Ganpati 2016

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We celebrated Ganpati 2016 at home with friends and family. I did the cooking while mom was in charge of making modaks. Kids took charge of decoration and all of us including the angry young man were on the cleaning committee. (Here after I will refer to my husband Tejive, as the angry young man of the house.)

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It was fun in fast forward because we felt like those two days with Ganpati bappa came and went really fast. I like to call the second day as showcase day because Avanti danced, Shiva played her keyboard and me and aai sang in front of our bappa. The angry young man played his role of a silent spectator.

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This year we did visarjan in the Sunnyvale temple where our bappa looked like the cute little one joining his big brothers in pomp.

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Ganpati bappa morya, pudhcha varshi lavkar ya!!

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Professional Development

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Not checked in for a long time because I am trying to balance home, work and college together. Yes college again! Recently started the multiple subject credential program in SJSU. I have been teaching students from kinder through high school as a substitute, so decided to officially enroll in the teacher-training program and get credentialed. Fall 2016 is my first semester in the program and so far I am enjoying every bit of it. Mostly all my classmates are working in schools in some teaching capacity, so it is nice to be surrounded with like-minded people, learning together to be tomorrow’s teachers.

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As a part of our Science – methods class, we got an amazing opportunity to attend professional development for teachers in Monterey Bay Aquarium. This training was focused on teaching science as per NGSS – Next Generation Science Standards. We were taught to teach science with more emphasis on inquiry-based hands on training, so that students engage, explore, experiment, evaluate and investigate like scientists. The idea is to encourage our students to dwell deep in science rather than superficially touching the topic.

I have been to the Monterey Aquarium four times before with my family and as a chaperone on field trips, but this visit was like never before. We got to explore the aquarium privately before the tourists came in. We worked with live starfish, anomalies, sea urchins, hermit crabs and abalones. We touched them, fed them and studied their characteristics, structures, and adaptations. We classified fish as per their habitat and also played with the new education app to make our presentations with pictures, videos, drawings, text and audio commentary. My favorite part was the session we did on sharks. It started with observing live shark, followed by science talk and each group working independently on different parts of a shark. The whole training program at Monterey Bay Aquarium completely changed my outlook about teaching and learning science in schools.

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I am really looking forward to teach science as per NGSS  in real classroom.

Nritya Hriday 2016

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Megha Shetty has this tradition of hosting a dance program every year with her students in San Jose bay area. That way all of them get a chance to show what they have learned and confidence to perform on the stage. It is a bliss to watch the girls blossom as dancers year after year. Hats off to guru Megha for the passion with which she runs the whole show.

This year Nritya Hriday was held at the Sunnyvale Theatre on March 19th. As usual all the dancers were at their best in the traditional bharatnatyam attire. According to the tradition, the dancers offer prayers to the god of dance, lord Nataraja and then wear their ghungroos to dance. Such as:

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I was assigned the role of lining up the dancers backstage and I cannot stress enough, on how much goes into getting each dancer ready to perform on the stage. On an average, it takes up to two to three hours to get a dancer ready for the bharatnatyam performance with hair, makeup, jewelry, costume etc… until the last-minute touchups……. 

 This year my daughter Avantika’s group performed Alarippu, which means blooming of a flower bud. This dance form is often towards the beginning of the  dance recital program because it depicts paying respect to the god and the audience.

The Alarippu group practicing backstage….

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My evergreen friend Meena and her stunning dance group

The pushpanjali group

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With guru Megha…happy for the achievment

Me the proud mom…

And the paraphernalia paid off…..

Thank you Megha and all the dancers for giving us a beautiful and memorable evening once again.

Mid night thought

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Whenever I speak to my cousin sister in Mumbai India, I feel like how come she has so much time on hand to think and do insignificant things. Every time I call her, she tells me of it being some special day on the calendar and is busy celebrating it, or is always getting something specially cooked for guests coming over. As a working woman she balances her act so well with the help of her support system, which is made of only ….. 10 people. Ten minutes on the east of her house reside her parents. 20 minutes away on the west of her house live her in laws. At home, she has two baais (maids) for help with cooking, cleaning and other chores. And when all of the above eight members of her support system are not available, she avails the help of her sister or sister in law who both live pretty close by. Hmmmm….no wonder!

