Posts Tagged Fun
The partner comes home after working out really hard at the gym. Who knows what he did, he reveals to me that there’s incessant pain in both hands/elbows. And with all that soreness he is unable to move his arms as usual. Every time he tries to the ache shoots up. Amma watches his expressions intently all evening long. After a lot of observing, she turns to the sister and wonders, out loud, what has happened to him. My sister wears a puzzled look and tells Amma to ask him if he bench pressed too much.
“Bench what” says Amma.
I turn to the partner and tell him that Amma has a question for him.
“What is it, Ma?” he asks her.
She glances around and inquires, hesitantly,
“Is something wrong with your ankle?”
And all of us take a minute to process her concerned words and then roll on the floor laughing.
Amma is using the tablet to watch some videos. The charge on the device is falling fast. She turns to me and voices her point,
“This is plugged in. I did it in the morning; still, it doesn’t seem like it is charging. In fact, the charge is being drained. It started off few hours ago with more than 40%, now it’s only 25%.”
“Is it really plugged in, Mother? Check the wall socket.”
“It is! I checked and double checked everything.”
I walk over to inspect – I find that the charger is plugged in to the wall and it seems like it is connected to the tablet too. I wiggle the charger out of the wall socket. Did it help? No. I plug it in to a different socket. Did that help? No. I take the tablet in my hand and notice that the other end of the charger is not pushed into the port but between the tablet and its cover. It just looks like it’s plugged in when seen from far, when in reality it’s only jammed in somewhere, which nowhere near the actual port. I show it to Amma and her reaction is priceless.
“I thought I did it right, she says, it’s my eyes you know, getting worse by the day,” she concludes.
The partner, Amma and I settle in the living room once we finish dinner and do some cleaning. After a while, the partner gets up to go to the kitchen. As he walks away, Amma turns to me and whispers her trepidation
“Ask him not to touch the pan on the stove. It’ll still be extremely hot.”
“Mummy, why would he go there and touch the pan on the stove for no reason?” I ask.
“Well, I don’t know. What if he gets overly curious? You never know…better warn him than let him get hurt, right?”
To date, just the thought this incident brings loads of laughter…I fail to understand why she thought, at that moment, that the partner’s curiosity is such that he will walk into the kitchen to put his hand on a hot pan.
Surprise is… coming home late at night to find three adorable baby deer grazing on the lawn. Their shiny, beady eyes follow your steps as you get out of the car, fetch your bag from the rear seat, go over to check the mailbox and, finally, walk towards the front door. They intently watch you for as long as they think it is safe and then run away as they sense you getting closer and closer, leaving you with a huge smile. What a way to end the day!
And I did.
The weekend before last we rented a cabin in the mountains and took off Saturday morning. The drive was a bit stretched out (breaks, traffic, etc.), but it was fun nonetheless. We had two cars, six of us shuffling between the cars. And once we got near the mountain area, the fall colors were so breathtaking that the drive wasn’t a bother to anyone.
We reached the cabin around four in the evening. Temperature had gone down considerably by then. Heater was turned on. Fireplace was put to good use. All of us gathered around the orange-yellow flames of the fire for a while before venturing out to the balcony to enjoy the mountain views from all angles. Cameras were brought out and click, click, click – photos were taken of the colorful mountains, dark grey clouds, shy sun, fallen leaves.
Once it started getting dark, Ran stepped into the kitchen to start preparing for dinner. He started with cleaning and marinating the fish and the chicken we’d bought earlier that day, followed by cutting the veggies and prepping them for baking. Each one of stepped in and out of the kitchen, offering a helping hand every now and then. And the partner, as always, began playing music to up the cheery mood that all of us were in. And a song or two later, he also began moving to the rhythm.
There I was standing on the sidelines, watching the big smile on his face as he danced around, sinking in all the joy that the evening brought with it, and moments later he pulled me in. And what happened next surprised me to no end. I joined him! Without any hesitation, without second thoughts, without feeling conscious about everyone else around, I was hopping along on my happy feet.
These were some of my closest friends I was with. And then of course there was the partner. Yet, it startled me to spot that behavior of mine. It’s so unlike me to have given in so quickly. And there I was, doing just that. Of course, I am glad I did. Because had it been any other way, it might not have been as much fun and I may have regretted it later. That evening brought with it a lot of excitement. Enough to last the days to come.
