Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Its too hot! Quotes from Isaacland

So turns out Isaac does not like his food hot. Room temperature is perfect! (I just need to ask sparkling or still and we will turn our house into the Marriott!)
We get into a lot of war about hot food. For instance the other day I made some Dosa and did not wait till the temperature was just right for 'LAAT' saab.
Isaac: ' Amma the dosa is so hot! Why do you cook the dosa?'

The icing on the cake was when I went on a baking spree during Christmas and baked a bunch of cupcakes. Isaac has no trouble when you say 'No' to him. Its when you say 'WAIT' that he cannot handle himself.
So he woke up from his nap smelling the cupcakes and came down to find them steaming hot near the oven. With his palms facing me he starts

Isaac: 'Amma I know you like baking ... but please dont put my cupcake in the oven!'


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Is it worth it? A visit to Kathalaya - Part 2

Kathalaya's intensive course is like a healing session. A chance to find the stories within you. And it turns out that even Aesop created his stories by this current situation. Aesop's fables according to me are the best way to teach a child 'character'.
Kathalaya was interesting because the lesson or teaching was not rigid. Given a group of 11 adults, the conversation was diverse and the path it followed was unique. The teacher, Ms. Geeta Ramanujam, ... followed our trail ... introducing concepts, telling us tricks, bringing out examples as we went to to deep conversations about everything in the world. Quite an entertainer, she told us so many stories that I could barely wait to get home to share them with Isaac and Ziva.
On the first day during a tea break, she shared with us this story of two fish. I am not sure what we were talking about, but she picked her hands making fish movements, moving back and forth and got all 11 of our attentions to a story suited for a 6 year old. I could not wait to tell Isaac this story. I went home and started narrrating story after story that I had heard and all three (Suresh, Isaac and Ziva) listened with rapt attention so much so that Suresh missed a work call!!!
Day two at Kathalaya passed so quickly with fun vocal activities, more stories from Ms. Geeta and a realization on how she used stories to reach to the deepest villages of India, breaking myths, bypassing superstitions, adding value to their life but most importantly, as she put it, learning so much from them. I also realized if I told a story (not read it), the language of the story did not matter. Everyone could understand a good storyteller. This was very important to me since I have been known to be a fast and unclear speaker from childhood. My words run quicker from my mouth than water from a tap!

Day three drew in a practical session. We were each asked to create our own story and showcase it for the others. I was a little whiny about it since I had reached home the previous evening past 7:30 pm and had to wake up early the next morning to prepare the story, props and my dialogues! But I guess the first two days of Kathalaya were so inspiring that I had lost all inhibition and the storyteller in me finally came out. 
The theme of my story was 'Why the lollipop is round?'. I had the easiest prop - lollipops. And I had so much fun telling the story. (Will put a blog up on the story soon). I came out feeling elated at the success of learning the art of 'storytelling'. But it was the very same evening that the question 'Was it worth it came up?' and I found myself wondering too. I had my question answered in two days

Isaac and I are struggling with reading and phonics.  I decided on Monday morning (Kathalaya finished on Saturday) to look up on the internet 'Story telling and reading' . The world just opened up for me! I found a website that shared how I could use story telling to teach words and reading and make it interactive and fun. That afternoon I tried it on Isaac. I can't say it worked like the click of a button because reading is a long process ... but half way through my story telling bonanza to Isaac, he started sharing his imagination and putting in his twist and turns to my story. He started adding characters and building up stories around them. 
That Monday afternoon I realised ... anything you put your passion to is completely 'Worth it!'

They say don't judge the book by the cover... Go read it... similarly ... got to experience Kathalaya to see why I am harping so much about it!

Is it worth it? A visit to Kathalaya - Part 1

When I saw the fees of the Intensive course at Kathalaya I thought ... Oh boy - this better be worth it!

Why do we always want to do something only if it is completely worth it. Why do we judge 'worth it' before have done something. Why does 'worth it' have to do with instant gratification.
The evening I finished the course, I met a friend and explained the entire three day course to her and the first words for her too were 'Was it worth is?'
I could not explain at that point ... but somewhere deep down ... I knew it was worth it.

My Kathalaya story --
I had been wanting to go to Kathalaya for a very long time. Ever since I wrote stories for a guy called 'Bob Shirk' on oDesk. Ever since he told me how great my stories were and that my son was lucky to hear them.
This a was job gig I was going online before I got my current job. I would get random topics and I had to write about 500 words at a 4-5th grader level. This job was super fun especially since once in a while I would get an assignment of a 'wild card'. A wild card was sounded this way 'a story of an elf who has to make a toy for a child with a name the elf has never heard of' 
These to me were the most fun. I had to make up a story. I initially thought they sucked till my employer came back with these comments

Comment: I loved your elf story. I'm kind of like Chris. I have seen it all, but this story made me laugh. I think the client will love it.
Comment 2: Another outstanding job! I think the client is going to be very happy!

So I was good at making up stuff. But then after one particular story he said - Your kids must be really lucky to hear such wonderful stories.

I realised my son was not lucky because I only knew how to 'READ' stories to him I never really told him a story  ... a story from me.
It was also around that time that I wrote about Aesop... it seemed coincidental that I should have to write about the most famous storyteller.  I 'Googled' storytelling and realized what a big thing it was and in all the google's I came across Kathalaya. I believe Kathalaya is one of its kind in the whole world. Its so famous that in my class there was a lady from Kolkata and a Singporean lady (currently residing in Delhi).
Even though all of the above and my desire to go to Kathalaya and take a story telling course happened around July last year, I was not able to make it till two weeks ago.
A three day course at Kathalaya where I expected to learn everything about storytelling.  I was in for a surprise. I don't think I learned everything about story telling, but I learned a lot about me!

Part 2 ... coming up