I'm home for a month for my winter break. I hadn’t expect this month to be a lot of fun. Most of my friends are either not coming home for the winter, or still too busy with exams and travel plans to meet me very often. I expected to get bored within a couple of weeks. But thankfully, that hasn't happened yet. In the summer, when I had three months of nothing to do, I ended up feeling too lazy to do anything remotely productive. But this month has actually been different (so far). I still haven't done anything too "productive", but I'm not bored.
First, there was the Kailash Kher concert in Pragati Maidan last week. I found out about it just one day before it was to be held, and my mom and I decided to go, even though we've seen Kailash Kher perform live once before. And the concert was amazing! Not only did Kailasa perform my favourites, Jana Jogi De Naal, Saiyyan and Dilruba, but the band also performed Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's Tere Bin Nahin Lagda (with a lovely violin piece added in the middle), and Tu Jaane Na from the movie Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, which I had only heard on the radio before and did not know was by Kailash Kher. I don't think I've ever seen anyone with more stage presence. He was completely at home on the stage, jumping up and down, running from one band-mate to the other, even skipping occasionally!
Then there was the family picnic. I've never understood my some people regard a picnic as something to be laughed at, or an activity restricted to children. I went with my parents, sister and grandfather, and it was a very enjoyable afternoon. We went to Lodi Gardens, found a nice spot that had just enough sun and shade, and settled down for nearly three hours. My sister and I bought big orange and green balloons, and my father stole my balloon and started playing catch with my sister. We bought two more after the first balloon burst and I spent a very relaxed afternoon watching my usually serious father completely relaxed and laughing as he tried to sabotage my sister and me in a balloon-yo-yo competition.
Then there's the shopping. We've been to GK and Sarojini Nagar and the new, fancy DLF Place in Vasant Kunj, and I bought, amongst other things, a pair of black boots with heels higher than I've ever worn before and a Tantra t-shirt that has a picture of three people dancing with the line "Support wild life. Throw a party." under it, both of which make me very happy. And I found a t-shirt that says "I'd rather play records than break them", which I'd always wanted since I saw it on the Threadless website.
And then there was the discussion about Dilip D'Souza's new book, Roadrunner, at Crossword bookstore. I'd never been to a book discussion before, so the whole process really excited me. I hadn't really intended to buy the book before I went to Crossword, but the whole conversation about the book, and the things that the panelists (?) said about it got me interested and I bought it. It's my first signed book. And Mr. D'Souza recognised my name (from my comments on his blog, I'm guessing), which made me feel ridiculously happy. I haven't started Roadrunner yet, but I plan to tonight.
The most interesting thing about the vacation so far has been my work with Vidya. I'd heard about the NGO through my mom's friend whose daughter had volunteered there, and all I knew was that they have some interest in education of slum children and that they have a centre very close to where I live. My meeting with their Voluteer Coordinator got me placed at the Vidya-run school Rainbow Montessori, teaching basic Maths to two classes of Class 2 kids. I've been going there for about ten days now, and it's been quite a lot of fun. It's a little unnerving to have kids stand up and chant "Good afternooooon, maaaaaaam" when I enter the room, and stick out their hands and ask for permission to enter the room, exactly the way we used to do in class 2. And it's very unnerving to realise that I'm actually trying to teach them, which is something that I'm not sure I should be doing since I'm not sure how good I am at it. How am I supposed to make a child understand exactly what place value means, rather than have him memorise the way to answer the questions? And seriously, is there a trick to making students listen to me and not run around class and throw paper balls at each other? They seem to be fond of me, clearly enjoy talking to me and telling me about winning races and Santa Claus coming to their Christmas assembly, and get inordinately excited when I hand out worksheets for them to do, but I'm not sure whether I'm really getting through to them or not. And many times, it's clear that some students understand the concepts I'm trying to explain and some don't; what do I do then? My respect for teachers in general has risen significantly.
And of course, there's all the reading that I finally have the time (and energy) to do. I re-read most of the Harry Potter series and my favourite The Grand Sophy. I spent a day and a night glued to Gone With The Wind, which I'd been intending to read for a long time but never got around to reading. While I loved the book, I closed it feeling a little... cheated? I haven't decided whether I liked the ending or not, but I was definitely left with a feeling of frustration and a little depression, which I tried to get rid of by reading an [extremely] silly Mills and Boon. The plan didn't entirely work since I still spent the next day thinking about Gone With The Wind and trying to decide whether or not to read the sequel by Alexandra Ripley; I have (for now) decided not to. I will spend tonight finishing off Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and starting Roadrunner, Airport by Arthur Hailey and/or Digital Fortress by Dan Brown.
Oh and the driving. I have finally been allowed to take the car out alone, and despite a couple of disagreements with a wall and a tree, and a minor skirmish with an auto, my enthusiasm in driving remains undiminished. I'm driving to Vidya every afternoon, I drove to the book discussion in Crossword, I'm even willing to be put on "chauffeur duty" (as my mom calls it) to pick up and drop my sister to and from her various classes. Driving is fun, isn't it?!
And then there are the movies. I haven't seen as much TV as I had thought I would end up watching (I did see the last few episode of Bones; it’s definitely vying with Grey's Anatomy to become my favourite TV show), but I did see some movies. I finally finished Some Like It Hot, which I didn't like as much as I liked It Happened One Night. I saw The Hunchback of Notre Dame, re-watched Cinderella (which, I realised, is a lot stupider than I remember), Mulan (which is still wonderful), and Pocahontas. I started (but couldn't finish) Man On Fire, and last night, discovered State of Play in my movie collection, which is exactly what I'd been looking for for quite some time (I've had a hankering for a conspiracy theory movie for a while).
So, all in all, a good holiday so far. :D