relieve himself and once he brought back a cup with him.

Subsequently I found myself observing this loner. Years later when we were choosing our discipline, one of my MBA prof told me I was a natural at human psychology and should definitely take up HR, but the greed of challenging opportunities got the better of me.

Back then, the more I observed the different guy the more I felt that it is not his natural disposition but a veil to mask a disgruntlement.

This gentleman as I found later was good at his work and had never voiced any discontent. But one fine day he left. The management was puzzled and the exit interview did not spring up any surprises. Clueless the management had to lose an asset not in lieu of a huge monetary benefit which was the common presumption going around, but as I later learned from spying after my subject, only for a befitting work.

Often a company loses its valuable employees owning to the lack of observation and understanding. One rule cannot govern all bodies. One treat cannot satisfy all. It is crucial for the management to understand that employees are the real assets of a company and periodic generalized efforts will not work for all of them. Monitoring and customizing efforts is called for, at least for the ones who are worthy.

Now this ‘different guy’ was in search of a specific kind of job, having worked in the industry for a while he now wished to work in a niche area and thus he had moved to this organization in the first place; but when he found that he had been wronged with false promises he felt betrayed and eventually left.

There are different needs. It depends on many factors like the age, gender, ethnicity, family background and majorly his/her personality – the man or woman he/she is. As we grow we discover ourselves, and interestingly we keep knowing the inner self more and more as we age. Our wants and desires change with time and situation. The situation could be as diverse a factor as ‘marital status’ or ‘growing kids’ to ‘have arrived in life’ or ‘spiritual transcendence’. Humans are assets if nurtured in a conducive environment or else they turn into liabilities. Our ‘different guy’ was fortunately ‘understood’ by his new employers and thus flourished, rose through ranks and in turn brought substantial benefits to the organization.

Choosing a lens to shoot a subject

Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

A photographer has to deal with three main characters so as to create a composition. The first character is the object of interest namely – “Subject”. The second character is the ‘lens’ in use and the third character is the material to record the composition that is the film or the ‘sensor’.

If we place the three characters in a row, an inverted image of the subject is formed on the film/sensor. This inverted image is called the real image. As we vary the distance between the lens and the recording surface the real image becomes larger or shrinks. The real image becomes larger if we increase the distance and smaller if the lens is brought closer to the recording surface. The real image however can get blurred at some distances depending on the capacity and nature of the lens. So there is a particular distance between the lens and the real image which will give the desired composition. This is the required focal length.

The focal length of a lens defines the capacity of the lens to magnify the real image. A lens having a small focal length would be able to capture a subject at a smaller distance with a wider scene in view whereas a lens with a large focal length would be able to capture far away subjects but with a narrow scene in view.

The focal length to capture the exact size of the subject that is neither magnifying nor shrinking the real image is 55mm for a film camera and 35mm for a digital camera often called the normal focal length. Tele-lens is above 55mm for a film camera and above 35mm for a digital camera. Wide angle lens on the other hand is below 55mm for a film camera and above 35mm for a digital camera.

A camera can be fitted with lens having a “fixed focal length” or such which could create “variable focal lengths”. The one with a “fixed focal length” is called prime lens, and the one with a “variable focal length” capability is called zoom lens.

A zoom lens uses a combination of lens elements which can be moved back and forth to create variable real image sizes for a particular subject.

Mathematically zoom = maximum focal length / minimum focal length. Say the minimum focal length of a digital camera lens is 6mm and the maximum is 72mm then the optical zoom is 12x.

A macro lens is used for subjects which are very small or to capture a very tiny part of the subject magnified such that it fills the full frame of the film/sensor. The ratio of magnification could be 1:1 or higher. The professionals prefer prime macro lens over zoom macro lens.

Hence the selection of lens would depend on the choice of subject.

The socialist idea – Europe 1870 – 3 perspectives

Anoushrayan Deysarkar

The Windsor Castle – England – Europe

The socialist wanted to do away with private ownership of property and introduce the idea of collective community ownership. I have tried to create three brief speeches to show what I feel the people of Europe might have been thinking. Have fun!

Poor Labourer Working in Fields

Friends, today I want to talk about private property. Private property is one of the biggest problems of society today. In my village, there is this man, Kolshes. He is a big miser. He owns most of the land in the village, and he hires us to farm them! Because of him, the rest of us have very little land. This is the problem with private property. If one person owns it, nobody else gets anything. Instead, the land should belong to a collective! Everybody will farm it, and however much we get, we should divide among ourselves according to who did the most work. This way, all the property will not belong to a few people, and the money will be distributed fairly. This system will be just and equal. Thank you!

