Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

This year Thanksgiving would  be different. Very different. For starters, we would have a plan, a Google doc file to collaborate and elaborate on said plan and then three different kitchens in the same geographical area to execute our extremely well laid out plan. The Boy called me a dictator while the Professor accused me of subversion and trying to turn everything pish posh.

However, we stuck to the much as possible. And then this happened. Those three separate kitchens turned out the catering equivalent of three Thanksgiving meals. There was two kinds of brussels sprouts for crying out loud. And we decided to buck tradition and cook a lamb instead of the traditional goose.

And then Singh and the Proffesor noticed pan drippings in the roasting pan and hit a bottle of red wine pretty hard!

Folks new to the bedlam that is the Singh-Saha-Mookherjee-Mukherjee-Pierce-Pal Thanksgiving were left dumbfounded and awestruck as usual. So much so that the Proffesor lost his plate of food which in turn led to some rather energetic sweeping.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, Pihu managed to put up a play with a Thanksgiving theme.

Too much food was inhaled, not much was imbibed (all grown up and responsible citizens and designated driver etc.) and not enough catching up was done. And just when we thought we could not have any more fun, we went to Founding Farmers and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves while waiting. First we waited for the table, then some of us waited while the others started eating. Then we waited for parts of the meal...that never came. But with company like this, one can keep waiting and waiting and waiting.

I cannot believe how much our little group of five has grown and how it continues to grow. Here's to the next time we meet again and further bedlam.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Gherkin Goes to India - Part II

The last time I visited Delhi, I was still a college student, McDonald's was cool and hip and a trip to Wimpy's in CP meant something, especially given the fact that we never had more than two hundred rupees on us at any given time. Now we spend more than the twice that amount on coffee at a joint where the waitress figures we must have spent the last decade under a rock and proceeds to charge us for the whipped cream and chocolate topping on the coffee.

Dwarka is a nice, planned community with wide roads and rickshaw/bike lanes. But what is it with the elevated sidewalks which are two feet from the roadway surface? One needs the skills of a mountain goat to mount and dismount from them comfortably, lacking which it feels safer to walk in the roadway. Over coffee  my friend Ritu explains the mystery of the elevated sidewalks....they are meant to keep pesky two wheelers away. Ritu knows, she is an urban planner.

The Gherkin is in love with auto rickshaws and pedal rickshaws. She loves mangoes and fish too. Other than that the heat and humidity literally make her wilt. After a run in with the heat (which happens every time we step outside) only the ac makes her happy, as in bounce of the walls happy. Oh! my first world child.

We visit the Birla Temple, the Boy's old school and the Lotus Temple...yes, I know it is a random assortment of places. But then this trip was about family and friends. Besides as far as the Gherkin is concerned one building is just the same as another, who cares if it is 400 years old or 40 years long as he interior is air conditioned. The Birla Temple was wet (it had rained), the Boy's school was closed and the Lotus Temple was a colossal mistake....

I shop, the Boy watches.  We have more coffee at Starbucks where we confuse yet another waiter by asking for a tall house..ummm...plain coffee. Dang, we can't even order coffee in our own country anymore. How useless are we? The Malls are cool, airy and surprisingly full of people on a weekday.

And then off we fly to Kolkata to meet the Boy's grandmother. The New Delhi airport is nice (and surprisingly full of booze)...the Kolkatta airport seems sleepy in comparison. We meet the Boy's Grandma and after some more fish and mishti, we are off to Jamshedpur by train.

Friday, August 08, 2014

The Gherkin Goes to India - Part I

After months of pondering, a week spent buying tickets, hardly any planning and just enough packing we have arrived in India. All four suitcases, two backpacks, two traveling adults and one pint sized wandering four year old have been deposited at the Grandparents for unloading, feeding and pampering.

