New Place, New School and New Timings 

​Anirud has started class 6 at a new school in Abu Dhabi. It would be his fourth school after Chesham Bois CE School, Gopalan National School and Greenwood High. As always, his expectations from the school are for a big library with a good collection of books. He appears to be looking forward to the new school and the year ahead with the only dampener being the very early start from home. 

With most of the schools located far away from the city in UAE, the kids will have to travel approximately 40 kms each way. So, we end up having the bus outside our building at 6:10 am (yes, you read it right), which means he will have to be up and running not later than 5:15 am. There is no other go and we hope he’d get used to this routine pretty soon. 

Eleven

Dear Anirud

Let me start by wishing you a very happy birthday. My boy, you turn eleven today.

You are no longer the same little boy who used to hold my hands and walk in the streets of Chesham pointing to every shop and say “soo (shoe) shop”, “bank shop”, “rain rain go away shop” etc. You are no longer the innocent boy who would believe me and get scared when I say that I am going to meet your school’s head teacher and get your name changed to something funny in the school records. You are now a smart young boy, just a year away from being called a teenager giving us pride and agony in equal measure. Well, I was kidding. More of pride and less of agony. :))

How has the past year been for you Anirud? Perhaps, this is the first time in the last eleven years I have been out of station for most part of the year.  As it turns out, unfortunately I wouldn’t be lucky enough to wish you in person.

On the school front, the past year saw you move from the ICSE syllabus to the International curriculum, which you seemed to like. You know well that your mom and I thought a lot about before making the move. We did think that you would be able to fit in well and you did. One of the things we observed in you during the course of the year was the way you stepped up as needed by taking more interest in your school activities without being prompted – very often stretching beyond your usual hours and seeking additional support when mattered. I should really appreciate you for trying hard – be it on academics or flute or violin.

As much as you enjoyed our Delhi – Agra – Jaipur trip in 2014, I hope you loved travelling to Abu Dhabi last December and undertaking the desert safari. Didn’t you also get an opportunity to meet with the legendary Rafael Nadal and Kevin Anderson. When you travel around the world, you just don’t get to see places, but also come across such awesome moments. We do wish that you get to travel a lot more around the world and gain lot of exposure in the years to come. While talking about Nadal, it is rather unfortunate that we couldn’t continue your tennis lessons as it proved to be a logistical nightmare.

Your love for books can never be overstated. If I remember right, it was this year you started and finished reading the entire Harry Potter series. Yet, I believe Rick Riordan continues to rule over you on books, isn’t it? Although we take pride in your love for books, we do want you to keep aside your Kindle, get out of the house and play in the fresh air. I know you do that. But we would like you to do that without being told. Would you? 🙂

The last one year has been a roller coaster ride for all of us. I moved to Abu Dhabi and you folks remained rooted at Bangalore. Talking over the phone and Skype are definitely not the best of the means to interact, but in a matter of few months, we all will be together and I really look forward to that.

When it was time for you to prove your mettle at the entrance tests at your new school in Abu Dhabi, you cracked it with aplomb by being the topper among the other students. That was a job very well done.

I am aware that you have made new friends at school and also at the apartment,  which is good. I liked the way when you described Abhay as “he is the typical friend in need is a friend indeed” kind of friend. If I recall correctly, there was an instance or two when you were hurt by your friends, which is very much a part of life. Accept it and just move on.

As I have articulated in person many a times in the past, there are few niggles – only very few of them, if sorted out would make you an even more lovable boy than what you are now. Although on many occasions, you have stepped up in my absence and helped Amma, there have been instances where you have driven her insane – especially considering the fact that she is taking care of you both without any help.

Apart from the above, I would say things have been great with you. You continue to be an inspiration to Srivaths and we do find it funny when he drives you nuts with his demands.

Continue being yourself and have a fantastic year ahead. Stay blessed.

Love,
Appa.

Update on Anirud

There was once a time when I used to religiously update this blog documenting every possible milestone in Anirud’s early years.  Hmm… that was a long while ago. There are quite a few things that happened between this post and the previous one. So, here are the snippets.

*  In April this year, Anirud turned 10. We did not celebrate it in a big way, but had a quiet celebration at home.

*  He moved to Grade 5 at school and also got moved to IGCSE curriculum (British). Had we been living in UK, he would have been studying in Grade 6 now, but he lost a year due to our relocation to India in 2011. Anyway, that is not something that we (or for that matter Anirud himself) are unduly bothered about.

*  Anirud is learning to pla tennis and has been making reasonable progress in the last few months.

*  He is also learning to play flute for the last 2.5 years and he has been doing good there too.

*  Anirud is often bossed around by his kid brother Srivaths, but has now learnt to *tackle* him. 🙂

*  The fact that he is a book worm has been documented in this blog many a times. His current favourte author is Rick Riordan, as he has read almost all of his titles. He is currently on to Harry Potter series, but somehow doesn’t seem to like ‘Lord of the Rings’.

 

More on him in the forthcoming days (hopefully!). 🙂

Going Bananas

Ever wondered what one means by ‘Going Bananas’? Seems that it is the brat world idiom for ‘going crazy’ or ‘going nuts’. Apart from having to be updated with these idiotic idioms, one has to put up with the constant usage of such phrases. Simply put, I am going bananas.

Letter to Anirud

Dear Anirud

First things first. Let me wish you a very happy birthday on behalf of everyone who loves you.

I could not believe that we are celebrating your ninth birthday this week, as I still remember the first time I saw you as a 30-day old baby, little more than the size of my palm.

