Happy New Birthday

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Hubby sneaked in a cake to be lit at 12 am sharp. Son didn’t like it much, he just hated the color enough not to even taste it,discarding it at the first  sight! But he insisted on lighting the candles every time we got the cake out from the fridge , for next 2 days till it lasted!

Having a vacation courtesy husband’s off from work since Christmas. He is looking after the baby and I’m on a roll, doing my stuff!

Good beginning to the new year, hope it stays this way….all my life.

One of my friends husband wished me- Happy New Birthday…( happy new year+Happy Birthday) Lol

Wishing you all good luck and good health in 2017 and all your life.

Trip to Yosemite

With this another item in the bucket list was ticked off!!

This was in the pipeline for more than a year. But with the baby arriving, it always seemed next to impossible. Six months  later hubby decided , enough is enough….it was time to start our hikes and treks with the baby in the bag!

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We started on a warm Friday evening at 3 pm and drove to Fresno where our hotel room was booked. Munchkin behaved like a good boy and enjoyed the drive. Fresno was warmer than where we stay but I looked forward to the hilly terrain of Sierra Nevada and hoped for a pleasant weather next day morning. We always like to start at day-break but somehow with munchkin along , it took us a couple of more hours before we could be on the road. A very pleasant morning breeze welcomed us into the foothills of Sierras and off we started for Yosemite.

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With dreams and pictures of scenic sierra hilltops, I was with all my photo catching gears looking out of the window. I love to take pictures of the highways, clouds, skies, and greens along the road, barns and farmhouses all make me go weak in knees. Sometime while taking pictures , I lose actual scene to my bare eyes. In those moments I wish if I could have a cam in my eyes…may be one day I would own a pair of Google glass!!

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Splendid rocky bottoms of Sierra were in front of my eyes to devour and I clicked pictures like crazy. Once we reached Wawona, we decided to take a tour bus for Glacier point because Munchkin was not looking very good with the car seat!! That was one good decision and we hopped into the bus. It took us to see the majestic half dome and several other mountain tops which were visual delights. Of course, I had never seen such beautiful mountains all my life. There were lots of people with kids in tow as it were vacation time for kids. Kids were enjoying the cooler weather in those extra beautiful hills and redwood trees all around the way.Munchkin too, enjoyed his first bus trip extensively!!

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We decided to drive through all other points in the car. All other points at the Yosemite Valley -Tunnel View, El Capitan,Yosemite falls,Nevada Falls loop,Tenaya Lake,Bridalveil Falls,Valley View,Pothole Dome seemed out of the world. There were people camping at the designated camp sites, youngsters hiking through the hills and jungles and people strolling by the river sides. Though we could not do all of it but we did manage a few short hikes and strolls. I wish to come back here for a weekend camping and barbecue trip when munchkin grows up and is able to go for fishing with his dad!

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With pristine memories etched in my mind forever , I promise myself to come back to these magnificent mountains very soon.

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One Journey of Faith

From Two 2 Three ! Shot by A& R

From Two 2 Three !
Shot by A & R

We had been waiting for this trip since one year. We had even planned the conception of our baby so that I would be able to fly during the safest period of my pregnancy. But somehow the trip didn’t come through the whole time. We, anyway enjoyed the first 2 quarters of the pregnancy in India while I let my husband know that I would need him by my side during the labor and delivery, in case he has to fly out now. He promised me he will be, at any cost.

You never know what destiny has in store for you.  We were prepared for this trip and also quite anxious about the long flying hours that I will have to spend sitting on a chair , given the fact that airline seats were not comfy by any means. By the end of 7th month, Ani’s trip came along, I got worked up now that I would have to bear it out alone, that is the rest of my pregnancy. But it was a huge surprise to know that most of the airlines allow pregnant women to fly till 36 weeks.I was only 30 weeks along.

We were flying out in next 2 weeks and all the arrangements had to be made. The “baby stuff” that was being done in a normal pace was rushed up and all the medicines etc were stocked up for next one month. Packing was being done for spices and Indian stuff that was not available in US. One constant worry was, if I would be comfortable sitting in the airline seat for 22 hours!