The Gherkin spent the weeks leading upto THE FLIGHT planning out her sleep routine.
"Daddy, do they have bedrooms on the plane"
"Mama, will I wear my jammies"
"Mama, will I drink milk"
"Daddy, will they have TV on the plane"

As the parent of any four year old will attest, it was sheer joy when it all paid off and she slept for the first ten hours of the 12.5 hour long haul flight to Abu Dhabi. The fact that her kicking kept me awake was on no consequence. Abu Dhabi to New Delhi was uneventful. We reached home at around six in the morning. After a nice shower, followed by a warm breakfast we settled in for a snooze. We woke up to Grandma's cooking and promptly went back to snooze some more. At some point, we woke up and somehow found ourselves in a Mall and with a whole lot of stuff that we had miraculously managed to purchase in our jet lagged state.

And now, father and daughter are sound asleep while I type this. From North America to Asia + shopping in Asia done in less than 40 hours...not bad. 

Friday, August 01, 2014

On Making a House a Home

Our friends bought a house. The ink on the final papers is probably still drying on some underwriter's table, but there we were last evening basking in the new joy of the new homeowners. The house is in a good school district with room enough for a young family of four and visiting relatives and mature trees in the backyard to provide a gentle shade. When we arrived, our friend was deep in discussion with a landscaper about some of the trees that need to be chopped down. The home inspector had so decreed.

The adults did the mandatory house tour, checked out the systems and dissected the finer points of what needed to be fixed and what not.  Meanwhile, the children and the lone dog (who also came to visit)  ran amok through the empty living rooms, their loud giggles and the occasional bark ricocheting off the walls, with very little furniture to dampen the mirth or their spirit.  I sat by the bay window and took in this lovely scene of unruly domseticity.

And then I rembered our friends mentioning that this lovely, old house had been in the same family for all this time. All those years ago, perhaps this family had bought this very house for the same reasons that our friends did today. A room for each child and a yard for the potential family dog. More space to invite friends over for many a party to be thrown in the expansive living area and share many a drink at the marble bar. With time, one assumes the children grew up and moved away and the house suddenly grew too large for its now older owners and needed to be passed on to another family. So that it may feel alive again. So that once again it may transition from being a house to a home.

We shape clay into a pot, but the place where it is empty is what makes it useful.
We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.
— Tao Te Ching

Monday, March 31, 2014


The  search continues for a plane in distant waters, while closer home the search for a little girl who has been missing is still on. It is hard to contemplate dissapearance in an ever connected 24/7 world.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

From a Speeding Highway - Issue 8

I haven't done one of these in quite some time. The dump truck is actually hanging from the bridge. This was taken during the last big snowstorm that came our way on February 12th-13th.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Sick Days

When you are 23 and have freshly arrived at the work place, you are so happy to make a biweekly paycheck that you barely pay attention to the piece of paper that is your pay slip. Then one day, in a fit of green passion you sign up and go paperless and with that one act you never ever see your pay slip again.  A year goes by, may be two and you are now planning a big vacation or may be thinking of getting married. Bottomline, you need to look into your leave balance to figure out how much leave you have at your disposal. That is when you notice for the first time that you seem to have an outerageouly high number of sick leave hours compared to annual leave.

"Who needs all this sick time?", you mutter savagely under your breath and cast an evil eye on the slightly over weight, balding puddle of incompetence that happens to be your middle aged co-worker. Fast forward a few cliched years during which you got married (with or without enough annual leave to cover the escapade), bought a house, had a baby (three months of job protected leave - thank you Bill Clinton, ye patron saint of the working mother). You are fatter and wiser and know better than to make fun of greying co workers.  Because now, you are a serial user of sick leave. 

Come winter, your home (your pride and joy) turns into a den of disease and malaise thanks to your little baby (your other pride and joy) and her little friends who miraculously transform into incubators of every cold virus known to mankind at the hint of the first winter chill. On a positive note, you are longer alone in your misery. Yes, there is the temperature taking punctuated by a glug of cough syrup or a thimble of tylenol but there is also the lazing in bed, reading a book or sharing a cup of ginger tea with lots of milk and biscuits - with a little person right next to you.