Bonfires & Kites!

Last night, I attended my first Lohri celebration 🙂 Lohri is how the Punjabi community celebrates the winter solstice. It is twinned with Makar Sankranti – a day that heralds the arrival of Spring and the transition of the Sun into Capricorn. Whatever the religious and cultural significance – it doesn’t really matter to me. Every festival in India is a riot of colour, a cacophony of sound and a photo-op made in heaven 😉 Lohri last night and Sankranti this morning were no different!

Lohri was celebrated last night with characteristic Punjabi aplomb! Bhangra beats filled the air, the crowds lined up to gorge on the yummy eats (chole bhature to die for!), children of all ages lit floating lanterns, and when the Bonfire was lit – it was time to circle it, make a wish perhaps, and dance! There’s an exuberance to a community celebration that is quite unmatched by any private party, no matter how jolly. It’s as if the positive vibes multiply and ensconce all those present in a happy bubble – so that for a while – All is Well. Troubles are Forgotten. Life is Good 🙂

Today is Makar Sankranti – and for whatever reason is celebrated in my home state of Goa and neighbouring Maharashtra and probably in many others – by flying kites. Yeah! Go Figure! We had already bought a kite last night for Junior, and so armed with it, we made our way down to the playground where hundreds of people had gathered for some major kite-flying action! Never mind that we had neglected to buy a spool 😛 Never mind that all of us were kite-flying dummies! Never mind that we were trying to fly the kite with some sewing thread that we tied randomly to it, with utter disregard for the physics of flying 😉 IT WAS FUN 😀 Junior held the kite and the spool alternately trying to make it rise into the air, catch the current – fly! We got it a few feet off the ground for a few seconds at a time and we were so excited you’d think we’d made it to the moon 😉 It’s a wonderful feeling – trying something new, having no expectations, just letting go!

And I got more pictures – not quite a Skyful of Kites that I was hoping for, but enough to make this 1 minute film that i’m sharing below! I’m really impressed with iPhoto – my yearning for Adobe Lightroom has all but disappeared! It was a piece of cake, making the slideshow and turning it into a movie. It even told me how long my music piece to go with should be! I see many long, happy hours of experimentation ahead 🙂

And so let me with you all a Very Happy Lohri, A Very Happy Sankranti! May this Spring be a beautiful harbinger to a fruitful Summer!

Happiness Always People 🙂


M.A.M – Memorable Mayhem!

So, here I am again…after 3 hectic months of work, fun and more work! March, April and May were hectic, chaotic and HOT, HOT, HOT!!! What with planning Ishaan’s birthday in April, a return to Pediatrics and a wedding in the family…I’ve hardly had time to breathe or think, let alone write! And the break is telling…I can feel it…in the intermittent flow of words, in the interminable pauses I have to take as I think of how best to proceed – the smooth flow that comes from writing regularly is missing, although hopefully, not for long.

June offers solace in terms of work & weddings, although NOT in terms of heat, which continues to reduce me to a wet, stinky, sticky glob of sweat!! If the monsoons don’t arrive soon, there’s no telling what might happen!  And so without further ado, here is a snapshot of the last 3 months for those interested…

March began with a thoroughly enjoyable Holi celebration at home with Ishaan – our first together 🙂 He wasn’t into the colours and ‘pichkaris’ at first, but I wasn’t going to let a little thing like that stand in our way 😉 So he was duly smeared with ‘natural’ non-toxic colours and drenched with streams of coloured-water, much to his chagrin and our amusement 🙂 It’s really quite different – celebrating festivals for and with kids – it adds a whole new dimension of enjoyment – one that you don’t know you’re missing (well, I didn’t), until you experience it. They have a wholesome, transparent  joy and happiness that makes any pretense impossible! It was a whole new experience for me, one that I relished and will treasure always 🙂

