Dance Like a Man

Monday, November 30, 2009

Accoding to Linda Goodman, every Libran woman has a man in her and every Libran man has a woman in him. Normally I prefer not to take her too seriously because she makes some unflattering remarks about us. I have always had this theory that a Libran probably stole some boyfriend of hers! I also have a theory that the boyfriend was probably Aquarian! any case...I hope she is right in this case. I am currently in the process of bringing out the male side of me.

No... it is NOT what you think (I have no idea what you are thinking....but considering the current times, it is definitely something scandalous!)

I have a dance performance on December 19th wherein I am performing in a dance drama as a male character.

Even though I have perfomed several historical and mytholoical parts in my life, I have not had a chance to play a male character before this. Considering the fact that I need shoes with at least half inch heels to call myself a five footer, you cannot blame anyone for not giving me such roles. Unless you are playing 'Snow White and Seven Dwarfs', that is!

So now I am getting a chance and I am playing a king - the father of Kaikeyi. The dance drama we are doing tries to portray Kaikayi of Ramayana in a different light. It tries to bring out the reasons behind Kaikeyi's actions and portrays her as a good person in spite of her actions. So I play the part of her father who is quite unique considering the fact that during the times when girls were brought up with the sole intention of catching a good husband, he brought up his daughter in such a way that she does not need a man in her life and can take care of herself. He had incurred a curse that his daughter will lose her husband and that too due to her own actions. Fearful of her future, he teaches her weaponry and charioteering instead of music and dance to make her a bold woman.

It is interesting and challenging to do the role as there is a chance to portray different feelings - affection for the daughter, fear for her future, guilt that his actions will cause pain for his daughter, pride in her achievements, shrewdness to ensure he gets a good deal for his daughter when Dasharatha asks for her hand in marriage etc. The music and choreography is quite lovely too.

But the toughest part is to get the male body language...stop being graceful and become aggressive, proud and majestic. Stop being the mother and start becoming the father.

But I am having fun!

On bells and diyas....

Monday, October 26, 2009

' know... M has a Gujarati family staying next door who are always disturbing everyone' said my daughter one day last week. I settled down to listen to her story. M is her classmate, busmate and close friend. She explained that the smoke from the diya they lit for Diwali caused the fire alarm to ring. I laughed and said such things happen. Then she says that according to M, even during Ramadan, they will do their morning prayers with bells ringing and disturb others.

I stopped laughing. I realised where this was coming from. Some stray comments M's parents have let fall about their neighbours and their religious practices have been picked up by the kid and is being passed around. It upset me.

Now, I am one of those people who lights the lamp in my makeshift puja corner only twice or thrice a year...for onam, vishu and navarathri. And the apple I kept for Puja for Navrathri is still there because I have not gone back there since. But I did not like this! I felt uncomfortable that there is so much intolerance in people and what upset me was that the children are repeating it and discussing it.

So whether it was warranted or not, I gave my daughter a long lecture about freedom of religion, secularism and tolerance. I told her that praying to God is good in whatever way it is done. Each person has a different way of praying to God. Some sing hymns, some do puja ringing bells, some go to temple/mosque/church and pray. I said that no one has the right to stop another person from having their own beliefs and their own way of prayer. I said if the ringing of bell can be called troublesome, so can the church bells and the prayer calls from the mosques. But in actual fact, they are just different ways of praying to the same God. If everyone just lets everyone else be, the world will be a much better place.

I hoped she would go and repeat what I said to her friend.

Probably I overreacted to a small incident but what bugged me was the fact that thoughts like this are being planted in the minds of small children. Parents do not realise that stray comments or opinions they pass can create a lasting impact in the mind of small children.

It just brought back to me all over again the tremendous responsibility of being a parent!

Much ado about nothing!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This blog entry is being written at gun point. Nancy has
threatened to take me off her blogroll if I do not update.
She seems to have taken unkindly to cobwebs on her blogroll.
Now being terrified of being taken off one of the most popular blogs around,
I am forced to write this entry.

I am not stupid. I don't want to be deprived of a chance
of getting new readers every day without writing

Well...that said, I must really apologise to the
few nice people who read and seem to like what
I write.

I haven't written not because nothing interesting
has happened to me. It has been a combination of
work, travel and most of all lack of topics to
write about.

