When Mr M became a celebrity – Part 2

Continuing our journey from Coimbatore and Mr M popularity over there, we travelled to Pondicherry / Puducherry (as it is called now). Puducherry was a former French region and you can see the remnants of those areas, streets, people living there. When we entered the city, Mr M commented that he was glad that he wasn’t the only foreigner around there and that he had spotted quite a few on the streets.  We had a huge drama on the day we arrived in Pondicherry, thanks to the hotel we had booked and the driver we had hired for the trip. Let’s just say that we had to book a hotel then and there and also ensure we got a new driver travelling from Coimbatore overnight to ensure we still have a driver for the rest of our journey. I would have driven the car if it had come to that, but I really wanted to enjoy my vacation without the hassle of driving.

After sorting out all the problems thrown at us, we started the next day to book our Auroville Matri Mandir visit for the day after. We had no expectations of Auroville so it was quite surprising to see how huge it was. We didn’t stay there much longer as we had our visit planned to Chidambaram. We stopped by the beach for our lunch and there were two movie shootings going on. I was trying to get Mr M to appear in at least one of them, given his penchant for Indian dances and such 😉 But sadly it wasn’t his day. We were shooed away from the place because we were seen in the background somewhere in the dance scene. It wasn’t a popular movie anyway. 😛

Chidambaram is a very popular Hindu Temple. It has references to the Cosmic Science and you could see the idol of Nataraja in CERN too. My brother wasn’t quite sure if non-Indians were allowed or not (because some of the temples in South India, at least, have strict rules) so I had to check before we made the trip and it looked like we would be OK. As usual, Mr M was the only foreigner in that place and people seemed quite happy to ensure that he got a good darshan. We had a good darshan, went around the temple, took our time seeing the murti’s (idols) etc. When we were at the outer praharam (pathway) we came upon a few school kids (6th grade). So far, people went about their work, hardly bothered by a foreigner amidst them. But these kids were different. One of them (she was the gang leader) said hi to Mr M and he smiled and waved back. That was all the encouragement she needed. She called to her friends (total 6 of them, 4 girls and 2 boys) Seeing that I had a camera with me and was taking photographs of anything and everything, they gathered around us and demanded that I take their photographs too. I told them that I wouldn’t be able to send the photos back to them, but there weren’t bothered. They also wanted Mr M in the group photo and the girls wanted me in their group photos too (#GirlPower 😉 ) And then the volley of questions started. Where is he from? What does he do? Why is he here? Was I his wife? Do I have a baby? What language does he speak? etc etc etc. I was the official interpreter. It was quite funny to interact with them. Then Mr M offered to teach them some Gaelige (Irish). They were so excited. He taught them Good day (Dia Duit), Good bye (Slan) and another one which I have forgotten. Of those three things, they only remembered Slan. It was getting late for us and we had to get back to Pondy which is a 2-hour drive. We said our goodbyes and they responded with Slan until we turned around the corner. The whole temple heard their goodbyes in Gaelige. Mr M was very happy that he was able to bring Gaelige to Chidambaram even if it was just one word. We apparently made those kids day because they will have a story to tell their acquaintances about this Irish guy who taught them to say goodbye and we were glad that we met these lovely kids out there and share some good time with them and brought home memories (and photographs).

I told Mr M that any more interests in photographs/selfies with him will incur 20 Rs cost for the people. It would be a good business decision to do so 😉 In Auroville the next day after our trip to Matri Mandir and lunch etc, we decided to try cycling around the place. Auroville is home to lots of Europeans who moved there and are living there for years and years. It is a global city and has its own citizenship. He wasn’t an odd man out there. So I left him to find his way and I cycled a little ahead and waited for him. When he didn’t arrive I had to go back to check on him and found him being part of a selfie by another visitor 🙄 I knew I should have stuck to him and got my money.

The funny part is that when I try to take a selfie with him (and I suck at taking Selfies, so I have to try and take more to learn) he grumbles and mumbles. But throw in a stranger and he is alright with selfies. When asked, he said that if a photograph with him makes them happy, who is he to deny it. Grrrr!

Not just the places we visited, the restaurants we go to, there are two or three waiters are ready to serve him and then they stand close to him to attend to him. It is quite funny and freaky too. He was a little bit uncomfortable with that in a couple of places. But that goes with being a celebrity, doesn’t it? With popularity comes some awkward moments too.

Overall, he was glad to have those moments of popularity and that he could make someone’s day too. Travel is not just about visiting places, it is about these kinds of moments too and we had many such good moments during this trip.

Star Wars and Shakespeare

Overheard in the school coach this morning.

Kid1: What do you think of Star Wars: Rogue One?

Kid2: It totally sucked.

Kid3: It sucked because everyone in it dies at the end.

Kid2: Yeah, because it was written by Shakespeare.

Kid3: !!!!????

Kid2: Well, everyone dies in any Shakespeare story.

Me: Good Lord!

