Friday, December 30, 2011

A Gentle Reminder

Last night we sat through another parliament session. This time it was the Rajya sabha. Not that it was any different in tone, temperament and language and decibel level from the Lok sabha. Somehow i expected the upper house to be more ... upper??
Where has the gentleness gone?
to be gentle is not to be weak. in our minds we have put the two together. and wrongly so.
thus we react to all situations in a harsh tone.
you have not done the dishes - the lady says curtly to her husband in front of guests
is this what you call a report - the boss flings papers at his sheepish junior
100 rupees ... the auto driver scowls
what do you say to this Mr. so-and-so the news reader glares

At one time anger, shouting, and loss of cool were seen as weakness. The strong remained in control of their emotions.
but one day on TV, India saw Saurav Ganguly remove his shirt in a blatant display of rejoice.
and aggression became the happening attitude

I wish for us all in 2012
more gentleness
more love
and more freedom

Happy Friday, and happy Saturday
may you ring in the new year with people who love you

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hope, keeps the world going

We were told as kids
nodu magu, suno beta, daikho 
We have no control over the arrow that is shot and the word that is uttered. So we were warned, be careful ... you never know how far reaching your actions may be ...

That did make me apprehensive. It bound me within the confines of 'what if ...'

Now here is a poem that fills me with hope. That the arrow will come to rest at an oak causing no harm and remaining unharmed. That the words will not be twisted out of context. But will remain a source of inspiration and love in my friend's mind.

Here's to hope. and here's to a happy life.


The Arrow and the Song By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend. 

Most reviewers this this poem is about friendship. Do you think I got it right? or got it wrong?

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Shadow Lines - Amitav Ghosh

Have you spent a day at a well attended family wedding. Where you move around and hear many anecdotes. Where you learn about some childhood prank of a stern uncle, of a serious relationship issue a cousin is going through, a play that someone attended and one that someone else missed?
And you come back refreshed and spent, with so many times buzzing about in your head??

Well, Amitav's Ghosh's book The Shadow Lines is like that. The narrator brings to life memories locked in the hearts of his grandmother, Tridib an uncle and Maya a girl he loves. The book is a delight. It takes me through the by-lanes of Calcutta, walks me across the neat streets of London and drops me into Dhaka.

I am waiting to share this book with a book lover.

Perfect weather, perfect surroundings, and a perfect book to read
Most of Lexington Ky is like this. Green and wide

Friday, December 9, 2011

Catch attention

Six ways to catch the attention
of your boss, crush, spouse, neighbour, publisher, shopkeeper ...

1. Be patient - Accept your lot. Look if I can stand on my head and still run the show, you can too.

WonderWorks amusement at Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

2. Smile and laugh and get involved - I did not mean to get involved with that iceberg so deeply... just shows, we need to keep within limits!

Titanic building, Gatlinburg.
Doesn't that car look like its gaping ... open mouthed??!

3. Just be yourself -  People love me, cracks and all, they'll love you too ...

Ripley's at Pigeon forge

4. Be humble - Come into my parlour ... I swear I will dote ON you. I am just hanging around ... waiting to serve

Halloween decorations - Gatlinburg

5. Be outstanding - I know ... I am jutting out and all that. But hey, That's not the way I meant it. And did you notice? I catch the sun - dawn to noon to set

Downtown Chicago

6. Stand tall and be counted - It's nice and windy here, and the view is good too!

Willis Tower, Chicago

7. Be real - I forget that people may be watching. It's a lot easier to be, than to pretend.

Chinese restaurant at San Francisco 

Did you like this post? It's not my usual. But I thought I have been mighty clever. eh?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cinnamon in my coffee

What's the aroma?

