A New Kidney for Filu – Reunited! an update


Regular readers of my blog will know of my campaign to help my friend Filu get a new kidney. If you haven’t heard about it you can read more here:



Towards the end of last year Filu finally found a matching donor after many years of waiting and painful dialysis and had her operation. I went to visit her at the end of last year to see how she is getting on and give her the remainder of the funds raised.

I opted against my original idea of the biggest bunch of flowers ever as she is under strict instructions from the doctor- everything has to be sterile and Filu has to wear a mask and limit her interactions with the outside world for several months to avoid infection while her body heals. Luckily she has her mother (pictured far left) taking care of her along with her beautiful daughter.

The following week after my visit Filu had another small operation and may have several more follow ups post surgery. She is on a huge cocktail of different pills and will have to take medicine for the rest of her life so her body doesn’t reject her kidney. However she was full of positive spirit and determination as always and we were very happy to be reunited (and our daughters also!) She told me how strange and wonderful it feels to experience her new kidney beginning to work and how she thanks God (she is Catholic) for giving her a new chance in life. I am once again in awe of her courage and humility and thankful to all the people who helped her.

I am keeping my campaign running and will continue to help as much as I can to raise funds to pay for her medication, especially in these months where she is unable to work doing her job teaching children. I am also seeking details for any charities and NGOs who may be able to help with the long term costs of her medication. Please take a look at my Fundrazr campaign and if you are unable to donate you can always help by sharing on social media or reblogging. Thanks!




Sisterhood of the World!


Some time ago now I was lucky enough to be nominated for the sisterhood of the world blogger award by the wonderful Carissa Hickling aka Everyday Asia aka Whisky Lady. Thank you very much Carissa and hope you are doing good!

How it works:

I answer questions from Carissa an in turn nominate some more of my fellow blogger sisters and ask them some questions. So here goes……

  1. What are your favourite rainy day activity(ies)?

I like to cook with my daughter – we make sweet dishes like fairy cakes and gulab jamen and fight over who gets to lick the spoon. We then sit in a sugar daze watching equally sugary kids films which usually involve a princess and if I’m a really lucky mama, disney singing. At this point I usually crack out the brandy and add it liberally to my hot chocolate!

2.  If you had to transmogrify into an animal – which and why?

Maybe a bear as they get to sleep all winter – or a migratory bird- anything that gets to escape the cold of England!

3.   What TV shows or films currently keep you amused or engaged?

Well there is the weather which like a true brit I watch religiously every morning! It has everything; suspense, heartbreak, excitement (often followed by disappointment) and is often the talking subject for the rest of the day.

Other than that, I’m not a big watcher of television but I do love downloading and collecting science fiction B movies, obscure eastern european cinema and japanese animee.

My daughter has given me a wonderful excuse to dig out old favourite kids shows like Ulysses 31 and The Mysterious Cities of Gold. I’m a massive kid so have no shame in admitting my love of animation and fantasy films like The Never Ending Story.

4.   What makes you howl in frustration?

Tory politicians and UK weather once again crop up in my room 101 list.

5.   And what makes you jump up and dance for joy?

My daughter is undoubtedly the most joyful thing in my life. There is no better way to start the day than singing and dancing all the way to school with her in the car. This produces some rather bemused stares from other drivers. She is the most fun person I know, my daughter, and seeing her happy is my reason for being.

Good red wine and good company feature also feature fairly highly on the list and world peace and stuff.

6.   What were you up to 10 years ago?

Travelling round Europe in big trucks filled with soundsystems going to massive week long raves and stopping everywhere beautiful and interesting in-between. Hot springs and historical cathedrals – wild forests and dried river beds through to German lakeside camp sites filled with teenage boys in speedos. We saw it all and made memories to last a life time. Travelling in convoy in a large group of people from all over the world all for the love of music.

7.   In a perfect world, where will you be and what will you be doing 10 years from now?

I would be living somewhere hot doing something creative and getting paid well for it. Summers we would cruise around Europe in our dutch barge, winters would be spent on tropical beaches in Asia and Africa. I will take my children to every country in the world and educate them to make a difference and make the world a better place. Also to make some money so they can buy me a villa and a yacht.

8.   What’s the worst play / live performance you have ever seen? (as in shudder!)

I get to see a lot of cringeworthy miming in my job working in events – if I was to reveal which artists were doing it I would get into a fair degree of trouble though!

9.   What CD is in your player / song on your iPod / streaming…  you get it!

‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ by Billie Holiday

10.   What is the most useless thing you packed and never ever actually used when traveling or shifting to another place?

Shoes with heels. Why do I even own any let alone think I will ever wear them?!!

So now for my nominations……

Expat Lingo – Often very funny stories from a serial ex-pat with five countries under her belt!

Foreign Indian Wife – Previously My Hindi Heart – intercultural love, struggles and successes living abroad. Often very moving and always a good read.

With Love From Larissa – Very sweet blog – Swiss girl, Indian boy, lots of travels, love and adventures! Once her blog made me actually cry….

Nomadic Chica – Colourful travel stories from a chica from Chile travelling the world one step at a time!

English Wife Indian Life – Lauren’s blog is fantastic and engaging – another intercultural love story and a very honest account of living ex-pat life as an Indian wife. She has a great love for India and her husband and it’s just lovely to share her journey!

Supermum and other Disguises – Not a travel or ex-pat blog as such but involves a fair amount of travel and tips on parenthood from a lady who has certainly travelled a great deal!

One Cuppa Chai – A blog by the wonderful Heather Saville-Gupta, author of ‘Becoming Mrs Kumar’ about her reverse culture shock experiences returning to UK from India.

And my questions…..

  1. Where is the most special, favourite place to you in the world and why? I’m talking sentimental, gooey happy stuff here!
  2. Many of us on here are in intercultural relationships and write a great deal about them and the subject of love in general. I want to know about your first schoolgirl love/crush/ kiss? And do you know what became of that person?
  3. What are your desert island discs? (5 records that you would take to your desert island if you could only ever listen to these five tracks and nothing else ever again?)
  4. What is the funniest story you can think of that involves any part of your body?
  5. How did you meet your partner? If you’ve not met him yet tell us about your perfect man?
  6. If you could bump off three of the world’s politicians which three and why? (They don’t have to die a painful death as such, just be permanently removed from any kind of seat of power.) If you don’t like politics you can choose three celebs.
  7. Why do you write? (Big deep question that one!)
  8. Give us your best home cooking comfort food delicious recipe!
  9. Give us a link to the funniest internet video you have seen this year..
  10. If you could have three wishes what would they be?

So what happens next? Well the lovely ladies I have nominated write a post telling the world I have nominated them for this auspicious award. Answer my questions and nominate some more lovely ladies and ask their own questions!

If I have nominated you make sure you send me a link to your post – have fun sisters of the world!

The First Red Tent in India


This December I’ve had the delight of my job taking me to Goa for two very different festivals.

The first of which was a yoga and mind body spirit kind of affair. As the only female sound engineer in my company (and possibly in the whole of India! -I would love to meet another!) I had the unexpected pleasure of being assigned to the women only red tent. The men who had sent me there were somewhat fearful and at the same time intrigued by this womblike red cavern and the fierce band of women ruling the space. One guy joked that if would love to record the sound so he could find out what on earth they were doing in here! I was wondering the same thing myself as the women carefully created am altar in the center of the tent, fussing over candles and flowers and the authenticity of their firewood- I pitied the production manager responsible for ensuring their every need was satisfied- while immediately liked each of the red tent team they definitely struck me as women I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of!

As it turned out there were no sound requirements for the morning session other than music playback at the end so I joined in the first activity, rather harmlessly titled ‘Breath Work.’ little did I realise I was to be brought back to the moment of my birth via a trance like state induced by a breathing technique that many people (mistakenly) think is hyperventilating. We were all assured that no one has died of breathing and it was perfectly safe so I laid back and gave it my best. My first thought was that it brought me back to the experience of giving birth rather than my own birth. The feeling produced by the breathing was very similar to the gas given to you when you are in labour. My head started spinning and all my limbs and extremities were tingling. This developed into painful cramps and I passed out a couple of times, my consciousness spiraling off down a dark tunnel with a eerie green light at the end.

Previous to the session we were briefed on the fact that all these things might happen and were perfectly normal as it was our bodies physical manifestation of our resistance to let go of our ‘personal lie’- our deepest innermost fear or insecurity. We also talked about our own births i.e. were they natural or did we have a chord around the neck, forceps etc. This worried me a little as I was a cesarean and as far as I knew adopted from birth, so I wasn’t entirely sure it was an experience I wanted to relive. With all this in mind, after the seed of thought had been planted I naturally began to consider what my personal lie might be whilst flat on my back in my trance. I found myself wanting to cry and overwhelmed with emotion but there was a voice in my head telling me not to let go as technically I was at work- imagine if one of the boys came to ask me for a microphone or cable or something and found me half passed out in floods of tears on the floor proclaiming that I am terrified of being rejected! Not a good look!

Imagebra on mixing desk (not mine!)

Anyway the session got over and the day went on with a goddess galaxy ceremony run by fashion designer Malini Ramani and a talk on what it means to be feminine by a sex psychotherapist Shanta Gyanchand topped off in the evening by a film on the history of the red tent movement. Red tents have been around for a long, long time. Originally they were places where women went to at their time of the month to bleed together and I expect have a bloody good moan as we all like to when we are brimful of hormones and menstrual cramps. Over time some hippies and a few feminists decided this was a good idea and it would be great to have a space where women could meet and share stories and love and generally be empowered as well as have a good moan about their periods. I fully agree with them after watching the film and seeing first hand the effect the red tent had on the women that visited over the weekend. My personal highlight had to be the wisdom imparted by Shanta in her talk on interpreting women’s sexual fantasies using dream analysis theory- fascinating stuff! Apparently the reason why lots of women have submissive fantasies, sometimes to the extremes of rape or sexual slavery, is because women often find themselves having a lot of heavy responsibility in their lives and in these submissive situations all responsibility is relinquished- makes a whole load of sense!

I also loved Deepti Datt’s reinterpretation of Sleeping beauty as related to the coming of age of a young girl (getting your period) and the rest of the details I won’t reveal here as they are a treat best heard first-hand.

This was the first time there has been a red tent here in India- a fact which really surprised me considering India’s large hippy populace who are especially concentrated here in Goa. The tent was run by two women of Indian origin, which also surprised me and I felt uncomfortable about the fact that it did. This was until I thought about it somewhat and realised that the reason it surprised me was exactly the reason why India needs the red tent movement- women have been oppressed here and many still are. Often this happens in their own homes and there is a definite need for a space they can go where they can talk openly without being judged in terms of religious rules or the expectations of Indian society. Of course there is a feminist movement here but red tents are not simply about feminism or hippies- they are about support, healing and education which is something every woman has a need for regardless of social background. I was very privileged to witness and be a part of one and really excited to see several women announcing at the end their intent to take the idea away and start up red tent women’s circles in their own Indian cities and wish them the best of luck!

For more information please check out https://www.facebook.com/redtentinindiaImage