Archive for the ‘Bookish’ Category

How I taught my son his Fundamental Rights!

April 10, 2010 16 comments

The Indian Constitution, the venerable very amended tome that it is, dictates these as the Fundamental Rights of an Indian Citizen.

  1. The right to equality
  2. The right to freedom of speech and expression
  3. The right to freedom from exploitation
  4. The right to freedom of religion
  5. Cultural and educational rights
  6. The right to constitutional remedies

Why am I talking about this now? Well, I had to read, recollect, revise and drill them into my son’s “short-term memory” so that he could regurgitate it appropriately if they appeared in his Social Studies examination, the last of his “exams” before he moved on to Grade V.

Finding it near impossible to get him to list them without missing at least one of them, I racked my brains for a nice metaphor, a mnemonic, some hook that I could employ, willy-nilly, to get him to remember them right.

And, this is what I came up with.

I am talking to my son here… He is in blue!

Let us take the two hands… As shown below. One hand with five fingers laid out open, and the other made into a fist.

The First Finger:-

Let us start with the little finger of the first hand. What is special about the little finger, and what do you think it would say if it had a mouth?

“That I am the smallest? That I am not equal to the others?”

Yes! There you go! The little finger represents your Right to Equality!

The Second Finger:-

Next, move to the finger next to the Little Finger. What do they call it?

“The Ring Finger?”

Yup! What ring? Why ring? Who wears ring?

“Christians wear rings in that finger”.

Great. So, we are Hindus, Matheeha who visited us today is a Muslim. And, Christians wear Rings. So, The Ring Finger must remind you of our Right To Freedom of Religion!

The Third Finger:-

What is the next finger in your hand?

“The middle finger”.

(I make the “middle finger” gesture, and confront him). What does this mean? (A sheepish grin and a semi-shyness takes over). Come on. I know you know. I am sure you have seen this being shown, at school, TV, movies. What does this mean?

“Some senior-class friends at school do this Dad! Not me.”

I know. I know you don’t. But, this basically means I am not happy with what you are saying, and I am going to express my unhappiness about it. A rude gesture, the showing of the middle finger is to express your irritation and that is why, we will use this finger to remember our most important Right. The Right to Freedom of Expression.

The Fourth Finger:-

What is the next finger?

“The Index Finger”.

Do you remember, we all went to the voting booth recently, and came back with a dye mark in our index fingers? What did we do?


Great! So, when you are unhappy with the government, and when you are looking for change, you go to the voting booth and express it. You are looking for “remedy”. A constitutional remedy. So, this finger will remind you that we have the Right to Constitutional Remedies.

“Great pa. Thanks pa. We have two more to go!”

The Fifth Finger:-

Yes, what is the next finger?

“The thumbfinger”.

What is the most common signal you give with this finger?

“The Thumbs Up sign”.

When do you give it?

“Exam time!”

Why do you give exams?

“Learning. Education”.

So there! This finger is going to remind you that you have Cultural and Educational Rights.

The Fisty Hand:-

We have just one more to go. The Fist symbol.

What does this Fist symbol remind you of?


Yes. So, this fist symbol must remind you of your right to Fight Back. Against something bad. Your Right Against Exploitation.

“Wow. Thanks pa! I will never forget pa!”

I am not sure how many parents and teachers from around the world will approve of a mnemonic like this…….. But, what’s much more important? – My son aced the question when it came up in today’s exam, and called me up to say “Thanks pa! I listed all six correctly!”

On this, keep a Tab. Let Ebook Readers beware!

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Apple, ever the secretive genius that derives as much joy surprising its audience with the unexpected, as it does in making the impossible possible, is at it again.

It is now official that they are launching a serious large-screen tablet device. (It has been rumored for long, but now the WSJ and FastCompany are talking about it….)

And, what’s more, they have sent a special colorful playful invite to journalists.. That looks like this.

I get this uncanny feeling that the folk at Apple would surely have tried some mischief here.

My feeling is that the color blotches actually HIDE what was originally printed on the cover – a photograph of the gorgeous new iSlate perhaps.

Am I just dreaming too much? (No, can’t be! Have been losing a lot of sleep lately, ever since I learnt that this Apple device is going to make my own Sony PRS700 look shamefully ugly…)

Categories: Bookish Tags: , , , ,

The ABCs of Religion..

October 6, 2009 2 comments

The past fifteen days have been tumultuous in terms of opening my mind’s eye about religions other than Hinduism.

I chanced upon a book titled “ABRAHAM – A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths” by Bruce Feiler.

It talks about how the common thread between the seemingly at-odds religious trio of Christianity, Judaism and Islam runs deep, spreads far and wide, and stretches way back into the dim undocumented past right up to the day the religion was born!

I liked the last chapter where the author ties the book up, by talking about the need for a new Abraham and what qualities He must possess..  He also recounts a personal story of fulfillment where he was amazed at the unity and willingness shown by luminaries of the three faiths to come together and indulge in discussions and debates on the topic.

Anything, these days, anything that can stop all the meaningless violence in the name of G_d, will help.

My only bittersweetness at the end of the book was that this guy has achieved so much at such a young age.

It is truly a masterly achievement to write about three religions currently at loggerheads without hiding the truth NOR trying to please everybody.

Imagine walking on a sharp blade edge while blindfolded, with a full wineglass balanced on your head. Bruce’s job was tougher!

Right after Abraham, I jumped to the latest Brownian sensation – The Lost Symbol.

If Abraham gave me, a rank outsider, a layman’s intro to the ABC’s of the three religions borne out of the Fertile Crescent of Arabia, this book taught me one more ABC about religion.

Langdon, our fast-running, puzzle-solving, lap-swimming claustrophobic Robert Langdon, our dear Professor Symbologist is at it again.

And, while at it, he asks a student, what was the Acid Test for a community to be called religious..

And, the student correctly answers:- A B C.

ABC – Assure, Believe, Convert.

Religions ASSURE Salvation.

Religions BELIEVE in a precise theology.

Religions CONVERT non-believers.

I am not sure how right this is, for, ever since Danny boy indulged in deceit so low as to say in the first page of his book, that everything in this book is real and actual, (while conveniently misleading us by writing THAT SENTENCE itself as part of the fiction in the book), I have decided Mr. Sodium Chloride will be my faithful assistant whenever I run along Dan Brown’s 24-hour hunts..

Anyway, that ABC sounded neat and compact…

Felt like sharing with you all, and wondered what you would think about it all…

P.S:- Oh yes, I have gotten into the habit of spelling G_d o-less. A neat habit I picked up from a Jewish friend of mine. Seems they refer to Him thus, for, it is immoral to take His name in vain… Nice!