Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – First Impressions (Spoiler-free)! 

It’s overwhelming. Yup, that’s the word for it.

First things first, I’m giving out no spoilers. Read the rest of this post if you want to know what I thought of it and  to answer the question on everyone’s mind: Is it worth buying?
The short answer: If you’re not going to have the opportunity to watch the play, YES.

The long one:

Fans who followed the release and the news closely, would know that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes off where the Epilogue of Deathly Hallows left us. But here’s the thing, I don’t think Harry Potter ever left us. And that’s what J3 (Joanne, John and Jack) do. 
So,  yup. The play is a play on nostalgia, on our extremely fragile sentiments and of  course, takes you right into its arms from the word go. If like me,  you read all the books when they launched, a typical rainy Sunday; this script will make you travel across time and space. 
Without letting out much, let me tell you this, the play reads like it was made for the fans. And I’m not complaining! It feels like the fandom and its likes/dislikes were taken into consideration. Every time a new scene begins, you’ll either have moist eyes or pants (sorry!). If you’ve been a demented fan like me, you’ll know exactly what’s going to happen next. It’s the how it happens that I loved. 

At various points of my two-hour read I had to take a moment to wipe off a tear or really take it all in. This is something I could root for. This is it.

Is the play intense? Naah. Is it funny? In parts. But is it a fitting continuation of the series? Really depends. 

What I expected from the script of the   play was the story. The answer to ‘what next?’, and that bit was marvellous. Even if it’s not the same trajectory I imagined. What I’m now excited about is the actual stage production, because this reads like it was meant to be a movie. (Sidenote: I’d be really disappointed if this is not turned into another money-spinner on the big screen)

The plot in itself is complicated and at times goes into the implausible. You don’t want to believe J3 did that! SHE did that. But I guess, as the demographic of the Harry Potter fan changes (we’re almost all adults), some things had to. And boy does that bring about mixed feelings!

So, should you buy it? Yup, unless you get to watch it first. Even then, I guess I’ll buy the final script for posterity (this one was an ebook purchased on Pottermore).

Should you go in with expectations of it being the 8th book? Nope. Think of it as a tribute to the series. To its fans.

So did you finish reading it too? Are you reading it a second time already? I am!

Let me know what you thought of it!

PS. Please no spoilers in the comments! 

Here Goes Nothing…

Ahem. I am going to blog like nothing happened. Let’s ignore the last year when I completely gave up on writing. Ok? OKAY.

********************************

“Oh God Why Me?”

I turned another year older last month. Honestly, I cannot pinpoint to anything that’s changed in the last year. The last few years though? A LOT.

Responsibility comes with age, said my school teacher. Ya, right.

I cannot for the life of me point to one phase of my life where I didn’t feel that I wasn’t surrounded by kids. Too many negatives in that sentence. Basically, I’ve always felt like I was surrounded by immature kids who could do with some growing up.

Which gets me to my current phase in life.

I don’t blog as frequently as I used to at one point. I take on more work than what I can humanely accomplish. Which leads to muddled up deadlines and a lot of apologies. Much like the kids in my class.

See, there? I am actually growing more rash, as I grow up.

One might argue, that growing up is actually about taking calculated risks. But really, I am too much of a scared kitten for it to apply to me.

SO what are the risks I have taken in the last few years? Let’s see…

  1. I decided to let go of a career I dreamt of having since I was a kid. Sigh. (The sting never leaves, does it?)
  2. I have decided to get totally disconnected to any mainstream news and pop shows. (Still getting there!)
  3. I decided to be a teacher. (This is not funny.)

I put myself up for scrutiny every day. Every single day. The fellow teachers, the snotty 17-year-olds who cannot even cook their own food, the neighbours, the friends. Everyone judges me, because I am a teacher.

And no, this isn’t the snide, oh-you-must-be-teaching-because-you-can’t-do-anything-else kind of judging. That I can deal with. It’s the career-advice and job-accomplishments type of judging. Big deal, you say?

“Everyone gets that!”

NOT really.

You see, the problem is this: Not all of us might ever have dealt with a civil engineer. Not all of us know exactly what a doctor does. Nobody wants to know what an architect does. Or even a designer for that matter. None of us have a clue what CAs do! But here’s the thing, every single one of us, has had a teacher. Probably for an extended period of time. This, apparently, qualifies all and sundry to tell me how to do my job.

Now here’s the thing, I am new to this job. I never professionally trained to be a teacher. But I am one. And if I need advice, I’d rather go to someone who is a teacher rather than ask you, Madame and Monsieur Randome. You, who were teachers for one glorious day in 10th standard when you lorded over a bunch of 10-year-olds.

Also, everyone who is a teacher has only one advice for everyone else. You learn on the job! You’ve no clue what a class will be like unless you’re there – experiencing that hate emanate from a multitude of sources. Hate, or awe. There is never an understanding or appreciation for what you do, in my very vast experience. Kidding.

