After A Hiatus…

It has been 22 days since I last blogged or even created a draft.

I wish there was a reason for this kind of a gap but there isn’t anything except for me being unable to gather my thoughts. And now that the thoughts are gathering, it’s akin to a storm brewing.

So I had a long-ish summer holiday with the offspring. We traveled a bit and had new experiences. Defining experiences for me as a parent. Am more confident of being able to chalk out holiday plans for the family without necessarily opting for safe options like a place with access to a pool or a beach. That’ll always be the fallback option but I am happy to say that slightly longer journeys, altitudes are no longer off the table.

On the personal front, I was sluggish to say the least. Didn’t get much done. Took a fraction of pictures that I’d normally have taken on earlier trips and pretty much retreated into the Kindle while still looking for something fun to give me a little impetus.

Speaking of the Kindle, it’s become an extension of my hand and I’m eyeballs deep into authors who primarily write about the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. To say that their books include the wilderness and dense forests and more than average snowfall would be to undersell it. But their tones are quite similar because these geographical areas of United States are very diverse from the sunny parts of the South or the West Coast. They are also quite different in the tone and nature of the people who are depicted in the novels based in the East Coast.

It’s bucolic but the climate, the geography is as much a character in the novels as the actual people themselves. Maybe it’s the weather that calls to me (crazy I know) or my mild yearning for Seattle based on years of binging on Grey’s Anatomy but I’ve had the words Puget Sound and names of small counties of Washington State and Minnesota tumbling through my head.

I’ve also discovered that I need to learn how to scuba dive because taking pictures of the husband and offspring underwater gave me a sense of peace and joy unlike anything in the last few years.

As basic the images were and while nowhere in the neighborhood of work such as this gent, it was still a lovely experience nonetheless and made me want to explore it further. In fact my list of places of hit (eventually) already includes this. Of course if we end up doing this, my main concern will be the offspring wanting to move undersea permanently or not coming back up till he spots all his favorite behemoths.

All said and done, long summer or not, it’s been an experience. Of growth, some backslides and lot of plans for the months ahead. Not a total washout in my book.

 

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Guilt-Free Goa

We have our own version of Vegas in India…G-O-A…what happens in Goa stays in Goa and Goa seems to be built for everything you’d do while you’re away from home, boundaries, restrictions and the humdrum of the everyday.

How else can one explain the most prim and proper of “aunties” who is carrying enough weight on her hips and belly to feed a colony of starving cannibals, strut around very confidently in rather iffy outfits that leave nothing to the imagination whatsoever!

Or the sudden craze the biggest beer bellies get for wearing Speedos and jiggling their way along the beach, without a care in the world? Or the most hirsute of men jumping into crystal clear water where the hair on their bodies is practically at par with the sea anemones one might expect from the fathoms? Those are some sights people were not meant to see and be able to unsee.

It’s not just about being more daring with attire, people leave their food dos and don’ts behind…way behind I might add! Stuff doesn’t have to be kosher, in a manner of speaking…it just has to look and taste good. And nothing tastes better than the forbidden fruit or the bacon!

This isn’t a critique, mind you. It’s interesting to see how people loosen up with their inhibitions and just enjoy themselves in a way that they normally wouldn’t on any other holiday destination…unless it actually was Vegas or the French Riviera maybe.

Years ago when I was working with a B-School, I remember the spring break-like fever descending on the students. The senior class wanted to go to Goa together but they also had exams coming up and had to prepare for the campus interviews for the placements etc. My job was to prepare them for those interviews and wouldn’t you know it? I had to do it during the time they were in the Go-Goa mode! So little by little excuses started coming my way…suddenly a whole bunch of parents had silver wedding anniversaries that their loving children just couldn’t afford to miss. So many grandmothers fell sick and apparently a glimpse of their beloved grandchild is what the doctor had prescribed above all things! It was quite fun to watch and I didn’t have the heart to say no to any of them because this too is a right of passage.

When I took a mini-vacay with some girlfriends I went to Goa. We ate, drank, slept, gabbed and frolicked in the utter Goa-ness. And that’s the beauty of it…it’s not just the beaches..it’s the place. It’s where you head to get drunk, it’s where you head to for a romantic weekend, honeymoon even and it’s where you take your hyper kid to cool off while you sip cocktails by the pool in the am without a thought for time of day!

Goa was made for relaxation- be it quick or a long-drawn one. It’s for gorging on seafood, eating spicy stuff your stomach can’t stomach and still having a great big smile on your face because it’s satisfaction all the way! So if you want to get high on sun, fun and the occasional dram…this place is a surefire fix!

Cheers!

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The 3 of us (me, Red&MLM) rang in the new year inside a loud, creaky, semi-uncomfortable airport shuttle bus. But I got to wish my folks, my bestie and also make an  SOS call to good friends who came and picked us up from a drop-off point since Hyderabad cabbies decided to be sadistic on the last day of the year and go on a strike.

While I *am* known to bitch and gripe for fairly long periods of time when the fit is upon me, last night’s events seemed quite amusing. Here we were, fresh out of the First Class lounge followed by flying Business Class back home and we stepped out to get lumped in with the rest of the world when it came to getting back home. And lump it we did! And it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be at all.

There was a little boy incessantly asking his dad when the bus was going to move, there a conductor who was loudly asking about tickets and drop-off points and there were people who were (again loudly) discussing the taxi strike and those who were just so bleary-eyed that they didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything except their face hitting their pillow.

