The Twist of Fate

It was a long time ago that I had this doubt in choosing between English and History for graduation. The problem was that I liked both of the subjects almost equally, and couldn’t figure out a choice between them. I was also not confident about choosing between these two also because I was a very doubtful person, and wondered which of these would do me good and which one won’t be that good for me. There was not going to be much difference in the studies for me, but there was going to be certain change in the results.

I used to read both English Literature and History works, and so that was going to be a problem. So, I decided to ask a few people. The result was all on one side though, in favour of English. I tried tossing a coin, and even that showed English. Only the time spent in the games Age of Empires, Rise of Nations, Civilization and Caesar had me with another ideas. People were all so much in favour of English that I wondered why they hadn’t recommended Humanities to me for Plus Two. Still, I was closer to one of my two favourite courses then.

And then there was the Lighthouse Beach at Kovalam.

We need lighthouses in our lives to show where to go without hitting the rocks.

I was still going to tell these people when I joined and where, because letting too many people know things was the reason behind most of my problems. So, I called my friend who was studying outside Kerala, and as many of the others and almost every friend whom I had from school or neighbourhood, he was also going through Engineering. If he wasn’t going through that course, that would have been a surprise, because I have had the title of being the only one strange non-Engineer, non-Doctor person.

He told me to go on with English because he knew that I wrote something which none of my friends wanted to read or understand. I felt that it was a fair suggestion because I had often wondered what I wrote about and why. Choosing English could give me a better direction at that time. There was the need to read more and direct my writings better. So, choosing English was the right thing to do, and History could happen on another day. So, the friend went back to the procedure of collecting supplementary exams, and I made clear about the choice again.

During these days, I wonder about the decisions, but choosing English hasn’t really bothered me at all, even as I couldn’t find a job after that; it is just that the route doesn’t make me sad. It is something that I had wanted and with both the BA as well as the MA, I have never really felt any big trouble during the course. Even now, I find happiness in being MA English graduate rather than any other, and this also meant that I could study in the one college where I always wanted to study. It was the right choice; may be History would have done just okay, but the choice was still fine.

Darkness spreads. But how fast can that happen?

Choices do make things happen – what if we take that wrong turn instead?

But I did take my second degree in History too, and so it wasn’t really a loss even there. In the end, it was about which degree to come first and which one to follow. With nothing lost in the end, the #SachchiAdvice worked better because the language had given me more power, and I could use a good amount of this acquired strength while writing for the History exams too. History had also come as one of the extra subjects to study for the English graduation. So everything was related.

Nowadays, when I wonder what I should have done different or what I could have chosen in another way, this choice doesn’t come to the list of bad decisions, and it happens to be the #SachchiAdvice which has made things work. There is always the need for some confirmation related to the decisions from people we trust, and I haven’t been that good in making decisions. But here, the decision was the kind which still inspires me to write. I feel that if I was not MA English, I wouldn’t have even started a blog at WordPress.

I am participating in the #SachchiAdvice Contest by MaxLife in Association with BlogAdda.

***The images used on this blog post were taken by me only.

TeNy

Tribute to the Teachers

My time at the Union Christian College was very good, and each of the lecturers at the English Department has played a big role in defining me – it is something that I can never forget. I have already written about my days at the college (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/the-college-days-at-ucc/) which won a contest too, and I might come with a detailed tribute later. But for now, I would like to remember those teachers who defined my earlier days of studies at the school level. My memories about that time period remains less clear, but it is worth a try.

Among my favourite teachers, there are two who helped me with my English. One is Aleyamma teacher who was my all-time favourite teacher – I would give her credit for myself scoring very high in English for my tenth board exams. She was strict with her class, and always hesitated to give marks, and the best one could score for the English paper if it was evaluated by her – it was around eighty two out of hundred and sometimes nobody scored an eighty; not really inspiring the students to choose English as the favourite subject, but her level of teaching and valuation compared to the others was clear when the scores reached near cent percent for the board exams while the students who scored high in the local test papers and examinations got low marks.

Just reminding myself that I used to win prizes, even at state level :D

Just reminding myself that I used to win some big prizes, even at state level 😀

I have had the opportunity to stand outside the class during her classes, but that only inspired me to work harder – from the way she managed the classes, it was all so clear to me. I tried to read more and make things work better, and I wished she had taught me English for a longer period of time. No longer being in her classes was the biggest miss for me after the tenth standard. Joseph sir who gave me tutions for English also provided the same, and he played a big role in making the English language and grammar interesting. As long as he taught me, I never had any doubt about which subject to study more than the others. But all subjects other than English were made so boring in comparison.

Another love for a subject goes to History, and the credit for that goes to Laila teacher who could come up with least boring History class that I have ever known. She had a special style of saying “Mao Tse-tung” and “Chiang Kai-shek” which made sure that the Chinese Revolution was never forgotten. I remember that I had once topped History for the first time and she was like “what took you so long?”. I could score high for the subject during the board exams too, and I was actually blessed with the certain fact that she was the one who taught me History throughout high school, a memory that I cherish. I don’t even remember seeing her in anger when teaching or dealing with matters of the class.

