“Just a minute, I will be with you shortly”

Chai is a fifty-five year old single father. His wife didn’t leave him for heaven amidst clouds but for heaven in Bangkok itself: a rich man. His daughter is five years old today and he doesn’t want her to leave him for money too. He has taken an oath to change their times and be a rich person. He wants to provide everything to his daughter so she doesn’t turn out to be a greedy person like their mother.

Ying, his daughter has turned ten now. They live in a clean apartment instead of the slum. They have food every day now. Chai has also hired a part-time nanny to look after Ying as he is busy most of the time. Whenever Ying calls for his attention at home, he says “just a minute, I will be with you shortly”.

Fifteen year old Ying finds social media as her best friend. She lives with Johnny; her Golden retriever and her permanent nanny Mary in a spacious bungalow and has abundance of teenager-needs-and-wants. She has many friends to hang out with too, Chai doesn’t know them and the nanny doesn’t bother. Whenever Ying calls Chai on his phone, he says “just a minute, I will be with you shortly”.

Chai is seventy-five today, his businesses growing and health ailing. He spends a lot of time at home now as he isn’t physically fit any more. Since he started being home, he keeps a close eye on his mobile screen and looks expectantly at the door each time the bell rings, however Ying just waltz in and out of the luxury villa. She has no attachment to any one at her so called home except with Johnny, for he was there when she needed someone to just be with her. Whenever Chai calls Ying on her phone, now she says “just a minute, I will be with you shortly”.

Twenty-five year old Ying just received a message of her dad’s death. Typically children rush to their parent’s funerals and thus she is flying back to Bangkok from London. But there aren’t any tears of despair in her eyes. There is no heavy heart or that sinking feeling. In fact she looks forward to her week long holiday on the beaches of Phuket after the funeral. Is that shallow? But she can’t recall a person who had no time for her. Who was never home looking for her arrival. Who was always busy, giving priorities to everything but her. Who never was with her ‘shortly’.

In some ways Ying might have turned to be like Chai, for she is a very busy person. But will she also face emotional failures like Chai? Only time will tell. I give everyone same duration, opportunities you create for yourself. I make sure an hour is same for the rich and poor but how you spend that hour is up to you. It’s true that if you put what’s important to wait, I can’t wait for you. For I am time, and I only keep moving, not waiting.

First week at IH Bangkok in CELTA course

CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

Objective: I chose to take this course as its hidden passion of mine and that happy place I realise of whenever I have taught anything to anyone in life. English language is one of my favorite subjects although I admit to be poor in breaking down sentence structures and sometimes understanding the correct tense, but I simply love the language and wish for more and more people to be able to use it in their lives.

People I met: Adrienne (From America) & Gary (from Scotland) are my tutors. In my class, I had people from US & UK mainly plus one from Tibouti, Morocco, Malaysia and two Chinese. All have excellent skills and ideas. I really like the mix I was to study with. I guess they too enjoyed to know me as I am a local of Thailand.

First day: I was mailed to reach at 8:15am max. Relatively easy to find their location (BTS: SalaDaeng, exit 1 – Silom 64 building with direct connection with BTS station) however, the school (as in physically) wasn’t so soothing to my eyes (especially with amount of fee they charge). I had 12 classmates, most of them already teachers but have come for getting better or getting formal certification. It was just this other guy & me who were switching from business fields. In the morning hours, we were to observe Adrienne teaching class of elementary students (age range 18-61 years) and in the afternoon, we were taught about ‘class room management’ and basic ‘ELT terms’. We were also given lesson plans for teaching tomorrow. And yes, I happened to be one of those teaching tomorrow.

Twelve of us were split into group of two. Six were to teach intermediate class and the other six were to teach elementary class. I belong to the second group. We were explained that each day, three out of six students would teach, each for forty-five minutes. I was the third student to teach the next day.

Second day: I sat like a mice watching other student who are already teachers, bring their magic in front of white board. I was very nervous as this was my first chance to ‘be a teacher’. I can do PowerPoint presentations but I had never taught anything, like a teacher. I was worried. However, when my turn came and I taught forms of verb BE and the contracted forms, it wasn’t so bad, except my timing wasn’t so good, I was running early! Adrienne and my other fellow class mates were observing me to give me feedback after class.

Feedback for me wasn’t as bad as I thought. From the phase of life I had come from, people weren’t so nice & polite. I felt nice to be spoken nice & encouraging words to. After the lunch break, we had class with Adrienne again, we learnt about ‘lesson planning’and ‘receptive skills’.

