86. Fiction: Smoking is injurious to reality

smoking / flickr

May be I should write a fairy tale with a good moral, he pondered for a while and lazily lit a surya churot. I might get popular some day. He typed in.

Once upon a time there was a brave king and a charming queen and they had a beautiful daughter. One ominous day, an ugly monster crept out from hell and threatened their kingdom. The king’s witch sister prophesied – within the next seven days, the monster would kill them all and take over the kingdom until… or unless they let the monster eat their lovely daughter.

He paused momentarily and lit another surya. Eat the lovely daughter. The idea lingered in his mind just as the clouds of smoke lingered in the room. That would be a total waste of such beauty. He pressed the backspace key and deleted the last line… unless they let the monster marry their lovely daughter. Better.

The king cursed their fate with vengeance; the queen fell unconscious and wilted over the floor. How will they give away their princess to that ugly monster? It was unimaginable, what that monster would do to their lovely little daughter! The whole kingdom drowned in sorrow.

Much better, he reflected as he smoked the last surya he had. And what about the tall dark handsome prince who would come to rescue her? He ran out of churot. He ran out of ideas. How do I introduce the prince? He rummaged for ideas in the dark corners of his hazy mind.

I think it calls for a short break. He minimized the word document and logged on to his facebook. There were thirteen notifications. Slick smug smile crept out from his dark lips. How he loved counting the ‘likes’ on his profile picture. Going through his photos, he thought. I am as tall dark handsome as any of those fairy tale princes! To wipe away any tiny bit of self-doubt, he got up and stood in front of the mirror. Hmm. I’m perfect. I’ll fight the ugly monster, slay its head into eternal abyss, and impress the lovely princess. Then, I’ll marry her. When the king dies, I’ll rule over the kingdom… happily ever after.

He frantically tap tap tapped over the keys.

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85. Opinion: Music and language learning

Music is a big part of my life. I can’t sleep without listening to music. I can’t study without some music in the background. I can’t go on a hike without listening to music. So it was only natural that I picked up an instrument and play music. And I picked up the guitar. I learnt the theories, went through tutorials on the internet, learnt the basic chords and started strumming it. As soon as I woke up, I would start practicing it. I would practice playing my favourite songs and would also come up with my own mini compositions. This went on for few months – quite sadly. Then, I stopped practicing the guitar. A very lame excuse: I didn’t have enough time. Studies, work and other hobbies. Even though I am constantly surrounded by music and musician friends, I haven’t been able to arrange time for practicing the guitar.

Now why am I flogging myself to death? What’s the point of all this moaning and mopping?

Here’s what I think.
Learning a (new) language is like learning to play the guitar (or any musical instrument). You can’t get better at it if you don’t practice it. You might learn about the language in the class from your teacher, but if you don’t use it outside to create your own discourse / dialogue / conversation with others – you, my friend, are just learning the language for tests. Not for real life.

I know a lot of musical theories, I think I know the grammar of music too. But when it comes to playing music, I am hopeless at it. Despite a constant barrage of ‘comprehensible musical input’, I haven’t been able to produce any significant output. I see a lot of English language learners (and even English language teachers) very competent at theories but when it comes to “language-ing”, they are as hopeless as I am .

There you go – a very blunt opinion!

84. Fiction: Motti didi ko bhatti

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Motti didi’s bhatti, which was in the north corner of Lagankhel buspark, had quite a reputation. After around 1 pm everyday, microbus drivers and khalasis would crowd in her bhatti to gobble momo, choyala, thukpa, chowmein, fish fry and a very special soup. Usually, her customers would hang around till 11 at night drinking tongba, eating momo and gulping down her soup.

Motti didi’s soup was to die for, and so was her fifteen year old daughter. Drivers and khalais would slurp the soup while drooling over the daughter. She was ripening and she was glowing. The drivers would try to flirt with her, cautiously though, because they were a bit afraid of Motti didi.