See...I still haven't got a clue what I want to write

Well, I made a beginning and got out of the inertia. Now will put up
that long pending post along with colours about my visit to her place.
Or maybe I'll write about my new blackberry! :D the workshop!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Usually, I have my laptop connected, switched on and logged in throughout the weekend. There are several reasons for this. For one, my offshore counterparts
in Chennai are working on Fridays and might send me mails or need me for some clarifications over Gtalk. For another, I can chat with friends, read blogs and
I have something to do when the TV is conquered by the hubby watching cricket.

This weekend, I did not even take the laptop out of the bag. I did not have time!

I was attending a dance workshop on Friday and Saturday and I literally feel overhauled! I felt all my spare parts coming off but the whole experience has
left me energized and maybe I have some extra years added to my life.

For the uninitiated, the students of dance often have workshops and lecdems (lecture demonstrations). A lecdem is where a senior artiste (along with his/her students) gives a lecture with demonstrations on some topic related to dance. The participants just listen. A workshop is where each person attending also participates. Usually, a complete new 'item' is taught during the workshop and the Audio CD, Video CD and written material is shared with the participants.

This workshop was conducted by the UAE chapter of ABHAI(Association of Bharatanatyam artists of India). While ABHAI has been active for more than a year now in Dubai, this was their debut workshop. And as a participant, I must say that it was a great success.

It was a small scale one as the organizers did not know how good the response would be. We had 15 participants which they felt was pretty good for a debut workshop. It was a good mix of teachers and senior students. The workshop was from 3 to 5 pm on Friday and Saturday.

The workshop was conducted by Ms. Anjana Ganesh, one of the popular Bharatnatyam teachers in Dubai who is herself the student of Sri. Narasimhachari and Smt.Vasanthalakshmi. She taught us a 'padam' composed by Sri. Madurai R Muralidharan for which she herself had done the choreography.

A padam is a short and lyrical item in bharatnatyam. The essence of a padam is usually sringara (romance) or bhakti (devotion). This one was a devotional peice about Lord Ganesha - Omkara Vadivam. It is a beautiful composition. The choreography was neither too complicated nor too simple. It was easy to learn but really fast with complex rhythm patterns and footwork which meant that you can perfect it only with practice.

It was a complete item starting with a virutham (a slow verse sung in praise of the Lord),followed by pallavi, anupallavi and charanam.Both anupallavi and charanam ended with a swaram. We had to learn the whole thing in the 4 hours.

It was fun to learn in such a group - new people with different backgrounds, styles and teachers.It was challenging to learn quickly. It was enriching to add a new beautiful item to our repository.

At the end of the second day, we were given the audio CD. At the end of the second day, we were given written material and also a certificate of participation.

Regarding the video CD which we were to be given to enable us to refer later, the organizers had this bright idea. They decided that they will make the participants perform and record. So they took the video in 3 parts with 3 sets of people. They will be sending us the video for our future reference.

Performing for the video was the most challenging part. Though none of us had it perfect and all of us made mistakes, we still managed.

It also made me realize that I had lot of parts on my body that I never knew existed before. Thank God for my very own personal masseur at home ;-D

The Making Of......

Friday, May 8, 2009

It has been some time since I did any proper blogging.

It hasn't been for the lack of interesting things happening with me. Except for a slight lull on the work front as a natural result of the recession, things have been good.

Weekdays are a mix of busy and boring days depending on the work. The financial year that ended in March was good as our team over achieved the target and we received lot of appreciation for the work from the head office. My name has been mentioned in all the right places. So even though I don't expect any personal benefit to happen out of it, it is still good to see results for your work.

Weekends have been full of creative pursuits. Dance classes are on full swing and I can't explain how much I'm enjoying those. Apart from that, I have been lucky to play a part, albeit small, in the creation of something beautiful.

My husband and his brother are talented musicians. Though both of them haven't really had formal training in music, my husband is a good singer and his brother plays the harmonium and the key board. They have lived and breathed bhajans all their life. So recently, my BIL decided to give form to his lifelong dream - of composing his own music and bringing out a CD.

So it all started with him composing a few bhajans of his own.

He has a small recording studio in his house in Abu dhabi and he would compose songs and then call up my husband, play it over the phone and discuss it with him. We were quite impressed by the music he churned out and so we also got quite excited about the CD idea.

Though most of bhajans were composed with lyrics, I did get a chance to help out in a few of them with the lyrics. It was really interesting, to say the least.

Soon, he had a set of nice new bhajans to which he added a few rare, traditional ones and made up a list for the CD. The plan was for my husband and some of their friends in the bhajan group here in Dubai to lend their voices.

