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 things..you 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 thin...in school, I was not considered thin..in 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 then...now 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 buff...love 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 songs...you 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 good...so 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 noise...so 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 noise...talk 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 days...one 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 same...so 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 up..so 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 time...is 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?

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