Writing 101,Day Eleven: Update your readers over a cup of coffee

If we were having coffee right now with my friend and neighbor, I’d tell her how much I’m enjoying WordPress, Writing 101.

The best part is I get an assignment five days of the week, week-ends are free. Each assignment is a challenge. I have to dig my brain to see how I can make the current assignment entertaining and interesting.

Today is the eleventh day I’m trying to take my mind back to day one, when we started this blogging course.

It was : Why do I write? Right now I’d say I write because it gives me scope to empty out my thoughts on the page and get ready to fill it with new ones. Do I make sense? It’s something repeated by my brother,every time he completes some writing.

Some days just to tease him, I feel like saying : No brother you do not make sense. It’s something I lay buried in my thoughts, he doesn’t take it as a joke,he will have all sorts of questions why I wrote this. See what I mean? Who wants to start an argument with such a simple statement?

Coming back to coffee and meeting my friend at a place which we both like is a small shop in ‘Churchill Square’ they serve tea,  coffee and biscuits. We visit it whenever we want to have an outing outside our home.

We talk about a number of things, most of the time it’s the weather and the place we visited during the summer.

I drink tea and my friend likes coffee. She also enjoys tea. After about forty- five minutes we leave the shop and walk home.


Writing 101,Day Ten: Let the scene write itself

Assignment: Find a spot where you can sit and observe for at least twenty minutes.

“On Location”

I sat in my living room and watched the scene in front of me. There are no flowers, the maple trees are almost bare, the leaves still there, are quietly falling on the ground.

The hedge is trimmed to get ready for the snow that might show up any day. On the road cars:yellow, red , black and brown , are moving along at a steady speed.

Every few minutes Route two bus is whizzing past my house, the destination seems to be the mall, it will stop for a few minutes to pick up passengers, and will go past my house again to the opposite direction.

It’s a cloudy and cold day, I see men and women bundled up to stay warm.

Across the road the Memorial university parking lot is filled with cars. The parking lot is new, it used to be a large field with green grass. Now it’s converted into a parking lot.

There is still some greenery: it’s the slopes they covered it with sod, it’s not smooth yet ,there are patches of mud in places.

This is the scene, there is not much change, there are no animals, only some pedestrians walking along the pavement to get to work.

Like Wordsworth I gazed … and gazed, my thought wasn’t what wealth the show to me had brought. For me it was the reminder of a long dreary winter to pounce on us.

I looked out  my window what did I see?

Leaves falling quietly baring the trees.

Immediately the thought comes to mind,

How pitiful the trees look standing in line.


The humans are on their way to work,

In cars, trucks, cabs and on foot goes the jerk.

Still I look for something pleasant,

Maybe a kitten, a puppy or a cute infant.


Unlucky you, my  mind scolds me,

This is not the time for you to see

a kitten , a puppy  or anything cute.

For it’s cold outside you silly brute!

…………………………… 🙂



Writing 101, Day Nine: Writing and not writing

Today’s assignment: What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing, it depends on the time of day,if  I’m finished writing, early morning, I pick up either the Bhagwad Gita  or Thich Nhat Hanh,’The Miracle of mindfulness.’ It depends on my mood as well. If I’m happy, I listen to songs on YouTube, mostly Hindi or Urdu or my favorite Bengali songs.

Besides writing I am also registered for an online course, where there are lessons given to us, one every week. I study them, pick a question and answer it.

We the participants are expected to read each other’s comment and give our replies. When I first joined the course, I was bothered by someone,  who did not want me to be in the course, because I am  a  Bengali. I did not say or do anything to make her feel that way. My being a Bengali was the only reason.

At first I toyed with  the idea of leaving the course and joining the Memorial University, which is across the street from my house.Then the thought, I have as much right to be in the course as  her, made me change my mind.

I’m continuing the course and still enjoying it, the day I feel it’s a burden, I’d leave and concentrate on writing,reading and cooking too.

At the moment, I’m pleased to stay in the course. Our facilitator is a fine gentleman, I’m actually indebted to him for allowing me to register in the course. It’s a course on Allama Iqbal, the poet and philosopher.I did not have any previous knowledge of him, I have learned everything I know by doing this course.

