Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

Kabaddi, Kabbadi, Kabbadi, Kabaddi...

            Saint Andre, the school we serve at, has just a touch of Hogwarts in it. The school splits students into four different houses: Blue, Red, Yellow and Green. Throughout the year the houses gain points for different activities and assignments, such as essays, and spelling bees. But the ultimate house competition is Sports Week.
            The week before last we experienced the rivalries between students and teachers as the whole school participated in a variety of games and sports against each other. Many of the games were ones familiar to us, basketball (definitely not India’s sport, although they made a solid attempt-or at least the boys did), volleyball, football/soccer, arm wrestling, pole vaulting, relay races.
            And then there were games like Kabaddi. A slightly violent and very entertaining game where there are two teams of seven facing off. Each team stands on one side of a rectangular court. To be honest, my understanding of this game is still a little shaky, but I’ll do my best to explain what I know.
            The teams of seven line up on opposite ends of the rectangle. One team at a time sends a member across the centerline and towards the opposing team. This is called a raid, and the team member sent is called the raider.  Once the raider who is sent crosses the centerline he/she must begin chanting “Kabaddi, Kabaddi, Kabaddi…” without any break. Their goal is to run across the centerline, begin chanting this and then tag a member of the other team all before having to take a breath and break the constant chant of Kabaddi. Meanwhile the team on defense is trying to avoid being tagged while simultaneously trying to trap the raider.
            The defensive team traps a raider by tackling them and keeping them on their side of the court until the raider runs out of breath and has to stop chanting Kabaddi. If the raider were to succeed and tag an opposing team member and safely make it back to their side then there team would get a point. On the other hand, if the raider fails and is captured/tackled, then they are out.
            The teams alternate sending raiders out and at some point it seemed as if more members who had been tackled were able to rejoin their team. I’m unsure why or how but it appeared as if the team sizes were in constant flux. (Scroll down to find a video of Kabaddi and get an idea of what it's really like!)
            For the better part of the week we spent everyday outside, watching team after team compete in different sports. Teachers cheering and speculating about which house was ahead and which one was far behind. After dozens of games, the closing ceremony was held down on the football/soccer field. There was a speech, a dance, another speech and eventually Father Michael announced the winning house: the Blue House! (Which, unfortunately for me is not my house). Kirsten, Michael and Hadi all belong to the Blue House, Sarah to the Yellow, Jess to the Red and Me to the Green. Blue won overall, followed by Red, then Yellow and then little old Green. Perhaps my extreme lack of any sports ability somehow crept in and ruined their chances. But regardless of our loss, we still all got some candy for our hard work.             
            Thank goodness for candy, the ultimate bribe.
            Now that Sports Week is over, it’s back to classes for us. Exams are just around the corner. It’s funny how quickly life has swapped roles for us, from students to teachers.
            Stay tuned to hear more about our adventures!



Monday, February 2, 2015

A Performance to Remember By Sir. Michael

There is nothing quite like a program at St. Andre…and I should know since I have been to a few in my day. Of course the major holidays are celebrated like Independence Day, Parent’s Day, Teacher’s Day, Children’s Day and Christmas but we also often get the opportunity to celebrate holidays that are special to our school. January 31st is one such day that we get to celebrate with students and staff alike showing off their talents to honor our principal Fr. Michael’s birthday!

At the beginning of this past week we were informed that the program for Fr. Michael would be on Saturday, which would include amongst other things a “special item” presented by the foreign teachers. More on that later.

Fr. Michael turned the ripe old age of, wait for it, 28. That’s right, our devoted principal is only four or five years older than all of us and the principal of a school, talk about ambitious. On top of his professional achievements, Fr. Michael is also an accomplished musician and athlete, often displaying his skills at school whether it is performing in programs himself or playing various sports with the students during breaks or in organized student vs. staff matches. He is also completely invested in the school and its students as well as staff. He is organized, prompt, kind and has high hopes for St. Andre. You pretty much couldn’t ask for a better role model and leader for our school.

To celebrate his birthday various items were presented during the program. The junior section presented both a Kokborok dance as well as a fashion show. From the senior section we had both Kokborok and Hindi dances, a prayer dance, and of course a dance choreographed to non other than Tony Orlando’s classic “Knock Three Times.” Class twelve sang birthday songs and Remi and Riya of class twelve and ten respectively acted as our masters of ceremonies for the event. Speeches from Fr. Jilson, Sudhamoy Debbarma (Class X), Sir Probhunando, Sr. Clare and of course Fr. Michael rounded out the events of the day.

Then came what was dubbed in the program script as the, “memorable moment” of the day, a glorious presentation by the foreign teachers. If you have seen our Instagram account you may have caught a clip of our performance (full video provided below). After a grueling decision-making process we arrived at the decision to perform the smash hit “Cups” along with the cup routine that goes along with it, made famous by Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect.

We secured the perfect cups, rehearsed and worked out the music and details during the week leading up to our big performance. After a disastrous morning run through for Mukta we had done all that we could to make the performance perfect. Ok, so perfect is a bit of a stretch but people seemed generally impressed and pleased with our performance, Fr. Michael even asked us to repeat our performance later in the year at the Parent’s Day program.

We that program behind us we have crossed the first big hurdle, though many more programs lie ahead so be on the lookout for more updates about our inevitable stardom!

Getting psyched for the performance  
A Happy Birthday to Father Michael

Our version of “Cups”!: