Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Thought Train choo choo :-D


Today is Balipadyami, so you know what that means :). 5 years ago on Balipadyami day, I met Sri, so today is our thithi-prakaara-day-we-met anniversary :-D. I still have difficult believing it happened 5 years ago and we have been through so many things. I know its a cliche`, but it really feels like it was yesterday. I still remember so clearly the first time I saw him. Touch wood, there has never been a dull moment so far and it feels like its still beginning. If you think of it, it is the beginning. After all we have only been together a small number of years compared to the rest of our lives ;-). And there's so much to see and so much more to do :). Looking forward to the rest best days of our lives :).


We did make it to the temple on Naraka Chaturdashi day and the fireworks though late was wonderful. This time they even distributed packets of sparklers to kids (actually the thing was a cross between a sparkler and a pencil :-p) and Sri got a packet for Snugli. She really enjoyed the whole hullabaloo, though she was a bit startled by the first rocket :-D. I even made her hold a sparkler-pencil and she waved it around. They even had some flower pots and she cheered at it all :-D. It was still way too cold, but she seemed fine until midnight when I felt her burning up. She had a slight fever all day yesterday, which went high yesterday evening, but has been okay today though a bit fussy. So we are not too worried. The best part is that whenever we ask her what we saw in the temple, she says "Thaami" (for swaami, God) and when we ask, what she saw outside, she says "Palaaki" (for Pataki, crackers) and when we ask how was the pataki, she says "Shooper" (for super, ofcourse :-D). Her memory is growing stronger day by day, so its fun to see her remember things from days/weeks ago and say it :-D. More instances of that in some other post..


Most of the times when I carry my camera with me, I feel that rather than enjoy that particular moment, I am always intent on capturing it for the future. There are many a times I have actually missed seeing the event as such just because my eyes are behind the camera. But the irony is that whenever I don't carry the camera with me, I always end up regretting it. The firework celebration was such an instance. Snugli with the sparkler would have been a deserving photo, but well, I was there, without the camera actually enjoying her expressions. Later I wished I had captured the first time she held a sparkler :-p. There always has to be one or the other complaint, otherwise life isn't fun, I guess :-D..


Have you ever stood in total darkness? Its the few moments before your eyes get adjusted to the darkness and start "seeing" the dark outlines of all objects. I find myself closing my eyes just to find my way. Its as if the totality of the darkness is too distracting/confusing and closing my eyes helps in remembering/clearing where everything is! Closing my eyes actually helps me see :-D.


One of the things I kinda love is feeling cold cold air on my skin after a sweaty workout. Its almost as if the sweat drops are subjected to instant freeze :-D. And its somehow refreshing. The contrast of feelings is kinda amazing - just a few moments ago, its terribly hot and you can't wait to finish the workout and suddenly you are feeling extreme opposite temperatures! Ofcourse this is just the beginning of winter, so its alright. I am still not crazy enough to subject myself to such a drastic temperature change once true winter sets in :-D.


I have a very active imagination. When I was young I used to dream about travelling to a different planet, one with a huge-gigantic-tremendous (I mean very very very big here) crystal palace, hence named Sphatika and living there :-D. Well, even now whenever I feel bored doing something, I imagine I'm doing it in a very interesting way. For example, if I'm finding cooking tedious, then I am on the food network presenting an Indian vegetarian cooking show :-D. Or if I'm bored of driving then either I'm a spy being chased by "every" car behind me or am chasing the car in front :-D. Or when I'm exercizing sometimes, I'm suddenly in a dance competition, dancing for my life :-D. Sadly, I still haven't discovered any cure for cleaning the house :-p.


Wanted to add just another thing before I forget. One thing I always tell people is that I was a "koopa manduka" before I left India to come live in the US. To me, "koopa manduka" implies being stuck in your comfort zone. I can't even describe the feeling you get when you see other parts of the world which have nothing to do with yours and see that there are so many different thoughts of progress be it in religion, be it in day-to-day habits, or be it in anything :-p. It like being confronted with a different set of reality. I always thought that a person learns a lot just by living in another country. But lately I have realized that a person can be a "koopa manduka" whereever she/he is. No matter how modern they are or how forward thinking they may pretend to be, some people just don't venture out of their comfort zones to take it as an opportunity to learn. One simple example - we know of a family living here in the US for about 10 years now and both the husband and the wife don't know where cities like Seattle and Boston are in the US! And they are probably 1/2 or 3/4th on the way to a US citizenship! I can't pretend I know everything, and I don't know several cities in the central US, in fact before I came to US, I have to confess that I honestly didn't know that New York and San Francisco were on opposite coasts and had thousands of miles distance between them :-D. But this is like living in India for 10 years and not knowing where Calcutta or Hyderabad is! Well, sadly they might not even know that, I haven't bothered to find out :-p.


