Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Galaxy of Ganesha!

We are about to embark on the Ganesh Festival - the Ganesha Chaturthi.

In fact this is a busy festival week, yesterday was Eid-ul_Fitr, the end of Ramadan, today is Ganesh's birthday and next Thursday the feast of St Mary, a Catholic celebration. It seems that a multi-religion country has two options, to take the secular route, as in the U.S, where all religious celebrations have been down-graded to secular holidays, Merry Christmas is now Happy Holidays and Easter is now Spring Break - Christ on the Cross having morphed in to the Easter Bunny! The alternative being the Indian route to embrace the festivals of all religious group and having a plethora of holidays. Hence, I have passed billboards wishing all three on the same poster - Happy Eid-ul-Ftir, Happy Ganesha Chaturthi and Happy Feast of St Mary.

Ganesha is the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Hence a festival celebrated by most Hindus.

First step in the celebrations is to buy a clay Ganesha, either by family, village or other grouping. Unlike other Hindu gods who take on a standard form Ganesh is a cool dude and very flexible. The only standard characteristics seem to be his rounded chubby potbelly and his trunk. The Indian enthusiasm for vibrant color, wild imagination and excess shines forth. We went to pottery village to the Ganesha Holiday Sale!!
 Pottery town got a write up in the Bangalore Indian Times "An unkempt, unsanitary part of Fraser town, is bestowed with a special glamour. The roads are still just as filthy, and the rain still accumulates in puddles and the potters cottages don't look any more prosperous even though the god of prosperity has taken up temporary abode."

Although they say size isn't everything - in the world of Ganesha it definitely counts for something:
These kids were all too happy to show us their newly purchased Ganesh with real hair!
Once you have purchased your Ganesha, step two is transportation. All hands to the deck!
Driving to and from pottery town we saw many trucks with Ganesha of various shapes and sizes precariously balanced in the back, supported by many hands of families or what looked like whole villages.

Of all the Ganesha we saw these stood out - Caveman Ganesh, see the Tiger head at the bottom of his loin cloth!
Ganesh with beautiful peacock and little black rat:
And Ganesh in a flower or is it a shell?
This one was definitely out of place, as it is verging on the subtle and maybe tasteful!!
The detail on all the statues was impressive - look at the hands of the one below. As the oversize Gansha are waiting to be sold or collected and this being the raining season, they are shrouded in plastic. This Ganesh was peeping out from his!
 This was a great experience, the wonders of India, her culture and country men on show and happy to have us share! True Indian style tho' nothing is ready until the last minute:
The buying of the clay Ganesh is only the first part of the festival, wait for the subsequent installments!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Last Birthday

So we now have, all 4, had birthdays in Bangalore, with Adam bringing up the rear, Wills comes round again in 4 months. However this is about Ads....12 today! How did he get so tall, so grown-up and more to the point, where have the years gone? Happy Birthday Ads!

His choosen birthday party involved testosterone, violence and a whole lot fun - paint balling Indian style, which basically means no disclaimers to sign, lots of bruises and even a minor burn, and of course the paint stains don't come off - something I forgot to pass on to the other moms! I didn't go along and gave Shankar a quick camera lesson and I think he did admirably! There were 6 kids from 3 different schools and they got on really easily. Birthday parties have got so much easier - invites by text and e-mail, no co-ordinated themed paper plates and cups, and best of all no party favors to distribute. Funny thing was, this was the most American party Ads has had since he was maybe 6. His friends are a lot more diverse in San Jose than they are in Bangalore!!

This was the "A" team, Ads, Dads and "brother from another mother!"
Everyone had a great time, except for a few minor injuries. Ads thought it was the best time ever and is keen for a repeat!! However, except for the big yellow plastic obstacles these pictures look a tad too real for comfort. How come every male seems to inherently know how to stalk, be stealthy and shoot to splat!
Simon seems to have found a hidden sniper streak!
On Monday Ads can go to school in civvies  - no uniform, yeah!!,  luckily he misses a day in formals (read collared shirt, tie, belt and pants and the most disgusting school shoes and socks ever!) and takes in sweets/candies to give out to his friends on what seems to be a sort of ad hoc fashion.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A New Year!

The kids are back at school, no longer the new kids on the block. Wills in uniform, looking very handsome but not letting me take a pic.

