jazzin’ it up! – rikki (10)

Thought I’d jazz up the blog … here are my performances with my teachers Mr. Ashot Mnjoyan (bass guitar) and Mr. Alex Goldman (piano) at the 2010 Spring Recital at the Almaden School of Music last week.  I hope you enjoy them.

Watermelon Man (Herbie Hancock)

Caravan (Duke Ellington)

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my presidential campaign – rikki (10)

Last year, I was elected student council president of Williams Elementary School. My main objective is to make a difference in my school, obviously in a good way. I hope to address my intentions during my school year.
Here’s the poster I made. My slogan was simple “It’s not that tricky…vote for Rikki.”
Rikki's election poster

Rikki for President!

Here’s a video of my campaign speech:
Hello Williams Whales – my name is Rikki Mukherjee and I’m running for Student Council President. We don’t have time for gimmicks and I couldn’t hire a rock band because I’m out of pocket money. Let me tell you straight why I am your best choice for President. I’m hardworking, responsible and will take initiative. As your leader, I will always work to make your voice heard. If you want to rock with Rikki, vote number 9 and you’ll be fine! It’s not that tricky … just vote for Rikki!
Here’s how it went:
After going through the election process with speeches and meetings I was called along with the other candidates for a 7:30 a.m. meeting where the office bearers were announced (Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and President). The names of the winners came out slowly, as if the teachers wanted to kill us with suspense. Theatrical but true, the initial way I found out that I had won was when I saw my name on the piece of paper (holding the names of the cabinet members) when a bit of sunlight filtered through a window, allowing me to read my name from behind.
Later, San Jose Councilwoman Nancy Pyle came to Williams to swear-in the student council.  It was covered by the Almaden Times newspaper!
Nancy Pyle addressing Williams school

Nancy Pyle addresses the student council at Flag

Nancy Pyle swears Rikki in as president

It was exciting!

snow – rikki (10)

Frosted Grass

Frosted Grass

snow

falling

plummeting

like a free faller in the sky

weaving through the frost-bitten air

finally

settling

in the ice-crusted blades of grass

it dies

Foxhurst Fire! – Rikki (10)

Fire on Foxhurst Way (2008)

Fire on Foxhurst Way (2008)

One Saturday afternoon in April 2008, on Foxhurst Way, a huge house fire engulfed the Hughes family’s home. The fire nearly burned down the entire house! The explanation is: the old shingles had caught fire from embers in the fireplace. This devastating fire will always be remembered by the Foxhurst residents.

After that day, nearly half the people on the street changed their roofs!

why the sun shines – (a folk tale) – ronny (13)

The Smiling Sun!

The Smiling Sun!

There once existed a hydrogen atom. He had a proton and an electron, and was quite full of himself. Still, he aspired for a neutron. For those who had neutrons were…helium atoms! They were stronger, heavier, and bigger than the plain old hydrogen atoms. To be an atom of helium was, so it seemed, infinitely preferable than to live out the life of a measly H1.
Now, this hydrogen atom thought a lot of himself. So one day he says to another:
“Well, I’m really a helium atom, but a little skimpy.
Says the other:
“Don’t try to pull my quark; you’re no more of a helium atom than O2 over there is a metal!”
“Alas!” says the former. “I’ve been lying through my electron cloud!”
But the other did not spite him, for he too was a measly hydrogen to be blamed for the Hindenberg. So they sat together and knocked their nuclei to try and find out how to become an atom of helium.
Soon enough, though, a helium atom buzzed by!
Says the first hydrogen:
“Why, you’re a helium atom!
And the second:
“Would you be so kind as to tell us how you got to that state?”
The helium atom, who was old and wise, said:
“I would inform you, but it is not a good topic for young hydrogens like you.”
The hydrogens of course assumed that he was guarding against them becoming his equal, and so pestered him for half-lifes on end until he gave in and told them the secret.
Says he:
“So, to become a helium atom like myself, you two must bump into each other at extremely high speeds, and therefore combine into one helium atom. The bad part is, only one of you will survive. The other will go…to the periodic table and become a Lanthanide.’
A Lanthanide!
And so the old and wise helium left, thinking that he had deterred the two.
Says the first hydrogen:
“Well, friend, it has been a pleasure but I’m afraid it will have to be me who goes on to become a helium. After all, it was my idea to become a helium.”
The other, of course, wouldn’t concede life, though it was pretty miserable. So the two quarreled and fought like mangy dogs over a bone, and soon enough others began to take sides.
Third and fourth hydrogens joined the fray, saying:
“The second’s got a right to live! You, number one! Bugger off!”
“But it was his idea from the start. He should be promoted.”
And so on and so forth until the argument numbered thousands of atoms screaming from each side. Eventually, one of the atoms punched the other and another punched him and yet another punched the other, who was helping the other other get his charges in order and then it happened: one nuclear reaction, then two, then three, then five, [then many other numbers of the Fibonacci sequence], and the sun sputtered to life and began to exude heat and light. And so the sun shines now.