Medium level Landowner

Friends, I want to say that this idea of public property is very good. I have a small amount of land. Alone, I may be able to get some money from the crops. But if I combine my land with everybody’s land, we could get more profit. How much money we get will not depend on how much land we have. It will depend on how much work we do. The only problem I see, is what happens if someone wants to sell their land. If all the land belongs to the Collective, will the Collective buy the land from us? Or if we want to move away, will it give us some money? Other than this problem, this is a very good idea. Thank you!

House Owner

Friends, this idea of public property has many problems. I have a house in my village. If the Collective owns the land on which the house is built, does the house become theirs? If it doesn’t, then what is the use of owning that land? They cannot use it for farming, and I could sell the house together with the land to someone. Next, how do we know who did more work? If everybody is cultivating the same land, then how do we know how much work we did? Right now, Titolis is cultivating 10 bushels a month, and Litanes is cultivating 12 bushels a month. If they combine their land, and produce 22 bushels a month, how will they decide who has done more work? These are the main problems I see here. Thank you.

Europe was swept with high drama over the ages. But it is always interesting to return or reflect on how it all must have started!!!

Puppets of destiny

By Moutushi Ghshdeysarkar

Indian men and women have traditionally been puppets of destiny governed by tradition and culture. The moment a child is born to an Indian family the process of turning him or her into an ideal Indian man or woman begins; from the food we eat to the clothes we wear it is all about imbibing the culture into the heart and soul. The sole purpose of the whole family that surrounds the child and helps in its upbringing is to carry on the heritage.

The baby boy is pampered with love and luxury with the single expectation that he would reproduce and carry on the family name and do something in order to earn a living, the baby girl is showered with good sermons, as on her rests the honour of the family. In the process, the boy grows up to be a carefree man getting away with almost anything as long as he happily agrees to marry the girl that the family chooses for him and does a decent amount of studies to bag a degree and a job.

Please note the most important thing is to “marry according to the wishes of the family”. On the other hand, the girl has to grow up into a typical “sanskari” that is a cultured girl with all the good virtues to get married to a guy who may or may not give her any love respect or even basic amenities. In some cases, the girl has to even provide for this pati parameshwar (husband the ultimate God) and his family and yet be taunted and tortured for having the privilege of going out.

This full proof arrangement has been going on for ages as its very scientific that a docile creature would perform the duties well and never stand for its rights. In effect, the girl was completely dominated to be most docile and the reins of the boy were slackened a bit to give him the pseudo feeling of a king and were given at-least one slave – his wife. That was the general story until even a decade back.  

Now in the modern cities exceptions are becoming a rule and the children unruly. The Indian men and women are going through a series of transitions owing to the influence of the western world. They are forming an opinion of their own, which was unheard of in such a large scale, occasional rebels have been known but they were easy to silence, given the well-knit social structure where the rebels could not survive for long without either giving in or losing their lives.

Some city boys and girls are now not only forming an opinion but also voicing them strongly and if not supported by the family are choosing to sever the family ties. The small town girl can now come to a big city and pursue her dreams, maybe at the cost of her family’s honour, but she now prefers to be honourable herself rather than being a slave. Small town goes to big town, big town goes abroad as today with a shrinking world it’s plausible, with a little courage and determination.

Interestingly the metrosexual man is also more sensitive and sensible. He has slowly learned to look beyond heritage and culture. Today lot of children see both parents earning, both parents washing vessels and most amazingly both being treated equally. But all this is happening in just a small percentage of the vast Indian population. Child marriage, dowry, abortion of girl child, wife beating and cruelty against women is far from being abolished. Unfortunately , even within the educated section of the people, it is a regular practice.

Yet there is hope as the world around Indian men and women are changing, in a small way, though. The voice within is rising, very slowly, very silently but very strongly.

Out of containment

By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

from an era without coronavirus

I have been familiar with the term cantonment since childhood well into my forties. But ‘containment’ had never been so up close and personal. We contain harmful chemicals, angry bulls, rising water levels so on and so forth but humans en masse, unbelievable!

Equally unbelievable is the fact that I am the potential danger, and all humans around me are death personified. Creepy as it feels, an indiscernible tiny spec has become the governing body of our oh! so superior human bodies. One touch, one sneeze, one spit and I could be infected in 60 seconds.

