100 words 100 days: Day 88: A meal with the five people who have inspired you the most

My mother.

My father.

L. M. Montgomery.

Roald Dahl.

Maya Angelou.

And Jesus. There had to be room for Him at this supper. And I can definitely fit six people in my house- there is enough space for that number. However, they won’t all be able to sit at the table, unless I rearrange the furniture.

I think Jesus might steal the limelight. Everybody will want to talk to Him and ask Him questions.

Still, you can learn a lot just by listening. I bet Roald Dahl would find a way to twist the story. Maya Angelou would kiss her words and breathe poetry into them. L. M. Montgomery would battle with her own demons to bask in the glory of the Saviour her husband would have preached about. And my parents? They would help me cook, and set the table, and probably ask a couple of questions, their humility and goodness shining through, 1-carat diamonds beside a crown jewel.

And Jesus would smile, and suffer the little children to come unto Him.

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Day 89: Write a funny how-to

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100words 100 days Day 87: Open a book to the 153rd page. Look at the third line. Make that the start of your story.

Every feather in its long tail had a decorated eye.

But that wasn’t the only reason the dreamcatcher was the most eerie thing I had ever seen. It exuded a translucent plasma-like quality similar to a ghost or a jellyfish. And in its centre, nestled among the threads wrapped around a discarded bangle, was a very large spider, the brown, furry kind. It had already begun weaving its strands across the hoop.

Everything about the dreamcatcher made me feel like it was observing me, preparing to snare me in its little web, and hold me in a world that was not quite real and not quite imagined. Whoever had made it had done so with the intention of subverting the true purpose of a dreamcatcher, with the express intention of making me feel the negativity that seeped from it.

If only I could reach it to take it down!

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Day 88: A meal with the five people who have inspired you the most

100 words100days (ish) Day 86: A manual for an exotic pet

I tried keeping a couple of snails as pets when I was a child. They were the kind that were abundant during the monsoons in Goa. Sludgy, squishy, interesting creatures, with bodies the colour of doce bhaji (similar to oats porridge), and translucent, fragile shells in a light earthy brown.

How to look after these amazing and environmentally important creatures:

  1. It’s better that you don’t keep them as pets. They are not domestic or domesticated.
  2. If you have taken them from their natural habitat because you are trying to conserve them, make sure you put them in a safe place, i.e. preferably one they can’t get out of only to be stepped on.
  3. Take some leaves from the plant you found them on- at least you know they eat that.
  4. Do your research. And record any observations you make.
  5. Don’t pick them up all the time. It just triggers their shrinking reflex (scientific term not googled)

Postscript: If you think you can look after a peacock or a panther, I need to tell you- you’re probably wrong. We really need to stop messing with ecosystems. Please adopt a dog or a cat.

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Day 87: Open a book to the 153rd page. Look at the third line. Make that the start of your story.

I picked up I sweep the sun off rooftops, by Hanan Al-Shaykh, from my To Read pile.

The line I got, serendipitously enough, is about peacocks. But does it have to be?

“Every feather in its long tail had a decorated eye…”

Day 85: Why MOOC’s do (or don’t) work

It’s been a long while between the last 100 days post and this one. In fact, I think it’s been more than a hundred days.

Just 16 posts to go to actually complete this (perfect timing- this exercise will help me get in the groove for NaNoWriMo)

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A Massive Open Online Course is one that is open to people all over the world, broadcast via the levelling medium of the Internet.

As is the case with most methods and media of learning, MOOC’s work in specific situations, with specific audiences.

If, for instance, someone signs up for a MOOC because he/she is truly interested in the topic, the MOOC will definitely benefit that person more than someone who is vaguely intrigued by the syllabus.

For a MOOC to benefit you, you have to be willing to put in the time and do the work. Nobody is going to chase after you to complete your quizzes or peer reviews. A MOOC is an instance of self-directed learning.

It’s not just about motivation and curiosity: not having access to the internet is a big obstacle to participating effectively in a MOOC.

From a trainer’s perspective, a MOOC may not work in the following situations:

  1. There’s no system to follow up with your trainees post the MOOC in order to ensure transfer of learning
  2. Trainees are forced to watch the videos, and complete coursework, thus leading to sub-par participation and retention
  3. The MOOC is not customised to the requirements of the organisation. (Some people can apply what they have learned in a different setting, some can’t)

Whether you are a learner or a trainer, if you don’t try new methods, you’ll never know. Go MOOC!

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Day 86: A manual for an exotic pet

Day 84 100words100days: explain yourself to your parents (fiction/non-fiction)

Dear Mum and Dad,

When I was younger, you didn’t want me to care so much about those outside the privileged inner circle. Now I’m older, and you wish I cared more.

The thing is, I’m not going to be able to do things at the pace you did them. I might never do the things you did. I might do many things you didn’t.

I might spend my whole life “finding” myself. I might never truly know what I want. Or want what I know. Or I might want the things and people and experiences you don’t approve of or don’t fathom. Or, at some undefined point, I might want exactly the kind of life you want for me.

I need support from you. I am still an idealist, hiding under covers of cynicism, waiting to throw them off and dance in the rain while the sun promises a rainbow at an opportune moment. But my idealism is fragile. I don’t need you to be the voice of my worst fears- I have inhabitants in my mind who prepare me for the worst foreseeable outcomes always. I need you to tell me that in some places the sun does always shine, and the conditions are just right. I’m nearly at the start of my fourth decade, but I still need you to tell me things can be okay, that the world can be a wonderful place. I want to believe that it can be, and if you say so, I know I will.

