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Writers International Edition

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SUBHA: SHORT STORY BY RABINDRANATH TAGORE

When the newborn girl was named Subhashini, who knew that she would turn out to be speech-impaired, or simply, dumb? Her elder sisters had been named Sukeshini (One with Lots of Hair) and Su-hasini (One with a Nice Smile). To rhyme with those names, this one was named Su-bhashini (One Who Can Speak Well or, Eloquent).Now everyone called her Su-bha for short.

The two elder sisters had been duly married off. But Subha was unmarried as yet, a silent load weighing upon her parent’s minds.

People do not generally remember that even when someone cannot speak, they can nevertheless hear and feel. So people openly expressed their worries about her, and discussed her right in front of her. From her very childhood Subha had come to understand that her birth was a curse upon her family. As a result she always tried to keep herself hidden from public view. It would be a relief if people forgot about me, she used to think. But she was always there in her parents thought – as a painful problem.

Subha’s mother was generally a little irritated with her, as though in some way she reflected some shortcoming or herself as a mother. But Subha’s father Banikanttha had a soft corner for her.

Subha had no power of speech, but she had two large, dark eyes with long lashes and lips that trembled at the slightest twinge of emotion. Dark eyes have their own power of expression.

The village in which Subha lived was named Chandipur. It was on the bank of a small river and Banikanttha’s house was right by the riverside. It was a prosperous household, with cowshed and mango grove, bamboo fencing and haystack.

Whenever Subha found the time, she used to come and sit by the riverside. Nature used to make up for her lack of speech. Nature spoke for her – in terms of the gurgle of the waves, the songs of the birds, the murmur of trees, the footfall and talk of people all around. All of it seemed in some way to be the speech that Subha could not make.

At mid-day when the boatmen had their meals, householders took their nap, and even birds fell silent, Subha used to sit under the trees and watch the world through her large, long-lashed eyes. Nature and Subha would be alone in each other’s mute company.

It is not as though Subha did not have a few friends of her own. There were two cows Sarvashi and Panguli who knew her very footsteps and responded lovingly to the way she folded her arms around them and rubbed her cheeks against their ears. Gazing at her affectionately, they licked her body. Every now and then Subha would go to the cowshed. The days she heard some bitter comment or reproach, she used to go there. Sensing something, they would come closer and rub their horns against her arms, as if to comfort her.

There was a goat and a kitten as well, which she petted. Then there was a creature of a higher order – Pratap – the youngest of the family of the Gosains. His main activity was fishing. One can spend a lot of time sitting by the waters with one’s fishing rod. That is what Pratap did, and that is how Subha and he often came to meet. Pratap felt good in people’s company. But for someone who is fishing, a silent friend is the best. So Pratap came to value Subha’s silent companionship. He began to call her ‘Su’ rather than Subha – the name by which everybody else called her.

Subha used to sit under the Tamarind tree and Pratap used to sit with his fishing rod. A paan was Pratap’s everyday quota and Subha made this betel-nut preparation herself and brought it along for him. She wished that Pratap would ask her for some special help. She wished for Pratap to see that she too could be of some use to the world.

But Pratap needed no help and never asked her to do anything for him. Then Subha used to pray to God for some magic powers that would give Pratap a big surprise and make him exclaim: “I never knew Subha had such abilities!”

Suppose, for instance, that Subha was a mermaid, coming up from the river’s depths, and leaving a jewel on the riverbank. Pratap then would dive in search for more, and come upon an underwater palace. Subha let her imagination go further. Pratap, she imagined, he would come upon the princess of that land under the river, and then find that it was none other than Subha!

But nothing so fantastic happened, and gradually Subha grew into a young woman as distinct from a girl. She felt the tide of youth flood her body. When it was full moon, she would often find herself open the door of her room and timidly step out. The moonlit night stretched silently before and Subha stood silently gazing at it.

