Category Archives: Moina Mel

ON ‘CHILDREN’

Angelina Robertson

In school we were given a poem called ‘Children’ by Nancy Keesing, and had to pen an essay analysing it, and saying how the poem was memorable. We had to include its themes and use TOMPLIST (a device that helps analyse poems) – T for Theme, O for Orientation (of the author), M for Meaning, P for Purpose, L for Language, I for Imagery, S for Structure and T for Tone. We also had to defend our analysis and interpretation of the poem using visible quotes. We were made to write in a particular essay format called PEAL – Point, Evidence, Analysis and Link (to the next paragraph/point of the same paragraph). Anyway, we discussed this poem in class, and turns out that my interpretation of the poem wasn’t really what our teacher expected. Anyway, I think I defended my opinion and interpretation well, so I decided to share it with you. First of all, here is the poem for you to judge yourself:

 

Long-summer scorched, my surfing children

Catch random waves or thump in dumpers,

Whirling, gasping, tossed disjointed.

I watching, fear they may be broken –

That all those foaming limbs will never

Re-assemble whole, together.

 

All under such a peaceful sky.

 

All under such another sky

The pictures show some village children

Caught at random, tossed, exploded,

Torn, disjointed, like sticks broken,

Whose jagged scorching limbs will never

Re-assemble whole together.
And here is what I think of this poem:

The poem ‘Children’ by Nancy Keesing leaves a hollow feeling in the reader because of the strong emotions of devastation highlighted by the powerful imagery and carefully selected language which contributes to the main themes of violence around the world and how often bystanders are too scared to intervene and to stop gruesome wars.

The powerful imagery in this poem makes readers shudder when they read about how the children brutally died ‘under such a peaceful sky’. The stark contrast between the sky and the sea below it is very shocking and rather sad. The use of the word ‘such’ simply emphasises this same contrast – it reveals the grief of the speaker as s/he probably wonders how something so grotesque and sad could happen under something so beautiful, and due to this strong contrast of the tranquil sky and the limbless children, this event seems much more grim.

The excellent use of language devices to evoke feelings of grief in the reader is clear when the speaker talks about how the limbs would never ‘re-assemble whole, together’, in the form of a refrain. What leaves a lasting effect on the reader is the brilliant use of the comma, the slight pause after the word ‘whole’. The pause separates the phrase into two parts and allows the word ‘together’ to seem somehow distant and actually not together, which reinstates the main idea of disunity. However, are the children mentioned before simply children? Maybe not. Keesing subtly places a metaphor in the poem when the speaker talks about his/her ‘surfing children’. Maybe those aren’t simply frolicking kids; maybe they signify our world as a whole. Therefore, the author doesn’t simply mean that the children’s limbs are disjointed – it stands for the disunited people of the world, floating apart in each other’s blood and tears.

The themes of this poem are violence and wars, and the individuals who grieve and sympathise with these wars, but are far too afraid to speak out against them. The speaker represents all those frightened individuals when s/he is simply ‘watching, fear[ing] they might be broken’. The speaker simply watches on, frightened and deeply concerned, but helpless. The author tries to tell us that that is exactly how we shouldn’t be – we should be able to freely express our beliefs and punish what we assume to be morally wrong as a society (for a valid reason). The author tries to tell us that violence will be the end of us all if this continues. Respecting each other’s beliefs and opinions, we humans must unify and put a stop to this hate.

The word ‘hate’ has become so common that nobody thinks of it as a serious issue anymore. People fling it around casually to express their feelings about things or people they dislike. The words ‘violence’, ‘war’, and ‘bloodshed’ mean nothing to us, as does the phrase ‘Citizens killed’. We are taking this abuse far too lightly – we must resist it. But if we are not together as a species, how will we understand which mistakes to correct? Yes, freedom of speech, free will and liberty are all very important. We have simply misinterpreted these concepts to be that we must condemn anyone with opposing beliefs. No. Of course people will disagree with you – there are seven billion of us out here! We simply have to live with this disagreement, and not mercilessly slay whoever contradicts any of our own beliefs. We must unite and work together to survive on Earth. We must unite to maintain peace. But, most importantly, we must unite because if we don’t, eventually, we will be blown apart and left as jagged, scorching limbs who will never re-assemble whole, together.