My son tells me that our bodies are weak, our abilities are inferior, and without advanced tech, left alone, even a dog can shred us into pieces. But look what we have become – a weapon of destruction without any tech.

We have heard of bees whose behaviour gets altered after being bitten by Apocephalus borealis. The infected bees fly at night towards bright light aimlessly displaying ‘Zombie’ like behaviour where one is not in control but is being controlled by someone or something else and dying eventually.

Thus subjugated by the Corona virus, we the humans, are also behaving like zombies – venturing out purposelessly towards procuring stuff we don’t have an immediate requirement for, be it food or medicines or gadgets as if being forced by a will that is no longer ours but manipulated by evil, and dying eventually.

In that sense we have become harmful and thus need to be contained. Our housing society had to be made a containment zone for a couple of weeks as the number of Covid positive cases were rising at greater rate than fuel prices. Frequent advisory notices, awareness talks or even people getting affected could not make people to adhere to norms that would benefit themselves.

Can we then say that we are superior intelligent beings capable of making democratic choices or should we hand over our reins to the AI that cannot be manipulated so easily? But then who knows, viruses don’t spare anybody! Does it not seem like they are at the apex after all, naturally occurring or manmade? However we are free again, out of containment and once again given the opportunity to prove that we are sentient beings with a rational mind. Feels good, hope we prove worthy.

The Benefits of Organic Farming

By Anoushrayan Deysarkar

Beautiful fields near Hampi

Chemical fertilizers are one of the cornerstones of the Green Revolution in India. They drastically increase the yield of crops grown in the fields. However, they have their own drawbacks.

Chemical fertilizers dissolve in water and are absorbed by the plants as mineral nutrients. However, they also enter the groundwater and form poisonous substances. Sometimes, rain washes them into rivers and streams, thus polluting them.

When animals or humans drink or use such water, they fall ill, due to the poisonous nature of some of these substances.

The bigger problem, however, is that chemical fertilizers do not enrich the soil, unlike organic fertilizers such as manure and animal dung. This is because chemical fertilizers deplete the nutrients in the soil. For example, excess nitrogen in the soil feeds the growth of nitrogen-eating microbes, which produce CO2. In this way, carbon is pulled out of the soil and into the atmosphere. However, it is essential to have sufficient quantity of carbon in the soil. In this way, chemical fertilizers reduce the amount of essential nutrients in the soil. They also prevent the regeneration of soil nutrients.

Chemical pesticides are also a major problem. They kill off the bacteria and fungi in the soil. The reduction of organic matter has drastic consequences for the soil. The soil does not regenerate essential nutrients. This is because the bacteria break down compounds into nitrogen and phosphates, which are important for the health of the plant.

In this way, chemical fertilizers and pesticides severely harm the soil. Alternatively, organic manures and organic pesticides made from natural substances can help to keep the soil healthy. The yield will be reduced, but the soil will last for a longer period of time. Thus, it is wise to choose organic pesticides and fertilizers over chemical ones.

Go organic and save the soil!

The Periodic Table

Anoushrayan Deysarkar

The periodic table is a common sight in nearly every chemistry classroom in the world today. But how did it come to be?

In 1789, Antoine Lavoisier published a list of 33 chemical elements, grouping them into gases, metals, nonmetals, and earths.

 In 1829, Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner observed that many elements could be grouped into triads based on their chemical properties. For example, Lithium, Sodium and Potassium were grouped together in a triad, as soft, reactive metals. German chemist Leopold Gmelin worked with this system, and by 1843 he had identified 10 triads, three groups of 4 and 1 group of 5. However, although various chemists were able to identify relationships between small groups of elements, they had yet to build one scheme that encompassed them all.

In 1862, the French geologist Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de Chancourtois published an early form of the periodic table, which he called the telluric helix or screw. His paper used geological rather than chemical terms and did not include a diagram. As a result, it received little attention until the work of Dmitri Mendeleev.

In 1864, Julius Lothar Meyer, a German chemist, published a table with 28 elements. Realizing that an arrangement according to atomic weight did not exactly fit the observed periodicity in chemical properties he gave valency priority over minor differences in atomic weight.

Concurrently, English chemist William Odling published an arrangement of 57 elements, ordered on the basis of their atomic weights. Odling alluded to the idea of a periodic law but did not pursue it. He subsequently proposed (in 1870) a valence-based classification of the elements.