Also in March I began my journey back to medicine! Those of you who know me well, know my feelings about my chosen career – so you will understand when I say that no one was surprised more than me when I decided to give Pediatrics a shot again! My dear, dear friend Sushma, also my mentor in Pediatrics and a dedicated Pediatrician herself (she’s one of the top Pediatricians in Goa), must receive due credit – if that seems indicated 😛 She’s been needling me to get back ever since I set foot in Goa, appealing to my ego, through alternate  flattery & blackmail, an exercise in futility, since I have no illusions as to my abilities and have very definite ideas about what I will and will not do – even for friendships as dear as ours!  Her long lectures on my ‘long latent but supposedly considerable’ skills as a doctor, notwithstanding, I finally capitulated, only when I was well and truly ready 😉 In retrospect – I’m glad and thankful to Sushma, you must understand though – firmly in retrospect 😉

So, mid-March through May, saw me ensconced in her clinic every morning, (while she vacationed in the US) attending to those of her patients brave enough to allow a novice like me ‘see’ their precious kids. Coughs, colds, diarrhea, the Flu, urine infections, worms…I saw them all and learnt from every one of them – kids and of course their parents! Another unique experience that will stay with me for all time 🙂 I think what I enjoyed most about the whole exercise was the feeling of purpose I felt every morning. The need to get out of bed, shower, get dressed and leave – and that was by far the best part of all – the leaving – I got to be away from home and the eternal buzzing chaos of household chores that was beginning to seriously frazzle my poor nerves 😛 Better a child crying than a servant yelling, I say 😉

April is Birthday time in the family menage – son, hubby, grandma in that order. We had a big B’day shindig for Ishaan this year. A celebration of the joy and laughter & a testament to the hope he brought us when Life seemed dark & bleak. Although I was exhausted with the planning and organizing – it all seemed worth it, and a wonderful time was had by all 🙂 Ishaan played cricket, enjoyed the puppet show, ate fish and was terrified of the life-sized Pooh! I’m glad the trip to Disney is still many years away 😛  April was also a time of socializing with cousins, eating out and general enjoyment amidst work. And so on to May – when the heat got worse and with it my temper 😉 My cousin chose to get married in this – the hottest May in Goa’s history and Goan weddings (or should I say Indian?) being what they are, there was NO ESCAPE!! None at all – from wearing silk saris for 3 days (although I got away with my cotton ‘Gadhwal’ once!), from donning jewelery (though Mom and I kept it to the minimum, unlike the rest of the family, who oblivious to the furnace-like conditions, seemed to derive immense pride and dare I say pleasure in wearing every piece of jewelery they owned, all at once :P), from then sweating like a pig in said saris and jewels, from eating insipid vegetarian food, from drinking lukewarm soft drinks (you KNOW those are the worst kind!) and making incessant, meaningless chit-chat with nosy acquaintances and long-lost family members,  whom you haven’t seen in years and have no interest in whatsoever!! There – have been wanting to get that off my chest for a while 😉 Feel so much lighter now 😛

To perk me up (no pun intended) after what was undeniably the hottest wedding  in our family’s history (again, no pun intended) – came a Pediatric CME (Continuing Medical Education) program that I helped organize. I edited the Souvenir for the program. (Note to the uninitiated – A Souvenir is a compilation of scientific articles, advertisements from sponsors and any interesting tidbits to do with the relevant subject matter that must be printed but is NEVER read, unless by the seriously crazy or seriously dedicated!). I learned a lot while making this particular one – mostly that Doctors need mandatory lessons in English grammar every year, they need to write their own or at least read through their ghost-written articles before sending them off to impressionable novices like myself who may actually hope to ‘learn’ from them (what WAS I thinking?!) and hard though this last may be, acknowledge the possibility of Life beyond Medicine! So, all in all, an illuminating experience in many ways 😉 The highlight of the said CME was the ‘Banquet’, on board the Casino Royale (No Daniel Craig, more’s the pity!) – uh huh – a rocking time was had by one and all – with unlimited food, Russian dancers and MOST importantly – unlimited alcohol…sigh…You tell me – what CAN be better? I indulged in my favorite tipple and danced the night away 😀 Groovy!

So, May ended on a high – heat and otherwise, and that brings me to the end of this necessarily (feel free to think otherwise) long post…I promise the next one will be short…hopefully sweet too…although I’ve never been one for sweets 😛

Toodles then…until next  time 🙂