Portraits of men

Portraits of men (10)

Teaching kids- don't be surprised if it changes your life by Nicole Alesich

Teaching English in Asia has been rewarding. After six years of teaching 6 to 60 year olds, I still find teaching kids the most enjoyable. Though they can be a handful and classroom and behaviour management is sometimes challenging, I find their enthusiasm makes it all worthwhile. I think I have learnt as much from the kids as they have learnt from me and I mean that sincerely. Some of the kids just find a way into one’s heart and that is hard to acknowledge but it it is true.
Today I was out on yard duty and the principal came over to me to present me with some traditional rice cakes. We discussed the week so far and the challenges of the upcoming education conference that we are hosting at our campus. We are on the organising panel together and we had common views on the ways we were making the conference something special for the visiting participants as well as for the school staff.
As we walked through into the gymnasium discussing and munching, we saw the primary school kids playing soccer on the indoor court. It had been one of my class kids, Aran’s, birthday today and we had organised a pretty nice surprise for him, even presenting themed balloons to him and the other kids in the class.
Now Aran and some of the younger kids were hanging around the edge of the soccer game. Looked like they would have loved to take part. This is a snap of Aran. He is one of nicest kids in that class of mine. He has had a pretty adventurous childhood – his parents are diplomats and he has barely stayed longer than a year in any one country on account of that. He has been encouraged to be at his books which is great for teachers like me, but hard on a kid that young who has a yearning to be awesome at sports and in particular, soccer. The other kids and I selected that balloon for him. He loved it. Loves it.
He gave me a hug after the class today and said that this was his favourite day ever and that he hopes he can be just like me when he grows up. Heavy and humbling stuff. With kids like that to teach, I think I will be teaching til I am pushing up daisies.


The Renaissance by Jozef Maudry

Translations that don't make any sense. Thousands of words, yet subject is the same. Infinitely touted phrases from tirelessly boring representatives of a society that already sees the bottom of the Abbys. There, in their service uniforms and convinced of their eloquent uniqueness.
A buzz in the head, rambling about saving values, preaching on dirty pretended and 1984 times tangled morality. Complete take over - goodbye logic and compassion! White over yellow and black. Glazing through the microscope of life, ignorantly taking charge of melanocytes, the true and only determinants of color.
Lo and behold! Another piece in our grand collection. A few species less, a few tenths of a degree more, but exactly 144 meters higher…at least some numbers make sense. They calm us down, mitigate the pain and avert the suicidal tendencies.
They come. As fragments or waves, they come. Some go unnoticed, others take whole cities with them. And as we accelerate, we forget. More efficiently, quietly. Time is on the loose, let’s repeat everything, over and over again!
Learning is the mother of wisdom after all. And yet mothers forgive their naive children and tyrannous men. It would be naive to think that nothing will change - after all - everything will be as before. Beautiful grey rainbow.
The Renaissance, but without new beginnings of modern age, humanism or empirical cognition.
The Renaissance' where I play a song, but no music can be heard. Unobtrusively, so as not to disturb you from your epistemic orgasms. In greyness they were born, in greyness they stand. Days, months, centuries, millennia - in parallel layers, thinking how it might be.

Let me draw you my perception of the world…


The professor by Miguel Moniz

Robert walked into the dusty gallery and found the old bookstore at the end of the corridor. It only sold used books. Rare first editions and out of print titles, as well as past encyclopaedias, law compendia and other academic texts. As a history professor at the local university, he had a keen appreciation of this type of disappearing establishment. An endangered species in the world of commerce, but one with an important role in the preservation of knowledge. As his mentor – from his days as an undergraduate – used to say, civilisations that forget the ideas of the past cannot understand their present nor see clearly what their future will be like. 
As he walked into the bookstore, he was immediately hit by the earthy, musty smell of the old books and their slowly decaying paper. He went to one of the shelves and found a leather-bound compendium on 19th Century philosophy. He recognised many of the authors mentioned in the index, but a few he hadn’t heard of. He picked up his smartphone and googled their names. There were several pages of irrelevant search results. After a few attempts he gave up on the online search.

He went over to the old man who had managed the store for decades, persevering in his dwindling business, forked over a few euros, put his new old book under his arm and went home.


