Archive for category Weekend

That moment…

…when everything else around seemed to slowly drown in the sea of ordinary, and there I was, lifted above, catching a glimpse of an emotion so pure that it’s hard to put in words.

On a hot sunny afternoon we (eight of us) take a stroll on the Brooklyn Bridge. While K leads the way, I keep to the back of the line to make sure no one gets lost. Everyone takes their time to absorb the views of the city from different spots, marveling at its grandiose, to click photos here and there, freezing those moments over and over again.

Me? I am lost in a world of my own as is the case most of the times.

The surrounding crowd of tourists stopped at every foot to capture their dazed expressions with the city in the background makes me smile. The surrounding crowd of locals, walking or cycling along, infuriated to some extent by the sightseers’ antics makes me smile. The surrounding crowd of vehicles moving inch by inch, playing music so loud, at times, making the conversations of the person next to one inaudible makes me smile.

Happy faces, tired faces; English speaking minority, non-English speaking majority; excited voices, exasperated voices; calm river underneath, frantic drivers to the side; colors aplenty. Walking amidst this chaos brings me peace, so undefinable.

Suddenly, I hear someone calling out my name. I know exactly what it is that I am being invited to do – pose for a photo with everyone except K as he more than gladly hides takes the spot behind the camera. And what do I do? Well, shockingly, not the usual. I don’t pretend never to have heard my name being hollered across the bridge; I don’t turn around to grin and then protest vehemently the need for a photo with me in it; I don’t roll my eyes or grit my teeth or cringe before walking over unwillingly to stand in front of the camera.

To my disbelief (and, possibly, the others’ too), I hop over, as if there’s a spring under my feet, without any inhibitions and take my place next to Mum (K‘s mom). I am not over thinking these two seconds, making it a trice of refreshing change. But before I can pat myself on my back for being such a good team player for once something of more importance happens.

Mum puts her hand around my shoulders and pulls me closer to her. Readily, my feet move an inch or two. She then places her palm on my cheek and draws my head close enough to have it lie on her shoulder; I gladly follow her lead. She lovingly pinches my cheek, as a mother would her child’s; my eyes – they are both beaming and tearful.

The tenderness and purity of emotions of these few seconds makes my day. This raw display of affection in the most unexpected time and way makes my smile wide. This gentleness of it all screaming of motherly love clouds my eyes. My heart skips a beat.

The photo is taken.

I wear my goggles to make sure my misty eyes go unnoticed and try to move over, but I feel a hand tightly holding mine. Mum, again. I hold hers back, savoring every bit of what is being showered on me. My mind wanders to whether it was my immediate acceptance of the invitation to be in a photograph that has made her communicate with me in this way, out of the blue. But then I quickly come back to the present – why / how does that matter? I cherish the time, for then and for ever, and move on with a heart overflowing with deep sentiments.

To anyone noticing the two of us those few seconds it may have seemed like a simple, random, insignificant, ordinary act. But to me that flash in time is / will always be monumental. I can’t put a pin on exactly why, but why should there be a need for that? I know what will stay with me indefinitely when I look back at this trip anytime in the future, near or far; I know precisely what has made an eternal mark in my mind’s eye. It’s not the reason why there’s so much love, but the fact that there is abundance of love in my life. And for that I am infinitely grateful.

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Weekend

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.

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Birds, Jupiter, two of its Moons, and our Moon

This past weekend was pretty awesome. And it was mostly because of what happened Saturday evening. After a tiring drive, which later felt like was for a lost cause, that morning, and after merely resting all afternoon, with a little bit of reading, discussing next steps, etc., we decided to go to a nearby State Park to make sure our weekend didn’t feel squandered. And the little time that we spent there made up for all the seemingly futile hours of the day.

We met two gentlemen in the park who said that they were there to sky gaze. They had two huge telescopes pointing to some specific spot up above, and when asked what they were observing, they were kind enough to let us see through the scopes.

One of the scopes was to look at Jupiter. Where do I even begin to say how mesmerizing that whole sight was, to be able to view Jupiter and two of its Moons (one of which was IO, they mentioned) so closely? The first time I saw through the scope, I thought I was seeing the Moon, but K asked me to go back and peer in carefully, and that is when I noticed the rings of Jupiter and also the great red spot.  It was beyond beautiful, to say the least. All those things that the mind occupied itself with until then vanished at that moment when I looked at that hypnotic sight. Mind had to be blank to fully fathom this monumental flash in time, there was no other way around it.

And only when I thought there was nothing more spellbinding than the sight that I’d just seen, I hopped over to where the second telescope stood and glanced at what it had to offer. Oh my, oh my. This one was facing the Moon. Our Moon. And I gasped at the first sight. The Moon was flawless. With all its dips and dark spots, the Moon was still nothing but perfect. If I could have, I would have sat there all evening without letting anyone else have a chance to get a sneak peek at that splendor.

After witnessing all that, I would’ve assumed that there was nothing much else that can make my heart skip a beat at that tick in time. And, again, I would’ve been wrong. Standing there, we’d been hearing a lot of noise of birds chirping incessantly. Only when we walked towards the lake shore did we realize what that hubbub was all about.

