the sculptor and the sculpted

you taught me to lose my ‘self’
to be this, to be that, you told me!
to please you, you and you
to listen, to obey, to follow!
pleasing all pleased all
but never appeased ‘me’!

‘be with the world’ you told me
was bad at learning many a time
never learning enough to lose my ‘self’
dug pits within
to bury deep inside
in bits, in pieces
I pleased you and you and you
I dug pits deeper and deeper and deeper
digging caved in hollows
was bad at learning many a time!

years have gone by
age many has passed by
never dig pits now
‘be with the world’ been much easier now
hollowed enough to let go!
now, but now
you ask me to find my ‘self’
not to be with the world
to be ‘the me’ in the world, you tell me!
‘under control’ pleased all, all the time!
pleasing all never pleased you and you and you now!
holes many have I dug
hollows many have I now
hollow I am, never shallow!

you…. you taught me to lose my ‘self’then!
and now…. you ask me to find my ‘self’… you!
attaworld!…. cheers to you! … cheers to me!

 

Attaworld! …… cheers to you …… and…… cheers to me …… indeed! ……But……am I not you? ain’t you me? …..

can we not ‘just be, let be’?

in continuation to a thought conceived during chat with a fellow blogger! thanks to SKT! 
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‘the sculpted’
terracotta sculpture by Arpan and artist Augustine Varghese, Kochi

Dreamy matters!

     Clear blue sky and unending horizon beckoned me, pleasantly! There is no towering concrete structures between me and the horizon to obstruct my view far and wide… I could see the the entire city…may be more from the balcony up there above! With spirits soaring high, inhaling fresh friendly air, I look down …. at thinly lined crisscross roadways beneath …..far far beneath.. …. I heave a sigh, glad to be long long way away from the thick relentlessly running crowd aground! …. Hold on… what do I see here? … Men walking …. in air – just a few there – but …yes indeed walking! Excited and enthused I step out, heaving a big sigh along a beaming smile ……. with unbound happiness surging within…….I slowly step ahead…. yes … I CaN …..WALK IN THE AIR … I take a few steps ahead carefully …. rush back overwhelmed … spellbound, euphoric, I smile, I laugh and I turn around, eyes wide open….. !!!…..er…ugh…..!! its dark, oh…..but….how?….oh…. I still feel euphoric……ugh…..!!!…. ….!!! It was all a dream! …..psssssttt….sssttt!!!

     Dream, it’s been like a TV screen locked inside my head – a screen that gets switched on and off randomly in sleep to play shows different. It rarely replayed a show once telecast and I’ve been watching shows many since childhood – fascinating, amusing, sometimes frightening shows!  No, it has never bothered to disturb my psyche, I linked it to TV for the bizarre drama it presented!

     Dreams are like those clouds on sky! Clouds that doodled pictures different every time! Sky remained serene and plain….  clouds added the drama!

When I was a kid, I was so intrigued once bearing witness to a spectacular array of metaphysical scenes in my dream that I couldn’t help describing it to a schoolmate who I thought was my friend. I was ridiculed. I was laughed at – by all! I learnt dreams are not to be shared. It’s absurd! Mom was the only silent listener whenever she could spare time for my dream narratives and she always told me to offer prayers before I went to sleep. I thought dreaming was bad and remembering even worse! I learnt to keep the picturesque madness within me! I wasn’t ready to ramp my absurdity, not yet!

Dream
my life-size theater where
I walked in air with clouds
climbed cliffs
found barricaded doors I escaped
wandered happily in paradise
felt threatened by creepers
walked sheepishly barely robed

Once in a while, I saw something in my dream which eventually unfolded in reality – it was exciting yet unnerving! Gladly, most of the time, it was just shows different on my TV screen and I kept watching until a few months after college when I decided to dissect a dream to know its source. This happened because a particular show was getting replayed – again and again – that was unusual and I wanted to know why? I wrote it all down!

That was an episode that tipped me off – I realized it was a themed melodramatic depiction of a specific aspect of my life and my plight with symbolic props and characters(after all its a show and its gotta be peppy…yep!). Incidentally, it was a plight I was consciously not giving heed to in physical reality, probably it was boiling within! After dissection, that dream just stopped disturbing me. I knew what to do. It brought me not just solace but success!