The B was of the opinion that if it is done, it has to be done the right way. So the next step was to get someone to do the orchestration, sound programming and recording. He thought of a cousin back home in India who is a professional in the field. Soon we were recording tracks of all the songs and sending it to him to work on. There is no way I can explain the amount of communication that used to happen every day. I'll just say that Du got a lot of good business.

So the cousin would do the orchestration (using the keyboard) and send us songs which would go back and forth till the B was completely satisfied. He knew exactly what he wanted in each song of his and there was so much creativity around that I was just watching in amazement. I had never imagined the amount of work that goes into the making of one single song...

Once the music was finalized, the cousin was getting the original instrumental music tracks recorded in India for all the songs.Tabla, Violin, Guitar, Sitar, Keyboard, flute, Veena, Saxophone...

We had one problem that we did not have any good female voices in the group here. So we decided to get those done from India. By this time, the B had decided to go all out and do it perfectly since we were anyway spending lot of time, effort and money on it. So the result was that along with the H and bhajan group friends, we now had 3professional playback singers of the Malayalam music industry to sing in the CD.

We were lucky to get an excellent studio to do the recording here through some well wishers. So one weekend, the cousin came down with the entire instruments track ready. We spent a whole weekend in the studio recording the voices for all the songs. I was right there doing the job of providing hot water to the singers. :-) The cousin then went back and got the voice recording done from the singers in India.

Meanwhile, we broke our heads to come up with the right name for the CD. After lot of searching and discussions, we arrived at a name that we all agreed on.

The incessant communication between India and UAE continued - for doing the final corrections, adding the effects and a whole lot of things that they do after the entire recording is over.

Today, we are at the final stages of completion. The plan is to first bring out a set of 100 CDs and introduce it. Later, further marketing and distribution is planned. So yesterday, we were selecting designs for the cover and finalizing the caption to be displayed on the cover.So hopefully in another week's time we should have the first set of CDs out!

It has been a great journey so far and now we are eagerly waiting to see the response of the listeners.

Musically Tagged!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thank you Nancy..Love you for this tag!

Since you wanted me to post something to make you feel less terrible...this is the one! I dedicate each song in this list to you...Nancy!!!

I am an old hindi songs freak! I literally grew up on them. My father had a huge collection of lovely rare songs. On his frequent trips to Delhi and Bombay, he used to bring back such gems! So there is absolutely no way I can restrict myself to just 10 favourite songs. But I will try. But only after officially placing on record that I love all the masterpieces by Roshan, Naushad, S D Burman, Madan Mohan... and any song that Mukesh has lent his soulful voice to..

To reduce the number I shall not list the ones that are global favourites..that are definitely acknowledged Duniya ke rakhwale...mere mahboob... etc. I shall list the one that affect me personally....

So here goes.. in no particular order...and with aplogies to the ones I have failed to list here.....

Old Hindi songs

1. Lag ja Gale: I just love this song and can hear it any number of times...Could be the despair and the 'no tomorrow' feel in it....

2. Baharon ne mera chaman lootkar: I don't know why I love this song..but I do... It is saaaad and Mukesh is great...

3. Abhi na jao chodkar: Just lovely...It was kind of our hostel anthem!

4. sawan aaye ya na aaye: This is a lovely duet...from dil diya dard liya

5. Yeh shaam ki tanhaiyan: Pathetic...beautiful...I heard the song long before I got to watch the movie..and I must say the picturisation in my imagination was better...

6. Unko yeh shikayat hai... I love the ghazals in movies..and this one is a classic..(I have to mention two more here...I really do!!! hasraton ki daagh...and hai isi mein pyar ki aabroo from anpadh though a friend says the latter one is too 'doormat'ish for the girl to sing!

7. beeti na bitayi raina... I cannot resist anything semi classical...Hindustani classical music is so lovely...(and also raina beeti jaye)

8. Then the soft melodious ones by Talat Mahmood...Jalte hain jiske liye... and also humse aaya na gaya... How romantic can one get!!!!

9. Then the dancer in me...and the songs that make my heart and feet dance....Madhuban mein Radhika... Also the lovely Garjat Barsat saawan...And Manna Dey's 'hato..kahe ko jhooti..banao batiyaan'

10. Ankhiyon ke jharokon se.. Though I had heard it before, it became a favourite only recently....

I must also just mention my husband's masterpieces 'Jab deep jale aana'..'jeevan se bhari teri aankhen'...

And there is this song which I heard my husband sing first before listening to the original...and just loved it...'chehre se apni'...from the movie Palki...

Other languages, namely Tamil and malayalam. I again have several favourites... just listing a few...very very few....

