26.09.2013, Thursday, 5:20 pm

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Didn’t go to school today because I caught the bug that was going around our neighborhood for the past few weeks. Well, at least now I don’t have to cover my face with a paper bag every time I step out of the house.

Anyway, I was just blankly starting at the telly and bringing out the couch potato in me when BOOM!! I suddenly remembered my mum’s birthday…That’s in TWO DAYS!!!! I have to be the worst kid EVER. First, I forget about my GRANDMA’S birthday, and now my mum’s. I can SO see myself in five years on fifteenth August [which is my birthday] and I’ll be all, ‘Hmm… I know there’s something special about today… I just can’t finger it…’

I have got to think FAST. I mean, my mum does so much for me, and what do I give her in return?? Usually, on her birthday, Kathryn and I prepare a Breakfast in Bed consisting of burnt toast and sour milk, but this time, I want to do something memorable. Like ship her of in a private jet so that she wakes up in Milan. Only, I don’t think mum would be too happy with that plan considering how people don’t really like arriving at a new country in their zodiac nighties.

I have got myself into a real mess, haven’t I?? I have to be the most irresponsible being ever born. Well, at least I am one of some kind.

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26.09.2013, Thursday, 3:42 pm

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Okay, so back to the party story from yesterday;

Before I knew it, we had arrived at the mall. As our sneakers crunched the saffron leaves that scattered themselves across the tarred road, us kids gabbed nineteen to the dozen about how exactly we were going to spend the rest of the day. Of course, Tasha already had a rough plan [subject to change], but it all depended on how us girls received it.

As soon as the watchman flung open the glass door [Glenn Mall is one of the few shopping departments that doesn’t have automatic gates], a gust of icy breeze fluttered past us, causing some of my pals to squeal in delight. The party had officially started!!

One thing that everyone really wanted to do was enter the “Hallway of Panic.” There were posters all over the walls tempting us to try it out. Tasha’s mum handed her daughter a wad of cash and instructed us to meet her at the KFC eatery in five hours. In my head, I was going “SWEET!!” partly because I have never been left “alone” [without parental supervision] in a public area before.

Anyway, the first thing we did was hop onto the escalators and climb up to the fourth floor, the “Teen Zone.”[Okay, except for me, everyone there was thirteen. Great] Just before we entered the “Hallway,” Grannie’s phone beeped [she had kindly let me borrow it for the trip] and a message from mum flashed on the screen:

Are you having fun, Sweetie?? What are you kids up to now?

I replied:

Yup, Mum, we’re having fun alright. Just going to check out the “Hallway of Panic.” Love, Taylor.

 

Just then, the security guard informed us that only TWO kids could get in at a time. I was like, WHAT???!!!? Because NO WAY was I going to enter a pitch dark space with mechanical ghosts lurking around by myself. Who KNOWS what really goes on in there??????

Well, most of the party invitees felt the same way too, so we had a noisy quarrel with the guy in charge, and, realising he was not equipped to make twelve boisterous girls agree with his point of view, he gave up and let us all flock in together. Well, that was BIG MISTAKE number one. If there’s on thing I have learned from my trip to the mall it’s that they have rules for a REASON, and not just to exercise their superiority. We couldn’t even enjoy the activity because:
1] We were practically GLUED to each other because of the lack of space

2] There was this RIDICULOUS soundtrack that displayed the screaming of a maiden. It was so LOUD, I couldn’t hear myself THINK.

Well, after that, we decided to view a 7D movie at the theatre. Boy, wasn’t THAT cool!! We settled on viewing ‘Lady Pharaoh,’ a freaky, fifteen minute film on this weird woman in a burka. The only part that ruined the shows was the “fight”: See, I left out one teensy-weency detail; Greta, Kylee, Isabelle and Chantal ALL wanted to sit next to me and just BE with me -The WHOLE time- when all I really wanted to do was hang out with Tasha, because it was her birthday and all. So, before the little movie began, the four of them were arguing, and I, totally exhausted by their petty conflict, stalked off and seated myself at the front row. Eventually, they settled it out among themselves, and we were soon watching the crazy film while crunching on popcorn.

Well, after that, we played around at the arcade and dashed each other at the “Bumper car” arena. We also had a bowling match and spent a couple bucks on cotton candy. It was AWESOME!!!

Then we roamed around the stores, trying out wacky costumes and posing with mannequins. We bogeyed to Moves Like Jagger, tried out sticks of mascara at Maybelline, tried out frocks at Next and sported expensive clothes at Westside. Time flew, and the next thing I knew, we had to head to KFC to meet up with Tasha’s parents. We had a blast there too, and filled up a gazillion feed-back forms with negative comments [I’m a critic at heart].

Then, we drove all around town in search of a decent ice cream parlour and licked up frozen junk at Baskin Robbins.

I can’t believe the whole thing is over. I like to have something to look forward too.

At least Kylee has announced that she’s holding a Pyjama Party at her place after the exams. Thank Gawd for Kylee and her sleepovers!!

Time to surf the web for my daily dose of internet poo [my word for all the trash that keeps sprouting about the world wide web]. Tata, DeDe, until next time.

 

19.09.2013, Thursday, 5:05 pm

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Okay, remember that “awesome” party I told you about?? Well, it was… kind of a let-down.

NOT!!!!!!

Yesterday was LEGENDARY. It was EVERYTHING you’d want in an absolutely FABULOUS set of twenty-four hours. The only “bad part” is that it got over WAY too fast. Which is a pity, because we were having SUCH a BLAST!!!!

The excitement began after school on Wednesday. You know, when there’s no one around the WHOLE campus except some of the staff and the us, the kids invited to the bash. We were just hanging around and waiting for Tasha’s mum to show up. So, anyway, we were twirling around the football field and informing everyone about the “seven star hotel” Tasha’s thing was going to be at, when her parents pulled up in front of the school gate.

Her father was behind the wheel of a Hyundai while Tasha’s mum was driving a classy hybrid. We divided ourselves and loaded into the spacious automobiles. We reached Tasha’s place in no time at all. THAT was when I spotted it; a sleek Beetle with a tinge of the brightest shade of yellow one has every laid one’s eyes on. It had tiny black license plates with tinted windows and the MOST comfortable-looking seats… It was a divine BEAUTY in the form of a vehicle.

Unfortunately, my bud’s wouldn’t let me fawn over a “piece of metal” [harsh] and dragged me all the way to Tasha’s suite on the fourth floor. And that’s where I saw the second it [or her, to be more precise]; Tasha’s Labrador, Sausage. One thing that I noticed IMMEDIATELY was that, neck-down, Sausage [or Saucy, as Tasha calls her] was shaved. Yes, SHAVED. [This is one dog that keeps getting weirder and weirder, huh?] She looked bare.

I rushed over to her and wrapped my arms around her neck until Greta commanded me to shower and get ready for lunch. In five minutes, I emerged from the bathroom sporting mauve denims and a salmon pink tee. The others were already digging into fried rice and crispy veggies, so I hurried to join them.

Of course, before I could properly set my eyes on the two bowls of lunch set out on the table, Tasha decided it was time to cut the cake, so I had to patiently wait for all the clapping and singing was done before I could even THINK of eating anything at all. Fortunately, the cake was basically a mix of melted Ferrero Rocher sauce and chocolate icing, and as I’m a die hard chocholic, it suited me just fine.

As soon as everyone had finished wiping off the last bits of birthday cake, we darted out of the house and jumped into the waiting cars. There was a bit of a dispute on who should sit where, but in the end, it was all sorted out and we were on our way to Glenn Mall!! While most of the children admired the scenery, Ashley and I plugged our head-phones on and were soon enjoying a “My Wife And Kids” marathon.

Oops, looks like I’ll have to tell you the rest of it tomorrow, DeDe. Dad’s gesturing for me to go have my bath. PARENTS!!!!!!

17.09.2013, Tuesday, 3:32 pm

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Tomorrow is going to be EPIC!!! I know, I know, I’m supposed to be updating you, DeDe, every single day, blah blah blah. But my life has been SO amazingly hectic [to say the least] nowadays, I can’t find the time to BLINK, forget maintaining a record of my LIFE. Anyway, now I’m here, and you’re here too, so let me explain all the stuff that’s been happening. Basically, it ALL began on the fifteenth of this month…

Humid was the afternoon as five… sorry, six maidens trudged around the school campus, tediously making their way around the hordes of boisterous kids who felt it their duty to take full advantage of their half an hour recess. The girls shoved their way through the crowd, forgetting all about the manners drilled into their heads from the time they were three. ‘I really DO wish Principal Theodore would at least CONSIDER making a larger space for the little ones to run about. They end up darting across the already-tiny corridors and making a nuisance of themselves,’ Taylor remarked as her entourage followed her path. ‘Tell me about it,’ Chantal grunted, trying to maneuver her legs away from a tangles mess of third-graders.

Just as they neared a somewhat familiar haven -one could never tell the difference between the canteen and the sport’s room in this rush- Tasha Grittman, a girl who was in their standard, tripped on someones shoelaces and BOOM!! You know what happens next, right?? The seven… sorry, the eight feminines fell with a synchronized thud. ‘OUCH!!!’ Greta whined, rubbing her bruised knee. ‘I’m so sorry!’ Tasha apologised, helping Greta up. The rest of the student body were oblivious to this little incident and unknowingly trod on Isabelle’s palms. She screamed in pain and massaged her wound as best she could. When the last of the damsels were upright again, Tasha took a good look around her. 

‘Oh it’s you lot!’ She exclaimed. I’ve been looking for you girls all around the school!’ She added. ‘But whatever for??’ Taylor queried, her brows furrowing. ‘Well, as you know it’s my birthday in a couple days time and I would love it if you all can come to a little get-together I will be throwing at Glenn Mall,’ She stated, satisfied at the eyes around her that began gleaming with delight. ‘How simply marvelous!!’ Mandy announced, her smile resembling a slice of Parmesan. ‘It’s been AGES since someone has thrown a party!!’ Kylee said, picturing her peach frock and wondering whether it would be suitable attire for this occasion.

‘Well, I’m glad you warm towards the idea, but could you please ask for permission and get back to me later today?? Mum has asked me to finalize the number of guests. We have to book the hall and inform the caterers about the number of people in attendance you know.’ she said with the all-important air of a hostess. ‘I’ll let you know by about five o’clock,’ Malaika said. The little circle dispersed after agreeing to email each other about whether or not their parents gave into the idea.

Thankfully, all the seven little girls got permission to attend Tasha’s thirteenth birthday bash. They spent the following days discussing their clothes, the presents and the sheer surprise of the unexpected treat.

Sorry DeDe, that’s all I can write right now. I have to leave something to write about for tomorrow, the splendid D-day!!! It’s such a pleasant though, the fact that in twenty-four hours from now, I will be having the time of my life with some of the greatest pals the world has ever seen.

Over and Out

14.09.2013, Saturday, 6:31 pm

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Okay, DeDe. Remember that secret I was dying to tell you but couldn’t because of snoopy people that might happen to flip through you and read about it?? Well, I think it would be safe to let you in on it now, because… well, just because, I guess.

Oh, and before you get your hopes up, let me assure you that this piece of “news” doesn’t really have anything for anyone to get their excitement levels rising. Except people like me, though.

Getting back to the point, do you remember that literary competition I had entered and was short-listed for the second stage?? Well, mum got an eMail about month ago stating that I was further selected to be part of the third and final round of the whole thing; a Skype interview with… CHETAN BHAGAT AND RUSKIN BOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You know, the two, AMAZINGLY popular Indian authors…

[The amount of exclamation marks I have used after their names gives you an idea on just how excited I was about the whole thing. I even began marking the days off my calender [something I usually hate doing because the pen smudges itself up and the glossy paper gets all inky]]

The interview took place yesterday. Here’s what happened from the time we set our feet out of the Skarr cottage:

HOW TAYLOR SKARR’S SEPTEMBER THIRTEENTH WENT

Mum: I’m so proud of you for reaching this far, honey!!

Me: Yeah mum.

Mum: Do you know that out of the fifty THOUSAND participants who submitted their entries only five thousand were chosed for the second phase?? And now, only five hundred children stand, competing for the grand prize.

Me: >Stomach starts wobbling< Great t know, mum.

Dad: Hon, have you though about questions that the jury [his word for the interviewers] might ask??

Me: Nope, dad, I haven’t.

[We spent the rest of the journey considering stuff I was likely to be asked, like, ‘Tell us about yourself’ and ‘Why did you submit your work to this competition??’]

-In the Reliance Center [the venue where all the round-two qualifiers were supposed to gather]-

Guy-behind-counter: Taylor Skarr?? May I have Taylor Skarr???