It’s not that I dream every day. But when I did, I became curious to break it to know the source. No, certainly not all were possible to be tracked. Its not that I remembered every scene either. Sometimes when I woke up in between with emotions still hanging on me heavily, I tried to skim through those scenes consciously just to store them for later dissection. It worked sometimes. It didn’t sometimes. Sleep gained more importance on bed. When prime characters in the show involved familiar faces, I failed in tracking source – I lacked clarity there! I remained consciously blind to something!

Dream
my life-size theater where
self presented to self
its form rudimentary,
desires uncurtained,
emotions uncurtailed,
perceptions unbridled,
to explore, to navigate
vistas unnoticed, uncared within
to know, to be!

Someone did ‘science with dreams‘ and recorded ‘dreams are made of geomagnetic activity‘. Glad I didn’t know about it when I decided to dissect my dream. I might have missed out on the fun, excitement and knowledge!

May be dreams are not totally made of geomagnetic activity, it probably has something to do with what goes on within one’s mind – may be geomagnetic magnificence provoked those bizarre metaphysical streaming and unnerving scenic displays!

Dream
the thither vision of my hither story!
is this a metaphoric picturesque matrix
of perspective au naturel?
could this be mind’s theme
directed spectacularly by
geomagnetic magnificence?

But then, what do scientists say for dreams that eventually unfold in reality or dreams that showed past events unknown to you ?  

Photos clicked @ Kochi and Oman

It’s all in the game – Playing Marbles

“It’s all in the game”: Fourth in the series on less cost, nontoxic, plastic-free kids games from the past – its about Playing Marbles this time!

In India more fondly called ‘Goli’, ‘Goti’, ‘Kanche’, it was an all boys game usually played outdoors – on streets, vacant grounds and even school premises! 

playing marbles

Thinking aback, “Goli’ was one game my brothers took me in without recommendations, persuasions or bargains despite me not fitting in their gender. Glad games don’t have genders. As for my brothers, I should admit they included me in many games they played within the tall walls of our home – sometimes to fill in the number, sometimes to avoid my silent outbursts later! Thanks to them! They used to play a game akin to cricket indoors and they hardly failed to line me in despite my sickeningly pathetic batting, bowling and fielding – I never improved there! In marbles, it was different- the glow and glitz of those glassy restless spherical balls kind of pleased and elated my spirits. Designs seemed to wriggle within and I was happy to let them loose on ground. When a marble broke, I was curious to know what was inside. I handled them pleasurably, lovingly, less carefully and much willingly.

They say Playing Marbles is similar to golf! I think its strangely connected to billiards – knocking a ball with another ball! In both games, they use stick(golf club/cue stick) and holes/pockets are many. In ‘goli’, a player strikes a series of marbles with one marble to make them all reach a single hole-with no accessories or tools! 

Teach your children Newton’s different ‘Laws of Motion’ playfully!

Advantages in playing marbles are many. Whether it be learning basic physics or basics of life per se – one’s action and probable reactions, focus, skill, reaching goal – this game applies to all!

Movement of marbles, force that we use, resulting collision that trigger more movement, external factors that affect movement including breeze, uneven surface and weight of the marble – yes, it’s more interesting to learn basic concepts of physics this way – force, friction, mass, surface and how these factors affect behavior of a marble. Inquisitive child’s mind will learn these concepts at ease playfully.

Therapeutic benefits:

  • Improves fine motor skills (involves coordination of small muscles in our hands and fingers to work together for tossing the marble) – Speed, direction and movement of a marble is dependent on player’s exertion of appropriate pressure on the marble that is tossed. Gradually, player learns to adeptly control his finger movements and tossing styles.
  • Develops concentration & focus
  • Gross motor skills (involves usage of large muscles of our body to perform a movement – in this game more specifically large muscles of arms and legs)
  • Improves eye-hand coordination
  • Enhances spatial awareness 
  • Visual processing skills – Understanding distance between his/her tossing position and gauging the force that needs to be exerted to strike opponent’s marble/s to make it all reach hole.
  • Socialization skills  – Players devise their rules and learn to agree for a fair play. It is this agreement of sorts which will help in learning negotiation skills, developing mutual understanding, trust, healthy competition and cooperation. When played in groups, kids learn the concept of equal opportunity and learn to wait and accept.

How to play?

