RSS Feed

Tag Archives: reading

From Writing First Draft to Re-writing: Note to Self

Posted on

I began my writing journey with the fear of writing. I would do most mundane tasks to put off writing. Gradually, I overcame this fear by forming a habit of writing everyday. It was an uphill task and it took me more than a year to start writing everyday. This exercise made me comfortable with writing. I am not saying that I write everyday now but I find it comparatively less difficult and I write quite regularly. This was the first milestone in my writing journey.

I reached my second milestone when I began reading Paris Review Interviews. These interviews taught me to perceive writing as essentially re-writing. It is in the process of re-writing that we gain control over our writing. This idea inspired me to begin my first big writing project. My research for this project was complete and I had ideas I just needed to sit down and write. My first draft was prepared with a lot of anxiety, agony and physical labour in two months. I have written about this experience in my previous posts. The joy of being able to put your thoughts in words in the way I wanted inspired me further and kept me going.

By the time I finished, I was drained physically, emotionally and mentally. I could not sit to read and write further. Then I decided to take some rest. During this time, I read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. I also looked through some other texts but I did not engage with anything. In retrospect, maybe I should have. It would have kept me going. I was still writing everyday, mostly writing my journal. However, as time went by, I became more and more relaxed in my reading writing routine.

Now it is time for the third milestone and I find myself procrastinating. Like the first one, I have been delaying it for two months now. This time I fear it because it is a humongous task. However, it is most essential. It is the task Paris Review Interviews taught me, that is, re-writing. I have to read my work sentence by sentence and edit or rewrite it. I think I am facing two roadblocks. Firstly, reading triggers writing and I am not spending enough time in reading. Secondly, I realized re-writing like writing requires practice. Cultivating a habit of re-writing everyday along with reading and writing will gradually improve my editing skills.

At present, I am struggling to re-write and edit my writing. In each attempt, I struggle with new kinds of grammatical and pragmatic issues in language. Sometimes, I struggle with the use of ‘but’ or semi-colon, or the issue of re-writing the entire paragraph to make it more accessible and coherent.

My writing journey has been slow. Struggle that accompanies each of these milestones appear daunting in the beginning and requires a lot of hard work and discipline. Sometimes, I want to quit. But the silver lining is that reaching a milestone assures me that I am moving in the right direction. It is this struggle that makes me feel alive.

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

Posted on

I just finished reading Deborah Ellis’s novel ‘The Breadwinner’. It was first published in 2000. The novel is a heart-warming story of an eleven year old girl, Parvana, living in Kabul, Afghanistan. The sensitive and careful portrayal of Parvana’s life and her struggle for survival is an eye-opening experience for readers who are not acquainted with such a difficult reality.

The novel has fifteen chapters in all and the author ends it with the beginning of Parvana’s journey along with her father in search of her mother and siblings. The novel has few characters and an uncomplicated plot. It vividly describes Afghan culture and Parvana’s life. It is an apt for reading for children between the age-group of 11-14 years.

Discussing Reconstruction in Philosophy by John Dewey

Posted on

We are initiating a discussion on John Dewey’s book Reconstruction in Philosophy’ from 26th May. We invite you all to read this book with us and contribute in our discussions by sharing your thoughts and reflections by posting comments on the subsequent posts based on the discussion on the book.

Looking forward for your participation.

Book Club Launch- Pustak Vimarsh

Posted on

Finally after overcoming so many hurdles and delays, I managed to launch a book club in my department.This club is inspired from Virginia Woolf’s description of a reader. She stresses on the independence a reader needs in order to enjoy the text. She describes a reader as someone who reads to converse with the writer through her creation. A reader learns to appreciate the text. But in order to enjoy this freedom and appreciate the text she also emphasises upon training the mind. Book Club called Pustak Vimarsh is a platform where we all could discuss and share our reading of the text with each other.
We began with the reading of first five chapters of Mahatma Gandhi’s text Hind Swaraj, which is also considered a modern political treatise.
Inaugural session went very well apart from a few hurdles, it was enriching for all of us. We had invited an expert to speak on the specified section of the text and he not only presented his views but also answered a lot of questions that my students asked. Everybody participated and it was good to see students asking questions.
In my next post, I will share my write up on this section of Hind Swaraj.

