25 February 2024

’13 Mar India

  1. Flight to India Mar 19, 2013

    That is one heck of a way to get to India. First, back in Atlanta, as I was trying to finish off the last few calls before they close the doors of the plane – hailstorms hit the airport. Hail hitting your plane when you are sitting inside sounds far worse than when you gift your 10 year old nephew his first set of drums (presumably to exact some kind of revenge on your brother) πŸ™‚
    Of course, we had to wait for a couple of hours for the State Farm guy to show up – or whoever it is that shows up to check hail damage for planes. Yes, there is such a thing. I have half a mind to write to Delta that they could have easily saved all of us 15 minutes by switching to GEICO! πŸ™‚
    Finally we took off with no chance to make my connection flight in Amsterdam. I took a zen like attitude – whatever happens will happen. Worst case scenario, I will stay in Amsterdam for a day and go the next day. There are worse things that can happen. For example, Delta could have been with Allstate πŸ™‚
    Fortunately, the flight picked up speed and we made up some time. Just enough that I realized I had a shot at making the connection. Which I did. By a few minutes! And that is when it dawned on me that my luggage may not have been that lucky πŸ™ Nothing shatters zen-ness like the the prospect of being in a hotel with no extra set of clothes and a few customers to meet that day!!!
    So, here I am in my long flight from Europe to India wondering what is in store. Delta tried to make it up by giving me three gulabjamuns in my meal. Why the odd number three, I will never understand. At this point, I had the proverbial angel and devil duking it out on my either shoulder. “Too much sugar”.. “So what? it is India”.. they went on and on πŸ™‚
    Finally, I gave in and bit into my first gulabjamun. It was so hard thatI barely left a bite mark!! And that is when I realized that Delta’s gulabjamuns beat paper and scissors πŸ™‚
    And that brings me to where I am now. Slowly descending into the Indian sub continent. Not knowing what I am going to wear tomorrow morning for my run. And a couple of teeth that are sore πŸ™‚ Zen, shmen, my left foot πŸ™‚

  2. Run in Bombay!! Mar 20, 2013

    Twenty years back in this city, I used to run in the morning so as to not miss the train to Andheri. I used to run to the Borivali bus depot not to miss the early BEST bus to Kandivali. Those were purposeful runs.
    This morning, in the same city, I ran without any general purpose for 5K. Shaved off a minute a mile due to the flat terrain.
    And as I did that, I twice almost ran into people running from cross streets. No doubt they were trying to catch a train or bus πŸ™‚

  3. Oat meal!! Mar 21, 2013

    Another 5K in really humid Mumbai. Sitting at the breakfast table, I was wondering why oat meal in India tastes so much better than in US. Then I noticed the plate of Jilebi, aloo paratha with Chana dal and achar and the masala dosa surrounding it at my table πŸ™‚
    I know what my Indian friends in US are thinking – “You pig! You deserve to run aimlessly” πŸ™‚
    In my mind I am telling them “suit yourself” as I dig deeper into the two rasamalais πŸ™‚

  4. Sampat bhai! Mar 21, 2013

    The benefits of business travel!! Met good old friend from MBA days Vikram Sampat after over 20 years!!! It was priceless catching up after so many years!! Like the gold old days, had an ice cream with him after dinner. Instead of our usual haunt -ICP (Ice Cream Parlour) it was CCI (Cricket Club of India) this evening!!


  5. Porsche!!! Mar 22, 2013

    India – such a country of diversity. Here we are on the highway to Pune – there are slow trucks, local vehicles, broken vans and a Porsche !!!!


  6. Pachyderm Mar 23, 2013

    On my way to surprise dad and mom in Kalyani. In previous trip, I have seen various animals on the road – dogs, cats, cows, buffaloes, pigs … But an elephant is a first this time!!