We danced. For hours together. Some more than the others. We danced as the dinner cooked. We danced as Ree took a nice relaxing bath and then had her dinner. We danced as the food called out to us. We danced until our feet hurt. We danced like there was no tomorrow. We danced until we could label it one of the most memorable evenings ever, because almost all of us hadn’t danced like that in years. And yes, we danced like no one was watching.
And after about five or six hours, it came to a stop. The partner and Ran still had the momentum to go on. But hunger and weariness took over the rest of us. So we dropped, one after another. And that was the end of it… well almost – the partner and Ran danced for one last song before calling it quits. The others sat and watched, astounded by their energy levels.
We had plans to play a game of Monopoly after dinner. But none of us had it in us to sit a few more hours and see a game through. After the time that we had just had, sleep was extremely eager to embrace us. So we called it a night right after dinner.
Great friends. Tons of fun. Delicious food. What’s not to love?
My fondness for Harry Potter series is no secret. Granted, I hopped on the bandwagon much later than many others I know, but that surely didn’t take away from the love I have for the books. And as much as I whine about how the movies aren’t at par with the books, I enjoy watching them nevertheless. For the past three years, I’ve read all the books in the series once a year (mostly during the Dec-Jan time) and then caught up with all the movies right after. And the last time I did it, the partner joined me in watching the movies.
It was fun. To have him join in on the adventure. To see him as restless as I was when we stopped at crucial points for various reasons. To feel my excitement double as I realized his appreciation. To watch his questioning eyes as he failed to understand little details, the ones only the readers of the book would’ve been able to catch, here and there. He had a ton of questions all through the journey. And I did my best filling in the gaps for him.
Yet, somehow, I didn’t think that was enough. Because, you see, when he reads or watches something his brain cells apprehend more than my little mind does. He observes. He thinks. And he finds the deeper meaning behind every word. And, as greedy as I am, I wanted to see this tale of witches and wizards unfold through his attentive eyes. I wanted listen to him share his experiences as he read through one book after another. I wanted to spend hours together pondering on the interesting discussions I was sure he would bring up. I wanted him to read the books.
So, time and time again, I put forth that option to him. But he rejected it, always with a smile, explaining that, need be, I could connect the dots for him and that he didn’t think reading the books now (after seeing all the movies) would be as much fun since he knew how the story unfolded. I disagreed.
It bothered me. It’s not that he doesn’t read – he is an ardent reader and he enjoys the world of fiction as much as anyone else. Whenever you give him a choice of reading a book vs. watching the movie version of the same, he’ll choose to do the former first because he agrees that the words bound together in a tale provide levels of details, which are, most of the times, left out in the latter. Yet, when it came to this series he chose to stay away. Primarily because he was content with all that the movies had to offer. And then there was me, who helped him put together missing pieces.
Still, I persisted. I nagged him every chance I got. Every time he would ask me for book suggestion I would point him to this series. And he would find a reason or two to dismiss my recommendation and move on to the next in line. This went on for months. Until one fine day, weeks ago, he gave in. I didn’t know how. I didn’t know why. I didn’t care. I was on cloud nine. He asked me where the book was; I pointed him towards the shelf in the living room. He picked up the first one and took a seat next to me on the couch. For some time there I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was blinded by tears of joy (ok, a little exaggeration that one, but what I was feeling back then was close to this, ok?). Guilt took over for a little while – I told him that I could recommend some other book, that he didn’t have to read this just because of my constant hassling. He quickly dismissed it and I was more than happy to move on (What? I wasn’t going to give him another chance out. I gave him one; that shows how generous I am).