Our teacher told us about how the poem was actually about a parent, worrying about his/her rebellious children drowning in the ocean while worse disasters happened to other undeserving, innocent children in a village somewhere, probably mocking parenthood. I was very surprised to know what a dramatic difference there was between my interpretation and my teacher’s. I obviously see more reason to my own, although the other one makes sense, too. I’d be fascinated to learn about my classmates’ understanding of the poem, and anyone else’s, too. From my perspective, it was rather sad and serious. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be like that, but that’s okay. I mean, snowflakes are pretty, right? And not one of them is the same as another.

***

Angelina Robertson is a twelve year old, grade seven student who lives in Bombay. She loves reading books andAngel listening to music. She prefers writing short stories to poems. This is her first published essay. She blogs occasionally athttp://annabethchasefan678.blogspot.in/

 

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HOW I SPENT MY WINTER VACATIONS

Sankalpa Mahanta

During my winter vacations, I went to my grandparents’ house in Guwahati, Assam. In Guwahati, I played with my two younger brothers. In the previous year, my father went to Guwahati more than five times. I just went for ten days but it was really fun. Let me tell you about my journey. I started it in the T-1 terminal of Delhi airport. When I took a trolley, it was not working well. So I needed to change the trolley. But let us skip those details.

In Guwahati it was World War III between my brothers and me. I was outnumbered because there were two brothers. Apart from that, in Assam I went to the Pobitora National Park. I saw five rhinos over there. I also sketched some rhinos there. We stopped in a resort named Zizina in Pobitora. I also saw some traditional fishing equipment. They were Jakoi and Khaloi.

Back home I played hide and seek with the two brats and also listened to funny stories like “The Strong Man” and “The Guava Tree” from Grandma. It was not all play and no work. I did some holiday homework with Grandpa before coming back to New Delhi.

At the Guwahati airport I met my friend Diya. Delhi was very cold. In the remaining days I finished my holiday homework. I was really happy to see my friends again.

***

Sankalpa Mahanta

Sankalpa Mahanta

 Sankalpa Mahanta, 9 years, is a student of Maxfort School, Dwarka, New Delhi. He wants to become a paleontologist when he grows up. He knows quite a lot about quite a few dinosaurs. His second love is his grandma in Guwahati.

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ADVENTURES OF OCTOBAN

Tanmay Singh

Book I: Slicing of Potato Pizzazz

Octoban

Fruitlandia is a land of fresh and healthy fruits. They are peaceful and fun-loving. But they are forever getting attacked by Repelling Food Powers of Junklandia. OctoBan is the superhero who has been entrusted with the task of saving Fruitlandia. He is an ordinary fruit, Banana-O in normal times, turning into a superhero when need arises. He is called OctoBan because eight sides of his banana peel are like tentacles of an octopus. But nobody knows he is a superhero except his family and his friend Apple-I. Apple-I also helps Banana-O in his missions. Together, they keep Fruitlandia safe from dangerous forces.

I

It was an ordinary day in Fruitlandia. Almost every one was awake. Most of the people who were awake were enjoying their breakfast. Some people were leaving for work.
Banana-O and his friend, Apple-I were getting together with their families for a brunch. Only Banana-O and his friend, Apple-I and their families knew that he was OctoBan, the banana superhero. So, they understood if Banana-O had to leave in a hurry. Banana-O did not always like having to leave his family, but he knew that duty calls.
After a long brunch, it was around 4 o clock that Banana-O was relaxing at home. But then his watch communicator went crazy telling him that the evil Potato Pizzazz was attacking Orange Pulp, one of the five towns near the city. Quickly, Banana-O went from being Banana-O to OctoBan and flew right out the nearest window.
OctoBan went straight to the town where Potato Pizzazz was attacking. He activated his leg and arm lasers to distract Potato Pizzazz. He then used his web shooter after he got Potato Pizzazz’s attention to pull him near so he could attack with his super strength. But that did not work.
So OctoBan flew around for two minutes dodging Potato Pizzazz’s attacks while thinking what to do. Then he remembered. He always carried a flame thrower and a rocket launcher on his back to attack. He used his flame thrower to burn PotatoPizzazz’s unhealthy pizzas.
And he succeeded.
But not for long.