Meanwhile Subha’s parents had realized that it was high time for their daughter to get married. Village people were gossiping. In fact, they were thinking of making Banikanttha a social outcast because he had not married off his daughter even though she had grown-up.

Banikanttha and his wife discussed the matter at length. Banikanttha was away from the village for a while. Then he came back and asked his family to go to Kolkata with him. Preparations for the journey began. Subha’s heart filled with a vague dread. Like a dumb animal she stayed by her parents’ side. Looking into their faces with her large eyes, she tried to understand something. But they never explained anything to her.

One afternoon, however, Pratap looked up from his fishing and said with a smile: “Subha, I heard that a match has been found for you and you are going away to get married. Don’t forget us, though!” Then he looked away again and concentrated on his fishing.

Subha looked at him like a stricken deer looking at the hunter. Silently she seemed to say: ‘What wrong did I do to you?’ She did not sit under the tree anymore. She went up and sat down at her father’s feet. Banikanttha had had his nap and was having a smoke. Subha looked into his face and began to cry. Banikanttha tried to comfort her but tears came to his own eyes as well.

The day of departure was fixed. Subha went to the cowshed to take leave of her childhood friends. She fed Sarvashi and Panguli herself, put her arms around their necks and gazed into their eyes with eyes full of unspoken words. Tears fell from her long-lashed eyes.

That night Subha left her room and went out to the moon washed river-bank. She fell upon the ground under the trees. Clutching at the earth, she tried to pray to Mother Nature not to let her go, but stretch out her hand like herself and clutch her to her breast.

On going to Kolkata, Banikanttha took up a temporary accommodation and presented Subha before a possible match for her.

His wife tied up Subha’s hair in golden ribbons, covered her up with ornaments, and obliterated her natural beauty as much as she could. Tears coursed down Subha’s cheeks. Her mother scolded her because that would make her eyes get swollen and ugly. But scolding could not make the tears stop.

The bridegroom himself, along with a friend, came to interview Subha. Subha kept on crying. But this enhanced her value to the bridegroom. It made him think: “The girl has a soft heart and one day that may of use to me.” After looking at Subha for a long time, he pronounced: “Not bad”. A suitable day was determined according to astrological calculations. Depositing their dumb daughter to an alien household, the parents went back to their village. They had met the requirements of social traditions.

The bridegroom was employed at a distance from Kolkata, in the central provinces. Immediately after the wedding, he took his bride there.

Within a week everyone got to understand that the newly wedded bride was speech-impaired, dumb. Nobody understood that it was not her fault. She had not deceived anyone. Her eyes had said everything but nobody had been able to understand it. Subha looked here and there. Wherever she looked, she found no one who could understand the language of the dumb. She could not see the familiar faces she had known since her birth. In the silent heart of the young girl, there rang out an inarticulate cry that no one but God could hear.

This time her husband used both his ears and eyes and chose a bride endowed with the power of speech.

William Wordsworth poem writers edition

I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

WHY IS IT ESSENTIAL FOR THE CHILDREN TO PLAY OUTDOORS?

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

BEACH OUTFITS – WHAT TO WEAR AT THE BEACH THIS SUMMER

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

3 THINGS THAT HELP YOU MOTIVATE YOURSELF

The major reason why we procrastinate is because we are not motivated enough. And there isn’t one single factor that determines motivation. In this article we discuss the three factors that influence self motivation.

I know that I am supposed to do a particular activity like an assignment, or study a book or write letters. But I tend to postpone these indefinitely, citing various excuses.

The major reason why we procrastinate is because we are not motivated enough. Being a mentor for a bunch of young talented students in a leading MBA college allows me in a position where I can see lack of self motivation as one of the biggest stumbling blocks in student and professional life.

And there isn’t one single factor that determines motivation.

Charles Handy talks about 3 things that are required in motivational calculus.