So, as the kids are no longer newbies, neither am I. We have travelled and experienced so much this summer, some new lands (Shimla, Kerala) and some lands revisited (Paris and England), just touching down here in B'lore to check in, unpack and repack. By the time we touched down for the final time (10 airflights this summer!) I was feeling a little disconnected here. Simon, being in San Jose and catching up with all our wonderful friends there didn't help. I do, of course, have one of my BFFs living across the street here. This is the first and probably only time in my life I will be so blessed. If I call Shubha, I can sometimes hear the phone ringing in her house!! I just heard their "not so little pup" give a yap on their balcony.

On calling one "new" friend in B'lore, I found myself almost asking if she remembered me. Our last meeting, last school year, seeming so long ago. I have now reconnected with most of the old faces in B'lore and met some new arrivals, whom amazingly I can offer advise to, I am now a voice of experience here!! Such seems to be the ex-pat lifestyle - so many hellos and goodbyes both in the mother country and the adopted country. I think we'll get to the point where goodbyes don't mean so much, the world shrinking with Facebook and Skype, and will get shortened to a quick "c ya" text style.  Maybe that's how you can tell the life-long ex-pats from the first time long distance travelers in the departure points at the airport, by the flavor of their farewells.

A new year and new beginnings, 1st and 7th grade. After drilling the kids as to what I expect of them this uninterrupted school year, (no international moves this academic year), I thought it was time to think about my aims for this school year. It almost makes more sense to make new year resolutions for the school academic year, not the calendar year, as that's the big marker in our lives and as an added bonus,  you get 2 months "off" for the summer!

I have found a lot of articles concerning survival as a "trailing spouse" - hate that term. I really think that the title for the non-working spouse on an ex-apt assignment needs an upgrade!! We are the ones who unravel and re-build the lives of the family at both ends and keep the family together for the duration. Finding schools, housing, doctors, dentists etc.etc. in a foreign location involves more than trailing............... However, once you have got over the terminology these articles have some pretty sound advise as to the opportunities to re-invent yourself and develop hobbies and interests. As with many of life's experience the ex-pat life has been broken down by the pop phycologists into a numbers of stages - the honeymoon period, the depressed period as one is over the euphoria and excitement and trying to deal with the business of real life on foreign soil and then the settled in, head above water, what am I going to do phase, which is where I guess I am now.

So I sat down and made a list. Some things may surprise but they will stay under wraps until there is something to show, some are ideas still germinating which are not far enough developed to articulate, but these are some of my resolutions.

First item on my list is a (only one I'm not being greedy) press-up.
 I have never managed to do a press-up - the rest of my family can all perform and find my attempts both pathetic and amusing. I am taking this seriously. I have regular sessions with Anand, the torturer, who assures me that this mission will easily be accomplished by 2012. This is definitely a luxury I wouldn't have in the US, paying someone to focus on my underdeveloped triceps!!

I am also treasurer in training for the OWC (Overseas Women's Club). Not just lunching ladies but an organization of over 600 which supports 25 charities. Holding a charitable status in this very bureaucratic country is no piece of cake! Each and every transaction from the lowliest raffle ticket upwards has to be recorded and the audit trail transparent. The current Treasurer leaves in March so I have some time to learn the ropes.

Also on the list are a few photography courses - the grey dull european weather tested my skills, so I want pointers on indoor and night photography. Simon thinks the main lesson I need is on the use of the delete key. Yawning, while being shown my Paris/England pics he asked when I was going to go through and edit - to which I replied I'd already got rid of over half!

And of course planning our US trip. Simon seemed to take delight whilst in the US to send back pics of all our favorite things -yes our friends of course -but also the ribs dripping BBQ sauce, corona and Starbucks to name but a few. Our appetites are whet - we will be drooling when we touch down in SFO in December.

I also want to explore more of the villages and markets which abound. We have decided that our summer vacations really suited and with the kids its really important not to over-temple,  or over-ancient monument but to balance the historic sites with the cultural, samples of authentic Indian life, and diverse scenery. There is sooooooo much to see here, but at weekends the kids really don't want to spend much time in the car as they have survived a week of bumping around in Bus 3B. So I guess its as usual trying to find a balance!!

Those are a few of my 2011/12 ambitions/resolutions. There are more........

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Western Ladies - go pay homage to your working electronic appliances!!

I know we all have frustrating days wherever we live, but ones in Bangalore seem to take on epic proportions.

No phone, No internet - even my resident IT department - the father and son team doesn't seem to be able to fathom my problem, so I quite accurately as it turns out, anticipate a day waiting for the Airtel guy to come and work some magic.

