Monday, October 30, 2006

Gurusurya’s Day Off

Grade 11 students were given their first major essay assignment which was to tell a story from their lives, and then reflect on what they learned in order to give the essay a thesis. The resulting assignments were varied in subject matter and what they learned from the experience. Here is one example that puts you right there with her, from, you guessed it, Gurusurya Kaur:

Gurusurya’s Day off!

We sprinted up the hill with rickshaws charging straight at us. As we reached the top of the hill, we all managed to grab on to the back of a speeding rickshaw. The horrid stench from the rickshaws’ diesel, and the rotting smell from the passing milk truck made me gag. For this, my dupatta was my savior.

As the words “J-j-u-u-ump” stuttered out of Atma’s huge lips, we carelessly stumbled off the moving transporter before it went down the other side of the hill.

“Tunak tunak tun tunak tunak tun tunak tunak tun da da da” was the bhangra tune, which came blaring through the air, to our ears. We all turned around to see where this ruckus was coming from. We found the source. Four young Punjabi guys dressed in western apparel drove by in a jeep with the top half cut off. There wasn’t even a windshield! In the spirit of adventure, we flagged them down, and they were more then happy to give us a lift to the unknown. After about a five-minute drive, we jumped off at a popular hangout street, and thanked the guys for the ride.

“Dhanvad, thank you,” said Wha with a smile. His huge teeth shimmered as the setting sun caught the metal of his braces.

We began strolling down the street looking for the next thing to do. It was Sunday, and not everything was open. This wasn’t a normal occurrence. It’s not often we get this freedom. Our train to Kerola would leave tonight and at 9:30 we would meet our parents to be on our way. We decided to walk down a residential street we had never been down before. We wanted to see where it would take us. About a few blocks down two huge electrical towers caught the boys’ eyes.

“Lets climb 'em,”said Wha without hesitation.
“Yeah!” said Atma.
“Oh my god no way, you guys are crazy! “ I replied. I was relieved when the door, we thought that would lead to them, was locked. That didn’t stop them! We walked around to the front the building, and marched straight through the front door. We were fueled by new excitement as our legs lifted us up the stairs to the roof of the marriage hall.

Looking up at the towers from where I stood made my heart pound; I was not going up that rickety ladder, it was way too scary! Wha and Atma didn’t think twice about it and they each chose a tower, and started to climb. When they reached the top, they yelled down and finally convinced me to climb up. Adrenaline was pumping through me; my hands were shaking as I slowly made my way up.

Once up there my fear went away in seconds, me and Wha stood on a small flat surface on the top with our cholas blowing in the wind. For ten minutes we hollered from tower to tower. Our voices soon got hoarse, and we called each other on our handy dandy cell phones!

After our yelling saga, we sat in silence absorbing the hazy spring scenery of Amritsar. Looking down on the whole city was amazing, I had never seen it from above in all my nine years of attending school here. I felt so free and in charge. There was no authority. I was the authority, it was so liberating! In some ways I feel like this was the day I really started to become independent. I gained responsibility, from being irresponsible. At school we have a very tight schedule, which is very disciplined, so having this time was very emancipating.

We continued our day by jumping the wall to a park, and goofing around. We then realized how tired we were and how much we were in need of a sugar rush. So we hitched a ride to Crystal, a restaurant with amazing cold coffee. We all sat around enjoying two cold coffees each! After that, with all our energy, we ran to the market across the street from the train station. That was where we would meet our parents.

We spent the next hour or two messing around at the market. At 9:30 pm we all made the last leg of our journey. We crossed the busy street to the station where we met our parents. Like good caring parents, they asked us how our day was and what we did. We all replied with “Oh not much,” and then all three of us looked at each other with a mischevious yet, satisfied smile!

