Archive for category Friends
This weekend felt both really long and extremely fleeting at the same time. How that could be, I don’t know.
Friday evening we were at a friend’s place when we learned that another close friend was just taken to the hospital as she was suspected to have gone into labor. They weren’t sure if it was truly contractions that she was experiencing or if it was some other uneasiness/pain that she was feeling. But once the doctor confirmed that she was indeed in active labor, all of us rushed to the hospital to be by the side of the expectant parents.
Understandably, we spent the next handful of hours in the waiting room satisfied with the brief updates about the progress every once in a while.
For a while there, I sat with the mother-to-be’s nervous mother. Holding steady her shaking hands, seeing her so worried for her daughter, feeling her affection in every word she spoke, I did all I could to try and calm her. At one point, when I asked her if she wanted to be with her daughter, she almost jumped with joy inquiring if that was a possibility. I quickly walked her to the room where P was and let her inside. In those few seconds that I held the door open for her mom to walk in, I caught a glimpse of P’s face. And in those mere seconds I read what an unbearable pain she was in.
Now, P’s father returned from dinner and he had a lot of stories and anecdotes to share about every topic under the sun. It was great getting to spend that quality time with him. The minutes passed by faster with his tales for company. He went in to check on her daughter once or twice; he ended up spending most of his time that evening/night chatting with us.
All this while K, along with our friend D, went missing. Where they actually went was to get antacids for A, but since it was late in the evening every pharmacy in the hospital was closed. Apparently, the duo walked into a closed convenient store, picked up the antacid from the pharmacy shelf, walked out hoping they could somehow find someone who will take a payment, only to be told by the security guards that the store was closed and they shouldn’t have entered it in the first place. They came back empty handed after all the drama and then drove out of the hospital to some store to finally get what was needed.
In the midst of all this, R, the father-to-be, came to inform us of the progress two or three times. His eyes mirrored the pain that P was going through. He was almost in tears as he kept repeating “She’s so strong; I don’t know how she’s doing it.” I could relate faintly to the words that he was uttering. But, at that time, all we could do to alleviate his grief was to merely tell him not to worry and assure him that it would all be over soon.
If it was over soon or not I can’t tell, but six hours later R walked into the waiting room one last time to let us all know that he is now a father of a beautiful baby girl. Weariness was washed out with those few words. Hugs were exchanged. Smile found a permanent place on our faces that night. Discussion for finding her perfect name surfaced yet again.
After P was somewhat out of that surreal experience that she’d just had, each of us took turns to see the baby. And what an adorable little one she turned out to be! I was smitten the minute I laid my eyes on that pink bundle of joy. Those little feet, the rode bud lips, those tiny palms and the long artistic fingers – she was beautiful beyond words. I still have that frame of when I first saw her etched in my memory.
Weekend was spent falling more and more in love with Peanut every time we got a glance of her. One incident of noteworthy mention is that I held the newborn baby. I was super scared, but she was weeping really bad and her mom was not available to hold her at the moment. So, I was asked to step in and after a little panicked hesitation, I agreed. I was terrified all those minutes that she was resting on my lap as I held her, yes. But it was a blissful experience at the same time. I don’t think I can do any justice trying to describe it.
So, throughout Saturday and Sunday we shuttled numerous times between the hospital and P&R’s home trying to help in any which way we could. And those trips came to an end last evening when we went there one last time to bring P and Peanut home.
That last visit to the hospital was strange and needs a special mention in itself. K and I were almost near the hospital when we heard loud sirens near the area. As we walked out of the parking lot and towards the building, a cop stopped us and inquired where we were going. We let him know the details and he asked us to walk into the building and not come out since there was as shutdown in the area. As soon as K heard those words, he rightly guessed that there’s probably a gunman on the loose somewhere. We quickly found our way to the building and were made to wait in the lobby since they were not letting anybody in or out. And while we waited there, we confirmed K’s theory that there was indeed an armed person in the campus and that the person was being actively pursued by the police. So after a bit of a wait, they announced that all was ok and that routine could resume. Thank goodness.
Anyway, back to the happy part of the weekend.
I am head over heels in love with the newest member of our circle. I am enamored by Peanut’s every move; she has a doting aunt in me who adores her to bits. I wish the new parents and their little bundle of love all the happiness and health.
