The month of exams have started and is making a huge rush in the blood stream of both students and teachers. Assignments, revisions, reviews, test series and what not. We all wait for this deadly month to get over and wait to welcome the spring of April and the months ahead till June. You know why? To talk about summer vacations is super fun indeed. The way the exams unfold and get over, the way the new month brings in more possibilities, opportunities and wishes. I, as a teacher, crave for this 2 month super fun where only the list of fun activities have a special place. Some children love to travel, some join few activity and skill development classes, and many others stay at home and enjoy the sunset and sunrises. Whatever it is, the calmness and soothing experience of the vacation cannot be unmatched to any other fun in life. Nowadays, technology has taken a priority over anything and children don’t want to get out of the zone of computer, videogames and mobile games. I really miss those days when we used to play outdoors, go to the woods, read library books, tell stories to each other, sit on trees and eat grapes. Such were our days. But the children have forgotten the act of playing outside and want to get trapped inside within the walls that technology has built.
I even remember when I asked my student that what she does at home as her parents are working. Does she go out to play after school hours? Or does she invite her friends at home and play together? She said I don’t do any of those things as I like being alone. Now this is a serious disorder that our young minds are developing. In this tender age, they want to be alone and feel comfortable with the virtual world. Alone means they are only physically alone but there are many virtual games and friends who keep them engaged. The human to human interaction and being one with the nature have lost their game already. The text and social networking world have tied the young minds and adult minds so tightly that they feel comfort in this new form of captivity. But I don’t want to digress from the topic I thought to write.
Summer vacations give one an opportunity to explore different set of books. The bibliophile find it a best time to indulge in more and more amount of books. The book exchanges, writing blogs on those read stories, building a piece by yourself brings in more fun to the table. So every year as a set tradition by myself, I purchase books for my students. This is a small effort from my side to encourage them to read and involve their time productively. The fiction world is super awesome when he or she feels it. You can travel to many places at the same time, know many things, think new perspectives, and talk on those things with your family members or your peer group. Such is a beauty of books. So this year I chose to give ‘Little women’, ‘To kill a mockingbird’ and ‘Sudha murthy’s short stories.’
There are books which talk of human literature in a humorous way and there are some which give a serious thought to our grey cells through a plot based on children. So I would like to talk about these books which has an interesting theme and all these are plotted differently with a great style.
1. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott:
Author Louisa May Alcott has written this novel with a purpose of bringing out her own childhood story. The story is based on a family called March. The family which consists of 4 daughters and a mother and father. The mother takes care of the 4 children while the father serves the army. As I told this story is loosely based on the author herself and her three sisters, the passage from childhood to womanhood is strongly depicted with some sorrowful moments in between. The four daughters are special and talented in their own way. While one is a great and budding artist, the other sizzles in playing music. While one is a bibliophile and immerses and finds bliss in the company of books, the other is a dreamy eyed with a profession of governess. They all get into fights and little wars but manage to get through skilfully. The ending can come as unexpected as you might have expected a different end to the theme but you will not get disappointed as author has mixed drama and reality with elan. Author narrates a gripping tale and values comfort, literature, and the beauty of natural world. Some of the learnings that Mrs. March provides them with speaks the reality of the outer world. Some sorrows bring a sense to their existence and they become a strength for each other like Beth’s illness and the bird’s death. For a writer in me, I find the following quote amusing and inspiring which is “I want to do something splendid, something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I am dead. I think I shall write books.”
2. To kill a mockingbird – Harper Lee:
Another one which I gave my students is this yet another brilliant novel which went on to win Pulitzer prize for Harper Lee, the brilliant author of all times. This is set in a sleepy southern town and throws a light to the southern literature. The author draws a parallel between compassion, idealism, and conscience and portrays a novel mixed with childhood, drama and serious element. I love the character Atticus and how the character has a deep seated meaning in this whole novel. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” The above said quote hits a nail and talks more on empathy. In fact the whole novel which talks about how to kill the notion of racism and other social evils that has stuck to our blood and flesh goes beyond the word empathy. Mockingbirds spread joy and are not to be caused harm is a thing which we always knew. An undisputed classic with a message is what this this novel is and surely can qualify to find a coveted place in your book shelf.
3. How I taught my grandmother to read and other stories – Sudha Murthy:
Having gone back to classics and discussing serious aspects, we come to an easy read of a well-known and established author of this generation. This book has total 28 stories and portrays the tiny aspects of humanity and its importance. It is a book written keeping in mind the likes of children and also serves a good company for adults. Here she stresses on hardwork, humility, and sacrifice. The stories which I loved are “Hassan’s Attendance problems”, “Who is Great”, “Gowramma’s Letter”. All in all, an inspiring book for the younger lot and a thought provoking aspects for the older lot.
As everyone knew this that we all are judged by the books we read and the company we keep, the books shape our life and our mind set as does our friends do. Summers are the best way to pamper ourselves with fun, laughter, friends and immense reading. So a tiny motivation from my side to my students and future torchbearers always have helped them to connect with me and their minds at large.