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Sun, Sand, Stars and Dreams

The chronicles of a misfit Indian teen

Month

August 2013

Midnight musings

Do ignore the random, unimaginative (Is even a word like that? I don’t even remember anymore.) title. At least there is some alliteration at play there, though it isn’t a poem. It is almost midnight here, and my intelligence isn’t exactly at its best right now.
Tomorrow is the start of yet another term at school for me and going back to school after a long (and definitely hot!) summer vacation is not a very pleasing prospect.
No! Don’t get me wrong. I love school. Okay, not everything at school, but I love my little group of friends and my small class.
It is not like I have a school-o-phobia (is that even a word? But, yeah, you get the drift)
But, school, after lazing around at home for less than month, yet after more than a month of dreadful time in my home country. 😦
Okay. I think I should just go now. Seeing that I’m unable to form coherent sentences.
But, then, this post would have no purpose.

What makes me shy away from the prospect of school, is something much simpler.
I don’t want school to end.
I know how the term literally flys by (especially after the summer vacation) and before I know it, it will be time for the finals.
And then college.
That’s what is more scary.
All those thoughts. Will I get into a good university? Or rather the university I wanted? Is my choice of a major right? What lays ahead now?
I realised that I don’t really want school to end. But, like all good things, it has to come to an end too.
And savour it the best while it lasts.

I don’t need to worry about all that right now.
I still have 7 months of school left. (though almost 4 months will be normal holidays or study holidays or exams, so it can’t exactly be counted)
Still, I have 3 months of proper school and I’ll make the most of it.
This is more of a confirmation to myself.
I don’t even know what to make of it anymore or even know what all this is about.

Oh damn! It is past midnight. So, school starts in less than 7 hours! I should probably get going. I have to catch at least a few hours of sleep tonight. I don’t want to begin this term running on coffee.
I’m sorry if none of this made sense. I’ve no idea why I’m actually going to press the ‘publish’ button now.

The Versatile Blogger Award

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I got my third award on this blog! Hip hip hurray!
Okay, that was a bit too much, I think.
But, I’m honestly happy and excited about it. And happiness is something I really need these days.

So, anyway, Beth , the owner of two awesome blogs, teenrants and collegerants, has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.

In receiving a blogging award there are certain rules you must comply by:

1. Post the award to the blog.
2. Tell your readers that you have received the award.
3. Thank the person who has nominated you.
4. Nominate 7 people who you think are deserving of the award.
5. Send a comment to the 7 people you nominated.
6. List 5 facts about you.

So, number 6 on the list. Five facts about me.
This is something about which I have no idea what to write.
Anyway, I tried.
1. I’m a teen girl from India, living in the Middle East. (I’m pretty sure you would have known this if you’ve read my blog, at all.)
2. I am an only child.
3. Creepy, crawly insects are my mortal enemies.
4. I get addicted to fandoms rather frequently. My current, most latest ones are The Mortal Instruments series, The Divergent series and BBC’s Sherlock. (Yes, I know, I’m like the last person on Earth to get addicted to the Sherlock fandom.)
5. My biggest pet peeve is when people fold the edges of my books. (I’m rather protective of my books. They are my babies!!)

My nominations are:
1. The mostly confused teenager
2. Attempting reality
3. Nine Nine the Greatest
4. Littlemissnerdybookworm
5. FloodedRoses
6. Curry for your thoughts
7. George

The curious case of the vanishing weekend (a.k.a. When excess networking becomes a bore)

So, a week after my school closed for the summer vacations, the government decided to shift the weekend from Thursday-Friday to Friday-Saturday like the rest of the GCC countries.
According to the schedule, my school was supposed to reopen on 31st August, which is a Saturday.
But, because the weekend was shifted, we all assumed that the school would reopen only on 1st September and promptly forgot about it.
Then, like a thunderbolt out of the blue (no idea where that came from!) someone realised that the school hadn’t given any confirmation notice which said that it would reopen only on Sunday.
Some student-owned Facebook pages started spreading news that the school will be reopening on Saturday and that we would have to work for 6 days on the very first week!
Note the day the rumours started appearing : FRIDAY noon!!
Well, naturally, everyone started panicking and posted frenzied statuses on Facebook.
But, no one had any official news. We tried phoning the school, but no one picked it up.