Meanwhile, I have just said a fond farewell to the cuddly bundle we have been dog sitting for the weekend. Young Tequilla has been a entertaining, affectionate and playful guest and for the most part no bother at all. However, she is only 8 weeks old and her toiletting habits are still evolving. Dog sitting is a bit, I imagine, like being a grandparent, lots of fun and high jinks then a kiss goodbye and see you soon.

Anyway, on Tequilla's departure, it was time to de -pup the house - the idea being that Sweetie took the lead role. However, Sweetie it transpires is sick, so it's all down to me.

First, though, I need a cup of coffee. As Sweetie makes tea, the coffee has not been used for months and is fine coffee granuals no longer - the humidity has turned it into a solid brown mass. I chip away with a knife to no avail. Not a single grain yields. So I try to make tea Sweetie style and as I have cardamom seeds decide to add a fancy twist. Firstly, my concoction boils over - adding to my cleaning up, then it tastes.....well it doesn't taste like tea. I settle for a glass of water.

Washing up in my Bangalore kitchen is not the same as the quick rinse, dump it in the dishwasher and press a few buttons of my kitchen in the US. For a start, not only do I not have a dishwasher, but no hot water either. So everything gets lathered up, scrubbed and rinsed down at least twice. Last nights dinner plates would have dried tomato sauce and the cereal bowls dried on cornflakes - scrub a dub dub. Lots of elbow grease, no wonder Sweetie is so skinny.

Now moving on to cleaning the floor. Firstly I have to sweep - no vacuum cleaner here, not even a substantial looking broom - but a little short one (perfect for the average Indian lady but not me!)  When I have progressed to mopping Shankar comes in and catches me in the act - all is not well in his world, order has been upended "Mam,  what has happened?" he stammers as he reels with shock - big white chief mopping the floor - not done at all. Well it is done and done very well too, I may add!

As a side note no sign of the Airtel man, so no phone, no computer.

Next step laundry - it is monsoon season so not much dries. Our bedroom has been full of the dank smell of drying washing for days. It's not so much the rain, but when it's not raining its not perfect drying weather, too damp and cold (a relative term). So the laundry once through my mini-washing machine is in and out, and on and off the line. Washing is drying slowly, but ironing is still amassing - no I don't have an iron so am dependent on the ironing walla. Communication with him is by no means easy, firstly he has to actually pick up his phone, then it gets interesting. But I do manage to work out that he is not coming, for today at least.

The Airtel guys finally arrive. I decide not to try and find out what they have been up to since 9.30am when they said they'd be 30 minutes, now several hours ago . Our wiring is not complex. The broadband wire goes out through the window (yes, seriously) and winds it's way across the front of the house to its little box. Once they have my kitchen knife they can progress with disconnecting and stripping wires and then reconnecting. Eventually, a very dodgy, chewed looking bit of wire dangling next to sofa (coincidentally where visiting pup sat) is determined to be the cause of my problems and replaced. Facebook here I come - time to see what has been going on in the world today!!

Quick scramble to get some dinner on the go - I think my toaster oven has already had its less than honourable mention here sometime ago!!

Amazingly it's nearly time to meet the school bus. Out emerges one sick and one healthy kid. Wills spent most of the afternoon in the infirmary with a headache and a fever. According to the note the infirmary sent home, his fevered brow was massaged with local tiger balm, he was then sponged down and allowed to rest, and given some glucose drink to sup. Do you think there'd let me spend the day there tomorrow?

And the moral of this story - appreciate your hot water heater, dishwasher, iron, vacuum cleaner, squiffer mop, clothes washer and dryer, functional phone system and computers - don't take them for granted,  life without can be very tough (at least when the maid is sick).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bring on the Saffron, White and Green

Happy Independence Day India!

The two countries I have lived in outside the UK both have national holidays, parties and celebrations to mark evicting the British!! This is not good for my self-esteem!! 

Joking apart, Independence Day and the importance of freedom is definitely an occasion to mark. The Indian flag was hoisted by the club house here in Vista, the national anthem sung. I now know at least know the tune of Jana, Gana, Mana. "You are the ruler of the the minds of all the people, dispenser of India's destiny" Some kids then performed in honor of the freedom fighters and of course there was breakfast!!