Your smile makes the world smile by Zarqa

As I look at this picture, the story of Italian diver Enzo Mallorca comes to my mind.
He was diving with his daughter off the coast of Syracuse in Sicily when something hit his back.
He turned and saw a dolphin. Somehow he understood the dolphin was communicating with him and calling his attention. The animal dove and Enzo followed.
At a depth of about 12 meters, trapped in an abandoned net, there was another dolphin. Enzo quickly asked his daughter to grab the diving knives. They managed to free the dolphin and with the help of the other male dolphin bring her to the surface for some air. Dolphins can hold their breath for about 10 minutes
Then came a big surprise as the trapped dolphin was pregnant and delivered a baby dolphin right there and then!
The male circled them, and then stopped in front of Enzo, touched his cheek (like a kiss), in a gesture of gratitude, and then they both swam off.
Enzo Mallorca ended his speech by saying: “Until man learns to respect and speak to the animal world, he can never know his true role on Earth”.
This amazing true story reminds us of the importance to respect Nature as this is a reflection of our own nature. Animals are sentient beings and horses are very sensitive to our emotional bodies. They can show us where we are, physically, emotionally, and mentally. The way we hold our body, the way we breathe, communicates a certain vibration, information that is sometimes more easily perceived by animals than most humans. I believe, that all sentient beings, and I include our beautiful planet as a sentient being, are asking us to step up and assume our role as stewards of the Earth. To preserve and create more beauty in the natural world. To let go of the old ways and belief systems that see the need to control and dominate and allow our intuitive guidance, our Hearts to show us the way back home. We know, deep inside, the steps we need to take that will help us to make more positive and conscious choices, that will bring more meaning and purpose in what we do. Find the courage and trust to participate in this adventure of life, with joy and passion.
This world is too precious for depleting feelings.
You are important, your smile is important. Your smile makes the world smile.


Namaste, thank you for the trust by Eli Brollo

Camera *click*
Here we go again. What the fuck are you looking at?
You think I can’t see you, eh? Oh I can see you alright, you pasty-faced big ass bitch. I see you on your comfortable sofa in your rich American home staring at my picture. Yeah whatever. See if I care. I’m not unhappy, you know. I have a job, I do it well, it makes people happy.

Like this dude. He’s nervous, poor fellow. LOL. One slip of the hand and oops, there goes the jugular! But that’s the point. He chose this. He chose me. Eyes closed, so he can pretend we’re equal. Om. Breath in, breath out. He can conquer his fear. He’s in control of his emotions. He’s noble. So noble. He is letting an untouchable touch him. Touch. His. Face. And he gets a good shave, too. He gets clean clean. Double clean. Clean outside, his cheeks as smooth as a baby’s butt, but also, and most importantly, clean inside. Cleansed clean. Because he did a good deed, helped a blind dog out, let an untouchable touch him, how noble. How cleansed he’s feeling.

That’s my job. To make the son of a b- ... brahmin feel better about himself.

Hey you, on the sofa. Stop judging. We have abolished castes like you have abolished slavery. You’re not fooling anyone. It’s all the same shit. I’m still the untouchable and you still have your white privilege and Catholic guilt. But I digress. Anyway, I don’t need your pity. I’m not unhappy, you know. At least I wasn’t reborn a woman. LOL. In any case, it’s not your fault. Or maybe it is, in the great cosmic scheme of things, but I absolve you from your sins. Feel better now? Good. That’s my job. That’s what I do. Shanti, shanti, shanti. Peace out, sister.

I’m done here. “Please check in the mirror, sir. Yep. Smooth as a baby’s butt. Namaste, sir, thank you for the trust.”


That and Tupac by Trystan Mullins

It was a summer afternoon in the heart of the city, the heat was almost unbearable. Most were taking shelter in the shade of there persianas, finishing a long lunch or already enjoying a little siesta.
My head pounded, sweat poored down my forehead and cheeks as I squinted my eyes, but I was there, alone and making the most of it. A light breeze made skating just about bareable to get through my flat land repertoire before feeling completely subdued and having to retreat back to the comfort of the shade. It was a challenging time of the day to skate but the peace and stillness I got from it were motivation enough for me to preserve. That and Tupac.