Man Bahadur had been driving a microbus for around three years now. Full of hopes and dreams, he and his wife had come to Kathmandu five years ago. He worked in a garage for some time, then worked as a khalasi in a bus, and a lucky break gave him a chance to work as a microbus driver. He loved the work. He loved driving his microbus from Lagankhel to Ratnapark and back to Lagenkhel. He also loved Motti didi’s daughter.

He would dream about her while driving. He would hum along the dohori songs that blared out from the Chinese speakers on his dashboard. Every second, he fantasized about her. A feeble guilt would pinch his heart but she was so ripe, and he had to be first to taste her. He would enter the bhatti after each round, just to see her, just to smell her. She would serve him the soup, a bit shyly, a bit flirtingly. Man Bahadur was sure that she was giving him ‘the lift’. Motti didi too didn’t mind Man Bahadur frequently coming to her place.

That evening, it had been raining like hell. “Aaja yetai basnu na ta – why don’t you stay over tonight?” Motti didi insisted. He took a swig of the soup and smacked his lips. He couldn’t say no. He took another slurp and phoned his wife casually, “eh budi, tyre puncture became. ani, raining very heavy. I will stay in the garage tonight.” He then switched his mobile off. The daughter served him a plate of bhutun and a jug of tongba. Outside, the rain was ruthlessly relentless.

When all the customers finally left around 11.30 pm, Motti didi signaled Man Bahadur to go into the next room. It was behind the dirty green curtain. Man Bahadur felt a little hesitation but the daughter grabbed his hand and gently dragged him away. “You must be tired and sleepy,” she said with a ravishing smile. She sat him down on a rickety bed and started to stroke his head; and massaged his shoulder and neck from behind.

Man Bahadur had never felt this godly before. He felt her gentle hands passionately squeezing his shoulder muscles. He remembered the time he smoked Poland but this was far better than that. Way too better. “Close your eyes and just relax,” into his ear she whispered, unzipping his jacket and unbuttoning his shirt. He was Indra. She was Apsaraa. With every caress of her hands through his back, he felt tiny electric shocks tickle his belly. He was swimming deep in the elixir. She started rubbing his neck. He was floating high in the heaven. She was ripe and ready. Man Bahadur would taste her tonight.

He was hallucinating.
The daughter was nibbling his neck and he felt his blood gashing out.

He was dreaming.
Motti didi was in front of him, biting chunks off his right arm.

He was dying.
Severe pain and terror paralyzed his body He wobbled, convulsed and rattled on the floor. His heart twitched occasionally.

When Motti didi and her daughter finished chewing off the muscles, they stashed away the bones under the bed. They would need it for the soup.

83. Fiction: Sundari’s Sadness

sadness_by_rockthenations

Her face was engulfed in a vast sadness. You can’t describe it. It’s like the ugly sadness you see on the faces of those young people leaving for the Gulf region… with grey hopelessness. She didn’t cry. She just sat motionless, staring down at her tired foot, her fists clenched inside her coat pockets.

Fate sometimes slaps you hard and kicks you from behind but you can’t do anything. You can’t find any explanation. Then, you blame god, you blame your own fate, you remain silent. That’s what Sundari Devi did.

When she got home that evening, she had found her husband’s body swinging under the fan. She didn’t have courage to look into his cold questioning eyes, so she stormed out of the room and sat down on the staircase. Her neighbors told her that they tried calling her several times but her cell phone was ‘out of reach’. Probably a bad network or a dead battery. She cursed the god, she cursed her own fate and then in a flurry of desperation, she smashed her khataraa cell phone on the floor.

She made a quick decision. She would buy an iPhone the next day. “It has good battery”, she remembered seeing in an ad. Gradually, the terrible sadness started to thaw off her face.

(Pic: Internet)

82. 14 big questions

I had been thinking in the same line! Language, discourse of a language teacher, power, social capital, and so on !

Willy Cardoso

1. Is it the role of language teachers to address social issues in the classroom? Why (not)?

2. If languages constitute identities (personal and social) aren’t language teachers in a privileged position to teach for social change?