a big decision – rikki (10)

Silver Bell

Silver Bell

My face is buried in the palms of my warm hands….thinking…waiting…deciding. I feel my parents’ eyes on me, stuck, with Tacky Glue.

My father is the first to shatter the intense silence, “So, do you want to go or not?”

An odd silence once again moves into the room. Sitting beside me, my brother sighs.

Finally, I let out, “No, I love this house.”

“You will regret it,” my mother responded.

“I know I will, but we’ve been looking…” I break off in mid-sentence and stand up. “Okay, let’s go…” I say, sounding defeated.

Next thing I know, I’m standing in a real nice house (with my own room).

“Welcome to your new home, Rikki.”

great america – rikki (10)

Roller coaster at Great America

Roller coaster at Great America

As you step through the red-colored gates, the buttery smell of popcorn overwhelms you. You step forward …. Bubam!  A roller-coaster soars above you. Minutes later, you find yourself at the front of a line, roller-coaster tracks dazzling you. As you board the small car, your phobia of heights hits you. You speed through the deep blue sky and scream so hard your vocal chords are pushed to the limit. Again, light-headed, you hear a light ping. A small ice-cream trolley rolls by. “Ice cream!” the vendor yells. You find yourself lapping up melted melted ice-cream off the cone as you saunter dreamingly out the gates you entered from.  That day was an adventure. What next?

In the suburbs – ronny (13)

[A version of this was published in the Almaden Resident newspaper (Aug 14, 2009, page 10) under the title “Ethnic melting pot in middle school? Not exactly” and caused quite a stir. It was subsequently followed by executive editor Dale Bryant’s  editorial in the Almaden Resident (Aug 27, 2009, page 12) addressed to the community.]

Diversity!

Diversity!

You have probably heard about the great diversity of the Bay Area, but in my school, diversity doesn’t seem to be the way to go. At lunch, everyone branches off into their racial groups. The Mexicans sit by the cafeteria, the Caucasians sit on the steps and on the walls, and the Asians sit behind the library. I sit with the Asians, in K-Town.

The story of the formation of K-Town is actually quite amusing. At the beginning of the school year, there were two Asian Towns. There was Chinatown, in the shade near the office, and Korea Town, which was by the library.

Chinatown was aptly named based on the ethnicity ratio (9/10 were Chinese), the overpopulation (about 60 kids sat in a space the size of a living room), and because of the horrible littering (after lunch, you could walk on trash for 30 feet if you tried). Kids who were assigned Trash Duty would go directly to Chinatown to fill their trash bucket in seconds.

Korea Town, on the other hand, was composed of only 10 kids (myself included, although I’m Indian) – 8 were Korean, one was Chinese, and then there was me. Korea was always striving to increase the population. There was a bitter feud going on between Korea Town and Chinatown. Our “leader” Kim Jong-Il was always talking trash about the “Chinatown Boys”. We wouldn’t even loan each other lunch money.

