Of incomplete marathons..

Our apartment community had a midnight marathon on the Republic Day. I couldn’t participate, mainly because I had no fitness at all to even think of it. I consoled myself that I am at least participating in the blog marathon.

Well, I spoke or rather thought too soon. That day was the end of my blog marathon as well. Suddenly everything was just too overwhelming. Too much to do, even husband’s extended holiday did not seem enough.

On top of all that, my horrid migraines that had seemed to have gone away, came back with a vengeance. Every day, for the last one week. Looking into my phone and typing a post was not something I could even think about.

So I gave up. This must have been the worst marathon I did. All my apologies to my fellow marathon mates. Next time, I shall be better.

To add to all this, my laptop seems to have given up on me. We might have to buy a new one. Until I get hold of a laptop, old or new, I might just lie low here. One month of typing on the phone has been a bit much for me:) I will be reading you guys though, especially after Sunday, when husband goes back after his 6 week holiday. We’re going to miss him terribly, but can’t really complain, can we?  A six week holiday is almost impossible, normally.

Have a wonderful weekend guys!

Blog marathons, and other random updates

I missed two posts. Thanks to the snail like internet on my phone, when we were in Wayanad and the complete lack of time.

So I guess that is the end of my blog marathon. I will try to post till the end of the month, though, just because. This blog marathon, what I’ve really missed is commenting, reading, all your posts. Its been mad busy for me. I guess I will have loads to read in February.

We are back in Bangalore, tired, but happy and sad at the same time. I miss my parents, but grateful that we did get to go there on the impromptu trip.

Daughter is all set to go to school today. She’s been taking holidays almost every week, since husband arrived, and am a little worried. Fingers crossed, she’ll be fine.

I haven’t been reading much either. Time seems to be the biggest problem. And did I mention that my laptop’s given up too? At the right time, when I had a blog marathon to do. So all those holiday pics will just have to wait.

I’m off now, to get the day started. Will try hard to blog hop today. I’ve been missing reading all you guys!

Lessons for life

Coming home to my parents’ place is wonderful for all of us, but the person who thrives and absolutely loves it here is daughter.

She is at her happiest when she is here, and the one place where I don’t need to be around her all the time. The one place where she doesn’t care a bit about where I am. All she needs is her grandparents. She is my dad’s tail once she is here. Following him around the whole day. Today she went into the coffee plantation, picked veggies from my mum’s vegetable garden, learnt about coffee picking, and even helped my dad do some DIY cement work.

The part I love most is the fact that she gets to be close to nature in a way most of her contemporaries would not even be able to dream about. She gets to understand the joys of growing plants, picking home grown vegetabes and more importantly, gets to understand the delicate ecological balance that we live in. She gets to understand, first hand, how everything works in tandem.

The lessons she learns here, hopefully, will last her a lifetime.

At a time, where we spend most of our lives in concrete my jungles, I can’t but help be glad that there still exists a place, we can escape to. And a place where daughter learns so much, and has the time of her life, while doing so. Can’t ask for more, can I?

Walks through Nature

We’ve always loved being close to nature.

We have always seem to seek out bits of natural beauty whereever we are, be it back in the UK, where we did not really need to do much seeking, to be honest, or Bangalore. So when we come to Wayanad, its just pure bliss.

This is what we did this morning. There is a canal near my parent’s place, which travels over the ground at a decent height. We love walking on it, experiening the feeling of walking at tree top level, soaking in the feeling. Check it out.

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We saw some birds, which we forgot to capture. Check out the expanse of fields with various crops.

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Green bamboo plants. I love the way the yellow stalks contrast with the greenery round it.

And finally this haystack that tempted husband. It tempted him to try and jump out and land on the haystack to see it would cushion his fall. Thankfully, better sense dawned:)

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Better pics once we get back. These were clicked on the phone.

Pilgrimage of sorts..

…is what husband and I have been doing.

We’ve been going or rather, trying to go to those places we frequented years ago… The trek across Koramangala that we did to get that e-stamp paper, had its unexpected, fringe benefits. We managed to go to parts of Bangalore which we would have otherwise not had a chance to visit. Some of them, old haunts, roads where we used to walk…just because we felt like it.. Memories of a different time…

Husband was very keen on trying to revisit our old haunts, but we hadn’t quite managed it. The one month long holiday started to feel completely inadequate. We wished we could squeeze in more.

We did not get to go to all the places we wanted to, but we did manage to eat at most of the places husband wanted to. He was on a one point agenda of trying out all the restaurants he could. And I have to say, he seems to have done quite well:) I have started to crave a month of only home made food though:) If there is anything husband misses a lot, in the UK, it is the huge variety of Indian food. He goes more than a little crazy trying everything. Of course, the effect of it all is very visible on our waistlines. I need a serious detox diet to get myself back in shape. That and exercise. Side effects of a holiday.