The saffron on the flag stands for the indifference to material gains and dedication to their work the leaders of the nation should demonstrate. Obviously with the national anti-corruption campaigns this is pretty topical. The white in the center denotes light and truth and the green our relationship to the earth on which our life on earth depends. The wheel in the middle is the wheel of the law of dharma - the natural law - ones obligations, duties and callings. It also represent a spinning wheel which invokes Ghandi empowering personal freedom by giving people the skills to work and the concept of motion - there is death in staganation. I do like the theory of a lot of the Indian ideals and symbolism - maybe one day it will all translate into practise as well!

Although Monday was thus a national holiday, poor Adam had to go to school for the morning to celebrate Independence Day at school. However, he didn't seem to mind and the bus for once was on time. The yellow Indus school bus, 3B,  has been the source of much angst in the 2 weeks the kids have been back at school. The first new driver seemed unaware of what his clutch was for, or that he even had one for that matter! Second new driver seems unable to find his accelarator. Third new driver starts today!! As Simon is away I have been using the car to pick up the boys and make a daily visit to the bus overseers office at school to do my middle aged, menopausal, very angry act - but as yet to no avail. However it appears it is raining - yes it does rain in Bangalore and does every year but this year for some unexplainable reason it is having a huge effect on the bus! Oh, and the traffic is heavy - again like it wasn't last school year. Oh and of course there are road works and festivals - the reason why bus 3B can no longer run to time are endless!! The kids spend long enough on the bus when it does run efficiently so the Vista Indus moms are girding for action! So far collective emails, who knows what next!!

Enough of my ranting, back to the greatest freedom fighter of them all:
"You must be the change you want to see in the world"

And yes, I know I have used this quote before but  think in this day and age it is particularly pertinent.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Houseboat and Home!!

Next stop on our trip, was not really a stop, it kept moving - the houseboat. I thought our houseboat was pretty opulent, 2 double bedrooms both with en-suites, TV, kitchen, 3 staff....but that was until I saw the double decker houseboats with their stately looking dinning rooms on the upper level. We pulled up at a waterside fish shop and hand picked our Tiger Prawns for dinner which our cook prepared and my word they were sooooo good! One of my all time "memorable meals."

The Kerala backwaters maybe a sanctuary of peace and tranquility but life is happening along the riverbanks.......
Hidden behind the palm trees are these wonderfully painted houses and the inhabitants go about their daily business using the waters as their own. Getting washed and ready for school:
Washing dishes and ones self and teeth:
 And the preferred method of transport, of course by boat, whether to school, church, work or a days fishing. The school bus and public buses take to the waters.
The culmination of boating is the annual snake boat races which take place the second weekend in August. The rowing teams train for 10 days before the actual event and we were lucky to be there on the first day of the training period. The boats can have up to 100 oarsmen in them, along with several rhythm men who chant to keep the oarsman synchronized. The races must be really quite something.
And of course hanging out on the street corner takes on a whole new meaning!!

We then arrived at our final haven - by the beach, a small sea view cottage in a resort.  We took this opportunity to chill before our re-entry to Bangalore, school and work.

We biked through the local villages, played in the pool, on the beach, and enjoyed our last few days in this beautiful and varied state with its friendly and welcoming people. 

A New Shower Mate and Lotsa Leeches!

At this point we were in the Periyar National Reserve staying in another wonderful little hotel in Kumli. The highlight of this part of the trip had to be our elephant interaction. It must be said the kids are getting a bit blase about elephants. This was their 4th or 5th elephant ride, and yes we have washed elephants before but..........never before taken a shower with an elephant!! The force at which the elephant ejects the water from its trunk is a bit like the pressure from a fire hose, so I was glad to be on my side of the camera.

Having left the hills for the forests we soon discovered the following formula - warm + lots of wet + forests = LEECHES. And we learnt a lot about leeches - none particularly pleasant. They are pesky little things, like worms with suckers on both ends. By propelling themselves from sucker to sucker, they seem to be able to get everywhere and anywhere to find a piece of skin onto which to sing their fangs and suck and suck. They are pretty small skinny things until they have had their fill of the red stuff where upon they swell up to look like fat slugs.

Protection against these blood thirst critters is a pair a very sexy gaiters and walking shoes. We took our trek into the forest and the only live bodies we saw were, you got it, thousands of leeches. Brushing them off our shoes and gaiters, applying salt to our clothes - apparently that is an effective deterrent, dominated our trek. One sneaky little critter got up Wills' gaiter and we just managed to knock it off before it was fully attached to his flesh.

