Posts Tagged ‘ arts after school ’


Today, in fact, this week, has been great; and it’s only Wednesday. The week began with my new arts fun week at one of our schools. This has been a small dream of mine for a while, and it’s nice to see that it’s come to fruition. This is only beginning too; but that’s not for here, nor for now. We can just say that the program is going very well. We brought drama, painting, kalari, photography, classical flute (Indian), and classical Indian singing, as well as other classes from the teachers at the school, to the kids of this school. Last week they finished their midterm assessments. Friday is the parent teacher conferences. This week, for two hours they are having fun with different art forms. The idea is to expose them to any and every alternative activity that they didn’t previously know. I’m happy. They walked up to me in the school to ask about their classes. They’re having fun. That’s the idea.
This morning I woke up in angst (yes I’ll be talking politics this paragraph, so if you don’t want to read it you can skip to the next paragraph). I woke up early in order to see what was going on with the elections. Last night, we had a mid week out night, and I bothered my friend frequently to see any Electoral College updates. I gave up and left it for this morning. I harassed friends via gchat and facebook. The results were close and by the time I had to leave for work it almost looked as if Romney was going to win. I wasn’t able to cast my absentee ballot because I never got it back in the mail here. The mail system isn’t that reliable and New York will go blue no matter what so I did not get to exercise my right to vote this time. I got a text from Manoj that said “Yay Obama” about a half an hour after I got to the school. I know two other Americans here. It was a really exciting moment. This moment was accentuated at the airport when I saw President Obama’s speech highlighted on the news. At the airport, Manoj and I were checking to see the whole speech and a man peeped over my shoulder at the computer and asked if Obama was winning. I said that he had already won and he stuck his hand out and said congratulations. He was genuinely very happy and was excited to shake my hand. Our eyes met once more in the airport and he smiled again.
Yes, I was at the airport. This is Diwali time, which means a little bit of vacation. This is a travel in India vacation. I’m spending 5 days in Auroville/Pondicherry with Manoj and then will head to Hyderabad to see the city as well as to visit some friends who moved there earlier this year. Pondicherry, in Tamil Nadu, was a French colony. It feels like Europe has invaded India. After finding a hotel, Manoj and I wandered the streets for a while, got some ice cream while over looking the ocean and then headed through some of the small, very European-looking lanes for some hot chocolate. We passed by the same small café for a second time and decided to go in. The small uncle with a very Indian mustache opens the door and asks us to come in, in French. It was very trippy to see two older uncles who were very Indian in nature, in India, speaking French. Even when they spoke Tamil it seemed as if it was with a French accent. I fell in love. We’ll return for breakfast tomorrow.
There’s a boardwalk. It’s clean and carless; people just sit on the benches chatting or walk around with friends and family. It’s peaceful. Tomorrow we’ll spend the morning here and then head to Auroville, which is more French. We’ll meet a friend of ours and be on vacation.
Today we went back to the same café where we got hot chocolate. The man was happy to see us and we ate a croissant and had coffee. He brought us extra toast. It was still really trippy to hear him speaking French. It’s easier to imagine that we’re in Europe and there are Indians who speak fluent French than here. I don’t know if that’s wrong to think. We found another café where we’ve plopped down with a class of Savigon Blanc and three yummy French appetizers and will work until we head off to Auroville.

2 years

            I wrote a long sentimental post about being here for two years, about things that I left and new things I’ve encountered. It became a little much for me; so instead, you get that I’m happy. I’ve changed for the better (I think and I hope). I miss home still but have made this my home as well. I don’t say back home anymore, but rather back in New York, or back home home (repeated twice for emphasis and yes, this is an Indianism). So, I conclude a short post with a happy 2-year India anniversary to me. I’ll finish up about Indore later. Next week brings Diwali vacation. I’m off to Pondicherry, more specifically Auroville, which is like a mini French colony that’s supposed to be peaceful and beautiful, and by the beach, and then I’ll head to Hyderabad to visit friends and get to see and experience a different India further south.

            I was also a little reluctant to write about Sandy. The two other Americans I know here, and I have been following as close as possible from here. It’s scary to think that something is happening in a place where another part of your life is, where your friends and family live, and you can’t get enough information or feel as a part of it as you want. It was strange waiting to hear from updates from people. I also have to say that my mom is a rock star because the day after she walked to work! If ever anyone says that I do too much and over exert myself, then I will kindly say that I’m my mother’s daughter. Everyone I know is safe and sound.

            One part that I cut from my sentimental post about being here for two years is about getting people to learn and know about the other part of the world, that we, as westerners, rarely hear, nor do we truly and genuinely care about; this is with the disclaimer that it’s far away and there’s not really time or the idea of how to conceptualize the “other” because it’s so far removed. So, part of the blog is to make this “other” more familiar and draw the two worlds a bit closer together. Not that a disaster of this size should ever, ever be wished upon anyone, but I do find it about time that the West experiences some of what’s been hitting on this side of the world for a while now. Maybe things like climate change will come more on the political agenda, maybe more people would empathize with the tsunamis and other environmental disasters that happen over here on a periodical basis a little more. Maybe people who don’t believe in climate change might just start to think about it. Again, I don’t wish it upon any place or person, but, maybe there’s an upside after all the water washes away.

            As for the rest of what’s going on here, besides looking forward to going on vacation, I finally saw a school that I believe is just great. It’s the first school that I’m completely impressed by, hopefully I’ll get to meet the founder through a contact of mine (she’s no longer there, but founded another school a little outside of Pune). It was pretty amazing. Some of our kids went there for an “exchange.” They played sports games one day and went to a math fair the next. It was really great and made me super happy. Other work related stuff includes the beginning of my arts in the school after school program. Next week we’re launching a mini exposure program during school hours. I’m excited. So in the spirit of how things have been going lately, I’m back to work.