So coming back to what I was talking about, both of us had our memories revived when we chanced upon the lanes we used to frequent, the apartments we had visited while our crazy apartment hunting phase. It gives you a certain kind of thrill to see the floor plans having been transformed into apartments, apartments where people are living their lives…

We had so much fun in the last couple of weeks, that it makes me sad that we might need to leave it all behind and go back. At the same time, it makes me grateful that we got this chance, albeit a short one, to live as a family in the home we had long dreamt about…

Some days..

…take the cake in being completely unproductive.

It being husband’s last few days of holiday, we have been trying to pack in as much as we can. While we do try to do fun stuff, some non-fun stuff like official work need tackling too. Especially those in which husband’s signature is required.
There was this insurance policy that had matured some time back, but we never got around to surrendering it. This time, we had it on our agenda. We had checked it out and found that we had misplaced the original documents, and needed to make an application which needed an e-stamp paper. The insurance company directed us to the bank which would issue us the stamp paper. That day, when we reached the bank, it was past 12, and we were told that the bank issued this only until 12. The next slot was after 4.

We had other things lined up for that day so decided to come back after 4. That never happened, and we left for Goa. Yesterday, we decided to tackle it and get done with it.

So off we went to the bank we had been earlier, making sure to reach on time.

We went and asked a lady about the e-stamp paper. She looked around and a man sauntered over, disinterested, and nodded at us. We assumed that the nod meant that he would help us. We sat down at his desk, and waited, and waited while he did something on his computer. Finally, I asked again, and he then got up and got us a form. We filled it and then he went back to his computer. After a bit, another man came and asked us to verify the details, and asked us to pay the fees for the stamp paper. That got done very quickly, and we were back to waiting. All this while we could see people(employees) loitering about, in a way which to us looked aimless, but who knows, may be that was part of their job description..

We had already spent close to an hour there, waiting, wondering about what exactly was going on when one of the men, walked over to us and said that they couldn’t do it. They would refund the money, and we could go elsewhere. We couldn’t believe our ears! And why was it not possible? The user is was not working. We were incredulous. User is not working could be fixed, couldnt it? But no, it just wasn’t possible today, and that was it.

So we asked them where else we could get this done. They gave us the name of another bank near a shopping mall. Off we went. Only to find out that there was no bank of any sort there. We checked on the phone, only to realize that they had given us very general directions we now needed to go to another location. The man at the bank had told us that nationalized banks would do it for us, so on the way we stopped at an SBI, just to check, in case we got lucky. But… getting lucky was certainly not the order of the day..

Next stop, was the bank that the man at the other bank told us. As I said, lucky we weren’t. They told us that they don’t do it either, but the sub-registrar at the BDA complex would do it. Sigh. This was just getting weirder, and we cursed ourselves for not having checked it out online before we set off on this never-seeming-to-end treasure hunt.

Off we went. Again. Hoping against hope. The sub registrar office was crowded. I had no clue who was an officer there and who was there on work. I managed to find someone who seemed like an official.

What are the chances that we would get lucky? None at all, it seems. They didn’t do it either. But they knew of a place that did. Well, we had heard that before, hadn’t we? This time, we googled, found a number, and called up the place to check before we left for our destination. Some one picked up the phone, which in itself was a good sign, and confirmed that they did, indeed sell e-stamp papers. We could have danced with joy.

By then we had been starving, it was past lunch time, and we had not had a chance to grab a bite. So we decided to grab a quick lunch before we set off to the next place. Now that we got in confirmed, we felt more optimistic.

Lunch sorted, we set off to this place and found the place easily, thanks to Google maps.

Some one handed us a form to fill, and asked us to have a seat. After 15 mins of nobody taking any action on our form( we had to get back home in time to pick up daughter when she came back from school), we were asked them how long it would take. Apparently the woman who does this work was away at lunch! And it certainly looked like we would be late if we waited.

All we could do was return. Both of us were knackered after hours of travelling in autos, waiting in the hot sun for some auto driver to agree to take us to all our destinations, and walking around I search of places… We decided to give up and start again tomorrow.

Some days are jinxed, and yesterday seemed more jinxed than usual!

Bullets for a change

No, no, its not about the India-Pak situation, its just a bulleted post, for a change(and also because I’m lazy today).

Its been one of those days when I have loads to write about, but no time to sit down and actually do it.

– Back from a lovely holiday, which was everything we wanted it to be. More to come in detailed posts, when I get a chance to sit down and jot it all down. Sigh! Why do good times have to come to an end?