1. Kalyana Then nilaaa - I can listen just any number of times to this one...
2. Nee Katru Naan maram - Amazing lyrics and the inimitable Hariharan!
3. Malare mounamaa... needs no explanation
4. Konjam neram Konjam neram
5. Raa .. Raa
The last two might be better heard than watched!


1. pinneyum pinneyum aaro kinavinte music, lyrics, picturization...just lovely
2. aaro viralmeetti manassil
3. varamanjalaadiya...
4. Chentharmizhi...Poonthenmozhi - It could be the fact that Vineeth acts in it that makes this my favourite! ;)
5. arikil nee undaayirunnengil - Oh! What a song!!!

All these songs are available on Music India Online as well.. I put you tube links just because it is easier... My advice is not to let the visuals distract you and listen to JUST the music!!! What bliss!!!

oops! Forgot that I need to tag people....

I tag

Colours... I know you are busy..still you'll love doing it..come on!
Tys? .. You said something about downloading and listening to songs...didn't you? Wanna try?
Bins.... Interested?
RustyNeurons... How about you?
Onlooker... Come on.. people from Trichy have to be music lovers!!!

A follow up post.....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Couple of comments to my previous post make me feel that I should probably put up a follow up post for it.

I probably did not come across very well in the last post. I did not mean in anyway to glorify working mothers by writing that. I did not even mean to discuss working mothers vs non-working mothers. As Agnes and Bins rightly said, it is just the circumstances. If one has the support systems required to manage both easily, one is lucky. If not, no mother will think twice about putting her children before her career..I am sure. No one admires women who give up a great career to take care of the family more than I do. More so, because it is a very difficult choice to make...but I am sure I would not find it impossible to do should the circumstances arrise. I did do it also to some extent...but talking of that would be digressing.

I meant the post only to convey what I admire in my mother as a woman irrespective of the fact that she is my mother. Because there is no way you can compare two mothers! For every one of us, our own mother is the best!

I admire my mother not just for being a career woman but for being so good at what she does.

My mother was brought up in a small village in kerala. She was married at 20 before her degree results were out. She was married to an extremely bright engineer with a great future. She had her baby at 21. No one expected her to work,least of all my father. She herself I'm sure did not plan on being a career woman. The reasons that pushed her into going to work are different and not in the least because she had great career aspirations. I shall not go into those reasons here.

When she started working, I think my father was just an amused onlooker. He did not expect her to continue for long and expected she will tire of it soon and come back home.

But within 5 years of her starting to work, she was given the responsibility of the entire KG Section of the school which was run separate from the rest of the school. Soon she was heading the section which had two branches, 25 teachers and more than 600 students. This continued to grow and she also started a teacher's training course in the same institution and headed that as well. After this, she has helped start and set up 2-3 other schools which have all grown to be some of the most popular ones in the city.

I used to experience pride every year on the annual day when she used to read out the annual report on stage. Within a couple of years of her starting her job, my father became a staunch supporter of her continuing to work and he stood behind her whenever any of our relatives spoke against it. I have seen pride in his eyes too.

Even today, at 55, after more than 3 decades of working, she still does research on the internet and reads up about modern methods of teaching and tries to put them into practice at her school. I doubt if I have that kind of energy and motivation even now!

So you see, when I said 'I used to be proud of the fact that my mother had a successful career', the emphasis was more on the 'successful' than on the 'career'!

And probably it is this feeling that helped me overlook things like having to eat idlis every day because they were easy to cook, not having my mother at home with hot snacks when I got back from school, having her come running, late to dress me up for my dance programmes after all the other mothers arrived.

The Women In My Life...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This is what my daughter wrote about her most favourite person in the world for her last exam.

'My most favourite person in the world is my mother. She is the best mother I have ever had. I love her because she is intelligent.'

Yeah...I also wondered how many mothers she has ever had to compare and award me the first place! But considering that not too long ago, she told my mother, 'I wish you were my mother and Amma was my grandmother..then I could always stay with you', I guess I am just gratified she wrote about me at all!

Well..anyway...what struck me was not that. What struck me was the reason she has given for loving me. Don't kids normally say they love their mother for taking care of them and giving them the most delicious things to eat? I kind of understand why my daughter doesn't say those things...if she writes about food, she'd probably have to write about the chef in the restaurant next door or the guy who makes the home delivery....but I also wondered if the kids these days are different.

