Saturday, 24 December 2011

But they *do* say the darndest things!

At my old job, we conducted sessions where we'd go to a few schools, show the classes a few films and then talk to the kids. I still remember the first session I took at Navy Children School in Colaba. There I was, a clueless just-out-of-college-girl with an intense fear of public speaking (even when most of the public was one-third my height) paired with another almost equally clueless girl who wasn't very sure she even liked children.

But I've come a long way since then. Okay six months. Shut up. But I have learned a few things.

Things the sessions taught me: 

1) During the first couple of sessions you conduct when you are completely at sea about what to expect with a partner who's sharing your boat, a kid will fall and scrape his knee, a girl will throw up and a boy will poop his pants.

2) Once Santa Claus interrupts your class, the kids go wild. Unless the games mistress has a whistle.

3) If you can whistle using two fingers, you're officially cool. If you can't whistle, tell them you love dancing but never in public. Apparently that makes  you cool too.

4) Children cannot walk into a room that has a projector facing a screen without breaking out into a shadow puppet show.

5) A ninth grade boy will call you Aunty just to mess with your head.

6) Never shake a kid's hand or sign his notebook howmuchever he begs and pleads. His friends will notice and you will be mobbed and end up being stuck in the room for twenty minutes.

7) If you ask first graders why people need the sun, one boy will excitedly raise his hand to answer, jump up and down yelling "Me! Me!" and when picked on will go on to tell everybody how his grandfather died in an accident where a car set his car on fire.

8) When an Australian asks third graders to guess where she's from based on her accent and a boy very sincerely and very innocently asks "Are you lesbian?", it's impossible to stop laughing hysterically without thinking of dead puppies.

God, I'm going to miss those kids.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Title? What title?

So I just found this post from way back when (okay, August) which I meticulously wrote but then forgot to publish because I probably got distracted just as I was about to update. I have the attention span of a goldfish.

Struggling to open a BEST bus window counts as my daily dose of exercise okay? By the way, why does nobody offer to help? Do they not see how difficult it is? I did it all by myself today and sat there feeling all smug. For about five minutes after which it started to rain. But I had opened that window and dammit it would remain open! So what if the right side of my body was getting soaked? It was the drench of victory! Victory of man over machine. Okay woman over glass and steel or iron or aluminum or whatever that window was made of but still.

Is ignoring work to blog acceptable? What about reaching work late because you couldn't leave home without finishing your book?

Memories of my graduation ceremony make me wish I had a Pensieve. Ultra sleepiness makes me want to have a water balloon fight. Does sleepblogging count as drunkblogging? It should. I get pretty sleepdrunk.

I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 and it was really terrible. But I still sobbed through most of it anyway.

Wearing a convocation robe made me feel like someone straight out of Hogwarts. I strutted across college like Snape and very seriously considered stealing my robe.

My mom knows someone who refuses to carry an umbrella even when it's pouring. He thinks that if cows and dogs and chickens don't need umbrellas to survive the monsoons, neither does he. Why do I not know such interesting people? Mom gets to sit at work and smile at John Abraham while I get to stay back late at work and miss ogling Abhay Deol and Farhan Akhtar.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The City Of Dreams?

Today, The Times of India had this splashed across the second page.

Excuse Me, Where's My Mumbai?
This city means many things to many people.
City of dreams, financial nerve centre, city that never sleeps, entertainment capital cradle of cricket and much more.
All apt descriptions for sure. But not enough to hide the one question that everyone wants answered but few dare ask.
What about us?
We, the citizens, who live, work, sweat and struggle to give the city its many colourful descriptions? We, with our desperate instinct for survival that's conveniently airbrushed as the "spirit" of the city.
What about a Mumbai where I can simply walk down a street without stepping into something I shouldn't. Or take a long deep breath without being petrified about waking up sick the next morning. Where I can race my kid to the nearest tree. Or commute to work without spending half my working life in traffic. And the other half paying through my nose for a roof above my head.
The truth about Mumbai is also its greatest lie. It's a city that can give us all that we work for but is hard pressed to give us all that we live for.
So there's a Mumbai for business and a Mumbai for careers. There's a Mumbai for entertainment and a Mumbai for investment. There's even a Mumbai for stray dogs and a Mumbai for party animals.
But is there really a Mumbai for me?

I thought it was just me. Just me who's slowly becoming disenchanted by this city I once loved. I used to think this city, my city, was perfect. Now I'm becoming nostalgic for a life I've never lived; for trees instead of concrete, for a home instead of a house, for walks instead of runs, for the quality of life instead of the mundanity of existence.

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
-Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The fact that I'm hungry has nothing to do with this post.

I'm a hungry, hungry hippo.

I think travelling by first class for two months spoiled me. I was mildly terrified of the ladies compartment today. Did you know that if you have to get down at Kandivali station, you have to shovepushscratch your way to the door two stations in advance? And then hordes of women invade your personal space and  touch you inappropriately? How do people live like this?!

There was a lady clutching the doorway who almost fell off and had to be pulled in by three women. But does she heave a dramatic sigh of relief at her narrow escape and scramble inside the train like a normal person? No, she decides that carrying on hanging from the doorway and laughing like a banshee is a better way to celebrate.

I thought the universe was trying to make me feel better by getting me a rickshaw the moment I stepped out of the station. Then my rickshaw ride turned out to be a religious experience. I don't know what kind of murder-suicide pact my driver had in his head but the only thing I had in mine was "Please don't let me die, please don't let me die, ple - OH MY GOD THAT TRUCK ALMOST CRUSHED MY KNEE - please don't let me die." I swear my hands were shaking as I handed him his fare.

And to top it off, as I was clutching the rod in sheer terror and seriously considering cutting my losses and just jumping out of the vehicle, a man old enough to be my father whistled at me. I officially give up on the suburbs.