The journey has begun. It’s been weeks since that evening. And a lot of reading is being done. Every day after dinner, we curl up with the comforters and get lost in the land of books for hours together. He has read two books so far and is almost done with the third. I am beyond myself every time I see him impatiently wait for that time of the day when he gets to read. Every other night, for a while before falling asleep, we talk about Harry Potter. A discussion or two have already cropped up and I enjoyed listening to his insights on those occasions. And then there are his remarks, which are amusing in their own way –
“Albus is so careless!” “How can Albus not know this and that?” “I like Voldemort!” “I can identify most with Fred and George.” “Look, Sirius Black’s name has appeared for the first time” “But this wasn’t in the movie…” “Question – who/what/when/how/why…” (my response always being ‘read along and you will find out’), “Dobby is here” “Albus is so wise, there’re so many life lessons to learn from what he has to say” “If I were Quirrell and Voldemort shared my body, I would make him listen to meditation music and calm him down a bit. It would work, don’t you think?” etc.
Immense joy, this is it! A great amount of fun, this is it! Love, this is it!
The last day we were in the small island off the mainland PR, we wanted to go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters. Unfortunately, we realized as we woke that morning that a storm was brewing. The partner got a little concerned and talked to various people about whether or not it was a good idea to carry on as planned. Some said that it would be ok since the storm was moving a totally different direction; some said they would think twice before venturing into the water. The mixed responses that we got were not to satisfactory, so, we promptly canceled the idea to go snorkeling as soon as the owner of the guiding company said it wasn’t advisable to go brave the ocean in such a situation.
Now we found ourselves with a good few hours in hand before it would be time for the Ferry’s scheduled departure. At once, we took a cab to get to the other side of the island since we hadn’t explored that part much the previous day. We decided we would walk around for a while before stopping by some local place for lunch, and then head to the terminal.
And merrily pace the quiet streets we did. There was no crowd, no noise to face. We went, hand in hand, here and there. The open courtyard of the Mayor’s office caught the partner’s fancy and we stepped in after asking the guard on duty for permission. She might have thought that we were interested in building itself, so she kept prompting us to the upper floor showing us a room where the Mayor’s office probably was. The partner politely thanked her and let her know that he was more fascinated by the beautiful tree that stood in the middle of the courtyard. And we stood there for quite some time taking it all in. As we got out of there, another guard was in conversation with the one that let us in. We thanked them for letting us take a peek, and told them that the tree standing tall over there was magnificent. Did those Spanish speaking folks understand what we communicated to them? I don’t know. Were they wondering why this crazy duo was so mesmerized by a tree that was for them was an everyday sight? I don’t know. It was fun, though.
After that, we rambled along more. Most of the shops were closed. It started drizzling a little right when we came across a café. It was open, so obviously we went in. While I ordered a coffee and was going through their book collection, the partner went out to the back and stood there positively charmed by the downpour. This feels just the way monsoon rains in India feels, he said as I took my place by him, leaning on his shoulder. We listened to the music of cloudburst. We saw the million cats at the café find and take shelter from the rainfall. I sipped on the bitter coffee as the partner struck a conversation with one of the owners. And right when we came in to sit and relax for a bit, the lady let us know that she was going to close the place for the day. With the drink in hand we were out again, this time under the bawling sky.
We treaded along the walls trying to keep ourselves under the roofs of the buildings. It a while before the canopy of black clouds up above moved away. And then, without the song of falling rain ringing in the air, all we heard was the gushing water that ran along every street trying to find its escape into the drains. Let’s make boats and set them to sail, flickered the partner’s brilliant mind. Without losing any time to discussion, we leaped into action. He cut pieces out of a big sheet of some tourist map we had and I made the boats.
We set the first one on water. It went away with rushing stream while we stood there watching. Within a minute or two, it was out of our sight. The next boat was made. And set to sail. This time, though, the partner said we should tag along with it before bidding it goodbye. So we did. As the boat sailed along the roadside river, we ran beside it. The tiny boat endured a few rough tracks on its path. Yet, it kept on sailing. And sailing. It went a few blocks before finding it’s resting place behind a truck’s huge tire. And that’s where we stopped too. We bent over, looked for it under the truck. It was nowhere in sight. We lingered nearby, glimpsing at every point around the truck to see if we could spot our boat. Alas, we couldn’t.
We had to let go and move on because we started getting unwanted stares. There were people on the streets clearly eyeing the madness of our actions. I don’t know if they knew that we were behind our precious boat or if they only saw two silly tourists running on the wet streets of their town and observing closely a lone parked truck. My bets are on the latter; I am pretty sure they found us / our activity peculiar, bordering on suspicious. It wouldn’t have been ideal to wait for them to understand the emotions behind our childlike behavior now, would it? Hence, so as to not give them any wrong ideas, we moved on with our faces beaming with joy.