I am also a working woman in California, but my support system has only two pillars….one is me and other is my husband……Most of the times my husband tells me not to count on him because of his demanding work hours….So I am kind of exhausted always and whenever I yawn on the phone, she says you sound like you are sleep deprived….da! obviously……And why not, coz it is so right! I cannot make it to the bed before 12 any day of the week. I work and I drop the kids to school, and I drive them to swimming class everyday, and I cook and I clean, and I go to bed exhausted and the routine continues …..like I am in the “Java… if then loop.” As against my sister, when I am free, I am thinking of sneaking a nap, bring take out, or thinking of the next break to school. That way, I can sleep late and not worry of the packed lunch. And so much for living abroad ……

Therefore all I can wish for at this hour of the day……sorry….this hour of the night….. is a baai!

Teaching

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View from my new classroom

View from my new classroom

Ever since I came back from India, I boarded on the mission for job accomplishment. While doing so, one of my friends  suggested that I should start subbing. That way, I earn something and keep myself constructively busy. I quickly agreed because classroom teaching can also give me some exposure to practical implementation of my problem based learning project n grad school.

On the basis of my Masters and CBEST and CSET, I got the first long term assignment to teach in a kindergarten class. I enjoyed working with the little wonders. They made me realize how every new generation is like super breed of humans. I had never seen kids like them who do not hesitate to talk anything and everything just about anywhere they want. They could disagree unapologetically and ask adorable questions, only to leave me awe struck and  surprised together.  All my kindergartners had unique personalities that kept me going. They were cute, funny, smart, witty, nosy, quirky, naughty and completely amazing in every possible way. Our learning was not one sided because I learned a lot from them too. I am sure, the sas and the attitude that I picked up from them will help me some day.

My second assignment is a sixth grade language arts and social studies position. These kids are about five to six years older than my kindergartners, but they are equally naughty and childish. I love working with sixth graders too because their responses and reactions give me instant feedback. This bunch of sixth graders is receptive about new information and knowledge, so they are a teacher’s delight when it comes to learning and exploring educational wonders of language arts and social studies.

In the mean while, I am brushing my technical skills to hit the job market with a well rounded techno functional profile.

 

Ganpati Bappa Morya

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http://www.allgodsphotos.com/2014/08/shreemant-dagdusheth-ganpati-2014-Images-Photos-Wallpapers.html

Shreemant Dagdusheth Ganpati Pune

The tradition of  collective celebration of Ganpati  runs in my blood as a Mumbaikar. I grew up in Mumbai with huge theme based Ganpati idols, massive decorations, standing in long lines for darshan, participating in maha aartis, watching nightly entertaining programs and seeing chowpaty visarjans. Visiting Lalbagcha Raja, Ganeshgalli Mumbaicha Raja, Khetwadi Ganraj, and Sioncha Ganpati in big groups was our yearly ritual. Further, I was introduced to the Dagdusheth Ganpati Pune and the typical puneri style of Ganpati celebrations with Nasik dhol and tasha, lejim bands and ladies atharvasheersh chanting pathaks. Festivities in India are out of the world, which we definitely miss in abroad. Therefore, I catch up with the celebrations of  Ganpati arrival and visarjan  with my kids on YouTube. My kids have never experienced the festivities in Mumbai or Pune so they are overwhelmed with the kind of crowd and cheer in people. The questions they ask while watching these Ganpati videos are obvious from their perspective like why are these many people gathering in such a small place? How do these people look so happy and content?  Where do they come from and where are they going? How do these people get the time, energy and dedication to participate in these carnivals? How do people of all class and communities forget their differences during this time of the year? Are they not scared of going in the crowd? Where are food, water and bathroom arrangements for these people?

And I say..…..“It is the strength of human spirit” that goes above and beyond the obstacles, doubts and reservations of human endeavors. 

Ganala naman

Ganala naman

2015 was the eighth year of celebrating Ganpati festival at home. I made the typical Maharashtrian naivadya of varan bhaat, batatyachi bhaji, usal and ukdiche modak.

Modakam samarapayami

Modakam samarapayami

The highlights of this weekend were friends coming over, visiting Bayareacha raja in New Ark, my daughter’s participation in the cultural program there and Kareoke at a friend’s place. Avantika danced in a group represented by Megha Shetty’s, Bayarea Nritya Guru.

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The New Ark Bayareach raja reminded me of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai and Pune. The crowd, the big lines for darshan and Prasad and the ethnic sentiments there demonstrated how our cultural ties are deep rooted within us and we carry them wherever we go.

Bayareacha raja

Bayareacha raja