My use of the flavour of cinnamon was limited to using it in Palyada-pudi ( Kannada Masala Powder), in Bisibelebath and in Vangibath. And that about summed up my use of Cinnamon.
This was in my before america days.... Now I am in the after phase!!
You get cinnamon flavour with almost every dish...Cinnamon has a sweetness to it. Yet it is a spice. So that kind of makes it Hot and Sweet! .......... mmmm yummy!
Don't camouflage its unique flavour with other spices. Use it as a Royal Single.
Plop some cinnamon powder into your morning oatsmeal, and some chunks of apple. .... heavenly!
We had waffles with dribbled honey and cinnamon sprinkle
And not to mention warm freshly baked  apple pie ..... cinnamon flavoured ofcourse!
And ooooo the irresistible walnut-cinnamon rolls 
or the cinnamon swirl raisin bread
And in Dunkin D instead of boring chocolate you must try  donuts coated with cinnamon-sugar.
Cinnamon with black coffee . Black coffee? I loved cinnamon with the milk-sugar - chocolate laced variety too.
And have you tried cinnamon with tea? You must!! What you do is: Drop a small stick into the water before it begins to boil. (add tea-milk-sugar...bring to boil.) Allow the brew to stand for 5 minutes before you pour in into cups to serve. Refreshing and healthful.

Back in Delhi
I tried it with sooji-halwa and it was good ...  (rava -kesaribath)
and with coconut burfi it was a success ... (kobri mithai)
Carrots or potatoes saute with butter, sprinkle cinnamon powder, mint and salt

spice rack
I now have a bottle of cinnamon occupying an important place in my spice rack.
Daal Cheeni, aur dalchini
tho hus padega man and jinni

Friday, December 2, 2011

El Camino Real 2

We discover America

near a national highway

Did you look at this picture and say ... aaah! grandpa's house in Alur? Malur? Udupi? This is actually an ancient church in California.
There are many missions and pueblos on  El Camino Real. These missions are held in great reverence. They are the beginning of modern occupation of American Land in this area. A mission is basically a church that brought religion, modern life and community feel to the people in that area. These missions in particular also protected the land from other occupation.

San Luis Obispo - mission

We locate San Luis Obispo established in 1772. With difficulty we find a parking place... most streets here had  'limited parking access'. The place is serene and takes us back into history. We walk through the vine covered archway in obedient silence.

Soft strains of music fill the air. Some girls are practicing for a local Halloween event behind loosely shut doors
mission bells

The stone well, the large bells ,the flat raised seating area in the porch,  the grape laden archway ... for the Americans it must seem ancient ... and from the Olden Times. ... It just reminds us of India and Grandpa's home in the village.... (replace bells with a pulley and rope .. raatey-hagga)

Paintings of Indians - the original occupants are called Indians thanks to a mistake that Columbus made!! -give us a hint of the people who must have been enjoying the land before the missions arrived!

This country has great respect for history. And a pride in the past. And HISTORY is preserved and showcased with care.
I now wish I had kept, Anna's radio, his travel typewriter, Ajja's Shanbhog desk, Amma's Singer Sewing Machine, Tata's hand made radio ...
but we were in a hurry to move into the future
and wanted to escape from the past!

Is there something you wished you had preserved?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

El Camino Real and the Bells

It happens only in America
We are on US Highway 101 on the way back to San Jose from LA. This route is a fast drive and also a picturesque one for it also goes next to the sea for a short time.

LA to San Jose

So unlike Interstate 5 or 1, this route allows you to have the cake and eat it too!!!

A farm on Us Highway 101

We are moving at close to 80 mph. Conversation in the car is limited to:
One more is ...CLICK!
Did you get it? Show me

O, There is one more. ... O no, missed it.
Heyyy! One more. Got it?
We are trying to capture a good picture of the Historic Bell. Here are some of our attempts...

Until my nephew A gets the perfect shot. Well, we are moving at 80 mph  remember??!

El Camino Real Historic Bell

These are The EL CAMINO REAL bells. You say Al Kam-eeno Ree-aaa-l, Spanish for - The King's Highway. From horse/mule carts to cars with horsepower, this route has seen it all!! It's been in existence since1821. It goes from San Diego in South California to San Francisco in North California.
Don't miss:      The heavy iron El Camino Real bell - the engraved wordings  - the curve of the Franciscan Walking Stick (very beautiful) - the heavy concrete base.

These bells were placed on that mud track to show the route from one mission or presidium or pueblo to the next one.  The bells have been re-created to replicate the original. These new bells are in place since 1902 and have been renewed and maintained since.

Their website tells me that in June 2011, a sum of $161,000 is approved to make and install 40 bells on highway 101 -

That is love of history for you. Hotte gey hittu illa juttige mallige hoovu???

