Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Global Public School | Diwali Stalls

Diwali was coming up, and everyone at GPS was excited because the school had allowed its students to open food stalls to honour the occasion.

Each team setting up a food stall needed at least five members. My friends and I weren’t really interested because then we wouldn’t be able to focus on the real issue- eating.

On the grand day, we watched as the group of boys from our class brought in their stuff. They took up a lot of space because the container in which they brought cold drinks were huge. Plus, they brought a large tub of ice-cream, bottles of some sort of blue syrup, cupcakes and a whole lot of other things. It was amusing to see them stagger down the stairs. But the joke was on us later, because they got to miss the first few periods to set up their stalls. They grinned at everyone stuck in class before scampering away.

The groups were allowed to advertise what they would be selling, which meant the prefects took it as a perfect opportunity while herding us like sheep to the auditorium for the morning assembly. “Hey, get in line already! And don’t forget to visit stall 15! We’re selling cookies!”

But the boys from our class- Joseph, Thomas, Rohith, Milan and Zainul- had put in more effort. They actually had a few flyers printed out which they held as people stared at them on their way.  They were Stall 9.

Each section had a half an hour to go down and visit the stalls. The school had earlier announced that the maximum amount each person was allowed to bring was only 100 rupees. But when Neha and Angela told me they would bring more, I did so too. And I was so glad I did. Most of the prices of food were just cruel. We had to bargain with each stall to get what we wanted.

Bisna, Neha, Angela and I had pooled our resources. The idea was that, whenever one of us bought something, we would buy just enough to share amongst us. This way, we would be able to have more stuff, and not eat too much of anything.We were dividing a slice of creamy chocolate cake that I had bought for us when a piece of it fell on my skirt.

I stared at the stain in dismay “It is removable, right?”

My friends assured me that yes, it was.

“That was partly my fault.” Neha said. “I’m sorry.”

I told her it was fine, before we took off to the other stalls.

The visit to Stall 9 was the most anticipated. The guys were bombarding whoever got close enough. It was pretty good marketing strategy. I already had a feeling that they were after ALL my money, because of the outrageous offers I got placed in front of me.

Milan held something up in front of my face. “This is a one-of-a-kind, Blue Lagoon muffin, Janaki! Our special! You might never have tasted anything like this before! AND it’s only, like, 70 rupees!”

I almost choked and died on my own spit when I realized it was just a plain muffin with some of the mystery syrup they had brought, on it.

“No way” I gave it a shove. “Besides, we already had a cupcake.”

“What about ice-cream, huh?” Joseph said. “This isn’t just your regular ice-cream, it’s vanilla AND chocolate. Eighty rupees a scoop!”

I just stared at the measly offering, which was already melting in the plate he had dumped it in.

I raised my hands “Can I just buy something I can actually afford?”

Rohith came over and said, “Okay, tell me how much money you have.”

“No way. You name me your price.”

It took some bickering, but we got our stuff at slightly less prices. We walked away with juice, and some other things I don’t really remember. Neha looked absolutely dazed. It turns out people from some of the other stalls had rushed over to her as well, and she had accidently bought food she hadn’t even wanted, including the ice-cream Joseph had offered.  

I realized, as we walked away, how smart they had been. Because of the way they had offered us and the way they quickly took our money, they were making a fortune. Plus, most of their friends were taking turns and helping as well. And their stall was right next to the school building, making it the most noticeable.

The doubt that they might have made the most money was cleared the minute I stepped into class with my friends from the cafeteria after lunch.

Rohith waved his money in front of us “We made the biggest profit!”

We also learned that they had deceived most of the customers as well, because once their cold drinks ran out, they had simply poured some water on ice, along with blue syrup, and called it Sky juice. And it wasn’t cheap either. Most of the people had demanded their money back, but were met with “No refunds!”

According to someone, they had even charged one rupee for each sip from the younger grades as well.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Global Public School | Class Photo 2016-17

At GPS, one of the many memorable moments happened on the day the class photo was to be taken.

We were all required to be in our formal uniforms, brush our hair, shine our shoes, wear our ID cards and in other words, look as presentable as possible on the specified day.

Us girls managed to clean ourselves up quite nicely. But to say the same about the boys would be very, very wrong.

We could see the smoke coming out of our class teacher’s ears as she frantically flapped her arms in order to get the point across.

“Rohit, you caveman, get a comb, right now! And you, where’s your ID card? And why do YOU still look asleep?”

Questions were shot at each boy rapidly as they made a mad dash to the restrooms.

When they finally got back, patting their hair down, they each got a death glare before we were herded downstairs.

While we were waiting, we got the news that the photo was candid, meaning, the photo was going to be in contrast to regular class photos where we were made to stand in solemn rows.

