Saturday, January 23, 2010


So I have been off the blog radar for a while again!  Sometimes I feel I have nothing to say so better to keep quiet!  Other times, life is slow and uneventful, and finally, sometimes I want to say stuff out loud that I know damn well will land me right in it - so again, I write, save draft and walk away.  Sometimes I can come back to the posts later and edit out the acrimony and post!  Other times - delete is the key!!

Well - since last posting, we have been to Dubai a few times, (look for Dad in Dubai - separate post coming soon!) and spent Christmas and New Year in London.  Dubai has become a favourite haunting ground for several reasons - Emirates is a pretty fantastic airline.  They treat the kids well, they treat My Darling like royalty and I found out on the last flight that even The Ray is on their preferred passengers list ie - treat her damn well! I like it!  Another reason is the second home we have there and this makes hotels almost redundant.  the highlight for me is the washing machine and the view!  Oh and did I mention the Dubai Mall is across the driveway - literally...15 steps away!!  Waitrose, Carrefour, Boots, Starbucks and umpteen other stores are conveniently either in the mall or a bus ride away.  The air smells clean.  The public toilets are immaculate and people do not pee and poo everywhere you look.  I love a place that has toilets in the airport and the shopping centres that do not make you retch and that The Ray can sit on the seat without fear!  Ugh!

Christmas in London was spectacular.  The Ray is convinced that her daddy is the one who ordered the snowfalls just for her.  Nikh simply stared at the big fat flakes drifting past the window and did not quite believe his eyes until I openedthe window (4th floor!), shoved my hand out there, grabbed some flakes and melted them on his face!!  Whoops of  glee turned to sheer joy as he scraped off our neighbours cars each morning.  They love him now!  They offered to pay, but I didn't let them much to his disgust and My Darling's!  The compacted ice under the snow was not so much fun, neither was driving in the slushy ice up a hill.  The Ray pointed out from the back seat that Mummy was using bad words, lots and lots and lots of bad words!  OOOPS!!

It was My Darling's 40th a few days before Christmas, so we had a small mulled wine and canapes evening at the Riverside.  His mint choc chip tennis court ice-cream cake with '40-LOVE, Biren' written on the side was a big hit!  Photo on friday!  We still owe our chennai friends a birthday bash!  The watch he bought for himself (from us) made him a Happy Hubby!!  The e-reader from his in-laws has been used non-stop by three out of the four Wasanis!

Santa visited - we all made it onto the nice list - some by the skins of our teeth due to adolescent hormones I think!  Hama beads were the big hit with The Ray, Nikh got a watch too - one where there is a code you decipher to tell the time - way cool!!  My Darling got alcohol and a mulled wine kit and I got a couple of books and a few odds and ends!

We came back to Chennai and The Ray is now at AISC with her big brother and she is settled and happy.  She absolutely loves her new teacher and her teacher adores her - win-win!!

Our school PTA committee is a little thin on the ground at the moment so I am helping them organise the Charity Fair on the 30th.  I have also been drafted to help organise the PTA Ball on the 17th April as a last hurrah!  Mostly for my contacts though.  Glad to be of help!

Finally -I am helping the US CLO organise an Easter event with the Madras Mums - on the 13th March.  This is also well under way and going smooth as silk!!

So now we are all up to date - let's hope I post a little more regularly to keep things moving!!

By the way - wishing you and yours a happy new year and a healthy one at that!

Zakir Rocks Chennai!

This is what makes living in Chennai so utterly worth it!

This evening, we went to see Zakir Hussain(playing the tabla) and Shivakumar Sharma (playing the santoor) at the Music Academy.

A little background - Chennai is full of cultural, musical, art and drama festivals between November and the end of January - I suspect because the weather is so fantastic (some of us even resort to thermal vests!).   Tickets are relatively easy to get, in fact you can buy season tickets.  Except for this show - tickets went on sale at a couple of local bookshop chains, and within a very short space of time - sold out!

I know how much My Darling loves this kind of music, so I did something I try hard not to do - I called round trying to call in favours!  But to no avail - no-one could help, nobody had any tickets and no-one would let me have their's out of the goodness of their hearts (understandably)!  Add to the confusion one very good friend who knows I can usually come up with the goods, calling and asking for FOUR tickets, if I can get them for her! 

I broke the sad news to her and to My Darling that it was a no go.  No tickets anywhere!

Fancy my shock and delight when My Darling called me this morning to say we were going to the concert... in VIP seats!  The bank called and invited him.  They offered 2 seats, he tried and got 4! 

