ochie’s top ten moments of 2011

2011’s been quite the year for myself. i’ve done  a lot of cool things, seen a lot of amazing places, and perhaps ticked off a couple of things off my still-non-existent bucket list. here’s what i think were my top ten moments of the year, notable in different ways, so they’re in no particular order than than chronology.

1.Watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Esplanade Theatre.

I started out the year with a campy musical, an Australian production, but very much Rocky Horror in heart and soul. I have always wanted to see this musical live, and I watched the movie just a couple of days before I watched the musical, and after having heard about all the things people do while watching the musical, the least I wanted to do was dress up for it! All I could put together at the last minute was an attempt at a Transylvanian costume. I didn’t have suspenders, so I made do with a vest. And a skirt. Nevertheless, I had never dressed up for a play and now I have, and it was lots of fun. Plus I watched this with two of my theatre-class besties and everything was awesome. We did the Time Warp at the end of the play in the audience. T’was fun.


2. Visiting the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Australia

As an Indian, I am by ethnicity, a fan of the sport cricket. I’m not a die-hard fan who will stay up at ungodly hours to watch matches that go on for five days (those ungodly hours are for tumblr and other things) but I love watching cricket matches with friends and keeping up with all things related to it. My dad’s a big fan and I guess his enthusiasm’s catching! We went on a tour of the grounds in Melbourne and it was nothing short of amazing. In fact, there was very recently a match between Australia and India held at this stadium and I was swooning over how pretty these grounds are and how I have kept my feet on that grass now! Where I’m seated in that photo is where you would find VIPs and the players sitting around while they waited for their turn to go down to bat, bowl or field.  No reason not to be all smiles!

3. Visiting Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory at Hobart, Australia

I never knew it until I was there, but I have always wanted to go to a Cadbury’s factory because of how much joy their chocolate has given me over the years. Cadbury’s is such a household brand in the sense that everyone loves Dairy Milk and their other chocolates and it’s just wonderful being able to see how they grew as a company and how they make their chocolate. It was extremely cute to notice how even serious adults became childlike once they enterted the building (because once you enter through their doors, you’re presented with a giant slab of Dairy Milk from a giant trunk full of Dairy Milk bars. As in the picture above) They just keep giving you chocolate everywhere you go, you can see all their machines (old and new) and the day I was there it was incredibly rainy and cold and staying inside the factory felt heavenly because not only was it toasty and warm and dry inside, but the whole place smells of cocoa and chocolate and there are few things more comfortable-making than that. Whether or not you go visit a Cadbury’s factory at some point of time, I think everyone should go see a chocolate factory. I think the endorphins that make you grin like a dork are so concentrated that they’re in the air and from the moment you inhale, the happiness just starts showing. Chocolate factory, good stuff.

4. Getting wished a Happy Birthday and a giant hug from Rachael Yamagata, Esplanade Recital Studio

This is a magical story. I had absolutely no plans for my birthday this year, mostly because I was working on the day itself, but it turned out that Rachael Yamagata was having a small 200-seat concert the night before my birthday in February. I managed to snag myself a ticket as a birthday present from my parents, and I was extremely excited about the whole thing because it was such a small concert!  When I sat down at my seat, I realised that Rachael’s grand piano would pretty much block her entire face and body from my line of vision and that made me a little bummed but I was still excited to be there! Then comes the fellow sitting beside me, who asks me cautiously whether I would mind if I swapped seats with his sister who got a seat somewhere else, so that they could sit together. I asked him where that other seat was, and it turned out to be a seat much better than mine, leaving me with a direct on-end view from the stage, so I could see both Rachael and her piano wonderfully, and not only be subjected to her back (the other extreme…but her hair is also very pretty, so that might not have been terrible either) . I gladly swapped seats, had an amazing view throughout the wonderful concert, and then managed to get an autograph from her as well. In my five-minute banter, I told her it was my 19th birthday in a couple of hours and she didn’t believe me at first, but eventually did, after I explained to her why I would celebrate my birthday my going to a concert without company (“But YOU are the company, which is super super awesome!”) and I guess she found that funny because she got up and was all “okay let me give you A HUG!” and then she gave me an awesome hug which has now been captured in photo form forever.  She also wrote Happy Birthday on the ticket that she signed. Very awesome night.

5. Getting my Diploma in Dance from my dance school, Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society

Dancing is something that makes up a large portion of my life. I’ve been dancing with this school since I was four, and after fifteen years, five levels of exams, and lots of other performances, I finally have a diploma to show for it. I’m extremely proud of myself of being part of the several people who passed these exams with ‘High Distinction’ as mentioned on our school’s notice board, and I hope that it just paves the way for even more dancing in the years to come. This is one of my happiest achievements of the year. I got this officially in April this year.

