Sunday, February 14, 2016

A boarding school memory.

It's funny what can trigger a memory!  I had bought a pink radish, not regularly available here, to make either a salad or 'mooli paratha'. As I was preparing it, I ate a small piece and it suddenly brought back memories of a radish field raid we did while I was in boarding school in Ooty.  There were 4 of us as I remember.  I remember only the girl who first made the plan.  I don't remember who the other two girls were.  But the taste and smell of the radish came back sharply, when I bit into my piece of radish.
 I remember standing out in the dark, outside the field and barely washing the radish and eating it with salt. I can't remember whether we were in our pyjamas or had changed into our uniforms, or what time of the evening/night it was.  All I can remember is standing outside the field, which had a hedge all around, and the taste of the radish.
Somehow, now, when I look back, I can't really imagine why, at age 8 or 9, one would want to raid a radish field, except for the naughtiness value :-), after all radishes aren't exactly the most exciting food for a kid that age.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Music in my life

I was at a music concert yesterday, given by my sister-in-law's students at the music school run by her.  The lessons are in Western Classical music.  As I listened to the children playing many of the standard recital pieces like Fuer Elise (Beethoven), Minuet in G by various composers and heard a senior student sing the beautiful hymn 'Panis Angelicus', the music in my life, when I was young came back to me.
I did my first piano exam when I was 9--at that time grade 1 piano of the Royal College of Music.  I don't remember how well I did or not, only that I passed.  That  was in boarding school in Ooty.
My parents then moved to Kolkata (Calcutta then), when one of the first things my mother did, was to hunt for a music teacher.  She found an old Scottish lady, of whom I have written earlier.  She was good, but didn't believe in sending children for the exams, though she made me play pieces as much as I could, regardless of the difficulty level.
We had a piano, which was at first kept in the living room.  But since I was always playing, the piano was moved to my bedroom.  I cannot tell you what joy that was!  I could play whenever I felt like it.  It was to the piano I went, when I was down, or even when I just wanted to think.  I loved practising even scales.  Those four years were wonderful and the piano---and my diary--were among my best friends during teenage angst time.  Now my fingers are not supple anymore and I can no longer play as nimbly as I could once and I no longer have a piano.  Yes there is a guitar at home, but that, to me, is not the same.
The singing brought back to me, the choir singing I did at my school in Cal.  I remember learning 'Panis Angelicus' there and I remembered it all my life.  Ever since, I heard my young sister-in-law sing, I had been wanting her to learn this song.  And so I heard a number of very good young singers singing the song.  I am truly glad that my young sister-in-law has this music school, because, once more, I get to hear so much music.
My old piano looked a bit like this--