I also spend time cooking, which I love to do. One time I baked a lot, I do not do it anymore, it keeps me from eating cookies and cakes, which really is not good for me, considering the fact,there is too much sugar in them. I have learned sugar is not the best thing to consume if I want to stay healthy.

These are some ways I spend my time. I love writing, when I have nothing to write I translate songs into English.

……………………….. 🙂


Writing 101, Day Eight: Reinvent the letter format

Today’s assignment: Write your post in the form of a letter. Approach it in any way you’d like.

This is a letter to my feline Raphael:

Dear Raphael,

We took you away from your parents,because your brother Gabriel was lonely. We knew your brother would be very happy to see you.

The day we were putting you in the kennel, you started crying, you knew you were leaving your parents home, perhaps you felt you’d never see them again it  saddened your little heart, waiting in the house was your brother whose joy knew no bounds when he saw you.

The first evening you hid under the recliner, your brother tried to bring you out, but you were stubborn and refused to come out.Little by little you were getting used to your surrounding.

One day your brother went up the stairs,he left you looking up.You were scared to follow him,you were not sure how to go up the stairs.

I watched you and your brother, hoping you’d follow him but you stayed down. Your brother came down and went one stair at a time to show you how you could climb the stairs as well,slowly you got the courage to climb the first stair, within a few minutes you were able to climb all the stairs.

Your previous owner called you a grasshopper, you could go up anywhere without any problem. May be in the new house you were scared by everything you saw,new place, new people, the only thing you recognized was your brother.

Today you have learned many things on your own, a few days ago you tried and opened my door, now this is one thing keeping you from coming into my room, now that you have managed to conquer this, I wonder what’s your next move.

I always encourage you to eat your own food, what amazes me you take a bite of your food and hurriedly climb up  my cupboard to eat the box on top. So far you have gnawed a hole on it, it makes me upset, but you don’t care. The only thing that stops you from eating the cardboard is when I take the spray bottle and spray you without stopping. You do not like water you come down for a second and go right up and continue with your chewing.

When I fail to stop you, I pick you up and put you out in the dining room, I come back to my room and lock the door. I know it’s mean, you do not understand my language, I don’t understand yours.

I want to let you know I love you very much, I wish you’d stop eating cardboard, if you do, I won’t have to quarrel with you anymore.

You have the qualities of a fine and affectionate animal, if only you could stop destroying my books and papers, I won’t have to complain about you any more!

Love always, dear Raphael,

Your friend,


Writing 101,Day Seven: Let Social media inspire you

Assignment: Today write a response to the following tweet.

You study, study, study, and at the end, you are lucky enough to discover the greatest gift of education: that you know nothing at all.

I felt the same when I completed my education degree, I got the job because of the document which said I successfully completed the course.

While teaching in the classroom I felt I knew nothing, all the courses I took were not helping me in the classroom.

I actually started  learning when I was in the classroom with the kids.

When I thought through it dawned on me, I had to study because by doing so, I was gaining experience in handling situations, ones I never faced before.

In my second year of teaching, I was in charge of teaching forty-two kids in the second grade. I was told by one of the kids I was their sixth teacher in six months.

It should have frightened me, like Julie Andrews, who said: what’s wrong with the children?

I stood in front of those little tikes unmoved by this announcement. The word cheeky came to mind, but since it was my first day; I let it go to see who comes up a winner in this competition , me or the forty-two sharp-minded kids?

I did not have to wait too long, next day as soon as the recess bell rung, it didn’t even take forty-two seconds for them to disappear from the classroom.

This experience did not scare me, it certainly made me think. I walked out of the classroom, went to the verandah to see where these hooligans were hanging out.

My thoughts were interrupted by the gym teacher, a fine and knowledgeable man who warned me these are the worst children in the whole school. I took all this information  and waited for the following day.

The day had come for me to take some action, the kids were working on the task I gave them while I looked at my watch to see the time, it was 10.10 AM, the bell for recess would ring after five minutes . I promptly went to the door and locked it.