I’m finally coming to terms with things I can’t change- my height, for instance. The fact that I allowed other people’s ideas of what women can and cannot do to define some of my major life choices. I know I can’t hold you responsible for issues like these- and I’m working on that. In my own way. In my own time.

Much love,

FED

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Day 85: Why MOOC’s do (or don’t) work

Day 83 100words100days: A series of limericks about expat life

It’s probably not so well known

That not all expats aren’t looking to go home.

In fact some would prefer

To be back where they were:

Their own little village or town.

I live in a land with no tax

But that doesn’t mean I’m relaxed

I have no pension

So there is some tension

Cos I don’t know just when I’ll be axed.

I go home ’bout once in a year

With presents for those I hold dear

For some friends and some family

And for some who can’t stand me

Just to prove that I’m better than they’re.

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Day 84: explain yourself to your parents (fiction/non-fiction)

Day 82 100words100days: Write a story for a younger cousin (0-10)

Happy birthday, little cousin Kevin. I hope your first birthday was a lovely, happy, comfortable day.

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Today is Little Boy’s birthday.

Do you know what he’s going to do?

His Mama and Papa and Big Brother are going to dress him up in new clothes.

They are going to kiss him and tickle him and make him laugh.

The whole family is going to come over with presents and food, and they are all going to sing for him.

Mama and Papa, and maybe Big Brother too, will cut a cake and put a little taste of it in Little Boy’s mouth.

Big Brother is going to get cake all over his face, because that is fun. Little Boy will smile and gurgle at his funny Big Brother.

Later, after the food has been eaten, and the cake has been polished off, Mama and Papa will put both their sons to bed with a silent blessing and heartfelt prayer.

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Day 83: A series of limericks about expat life

Day 81 100words100days: Life as a native (child of the soil)

I can point out to you the places where the houses my ancestors lived in once stood. I can show you land that once belonged to them, that has been lost for better or worse.

I know the names of my grandparents’ grandparents and the villages they came from.

I can list the countries they travelled to, the places they worked in, far away from their homes, sometimes eking out a living, sometimes doing fairly well.

I might not speak the “native” language very well, but I bleed rust-red and salty, like the mud that supports fruit-bearing trees around my home, trees planted by people whose names have been lost, but whose auras still linger.

I do not currently live there, but what happens to my quasi-village still affects me.

I dream of home, and a better world, and me in it.

Day 82: Write a story for a younger cousin (0-10)

Day 80 100words100days: write the text of a Mad Lib, leaving out adjectives, pronouns and half the verbs

When creating a t-shirt design, the most (adjective) thing is to (verb- infinitive) the person who will (verb- infinitive) it.

(Pronoun) can (verb- infinitive) a (adjective) t-shirt with (adjective) tools ranging from a (adjective) pen and paper to a (adjective) computer programme like Paint or Photoshop.

Next, (pronoun) (verb-present) which medium of transference will suit the idea. It could be embroidery, painting, or printing. Again, (pronoun) should (verb- infinitive) what the user would prefer.

But, as with most things, (pronoun) can only know what the t-shirt will look like once (pronoun) has been (verb- past participle), and once the user has (verb- past participle) (adjective) feedback.

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Mad Lib creation is like designing training- you know if it’s any good only when you have had a chance to test it.

Day 81: Life as a native (child of the soil)

Day 79 100words100days: write a story for a younger cousin, in the age group of 11-15 years

“There are no adventures left to have,” said Cousin number 9. He flopped down on his bed with a melodramatic sigh, like all was lost.

Eyebrows raised,  Cousins 1-6 looked up from their game of Monopoly. (Cousin 2 briefly considered if she had enough money to put a hotel on Pall Mall.)

“What?” asked Cousin 9. “There are no islands that have not been discovered; Space is not exactly a frontier anymore; time travel doesn’t exist-” a sharp intake of breath from some cousins, and a roll of the eyes from 9 “- and there are no battles to fight.”

Cousin 1 regarded the disillusioned youngest one very seriously. She raised herself up on her elbow, and said “Then make your own adventures. You could learn a skill that only few know, and use it to travel the world.”

Cousin 2, understanding what her elder sister was trying to do, added “You could dive into your own imagination and fish for pearls of adventure there.”

Cousin 3 put a skinny arm behind his head. “You could see what the state has to offer that you haven’t seen before.”

Cousin 4, holding her Monopoly piece-the iron- aloft, said, “You could read about the world’s religions and see which one works for you.”

Cousin 5, the eldest brother of cousin 9, rubbed the scar under his eye. “You could float with the current and see where it takes you”

Cousin 6, cousin 9’s only sister, put a hotel on one of her properties. “You could build something for yourself.”

Cousins 7 and 8 had come in from helping their father wash one of his buses.

Cousin 7 shrugged at everyone, but mainly in the direction of his little brother. “You could be like Dexter- the scientist, not the murderer.”

Cousin 8 pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “You could put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

Cousin 9 moved over to the bed where the bigger ones were, picked up the dice, rattled them in his fist, threw them and waited to see what they would turn up.

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Day 80: write the text of a Mad Lib, leaving out adjectives, pronouns and half the verbs