So, I had a really frustrating day today. And I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritties of what happened, why it happened, whose fault it was and blah blah blah. Basically, I was just royally pissed with a few people at work. But it was only at the end of the day that I remembered something very beautiful that had happened, something that is so much more meaningful and worth focusing on than all the other bullcrap.
A little background first: Currently, besides Curriculum Designing, my boss and I are also designing a program that uses computer software and manual ESL games and playbooks to improve conversational ability for students in grades 1-5. We found a school (literally in the middle of nowhere) that allowed us to try out our program (as our pilot study) on some of its weakest students.
There was work-related drama both before I reached the school and after. And it was eating my brain up so much that I didn’t realize the smallest most meaningful thing. When I entered the class, the students (8-10 yrs old boys) all got up and wished me good evening and asked me how I am. It was adorable, but I maintained my Indian teacher-ee-ness (for lack of word) and restrained myself from pinching their cute little cheeks. Then, a few other kids, who were in a different classroom, entered the class but before they took their seats, some of them came over, bowed to touch my feet, and then touched their forehead.
For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, since ancient times, Indian culture has upheld the relationship between a mentor/guru and a disciple/student to be the holiest one. I remember touching my paino teacher’s feet when I was a kid too, to gain her blessings before we begin our interaction.
I had never imagined I’d be on the other side of the relationship this time. I felt so deeply moved and honored (well, really weird at first–> my american boss was so confused too). Another interesting thing is that only a few kids did that. And these kids did not seem to know much English, but they clearly had more values than some others. I just felt it was such a beautiful feeling to know that they had so much respect and regard for me and that they considered me to be their ‘guru’.
It was a beautiful little memory, and I am kinda ashamed at myself for forgetting about it amongst all the angst and the arguments that I had at work today. I guess blogging about it now is basically my effort to make that particular moment the highlight of the day, and nothing else.
I was having a conversation with a relative today about the languages I now speak, and he asked if I found some similar words between any of them in Hindi. I said yes, and mentioned a couple, like Ananas (pineapple in both Dutch and Hindi) and Brinjal (berenjena in Spanish). I knew there were way more but I couldn’ t think of them at the time.
I got back to my laptop eventually and decided to look it up. And I made some interesting discoveries. We all know that English was influenced by Hindi/Sanskrit to a great extent, but I didn’t expect to see certain common words included in this list of English “loanwords”. Some of the words were obvious like jungle, Avatar and guru, but the ones mentioned below were surprisingly new to me.
Bandana – Bandhan/bond
Cash – karsha, meaning weight of gold/silver
Cashmere – Kashmir
Cambodia – Kambujadesa/Country of Kambuja
Cheetah – chitraka/speckled
Crimson – krim-ja/ worm that produces a red dye
Jackal – shagal/the howler
Juggernaut – Jagannath/lord of the world
Lacquer – Laksha
Lilac – Nilak/dark blue
Loot- has the same meaning in Hindi
Meerkat – Markat/ape
Opal – Upalah
Orange – Naranga/ an orange tree
Shampoo – Champo
Singapore – Singhapuram/ The Lion city
Sugar – Shakkar
Thug – sthag/scoundrel
I’m psyched, even though I actually won’t be able to catch the movie unitl next week. But in the meantime, I found something interesting. I think Marika’s going to love this a lot.
Did you know…
- …that Harry Potter‘s son, James Sirius Potter, stole the Marauder’s Map out of Harry’s desk?
- …that Araminta Meliflua tried to pass a bill that made Muggle-hunting legal?
- …that Squibs cannot see Dementors?
- …that Quidditch is less popular in the Far East because they prefer to use flying carpets over broomsticks?
- that Dumbledore has a scar above his left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground?
- …that in 1979, Caractacus Phelps exploded eight hundred Stink Pellets by dropping them from the roof of the Daily Prophet building into Diagon Alley below, as an April Fool’s joke?
- that the name of the one-eyed witch whose statue hides a passageway to Hogsmeade is Gunhilda of Gorsemoor?
- …that Hermione Granger was the only member of the trio who returned to Hogwarts to complete their seventh year?
- …that “Erised” is “desire” spelled backwards because the mirror shows one what they want most in the world?
- the Ministry of Magic visitor’s code to get in through the phone booth was the combination 6-2-4-4-2 which can spell out “magic”?
- …Hermione Granger‘s middle name was changed from “Jane” to “Jean” to avoid sharing a middle name with Umbridge?
- …that Harry Potter joined the Auror Department at age 17?
- …the bite of a Mackled Malaclaw will cause the victim to be highly unlucky for up to a week after the injury?