II

OctoBan’s flame thrower ran out of fuel to ignite. So he started using his rocket launcher. And he kept using it until he had its special five rockets left. Even though OctoBan had only his special five rockets left, PotatoPizzazz was really hurt by now.
OctoBan used his first special rocket, the flame rocket which sets enemies on fire. Unfortunately, PotatoPizzazz was hovering above a lake. So the rocket only hurt him.
OctoBan’s second rocket was a drill rocket. So he could drill through his pizza shield. And that worked. Now PotatoPizaazz’s shield was gone.
OctoBan’s third rocket was a rock rocket that could be used to destroy PotatoPizzazz’s pizza blasts. He fired it and it did exactly that. It also hurt PotatoPizaazz’s edge.
OctoBan’s fourth rocket was an ice rocket to freeze PotatoPizzazz’s pizzas turning them into frozen pizzas firing them back at him.
The frozen pizzas hurt him a lot and the rocket blew up near him. That made him retreat back to his base.
OctoBan saved the day once again.

***

Tanmay Singh

Tanmay Singh

Tanmay Singh is ten and lives in Atlanta, US. He is passionate about animals, and writes about saving them at https://bootyshakingbrothers.wordpress.com/. He is currently building a LegoCity in his spare room. He wants to be a NASA engineer when he grows up. This story is first in a series he wants to write about the banana superhero, OctoBan.

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MILAN: CITY WITH A BIG CHURCH

Naomi Bagal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I went to Milan for vacation. Milan is a city in Italy. I stayed close to a very big and famous church called the Duomo. The Duomo has a bronze statue on top of its many spires. In the square called the Piazza del Duomo, there were lots of people and pigeons walking around. The people were taking pictures, waiting in line to go inside the church and talking and having fun.

On Tuesday, I went to the roof of the Duomo. It was a lot of walking. The way I got to the top was by lift. If you went by stairs you would have to climb 250 steps. When I looked down, I realized how high I was and everything on the street looked tiny. There were little steps that I climbed leading to little windows looking into the church.

Milan has nice little walks and great bus tours. The bus I took on Monday and Tuesday was a double decker bus. I loved sitting on the top. I saw Milan’s castle which I had visited earlier. I also saw a very big soccer stadium and many other fabulous buildings.

I visited an Opera House called La Scala, and an exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings, paintings and writings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next morning I woke up at five and went to the airport. I didn’t go straight to the U.S. First, I went to Brussels in Belgium, then to the U.S. It is good to be home.

Milan is a good place to visit but I really think they need to cut down on the smoking.

***

Naomi Bagal is a newly-minted third-grader whose favorite sport is swimming. She also enjoys drawing, reading mysteries and playing the piano.

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RED FLAG

Sampurna Ghosh

When she glows, life and death are the same.
Bleeding jewels like fists, condense and crystallize
Where she stands, still as a restless flame.

 

Her fingers are unbowed. By her bosom they rise,
In the heavens over her blessed mortal child,
Whose triumph blazes from triumvirate eyes.

 

They see her clasp her weapons and each warrior turns wild,
While princes summon all their strength to fight
And enemies fall dazed, terrified, beguiled.

 

She bursts out of a skin of sunlight
And in the bold throw of her spine, over each
Gold battlefield does span her endless sight.

 

(In whispers, children and priests beseech,
Mother of war, lover of carnage,
Destroy, push underfoot, exult, besiege!)

***

sampurnaSampurna Ghosh is a student of Amity International School and is currently in the 9th standard. She has been published in Young Writers anthologies, The Hedgerow magazine and online presses. Strange things happen to her if she doesn’t read and\or write something mental. Her most recent achievement was realising she was a cat person rather than a dog person, as she had assumed for the last fourteen years.

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ON HUMAN CREATIVITY: HAROUN AND THE SEA OF STORIES

Nithin Bagal

Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie Granta 1990 Paperback/English Fiction pp224

Haroun and the Sea of Stories
Salman Rushdie
Granta 1990
Paperback/English Fiction
pp224

It was a hot June afternoon in Seville, I was stuck indoors, and there was nothing on TV in English. Looking back now, I am glad that Spanish people don’t have the courtesy to put English channels on TV, because in the four hours I had to myself, I discovered Haroun and the Sea of Stories. To this day it’s been the longest period of time in which I have both been conscious and silent.

Even though it’s a very short book (about 200 pages), it is one of the most entertaining stories I’ve ever read. I found this book fascinating because the author uses fiction and a very creative plot to answer the question that not many of us know the answer to, “What does human creativity stem from?” No one will ever know for sure, but Haroun and the Sea of Stories takes a jab at explaining the origins of our storytelling powers.