“Great.” our teacher said “Now everyone will get a chance to see just how unprepared and messy you are.”

At that exact moment, the ID card hanging around Nouffin’s neck committed suicide and fell to the floor, as if it knew that the owner was already going to look terrible.

We were already laughing, and at this, we kinda roared. He quickly bent to pick it up, and looked at the card sorrowfully.

Finally, we all assembled together, in preparation for the photo. We were standing on the lush green lawn, which would be a beautiful background, and because of the fact that this was the first time a candid photo was taken, everyone was a little unsure. I’m pretty confident that it was the first time a group of teenagers did not know how to actually casually strike a pose for a photo.

But, at the end, we all did manage to look cool while photos were being snapped. And after the session, the photographers just barely managed to hold on to their cameras as teenaged girls tried to grab them away to see the snaps.

It was pretty chaotic, and when we trudged away, Govind and another boy managed to fall face-down on the grass and stay there stunned for a few seconds before dusting themselves off and wandering away like nothing had ever happened in the first place.

But we were chuckling, all the way upstairs, knowing that one of the most anticipated days was over.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Great news! Nando's has finally come to Riyadh!

It was a long time ago, but I vaguely remember Mom pulling up Google Maps on her laptop and typing frantically to check if there was any branch of Nando's in our city, or the next.

But now, a Nando's has come up just five minutes away from our home, which means Mom’s prayers have finally been answered.

It was very unexpected, and Mom and I got this bit of news from Dad while we were still in India, which only proceeded to me requesting Dad if he could book tickets at the earliest date possible, so that we could fly over immediately after the exams.

We had lunch yesterday from the aforementioned restaurant, and the wait was definitely worth it. The restaurant also had a really cheerful atmosphere and was pretty lively.

My parents and I love peri-peri chicken more than fried chicken because it is more healthy and juicy, plus you don’t get tired of it easily.

There are other restaurants, though, which also serve peri-peri chicken. I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts about another place, Veri Peri Portuguese Grill, where we would have dinner during the weekends. In Kerala, the food court of Lulu mall held Galito, which had the symbol of a proud chicken.

Yet, as frequent diners, we feel it is still hard to beat Nando's.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

One year at GPS

Well, folks! I’m back in Riyadh!

Tenth grade flew by very fast. I can hardly believe that another year is over. I just have two more years of school left.

The one year I spent at Global Public School was fantastic. It was a complete change, which was something I hadn’t got a taste of in a long time. I made a lot of new friends, and went through new experiences.

Initially, I was plenty nervous about the idea. It was one thing to change school in the same country, so moving to a new school in another country was, well, nerve-racking. Never mind the fact that I went to India for at least a vacation of two months every year; the only year I had actually studied there was second grade.

The day before the beginning of the academic year, students were required to come to the school auditorium with their family, where there would be a welcoming session, and then proceed to their classrooms where instructions on dress code, behaviour and other concerns would be given.

My grandparents and I went together, and I got my first good look of the school. When we found the way to my class, I realized the rest of the kids who had bored expressions on their faces were going to be my classmates for the year. And I was the only new student, which was kind of disappointing, because my strategy was to quickly become friends with someone probably just as disoriented as I was. But there seemed to be no such luck.

Later, I found out I was the only new student in the entire GRADE, let alone class. So people got to know about me, even if I didn’t know them.

I managed to be late for class the very first day, owing to the fact that I had accidently left my school bag outside the auditorium for the morning assembly, and had forgotten to take it with me. I was halfway to my class before I remembered. It was a complete Oh dang! moment, followed by me throwing insults mentally at myself. But I managed to find a girl I presumed to be one of my classmates, and told her I’d forgotten my bag and needed someone who knew the way. Thankfully, she came along with me. I told her my name was Janaki on the way, she told me hers was Bisna, and we later became great friends.

The first day I was pretty lonely. My classmates and I had made small talk, but considering the fact that I had only been there for a couple of hours, I hadn’t still been able to actually count on someone, so I walked alone to the cafeteria and came back to class before everyone else. The most hyperactive person I met that day was Bisna’s friend Vaishnavi from the next section who told me to be careful of one of our teachers as she had kicked Vaishnavi out of class since she hadn't brought her book.

On the second day, Neha and Angela invited me to sit with them along with one of their best friends from another class, Vedika. From then on we used to sit and chat together along with Bisna not only at lunch, but also in class. Although we were friends with the other girls in our class, it was the four of us; Neha, Angela, Bisna and me.

But despite everything, I missed Riyadh. A lot. I missed how my parents and I would try out new restaurants, or shop in the malls and go out for walks.

However, I completely don't regret my one year, and I will never forget the fun times I had with my class.