This Week in the Classroom

Japjeet Khalsa Blog

Grade 12 English students wrote descriptive pieces on places at MPA. They selected the area of their choice and then used their original style and creativity to describe these locations. 

The Gurdwara by Sarib Jot Kaur (USA)

Quick, run faster, don’t be late. “ONE MINUTE” my step quickens as I hear someone shriek this behind me. Grey shirts bear down on either side as we scramble to put away our shoes. 

It’s Sunday night and the dreams of the weekend are still shining in our eyes. The air is full of anticipation as we watch Jugat sit down on the stage. I hear my mind pester me with unnecessary thoughts, “Will the meditation be hard?” “Did I hang up my laundry?” 

After is has all been explained, we come sitting up. Eighty arms rise, prepared to try their best or at least look like they are. ‘Wahe guru, wahe guru, wahe guru, wahe jio,’ the mantra blasts. Soon our voices roar with the intensity of lions. 

“KEEP UP” suddenly the burn becomes bearable. The mantra holds the posture for me. Beads of sweat trickle down my nose as if there is a light rain. Heat and determination emanate from the grey shirts around the room. 

“INHALE” booms across the space. With a final canon fire out of breath the energy is broken. As my eyes open, the room is changed. Red carpets, marble, white wall, a kind face, grey shirts. It’s all there but now I see it all with gratitude. 

“May the long time sun shine upon you.” Grey shirts flood the glass door. The weekend dream is gone. A gleam of accomplishment and joy now flickers from eye to eye. The Gurdwara is what holds us together. Reminds us why we are here and what we are capable of.  

The Kabaddi Field by Annika (Germany)

Dusty, sometimes muddy, dirt collected in a large pit, representing the strength and courage we carry in our hearts as soon as we step on the field. As the seasons change, the field changes with them. During the summer days, it turns into a giant rock-like patch surrounded by our carefully cut grass. During the freezing winter days, the soil is softer with fewer rocks resting between the soil and it feels good to walk on. 

Happiness, frustration, anger and competitiveness are the emotions that I relate with the field. There’s the satisfaction of scoring a point for your team but also the disappointment you see in their eyes, when due to lack of focus, something goes wrong and the point that was so close, goes to waste. 

The soft sound that is created when you land on the ground with all of your weight, forcing the air out of your lungs. Every single day I pass by the field on my way to breakfast, sprinting so that I’m not late. I barely notice that it is there. Other times, strolling back from lunch, I count the days until Wednesday when I get to play again. 

I have a lot of respect for this field, not only for the injuries that come along with playing on it, for the many times my legs were covered in bruises, but mainly for the focus and strength the game allows me to have.  

Earthware by Guru Simrat Singh (USA)

Clay formed and molded, spun in the cycle of life. 
’Tis where that my soul hid; The place for no more strife. 
The Mister’s face a heavenly beam. There are only working sounds. 
Sitting, labouring, I feel this dream. Wheels like mani-charms go round. 
There, the proudest thing I think I’ve ever done; such artistry, such skill to be attained. 
The semi-gaze reflecting of the sun! The richness of blue, so lightly strained;
So perfect is the pointed pouring spout. That sits upon a rim of gold emboss. 
And proudly does the handle stick out. Exquisite is the painted interlaced cross;
I toiled and slaved for oh so many years, my fingers ever wet and moist with clay. 
Here, but now at last, I’m free of all my fears; and doubts that clouded me until this day. 
I know you’ll all be very pleased for me, 
So thanks to my teacher and friends, in Pottery. 

The Roof by Guru-Partap Singh (Netherlands)

To get to this special place is, for some, no easy task. Complete trust must be given to the sturdy, white, menacing building. Each time you ascend up the cracking, yet stable, windowsill you gaze higher, out over the outer membrane of the school: The wall. 

Thump, Thump. . . . the adrenaline pumps through your body every beat of the heart. White dust covers you from head to toe as if the building were shedding it’s skin. Kirtan can be heard from the distant gurdwara, with the occasional grunt of car engines to accompany it. 

The exhilaration felt once you reach the top is not found easily. The struggle of life and death has been overcome. Looking out over the vast farmland speckled with houses and covered with dust; great steel towers soar up in the distance. 

The rising sun casts its glow over it all, creating a mural of orange, red, blue and grey across the sky, all blending together. The roof itself has an odd nature. It’s not special with its dull white sides and red brick floor. It’s the feeling that accompanies it that really defines it. It is not the view of the roof but the view from the roof which completes it. 

The journey is beautiful and if ever the destination seems disappointing, just look out and see that where you arrived is truly something beautiful. Look down and see that how you got there is more beautiful than the view from the top. 