  • I should know my needs. These can be the need for security, for money, food, clothing and shelter, or need for companionship, or need for approval, or a need to fulfill my debt to various people.
  • I should know the result of which activity would satisfy these all or some of these needs.
  • I should have the energy or the resources (money, time etc.) to spend on those activities.

The above are multiplicative. That is, if any of the three is not there, I would not be motivated.

If I do not know my needs, then no activity would motivate me.

If I do not have the energy or the resources, then I cannot finish the activity satisfactorily.

If I do not know how to satisfy my needs, then I will not be motivated.

Therefore, I have to link the activity (that I dislike) to a need. For example, if I fear that I will fail a course, and therefore have a need to pass it and get rid of my fear, I can link an assignment to that need. If I need the approval of my colleagues, and the distasteful activity will satisfy that need, then I will try to do the activity.

Whether I finish the activity or not is based on the resources at hand. If I do not have the time, or I delayed it so much that I cannot possibly finish, then I am not motivated to do the activity, even if I know that the activity will satisfy a need.

The same principle holds good for motivating others. If I do not know the needs of another person, I cannot offer him an activity, the result of which would satisfy the needs.

If I do know his needs and I can link it to an activity that I want him to do, and I provide him with the means and resources (including training) to do that activity, the person will be motivated.

Remove any of the three (needsFree Articles, activity or resources) and there will be no motivation.

HOW DIGITAL LEARNING HAS CHANGED THE ASPECT OF EDUCATION

Here, the most talked word of the year “online” or “digital” or “remote” has revamped the business, routine life, health and education system. People have reached the point of judgement that digital is new normal now, nothing more. Technology existed even before, learning management was still doing well, computers and mobile applications were still being used. So, what is so changed now?

Education system is empowered now. It is remotely interactive now. Learning has become Experimental now. Responsibilities getting multiplied each day. Advanced technology and learning tools are shared amongst learners now.

Moreover, online learning has opened plenty of opportunities, coming via technical sources. People from behind the gadgets can sit along with their kids, while embracing home like learning.

Customized Learning

Face Monday test, Friday test, weekly test and monthly test perceived to be a monotonous process. It was uneven to every student. Preparing for exams, sitting in a row, a long-drawn wait for results is what became irregular now. Education is no longer dependent on one way of teaching method. It is what became personalized. Teachers, keeping in mind facilitate the teaching methods as per student’s core learning skills. With the approach, the link between students and teachers grows in upward spiral motion.

Personalised learning is possible through integrated process like that of Learning Management systems that have been doing well in schools and institutions. From primary to higher, from curriculum based to examination based, content is prepared as per the needs of students.

Efficient resources, curated school-curriculum, quality content printed in education books that are designed by recognised digital publishing companies.

Integrated Learning

Learners sitting anywhere around the world can imbibe much better on learning gadgets. Academics is fun-learning. Live calls with instructors are one such collaborative medium of communication. Learning together enhances wide array of growth and development. Reading through graphs and diagrams is interactive. Critically based problems can be taught easily through machine learning software at online learning platforms. Learning experience is unique for both students and learners here.

Technology brings opportunities, in the case, where hundreds of e-publishing companies are opened to digital opportunities. This is an expanded source to career building. Educational resources, tools and technology is an ultimate element of learning and this is impossible without digital support to book publishers in India.

Flexible Learning

Learning is awesome if it’s could be performed anytime, anywhere. Learning is remote just like your portable gadgets at home. Laptops, iPad, tablets and even learning is accessible on mobile phones, makes the learning experience much more flexible. The journey from classrooms to mobile phones is a milestone one. All these tools play and integral role in student’s learning growth, if used wisely. Not only vital for learners but also a far-reaching tool for teachers in the digital classrooms. They can simply use them to conduct quizzes, profile-review, e-book-review, discover digital publishing solutions (for teachers) multiple activities together etc

I never wondered this before that mobile phone could be used as a source of learning other than entertainment, calling & messaging. Moreover, students adapt skills in managing devices, software and apps through AI advancement.