Thursday, October 27, 2005

Learning Hebrew

I have dreamt and still dream of doing so many things. I am always planning about the steps that i got to take and assure repeatedly myself that i will not drag on and henceforth i will be a transformed( for worse?!) person.In the long list of dreams learning languages was one.While in college at chennai i made an attempt at learning sanskrit. I found out a student of sanskrit college at Mylapore and became his first student.But after few days i became regularly irregular and dropped out without even informing.For post graduation i came over to JNU,Delhi which is an excellent center for learning foreign languages.My best friend Anbu was a student of German and thus i got to hear a lot about foreign languages and the modus operandi of learning. Still i could not move my honorable self in to any attempt at learning a language.After few years of endless 'Chai' sessions and big talk, i decided to learn Hebrew and enrolled at the Israeli Embassy at Delhi. Anbu also joined and thus my tryst with Hebrew and the Israeli embassy began.

I decided on Hebrew as i had planed to do my thesis on Israel. I, like many disinformed persons had a romantic notion of Israel as a valiant little david upagainst diabolical Goliaths from the staple reading list of any small town boy like me comprising Oh Jerusalem, Exodus, Mitla Pass, Entebbe Operation etc. I remember Kamal Hassan reading a book on Entebbe in a scene from Balachandar's movie.The course was of one year duration. But going thru the security check thrice a week while attending the classes at the embassy was intolerable. My first hebrew teacher Ayala Gal was a Jew of French origin and wife of a diplomat. She had all the ignorance that is expected of an european who knows India well but she was a nice teacher.The encounter with racist attitude at the embassy made me look deeper in to the history of Israel and spurred my interest further.I despite my best efforts couldnot bear with the behaviour of the embassy and stopped after six months. The jews at the embassy were unable to differentiate between an Indian university student wanting to learn hebrew and an immigrant thai agricultural worker in Israel.
After this misadventure i gave up all hopes of learning hebrew.Fortunately after some months Israeli government decided to introduce Hebrew language in India by sending teachers from the Hebrew University and thus an one year part time course was introduced at JNU.I felt lucky and joined.For the first six months our teacher was Mr.Hiya Dahan,a senior teacher who was very affectionate and took effort to teach us.He was of the first generation in the new Jewish state and had the pioneering zeal which looked any questioning of the sacredness of Israel as blasphemy.He had taken the picture postcard image of India teeming with cows, snake charmers, elephants , maharajahs, disease and poverty a bit too serious and could never come to terms with the chaos that is India. For the next six months, we had a wonderful and sensitive teacher,Ms.Mira Smoli but from the initial strength of 15 we were only 2 after a few months. But she did not loose heart and enabled me to complete a language course at last!She was widely read and had a realistic idea of India as a nation that can only be felt and not understood.The hebrew language course was discontinued after one year because of bureaucratic wrangling and Israelis who had withstood multitude of arab armies fell before the onslaught of our red tapism and clerks and decided to cancel the hebrew language program.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Deciphering the Dress Code

The confusion that arose after the publication of party photos of The Park seems to have acquired a life of its own and is portrayed as a diaster of tsunamian magnitude by both the sides. As a wanna be famous blogger i am compelled by the circumstances to add to the confusion!

How important is dress code and drinking/smoking by women to a culture? If anyone has the time and interest to look into our own past they will realise this as a tragic-comedy. The progressive -feminist brigade has rose in one voice to defend the right of girls(and ladies too) to dance as they wish and drink what they want.But why is this voice so loud only when there is a threat to the lifestyle of the elite? The guardians of tamil culture are neither knowledgable in Tamil nor cultured.I am the best example for what these guardians have done to Tamils.My writing skill in Tamil is non existent and in English it is poor.I studied till my eighth standard in an English Medium school without learning a word of English and also Tamil. I speak a language that is a mixture of Tamil and English in unintelligent proportions.But the worst part was i lost the ability to think in any language!!! Women of my grand ma's generation and before didnot wear the blouse. May be being topless was in fashion then. So many women from rural heartlands smoke beedi/cigar/ what's revolutionary in our feminists smoking under the notion that patriarchy is going up in smoke? Dress code will continue to change as has been happening since the beginning of the human civilization. The question is under what context. so let's fight over and argue over more substantial issues like personal laws and right in property for women!!

A plausible solution for the confusion over what and how women must wear . GO FOR DIGITAL DRESSING.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Who is Afraid of Exams!

Yesterday my departmental exams got over.After going thru so many exams( annuals, semesters,entrances, scholarships, fellowships,competetive,)i was elated that my travails would be over once i landed up in a job.But alas there is no end in sight for my misery. Approach of exams always make me relaxed. I have never been able to take any exams seriously.Starting with my 12th to the present times of departmental exams, i have been always amused by the hullabaloo.The approach of the date and the feverish ambience inflicts sleeping sickness on me.May be that's why i am unscarred. During my higher secondary the whole lot of students( i was in science group with maths)aiming Medical college were totally focussed on the public exams and withdrew themselves from all the joy and adolescent creativity of school life.Our group was a bit off the track and was a eclectic mixture that was into trekking, quiz,culturals, sports and most importantly reading.(ofcourse not text books).my amma was troubled by my disinterestedness in scoring marks and tried her best to make me realize the necessity of being competetive as she thinks that 12th marks are the stars that decide our destiny in life.only two persons from my class didnot attend the tuition scored the highest marks in the state and i was the other lucky one but was one among the last in the class.For my final year BSc Botany practical exam we had about 15 experiments. But i could not make myself thorough with any of those even with my best efforts. So i put the burden cooly on lord Venkateswara of Thirupathi by promising him my hair and chose only one experiment to study. And true to his credential Lord Venky saved me.But looking back, i most of the times feel i have been right in the way i have dealt with the exams.