I’ll be honest. This is probably my last post of the year. The ‘Season’ is well and truly upon us and in a couple of days, I’ll be off to Goa to indulge in its revelry! Well that is the plan anyway 😛
2013 has been another fairly intense year. We moved – again. This time from Bombay to Bangalore and although it was stressful, we are slowly beginning to find our feet in our new home. I love that this house is large – probably larger than we need but it’s great to finally have space around us after being cooped up in a tiny two-bedroom in Bombay. The weather is great too – pleasant for the most part and pleasantly cool now – so it actually feels like a mild Winter 🙂 Junior’s school too has worked out for the best, although the daily 1-hour bus commute to-and-fro is a pain in the you-know-where! He’s settled in, likes his teachers, has got over his fear of water and is swimming (Hallelujah!), is enthusiastic about Homework (it will not last I’m told!), and is in general enjoying life 🙂 I’ve found a few new friends with potential 😉 and am gradually unearthing the wealth of activity that Bangalore has to offer. I see a future full of possibilities provided I get off my lazy you-know-what! What more could I have hoped for?!
In this moment I feel good. I feel like Life is full of promise, like good things are on their way and I like that 🙂 Perhaps it’s the magic that December and Christmas always seem to bring. The Planet seems a better place with an abundance of empathy, compassion and general good cheer. Methinks we need it to be Christmas all year long! But then – it wouldn’t quite be ‘Christmas’ would it 😛 We’ll see how long the magic lasts 😉 My previous records aren’t too good! Mid-January is my guess 😛 But until then – Magic Rules 🙂
I hope you guys have had a good year too. If it’s been tough – I hope at least that the lessons you’ve learnt have been valuable. And I hope 2014 will be better for us all! Better is always good isn’t it? 😀 And as always, I sign off with a unique wish from the inimitable Mr. Monkton, without whom I must confess I would have written even less than what I have! I hope our journey continues in 2014.
Have a Happy Season People! May it be full of Magic and Memorable Moments 🙂
I’m back!! Hopefully some of you have missed me 😉 while I have been having the time of my life on vacation 😛 No really! I missed you too!
There’s good news and bad news (isn’t there always?) – lets just get the bad news out of the way first shall we? My laptop has died on me 😦 Yup. It’s dead, and although I will be able to retrieve my hard disk and hopefully recover my data…I’m going to be without one for the first time in nearly a decade. Not easy and certainly not very nice. Still, thanks to the iPad, I don’t have to be cut off from my virtual world entirely. That would be a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions indeed! That’s the good news, sort of.
What irritates most is the fact that I’m stuck in Goa with a hard disk full of vacation pictures that I had planned to edit and sort while here, to go with my blog posts. Now that will just have to wait until the new laptop arrives, which will take a while 😦 so until then, I’m afraid I’ll just have to make do with the few pics I have on my phone…or not.
But I don’t want to put off posting any longer, so here goes! This May, we visited Lisbon, Albufeira and other towns in Portugal‘s Algarve region, and London. We own a holiday home in Albufeira, a compact 2-BHK on the Marina that my son and I had never visited before! What a wonderful time we had! Portugal is such a throwback to the Golden Age of Goa 🙂 From the beautiful, elegant vibe of Lisbon to the relaxed yet hip vibe of Albufeira; From the mingling of Oceans at Sagres to the fruit-laden citrus orchards on the way to Faro; every moment was exciting – full of discovery, wonder and fun 🙂 What I loved so much about Portugal was its simplicity – the warm and friendly people, the lack of obvious consumerism, the leisurely pace of life, the pristine beaches of The Algarve, the stunning pottery, vinho verde, the utterly enchanting Tagus riverfront, the wild flowers dotting the countryside, the pretty white cottages and villas with colourful gardens, the gigantic yet fragrant roses, the fabulous food, the formidable history, the juicy local strawberries, the hip vibe of Bairo Alto, Rossio and Chiado, the stunning tile work that is famous the world over…the list is never ending 😉 In a nutshell, it felt familiar and comfortable – it felt like Home 🙂
Every morning I would walk down the Marina to the Ocean inhaling the crisp sea-scented breeze and sit staring at the waves and watching the gulls play. Never tired of the sight – the vast expanse of turquoise ‘neath an azure sky and the morning silence punctuated only by the squawking of gulls. It energised and soothed me at the same time 🙂 I knew that first morning, that I could do this for the rest of my days and never tire. Here is what I wrote after sitting on the edge of the Ocean on that first day!
