आजी! (Grandmother)

FullSizeRender (5)Today is 29th August, birthday of my grandmother (Sunanda). Although we never called her by name, we remember that through her signatures, at the end of every letter she sent me…and I am fortunate to have plenty of them!

Although, she would be considered as a school dropout (by the conventional rules), her literary and maths acumen would stump us always! She was also diagnosed of hearing loss to the maximum, however I haven’t come across a person, who can scan the requirements of the visitor in the most appropriate manner and respond accordingly, without a single word spoken! I really pity those who cannot are tone deaf in their own world that they cannot hear what others are telling them!

The legacy of the odd sounding tables like: Pavki – पावकी,  (Table of 1/4ths), Nimki – निमकी (1/2s), Paunki – पाउणकी(3/4ths), Savvaki – सव्वाकी (1 and 1/4ths), Didki- दिडकी (1 and 1/2s) or Adichki – अडीचकी (2 and 1/2s) were by-heart, which helped in a complex calculation with utmost ease. I remember the amount of time I required to calculate the price of Dudhi (bottlegourd), at Rs. 14/KG which used to weigh 1750 gms. Aaji would just say,  14 ones are 14 and 3/4th of 14 is 10 and half, so it is 24 and half (१४ एके १४ आणि १४ पावणे साडे दहा, म्हणजे झाले साडे चोवीस)!

Aaji002All the vegetable sellers used to sit down at our courtyard and calculate their profit and loss with the help of Aaji. She used to ask each one for the cost price of the item, and the quantity. Later, she would ask her how much is already sold out, and give her the verdict about the profit she has earned/yet to earn!! They used to be open to her, since never ever Aaji asked them to give the vegetables at the cost price!!

An avid reader, she would be constantly reading! From newspapers to books, periodicals and the magazine!! Her main objective was to create a repository of stories for her grandchildren, who would pester her EVERYDAY for a new story, and she never disappointed! She also had a nice collection of rhymes and poems from her school books. The typical melody of the poem was clear from her singing, and so was her memory!

I am uploading one such poem, which she is singing at her age of 70+. Recording is done late at night (around 12:30 am) and we can feel her tired voice, however the passion is not less by 1/2 percent! Remembering you on your birthday!!

 

Advertisements

The Phoenix (Part 2)

Last few months, where I have been teaching this online 3D animation course, has also been a learning experience for me! I have met many young (not that I am old!!), minds, having passion, and aspiration to do something!

Many of these engineering graduate students have found their goals, however, there are few who aren’t sure of ‘what next?’. In fact, there are many of them, who feel, they cannot answer this question, ‘what next?’. It is because, they were not given a chance to choose their path!! Many admit that ‘engineering’ was NOT their choice as a career, but a compulsive plan forced on them by their parents/relatives, to which they have fallen prey! This is a suffocating situation for them, since academic pressure is increasing every passing day, and they just don’t feel that they ‘belong’ here!! I met few of them during this course. This series is a reflection of these interactions!!

IMG_5829.JPG

After the start of the self pace mode of the course, I browsed through the list of the toppers in the earlier offering, and saw a name having an eMail ID of Somaiya College. I got curious, since I was going to visit that college the next week.

I mailed the participant: Suraj Walunj, and was waiting for the reply! I also gave him my cellphone number, and was waiting for his call/mail. A brief response came back, and had his cellphone number. I called him up hastily, and I heard, ‘Bol naa…‘, from the other end! Puzzled, I tried adding as much baritone to my voice and said, ‘Hello, I am Sameer Sahasrabudhe, and I called you regarding the 3D animation course you completed few months back!‘. There was a silence for few seconds, and then I suddenly heard an apologetic voice, ‘Sorry Sir, actually I thought it was some friend..! So spoke to you in a casual manner, Sorry‘. It took me a long time to convince him, that I did not feel offended, on the contrary I was eager to meet him! We decided to meet on the Saturday, at Somaiya, and I was looking forward to that meeting. In next few seconds, I got an SMS, ‘Sorry Sir‘!!