Materials required:
Small glass marbles(about 1 cm in diameter) 2 – 5 marbles for each player

A Shallow (heel-sized) hole is dug in the ground (if playing indoors, create a small goal post)
A stick or a chalk to draw lines
A leveled ground helps in free movement of marbles

Number of Players:

Minimum two. More the number more interesting gets the game as more marbles come into play and made available for possession.

How to Play?

Different ways and styles for playing marbles are shared in “other links” and “video” down the page.

Unwritten ‘Agreement of Sorts’

In our mode of play, each player started his/her game bringing in two marbles initially into play. Players brought in more marbles in his/her subsequent turns – minimum and maximum number of marbles brought in per turn per player is decided in advance. A player starts his turn positioning his shooter marble from a predetermined line. Marble that is used to strike or shoot other marbles is called a shooter marble and some players had a special or lucky marble for this purpose.

Every time a marble lands in the hole, player gets an extra chance and his next flick is from the vantage position that his shooter marble has rolled to. If the shooter marble falls in the hole, player loses a turn, but gets to keep his shooter marble with him.

The start

All players toss in their shooter marble simultaneously from a predetermined distance. Player whose shooter marble lands first in the hole starts the game. 

Basic play

First player throws his two marbles near hole. If both lands in hole, then second player gets the chance. If one or both marbles remain outside, then first player gets to strike them. If he manages to flick these marbles to reach hole (with his shooter marble), he wins all marbles in the hole and continues game bringing more marbles into play. Else, he gets the one with which he hit(shooter marble) leaving the other one/two marbles per se on ground.

Second player starts his turn by throwing in his two marbles near hole and flicks his (shooter)marble to strike opponent’s marble/s gently to make them all reach hole. He wins all marbles that gets dropped into hole else gets the one with which he hit(shooter marble) leaving the rest on ground per se. Game continues till all marbles of all players are brought into play and won. Player who manages to drop maximum marbles in the hole is declared winner!

Number of marbles each player brings into the game and whether players get to keep all marbles won by them are decided by mutually agreed rules. At home, all marbles went to one common box at the end – possessions and ownership mattered only while playing -that’s what happens when you play with elder brothers – you gotta listen despite your crazy hunger to possess them all!

Techniques in tossing marble:

Complicated styles make the game more challenging and how you choose your tossing style is your choice.

Knuckle down-player holds his/her shooting marble in the crook or curve of his index finger while resting the knuckle on ground and shoots or flicks the marble with his thumb.

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Flicking-player places his shooting marble between forefinger & thumb. Hold your forefinger back with the thumb exerting little pressure and then flip or snap the forefinger forward. This style of tossing is similar to flicking the striker on carrom board.

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Indian style of playing involved holding your shooting marble in the forefinger/middle finger of left hand (right or left is dependent on the ease of player) and stretching the forefinger/middle finger backwards exerting pressure by forefinger of the other hand while resting the thumb of your left hand on the ground. Marble is held tight between the fingers before pressure is released. A comparatively difficult style that demands flexibility of both hands and it requires practice!

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This post is longer than I intended. It was a little difficult recollecting the mode of playing but hope ‘ve not done injustice to memory and happy times! These old games don’t come with written rules which gives us the wand to make it twisted or simple as our mind fancies – leave it to your kids to design theirs but sure its worth a try! 

How to play marbles- links:
http://www.landofmarbles.com/marbles-play.html
http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Marbles

For younger kids there are options different:
click for Video
http://spaghettiboxkids.com/blog/how-to-play-marbles-part-1/
http://spaghettiboxkids.com/blog/how-to-play-marbles-part-2/

It’s all in the game – ‘Skipping’

‘It’s all in the game’ series continues and this time its about ‘skipping’. Skipping may not be a game per se but what’s in a name or term for a child? Anything that involves loads of fun and energy is interesting and irresistible!

Click here to read earlier parts of “It’s all in the game”

Kids have always amazed me – their curiosity, readiness to explore, utter inability to wait, will to win and will to forgive … some skills there certainly I would like to relearn and retain now! They’re quite competent in maneuvering small and large screens expertly – that’s absolutely admirable but in the process they shouldn’t go unawares of the ways of maneuvering physical body!

It’s my association and experience with kids and adolescents at two different institutions in the recent past that changed my perception on activities, games and their varying impacts on human body, mind and cognitive skills and this series is a result of the same! 