The Passion for Football

Grade 11 students were given their first major essay assignment which was to tell a story from their lives, and then reflect on what they learned in order to give the essay a thesis. The resulting assignments were varied in subject matter and what they learned from the experience. Here is one example from Ajit Singh:

The Passion For Football

I live in Sao Paulo Brazil. Since I was about eleven years old, I loved to play football. My friends and I went to play every day after school. It was always the high point of the day. When everyone would come in the field and make a team to play, they would forget about race, social class, almost every difference. The only thing that mattered was how well you played football.

There is one guy in our neighborhood called Welinton Silva. He was the oldest kid playing and most experienced too. Not to say that he was the only one. There were lots. But he was the best! He was the fastest, and more skilled than any other guy that I knew. He had a chance of becoming a real professional player, with a team like Corinthians that won the national championships of Brazil six times. This is the dream of most Brazilian teenagers, though not for me so much. I play only for fun with my friends.

One day of the summer of 1997, after school, I was going to the football field to meet my friends. My friend Welinton Silva was going with me. We were glad that school was over, and started walking towards the field. Getting there we heard a weird noise. It seemed too loud to be our friends playing. It didn’t even seem like people! It was more like a motor from a machine, like a tractor or bulldozer. When we got in view of what it was, we were astonished to find our football field like it was. The grass was taken out. The goals were in a pickup truck. My friend and I went to ask one of the workers in sight what they were doing to our football field. He told us that it was being moved to some other place due to the construction of a building. He did not tell us where it would be built. He only knew when. Or at least he had an idea. He told us that a new football field would be made one month after the completion of the building. I knew that even for the building it would take at least one year, knowing that the people building it had lots of money. It was a big firm that built shops around my city. But my and my friend’s main task was to be certain that the football field was going to be replaced soon as possible.

After a few days, I set up a meeting with my friends to discuss what we would do. After some time, we agreed that the best thing to do was to get as many parents involved as possible, so that the firm would actually do something about it. This was a hard thing, because most of the people I knew that played football in the field were lower class, and the parents worked most part of the day! This is if they had a job. And in the free time the parents had to go to school meetings and other important things.

Not like football! because for most parents, football wasn’t a good thing, because the only way of getting money with it, is if you are on the national team, and it’s really hard to get on one! There are so many good players and people that have potential. So for most, football was not a job. It was more like a dream, and for the normal kids that didn’t make it, they would start working early in life.

One of the guys that played on the football field was Rodrigo Debault, who was really rich. His father, Mr. Stefano Debault was a well educated lawyer of the city of Sao Paulo, and his mom, Joana Debault was business consultant for a very important multinational company of Brazil. I didn’t know if his dad would be walling to help us, because he didn’t even have much time with his family, even though his only child was Rodrigo. Rodrigo’s mom was very busy most of the time, and he passed most of the time in his big house or mansion, or playing football with us and the guys. For him and most people it was there that most talent comes from, not from the football clubs for the spoiled kids of my neighborhood. When we talk to Rodrigo about the field he was very open, and said that he would try to talk to his parents about it.

The next day, I received a phone call from Mr. Debault. He told me that he would see what he could do about it. But it was going to have to be on his free time. After that call I felt like soon we would get the field back. Even with him working on his free time it would make the time less. Mr. Debault worked usually for people who had money, but sometimes for the public he put some dangerous guys behind bars or at least helped, so I had high hopes for it, and also with the help of other families, it was promising.

In about one week and a half, Mr. Debault was going to have a break from his work, and go to a meeting about the football field replacement with the people in charge of that construction! Rodrigo called me to tell me that his dad was working on it, and to give this good news to every one else! It seemed also that the relationship in his family was getting better by his voice in the way he was referring to his dad. Maybe this situation helped somebody in the process. About two days after the meeting they were finally starting to build the new football field! I felt happy for the Debaults.
This gave me a push to think about doing good and helping around others. Doing seva and things like that brings you good karma. Also, my friend Welinton Silva got the chance to have a place where he could practice and play, so maybe in the future he can become a real player for Corinthians. In a country like Brazil, democracy does work, but for that you need lots of people involved, or a really highly recognized lawyer like Mr. Stefano Debault in the picture. And then you can win.