6. Visiting The National Theatre, London, United Kingdom

I have been smitten with The National Theatre after first realising at age 15, that the dramatised version of His Dark Materials was done at The National Theatre. Then at 16, I discovered The History Boys and got smitten with the boys and fell deeper in love with The National Theatre. Then at 17, I started taking Theatre Studies and Drama for my A Levels and had a wonderfully British teacher who only made me love British theatre and The National Theatre even more. Suffice to say I was pretty much reduced to making awkard noises in sheer glee and reduced to an inability to say much other than “AH NATIONAL THEATRE” when I actually stepped foot inside it in May this year when I went to London for ten days. Some people might not get my happiness for this (I might even go as far as saying I loved this more than The Globe Theatre, but I watched a production of Hamlet there, and there’s a difference between just watching a production, and going on a tour and seeing everything behind the scenes) The tour I went on took us around the three stages, and we got to see crew working on the set for The Cherry Orchard, and I just felt like I could put my own mental images to so many productions I’ve read and studied about held at The National Theatre. I love the building and the area it’s in, and I think it definitely was one of the best things on my trip there.

7. Visiting Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, United Kingdom

As mentioned above, cricket is a big deal for me, and visiting Lord’s was fun, even though we got lost trying to find out way there because of some contrustruction going on. This place has so much history, and it’s so incredibly classy that you cannot help but be amazed at how rich everything in it seems. A lot of people don’t get cricket, and find it incredibly boring and snobby, but I feel like I’ve been to two rather historic homes for cricket and that is very, very awesome. I liked being shown the locker rooms, and I got to sit where MS Dhoni usually sits, and so many small things just seem very exciting, like seeing a leftover poster from an old series played a couple of months ago, or finding posters for upcoming matches, tickets going on sale. This was really quite quaint, but I can’t believe I visited Lord’s this year, especially when I think about how it was never anything I expected at the start of the year!

8.Visiting Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom

I also like tennis a fair bit. I am a Roger Federer fangirl till I die. I picked up tennis when I was 12, had coaching and everything for a couple of years till I was 15, and though it’s been years since I’ve actually picked up my lovely racket, I haven’t lost interest in tennis. I always look forward to watching grand slam matches whenever possible, and when I realised I was going to London, I had to see Wimbledon. I just had to. But as things turn out, I got sort of lost or delayed or something on the day we decided to go, and we missed our guided tour timing, so we just explored the museum on our own, and also got to see Centre Court through a funky glass thingy. I think I definitely felt a ‘tingle down my spine’ as I walked through the corridors to get to this Centre Court 360 place. Wimbledon is also beautiful and the museum was much more entertaining that I thought it would be.

9. Meeting Lady Gaga, London, United Kingdom

So you realise “Ochie’s not a huge Lady Gaga fan, why would she think this is awesome?” Well, this isn’t really Lady Gaga. It’s a Wax model of her at Madame Tussauds in London. Madame Tussauds is one of those tourist attractions that everyone says you should see, because it’s very popular, but it’s also incredibly expensive, and at the end of the day I would actually ask people to think twice about it because for that kind of money you could go watch another musical or play or something. Or buy something very nice. Some wax models look more realistic than other, most of them look really fake to be brutally honest, and it’s so incredibly crowded that it isn’t fun anymore. I thought this Lady Gaga one was done pretty well, though. Well they also had a house-of-horros type section, and a 4D Marvel Heroes show, and a fun History-of-London carriage ride, which made up for it a little bit.

10. Watching a 26-hour long Harry Potter Movie Marathon at GVMax@Vivocity

Deathly Hallows Part 2 was probably one of the movies Iwas looking forward to the most. My best friend and I managed to get tickets for this monster of an event, and as people free from work-and-school since college hadn’t started yet, we went armed and prepared for 26 hours of amazingness. It didn’t let me down at all. For the money I paid, I got 8 potter movies, a bunch of freebies, a lot more food than I could eat, and 26 hours of Potterific bliss. I had actually gone dressed in a Gryffindor sweater (a red cable knit sweater on which I had sewn on a cloth Gryffindor badge) but since this was 26 hours long and I knew I would be a mess from movie 5 onwards, I had taken my Snuggie along, and my friend brought a witch hat and everything was wonderful. I took this photo at night because I thought my Snuggie looked like Dumbledore’s robes. Or Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove, but that’s a debate for another day. One warning to folk who think they’re going to marathon all 8 movies themselves, be prepared to be an emotional mess from movie four onwards where the good guys all start dying. Every additional death will just reduce you to even more tears. I was emotionally wrecked by the end of this whole thing and felt miserable for something like three days after that. Which is why I haven’t dared watch Deathly Hallows Part 2 again.

I’ve done a lot more interesting things other than these ten, and they include watching AR Rahman at the Marina Bay Sands,Sufjan Stevens live in London, the National at Esplanade Theatre, going for two of my friends’ weddings in India, start college, take salsa classes and join an actual talent contest. I’ve danced at a Buddhist event, I got myself a DSLR – oh I passed my A Levels and got into college! I worked at Changi Airport for six months and had a really good time there. I got my nose pierced and I loved it but it only lasted a month before it got infected and I had to take it out. I watched the local production of Equus and The Lion King, and watched Hamlet and Billy Elliot in the UK. It’s been a pretty damn amazing year, if I think about it, and it’s been very different from 2010, which is a good thing.

My next entry will have a couple of top 5’s along with photos. In terms of photos I’ve taken, photos of food, photos of outfits, stuff like that. That’s for tomorrow, I guess.

I’m going to go watch The Artist with my sister, because it’s still running in theatres when we thought it went out of cinemas yesterday.




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