Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"... she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break -- her heart..." -- Bob Marley.

Bob Marley is one of my favourite singers. Here is a surprise from him.

Peace and love,
- Joe Pinto.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"She gave me a sense of self-esteem" -- Arvind Gupta

My dear family, friends, colleagues and students,

Arvind Gupta, my dear and close "brother-in-science", is known in India and across the world, for making "science a fun-filled experience" for ALL children, no matter whether they can afford to have their own laboratory and library -- or not.

His methods and materials have also helped children to find out -- on their own and for themselves and at their own pace -- that Nature and the man-made world provides ALL the basic materials that children need to do world-class experiments and, therefore, good science.

His website has loads of fun and science -- toys, books, and films in Hindi, Marathi and English. ANY child or adult (in whom the child is still alive and kicking) can do first-rate science, using the materials on this website.

In his personal tribute to his "best teacher", Mrs Frey of St. Maria Goretti High School, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh,  Arvind tells Rahul Chandavarkar (now editor, Sakal Times, Pune) about how Mrs Frey gave him a sense of self-esteem.

His mother too played a big role in giving him the sense of self-esteem, which helped him later "to choose a career far removed from his IIT degree".

Click here to read his tribute, first published in the Times of India, Pune on 3rd December 2008.

Arvind is now based at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophyics (IUCAA) in Pune. You may email him at -- arvindtoys@gmail(dot)com

Here's wishing you and your children fun and joy in doing small, great and good science.

Peace and love,
- Joe Pinto, Pune, India, 23rd October 2013.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."

Just saw an excellent film called "Invictus" on the life of Nelson Mandela. This poem inspired him to endure jail on Robben Island.

Invictus by William Ernest Henley (1849-1902)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - I am not moving (a short film)

My dear students, friends and colleagues,

You may be following the "Occupy Wall Street" protests.

Note the irony of this short film:


Your support is my strength.

Peace and love,
- Joe Pinto.

Pune, India, Monday, 17 October 2011.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"That hour just before the children came home ..."

My dear students, friends and colleagues,

Many of you, especially women at home, may want to know about various techniques used by great writers to find and make time and get down to writing.

I found this small description of technique in the Carol Shields biography.

Her novel, Small Ceremonies, was published in 1976. Carol Shields was thrilled when Small Ceremonies won the Canadian Authors Association Award. When asked: "How did you find the time to write Small Ceremonies?" Carol replied:

"Everyone asks me this, including my own children. What my children forget is that I did not have a job; they are all raising children and having jobs. But I didn't have a job. I didn't write until they went to school, and I didn't write on weekends and I didn't write in the evening. None of this was possible.

"But I used to try to get that hour just before they came home for lunch, 11 to 12. You know, got all those socks picked up, etc. and then I tried to write a couple of pages.

"That was all I ever asked myself to do.

"Then sometimes, in the afternoon, before they came home from school, I would get back to those two pages, and maybe have a chance to do them over again. But I really only had about an hour or an hour and a half a day. This was how I organized my time, that I would give myself one or two pages a day, and if I didn't get to my two pages, I would get into bed at night with one of those thick yellow tablets of lined paper, and I would do two quick pages and then turn off the light.

"I did this for nine months, and at the end of nine months, I had a novel. I could see how it could be done in little units. I thought of it like boxcars. I had nine boxcars, and each chapter had a title starting with September, and then October, November, December, so it was a very easy structure for someone writing a first novel to follow."

[Interview with Terry Gross on Public Radio, 1 May 2002]

If you come across any other technique, please share it with me.

Your support is my strength.

Peace and love,
- Joe.

Pune, India, Wednesday, 5th October 2011.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Settling for a pass-fail in fathering

By A.C. Snow, Correspondent, 19 June 2011, News & Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.

I SUPPOSE it's only natural that on every Father's Day, while not consciously meaning to, I revisit my father, that is, the memory of him.

Also, every Father's Day, I re-evaluate my own performance as a father.

I am even tempted from time to time to call my daughter and ask in what ways I failed or disappointed her as a father. But I usually back off, knowing that she loves me too much to be totally honest. Anyway, I'm not looking for an "A." A pass-fail grade will suffice.

Surely, many of you have experienced that same temptation and warned yourself, "Don't go there!"

Although I'm not complaining or blaming him, it was almost as if I never had a father, at least not in the way that today's kids interact and enjoy their dads.

Dad was 64 when I was born, already around the bend of his life's road. Because I was the youngest of his 10 sons, he had little energy for or interest in me.

I can't recall him ever holding me in his arms. I never heard "I love you," from him, which was not that unusual for those times when the expression was pretty much nonexistent in father-son relationships.

Something missing

A friend once told me that he only heard his father say "I love you" once during his lifetime.

As a little boy, he was playing in the yard when his father accidentally ran him down with a riding lawn mower, breaking his arm.

The distraught father, picked him up in his arms and blurted, "I love you! I love you!"

"It was wonderful!" he said. "Those words were well worth the pain."

In a recent "All in the Family" rerun, overbearing Archie is visiting daughter Gloria in the hospital after she has miscarried her and Meat head's first baby.

Archie sits by his daughter's bed, staring at her, overcome by emotion.

"Daddy, are you trying to say something?" Gloria asks gently. Archie silently nods his head.

"Are you trying to say 'I love you?'" Gloria asks.

Archie, his eyes welling, again nods in the affirmative, whereupon his daughter says softly, "I love you, too, Daddy."

He did care

How great it is that those three powerful words, "I love you," seem so much easier for today's fathers when interacting with their sons.

My father was a good man, a gentle man. It wasn't his fault that I spent most of my youth vainly looking for a father figure.

He was never abusive, either in word or action toward his children. Although I sometimes thought that even negative attention would be better than no attention, I now can't imagine anything more traumatic or tragic for a child than growing up with an abusive father.

In his book, "Dear Dad: Letters from an Adult Child," comedian-author Louie Anderson described with poignancy the pain of living with an alcoholic father and the emotional scars he endured.

In this collection of bittersweet letters written to his dead father, he mentions the time when he saw a $4.88 toy car in a store and asked his father for it. His dad told him he couldn't afford it, then promptly bought a $5 case of beer.

Anderson said one of the few times he ever embraced his father was when he was helping him to the bathroom as he was dying of cancer.

"Just holding you up, I knew, was enough," he wrote. " It was all I ever wanted ... and as I held you, I remember thinking, 'I won't let you down, Dad. I won't let you down.'"

How did I do?

Some tension between parent and child is normal. Friends with sons tell me that's especially true during the teen years.

As the father of two daughters, I came to realize that granting them freedom as they move from childhood into the uncertain, dangerous terrain of adulthood without being judgmental is a major challenge for any parent.

My wife, recently sifting through and discarding items from one of several boxes marked "Don't throw away!" came across a very wise observation by Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American author of "The Prophet:"

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. ...
And though they were with you, yet they belong not to you. ...
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. ...

This past week, I finally succumbed to that nagging temptation to ask "Honey, how did I do?"

"In what way did I most disappoint you as a father?" I nervously asked at the end of telephone conversation.

Without a moment's hesitation, she replied, "I never had a pony."

I could hear the humor in her voice.

You may email Mr. A.C. Snow at ac.snow@newsobserver.com or
if you're in the US, please call him on 919-836-5636.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Children learn what they live ...

If a child lives with criticism,
He learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
He learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
He learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance,
He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
He learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
He learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with honesty,
He learns truth.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love in the world.

- Dorothy Law Nolte.