The two men are so incredible at what they do - the first Raga lasted an hour and 35 minutes, and no one noticed!  I looked at my watch and realised Zakir Hussain had been playing the tabla for an hour straight and Shivakumar Sharma had been playing the santoor for and hour and a half without stopping.  So unbelievable!

Zakir Hussain (an old fave!) has 35 fingers - at least that is how it looks from the audience.  His fingers fly so fast across the surface of the tabla that the sounds become a melody.  The depth of the bass notes become part of your heartbeat and the whole experience makes you hold your breath and only let it go when he stops!

Shivakumar Sharma is a guy with a shocking white 'fro!  He wore a fuschia kurta tonight with glod embroidery - difficult to take a guy seriously looking like that!  But when he began to play - the kids, My Darling and I were completely mesmerised.  He plays the instrument with a couple of metallic sticks.  The instrument looks like a cross between a harpsichord, a harmonium, a harp and thumb piano!  but the sounds that emerge from this thing sounded like a full orchestra in his two very capable hands.  Simply stunning!

This is one of those nights that I will remember long after we leave Chennai!  This is what I will miss - these kinds of experiences... oh and the VIP treatment!!

Committee Chaos!

I have been meaning to write this post for some time, but because of the committee chaos in my life, time got away from me.

I realised a while ago that I am not capable of saying 'no' without sounding aggressive, petulant and angry.  It is not a skill I have learnt and I would love someone to teach me the way and the words to be able to say this tiny little word which holds so much power without offending and alienating everyone!

I have found since I came to Chennai that people look at me as someone with 'nothing better to do'.  I am a teacher.  I got an honours degree in Education and English, I got my teaching certificate and I taught ... quite well, judging by the fact my colleagues, students and some of their parents are still in touch with me.  I have always been slightly over enthusiatic about anything I get involved in - just ask my kids!  I jump in with both feet and am very quickly up to my ears in whatever project I am on.

This does not mean I flounder half way - although that has been known!  I do try and see things through to the end.  I try to have a goal or product in mind and get things done.  Like the Chennai Chapter, like the New Parent Book, like the various t-shirt projects and like all the Double Decker paraphernalia.  I do work hard. 

That is not to say that I am the only one.  There are many many people working far harder than I and far more effectively.  These people are on committees.  This brings me to my thought for today.  I find my mental and physical being is in total chaos.  Committee Chaos.

Since coming to Chennai I have worked in various capacities on the BCA, the BBSC (committee member and secretary, OWC (chair of Entertainments, Childrens', Book Club, Tiffin, Playgroup, Bookstall, Halloween events, Santa Brunch, Welcome Back lunch etc etc etc), PTA (room parent, committee member, new parent coordinator, elementary coordinator, President, coordinator of many events, general helper!), Double Deckers, Logistics committee, Multicultural Comm, Chennai Chapter, Madras Kids, and many other bits and pieces that I don't even remember now!  I have proof read hundred of different documents, for AISC, GA, SPS etc.,and finally I am now Vice President of the IWA just to add one more straw to this particular camel's back.

I suddenly found that I did not have enough time or energy to even get up in the morning.  I was tired when I woke up and tired all through the day.  My friends being as supportive as they wonderfully are  - put up with my constant mantra of "Gosh, I feel tired".  how much patience and tolerance they must have!  My Darling, who has no trouble saying the 'N' word was less tolerant and far more impatient with the whole scenario! 

As a result, for the first time, I dropped out of a committee.  I stepped down from the Logistics Committee and suddenly felt a bit better.  yesterday, I finally realised how draining some people are.  One friend categorises the people in her life as 'life enhancers'  and I would say the opposite are 'drainers'.  The former help you, lift your spirits and your energy levels, perk up your day, it is not a burden to call them or take their call, to spend time together is not a mutual depression fest. 

The drainers on the other hand are doing just what it says on the box.  they suck out your soul.  They wither away what little positive flow you have and you are left wan and dry.  I have made a concsious decision to stay away from these sorts of people.  It is hard to keep your distance - I think they spot the glow of good health or good energy from a distance and come to seek you out!!  Almost like vampires sense fresh blood in the dead of night! (overly dramatic, I know - but I couldn't help myself!)

well, this all sounds very dramatic - but this is how I feel.

Since starting this post I have resigned from The Overseas Womens Club and stopped running the Tiffin Club (my baby!).  It was a wrench as I have been a part of this organisation since my second or third day in Chennai.  But - I am not here to be used or abused.  I don't know if it is acultural or moral or ethical difference, but some people think they can say or do anything just because they are on a committee somewhere - well let me put that daft notion straight - they can't.  I have to say that I feel lighter and less wound up - and I guess between now and my final departure from Chennai - I will drop a lot more burdens off my shoulders and let someone else take up the slack.