Discovering Barcelona- I

When I visit a new place, I don’t just focus on the well-known or even the off-the-beaten track kind of locales and sights; I like to capture the every day lives of the people there.

Here are some glimpses of Barcelona, the way the locales live.

Apparently Annabelle resides in Barcelona

A bit of Argentina on a Barcelona sidewalk

St.Joan’s church..FYI it’s a he and not a she.

In the midst of elegant balconies and facades is graffiti.

Butcher shop store front

Grocery stores are a riot of colors

Happiness Is A Hot Towel

Doesn’t make sense? Or oddly enough, it totally does? Whatever be the case this is the story behind it.

My sister from her own parents and I met in college 21 years ago and since then had made countless plans to go travelling together. Over the years, decades really, we have visited each other many times but never been able to get ‘our own trip’ off the ground. With a milestone birthday coming up for both of us, hers before mine, we decided that tomorrow never comes and today is what it’s all about….so a girls’ trip is taking place. One which isn’t falling through!

For the past 5 months we’ve bored the spouses thoroughly discussing places to visit and then what to do when we get there. And after 5 months of researches, plans and spending more time chatting and talking to each other than we have in all these years combined (time zones be damned!), the day is finally arrived…I’m enroute and she’s going to be starting off soon as well.

With Red happily pushing me out the door this morning and saying “Don’t calling me, you’re on vacation”, I’ve completed one leg of the journey and am about to start on the second leg shortly. The flight started with a surprise upgrade to better seats and deliciously-warm and eau-de-cologne scented towel to pushing all the seat buttons to see what each one did. Tt’s a gleeful time! I’m fairly sure I bounced once or twice.

Of course, me being me, I met my share of “interesting” people along the way as ever. Starting with the airport security guard who saw my ticket and got enthused because he’s a huge soccer fan and am off to a major soccer hub, to the elderly Arabic gent who kept tutting disapprovingly at the violent movie and booze that I consumed right in front of him, it’s been quite fun.

Stella’s a good companion

Grumpy Grandpa who couldn’t take his eyes off my movie screen but kept tutting at my choice the whole time.

They feed you well in Business class…right down to laying your napkin out with flourish!

P.S: Reached Barcelona and had one of my country people as my cab driver. Waiting for the other half to arrive so we can finally kick things off good and proper!

Packed roads are a must in all metros..

Barcelona from the skies

Cod fried and spicy beef empanadas with a glass of local white wine

Watch this spot for more updates!Ole!

The Road Not Taken

Note: This is hardly an original title but extremely apt nonetheless, especially for this particular post. Somehow this post was particularly difficult to write. The words didn’t flow the way they usually do and I’ve made more revisions than I’ve ever done before, left it cooling on the rack as it were till I decided to just get it done once and for all. Read on…

I’ve often touched upon the nomadic life I’d led as a child. It was never dull whatever else it may have been. It was hectic at times and sometimes trying but never dull. And in the process the one thing I always wondered about was whether putting down roots somewhere was really everything it was cracked up to be and if it was something I’d be able to aspire to one day. Because after 9 schools and 11 cities you really wonder at times where it’s all going.

There was a point of time when I thought I’d got it figured out. I was much younger but without the rose-tinted glasses. Work was shaping up, other aspects of life were also pretty much where they needed to be. And then they changed. Not entirely drastically but they changed and the path that was taken has led up to today. And it’s been a good one for the most part. But a part of me wondered about the shape of things had the divergence not occurred. The all too elusive what-ifs occasionally rear their head and you can’t help but extrapolate things and wonder if you’d have been able to follow the blueprint through and where that might have got you.

Now nostalgia is just fine on it’s own, indulged from a few hundred kilometers away but when you get down to brass tacks and walk in the same paths the younger you did, sometimes it’s just not the same at all. Imagine a place, a cafe if you will, was something you zoomed into regularly like it was home base. The food tasted great, the drinks even better and the time spent there was memorable. And then one day, you walk in there after a few years and it’s not really special anymore. It’s run-of-the-mill. The place isn’t run down or shady…it’s just not what you want anymore. The younger you sure, the older you…not so much. And that can be a slightly bittersweet realization for those of us who sometimes want to desperately hang onto the vision of something the way we remember it.