Finally nothing, I repeat nothing, bonds 2 women like the topic of "how their tummies never seem to lessen despite working out and how their husbands' never seem to increase despite not working out" (yeah both the women conveniently forget the part about how they gulum chocolates without counting and their hubbies don't :-D, hehehee). This is one topic that is age/caste/country no bar :-D. If you have nothing to talk about with a woman, then here is THE topic to go about making a friend :-D. Well, as you can guess, I had this conversation with one woman in my group exercize class and you can't imagine the perfect look of understanding that passed between us :-D. And yup she is a 30-odd year old Catholic from Costa Rica :).


Friday, October 16, 2009

Light up the lamps..

Yup, Deepawali time :).

Our Deepawali started off pretty great with the making of the khaara and sihi ereyappas. Once that was done and the hanathes + candles were ready to be lit up, we found out that none of Snugli's zari langas were fitting her anymore :(. Tried loosening some old ones, but nope, last year's dresses are done forever :(. Finally, took out her birthday one and had to loosen the blouse and lengthen the langa for it to fit properly. By that time my back was aching like crazy (my back is still aching as I type this :-p).

Anyways ultimately Snugli was able to wear the langa and pose in it :-D. Then we did pooje to our water heater (neeru tumbso hubba), kept the hanathes outside (sadly its pretty windy and drizzling today, so we had to struggle to keep them lit up, before giving up :-p) and (this is best part) guLumed the ereyappas :-D.

Tomorrow morning is eNNe snaana. I am already tired thinking about oiling and bathing Snugli and putting up with Sri's tantrums before pestering and convincing him to take an oil bath too ;-). But how much ever I crib, I love Deepawali (I know I know I've said it many times already :-D).

I was talking to my parents this morning, when I heard the sound of crackers as background music. I miss the noise, I miss the smell, I miss celebrating with my parents :((. Some day...

BTW will most probably head to the Indian temple tomorrow since they have some cracker-bursting organized (but rains are predicted and the weather already is wintry, so have to see) and hopefully Snugli will get a taste of how it is in India :). Thats about it from me. Happy Deepawali :).

May the festival of lights light up your homes, your hearts and your lives.

Happy Deepawali from all of us :).

ದೀಪಾವಳಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The birth...

The birth...

I feel it beckoning in the fresh blush of a dawn,
In the frenzied scramble of a noon going right,
In the camaraderie of an enchanted sundown,
In the pitch-black silence of a tranquil night..

I feel it glistening in the dew on an April bloom,
In the glittering green trees of a full July forest,
In the filling of senses from October leaf hues,
In the sparkle of snow on a December cold fest..

I feel it shimmer in the luxury of velvety softness,
In the sting of humid water against frosty skin,
In the bite of the chill seeping from the ground,
In the content of a rest for the weariness within..

I feel it taunting in the relish of a tempting aroma,
In the savour of eats delighting palate and soul,
In the haunting composition of a cherished melody,
In the serene visuals that make the being whole..

I feel it summoning in a painter's masterpiece,
In the intriguing intensity of a writer's pining tales,
In the inspiration from a poet's meaningful verse,
In the perspiration oozing out of a sculpture's details..

I feel it gleaming in the simple trust of innocence,
In the twinkle of eyes up to some naughty guile,
In the affection that doesn't waver come what may,
In the pride of triumph accompanying a joyous smile..

I feel it pulsing in the sighs of a cozy embrace,
In the unspoken words of hands held together,
In the enamoured moments full of tender murmurs,
In the longing of a heartbeat to beat with another..

I feel it lurking in the depth of my overzealous brain,
In the cognizant tremble of my nostalgic heart.
I feel it begin, blossom, exaggerate and explode,
An immature idea of a poem at its earliest start.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh Oh Oh its magic!

No, I am still not home. This is just another post I wanted to be done with before we came home (so pre-publishing again)..

Firstly, I'm absolutely loving on iPhone. Yeah, yeah I have an iPhone. We got it on our anniversary this year. Officially its supposed to belong to both of us - me and Sri. But unofficially its all minnnnnnnnnnnnnne, my preccccciousssss >:-)). Hehehehe :)). But this post is not really about iPhone, its more about Raaga as such. They have a load of Indian songs which can actually play on the iPhone and thats a feat I tell you :-p. None of the sites playing Indian songs offer that (because of the stupid Safari and quick-time playing they have to do). I wish Kannada Audio would come up with something similar, for I do love the devotional and bhaavageethe songs there.

