27 August 2022

Roadtrip to drop Nikita

  1. The last one flies the nest! Aug 16, 2022

    Nikita is headed to Washington DC to start college. We decided to make a road trip out of it. She is the beach girl in the house. So, the plan is to spend a few days in Carolina Beach and then Virginia Beach before we finally show up at her college.

  2. Long drive under cloud cover Aug 16, 2022

    This was Nikita’s longest drive ever. 150 miles straight in about 2 hours. I did the other 300. It was a cloud covered day the whole time. The seven and a half hours flew by!

  3. Reached colorful Carolina Beach Aug 16, 2022

    Our first time ever. So far, loving it!

  4. Evening stroll on the boardwalk Aug 16, 2022

    One of the best boardwalks I have seen. Very frequent sitting spots with many of them shaded under gazebos and pergolas.

  5. And then there is this adjoining the hotel! Aug 16, 2022
  6. Cloudy daybreak in Carolina Beach Aug 17, 2022
  7. View from the Carolina Beach Pier Aug 17, 2022
  8. Catching my breath after a 4 mile run to the Carolina Beach Pier Aug 17, 2022

    I was profusely sweating but the strong ocean breeze was soothing…

  9. Sunrise in Carolina Beach Aug 18, 2022
  10. She is putting in another 150 miles plus today Aug 18, 2022

    I will do the rest. Going from Carolina Beach to Virginia Beach for a couple of days. But, first… Nags Head!!!

  11. Outer Banks ! Aug 18, 2022

    One of the favorite places for Sharmila and me. The water was gorgeous!! Four years back, Nikita was in a summer program in Duke and Sharmila and I had hit the road for a near 2000 mile road trip. On our drive back down, we came to Nags Head in Outer Banks before heading west to pick up Niki.

    We wanted Nikita to see Nags Head too. Her verdict? “You guys should move here. This is way better than Florida!”

  12. Great time with the girls before Nikita enters the “college era” Aug 18, 2022

    Enjoying lunch with Nikita at Fish Head Bar and Grill at Nags Head in the Outer Banks.

  13. The girls together Aug 18, 2022
  14. I am glad I packed my 18mm-300mm lens. Aug 18, 2022

    That guy was way out there in the water.

    I am 56 years old already. I wonder if I can ever do what these kids do before I die…

  15. Beautiful morning in Virginia Beach Aug 19, 2022
  16. A little over four years later… Aug 19, 2022

    Sharmila and I were at this spot in June 2018 on our way to pick up Niki from Duke. Now, we are again at that spot on our way to drop her at GWU.

    Is it just me or does Neptune seem to have exercised and bulked up a little more this time? 🙂

  17. Virginia Beach boardwalk by night Aug 19, 2022
  18. Chance meeting with a young kid Aug 20, 2022

    Since I was in DC, I had to meet my classmate from 5th grade – Pramod. What was icing on the cake was that he was hosting Kalpita who had just arrived in the USA. She is joining University of Maryland for a PhD program.

    Here is the twist. When I met her, I asked her if she remembered me. She answered in the negative. I told her that I had visited her house when she was barely 12 years old. I described her house in Kolkata. She agreed that everything matched in my descriptions but she could not believe that I had seen her before.

    You see her dad was also a classmate of mine from 5th grade. So, much to her amazement, I showed her some pictures from my visit to her house in 2012 (see inset).

  19. I get to meet her only when we have to drop off our kids Aug 20, 2022

    Last time I saw Manisha was when we were going to drop Natasha in NYC. This time I got to see her when we came to drop Nikita off in DC!! I am fresh out of kids but hope to still get to see her.

  20. Niki’s room is being set up Aug 21, 2022

    After the initial phase, the two sisters took over while Sharmila and I went for some more Target shopping! Pretty impressed by Natasha’s handyman skills.

