This last weekend was fairly hectic for us. We went out shopping, had a leisurely lunch, drank good coffee, baked a cake.. the works.
We also attended a birthday party.
It was in a bowling alley, and the host had reserved three lanes. The kids were all happy, and I don’t think anyone bothered whose name showed up on the screen above – they just grabbed balls and threw them as and when and where they could.
Above the lanes, speakers adorned the rafters. Spread out everywhere, they were belting songs from the 80s. Some of the ones I remember:
- Eye of the tiger
- Dancing Queen
- Brother Louie
All wonderful songs, and they brought back memories of my childhood, when I would swap audio cassette tapes with my friend DSP (and occasionally Jayvijay).
Back home, late in the evening, I turned on Pandora. My default radio station there is “R. D. Burman”, and I was treated to songs from
- Hare Krishna Hare Rama
What can I say? The 70s/80s aren’t revered for a trivial reason.
Last week, I was told that my management wants me to stay back in Denver for four more years. Thankfully (at least right now), they are asking me – not simply informing me.
There are too many reasons why I want to go back – but there are also a few reasons why I – and my family – would like to stay. We have about four more months to take this decision and honestly, I have no clue as to what will the result be.
In the meantime, we are hiking every weekend like there’ll be no tomorrow – and hoping that next Summer will find us in Mumbai instead of Denver.
If by Sunday evening you haven’t realized what’s next, all you need to do is to wake up the next morning, get ready and step on the Light Rail. Sure, there are pretty girls and stiff suits too, but what catches your attention the most is that look on almost everyone’s face. Tired, frustrated, irritated, gloomy. Not a hint of happiness or joy. Monday reveals itself in different ways each week.
Today, I am a little less morose than on most weeks – probably because my plate is not so full and my calendar is empty. Days like this give me the time to think about what’s going on.
I think I’ve written about this before, on more occasions than one.
What am I doing here, sitting in this cubicle and staring at the monitor all day? Although I don’t resent it, it’s not something I would like to do all my life. But then, what is it that I want?
I want to create – let my imagination loose and see what is it that I can conjure.
The problem, dear reader, is finding time.
But I will never lose hope.
My in-laws are here with us – they wanted to spend time with their daughter & grand-daughter, and we wanted to spend time with them. Well – they are here and we have been having a rocking time!
Last weekend was the first time in many months when we went out for a real picnic. On Saturday we visited Fraser (Winter Park), and on Sunday we went to Colorado Springs – to see the Garden of the Gods and the Cave of the Winds. My father-in-law is a Geologist, and he enjoyed every moment.
While we did have a lot of fun in all the places, we enjoyed the journey too. The road to Fraser wound through snow-capped mountains, and the road to Colorado Springs showed us spectacular vistas of open plains with the Rockies in the background. On the way to the Cave of the winds, the road cut right through the mountains, exposing the red rocks inside. Looking out of the car’s window, my wife said, “The US is beautiful after all.”
As far as I’m concerned – it’s nature that’s beautiful. And all countries that maintain their natural heritage will continue to stay beautiful.
I love to cook – it’s one of the ways I try to unleash my creativity on my family. Although there have been some mishaps and experiments along the way, there are a few items that I can cook well. No, I’m not bragging – I mean it. Pulav, Chhole, Rajma, Upama – and basic cakes too.
Last weekend I baked an egg-less rawa cake for our daughter. She thoroughly enjoyed it (praising it in her own sweet little way), and so did my wife. However, I was not as impressed myself – it didn’t turn out as soft and spongy as I had wanted it to. When I told this to my wife, she suggested that I bake a cake with eggs in it – something I am reluctant to do.
It’s not that I don’t like eggs; it’s more like a mental block. Somehow I always feel that I will mess up the whole thing if I add eggs to the mix. Well, my wife has convinced me to go for it anyways (and I know she spurs me on and motivates me in a way no one else can). So this weekend it’s cake time again.
But first things first – I need to go out and buy some eggs.
Last September, we were in Satara for a weekend getaway. Saturday was a tame affair, for we reached the town only in the afternoon. After spending the evening on Ajinkyatara we retired early, for we wanted to be completely rested for a hectic Sunday.
