No words, only pictures:
My friend, Rukmini, came down to Chicago yesterday to drive me to Madison, the final leg of my very exciting holiday. Everyone I spoke to before that was amused by the contrast between the big city and small town vibes, while I was thinking about putting up my feet and relaxing all the 3 days here.
We had a cheerful 2-drive up, singing along with the latest Bollywood numbers, and laughing over inane matters. Pulling into town, Rukmini decided to give me an orientation to the town. Instantly I was a fan! There was the Capitol building, the University campus, and best of all, the lakes!
Later in the evening, we went kayaking on Lake Wingra, how could I not be supremely happy? All thoughts of chilling out flew through the window, and plans were made afresh for cycling and walking about.
Next we headed to Memorial Union on Lake Mendota for some locally brewed beer and spectacular sunset.
Finally we strolled down State Street and got some night shots of the Capitol before calling it a night.
It was packing day, sadly, with Souvik having to take a late night flight back home, and me leaving for Chicago the next morning. Rupali advised us not to venture out to NYC, but rather stick around and shop some. We spent the morning dashing in and out of stores, buying up stuff we thought we needed ;-), then met with some old pals for lunch. For once, I left my camera behind, but everyone else’s iPhones were employed to take pictures. Now I’ve got to wait until one of them sends me a photo to post here.
If we’d had another week here, we could’ve met more friends and planned a hundred more activities, but it was not to be. We did manage to squeeze in one more sight – the hallowed grounds of Princeton University – thanks to Rupali’s extreme enthusiasm for driving us around.
Rupali & I have been friends for years and years. When we get together, we can chat for hours, as we did in this trip, late into the night. That left me no time to post last night. But as luck would have it, there’s wifi in the flight (a first for me!) and I’m excited to post from 30,000 feet in the air!
On Indy’s advice, we went to see the Intrepid Sea, Air and Naval museum, and what a tour that was! We went Into the Growler submarine, and all over the Intrepid which is now a military museum.
Most of the equipment made no sense to me, but they look exciting in pictures. And a military exhibition is a great opportunity for the macho Top Gun-type pictures that we love to click.
We wrapped up our outing in the city early today, to meet an old old friend of mine, Kaveri, and her family. Rupali, Kaveri and I had got together after 21 years, but those years just melted away as we chattered happily, reminiscing about those fun old days.
I’m back, after nearly a month of hectic activity – moving in, unpacking, packing, traveling, recovering, taking a break from the blog. And raring to start posting.
One of my closest friends got married recently, giving us an opportunity to meet good ol’ friends and celebrate. Not your usual Bollywood style 14-songs-and-dances-routine, but a very traditional South Indian wedding in the heartland of South India.
I was the pesky ‘unofficial’ photographer, butting into every opportunity, and ‘creating’ a few too. Since Suman hasn’t released the photos herself, I’m not going to post all the good pictures; just a few tantalizing ones that don’t tell the entire story.
Souvik’s arrival in Bangalore was met with great fanfare! Reva had planned a grand dinner the following night, which required marinading a lamb 24 hours earlier.
The lamb chefs – Ganesh and Vish – did the needful, while the girls – Reva, Vrinda & I – took off to the airport to receive Souvik. It was also the unveiling of Souvik’s new look, the Jakarta No.3, which has been making waves on the social network.
By the time we got home, the lamb was marinaded and resting in the fridge. Just the thing to start the party at 1 am. Reva’s cheese crackers hit the spot, and we nearly left nothing for the ‘real’ party.
Saturday night was the gala – the lamb, divine tomato tarts, sinful cheese crackers, refreshing watermelon salad, trio of dips, roasted chicken for the kids, music hijacked by ZNMD (Señorita) videos projected on the wall, and a finale of crème brûlée, where everyone tried their hand at torching.
The pinnacle of our madness came in trying to ‘levitate’ Niloy, after he had consumed vast quantities of food and drink. Their inability to achieve the impossible was blamed on my giggle explosions.
We signed off early (!) from this one, because we had a breakfast party at Irina’s to look forward to. Irina’s breakfasts exceed all expectations, and are NEVER to be treated lightly. And yes, we went to meet her parents, and Gopal and the kids too.
The spread was predictably spectacular – 2 kinds of sandwiches, eggs and sausages, dosas/ uttappas to order, date & walnut cake, poha; I’m sure to have missed out on a couple of goodies, there were so many! The light was bright, the company jovial, and everyone was in the mood for pictures! Except li’l Divya, who must’ve wondered which zoo animals had been let loose.
There are so many contenders for P, but I’m writing about the ones with the highest impact here. So, #1 is for our Pakistani friends, Bushra & Kashif. It was an association of two different yet similar worlds, that resulted in some fantastic times, always to be referred to as ‘daawat’. Yes, Bushra’s cooking made great waves not just in Ciputra, but with all my friends and family that visited. Besides daawats, we bonded over English conversation, baking, swimming, picnics and shopping! Hope to carry on the friendship over skype.
The other P is Posing for pictures, the national pastime of Vietnamese girls, or as Souvik calls it, world championship of Posing. You cannot turn a pretty corner anywhere without spotting a photo session of a bunch of girls, or girlfriend/boyfriend. The men don’t have to feature in the pictures, their only qualification is possession of a camera, anything from SLR to mobile camera. Only in the wedding season do you get to see men in the frame, usually looking sheepish wearing matching outfits with their bride. No matter what the occasion, a must-do pose is wide smile with two fingers in the ‘V’ sign!