Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A year of school - and a milestone

And before I know it, a year has flown past, and my little girl has finished the first year of school. She is looking forward to the summer holidays, because, in her words, "I love school, I love my friends, but sometimes, I feel like staying at home and playing with Amma." Don't we all? :)

She's had a whole lot of fun this past year. She's made friends, and learned to speak English. She knows the English alphabets and the numbers.

Oh, and one major, exciting milestone. She has started to read! They haven't taught her reading at school, but I gathered that they have taught her phonics.

But they haven't taught her small letters, so she came to me asking me which letter is which, she kind of gathered which small letter corresponds to which capital letter.

When I read out to her at home, she frequently asks me what a certain word is, and I read it out to her using phonics. So, somehow, she's absorbed the concept, and she surprised me the other day by reading out "Dog" on her own. I was initially sceptical, thinking it was a fluke, but then she read out "frog" "start" and other such words. It is a wonderful, heady feeling - to watch a child make sense of something.

Now it is quite common for me to hear from the next room an excited, loud voice saying.. "Sssss.....pppppp.... Sp... Sp..... iii.. Spi.... Spi..... dddddd... Spiddddd... Spid... eee... Spideeee... Spide..... rrrrrr... Spider.... Amma, amma!! Is this Spider? Amma!!"

Like I said, exhilarating.

And then a few days ago, she stationed me near her blackboard, made me the teacher, and commanded me to write words on the board, which she would read. The success rate was quite high, especially when I wrote down the names of her friends. Then she took over the mantle of teacher, asked me to close my eyes and wrote this:

Just to eliminate fluke, I pretended not to understand.. and she gave me a clue - "An animal, Amma!" and answered it herself... Fox :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

The UK Files - A concert to remember and a taste to forget

I enjoy Western Classical music - I don't understand the nuances, but I like it anyway. But I'd never been to a live concert. My cousin V takes lessons in both Western Violin and Western Saxophone (not to mention Carnatic Violin) and is good at all of them. He wakes up at 5 30 am to practice music, and when at his house, it was a wonderful daily alarm for me - the strains of an instrument from downstairs. Err.. not that I woke up each time to those sounds - half the time it would play in my dreams :O

Anyway, V was a part of a concert, presented by his school along with a girls' school. It was in a church in the city. My uncle was out of town, and my aunt and I left Puttachi with S who had arrived just that day, and went to the concert.

The church is beautiful, old and big. Listening to classical music on an audio system is nice, but listening to it live, with the great acoustics that the size and structure of the church enabled - this was an experience to be savoured. I loved it. There was a choir, which rings in my mind to this day. And it reminded me of the dozens of choirs I have been a part of. I always enjoyed them - the preparation, the rehearsals, the way, with practice, all the voices slowly come together in harmony, and the final presentation, and everything in between - I was so insanely jealous of that group during the concert! I would so love to take part in any choir/orchestra/group music again!!

During the break, there were refreshments. We had eaten dinner before going, but we were already hungry, and so we accepted some refreshments - some juice/wine and some snacks. I took a plate, filled it with a little chips, and something that looked like Kurkure, and brought it for both my aunt and me to eat. The chips got over in a second while we chatted and ate, but the stick-like savouries remained, until both of us realized that we had unconsciously rejected it - we didn't like it.

After we got home, my aunt asked V - "What on earth WAS it?" He listened to the description and said, "Oh, Marmite." Apparently, people either love it or hate it, and he was in the former camp. "Thank heavens we don't have Marmite in India," I said, only to watch a programme on BBC the VERY next day, about how they were trying to introduce Marmite in India - marketing it as a health-food. They even added it to pulao, and people actually seemed to like it. Shudder. Is it here yet? Any idea, people? If not, remember, you heard about it from me first.

About the concert - it has whetted my appetite, and I would so love to listen to more live Western Classical concerts - like for example, at the, ahem.... Sydney Opera House and the Royal Albert Hall....? :)
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