I have found that the most amount of bonding happens between the two of us during the time we spend studying together. Evenings spent with me helping her with her lessons. Also, our dance classes together. Even though we have our disagreements, we end each of these sessions with a feeling of utmost camaraderie. Maybe that is why she thinks the best thing I do for her is teaching her stuff and she loves me because I am intelligent enough to teach her.

Come to think of it, I was not too different either. I used to be proud of the fact that my mother had a successful career.

She still is the most favourite teacher for so many of her students. She is a born leader and diplomat. I have heard her own colleagues grudgingly admire how as a principal, she used to make them do so much hard work without any of them realising they were doing it for her. People felt thrilled and gratified to do work for my mother because of the way she asked them to do it.

So even now, more than the for the food she cooks, I love her for being the unique person that she is. Soft but smart, selfless but efficient, tender but strong, always giving and undemanding but absolutely courageous.

Can one ask for a better role model?

A rose by any other name...... ;)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I am worried about my blog identity.

It is almost exactly a year back that I started blogging. I had not even read many blogs till then. One of the first blogs I read was that of PS and I was amazed at the popularity of the blog. Also, I had been thinking of trying my hand at writing stuff...because I had seen so many people posting their writing on the literary public folder in my company in India. There seemed to be people ready to read and share their thoughts on all that.

Even though I have been an avid reader of all kinds of books all my life, I kind of instinctively knew that I would not be good at writing stories and other things that require a lot of imagination and making up stuff. Aren't artists and writers supposed to have a temperament? I had none of that...I think I am too real,practical and not so emotional.

But the concept of blogging was okay. I could write about what happens to me and around me and also nobody would know it was me writing all that.

So I decided to start blogging.

Now I had to think up a name for my blog and also a blog identity for myself!

Like I said, I had not done much blog reading and didn't have an idea that you could come up with such exciting and imaginative names for yourself. So I named myself what I felt I was at that time - WannabeWriter. Now don't get me wrong... that does not mean wannabe author or anything. I know quite well I shall never publish anything. But I felt even to be writing on the internet and expecting people who do not know me to read and be interested in what I wrote was expecting too much! Hence the name!

Well..I haven't come too far from there. I don't have many readers but the few regular ones I have are those whose blogs and personalities I like and admire...and they are like any other real friends now. And couple of them are no longer virtual but regular friends to whom I chat on the phone often.

But now,I kick myself for choosing that identity. Why didn't I think of naming myself CreativeGenius or CelestialBeauty!!! Now I shall always be a Wannabe! Well...when you do want to address someone with a name like Wannabe Writer, what else do you call but Wannabe!

I imagine conversations between bloggers. "That wannabe has posted something..did you read?"..."Hey..for that blogger's meet, do we call that wannabe?":-O

Nothing to be done now! Sigh! I shall always remain a wannabe!!!

psst...any idea what the process is to change one's name in the blog world? Advertise in the Gazette?

Random 25!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Colours and Reflections tagged me on this one!

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.
At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged.

Well..there is an earlier post here on 6 quirks...just in case I cannot find 25 random know!!!

So here goes....

1)I love anything chocolate... dark chocolates, chocolate cakes, chocolate ice cream, chocolate shake...Found a partner in crime in my Project Manager during an onsite visit to the US way back in 2000 and we used to sit and hog Double chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce and chocolate chips...much to the disgust of the others!

2)I was the shortest in class from the 8th standard or so...In the 10th, I used to make a funny sight, walking first in my line, going for the assembly behind the tallest guy in the previous line (class 12) who was some 6'3'' or 6'4''! I became immune to ragging right in school because I was the favourite target for the guys who used to say stuff like 'Yesterday I saw a Kinetic Honda go without a driver' or 'How do you get off your Kinetic Honda? You hold the breaks and jump?'. I used to bring out the creative genius in them and they used to come out with IIT questions which invariably started out like 'A ladder x m high was kept against a wall and she was standing on top of the ladder...etc..and always ended with..what is her height?'

3)Now, in spite of my height, which unfortunately is still half inch short of 5 ft, I used to play basketball in school! Did I hear any sniggers? But seriously! I love the game and I used to play quite well too. Of course, if I play with real tall people or professionals, I am sure I stand no chance to even get my hand on the ball. But in school, with people equal in talent, I used to play well...they used to get bugged of me coming from nowhere and tapping the ball away...