Third day: Unfortunately, I started feeling quite unwell by Wednesday with running nose & watery eyes. At 9am, we sat with Adrienne to run through our lesson plan for the next day followed by morning teaching practice (often referred as TP) class. I sat there watching my other class mates take their classes and was amazed at each of them. I gave feedback to each about what I felt (basically positive) plus anything interesting that I saw in their classes. After break, we learnt about ‘grammar analysis’and different types of ‘teaching methods’ with Gary, my other trainer. I could say that these approaches are general stuff that we know but to know them in the break-down format and the way Gary taught was interesting & amazing.

By this time, we also had received our first & second assignments in our mailboxes. These assignments’ marks will be included towards CELTA certification (70% pass, 5% fail but the business person in me still wants to compete). I did skim through the assignment and then quickly closed it as I was nervous (usual student life stuff).

Fourth day: I had to take class in the morning and I was second person to teach and very very sick. Adrienne met me in the morning and came back in few minutes to tell me that I could skip a day if I need to or go home after my class and come back before afternoon class (but I live really far). I was touched by how nice the trainers were, the fact that they thought so much about me, the place I had come from, someone’s health wasn’t the main issue usually. Well, I didn’t take the day off as I wouldn’t get repeat of those classes again. So I kept sneezing, blowing my nose and wiping my watery eyes amid the class. My lesson planned to teach went well, rather fast actually. Feedback was okay too. There is this part that I felt really nice about, when the students walked in the classroom, they addressed us with ‘Good morning teacher‘, since I am from a non-teacher background, I literally melted in that moment.

Later in the afternoon, Gary too had asked about my health, I really appreciate their kindness and general interest in the health of their students. In the afternoon class, we learnt in depth about ‘lesson planning’ and ‘teaching approaches’ with Gary. The class was very well set and its fun to realise that you are being taught with same teaching method in the class that is being shown on the board, very practical!

Fifth day: I had to miss the morning class as I needed to visit a doctor, its a pity that I had to fall so sick during this period. I went for the afternoon class and we were taught phonemic script. It’s quite interesting to learn and being told to be able to write it down. I waited for the class to end though as my health was really bad and the air-conditioning in the room didn’t help.

Weekend: Well this is the weekend and I should be doing my assignment but I couldn’t resist blogging about this phase in my life. My health is slightly better (no more watery eyes) but cold & cough are still present. I hope to get better by Monday. I am the first person to take class on Monday (I hope all the technical stuff works), I will be teaching about time. The lesson itself seems easy but the lesson planning does not. The assignment is just sitting on my table looking at me (with boredom) and I just continue to ignore it… but I should get to it.. soon.

Thanks for reading, I will keep you posted.

Some pics-

Teacher Hersheys 🙂

Luxury of Normalcy!

Normalcy, a luxury? Yes, I believe so. Normalcy is a luxury that is usually looked down on, and cherished when we don’t have it anymore. Just like when someone who loves us, leaves us and then realization of a loss settles in the space that he/she occupied in our lives/ hearts.

I think homes are a luxury when compared to having to live somewhere for more than two weeks (at least). Hotels and resorts sound good and so does travel and other exciting options but, in the end, my toilet pot is the best, and my pillow is just made for my neck.

People who we meet on a normal basis in our daily life and the normal memories we gain with these meetings, strengthen us when we need strength (and weaken us when we feel weak). Because our reference point in any drastic (good or bad) situation is always compared to ‘normal’.

I feel normalcy teaches us ’emotional balance’. Because we know what’s normal thus we can feel excited or sad in a not-normal situation. Normalcy gives a chance to find that middle ground between sadness and excitement and many other emotions. Sometimes even those emotions that we wish not to feel.

With normalcy, I don’t mean being stagnant. Just like our bodies are able to adjust to gradually changing temperatures (and some times drastic), we too evolve in our normalcy. As a toddler, our normal is limited to home and then school, then college and then whatever we choose. We evolve.

I’d say cherish what you have got and where you have got it, for what is normal now is not going to be exact same in future (or at least one can’t guarantee). Rags to riches is always a loved story but riches to rags is painful. We might think others are better off than us in ways important to us, it might even be true, yet there is a certain comfort and perks that our normal brings to us. Let’s cherish these and start working on unread chapter of contentment in our lives. Let’s cherish normalcy, that enables us to feel happy!

In conclusion, everyday, let’s cherish hearts we have found space in, those loved ones’ whose fingers fill the gaps between our fingers, the warmth exuded by our personal VIPs that blanket us to be comfortable in our lives.

Merry Christmas!

 

My big day!

