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.


Monday, 29 September 2014

(Sham)poo-free: still getting better!

This one will just be a wee update. I didn't really think I would post again on my poo-free experience after my last post, but it's 14 months on, and I'm amazed to notice that my hair is still changing and reacting to its new environment... I can now wash my hair (with soap nuts or baking soda) not after 5-7 days, but after 10 days of just rinsing with water!

I wonder if one day I'll get to the stage where I don't need to wash my hair with anything but water, like this lady...? Let's see... I shall keep posting...

I just want to exclaim: THE HUMAN BODY IS AMAZING!

This got me reading from people with longer no-poo experience than me, so here are a couple of really interesting articles below, and a video...

  • I haven't used shampoo in 2 years and my hair has never looked better (telegraph.co.uk)
  • 3 hair without shampoo (thehairpin.com)
  • Why I haven't washed my hair in 3 years (independent.co.uk)
  • This girl hasn't washed her hair in 5 years! (youtube.com)
  • Monday, 22 September 2014

    Finally meeting Saskia & Shubhendra Rao!

    About four or five years ago someone gave me a recording of a cello & sitar concert. I don't remember at all who gave it to me. All I remember is that I couldn't stop listening to it, and that for an entire year I had no idea who the musicians were because no names were displayed on the screen of my crappy mp3 player. Finally, when I came back to Europe I bought myself a laptop and transferred my small mp3s collection onto it. One day I played the cello & sitar recording and, oh wow! My computer did display the musicians' names!

    This is how I finally got to know about the cellist Saskia Rao de Haas and sitarist Shubhendra Rao. I did a search on the internet and found out that they were husband and wife, she was Dutch, and they lived in Delhi. I became quite obsessed with them and again I couldn't stop listening to the recording. I just loved that she played Indian music on a cello and that she was a European woman married to an Indian man (I wasn't yet, but one day I would be one too) and that she lived in India. She kind of became an ideal and inspiration to me, even though I felt very small in comparison, and I really wanted to see them both in concert one day. A while later I added them on Facebook to be notified of any future concerts...

    Maybe a year after that I had to go to Delhi so I dared sending her a message: "I'm going to Delhi for a few days. Do you have any concerts coming up by any chance?" She didn't, but she gave me her phone number and told me to give her a ring from Delhi! Once there, even though I felt shy and "inadequate", I dared to phone her. I never got the time to go and meet her though, and it was probably best because I really felt far too shy, and Vijay felt too uncomfortable about visiting a stranger. Yet we did talk quite a while on the phone, even though I have no idea how the words came out of my mouth because I didn't know why she should be interested in me. She was really nice and friendly though...

    About another year later I found out that she was going to play a concert in Delhi at the occasion of an album release, on 20 September 2012. I couldn't wait any longer. I contacted her and said I was going to come to that. Saskia was very welcoming, I got really excited and I bought my train ticket. Just a few hours before I was due to leave though, I received an email from the French embassy, in which it was strongly advised not to go to Delhi that day because some violent riots were going on near the train station! I couldn't believe it! I called the embassy to get some more information, and then Saskia to hear her opinion on the matter. In the end I cancelled my ticket and didn't go to Delhi...

    Time passed. I went to Delhi a few times but never long enough to dare to phone her again, or I was busy with other things anyway. Many years had passed since I had discovered this mp3, and I still hadn't seen her in concert or met her. And why did she never play any concerts in Varanasi? Perhaps I just wasn't ready to see her now, but I knew it would happen one day... One day...

    I regularly kept checking Facebook for any concerts nearby... In the beginning of August I saw that husband and wife had founded an association, the Shubhendra & Saskia Rao Foundation, to promote and improve musical education for children in schools... Interesting!

    I have to admit that when I'm in Khajuraho, I tend to check Facebook a little too much when I feel lonely. Especially after a long time feeling isolated in my small Indian woman's life in traditional family, I start missing my Banaras friends and my exciting musical life... I don't have "proper" friends as such in Khajuraho, and so Facebook is a bit of a way-out for me... And then they posted a new entry, but that one really caught my attention. It said: 'Teacher Training Program' introductory meeting on Sunday. Want to become a trained music teacher? Want to know more about the program? Come join us... Interested, but busy on Sunday? We have more meeting coming up soon.

    Now that entry was not going to stay in the unreal world of Internetland! I just couldn't let it go; it had to become reality! I couldn't stop thinking about it... With a pounding heart I grabbed my phone and dialled Saskia's phone number... She was really happy that I was interested in the project and wanted to know more about it. Living in Khajuraho and Varanasi I wasn't sure how I would be able to help them in the near future, but even though I only have one student in Khajuraho at the moment I too teach music to children, and after all we too are starting a new music school with the Partage & Culture Sarasvati association. So it would be great if I went and see how Saskia worked! She was really friendly and suggested that I come to Delhi mid-September, to go to the school with her and see how she taught. Later she also suggested that I stay with a student of hers, Nawa.

    I was really excited. It was going to happen now! Not only I was going to meet Saskia, finally, but also Life had provided me with a brilliant reason to meet her!

    And so I went to Delhi from 14 to 19 September. I had an amazing time staying with Nawa and her flatmate, a sitar student. With Nawa and Saskia I taught music to girls in the Nizamudddin school. I felt completely in line with the way they teach music. On my last day I also took a violin class with Saskia which overwhelmed me with emotion and offered me a new way to enrich my practice... I have to say it was also really interesting to stay in a wealthy area of Delhi and to get a taster of the city's music scene! And the best in all this is that it feels like this is just the beginning of a beautiful collaboration...!

    More information:

  • Official Shubhendra and Saskia Rao Foundation website
  • Shubhendra and Saskia Rao Foundation on Facebook
  • Interview by Shubhendra Rao in Outlook India
  • Delhi-based musicians Shubhendra and Saskia Rao are all set to take music education to every child: The Hindu
  • Article about the launch of the Shubhendra & Saskia Rao Foundation in the Stateman