There are many historical routes in India too. I would like to preserve and celebrate the path of the Dandi March. Can you think of more?
that we can mark this way and preserve and celebrate for the future...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

America-dalli Narayana

My doggy friends in America
My experience with Mowgli, Sassy and Caesar moved me. They know just to love - no questions asked. Their warm backs, soft necks, tender looks, instant energy and frank doting
aaah! A whole new world of joy for me.

Mowgli in San Jose

He looks at me with soulful eyes
And sweeps me off my feet
I come back from a half-hour walk
And he licks my face - like I'm his treat.

Caesar in Chicago 

Expensive dog food is yucky! He ignores it.
And jumps up and down for simple - curd 'n rice.

50 pounds or five, knee high or half way
You guys won me over, before I could say coffee and fries.

Is that why we call him Narayana??

Sassy in Boston
I think thoughts of a large dog at home. But it will remain just that. I am not ready for the hard work.
Would you like to keep a pet?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To Starbucks and to Coffee

Our trip to America

We had taken the early morning flight to Dallas from Lexington, deciphered the Dallas airport and made our way to the different terminal and the gate to catch the flight to Sanjose. phew! Soon after take-off the flight attendants came by with loaded trolleys. One coffee please - I said. The gentleman gave me a stern look and said, 'madam you have to tell me if you want milk and sugar, or I give it black'. I smiled and nodded. With a flourish he announced, 'One coffee with milk and sugar for the lady'. and handed them all to me ... the coffee, the milk and the sugar.

During our stay in this foren land, my husband and I often ventured out on our own. We packed a mini snack of muffins, Oreo biscuits, or some sandwiches. caught a bus or got dropped off and wandered around. We walked into mom-and-pop shops, sat by lakes, did the tourist stuff, and some wandering around. Starbucks Coffee has been our biding companion during the America stay.

Starbucks coffee was the first purchase we made in dollars. God! their small cup is soooo tall!
After munching on packed goodies we dropped into the stirring aroma of Starbucks coffee
When it got too cold or windy we wrapped ourselves into the nearest Starbucks and sipped a Tall One.
That's where we rested after an elaborate walk-the-mall experience in Lexington
That's where we waited for my brother to pick us at San Francisco
That's where we waited for a friend's daughter at Taylor's Street, Chicago.

One can nostalgic about - the overpowering aroma of rich coffee - the feeling of Youngness that pervades the shop - the chattering line and the wait for turn - the placing of the order - picking up the cup and walking to the counter for milk and sugar - capping on the lid O so perfectly - mmmm I so liked it all
Not that we can't do it all here in India - just that we don't!!

And when I saw this steaming kettle at the Starbucks near City Hall, Boston, my day was kind of made. I hastily put down the hot cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts (more of a Boston thing) that was in my hand to click this one.

steaming brass kettle

They say the kettle weighs 200 pounds. and the steam comes from the boiler of the building. Starbucks just has a retail place here. But I like to think that the kettle belongs to Starbucks!!!!

Get lot more info here The steaming kettle


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Laguna Beach

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew
The furrow followed free;
We were the first to ever burst
Into the silent sea.

These lines from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner evokes for me images of the vast and silent Pacific Ocean. and I had dreamt of gazing upon the waters of the Pacific some day.

Laguna Beach

I did just that at the simply amazing LAGUNA BEACH.
The beach is a paradise for brush strokes and shutter bugs. We approached it from Tustin. We walked up to the cliff and from a vantage point looked down at the blue waters of the pacific.
A fringe of tall palm trees swayed in the October breeze.
Hard grey rocks offered their strong backs while the sea splashed against them in white mirth.

Smooth stretches of sand invited barefoot romping.
Silken skirts edged with bridal lace appeared here and there, when the sea reached into the shore.

Elsewhere surfers rode high on rising tides, making me wish I had the guts to do that too.
Volleyball on the beach...there were teams of mixed groups playing the game, with boisterous cheering from the enthusiastic ring of spectators.

we then walked down the streets. stopped at an art studio. sipped coffee while gazing into the watery horizon.
an amazingly beautiful place.
almost surreal
No wonder many artists have made Laguna Beach their home. If you can, do spend a day at Laguna beach.
Thank you B for suggesting the place. It was exactly what we would want to see.

