Pandemic – COVID 19: A Shake-Up

Quarantine – State or period of isolation. I hadn’t ever come across this word before the pandemic COVID 19. The world’s huge crisis right now we can say so. It shook us all and most importantly taught all of us some lessons.

Initially, I use to hear news about the pandemic spreading quickly in Wuhan, Italy and many other places getting badly affected by it. Never had I thought that India will be next in the list, following a lockdown and getting affected by COVID 19.

And there we were, announcing lockdown, closing of schools, colleges, universities, restaurants and many more things. Yet no one had ever thought that this lockdown will make everyone’s life standstill. As if someone had just pressed the pause button to avoid the bad or sad part in the movie or a book. At the initial phase, it all seemed quite relaxing and worth it like a break from the routine life. Slowly and gradually it started being difficult, passing time was tough and managing all the work by ourselves.

Several things were affected and so was everyone’s routine life. Starting with, we had to make the immediate shift to virtual learning, using online platforms to continue with the sessions with our students. I was quite sceptical with the whole idea that ‘How much effective is this going to be?’ With innumerable questions and doubts, we started prepping up for the online sessions, training parents through video tutorials, bringing them on the same platform, explaining them the whole idea and how everything was going to function.

The next struggle or the big question for all of us was “How are we going to make sure that our 8 or 9-year-old kid, don’t easily lose interest or deviate from the learning?” We knew how lockdown had impacted the adults, putting a full stop to the routine life or social life and being trapped in the house for the whole day. What kind of emotions we were all were experiencing. Similarly, the kids at the same time were also going through the rough patch. An 8 or 9-year-old kid being trapped or locked in the house with restrictions of not playing outside, no running around or cycling, they had their own sad story.

We had to remember to stick to our core purpose while shifting to online learning. We started exploring different resources for planning activities which would keep our learners engaged and at the same time continue with the targeted learning. For the first two weeks, half of the class attended the online sessions but with constant phone calls to parents, emails and explanations, later on all my 25 students were attending the online sessions. Something that amazed me was, my students, maintained the same discipline and decorum during the online classrooms, keeping their audio mute, patiently listening to the instructions and pouring in discussions turn by turn.

We continued with our subject online sessions and soon the co-curricular sessions started as well. Students and teachers were on toes. We were following a timetable and never for a single second I felt bored or irritated. Something crucial was following school timetable, taking online sessions, managing and coping up with household work with no maid and cooking. It had taken quite a toll but somewhere was learning every day something new. Not only this, but we had arranged advisory meetings with our children, where we just one on one talked with the students about their routine, their feelings and everything. Students use to wait for it.

The academic year came to an end and we received e-mails from parents, appreciating the teacher team for such strong planning that students not even once complained to their parents about getting bored or going out to play. And that was kind of a victory for us.

Something important for us as educators which made our journey smooth was our bonding with our students. The bond, the relationship, the rapport that we build with our students during the initial days of the new academic year is essential. Everything revolves around how you spend your first six weeks of school with your classroom, with your students. Spend time in knowing them, mingling with them, designing the day in such a way that you and your students both get plenty of informal time. Once the routine is set and you have set the environment, the whole year is going to be smooth.

Definitely, as educators, do spend some time reading First Six Weeks Of School.

Last but not the least, it was a great learning for us as well as students during this Pandemic. It affected us in positive as well as negative ways and it will always be a story or an experience worth sharing.

Overthinking – Over analysis, Paralysis

“Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis.”

Anxiety, overthinking = A Cancer of the Mind. This is so well said. Few days back, I had several things cluttered in my mind and my best friend told me just one thing : “Something which I hate about you is overthinking, its all in your mind which leads to creating problems which aren’t actually there.” I reflected that somewhere it has put a strong impact on my relationships, my routine, my professional routine, my health and everything. It was a high time, people advised me to stop doing this to myself and just start working out or figuring out strategies which would help me overcome this habit.

I started reading several articles on daily basis for strategies or tips which would help me overcome this or can lessen it. But somehow, I wasn’t able to connect that well and wasn’t able to help myself at all. One night, while my mind was cluttered with stuff and chattering to itself, I thought of listening to some Ted Talks, some motivational speeches about this. I came across a motivational video by Sadhguru which talked about : “How Do You Stop The Mind’s Chatter?” (P.S. Highly recommended, if you are someone like me!)