Little Peanut has made an arrival. And how! Welcome, little one. Wish you all the happiness and health.
(ETA: No, I didn’t have a baby.)
…learning that Mummy’s and Papa’s visas have been approved. They will be traveling in a few months and will spend a decent amount of time with us here. Saying that I am eagerly waiting for their trip would be an understatement. I am absolutely thrilled looking into the future and imagining our time together. I’ve only spent a few hectic weeks in their company so far and that has left me with a strong desire for more. I hope to spend endless hours talking listening to their stories. I hope to share hearty laughter sessions at all the silliest of silliness around. I hope to bring brimming smiles on their faces. I hope I can show them, with my actions, how much they mean to me, how blessed I feel to have discovered family in them, how grateful I am to have had them as a strong a pillar of strength and support to me over the past few years, for I fail to find words to express all this to them. I hope to make their trip a memorable one.
…planning a baby shower for a friend. And waiting to shower the little one with so much love.
…seeing the partner and Amma’s bond grow deeper and deeper. They share conversations, secrets, smiles, jokes (some at my cost, but oh well…), etc. She’s come a long way from being extremely cautious around him to being just as comfortable in his company as she is in mine. With every passing day she appreciates more and more the amazing person that he is. She dotes on him, and he cherishes and reciprocates that affection with all his heart. The smiles on their faces as they interact reveals to me a million happy stories even though I may not know the tale behind what brought it all on in the first place. It makes me greedy; I silently gravitate towards wishing for ____________ Wait, let me worry about that some other day, now’s not the time for that. At this moment I will bask in the bliss my content heart – nothing more, nothing less.
…having an old friend of the partner’s over for dinner and leisurely listening to stories from their past. I spent the evening in their company as they reminisced and shared little anecdotes from the bygone days… Fun!
Eerie silence envelops the surroundings. Memories of you rush past. I close my eyes. I see you; the way you were the last day we spent together. In your school uniform, sporting that trademark sweet smile of yours. I also see those tears appearing every time we realize how little time we have left together. And I also see sepia tinted pictures of you, those that you’d shared over the years, now buried at the back of my mind. Music plays in the background, your voice stolen, again, from the safe compartments of my mind. Silence succumbs and drowns in the sea of your thoughts.
I miss you.
…peeking into the partner’s book, asking him what point he has reached in the story to be met with him pointing to the name of the chapter. I don’t remember, what happens here? you ask. Read the book if you want to know, he says and smiles gleefully, satisfied with giving you a dose of your usual response to his questions about the book.
…waking up to the ring of doorbell and receiving a big package filled with Diwali delicacies and loads of love.
…letting the partner work his magic. All pain melt away!
…being fed amazing homemade dishes, one meal after another, at your Uncle/Aunt’s, until you are too full to move even an inch. To top that, they also pack a bag full of sweets and savories to take home. What a delight to the taste buds!
…having friends over to light sparklers and fountains on Diwali night. The laughters that echo through the backyard is enough to call it a grand celebration.
…turning on the fireplace for the first time and enjoying its warmth on a cold night.
…looking at different photos of diyas and candles on emails from friends or on some of your favorite blogs and reveling in all that beauty.
…seeing a beautiful drawing made for you by a precious little one. The thoughtfulness of the said little one’s Mom is no less.
…watching the partner place an order for one of the book collections you’ve been eyeing for years.
…treating the kids that come dressed in various costumes on Halloween evening.
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?
There have been a few amazing weekends so far this year that I’ve missed writing about here. At this point I am sure I’ve forgotten the little details that I would have liked to note down, but better late than never. So here’s what I remember of the adventures so far –
A weekend in February was spent roaming around DC Metro and MD. We visited a museum or two; other than that, though, most of our sightseeing escapades involved spending time outdoors. The weather was biting cold those three days, but that didn’t deter us from visiting one waterfront after another. When there’s good company and great conversations to be had, nothing else matters, right? Amazing weekend, yes it was.
For the Easter weekend, plans were initially made and canceled due to my fever, etc. But as Friday morning approached, we decided to go ahead and head out for the weekend. I was getting better, that was good news; also, staying home all week only strengthened my urge to get going. So, we woke up, got ready, packed, and hit the road.