So it was , Hyderabad to Abu Dhabi , a 4 hour flight and then a 3 hour break before catching that dreadful 16 hour flight out from middle east to Americas! The entire journey was a mix of fear, excitement, happiness and most importantly this was our first international flight together. Ani was super worried about me and the baby and was on a roll all the time!

” Walk, move hands, move legs, eat, sleep, now wake up, drink water, have you had your medicines, okay now check out from the window, read this, watch a movie, wash your face and freshen up….goodness gracious ” , he was pretty worked up! Had a few bouts of uncomfortable hours in the long flight but overall, I enjoyed it. Ate everything that came along , also hogged the Methi Parathas and pickle which I made at home. Didn’t over sleep, watched some good videos and chatted up with my guy for hours! The stewardesses were taking extra care of me and I felt relaxed.

Honestly, the long flight didn’t feel like one and we bonded all over again , talking about the years that we had spent together and anticipating the years ahead. Talking about the lil’ one that was coming along to make our lives all the more happy.

So the entire journey turned out to be a pleasant one. Patience , love and faith kept us intact and made us enjoy the journey despite the apprehensions. I’m sure , life too is going to be one such long and pleasant flight!

Cheers!

The Trio !

The Faith ! Shot by A & R

Return to Delhi

Love Speaks... Shot- A & R

Love Speaks…
Shot- A & R

Nostalgia of sweet memories of 2011-2012 will always remain in Nina’s heart. The year long stay with Andy at The Maidens and at Crown Plaza was too good to be true.

Even though both of them were struggling with their issues in their individual lives, they managed to stay positive and look forward for their life together. There were days when they had no answers at all for each other’s questions.

Life is full of surprises and most of them come at a time when least expected. When you are going through a tough time , when you cannot see your future clearly and hence cannot plan anything, life would surprise you with most beautiful gifts. The key is to hang on , have faith, keep loving unconditionally and be positive always.

All the thoughts about those years became fresh in Nina’a mind when they visited Delhi this time. They were married this time and had worked hard to make their dreams of being together. Nothing is impossible as it seemed 3 years back. Happiness is being together, staying together….each moment.

 

Happiness Shot- A & R

Happiness
Shot- A & R

Roseman Bridge

Love Happens...

Love Happens…

The Bridges of Madison County is the only book which has mesmerized me so much so that I have read everything available about Iowa, Middle River, Winterset, Des Moines and Madison County and all the covered bridges in Winterset. The book was casually brought home from DSOI library by Naom and she just threw it on my bed saying its a good one, since you love “Love Stories”. I never knew the impact of the book would have on me until I finished it reading it in flat 2 days. Then somehow, over the weekend I downloaded the movie and saw it on my desktop. I cried my eyes out…and Francesca and Robert have never left my mind ever since.

This was way back in 2011 and I had just met my guy. We had just began dating and the realities bit me hard. The attraction and connection with him were challenging my conscious and my heart was saying something totally opposite of what was shown in the movie/book. Probably that was the reason why I got so overwhelmed by this book. I was in a dilemma about being right and wrong at the same time.

“The Bridges of Madison County” is about two people who find the promise of perfect personal happiness, and understand, with sadness and acceptance, that the most important things in life are not always about making yourself happy.

The story  is set in a country side in the town of Winterset, Iowa ,where the farmers grow Corn in their fields.Their lives are monotonous and based around agriculture and some farm events round the year. Francesca is an Italian woman, who met her then future husband ,an american World war II soldier in Italy. They fall in love, get married and eventually, John brings her to his ancestral farmhouse in Iowa. The main characters Francesca and Robert are brought to life on screen by Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.

Such a story could so easily been gross and untasteful , could be reduced to obvious elements of seduction, sex and melodramatic parting. Streep and Eastwood weave a spell, and it is based on that particular knowledge of love and self that comes with middle age.Older ones do not declare themselves. Unlike their younger counterparts, the pair exercise restrain and wisdom. Particularly Francesca ,to save her family the shame that they may have to face in their small town where everyone knows who is having an affair with whom. Also there is a moment in the movie when Francesca tells Robert that if they decide to spend the rest of their lives together then their lives would return to the same old mundane things and they would never realize the love that they have or felt for each other. The only way to treasure their love was to stay apart rest of their lives so that they can hold onto that love for each other forever. What a beautiful thing to feel!