It talked about various stuff and it just made me look into the mirror. It said that ‘Once there is a distance between you and your mind’s activity, it is not a problem.’ We all are into this thing, we do involve ourselves in overthinking in some circumstances or situations. Sadhguru said it quite well, when the mind gives all the pleasant thoughts, we don’t want it to stop. But when it gets into unpleasant thoughts, we have this thinking that it should stop.

Connecting to our mental health with physical health, anxiety or overthinking is just mental diarrhea. We feed our mind with bad food which is equivalent to consuming something wrong. The problem starts with the time, we identify ourselves with something that we are not. It all starts with that. The issue here is quite simple, the most important faculty, or part of our human body is out of control. It would cause lot of problem.

Sadhguru said it quite well, “Stop eating wrong food which means to stop identifying ourselves with the things that we are not.” Our mind should not tell the stories all the time, it should tell the stories which we want.

It is rightly said, the problem is not that we don’t have problems. The problem is that we get consumed by those problems. We shouldn’t get consumed by the negative things or thoughts, we should be dealing with it. At the same time, we need to get consumed by all the positive energies and things happening in our life.

One important thing is Gratitude.

Gratitude for all those wonderful things which are happening. The more we do this, the more we empower ourselves to deal with negative that is happening in our life. We, humans need to focus on Good things. It’s not a default setting. Focusing on good things is very important, we need to make that as a default setting, we need to customize our life, by being consciously aware about all the wonderful things and blessings taken place in our life.

Do not be hateful about things going in our life, be grateful for all the wonderful gifts life has given us. Grateful about having the second chance which is been given to us. Grateful about not falling in the pit.

After all these, I started on several practices which has so far helped me in overcoming anxiety and overthinking. Here the list goes :

1. Awareness + Noticing : Simply in the moment, accepting that “I’m Overthinking” will help a lot. Being aware is the only key which would help you in reducing and overcoming it.

2. Brain Dump Exercise : Take a paper or maintain a journal, Keep a 10-15 minutes timer and just start dumping all the thoughts going in your head without being judgmental about it. Once everything is on the paper, you get an insight about the stuff going in the head, cluttering and creating the chatter inside.

3. Act Before You Think : Many a times when we are in the mode of overthinking, we just freeze in the moment and then nothing happens. Simply during such times, when you feel paralyzed about things, just act, pull the trigger and take the action.

4. Focus On Solutions : We tend to get into the habit of overthinking, and thinking about all the small details of stuff going in your life. During such times, we block our creativity and stop figuring out for the solutions. Just take a moment, pause and start looking for solutions about the problems.

5. Meditation : This has helped me a lot. I take a moment – basically 15 – 20 minutes and create an environment, put on some spiritual music and meditate. It is the time when you connect with your inner self, come in realization with everything.

6. Listening to Ted Talks & Motivational Speeches : Last but not the least, this was the start, my first baby step towards overcoming overthinking and helping out my anxiety. Do it once and you will start feeling better about the whole thing. I highly recommend hearing Sadhguru once.

I hope this helps the readers to break the pattern of overthinking. But just remember, “Don’t be too hard on yourself in the beginning, it has been your habit throughout your life, it will take time to break the old habits.”

Hope you enjoyed reading and Have a Healthy Mind 🙂

Regret

“Regret” – a 6 letter word which means feeling sorry for doing something or not doing something.

I am sure that this 6 letter word is somewhere deep down inside us like a baggage. We will be having some incidents due to which the feeling of regret must have been built within us and would have added to this baggage which we carry everyday.

If I look back in my 25 years of life, the feeling of regret weighs more than the feeling of contentment. During this self realisation, I envisioned and thought that “Is this what I am going to look back at, when I am 60 or 65, sitting on an armchair and living my last few breaths.”

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”

With this thought, I woke up on a Sunday morning – technically it was 71st Republic Day which people were celebrating. I switched on my television and all the news channel were showing the parades, speeches, cultural dances, patriotic songs and flag hoisting. Something which grabbed my attention, there was a particular school which had invited an ex – army officer to hoist the flag, rest everywhere there were some ministers, governors or some politicians hoisting the flag.

I always have this respect for soldiers and army officers, someone on whom I look up to. They are the real heroes of our nation.

This ex- army officer was sharing his story and somewhere in his speech he mentioned, “I regret being alive today and not sacrificing my life for nation.” It hit me hard, and I repeated to myself, “He regrets being alive today, he wanted to die fighting for nation. He regrets being alive without his friends who sacrificed and died while fighting for the nation.”

