Sunday, August 9, 2015

Gahhhh! The Dreaded Poetry Recitation

Can you imagine how traumatising doing this
 before a crowd can be ?
Image Courtesy: Google God
I hated poems in school. In the 1980s, we had to learn them "by heart", to quote my mother (she even has a highly ignominious audio cassette recording of me singing them, that she routinely threatens to make public, whenever I disobey her). And recite them on demand in the presence of random relatives. With actions. So it wasn't just recitation. It was performance on cue. And we earned applause and sometimes, even Rs.11.

The only one I really loved back then, was Okee-Pokee-Crack-Me-Crown which is now banned from textbooks for being politically incorrect (that corroborates my natural inclination); I cannot even trace that  very original, truly gifted poet.

In the 1990s, it got worse. We were expected to understand the depth of poems (in English, Hindi and Marathi). For most part, these *profound* poems triggered uncontrollable mirth and hysteria in my best friend and me. There were also inter-class recitation competitions. Where we girls sang in chorus, standing upright with the convent school patented 'recitation clasp'.

Suffice to say, poetry was never our thing, though we were voracious consumers of prose. After Class 12, I had gladly and safely put all that was verse behind me.

But then 6 years ago, I became a mother. One that consciously tried to be very unlike my own mother. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was the only poem I taught Vi. With actions.

She had to go to school, eventually.
And I was so glad that these new-age, contemporary school curricula did not expect kids to learn poems by rote. No Jack and Jills,  No Humpty Dumpties. I was never going to put my daughter through that trauma. There were some really weird ones they were taught in their school- Like Swallowed a peanut and Fruit Salad (*WHAT* did I just hear?!?!?! Bring back the 80s!!!). But it was never the mother's headache to make the kids "learn them, by heart". There weren't any 'oral' exams (No, not dental appointments, or any other twisted ideas that you might have had. I am talking of the colloquial school term for 'viva voce' examinations).

Or so I thought, until 10 days ago Vi handed me a circular which said 'Poetry Recitation Competition': Topic- Seasons of the Year. Ah, yes, of course! We are in the 1st Standard now. The competitions and exams have begun.

My heart sank. I procrastinated. The competition is tomorrow. Last night, I began the frantic Google and Youtube search. And hated everything I saw/ read. But I was a mother now. This did not become of me. It was 12:00 noon on the Sunday and I had to Do the Dew.  I grabbed the pen, and jotted this down. A little over 5 minutes and I was patting myself on the back. Indeed, Darr ke Aage Jeet Hai! After all how many primary school level poems can you find online that include our good old Indian monsoon as one of the seasons?

So here it is-

The Seasons of India
- By U. R. S. Trullie

Every season of the year,
Is always an interesting thing.

We start with blossoms, butterflies, birds,
In the season, we call Spring.

Spring is followed, 
By the Summer so hot,

When caps  and hats
are used a lot.

In India, 
Monsoon follows Summer,

With rains and festivals, 
bring on the drummer!

After the lush Rainy green, 
Is the cozy Autumn yellow,

With gently falling leaves, 
And weather that is so mellow.

Finally arrive 
The Wintery days,

Pull up your blankets; 
It is time to laze.

The seasons repeat every year.
Stay happy, healthy and full of cheer!

The kid is satisfied and has managed to memorise it. She refuses to do any 'actions'. I don't blame her. It is embarrassing enough for her to see me attempt to gesticulate to the very geeky, squeaky clean lyrics.

UPDATE: Results came out on Friday, 14th Aug '15. And no, Vi didn't get a certificate. She had to be prompted more than once, and she did not perform any actions.


  1. Love what you wrote. I am going to borrow this poem when I need it for Ri.

    Okke Pokee was an all time favourite - :D

    1. Bindass borrow. That was the whole purpose of sharing it. I am beginning to consider some serious jingle writing now. It can get addictive when you don't have to 'learn, by heart' or 'perform it' or 'explain the essence/ reference to context"


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