Richard and Francesca are not falling in love with each other exactly, but with the idea of their love, with what Richard calls “certainty.”

Clint Eastwood made the film from the point of view of Francesca. Her loneliness, her dreams, her desires, her frustrations, her day to day routine, her decisions and her life. After the success of the book, no one ever thought the movie will have more impact than the book but it did. It showed emotions of two people experiencing love at an unlikely stage of their lives and how they cope up with it and pull on with their existence, rest of their lives. When Francesca receives Robert’s will , she comes to know his last wish. “To be under the same Roseman bridge where they came to know each other.” She too wishes her ashes to be sprayed under the same bridge in the Middle river so that after life they could be together.

Heart wrenching, mind blowing power of love written by Robert James Waller and legends of cinema, Streep and Eastwood casting a magical spell on screen!

Visiting the Francesca’s Farmhouse which is open to tourists in the season and the covered bridges of Madison County are pending items in my bucket when I visit US sometime next year. Iowa it is next summer…!

Nostalgia

Nostalgia

Good Tidings

Coffee Mornings!

Coffee Mornings!

It was not a usual sunny,pleasant day nonetheless I was desperately waiting for this day to come as I was going to meet someone over coffee. Someone  special,who was a long-lost companion and who had been with me through all the ups and downs of my life! As I said , it was not a normal pleasant sunny day. The previous night had seen incessant rains and thunderstorm. The dark clouds from last night were still overcast, the weaker trees had given up to the thundershowers and the strong coastal winds.The sun was no where to be seen and the December chill ran through my spine as I got up from the bed.

I was going to meet a certain friend of mine who I had not physically met or emotionally got connected for over 10 years now.Through this last decade, though I had been in a train wreck, it was all peace since last atleast couple of years.Every issue closed , every trauma treated,every wound healed and every perspective towards life had changed, by life itself! I needed to tell her that she need not worry and time will take care of everything. That, she needed to be practical and take some tough decisions in life in order to be happy and peaceful. That, in the matters of life, it is not always the mind which wins but sometimes you have to go by your instincts and trust your heart too!

I ought to tell her not to give in to abuse anymore and that there are angels out there who will not judge her for anything and will love her for what she is. Sometimes life treats you with senseless tragedies and you do not have a choice but to bear them out. But in case of relationships you got to consciously decide if that is what is your peace is. If something is consistently giving you pain and is destroying your peace, you must acquire enough strength to pull yourself up and move away from it. Life is not about succumbing to your injuries, it is about creating your own heaven, enjoy each moment and bring peace to everyone around you. Life is about having dreams, fulfilling them and being someone’s inspiration.

I hope that over that cup of coffee, we come to terms with the good and bads of our lives and understand the fact that after each dark night, there is a morning. The morning which can never refuse to come, thereby reinstating the faith in life and the goodness of it.

I hope today she understands my perception of life and looks forward to her own. I’m sure I shall be able to show her the sunshine waiting to brighten her life in coming years,the stars that are going to dazzle her nights rest of her life and that she needs to hold tight for her prince is going to arrive soon, to take her away to their beautiful world!

We need to understand that we have this one life and we cannot give it away to destiny. We need to live each moment of it , creating dreams and realizing them. We ought to believe in ourselves, be honest with our selves and listen to our heart!

I’m getting ready wearing my finest white dress for this much awaited rendezvous over coffee this morning. The sun has started peeping out of the clouds spraying some sunshine on the rain havoc-ed trees and roads. The neighborhood lake seemed to be brimming with rainwater from last night, giving much needed fresh oxygen to lilies in it!

Did I tell you I’m going to meet my own self today!

And I’m waiting for my morning walks around the lake soon!