After this, I thought of spending my Sunday, reading some articles about soldiers, about wars, about their stories and their journals. I came across various experiences.

Talking about which, let me share one of the stories. It goes something like this :

“When you are fighting on the battlefield, you are far too busy to have regrets. However, I remember a moment a couple of days after we had some very intensive fighting.

I slowly woke up at the frontline, nobody was shooting, it was a wonderful day and I was thinking : “What a nice morning!” But then I slowly realised where I was and the next thought was : “Ohh, fuck!”

For a moment, I regretted every single decision that had brought me there. But then I told myself : “stop whining and get your ass moving!” and my moment of regrets was over.

Soldiers who say that they never regretted their decision to join the military provably lie. Even when you have the greatest job in the world, there will be moments when you regret your choice.

Soldiering, on the other hand, is an occupation where many people outside of the military scratch their heads and wonder how anyone can go through all this shit and not constantly regret their career choice.

Having doubts and regrets doesn’t mean you don’t like what you are doing. You have the toughest job of all, one that can even get you killed, so a little critical thinking during a calm moment is completely normal.

And then, of course, there are soldiers that love their job not despite, but because of all the hardships :

No sleep the whole night, bullets and shells flying around in rainy weather. Cold coffee and moulding bread for breakfast : love it!”

This time I understood, our very own soldiers would be carrying some or the other kind of regret.

Regret of not being with their kid during their childhood, not spending time with their partners, immediately leaving after getting married, not being there to wipe the tears of their mother’s face and sometimes even coming back home without their friends. Yet with a smile on their face, they are guarding our boundaries, anytime ready to defeat the enemy and protecting the nation.

But like they mentioned every time when you have regret or guilt, it doesn’t mean you don’t like what you are doing. It simply means reflecting back, critically thinking about your life in a calm moment.

Let’s take a moment to salute these heroes of our nation.

I will carry this story forever with me because it taught me , you shouldn’t regret to have regrets. It’s quite normal.

Maa, Mom, Mum, Aai, Mummy …..

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! ❤️

Thank you for all the sacrifice that you have made till now, praying for us, working for us and the endless things which you do for us.

Thank you for being my pillar and support when I had fallen down!

Words are always less to express the gratitude of what you have done for us. I love you a lot Maa 😘

With this would even like to wish Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there who try, each and every day to shape and mould their children’s lives, for making all the unsaid or unspoken sacrifices for their children. A huge salute to all the mothers!

As and when the mother’s day advertisements starts showing up on the tv or on any shopping apps or in newspapers. People start remembering that “Oh! Mother’s Day is coming around the corner.”

And then on the Mother’s Day – all the social networking sites are filled up with pictures of their mother’s and big big messages or quotes or captions are being put up to show that we really love and appreciate what our mother’s have done for us. Most of them might be actually expressing and appreciating!

But a mother, she doesn’t want a Facebook post or an Instagram post with a big caption where she is been thanked for all her sacrifices. What she actually wants is your time, is a ear to listen to her stories, how her day went, what she did, what she wants to do, where she wants to go, she wants your support, she wants your shoulder on which she can cry, your hand to hold her when she fears to fall down. She doesn’t want the gifts which we gift her on the “Mother’s Day”!

Instead try giving her all this, which will make her happy from the bottom of her heart.

Because till this date, there are mothers in the old age home, who are waiting for a call from their sons or daughters. What about them?

It’s worth a thought!

This Mother’s Day try and spend your time with your Maa and see the happiness, glow and smile on her face! ❤️

Because MOMS are WOW!

They are the bundle of joys which lightens and brightens our life with her presence!

Because till this date, if I get lost in the crowd, I ll search for one face and that is MAA!

Aarambh – A Beautiful Beginning

“Let my thoughts come to you, when I am gone, like the afterglow of sunset at the margin of starry silence.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

A well said quote and quite a famous one amongst the Bangla literature and culture. Rabindranath Thakur as we address him, is considered as the pioneer of Bangla Literature and culture. All his famous novels, his preachings, his teachings, his lessons are something that we still cling to. He won a Nobel Prize for literature. Even after many decades of his death, his legacy continues in many ways. People celebrate specific days as a tribute to him and mainly carrying forward his idea of literature.

I still remember the way I was introduced to his books and poems. My father was a big fan of Tagore and he always encouraged me to read few of his works and that’s how I developed the love for reading and passion for literature.

