Thursday, March 24, 2016

Happy Holi!

While growing up, we were not allowed to play Holi. To be fair, that was a time when Holi meant chemical colors. Home made colors were considered "cheap" and no one wanted to play with them.
When my son was born, I was very relieved to find people talking about herbal colors and non chemical formulations. And thanks to that, my son was able to enjoy Holi in a way that we never could.
Today's gratitude is for people who spoke about herbal, non chemical colors. That allowed m...e to experiment with food based permanent colors at home, making it a safe Holi for my son, and even converting the pater to smear just a little bit on us at home.
Me? I have sort of made up for all those years of missed Holi. tongue emoticon

Friday, March 18, 2016

More Logic Puzzes

All these puzzles are starters for the Logc Grid variety of puzzles.
Houses on the Street

Sapna, Ashish and Bharat live in the same lane. Their houses are of different colors, but attached to each other and in the same lane. What we do not know, is:

A. Who lives in which colored house.

B. Which house comes first, which next, and which last.

See if you can answer both questions after the clues below:

  1. The red house is next to the blue house but not next to the green house.
  2. Sapna and Ashish are not neighbors.
  3. Bharat loves going to the green house to the left of his house.
  4. Sapna and Bharat never visit each other's house.
  5. The right most house comes first in the lane.




There was a robbery at Jaibagh Haveli. And everyone is amazed. Because, the said robbery was actually a set of group thefts. You, the detective, have met all the witnesses. Three things were gone. And you know that each one was taken by a different person. The things that are missing are a quartz clock, a diamond brooch, and a marble statuette. The three persons identified are Raju, Sheel and Pavan.


Here are your notes after a series of interviews:

  1. Pavan took the clock.
  2. Sheel did not take the brooch.
  3. We are a happy family.



This is a Real Place!

Enid Blyton loved writing about so many lovely places. Here is a real place for you to figure out. Out here, there are the Fabulous Three instead of the Famous Five : Codenamed: Alpha, Beta and Cama. . Each one has a pet : parrot, cat or dog, and each one lives in a different lane of the village – Salzbury, Cadbury, or Tomberry Lane.


Here are your clues, as usual:

  1. Alpha lives in Salzbury Lane.
  2. The parrot is owned by someone whose name starts with a vowel.
  3. The resident of Cadbury Lane is a girl.
  4. The Tomberry Lane resident lives in a white house and has a cat for a pet.
  5. Cama lives in Cadbury Lane.


Free for Four

The Natural Ice Cream Company is running a promotion. If 4 friends come in together, each of them gets an ice cream cone free. Abhay, Bhavana, Chandra and David walk into the parlor, each wearing a different color of shirt. Expectedly, no two of them chose the same flavor of ice cream either. The colors are : Red, Green, Blue, Orange. The flavors are: Chocolate, Orange, Vanilla and Pistachio.


See if you can figure out the color of the shirt and the flavour of icecream from the clues below.

  1. Abhay wears a green shirt and his ice cream is green too.
  2. Chandra and David have a curious combination – the color of Chandra's shirt is the flavor of David's ice cream.
  3. The boy in the red shirt likes chocolate flavored ice creams.
  4. Chandra likes Vanilla ice cream.



Monday, March 14, 2016

3 Gems from Indian Education Techniques

In trying to find ways to enrich education, one of the things I started doing, was reading more about the Indian system of education in the pre Mughal era. And am surprised to know that there is so little information available on the Indian methods of education.
We have been fortunate, however, to pick up 3 gems that we will share here.
  1. It’s not a lesson. Its a conversation.
Bhaskaracharya wrote a book called “Leelavati Beej Ganit” . The format of the book is a dialogue between Lilavati and the author of the book.
Indian books and lessons rely heavily on the concept of Story telling. If a complete story telling is not possible, we convert it into a conversation between two people, to make it interesting. All of Panchatantra is narrated as a conversation. All of Mahabharata is recorded as a narration from a disciple of Rishi Veda Vyaas to the descendants of the Kuru clan. We use this technique extensively in our books too!
2. The teacher does not teach. The teacher asks questions.
A beautiful thing that we found in addition to the technique of Vartalaap was the technique of asking the right questions. When a teacher wanted the student to learn something profound, they did not give the lesson to the student. They asked the student difficult questions. The student would attempt to answer the Guru’s questions in a satisfactory manner and through this process, would arrive at the answer / gyaan.
The most famous example of this technique perhaps appears again in the Mahabharata, in the espisode where Guru Drona takes the princes to a spot, makes them take aim, and asks them, “What do you see?” All the princes, except Arjuna, respond that they see the tree, the bird, the branches etc. Only Arjuna replies that he can see nothing but the eye of the bird, that he is supposed to shoot. The lesson was that you must focus only on your endgoal and completely eliminate all distractions from your senses. It was not given. It was taken.
3. We do not merely memorise. To be called learned, we must analyse.
It is often assumed, erroneously, that the native Indian method of learning involves, basically, rote learning. Ergo, the oral transmission of the Vedas and the oral tradition of Indian classical music and dance. But that’s simply not true! In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
We first learn enunciation. Then we learn the text. And THEN, the education begins.
Not only did learning involve a critique of the subject at hand, the best analyses were also published with the name of the author (A very rare thing in Ancient India). You might have heard of some books that are ‘Teekas” on a certain book. A Teeka improves upon an original work and adds new perspectives.
Another word that appears often, is “Shastrarth” - literally meaning - the meaning of the Shastras. Sanskrit being the magical language that it is, the same phrase could mean a lot of different things. The ONLY way you could be a scholar, was to interpret that text, and argue your interpretation with other scholars. If you could not do a Shastrarth, you were not a learned person at all.
And this has fuelled in us a hunger to understand more cultural learning aids from around the world. What did education mean before we universalised it to mean the 3 Rs all over the world? How was education imparted? If you know any resources that could help us understand, or if you remember education techniques from your own family, please do share.

ਮੇਰੀ ਮਾਂ ਬੋਲੀ

ਮੇਰੀ ਮਾਂ ਬੋਲੀ
ਸਬ ਤੋ ਵਖਰੀ
ਵਿਰਲੀ ਬਾਨੀ
ਬੜੀ ਸਯਾਨੀ

ਦਿਲ ਵਿਚ ਵਸਦੀ
ਨਹੀ ਵਿਸਰਦੀ

ਅਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਵੇਲੇ
ਅਮਬ੍ਰੋੰ  ਵਰਸੇ

ਮੇਰਾ ਵਿਰਸਾ
ਕਦੇ ਨਾ ਵਿਸਰੇ

ਖੰਡ ਦੀ ਕੌਲੀ
ਮੇਰੀ ਮਾਂ ਬੋਲੀ

ਫਕੀਰਾਂ ਦੀ ਜਾਯੀ
ਦਾਰਿਯਾਵਾਂ ਦੀ ਵ੍ਯਾਯੀ
ਹੀਰੇ ਦੇ ਮੁੱਲ ਪਾਯੀ
ਨਗੀਨੇ ਤੋ ਵੀ ਸਵਾਈ

ਦਿਲ ਦੀ ਪੋਲੀ
ਨੀਗੀ , ਹੌਲੀ
ਮੇਰੀ ਮਾਂ ਬੋਲੀ