I have often heard my married friends say that they never would want to go back to their big day because it was hectic, stressful, didn’t go as they wanted and more complaints. If I had one wish today, I would just love to go back to my big day and see everything and every person again, shake my leg to those songs again, laugh again and dance merrily with my prince charming. I really enjoyed my big day. It was hectic but it was a sweet pain I am willing to take up again. And my husband agrees to this with me.

We had a day to parties and a day to the actual ceremony and both went beautifully with minor hiccups that weren’t heard by most of the guests. To find the correct decor specialist, I had spent months. Some were irresponsible and some became unavailable but I got no regrets for I feel, this all led me to the best decor team. Our catering too was a disaster when we went for food tasting but the chef did learn better and the food was fantastic, guests loved it (I was too busy to eat).

The crowd at our events was actually there for us and not simply turning up to show their faces, eating and walking away. Our guests were generally interested in what we were doing from making an entrance where all younger friends and family danced in pairs and gathered around the stage, making way for us, to watching us exchange rings, cut cake, our first dance, take our seats and then enjoy really special performances of friends and family. We were looking forward to show everyone our pre-wedding music video. It was quite different as I had ditched the white gown for something more traditional, and so was our music, but then everyone loved it. I love it.

I enjoyed being the centre of attention although I wish I had more time to talk more with everyone, I did make a small talk though. I enjoyed small ceremonies that I wasn’t aware of. I enjoyed impromptu poetry and word of advice. Everyone talking from their experiences and sharing the best with me. I liked all the lovely compliments I got that I cherish till date, for they made me happy then, and now.

While growing up, I always watched brides, looking so pretty and walking down the aisle, finally it was my turn to unite with the love of my life. My heart was beating so fast and palms sweaty. I tried not to look down but hold my head high and walk down as gracefully as I could. The actual wedding ceremony went by without a glitch. We had a color theme and all our guests complied with it. That was overwhelming. The flowers were perfect. The ambience was perfect.

I left my home looking dolled up to go to my new house and live with my now boyfriend-turned-husband but here was one major hiccup here. I got stuck in the elevator with few friends and family. And for a moment there I was really scared. All of the day’s event flashed by my eyes and I wondered what would happen next as we realised we weren’t just stuck inside the elevator but the elevator had fallen and we were hanging on to something not so strong. My dad got us out along with rest of the family within half an hour. May be that one incident help me walk away from the bad that was to come, realise how precious life is and be really happy for all that I have got.

I had tears in my eyes for not being able to believe that I was actually married now, but married to my boyfriend, with blessings of all the family, with best arrangements that we could make, for all special guests flying down for us, for friends being the family & cousins that I never had. I cried because I was in awe that I was a recipient of such a great blessing of the God, for I was and am and forever will be immensely thankful.

My big day

My big day

While being perched on the block of concrete

Short bright Red dress hugging her body, showing her curves. Cut quite low below her neck and well above her legs. Her body, not so toned but well cleaned. Her hair, straight and cut short. Easy to handle, no styling needed. She holds a black clutch, not so classy, while perched on a concrete block next to the main road. Slightly swings her fair legs that end in a five inch pencil heels, they don’t seem comfortable at all.

Her face, I find average. She is not a beauty goddess. Not that I am looking down. I find her face extra white compared to rest of her body, foundation, lots of it. She has bright Red lipstick, sultry kind of shade. Her tiny Asian eyes are well lined in Black and cheeks are a bit too Orange. Her eyebrows, lined a bit too straight. All over, it looked like she had put in a lot of effort to look good… but for who?

I have been watching her for two weeks now, dressed similarly everyday. Looking curiously at all pedestrians on the foot path. Particularly men, she smiles at them, catching their eye, assessing them top to bottom. She perks up seeing foreigners, perhaps they wallets stick out more. I see her everyday, at the same place, all by herself, trying to get some business, wishing for some male to pick her.

I don’t look down at her because I don’t know her story, her struggle. Women usually don’t choose this line by their wishes. I understand there must be troubles in her life for she needs to perch on that block of concrete everyday, never mind the weather or the weird looks she gets from passer-bys. She keeps correcting her make-up, trying to look younger, as this business is hot only till your youth is. I wonder where she lives, how she lives. I wonder if she has kids.

She sits everyday determined, smiling. I find her brave for she is facing her circumstances and yet keeping her chin up. I don’t encourage this line but I cant look away from force that brings her here everyday. May be she is forced to come here everyday. I don’t know, but she looks calm. I don’t want to judge her as I only see her. All I wish is for her to find some other business soon to help her when she grows old so she can always be brave, always confident!

Welcome Stranger!