There’s a silent understanding – ‘I will behave. Hence, it is my right to demand that you end the class 10 minutes earlier than scheduled.’

I get this, and I do this; because even if I may be this young-ish teacher who is still figuring out how to carry on talking when a 100 faces are furiously stabbing at their iphones; I was on the other side of the table just a few moments ago. And while I demanded of my teachers to be a little more considerate towards me, a person balancing her education and a job, I think I can extend the same courtesy to my kids.

Moral of the story? As I grow another year older, I’ve realised educating someone isn’t entirely my cup of tea. Not yet at least. I will probably need advice. Not yours, though. Maybe advice from the people I am trying to learn with. My students.

PS. This birthday bought some awesome gifts. That deserves its own post! 😀

The Appropriation of Bihar

Heartranjan's Blog

The recently concluded Bihar elections was the most interest in Bihar I have ever seen.

Till a few weeks back, Bihar was the joker in the pack. The easiest to ridicule, get laughs out of. When someone says they’re from Bihar, a silence follows, since nobody wants to say anything.

Behind their backs, jokes about rickshawalas, uneducated paan-chewing brutes are cracked, and consumed. Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was the bloody Prime Minister of the country, was ridiculed for being, afterall, a ‘Bihari’.

But he’s Vajpayee, and he’s a poet and stuff, so you can’t fuck with him. He quickly replied that he is ‘Bihari’, yes. But he is also ‘Atal’ (firm).

The point is, till last week, Bihar didn’t figure in the serious landscape of the regular Scroll-consuming Facebooker.

Now suddenly, everybody wants to talk about Bihar.

People who haven’t been to the state even once, have no idea…

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Snippets

“So what’s been up?”

“Well, for four months now I’ve been working everyday. Loving it mostly, but it’s tiring.”

“Oh, so you’re still teaching?”

*cringe* “Yes, why?”

“You are so intelligent, why waste time teaching? I could make a few calls if you’re looking for a job…”

“Ah… See I’m teaching because I want to. I quite like it. It’s not an accident. Me teaching, you know?”

“Obviously, obviously. Quite a noble profession at that. So, how’s your health.”

“It’s much better, thank you.”

“Do you get time to rest with the teaching hours and prep?”

“Not really. But it’s okay, I don’t think I’d have rested even if I were unemployed.”

“Hmm… That’s the problem. Take care, Masterni!”

**********

“Hey! Heard you’re a teacher now!”

“Yes. Though not full time, I don’t have the experience. Still learning how to teach effectively and get them to be interested”

“Oh! So abhi Diwali vacation?”

“No. At the institute I teach, we have two long breaks at the end of semesters and two short ones in the middle.”

“Oh! So… what’s the point of being a teacher? Vacations are your benefits no?”

*cringe* “Mmm.. Not really.”

********

“Hey! Mummy said you’re teaching!”

“Yes aunty. It’s been a very short while actually.”

“That’s good that’s good. Teachers make good housewives. Plus you already have experience of dealing with children!”

*Cringe* “……..”

********

“Ma’am, why did you start teaching?”

“I always wanted to. Thought I’d be a journalist first and then look for teaching in that field, but then, this isn’t consolation prize really.”

“But you’re still young. Are you sure you want to do this all your life?”

“For now, yes. I enjoy it.”

“Why? Teachers always say how we’re not a nice batch but they love teaching anyway.”

“You send WhatsApp forwards on silly stuff you don’t mean all the time, correct? When we’re really exasperated, we say stuff to discipline you.”

“I guess what I mean is, you know so much… You’ll leave teaching if you get something better?”

“I’m sure I’ll leave it only if I can’t teach and do what I like together. Otherwise I’ll be here I think.”

********

“Why did you decide to teach?”

“I’ve been fond of lecturing people for a while now. I think if I can get paid for it, why not.”

“Mmm.. You’ve no experience. You’ll think of it differently soon. I’ve been teaching for long enough to know that.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Do you mind me teaching? I’ve no experience.”

“You like it, right? So why not. You’re young, the students will connect better with you.”

“I hope they see me as a teacher. Any advice?”

“Naah. You’ll figure it out.”

*******

“Sooooo… It’s been a while. I hear your students hate English!”

“Oh well, not a core subject. I think literature would’ve been preferable to grammar. The gender kids kinda seem happy to listen to me.”

“Oh, it was your calling always.”

“I’m glad you think that way, ma’am.”

“Yes. Just don’t make it your only source of living. You can’t be poor all your life.”

******

image

Disclaimer: I don't teach Hindi!

Let’s Work!

It’s not that I don’t like to write anymore. My problem is that I cannot handle who sees my content.

Writing on a public platform or even being on a social network presumes that you are making your life public. Facets of your life that you would like people to see and some that you wouldn’t.

I think I Overthink Stat 3

If you’re reading me from South Africa, you need to say “Aye” in the comments section. I’d really really like to get to know you!