The Tailor Room by Luna (Germany)

The tailor room isn’t a place I spend a lot time at or like very much but I will always remember the hour I spent in the tailor room in the beginning of the year:

Once I enter the room, a wave of humidity and heat overwhelms me and the particular smell of new fabric, sweat and dust lingers in the air. The room seems rather small with dark greyish-green, large metal cupboards lining the majority of its walls. Unnaturally coloured dhobee baskets are crammed together in the middle of the room, loaded with thousands of shirts, shorts, head covers, turbans, cholas and chids. Together they are extracting a queer sense of unity; everything is coloured the familiar school colours, a deep navy blue and a now, still bright white. 

The fan is lazily hanging from the ceiling, desperately trying to loosen up the air. The room seems dark but the bright mirrors on the wall are shining and their light is now beginning to fill up the room. Many students enter the room; short and tall, new and old. A cacophony of voices is building up, every body just wants to get done with it. 

The different moods are twirling around each other. There is the excitement of the new year but also the impatience of having to endure the search for the immaculate chola which doesn’t even exist. The tailor is telling everybody to ‘wait’ while being attacked with demands for help. Multiple students stand crammed together in front of a tiny mirror. Cupboard doors squeal and squeak every time they are forced open. Forest green dhobee bags are starting to pile up; filled with all of the clothes for the year. The voices swell up and the air becomes even heavier. I exit as soon as I am done. 

Formation by Gururaj Singh Khalsa (USA)

The morning dew settled on the grass glistening lightly in the dark of the morning. Dozens of white birds cover the entire field, sitting, waiting for something unknown. 

Then, out of nowhere like the rebirth of a Phoenix, the Brilliant Sun explodes over the horizon. All the drops on the field glow in the morning light and the birds pick up their heads to greet the rising of the morning. Each blade of grass stands straight on the windowless dawn of the day, like a million soldiers at attention. 

Suddenly, like ants out of a colony, dark figures creep one by one out of the buildings, slowing making their way onto the field. Their footprints disturbing the uniform color of the damp grass. 

Then, all at once, as if commanded by some overhead puppet-master, all the identical figures snapped to attention. Forming their well practiced lines and remaining still, creating the illusion of a freeze in time, a place forbidden to move on. Then, uniformly they relaxed, as though time had never stopped at all. They sway and stretch, readying themselves for action. 

As the order is called the army-like mass begins it’s well-oiled routine, slow at first, picking up speed, they run. The soil trembles, remembering it has tasted their sweat and blood before and today will be no different.  

The Library by Vladimir (Russia) 

There is a place in the Academy at which I’m studying that despite its simple and conservative design, so familiar and boring for the eye, is often crowded. It holds great value for what it has to offer both the students and the staff.
The room known as the library holds thousands of different books and journals, encyclopedias and dictionaries. Fictional worlds created by disturbed minds have been imagined and perfected by skillful hands; propelling new worlds into existence. Hundreds and hundreds of such worlds are being stored in there, on the shelves of the library. 
Aside from the books, the library serves other purposes as well. Not only is it a place for reading, it’s a place for studying, relaxing and if you’re lucky enough, even sleeping. 
The wise Madhu guards and manages this little treasury. Those who come to stay have to follow certain rules to stay in the library. Yet sometimes, when Madhu is gone in the late evenings, students organize movie nights, turning the place into a little cinema. 

The Soccer Field by Nova (Germany)

In front of the girls dorm is a big field mostly used for soccer and other activities. The grass makes its constant use obvious. Rough and shaggy like uncombed hair, some blades of grass are long and unkempt, others are short or broken. The sidelines of the field fitted and clearly marked with chalk. 

Outside the field, the longer meadow grass waves and whispers in the silent wind. Here and there are brown patches from the intense summer sun and lack of rain. Further in the distance, the prison-like wall towers up. It’s bricks are not exactly red anymore and the image of the wall is covered by orange trees as if they were trying to hide the wall and its lack of freedom. 

From closer up, green and tangerine oranges are visible. Right in front is the outdoor basketball court. Its stony floor is always covered in a thin layer of grey-brown dust that seems to appear out of nowhere. The hoops are new, the rims shining bright red, but the once see-through backboard is now left with bigger and smaller scratches as well as dust and dirt stains. 

The second basketball court right next to it is less new and looks as though it has been left behind and forgotten. The stone floor is mostly cracked and uneven. The backboards are weak and even more dusty. Even though I wish to be at home sometimes and not confined by old brick walls, I can be proud to call this my second home.