This place is a negotiation and bargain haven

This Asian town that I would like to bring forward to you is internationally equipped with everything one needs. The airport is massive, made of see-through glass with never ending walkways and shopping arenas. People are sweet here and smile through out however, it is the tradition here to smile when happy and even when angry so you can expect being called names with a smile. Everyone here loves fair skin people as they have heavy wallets. They easily discriminate between foreigners and their own. But with a smile, so that is doesn’t pinch the guest of the town.

Food is here usually is extremely spicy but quite cheap. USD1.5 is all it takes for a stomach full of meal. Food is available in abundance at every nook and corner but bigger the restaurant, better the price and perhaps, lesser the quantity. Foreigners might need a handkerchief or mask to cover their face as often food here smells bad for the untrained noses. Shopping here is cheap too, be it be fashion items or tech items however, you cant try clothes before you buy them (i.e. not in branded malls) and tech items you cant refund for when the don’t work (as they are copies). This place is a negotiation and bargain haven but one shouldn’t try any tricks in the opening hour of the shop (its considered bad omen by the locals and will get them very angry, angry enough to not sell you anything at all).

Elders and monks are immensely respected here. Same sex couples are a common sighting yet no law to protect them and give them identity of their own. Our police and military is strong yet late night bike racing is a common sighting. Greenery in the city is picturesque in hotels and parks, otherwise its hardly visible. Getting around the city is not so much of a problem using mass transit train services but a taxi driver might make you reach some place in thirty minutes whereas it might have been just five minutes away. All the roads and sub roads have signs indicating directions so one doesn’t get lost however English font size is one where you need to quint your eyes and read.

There is a lot of history, adventure and scenic places here but foreigners should hurry to visit us as commercialisation is continuously increasing and we cant assure you affordable prices and packages. Our mountaineous regions await you, which are now colder than before. Our beaches await you, which are now dirtier than before.

This is the strange story of my town, all strangers are welcome for an unforgettable experience!

Writing101 : my biggest fear

What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears. If you’re up for a twist, write this post in a style that’s different from your own.

To eat my lunch all alone when everyone has someone sitting next to them… I look forward to having a light conversation with someone.

To travel alone, be it be for petty things or travel & tour… I look forward to have company.

To watch movies alone… I look forward to laughing or crying with someone.

To go shopping alone… I look for someone agreeing to my picks & choices.

To spend a day simply being home alone… I look forward to talk to someone.

To endure a boring day at office, alone amid all… I look forward for someone to chat with me on the phone.

To experience something new… I look forward to have a partner I can recall the moments with.

To lighten the burden on my chest when I am low… I look forward to have some to share grief with.

To spend this life happily and be content… I look forward to my partner being positive and humble.

My fear is ‘loneliness’. All things I mentioned above can be done alone, but having someone just makes the experience ‘better’. I ‘hate’ to be alone.

I had started addressing my ‘loneliness’ sometime back as it had started making me ‘dependent’, so I befriended ‘myself’ and now when someone ‘else’ accompanies me, my joy simply ‘triples’.

Writing101: ‘Lost & Found’

Today, imagine you work in a place where you manage lost or forgotten items. What might you find in the pile? For those participating in our serial challenge, reflect on the theme of “lost and found,” too.

I work in one of the most dimly lit and quiet cubicles. People only run up to me when they remember that they have forgotten something. All are curious eyed, pleading hands with worry etched on their face. I long to see normal happy people. I flip through another box of ‘lost and found’ items that the cleaning department has sent my way this afternoon. A pink watch with plastic strap and needles ending with silver stars, presumably a teenage girl’s. Next, a USB, well we find at least ten everyday, will keep a check if anyone asks for it. Next, a big plastic case with some sort of album inside. I turn it around to find a note, raising my right eyebrow, I set to read it. ‘If you find it, don’t try returning it. I couldn’t have destroyed it myself thus I thought of simply letting it go’. Okay! This doesn’t happen everyday.

Suddenly I was all alert and quite bit excited. I pulled the album out of its case and started with the first page. Pictures of a boy in his teens: brown eyes, long Black hair, perfectly arched eyebrows, medium built, fair, good looking over all. There are pictures of him grinning, sticking his tongue out (why take such close ups?), playing soccer, standing in front of a home. I flip to the second page, pictures of a pretty girl. Again those close ups and her hugging a basket ball. She has long Black hair, dark Brown eyes, Pink lips, full smile and perfect jawline. Quite pretty.

