July 29, 2015

Symbiosis again!

And so Malini has joined college! Symbiosis University once again - and our love affair with Pune continues! I am handling it better this time since several of the earlier anxieties are behind us, with regard to the hostel and the college. She joined the Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts (SSLA), a course based on the US-model, that is new to us in India. Her subjects in the first semester are: Legal awareness, Computer fundamentals - theory and practical, Environmental awareness: Only one Earth, and the two electives - Introduction to Linguistics and Literature and gender.

The course sounds exciting!...she will study a range of core and elective subjects over the next four years, the major to be chosen in the third semester.

Choosing educational institutions is not easy these days. Unlike during our time, there is a lot of choice now - of courses and colleges - and it is quite confusing. Peer pressure adds to the confusion with several parents opting to send their children abroad for undergrad studies. Malini has had to answer questions such as, "If you want to do Liberal Arts, you should go to the US...the best colleges are there". However, we firmly believe that it is important to study in your own country and know your own country before venturing out to discover another. Finally it is important to do what you love, and to be concerned and conscientious citizens of one's country and the world. We have always gone by the rule of choosing either old and good institutions in India or the new generation ones with great facilities that are known to be trying hard to do well. SSLA falls into the latter category. It has a team of highly inspired and motivated teachers - headed by the dynamic and articulate  Director - Prof Anita Patankar - and we were very impressed by them, indeed. The team reminded me of dear Shantamma and the Vidyaranya teachers...what can be better than this?!

When Maloo came into our lives, she brought great joy to everyone around. As is common with second children, she was the bolder and the naughtier one, and everything seemed easier this time around! She made friends easily and conversed with people with confidence. The ease with which she grew up made me wonder, "why can't one have the second child first?!" Of course there were and are moments of worry and frustration...

In Montessori, much as she liked to sing, she refused to go to music class for months because, as it turned out later, she didn't like the music teacher's pepe hair cut! Maloo's antics inspired me to write the book of funny poems about children and childhood - "Autorickshaws blues...", which Ragini illustrated.

And then began her explorations into the world of music, and like Ragini, she chose to learn Hindustani music even while I was trying to get her to do something different! And even as she began to get noticed for her ability to sing, she suddenly chose to stop, and picked up the guitar and began to sing western music in her amazing voice, and our home reverberated with melody of a different kind!

I'll miss having this bundle of joy around at home in Hyderabad, but I know she'll come back empowered and confident-er than ever before!

When Ragini left home for college, I went through a huge emotional upheaval and this song constantly buzzed in my head.

Abhi na jaayo chhodh kar / ke dil abhi bhara nahi
abhi abhi to aayi ho / bahaar ban ke chaayi ho 

Four years have passed and a confident graduate in Visual Communication Design returned home, to stay awhile to freelance from Hyderabad. We are overjoyed!

This is a happy swap, with the children taking turns to go to Pune for college! 

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