Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sleeping Beauty - Pantomime

Pantomime in Britain (usually called Panto) is a peculiarly British tradition of winter musical comedy theater. It has nothing to do with mime - silent performers in white-face make up walking into glass. British pantomime takes familiar fairy tales and children's stories - Cinderella, Aladdin, Dick Whittington and His Cat, Snow White - and injects a bit of music hall (British Vaudeville) sensibility, contemporary references and audience participation to create a raucous, noisy entertainment that's fun for everyone in the family.
A Very Old TraditionBritish pantomime has very deep roots, drawing on the 15th and 16th century traditions of Commedia del Arte for an assortment of stock characters and other conventions.

This pantomime is an initiative be St.Gertrude's Church in South Croydon.

The St Gertrude’s Theatre Company is a large community of like-minded people who love nothing more than to get together and perform. Our pantomime is staged every two years. The pantomime also gives the group the opportunity to make fun of themselves, sing and enjoy some great company. The successful productions try to support local charities.

I am making a brief attempt in explaining what went into a great show....

The people involved worked tirelessly and coordinated all activities seamlessly!

May 19th - Announcement of this year's pantomime!

With an announcement in May 19th for the upcoming pantomime, I spared no opportunity...and send both girls for auditions!

Auditions Flyer was distributed.

June 10th Auditions Started...

A picture of Tanya in one of the auditions!

June 30th ...The cast finalised!and the first pantomime read-through...the script was 70 pages!

July 30th - Deadlines for lines to be learnt!

Sep 5th - Back to Action...T decided to drop out because of her schedule which meant R had to continue alone....she would be the youngest!

Rehearsals and practice sessions every Sunday seemed to get longer.The adults were practising on Tuesdays and Thursdays too....

They started with 4 hrs sessions and the longest was 8 hrs...R took it all on the stride and never whined although she was  physically very tired.

Sep 30th...Flyers to promote the show was released....

So I faithfully tried telling all my friends around.....some of them looked as if  I was committing a crime .I knew it will be a great show..and some of my friends would never have gone to one of this quality!..........but the looks on the faces seemed to suggest why should we watch your daughter?Well R had just one tiny part in over three dozen members of the cast and it was indeed a fabulous show and great family entertainment!

Somewhere they lost the message that it will be  great family entertainment!

Yet about 5 families we knew did watch the show and wanted to give it a go....But the best quote during the show was a twelve year old who decided to come alone with us kept saying how she wished her parents had come along!And the ones who came along had a great evening!

The final two weeks posed the ultimate challenge.

The first week we have practice every other day ...that was ok as it was half term week...the sessions were from half past 6 to 10 in the evening as the adults had to be  back from work...The final week ...every day rehearsals and the Wednesday before the show....they actually finished rehearsals 2 minutes short of midnight!

The 4 shows were well attended by over 200 people in each...The crowd was really impressed with every show and said it had surpassed all their expectations...R said she was nervous before the first show after that she was so comfortable that it was not stressful....Each show lasted three hours .....and all in all she had a wonderful time.....She had finally clocked over 100 hrs just doing her little part for the Panto!

And we were really proud of what she had achieved....It was once in a life time experience.....to act with some West End actors and dancers.....and to have the confidence to mix with almost strange group of people for long periods of time but she did it!

Three cheer to R!....after all she is only 9....and the youngest of the cast members!

A few video links and the photos .The first and the last video are the best to watch...and they are about a minute each!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spain in 7 days

A very succinct account of our holiday in Spain.....
Its been over two months since we came back, it has taken me so long to write....so not a great travelogue which is what I originally intended but a few snippets that I can remember!

Spain Holiday – in 7 days….

Aug 26th 2011

We set out to Madrid….arriving at Madrid for a driving holiday. After our baggage the car rental process took much longer than expected. We first got a car which did not have a connector working for the SAT NAV system. The company had to finally change the car which took about an hour and we figure the SAT NAV we purchased for UK and Europe specifically for the trip did not function in Spain for some reason. Mind you we had tested it back in London and it would show us the way till Madrid across the seas! So we had to rent a SAT NAV which was in English so we lost out a good 3 hours in the process…

We drove to the hotel and managed to see Madrid by Cable car….It wasn’t as exciting as they described though it gave a very good view of the entire Madrid city.

We spent the evening at H20 mall one of the biggest as it was the closest to our hotel.

August 27th 2011

R turns 9

But T was very ill and we had to make a choice of leaving her at the hotel to recuperate. We knew she can’t take the walking we needed to do in the city.

We visited the Royal Palace – Madrid although we had to wait for an hour in the queue in the hot sun.