“Walked along the Marina to the fisher men’s dock…such beauty and quietitude 🙂 I sat and watched the occasional humans walking, jogging and cycling past, I watched the noisy gulls skim the water surface looking for fishy remains?! But mostly I just stared out at the mesmerising blue-green…watching the deceptively gentle flow of the water as it flowed endlessly. Water has such constant motion doesn’t it? It’s never the same from one moment to the next, always a state of flux and yet so seemingly at peace with itself. I sat on the edge of the world or that’s how it seemed, and thought about how it was the perfect setting for contemplating life and then thought immediately about how in such a setting…there is no need for thought or contemplation at all! Everything pales in significance to the vastness and depth of oceans. No problem can compete, and one gets the feeling that a solution will ride in on the turn of the tide! Such is the ocean. You have to feel it to understand. I did. How strange that I thought of myself as a mountain girl while in my heart – the Ocean sings.”
We’ve decided to go back again next year for obvious reasons! Can’t hardly wait 🙂
So, Valentine’s Day is here and the world – real & virtual has turned Red…the color of Love, or so the experts would have us believe 😉 I love LOVE, but I’m not so big on the commercial craziness that seems to pass for it these days…but Hey! I’m not the target customer am I?! I’m happily in my 40s’, happily married to the same guy for 21 years and happily not celebrated Valentine’s Day for most of those 😛 So yeah – I’m comfortable and secure in the knowledge and possession of a strong, deep passion for my Man – undimmed by years of togetherness; and of solid bonds with family & friends unbroken over years of disagreements 😉 It’s nice to be told ‘I Love You’, but it’s more important to mean it and to demonstrate it consistently. Love is not always ‘pretty’ and ‘wondrous’ and doesn’t always come neatly packaged in a ‘red heart-shaped box’ as those of us who’ve lived long enough know 😛 Love, like everything else, is a matter of perspective, and can get tricky masquerading as it so often does as other emotions – recognizing it can be a b*&$% 😉
But today – No charades, I promise!! Today I present you with a wonderful Love Story that I spent over an hour watching and photographing from my living room window 🙂 A little tableau that proves the truth, ‘Love is Universal!’ Who says Birds don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day?!!
Here we go!
In the beginning…he sits alone. Waiting…
She approaches. Wondering, tentative…
And makes his move 🙂
Cleans his bill…he is a ‘Gentleman’ after all 😉
And moves in for the Peck!
But every Love Story has it’s Villain – even Avian ones 😉
Our Man (Or should I say Parrot!) however, is unafraid to defend his honor…although she seems pretty nonchalant no?!
…And stares down the intruder with panache under his fiance’s keen eye!!
The intruder doesn’t stand a chance and with him gone, our man doesn’t waste any more time in getting down to business 😉
Ahem! Ahem! 😉 [Such a shameless voyeur I am :P]
Sealed with a Kiss 😉 Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw 🙂
Life is Beautiful 🙂
Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did 😉
Celebrate Love People – Wherever, Whenever, However 😀
You’re a year older and I suppose wiser (at least that’s what us mortals reckon ;-)), although when you’ve been around since the very beginning (whatever or whenever that was!), a year is probably like the proverbial drop in the universal ocean huh?!
Still, a Birthday’s a Birthday and yours just gets us all in a tizzy! We scamper around trying to get everything we need to welcome you into our homes in just the ‘right’ way; ordering sweets (cakes (if any) are strictly egg less I assure you :P), buying fireworks (what’s a little pollution in honor of a God?!), and veggies that most Goans will eat reluctantly for as long as you stay! I know of quite a few that are thankful you’re only here for a short visit 😉 I’ve always meant to ask you…would you like to try fish some day? I mean, it seems entirely unfair to keep the one thing we love above all else from you 😉 And I know that you love your chicken in Bali 🙂 I’ve always wondered about the fuss surrounding your arrival. I mean, you may be coming into our homes once a year but aren’t you always resident in our hearts? Wouldn’t we better off making ourselves worthier of your presence in our lives rather than our houses? But then what do I know? I’m a rebel of sorts, with my radical ideas and crazy notions 😛 Mom certainly thinks so!
