Evil Eyes

With coal dust in your myopic eyes
You see warped, distorted images

Like reflections in carnival mirrors,

The surface of disturbed water,

Or the cave of a polished spoon.
Seeing with a visual apparatus 

Slick with a film of judgment 

Perhaps renders your discolored, 

Tinged view of my world and me

To yourself most sightly.  
But, how long will you bear to see nightshade where there actually bloom roses?

Serpents where there actually stand people?

Relieve yourself of that judgmental culture, your cataract, your coal dust.
Do yourself a favor: wash your eyes and see,

Behold the beauty that is,

Rather than contriving an ugliness that never was. 

An Open Letter to the Two Kinds of Teachers

Ask anybody who a teacher is. Either, you will end up hearing the stock definition of the word, or the character profile of a person. 
From the compendium of traits used to describe teachers, I choose two for the purpose of a little taxonomy. 
Subject-oriented and student-oriented.
These traits, while not mutually exclusive, carry their own individual import. 

To the subject-oriented teacher,
You know that your job demands dignity, prestige, respect. You want silence to enter the classroom with you and stay there until you’re gone. You have expectations. You want to prove to your peers that you’re primo. 
Those people who listen to you, you appreciate their respect because you know you need it. Your foursquare refusal for your class to be second to any other is evident in your methodologies. 
You’re particular about not letting a minute unpunctuated by all things academic slip by. Those people you teach need to get it right down to the last comma and period. 
Your knowledge is awed, your instruction is flawless, your evaluations just, your admonishments firm. 
Small talk narks you, tangential discussions nettle you. 
For you, teaching is a revered profession that should not be subverted by feelings of affection and attachment. 
You’re concern for your subordinates is limited to their ability to fill those blanks right, conjugate every last verb flawlessly, and to show them the way to go on the scholarly ladder – up, up and only up. 
You know where to draw the line, you know what is expected of you, you know what can varnish and what can vitiate your repute. 
You are plumed when you are complimented for your professional conduct, your top-drawer classes.
You give your job your all. You’re satisfied with how you do it. You pride yourself in being a good educator. 

To the student-oriented teacher,
You know that teaching has an ambiguous meaning. You have your string of degrees, you have a comprehensive knowledge of your subject, but for you, the former isn’t what you use to get respect and the latter isn’t the only thing you are meant to impart. 
You want your “kids” to listen to you, and so you bring yourself down to their level. You listen to them. You tell them about yourself. You let them know that you’re as human as they are. Mature, astute and seasoned as you are today, it has not slipped your memory that you were once like them.
Your knowledge commensurates with your humility; the former blows your kids’ minds, the latter touches their hearts. You’re someone who dispenses advice like a therapist, who understands the soup of teenage feelings like a mother, who unabashedly high-fives your kids in the corridors like a friend. 
You want to make sure that they know their spellings, articles and prepositions, but what’s more important to you is to you is for them to know they are valued not by the number or the letter on their answer scripts that attests to their performance, but for who they are as people. 
You don’t see your kids as workers in a mark-generating factory. They’re not just names on a roll, faces you see thrice a week.
You know that that being a friend isn’t a requirement for the job and the monthly paycheck, but that’s who you want to be to those children because when they lay themselves down to sleep at night, you know they’re not going to think about the right usage of l’imparfait and le passé composé, but about what made them smile, what disappointed them. 

You’re concerned about the child whose life isn’t rosy, you talk to the one who seems aloof, you boost the one who doesn’t know what she’s worth, you make them all feel special in their own way. 
It means something to you to mean something to someone. You cherish your kids’ love for you and you’re not loth to reciprocate it, well aware that life is shaped by all the love a person received or didn’t. 
You know the unspoken principle of being a teacher which is not to prepare kids for examinations of some import, but to prepare them for the long road of life that lies ahead of them. 
You know that you’ve done your job right not when you see that perfect score, but when your kids let you know they’ve learned something from you to last a lifetime. 
In all the ways you’ve taught by example, in all the times you cared to look beyond the textbook and the answer leaves, in all the memories you made with the kids who weren’t yours but whom you treated like your own, there lies the nobility, the true passion, the real essence of your profession. 
(Dédicace: Prof, c’est pour vous, ma source d’inspiration, mon enseignante préférée. Je t’aime tellement.)

Irrational Irony, Inexplicable Indifference & Inevitable Idiosyncrasy : Ingredients of Life

You’re in a crowd, but you’re alone. You explain, but that just makes things harder to understand than they initially were. You speak, but you can’t be heard, or you’re not listened to. When you’re silent, everyone hears. When you’re down, no one wants to help you up, but when you’re up, everyone wants to drag you down. They tell you to hold on when you’re trying to let go. They tell you to let go when you’re trying to hold on. You’re dying while you’re living, and living while you’re dying.

