Don't dream, when you can't make it real. They're only fictions anyway - Moddi, A Sense of Grey

Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance, in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance, when you're perfectly free - Rumi

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Feb 26, 2012

One-Fourth Learning, Three-Fourths Theatre

Twenty three years of my life have been spent utterly directionless. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and to be honest, I sometimes still have no clue. I wanted to be an architect, but I sucked at geometry; I thought hey, lets give law a go, but that got really boring really fast (also that phase was pretty much Nancy Drew inspired); I wondered about archaeology and although I like the dust & dirt, I don't like regular baths. When I finally had to choose subjects for my O'levels, I leaned towards commerce courses. And then I did my Bachelors in marketing. It was the only field of study that didn't make me want to blow my brains out (yes, I know how that sounds you perverted lot). 

I interned at Marriott thinking I'd enter hotel management and those two months made me realize that I was just not made to function in this cut throat corporate world. 

My parents were pretty frustrated with me, but they never pushed me to make any decisions and that is something I really appreciate about them. They let me make my own choices and learn from my own failings. 

Until finally, my mom suggested that I might as well teach at the school till I could figure out what to do next. 
And agreeing to that, ladies and gentlemen, was the wisest decision I have ever made to date. Yes, my initial reasons for joining were simply the two months of paid holidays and the 7 - 2 pm work hours. Then, I fell in love with it. Other than the obvious self-satisfying and cliched feeling that I'm doing some good in this world, there are certain things that just make this job so much more awesome. And I shall use pictures to prove it!

All women should do this job

The picture above is just one of the many similar cards I get everyday. I mean come on! Who wouldn't love such honest and simple flattery? A card telling you how amazing and pretty you are? Quite a win-win situation here, I'd say.

One student's thoughts: Ma'am, I really don't think that's a horse

Then, you get to a)use chalk on a board, just like you used to imagine doing when you were a kid playing teacher b) You get to make ridiculous drawings like the one above and call them something else and no one can argue with you because, well, you're the teacher. 
It also makes my kids laugh. Which is a pretty good feeling :) We connect on a more personal level when I do silly things like this. They know I am human and I can make mistakes as well. They feel more comfortable in the class and are okay with failing and trying again. I mean, if their teacher doesn't even know what a horse is, then them knowing how a lever works looks good from where they're standing. 

"When I get me moped out on the road I'm gonna ride ride ride" quoth Humpty Dumpty
First of all, before you all start attacking me regarding my lack of knowledge about vehicles, let me assure you, I know that is not a moped. I just like the song. And yes, that is a giant blue M&M riding a motorcycle with Humpty Dumpty right in its path. And yes, that Humpty Dumpty looks like badly molested Joker with a very bad case of Jaundice. Waking up early in the morning and coming to school to projects like these...absolutely worth it. And here is a Humpty Dumpty that looks like it escaped from the set of the Blair Witch Project and one that looks like an offspring of the Wright Brothers.

I don't believe in witches and airy-fairy stuff like that

Now I never accept gifts from my students. That is probably the one principle I put my foot down on. But this one was sent to the principal's office and it came from a student of mine who moved to America the year before. Now this little one has got it right, the way to a woman's heart is through all things chocolate. I miss the kid so much :( This is perhaps, the best Valentine's day present I have ever received. 

Why, yes! I did finish them all in one sitting.
And it came with a note on top. A whole year, but I still couldn't get him to spell it the British way. 

Chaddo. England is over-rated anyway.
And my crowning glory. I send out these secret little notes with some encouraging quote or thought for one student each day. I hide them in their daily diaries or their homework journals or their lunch boxes. The condition is that only they can see it; no other student is allowed to read what is written. They love this part of the day. Anyway, a parent read one of the notes I had sent out to her son and she sent me this letter of appreciation. This letter isn't some career boosting appraisal, it won't earn me a bonus or a promotion or a pay raise. But this letter is a piece of paper which validates that my almost 23 years of aimlessness weren't entirely pointless. That I'm doing right by my students, that I am good at what I do and an assurance that I have finally found the path I had been searching for so long.