Splendor. Silliness. Smiles. What’s not to love?
For as far back as I can remember I haven’t shared an amicable relationship with anything arts or crafts. I don’t have the hands and eyes for it – I can’t draw, paint, sketch, knit or do any of that good stuff. So, for years, I stayed away. In school, I remember my sister helping me out, working her magic, whenever there was an art or craft project that needed to be done. And after that, for a long time, I was happy I didn’t have to deal with it by compulsion. I experimented from time to time – bought knitting supplies, but never got around to learning it; started painting, but gave up after trying it for a couple of evenings, etc. – but could never muster enough interest to persevere.
A year ago, though, I had this strong urge to give painting another chance. So off I went to buy supplies and started one evening with a lot of hope. This time around, though, I focused more on the process than the end product. Whether the painting turned out good or bad didn’t matter. My fervor to keep going instead came from the time that I spent working with the colors and the canvas. With each stroke of brush and with each shade of color, I experienced absolute pleasure. I wasn’t any better at it now, but the few hours that I spent in the study every week made me happier.
Even then, after a month or two, I stopped again. The finished and unfinished pieces lay on the floor, alongside the tubes of paints, array of brushes, and unopened pack of white canvases. They called out to me every time I walked by, but I pretended not to hear. The partner had nothing but nice things to say about the finished work. As biased as they might be, the partner’s words of encouragement gave me a little push. And, I couldn’t stay away any longer.
I have resumed the journey. And, hopefully, I will continue, without taking long breaks or giving up entirely, for as long as it brings me peace. If I get bored and want to move on, that’s another issue altogether; I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Until then, here’s to my calm evenings…
If you want a sneak peek at how dismal my paintings are, go on, read about it below and have a hearty laugh –
I find an image of a nice yellow flower and decide that it’s easy enough for me to to be able to paint it. I start sketching, while the partner gets busy with his office work. Time passes. When I am almost done applying the layer of yellow paint on the rough outline that I’d made, the partner takes a peek. “Oh wow, that’s a beautiful mango!” he exclaims. And is quick enough to add “Oh is it not a mango? It’s the color that threw me off. I saw that orangish yellow and first thing that came to mind was mango.” after reading the bemused expression on my face. Now, every time I look at it all I can see is a huge blob of paint that vaguely resembles a mango, not a pretty flower. Sigh.
Flights to vacation destination – I do not seem to mind as much. Flights back home from the said destination – I feel are overly long and tiring. Does that happen to you too?
Last Thursday evening, we left for yet another short getaway.
Upon landing around 11pm that night, I called the owner of the B&B we were going to stay in to let him know that we would be arriving around midnight. He asked me if I had directions to his place and I mentioned that I had a GPS, so there shouldn’t be a problem. He promptly asked me to ditch my GPS because it would be of no use there. Ok, I said, I have directions off Google Maps, so I guess we will follow that, I mentioned proudly. He took no time to let me know that no that too is useless.
Alright, what should I do then, I asked him.
Go to my website and follow the step by step directions on there.
Well, I do not access to Internet at this time so I can’t do that, I said coyly.
Use your smartphone, he urged.
Hmmm yeah well, I don’t own one.
WHAT???!??!? NO SMARTPHONE??!??! How did you get directions from Google Maps?
I have it copied down.
Giving up on the hopeless case that I am, he asked us to proceed to a particular town and call him once we got there.
While this was happening in one end, the partner was dealing with the car renting process at the other end. We were indecisive about whether or not we wanted to buy insurance from the rental company, but one mention on how bad the roads were and how they will scrutinize every little scratch on the car upon return, we decided we would go ahead and get it for the peace of our minds. And even after all that, we were told that the insurance won’t cover for stolen tires or rims. Ah! Fun little fact, eh? Should we be worried about the tires/rims getting stolen, we asked. Well, it happens once in a while, came the reply. Anyway, with the payment made, car inspected by us – top to bottom, left to right – to make sure they make a note of all existing scratches we finally left that premise and headed towards the B&B.
