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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Learning is fast

This is my second post in the series mommy learns – an experience sharing in my journey of parenthood. If just by reading the title of my post have you decided that my hormones (even after 1.5 years of child birth) are not back to normal and I am contradicting what I said just last week, then hold on….come on! Don’t be too quick to judge.

It has been only one and a half year since I have been blessed with a daughter. The best one and a half year of my life. One thing that I have learnt about myself in this period is that I am capable of loving somebody so much. I did not know this. My husband doesn’t accept this about himself and continues to say that I love you both equally, but come on! Who is he fooling! She is the most important and most loved person in our family. But this post is not about this.

I want to share about how much she has learnt in this time period and how amazingly fast this journey has been.

Let me start by pointing out some of the things that she can do at this point of time: (I know, I know it is an impossible list to make! But some examples can be jotted)

  1. She can walk, run but I don’t think she can jump.
  2. She can say complicated words, joins sounds and says word like and sentence like utterances.
  3. She understands most of the instructions given to her and also ignores when she wants to ignore.
  4. She can go up and down the stairs on her own and yet today morning itself she just lost her balance while taking a step on the plain floor.
  5. She has her likes and dislikes and “knows” what she wants to do or not do. Its not so easy to distract her now.
  6. She likes playing with friends and is unhappy and expresses that when they leave or I try and bring her inside.

And yes……the list can go on….and on….

But these are examples of her physical, cognitive, linguistic and social developments. She is becoming a person in her own right! With opinions, choices, tastes, an understanding and awareness of “I”.

Lets take the first example, physical development of a very complex skill of walking. Walking is often defined as a continuous act of preventing oneself from falling. As soon as you take one foot off the ground, you are in an unbalanced unstable position and then you bend forward and quickly place the foot to be stable again. But you don’t step there, you repeat the process again. Though we all want to be in a stable state and yet to move forward (both physically and metaphorically) have to leave the state of stability or you can say by will put yourself in a state of uncertainty and then reach stability again. So, when she started walking, now obviously I am speculating, but I would like you to speculate with me. When she started walking, her desire to reach a place or an object currently away from her was so strong that she decided to take the risk of falling and took her foot up from the ground. In those days, she would not walk…but run….why? I think because she was not confident of her ability to get the foothold again and was probably consciously doing the act of risk the fall- and get the foothold.

So, when I say learning is fast…very very fast….I see this small baby wrapped in a sheet unable to suck, not sure how to breathe becoming into a willful naughty risk taking communicative toddler in just a year and a half.

I have to educate her

“Her father is dead.” She said pointing towards her daughter. “My mother got me married again. The previous one used to drink a lot and after drinking would start hitting me. I got married very early…I think I was fourteen years old when I got married…She was also born soon after my marriage I think I was fifteen. Around that time my husband started drinking a lot…I kept telling him not to drink, I used to say your life would be spoiled but he did not listen to me. He used to say that I can leave you, I don’t care if you go but I cannot leave this, I can leave my family also but not this. So I said Ok, then leave me…why should I spoil my life with him.” And she laughed, a sweet carefree laugh. She must have been in her early twenties. She continued, “so I left him and came to live with my mother even before she was born. She was born in the bada hospital, I have been here only since then. After that my mother looked for a good match and fixed my relationship with him. By god’s grace he is a good man. All the family member’s are nice. They also drink but they do not beat me…and give me food etc…over all keep me well. Otherwise those who drink do a lot of maarpeet they would drink everyday and beat everyday.” She then looked towards her son who was intermittently crying and said, “It is only four of us. Me, my daughter, this one and my husband. Although she is from my other husband but he treats her well. He never says that she is not my daughter. Though she lives here with my mother. I thought now that my younger sister is also married my mother will have nobody so let me leave her here only.”

