Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Please be informed...

... that:

1. I think the winter is already over. Who would've thunk it? Spring in Kashmir, and not even March yet. At least it looks like it's spring time here in Doda. My lawn has started sprouting grass and some buds are rearing their heads. We've had bright sunlight for the past few days. I am now comfortable in only three layers of woollens. Have also cut down night-time bed-rations from four blankets to two.

2. Due to the sudden collapse of AN ENTIRE MOUNTAINSIDE nearby (I kid you not), three major districts: Doda (where I live), Kishtwar and Bhaderwah have been unceremoniously cut off from the rest of Jammu and Kashmir*. This fascinating turn of events took place a couple of weeks ago when the lone highway route that connects us to anywhere (NH-1B) went crashing into the Chenab. Read here.
CAUSE: The destructive and very ugly Baghliar Dam which has been constructed on the Chenab, leading to unnatural rise of water levels for a certain length of this gorgeous river. EFFECT: The water rose to such a level that it seeped into the moutain on either side of the river (one of which sides was host to that hapless victim, the national highway). The more the water seeped in, the more the mountain soil turned loose and eventually just caved in, taking along with it some houses, a few vehicles and some folks.There is a six-kilometre stretch of road that is now unsafe for vehicles near a town called Assar, and folks who want to travel from here to Jammu or Srinagar have to disembark from their vehicles, walk/trek/climb up and down the mountainside for about an hour and a half on foot to get to the other side of this stretch and then board another vehicle and carry on.
As you can imagine, food and other supplies have been hit and the bare minimum is airlifted to the main townships every once in a while. In Doda, the helipad is right outside my house, so we have dust storms and noise all day when the helicopters come in bringing gas, food and other rations. Headache only, ma. See my view of the proceedings.Just the other day there was a serious road accident here and some folks had to be airlifted sud-suddenly. We had ambulances and stretchers and crowds and the whole jamboree unfolding in front of our eyes.

*Please note: Kashmir is pronounced as Kush(as in 'rush)-meer, and not 'Cash'-meer. To pronounce it as the latter only shows how ignorant you are, and also, it does not make you look cool. Okay? Okay.

3. With reference to my previous post and movies, have watched Slumdog, and will soon have Benjamin Button ready for viewing. I do love Cate Blanchett (Galadriel etc.). I shall not state the obvious about a certain Brad Pitt. Am waiting for the Oscars and Hugh Jackman. Really hope it's funny and not silly with awkward silences in place of spontaneous laughter. Also, I don't think Slumdog ought to win 'Best Movie'. Seriously. It's very good but, you know, not heart-wrenchingly great.
Other movies that now go on my wishlist are all the usual suspects:
-Vicky Cristina Barcelona
-The Reader
And..... closer to home:
-DELHI-6 (singing Masakalli, Masakalli with fun sing-along-Sonam-Kapoor-actions)
-Dev D.

4. Plan to show the kids Kill Bill at school. Showed the young boys a few of the good scenes ['The Bride v. The Crazy 88' and 'The Bride v. O-Ren Ishii']. Oh, how they squealed in delight at the blood spurting and the awesome soundtrack. Made me smile warmly to my insides. These kids are creatures after my own heart, I say. *wink*

5. Have been doing a fun exercise with all my classes and they're responding beautifully. I play them a song, and they have to figure out the lyrics line-by-line. I find this really helpful in teaching them figures of speech, slang, -isms, and similes, metaphors, puns and whatnot. (Plus, I make them listen to MY kind of music and my self-interest is satisfied for a while. Moooahahahaha.)

6. Nice pun I came across yesterday, while looking for funny examples for my class: "The cross-eyed teacher had no control over his pupils." Tee hee. Titter titter. So now you know.

Okay. That's that.


Manoj Govindan said...

Trying again as I am not sure if my first attempt at commenting succeeded. Please delete this if my first comment made it through.

Have you considered making your students read comics/illustrated books? They are not as "heavy" as a regular book and yet make for excellent reading. Thanks to one of my teachers I became interested in the 'Paico Classics' series of abridged and illustrated classics. These eventually lead me to the complete ones once I grew up.

On a related note we had a music teacher who used to narrate stories (no TV in class) to us. I fondly remember the sound effects he used to demonstrate how the Phantom's allies transmitted messages through drumming :)

QuirkY said...

you showed KillBill to your students...WOW

Apoorv Gawde said...

Whoa a Helicopter in your verandah!

watch Dev D watch it watch it watch it :)

its fantabulous

longblackveil said...

@ Manoj saar: Thanks very much. That's a great idea and I love your teachers. Comics and music. Unfortunately it might not work where I teach. The kids can barely understand simple English let alone spell or read fluently. But I sure can try this. I know I love comics and started at a very early age. Cheers!

@Good Gawde: Iddiya? Shall try and watch fastly fast fast.

Quirky: Yessir, yessir, three batches full are now aware of the Bride and her need for revenge. Haven't shown them the whole fillum yet. Have just explained the story and shown some of the coolest scenes.

Manoj Govindan said...

@mohtarma sabbah: Who said anything about reading in firangese? I first read Dracula and Moby Dick in good ol' Malayalam. I am fairly sure that there are nice Hindi editions out there (Urdu might be rarer). Alas Indrajal comics are no longer in print.

Now Amar Chitra Katha does bring out Urdu editions but then many of their titles are derived from Hindu mythology.

You may also want to look at the Karadi Tales series of audio books, some of them narrated by Gulzar himself.

Anyhoo best of luck with your pedagogical efforts. Do keep us posted about the results.

longblackveil said...

I say, you are most interesting. Moby Dick (heehehee, I said 'dick') and Dracula in Mallu? Whatte fun!
And thanks for the Karadi Tales link. I shall enjoy like anything.
Hindi is no use here, and Urdu comics are rare as all dammit. Plus, much as it pains me to say this, the kids just aren't that big on reading. Will work on this negative though, and will start searching high and low for comics. Danke sehr! Comics are the way to go.
Comical updates shall be updated here.