  7. Chicken Internet Mar 23, 2013

    Myself, my brother and brother in law went for a walk and stepped into a Monginis to have snacks. Both of them ordered the same plate. It is called Chicken Internet!!!
    Apparently it is very popular.
    I have no idea what the hell “Chicken Internet” means.
    Or how it got its name. Maybe the snack and the Internet are both teeming with viruses? It certainly explains why my sister was so flummoxed when I had asked her to look for something starting with “W W W” while looking for her daughter’s test results on the Internet πŸ™‚


  8. Run again! Mar 24, 2013

    5M run early in the morning with my brother. Guess who is muttering at home about the downsides of running? πŸ™‚


  9. Chinese calendar Mar 24, 2013

    If yesterday was the day of the elephant, today is the day of the monkeys. It is like Kalyani (where my dad and mom lives now) runs on the Chinese calendar – only in fast forward πŸ™‚


  10. Dawn Mar 25, 2013

    Best part of every day while in India. It is 5:30 in the morning – dad and I are sitting outside. Completely drowned in what seems like a million birds tweeting. Beautiful mellifluous sounds – especially the cuckoos. The rude noises of the world waking up – the train’s horn in the distance, the launch’s hoot from the Ganges and the clanking of cars in great need of maintenance are yet to set in.
    The pre-dawn light is barely glimmering thru what promises to be a foggy morning and the light wind from the river is gently wafting by.
    Dad and I have been sitting here for over an hour sipping multiple cups of tea. Hardly any words are being spoken – yet volumes are being communicated.
    If only these moments could be bottled up and replayed at will in life.

  11. Mobile commerce Mar 25, 2013

    Kalyani’s own version of “Mobile Commerce”. You don’t need no stinking mobile phone to order goods or services. Here, goods come to you. In a three wheel pedal-pushed van πŸ™‚ You have to just buy it if you want πŸ™‚


  12. “Top off” Mar 25, 2013

    You think he might have overdone it this time? πŸ™‚


  13. Pniyaji and Chai Mar 25, 2013

    On our three hour drive to meet my inlaws in Durgapur, my brother, brother in law, and myself took a break for “pniyaji and chai” (fritters and tea) by the highway near Panagarh. If there was ever a “upset-stomache-served-in-a-plate”, this has to be it πŸ™‚


  14. Inlaws Mar 25, 2013

    A great evening with my father-in-law and mother-in-law. We (and that includes my brother and brother-in-law) talked about the widest range of topics! From good places to retire in to updates on other relatives.
    It must not have escaped your notice that my mom is the only one focused on eating. You would also notice that everybody has a wine glass except her.
    Coincidence? I think not!!!


  15. Houses that built a home Mar 26, 2013

    The houses that built a home: this morning before leaving Durgapur, my brother and I put in a run down memory lane. We ran to all the three houses that we grew up in during our childhood and took pictures. Of course, the houses look a little different now – but they evoked a lot of powerful memories.


  16. Escape velocity Mar 26, 2013

    One for the road:
    What you get from a car ride with my brother at the wheel is something that thrill park operators can only dream of! He was hitting 140 kmph on Durgapur Expressway – that is a speed illegal in any highway in most states in America. And in most states in America, on any highway, you don’t have to deal with occasional animals, a vehicle driving on the wrong side or drivers making sudden turns without any notice.
    My brother was weaving so much thru that traffic that I am convinced on our (essentially) east west highway, he spent most of the time driving north south πŸ™‚ In all fairness, he kept his horn on permanent honk mode to give fair warning to all about his impending presence. There were times he was nearly approaching escape velocity! From the other side !! πŸ™‚ I think all he needed was a road with a gentle slope upwards πŸ™‚
    Eventually we took a tea break so we could all relax our muscles from the collective grabbing of our seats πŸ™‚ During the tea break, I sarcastically asked him how many lanes did he reckon were there on the highway that we just left. Not to be outdone, he smiled as asked “How many do you want?” πŸ™‚
    That, above all, explained lane discipline in India. So, I went back to sipping my tongue-scalding hot tea from the traditional earthen cups!!