There were tens of thousands of birds along the opposite shore, some of them flying around, some of them basking in the glory of the evening sky from atop the trees, some of them taking a dip in the lake, but all of them tweeting unceasingly. I’ve never before seen so many birds together. Like I said, there were tens of thousands of them there. K mentioned they may be migratory birds, flying towards their final destination through here. If when standing on the other side we could hear that uproar so distinctly, I wonder what the case would have been with people who were living nearby where the birds decided to halt. As much as I love hearing birds squeak, I don’t think I would’ve welcomed all of them together to sing me a song oh so loudly. Nevertheless, it was indeed an amusing sight to see and a blast to hear from this far.

Now, with all that happening within an hour or two of Saturday evening, it still was enough to make this past weekend extra-ordinary, no matter how idly we spent the rest of the time. Don’t you agree?

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The curious incident of the cats in the day-time*

This week was extremely relaxing. I worked from home four out of the five days. And the partner did too (which is good for him considering the amount of rest he’s been able to get to heal his broken ankle and fever and upset stomach). We had a storm warning Tuesday through Thursday afternoon, so we chose that as an excuse to stay home. No one wants to risk driving on icy roads, you see. And on Friday – well, what better reason than the fact that it’s Friday to sit back and unwind at home?

Most of the mornings and afternoons were spent working, obviously. I did take some time here and there to indulge in some reading, day dreaming, etc. but that’s no different than what I would’ve done had I actually gone to the office. What was different though was that almost all week long we’ve spent a lot of time comfortably lazing around on the couches, gorging on simple yet delicious food, looking out as it snowed, observing the white carpet on the ground melt slowly, listening to the birds chirp merrily, watching the flock of deer as they grazed and ran away through the backyard, and more. Little joys, that’s what it’s all about, right?

Evenings, now those were a little tricky given the partner’s penchant for the outdoors. Make him sit home for a few hours together and his restlessness becomes evident. So, to relieve him of his ennui we had to make sure we stepped out to get some fresh air. Since the weather and his health weren’t at their best, every evening we only made a quick trip to the grocery store (I know that doesn’t count as doing something outdoorsy, but that was best we could do to get some much needed fresh air). It was to get milk during one trip, to buy cereal during the other. We went out to shop for a kettle last evening. We found a really pretty one, but it held our delight only until we tried to boil some water in it and found it leaking, sigh.

The time after dusk, the time that melts into nights, were spent in front of the TV getting lost in the world of witchcraft and wizardry. The partner finished reading all the Harry Potter books earlier this month. And now we are on the magical journey of watching all the movies in the series. We are done with the first four, and we have four more to go. It’s been a fun ride, to say the least. The partner gets flabbergasted over the huge chunks of missing storyline. He often scrutinizes the movie maker’s choice to let an important part slip, cut out a character, tweak storyline, etc. “But this is not how it happens, really.” “Why is the story moving so fast?” “But they missed pointing this or that out” are some lines that can be heard over and over from the movie’s inception to completion. All Harry Potter fans can relate to this, can’t they? I sure can.

Now, let’s talk about the cats. We have at least three different cats that wander our yard throughout the day. One of the cats we know to be our neighbor’s. We’ve seen him around all this time that we’ve lived here. We named him Tiger** way back when and have been calling him that ever since. We don’t know who the other two cats belong to except that they find a home in our yard every single day.

So, all week this week we’ve observed that these cats come and sit right outside the glass door and peep into the living room. And we have been left wondering what all the cats find so intriguing near the glass door. No, we haven’t figured out yet. All the three make it a point to stop near the door and either scratch the door or squeal at it. They don’t come at the same time, but they definitely do the same action whenever they pop in for a visit. The partner had a brainwave and thought perhaps they were hungry. So we put out a bowl of milk. And two of the cats made sure to avoid the bowl at all costs. One though, the brave heart that he is, took a few sips before slipping away. So, apparently it’s not hunger that brings them there. I checked to see if there are any bugs (dead or alive) inside that they can spot from the outside, but that’s not the case either. The partner’s current theory is that perhaps it’s their own reflection that they find amusing as they sit in front of the door. Maybe; maybe not. He also mentioned, time and again, something about them being cold outside and maybe we should let them in. After vehemently denying his request a couple of times, I have chosen to practice selective hearing so I don’t have to break his heart. I am way too generous, aren’t I? That’s what I thought.

When will this curious incident of the cats in the day-time be explained? Will the mystery ever be solved? I don’t know. It’s been amusing, though.

**Back when we had just moved, we didn’t know about Tiger being our neighbor’s. We’d spotted him a couple of times in the first few days we lived here. One of those days when we went on a short stroll on a neighborhood trail we came across a “Missing Cat” poster. The partner called the phone number to let the woman on the other end know that we’d earlier seen a cat in our backyard that was similar to the one on the poster. The woman was thrilled and she came to our place as soon as she could. To her dismay, though,  it wasn’t her cat. Later we learned from someone else that it was our neighbor’s. How much fun we had laughing endlessly at our ignorant willingness to send Tiger away to a new home.