Morning Walks Shot: A & R

Morning Walks
Shot: A & R

Sparkling or Still

Crystal Springs Lake, San Bruno Caught & Shot- A & R

Crystal Springs Lake, San Bruno
Caught & Shot- A & R

Idea of perfect day off…Of course it has to be outdoors. The whole day out a midst nature with a picnic basket. Some home made sandwiches or  some quick Rajma-Chawal (Mexican beans & Rice)with salad and pickle, potato chips, some nectarines,a book bottles of fruit juice, a few books, a big sheet to lie under a tree or next to a lake and some wine and cheese for the evening.I would also like to have a day out lined with activities like in a theme park or water-park or better still visit to a nearby nature resort ,may be a wild life park. But the best would be the first option- a picnic for the entire day of course with my man by my side. He is the most serene man I have ever seen and makes it a point not to disturb me for hours if he sees I’m enjoying something!

Every weekend of the year 2013 was filled with such cozy and pleasant evenings while I had a dream holiday in the US. At Marriot’s Residence Inn, there was a spread of huge american breakfast and evening snacks and I had to cook only the lunch! I was being pampered and taken care of like never before. I would pick up stuff from the breakfast table like bagels/cheese,biscuits, apples,pancakes with juicy maple syrup/honey packets,sandwiches, baked potatoes,stir fried veggies, cute milk packets and we would be on the road in search of a nature park to spend the day in. I would also cook a small meal for lunch so that we don’t have to hunt for an eatery at lunch time. These luxuries were also there at Delhi star hotel,when we stayed there for a year and a half but we had to leave the town for the weekend ,to hunt for greener places.

The best thing about spending the day in nature is that you become close to God by absorbing  the other beautiful things he has made. For hours you can get lost in their resplendent beauty. You appreciate the time of your life when you are away from the daily chores and it unwinds the mind and let us take each day as it comes without worrying about the next day’s or next week’s that emergency deadline at work!

Looking forward to have these fun filled and relaxing outings once the baby is delivered and is a few months bundle!Till then the memories of last year in the US and this year in southern India are fresh to keep me going!

A nearby park at San Mateo Caugt & Shot- A & R

A nearby park at San Mateo
Caugt & Shot- A & R

That Baby Bump!

Baby bump! Caught by- Ani

Baby bump!
Caught by- Ani

Its 20 weeks and Ani was waiting to capture this moment in time. He chose his birthday to be that day when he froze the moment forever.

After the birthday dinner and the cake cutting ceremony, Ani called in for the shots from various angles! Rose happily posing for him and for their child who would love to see how his mom and dad were excited for having him with them!

This one is for keeps…!

Love, Cheers!

Monthly Anniversary

One month down

Anniversary Bloom Seized by A& R

Anniversary Bloom
Seized by A& R

….Ria had to spend the week back at home with Parents. It was awful, not being able to spend the day with her husband of one month! This could not be avoided as Ria needed to be with her dad for his annual health check up and then she dropped him back at home. They decided since it was almost a year, she should spend sometime with parents. She looked forward for it! But nothing could make up for not being with her hubby on that day!

Now that she is back and good things are happening, they have decided to celebrate it all together! the wedding, the baby on board, the incentive at work and the promotion….!

Happy days are rolling in!

Cheers

Home is where the Heart is

Home Sweet Home (Caught & Shot- A & R)

Home Sweet Home
(Caught & Shot- A & R)

Year 2012. August.

As Ria stepped out of RGIA, her eyes were searching for him. He was waiting to pick her up just outside the visitor’s lounge at the airport. This was her first visit to him and third to the city. As they hugged each other , he said ,” baby…see you are in hyderabad….!” His voice was full of love and admiration for her strength and passion.

As they got into the cab towards the the city Ria was wondering if he is going to put her up in a hotel or would he have enough courage to take her to his home. For he was still married to his (now ex)wife. It was about an hour before she could guess that he is indeed taking her to his place. She was happy for this was one of the big milestones for him. He was reeling under so much stress about how to reveal his thoughts on breaking up his marriage to his wife of 3 years with whom he could stay only for a year and a half. Ria was more than happy to see his courage and determination to keep her with him. It was a small battle in the big picture nonetheless he had won it!