An hour later, we reached the town that the B&B owner mentioned. We stopped by a nearby parking lot and called him to get directions. The nice man that he was, he stayed on the phone with me giving me step by step directions while I repeated it all to the partner, who was driving. He stayed on call with us almost 90% of the way from there. Only when we hit roads where would have to travel for about 10 or more minutes, he asked me to hang up and call back once we reached the next landmark that he had given. The last stretch of the drive was a both a little scary and extremely beautiful at the same time. It was through a dense forest, up a hill, on path that was fully muddy due to the previous day’s rain. We got stuck at a couple of points, tires turning round and round in the mud. The partner, however, skillfully maneuvered the car and managed to get us through it all. Once we reached the top of the hill, we were welcomed by the owner.
After the initial exchanges about how the ride was (the forest, its mystic sounds were lovely, but the road was a little harsh we mentioned, I think) and showing us around his farmhouse, the owner lead us to our room and bid us goodnight. I cannot put in words how tranquil that place was to sleep in that night. The forest came alive. The sweet sound of the tiny frogs that are native to the rainforest sang us lullaby all night long. We had all the large windows in the room open to let in the breeze and the tunes of the night. The view of the half moon and star filled sky from the window across the bed was priceless. Everything was beyond beautiful.
(Day 1) The next morning we woke up around, got ready and went down for breakfast, after which, we headed to the Rainforest. We finalized on a couple of hikes we wanted to do for the day and headed off for the first one. The weather was perfect as long as we stayed in the coolness of the lush forest. As soon as we walked into a patch where there was no canopy of trees over our head, we could feel the scorching sun do his magic. To get relief from the heat, our second hike was to a waterfall; we were told that there was a tiny naturally formed pool underneath the falls where we could soak. We changed into our swimsuits and went to the falls. The water was cold, but it was a welcome change after sweltering so much under the sun. I was exhausted after this, so we went for dinner right away and then back to the B&B. We sat in the living area for half hour or so, took in the ocean views before calling it a night. Another serene night.
(Day 2) One of the things we were particular about doing during this trip was to just be and not do anything at least for a day. The last vacation we took, we were pretty much doing this or that every single day. We didn’t take the time out to do nothing. So that’s what we did on this day – absolutely nothing. We lazed around in the B&B. We ate, we read, we napped, we talked. And that’s how that day (and the night) went… blissful way to unwind.
(Day 3) We woke up a little early this morning since we had to go catch a ferry to get to a nearby island. We checked out and left around 8 in the morning. We were afraid of whether we would get be able to make it or not (since people kept warning us constantly that the ferry tickets sold out three hours prior to departure), but fortunately we got the tickets. After a little bit of hustle bustle, we boarded a ferry, and it took off, within minutes – a good half hour before the scheduled time. And in another hour and half, we were at the other island.
We took a cab to the B&B we were going to spend the night in, checked in, took a shower and headed into the town for lunch. After which we rented a scooter, changed into our swim suits and went beach hopping. Yes, beach hopping. All afternoon we spent riding from one beach to another and swimming in each one of the blue/green waters of the endless white sandy beaches. The water was so warm owing to the hot temperature. And it was also extremely crystal clear. We could easily see the fishes swimming beside our feet. Numerous times we went into the water just to swim around with the fishes, follow them as they followed us. What fun all that was!
After a few hours of swimming on a sunny afternoon in different beaches, we headed back to our room, showered, nibbled on some snacks, rested for a while and then went on a scooter ride around the town. Wild horses got scared of us, stray dogs scared us. Setting sun warmed us, evening breeze cooled us. That experience of riding on isolated roads, as if everything around was waiting for you to come, as if everything on the way was there to please your senses, was marvelous.
