Since 2009 I have been visiting the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation in Mumbai. It’s a music school that encourages Western Classical music so everything is taught in English. I have been helping the school develop a pre5 music programme so every visit I train the teachers and work with the children. The programme has expanded enormously since my first visit and now there are toddler classes as well as outreach work in NGO run schools as well as classes for 3,4,5,6yr olds.
The working days are long in Mumbai and the evenings are full of socialising (and eating which is very important). A typical day is 10-7pm of training, classes and meetings. I am fortunate to have relatives in Mumbai (my maternal grandparents were born there) so I get to meet up with extended family and eat more.
I enjoy the training and teaching immensely and am very proud that I have helped develop a programme which now works in schools with children who really do not have very much. It is a bit odd to hear them saying rhymes that I teach in my classes here but then, it’s all about developing linguistic skills and confidence and the English language is so important in India that it somehow does work.
I left on the 1st January and arrived back last Tuesday 14th January. I just about made my flight as the queues were so long at security and immigration and having just sat down, a young lad came up and asked if I would mind swopping seats as he wanted to sit next to his friend. I asked him where his seat was as I was keen to keep my aisle seat and he replied “business”. I thought he was joking but turned out he wasn’t. I was almost too excited to sleep in my bed but as it was an overnight flight I thoroughly revelled in the luxury and slept wonderfully. I know the likelihood of this happening again is very slim (as much as the likelihood of buying a business class ticket!) but it was certainly a very nice way to end my trip.