Laguna beach is in California, driving distance from LA.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We go before we leave

As kids we grew up in Calcutta and my aunt, whenever we had to go out for long would ask us in a subtle manner, "did you go? we will be leaving in a few minutes..."
and my cousin, who would always leave it till the last minute would rush to empty bladder.
20 years later, I would tell my kids, 'go to the bathroom, we are going to Cubbon park and then for lunch.'
A lady in India will do two important tasks before she locks the door.
check if the gas in the kitchen is turned off, and then 'go' even if she does not really need to!

That is one thing you don't have to do in the US......
go - before you leave
predictably located, predictably arranged, and predictably well equipped with hand-dryers,  water and auto-flush cisterns, the restrooms are in plenty!

On the streets of Boston

but every tap is a learning experience. i wish those would be boring predictable too. some of them would make me look like an unpad gawaar. i place my fingers below the nozzle - nothing
i press down on the bend - nothing
i look for a foot pedal - nothing
i press some lever on the side - i get a spray of soap
now all the more - i need water badly
i rub my hands and hey ..... a refreshing mini-shower bubbles forth.
what did i do right this time? i wonder.

and i go out to buy a coffee. i need not avoid drinking fluids...!! but looking at the size of this "small" serving of coffee......i may need to find one again soon!
You find food there in plenty.........and such large helpings!!!!! a single serving was lunch for the two of us!

Monday, November 21, 2011

No jet-lag here

just some connectivity issues.

We got back to Delhi last Tuesday at half past five in the evening. were royally received at the airport and escorted to her home in her new car (her = daughter). we rested, chatted, continued our holiday for some more time and returned home to find that the phone bills were lying unpaid and internet was severed.
it took us this long to sort out the mess.
completely our fault. I don't blame the telephone dept one bit.
but to cut a L S S ... the excited We Are Home post got dampened in spirit.

i have so many narratives in my head. i have so much to share about our US trip
we enjoyed much warmth and care everywhere,
we saw an America that perhaps very few tourists get to see.

but hey, though we travelled right across many time zones, from the east to the west coast and back, we did not experience jet-lag. perhaps this is the reason:
how to avoid jet-lag

  • once you board the aircraft change your watch to the time of destination.
  • change your sleep and food routine to approximate destination time.
  • drink water and juice - no ice! no alcohol!
  • watch movies, listen to music, read, play sudoku,  keep yourself engaged
  • visit the bathroom. but makes sense to avoid the pre-lunch post-lunch rush. i hate to see that red-occupied sign!!
  • have a definite outing plan on the day of arrival to keep you busy. (i went shopping for grocery with my brother!!)
  • or
  • have an energetic two or three year old with you! then jet-lag is a mere luxury!!

The setting sun in Chicago

The evening lights in a big city

The rising sun - somewhere between chicago and delhi

heaven = the smell of baking chocolate brownie ... when you are slightly hungry .. and can wait!

Friday, November 11, 2011

It works! Let's try it. & make it norm

About our trip to America

Copy exactly
This is the Intel line. But this seems to be the model everywhere in the US.
we went for a walk in San Jose from my brother's house. we strode briskly for 15 minutes, taking a left here and a right there. Then we decided .. enough ...let's go home. it's getting cold. we did the reverse route. but
hey! where's the house? is it this? every house here looks the same! did we see this bush with so many roses? and since roads have names and not numbers we trudged up and down for another 20 minutes till
aaah! we found the road... and then the house! shhh dont tell anyone. my sister-in-law had warned me
dont get lost...and i had laughed at the suggestion. me? get lost?

Most expensive row houses - San fransisco

Improve everything
but this copy exactly is a boon in large shops. they are so similar, you've seen one you can find your way in them all.
to apply serious thinking to get a perfect model
and then to do exactly the same thing every time ...since it works so well
but to be open to new ideas
so that if a better idea crops up, that can be tried
and then the idea is copied exactly.
i wish we could have that discipline. i would love to see this discipline in India.


Monday, November 7, 2011

San Diego zoo

About our trip to America

We had heard a lot of positive things about the san diego zoo, moreover my brother got an amazing offer of five safari tickets at the so we decided to go for it.