Kids start by imitating and learn by exploring -whether it be handling gadgets, playing games or exploring nature ………….it all starts with us! So let’s start

skipping

Skipping is a simple activity but it plainly exhibits one’s power to fight against gravity and kids literally love this anti-gravity movement. 

I remember those school days(of ’80’s) when girls smuggled in their skipping ropes to school just to enjoy the fun at break hours. Some of them had more than a pair at home and they brought it all to share(with pride no doubt)! They jumped, not just for the feel and fun, but to challenge everyone to beat scores. It may be a solo performance or a group activity – jumping the rope together emphasized understanding and unity between friends! Ability to keep count and count speedily were matters of some concern but what mattered most was – fun, entertainment and happiness!

For us jumping the rope and skipping the rope meant the same and we did it either ways as per will. (Personally, I bettered at jumping then but now I prefer skipping-I keep losing breath while jumping now!)

skipping sceneAs a child, this game had made me reach my ‘highs’ and ‘feel light’. I was surprised when I found my friends had failed to introduce these activities to kids. It wasn’t intentional -it’s just that they forgot! These games are less charming now! Besides, just like me, they too were unaware of the positives! They were trying hard and spending more to keep their kids engaged! I gifted skipping rope and introduced different games. Those happy faces make me happy in turn and …yes, I too have my bit of fun and energizing exhaustion with them! Kids love anything fun, they get bored easily and gotta give vent to their energy! 

And now we get to the benefits of Skipping. This is for all those who value ‘knowledge’ – I appreciate that and here we go! I’m not a professional and ‘ve sought professional help to give a fair picture.

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* Prerequisites for skipping – a child should be able to stand, walk, hop & jump with good balance.  Any child with these prerequisites (above 3-4 years of age) can be encouraged to do skipping.

Precaution:  It is advised that children with heart problem should be allowed to do this activity only under doctor’s advice and therapeutic supervision.

Therapeutic benefits and precautions have been compiled under guidance of Mrs.Nirmala Solanky Venkateswaran, Occupational Therapist, who has been serving kids and adults for over 55 years. She needs no introduction to those who have read the earlier parts of ‘It’s all in the game‘.

Besides fun, skipping helps in burning calories too – it’s a good stay fit exercise. So don’t hesitate…. gear up and get your skipping rope today – not just for kids!! 

Options in skipping are aplenty and you may check the youtube link here:
Different types of skipping on youtube 
and for more options please click here

 

A wanderer’s beach pondering….

This has been in my Evernote for a few days now…. drafted during our drive from beach. It was not a weekend trip but an in between one to Al Sawadi beach.

Beach looked deserted being a week day – may be its the Ramadan fasting and warm weather that kept everyone home.

I stood watching shells that were strewn generously on sands – shells and conchs of sizes many, shapes many and shades many that spoke of lives lived and still living in waters -sea seemed to be brimming with life!

You never feel alone amidst nature! Loneliness may be an excuse… solitude is different -you revel and revive in it! 

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its not the sands that tickle your feet all the time – shells do it intermittently…..almost everywhere!  

At Sawadi sands, I get tempted to pocket a few shells every time!

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sands at Sawadi are darker in shade…shells shine sharply here!

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waves churned with unbounded joy
liken a bundle of school kids let loose
bathed and garbed in new found happiness
frivolous, joyous, immensely happy
they raced, they chased, mirthfully bashing one another
falling frailly – giggling rapturously
never wanting to end the fun
they turned aback
to relive it all – all over again!

Sea was relatively calmer last time. May be seas too are prone to mood swings. They need winds to bubble up. They have their high and low tides too – gravity, sun and moon playing their roles perfectly they say!

What am I but elements with 60% water inside and isn’t it quite natural that I too am prone to high and low tides surging and falling within?

 

All images were clicked at Al Sawadi beach, Oman

the bronzen treats

setting beams
of the simmering fireball
spilled silky tenderness
on subjects all –
I bathed in the
gleaming satiny radiance!

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bed may be a thin rim of rusted iron, matters what?  certainly a soothing beamy spa in progress …..or is this catzy heliotherapy?

surging beams
of dawning sun
stretched arms serenely

scattering shimmering lustre most gently
and I basked in the
radiating bronzy glow!

DSCN3204-7That’s the beauty of setting sun. He can blacken you out from behind. To get a silhouette or a soft bronzian glow – all depends on where you place your lens – either way it’s just beautiful! 

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting” (– Ralph Waldo Emerson)