What a year!

This year has been a rollercoaster of sorts, hasn’t it? Never would I have thought that it would have so much packed in one year.

A friend of mine wants a refund on this year πŸ˜€ I don’t blame him. It has not been smooth sailing.

We were supposed to travel to India in April which was put on hold for a month without having any clue as to whether we would even get a refund or a credit note for the flight tickets we had paid for six months ahead of our travel date. We got our credit note finally after 3 months of our travel date. Now we don’t know if we will be in a position to use it before the deadline which is next year May. One can only hope.

The decision to move our teaching online which threw a spanner in the works making us work 8 hours per day just creating the necessary materials and videos for our delivery. I almost lost my voice doing those and then delivering the lectures as usual over online platforms. It was a double whammy, but at least the students were happy and we did very well with our third semester where everything was completely online.

I have had the experience of Working From Home (WFH) during my days working as software engineer, so the switch was quite easy for me and I found myself being very productive too. We also delivered three weeks of summer school online which concluded recently and it was also a huge success. Never would I have thought that I will be teaching a 100+ kids on Zoom about the basics of wireless networks πŸ™‚

Mr M who has never worked from home absolutely loves it now. He would be a very happy person if he has to never set foot in his office again πŸ˜€ He loves his work, but he loves working from home more than working from office.

We did the whole bake during lockdown thing too, not as much as others seemed to do it. We couldn’t get enough flour to start with during the peak lockdown time. We also didn’t understand the whole toilet roll drama that happened. But at least we now know what people’s priorities are in case of any calamities or disasters.

We kept ourselves busy by going for regular walks around the block, trying my hand at Bingo for a Cancer charity (where I won a round too! yay!!!), have Zoom calls with friends, what not! We have managed to work well with each other in the same room without having the urge to kill each other πŸ˜‰ and keeping clear of each other during the Zoom sessions (we have witnessed enough Zoom video disasters).

After working non-stop (Mr M had his three month break where he was furloughed), I took a week off and we decided to go on a mini trip in and around Swansea. We decided to do the St Thomas Way tour/pilgrimage. It was a much needed break and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Things elsewhere has not been going good has it?, the wide spread of the virus in India where my parents, siblings, and friends are, the wide spread fires and riots close to where my friends are in the US, the politicisation of the epidemic, the stupidity of the people who party as if there is no tomorrow, the sheer lack of common sense… I should say we are lucky to be in good health doing what we like to do (touch wood) and may it continue. But it is also important to realise that we can never go back to what was “normal” for us all. A new “normal” is going to take time and it is OK to have a new normal. This is one of the changes that we didn’t want but cannot ignore. We might as well wisen up and learn to adapt. We have done so for so many ages, so why not now? It is going to be hard and there will be people who will take advantage of it, but those are the ones who have always put their own prosperity before the general goodness anyway. That has never changed. What we can do is take care of our own in our own small way and hope for the best.

Stay safe and Keep smiling πŸ™‚

A week later…

It’s been a week now since the lock-down was announced. We baked a ginger cake to commemorate this. I am used to working from home (wfh) and since Mr M has been working part time, he too has taken to wfh like fish to water. I will have to see what impact it has on him in another week.

With my work, we were able to replace an exam with a coursework and get the semester done, create some resources for school students for offline activities etc. Lots of work done in a week tbh. I am sure it is going to calm down a bit in another week. Keeping the children engaged and interested after a couple of weeks is going to be challenging. My second niece who is just 9 years old was horrified at the thought that she can do some learning at home. “We have got some respite from learning now, why would anyone want to learn when we can enjoy playing all day long?” she asked me. I am pretty sure, after a few more days of fighting with her sister, even their rivalry will become boring for her πŸ˜€ (fingers crossed). As for the elders, my mom is going crazy having to separate those two fighting all day long.

When this is all over, I am sure some of my colleagues who are experiencing remote working for the first time (since most of them finished studies very recently) would find it very boring to get up and get ready for work πŸ˜‰ Even more boring to face people in person and not via Zoom or Skype! My only fear is I might end up putting on some weight because after a while there is nothing more to do and while watching TV I love snacking. I am making a conscious effort to be very good and use my Wii for my exercises.

Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping their distances. The restrictions are going to be more severe, which is essential. Keep healthy and keep smiling. We can get through this only by holding on to hope and some common sense.

It's been a while

It has been a really long time since I had any time to sit and write a blog post. I have been posting on and off on Instagram and Twitter but sometimes there is so much to do and so much to read, I hardly find time to do anything else.

It has also been a while since I did this ‘working-from-home’ thingamajig. When I was working as a software engineer, that was my thing. I loved doing wfh. Cannot do much of it when you are teaching in a school. Now that we have to do the work from home due to the current covid 19 situation, I find that I am already comfortable doing it without having to worry about what will happen in a week’s time. My experience has taught me the trick of doing it and still maintaining sanity.