Haroun lives in the country of Alifbay, in a sad city with no hope, except for Haroun’s father, Rashid Khalifa, whose tales never cease to amaze its depressed inhabitants. However, all is not well in the Khalifa household, and very soon after the story begins, Haroun’s mother leaves Rashid for her neighbor. Right after she leaves, Rashid finds that he’s lost his ability for storytelling. This is a big problem because Rashid’s main source of income is telling wild stories at rallies for politicians who use him to woo voters.

Haroun will do anything to help his father regain his wonderful gift but he has no idea what to do.

One night, Haroun hears peculiar sounds coming from the bathroom. What he finds is a leads him on an adventure of epic proportions.

Through his magnificent journey, Haroun learns how important storytelling is. Without it, our lives would lack color and significance. This message, though not blatantly stated, is made very clear, and if you look past the story’s entertainment value, you see how beautiful our gift of telling stories is. It’s one that we take for granted and Salman Rushdie illustrates what happens if humans lose this right. It’s a world I would never want to live in.

The Sea of Stories is also a story about Haroun’s love for his father and how much he is willing to do to help him. It is a mixing bowl for a host of interesting characters, each of whom brings his or her own quirky humor to the proceedings. Haroun’s own values – courage, ingenuity and perseverance – stay strong throughout the story. If you look at the story from just his perspective, you see that all Haroun wants to do is make everything right in his father’s life which will in turn make everything right in his own life.

The main reason I love this book is that all the elements are bound together with humor and wit to make not only a great story but an even better underlying theme. The way the book combines its unique characters and enthralling plot line to present its message – that our right to speech is quintessential to our existence – is superb.

***

Nithin Bio PicNithin Bagal, 13, loves SciFi and fantasy novels, as well as adventure and science non-fiction. He is an avid swimmer, and enjoys movies, music, and hanging out with friends.

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GULMOHAR

Imran Alexander Batra

Imran's gulmohar tree

Gulmohar Tree

***
Imran BatraImran Alexander Batra is 12 years old and lives in Delhi. He loves stories in words and pictures and is learning to play the guitar.

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WHAT THE FUTURE WILL LOOK LIKE: PHYSICS OF THE FUTURE

Nithin Bagal

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 Michio Kaku Doubleday 2011 Popular Science/Hardcover pp 416

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100
Michio Kaku
Doubleday 2011
Popular Science/Hardcover
pp 416

What will the future look like?

It is a question that has plagued humanity for ages, and still does. With so many problems in the world, ranging from cancer to global warming, we wish that the future would bring solutions to our problems and our planet would be a paradise in which everyone were content and society functioned like a well-oiled machine.

Physics of the Future, by Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at City University of New York, takes a breathtaking look at what the world will look like by the year 2100, and answers questions that many of us, and I, have about our future.

Kaku analyzes several disciplines that play a key role in society today. He starts out with the future of computers and ends with a really fascinating look at what a day in the life of a person living in the year 2100 might be like. In every chapter except the last one he takes a technology or field and illustrates how it will progress and improve until 2100. He does this in increments, staring from present day to 2030, then 2030 to 2070, and finally 2070 to 2100. This method makes the book much more interesting because you see not only what it will be like in 2100, but how the technology or field got there.

You may ask how Kaku is so sure of his image of the world in 2100. All the technologies listed in this book already exist in prototype form, or are on the drawing board. This book is not just guesswork or dreams (or nightmares). It is a vision based on current science.

Another way to know that Kaku isn’t making stuff up is that he doesn’t think our futuristic world will be Utopic. Sure, it will be much better and advanced than our world today, but it will not be perfect. He says that global warming will overrun the planet and many coastal cities will be flooded, if not totally destroyed. He points to the frequent flooding in Bangladesh and Vietnam, “The worst situation is in Bangladesh, a country regularly flooded by storms even without global warming.” He also goes on to state that Vietnam’s land vulnerable to flooding contains half the rice grown in that country. Millions could be displaced or killed in both countries.