Upon entering the gates of the premises, Ria closely examined that it was a decent locality in a neat suburb. Would she ever be living here with him? Will it ever become their home? It was a dream she had seen , that was happening in real already. She held onto her thoughts and prayed hard as she entered inside his house. A warm hug again and he made her more comfortable .

After resting for a while , she made a trip around the house.It was a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 beautiful balconies opening up on two different sides of the building. In the other room, there lay a picture of their wedding with 2 different gods. Ironically , the relationship needed empathy, compatibility, mutual respect and love instead of physical layout of gods and wedding pictures. Ria wrapped up the wedding picture frame and put it inside a carton. She mentioned it to him and he was fine with it. She also removed the picture of the other god. Seemed a little silly but it was okay she thought. You don’t need several gods to have peace of mind, you need clarity of mind and love to sustain a relationship for life.

During the next 10 days, Ria cleaned up the kitchen, steered up the mess in the house and cooked several meals for them. He was happy and that reflected on his behavior. He took an off from work for these days and took her out to several famous joints in the city.

All this while staying here, Ria felt like it was her home.  All things felt familiar. The bed, the bath, the living room, the kitchen, the balconies….all seemed her own, She felt like she had been living here since ages…! How could this be? This was the first time she had stepped onto this house ! Then Ria realized, it was her heart that instantly felt a belonging to this house and she had always listened to her heart! Her love-lorn  heart screamed, ” Im happy….this is where I belong to….” Someone rightly said, “Home is where the heart is”. That your true home is with the person you love the most. But here for Ria , it was a home both in real and in cliched terms.

Year 2014, September

Two years hence , they are married and living the lives of their dreams. When Ria looks back at the past, it seems her heart always knew what was in store for her. They are happy and content and look forward for weaving more beautiful dreams together in this house where there hearts belong!

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The Wedding Vow

The Vow

The Vow

…..and he promised to love her all his life. Overwhelmed and soaking up in the moment she was left speechless….

Perfect beginning to…..” Happily ever after….”

 

Cheers !

The Wedding

A wedding dress spotted at Alameda

A wedding dress spotted at Alameda

Even before they realized, the dates are finalized. They could never plan it because of the circumstances.The wait for divorces to come through, the wait for stipulated period of time to get remarried, then the wait for decrees….all of that was really stressful. Sometimes so much that they ended up arguing and not talking to each other for hours together…then they would realize the fault of circumstances not letting them plan anything and hence the frustration. A simple hug would mend all misunderstandings.

But now everything was sorted out. Next Sunday after 8 days from today, that auspicious day will arrive. The day for which they had pinned for almost 3 years. It seemed like eternity…..nonetheless the fruits of patience and love was going to be sweet!

In 3 days time they had finalized the wedding venue, the wedding dresses, the jewelry, the flowers, the guests and the registration processes. The wedding will be a simple temple one followed by court formalities. The night shall be at the favorite place, The Marriot which had played a huge role in their destiny.

And then a paid honeymoon….to US of A ! They were so in love that nothing and nobody seemed to matter anymore. Everything was falling into place. The dream was finally taking a shape and coming true…

Time and circumstances had indeed taken a toll on both of them but all is well that ends well.

Hold onto your dreams….they will come true!

Summer of love- 2014

Summer officially Captured by A & R

Summer officially
Captured by A & R

“I love you honey” ,

“Hmm love you baby”…

It was always Ria who initiated the sweet nothings….but Rahul always replied it with a sweeter nothing! Does it really matter who says it first. Its more important that they acknowledge your declaration and confirm it with a yes and that makes it worthwhile! Rahul has always been a quiet  computer nerdy guy. Its not that he is not passionate about things, places, happenings or love….its just that he would not express it like the way Ria does. She would conclude ,men need not behave in a similar fashion.

She would also pay attention to Rahul’s actions. Like those several phone calls he would make while at work from office, especially to check if she has eaten, inquiring where is she and what is it that she is doing, if she is not sitting with him on the couch while he is working, holding her into a tight hug from back while she is at the kitchen counter, scrubbing her back while showering and giving her relaxing weekend massages, finding a quick solution to her issues if she is stuck with something at work or otherwise….

