Monday, March 27, 2017

Anjali - How to Add Fun to Boring Things

It's exams time now. Every once in a while I am deputed the job of asking questions (long process), setting question papers (even longer) and rarely to explain (that somehow goes to Shobha). Today I was given the job of asking questions for the Hindi exam and Anjali was to give answers. It is obviously a boring and monotonous job for both. But it has to be done so we dutifully started the job.

Anjali somehow got a small ball into the room. After answering a couple of questions she told me a way to make the process interesting. "I will bounce this ball against the wall each time I give a correct answer,' she said and bounced it. I saw the small gap she was aiming at between the tube light and the clothes hanger, the whirring fan above and wondered if I should butt in with my possibilities of how everything could go wrong (tube light could break, could hit fan etc). Some sense prevailed (or I was too muddled) so I just shut up and asked questions. The answers were correct. The ball flew to the wall and back - sometimes dangerously close to the tube light. But I as ok. Obviously she was all charged up with this new challenging game she had invented to make a boring task interesting.

As the answers flew back quicker and sharper I could see her take a swing (like a baseball pitcher) and hit the wall faster and harder. Now if she misses, there was a big mess to clear. But I could also see her aim got better. After about 30 odd questions or more our session ended. She got them right. We were relieved and happy. For those thirty off minutes, we hung on an exciting roller coaster ride where all possibilities existed.

'I enjoyed answering questions Nanna,' she said. 'And I enjoyed bouncing the ball against the wall and catching it."

One can make the most boring tasks in the world interesting it appears. One can learn and have fun. One can infuse energy into a dull, sleepy afternoon. Now where is a ball? 

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