Moving on (I’m already on the verge of being excommunicated coz of my perceived irreverence ;-))…there is the question of the gift. I guess most of us trust that your favorite sweet the ‘modak’, which we offer you this day will be enough. Coz seriously, what do you give the One that has everything? Although I wonder about that. I mean look at your kids!! You’ve got some serious heartache there! Me, I offer you a renewal of my faith and devotion, both given in a very private, discreet way, which is how I would like to keep it 🙂 A lot of people do love to deck you up in jewels and things these days though…it’s become quite the fashion. You do look rather stunning in all your finery I must admit 🙂 So that’s the gifts done and there’s not much else to it is there?
Just a few things I’ve always wanted to ask you, and some that I just wanted to get off my chest…you don’t mind do you? Nah!! Didn’t think you would 🙂
Does your mouse get the day off today? You know, it being your Birthday and all? I certainly hope so 🙂 By the way, we found one today, a mouse in the house I mean, and we let him go, coz we didn’t want to hurt him on your Birthday, but we did shoo him away. I’m afraid I cannot be tolerant of mice even for you!
Do you ever look at us mortals and wonder, ‘What on Earth was I thinking???!!’
Do you enjoy all the noise and smoke from the fireworks or would you prefer a quieter celebration? Be honest now!
Would you truly throw a fit if we offered you the good old ‘fish curry-rice’ combo? Everyone seems to think so, but I’ve always wondered 😛
Would you ever consider giving our self-appointed, know-it-all, middle-men, a whack on the head? Especially when they go into a ritualistic-frenzy that would be the envy of any self-respecting coven?! If I said ‘Pretty Please’ perhaps? 😛
But my main purpose in writing you this letter, was just to let you know, you’re my favorite God! Always have been, ever since I can remember. You’re just so cute and charismatic! Also, you’re smart! That helps 🙂 And my brother was named for you and he was pretty special! Another point in your favor!
And so here’s my Birthday wish for you. I wish you the very same thing I wish my loved ones…Happiness and Love always 🙂 Oh and when you see B, tell him I miss him and I love him…now more than ever. Oh and while I have your attention, would you please just make it so I can find the time and the inclination to get back to writing? Please! Pretty Please!!!
Have just wrapped up a rather hectic week, and here we are at the start of what promises to be another! The more so for me, coz Hubby is out-of-town on work and so Ishaan will be more clingy…welcome to my World! It’s already begun…he was all weepy today when I dropped him off at school. Hubby always drops him off in the mornings and I pick up in the afternoons, so I guess he was missing Papa today! He’s asked me where Papa was a couple of times, but for the most part prefers not to discuss it & refuses to speak with Hubby on the phone. He’s got quite the temper for a soon-to-be 3-yr-old! That comes from me I’m afraid!
So, it’s Valentine Day’s today…a day where everyone goes overboard with all manner of Love declarations and the online universe is flooded with all manner of Valentine status updates and the like. Me, I’m not a huge V-day person, coz I keep wondering about the day after…you know when all the Love is spent, what then? I do believe in Love (of all sorts), of course! I just believe it exists in the little things people do for one another ever day & should be celebrated every day. In the times we live in…certainly, we should celebrating Love in all its forms, every single day and in any way we can think of! Heaven knows we need it now more than ever! What saddens me the most is how V-Day has now become almost exclusively about Romantic love and gift-giving. Don’t get me wrong…I like gifts as much as the next person (who wouldn’t?), and I’m a huge champion of romantic love…I just hate the pressure that people seem to feel to ‘Get it right!’ It seems to me, that these days, all it does, is make those without partners, more miserable than they should be & those with partners somehow obliged to celebrate the fact even when they may not feel the need! A conversation I just had with a single cousin of mine, has convinced me more than ever that this is true.
This year I thought I would make a list of 10 things that make my heart race faster, that I Love & that don’t necessarily have to do with romance. I’m not going to include family and friends, coz really, that’s a given ain’t it? I love my family and friends 365 days of the year, 24/7! There! Now that’s out-of-the-way, let’s get to the list, shall we.
