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Showing posts from February, 2012

Din 181: This year means too many goodbyes.

I got up this morning to some unappetizing coffee and gave my sister a Skype sermon on doing what she loves and loving what she does. Then, I went outside with Dadi and photographed some flora. To see what I saw, click here.

I sent a few Gyaan Ghar administrative emails before the students started to arrive (they were dismissed early from school). Today's class had a lot of highlights, but the one that filled me with the most glee was  playing Certamen (in English) with the older students! Click here to read all about it.

After class (which went pretty late), I worked some more on the painting I started on Day 171, the blessed day when I met Sonal. I managed not to make as much of a mess today, and I think I'm almost done! I'll post a photograph tomorrow.

Thank you, God, for all you have given me, and good night, all.


P.S. Mama just made me a pinboard on -- it's so wonderfully random! Click here to check it out.

Always invading their personal space . . .

Leucanthemum vulgare

Tropaeolum majus

Osteospermum barberiae
Senecio hybrida

Citrus limon

Lathyrus odoratus and Ratnus Gillus

Din 180: I know where the time goes.

I yanked myself out of bed at 7:06am (Ludhiana time) to call Priya at the exact time of her birth -- 8:36pm (EST). After talking to her for two hours and wishing her a happy birthnight, I lay my weary head down to rest. At some points during these next few hours, I got a massage and played a GRE vocabulary game on (if only I had known what "quaff" means!).

I recovered from my daze and washed up in time for the arrival of Jaan Bhaiya, my soccer-playing, apple-cutting cousin.

In the afternoon, Jaan went out while I headed to Gyaan Ghar. I spent the academic period of class observing the teachers and making notes on feedback to give them at our meeting tomorrow. After class, I took the kids out and they taught me two more of their favorite games -- which I actually understood!!

Click here to read about our students' daily after-school routine in five succinct sentences and five verbose photographs.

After class, the three of us enjoyed a cup of tea and some me…

Just playing around . . .

Photographed by Ratna Gill at 60 New Lajpat Nagar.

I'm afraid of the dark.

I'm afraid of the dark words whispered by uncertain girls in middle school hallways.

I'm afraid of the dark shadows in minds where there should be bright open spaces.

I'm afraid of the dark cloud that comes over your face, where laughter has also been, usurping those rare and hauntingly tintinnabulous smiles.

I've started sleeping with the light on.

Din 179: How can words express the feel of sunlight in the morning?

Priya's birthday has treated me really well. I started the day with steam (to free my pores of the make-up from yesterday's photo shoot) and a warm shower. I then headed outside, where Dadi was tending to her prize-worthy sweet peas.

Next, I ambled into the park, where I spent the morning photographing the spectacular flora and talking to an old Uncle. He always buys a packet of cookies or a bag of fruit and brings it to the park, offering the snacks to anyone who stops and says "hello." We discussed his past and his family -- he wishes all families could be joint families because his children are educated and have moved away, leaving him alone. Talking to him made me think about how old people are just like children: Uncle was so pleased when I asked if I could take a photo of him, and called all his friends to jump in as well!

In a way, they reminded me of my Gyaan Ghar students, who always leap into the frame excited to be photographed. I guess some things never …

How can I like jewelry when plants exist?

<3 Best Birthday Blessings for Precious Princess Priya <3
Sooo, February 27th is my little (huge) sister's birthday. Aaaand I'm traveling in India while she's studying in America. (So basically, I'm a bad sister.)

I've prepared some surprises for her to open tomorrow (I am 10.5 hours ahead), and I really hope she likes them.

But I just wanted to take a second to let everyone know that PRIYA GILL IS TURNING 14!!!! (Click that hyperlink or the picture above for a special surprise.)

Din 178: Dancing it up till the sun goes down . . .

Today, my soul sister and I took photographs.
We primped and prepped.

Sometimes, we stood.

Other times, we kneeled.

Then, we sat.

We went among trees.

Our eyes opened and closed.

As the sun set, we collected our things.

 Afterward, we laughed and laughed.

Din 177: When was the last time you did something for the first time?

I started today with a call to my dear sister. Priya is working on an essay about To Kill A Mockingbird right now, and when she shared with me the thesis and structure she has in mind for the piece, I flipped out. Her idea is so brilliant that it brought back the old rush of writing English compositions, and then Priya was a bit taken a back by how excited I got. Shameless English geek over here!

After telling Nanaji and Ruby Chachu about her plan for her essay, I got to work on a project of my own. It's for my princess's birthday, so I won't describe it, but I will reveal and write about it shortly (February 27th). Over breakfast, I played's Word Dynamo game. Have I mentioned I like English?