4)I have done so many different kinds of dances...I have learnt 3 Indian classical dance forms and just love all of them. But in our school, every other day was some 'day' and for each of these I used to be one of those on stage. We have danced classical, folk dances, tribal, Naga dance, folk dance of Himachal pradesh, dappan koothu....anything. Once we wore black Naga dresses and danced on the roads in Cochin....that tricky stuff with sticks and us girls jumping in and out of them...says a lot about our self confidence doesn't it???? :P

5)Every year for the 'Ramayana' day/week, I was Sita and that too the one in the forest!And every year, shamelessly, I used to borrow the sari from one of our teachers, who was the only one who had a saffron coloured one! She used to exclaim..'you are Sita? Again???' :D

6)I did not know cycling. I directly learnt to drive a Kinetic Honda. And then went back to cycling during my PG in the campus!!! I miss my Ladybird!

7) Talking of riding, I am a typical 'female' when it comes to driving, road sense and directions. I got my driving license in India and tried driving on 1 or 2 Sundays to office when the traffic was comparitively decent. On the second day, I got scolded by other drivers at two signals and I promptly took the car back home, parked it and went by auto to office!!! I am thinking about going for driving classes in Dubai...for the last 4 years!!! I admire and envy women who drive well!

8) I have never been school, I was not considered college, when I looked at my school snaps, I thought I was thin...then during my PG, when I looked at my graduation snaps, I thought I was thin when I look at my wedding snaps, I think I was thin then...I add weight slowly and steadily...try and imagine what I look like now!

9) I am a movie all kinds of movies...The platinum jubilee of Indian cinema was during my 10th std public exams. And in those days of only Doordarshan, they were playing Guru Dutt movies, Satyajit Ray movies, Raj Kapoor movies - one every night! I watched every single one...exams would come again!!!

10) I am a crime buff..not a criminal...I love crime in books and movies...investigative thrillers...not movies full of violence...Recently, I discovered a treasure house of onscreen mystery stories (Poirot and Holmes) on the net...and I cannot explain how thrilled I am! May God bless the guy/girl who uploaded those!!!

11) Nancy's post reminded me. I had an imaginary little sister too when I was small. Being an only child, I guess that was a wish coming true through imagination. Her name was Shalini and was modelled on Baby Shalini, the child artiste!

12) My husband and I were at school together..from class 5 to 12! :-)

13) I am extremely bad at decision making - especially personal ones. I conventiently blame it on my sunsign and even proudly tell myself it is because I have the ability to see all sides of things!!!

14) I once danced on the streets of Coimbatore! For a classmate's sister's wedding. The music was a band playing Rajinikanth know...naan autokkaran, vandenda palkaaran and the like... :D It was atrocious and fun!!! Colours was with me too...remember how we hid to avoid having to follow the bridegroom's car around the city dancing and still ended up dancing on the road just outside the wedding hall????

15) I am the happiest in the company of family or friends - laughing, making wise cracks and pulling legs...even though more often than not I am on the receiving end!

16) I adore old Hindi songs...1950's and 1960's are my favourites...Beyond 1980, I hardly listen. But the new ones are I am back to listening now....I go crazy about the lyrics in the songs...and love romantic, soulful, sad melodies...esp of Mukesh! I have surprised many of my North Indian friends with my knowledge of old Hindi songs and movies!

17) I am not good at housekeeping and household chores..I think I am tolerated only because of my charm...which again according to Ms. Goodman is not to my credit..but due to my sun sign! sigh!

18) I have a beautiful mother who is supposed to look like the actress K R Vijaya and a granny who is so fair that she is almost white. So I always considered myself dark and ordinary looking. So I still find it difficult to believe anyone who pays me a compliment on my looks.

19) I had long, thick, wavy, black locks of hair when I was younger. It's almost all gone now!!! :((((

20) I smile/laugh easily. Most of the time, I have a toothy grin. I have a set of white, evenly placed teeth but they are a little to the front due to thumbsucking while I was a baby! I shall never forgive our dentist who told my mother I do not need braces unless she was planning to make me a film actress. Well..I solve the problem by totally avoiding profile photographs...hee hee...

21)We were a gang of 10 at college and all of us loved music. There were some extraordinarily talented singers in the group. We spent a lot of time visiting temples in and around Trichy, talking, laughing,singing songs and eating prasadam. This would sound extremely tame to the the clubbing, dancing, pub going generation...but we had some great times.

22) Talking of clubs and pubs...I haven't been to one. And isn't that so bad! There were some DJ programmes at office while working in India and I liked it. I love fast music and dancing. So I think I'll like it. But I don't like cigarette smoke, crowds and loud I don't know! Should try it out some day!

23) I have always had many many friends. My mother used to say every new place I went, I would add friends and there would be no subtraction. I am still in touch with some people with whom I studied only from class 1 to class 4.