“I wish he would sleep now…..but he must be hungry…you will not believe how difficult it is to do any work with him. He cries so much. If I am making roti I will make one roti then come to him…then when he will sleep go back to making roti by then the wood is all burnt. So, I have to start the Chulha again. I also most of the time live with my mother only. My husband’s family is from the village but there you get no work. My husband has got work here. And I also go to the bungalows and do cleaning and utensils. A lot of big people live here, so if I go and work, then I can earn something, but in the village there is nothing to do. You can work on the fields or something but no money. Also because my mother’s house is nearby I have no fear. If my husband comes late, then I come here and wait.”

“I am not educated, as in those days people did not educate their daughters. Nobody would marry educated girl, they felt that if she is very educated then she will leave the man. But then they started realizing that if she is not educated and the man leaves her, what would she do. My sister and brother both have been to the school. Didi I at least have my family to support me, my daughter does not even have saga baap. What will she do! So, I have to educate her so that she is able to do something in life. Padha likha to padha likha hi hota hai…anpadh to anpadh hi hota hai!

A chance encounter with a “professional researcher”

This is a story from city X. It is a medium sized semi modern city but if you talk to the old timers they would unanimously praise its education system. The story is about an ex-colleague and a friend of mine, whom I happened to meet on the road after a very long gap. After the usual pleasantries I asked him,” So, how come you are here Raman.”

It is difficult to study at home, so I come here in the morning and sit here till the evening”

“That’s good, same with me I find it impossible to study at home so I go to a friend’s house which is empty the whole day and becomes my den” I quipped, “You are also doing your PhD na?”

“Didn’t you read the newspaper?”

“No, what happened?” I asked thinking he must have completed but do the newspapers publish the names of the people who complete their PhD.

“He said I topped the written exam, you remember I had told you.” “yes”.

“Well later on I found the marks of the written exam have no weightage in the interview, final selection is only on the basis of interview, I got 3 out of 20………. I have filed an RTI also….but don’t really expect much….At the time it happened it was in news also, that many politicians relatives have got admission in PHD and deserving people like me…..but I am preparing for first grade vacancy…this is my last chance…lets see what happens….After what happened I don’t feel like doing a PhD also, whats the point Richa….It would just be a waste of time”

“ya, it is only helpful if you get job based on that”

“Ya, and there is no point in getting a job in a B.Ed. college, they don’t pay you well….” after a pause, “14 thousand….it is not that you actually get that also….they make you sign on 14 thousand….actually they pay even less. I would rather work in a school, but I wish I get a government job.”

“Ok, so you basically want to go back to school teaching”

“Actually now I am a ‘professional researcher’. So, I would continue that also”

I was wondering what was he heading to. May be he wants to work with some research organization, but before I could say anything he said, “You know in last one year I did 15 M.Ed and 5 PhDs”


“yes, I do everything for them”

“So, how much do you charge?”

“twenty thousand”

“And how much time is needed in this”

“See, synopsis they have to write on their own then chapter 2, I sit on the net and write it, I also make the tools. Then they give me the data, I do the analysis and prepare a report. It takes around 10 days.”

“And see here…it has been two years and I am still doing data collection”

“But why are you taking so long”

I smiled not knowing what to say….

“Raman, this is a very interesting business model but tell me if there is a case of plagiarism then who will get caught?”

“Why would it be? I take very good care…”

“But assume it is”

I would not be responsible…my name is no where…This is not my fault…people come to me…but you only tell me what are they supposed to do, they are unable to learn research in a year. And what to say, I would name them but there are faculty members also who have asked me to do their research…they had been struggling for a long time and they then asked me to do it.”

By now I had two or three times laughed out pretty loudly and I was concerned what would the other people on the road think. Behaving in a more composed way, I said “Raman, then you don’t need a job, you have your tuition centre and this thriving business going, no private job will pay you as well”

“You are right, I have made money, that’s why I am able to leave everything and study now. But sometimes I feel I am doing something unethical. But then I also feel that those faculty members who are getting their PhD done by me, what do they teach their M.Ed students.”