An unwanted interruption by Nicolas Komninos

Finally, he has some time for himself. It’s been so long since his last 50km bike ride. Too much time, wasted really in daily chores, stress and that odd health scare he had last year.
He pumps some air to the nearly flat tires, then finds his cycling helmet and slowly wipes the dust off. He has put on some weight so the cycling clothes barely fit him. He takes off and navigates as fast as he can through the city roads, relishing at the cold air flowing through his face and clothes, so very refreshing. He vows to do this more often.
Then, his phone rings. His first reaction is to ignore it. Let it ring. He does not want to interrupt this perfect moment. But, he can’t do that. He just has to answer. It’s not polite if he doesn’t. He will not be able to enjoy the rest of his ride while carrying a phone with a missed call. What if this call is urgent? What if it the person on the other side of these airwaves gets worried when he doesn’t pick up?
He scolds himself for not leaving the phone behind, at the house. Not that this would have been a real option. He stresses when he stays unconnected. What if something happens to his family or friends while he is away? He would be riding in his ignorant bliss, completely unaware of the things that people would be calling him to report. Just the thought of this would force him to turn his bike around, cut his ride short and return. He does not have the power to force himself to disconnect for any length of time.
The phone is still ringing, interrupting his long-awaited ride, the only time which he devotes to himself. But he has no choice. He has to pick it up. Back when he got his first-ever mobile phone, some 25 years ago, everyone reveled at being connected all the time. Back then, no one realized that once you cross that line, there’s no turning back.
He slows down, but does not stop. He will pick up, but he will do it while the wheels of his bike are still turning. This is his last line of defense. He takes one hand off the steering wheel and bites the edge of his riding glove, slowly removing it. He finds his smartphone in his pocket and lets his finger make contact with the touch screen. He swipes.


The bitter Taste of the End by Luciana Barros

A glass of wine and the truth comes out. So many years together and today they don't recognize each other anymore. They were too young when the romance started. They had the same dreams: traveling the world, having children, building a family, a home, a successful career.
Yes, she was the ideal woman. And he swore eternal love, in joy or sadness, in health or in sickness. And suddenly, before the glass of wine, the promise broke.
Many promises, words that are worthless. Words come and go with the wind and melt away on the horizon. Spoken words, which were not written or recorded, are useless.
He didn't want it to be that way. But he now loves someone else and cannot go on. It's the end. Nothing else will be able to bring back the feeling that once brought them together.
He says it is her fault. She, who has always dedicated herself to her family, is now bitter about the words of the one who swore it would be forever.
Nothing, nothing in this world, can last forever. We were born doomed to the end. Whether we like it or not, the fate of the union is separation. Whatever the reason, whoever is to blame, one day everything comes to an end. Next to the wine in the cup, which, at the last drop, leaves the bitter taste of the end.


Make mine lime flavoured by Satish Vasan

Autumn was always a busy time for cinemagoers and this year was no different. There were a couple of big blockbusters out (including a new James Bond feature) and the few cinema halls in town were full. Matinees were especially busy since the younger lads and ladies could attend and still make it home in a respectable time. And the hawkers ran a large trade during intermission. Borappa – or “Bora” as we all knew him – was always there with his icebox, bicycle and slurpies. Mango, vanilla, lime ice sticks were part of his standard fare and he had started to experiment nowadays with chocolate. We kids were a fussy lot and those new fangled flavours hadn’t quite taken off yet.
Ever since I can remember, Bora used to wait outside the oldest cinema in town, near the bus stop and once he had sold all his wares there, he would refill and rush to the second cinema close to the ice factory. The old factory was notorious in their supply and prices, but somehow small vendors like Bora kept the factory and each other going.
I always wondered why he didn’t expand his business and hire somebody to run a second icebox, but I guess he understood supply demand economics only too well.
On the job, Bora never shouted like the other hawkers, he was just always there with his soft and sometimes raspy voice. For the impecunious kids around, him Bora was a strict discipliniarian – no free samples and absolutely no credit. We always tried and he always politely demured and changed the topic to what we really wanted. For Bora was a walking encyclopedia of movies and actors. No one worked out how he managed to see all those movies, yet he knew pretty much all there was to know.
He knew his clientele well, which genres we we liked and would always suggest when similar movies were coming out. If he was so inclined, recommendations on which movie to be wary of were also given out. The censors in those days could be overzealous, which could have been bad for business. No matter, Bora would fill us in on what we missed as part of his sales ritual. If he thought it was appropriate for us, that is.
Before you tell us again about that expurgated fight scene in the latest Bond thriller, make mine lime flavoured. Shaken not stirred, thank you Bora.

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