Doing Voice Over for Hind Swaraj

Posted on

I was invited to do voice over for preparing the audio of Hind Swaraj. This was my first time and I am quite excited.
Hind Swaraj is a political theory written by Gandhi in 1909. It is written in the form of a dialogue. This dialogue is between a reader and the editor. This form is known to Gujarati literature for a long time but the characters that Gandhi chose of reader and editor makes it a modern piece of writing. Hind Swaraj deals with a critique of Western civilisation and suggests an alternative that, according to Gandhi, would best suit the needs of India.

I was invited to lend voice to the reader. In doing so, I began exploring the nuances of this character. This reader is an impatient, opinionated, but thoughtful man. I am a woman, so while reading the text, I said that I need to change the gender in the sentences. The person coordinating it took a long pause and then said he needs to ask his superior.
However, this idea just stayed with me. How will this audio clip be received, if a woman played this role of an impatient, opinionated but thoughtful person? A woman aggressively (in a ‘manly’ manner) questioning Gandhi. Well, Gandhi would not have objected to it as he had a knack for dealing with issues that divides the society. Gender being one of them. He, probably, would have seen it through as an experiment. But, then, what about the contemporary Indian society? Can they deal with such a modern woman?

This is my first voice over and I must say I am quite excited about it. There could not have been a better book than Hind Swaraj for doing a voice over. I hope to pass my audition.

A Magazine FOR the Children and BY the Children

Posted on

On 1st January 2015, I shared with you about my idea of encouraging reading and writing amongst rural children on Sunday morning workshops. There have been some exciting developments on this front. After writing this post, I thought that on the forum meant for discussing Gandhian philosophy it would be apt to bring out a magazine based on the principles of Nai Talim.
Nai Talim is a scheme of education proposed by Mahatma Gandhi in 1937. Mahatma Gandhi proposed crafts to be the medium of education, that is, through the practice of crafts students will learn disciplinary knowledge.
The three principles of Nai Talim are:
1. Self- awareness
2. Self-reliance
3. Self-discipline
All these principles are held together by experience and social responsibility. I thought a magazine would be the best idea to experiment the potential of Nai Talim. So, I floated the idea, of bringing out a magazine and the selling it in the village, in the workshop amongst children and other facilitators. Everyone accepted it enthusiastically.Their energy and enthusiasm made my day.

But with it began a difficult journey. Difficult because if it was to be done through Nai Talim then students will have to be trained in all skills related to publishing a magazine.
Besides reporting, children volunteered to take responsibility of different tasks. Our work began two weeks ago when students went to collect information about their village. A group of children suggested interviewing the village head and prepared a questionnaire for it.
Today was the third week and we managed to compile 15 entries in the form of information; interviews; opinions; cartoons; social messages; drawings etc. It was heartening to see this. However, I understand a lot of work is still left to do with only two more Sundays to go before the preparation of final copies.
Based on Gandhian principles, minimum machinery will be used and everything will be in-house, as a result it printing cost will be very less. As of now, we have taken a desktop with printer and scanner on loan for bringing out 200 copies. That will be the only expenditure incurred on the magazine. Everything else will be done by hand, including designing and preparing a blue-print.
All this work will be done by the children and for the children.
Lot of work needs to be done, and I am a bit anxious now.
Wish me Luck.

Bringing Out Wall Magazine with Children

Posted on

For me, 2015 begins with a very special project. I have just joined a group of people who conduct workshops on Gandhian philosophy for children from nearby village on Sundays. These workshops begin at 7:00 AM and go on till 10:00 AM. In these three hours, children engage in various activities such as shramdan (donating labour); physical exercises; games; lectures etc. This is an informal space where children interact; question and reflect on various contemporary issues. No activity is compulsory for any one and everyone is welcome. Around 20 students attend these workshops regularly.

I have decided to use this space to encourage reading and writing amongst children in a meaningful way based on Gandhian scheme of education. My plan is to encourage students to gather information about themselves; their family; their neighbourhood. In other words, we will be collecting and reporting information on their social and physical surroundings. This information can come in various forms such as family tree; folk literature; oral history; about trees; birds and animals etc. This information will then be published in the wall magazine.

After one month, if children agree then we can publish a small newsletter or a magazine and sell it at a cheap price to other children and adults in the village. I still need to work out the details with children and see how many of them want to participate in this activity and how they want to do it.
If you have any suggestions, then please share with me.