Over breakfast, we talked about the plans for the day. After a brief discussion, we decided to visit Sajjangadh, Chalkewadi (a windmill farm) and Thosegar (gorgeous waterfalls). We set out at a leisurely pace, and rolled the windows down – although it was the monsoon season, the air was warm.
By noon, we had left Sajjangadh behind and were moving towards Chalkewadi. As we crossed Thosegar, the road started to climb, and the air became noticeably cooler as we gained altitude. Half an hour later, we reached Chalkewadi. I glanced over my shoulder – my daughter was very sleepy. I drove on, until we reached a small stone bridge over a narrow stream of water. I parked the car at the side of the road, and wedged rocks under the wheels for extra precaution. My wife put our daughter to sleep on the rear seat, and then stepped out to join me.
We sat beside the car, on the bridge’s arch. All of a sudden, it started to drizzle, and we huddled together – a single jacket over our shoulders, and one umbrella to keep us dry. Beyond the meadow was an endless line of windmills, all turning slowly with the wind.
Yes, we did not visit every place we intended to that day. But happiness is in enjoying the journey, and not in just reaching the destination.
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Another weekend has come and gone. This was a different one, for the monsoons announced their arrival in Mumbai. I am a big fan of the rains – until last year, I would eagerly wait for the dark clouds and the incessant rains. I would yearn for them, even getting myself in the monsoon mood by changing my desktop’s wallpapers every so often.
But this year, the excitement is missing somehow. This summer, I looked forward to the rains as usual, but this time it was different. Like in earlier years, I did not “yearn” for them – I just wanted the rains to cool the weather down.
Over the past few days, it has started raining. The mountains near my house (and office) are becoming green again, and very soon we will have waterfalls too.
Last year, I would have been daydreaming about going trekking and soaking in the rains. Last year, I would have spent the week planning the weekend, researching possible spots and routes with my Honey.
This year, it is different.
The weather is fantastic, but the atmosphere is gloomy.
In late 2006, I joined a new company in Mumbai. We were a group of about 10 new joinees that day, and were going through the induction process together. Around noon, the HR lady said “the next speaker is stuck up in a meeting, so we have half an hour free. So let’s play game and HAVE FUN!”. And she proceeded to explain “the game”:
You will all starting counting from 1 to 100, each person speaking out the next number. However, on your turn, if the number is a multiple of 3 – CLAP YOUR HANDS!! If it’s a multiple of 5 – SLAP YOUR HANDS ON THE TABLE!! If it’s a multiple of both – DO NOTHING!! Anyone who makes a mistake is out of the game, and the last man standing wins!
I “accidentally” committed a “mistake” on my first turn, and enjoyed the misery of the rest for another 20-odd minutes.
1 year later, same old HR lady sends a common mailer “We will be having a meet this Saturday, attendance is mandatory”. I strolled up to her desk and asked what this was about.
“Don’t worry, we’ll have lots of fun!”
The first of the weekend was therefore spent “having lots of fun”, sitting in a corner of a conference hall, listening to Senior Management rave about “why we are a great company and why your career is secure here”.
* * *
Scroll down to 3 years (and 2 companies) later – my friend peeked from the neighboring cubicle and asked: “Will you be attending the event they’ve organized today? The invite says “we’ll all have lots of fun!!!”
I looked at him solemnly and replied, “the mail’s from the HR folks, right? So be afraid.
Be VERY, VERY, AFRAID”
My daughter caught a viral infection last week and had been running a fever. When it got visibly worse on Sunday, we took her to the doctor once again. After a quick checkup, the diagnosis was clear – her chest was congested and her respiration was affected badly – to the extent that it would not get cured by oral medication alone.
She was immediately admitted into the hospital – this was at about 11:45PM on Sunday. Through the next 36 hours or so, she was medicated intravenously, and was also given nebulizer treatment every 2 hours. She’s not even 3 years old, but apart from the initial couple of hours, she took the whole treatment bravely without much of a murmur.
On Tuesday morning, the doctor declared her fit enough to be discharged. Her chest is still congested, but now it’s at a level which can be treated by oral medication.
It’ll take another week or so to clear up (and maybe another week or two for the convalscence), but then she’ll be home with us, and not in a hospital bed hooked to IV drips.