To cheer him up I said, “but this is nice you told me about a new business model”

Come on!! This is not new..this is a very old business model, I am new to it. City Y is the headquarters, there you give 50,000 and they will do everything for you…meet them after two years…and take everything”

“But the scholar will have to give their viva right?”

“yes, but they would get a powerpoint presentation prepared for it too.”

“So, how do you get your clients?”

“Just like that, students talk amongst each other and I get call on mobile phone”

“Thank god, you did not say the faculty suggests them”

“No, no. but its not that they are not aware of it. Sometimes, I consult directly with the faculty member, we just remove the intermediary.”

I had to laugh at this….

He said, the irony is that I could not do my own PhD.

The pervasiveness of this as indicated by Raman (name changed)hit me pretty hard. What do you have to say about this “one man research factory”?

Mommy Learns

Posted on

This post is written by Richa Goswami, an EPTAF member.

It is not surprising to me anymore that Piaget became Piaget by observing his children. I am a mother of an eighteen-month-old super naughty girl. And I learn with her all the time, I would like to use this space on the blog to share with you my learning. I don’t think I would really come up with a new theory or anything…but there are things about child development that I am learning on a daily basis and losing too due to my laziness to document.

Documentation is important as the process of writing will make me analyze more and learn more….

So, the first and most important thing that I have learnt since she was born is that learning and development is a slow process…..very slow process…

She seems to be on the verge of learning something and then months would go, before she would make any progress. I would share some examples and other readers can share more…you may be parents or uncles and aunts….we all have seeds of being a Piaget all around us, we just never water them

  • I would start with the time when she was 2.5 or 3 months old. Let me start by humbling informing you that I have studied child development and also worked in preparing child development papers for teacher trainees of two states… so wouldn’t I know what to expect. To add to it, I am also one of the google-everything-moms (who isn’t these days). So to cut the long story short I knew that rolling over is a milestone she would achieve by 5 or 6 months age. But there are two more things….worth sharing (at least I believe that): first, my daughter is preterm by two months so the doctors had told me that her developmental milestones may be (the doc said “would be”) delayed by two months. And secondly I am not much believer in milestones anyways….My education has made me skeptical of that and a follower of individual difference. So one Sunday when she was a little less than three months and we saw her roll over…once….twice…thrice….we were thrilled (like most new parents are) “We have got this exceptionally fast baby”……and then the worry, “oh….we need to be very careful now…she can roll over…it wouldn’t be long that she would start successive roll overs and may fall from bed”…..but that’s about it…she did not roll over after that…not until she was almost six months old….in the mean time for many months she would just go on one side and get stuck….but when the time came she learnt that on her own her own and much more…
  • Similarly I remember the time when she learnt to sit and then stand from a squatting position…she would stand near the table and non stop do sit ups….we were amazed…how many times she did the same thing…but she would untiringly and happily do it.
  • And the time when she was ready to walk….This is the time when she had mastered walking by holding…and was about to take her first independent steps…when I saw this I said “may be in a week she would start walking….” But weeks passed….and then there was a stage when she started leaving whatever she was holding and would balance herself but not move….and I waited with breath held…”she is abut to walk” but days passed and then one day we noticed she was walking on her own….but this was much later than we had expected….
  • The last example that I would like to share is about her current phase…is about talking. She is a talkative child (no surprises there!) she non stop communicates, asks, responds, demands or comments…though we understand very few words from what she has said….and she has been like that for more than two-three months…and I the resolute non learner have been making announcements for two three months now, “she speaks so much and such long things….in a few weeks she would start talking …dekhna” but my darling is obviously proving me wrong….she is happily continuing in her own language….and is in no hurry

So, the point is learning and development (I think development has a bit of learning in it) is a slow process…a very slow process…. children take their time and are happy in the journey…unlike us….

Happy learning

Ciao (till next week….coz mommy loves talking too)