Me: Here. >Raises arm<

Guy-behind-counter: You are up next. Follow me.

Me: >Trails after the guy-behind-counter meekly<

-I enter a formal room with a giant screen glowing from one of the walls, a wooden desk and a cane chair rolled behind it-

Me: >Settles self on chair<

Guy-behind-counter: >Leaves the room to attend to other kids<

-I spot four adults displayed the screen, all seated on benches similar to the one I was plopped on-

Female #1 [Unrecognizable]: Good morning

Me: Good morning

Female #1: Tell us a little about yourself and your family, dear

Me: [high-fiving myself [in my mind] because dad forced me to answer this question back in the car and made me repeat I till I was perfect] Sure. My name is Taylor Skarr and I live with my parents, my sister and my dog in a Portuguese manor tucked away with patch of country. I go to school at George Bush Middle School and enjoy writing, reading, blogging, karate and playing on my keyboard among other activities.

Ruskin Bond: Very interesting… [he leafs through one of the achievement files my mum submitted] It says here that you are a national gold-medalist in karate…

Me: >blushes uncontrollably< Um…

Female #2 [Unrecognizable as well]: Karate, music, writing… How do you manage to divide your time between so many activities??

Me: If not for indulging in the few activities I enjoy, I have little else to do around the house except for the odd chore. So I have a lot of time on my hands and am also never bored. [A lie. But they’ll never know]

Chetan Bhagat: Why do you write and what made you submit your article to our organization??

Me: I write when I’m happy. I write when I’ sad. I write ALL the time. It’s a way I can express my opinions and pen down my thoughts. I decided to send in one of my articles because my mum though it would be a great was for me to see how well I really write.

Ruskin Bond: Are you okay with the stories you sent us??

Me: I definitely could have done better had I thought more. But I think I did my best under the given circumstances.

Chetan Bhagat: What if people start getting critical about your work as you grow up?? How do you think you will handle it??

Me: Frankly, I write because it makes me happy, irrelevant of what others think about it. So, I think, as long as I enjoy it, I will continue to write.

Female #2: Thank you, Taylor.

Me: >Gets up<  Good Afternoon, ma’am >Scurries away<

That’s that. I wish I’d considered some of the other questions they’d asked so I could’ve prepared myself better, but, anyway. The worst that could happen is that I’ll be given a gift hamper filled to the brim with classics because, as there are only five hundred children left, everybody who has reached the third round is ensured something or the other. The chart of awards is:

1. The first place tokens [awarded to the first-forty kids in the top 500]: An eReader and their story being published by Scholastic

2. The second place gifts [presented to the next sixty children]: Their stories being bound up ad collectively published by Scholastic

3. The consolation prizes [rewarded to the last four-hundred kids]: A basket of timeless books

Mum says that reaching the third round and conversing with the judges was an achievement in itself. I wish I would agree with her. No doubt, the interview is one I’ll never forget. But… I don’t know… I just REALLY want that top prize, you know??

Looks like I’ve got to go, DeDe. Time to shower and sit down for “tea” and “light refreshments” which is actually milk/juice with cookies. Not as exotic as it sounds, eh??

12.09.2013, Thursday, 9:27 pm

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Just spent a delightful hour eating homemade Italian snacks and solving crosswords with daddy. This is SO the life!! How much better could it get, really?? I mean;

1. It’s Lucky Thursday! The only thing better would be Even-Luckier Friday!!

2. Feni has rested her beautiful head on my lap. Oh, how wonderful it is to be loved!!

3. Solving crosswords; a sure sign of mental stability.

Okay, that’s about all I can come up with at the moment. Wow, it is SO awesome with the air con on. Way better than the fan, that’s for sure. My only regret is that I finished the garlic bread too fast. I wish I’d saved some for later. My only hope is to mooch off some of Kathryn’s when she isn’t looking. Which is difficult, because she’s spent every single second -since mum laid the array of continental tit-bits- analyzing whether or not to eat the bread [“Too many carbs or no too many carbs??”

Yeah!! Great news!!! Mum has just entered the room with a tray of garlic bread!! Too busy munching, DeDe!! More later!!

11.09.2013, Thursday, 9:11 pm

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Coincidentally, today, twelve years ago, was the whole twin-tower incident. And, EVEN MORE COINCIDENTALLY, it’s 9:11 PM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!