On return to base, we thought we were safe and had avoided any blood loss, until we saw a big, fat leech on the floor, oozing new, deep red blood. After a bit of detective work, we found it had dropped off Simons leg. Its precise drinking spot located on Simon's thigh. I do have a picture of said leech trailing blood .....but I think that would be too gory to post!!

The safari was well organized, 5.30am start, bumping around in a jeep as the dawn came and the country began to wake up. After great sightings of elephants and guar, we stopped for breakfast and after a lot of trial and error and a huge amount of patience - probably cost me at least one cup of chai, I got this picture:
These Sunbirds are incredibly flighty and spend only a couple of seconds on each flower. So I was very happy that I caught one in the act!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Time for a cuppa?

Inwards and upwards to the tea plantations. As we drove into the hills,  rows and rows as far as the eye could see and further....tea bushes:
As we got higher the weather got colder. Munnar is a favourite honeymoon destination for northern Indian newly weds. These were easily identified by their fading wedding mendi (henna art on arms and feet), the slight awkwardness between hubby and wife (arranged marriages) and poor new wife wanting to show off her risque ( by Indian standards ) pseudo-western trousseau of shorts and tee-shirts, shivering and cold!
 This was the one stop where our accommodation was a little lacking, the old Biritsh Tea Bungalow could be optimistically described as authentic!! Given the cold we could have done with a bit more comfort and an updated bathroom.  However, the views were wonderful and I imagine in the summer it would have been the cool respite from the heat the Brits envisaged way back. Our cook/host Mr Raj, who almost dated back from the days of the British, looked after us well. He lit us fires, made us plentiful warm tea and his food kept us warm! Mr Raj started work as a room boy for an old English family over 50 years ago, being later promoted to the role of butler. Now in his late sixties he is still at work.
We explored the tea plantations by bike. Even Wills perched on top of an adult bike with the saddle on the lowest setting managed to cycle quite some distance. The people here are so friendly, everyone we passed smiled, asked our names and the second question was always how we were enjoying Kerala. Everyone is very proud of their state and so they should be!!

However, Wills quit halfway round and his bike was thrown into the back of the jeep and he went off for with Deepu for a cup of tea. Wills has his own series of little adventures - he and Deepu would occasionally disappear into a little road side tea stops. Apparently Wills does at least make it clear he needs a paper cup - so he doesn't get any germs - and so far his approach seems to be working.
The gentle drone of laughter and chatter heralded each group of ladies plucking and cutting the tea leaves. Each bush is plucked every 15 days and the women are payed by weight so you can imagine how fast they move through the lines of tea bushes. This is the weigh station. Look at where the guy weighing hangs his umbrella!
 The plantation has homes for the workers, as well as schools, creches, hospitals and churches/temples -effectively whole villages. Initially there wasn't sufficient labor in the tea growing areas (as you can see it is pretty labor intensive) so in order to bring in labor the infrastructure was also required. These are the cottages, the workers live in - primitive but we've seen a lot worse! Most of the families are dual income as the ladies do the plucking and the guys work in the tea factories. So the creches and schools are essential.
I am getting a bit concerned that I am beginning to sound like a eco-lefty in my posts so I am going to leave off making any further comments about the strong eco-polices of the tea companies and how they look after their workers - save to say that everyone looked very happy!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Plucking Pineapple and the Paparazzi

Driving inland we passed through rubber estates, pineapple farms and the most beautiful houses - painted bright and exotic colors - popping out between the multiple different shades of lush green foliage and soon arrived at Dewalokam Farm. For anyone Kerala bound this is the place to go!! Jose and Sinta are the most delightful hosts, they planned our days with care and thought and we had those wonderful conversations, you seem to get so rarely, your country/my country, politics, religion, considered opinions with no one taking personal offense or becoming defensive, everyone listening and learning.

Within yards of the house we saw papaya, bananas, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, lemon grass, frankincense, cocoa, coffee, mangosteen (and this is all I can remember) growing. We ate lychees we picked  from the tree and Adam plucked one of his favorite fruits which we ate for lunch.

 I have to confess I had not known how pineapple was grown until this trip! The farm is totally organic and everything is recycled/composted including the cow dung. It is collected, mixed with water and then fed into an underground tank where the methane given off is piped to the kitchen where it is used for cooking delicious food for all the guests, drivers and staff. The remainder is dried and used as manure for the rest of the farm. I really don't understand how when a small family farm can "reduce, re-use, recycle" the western world cannot!  Everything in our lunch was grown here at the farm, and if you take a look at our lunch and you'll see that is pretty impressive!
And yes, it tasted as good as it looks! To see it grow and then eat it with your fingers - its so fresh and earthy - good job for the waistline we were only here 3 days!