Then, some students started declaring that they weren’t going to go, no matter what. And the rest started persuading them to come.

My wonderful classmates decided to not go, even though we’ll probably get a lecture from our class teacher (home room teacher), who is rather famous for lecturing.
So, anyway, I’m sitting here at home and writing this blog post on the said Saturday morning when I’m supposed to be at school.
Well, I don’t know where there really is school today because I don’t go to school in a school bus. I get chauffeured around by my father’s driver. (Cool, isn’t it?)

The Wonderful Team Member Readership Award

It’s been exactly a year since I entered the blogosphere and I have to say that I’ve loved it ever since. All of you people here are amazing and I love you all in the most platonic way.
I know. I know that I abandoned my blog for sometime in the middle. I’m awfully sorry for that. It was just that the pressures of everyday life were overwhelming. But, I’ve vowed to write a post everyday till my school reopens (next Sunday) and then on, one post a week!
Enough of my rambling for now.

The Mostly Confused Teen was kind enough to nominate me for the Wonderful Team Membership award.

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The rules of the award are:

1) The nominee of The Wonderful Team Member Readership Award shall display the logo on his/her blog.

2) The nominee shall nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days, all at once or little by little; linking to their blogs; and telling them about it at their blogs.

3) The nominee shall name his/her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post during 7 days.

So, yeah. Since I don’t know who even reads this anymore, and because I’m feeling extremely generous today, I thought I’ll nominate all my followers for this award.
So, here’s the list of my wonderful followers, who are also award-winners, now:

acuriousgal
http://acuriousgal.wordpress.com/about/

teenrants
http://teenrants.wordpress.com/about/

Tash Thomas
http://tashjusttash.com

Lolly
http://lollycreations.wordpress.com/about/

georgepeat
http://mindofgeorge.wordpress.com/about/

littlemissnerdybookworm
http://littlemissnerdybookworm.wordpress.com/about/

nineninethegreatest
http://mishal99.wordpress.com/about

urbanwallart
http://urbanwallart.wordpress.com/about/

annetbell
http://www.talesalongtheway.com /about

Cynthia Baker-Simple Pleasures
http://lesplaisirssimplesdelavie.wordpress.com/about/

anujmathur
http://thisthatandeverything.wordpress.com/about/

Charlotte Hoather
http://charlottehoatherblog.wordpress.com/about/

generaliregi
http://generaliregi.wordpress.com/about/

prophetbrahmarishi
http://prophetbrahmarishi.wordpress.com/about/

Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger
http://thepublicblogger.com/about/

