Winter is coming

Ever since I got to know about Louise Glück because she won this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, I have been reading her poems. The following poem has been on my mind for the last two weeks, all the more likely because it relates to the nights these days getting cold.

The Silver Lily

The nights have grown cool again, like the nights
of early spring, and quiet again. Will
speech disturb you? We’re
alone now; we have no reason for silence.

Can you see, over the garden—the full moon rises.
I won’t see the next full moon.

In spring, when the moon rose, it meant
time was endless. Snowdrops
opened and closed, the clustered
seeds of the maples fell in pale drifts.
White over white, the moon rose over the birch tree.
And in the crook, where the tree divides,
leaves of the first daffodils, in moonlight
soft greenish-silver.

We have come too far together toward the end now
to fear the end. These nights, I am no longer even certain
I know what the end means. And you, who’ve been with a man—

after the first cries,
doesn’t joy, like fear, make no sound?

Louise Glück

Children’s Literature Festival 2014 – Karachi

Though I am not an avid reader, but I have always found it irresistible to visit a book fair or a literary event. One of the best things happening to Karachi every year is Karachi Literature Festival, and this year it was followed by Children’s Literature Festival. I could not attend KLF, but resolved not to miss CLF, in particular because I had to take my kids there too. The Children’s Literature Festival was jointly organized by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), Oxford University Press (OUP), Open Society Foundations (OUP) and Karachi Youth Initiative (KYI), and to them goes a huge applause. Events like CLF provide opportunities to the kids to read and write, to listen to their favourite books being read and sung aloud, to listen to their favourite stories told by famous writers/story-tellers, to read their own writings to an audience, to attend sessions in their mother tongue, to watch theater and puppet shows, and other activities related to reading.

I had told my kids that though there won’t be any roller-coaster or merry-go-round rides, but they would still have good time with story-listening, creative activities and other performances. They were excited to go. The festival was scheduled to start at 0930hrs, but we reached at 1100hrs, one and a half hour late. Just upon our entry into the Arts Council I was asked to get registered and was handed down a booklet which listed the events of the day. Since there were at least five different sessions happening at the same time at different venues I had to choose the ones I thought were better.

We started off with a visit to an indoor camp called “Harry Putter Corner”. We could see newspaper clippings and comic strips on the walls. The camp was being run by Laajverd. The activists explained their project “Bacha (Kids) Bulletin” to the kids and got them involved in thinking about a real-life event and coming up with a way to report that event.

Bacha Bulletins
Bacha Bulletins

The volunteer explaining to kids how event are reported
The volunteer explaining to kids how event are reported

Reporters at work!
Reporters at work!

Reporting an event
Reporting an event

Then we headed towards a workshop on Innovative Methods of Teachings. The presenter was best at keeping his audience engaged. This was followed by our visit to an outdoor camp where the kids were having great time with paints and brushes. But by the time we got there, the piece of cloth was already filled with colors.

Playing with colors
Playing with colors

Next stop was a big white board where the kids had to write anything they wanted to.

'Say no to war'
‘Say no to war’

Then we walked towards the courtyard where there were a number of bookstalls selling all the kids stuff. Sliding through the crowd, we arrived at an open theater where an interactive music session was being conducted. By the time we reached, the session was in its last 10 minutes.

Theater
Theater

Afterwards, we went all the way to a booth set up by Habib Bank Limited to promote its product called “Money Club” which was aimed at encouraging the children to save money by opening a bank account. This seemed to be the most-thronged booth as the kids were required to play an interactive money-saving game, make a score and win a freebie.

All waiting to win
All waiting to win

In the line of play
In the line of play

It's my turn now!
It’s my turn now!

Grab as many cents as you can!!!
Grab as many cents as you can!!!

Next was the storytelling session conducted by Ufone-fame artist Adeel Hashmi. He conducted the session quite successfully. The kids enjoyed a lot. And finally I was asked by my kids if he was the same person they see on TV. 🙂

Man at work!
Man at work!

Kid hearing the tale
Kid hearing the tale

Finally, the kids told me that they were tired and wanted to go home. I told them there was one other event that I wanted to take them to. If they didn’t like it in the start, then we’d surely leave. They said ok. We reached an auditorium where a play “Alibaba Chalees Chor (40 thieves)” was going to be performed. As it turned out, the kids enjoyed the play till “The End”.

Actors at play
Actors at play

Encore!
Encore!

And we left happily afterwards. 🙂