A note on my three blogs

A note on my blogs

(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...

(2) sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!

(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Updates on my Varanasi life

Almost a month without writing. I went to Varanasi on 15 October and came back to Khajuraho on 7 November, just after the Diwali festival. The thing is, I was so busy in Banaras that I haven't been able to write even though I did want to. Now that I'm in Khajuraho again and life is slower, I'm taking the time to do those things I don't have any time for in Banaras, such as writing...

The main thing was that my friends Marie-Christine and Jérôme from the Partage et Culture Sarasvati association came to India and stayed in Banaras for a few weeks. So we lived together in the flat, and as always when they are in Banaras, we had loads of things to do! Our main project this time was that the young musicians from Rishikesh and the Mata Ganga Orchestra came for a week to practise music with Sukhdev, and on their last two days we recorded three tracks of our French program in a professional studio. It was quite hectic but as always a lot of fun. During one of the workshops, with some of Sukhdev's other students, I counted 12 violinists in the flat! We didn't have much time to rehearse, but the recording was a very interesting and positive experience...

Marie-Christine had come to India with the documentary maker of our Mata Ganga Orchestra tour in France. The film is almost ready and we watched it all together with a hired video-projector on the white wall of our living-room - my oh my, it was so funny to see how the Indians reacted to it!! Commenting, oohing, hand clapping, laughing... It's a very beautiful movie and I can't wait to see it completely ready. As soon as I arrived in Khajuraho I spent 4-5 days making the English subtitles and improving the French ones, so I have studied the film from all its angles... I love doing that kind of work.

And in Varanasi, I've also been teaching and earning a bit of money, which I have been very happy about. I have a new Hindi student (teaching Hindi for the first time, whoo!) and a new violin student. My Hindi student is a friend from Colombia who is here for a year to study on the philosophy and religion program at Banaras Hindu University, and who already has quite a good knowledge of the language. He comes to see me for a class once every two days. I had not studied any Hindi at all since I finished my university diploma two years ago; I was just reading a bit from time to time and of course doing loads and loads of spoken practice. So it is amazing for me to teach Hindi because it forces me to revise what I learnt, and having to transmit it to a student really revives my knowledge of the language a lot. Although my explicit learning is fresh, there are many aspects of Hindi that have become natural to me and I have forgotten the explanations for them, so going back to my books and notes is great. I have to prepare my classes, structuring the grammar in a way that is suitable for him, creating homework and revising lots of spelling and vocabulary, so I'm learning tons for myself in the process. I am loving every minute of it!

My new violin student is a lovely 9 year-old Australian boy and the son of a couple I have known for almost as long as I've been living in Varanasi. He had started learning violin with Sukhdev about 2 years ago, but it had been too difficult for his mum to juggle between home and school and to take him to my teacher, so they had dropped the classes. Two years later the boy wishes to carry on learning, so his mother recently asked me if I would teach him in their home. Which I can, as they live in a hidden paradise on the banks of the Ganges not far from my flat. I have had three classes with the wee boy so far and it has been sheer delight! So far I had taught violin to 4 students, all young Indian men, but wow, it is completely different with a 9-year old (and in English)! I don't want to be too silly to have some credibility, but I don't want to be too serious either because I don't want to bore him, so this new balance made me somewhat uncomfortable at first... Funny that I'm more shy with a western kid than with young Indian men, but I know it will pass, and I am very much looking forward to the new experience of getting to know a child for some one-to-one violin classes! He has a brilliant ear and a great response to the instrument, along with great motivation, and so far he has "thanked me so much for teaching him" after every class! Another enjoyable aspect with him is that he is a native English speaker, and seeing him twice a week is a good refresher for my slightly impoverished English due to hearing too much broken Hinglish...!

All this along with my usual violin classes with Guruji of course... I have also been invited to play a solo concert in a temple on Christmas day with my guru-cousin for the third time, so I'm working on it at the moment...

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