Grade 11 students were given their first major essay assignment which was to tell a story from their lives, and then reflect on what they learned in order to give the essay a thesis. The resulting assignments were varied in subject matter and what they learned from the experience. Some of them were very touching; some very funny! Some were both. Here is one example to which I think we can all relate, from Simranjit Kaur:


It has been two years since the Siri Singh Sahib died and today is the anniversary of his death. We were sitting in the yoga room, watching an old lecture of his and despite my continued efforts to pay attention I found my mind drifting. I think it was his accent that lost me. Then I heard a small noise behind me and I turned around to see my friends eyes welling up with tears. I was shocked. It had never occurred to me that anyone would cry that day. Eventually I managed to put it from my mind but later that night I thought about it some more and I began to think that I was heartless. How could I not cry? Did that mean that I didn’t miss him or that I didn’t care that he was gone? I didn’t feel a sense of loss at all and against my will the events of that day began replaying in my mind.

It was a perfectly normal school day until tea break. Then the staff members called a formation, which was definitely not normal. Still I didn’t suspect a thing when it came to the Siri Singh Sahib. I was thinking that someone had played a prank or something and we were all going to have to stand at attention until who ever did it confessed. Of course we had been warned that the Siri Singh Sahib was very sick, more so then usual and that he could die at any moment but people had been telling me that for years.

When I walked into the academic block I knew that it had to be something other then a simple prank. Everyone around me seemed to have a look of dread on their faces and my confusion became even worse when I saw Ananda crying, Guru Mittar standing next to her, comforting her while trying to hold back her own tears. Of course there were a few people standing around looking just as confused as I felt. Just as I was about to go ask someone who would know what was going on, Amrit Singh called "fall in." It took about 10 minutes for everyone to get there because many of the students were at the art building and didn’t know that there was a formation. By the time the squad leaders finally told him everyone was here I began to get an idea of what was going on. I began dreading the words that I knew were going to come out of his mouth. He stood there in front of us for a moment with a desolate look on his face and then he said "I have something very important to say and it will effect all of you so if you would please not talk I would appreciate your silence." If anyone was talking they were all silent immediately which once again demonstrated to me that something very important was going on.

I felt like the entire world was holding it's breath with the school, not making a sound, hanging on his every word. Then he said it. "The Siri Singh Sahib passed away this morning." For a minute no one reacted, we just stood there and stared at him in shocked silence. It was so heavy that I could almost grab onto it. Then someone dropped their water bottle in shock and the room erupted with noise. Everyone turned to the person next to them and started talking or crying anything to get out the emotion. Even the most manly of the guys were letting their tears fall. I sank to the floor with my back against the wall, tears streaming from my eyes, yet I felt detached from everything that was going on around me. I was sad that he was gone, but somehow it seemed to me that I didn't care as much as everyone else.

Now thinking back on that day I am realising that it was not that I didn’t care but that I wasn’t worried about him. I feel like I had lost a connection with him when he died and that was what scared, me but now I see that I did care about him and we were close, so close that even though he is no longer here physically it doesn't matter, because the bond between a teacher and his student cannot be broken by something so simple as death.

The Truth About Fateh
Grade 11 students were given their first major essay assignment which was to tell a story from their lives, and then reflect on what they learned in order to give the essay a thesis. The resulting assignments were varied in subject matter and what they learned from the experience. Some of them were very touching, some very funny! Some were both. Here is one example, with great use of dialogue, from Sat Partap Singh:

The Truth About Fateh

I used to make fun of Fateh because of his arm, and its awkward angle, but then one day I realized THE TRUTH! (Insert ominous music)

