Wednesday, 16 August 2017


This is my last piece of writing for now, as I reach back in England on the 18th August for wedding mania. This blog only has only skimmed the surface of my experience and work here in India. And I look forward to telling you much more in person.

The last week has been full of emotions, as I have said many goodbyes to incredible, inspiring, vulnerable, sensitive, happy and funny children. My little brothers and sisters. And adults too, who have had a big impact on my time here in India. And there are still many whom I haven't parted with yet! :(

My mission last week was to complete what seemed like millions of certificates. You know you spend too long in the Xerox print shop, when the man buys you morning samosa and then evening coffee. I would close my eyes and all I would see is certificates. Ahhh!!

My hours spent printing and laminating these certificates, will mean lifelong memories for these kiddies. And when they tell you that the certificates are so nice and so beautiful, the certificate headaches were worth it.

For the 7 girls at Arni, I organised and put together a little sewing and craft box for each of them. In return they brought me a sugar pink teddy bear and a teeny tiny little chocolate bar. The teddies in India don't seem to have fur and come in plastic zip bags. It is the best teddy that I have ever been given. See my teddy in the background?

 These kids climb over walls to see me!!!

On the bus back from the penultimate trip to Arni, after another busy crown session, I was extremely exhausted. I thought I would close my eyes and fell into the deepest sleep, nearly falling off the seat, so it's a good job no one decided to sit next to me.

 Cow or bus?
My last day at Arni, the boys took pleasure in playing some brass band music, so I scooped up the kids and we danced around the banyan tree, as much as one can to marching music. The teacher had just made them sit quietly, so I don't know what he was thinking when he turned round and they were all going wild to dance with me! I am going to miss these kids so much!

One little boy gave me a lovely little ring and the headmaster presented me with a new umbrella, as apparently whenever he sees me, I am holding an umbrella!

One morning when I reached back from yoga and was drinking my morning cup of tea. Murali, the house father, brought some scales next to where I was sitting. He demonstrated that I should weigh myself. I never weigh myself. I told him, No thanks, but he insisted... so we both now know how many kilos I weigh.

I have been having very busy and very long days, so when I reach back, the tea the maid has put in the flask for me has turned cool. So I head over to the microwave to heat it. Maid love follows me and frowns at me typing in 40seconds. She clears the screen and enters 75seconds. “Woah!“. She tells in in Tamil it's OK! Both distracted I head over to the microwave with 13seconds to spare, to find the tea has transformed into a bubble teacano! We both laugh!!
Going to the in cinema India is a must. I went again this week, and although the movie was abit naff, the audience participation gets 5 stars. Whistling, shouting, cheering. It's like going to see your favourite band or a pantomime.

Rainy season is here, which is cool... just cool! It also results in walking back from the beauty parlour and sliding into a puddle, good job I didn't get a pedicure yet!

I love my local acquaintances here in Gandi Nagar. From my neighbours, to the banana man, to the badly crippled tailor, to the phone recharge family, to the lady with the exotic fruit, to the ironing men, to the ladies in the stationary shop, to the regular bus conductors, to the long haired and long bearded old man who shouts Good Morning so enthusiastically, I burst into the biggest smile even if I am tired or stressed! These people complete my day, and I too complete theirs I'm sure.

Thankyou so much for reading! Vanakkam!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

It has been another eventful, exciting and super busy week.

Last weekend I visited my friends in Bangalore, where I ate my first custard apple, ate traditional Gujurati food and met my friends family, with whom I played jenga, learnt matchsticks tricks, witnessed some fine paper-cutting and watched Boss Baby the movie.

I also experienced my first Indian nightclub. I had a good dance and was definitely out of place in my Indian dress.

Back to the workshops and the boys at the hostel completed the walls! Hurrah! And it looks amazing.

Shiny happy heads. Crowns have continued, because everyone wants to make crowns, just like everyone wants to make masks.

Their can be problems with letting students handle my camera, the positive is that I can see what the have been up too when my mind is over occupied. For them to be able to use and access the camera is just an add on to their creativity, and majority of time material is great! And sometimes I watch back videos and think, I was there, but I didn't really register what happened. I have too much else happening to take it in properly.
These two photos are taken from a video. Look at how happy they are!

The Girls Group at Arni saw magic happen before their eyes when I introduced sunprint paper. I think they enjoyed the thrill of how fast we could develop these prints. Every time we would count down, before pulling out the paper.

We then sat in the room where I store the arty goods and the students work. 2 rooms connected by a little open space. As the girls worked on their paper flower designs, I headed into the other room to switch off the fan, and quick as a flash the cables flew out of control wrapping around the dying fan. Well I did some kind of mission impossible dive across to where the girls were sitting and scared the living daylights out of them as well as myself.

Rain has been pouring more here now, so when my poorly shoes started to collect mud leaving wet, brown footprints everywhere, I decided it was time to throw them into the bin. So the next few weeks I shall just be phillip philloping around town.

The teachers made this beautiful person at the staff meeting. Now he stands protecting those in the office.

This Saturday we organised a little party down at the learning disability school, where I gave the children certificates and an arty gift. I set up a little show of the work, for the parents to see. It's incredible to meet such inspiring people, families, teachers and children alike. I am proud to be a part of it.

Yoga continues and meditation is introduced. My Cookbook of Jhansi's recipes is slowly filling up. And I feel finally I am quite good at this hand-washing business. Life lessons to bring back to England. And check out this exciting desert... A Falooda full of surprises!!!