We did have some serious rain - so far in Kerala we'd had some drizzle and the odd very short sharp shower but as I sat on the balcony writing this we had enduring, heavy, heavy big drops of rain which was strangely beautiful, maybe because it is still warm and makes the green look all the lusher - it just exudes health and fertility, you can see, smell and feel it.
We are not the only ones who need shelter/protection from the rain- the rubber trees needed help too.
Each morning a fresh cut is made on through the bark of the tree which is sheltered from the rain while the syrup drips into a plastic cup. The white syrup is then collected. I think its so good when the boys can see at first hand where the stuff/materials/food they take for granted comes from - how our life is sustained from the ground and hence how important it is to take care of our planet. 

The liquid rubber is taken to the manual processing house where it is sieved, mixed with water and formic acid and then left for 2 hours to set. It is then put through the mangle and pressed into sheet form, before being dried out, smoked and sold to the factory.

One of the highlights of our whole trip was the visit Jose and Sinta arranged to the local school. The  school is run by a catholic organization, the principal Father Johnson. As we got out of the car there was a welcoming party - complete with bouquets of flowers put together by the students and of course bindis. We had a short talk with Father Johnson whose passion for his students and their education was obvious. 

The daily assembly found all the 600 kids standing quietly in lines. Several kids led the school in their pledge and various "thoughts" for the day, to which everyone listened quietly and attentively, no fidgets. And then we were introduced - firstly Simon - his education and position at Infosys highlighted (definitely a bit of intellectual snob value having his PhD from Oxford), then the rest of us and we took our position on the stage. Simon, firstly, was asked to say a few words - he talked about the importance of education, learning English and setting and attaining your goals. Adam also spoke really confidently and clearly about his schools in the US and India (I was very proud of him!!)  and I said a few words about our stay in Kerala. Look how attentively these kids are listening.

We then visited several classrooms for question and answer sessions. The school is not government funded but costs are kept low - about 300 rupees  ($7) per month per kid. Jose sends his kids here as does his staff.  
These kids are driven and focused but still all smiles and fun. All the
kids from 4th grade up had ambitions and plans -  there were rooms full of potential doctors, scientists, engineers and computer geeks, maybe one cricketer! They could also all immediately name their role models from Mahatma Ghandi, Indira Ghandi, various Indian freedom fighters to their parents. No pop icons or sportsmen. Their parents can see a better life ahead for them and believe education is the best gift they can give their kids to help them on their way. At this school the teachers are going to help make that happen. This is a country where there is still the belief that you can realize your dreams and most of the dreams are still worthy.

Ads got to sit and chat with his 7th grade compatriots!

The pre-kinder class was a real eye opener 41 kids, one teacher and the best behaved class - no  wriggling and fidgeting or prodding and poking their neighbors, typical 4/5 year old behavior! They actually write in cursive at five and are learning three languages, the local language, Hindi and English. So did the teacher appear a strict old witch? - absolutely not, did the kids appear drugged or terrified into submission? - absolutely not. A bright friendly teacher and a lot of bright looking kids - no idea what the secret is! Just looking at these kids, their teachers, the zest for learning, their ambitions for the future, all coming from such humble backgrounds is surely food for thought!
And our visit hit the headlines!!

The local language, Malayalam is very flowery, could be something to do with having 56 letters in its alphabet, and here is a translation of some of the article.....

"The General Manager  of the world famous Information Technology Company ‘Infosys’,  Dr. Simon Towers and his family visited the Koduvely Sanjo CMI School & their visit sent the students into raptures.

They were received in the traditional method by offering of flowers on their arrival in the class. With exemplary humility and exhilarating speeches Dr Towers won over the hearts of the students and the faculty.

When he met the students of the school, most of whom with hopes of a future in the Information Technology field,  his eyes lit up with great hope. When the students approached Dr Tower with their queries, the  answers were  like a new rainbow of wisdom for the students. He urged them to treasure their dreams, make use of all opportunities and there was no short cut to hard work.

When asked about the Malayalis working in Infosys, he replied that they were smart and hardworking. If they could learn better  English and be more self confident, there is nothing that can stop them from reaching the pinnacle of success"