So why was I not grumpy and adding to the less than happy vibes floating around the bus?Well some of the credit for that goes to the champagne I had in the flight and the other was because I was going HOME!!

We aren’t the society creme de la creme by any means. But we’re comfortable. And we’d had a lovely fun and sun-filled week in Thailand. I had behaved like a glutton and was going to need most of 2017 and 18 to work off all that. But I’d really Zenned out while in Thailand and no bus, even one that needed a total overhaul and a muffler change STAT! was going to take that away from me. Add to that my child fell asleep quite quickly even before the bus started to move and it was an easy ride back home coloring mandalas (my latest thang) on my phone.

A lot of the experiences we have in life, the good and the bad are usually colored by the thoughts going on in our head at that time. I’d spent a good amount of time travelling back to India irritated with my child. He was being a brat and I still wanted my Zen bubble around me. But the husband, a great guy to travel with, had intervened throughout, suggested I have some champagne and most importantly had changed seats with me so I was able to get a little more head space away from the offspring and his monster persona.

2016 had been quite a dramatic year. Quite a few things took me by surprise. Shook me up. But most importantly, the shaking stopped. And now I have a whole year to stabilize and look forward to more; memories, laughter or even Zennishness.

So here’s raising the virtual toast to  2017. May you prove to be an outstanding successor to 2016. And may the adventures continue…even if in a bus.

Sláinte

Holiday Bloglet

  • Books read since start of holiday on 23rd night: 4.
  • New mystery writers discovered since start of holiday: 3
  • Movies watched: half of 3
  • Drinks consumed: 2! (I know right?)
  • Local cuisine sampled: 2xs
  • Yelled at offspring: lesser times than I thought possible.
  • Got massaged: 1x
  • Cursed out loud: 3x
  • Songs looped in head: Never Give Up (Sia)& Wildest Moments (Jessie Ware)
  • Sighed in contentment: all the time!

A Peek At My Photoblog#2

Deer don’t necessarily fascinate me…seen too many of them over the years but the opportunity to photograph them at leisure hasn’t always cropped up either.

This is how close I got to them this time. And while it isn’t as close as I’d wanted it to be, it’ll do for now.

A Peek At My Photoblog#1

We took a weekend trip to Tadoba, Maharashtra to see tigers in the wild. That did *not* happen. Spiders however featured largely on the menu..

Take a peek here.

Me Being Me…

I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t indulge in gripes about my pet peeves. So what if it’s at the start of the year? This way am getting some rants and grumbles out of my system so there’s less to spew and gnash my teeth about!

I have made a couple of decisions. Won’t call them resolutions because then it’s nearly a foregone conclusion that they’ll be deviated from sooner or later.

I am quite bugged with one of my lifelines..Amazon. I buy books from them quite often and they end up being my kid’s toy shop of choice for all the exotic variety of dragons not available in our city, nay…country! But for them to restrict the sale of certain digital media if you choose your country as India is super annoying. You get access to loads of books nonetheless. More than I could finish in this lifetime. But still! And if you do choose USA as your country then the world is your oyster but the Indian government plays spoilsport and tacks on a Swachhh Bharat tax on top of the foreign currency mark-up and what not!

Now the Swachh Bharat tax isn’t something I’m not crazy about. It might have started out with good intentions (as do most things on the road to hell am told) but levying it on all and sundry just seems bloody annoying. And pardon my French but I missed the fine print where it was notified that it would be levied on everything that generates a bill.

The last time I encountered this level of “being anal” is when the bean counters at the T.I.S.S literally tried to brainwash my colleagues and I for all the expenses we could and would encounter during our field work. Even in those small mom&pop stores where they just write down the bill for all amounts big and small. They wanted to make sure we would get the Rs.1 revenue stamp affixed on all relevant bills and then the ancient relic in the accounts office went further and said he wanted a receipt for a revenue stamp also. Yikes! The paper work was staggering…oye ve!

But that lovely little anecdote from the past aside here are some more things I have decided I’m GOING to do.

  1. Finish watching every single movie/t.v show I’ve downloaded and only keep those that I know I’ll watch again. Ergo, no hoarding the sheer “wealth” of torrents.
  2. Public a minimum of 3 blog posts every week- photography or otherwise.
  3. Use up or give away bed linen that’s been languishing in the closet because I only bring out the higher thread count ones or the ones with monkeys on them to keep the brat happy.
  4. Take more pictures and master a bit more of photo editing because that’s what makes or breaks an image.
  5. Try out one new recipe (sweet, savory anything!) a week.
  6. Try and grow taller! Psych…had you going there for a minute, didn’t I?
  7. Try and read more non-fiction because Red thinks I’m growing dumb or murderous with all the crime fiction and mythological stuff I read.
  8. Take at least 3 holidays this year and discover a new place or two. Or ten.
  9. Teach the offspring a few words of my native tongue.
  10. Keep those bleeped out words in my head and not in my mouth. Tiny ears to mouth transmission speed is shockingly good!
  11. Learn to swim with my head above water else I’ll drown if not in a pool or just keep treading water like a doofus.
  12. Publish one book digitally no matter how silly. And this one am really, really serious about.

So, 12 months and 12 non-resolutions. Doable? 2017 will tell.

Cheers!