Nutterfluffer
http://theworldoffluffiness.wordpress.com/about/

underwaterraven
http://underwaterraven.wordpress.com/about/

gurtejthegps
http://gurtejthegps.wordpress.com/about/

Nifti
http://niftitalks.wordpress.com/about/

J T Weaver
http://jtweaverblog.wordpress.com/about/

http://www.YourDailyPhil.com
http://www.yourdailyphil.com

The CoF
http://thecitizensoffashion.com

politicprotege
http://politicprotege.wordpress.com/about

justaheartbeataway
http://hasuheartbeats.wordpress.com/about/

Min
http://minofminlandia.wordpress.com/about/

Teresa
http://justlittlemusings.wordpress.com/about/

beautifulgirltoronto
http://beautifulgirltoronto.wordpress.com/about/

dreamrunner09
http://dreamrunner09.wordpress.com/about/

Ciara
http://ciaraswonderfulramblings.wordpress.com/about/

Russell Deasley
http://theverybesttop10.com/

Words Fusion
http://www.wordsfusion.com/

Jeyanthi J
http://mytreasurytrack.wordpress.com/about/

Azna Parveen
http://lifeasaga.wordpress.com/about/

mugshotphotos
http://mugshotphotos.wordpress.com/about/

Janhvi
http://jojofeelings.wordpress.com/about/

Elixir of memories
http://elixirofmemories.wordpress.com/about/

Rahul Ranjan
http://aspirantzbuddy.wordpress.com/about/

konica
http://scrapsmania.wordpress.com/about/

Fernando Ortiz Jr.
http://stillnessofheart.wordpress.com/about/

justonegirl
http://offmychestblogdotcom2.wordpress.com/about/

Patrick Latter
http://hikingphoto.com

angelnjuly
http://angelnjuly.wordpress.com/about/

codenamelayla
http://codenamelayla.wordpress.com/about/

Janvi Mahnot
http://brainstormingteen.wordpress.com/about/

Roger Tharpe
http://www.rogertharpe.com

helpimmateen
http://helpimmateen.wordpress.com/about

frizztext
http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/about/

Conor Cullen
http://conorcullen.wordpress.com/about/

BunnyandPorkBelly
http://bunnyandporkbelly.com

sweetlittlethang
http://sweetlittlethang.wordpress.com/about/

nikkisimages
http://nikkisimages.wordpress.com/about/

cmorrell90
http://girlaboutglasgow.wordpress.com/about/

So, that’s it!
I’m sorry if I missed anyone.
Yup. I didn’t link the text properly ’cause I’m too lazy. Also, I linked to everyone’s ‘About’ page because I’m too lazy to notify them.
(Yes. Yes. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know how much of a procrastinator I am. Like that time here.)

Have a good day, folks!
Cheers! 🙂

The dancing disaster

When I was in 2nd grade, a lot of my friends started learning classical Indian dance (Bharatnatyam).
So, not to be outdone, I pestered my parents into allowing me to join the class.
But, my father, having all dreams of his only daughter becoming a famous dancer, decided that the place where my friends went for dance classes wasn’t good enough.
So, he found a supposedly good enough (by his standards) teacher and started my first dance class.
Horror of horrors! It was to be held in my house! Yes, my house! And I was to be the only student there.
But, the worst was yet to come, for I hadn’t seen the teacher yet.
I made many excuses and squirmed, but my parents held firm. They told me that since I was the one who wanted to learn dance, I had to attend the class.
So, on a Friday, I believe, my first dance class was held.
Halfheartedly, I entered the living room, where the class was going to be held and caught my breath.
No, it wasn’t just that all the furniture had been pushed back messily, by my ordinarily tidy parents. I had just caught my first glimpse of my teacher.
He was tall, dark, and heavily built and quite scary-looking for the 7-year old me.
So, I started doing what I did best, then.
I ran back into the dining room and refused to budge from there.
Somehow, finally, my parents coaxed me out.
And I did learn the basics of Bharatnatyam, or whatever part of it that I could learn in the first hour.
My parents refused to let me quit, telling me to finish what I started. Now I know where I get my stubbornness from.

As years went by, my distaste for the dance classes faded slightly. I still disliked the dance lessons, but I didn’t hate it as before. That might have also been due to a new teacher.
I even loved the small-time publicity I got, by going for dance programs.

Finally, the new teacher wanted to go back to India and my parents had become to busy to hunt for a new teacher yet again. Besides, I was starting high school and I’d started to rebel against the lessons.
The classes finally ended after 7 years of classical dance lessons, which included Bharatnatyam(a sort of fast dance form), Mohiniattam (a rather expressive dance form) and Kuchipudi (a dance form where one dances some parts on a tray-like thing and balances a bowl of water on the head).
The only sorry part is that even after all this, I’m neither graceful, nor expressive, and am still a terrible dancer.

Farewell, little kitten.

Around five days ago, just after a week since I returned from my vacation in India, I was treated to a rare sight.
Rare, because I live in a compound with a few houses, and one which is on the outskirts of the city. Living on the outskirts pretty much meant that the weather was much harsher. The summers were warmer, the winters colder and the wind stronger.
Sorry, I went off on a tangent.
What I coming to say (or write, or rather type) before, was the rare sight I was met with.
That was nothing other than a black-and-white female cat, who along with her two new-born kittens, had made my compound (the garden, actually) their home.
The kittens were so adorable!
Slowly, one of the kittens, a jet-black one, with dark blue eyes, climbed up the stairs and curled up in the flowerpot in front of my front-door.