We drove to Wilmington, NC on Friday and spent the afternoon there. Given that it was still early in the season, the places were relatively less crowded. We got a chance to roam around the town and its neighboring beaches without the usual hustle-bustle.
After roaming around for a while, we stepped in to one of the local cafes (how is any trip complete without a stop at at least one local coffee shop?) to have some hot chocolate in order to fight the chill outside. The owner there enlightened us with some interesting points about the neighborhood, recommended some local restaurants for dinner, and also let us in on an insider secret about how to escape the never-ending queue at the famous local shop that sold country’s best donuts. Yes, we tried her trick; yes, it worked – within minutes of putting her words into action, I walked in and out with half a dozen donuts in my hand to the envy of people who’d been standing in the line for much longer. Ha!
As time approached for dinner, the partner pointed out to the cozy Parisian looking, waterfront facing balconies in a restaurant that looked very inviting. We stepped in, asked to be seated in one of the balconies, forgetting the cold wind. We sat there, with our winter jackets still on and enjoyed the view for a while. When it came time to place orders, though, we ran out of luck. I am a vegetarian and a picky eater. The restaurant only had one vegetarian appetizer, which we ordered, and two vegetarian main courses. Of the two main courses, one had eggplant in it, which I do not eat, and the other had so much cheese in it that I decided not to have that either. Hence, once we finished appetizer we walked out in search of another restaurant for the rest of the dinner. By the time we decided on another place and went there, our appetite had died down and we ended up, again, ordering an appetizer, sharing that and calling it a meal. Good times.
We spent that night in Wilmington and drove to Savannah, GA on Saturday. What can I say about this place? Where do I start? The partner has been here before and I’ve seen the pictures he’d taken during that trip. To top that, the partner had only fond things to say about the town. So here I was, all excited to experience the beauty and form warm memories of my own. And to say that I was not let down would be an understatement. That tranquil feeling this tiny European town look-alike evoked in me was enough to make me fall in love with the place once and for all. Ireland – that’s what came to mind after the first few hours we spent in Savannah. So much that we even wove dreams of maybe someday moving to an Irish city and exploring that side of the world. Anyway, I couldn’t get enough of it during the two days I was there. And I can’t wait to go back there someday.
When we moved here last year, I remember seeing our current home for the first time and falling in love with all the space it had to offer. Coming from a city like Boston where we lived in tiny apartments, the porches and the backyards here seemed heavenly. As we were in the process of finalizing the place, there was one thing that the partner pointed out that we put aside as something to plan when the right time came. “Look at the backyard; it’s a perfect place to play Holi, don’t you think? We should definitely do it” he had said.
Fast forward so many months and the time eventually came. We chose a day, keeping in mind the weather, to celebrate Holi and welcome Spring. Colors and water balloons were bought. Invitations were sent out. Plans were made and finalized. And the day arrived in all its glory.
As people starting coming in right around the planned time, I was inside filling the water balloons. I could hear the guests cheer, and the kids laughing and running around. The partner called out and asked me to come join the fun. “Only a few more balloons and I’ll be there”, I announced, trying hard to get the job done quicker. And by the time I stepped out, I could hardly put a name to the colorful faces around me. Within seconds, I was one of them – an unrecognizable blob of color running behind the next person of interest with balloon in one hand and powder of some bright color in another.
Age was no barrier for all the excitement that was in the air. Grownups enjoyed it as much as the kids did. Everyone had fun… even our neighbor’s father who must be 80+ years of age – he didn’t play with us, but he sat there watching everyone go crazy and that, he said, was enjoyable in its own way. It sure was a success and the kids are already asking us when we can do it again.
This past weekend, one of our friends had us over for a sumptuous lunch; we watched a movie after, walked around Duke Gardens in the evening, played pool for a while before returning home to have another go at the grand meal that night. I still can’t get over how so delicious everything was. Yum!
There have been other fun weekends too – the afternoon when we went on a 10+ mile bike ride, all those evenings spent at cafes listening to live music, the time we went mini golfing and bowling, the night (which turned into day by the time we were finished) we spent playing Monopoly.
Ahh, the fun… may it continue forever.