English chemist John Newlands produced a series of papers from 1863 to 1866 noting that when the elements were listed in order of increasing atomic weight, similar physical and chemical properties recurred at intervals of eight. He likened such periodicity to the octaves of music. This so termed Law of Octaves was ridiculed by Newlands’ contemporaries, and the Chemical Society refused to publish his work. The Chemical Society only acknowledged the significance of his discoveries five years after they credited Mendeleev.

Russian chemistry professor Dmitri Mendeleev and German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer independently published their periodic tables in 1869 and 1870, respectively. The recognition and acceptance afforded to Mendeleev’s table came from two decisions he made. The first was to leave gaps in the table when it seemed that the corresponding element had not yet been discovered. Mendeleev was not the first chemist to do so, but he was the first to be recognized as using the trends in his periodic table to predict the properties of those missing elements, such as gallium and germanium. The second decision was to occasionally ignore the order suggested by the atomic weights and switch adjacent elements, such as tellurium and iodine, to better classify them into chemical families.

In 1871, Mendeleev published his periodic table in a new form, with groups of similar elements arranged in columns rather than in rows, and those columns numbered I to VIII corresponding with the element’s oxidation state. He also gave detailed predictions for the properties of elements he had earlier noted were missing but should exist. These gaps were subsequently filled as chemists discovered additional naturally occurring elements.

The popular periodic table layout, also known as the common or standard form is attributable to Horace Groves Deming (1923).

In 1945, Glenn Seaborg, an American scientist, made the suggestion that the actinide elements, like the lanthanides, were filling an f sub-level. Before this time, the actinides were thought to be forming a fourth d-block row. Seaborg’s suggestion was found to be correct, and he subsequently went on to win the 1951 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in synthesizing actinide elements. As we know, the periodic table has undergone many changes throughout its history, until it has reached the modern form we see today. Many elements were found in nature, and some have been synthesized in labs. Scientists are working, even now, to find more elements and improve the periodic table. Let us hope that we continue to find out more about the periodic table, and that our chemical knowledge improves in the process.

Space Elevators

Anoushrayan Deysarkar

Illustration: Victor Habbick/Getty Images

Megastructures are truly massive structures, which are used for projects beyond anything we can do today. One of these is the space elevator.

A space elevator is a theoretical structure stretching from Earth to space, which allows the transport of materials and spacecraft from Earth to space and vice-versa, without the use of a rocket.

The construction of a space elevator would be extremely expensive and difficult, but the payoff would be immense. It would require an extremely strong thread, one that only became possible after the invention of artificial super-fibers like C-60. However, no existing material has the required strength to support such a structure. Several plans have been put forward for the construction of a space elevator, though none have been realised yet.

Apart from the thread, another problem is location and actual construction. A space elevator would have to be built at the equator, to avoid major problems. Several locations have been suggested, in regions free from storms and heavy winds. The western equatorial Pacific is a possible location, as it has the best possible natural location, free of environmental hazards.

Many ideas, such as building the elevator on top of a mountain or tall tower, have been proposed, to reduce the stress on the cable. The construction would probably be done by a satellite, feeding cable down to the Earth’s surface, and a counterweight to create centrifugal force, upwards. The space elevator is a fascinating megastructure and has the potential to cut costs down by up to 100 times. It would be very useful and making one would be very rewarding for whichever country manages it.

As I Woke Up an Aspiring Author

One fine morning… well not really, it was more like I had been brooding over for a couple of days, months actually – what do I become? A little late do you think? Given that am 45. Yes!!! The August of 2020, the year of the Corona… I reached the magic number – but no celebrations… bhoo ooo ooo. Okay that’s enough of crying.

The question of ‘what do I become’ came up so late in life because I actually realized what I want to do pretty late, in the rather recent past. Fortunately or unfortunately I was a good academic, so I excelled in whatever I tried doing, but my heart didn’t go with it. So I left it, left them all – I have quite an interesting agglomeration of degrees and certificates. Am an eccentric who needs to love what is being done or must have a dire need, like a family crisis to love what I am doing.

So I didn’t become anything, money and position have never motivated me and I was perfectly happy having a loving spouse who does all the hard work of making a living for us. I handle the family finance portfolio though and you know by now that I love the job as I have been continuing it for the past 18 years. I also love to organize and plan; so the household and its inmates, my child(13 years old) and spouse, to be precise live in a closely monitored strict regime.