*Have you read The curious incident of the dog in the night-time? If not, please do. It’s a wonderful book.

Happy weekend, folks.

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Moonbow

The temperature is below freezing. The time is a little over ten at night. The sky above shows no sign of getting rid of the dark clouds to let the Moon shine upon the river. There are instances when the Moon is unveiled, yes, but, for the most part, the gray clouds win, draping the gorgeous Moon from all angles. And it’s during one those few occasions when the bright Moon fiercely shone upon us for merely seconds that we catch a glimpse of something rather incredible – a Moonbow.

All this time, the waterfall sings a soothing hymn. There we stand, the partner and I, by the fall, listening to its melody and waiting patiently for the clouds to pass. It’s serene, everything about that specific moment in time. Mesmerized with what we’d just seen, the partner and I want another show of the spectacle. And we want it NOW! We wait and we wait and we wait longer.

Old clouds go on to cover a different part of the vast sky, but new clouds move in to where the Moon resides and they take up the job of shielding it from our eyes. After a while my mind and body start getting fidgety because of the cold. I am wearing layers, yes, yet I am not warm enough. My determination of braving the elements and keeping up the silent war I’d waged against the clouds slips. I could spend hours there if it weren’t for the wintry weather but, at this point, playing the game of hide and seek with the Moon doesn’t come out as a pleasing proposition. We discuss whether to wait till the dense clouds pass or to leave. I quickly vote for the latter option, considering my plight and, also, the never-ending waves of clouds that seem to be conquering the night sky. And the partner gives in.

We walk to the car and just as I settle in, the partner says he will take a look at the sky one last time to make sure we’ve read the situation correctly. For, you know, if we miss seeing it tonight, we weren’t sure when we’ll be able to return. It’s not every day that this phenomenon happens. After a short time of constantly starring at the blank sky, he jubilantly exclaims that it will be clear in a matter of minutes. Me? Well, I am still reluctant to step out, but I do it anyway – I drag myself out of the car and off we go.

We walk, hand in hand, towards the singing waterfall again.

Lo and behold, by the time we reach the clouds have hurriedly disappeared. And within seconds we see a magnificent Moonbow appearing out of the bed of fallen waters.  As the mist rises up every now and then a full bow in all its glory comes into sight. With every blink of an eye I grow greedier – I want more! And then some more! So, the two of us stand there for a long long time after, admiring and marveling all along.

***We chanced upon this when we were looking for something to do that evening/night and the partner randomly pulled out a brochure of this particular park because he was fascinated by the photo of the waterfall on its cover.***

***To the naked eye, a Moonbow looks all white. The partner shot a photo of it and, in that, we saw all the colors.***

***That morning we woke not knowing anything about Moonbows, and that night we went to bed with the image of Moonbow forever etched into our hearts and minds. How cool is that!?!***

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Dance like no one’s watching…

…they say.

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?

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Happiness is…

…seeing the partner spend time with baby M and hearing him gush about how she’s so fond of him. She is about 15 months old and this past weekend is the first time that the partner has held her, fed her, played with her. He usually stays away from babies who can’t walk, says he’s too scared to handle the tiny beings; so I guess her wobbling on her two little feet gave him enough confidence to pick her up.

…trying something new – especially for someone like me who is resistant to experiments most of the times. The partner is very fond of seafood; ever so often he contemplates becoming a vegetarian but says that the only thing that stops him is his love for seafood. So, on a whim, sometime in the past month, I mentioned to the partner that I wanted to taste fish the next time he had it. Partner then suggested that I should have homemade fish before trying outside food. A friend invited us over for lunch on Sunday and had cooked fish. So, there I was, munching on my veggies when the partner remembered my comment from few weeks ago and asked me if I wanted to give the fish a try. And try I did. A teensy bite. I didn’t like it and that was that. But, I did surprise myself doing what I did and that made me glad. Egg white – that’s what is next on list.

…dreaming about the next vacation. One more week to go.

…playing with the M and M duo all afternoon long. Didi M, probably sensing that I would be enamored by the baby once I laid my eyes on her, made sure she got her share of time to play with me too by dragging me upstairs as soon as I entered their home. We did all that we usually do together – solved puzzles, drew on the black board, read stories and had fun, over all. And then for the rest of the time Baby M had all my attention with Didi making appearance, every now and then, and demanding her rightful place on my lap.

…deciding on Monday morning to take the day off and heading off to a nearby park to hike and relax. Most of the Sunday evenings the partner puts on his oh-it’s-already-the-end-of-the-weekend face and asks if taking off on Monday is an option. And many a times, both he and I know that it’s not. This Sunday night though, I said why not. He thought for a couple of minutes and said that he would check his schedule first thing Monday morning and if there was nothing too important going on at work then we should take the day off. Monday morning happened; the partner checking his calendar happened; happy shriek of nothing-much-going-on-today happened; and then, both of us taking the day off happened. Once all that was settled, we decided where we wanted to go, got ready and headed off. We hiked for a couple of hours, relaxed near the lake for the next hour or two, and got back home feeling contended. Why can’t all Mondays be like this?

…being with the partner.

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