At Somaiya, I had a session up to 1 PM, and a break for an hour for lunch. I had kept a message at the office to ask Suraj Walunj to wait for me if he comes early! I hurried to the office, after my session, and saw a student waiting!!, it was Suraj! Thin, lean, but brimming with confidence and showing the anxiety of meeting the ‘online teacher’ in person! I asked him about his education, family, and aspirations… and unfolded another story of a phoenix!

Suraj, comes from a Marathi family, and is pursuing his final year of B Sc in IT at Somaiya college, Vidyavihar. He had a strong liking for drawing, painting, and film making, however since the scope for these professions is rather unstable (which is not completely true), his family insisted him to pursue B Sc (IT).  Quite reluctantly, did he started, but was missing his passion at times. He did show the spark, when he bagged awards for the fine arts competitions at Mood Indigo (the cultural fest of IIT Bombay). He was pleasantly surprised to know about this course! Enrolled for it, and put in 100% of his efforts, to be among the toppers of the course.

One thing which was good to hear from him, was that he hasn’t left Blender, after the course. A video submission for the Multimedia, course in the class, made him use his Blender skills, and he created a nice video:

He learnt low-poly animation, and completed this animation using his i3 computer having 4GB of RAM, and 10 sleepless nights!! Over this period, he also taught some basic animation techniques to some of his friends!! He aspires to become an animator one day, and is working towards it, by grabbing every possible opportunity which comes his way!

Hats off to you Suraj, for the sustaining your passion!! Keep it up, and all the very best!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Phoenix! (Part 1)

Last few months, where I have been teaching this online 3D animation course, has also been a learning experience for me! I have met many young (not that I am old!!), minds, having passion, and aspiration to do something!

Many of these engineering graduate students have found their goals, however, there are few who aren’t sure of ‘what next?’. In fact, there are many of them, who feel, they cannot answer this question, ‘what next?’. It is because, they were not given a chance to choose their path!! Many admit that ‘engineering’ was NOT their choice as a career, but a compulsive plan forced on them by their parents/relatives, to which they have fallen prey! This is a suffocating situation for them, since academic pressure is increasing every passing day, and they just don’t feel that they ‘belong’ here!! I met few of them during this course. This series is a reflection of these interactions!!

RomeyRomey, wrote a mail on my personal ID. ‘Want to talk to you, I am in a dilemma’, was the subject line. Curious about it, I read the entire mail. Romey was in his first year on Computer Science Engineering, in a good college. However, towards the end of his first semester, he realised that his passion DOES NOT lie in Computer Science! After he completed the 3D animation course, he realised his passion lies in graphics, animation, gaming and visualization!! Therefore, he wrote to me, with a request to allow him in changing his course to BSc Computers. He was clear that by changing over, he will still have CS education, minus the pressure, and he can freely explore 3D animation!

I called him the same night and had a chat with him. I suggested him to wait and watch till the first semester results were out, and then take a call. Also, since I didn’t want him to be a empty mind, I suggested him to work as a ‘beta tester’ for my subsequent course offering.

He started off nicely, and soon, I was getting his mails about the errors in the quizzes, we were going to release, or interesting reviews about some of the submissions by the participants in the course! His results too came in, and as expected he flunked a (theory) subject and was borderline for couple others. However, he scored a ‘A’ in the practicals! I got in touch with his teachers at the college, and they were quite cooperative! During the call, she mentioned that after he started as a ‘Beta tester’, his confidence level was on the rise! He was enjoying it, and was quite proud of that fact! I told her to make him interact with someone, who understood the theory subject well, and she happily agreed.

Romey did well as a Beta tester in the course, and we sent him a letter of appreciation! The college took appropriate cognizance of this, and allowed him to free his wings further.

Last week I was happy to hear, that Romey was nominated to give a talk on Blender 3D at an intercollegiate symposium in the city!! and today I am told that he cleared his backlog from the last semester!!

It is quite an experience to see this type of positive change in a person, even if you have met him only virtually!! All the best Romey, you are a star!