Then there was Uma teacher, who made the subject of Geography have any value. She also used to teach some English when there was the need, and I did feel that she made her points so clear with the class. If I have something of the subject remaining inside my brain, it is because she make me relate well with that subject which was never among my stronger areas. It is the base for Geography that she had provided, just like that base for History and English which were established. I managed to do fine with the subject for the tenth board exams, and make Social Science look nice in totality.

A portion of the scanned image - favourite teachers are third from left and first from right.

A portion of the scanned image – favourite teachers are third from left and first from right.

Then there was Martin sir who made an impression for my Plus Two, but the major problem there was that, as a Mathematics teacher, he came too late to make a big impact – there was no love left for me with Maths, and even for the Science subject, the lack of good teachers during the earlier periods of schooling deprived me of any love for those subjects. My favourite subjects were formed due to the presence of some good teachers during the school days, and they were English, History and Geography – those were the three subjects which made me interested due to having the best teachers, the four whom I salute, and my respect for the fifth who tried so hard to make my Maths better, but couldn’t 😀

This blog post is inspired by Sucheta’s writing (https://suchetabiswas.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/we-the-people-and-the-teachers-we-have), and reminds me that I should have carried over the inspiration and knowledge which were provided by these teachers. But unfortunately, I did lose most of it for some time, and could only partially gain a part of it back. It was rather a near-impossible task because of my certain inabilities. ***The images used in this blog post are scanned and cropped photos from my distant past – the schooldays.

TeNy

Never Say No to Cochin

Do you know that the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is going on right now? If you haven’t read about it, please check the information about the same on the website http://kochimuzirisbiennale.org/ – but I am pretty sure that there will be enough information about the same on most of the newspapers of India, and it is abundant on the newspapers of Kerala. For those who are not aware of the same, it will be there till the twenty nineth of March this year. Everybody needs to attend a biennale at least once.

A quote I found interesting during the Kochi Biennale :)

A quote I found interesting during the Kochi Biennale – on death by water 🙂

That would make people wonder if I am writing this from the location, and the answer is no. I haven’t been to this year’s Biennale. But I have been to the last festival which had its times during 2012-2013 and I have to admit that it was so well arranged, and impressively managed. So, is this post about that journey? No, this is more about Fort Cochin in general. I have been to the last Biennale and enjoyed it, and those four journeys to the Biennale were part of my multiple journeys to the place. Fort Cochin is a place which I have visited so many times.

Yes, you can also get captures like this during the Kochi Biennale ;)

Yes, you can also get captures like this during the Kochi Biennale – notice a jealous crow 😉

A journey to Fort Cochin shouldn’t be limited to one place. It should consist of four places – Fort Cochin, Mattanchery, Thoppumpady and Kumbalanghi, the last one being a tourist village and an island with so much of natural beauty – I certify the same. The second last one is on the way to Fort Cochin, and Saint Sebastian’s Church there, a heritage building and a famous religious structure, is worth your time, and you can also have a nice view of the lake from the back side of the building.

Santa Cruz Basilica - a structure that you wouldn't want to miss.

Santa Cruz Basilica – a structure that you wouldn’t want to miss at any cost.

Then, about Fort Cochin and Mattanchery – they can’t be seen separately. The latter has the Dutch Palace which I am yet to visit, and the Jew Street with the Jewish Synagogue which is India’s oldest functioning synagogue. It also has the Holy Cross Church where Church the Coonan Cross Oath took place where an oath was taken by the ancient Christians not to submit to the Portuguese and in the need to continue their culture and traditions. Mattanchery Jain Temple is another much visited destination.

Chinese fishing nets - always part of Cochin and its islands.

Chinese fishing nets – always part of Cochin and its islands, adding to its glory.

Coming back to Fort Cochin, one has to admit that there is no better place to conduct the Biennale considering how much of history this place has, and how much of colonial as well as some of the traditional Kerala culture can be witnessed on the streets of the town. There are the Chinese fishing nets as well as the buildings of its colonial past which form the major part of this end of the extended Cochin city. Given to the Portuguese by the King of Cochin in return for military aid, this place has been under Portuguese as well as Dutch occupation and finally coming under the British till independence.

A day at the beach - Kerala never forgets its football.

A day at the beach – Kerala never forgets its football, and neither does its soul.

Saint Francis Church remains a significant landmark as the oldest European church in India, originally built by the Portuguese, and where Vasco da Gama was buried. It comes under the Archaeological Survey of India and the Church of South India as of now. Santa Cruz Basilica originally built by the Portuguese which was destroyed by the British and was later re-built, remains another symbol of the area’s long history. You would love its Gothic interiors with some beautiful works.

The oldest European church in India - antiquity's own child.

The oldest European church in India; Saint Francis Church – antiquity’s own child.

Then there is the beach, where sometimes the love of football can be seen in full power, and some of the monuments as well as the remains of other few, including that of Fort Emmanuel. You can walk on the paved area or the beach itself and see those ships, boats as well as the Chinese fishing nets. You can also see some more churches, temples and mosques, as well as the Dutch Cemetery. There are some huge trees to add to the beauty and serenity of the already lovable world. When is the best time to visit? Right now, for there is Biennale going on!

The fishing boats with the old bridge of Cochin on the background.

The fishing boats of Cochin with the old bridge of the city on the background.

All photos were taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 during 2010-2012 period.

TeNy