I love activity, I always wanted to live on the edge… but that never happened, and now when I am reaching midlife – I believe I’ll live to be 90… at the least! I suddenly have the wish to become something, such that I can say like ‘Evelyn’ in ‘The Mummy(1999 movie)’ –    “Evelyn: Look, I… I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
Rick: And what is that?
Evelyn: I… am a librarian.”

An astronomer, a zoo-keeper, or an artist – these are the three choices – I want to be any one of these. A zoo-keeper the most, I love animals. But alas! my situation physically and mentally doesn’t allow me to step out of home or go all out to chase wild dreams. They are not dreams actually, just the things I could have been and enjoyed, given sufficient effort and time.

And then it came to me, no not like a lightning bolt, but from friends and family who have read my small narratives that if I put my heart and some years to it, I could become a writer! That would not exactly be being an artist but definitely close – it is creative after all!

Thus in the wake of my new found enthusiasm, I wrote my first novella…

Dogs n Balls

by Anoushrayan

There it was – yellow in color, beautiful in shape. Which sane being wouldn’t want it? He crouched, leapt and – ah! A hand had snatched it up into the air, beyond his reach.

That wasn’t the scientific discovery of the millennium, nor was it a lump of pure gold. No, it was a ball. And our protagonist was a dog.

Dogs love balls – this is one of the only beliefs about dogs that isn’t a myth. Balls, stuffed toys, ropes – even socks! – are all favorite toys for dogs. However, balls take the cap. No matter what they are doing, dogs nearly always chase after a rolling ball. Some dogs love playing fetch. Others just like cuddling up with a ball and biting it. By the way, if you are wondering why the ball was yellow, it wasn’t. It was actually red but dogs can’t see red. They can only see the colours blue and yellow. Everything else appears yellow to them. In case a dog can’t find a bright red ball in vibrant green grass, remember, he’s looking for a yellow ball in yellow grass.

Dogs love balls, and they’re always ready for a new one. A dog and a ball go paw in hand!

Vacation – how to make the most of it

By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

Summer vacation is by far the longest in India, and they become a pain for many a parent who run out of ideas to keep the little devils and the darling princesses occupied. Vacations of any duration for that matter are worrisome. Disclaimer: for many parents but not all.

Show me the world

An Outing is definitely the best option; it helps expand a child’s imagination by the exposure, not on a shopping trip though. Outings could be far or near, in town or out of it. The venue doesn’t have to be exotic in monetary terms; it is not luxury that the children need to be subjected to. Their young bodies are tough enough to take on the adversities of nature and will adapt with ease.

Very young children will like nature, wild and abundant. Slightly educated ones can be subjected to historical monuments, culture and tradition, the ones native to them first and then of their neighbours and stretching out further by and by.

Though outing could be a part of the vacation, it can’t be stretched out for the entire duration for obvious practical reasons. Sometimes it is completely out of bounds owing to varies factors like, no availability of leave or even other monetary obligations on the part of the parents, after all travel does cost time and money.

Not Another Routine

With the advent of summer camps parents are happy to enroll the kids big or small for the whole day 9am to 5pm. Well, it might seem like a respite from trouble, I feel it is unfair. The kid is again bound by routine, which he or she has not set; whether or not the drawing gene pops up into one’s head at 11am, one needs to draw. 12 to 1pm art and craft, candle making, 3 to 4pm cooking on an induction stove.

Innovative, imaginative, constructive, productive and very well suited to bring out all those creative pursuits for a child of a particular age, these summer camps are. Or are they?

Every child is different, says every psychologist in the world. Then how can we have a summer camp for 7-11 yr olds and expect all of them to like all the activities every day? Since a camp also doesn’t come cheap, one will generally be hooked onto it for the duration of the camp that is around 20 days to a month.

Having said this, ‘am not all averse summer or winter or any other season camps, but the duration.

Do As You Like

My 11 yr old had never had a dull moment at home even from the age he learned to say ‘am bored. Here is a firsthand recipe for a happy vacation time that is not only trouble free but also productive without being expensive or routine. Disclaimer: each child is different and should be handled thus.

At the advent of the holiday season or whenever it looks suitable, make the child sit and tabulate a list of things that she or he would like to do at free will. From one such tabulation, I learned that our son would love to learn to play chess.

