Friday, September 10, 2010

Post: Sep. 10

On Tuesday morning I travelled into Chennai for the second day in a row to judge a battle of the bands competition held by a local radio station, Chennai 104.8FM. They wanted a reality T.V. kind of vibe. It was me, the sponsor company's C.E.O. and a radio d.j. doing the judging. It was pretty fun. The bands were mostly rock, pop and metal. I actually despise reality T.V. and completely disagree with those judges who tell people condescendingly they're better off sticking with their day job. As a judge I had to be blunt sometimes but tried as much as possible to give all the bands constructive criticism from a music educator's standpoint. It was tricky though. There was one band comprised of some fifteen year old school students whom I had to ask to stop playing to tune their guitar, which they tried to do but not very successfully. But whether or not they played well or were nervous or made mistakes or didn't win, it was a great opportunity for performance practice. Competitions are an excellent way to deal with performance hiccups. You will never come away empty handed from any kind of performance practice as, at the end of the day, you've won yourself another growing experience.

A butterfly hanging out on my doorstep yesterday...

I had a lovely experience with a frog last night. There are two sets of sliding doors in my room and for a while they've been inhabited by two rather large frogs. Two nights ago one of them came out to say hello. This was the first time either of them had come out of their hiding places. I called the manager and he sent two houseboys (who were totally laughing at me) to extract said frog and put him back in his natural environment. One of them took my garbage pail and caught the frog inside it. As he carried it out, the frog perched himself regally on the edge of the pail as if he was on parade. The minute he passed the threshold of my door he made an enormous jump to freedom. So, one down, one still ribbiting away in the other windowsill. Last night, I came back to my room after dinner to find Frog Number Two on the wall right by the door. I felt ridiculous calling for a frog extraction two nights in a row, so I took a deep breath (mind over matter!), grabbed my pail and tried to catch him against the wall. He moved so quickly all I could do was shriek like a little girl (and the door was open for everyone to hear) as he dramatically leaped over my head and landed on the chair about two metres away. From there, he quickly leaped onto the curtain and waddled his way down and back behind it. He's still hiding back in the windowsill as I type. Frog = 1, Me = 0. (But points for bravery?)

Right now I'm reading a really great book called "The Inscrutable Americans" by Anurag Mathur. It was recommended to me by one of the students here (thanks, Anand!). The story follows a 21 year old man from a small village in India as he travels to America to study chemical engineering at a college for one year. It's quite a humourous book but has some serious parts as well. Everything about the cultural differences the protaganist observes and experiences is bang on the mark. The main character is completely endearing. I highly recommend it, especially to anyone interested in seeing the cultural differences between America and India demonstrated by a very well-written story.

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