For lunch, I went to the new and stunning Khanna residence. I got to see Nomita Auntie after quite a while, and also met the two newest additions to the family -- awesome Aakriti and adorable Avyaan!

This has been an incredibly eventful and fortunate year for both …

Why did I cut my hair?

Why did I cut my hair?My hair used to be my favorite thing about my appearance. There's the quick and dirty answer: "I thought short hair would be easier to manage." (It's not.) My long hair was always a crutch. A beautiful one, at that. One quick hair flip and I could avoid an awkward conversation or cover up a clingy sweater. Those lovely strands of protein provided me a comfort zone, a place where I could hide.

Why did I deactivate my Facebook?Facebook used to be my favorite way to express myself. Those precious surface-level conversations and passive aggressive inside jokes meant to be seen by everyone but the person to whom I sent them were my jam. The hours logged being pretty just to post pictures were some of my most enjoyable -- and rewarding, too, viz. OMG RATNAAA your gorgeoussssss<3 and the like.

Why did I take a gap year?  School used to be my favorite place to be. School is safe. Knowledge is God's most beautiful gift to mankind, and it's sca…

Din 176: I need to learn to be where I am.

I woke after a good night's sleep to an assignment from Ruby Chachu -- memorize as many headlines as possible from The Times of India, as a retention exercise. I spent a few hours studying for this and still could only recite about 25 percent, I think. This is in part due to the fact that my brain could not retain any headline which related to sports or had a number in it (no surprise there). So this reduced my "bank" quite a bit.

After my quiz, Chachu explained a few of the articles to me and educated me on the art, economy, and social stratification of India. I then got a call from Sonal, the sister of my soul, who decided to start a blog today! We talked a bit about how to set one up, and behold -- click here to see her new web log and become a follower. Soon after this, it was time for lunch and class.

To read about the games taught to me by the students today, and how they laughed and made me happy, click here. After class, I compiled a list of our students and pai…

Din 175: It's difficult singing in unison with oneself.

After some below par beauty sleep last night, I awoke to thoughts of Rockstar. Dadi and I discussed the film again, still awestruck by its power and artfulness.

We then moved on to Gyaan Ghar talk, specifically involving expansion. We are thinking of moving out of current classrooms into a more spacious facility, and are considering hiring an additional teacher to further improve the student-to-teacher ratio.

After breakfast, I recorded the female track for a surprise musical project Paul De is currently working on. We'll see how it turns out!

I later enjoyed a full spa treatment at home -- massage coupled with steam in our home sauna. (Sitting in a three-feet-by-six-feet box of white alone with one's thoughts for half an hour is fun.)

Before I knew it, it was time for my open pores to head to class! I'm really happy with today's progress, since I got to present our new Sisters' Circle initiative to the school's lovely little ladies. (Click here for a summary…

Din 174: Are my senses becoming greedy?

I woke to a delightful email from Varlet #0 (PSang) today -- he loves Harvard! He has been visiting colleges this weekend and I am so pleased to know that he likes my school. Hopefully we will end up there together . . .

I was psyched to spend today with Sonal and thus a bit thrown off when Ruby Chachu's alleged "Pedicure Prodigy" walked in -- apparently I had some sort of appointment this morning. So my soul sis watched me wince as some dude fixed my feet. A fantastic experience for us both, to be sure.

When my peds were perfect, we popped the film Rockstar into the DVD player. Oh my goodness, drop whatever you are doing and watch this movie right now -- but only if you are willing to bawl for the next four days straight. If I could be any more enamored of Ranbir Kapoor than I already was, this film did it for me. His acting defies description. The movie's editing is genius. And the plot is to die for. Dadi likened the story to Heer Ranjha, a classical Punjabi trag…

Din 173: I love you unanimously.

I woke up late this morning and readied myself for a brunch meeting of the Park Club Society, of which Dadi is the president. The meeting itself was basically a kitty party, where, after the usual pleasantries ("You don't speak Punjabi, right?" "You only eat bland food, right?" "What, you're not in school?"), the ladies were startled by a new version of Bingo presented by one woman ("This is puzzling. Can we play something simpler?").

I soon grew tired and headed back inside to call Nani and rest. In the early afternoon, Kiran Auntie came over to take me out shopping. We went to West End Mall and I found some nice Indian attire there. She told me about her son Pranap, who is into extreme car racing (I forget the actual name for it) and currently competing in a competition where he has to drive through sand dunes in the desert at night. And my mom gets worried about me when I cross the street!

I returned home to my children. To read abou…