Also, it shows that I am awesome. 

Feb 15, 2012

Bill Joo Be My Ballentine?

Let me just begin by saying that I'm extremely lucky in cards.
Love for me,however, is a gamble worse than betting my entire pot in a poker game with a 2 as my highest card. 
Royally flushed by cupid himself
My several attempts at trying to find the "one" leave my love life a very colourful saga of miserable dates, dysfunctional relationships, late night phone calls to best friends to cry and thousands spent on junk food to feel good in a way no man could ever make me feel.
Okay I'm exaggerating. I've actually dated a couple of really amazing men; it's just that the idiots I've met actually managed to very successfully block out every good thing about my experiences with men. 
However, since it is Valentine's Day, I have decided I shall try to remember and be thankful for the happier memories associated with dating. 
What to kill and eat today?

I grew up with two brothers and five other boy cousins. Naturally, I was a disaster as a girl. If anyone ever wanted to look for me, their best bet would either be in the middle of a cricket match out on the streets or somewhere with a lot of mud and insects.

What boys? I am a boy! 

It was obvious, therefore, that I grew up oblivious to the whole boy-girl attraction drama. I entered my teens wearing an over-sized shirt, baggy jeans and a baseball cap while other girls around me grew up all pink and glittery, giggling all the time as they traded Sweet Valley's.

Warts on the butt of literature
It wasn't until I started ninth grade that I finally woke up to all the fuss around me. I don't know if I should be giving this kind of information out on a public forum, but inspired by the Unicorn Club in the Sweet Valley books, my friends decided to form their own version of it. From a cricket playing, boy wrestling, insect eating goon, I became a part of the...Sweet Angels. *Throws up* We had a secret password and all that jazz.

And in tenth grade, I finally met the first man of my dreams. Actually, he met me somewhere and asked a mutual friend to set us up. 
This is how the conversation went
H: A friend of mine likes you.
A: So?
H: So he wants to take you out.
A: What does that mean?
H: Like a date
A: I don't get it.
H: UFF! He'll call you. Just meet him.

Trust me, I used to really be this innocent. 

This is Bubbles. No. Really!
So anyway, this guy (I shall call him Bubbles) turned out to be really awesome and I had some really good times with him. He was suave and charming and really funny. Also, extremely cute. And he used to apply this cologne that would go straight to my head, leaving me woozy and intoxicated. 
So anyway we "dated" for a couple of months; now dating in those days meant going out with a whole group of your friends. And honestly, it was pretty convenient. It took the pressure off and you could really just relax and be yourself. 
The best memory I have of this relationship, however, is Valentine's Day. And I don't really mean in a romantic way.No, not at all. I mean it in the twisted, crazy world of A. way.
Since it was Valentine's Day, there was absolutely no way that I would be going out. My mom would assume I was meeting a boy,flip and ask a million questions and it just wasn't worth the hassle. 
However, Bubbles insisted that I meet him, if only to take my presents. Now how could I say no after that. I mean, he was being so sweet!
So he came over and I sat in his car and then ensued my finest moment as a novice in the world of dating
Bubbles: Happy Valentine's Day
Me: Yea, you too. 
Bubbles: Here are your presents (Hands me a gigantic bag)
Turns out it was a massive bag full of chocolates (I take a few moments here to wonder why we ever broke up.)
Me: Aww. Thanks :) Okay I have to go. Before mom notices I'm out.
Bubbles: Wait! There's more!
Me: *eyes sparkle* You didn't have to do this!
Bubbles: It's nothing. (Hands me a wrapped bag)
Inside were red silk pajamas. Please. Agree with me over here that that is really weird. 
Now this is where the idiot in me takes over. 
Me: Er! What the hell? Why are you giving me silk pajamas?
Bubbles: It's just a present! 
Bubbles: Trust me! This is not even close to lingerie! 
Me: Bubbles, it's red and it's silk. It's lingerie! Why would you give me lingerie? You're never going to see me in these!
Bubbles: That is NOT why I gave them to you! I thought you'd look cute in them! Stop being crazy. Acha, relax. I have something else also. Forget these.
By this time, I have become extremely suspicious of this 17 year old lingerie giving boy. 
And then he calmly me hands me one of those grape juice bottles that look like wine bottles. 
Me: OH MY GOD! SHARAB! (alcohol!) I KNEW IT! perv! I'm only 16! You want to get me drunk so I put on these red, silk pajamas and you can have your way with me! 
Bubbles: *Sighs and rolls his eyes* It is just grape juice you moron.
By this point Bubbles is just frustrated so he grabs the bottle and waves the label in my face.
Yes. It did say grape juice.
Me: How do I know you haven't secretly put wine in there? 
Bubbles: Just go home moron. I'll call you at night.