Besides the population, there was one major thing that separated Korea Town and Chinatown – the trash. Korea Town was always clean. Every day, we would pile up our trash in a lunch carrier, and one person would throw it away. Chinatown members just put their trash on the ground, and left whenever a yard duty attendant came by to reprimand them. Soon enough, the Chinatown area was declared off limits by yard duty. The Chinatown members had nowhere to go but Korea Town, because we were Asian and we had plenty of space. Our “leader” allowed the Chinatown people to sit in Korea Town on one condition: Chinatown was history, and all the members would unconditionally become Korea Town members. So now almost all the 8th grade Asians in the school sit in this mass of Asians.

Korea Town is now divided into a couple of parts. There is the “Sacred Circle”, a ring of the original 8 Koreans. Then follows the main mass, a jumble of Chinatowners that make up the bulk of Korea Town. Finally, there are the suburbs, which are groups of people that aren’t exactly in the mass, but are a little distance away from them.

All people in Korea Town must be:

  • Primary Asian (meaning small-eyed and yellow-skinned)
  • Secondary Asian (Indian, Pilipino) with at least 3.5 GPA 🙂
  • Non-caucasian  (exception: 4.0 GPA with partly Asian Heritage)
  • In the suburbs, Caucasians with 3.5 GPA or higher are allowed

Koreans are known as “Originals.” People of other races can be “ambassadors” or “members.” People that were part of the original Korea Town that weren’t Korean (like me or Chairman Mao) are ambassadors from their original country. I’m an Indian Ambassador. It’s pretty funky. Everyone that joined post-Off Limits Act is just a member, but they can rise up to become an ambassador through rites of passage, e.g., writing your name on the library wall with your backside, with at least 5 originals or ambassadors watching.

Ironically, the littering in Korea Town is now very heavy, and whenever a yard duty attendant comes by, we pull an “Asian Migration” and drift away before being ordered to pick up trash.

My original friends remain in the sacred circle, but we’ve drifted apart.

Me – I’m living in the suburbs and at peace with it.

blackout – rikki (9)

Blackout

Blackout

 

One dark evening…

I woke up to the sound of my cell phone ringing. I turned on my bed lamp and reached for the phone…when my hands met the cold metal I pulled it to my ear. “Hello?” I asked into the speaker. There was no response. “BAM!” A flash of light exploded from outside the room and the house shook like a rattle in a baby’s hand.

 The lights suddenly flickered, then turned off. “What the…” I breathed to myself. I walked towards my closet to get my flashlight and the floor creaked beneath me. I pulled the closet door open and snatched the flashlight from my shelf and turned it on. A beam of light ran down the hallway.

I turned the light away from the hall and pointed it at the window in my room. I walked towards my window and I looked out – lightning streaked the black sky and shook the house. I shuddered and switched the main light to the “ON” phase…nothing lit up. “A blackout” I thought to myself. I went into my parent’s room and looked in, they were fast asleep. I crept out and closed the door, and sauntered to my room. 

A chill ran up my spine, “Its cold as pie up here!” I exclaimed. I put on a sweatshirt and headed downstairs towards the thermostat. I looked at the temperature “52 degrees!” I whispered harshly. I cranked it up, but nothing happened. I bounded up the stairs and pulled the comforter off the bed. I wrapped it around myself and went back down the stairs into the kitchen.

I quickly took out ingredients for “Hot Chocolate” and headed towards the stove. I had read in a book, that in a blackout you could start the stove with a match, so I tried it and it worked! I placed the mug of Hot Cocoa on the fire and waited. I went back upstairs and sipped the steaming, rich chocolate all night. That morning I woke up on the floor, with an empty cup of coca next to me, to the sound of an alarm. 

 “School?” I asked myself. 

Grandmother Oak – Rikki (9)

Grandmother Oak

Grandmother Oak

“written for a special native american boy”

I slid my hand against the smooth bark of the Grandmother Oak and smiled to myself, “It is a brilliant day!” The sun leaked through the hole inside the tree while a fresh pine-scented wind lapped past the burrow, sending acorns tapping the ground. The leaves shook, making a sound ever so slightly…Shhhhh! I walked outside, my toes touching the moist earth, and picked an acorn off the grass. Dry leaves drifted to the floor. I slid my hand against a rumpled leaf and closed my eyes. Tossing the acorn in my warm hand, I walked all the way home.