Teenage kids at home shook their head firmly and dipped their nose into their laptops. so we went on an elders only safari! that was the only place we could take my mom. so that was the plan.
My brother's Subaru that we fondly refer to as Subbarao accommodated us all comfortably. My cousin G did not qualify to come with us as she is not yet 50...and so stayed at home with the kids.
The safari is miles before San Diego city. its a fine place showcasing animals in natural habitat. An open tram car takes us around on a 25 minute ride. the lady at the controls keeps us informed and entertained.
the graceful giraffe, the lazy zebra, the buffaloes with large horns, the deer in herds, the condescending lions, two conspiring rhinos chatting across the short wall, and some animals i still dont know the names of ...
we gazed at them all, and laughed at the guides many jokes.

 reticulated giraffe poking their noses into affairs!

What i like is the way it is all showcased. so much thought and effort has gone into giving the visitors the feel of jungle life. The dampness, the woody smell, large leaves, moss, its all there to experience.
A cave that a kid can fit into,
a large concrete weaver bird's nest to take pictures in,
a walkway that weaves into woody areas and
a sudden animal area that surprises us by its presence.
i loved it all. yes, the san diego zoo is worth a visit. But take some kids along!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

UCLA Vs Berkeley

About our trip to America

We cheered with the blues and clapped with the CALs.
we are watching a football game. The local UCLA team has many supporters. I see a sea of blue around me at the stadium. Seated in front of us is a fair selection of the energetic fan following. Moms and dads, ex-students, girlfriends, classmates ... 
Our own group has a strong UCLA supporter - reason ... she lives in LA
and a strong Berkeley supporter - reason ... his daughter has threatened him he dare to otherwise! 
My cousin explains the intricacies. Look he's going to throw the ball back. look the quarter back catches the ball.
o there... he is running to the post
the explanation stops. My cousin is way to involved to say anymore. The young man with the ball is soon intercepted.
I expect the fans to weep. But no. getting to that point is no mean achievement. and the crowds stand up and clap.

the cheer leaders come and dance their steps. its all there on big screen. and dads and moms watch their daughters with tears of pride.
the school bands that are the joy of their Alma maters. everybody is waiting when they march to the field at the half-time and play fine tunes.
we munch peanuts, and fries, and glug some cocacola.
we click pictures
we share lots of stories
a fine time of brothers and sisters and their spouses bonding .... we were seeing each other after ages.
that football game was sheer energy. and we enjoyed every moment of it.
down to the bit where we sold off the extra ticket in la calcutta style
instead of dus ka thees (thirty rupees for a ten rupee ticket)
we were saying
thees ka dus.... we sold the ticket of 40 $ at 15. a loss prevention of 25
not bad eh?
a fine an unusual experience of passion for a fine and quick game.
here is a picture

UCLA Vs Berkeley

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

She is coming at 5

About our trip to America

I must tell you about what happened here on Friday. We were all set to leave home for an overnight stay at LA. Suddenly there is this realisation at home.
a crisis of sorts...I kind of gathered
go clean your room........the son is reminded
I'll do the kitchen says my sister-in-law
the hall is mine offers my brother..... clearing things from the dining table.
What's happening? I ask, a little puzzled. 'Norma is coming at 5, soon after you all leave. and I completely forgot', said my sister-in-law, offering an explanation.
O no! and we were going away leaving her with a frolicky young golden retriever too!
I remembered the chaklis i had made for my neighbour Suman when her husband's boss had come for dinner.
and ofcourse that time when Brinda had suddenly come home with her colleagues .... unannounced. we created a record of sorts in clearing up the living room!!!

I pitched in too. I straightened up our room. Picked up magazines from around the house. Puffed up the cushions in the seating area.
and casually asked my sister-in-law who was actually giving me a puzzled look...
How come you haven't brought some fresh flowers? and who is Norma?
Oh! Norma? my sister-in-law said
Norma is the lady who comes twice a month and helps clean the house!!

soon the whole family collapsed in a heap of laughter at me.... with me
but thats a different story!!

but believe me this is a strange country.
i have seen well dressed stylish women wiping around the wash-basin after use in a public restroom.
i have seen men apologising to the cab driver for making him wait.
i have seen cars in two merging lines religiously allowing one from each line to alternately merge.
treat others as you want them to treat you, is a way of life here. atleast so far as their own citizens go.
i would like to see some of this in India too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Glacier Point, Yosemite