When the time came to pen my musings, silly stories, and random tall-tales, the blog was the best medium to me. First, because well, it’s a diary. A diary I can share with people and a repository for me to get back to later in life. When I first started blogging, I was around 18, and this was my main aim.

Then I grew up, and my reason for blogging was to indulge in a different kind of network, the one of blogger friends. A lot of my friends blog much more successfully than I do; the point of this network is to encourage each other and write.

In my very honest opinion, the value of the written word, though always on the wane, has never been lower than now. In the words of my dad “Who reads your blog? Your friends? Family? What value do your train stories add to someone’s life?” SO honestly, why on earth will anyone in their right minds want to read what I have to say about  nonsensical events. Who am I?

This is when the real questions started being asked. Do I want to be ‘someone’? Someone who is read and followed? Someone with an interesting life that people with “lives” would want to read. Did I want to be the person whose personal life would interest people? Can there, realistically, be a division between the private and the public life? The answer, unfortunately for me, was a BIG FAT NO.

So at this crossroad, last year, I decided to de-personalise (not a word, I know. Thank you). My blogging was mainly about books and songs; activities I went overboard with over bored myself. Couldn’t resist.

However, my blog stats were at an all time high, people were talking, I was having fun… well sort of. Most importantly, I set an achievable target for someone who was even a little more motivated and disciplined than I. That’s where I failed.

Blog stats now.

Blog stats now.

I started experimenting with teaching early this year. It’s been a bumpy ride. More so thanks to social media and the multiple ways to peep into people’s lives.

After my first week, I had 25 new hits on my blog. This was something I had resigned to. Everyone wants to know what kind of a teacher they’re being dished out. What I did not expect were the hits that were bringing these people to my blog. Questions I knew were coming from my students because they were related to the little personal details I gave out in class.

I could either reconcile myself to the fact that this is where the dual personality had to be shed off or, like any sane person, I would turn my blog private. I chose to stop blogging.

I am not the first person with privacy concerns. I know that, believe me, I do. But my problems don’t seem smaller because everyone faces them. They’re just as terrifying and bothersome.

I decided that I could be “true” to my blog only when I was myself, and not the persona I was putting out in class. Like a dear student told me the other day, I am a youngish-short-woman in a field where your personality is the biggest driving force. How could I be a teacher when my students saw me as one of them?

I had to end the silly-person-with-a-lot-of-tangents-in-her-head image. Probably the truest I would be in public. Truer than my intellectual-reader-with-a-goofy-side image from facebook and more than my holier-than-thou-extremely-organised-teacher image. I am not those people.

Oh well.

Oh well.

Slowly, the key-words getting people to my blog started to change. It’s silly now, but less personal. I’d like to think it’s mostly because I have a more balanced approach to my class now, but it’s not true. It’s probably the lack of interest in a blog that has been discarded for a full year.

I didn’t do my year-end note last year. Something everyone near and dear to me asked about. Something I absolutely love doing. All because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add to this space anymore. Because I have no clue where to draw the line.

I’ve decided to blog anyway.

I think I Overthink MailI’ve decided to blog because the number of people reading my posts hasn’t diminished. I’ve decided to blog because a man took the pains to write to me from Pakistan saying he liked what I wrote as a teenager. I’ve decided to blog because well, I miss writing.

Hope you find the will to come back to me and work with me!

An English teacher’s ode to Bollywood

…….and I rest my case.

mommygolightly

I am just back from a class excursion with 50 adolescents. We went rappelling, rock-climbing, jungle cooking, bird watching, star-gazing, zip lining, trust-walking, obstacle clearing, bonfire singing and dancing, tree-climbing and strawberry picking, among other things. It was my first excursion as a teacher. The kids’ hormones were on overdrive, their responses to everything was hugely exaggerated and their ability to talk endlessly often tired me out. But what was interesting is despite our age gap, we had plenty of common ground.

On the onward bus journey which lasted five hours, there were the usually medley of jokes, knock- knocks and smart one liners doing the rounds. I watched, curious, not knowing how entertainment in today’s generation would unfold. Eventually they began singing, and in a few minutes, the verdict was clear. Bollywood won. They were singing my songs, although they were singing the remix versions. I was warned about…

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WHAT DO DOGS DO ON DIWALI ?

Nicely sums up the Great Indian Facebook Debate on Diwali! 🙂

Heartranjan's Blog

Riding a bike on Diwali night is like being in a video game. You’re riding on your bike on dark roads. There are psychedelic sounds and lights around you, changing with every turn on the road.

There are assholic children flinging crackers and you have to evade them. You have one life and limited health (with or without insurance).

Come Diwali, a certain type of moralistic messages creep up on your wall. Don’t pollute nature, think of the environment, etc etc. But what most people don’t realise is that it is really kids who do it. After a certain age, you outgrow it. You sit back and notice people, and write blogs about it.

I think it is a little hypocritical that after celebrating Diwali in the way we did, we suddenly turn all Baba Jogeshwar on kids and ask them to save the environment. I mean, how often have you…

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