It was the night of Guru Ram Das' birthday, and the school had returned from the Golden Temple back to the campus. It was around twelve o'clock at night, and I had taken off my chola because I was about to shower. I was standing in my room wearing just my kacheras talking to Fateh about pea pods when Sadh (AKA Boba Fet) walked into the room.
Boba Fet was still wearing full bhana from the Golden Temple trip. When he came in we started talking and somehow we eventually made a bet that I couldn't do a kick flip on my skate board in one try. I grabbed my skateboard and put it down on the carpet and with my bare feet I stepped onto it. I tried to do the kick flip, but I messed up.
"Damn," I said to Boba Fet. We hadn't decided what the bet was on so I asked, "So what do you win?"
"I'm gonna show you how to flip someone over your shoulder, using you."
"I'll flip you on to the mattresses," he said, pointing to the two mattresses next to each other, which made up my bed.
"OK," I said. "This won't hurt will it?"
"No, I'll be gentle."
So I walked over to the mattresses.
"So," he said, "I'm gonna grab your arm and flip you over my shoulder but you'll land on the mattress so it won't hurt."
"OK," I said.
He did just that, and it didn't hurt. He repeated it about three times, and then he stopped.
"OK, now I want you to jump and try to flip forward while I pull your arm."
This time I wasn't so sure. "I don't think I can do that," I said, a little nervous.
"Come on, it'll be fine," he assured, but I knew it wouldn't work. What I didn't know was that in fifteen minutes I would be on my way to the hospital with a chunk of my bone chipped off and bulging out of a wrong place, but let’s get back to the story.
There I was standing in front of the mattress in my kacheras, with Boba Fet holding my right arm.
"OK, on three," he said.
My heart was pounding so hard it felt like it was in my throat and my head throbbed with every pulsing heartbeat.
"One," counted Boba Fet. I could feel butterflies flapping around in my stomach.
"Two," he said. I wished I had landed that kick flip.
"O crap!!!" I thought, but I jumped anyway, and he pulled my arm, and I flipped, but not enough.
I went flying up and flipped upside down with my feet up in the air and my head getting closer to the ground. To stop from landing on my face I put out my left arm and landed with it straight out and locked, and my eyes closed. All of my weight fell on my left arm, and I heard it crack.
I was lying on the mattress. I opened my eyes.
The first thing I saw was my left arm, with some part of bone bulging out of my elbow in a place I knew shouldn't have been.
Suddenly I realized how much it hurt and I started crying and screaming in pain. Boba Fet quickly rushed over and told me to breathe slowly.
"I knew it wouldn't work!" I cried angrily.
"Sorry," he apologized.
"Shut up!" I yelled at him.
"Why?" he asked.
“I’m sorry,” I said.
"It's OK," said Boba Fet. "Just keep breathing long and deep."
So I started concentrating on my breath, and after about a minute my arm stopped hurting (maybe it was because I was in shock), but I stopped crying. Then Boba Fet helped me put on my chola and get over to the nurse's office and from there I went to the hospital.
One of the twelfth graders came with me in the ambulance, and I remember how he kept asking me if it hurt, and I would just say not really. His name was Obi Wan, and he took care of me for a few weeks until I could somewhat use my arm. He taught me everything I know and trained me in the ways of the force.

Because of that night I realized that Fateh had gone through something similar to me, and that people (including me) didn't even think about that. We just thought "Hey, his arm looks funny, so let’s make fun of him!"
Yeah, but the reason his arm looks funny is he because broke it and the doctors had to re-break it just to make it look as good as it does now. After my own accident I stopped making fun of Fateh because I knew how he felt. And that was it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Grade 11 Event Writing by Sat Amrit Kaur
The Grade 11 class was given an assignment to write about an event from their own lives. We were exploring the line between non-fiction and fiction when writing about autobiographical events. Here is one of the results from Sat Amrit Kaur:

The Hand

We were two eleven year olds, high on sugar and full of zing, chasing each other around the house, knocking books from their shelves and papers from their desks. We were truly a menace; scary and infuriating for any parent. The floor boards of the old house creaked and groaned, begging for us to end our shenanigans, but we wouldn't let an old house boss us around.
"Amrita!" we froze in trepidation, "Get ready for bed!" We knew it was over. Her mother's word was law. Amrita and I marched downstairs with our heads hung low. We dared not look up.