Very impressive and well worth the visit

Though I would advise taking http://www.madridcard.com/en/inicio as you could avoid all the queues. It was really worth the visit and one could spend a half day comfortably!

Prado Museum

Well worth a visit. We were very impressed. Had a spectacular range of paintings.

We really couldn’t do much as we had to come back and be with T and on our way back we lost our way  as the bus driver didn’t tell us where we should get down!

The metro trains and buses were excellent although most information was only in Spanish.

August 28th,2011

We went to El Escorial

A 16th century Royal Monastery. A must visit if you are visiting Madrid .We drove there on our way to Malaga our next destination.

August 29th,2011

We didn’t do much in Malaga other than go to nearby malls and a beach.

Regrettably I think we should have at least visited Picasso Museum.

Things we probably missed in Southern Spain

Casares - part of Malaga province, a working village with a population of ~ 4000, at a ht of ~1400 feet and ~14 km from the sunny costa del sol is a picturesque white village. A white village with real character; widely photographed picture post card village. The houses are all painted white and dotted like sugar-cubes on the slope of a hill. See it from the top or the bottom the view is fantastic!! The village is beneath a 12th century Moorish castle which currently lies in ruins but remains accessible. Views from the top are stunning. The white village on one side and windmills spread across the landscape with Rock of Gibraltar in the background on the other. As the history goes, Casares during the roman times was allowed to print its own coins. The above photo is view from below.

This is one place I think we should have driven to which I discovered subsequently.


Benalmadena Cable Car ....


In retrospect I think we missed these places due to lack of planning as we had a long drive and was keen to visit  Barcelona.

29th August ,2011


We spent a night at Alicante. Enjoyed the beaches .

We visited

The Castle of Santa Barbara:

The Castle of Santa Barbara is one of the biggest mediaeval fortresses of Spain that is located in the center of Alicante. This major landmark of the city stands on the top of Mount Benacantil, which offers the most fabulous views of the city. Whilst looking at the castle from El Postiguet beach, one can see an unusual projected part in the shape of a human face known as the Moor's Head.

San Juan Beach (La Playa de San Juan):

This premier sandy beach of the city is located around 4.5 miles from central Alicante. The long and open beach has been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Union. It is the perfect spot for sunbathing and swimming with a good selection of shops, bars, cafes, restaurants and water sports on the beach.

Aug 30th and Aug 31st,2011


We headed to Barcelona.

Had three days to look around the city.

Visiting Montserrat – We dorve down but had taken a wrong turn and went down a narrow lane up the rocky  mountains. It was truly scary and the SAT NAV for some reason kept taking us forward till we reached a point and decided to return to the highway. Every turn was almost like we will fall down a steep cliff.

El Corte Jingles – a great shopping chain

Sep 1st 2011

Aqua Brava – a great water park

Sep 2nd ,2011

We had to drive back from Barcelona to Madrid to catch our flight after driving through Spain for 3000 kms !
All in all I think we cover a fair bit of the main attractions with the time we had at our disposal!

Blogging and me

I admire people who regularly blog and always think they are epitome of self-discipline. I have struggled with it for the last 5 years and I really want to record events of my daily life as they have been amusing and challenging in so many aspects.

These four blogs listed below make me wonder “How do they manage?”

Self – Discipline and putting self before others is what I truly struggle with.

There is always something to do. With two daughters and almost single parenting as my better half is away about 3 weeks in a month.

I recently chatted with an old friend and we discussed our children to what all our friends …their plans, and what they were up to for holidays etc. and even some aspirations…like what our friends and family aspire to do…. and finally my friend asked me ….What are you doing?....I almost had no answer……well I have concluded I need to bring my daughters up to the best of my ability and thatsNo.1 priority. It’s a single agenda item for the next 2 years and may be till 2020!...Thats when R will go to University!
 If I am not pursuing a corporate career which I would have loved to then that’s the way forward. I have completed 7 years not being in full time employment and I can see the fruits of my endeavour in my children and as I always say Charity begins at home. But there is a lot to do and numerous things I wish I could get them to do in the limited time.
It’s not that I indulge in just watching every family opera on TV but it’s just that there is so much to do each day that I struggle every day and wonder where my time has gone .

With renewed efforts I am trying to get back to bloggin regularly again after almost 3 months....

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Dance for Life 2011

Dreams come True ....if you keep dreaming.my first visit to O2 will be to watch my daughter dancing!

So  proud that my daughter's dance groups won two rounds and will be performing at O2 in London for finals!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Holiday in Amsterdam

I have been meaning to write about this for very long ....life just seemd to have its wierd twists and turns today......I am going to write a Gratitude Post daily.....so that I keep myself in the positive zone....inspired by a blog posting by a dear friend!