I turned around and saw the kids looking at me, I told them: if anyone stands up before I tell them to, there will be no recess for you.

There was pin-drop silence, I further announced they will have to stand in a line and wait for me to tell them to walk out of the classroom.

They did as I told them, after this incidence I never had any problems with them. When they were asked what kind of a teacher I was, “she’s the best teacher we ever had.” they said.

In my courses I didn’t learn anything about discipline. In real life I did. My mom had twelve of us, and out of them eight were boys, my mom was strict and my brothers were afraid to disobey her. I learned early on from my mother how to discipline children.

I put this knowledge into practice when my turn came and never had problems teaching kids. Kids are the sweetest human beings on this earth, they understand a lot.

All those hours, days,months and years of learning, provided me with the experience I gathered to use my education wisely.



Writing 101, Day Six: The Space to write

Where do you write? Do you prefer blogging on your laptop in a coffee shop? Are you productive in a quiet room, door closed, away from civilization?

Assignment:  Today, describe  the space where you write,or if you don’t have a dedicated place, what is your ideal setting? Consider these questions to shape your post.

What are your writing habits?

What equipment or or supplies do you use to write?

What do you need or want in a physical space?

In my bedroom, I have a tiny space; it is sufficient to put my small table with two drawers. My laptop is placed on it. Besides my laptop, there is my telephone to answer calls if there are any. I placed my mouse on my right hand side.

The drawers are for my pens, Occasionally I need them to jot down a few things, also these pens keep my handwriting in check, I do not scribble, I know I won’t be able to decipher them later on when I need to.

I have a  chair to sit on, I borrowed this from the dining room, there are plenty there, but should need arise because there are more than six people; who I’ve invited for supper;I just drag the chair out of my room to the dining room.

I like writing after breakfast, sometimes it’s 8 AM , but today it’s a bit late. In the morning I do better, my concentration is great; I can sit for two or three hours writing without a break.

My companions are my two Siamese Himalayan breed felines, who quietly take their nap on my bed while I’m writing.

I started blogging in October 2012, now I feel lost if there are no assignments for me to do.These are times when I translate some Hindi, Bengali, and Urdu songs. It keeps my brain from getting lazy.

I guess this is all I can think of writing for today’s  assignment.


Writing 101, Day five: Hook ’em with a quote

Today’s assignment:  Hook ’em with a quote

Rabindranath Tagore says:

Don’t limit your child to your own learning, for she was born in another time.


Rabindranath Tagore is one of those personalities, who provided us with music, poetry and prose. I have learned a lot from his songs, poems, fiction and non-fiction. Today I feel it is time for me to honor him by using his quote.

As a child I asked many questions, but no one wanted to answer them.My eldest brother tried to stop me by using the famous quote,“curiosity killed a cat.”

When I read Tagore’s quote, I felt I wish I could ask him about certain things I was curious about.

It is true sometimes a child’s questions baffle us, we adults try to stop him/her, because we feel children’s knowledge should be limited to the alphabets, for they are too young to know more than the letters.

Once my colleague complained about her five year old son, “He is not cooperative,” she said.

“Why are you saying this ?” was my question.

She then told me, his kindergarten teacher complained, he refuses to participate in their classroom activities.

It seems the five-year old children were introduced to colors, each time the teacher mentioned a specific color, one of the kids was asked to run and stand on that color. When Jay’s turn came, he looked the other way.The teacher was upset and complained to his mother, that her son was not paying attention.

Jay knew all the colors and thought it was too stupid to run and stand on the color. This is one example, there are many others. This is where Tagore says, “Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for she was born in another time.”

Our world has changed a lot, back when I was a kid, we never heard of cell phones, today I see little ones with a cell phone on his palm. I’m awed by this, it makes me want to see what kind of messages are they sending to their friends.

Yes with every new generation we find kids know more than I ever did at that age. I’m not embarrassed for I know, our minds were limited to know what was available in our time. Today if we hold our children back on the presumption it’s well beyond their age, we’d be doing them a disservice. “As they are born in another time.”

……………………….. 🙂



Writing 101, Day Four: A story in a single image

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Crowd in transit station

For this use one of the images above as the creative spark for today’s post. You might use as the setting for a story or poem,write about how it makes you feel, or describe a memory conjured by it.