3. If so, this also means they are in a position of power. How is this power used?

4. What if you don’t want this power? Who will grab it? And what use will they make of it?

5. If we choose to take a de-politicised position, aren’t we just helping to maintain the status quo?

6. If so, so what? Is the status quo so bad? Says who? And why?

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7. Can an investment in serious conversations about the -isms affecting our lives everyday make a difference in our students’ lives? How can we know?

8. Do we need evidence to support where we stand, how we act, and react in the…

View original post 154 more words

81. Fiction: Time to Murder

pure-bagmati

ONCE out in the real world, he felt disgusted and cursed the happy humanity. Keeping his sanity updated, he plotted to strangle it with unmerciful fate.

In his head, he was the divine destroyer with a mission to wipe out the disease called morality. It was rotting and spewing hatred stronger than Bagmati sewer. In his hands, he had the sword that was mightier than the pen. He wanted to sever the fingers that wrote the verses, and slit the mouths that uttered the scriptures – for they had been grinding the gullibles with their sweet talks… for more than two thousand years. In his dreams, he was the Rawan destined to decimate the world of Rams and save Sitas from the pyre. For too long, Sitas have been thrown into fiery trials under the lousy pretext of (in)decency.

But, everything would end now. A wry smile cracked through his foul lips. It was time to act. It was time to celebrate. And, without any repentance, it was time to murder and purify the humanity off its sins. Enlightenment. He was ready to kill to save the undeserving humanity.

Up above, He liked the idea. Sipping a cold breath of fiction, He chuckled… and posted His amusement on Twitter:
What if he does it! What if my son does it!! #destiny #divinesarcasm

80. Published: Answer Paper Blues

Answer Paper Blues
Published on the Kathmandu Post
Jan 2, 2014

answer-paper-blues

The terrible moment when I’m checking the answers sheets and I’ve to struggle through incomplete answers, blank pages, spelling mistakes, dreadful handwriting… Yet I still hope the student scores just enough to pass. But, that doesn’t happen.

Then… I shake my head and console myself –

Should I feel miserable about it!

The painful moment when I’m checking the answer sheets and I get traumatized seeing this competent student turning in a crappy paper with questions unsolved and answers incomplete… And I try to reason my throbbing head. Was he under the weather that day? Or was he completely bored? Was he going through personal problems? Or did he just didn’t care?

Then… I shake my head in despair and comfort myself –

Should I bear responsibility for his action!

The annoying moment when I’m checking the answers sheets and I see the same mistake by the same student. Despite having discussed about the issue in the class for at least ten times, she makes the same error once again. May be it is on purpose. The student simply loves making me furious and frustrated. May be not. May be the student couldn’t get it through her head at all.

Then… I shake my head in disbelief and calm myself –

Should I droop down with the blame on my head!

The agonizing moment when I’m checking the answers sheets and I have to judge the students based on a three-hour written examination. There are some internal assessments (attendance, assignment, tests, portfolio), but the major assessment is always based on the final examination. May be the system is a joke. May be it only works for those students who can ‘memorize’ everything. May be.

Then… I shake my head in anguish and soothe myself –

Should I raise my feeble fist against the system!

The indecisive moment when I’m checking the answers sheets and I am crushed under the dilemma: the student is just short of five marks to pass, should I give him/her the ‘grace’ mark. I re-check the paper but I hit the deadlock. My hand freezes. I can’t decide. Did my marking instinct go wrong? And, sometimes instincts can go wrong.

Then… I shake my head down in defeat and sympathize myself –

Should I just quit!

I feel cornered by this uneasy pain and helplessness. 

I have to comply with the curriculum.
I know I just hate it but,
I have to play along with our testing and evaluation system.

The student must score 40% or above.
The universities decide it.
The ‘experts’ decide it.
The ‘commission’ decides it.

Yet, for some inexplicable reasons, I want to remain hopeful. This strange ‘hope’ is what makes my eyes glide from one word to another, from one line to another and from one answer sheet to another. And, I desperately wait for “that awesome moment” when the student completely catches me off guard and makes my day.

Surely, someday, everything will get better. Everything has to get better.