Life is pervaded by the essence of irrational irony.

You talk to a person present in the flesh and you’re ignored. You talk to your “wall” on a social media platform and people who aren’t well-enough acquainted with you connect the dots of your untold emotions. You are forced to wear a smile that conceals the scars lest someone should see them and question your sanity or gloat over your probable insanity. You are forced to line your eyes with kohl to camouflage the deed all the midnight tears have done, because people seem to notice, but won’t seem to understand. You love someone, but your love to them is no more than the earth they trample underfoot.

Life is garnished with the oil of inexplicable indifference.

You are told by people that you will be understood, but ultimately, you end up being either not understood or misunderstood. You are told to stay put by someone who persistently tries to push you off balance when you’re like a feather amidst an air current. You choose your path and traverse it only to realize you’ve been treading the wrong way all this while. You gain something only to realize it won’t last forever, but you lose something and realize that it will be lost forever, like a drop in a boundless ocean.

Life is sprinkled with a dash of inevitable idiosyncrasy.

But life has to go on through it all, doesn’t it? And it does…

You know you’re not losing life’s battle, you’re just fighting your way up from the bottom.

Life is crowned with the indomitable spirit that surmounts the issues so insurmountable.

Much More Than Just Handwriting

They say that one’s handwriting is a defining element of one’s character, and if there’s someone who believes that, it’s got to be me.

I was looking for my own signature style, something so distinguishable that it would give away my identity at first glance, and I finally developed it- thin and pointy like the canines of a vampire with the slash on the ‘t’ extending from a point to infinity. Looking at my handwriting is like looking at a cardiograph or a lightning bolt.

You might wonder for what I’m blogging about something like my handwriting. Well, in case the opening sentence slipped your mind, I suggest you read it once more.

People have paid my handwriting numerous compliments and criticisms such as:

  • “It’s so unique. I can tell it’s yours anywhere.”
  • “It’s neat, but I can’t understand it.”
  • “If you write like this, people won’t have the patience to decipher what’s written.”
  • “No one’s going to understand it, so you’d better change it.”

It hit me like a brick to the head one day that my handwriting and my character coincided in more ways than just one. For instance, my quirks and my personality earned me the title of “one of a kind” among my peers and instructresses; my eccentricities and mannerisms are sometimes unfathomable to third persons, just like my handwriting, but I was liked and appreciated all the same.

I’ve decided to never change either my handwriting or my character because though there are people who want me to change it simply because they don’t understand it, there will come along some brilliant few who will care to understand it, be what it may, just because it’s mine and I’m me.

(And yes, that is indeed my handwriting in the image.)

Some Passion Called “Writing”

“I realized that a pen in my hand sometimes serves me better than the tongue in my mouth.” — Me, Myself & I

When I was approximately three feet off the ground, I recall that I loved to flip through pages and inhale the musty aroma of disused books. It always left me in awe- how words could resonate so loudly in one’s head without even being physically spoken. There was something magical about the fluidity of the sentences, how one beautiful thought emerged from another, how people- though unreal- could be loved and hated. There was also this visualization thing. Books created the scenario in my head and the story would play out like I was in a theatre and the projector was my mind.

Well, that was it about reading. I spent an entire summer once reading around five-score books that spanned various genres. The power of the written word became more lucid to me with each page I turned. Then, one day I decided: I am going to be a writer.

It started off with me conjuring up a plot and characters. Wording the story was duck soup and my twelve-year-old mind considered it fine for a chapter to comprise of a meager 500 words. Later, when I re-read the story, I would go on to commend my efforts, but I knew that my penmanship was only in its embryonic stages.

Books like the Hush, Hush saga (Becca Fitzpatrick) and the Blue is for Nightmares series (Laurie Faria Stolarz) crossed my eyes and I devoted myself to reading these and oodles more just to delve into the world of fiction. But I was still discontented, because I wanted to be a part of a world of fictional characters that I could call my own.

After reading A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb, I realized that imagination had its limits beyond the dome of the firmament.

Like an ardent devotee of art, I sat myself down, pen in hand and began crafting a dark fantasy story about a clan of vampires. It was undoubtedly stereotypical, but I could at least clap myself on the back for trying to be productive after letting my creativity hibernate for what seemed like a whole era. My endeavor was to hatch a novel (40,000 words), but I wound up with 28,000 give or take.

But that was all I needed to begin a wonderful journey of creativity and exploration of untrodden territory in my mind. Writing books and short stories has since become more than just a divertissement. It has evolved into a passion. Time saw my skills hone just as it sees the world go from glory to glory.

According to me, there is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you can touch someone with written, unspoken words.