I glance at the next page. Their pictures holding hands, riding on a horse next to a beach, playing chess and one in school uniforms. On to the next page, I see these kids more grown up now. There are pictures of them having ice cream (cookie & cream it seems like), standing in front of a museum, at a bowling alley and at a temple. The next page is filled with every kind of selfie but what has kept my interest alive in this album, besides the weird note, is their happy faces. Their smiles and chemistry seems quite infectious. They seem quite close in these pictures: hugging, kissing and very comfortable with each other.

The next page has the boys picture at the airport with all his luggage next to him. He looks teary eyed. A valentines day chocolate heart and rose. His arm in a plaster (what happened here?). Close up of back of her neck with tattooed initials saying G.S. I find some torn pieces of paper in this album. Feeling like a mystery solver, I quickly assemble these pieces to find it is an engagement party invitation (What?). What have I come across? And why is it torn?

What do I do of an item that has been purposely lost? To my eyes, it seems like this album spells a rosy future, what could have gone wrong? Cant they talk about it and fix it? I wish I had a partner like her. I wish I wasn’t lonely. Life will definitely give these both other chances but every flower has a different essence and not every fragrance is our favorite and the favorite cant be forgotten ever, as it doesn’t simply please the senses but our heart.

Writing101 : Community camps cancelled?

You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. For your twist, read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours!

I scream for my sister with my voice full of of shock “they cancelled community camp this year, forever!”

“What!!!” she reflects my look of shock “Why??” she shouts back.

“I don’t exactly know, they have written that the attendance had reach its lowest and it was difficult to continue as the reasons in the mail”, “this is sad, really sad!”.

“I know di*, we always looked forward to this week long community camp, every year” my sister says.

“Yeah! and those kids who will never get to experience the camp life like we all did through out our childhood to teenage, up till last year actually” I speak as moments spent in the camp start playing in my head.

“Yes di, you were one of the assistants last year, bossing around, hahaha” she teases me.

“Not bossing! just maintaining discipline” I say and stick my tongue out at her.

“You know, I used to like those Amazing Race games, remember the one where all the group mates had to make longest human chain, we all had practically lied down on the soccer field underneath the blazing Sun, but it was fun! My group had won” she remembers gleefully.

“I also used to like those indoor games, remember the one where we were given a lot of newspaper, scotch tape and just about an hour. We had to come up with a human wheel. It was a whole lot of group effort” I chimed in.

“Yeah, camps taught me how to deal with different people, taught me leadership skills besides which, I made so many friends. Oh and the food! I used to so look forward to all the meal times” she says reminiscing fondly.

 

“I used to dislike getting up early though and those long queues for the rest room. And then the run to the main hall so I wouldn’t be late” I complained.

“But you used to sleep late!” she pointed out and we both laughed.

“You know besides all this, camp taught me more about myself. How to be, just by myself and look after myself. Camp made me grow my own personality, and out there people liked me because of myself and not the school I come from or whom am I related to. I used to really like this fact” I said.

“Sorry, I know this is not related to what you just said and that is important, but I just remembered the camp fire nights!!” She said and both our faces lit up.

“Yeaaa, I used to love dancing like crazy on those nights to almost anything they played. And the best part was there was no audience. Everyone was on the floor dancing! The organizers used to have such hard time to send us back to our dorms… where we simply continued dancing and partying alcohol-free. However when we all woke up the next morning, some or the other part of our body would be so sore hahaha” I said enthusiastically.

We both were now sitting cross legged on the comfy sofa and facing each other. For the moment, it was more important to talk about the camp and all other things could wait. Somewhat like honoring what camp was to us and remembering it with a smile rather than showing dismay on the fact, that it will be no more.

 

(*di comes from Didi which means elder sister)

Writing101 : No!

Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What jumps out at you? Start there, and try a twist: write in the form of a letter.

Dear No,

Why do you always come across me on all the places where I am supposed to be? Why do people carry you along with me in their pockets? You are shorter than me but can break hearts and dreams. Sometimes you even come across as so rude and arrogant. Why can’t you simply disappear and leave the whole world to me? After all, I always bring smile to the lips of all, who use me and who hear me!

I understand the importance of it being important to say No at times but still, I simply don’t like you as I cannot take a No for an answer. And your modern versions: ‘Nopes’ & ‘Naah’, I seriously dislike them too, even though they sound more melodious, they mean just the same and have the same big, fat, round and Red face like you.

The world could be a better place with politer people and none of you. For everyone could ask anyone for anything knowing their wishes will be granted or looked for at its best. I really dislike you, you ruin my existence and become the end of me. I wish you cease to exist.

Sincerely,

Yes.

(My book = Readers Digest, word = No)