Before or during the exam preparations, is another time when ideas about ‘what I want to do when ‘am free’, pours in like hails in a storm. The best thing is to write them down as they come. Keep a paper or copy handy for jotting down these ideas which will work as a ready reference when the free time finally comes.

Yes! vacation is free time. It is time for doing things that one can’t do when they are bound by timings; this goes true for school goers as well as grownups. All of us need free time to unwind, to keep ourselves productive and healthy, both mentally and physically.

Amongst the couple of ideas that get thrown the child then needs to pick up a few and make his own schedule on day to day basis or weekly basis, whatever suits her or his fancy and carry them out. They might even show interest in one or two camps which are focused towards a particular faculty, like hip-hop dancing, aqua Zumba or 3D modeling or anything that is on offer.

Parents will find it is way easier to make them follow their schedule than the one made by anybody else. It is also a different way of saying “go do what you like” only it is quantifiable because both you and the kid know what she or he is going to do.

Amidst all this fun one subject should be ushered in as a breather, that is mathematics, whatever the grade and whichever the school it is, one should never go out of practice.

Some kids are not so imaginative or their horizon is not so wide as to come up with a plethora of ideas, parents could help them out initially or why not let them be with the one that they wish to pursue except for if it is watching TV/tab/mobile/internet.

Passive engagement of the brain that happens when children or adults watch TV/tabs/mobile/internet kills productivity and also the urge to be productive. Otherwise, man is born a pioneer.

In a nutshell:

# Don’t just drop them to a camp for the day.

# Don’t just force some activity on them.

# Let the kids come up with their own ideas.

# Restrict digital time.

# Take them far or near.

# Take time out to play or chit-chat with them.

A typical holiday day schedule from a child’s note (grade 6):

Day 1

Wake up to breakfast – Freehand exercise and story writing

Breakfast to Lunch –electrical/mechanics kit

After lunch – Reading

Evening –

Computer Games 1 hour

Swimming camp 1 hour

Mathematics 1 hour

Watching video on Youtube till Dinner

Day 2

Wake up to breakfast – Freehand exercise and Mathematics

Breakfast to Lunch –Drawing and craft work

After lunch – Reading

Evening –

Computer Games 1 hour

Swimming camp 1 hour

Chess online or with mom

Skateboard practice till Dinner

Children who have the option of playing with other kids would definitely add that to the list.Visiting or being visited by relatives and friends is an added pleasant holiday ritual.

Bottom Line(Literally):

Making a schedule only makes it easier to gauge/ measure, whether its fun or work; so that “You know what you did last summer!

Sparrows in a box in a balcony

By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

GM Palya near the old airport in Bangalore to Kadugodi in Whitefield is only 15 km tops by the longest route, yet it seems like eons away. The landscape is entirely different, with high rise towers scattered everywhere and considerable amounts of plantations tucked in.

As we were checking out the apartments, the first thing we got love locked onto was a quarrel of sparrows. Soon we found sunbirds and drongos, the cranes and many other unknown species. With the small pockets of lakes and streams still untouched and vast areas of undeveloped land as they are called, the birds are thriving, as of now.

After settling the household and the pots on the small balcony in May 2017, we put a bowl each for food and water to get acquainted with the birds. Many came and our mornings turned into a cacophony of bird calls, loud yet soothing.

One fine day the idea of turning a shoe box into a nest popped up and we set to work. First, we covered it with cellotape completely, more on top and bottom. Then cut a small door enough for a small bird to enter and exit. We also cut a couple of tiny windows for air and light. We then painted it with oil colours and let it dry for days.

Once ready we hung it up on our balcony grill and secured it as much as we could. Thence started a long wait. For weeks none would go in. They would dance and hop atop the box but that was all. Then some of the males ventured in but failed to elicit interest in any females. Months went by.

In November to our delight a pair started frequenting the box and one day as I looked inside, it was filled with cotton and twigs!

Yet time passed and the pair just kept coming and going. I and Rajib agreed that they had accepted the box as their farm house which they visited only for pleasure.

In Feb this year I saw the lady spending more time inside the box and suspected something. I ushered my hand in and yes! There were three eggs!

By the beginning of March the racket of hungry kids started rising and I found three fledglings! Now they are almost grown up and will probably fly off in a week or two. We have been instrumental in the addition of three more sparrows to the otherwise dwindling population, and hope to add more.

Over the next year the duo produced 4 more clutches. There after we were to shift home, so we took down their nest after the last of the fledglings flew away.