We were quiet and behaved until we reached the bathroom. Once the door was shut, our energy exploded. We weren't thinking straight, as can happen when a small body is filled with massive amounts of high fructose corn syrup, processed sugar and red number seven. We giggled and laughed uproariously for no apparent reason, making jokes that weren't funny unless you still watched Disney movies and listened to Teen Bop CDs.

The bathroom was most like any other bathroom in any other house. The floor was covered in blue tiles and a metal magazine rack sat next to the ceramic toilet. An image of a deer in a meadow was super imposed onto the old shower door and the bathtub in the corner was still filled with old bath water previously used by Amrita's little brother and sister. The lights were dim, casting a somewhat romantic glow over the entire room.

After a while of doing absolutely nothing, a loud knock on the door brought us back to our senses. We put on our swim suits and got in the shower. We tried to be more quiet, but our energy was still bouncing off the walls.

Amrita was the first to finish. She got out and grabbed a towel from a hook on the wall. I took the opportunity to tease her, knowing she wouldn't try to get me back for fear of getting wet. "Hey Amrita! I know who you like!" I said.
"Nuh-uh!" she said back.
"Yeah-huh! It's Guru Sandesh!" I laughed out loud. Victory was sweet.
Suddenly, the shower door was closed. "Take it back!" she yelled, "Take it back! I don't like him!"

For a moment, I was surprised, but it only took me a moment to regain my senses. I thought about it and decided that the best way to get the door open was to push it. "Alright, you asked for it!" I began the count down, "One! Twoooo! Three!!!" I swung my hands forward, hitting the glass, right as Amrita let go of the door.

We both stood for a moment, frozen. Shards of glass covered the floor and my hand was sticking through the door. We looked at each other and let out a nervous giggle. We knew we were going to be in a lot of trouble when her parents found out what happened.

As soon as Amrita looked down, the mood went from nervous to scared. Her face turned white and a look of terror was splayed across it. I looked down at my arm. I gasped and then I screamed. My wrist and the glass around it was covered in blood.

The next thing I knew, I was standing in the middle of the bathroom staring down at my hand with tears streaming down my face. There were large gashes across my hand, but they were barely visible through the amount of blood gushing out of them.

"I'm going to get help," Amrita said frantically, reaching for the door. She disappeared and I was left alone. The room was spinning and I felt vomit rising from the pit of my stomach. I did the next thing that seemed most logical to me. I hobbled over to the bathtub and collapsed next to it. I stuck my hand in, trying to wash it. I looked the other way to keep myself from seeing how red the water was becoming.

I sat there for what seemed like hours, waiting for someone to come. I could feel my consciousness slipping away and everything became fuzzy. Soon, everything was dark and that’s how it stayed.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Grade 11 Event Writing by Amrita Kaur
The Grade 11 class was given an assignment to write about an event from their own lives. We were exploring the line between non-fiction and fiction when writing about autobiographical events. Here is one of the results from Amrita:
The Last Breath

The day it happened I was not prepared for the truth that fell before me.

I was sitting there, the room full of aunts, uncles, family and friends. There she was, beautiful and glowing like always except for her almost motionless breath, the suspenseful inhales and exhales, each one dying to escape. I could not tell which one would be her last.

As I sat there holding her dying yet warm and frail hand I tried to be strong, say it wasn’t over, but when I saw the look on my father’s face I cracked. I began to cry. All I wanted to do was talk to her, tell her how much I loved her, and tell her how grateful I was for every thing that she has ever done for me. At that moment I stood up and leaned over to whisper in her ear. I wanted so badly to tell her everything in the world. Every little thing I had ever thought, felt, done. How delicious her food was, how wonderful her voice was, and how happy her smiles made me, but all that came out was, “I love you and you can go, everything will be taken care of.” Still to this day I wonder if she heard me.

