A Day at the Faire


San Mateo
May 2014

Just past the lost-child ID station, where Anjali the 8-year-old huffed indignantly at my suggestion that she could use an ID tag, past the fire-belching, scrap-metal Octobot, Myth Busters’ host Adam Savage stood on a rickety platform, with hundreds of fans adoring him.

“What’s the best thing you’ve ever made out of duct tape,” asked a young girl. A raft, he said. They went down some rapids in that raft, and he flew through the air at one point, completely confused about when he was supposed to put his legs straight out, when to fold them.

“Where did you go to college,” someone asked. “I pretended to go to NYU for 6 months.”

“What was your most memorable creation?” When he was 9 years old, he cut up some refrigerator boxes and put them in his mom’s closet, pretending he had created a space shuttle. He outfitted his shuttle with desks and sat in it for months.


Adam Savage

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Say what?!

Anjali (7 years old), on her way home from the pool:

“Mommy, for my next birthday, can you get me Google glass?”

“Wow! Google glass. Bunj, do you even know what Google glass does?”

“Yeah, it takes a picture if you blink. But it doesn’t have that any more because of security issues. But they do a whole bunch of other things that I don’t know about.”

“How do you know all this?”

“I watched a bunch of videos about them. So, can I have it for my bat mitzvah?”

“We’re not Jewish. We don’t do bat mitzvahs.”

“Okay, can I have it for my sweet 16?  Please mama, they’re the awesomest things in the world… (Pause)… other than you.”


When Lindsay Came to Watch the Show

Lindsay-Lohan9-500x624At first glance, Ustad Hamid Kasmi* and Lindsay Lohan don’t seem to have much in common. He sports no high fashion and totes no body guards. In fact, Kasmi Sahib with his bright orange kurta, an oversized vermillion tikka, and conspicuous prayer beads, could be a pujari. Being firmly established as one of the world’s foremost sitarists secures him a hallowed place in the classical Indian music scene.

In other words, Kasmi Sahib is a big deal – a marquee name whose presence might lend star power to the events he attends. We thought. We invited him to attend the Hindustani classical music contest we have been organizing for 21 years, an “America’s Got Talent” sort of event, without the glitz. Instead of pop songs, the 90 plus contestants here have chosen a type of music that most of us listen to only fleetingly and accidently – maybe in a yoga class. This contest gives these students a rare venue where they and their art are placed center stage. Continue reading

Those Elusive Leprechauns!

March 17, 2009.

Maya had a really bad day today – the leprechauns didn’t visit her class, and to make matters even worse, she didn’t spot any, unlike her superlucky friends Donya and whatshername. (Apparently they’re about 4 to 6 inches tall). Aanika’s class had a visit – “they turned over Mrs. Rosa’s chair” and made all sorts of other mischief. She didn’t get to see a little green gnome either, but at least their visit confirmed their love for her.
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Itchy scratchy

January 2008

Maya’s head was teeming. Teeming. They were floating on top of her head, ready to jump, afraid to jump, but itching to get away. Sorry – forgive the pun. It was just ugliness – ugliness and hilarity all rolled together into one exhausting day.

It all started last Wednesday when I finally overcame my own denials and looked through her hair. She had been complaining of her head itching for a day or two, and earlier that day, I had seen her scratching the back of her head, exactly where I had been feeling tortured. It was odd… I had even told myself it could be genetic that we both get dry scalp at the same place. But when the little voice inside me said don’t be lazy, I put her head down onto the kitchen table, right beneath the blaring lamp – and within seven strokes, had in front of me a six-legged invader, who, along with his mates and kin, would bring down the house the next day.
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