JOY to HOPE in 13yrs

By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

There are many things in a girl’s life that she holds dear to her; dolls, frocks, earrings, shoes, watches; that’s going to be a very long list, let’s skip.  A scooter was one such for me. Daddy’s scooter was way too heavy for me to handle. As a child, I loved to ride a bicycle. The freedom of being in charge of my movements gave me a high. I had an inherent dislike for buses, cars and utmost distaste for aeroplanes. Train was and still is the storybook prince who will always remain a fantastic dream and romantic endeavour. Ships however, are aliens to me, still waiting to board one and find out my feelings for it.

It was not until 2005 that I got my own scooter; TVS Scooty Pep. The brand new shiny black ride felt nothing less than a grand stallion. I loved it. No, I adored it. It was freedom personified for me. I had driven automatic scooters earlier; but this was mine. I could go out at anytime, anywhere. Just pour in some petrol, push a button, roll your hand and accelerate!

It gave me ludicrous joy so I named it JOY.

Joy has seen the happiest days of my life. It was bought for going to college in the second year of my MBA. As Rajib moved to Bangalore I moved in with him into our little one bedroom home. It was the first time we were living together all by ourselves. His office was far away where he had to change 2 buses and my college was also not a walk away.

With Joy around, managing home and college was a tad easier.

Rajib had never driven a scooter and believed that he never could.

I was quite scared and had to be coerced to bring it on road at first. One evening soon after Joy came home, courtesy my friends, an aunty who lived at the ground floor of the two-storey house where we had taken rent was in great pain but in great need to go to a nearby store.

She approached me to give her a ride and I was scared stiff. Yet I wanted to help and possibly deep down somewhere wanted this urgency which could force me to try a hand on my cherished vehicle.

The first ride wasn’t easy, but I managed, and then there was no stopping. Soon I could ride with Rajib to far-away places amidst traffic and my happiness knew no bounds.

Joy has carried me to college, to the office, to ad hoc jobs, to markets and for joyrides. It was only when I was carrying the little life within me; the rides were restricted and then suspended for a couple of months.  

After I went off to Kolkata with my lil baby, Joy had to lie idle day after day with Rajib just giving it some ignition from time to time. One day it didn’t wake up and Rajib consulted a mechanic. The mechanic fixed Joy but warned that he needs to be driven every day.

I came back to Bangalore to be greeted with a very pleasant surprise; Rajib could ride Joy and within a short time he could drive with me.

After giving me joy, Joy succeeded in delighting a one-and-a-half-year-old Raspy. He loved the breeze, as he rode on, sandwiched between Rajib and me, and embraced it with an open mouth. These rides were never long for safety’s sake.

When it was time for Raspy to go to school we brought in Wago, our first car, a golden WagonR. Joy was now more of Rajib’s companion to office and back but weekends Joy kept for me.

As Raspy grew older and Rajib’s office got further away we switched vehicles. Joy started carrying Raspy and me to school (which was just a km from home now), library, small get-togethers and to acquire essentials.

Joy was brought home to JP Nagar, a year later we shifted to Thippasandra that was near my office then. After what seemed like ages, in 2017 May, we shifted to a new locality, Whitefield.

Joy continued its services as before, though it was in need of frequent services itself and finally as the new year crawled in, it could hardly manage a steady ride for a couple of consecutive days.

It was given a new battery on the 31st of January but that too failed within a week. All through my years with Joy I could never put it on the main stand and now Joy could not be started without being pulled on it. Raspy has grown almost as tall as me and my back isn’t as strong as it used to be. Driving remains my passion but now I need a backrest. So I no longer go for joyrides, its only on purpose.

I need a scooter as it is very useful for swift trips. I am hoping for my own shop in the near future near home and that will require fleeting rides. I am also hoping to give Raspy a hands-on-training before he goes for a formal one and gets his own vehicle to drive.

On the 10th of Feb, I took out Joy for the last time with more anxiety than joy due to the trepidation that it might stop on-road and never start again. 12th Feb 2018 the Yamaha Ray ZR rode into our lives with new hopes and I christened it HOPE. Joy went off as majestically as it had come in, never stopping in our vicinity as our gaze followed it until the gate where the road takes a bend and a silent tear fell.

13 years of togetherness through thick and thin from house to house it had become one of us and now it was gone, on a new journey, with new people. I wish it all the best.