Sunday, August 27, 2006

I am posting this from Kolkota where I am on a week-long visit. I attended a meeting of heads of schools at Teacher's Centre to share ideas on special education and mainstream schools mainstreaming.

I also visited Earthcare Books run by Vinita Mansate.

Ayesha Das, whom I have come to be with, runs an English Landuage Centre called Read on, a wonderful place in a beautiful compound.I hope to put up photos on Tuesday. Ayesha's is a constant inut of inspiration and affection. She cares and shares unstintingly. Read on's books now includes Tanvir's Five Rupee Helicopter, the outline of which story Tanvir gave us the day after her chemo, four days before she passed away, assuring us that she had ten more outlines she would give us for stories in the Empathy Books series, which Tanvir believed in so much.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Tanvir passed away two months ago today by Gregorian time. This posting marks this watershed event in our lives and endorses that memory is carried forward in work...caring...sharing...daring...but not staring...!

Afshan, a young enthusiastic, young woman visited us on the 15th and spoke to Aditi Mukherjee about Tanvir and a special place at 'Sudarshan" to understand Tanvir's vision and carry it forward in her memory. Anvar Sultana, the only person whom Tanvir accepted to work with her in a remedial school-based programme, and Zenobia Rustomfram, who was in close touch with Tanvir professionally over many years, were with us when Afshan had formally come earlier to explore possibilities with Sheel and Usha Raman at

I hope those who read this will add to the blog and/or get in touch by mail . Post to Miss Lakshmi Rameshwar Rao, "Sudarshan", 3-5-819 Hyderguda, Hyderabad 500 001, INDIA.

The current issue of Teacher Plus carries our tribute to Tanvir, posted on this blog earlier. Please let us have your address so that we can send you a printed copy of the magazine.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Happy Independence Day

Flag hoisting "Sudarshan",
Hyderabad, 15 August 2006

Monday, July 10, 2006

Remembering Tanvir

Tanvir Iqbal passed away on June 19. The cancer had finally got her-- the brain, lungs and the bones.

Tanvir’s frail frame deceptively hid a strong and powerful personality. She fought the final illness till the end with great courage and dignity. The twinkle in her eyes and the impish smile continuously allowed us to live in hope. She taught us how not to despair.

Tanvir got her Master’s degree in Linguistics from Osmania University and joined the M.Phil course with a Junior Research Fellowship from UGC. Halfway through the course she decided that Speech Therapy was to be her vocation. She moved to Ahmedabad and got a degree in Speech Therapy before moving on to Kansas, USA to specialize in Special Education. She was now well equipped to start her practice in Hyderabad as a consultant for those with speech/language and learning disability. Apart from the extensive formal training in the field, Tanvir had the singular distinction of not mechanically following the techniques and material developed in the West. She was very particular that her clients be situated and treated in the context of their existential reality. Thus she was also wary of labeling them with the readymade diagnostic categories. This involved constantly improvising techniques and teaching material to suit the requirement of each client. It was a difficult job but Tanvir was not to be put off by the enormity of the challenge.

In everything, Tanvir was a perfectionist. She would never allow herself to get complacent and very often subject herself to unfair self-flagellation when the outcome of a particular intervention did not meet her expectation.

It is very difficult to separate Tanvir the ‘professional’ from Tanvir the ‘person’. She seemed to be wearing the same hat –whether it was with her client or with the family/friends. It was the hat of ‘empathy’. Although she demanded perfection from her own self, she could empathize with the shortcomings of the ‘other’. In her interaction with the others she had the special ability to be non-judgmental. All of us who were in touch with her knew that she was not only empathizing with our problems but was also absorbing a part of our pain, frustration, failures and anxieties like the proverbial Neelkanth. There were occasions when we would have been provoked to behave badly. But not Tanvir. Not a harsh word would pass her lips. She was the therapist for the family, friends and anyone else who came in contact with her. Such fortitude, and generous ‘giving ’of her ‘self’ was not easy and surely took its toll.

Tanvir was one of the first few subscribers to Teacher Plus < >. She continued to support it till the end. She was also the ‘spark’ in Spark-India. It is a loss that would be very difficult to repair.

We, the people she left behind, may not hope for Time to heal. We owe it to her to learn to cope with the gap and manage our lives the way she did with hers – with fortitude and dignity.

Aditi Mukherji, family and friends and members of <>

"Sudarshan", Hyderabad
Lakshmma, who cooks and cares for us

Group photo from left: Kamakshi, an author,Tanvir, Sheel and me

Ooty (May 2002)

Monday, June 26, 2006

One of the last articles Tanvir circulated:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Good Morning on another Monday of a new working week.

I tried to upload, without success, some photographs of Tanvir on holiday in Ooty (2002), after treatment fpr primary breast cancer; looking radiant, as her name means. We joked about it often during the month of her radiation therapy.

I'm also glad to postpone the decision about whether or not to put them up, because I do not know how Tanvir would have wanted it or in fact any that may read this.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I am posting this, once again, to mark the day. Sunday will probably be when I settle down to working on this blog to give it new meaning if that is possible. Tanvir teased me about it from the day of the first post and would perhaps still be in despair about my hard sell.
Be that as it may, I give a quote here that I would have wanted to share with Tanvir and that I think she would have liked and known to be true:

"Education is the one thing that we are willing to pay for and not get!"

For Tanvir, education, was a passion, a reality that was not made more meaningful with the qualifier "quality". She participated upto her last moment of life with us, in a joyful and effective teaching-learning yin-yang. I hope we, each one of us whom she has touched, will share together to live and continue the dream that was her life.