  17. Buripora!! Mar 26, 2013

    “Dolpurnima” and “Buripora” (some call it “Nerapora”). Seeing this tradition after about 33 years or so…


  18. Holi hai! Mar 27, 2013

    My nephews and their friends in hot pursuit of a few cyclists to dunk them with colored water from their water guns. HOLI HAI!!!


  19. Oh! Calcutta! Mar 27, 2013

    The new Kolkata airport is impressive!! When it is done, it certainly would be at the same level as most international airports. I wish though they had gotten rid of those tractors pulling luggage containers. There is something jarring about the sight of a few tractors weaving thru stationary airplanes. They look very lost.
    And I would certainly recommend removing that dog aimlessly roaming around in the tarmac πŸ™‚ Believe it or not, there is one. For sure, it is lost. Not sure what it is looking for. I would have posted a picture but Indian airports have way too many restrictions around taking photos in an airport and such… β€” at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.

  20. Tap! Mar 27, 2013

    As opposed to what? At Clipper Lounge in Mumbai airport


  21. Brrr….. Mar 28, 2013

    Wearing shorts and loose shirt in the long flight back home was such a great idea till we had to switch planes in Amsterdam and they took us in those danged buses downstairs πŸ™‚ β€” at KLM Crown Lounge.

  22. Back on US soil Mar 28, 2013

    My reflections in the long flight home of what I cherish most every time I am in India :
    (*) The early morning quiet time with dad sitting outside in nature sipping tea. There is no better way of reassuring each other that we are always there for each other. (In real life, when we open our mouths, we are very different persons and often land up arguing).

    (*) The run with my brother. No amount of running in Atlanta can give me that happiness that running with my brother does. He is far more athletic than me. But after those ten years of playing together – chasing each other in our backyard, it is an amazing feeling to run side by side of each other. Perhaps, because it is a metaphor of our lives.

    (*) Practicing music with my sister and mother in the afternoon. Nothing makes me “live in the Now” than those sessions. I am truly transcended to a different world. And when I fail to keep up with some of their really tough songs, I so regret that I did not listen to my parents in early childhood and take my tabla practice seriously.

    (*) Trip to “big bazar” in the evening with my brother, sister-in-law, sister and brother-in-law. “Big Bazar” is a mall in big cities and Sharmila and I used “going to Big Bazar” as an euphemism to slink out of home to go drink some terrible wine in Durgapur in the evenings. Ever since my parents (who are dead against drinking any form of alcohol) have moved to Kalyani, I have kept up with the euphemism. Of course, I dread one of these days when they will figure out that there is no Big Bazar in Kalyani πŸ™‚ In any case, that hour and half with my siblings and their other halves are to die for. It is like we are back to our high school days. We completely forget the age gap (spans 13 years between the five of us) and just simply have a great time picking on each other. (Okay, I admit, I get picked on most for my shaved head and wearing shorts only πŸ™‚ )

    (*) The long drives with my brother to places that has a lot of our family memories – be it where I was born or houses where we were brought up or taking our mom to her birthplace or taking my dad to his childhood best friend (also his cousin). If you have a brother, you will probably appreciate what sharing an unknown adventure with a brother truly means. We have been each others’ best friends all of our lives and nothing has changed over forty years. Separated by half a world and nearly ten hours, we still talk to each other every single day. (my mom is the only other person I talk to every day). That half a world and ten hours are usually smashed to a pulp when we sit next to each other in his car – his hands on the wheel and mine on Google maps on my iPhone going to another place we have not visited in thirty years.

    That said, what I cherish most though is that, I am starting to deeply appreciate the essence of mortality and therefore the value of actively deciding how I want to spend that one resource that I have finite amount of – time. And I suspect even that amount is not as large as I think it is. I certainly hope that my daughters will grow up to realize this far earlier than I have.

    Till my next trip….