Literature means works of poetry and prose that are especially well written. Tagore said Literature is a form of human expression. This article is not only about Tagore but its about the importance of literature be it poem, prose, short stories, gazal or anything.When we say that its a form of human expression, it means a story or a poem written based on an author or poets perception of the world and its surrounding. How they use words and presents their idea to a larger audience.

7th May 2019 was 158th birthday of Rabindranath Tagore and as we say that his legacy still continues, the way people celebrate it. On the similar lines, Akila – a well known gujarati newspaper in Rajkot paved the way for the youth writers and authors by providing them a platform to publish their work and started with Akila India Publication House. This was commenced by the publishing of 2 gujarati poetry books by Milind Gadhavi.

Likely said, In the era of wifi, where people are found quite busy with Whatsapp, Instagram , Facebook and Twitter, the poet has compiled numerous poems in a book named “Raijai”. Immediately after hearing the name, I started googling about the meaning of the title of the book but somehow I failed. I wasn’t able to figure out the meaning which was then explained by a famous poet of Gujarati Literature Mr. Sanjubhai Vala.

Raijai” means a thoughtful conversation, discussion, gossip with your loved ones. Its been presented in the form of poems in gujarati language. Another book which was published with this was “Nanhe Aansu”where the poems are compiled in hindi language but the one which I loved it and it will stay with me is :

When I left from village,

My mother packed some happiness and smiles in my pocket,

But when I entered your city,

Someone stole it from my pocket!”

Nanhe Aansu by Milind Gadhvi

Such beautiful lines. Th event was a success with famous Gujarati Language orators like Jay Vasavada who gave an insight about the book and also talked about the importance of reading and expression, famous gujarati poet Mr. Bhikudan Gadhavi, Mr. Sanjubhai Vala and our very popular Hindu bard (kathakar) Morari Bapu (well known as bapu) who mostly talks about religious and spiritual beliefs.

It was my first time listening to all these famous orators. But few things which Bapu talked were intense and somewhere it changed my thought process. He said not everyone can write poems or stories or be a writer. A word is like a baby. It should be brought up like a baby. Not everyone has a skill of writing. When we write we aren’t playing with words, we are actually expressing ourselves and giving feelings to that words.

Though Bapu being a gujarati orator, talked and shared about his learnings from famous authors like Tagore and Oscar Wilde . Something which I will always carry with myself after this wonderful event “Aarambh” by Akila group (Nimish Ganatra, Kirit Ganatra and Ajit Ganatra) is that express yourself and give that feelings to the words when you have the inbuilt skill in yourself.

“Aarambh”

Last but not the least , something which was well said by Bapu during the event, “Wait for your time, wait for your story to begin and you will rise and shine like a star. Your karma will do the rest.”

Wishing congratulations to the Akila Group and a huge success to Milind Gadhavi for the new release of his books.

For One More Day

“And one day spent with someone you love can change everything!”

Another book of Mitch Albom which made me nostalgic. A story which would make you realise the importance of especially your mother and also the value of that important person in your life, whom you ignore and took for granted because of work or busy lifestyle. But we soon realise their value and importance in our life, when they are no more with us! I would say the same like Chick Benetto (main character in the book) I’d wish for one more such day with my father to share all the things which I didn’t share. It was very well expressed in the book “When someone is in your heart, they’re never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times.” Again worth a read ! ❤️#bookstagram #oneofthefavorites

Tuesdays With Morrie

A book that moved me in a big way. A book that kept me hooked in such a way that each chapter had lessons that made me underline the dialogues and the quotes.

It has the greatest life’s lessons. I felt myself connected to each and every situation, chapter and an experience.

I started hoping to have one such teacher in my life who would help me understand my actions and will guide me in this journey of life.

Also carried one thing, I as a teacher would make a difference in my student’s everyday life. Morrie said it right , “it’s never too late!”

It was an amazing experience while reading this. It’s worth the time I spent on this.

The subject of each class taken was “Meaning Of Life and it was taught from experiences.”

I look back in the book and have jotted few important points :

1. It’s always good to be more open about things.

2. To ignore the lure of advertised values. 3. To pay attention when your loved ones are speaking, it might be the last time you hear them.

4. Visit that special person before it gets too late.

Because we can’t undo what we have done or relive a life which is already recorded. We all are just the part of the ocean.

I wish we all should have a professor Morrie in our life to guide us throughout.

Worth A Read!

#bookstagram #discoveringmytrueself #inspiration #worthspendingtime #booksarelove