  21. Looks like her room is set up! Aug 21, 2022

    The girls sent us this picture while we were still picking up a few last items …

  22. The sisters resting after a successful set up Aug 21, 2022

    GWU dorms are really beautiful – especially compared to the ones we have any direct experience in.

  23. Lunch at James Monroe park Aug 22, 2022

    Before we said goodbye to the girls

  24. Learnt another new thing Aug 22, 2022

    I had pulled up in an Exxon gas station somewhere in rural Virginia when I saw what you see in this picture. I do not think I have ever seen Kerosene being sold in a gas station. Frankly, I have never seen Kerosene sold anywhere in this country. It brought back a lot of memories of kerosene lamps with which I grew up every evening in the very early stages of my childhood in a village in India.

    I went up to check what this was all about. It indeed was Kerosene. And I was fairly surprised by the price. Kerosene is what is used to power airplanes and contrary to popular opinion, it is less refined than the gasoline we put in our cars. And yet, the price of kerosene was much higher, as you can see in the picture.

    But what I absolutely did not get is – who would buy kerosene? And for what? Farm equipments?

    Much to Sharmila’s dismay, I decided to go in and ask the lady at the counter. I learnt that kerosene is used by folks there (I assume in certain rural parts of the country) for heat. I always thought that in this country, we use propane to heat houses (unless you have the centralized gas supply, of course, like in most houses). I had no idea that kerosene is used too.

    Did you know that?

  25. A memorable evening with a memorable couple Aug 22, 2022

    And this is from somebody who tends to have some incredible evenings chatting with various people at bars and coffee shops literally everyday…

    On our drive back from DC, Sharmila and I were scheduled to stay the night over at Charlotte. Decided to meet Christine and Tim for some drinks and bites. Christine and I have recently started working together. First time I met Tim.

    The conversations between a 56 year old and a couple barely half that age can often struggle to find common grounds. Not with this couple. Especially, Tim. I have never come across in this country this young a couple who has this deep an understanding of geopolitical realities in various parts of the world. (Well, the other Tim and Nanette is close but they are not that young 🙂 Seems like I might need to avoid Norcross for some time 🙂 )

    From current day political situations in Ghana to Sierra Leone to Kenya on one hand and then the historical importance of geo location of Malta on the other hand, I was soaking it all in! We talked about Andorra! (most people cannot even show the country on the world map or even tell which continent it is in – they knew the name of the capital and they want to visit there next!! They have already been to Malta)

    There are certain discussions in life I can have with only 50+ year olds. You know you have to get to a certain age to get perspectives. Not with Tim. I was simply amazed by his level of wisdom when it came to what is truly important in life.

    He stated a few principles he tries to live his life by. As I told him – the third one in the list is all that I needed to know – “When is the last time you have changed your mind?”.

    If one truly can keep one’s minds open to other points of views, have the intellectual curiosity and be aware of one’s own biases – one really never gets old!!

    I think I might have to slip down to Charlotte one more time soon!!

  26. The bookends of a phase of our life Aug 23, 2022

    The first picture is the day Natasha came home from the hospital. In our infinite wisdom, we had decided to move into our first house a few days before Natasha was expected. It certainly did not help that Natasha decided enough was enough and came out ten days early. We brought her to a house surrounded by boxes and I spent most of the day looking for things in those myriad of boxes.

    The second picture is the moment Nikita gave her goodbye hug to Sharmila before she set off on her own life in college on Monday. The facial expressions on their faces says it all.

    In between those two bookends has been 24 years of amazing learnings in life. From those early days when you wish the first kid at least came with a user manual to learning how to negotiate with a two year old who has no concept of logic nor reason to nursery rhymes playing in your mind incessantly even in your sleep to suddenly realizing your sole purpose in life is to serve as an embarrassment in front of their school friends – it has been an incredible journey.

    As with every parents, I suspect, we got a few things right and a few things not so right. But going thru a phase of life when you realize that you are really all they have as helpless kids trying to stand up in life has to be one of the most rewarding experiences life can offer to you.

    The next chapter begins from here.