I know a couple of my colleagues and friends are already pulling their hair out, and it has been only a couple of days since we moved to working from home. My day one has been marked with me taking the day off which was booked well in advance. So took advantage of it and had a mega cleaning session and ensured that I had the setup ready to get on with my work from tomorrow. Also got my Wii setup for my regular workouts.

The situation otherwise is as we all know not so great. People are still being idiots, being ignorant, being selfish, which is expected, but there is also so much love and care going around which I think we should focus. I sincerely hope that those that don’t take this seriously yet come around soon and do what is necessary not just for themselves but for every one concerned.

I am glad that finally the focus is on the people who have always been the backbone of a well functioning society but have always been ignored; the public servants, the nhs staff, the teachers, the service officials, etc. I hope they stay safe and healthy for the sake of everyone else. Kudos to them all!!!

β€œHappiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – (Harry Potter) J.K. Rowling

Starting to Kick – Wk 3

It had been a very busy week work wise. Hence the delay in my updates. This week my swimming day wasn’t great. Had an hours sleep the previous night, woke up all tired and sleepy and had to be in a school hour and a half distance away, the weather was awful, you name it. In spite of all that I was determined to go ahead with my swimming lessons hoping that I wouldn’t drown myself because of the lack of sleep. I reached the pool only 10 mins before my lessons.

The previous week we had a discussion at work on the techniques to be used to float on the back easily and get back up without my arms flailing. I wanted to try that technique to see if I could get back from floating without holding the pool wall. I wasn’t very successful but after 5 times I got it right the last time. My instructor made me try the kick on the front and get me to move from A to B.

I was doing the kicking all wrong by using the whole leg instead of just the feet. After almost 10 times, I wasn’t able to do anything with my leg. I was exhausted. Combine that with the fatigue I was done for the day and it was only 15 mins into the lesson. I alternated my kicking lessons with my trials for the floating and was more determined to try harder until the end of the lesson.

The last 10 mins of the lesson (out of the 30 mins) was spent with me trying to float, kick, and watching the clock alternatively. Once it was over, I wasn’t be able to walk straight. Mr M came to my result, as usual. But I was able to successfully move at least 30 cm using my kicks and that is a great deal for me. I will take any small success I can get with respect to my swimming lessons.

First Live Football

Recently we were lucky to get some tickets for the football match between Swansea City and Nottingham Forest at the Liberty Stadium. Mr M watches a lot of sports on the tele. I always thought that football is slightly boring as you could watch the whole of 90 mins and there still wouldn’t be any goal. A whole match gone by without any team scoring a single goal. Very frustrating, I should say.

So, when we went to the stadium, after some tense moments regarding the tickets, we finally got in. Even though I have been to the Liberty stadium for a rugby match, the seating for the football was different. I found that the Nottingham Forest fans were seated together in a separate section. Slowly and steadily the pitch started to change. The Swans fans were seated close to those Nottingham Forest fans too. Odd that. You can imagine the drums starting to roll, the booing starting to gain momentum etc. It was becoming exciting, at least to me.

When you watch a football on the tele, you don’t realize how much is going on in the pitch. Every step counts. The reaction of the fans for every single movement in the game keeps you engrossed in the game. It is a totally different game altogether out there. I never realized that. I was getting distracted with all the fan exchanges that was going on. The more rowdier it got, the more fun it was to me πŸ˜€ No wonder people like to watch a match live.

When I thought that I would end up watching a game with 0-0 result, Notts finally scored towards the end and changed the game stats. All together I had lot of fun watching the match live.

Staying Alive – 85 – Wk 2

For people who are wondering about the title, it is the effect of watching the programme called “The Chase” sponsored the Gala Bingo. I love those bingo calls that is shown in those adverts. It is also very relevant to the current post.

Week 2 of my swimming lessons went well. Nothing too dramatic, sadly. One of the best investments I have ever made in my life is 20Β£ which I spent on a silicone based ear plugs and a very good pair of swimming goggles. Saved my life to be honest. I went in a little early for my lessons so that I can get a bit more familiar with the water and make sure it knows who I am. There were other lessons going on for kids, but I stayed on the other patch and tried to remember to float. Didn’t get very far, I should say, but at least I did not cry for help.

I got a noodle and tried to hold on to the edge of the pool and float on my back. It was good, I was getting comfy, but I couldn’t get myself to get back in the water and stand. I still have to practice it a bit more on my own to identify the small trick that will help me do that. Thanks to all the efforts of hitting myself on the pool edge to get back up, I have got a shiny bruise on my wrist. I am OK with it as long as I get somewhere with floating.