- …that Aberforth Dumbledore once made newspaper headlines for practicing illegal charms on goats?
- that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry students were allowed to swear loudly if the Venomous Tentacula
attempted to strangle them?
It’s Dusshera today. I haven’t celebrated Dusshera for the past 6 years. So it kinda feels good to be home for it, but Dusshera is also my least favorite holiday of all the Indian holidays, mainly because they celebrate a lie and it causes severe pollution in the city. But maybe I will rediscover my childish love for this holiday tonight. We shall see.
Lots of things on my mind right now:
~My trip to Kolkata
~The academic craziness that is about to begin
~Continued Cluelessness about my future
~Sudden favorable attention from two of my ex-interests+ the attention I got in Kolkata
I went back to Kolkata after 8 years, and it was a completely different trip altogether. No hotel, instead, Arpita smuggled me into her hostel, which had a 10 pm curfew. I showered with lizards and pooped in Indian style toilets. We went pandal-hopping all day every day to watch all the Durga pujo action and I got foot blisters from all the running around. The one day we didn’t go pandal hopping was because we weren’t able to anymore. We went boating in Salt Lake City (the Bengali one) and right when we were in the middle of the lake, it started to pour like turned buckets. Saying that we were drenched would be a severe understatement. And a bunch of other things happened, but despite all of that, it was an awesome trip. I had soooo much fun, surprisingly. Obviously, because I was with Arpita :). I have to say she has grown into a very pretty lady (no wonder she has such a nice beau), completely different from those days at Loreto Convent when we wore pink uniforms that had to go lower than our knees, followed by calf-covering socks and white canvas shoes and white headbands. I hope I look different (and better) too. ^_______^
Akhilesh seems like a great guy. Very mature and great for Arpita. And the two of them were so painfully adorable together, I couldn’t help but wonder, when will I get to look this adorable with someone? I really hope he is the one for her and that her family is okay with him in the end.
The three of us went to the club Tantra, i.e. my first ever (finally) Indian clubbing experience, and it was … interesting. Not very different from clubs in other parts of the world, but I didn’t know 95% of the songs (because I haven’t been around to hear all these songs on the radio etc.) and some of the couples were kinda gross. Anyway, I did have a lot of fun there as well and got a lot of attention (both good and bad), but I wasn’t really asking for it and I guess that’s what surprised me. Maybe I’ve been in xenophobic Tokyo so long, I’ve forgotten what it feels like to get any attention.=P This guy (kinda cute) asked me to dance with him (and I could tell it took him some courage to do that) but I said no thanks. “Why???”, screamed Arpita. Well, because I am shy, and scared. “Of what?” Don’t know. Why was I scared, really? Why is it so hard for me to come out of my shell when it comes to strangers? It’s not like they are gonna eat me up!?
Arpita and I talked a lot about many things (Akhilesh joined in sometimes), and she said that I need to do the same: I need to not shy away from every opportunity. I guess that’s my next guideline that I am going to follow. But I’m also guessing I wont have time to practice my opportunity-grabbing skills for the next few months, because I’ve had all the possible fun I could this month. From now on, its GRE, applications and slogging all the way till the end of this year. Happy slogging to me! -__________-
Just got off Gchat with Anne, shortly after speaking with Yoshiko too–it feels so good to speak to a friend after so long. Especially one from SUA. SUA binds us together in some intergalactic crazy way, so that no matter how long its been since you saw or spoke to someone, you feel an instant connection with them, knowing perfectly well that they feel the exact same thing. It is the sort of thing you feel when you see a family member after a long period or in the middle of a personal crisis. Just seeing his or her face gives you this assurance that somehow things will be alright.
That’s exactly how I felt after talking to Yoshiko and Anne. With Yoshiko, I discussed schedules and how we would meet up. With Anne, I discussed life, Shannon,’s woes, friends, Shalini’s surprise wedding plans, movies, and SUA. And all of these conversations made me feel more comfortable, made me feel more…me.
I’m actually surprised I just wrote that–maybe I’ve been feeling like a part of me is missing without any SUA company around. But at the same time, I have been deserting my friends and isolating myself from companionship. Hmm, okay, lesson learned–when I get back, I will finally act out on all the plans I have made with meeting up my friends. Jeez, I’ve been home for 3 months, and I haven’t met a single one of them, except for two who live right in my neighborhood.
Wait: another note to self: I need to get in touch with all of the friends back in Tokyo who haven’t heard from me since I left, starting with Nakano-san, Tomoko, and Shizuka.
okay, that doesn’t feel good.