I remember visiting my college with my best friend a long while after we finished our graduation.While the original structure was still standing, the new extensions to the building made it look more like a transport hub than the college where I spent 3 very significant years of my life. And while I’m not opposed to change, there’s change and there’s CHANGE. And as we grow up and older, some changes are inevitable and often seem irrevocable.

Nostalgia works well for some time but the deeper you go into it at times you realize that you aren’t acknowledging the most often critical part of whole situation- that you’re the  one that’s changed the most. Older, maybe wiser, definitely healthier (we’re a body positive blog folks) and once you get to that point; at best nostalgia can be a joyful interlude but one best kept brief. Because there’s so much happening now! The future maybe unknown but the past is something we’ve already gone through. Reliving it or attempting to kind of seems like walking backwards to me. Best to grab onto whatever’s happening now and hang on for the ride.

Here endeth the lesson.

 

Ta 2018!

I’ve been lazing in bed all day. A semi-cold grounded me. But as always, laziness plays a far more potent role than I ever give credit to.

2018 was a year of massive highs and lows. Saying goodbye for good isn’t ever easy. It’s harder still when it’s out of the blue and leaves you reeling. But thankfully there were the same old comforting things like reptiles and dinos and superhero movies to look forward to, while bingeing on nachos and setting up reading challenges.

I traveled a fair bit and I hope to continue that into 2019 as well. Caught up with the dearly beloved and some others out of a sense of familial responsibility but came away with realizations each time around which have been and will be enlightening in the long run.

We took some tough decisions as a family and girded ourselves up for potential big hitting changes but things haven’t rocked the boat yet. That we are prepared, helps me sleep better at night.

I started on my book. It took me forever to see what was staring at me all along; I needed to talk a bit less and write stuff out a whole lot more. It may never end up on a bookshelf barring my own, but it will get done and soon.

As a family we achieved big milestones of forbearance, discovery and made new memories. We had major laughs, hit our heads against some walls (me more than Red) and in the end decided to suck it up and be grown ups!

More than anything else, this year has been one for generating massive amounts of food for thought. What kind of child to I want to be? What kind of a parent, friend or spouse? And most importantly…how do I want my day-to-day to play out. Am getting to the answers despite the lure of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Here’s to a fabulous 2019 from me and mine along with a retrospective of the year that was.

Salut! 

 

The Unbearable Unsightlyness Of Playing

Let it be noted that if I had to do anything amounting to slightly strenuous physical activity vs being bodily harmed, bodily harm would rule the roost.

The most apt description of my gait, run and overall physical movement is quite akin to the drunken hallucination from Dumbo. I kid you not.

Red has despaired and has moved his focus onto the one person whose hand-eye co-ordination can still be salvaged: MLM.

Why am I so bad at it? I honestly don’t know much beyond that heavy bodies take more effort to move and they sweat a whole bunch leading the heavy individual to feel lightheaded, awkward, clumsy and generally NOT GOOD AT ALL.

It’s not that I can’t hit a ball. I can. But then everyone ducks or waits for chunks of the ceiling to start raining down.

MLM’s latest fancy is playing squash (I thought it was the same as racquetball but the husband snootily told me they were different). He’s signed up for summer classes and we thought it would be a good family activity to indulge in. Well…the jury is still out on that one.

I did manage to get a half-assed rally going on with Red but then the ball seemed further and further away and the racquet didn’t seem to want to connect with the ball much at all. Again..left scratching my head.

But after I unwound myself from a striking pose my body had assumed, I found that these were the postures I was getting into. It goes without saying that none of them are optimum while playing squash.

1) Garden Cupid Statue: hark back to the chubby Cupid statues on pedestals, shooting an arrow but with direction changing each time a ball approaches. That’s my pose when I try and hit a ball that’s got lobbed a bit closer to the ground.

2) Hey! I’m Here: all the people marooned on desert isles usually have one moment where a ship passes by in the distant horizon and they jump up and down, waving like it’s what they were born to do. Well, that’s my hands above the head pose while trying to hit a shot that’s rebounded off the walls.

3) I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up: my pose for a few seconds after trying to come out of the first pose

All along, in the background one would be able to hear deep and furious panting…

And that’s after 10 mins of being on the squash courts.

C’est la vie!

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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