Ria happily takes these clues from Rahul everyday and promises to love him more than ever.

Some people may not conform to being idealists but its always wise to know them from their point of view. Life is a sweet thing when you look through it with a rose-tinted glass mirror !

Cheers to life, love and happiness. All within you, emanates from you and makes it joyous for everyone around you!

Mesmerizing Venezia

GONDOLA

Venice has fascinated me for long. Its beautiful canals, the gondolas which take you into another beautiful world of it own and the buildings  holdings themselves strong for centuries in water. I researched for a whole day to squeeze outsome precise information on Venice. So here it goes…

The Venice dates back to 827, when a Byzantine Duke moved its seat to what is now known as the Rialto, and Venice for next 970 years, prospered under the rule of a Roman-style Senate headed by the Doge. In 1797, the city was conquered by Napoleon, and Venice could never recover from that attack . The city was then merged with Austria-Hungary, then shuffled back and forth between Austria and a nascent Italy.Venice is still a monument to the glory of the Renaissance days, and the old Italians’ veins are still throbbed by the grande of historical culture of Venice.

The city is often threatened by flood pushing in from the Adriatic between autumn and early spring. About six hundred years ago, Venetians protected themselves from land-based attacks by diverting all the major rivers flowing into the lagoon and thus preventing sediment from filling the area around the city. This created an ever-deeper lagoon environment and during high tides the Adriatic water came back to land turning Venetians roads into canals.There is one major canal called Grand canal which cuts across the city from north to south and then the entire city is webbed by a network of canals. These canals are lifelines of Venice. The maze of canals is threaded through the city and has more than 400 bridges to allow pedestrians to walk across the city.

venice sunset canal

Since Venice is also the most romantic destination in Europe, covering Venice on foot ,stopping by each beautiful building to admire its beauty would be an out of the world experience. The ride across Venice on a Gondola is a dream of lifetime.  Subsidence -the gradual lowering of the surface of Venice, leads to the seasonal phenomena of Acqua Alta where most of the city’s surface is covered in high water.This dramatic natural phenomenon of Acqua Alta or High Water is  unique to Venice. It seems during this time the squares, roads and sometimes even the ground floors of the buildings gets submerged.In rather deep areas of Venice the pathways are elevated so that pedestrians don’t  have have to struggle walking in the waters or left stranded.Boats cannot navigate the canals during the highest tides because they cannot pass under bridges. Typically the Acqua Alta lasts for an hour but it could extend to a maximum of 5-6 hours.

Venice history dates back many years when people sought refuge. These people built upon the lagoon for safety from being attacked. In the lagoon there a collection of small island of rock and mud and it was here that these people started driving wood pilings into the mud and sand and into clay. The wood pilings became the foundation.The wood was brought from the mountains of Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro.The wood was then transported by water to Venice. The wood does not rot as its not exposed to oxygen as it is submerged in the water and mud. The wood petrifies due to a constant submergence in mineral rich water around. As a result the wood becomes a hardened stone-like structure.

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Once all wood pilings are driven side by side into the mud of the lagoon as the initial foundation, they are then cut level where horizontal timber are laid. A stone foundation is then placed on top of the horizontal timbers. From there the building is built using wood framing techniques or brick. Hence the city of Venice with all its canals and gondolas was built on a foundation of wood. Unimaginable feat Venetians achieved so many hundreds of years ago!

As Venice evolved from a trading localization into a living museum, it preserved historic buildings instead of making way for new structures. It decided not to create a modern city atop the ruins of the old, unlike what was being done throughout the world.

Such a Venice would not have been treasured by the world. I dream to take that 4 week vacation into Venice and into its canals, over the bridges- Rialto, Ponte delgi Scalzi, Ponte dell’Accademia, the churches of Late Romanesque-Early Gothic ,Loggia dei Cavalieri,Church of San Nicolò,Piazza Rinaldi,Ponte di Pria  and simply have some candle lit dinners overlooking a canal.

Venice is treasured , for its old world charm, for its resistance to be drowned by surrounding sea waters,for it beautiful bridges, for its romantic Gondola rides and for taking me into a dream world as soon as I think about it.

venice-canals

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