Monday, August 14, 2017

Teacher Tales: How 19 students created a story in 50 minutes

I conducted an orientation session for the first batch of Bachelors of Journalism and Mass Communication students where I engaged the students in creating a story. I started with a stick-sketch of a 22-year-old woman journalist who is ready to leave for work and her phone beeps. Here's what they made, adding line after another one by one:
1. She gets a call from the hospital that her father is serious
2. She leaves for the hospital to meet her father when her phone rings again
3. Her boss asks her to report an event
4. She is confused
5. She goes to the event (August 15 Independence Day celebrations).
6. She sees a father giving a flag to his daughter telling her that duty comes before family. She feels glad she made it to the event
7. She is driving back to the hospital. She receives a call from the hospital announcing her father's demise. She's disturbed and is killed in a road accident
8. She turns into a ghost and goes to work
9. She discovers some documents that disclose her colleagues are corrupt
10. Her colleagues suspect she is a ghost because the CCTV at office captures some paranormal activity
11. They try to record her on video by fooling her about a reporting assignment. She does the recording but she does not appear on screen and they figure she's a ghost
12. They get a tantrik to office and do a havan to get rid of her
13. She kills them all but spares her boss
14. The boss figures he is in love with her
15. He cannot confess his feelings for her and gets depressed and starts smoking
16. Meanwhile, she finds a male ghost and falls in love with him
17. They marry each other and 'live' happily ever after

#TeacherTales #Storytelling

Why America is not the ideal vacation destination

I've always held the belief that the US is a great place to study and work but isn't quite the vacation destination in spite of some spectacular natural and man-made beauties. As much as I enjoyed my six-week trip along the east coast from Miami to Maine and around the great lakes this June and July, that belief has been strengthened. When you go to Europe, Australia or anywhere in Asia for a vacation, what draws you in are the cultures, languages, hospitality and the ease of commute and travel. For a tourist, multiple travel options mean flexibility in schedules, the ability to stay as long as you want to take in the beauty of a place and leave whenever you wish to. In America, what you get is a sense of urgency. Your dependence is completely on your hosts (unless you manage to drive yourself) and their ability and patience to navigate the endless traffic on the interstate highways. You could be marvelling at the beautiful countryside wanting to stop for pictures but the next exit might be miles away and you'd be put off by the familiar MacDonalds sign. You do have an option to fly low cost airlines but they're insular to any kind of warmth or companionship - things that make vacations more memorable. Unlike Mumbai locals, subway trains don't have a system where they display the next station so you keep guessing. My favourite journey was on an Amtrak train from New York to Boston, where I was the only person in the compartment who had the luxury of time to look out of the window at the beautiful countryside while my co-passengers furiously keyed laptops and phones. I almost felt guilty that I was having fun.