Here is a short summary of what we managed to do in Amsterdam!

After a near miss catching our flight to Amsterdam we were well set out to enjoy what the city has to offer.

We began with Van Gogh museum. Truly amazing works, followed by the Rijkmuseum.

We had bought the Iamsterdam card for 72 hours  for EUR 59 each so we were all set to explore as many museums as possible. We completed our Day 1 with a canal cruise!

Day 2

We set off of to Zaans Schans – loved the windmills and cheese factory!

Keukenhof – was not impressed as the hype created but we did have a good time walking around

Day 3

Royal palace Amstedam , Nemo Science Centre was highlight for the day  and shopping!

Day 4

Amsterdam Museum

Bags and Purses Museum

Canal House

Else we were back shopping till we headed early to airport ...quite  lucky to change to an earlier flight back home!

Dubai Holiday

Long time since I posted anything!
And the day I decided to post Blogger was down for 20 hrs!

Highlights of the trip

Day 1

We had a wonderful trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi during the half term.
First day  - After a whole day of relaxing in the luxury of the hotel we ventured into Marina Mall supposedly the biggest in Abu Dhabi.

We had a good time looking around, window shopping. The malls in UAE are really big and on wonders if you will get around all the wings on one day.

Day 2

Confidence sets in.

Decided to venture out alone with the girls and took them ice skating.

I entered the skating ring for the first time and had one tutorial session for Riona.

Great place to learn ice skating as you don’t have to  be warmly dressed much to my surprise. Where else in the world can you ice skate in your summer clothes!

 Day 3

Took the intercity bus to Dubai and ventured with the girls to my cousins house. Needless to say a warm meal awaited us and the girls were so happy playing with their children. We went to the Gold Souk which is famous in Dubai!

Day 4

 Morning we went to Burjuman Centre and girls had make up put on them! The malls were fairly deserted in the mornings .Also the hype of Dubai Shopping festival al had just died down ….girls got to meet the magic uncle and saw some magic too before we ventured out to Ski Dubai …It was Thursday evening and weekend crowds had gathered and but Ski Dubai was an awesome experience! The evening was complete with an elaborate dinner at Hawa Mahal with Gazals.

Day 5

Visited Dubai Mall and Burj Dubai…Awesome experience to be on the world’s tallest building!

We also visited Global Village with a friend’s family from where I acquired my first African painting!

Day 6

We went Dessert Safari and sand dune bashing …awesome experience! And back to Abu Dhabi that night!

Day 7

We enjoyed the lunch buffet  at the hotel and went to the beach at Marina Mall…awesome beach to be followed by lunch with another friends family! We even had another family visit us at the hotel late evening!

Day 8

Flew back to UK after a great experience of UAE!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A friend who became best selling author

To read a work of fiction in familiar surroundings is not one usually gets a chance to do in life.

Here I have an opportunity to read a chapter of my life and how I grew up through an author who happens to be my best friend those years…A rarity in all ways …The book is a masterpiece of the surroundings I grew up .. I am thinking of giving this book to my girls when life’s decisions are thrust upon them …and say this is how it was and we still made it and you will it after all “Life is What you make it”

A very compelling title and a story that keeps you in touch with realities of conservative families in the late 80’s. The book also illustrates of how innocent our ambitions are how important they are at certain stages of life. It shows how one gets drawn into relationships that end in consequences beyond one’s control. The book captures circumstance in a real life yet things or actions least expected makes an impact .Finally everyone makes life the way they want it. It is only a matter of when!

The book is well written and keeps you engaged till end. It is set in a world where we had no modern gadgets and yet we nurtured long distance relationships and wrote letters.The world is so different yet ultimately “ Life is what you make it”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A life Story by a TCK - an 11 year old!

This was a classroom assignment given to my 11 year old daughter.
I consider her a live example of "TCK" Third Culture Kid.
I have abbreviated some names to Initials for obvious reasons.
Some of it does have her imagination but mostly it is her view / memory of her life in the last decade in 4 diffferent countries and six schools!

----hope you enjoy this!----I was very proud of her writing and impressed by her clarity in thinking!-

My Life Story

I was born in 1999, at 12:19pm on the night of December 11th in Saffron Hospital located on the suburbs of Cochin, India. During the operation I felt helpless; there was nothing I or anybody else could do to block the screams of terror from my ear. In the end I was placed on a red stool (in my eyes a red carpet) with many watching over me. I was now brought into the world, inquisitive about what I would come to be, when I realized it was real to be me.

Four days later I was to have a ceremony where a priest dipped me in water. This procession was the first of seven sacraments that I needed to complete in order to become a holy Christian. This act is called baptism, which is a gathering of many close relatives and friends when the baby (I) is vigilantly laid in the water symbolizing a new start because our many sins can be cleansed so that I can carry out a sacred life.