1. I love the way walking through a spritz of my favorite perfume (Gucci Rush at the moment), makes me feel 🙂 Until I saw it on Oprah (that woman has educated me in ways I didn’t realize!), I wasn’t aware of the best way to apply perfume. On her show I learnt how to spray a perfume-mist’ into the air and walk through it, so you the fragrance lingers on your body like a second skin. Have done that ever since and though it does take up a lot of perfume, I love the sense of decadent luxury it offers 🙂
2. I love the sound of the ocean. This is surprising even to me, coz having grown up around beaches, I kind of took the sea for granted and never paid it much attention. The beach was a fun hang-out and not much else. Now it offers sanctuary from the hustle of daily chaos. Have you listened to the ocean? Really listened? To the majesty of the waves? To the infinite mysteries hidden in those deep waters? That’s Nirvana, right there 🙂
3. I love the ‘crrrrrruuuunch’ of the perfect potato chip and the lingering taste of salt on my lips after!! The same goes for the perfect Margerita 😛 You know what I mean! In my book, salt is a true aphrodisiac 😉
4. I love the pungent fragrance of the freshly drenched earth after the first Monsoons. If I could, I would bottle it and use it rather liberally while melting on hot, dusty May afternoons!
5. I love birdsong! I’m not very good at identifying birds or their songs, but that doesn’t stop me from dropping whatever I’m doing and listening enthralled to their magical tunes 🙂
6. I love the comfort I get from re-reading my favorite books! I read many of them annually, The Lord of the Rings being one of them and I can’t think of a better journey than one through Middle Earth with my beloved Fellowship 🙂 Another favorite when I’m down in the dumps is Ms. Agatha Christie…I adore HP, coz we share more than our little grey cells…we share initials 😉
7. I love watching horses at a gallop…even if it’s in a painting! Maybe it’s the Sagittarian in me, but there’s just something about watching their fluid, poetic motion that calms me down and sets me free 🙂
8. I love cuddling up in my quilt, while the AC and fan turn the room into a pole-like freezer! Oh and I’m not talking about cuddling with hubby or Ishaan here. Just me, myself and I 🙂 Nirvana!
9. I love solitude! I cannot stress this enough and a lot of people think I’ve lost my marbles when I say this, but there it is…the simple truth.
10. I love my own company! In fact there are many times I prefer it to anyone else’s 😉
I would love to hear what’s on your list, if you care to share 🙂
Let me leave you with a picture that is a testament of my son’s love for his Dad…you know there’s Love there when they’re sharing socks 😛
I’ve found it difficult to write this month especially these last two weeks, when I’ve managed just two posts. It’s not that I don’t have ideas, but I’ve just not pushed myself to sit and write them down, develop them into stories, sometimes out of lethargy but mostly coz I’ve been busy. I don’t enjoy this (hopefully) temporary separation from words, but the more I fight it, the more elusive they become. So, for a change I’ve decided to be mature and do the sensible thing…enjoy the break, take every day as it comes and hope for the best! What do you think? Sounds like a plan? This post took me a while to write…too many distractions, too much happening, too many excuses! But I needed to get it written before we left for our short holiday and am quite happy I finally got it done 🙂 Feel better for it! So here goes…
It’s that time of year again – Countdown time!
Countdowns for everything have begun…days to X’mas, days to the New Year, days to my vacation – just 2 more 🙂 We all get carried away with numbers, in this year-end induced frenzy of making new beginnings …we count days, calories, gifts, regrets, successes, pounds lost and pounds gained, friendships we’ve managed to hold on to, those we’ve had to let go, how many times we cried, how often we laughed, how many vacations we took, how many books we read, how many we didn’t. and all the other stuff with which we quantify our lives in an attempt to make sense of it all and in all probability make more short-lived, often futile resolutions! You know it’s true! It’s almost like the numbers we come up with define who we are or should I say, who we were during the year gone by. Restricting really…especially when the sum is so much more than parts of the whole. I’m not sure that last line makes any kind of sense, but it sure looks good on paper – important! Blame it on the fact that I’m living very much in the Wizard world at the moment with Potter and the rest 😛 and so perhaps as Rowling likes to say, my brains are ‘addled’ 😛
The last couple of years I’ve tried to steer clear of both – numbers and resolutions. It’s not easy though, especially when thinking about trying to lose weight! (the emphasis here is on ‘thinking’ as opposed to ‘trying’ :P) I’ve been telling myself that I should join the gym only when I’m ready to make a permanent lifestyle change and when I care less about how much weight I lose and more about the importance of getting fitter and healthier. Let’s just say I haven’t joined a gym, lost much weight nor increased my level of fitness in a while. But I haven’t given up yet! Why should I, when I have 2011 around the corner and the opportunity to make yet another new beginning if I should so desire?