Now, one would think that after this attack on him, he probably never called me back. Well, you're wrong. He did. He was just used to my absurdity and random bursts of insanity. 

But I tell you, those silk pajamas, not so innocent. Not so innocent at all!

Clipart: Courtesy Ron Leishman

Feb 7, 2012

Please Remain Calm

My childhood in a word? Wild. 
I was this crazy, out of control, hyper kid; the kind you see at weddings doing cartwheels on the stage while the bride cries,or the ones who push old aunties so they fall on the ground and then laugh hysterically, or go around the neighbourhood sticking tape on the doorbells when the electricity went out so they would all go off together when it came back. 
This kid would have been my Sensei
That, combined with my mother's short temper and even shorter threshold for panic resulted in an extremely chaotic household. Every time something went wrong or some sort of accident happened, my mother's reaction followed this pattern; confusion, anger and then all out hysteria. Sometimes, it was funny to watch (read: when it was directed at other people). Most of the times though, it was just really frustrating. I mean, if someone got hurt, instead of extending some sympathy, she'd just lash out at them. A panic room would have an entirely different purpose in our house.
Don't do drugs, snort me instead. 

When I was around 8 years old, I was sitting with my family watching T.V and was getting extremely bored. So of course, I did what any eight year old would do to entertain themselves; I started shoving tiny buttons up my nose and then blowing them out.
After a few successful attempts, I decided to take a risk and pushed one too far up and as luck would have it, it got stuck. 
Now remember, I was just eight at the time and the fear of my mother's wrath was so deeply ingrained in every fibre of my tiny being that my first thought was "Ami will kill me if I lose this button". 
So I desperately tried to blow the button out, but it was just lodged there like a fat kids hand is lodged inside a packet of potato crisps. 
After a few moments of panic, I figured, oh what the hell! It's stuck now and nothing can be done about it. So I went up to my mom and asked for some dinner. It was around 7 pm and at our house, dinner time is usually at 9. But in my head, I didn't have a lot of time before the button somehow managed to kill me. Yes readers, I thought I was about to die. Now when you're a child with no real sins to your name, death isn't so scary. I was pretty calm about it; the only thought in my mind was that I didn't want to die hungry. 
So I asked mom for dinner and she said it was too early and I'd have to wait. Now, I had to weigh out my options here. Tell my mother the truth and have Athena kill me before the button did or risk it for some food. Of course, food won. So I walked over to where my mother was working on some hideous dress for me on the sewing machine and said "Ami, there's a button stuck in my nose"
At first my mother didn't take me seriously; when she saw my expression, however, it was a completely different story. She used a torch to look up my nose. And then, it was like letting slip the dogs of war. Between random screams at my father to save me, my mother kept pinching me for being so stupid. She ran out to get my father from their room, ran back and shook me really hard so in the process, the torch she was carrying smacked against my forehead. And a-midst all this chaos, my dad walked in calmly, while my mother let out high pitched howls and shrieks to come to the rescue of her only daughter, picked me up and carried me to the doctor across the street and it took him all of 3 seconds to pull it out; I would live to see another day!
Although at home, my mother's fuming face made me wish I had breathed the button all the way in and gotten a hemorrhage or something.
And the sweet irony of it all is I got sent to bed without any dinner.