Looking back at the year that went past, I should say you had one of the great years. You started Class 3 at a new school. Although you have always loved every school that you have been to, this one seemed to be more to your liking than Gopalan National School, where you studied Class 1 and 2. This school not only got you some new friends of your wavelength, but also gave you lot of options for the co-curricular activities that you were interested in. To add to that, isn’t it true that the huge library of books always excited you? Academically too, you did really well, as always grasped the concepts pretty quickly and scored nicely even though we never focussed on the ‘marks’ aspect of your learning. You started learning a new language (French) and seemed to love it too, although hand writing continues to be your only nemesis.

Flute is a beautiful instrument to play. At the same time, it is a bit tough for someone of your age to master. With the focus on fingering, blowing and speed, it is quite a task for one to play with aplomb. You have been learning flute for almost a year and a half and have come a long way from where you have started. Your mom and I understand that you have passion towards mastering flute. All you need is a little bit of dedication and consistency to bridge the gap between where you are and where you aspire to be. Knowing you, I am sure you will achieve roaring success on this front pretty soon.

Anirud, do you remember the boy who during the Christmas holidays in 2013 said that he is not interested in learning to cycle and questioned his dad as why he is being forced into something that he doesn’t like?  Do you also remember, how the same boy in a matter of 15 minutes after the above argument learnt to balance and pedal on his own? The boy never stopped cycling afterwards until the cycle begged for a break. Yes dear brat, it was you. I am quoting this just to tell you how the seemingly insurmountable tasks become easy when you put your heart and mind into it.

At the home front, I always admire the way you have taken care of your younger sibling Srivaths. No wonder he adores you like anything and looks for you the moment he wakes up. The way he calls you ‘anna’ with a smile, by your name when he apparently tries to issue you a command and the way you respond would remain in our heart forever.

Isn’t this the year you started wearing spectacles? Someone said that you looked geeky in those and I think I would agree with that view. It is a bit unfortunate that your naughty lil’ brother broke the frame about 10 days ago.

While you have been so good for most part of the time and on most of the things, don’t you think it would do a world of good for you and for those who love you if you can take care of the minor irritants? I know that you know them too well, but will mention it here as a reminder.

a) Being Responsible for your things.

More than anyone else, you know it better on this. The number of pencils, erasers and other stationery items that you have left behind at the class is worth a story on its own. With a little bit of care, you can easily overcome this. Isn’t it? You do remember to bring back all the stuff when reminded. So, it is a matter of trying to bring back things yourself without being reminded.

b) Whining.

Imagine me or your mom talking to you all the time in the same whining tone that you use very often. Is it pleasing to your ears? Doesn’t it get irritating very soon? The tone in which you talk not only gives an impression that you are crying for no reason, but also shoots up our Blood Pressure levels. I have a feeling that you are planning to shed this habit the moment you turn nine. Guess, how I know this? Because, I know everything. :))

c) Talking back.

Very often we tell you to articulate your thoughts clearly when you have a concern. Sometimes, what you do is to take things too far on that front by talking back on every thing. I am not going to embarrass you by giving examples.

All the three things that I have mentioned are only minor irritants on a near perfect nine year old. I am sure it will be easier for you to get rid off these annoying stuff and have a super duper year than what you just had.

Once again, wishing you a very happy birthday my dear boy. Have a superb day and year ahead.

love,

appa.

Silver Medal at NSO

Attended the Annual Day event at Anirud’s school. To organise an event of such big proportions, with parents of 2500 kids attending is quite a task. Was very much impressed with their event management skills, as I have witnessed several events at this school in the last one year.

During the event, the Principal was presenting the Annual Report, wherein he was talking about various achievements of the kids over the course of the academic year. While I was awe struck at the sheer variety of the skills that the kids possessed and the way this school was encouraging and recognizing them, I was pleasantly surprised when he mentioned Anirud’s name for the Silver Medal he bagged at the National Science Olympiad earlier this year. Yeah, it was that proverbial “தான் பெற்ற மகனை சான்றோன் என பிறர் கூறக் கேட்ட தந்தை” moment. 🙂

In the larger scheme of things, it is less than 5-seconds of fame. In fact, Anirud or any of his friends didn’t even hear him being mentioned by the Principal as they were at the back of the stage getting ready for their event (Indian Musical Choir). But as a parent, I swelled with joy and pride. Irrespective of the above, we are proud of you Anirud. We really are. Congratulations.IMG-20140131-00107

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Maritime Boundaries

Do you know to plot the exact maritime boundaries of various countries on the map? Anirud knows it well.
Do you know which drop of water belongs to Arabian Sea and which one belongs to Indian Ocean? Anirud knows it authoritatively.

On the other day, Anirud was being helped by his mom on his homework that involved labelling the oceans of the world and this brat was passionately pointing to a certain location in the map saying that this is where Indian Ocean begins. He wouldn’t settle for a millimetre above or below the point he had in mind. As my wfie was not in any mood for a pointless argument, she obliged. If only, we have more experts like Anirud, we won’t have any maritime boundary issues and the world would be lot more peaceful.

Annoying Phrases

These are some of the oft-used phrases of Anirud. I think it is more due to the age rather than the attitude. But let me tell you, when he says these things – it is HIGHLY ANNOYING!

“Whatever!”
“How on earth do I know?”
“When did I say that I won’t do it?”
“Can’t I atleast have 1 minute?”
“Why don’t you leave me alone?”