As the room filled with more friends and family, everyone began to cry. My brother only eight years old didn’t know how to react. His face looked sad, confused, and angry all at once.

Every one in the room started to recite banis and pray. Looking around at all the sad faces made it even harder to be there. All I could do was lay my head beside hers and cry.

Then it happened, or should I say it didn’t happen? The next inhale never came. As the nurses took off all the tubes and wires that were attached to her still warm and frail body, I became hysterical. I stood up and gave her a very gentle yet extremely loving hug, and ran out of the room.

Looking down out of the seventh story window of St. Joseph’s hospital into an empty parking lot, I called my friend to let her know what had happened. All I could say was”She’s gone!”
After some time of being alone I walked back into the room. Most of the people were gone, but a few stood around bathing and dressing her cold dead body. They dressed her in an elegant yet simple white suit and covered her with rose petals. And there she lay in peace, my mother, beautiful as ever.

And always will be!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Grade 11 Event Writing by Hari Amrit Singh

The Grade 11 class was given an assignment to write about an event from their own lives. We were exploring the line between non-fiction and fiction when writing about autobiographical events. Here is one of the results from Hari Amrit Singh:

What defines reality? How does one tell the difference between dreams and reality?

Seven months in and I would hardly wake myself up for Japji any more. The last three months had been blended together like strawberries and bananas in a smoothie. No calendar, no clock, no perception of time at all. That was the best plan I had to get through the last half of the year painlessly.

It all started just like any other Thursday: Japji, P.T. , breakfast, school. I was happy because the day after Thursday is, of course, Friday and then my favorite day, Saturday.

Sports came around awfully quick after school. After formation nothing happened and I was automatically at yoga formation. I couldn't recall sports, and everyone wasn't speaking except Houman, who was holding formation.

After that formation, the same thing happened again. I felt the nothingness for a split second and then I appeared again, but this time in a conversation. I was the only person speaking and I couldn't stop. I went to sleep and feel into deep thought once again.

I woke up tired. The day before was a long day for me. I started this day with Japji, PT, breakfast, school -- the normal Friday schedule. This time the day went slower and I would recall every aspect of sports, no memory synapses today, but I kept feeling overly redundant and repetitive. I decided to go to sleep early that day. It would've done me some good to get some rest and then there was a town leave the next day, and I could sleep during that.

I was overjoyed. I had been waiting all week for this day, and finally I would get the rest I needed. I dreamed of home as I drifted off to sleep only to be wakened after what felt like seconds later.

"They called it!" came the soft but indescribably sharp scream through the crack in the door and into my ear.

I sat up immediately, got my clothes on and ran outside. It was still dark outside and the moon shone in an unusually large nature.

They had already started Japji so I sat down next to my friend S.P. who had bags under his eyes the size of cantaloupes.

"What's going on, man?" I asked him. "We're not having GT trip today? What happened?"

"Dude!" he replied with sarcasm. "It's Friday."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Grade 12 Place Writing by Atma Singh

The Grade 12 English class was given an assignment to write about place, appealing to the five senses. It could be a simple description, or a description as part of a story. Here is one of the results from Atma Singh:

I think over the last few years my memory has become ... vague. Events pass, people grow old and die, and still more are born yet in the end it all becomes vague.

Except home, that one place where your weary mind goes to rest.

For me it's home, the Kalahari. It always starts dark. Before sunrise. The land itself is truly awake. Those animals that live in the dark are falling asleep and those things that live in the day are just waking up. The dark seems endless and all encompassing. All sound seems muted by it.