Anyways, Raaga still doesn't have the entire list of movies indexed for iPhone yet, but they have a set of beautiful compilations that fulfill all my criteria :). I have been wanting to burn CDs of Kishore and Rafi for the car to listen to when we are driving and have been putting it off time and again :-p. Now I have Kishore, Latha, Ashaand if not Rafi exactly, a Shammi Kapoor compilation in my palm!! And I've seen pretty good streaming speeds even when the iPhone is not on Wi-fi and is on 3G. I'm hoping I get to select and listen to whatever I want pretty soon :).

What brought up this post was that I was listening to the Shammi Kapoor compilation on Friday morning and came across one of my favourite songs - "Is Rang Badalti duniya mein" from the movie Rajkumar. Very few songs have everything working for them and this is one of them, it has the voice (Rafi ofcourse), the music and the lyrics. And boy, thats pure magic :)). I didn't want to put the video, because Shammi Kapoor's antics take something away from the song, to say the least :-p. So, here's the audio (a better version is in Raaga)..

Is Rang Badalti Du...

I especially love this part -

Kashti ko sambhaalo maujon se
Toofaan ki neeyath teek nahin..

and this -

Chup jao humaari aankhon mein
Bhagwaan ki neeyath teek nahin..

Love the way Rafi croons "Toofaan" and "teek". Sigh!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The other blog..

First of all, yes, I am on vacation. No, I'm not logging in from where I am (then it wouldn't be a vacation, would it? :-p). I wrote the posts on Friday and set a publishing time, so that you guys wouldn't miss me ;-) (as if!), hehehee. Actually the reason is that I can pester you even when I am away. Double fun :-D.

Now coming to the title of the blog, no, I'm not starting another blog. I hardly find the time to update the one I have :-p. But my better-half (hey, i think I'm the better half here :-p), has decided to blog. Imagine my surprise and happiness when Sri told me about it. I thought my dream of him writing a series of mushy posts for me (like I did for him) was finally coming true. Alas (with a filmy style back-hand on my forehead), that was not to be..

He's writing a technical blog, here it is if you want to check it out - Bubhutsa. Don't worry if you don't understand half of the things he's talking about, I don't either :-D. I have just decided to assume that he's writing a mushy post for me in a code language ;-).

Hey, a girl can always hope ;-) :)).

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Balloon blast off!

I seem to be posting only something related to photos these days :-\. Arey, what to do? As usual, I have so many "non-photo" things to write about, but somehow putting up the ones with photos seems easier, even though its actually more work (have to select and upload photos and edit them to fit into the format I want). One reason for this might be that I don't have to think about the post as such, just remember what happened ;-).

Oh well, time for our annual Bluegrass balloon festival trip :-D. For the not-so-regular-readers, the balloon festival happens the last weekend of September every year and it consists of races in the morning and glows in the evening. The previous 2 years we have been able to go to the glows only, mainly because its so inconvenient. Louisville is just an hour drive away, but the early morning races begin at 7 AM and to be there at 7, we atleast have to be ready by 5:30 AM :-p. In 2007 I was in the third trimester of my pregnancy and last year had a small baby. This year I wanted to see the race (my dream was to see a sky full of hot-air balloons :-p), so we thought of staying the night in Louisville, seeing the race and then driving back. But well, plans seldom have a way of going right :-p.

It rained cats and dogs all week. So till the last moment we hadn't even decided whether to go, leave alone staying for the night. The festival happens in an open field, so one of the main concerns was obviously the rain. Other meagre ones included the cancelling of the festival itself and the muddiness of the field (its one thing to let your child play in the backyard where even if she gets wet, we have a set of dry clothes ready and a whole thing altogether when you are out :-p). Finally we decided to go come rain or shine on Friday evening. There were a few drizzles predicted, but we thought we could manage.

So off we went. The evening was fine with a few rain drops, but the 3 (!!!) umbrellas we "back-packed" with us literally went to a waste :). The first sight that greeted us was a tethered balloon ride. They started this newly this year hoping to mint more money :-p.

$15 wasn't too bad for a 5 min ride, but babies weren't allowed much to my dismay :(. And somehow I didn't feel like going alone :(.

Anyways the evening went on without any sign of the rain and we were able to enjoy the glow :).

Except for one thing. Snugli was petrified of the balloons! I think I mentioned this in one of my earlier posts - these days we see fear instincts slowly creeping into her. But I was still surprised. She loves balloons, I guess she just didn't understand a gigantic balloon making loud whooshing sounds :-\. She clung to me and even refused to let Sri go anywhere (not even to throw the trash!). For a moment there, I had no idea what to do. I was getting frustrated more and more minute by minute. We tried clapping whenever there was a glow, making fun of the whooshing sound, jumping up and down (basically acting like a clown) and nothing seemed to be working.

