I like play football

One of the perks of dating a teacher is hearing incredible stories from the classroom. Some are hilarious, some make you want to face-palm, but mostly, they’re stories of ingenuity. Children are so clever, and so resourceful, it’s no wonder they have to beat all creativity out of you. We can’t have a world full of geniuses walking around after all. 

One such story is about a class of young ‘uns. He asks each child a question in English. If the kid answers the question right, they get a name tag. Once this ritual is done with all the students, the class begins. 

Sample Conversation: 

Teacher: Hello, how are you? 

Student: I am fine thank you. 

Teacher: What is your favourite sport? 

Student (demonstrates kicking a ball): I like play football.  

A lot of students seemed to like football. Mr Teacher was pleased that unlike with other schools where he teaches English as a foreign language, these students seemed clever enough to not only understand his questions, but to also answer him appropriately. 

The next week when he was in class again, the conversation went something like this. 

Him: Hi. What is your favourite food? 

Kid 1-30 (demonstrates kicking a ball): I like play football! 

Turns out, the kids had learnt from their seniors to expect a foreign teacher to come teach them English. And if they were clever enough to learn a few choice phrases in English, they never need actually learn any English at all. Quite clever of these kids to do the absolute minimum to get by. I wish corporate life was similar. 

I vowed to take inspiration from these kids and apply it to my daily life. 

Dad: So when are you going to get married? 

Me (kicking imaginary ball with slightly too much gusto): I like play football! 

Life is so much easier now! 

 

Heri Ya Paska – Happy Easter

Easter

We wanted to do something for the children so we hard boiled the egg, drew on them with crayons and left them in food colouring. And organised a good old fashioned easter egg hunt. It was a success and we may have succeeded in making this a ritual. Heri ya Pasaka! (Happy Easter)

Don’t mess with my choo choo!

Watching the snow-topped Kibo emerge from the clouds is like watching the ‘earthrise’ from a comfortable stool on the moon. It is one of the more magical things you can witness while simultaneously trying to handle 250 children without making any one of them feel excluded. We had already played innumerable counts of “Fire in the mountain” I was smug. The plan was to tire them out enough to sit down under the tree and share stories. But I forgot the small detail about the boundless energy of children.

One of the children asked if there were trains in my country. Yes, have you seen one? No. Do you want to go for a ride? Yes, please?

So we closed our eyes and imagined an Indian train – the roaches, the constant call of “chai, chai, coffee, coffee”, the Gujarati mother and her picnic bag for 12, the way your body becomes one with the motion of the train, the bread omelettes, youth playing rummy on the left, an old lady silently grumbling about her husband buying everything from the every stop, groundnut shells on the floor.

We’re in.

And just like that we start moving with the train. The windows are open; the cool mountain air is in your hair. You are rising and rising and rising. Suddenly you’re on the roof of the train. It winds through valleys; you can see the tall, ancient trees, the huts that look like they could be blown over – the ones with a satellite dish on their roof.

You look at yourself and you’re donning a fake moustache and you’re sporting SRK hair. You blow it away from your face while you look down on your new, shiny kholapuris. You turn around and you have a group of colourfully dressed men with moustaches that would give Veerapan a run for his money.  All of you are sporting identical turbans and out of nowhere, a bunch of synchronised dancers appear. You look in front and there’s a beautiful Indian girl even more breathtaking than Malaika Arora dressed in her traditional Ghaghra with a modern twist – leaving no doubt about what is behind her Choli.

You stretch your hands out as far as they will go; a huge sheepish grin on your face as you sing at the top of your voice as only A.R. Rahman can inspire you. ‘Chaiyya, Chaiyya’, you sing and dance as if your life depended on it. Moving with the train. Moving with the wind. Moving in sync with your dancers.

“Teeeeeeea, Coofeeeee, Coffeeeee”. You smile at the nice Mallu chai wallah. You continue to dance with one hand and sip coffee with the other.

This?

This is life!

..|..

There’s a reason I don’t like doctors. When I was a kid they told me to stay away from nature cause I was allergic to it. When I was a teenager they told me to stop playing for my university and give up on basketball cause of my lungs. When I started working, they told me to give up travelling and work from home. And now, they tell me to stop playing with children – stop carrying and hugging and kissing them. Stay away before my wrist joint pops out of my skin and before my skin is decorated with rashes. I have, as always, only two words to waste on the doctors …..