It started meowing rather pathetically, so, my mother, feeling sorry for it, brought it some milk in a plastic plate.
It drank the milk sorta greedily, like it hadn’t had anything to eat for a while.
I coaxed my mum to give it some milk and she agreed. But, I wasn’t allowed to get it inside the house because my dad is allergic to cats.
For almost five days, we fed it some milk and petted it.
It held a special place among us within the few days.

Yesterday, we didn’t see it anywhere around. We didn’t worry because we assumed that it will be back sometime or other.
But, today, me and my mum had gone for a walk around the compound and we found that adorable little black kitten dead near the jogging trail.

Farewell, little kitten. 😦

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Sorry for the poor picture quality. This was the only photo I had of the kitten

The Name of Madras

The 22nd of August every year is commemorated as Madras Day in Chennai (formerly Madras) in India.
The city of Chennai, originated around the British settlement of Fort St. George. The fort and the lands surrounding it were leased by the East India Company on August 22, 1639.

This small settlement in the Southern part of India slowly grew into the impressive Madras Presidency during the colonial-era, and developed into the awesome metropolitan city of today.

No one knows for sure how the city got its name of Madras, though many rumours abound. So, here’s my take on how the city might have got the name.

Today, the city’s most notorious for its autorickshaw drivers, who charge exorbitant rates and drive rashly.
Then, these autorickshaw drivers probably did have their ancestors.

The time when Fort St. George was built and colonialists were slowly starting to trickle in, the British decided that they must surely have transport. Transport in the likes of horse-wagons. So, some horses were bought, and wagons built.
The next problem arose. Who will drive these wagons?
Someone had seen a mass of people transporting goods from one village to another in bullock-carts.
So, a few men, who had been seen driving those carts were enlisted for driving the horse-wagons.
The men agreed.
Soon, it was time for the first drive. (if I may say so)
More people were arriving from Britain and they wanted transport from the port. Consequently, the newly enlisted bullock-cart drivers – turned Coachmen were sent to pick the people from the port.

The chief among the people who just arrived decided to board the more grander wagon, with a beautiful horse. The wagon looked good, but there was only one problem with it.
A problem the chief would come to know only after a while.

After the entire party had settled down into various wagons, the chief yelled, “Let’s go!”
The Coachman agreed and the horses began trotting.
Slowly, they started picking up speed, again and again, till they were galloping in full speed.
Meanwhile, the chief asked the Coachman, while pointing into the distance, “What is the name of the place we are going to?”
The coachman, who did not have a good grasp over the English language answered, “This Mani, this Rasa”, thinking that the foreign gentleman had been asking what the names of the horses were.

The horses sped up even more, now that the coachman had been busy trying to understand what the foreigner chief had said and trying to formulate a suitable response.
That’s when he realised that he’d lost control of the carriage.
The carriage went berserk and the colonialist was thrown back and forth against the walls of the carriage, so, he yelled, “This is not Mannytisras, this is Madness!”
And slowly, Madness evolved into Madras, and that name stuck.

P.S. This is totally fiction and meant to be taken as such. I do not mean to hurt anyone’s sentiments and such.

The school story

While reading ‘The mostly confused teenager’s blog post on her school, I just realised how vastly different our schools are, and how much we don’t know about schools in other countries, so I decided to do a post about the educational system I study in.

I’m from India and I go to an Indian school in an Arabian country.
By an Indian school, I mean, a school which is run by the Indian government for the benefit of Indian expat children living away from India.
And that means we have the same curriculum as almost all of our counterparts in India.
I said almost all, because in India, there are various boards of education, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), or any of the State Boards or ICSE, and many others.
All the boards have the same structure, but the course varies.
The level of difficulty depends on whether it is a State Board school or it is a Central Board school.

The Indian schools abroad and almost always Central Board schools and I’ve only studied in those schools.
As I haven’t had a State Board school experience, I’ll refrain from talking about it.