RIP

The first week of school. Good, God! What a week. I can feel the pressure on my neck which has been bothering me the whole week. We were all excited for the week to begin. I had all my lesson plans ready. Attended the Fire Marshall Training and completed the course and now I am a Fire Marshall for my school (yay!) The day arrived and just before the classes were about to start we get a horrible news that one of our students, a very lovely and well-loved boy, died the previous night in a freak accident. It was so surreal. I can still feel my surprise at the staff meeting. Looking at the crying faces of some of the teachers, I am wondering what is this. Are they serious? The boy who had read the article I had posted in the Classroom portal and responded just a couple of days before school that he enjoyed the article and looking forward to knowing more about it. The student who did very well in my subject and whom I thought can be a very good candidate for GCSE in Computing. I tell you, that day was a terrible day. We had to mobilize for some child psychiatrist and psychologists so that they can help the kids and the teachers deal with their loss. His friends were devastated. It wasn’t easy at all. A week has gone by and still, people are struggling. At least the students and friends are slowly accepting the fact that they won’t be seeing him anymore.

We can only imagine what their parents are going through. Some kids have written some poems, eulogies, etc to be given to his parents. We are waiting until they are ready to receive it. Will they ever be ready? Death is something I always find it hard to handle. This one hit a little too close to home. I haven’t been to the school for too long, but there are teachers who have been teaching him for years and I can’t even imagine what they feel like. All I can think of now is: I am glad to have known him even if it was only for a very short time and may his dear soul rest in peace!

Pitching Up – Interesting!

Pitching Up is an endearing portrait of the small town, focused on how introducing immigrants and first-generation Irish to traditional Gaelic sports has helped them integrate into the community, while at the same time preserving the region’s distinctive culture.  –  How Gaelic sports became a culturally binding force in Ireland’s most diverse town

WPC: Wish

If you are a Harry Potter fan, The Millenium Bridge would be on your wish list. We decided to fulfill that when we decided to go to Tate Modern a couple of weeks ago. Here are few photographs of the famous wobbly bridge. And yes, it is a bit wobbly.  There were these kids who ran past us as if the dementors were behind them, screaming ‘come on, run fast. if this bridge falls down, we will be the only ones who will be alive and safe‘ 😀

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You are welcome

Shhh!
I had to keep repeating this throughout the movie, Moana, to my second niece and to my nephew who wouldn’t keep quiet and kept laughing out loud and making comments about Maui (even though I had to translate half of the dialogues from English to Tamil) But they all loved the movie, so did us, elders. It was totally fun and very well made. The songs were very good. I couldn’t help but keep picturing Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson whenever I saw the Maui. I didn’t have enough time or space to actually analyze the movie, given that my niece and nephew were constantly asking me questions and keeping me busy and I was given the task of translating the very difficult scenes too. But I am sure they enjoyed it given the fact that they wanted to go back home and watch the songs again on YouTube. That sure is an indication that the movie went down well. And here I was being super skeptical about the movie when I booked it for them. It was a good day overall.


Post for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “sh.” Find a word that begins with the letters “sh” and base your post on it. Bonus points if you start your post with those letters. Enjoy!

SoCS Badge by John Holton@ The Sound of One Hand Typing

Elsa’s please

I recently got a gift for my nieces. Identical ones, so that they won’t fight. It was just a small kit with hair band, ear rings etc to be worn on a birthday. Since the second niece’s birth day is in December, I thought those two sisters can wear something similar that day. One of them was modeled after Frozen Elsa’s blue color stuff, with Elsa’s picture on the cover. I didn’t know if they had seen Frozen or not. So was surprised when my first niece (the eldest of the two) said that she will wear Elsa’s hair band. Then during a separate discussion she said that for her birthday in February, she would like to have Elsa’s dress as my gift for her. I thought she might go for Anna’s and again was surprised when she asked me for Elsa’s. When I asked her about it she said, well, Elsa is the eldest and I like her dress. Anna’s has a cape which I am not fond of and it is stifling in the heat. 😆

No mistakes yet

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“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
― L.M. Montgomery

A HDR shot of a glorious sunrise which we had the pleasure of enjoying in Chennai Marina Beach without any crowd. My niece and nephew also joined us (even though they were pretty sleepy during the ride to the beach) but were so glad to have seen their first ever sunrise.

Get, Set…

The gifts are ready, rental car booked, camera ready…all set for my weekend trip to visit my nieces and nephew in Chennai. My siblings are coming to take part in their friend’s wedding reception there. So I might miss out on my weekend posts starting with the Friday photography challenge, SoCS and Song lyric Sunday. But will come back on Monday and check them out.

It’s been a while since I have been to Chennai. There was a time when I used to do quick trips from Hyderabad to Chennai for interviews. After that time, the only other stop I made was as a layover on my way to other places like Singapore/Pondicherry. Looks like there might be some rain there, which I wouldn’t mind given that it is 28 degrees C and kind of hot in Bangalore for a winter. Hopefully there will be time for us to enjoy the beaches there in between the rains. And I am also looking forward to surprise my nieces since they don’t know that I will be there too. And I know that my mom would get me her Diwali sweets supply. Yum, yum 🙂

Catch you all later .  Stay safe &  Happy Blogging ☺