This book is a real eye opener not only to see what the future will be like, but to see what incredible technologies in use today. Although the information was really interesting, and it was really mind-boggling to see how technology in futuristic movies could become a possibility, the few too many references to movies such as Star Trek and Star Wars got old.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book was that Kaku didn’t just explain what 2100 would be like, but he tackled present-day problems and explained how things may or may not change. For example, cancer would not be cured, but we would be able to identify it earlier, and terminate it using nanotechnology. That really amazed me, knowing that there is a possibility cancer could only be as dangerous as the common cold.

I also enjoyed how he used the supreme might of the gods in mythology to illustrate how in 2100, technology could give us similar powers. “In powerful chariots, the gods of mythology roamed across the heavenly fields of Mount Olympus. On powerful Viking ships, the Norse gods sailed across the cosmic seas to Asgard. Similarly, by 2100, humanity will be on the brink of a new era of space exploration: reaching for the stars.”

Physics of the Future has changed my view of not only the future but also the past. Whenever I go outside, I see countless ways in which technology has improved in the past 100 years – ATM machines, the whole design and power of a car, phones, the widespread use of electricity, etc. As I do this, I realize that people in the year 1913 could not even dream about what the world would be like in hundred years. Similarly, I think that we will not be able to envision what the world will look like at the turn of the century.

All in all, this was a great book that I absolutely devoured. The concepts examined in this book made me really excited about the future, but somewhat weary too because along with the glitter of an advanced society, the world will still need to tackle challenges that are beyond our comprehension today.

***

Nithin Bio PicNithin Bagal, 13, loves SciFi and fantasy novels, as well as adventure and science non-fiction. He is an avid swimmer, and enjoys movies, music, and hanging out with friends.

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ON A DARK, DARK NIGHT

Iona Mandal

© Bonjita Borkotoky

© Bonjita Borkotoky

On a dark, dark night,

When the moon had no light,

In a dark, little house,

With her little pet mouse,

Lived a lonely, Good Witch.

Her nose always twitched.

 

Thinking and leaning over the window sill,

Feeling ill, she hurriedly took a pill.

 

No sooner did she shine,

With an idea really fine:

How about a holiday, to the Witch Hillside?

She opened the door and walked outside.

And not a single soul was in sight.

 

The creepy bats were flying around,

The world stood still, there was no sound.

 

To the bats she said:

“You will never regret,

Here’s a little secret.”

“Fly me to Witch Hill

And clear you bills.”

“You can earn a few pounds.

This idea is sound”.

 

The bats agreed to help with the broomstick

Something told them, this was not a trick.

So onto the broom stick did our Good Witch ride,

With her shiny, pointy hat smiling in pride.

 

When they stopped at Witch Hill,

The Witch found her three friends standing still.

“What’s wrong? Who’s robbed your gorgeous smiles?”

“Surely, I can sense something vile”.

 

“The Naughty Witch, used her ominous trident

She’s the tyrant, whose spell left us stiff and silent”.

“We cannot move, nor jump or bend

“Surely, it’s she who needs to be condemned”.

 

Despite a poor attention span,

The Good Witch thought hard on a plan.

Armed with her big, wooden cauldron spoon

She ticked her friends like animated cartoons.

 

The three of them danced and tossed around

The air filled with giggles and merry sounds.

The frowns seemed now to belong to the past

With happiness around it was time for a blast.

 

Basking in her glory, the Good Witch smiled

Relieved and excited like a child.

“I must admit, that nothing more was needed,

“Just some tickling was enough to get the spell weeded”.

***

iona1Iona is seven years old and reads in Year 3. She lives against the back drop of the Thames in Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs. On sunny days, which are rare in London, she loves to play in the park and ride on her trike down the river. In her spare time, she loves doing ballet and learning to sing Rabindra Sangeet from her mum. Roald Dahl and Jacqueline Wison are her favourite authors.

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LEIMA’S TRAVEL DIARY

Preetha Kalpa Hazarika 

p1

 

p2

 

p3

 

p4

 

p5

 

p6

 

p7

 

p8

 

p9

 

***

 

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Preetha Kalpa Hazarika reads in Class 1 in St Mary’s School, Guwahati. This travelogue was written in 2012 when she was in kindergarten. She is popularly known as Leima, meaning a princess in the Metei dialect language of Manipur. Leima is learning to play the piano and finds it a fun thing to do during weekends. She wants to be – in her words – “little children’s teacher” when she grows up. Reading is her favourite pastime. She also loves travelling and writing travelogues. In future, she hopes to visit all the rainforests in the world.

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