A crowd in transit station

Brings back memories of yesteryear

When I was a student with no care

Moving along without hesitation!


How wonderful those days had been

Makes me think if I could go back

And feel the warmth and view the scene

What more could I want from life’s sack!


But my mind tells me to look

For  my future and not the past

As wonderful as it was I should let it off the hook

It’s best to move on  and see   what comes at last!


Here I am today, watching travelers

Carrying over-sized bags and their umbrellas

In a hurry to get in before other passengers

I wish I can say, no worries   fellas!


There will be more trains

  For you to get on  board

If you miss this one do not strain

Be calm trust me  you I  assure!

……………………….. 🙂

Writing 101, Day Three: One Word Inspiration







Select one word in this list that speaks to you in some way. Have you always wanted to write about that one decision that changed your life? Are you a long term traveler looking for the right city to settle?

While tidying up my drawers, I was thinking about the Six prompts given to us today. We are supposed to choose one out of these six prompts.

Before going to bed last night,none of them were speaking to me. I was a bit disappointed thinking I may not be able to do this assignment.

When I finally went to bed, I made sure; I will not think of them; I knew if I did I’ll be up all night.

This morning after breakfast, I felt like fixing the clothes in my drawers; believe it or not the word ‘Abundance’ spoke to me, “Why don’t you write about me?”

“You”? I replied,”What can I write about you?”

Immediately, I went back to my childhood; One day I was washing my dress; I  felt very sad thinking,”why do I have to wash this dress after school daily; so I can wear it next day.”

The thought made me cry, my Dad always paid attention about me; what was I doing;why was I crying?He said out loud, “why is Ranu crying ,what’s wrong?”

My big sister yelled out, “nothing’s wrong Dad, she always cries without any reason!”

Dad said, “I don’t believe it, there must be something.”

He called me and asked, “Ma Ranu why are you crying?”

I said, “Dad, I only have one dress for school, I have to wash it everyday!”

My Dad was shocked,he called my mother,he asked, “Did you know Ranu has only one dress for school?”

Before my mom could reply, he said, “I want you to buy some material for her, give it to the tailor to get a dress stitched for her immediately!”

My mom bought the fabric to get a dress made for me.

The memory of that dress and my unhappiness came flooding in my mind. That day I never knew what is ,”Abundance,” perhaps my mind told me, ‘you should be happy with less.’

Today I look around in my room and tell myself, “this is Abundance.” I see clothes everywhere, I have a hard time finding space to put them away.

The fact that I cried for lack of clothes, must have reached heaven; God must have written in His favorite book; “I will never let her cry for lack of clothes,I will give her more than enough.”

I remember one of our dearest friend commented once, “Chaman you have so many saris; you will have to live a hundred years to wear them all!”

……………………………. 🙂

Writing 101, Day Two: Write a List

Today,write your own list on one of these topics:

Things I Like

Things I’ve Learned

Things I Wish

Things I’ve Learned

  1. I’ve learned that if I want to be healthy, I must eat healthy food, exercise daily and get six to eight hours of sleep, every day.
  2. To be stress free I must always entertain happy thoughts.
  3. Follow the golden rule, “Do unto others as  you would have them do unto you.”
  4. I have learned not to give in to temptation of any kind as I learned in school the following, “Temptation is an inclination to commit sin which needs an effort of the will to resist it.”
  5. Be kind and gentle to your fellow human beings, for some day you might need them.
  6. Do not over eat,it leads to ill-health, our Prophet told his followers, “do not eat until you are too full, leave some space in your stomach.”
  7. Do not boast for it’s a sign of arrogance, no one likes an arrogant person.
  8. “He who finds peace and joy and radiance within himself-that man becomes one with God and vanishes into God’s bliss.” Bhagavad Gita
  9. “While washing the dishes, one should only be washing the dishes, which means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes.” By Thich Nhat Hanh
  10. “Always take things positively even though it doesn’t seem so, because whatever God does is for your benefit.” By My Mom
  11. ………………………….. 🙂