12 Angry Men

Can anyone believe this? An entire movie, which is shot inside  a single room would become one of the classics, and yet become a top grosser?  Can a 1957  movie  still be relevant?  Is that possible? The answer is yes, and the celluloid classic is 12 Angry Men from the director Sidney Lumet, produced by Henry Fonda, who also starred in the lead character.  In one word this movie just stripped off the American Judiciary.  The movie begins with the Judge's order to deliberate a case of a young man who was acquiesced of stabbing his own father to death.   The Judge asks the members of Jury to give an unanimous verdict, and the poor boy's face fades out as the Juries assembles themselves inside their room.  Except only one of the juries all the members decide that the lad is guilty. Only one man differs and he argues with the fellow members and eventually lead to the acquittal of the lad.  What makes this film so special and very relevant even today is the way it handles the charac

Reading Rabbit

My experiences and strange encounters with students..

After four TRB exams and four interviews I have got my posting in a rural school as BT English. When I reached the school it was functioning mostly under a tree. Only ninth standard and tenth standard had classrooms. The remaining standards shared a public hall and the shade of a tree.

The public hall was strange it had boards on its walls. It was on the banks of a small pond. There was also a temple. In the initial days I found that the pupils had problems in oral reading. I thought it would be better if I write the entire lesson on the blackboard and go letter by letter. Though it was sixth grade I thought it would be a better practice. It might give the pupils the ability of oral reading. They found it much easier to match the sound with the symbol. So the first week was spent in this manner.

The next Monday I tested the attainment of the children. There was a significant improvement in pupil’s oral reading ability. One particular girl Susan was reading the lessons very fluently. I was very proud of my efforts. I boasted to the children that I made her read fluently. Then they told me something that shook me from my head to toe!

“Sir, she was absent during your practice reading sessions”.  I couldn’t believe my ears. How on earth a girl form such a humble hamlet read English in such a fluent manner? Then came the second shock. “Sir her name is Susan. She could read anything in English”. I started diagnosing the statement. I gave the seventh grade English text book. She read them. She could read 10th grade English book as well. I was thunderstruck. I started a case study. She was the 7th daughter of a poor couple. She had 2 younger brother and 9 sisters. Somehow she deciphered the ability to read English.

That was an unforgettable day of my teaching career. I took special care of her. After the annual holidays she stopped coming to school. That drove me mad. Luckily the SSA people encouraged hunting of the school dropouts.

I took one of students with me and located her home. Her father yielded to my pressure. She was back in 7th grade. But I had to hunt her in every reopening. Thank God she made it to 10th grade and made it with 325 of 400 marks.

I wonder how many Susans out there go unnoticed and dropped out of school. All I can do is pray.
PS : Susan stopped schooling after 10th standard. Now she is grazing her dad’s sheep in her village. Her younger brothers are here with me in the school.
Names have been changed for obvious reasons…

S. Kasthuri Rengan


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