– talking of ends, husband’s holiday is coming to an end too. Just a few more days of togetherness. Its making me upset and depressed, just thinking about it. All I can hope is that this comes to an end soon. If it means going back to the UK, so be it. Nothing matters more than all of us being together ..

– We’ve realized that so many of our friends have done this staying apart thingy.. Some living in India, some abroad.. Gives me the strength to wait out the next few months.. Especially since I’m hoping that it won’t last too long. Fingers crossed.

– I’ve got totally bored of shopping. I can now look at rows of clothes, accessories and move on. The only thing that I continue to lust for is books. Both daughter and I go crazy in a book shop.

– I’ve finally got a kindle for myself. The one we bought couple of years ago, got usurped by husband. I did not mind too much, because I love real books far more. This time, husband got me a kindle, and I’m loving it, absolutely loving it. This holiday, I did all my reading on the kindle.

– We met old friends today, and it was so wonderful. Last week, we had a lovely time with my cousins… Bangalore is such a fun place. I wish, and wish that we get to stay on… But then if we don’t then we get to be with our close friends in the UK. Can’t really complain, can I?

– I’ve found myself a cook that I don’t really need, but life has been so much easier ever since she started, that I’ve decided to keep her on. That way I get to focus in the more exotic stuff, while she gets the boring every day stuff out of the way.

– I’ve been delighted to see that I’ve been getting a lot if traffic for my book reviews. One side effect of that haaram.com thing has been that I’ve started keeping an eye on the stats. And I get delighted to see people land on the book reviews. I hope my reviews are helpful. They are just my opinion of the book. What I don’t find interesting, might be very interesting for others. My last author requested review had the author commenting that others seem to have enjoyed her book a lot. Which is, of course, quite possible. Some books work for some, while some don’t. For instance, I can’t read Chetan Bhagat, but that hasn’t stopped him from being a best-selling author, has it?

And that about it. I guess I can do the rest of my updates another time. I’ve been too lazy to log onto my laptop, and typing on the phone gets a bit boring after a bit.

Gazing out of a window…

… while travelling has to be one of my very favourite things to do.

I’ve enjoyed it as long back as I can remember. Growing up, our biggest journey used to be the journey from Jamshedpur to Kerala, every summer. It used to take 3+ days, and just gazing out as the train sped by, was just amazing.

The change in landscapes, as we traveled across states. Dry, arid land in some, gorgeous greenery in some, waiting for the river crossings with bated breadth. For some reason, we all used to love it. The largest bridge over a river, in India, it was a treat for us. We used to wait up for it, in case the crossing happened at night. And the disappoinment, in case we dozed off, despite our best efforts, was just massive. How little it took, to make us happy in those days.

River crossings apart, the other thing I used to love was watching the changing scenery, the houses that we whizzed past. Some opulent houses, some tiny huts, some buzzing with activity, some abandoned…

I would weave stories in my mind about the people who lived there, and their lives. I would imagine a farmer’s family, eating their dinner, as we rode by, just as dusk fell, to the sound of our train rushing past. I would imagine that the train would serve as their clock, timing their lunches or dinners, or maybe bedtimes.. or just a nuisance that would spoil their afternoon naps, until they just got so used to it that they no longer even noticed it..

Seeing ladies chatting with their neighbours, would make me wonder what they were discussing.. gossip? Or perhaps, the rising costs, or their children or maybe stuff that I could not even imagine in my wildest dreams. .. I would assign lives for them. That smartly dressed lady setting off on her scooter, would be a bank employee, the man waiting impatiently, at the railway crossing for our train to pass, was late for work, and was anticipating his boss’s disapproval. I could spend the whole day, looking out, with no-one for company, the stories in my head was enough to keep me busy.

What brought it all back? Yesterday, while we drove across Goa, I saw, what looked like an abandoned house. It was palatial, completely built(from the outside) but not painted, and looked completely abandoned. Weeds grew around it, and there was a sad haunted feel about it. Now, abandoned houses are the best for imagining and weaving a story around them. They would most definitely have a story of their own. A rich merchant, perhaps, who started building his dream home. A mini palace, everything was almost done, when he suffered such losses thathe had to just abandon the house. Bankruptcy threatened him but try as he might nobody was ready to buy it. People in the village were terrified that the land or house brought bad luck. What could explain such a sudden reversal of fortune?

Or maybe, the merchant refused to sell it. He hung on to it because it had a special place it his heart.. He knew that one day, he would be able to redo his house and live there.. Until then, it stayed there, neglected, uncared for, but thought of, fondly, with dreams still woven about it…

I suddenly realize that its been so long since I’ve been on a train journey, through lush fields, dry lands, and past little hamlets.. So long since I’ve done this, let my imagination run riot…