Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Christmas is Coming!

I was reminded today of how quickly the year rolls by. Even though according to my google home page, it's 81 degrees in Bangalore, a mild 57 in New York, and a positively balmy 64 in Leeds (all the cultural capitals of the globe are listed on my page...) it's Christmas time on the L.L.Bean website! As I peel off another layer in the Bangalore humidity, I was reminded by email that 'holiday season' is just around the corner, and invited to do some shopping on their website. As yet, there is no branch in Bangalore, so I will have to be content with online shopping for my inlaws and friends in the States. Folk, look out, some pink shearling slippers may be winging their way to you - soon! For my part, please send more mosquito repellant, sunscreen, and J.Crew vests!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I was so happy when I came home last night - I found that our maid Satya had done 'Rangoli' on our threshold! No, it's not something I could fire her for, it actually traditional Indian floor art! The term rangoli is derived from words rang (colour) and aavalli ('coloured creepers' or 'row of colours'). It was traditionally done for special occasions, but now it's an expression of warm hospitality, so it's common to have a design on your doorstep. One important point is that the entire pattern must be an unbroken line, with no gaps to be left anywhere for evil spirits to enter, so it's not that easy to do! It also has a religious significance, enhancing the beauty of the surroundings and spreading joy and happiness all around. There are many different Rangoli designs, such as trees and flowers, geometric patterns, and animals. It's beautiful!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Happy Teachers' Day!

Today is Teachers' Day in India. Not that I am a qualified teacher, but I am doing my bit to help the English skills of some of the students at Oasis India. Three members of my immediate family are 'real' teachers - Tom's Mom, youngest sister Megan, and brother-in-law Jim - I wish them well and hats off to them. It is not an easy job! Here is a little background on the day in India, and why it is celebrated today. I do think though that the person writing this should have paid a little more attention in class as 'mold' is not something I think I want done to me or my children!

Teachers mold the lives that they influence. Lessons learned from teachers remain with their students throughout life. Teachers that break down barriers and reach into the souls of the students that they are responsible for do not get the recognition or gratitude they have earned. Many teachers are exhausted from their workload and responsibilities. They have their own families, financial and life stresses that challenge them along with everyone else. We should always respect our teachers. Teachers need encouragement and support from the community to feel that their devotion to students is appreciated.

In India 5th September is celebrated as Teachers' day. 5th September is the birthday of a great teacher Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. When Dr. Radhakrishnan became the president of India in 1962, some of his students and friends approached him and requested him to allow them to celebrate 5th September, his "birthday". In reply, Dr, Radhakrishnan said, "instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as Teachers' day". The request showed Dr.Radhakrishnan's love for the teaching profession. From then onwards, the day has been observed as Teachers' Day in India.

Bat Out Of Hell

No, this is not a reference to the classic Meatloaf song of the 80's (although it was a good, it wasn't quite as good as Meatloaf and Cher together doing Dead Ringer for Love .... Ah, Alan Preece, those were the days!) Anyway, I digress. Tom and I now own a 'bat out of hell.' This is the only way to describe this modern torture device that lets you systematically fry mosquitoes and other such nuisances like big fat black flies that seem to be taking over our new apartment (well, we had three in tonight... but I am the person that complained we had an infestation of roaches in NYC when we had two in the kitchen...) The bat resembles a child's tennis racket and our very sophisticated version, costing approx $8, has a torch in the handle as well as a button that sends a shock through the bat to literally 'fry' anything you decide to swat. After much practice, I have decided that it fries mosquitoes instantly, but fat flies take a little longer and play dead, stunned for a while, then fly off to die and be fried again elsewhere. It is pretty barbaric especially as the victims frazzle quite visibly on the bat and I could even smell burning after one of Tom's particularly violent outbursts with it. We will be bringing them to the UK and US as gifts, especially for the children, who would have hours of fun with them!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Back to Blogging

How many times in PR presentations have I quoted the statistic that the average life of a blog is one day? Well, at least my initial foray into the blogging arena lasted a little longer - one month, to be precise. Perhaps it's a testament to the wonderfully packed schedule that Tom and I enjoy here in India, or maybe it's a sign that I am spending way too much time in the car getting from A to B and drinking too much Sula Sparkling Wine to really put my time to good use? Either way, I am committing to try and maintain some semblance of regularity on the blog front so that at least I can remember what our time here was like. Since last blogging in April, just after Raj Kumar's sad demise, we have experienced many amazing things which I will write up in due course. But as an overview: together, Tom and I have spent many wonderful hours on (and off) horseback, honing our skills at the Embassy Riding School; I have taken up teaching (very poor) English to a group of young girls at a non-profit; Tom continues to grow and develop in his role at work; we had our first 'overseas' visitors when my Mum and Step-Dad came over for three weeks, during which time we took a trip to the Taj Mahal; we moved apartments, after spending hours supervising contractors, and then being 'forcibly ejected' by our caring landlord; we hired a wonderful new driver called Manoj who has made my life a joy, in turn, making Tom's a joy too!; we have celebrated many amazing Indian occasions, including Holi, the Ganesha Festival and my first Pooja; and of course, we have made some lifelong friends with whom we are lucky enough to share this crazy journey! p.s. I also celebrated a 'zero' birthday with a wonderful party and our first trip home to the UK and US! It's been a whirlwind four months but we are having a ball!