But there are the smells everywhere assaulting you, so strong. Because of the lack of other sensory input, you can taste them. The sweet pungent smell of fresh dung in the damp air seems most prominent, but by no means the only one. The wood smells hard and grainy, the leaves slightly bitter yet full of life. Even the rocks smell, however faintly, slightly musty like age embodied.

All these smells and a million others seem to get stronger and stronger in the damp air blocking out all else. The whole land seems to hold its breath and tense waiting, waiting. Until the sun finally breaks the horizon stunning in its sliver of brilliance. Everything relaxes, all tension gone.

Then little by little your attention is drawn to the ground. Everything sparkles with single droplets of dew which in seconds are gone. Suddenly there is motion everywhere; a land that mere seconds ago seemed dormant is now alive and busy with insects, lizards, ants, beetles of every shape, size and shade imaginable.

Finally the eye is drawn further down. To the dust. The dust is a red so deep as to seem brown, so fine it feels softer than silk. The dust has seen the world through all its stages, was there in the beginning and will be there in the end. It goes further than the eye can see, broken only by rocks and the occasional bush.

The sun rises and the air dries. First smell is eradicated -- too dry and too hot. Then touch -- you stop feeling anything but heat. Then sound -- all sound disappears in the heat. All you hear is a thrumming in your ears. Then finally everything falls away; thoughts and sight disappear together.

All that's left is you, the silence and the soft red dust.

Grade 12 Place Writing by Dev Darshan Kaur

The Grade 12 English class was given an assignment to write about place, appealing to the five senses. It could be a simple description, or a description as part of a story. Here is one of the results from Dev Darshan Kaur:

As my mother turns the car on, I wait for the digital clock to light up, revealing the time. 11:45. At least I don’t have anything to do tomorrow, I think yawning. I pull my sweater on, prepared for the drive home with the windows down. Early summer nights in Los Angeles still seem chilly to me after the at minimum 100 degree weather in India .

The car is parallel parked uphill on a curved dead-end road, irregular parking being one of the downsides to visiting anyone in the Hollywood Hills. It takes several minutes to pull out of the parking spot, but the street is empty. The house we are parked in front of has roses growing in the yard, and by now the almost sickly sweet smell has permeated the entire car.

As we drive south the houses dwindle in size until they are replaced by apartment buildings. Turning onto Highland Ave. I’m surprised by the amount of traffic congesting the streets so late at night. What should be a ten minute drive has inevitably turned into a twenty-five minute excursion through a world of unequaled superficiality and unprecedented vapidity.

Billboards accost you at intervals of twenty feet and often display borderline pornographic images almost completely unrelated to the subject of their advertisement. Loud music from a multitude of cars blends in a cacophony of sound. Moving at a pace that would humble even the slowest snail, the cigarette smoke drifting in the window makes me nostalgic for the intoxicating aroma of the roses we’ve left behind. Everything here seems intensified. Lights are brighter, noises are louder, smells are more pungent.

The influx of traffic peaks as we reach Hollywood Blvd. The intersection boasts both a large mall and the Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, as well as the Kodak Theater, familiar to millions of Americans as the home of American Idol. As we pass through this epitome of pop culture the traffic thins, and our driving takes on a more purposeful characteristic. With freedom of movement we abandon our short-lived lives as sightseers and revert back to our natural roles as city natives, without ever having left, I feel the relief of coming home.

Grade 12 Place Writing by Sat Mandir Singh

The Grade 12 English class was given an assignment to write about place, appealing to the five senses. It could be a simple description, or a description as part of a story. Here is one of the results from Sat Mandir Singh:

The girl awoke to the blinding light and blazing heat of the mid-day desert sun. As she sat up, she felt the uncomfortable tickling sensation of sweat streaming down her bare back. She shielded her eyes and scanned the horizon. Enormous mounds of yellow stretched off into the distance. A light breeze bristled against her cheek. She sat there and let the breathtaking magnitude of the sea of sand sink in. She was a rag doll in the overpowering realm of Mother Nature.