24) I can lift my eyebrows one at a time. I developed that skill by regularly practising in front of the mirror while I was small.

25)I love babies and small kids. Every morning, when I go to my daughter's daycare (which is in fact a nursery school), I come out smiling at the sight of the cute,little,two-and-half-year-olds in tiny school uniforms, some smiling, some talking, some in tears. If I lose my job due to too much blogging during office hours or the recession, maybe I'll do babysitting!

I don't know 25 people to tag! So I tag anyone who reads this and wants to try their hand at it!!!

Alive and Dancing....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It has been six months now since I resumed my learning of bharatanatyam.

I had joined on the spur of the moment. After enrolling my seven year old daughter for the classes, I was in class watching one day, when I told the teacher that having learnt bharatanatyam for several years, it is a little difficult for me to just sit and watch. And she very kindly asked me to go ahead and dance.

I have been enjoying the experience. But it is also a funny situation.

The teacher is almost my age. In fact, she could be a year or two younger…I didn’t try to find out! So I avoid doing the usual falling at feet stuff…

The oldest kid in the most senior batch would be 17. That is exactly half my age! Unlike in India, there are no students older than that since all the kids leave Dubai after the 12th grade, for higher studies, in India or abroad.

Since I can go for classes only on weekends, I sometimes have classes with the seniors and sometimes with the juniors who would be 10-12 year olds.

Since the little ones are also there and they are learning the basic steps (or adavus), we seniors also join them sometimes…some kind of warming up, refresher and stamina building. This means I get to dance with my daughter! Isn’t that just wonderful!

Well…I thoroughly enjoy learning with the kids..not sure if they enjoy having an ‘aunty’ in their midst!

I have fun observing them…especially in the practice room inside where we go and wait or practice when someone else is dancing.

The tiny ones sincerely practice till the class is over and then they promptly start playing with the teacher’s six year old son and all his toys.

The juniors generally make a lot of a lot. They are also very competitive. Each one wants to do better than the other. They are also prompt in pointing out the mistakes of the others. And they perform best when the teacher gives them a ‘test’ with marks.

One of these girls asked me if my daughter was my sister. I was quite thrilled but I think it was less because I look young and more because she couldn’t believe that mothers would dance! When I said she was not my sister but my daughter, she looked shocked and asked me..’Does that mean I can call you aunty?’. I told her that I believed that was the right thing! :-|

The seniors hardly ever practice …how can they when there are so many interesting things to talk about. You know like boys, school, boys, movies, boys, songs, boys… I have a feeling they might be the ones most troubled by my presence, poor things, because they would have to censor quite a lot of their talk with me around… they really don’t need to..but they don’t know that!! Every little chance they get, they start one of these ‘interesting’ topics..sometimes even during the class. The teacher and I usually share a smile and roll our eyes!

But I am really enjoying the whole experience. Nothing else could get me out of bed and in the class at 8 am every weekend!

Testing Times.....

Monday, February 9, 2009

I think I am going back in time.

Back to school, studies and exams. Only this time my daughter's.

Though my daughter has been going to school for 4-5 years now, I have not really spent too much time with her on studies and stuff. But now looks like all that is going to change...and she is only in Grade 2.

I don't want to be one of those mothers who treat a Grade 2 exam as an IAS exam and lose sleep on those 1 or 2 marks the poor kid loses in the exam.

I was happy that my daughter was studying in a school where there are no exams till Grade 5 and the assessment is supposed to be done continuously based on the child's performance and attention in class. I figured that by the time she has to start writing exams, she will be old enough to study on her own too....

Looks like I was mistaken....

The continuous assessment that these guys talk about are slightly different. It means that there are worksheets instead of question papers. Instead of the exam dates, you get subtle warning messages in the form of diary notes that say 'revise chapter so and so in English'. When you get a message that runs like this, it actually means that 'Hey...make your kid learn that stuff well in another 3-4 of these days, she has to do the worksheet'. This message is repeated every day. When it stops,you know that the worksheet has been done.

As far as my understanding goes, the continuous assessment system works in such a way that the entire learning happens in school. There is no extra coaching required at home. The children are given surprise tests in class and they perform based on how well they have been taught in class and how much attention they have been paying in class.

This is not going to work in a class of almost 40 children.

This is also not going to work if 80% of the mothers sit at home and teach their kids and even send them for tuitions and extra classes.

Once this happens, then the remaining 20% is also forced to do the that the grades their child gets is the one they really deserve in comparison with the rest of the class.