The plan for that night was to go on a Bioluminescent Bay tour. As we reached the place where the kayak tours would start from, I looked up and saw a brightly star lit sky. I nudged the partner to look up and he was equally amazed. Do you think we will see a shooting star tonight, I asked, as we were requested to get on the kayaks. Once all of us were set, we rowed to the middle of the bay. And oh my, how so very magical that was. Every time the paddle touched the water, the water glowed. Every time I put my hand in the water, the water glowed. Every time a fish swam by, the water glowed. Every time a wave was created, the water glowed. The tour guide gathered us all together at one place and lectured about the science behind the glow (microorganisms in the water whose defense mechanism is to emit a bright light whenever the pressure around them changed). I didn’t care much for what he was talking about – I was more into gazing up at the starlit sky and then down at the glowing water. I loved how it felt when I cupped my hands, took a little bit of water and let it flow through my arms – in that setting, with all the clear sky above, seeing the glowing water trickle down my arm gave me the impression that the stars from up above were dancing on my hands. Magical, that’s what this experience was. To make it even more perfect, one of the times that I looked up to gaze at the sky, I saw a shooting star. Did you see that, there was a shooting star, I called out to the partner. Oh yes, I did, came the reply from someone else. No, I did not, said the partner, who was totally immersed in what the enchanted water had to offer.
(Day 4) Our initial plan for this morning was to go snorkeling, but the weather had other things in mind for us. There was a storm heading towards the island and, after talking to a couple of people, we decided against going into the ocean in such weather. So we ended up spending time walking around the island a little and then having lunch, before taking the ferry back to the main island. Once back, we started driving towards the main city. On the way, we stopped at a little restaurant to have coconut water. We devoured on not one, not two, but three of those. We would have had more, but it was just too filling. Then, we reached the hotel, showered, went out to dinner and then called it a night.
(Day 5) On the last day, our plan was to walk around the old part of the city. Since we went there for dinner the night before, we knew what to expect – beautiful cobblestone roads, colorful homes/buildings built during the Spanish Colonial period, European architectural charm, etc. We liked what we had seen and we were excited to explore more as we woke up this morning. The sun, again, was not too kind, but we braved through and walked along the historic parts. One of the “National Heritage” site was closed because of the Federal shutdown. So, we were forced to skip seeing the Castle; a few reporters stopped us while we were strolling the nearby area to ask how we felt about what was going on, etc (thankfully, we had heard about the Federal shutdown the night before when we switched on the TV for a few minutes at the hotel; so, were not perplexed when they asked questions about the same).
One of my most favorite experiences about this trip is this – the partner chanced upon a coffee shop as we were exploring the town and we walked right in. It was called the Poet’s Passage. They had a coffee shop, which closed right when we walked in. But they also had a little gift shop, which we browsed around. It had a lot of poems and paintings. The owners of the place, husband and wife, are artists and sell their work in that store. The wife is a poet and the husband, a painter. And their little shop was dreamlike. We, who never really care for souvenirs and such, bought a mug and a poem from the store. The mug was to remind us of the frogs of the Rainforest (Coqui) and the poem, for each other. When I read that particular poem first, I thought of the partner and he said he thought of me as was reading through it. So, of course, we had to get a copy of it for ourselves and we did. A little more walking in the town and we came upon another store by the same name. We went in to realize that this was the painter’s workshop. And it was amazing being there, among his paintings, browsing through, while he sat at the counter creating a new piece of art.
After that little adventure, it was time for us to get back – return the car and head to the airport. And the rest of it from there on was uneventful, you can imagine, right?
- The first thing we noticed as soon as we got off the plane in San Juan was that it felt like we were in India. The weather, for the most. And the way of life too, at times – the harmony in that chaos reminded us so much of India.
- White sandy beaches with green/blue crystal clear water, lush green forest, songs of the Coqui – I miss it all.
- During this trip too, there were these people who we ran into so many times. It’s fun bumping into the same people here and there throughout a trip.
- One of the days that we were in the farmhouse near the Rainforest, a couple came and left within minutes of seeing what the place had to offer. Mountain views, ocean views, breezy open space, forest all around. Yet, they walked out because they thought it wasn’t much. Because there was no AC. Because there was no TV. And there I was wondering who would need any of that when you are surrounded by splendor such as this. Oh well, to each his own, I guess.
“We’ll figure it out,” as the partner pointed out, has been the motto of our trips. We don’t plan anything in advance. We don’t know what our next move is going to be. We seldom know how we are going to get to wherever we are headed to next. Yet, we get through it all, we figure it out and we have a blast doing it. And that spontaneity is what I love about traveling alongside the partner.