March 29, 2010

What Teachers Make

What Teachers Make, or
Objection Overruled, or
If things don't work out, you can always go to law school

By Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is, "What's a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"
He reminds the other dinner guests that it's true what they say about
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the other dinner guests
that it's also true what they say about lawyers.

Because we're eating, after all, and this is polite company.

"I mean, you¹re a teacher, Taylor," he says.
"Be honest. What do you make?"

And I wish he hadn't done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won't I let you get a drink of water?
Because you're not thirsty, you're bored, that's why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven't called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, "Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don't you?"
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a goddamn difference! What about you?

March 25, 2010

वो लोग बहुत खुश-किस्मत थे

वो लोग बहुत खुश-किस्मत थे
जो इश्क़ को काम समझते थे
या काम से आशिकी करते थे

हम जीते जी मसरूफ रहे
कुछ इश्क़ किया, कुछ काम किया
काम इश्क के आड़े आता रहा
और इश्क से काम उलझता रहा
फिर आखिर तंग आ कर हमने
दोनों को अधूरा छोड दिया

--- फ़ैज़ अहमद फ़ैज़

नाम में अक्सर मजहब का ज़िक्र होता है

नाम में अक्सर मजहब का ज़िक्र होता है
मेरा नाम जगदीश यानी हिन्दू
उसका नाम अशरफ था, ज़ाहिरन मुसलमान था
मैंने आदाब कहा उसने नमस्कार
हम दोनों के लिबाज़ तकरीबन एक जैसे थे
अछी बात है लिबाज़ आजकल मज़हब की अलामत नहीं
वो अपने गुमशुदा भाई की तलाश में आया था
मैं उसे अपने घर ले आया
हम पांच दिन साथ साथ रहे
वो मेरी अम्मी अबा के पाँव छूता
अपनी अम्मी अबा को याद करता
रोता हमें भी रुलाता
माँ कहती तेरे नैन नक्श अशरफ जैसे है
में पूछता फिर ये धर्म में फर्क कैसे है
में मज़ाक करता, कही में तो नहीं इसका खोया हुआ भाई
माँ मुस्कराती, अशरफ भी
उसका भाई छोटा था बीस साल का -- मुसलमा
और में तब था तीस का हिन्दू
उसका भाई नहीं मिला
मेरा भाई पाकिस्तान लौट गया
तब से अम्मी मुझे जगदीश अशरफ कह के पुकारती है
अब मेरे नाम में मज़हब का नहीं मुहबत का ज़िक्र होता है

--- रचनाकार: जगदीश रावतानी आनंदम »

March 6, 2010

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

- W. H. Auden

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