I love this month! Not only is it the month of birth of all 3 of us siblings, which really isn't the only reason behind my fondness for it. But the change in weather is beautiful. In France, apart from temperatures dropping and going up, other seasonal changes are also so visible. People on the streets, the colour of their clothes, the vegetables in the market, the skies. I am pretty sure that even if I were born during one of those hot summer months, I would have loved October.
I have let a couple of months pass by without blogging about it. July was different this year. The summer wasn't as intense as last year. And I feel these past few months have really flown by. I remember vignettes, but feel like it all occurred ages ago.
In August, my sister and her little family visited. I went to Paris to look after my niece so that my sister and her husband can roam around the beautiful city on their own time. It was a lovely and different experience, looking at Paris through a toddler's eyes. Short trips to Barcelona and Madrid followed. Barcelona is a very lively city, very youthful and colourful. Madrid is a sophisticated, charming city. My sister and I had the best experience one day in Madrid, when we treated ourselves to an evening of Flamenco. It is such a rustic yet classic style, with live music and singing. The style of singing reminded me of Raï.
A couple of friends we made last year moved to another city. In September, I had the pleasure of having them over for dinner. They are from Romania and their former flat mate, who attends drum class with me, is from Latvia. I cannot begin to tell you the amount and openness of our political conversations. For some reason, they are well aware of India’s continued issues of control with her many neighbours. And we draw similarities from across the world, especially from across Europe.
Yesterday, at Claudio's place for Hindi class, we had just finished reading an extremely formal letter of application asking for leave of absence. I told him nobody speaks so formally like that anymore. Perhaps, they still write like that in the government where you have to sound like you will remain forever obliged to your superior if they grant you leave!
This led us to talk about 'monsieur' and 'madame', which literally is 'my-sir' and 'my-dame'. He said in the great old times, the royalty used to address their queens and kings like this. So, you are 'my-sir' or 'my-dame'. And that continued as it is.
THAT led us to talk about the origin of the word ‘ciao’. In Italy it is ‘hello’. In France, it is ‘bye’, although I feel it is more an outside influence than an original term in French. It turns out the Latin for ‘I am your slave’ (used during the Roman Empire) lends itself to ‘schiavo’, which is Italian for ‘slave’. ‘Ciao’ is a version of that.