If this is the case, then I'd prefer the exam system itself. At least you get the exam time table in advance and the child just needs to prepare for the exam.

Now the system is all mixed they say revise and give a huge list of stuff...without any dates...which means you have to make the kid ready with the whole stuff all together and then wait for the surprise tests!!!!

It's not easy, especially for a working mother...or a travelling one, to spend so much time every day.Either they should be able to totally avoid teaching the kid at home or they should be at least able to plan their that too much to expect...especially when you spend so much money on education these days.

In fact, the revise warning notes are actually meant to help the working mothers to plan their time and I will not deny that they do help. But what I say is that the whole purpose of the assessment system is lost when things happen this way.

That said, there are schools where they get it right as well. My mother is a teacher and she tells me that in her school, they do the assessment system the right way. They insist that parents do not teach the children at home and they do not even send the books home with the children. The entire learning is done in the class and the assessments are purely based on their performance in class and the surprise worksheets that test application of knowledge than the lesson itself.

The Event...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

This is a short post to place on record how the event went.

I couldn't go and I know I missed something great. My mother went as a special guest. She went with her best friend and a few close relatives and friends - she needed lot of moral support, I am sure. She was asked to light the inaugural lamp. The chief guest and the speaker spoke kind words about my father as they both knew him well. It was very well attended and there were several people who told my mother that they made it a point to attend the speech mainly because it was in the memory of my father. There were many people who came and told my mother that my father's lectures and talks used to be mesmerizing and that they were huge fans of his. The event was covered by local media.

Needless to say, my mother was overwhelmed by the whole experience. She said she had a tough time keeping her emotions in control.

We have not done the usual practice of enlarging his photograph and keeping it in the living room with a garland around it. Both my mother and I could not somehow bear the thought of doing that. Even for my wedding, there was a talk of having my father's photograph enlarged and displayed so that I could take his blessings. Luckily, my mother, who knew my thoughts on the matter, refused. I am glad, because weddings are emotional enough without having you reminded of the biggest loss in your life.

My mother said that her conviction that we did the right thing by not having the photograph enlarged just became stronger after the event. The organizers had displayed life size photographs of my father on either side of the stage. My mother said she felt like he would just walk down the steps. After several years, she came home that night expecting him to be there and wanting to talk to him about the event. Needless to say, she could not go to sleep without medication that night.

I wonder...does time really heal?

My Inspiration for the New Year...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

There are some days which start in a very ordinary way and then become very special because of something that happens which touches you, moves you, inspires you and motivates you.

Today was one of those days.

It started like any other day. I went to my office as usual and checked my office mail. Then I opened my gmail account to check my mails. I found a mail from an id I did not recognize and a subject which made me curious.

I opened it and I found a note from the Chairman of IIChE (Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers). It was an invite for the inaugural lecture of a series of annual lectures the IIChE is going to conduct starting this year. The first lecture is on ‘Chandrayaan I and team building’ and will be given by the Director, SHAR, ISRO on the 14th of Jan in Cochin.

This email has come to me because the lecture series is established in the memory of my father, almost 15 years after his demise.

View the Invite!

I am a very proud daughter today.

It is an honour to know that my father is remembered even after so many years. It feels wonderful to know that in the short time that he had, with the limited audience that he had, he still made a difference.

Today was the first working day of the New Year and I could not ask for anything more inspirational or motivating than this. It made me want to stop living life one day to another. It made me want to learn more, share knowledge and contribute in what little way I can to the world. Our parents worked hard to make the world a better place for us to live. Shouldn’t we do the same for our children?

As a daughter, I felt overwhelmed and emotional.

My father was always the most special person in my life and now I missed him again. He passed away when I was only 19. Being an only child, he was my friend with whom I used to watch TV and movies, listen to music and play games. He was the friend to whom I used to tell all the pranks the boys played in class (which he used to promptly repeat to them when they came home!!!).

But I have always felt deprived because I did not know him after I became an adult, a family woman, a professional. When I see how people remember him professionally, I want to know him better and learn from him. I want to discuss his work and my work with him. I want to know his philosophy on life, family, relationships, religion.

But then again, I think. Maybe it is wonderful this way too. I shall not have to remember him as an ordinary person. I shall not have to remember him as an old man who forgets things. I shall always be able to remember him as a brilliant person who could talk about anything under the sun, who scored a 100 in every mathematics paper from class I to Engg final year, who could answer all my questions, my idol on the pedestal.

But….I miss him so much!

Some Wandering Thoughts.... - Design by: Searchopedia convertido para o Blogger por TNB