Have you watched the spectacular play of lights on the half dome and the other peaks from glacier point?
Well we did. And what a show it was!
The orange glow of the setting sun lit up different ridges and lines and faces on the rock faces and we got to enjoy a spectrum of images.
It was like a laser show. it was ten minutes of breathtaking performance. We were really lucky as the sky was clear with no mist or cloud.
When the sun had set the sky was in varying shades of crimson-orange while the rocks reverted to a prosaic grey.
Well, they seemed to say...your turn now!
Glacier point is easily reached by car on the Yosemite.
Wah ... Kya scene hai

To be rock solid, to shine in the glow of the setting sun. I am grateful to know a few who have lived life like that.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Flashlights in the sky

About our trip to America
We are saying a soft bye to lexington ky as we fly off to San Jose tomorrow.
Yesterday evening we went out for a last walk. We decided to hop across the stones that marked the line between our apartment and the theatre complex called Carmac. The sky started to darken. Thick clouds gathered over our heads. And from the distance we heard deep rumbles.
There are no tall buildings, no towers hide the skyline. we can see the vast expanse of sky above us.
strong winds blow and we can actually see the thick clouds being pushed together. Sample drops warn us of the coming downpour.
My daughter makes frantic calls to tell us not to stir out as there is a storm-warning.
But we only laugh. I look up to catch a brilliant wavy line light up the sky. I keep looking and the clouds oblige. They keep up the dishum-dishum and keep up the white hot streaks.
I have never enjoyed a sight so fascinating. Such a vast expanse of sky. Such thick dark clouds. So much lightening. The white lines are wiggly, straight, curvy, flashy.

these are downtown lights from a moving car....much like the lightnings we saw!!!!!

I love it.
We risk getting wet. We risk being scolded. We walk in the rain to watch the lightning!

A soft goodbye lexington.
You gave us a wonderful stay here.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Just dump it

About our trip to America

An idea you have been working on for some time now doesnt seem to click? just dump it.
What you had stocked in the shop doesnt sell? just dump it.
The sofa is old? just dump it.
This razor has a better grip?? OK i'll try it. The one you have been using? just dump it.

what makes the american psyche stand apart it their respect for new thinking.

It takes an Indian a lot of stamina to change his style. to accept a new product. to try the bizzaare. But no so here....... Here they believe that every idea is worth a try.
you have an idea for a book holder today?
find people who can make it....maybe in China?
you will find people who are ready to put their money in it.
you will find shops that are willing to display the new product.
you will find consumers who are willing to give it a shot.
the whole thing can happen in a month!!!
what's important is trying. Failure is not a crime. Failure is not condemned. Not trying is.

downtown Lexington Ky

i like this respect for individuality. respect for new thought.

what about all the NRIs who are here as a part of their Indian jobs. Is there a change in their mindset too?
do they respect independent thought too?
i must explore more and learn.

Can a country mould individual thought?
tell me what u think

Monday, October 17, 2011

Everybody's convenience

About my thought in America
When I go for walks here in Lexington KY or venture into malls to browse or shop I can't help observing people. I can't help observing that people here are so different and so similar!
i cannot comprehend the quiet well mannered kids
i admire the comfort-first clothing
i am at a loss when i see near perfection in every aspect .... its like someone's been evesdropping into my thoughts......... every convenience one could dream of is here. available...and sometimes for free.
and suddenly it makes me look inward
observing others makes us see ourselves more clearly
i come face to face with dinosaurs and dahlias hidden within me.
i understand the dinausars better
i admire the dahlias

a dinosaur in me?


Thursday, October 13, 2011


About our trip to America

Last Saturday we went to watch the horse races at Keeneland.
visions of elegant women in designer gowns and attention grabbing hats and dainty parasols come to mind as we load ourselves into the car and drive to Keeneland. Recall that scene in My Fair Lady..... as she screams her head off much to the shocked silence of the women around her.

this is the 75th  year of the races in Keeneland. The races are from Oct7 to 29.  they are all prepared for it. A very large parking lot accomodates the many cars that converge to this place. We see what's called tail-gating. Friends and family gather in large vans or trucks. drive to Keeneland. Park on the greens there. they bring along food and beer and have a good time... soaking in the atmosphere of the races. tailgate ... a new concept for me!

there are drive thru betting counters places outside for those who wish to only wager and not really mess with the crowd inside!