Apparently, something did work :). After some time, she started enjoying the countdown to the glow and clapped when the balloons lit up :)).

We were upset about only one point, the parking this time was a bit far away from the balloons and walking for long without any shelter in the muddy road when there was a chance of rain was not really wonderful, to say the least. After enjoying a few glows, we decided to head back. As I said, we had decided to stay the night and so we did.

Next morning woke up early and headed back to the field. It was cloudy but not raining, so I was hopeful that we'd be able to see the race. We waited for a long time for the launch as they kept postponing it. Snugli was totally awake and started checking out the inflatables. Since they were wet, we couldn't really let her play on them, but she had a good time nevertheless..

While we waited we also got to see the Meijer cake balloon getting blown up (later even fly) and several other balloons.

But I was in for a major disappointment as far as the race was concerned. The race was cancelled as the conditions were not really proper for balloon safety. I understood the dangers, but felt sorta bad. I felt as if we stayed over for nothing :((.

Well, on the bright side, there's always next year..

BTW we are heading on another of our trips this weekend, so you have a travelogue and many more photos to look forward to :-D.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Plenty potted plants :))

I challenge you to say the title of this post 3 times fast :-D.

I've been meaning to put up the pics of my plants for days now. Don't know where the time is going (I know where it goes, but just saying :-p). The plant saga in going on in our lives as usual - I tried out a couple of new ones which were big hits, some which were miserable failures, yet others which overgrew and made me tear my hair out with frustration. But thats what gardening is all about..

Last year October I was a happy woman. I had pestered Sri into buying about 60 tulip bulbs, all of which I planted in my rectangle shaped-pots (or maybe they are containers) and was really anticipating a wonderful tulip show come spring (as you should know by now, I have this hugggggge tulips huchchu :-p). But I was in for a major disappointment. Tulip bulbs usually love cold temperatures, but hate too much wetness. Thanks to the crazy winter storm we had and the ice that deposited on my containers, the tulip bulbs rotted away. Imagine my dismay when not even a single sapling showed up in spring :(.

Anyways a disappointment is no reason to give up ;-). I bought gladioli bulbs and petunia plants and planted them in the containers. And boy, did they succeed (totally opposite to the tulip disaster ;-) :-D). But lets not rush, first, presenting the regulars - 4 jasmine pots that I have (bought 2 years back, so yes they have survived 2 winters :-D)...

This is the common jasmine (it looks a little similar to our Kakada mallige and I bought it in Florida)..

Next is Arabian Jasmine or our dundu mallige (albeit single layer). This too was bought in Florida. The flowers aren't that big or that impressive, but hey I'm growing dundu mallige in the US :-D!!

This is Star jasmine which is American and looks like our paarijaatha (have had this one for more than 4 years now :-D).

This next one's interesting though it hasn't flowered yet. I bought this pink jasmine or our jaaji mallige last year through Ebay. Last year it was too young, so lets see how it does this year (its supposed to flower in winter)..

Other than these I have my roses (I lost my red rose in the winter, but have double pots of these orange ones now)..

..., Gerberas..

.., Chrysanthemums..

And (this is new) Kanakambra!! I saw it in a friend's house and was told that its called Crossandra and is available in one of the stores here :-D. So guess what I did ;-).

I have also have my Tulasi plant (they somehow die on me each winter and I get a new one from the Indian temple in Louisville)..

.., Mint plant (a regular plant, comes back each year), 2 Karibevu plants (again got through ebay :-D) and BasaLe soppu (don't even know the English name. Got it from Indian store and then planted the stems).

Now comes the best part - the Gladioli :). They were a pleasure to grow :)).

Peach coloured ones and purple ones..

Yellow ones (which also decorated our dining table for quite a few days)...

And the best, red ones...

*Whistles :)).

I hope they come back next year (don't know whether they are hardy). Now that winter's almost here, we have to start moving atleast some of the containers inside, which is a problem since I don't have the tile space that I used to have in our earlier house. I have to keep them on the carpet, so we are looking for huge lid-kind-of-things to place them in. I do have the bottom plates for all the pots (to catch the excess drip), but I have had this problem of them overflowing and the mud wetting the carpet would be a big No-No. So there's much to do :).

Before I forget, yup the Petunias were a pleasure as well, which slowly went on to border irritation. They grew like weeds and the containers slowly got covered and then start to overflow with them. Well, the irritation is the reason there aren't any pictures of those ;-).

Other than that, I'm not really giving up on the Tulips. Plan to buy another set of bulbs and this time cover the containers with tarpaulin so that there is no excess moisture getting to them. So you can look forward to more set of adventures with plants as they happen ;-).