The girl had no idea how long she had slept, but she knew she had to get moving if she wanted to live. She stumbled forward, climbing and descending dune after dune. Every dune looked just like the last and she soon lost count. The sun was her only guide through the maze of sand. She realized the irony in the fact that the spherical inferno hanging over her was the only means of escape, yet it was the very thing she was trying to escape from.

After what seemed like days she paused to catch her breath. As she stood there, panting, she felt the liquid being sucked from her chapped skin. Her cracked lips burned as she licked them with a dry tongue. She had to keep moving.

She trudged on. Up. Down. Up. Down. The waves were neverending. She was a machine. Her legs became disconnnected from her mind. She tried to stop but could not. Suddenly, she realized that she had stopped sweating. Her body's water reserves had dried up. She had little time.

Rounding the top of the next mountain, she stared down into the valley. Her jaw dropped, heart fluttering. Nestled in the valley, in the heart of this barren hell, was a lush oasis.

She sprinted down the slope towards an oversized palm. A dozen ripe coconuts hung below a ceiling of branches. She doubled her speed. She was less than fifty paces away! She blinked as sand was kicked up into her eyes. When she opened them the tree was gone. Everything was gone. There was nothing but sand. She cried out with disbelief and her legs gave way. Her head slammed into the firmly packed sand. Darkness.

Grade 12 Place Writing by Guru Amrit Kaur
The Grade 12 English class was given an assignment to write about place, appealing to the five senses. It could be a simple description, or a description as part of a story. Here is one of the results from Guru Amrit Kaur:

He sits in the corner weeping like he used to when he was eight. Of course, back then he would not have been capable of what he was capable of now. His body, oversized and againg, was now completely different than the tiny eight year old body he once had. All those beatings, emotional and physical, had taken a toll on him; his innocence had long been lost in the blunt roughness of the world.

He sat in a bedroom, a very nice one, lit delicately by lamps and shadows. The light made enough noise for the sounds that were absent, and they spilled on the bed and the walls and on the floor, like a bucket of spilled paint. Splatters here. Splatters there. It was all very colorful, but it wasn't very smooth.

The only real sounds were coming from the clock. He stood up and walked to the dresser. It stood more as a threat than an accomodation, with pictures framed, memories printed and guarded by glass all on display to the world. Whose house is this?

He took a second look around the room. It was all very nice, but it wasn't very human. Maybe that's what she meant when she had compared him to this house. Her harsh words burned into his skin leaving only a sting that still would not evaporate. Had the walls been light pink instead of white, would she be sitting on the bed right now? If the carpet he stood on would have been softer, would it have made his heart the same? Had he been destined to live the life everyone else was living right from the beginning?

For some strange and bizarre reason he was not at all angry with God for painting his life with water colors instead of oil paints. Everything had always blurred together to form a picture without definite lines. It kinds of reminded him of the room he stood in and how it had mixed in with memories of someone else's life.

And with that, he calmly walked out on his tangible betrayal and out into a spilled world that was all very colorful, but not very smooth.

Grade 12 Place Writing by Hari Simran Singh

The Grade 12 English class was given an assignment to write about place, appealing to the five senses. It could be a simple description, or a description as part of a story. Here is one of the results by Hari Simran Singh:

The new moon outshines the stars in the sky.
The full moon is pale beside the millions of eyes
Staring brightly, unblinking from sixty stories high.

The taste of the metropolis is on the tip on my tongue
I inhale diversity! into the depths of my lungs.

Two syncopated rhythms run north south east west:
The stop-go of the local and the go-go of the express.

Bound by the water, we scraped at the sky and pierced it.
On the ground we are close (in physical nearness)
But separated, very clearly, by independence at its fiercest.

In the belly of the city, it's be aware or Beware!
Open your eyes wide, but never (accidentally) meet someone's stare.

Ten million cities are visualized by ten million minds
New York is a pluralized lifescaper, collectively designed.

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