New beginnings brings me to closure. Obvious? Rather! In a year-end post I did last year, I stressed the discovery of a good ending. I know one cannot always hope for one of those neatly parceled endings where everything works out to our satisfaction, and that’s not what I mean. But I do hope that I am able, as the year draws to a close, to let go of stuff that needs letting go, move on from disappointments, celebrate successes and clear my mind of a year’s worth of detritus, so I feel renewed and refreshed. Prepared, in a word for the New Year, and whatever it may hold. I may not like numbers but I do like the feeling of getting Life under control (well what little is under our control anyway!), moving on and looking forward in anticipation. In this, I’m true to my inner Sagittarian. Change excites me. I love the thought of new challenges and hopefully new solutions. Sameness (in anything), initially just bores and then annoys me to the point of real rage sometimes! (Ask Mom!) So here’s hoping for a New Year of novelty and originality, of balance and of course much fun & happiness 🙂
And so on to the last ‘C’ – Christmas! I love Christmas for the most obvious reasons – cool weather, beautifully decorated trees, caroling, and a general sense of well-being and happiness all around 🙂 Ever since I was a kid in Japan, we’ve always put up a Christmas tree, actually make that two! One green and one white 🙂 I love the decorating process and when the lights on the tree are finally switched on, there’s just a little bit of magic in the air, don’t you think? I do 🙂 Love Santa Claus too! Oh come on – you know you do too! What’s not to like, he brings gifts doesn’t he 😉 This year was Ishaan’s first Christmas in school 🙂 He showed no interest at all while I put up our tree at home and I don’t know whether he showed any in school! Somehow, I doubt it. He had his school Christmas party today and came back with a snowman tattoo on his hand and a mini-basketball game as a gift 🙂 He wasn’t too interested in either! But he does sing Jingle Bells with me 🙂
On Sunday, we are off to Mahabaleshwar, a hill station, an 8 hour drive away. We’ll meet up with family and I’m looking forward to the change in scene! I need it 🙂 You will of course hear all about it when I’m back! And yet, this month, I’ve found it hard to write – there’s a sense of ennui that’s been hard to shake off, surprising given that this has been a remarkably busy month. Oh well…it’s nothing a change in scene can’t take care of! I hope 😛
I’ll leave you with a collage of our tree & a few of it’s ornaments 🙂
And now, I need to get back to Hogwarts and The Half-Blood prince 🙂
Have a Fabulous Weekend People!! Good luck with that last-minute Christmas shopping 😉
I’m really not in the mood for writing. Crabby & exhausted – mentally & physically from 3 days of celebrations. No, definitely not in the mood for writing, which is why I need to write. Unending rituals, entertaining guests, constant eating, firecrackers, the rush to get stuff organized and then the worst part of all festivities, clearing up after…all fun in short bursts…but exhausting collectively. Also, it has finally sunk in…Diwali will never again be the same. The vacuum left by my brother’s loss will never be filled, and so an undercurrent of sadness runs through the festivities and my heart. I thought I could deal, but the tears come unexpectedly, triggered by seemingly random events, thoughts and things people say or leave unsaid. Sunday was especially difficult…it was ‘Bhaubiz’, a day that celebrates the ‘brother-sister’ bond. Lets just say it’s no longer on my favorite festival list.