The Indian curriculum as such is highly competitive. And a student’s entire future depends on two exams, the one taken at the end of 10th grade and one taken at the end of 12th grade.
But, after a lot of reforms, the 10th grade exam was made easier, and lots of practical knowledge was added to it, apart from the usual bookish knowledge.
Now, the combined average marks from projects, experiments, reports, presentations, weekly and monthly tests, term-end exams, etc, from 9th and 10th grade and added to give the grade points (out of 10) at the end of the 10th grade.
After the 10th grade, we have to choose our streams, the subjects which will decide our future. That is, a 15-year old is supposed to decide something which will shape his/her entire life. Since, most of the time, we are clueless about this decision, almost everyone decides on taking science, because with science, you can go for almost any path in India. You can be a doctor, an engineer, an accountant or banker, lawyer or even a historian after taking science. But, after taking Commerce or Humanities, you can only go for higher education on that specific subject.
By choosing subjects, I mean choosing one fixed set of subjects: The pure sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology), or Science with math (Physics, Chemistry, Math or Physics, Chemistry, Math, Biology), Commerce (Economics, Accounts, Business studies, with math as an optional), and Humanities or the social sciences.

The Central board actually offers a large variety of subjects, but most schools have only these subjects.
Each student is expected to learn five subjects for the exams at the end of 12th grade.
So, we could pick a set of subjects, and take an optional of our choice, if the set we’ve chosen has only three core subjects. Of course English is a compulsory subject for any stream.
The optional subjects also depend upon the school.
My school offers rather interesting subjects as optional. That’s something I like about it. In my school, we have subjects like Fine Arts, Home Education, Physical Education and Sports, Computers (either Programming, or Web designing and animation, or Java and database operation).

So, yeah, that was pretty much the Wikipedia-like description of the Indian school system.
Now with the insider take.
I used to hate my school until recently for reasons I don’t exactly remember.

But, now, I’ve started liking it as it is.
True, we have a huge load of homework and class tests each day. And with teachers who wouldn’t hesitate to make you redo your homework five times over if you submit it late, you have to spend a lot of time over it.
Besides I’m in 12th grade (senior year) this year. So, the workload is almost tripled. We are pressured to get a good percentage (at least above 80%) in the end-of-year exams. Moreover, most colleges also conduct entrance exams at the end of the senior year, in which we have to get good enough marks. Only with a good combination of marks in both, will we be able to get into the college of our choice.
Most of the extra-curricular activities are crammed in the first and second term, so that the final term can be used only for studying.
Yet another thing, is that our academic year begins in March or April. The first term lasts till June. And the summer vacations are in July and August. So, basically, we are expected to study even during the summer!!

Yet, I still love it. The main reason is my friends. They are the most amazing people on Earth.

I love the fact that our school timings are from 7am to 12:30pm only, unlike those in India which operates from 8am to nearly 5:30 or 6pm.

I love my English classes, where my teacher is the most awesome teacher in high school. Ever. Seriously, she reads all YA-books as well, and discusses it in class and she’s really fun to talk to and has a wonderful sense of humour.

I love those few days in a year, where we get to dress up and have fun. I’ve even learnt to like our uniform, a light blue long top, rather like a tunic, but known as a kurta, paired with dark navy blue pants and dupatta. The ensemble is called a ‘salwar kameez’. Try googling it for pictures on how it looks like. 🙂

I’ve learned to like the fact that it is an all-girls school. An all-girls’ school means that most people turn up without makeup everyday and no one bothers about it.

I love it when my entire class is united over a particular cause and they stand up for each other. No matter who you are.

I love that my class this year is rather small (the number of students, that is). Yet, the classroom we’ve been assigned is huge and spacious.

That’s all I have to say for now. I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. 🙂

P.S. Do check out The Mostly Confused Teen’s post, as well as Attempting Reality’s post on their schools. 🙂

Random musings.

And I’m back.
After a long vacation in India, which was both fun and boring. (Don’t ask how.)
Actually, I was back about a week ago, but the place was pretty much a mess and I had to do a spring clean, except that it is summer here. Really hot summer, actually, with the temperatures soaring to around 45 C.
Well, what else did I expect in the middle of a desert. Well, it’s not really a desert. No, better yet, it is a metro city which happens to have a desert-ish climate, because it is surrounded by deserts.
I’m rambling. So, I’d better come to the point of this post.
Now that I think of it, there wasn’t a point exactly.
This was just meant to be an update.
To let any of you, who still read this, know that I am alive. 🙂
Oh well! I’d better be back with a proper post soon.

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