Since the sectioned part of the pool was open to everyone, three young kids decided to show off and annoy me a bit. This has happened in the past and I am sure it will happen again. But thanks to the super cool ear plug I didn’t hear what they said, even though one kid did come to me and said something in Welsh which I decided to ignore because I don’t think he said anything nice anyway. An instructor came around and asked them to behave because they were mucking about in the water dragging each other down. They were just being kids, may be a bit mean, but kids nonetheless.

When my lesson started I was still not able to float on my back and I was still not able to get my leg up to kick, but at least I tried very hard without panicking and was able to put my face inside the water and breathe out. I did drink and inhale a few pints of it in the process which has triggered my sinus to go berserk, but it is part of the process I guess. The funny part was when my instructor came around to remove my goggles. I was wondering why. Well, I had worn it the wrong way around. πŸ˜€ I didn’t even realise that. I didn’t place it correctly and I realised that when I went into the water. I have got a red eye to show for my mistake.

But hey, at the end of the day, I survived even though she made try the kick so much that I was exhausted and started looking at the clock and counting the minutes. I didn’t panic, I didn’t feel like bawling my eyes out, I was able to feel the water, see the water and came out alive with some bruises and red eye to show for my efforts. Not too bad, I should say. I ain’t gonna cross the English Channel any time soon, but at I am trying to keep up the effort to learn.

Languages – Funny things they are…

I have started to learn Welsh (as part of work, we get to do a course for free) and I just finished learning numbers. I cannot help but see the similarities between the pronunciation of those numbers in Welsh and Hindi (even though Hindi ain’t my native language). Here is a table where I list the way the numbers are pronounced in Welsh and Hindi. In Welsh, the vowels are different from English and the actual pronunciation is in the brackets.

NumberWelsh (pronounced as)Hindi
1un (een)ek
2dau (dai)dho
3tri theen
4pedwarchaar
5pump (pim)paanch
6chewch (quekh)che
7saithsaath
8wyth (aith)aat
9naw (nau)nau
10degdhus

Not much different are they? Wonder how they got to be this similar in pronunciation of the numbers. Will I find any more similarities the more I learn the language?

Drama Llama – Wk 1

It has been a while since I wrote about anything. But now, I have got a reason to record what is going on. So I might try and post weekly about it so that I can see how I am progressing.

I have always be afraid of water. No clue as to why. It might have something to do with my parents trying to dunk my head in the river Ganges when we were on our once in a lifetime trip, or it might have been my friends who tried to drown me in the sea in Bali. Whenever we visit a water park I opt for the looking-after-the-bags duty which will keep me away from the water and the waves. I don’t like water entering my ears. Not one bit. Now I live in a sea side city with beautiful beaches. I love to go and get my feet wet in the sea but that is all I am willing to do. I have had “learn to swim” as my New Year Goal for so many years that I ultimately stopped adding it to my list.

So I decided recently that I will try and get this fear out of my way. It has been going on for way too long. I got myself enrolled in a “adult swimming confidence” lessons, which runs for half an hour every week. I did my first week. Well, at least I am still alive and am here to tell you all about it. So that is a start.

I knew I was afraid of water and I wouldn’t get in the pool, but I didn’t expect that I would be petrified. My instructor asked me to get into the pool first, and I wouldn’t. I was getting terrified more by the minute and was on the verge of getting up and walking away. It didn’t matter that the pool was so shallow that the water was only up to my hip. It took her a lot of effort to convince me that she wouldn’t let me drown and she will be there to hold my hand for me to relax. My first activity was to lie on my back and enjoy the water. Again, I wasn’t gonna let my ears get wet. As a result I wasn’t relaxing and I was panicking to get my leg back into the water. All the while I was holding on to the noodle and there was no chance of going under water. But how would a scared mind know that. After 4 attempts she realised that I wasn’t gonna do it well on my first attempt so she asked me to try and lie of my front and try and kick the water. I tried. I really really tried. I promise. My legs wouldn’t go up. It was happy inside the water touching the ground. But at least I wasn’t panicking about getting my ears wet.

After half an hour of this drama, my legs still wouldn’t stop shaking in-spite of it being inside the water and now that I have stopped doing any manoeuvre. She praised me for trying so hard and that I had got into the water in-spite of my fear and survived 30 mins in it. That is a big plus according to her. I thanked her and was happy that I am getting out of that place.

When I came back home (thanks to Mr M for picking me up after I didn’t want to wait another 20 mins for the next bus) I just wanted to give up and bawl my eyes out. I was so close to losing my shit. I hate that I am so afraid, but also glad a bit that I am doing something about it. If you don’t get any more updates about my swim drama, you know that I have drowned in the shallow pool of water.

Same product, different pronunciation

Pantene Commercial in UK
Pantene Commercial in India

Same product, same name, but pronounced so so differently. Now, I wonder why that is. It confuses people like me.