but we are here to see just that! so we go in. Wow what a variety we see! women in casual tees, women in stylish gowns, women in stunning spaghetti tops, women in killer heels keeping them on their toes!! and men is bow ties, men in flowery shirts, men in blazers and men carrying babies in nappies! men whooping at a grand win...couples celebrating with warm kiss

we looked into the race books, studied the horses that were to run in RACE 5, took out some precious dollars, and approached the betting counters confidently. The lady wished me good luck and printed out my wager for me. I stuffed that into my bag and hurried to the tracks. the race would begin in 3 minutes. Come on Horse 2. you got to win....
and yeah! it did.........wah what amazing what? i look at my daughter. how do i get the winning amount??
go win the race

thats when we realised..........we had studied the horses of RACE 5 and bet on 2...while the race going was RACE 4. !! Oh no! I pull out the printout from my bag.....

yehhhh! the lady has placed my wager for RACE 4!!!! so my mistake...has won me my first wager!!
after that we tried again
and again
and again......
i won my first wager..........i'll remember that!

aaah! The urge to make a fast buck!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

a meeting on wires

At about 5.30 in the evening we venture out for our walk. We sometimes meet athletic runners, men cycling with dogs on leash, couples on a quiet stroll. They nod at us, throw a greeting or just wave.

did you try the red berries??
hey your beak is nice and shiny
eat some more flowers they are good for your eyes
did you notice those two there? they are waqlkingggg!

who's chatting??
Then we catch them at they daily update-meeting. a hundred sparrows line up on the wires exchanging notes of their day's adventure.

birds assembly

Thursday, October 6, 2011

After You....Please....Thankyou

About our trip to America

People here are so relaxed. We in India, on the other hand seem to be always in a tearing hurry.
While getting into a metro in delhi
while entering a theatre in a mall ... ticket in hand...places reserved!
while billing our purchases at a counter
while ordering masala dosas at a Darshini
we are in a frantic fear.
is this a fall out of generations brought up in a situation of........Early bird catches the worm...and others go hungry??
we are forever concerned that IT will be OVER and we will not get any.

That is not true here. Men and women wait, open doors and offer with a smile 'after you', at counters there is no rush of me first,
i do not see creases of stress on faces
How is that?

But the bloomberg magazine creates a dismal picture of pay-cuts, falling sale graphs, stock accumulation etc etc
so who is right? the happy faces? or the dismal stories?

I am reading this book called Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier. He says in it ...
Sometimes we are afraid of something because we are afraid of something else.

so when we fear that our place in the theater will be taken
when we rush into the lift
when we speak of falling wages
are we actually scared of something else???
after you......thank you


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

books books and books

are you wondering why there are three books in the title?
well the first book is for the many savior kid books at home. The dal-rice just does not go in without some story reading. He has his favourites.
the story about the lady who swallowed a fly...i dont know why she swallowed a fly ! is the all time winner. Then there is one about george the monkey who learns to read. and one about a giraffe who wanders in search of his mom... I like this one. when he finds his mom at the end and gives him a hug...the person reading out the story gets a hug too!
and O yes... one with amazing white pop-ups with the story of Santaclaus.

book shop at lexington ky

We had been to Barnes and Nobles. The minute we entered Yash dashed to the back of the store where they have a running model of Thomas Engine!! An elderly gentleman who was deeply immersed in his book looked up to chuckle with our little boy.
This is the sprawling book shop of lexington...where you can Read Eat Sleep!!! It has rows and rows of books. Then there are 20 soft sofas that you can sink into, high chairs that you can prop yourself on and coffee tables. You can pick up a book, sit where you like, and read for as long as you want to, even sip a coffee or bite into some cookies while you read. The atmosphere was charged with the aura of book lovers. and mmmm i jus luvvved it. There were some knic-knacs with fancy prices....patel value?

collection of children books

And then we visited the City Central Library...only here they call it Lexington Public Library, and we go to their Eagle Creek Branch. An efficient place that provides books, they accept online reservations and fine you if you fail to pick up the books. they are that serious. audio files, reading counters/cubicles, categorised books, its all there. neat and tidy. the drop books counter is located conveniently on the outside so you can do just that...drop them. we picked ten books! there were movies too....and i spotted Dabanng right on top!