After three months our family of three travelled to Bangalore, a known city of extremes because of its poverty and wealth. I stayed in a three bedroom apartment in a cradle. I rarely took naps during the day but stayed alert in my den and was very persnickety with my food. A few days after I turned two I woke up to find a tooth wobbling. I first thought it was a scrap of something I ate recently but when I found it in the same state a day later I told my mom and she inspected the milk tooth and smiled reassuringly and took me to the sink and gently wobbled the tooth and carefully plucked the tooth without causing any pain. I then saw what was below my eyes; a tooth followed by blood pouring as I rinsed my mouth continuingly. As a reward for my patience I received a small orange sweet tablet which I sucked. As for my tooth, it was kept in a drawer until I was old enough to inherit it.

Our family of three was officially changed in to four members on August 27th 2002 ever since we moved back to Cochin to deliver the new born baby. My first sight of R was in the hospital where she sat snoring! I had a feeling we would be very diverse personality wise. When she awoke another 5 hours later she gave me an affectionate gaze as my parents picked her up and made their way back over to the seven seated car.

When I was four we all took a vacation to a luxurious 7 star hotel in Goa, recognized for its beaches. It was a thrill for me and my sister to be offered this treat and I still have many memories of frolicking near the shore, joining in with the seagulls. That was one of many things I will always keep close to my heart to remind me of my childhood in the 21st century.

I moved a third time in 2005 to Singapore which was prim and proper and well – maintained. The only disadvantage is that gum of any flavour is banned from schools, houses, parks and pavement premises but it doesn’t affect me in any way because I keep away from gum at all times because it could harm you if you accidentally swallow it. Here I attended a school called Global Indian School. I made many new friends and gained many new skills such as reading and learning our times tables. One unique compulsory thing I never came across anywhere else was Bharathnatiam which is an Indian cultural dance with many delicate hand movements. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt that the others were appalling at the dance for they never chose to remember the steps and this is why I was put in the middle in the front row so that everyone could have a view of me and if necessary copy the expert, me. We had an end of term show with an after party serving samousas, rice, fish, gravy and caramel pudding to wrap the evening up.

During the summer I took an expensive two-day cruise overseas Singapore. This excursion was lavishing, they had a deluxe buffet and a show to be present at on the deck every night. I remember there were a few talk shows with celebrities and their peeps. Unfortunately I was only 4 and three quarters to store this memory with exact details but I’m very grateful I had the chance to take a cruise.

When I got back to my flat in Singapore; I took my very first steps into water at the age of 6 only. There was a local swimming instructor who gave me private lessons regularly at 12:00 noon. The pool was in the open air but I didn’t need to worry about the warmth of the pool because the surrounding already proved I wouldn’t be chilly while going for a swim. For some reason I was reluctant to learn front roll but was willing to put effort into the three other strokes.

After a short stay (2 years) in Singapore once more to Taiwan which was the People’s republic of China, but was an independent country that spoke Chinese! What were we to do in a foreign region? Luckily an employee of the bank SC, where my father worked negotiated for us in her fluent tone. We were on a scavenger hunt for a new apartment when my father contacted us with good news. He was very impressed by one apartment but he couldn’t tell us the name because it was engraved in Chinese characters. It had a gym, badminton and tennis courts, a play area, a swimming pool, a cycling track and a shop selling many goods and merchandise like jade, a very expensive stone.

Now all that was left was our education in. The offices recommended two schools: Taipei American School and Taipei European School. My parents decided that we should be in separate schools so I went to TAS and my sister went to the latter. They were each highly rated in the society, Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. I started in Grade 2(Year 3) midterm till Grade 4(Year 5.) I settled in very adequately with a new friend called E. She was my buddy for the first day and soon my best friend along with S and J. In TAS Chinese was learnt by everyone and I found that a challenge but my parents were pleased and hoped I would immediately learn the language. For extra curricular activities I take part in jazz dancing, chanterelles singing and individual voice training. I find Taiwan one of the most beneficial countries I’ve visited because of its wide range of skills that I could acquire such as eating with chopsticks and attaining a persistent American accent.

I move yet again to United Kingdom in 2009 and for a change shifted into a new house instead of an apartment or condo. Here I lived in a house in Croydon situated in greater London. Thank goodness they articulate in English or else… I first was given admission to a school called Oval Primary School but soon transferred to Park Hill Junior School but had to repeat Year 4 and Year 5 because in UK the cut off date was different; August 31st but it was worth it because I made many friends along the way.

Now I am currently in Year 6 looking forward to many things such as the end of term play. I wish myself good luck in the future.