Alright…enough. I didn’t intend for a festival post to be morose, and it’s not like we didn’t enjoy, so on to the happier things…Thursday night, the night before Diwali, we set out to survey the ‘Narkasurs’ on display. ‘Narkasur’ is the name of the demon that Lord Krishna killed on the eve of Diwali. He had hidden himself in a fruit that Krishna crushed with his big toe!! Talk about easy 😉 In Goa, it’s customary to make effigies of the demon and burn them early on Diwali morning (4 am), a sort of Indian Guy Fawkes. This year the unseasonal rain put a damper on the event though…the effigies are stuffed with firecrackers and those were wet and ineffective when the time came to light them. Still, we took Ishaan and did the rounds and though he enjoyed himself, he is now going through a ‘I’m scared’ phase! Anything new scares him, from a peacock feather to a demon 😉 Here are a few effigies we saw…rarely scary and often downright hilarious!!
We spent Diwali morning @ my brother-in-law’s place. We ate different kinds of ‘puffed-rice‘ dishes (another Goan custom based on the assumption that Lord Krishna loved ‘puffed-rice’! Why couldn’t he have loved chicken?), before which my sister-in-law did a little puja for her hubby and daughter, my hubby and Ishaan, who of course was the star of the show. He’s older now and impatiently interested in everything that’s done, which makes him accident-prone and me temper-prone (that’s not even a word, I know!). After the puja was done, we all relaxed and Ishaan got to his favorite activity – playing cricket 🙂 That evening we worshiped the Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi. We had a small puja in Dad’s shop (he sells auto spare parts), as did the rest of the shops in the neighborhood. More rituals, more crackers, more ‘prasad’ (sweets) to eat! Later we had guests and by the time the last one left, it was after 9 and we were all pooped! Granny and Mom had been up and on their feet since 5 am, cooking and getting stuff organized for the puja. None of us was particularly hungry and hubby in fact had a bad tummy upset. We turned in early and were dead to the world as soon as head hit pillow! Saturday was relatively quiet and I took the opportunity to visit my favorite bookstore and get our next Bookclub selection – Empires of the Indus by Alice Albinia, among others. It was welcome relief from all the madness at home, what with sick hubby and whiny Ishaan. In the evening I went out again to another favorite – Fab India, for some last-minute shopping.
Sunday was Bhaubeez, as I mentioned earlier and hubby’s brother’s family come over. A difficult day for me. My niece did a little puja for Ishaan and they exchanged gifts. I’d got her a neat pair of silver earrings from Fab that she loved 🙂 Then we were off to Goenchin for lunch. Let’s just say Lunch didn’t turn out the way I had planned. Oh it wasn’t the food, which was wonderful as it always is in Goenchin; nor the company. No, it was Ishaan, who had a tummy upset and lets just say I barely got to sample some stone cold starters and a bite of the main course between trips to the loo. I didn’t handle the situation maturely (a polite way of saying I lost my cool and my displeasure evident), and my already frayed nerves reached dangerously near breaking point. Everyone else seemed really cool and calm, which just served to piss me off further…yeah, what can I say…I was just having a really, really bad day. I survived. We all did and back home again, were able to relax. Ishaan of course was quickly back to normal, being his charming entertaining self, making everyone laugh, once again showing off his cricket skills 🙂 The resilience of children impresses me yet again. How I wish I could bounce back like he does. Or perhaps it’s his innocence I yearn for.
Sunday evening we visited my best friend Beena’s parents and looked through her brother Vinod’s wedding album and video. The album is a book…very well done with gorgeous pictures of the couple among family and friends. We’re in it too 🙂 and it was wonderful reliving that happy time. And then Aunty brought out Beena’s wedding pictures from 18 years ago and we relived a fresh set of memories, from a time when we were all so much younger, innocent and ready to take on the world, unaware and as yet untouched by major tragedy. Good times, happy times 🙂
And so ended another Diwali. Bittersweet and rather forlorn for me on a personal level. But Ishaan had fun, especially with the crackers and for that I am thankful. Next year, I’m thinking of an out-of-town Diwali…might help with the bitters…we’ll see.
Until then…Stay Happy People!
p.s. There was no getting away from President Obama this Diwali! Local media went overboard with their coverage of his visit! Surprisingly International media didn’t seem to think the visit too important…other than a mention here and there, I rarely caught a glimpse on CNN or BBC!! Wonder why?!
p.p.s. This post has taken me two days to write…sigh. Ishaan is becoming increasingly clingy and it’s tough to get even a few minutes of uninterrupted time 😦 Oh Pushpa…where art thou?