Valentines’ 2017

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It was a lonely Valentine this year as hubs was traveling but not very lonely because I got to spend it with my baby. Just me and him , and his naughty antics which would make me insane on any other given day. But I enjoyed it on this special day as I remembered the time when I carried him for those not-so-enjoyable days, but overwhelmingly emotional days, when each day I would pray for him to be safe, growing inside me.

A mother-son relationship is simple and straight. Its about love and nothing else.

So we enjoyed the day with a trip to the park, some cake and ice-cream in the evening. Because , sweets aint a regular thing at our place.

Hubs had been calling us since morning, not a usual stuff. I’m sure , he missed his valentine son too!

So, celebrating it over this weekend , we and our little bundle , who is otherwise called a devil….

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.

Crush

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Because I was not allowed to have a boyfriend in school and college, I had quite an emotionally stable life. Come to think of it, not being in a relationship had been a bliss actually. But then, I had my share of crushes so to say. This guy, lets name him ‘M’ ,was in my class with same elective as mine so we almost attended all our classes together except the practicals. Even though , having an affair was a strict no-no from mom, I thought , having a crush was not a big deal as it did not have any strings and also mom would never come to know about it!

Slowly but steadily, the crush was getting harder and one of my closest friend decided to take some charge. She asked one of the other guys to ask M if he had a girlfriend and that I liked him. I was not very happy with this situation now because this was being forced on me and I was kinda happy in my cocoon and really didn’t want to know if M was interested in me or not. Also, M was quite oblivious of my feelings for him and I didn’t want to jeopardize , whatever minimum talking terms that we were on.

Anyways, the news reached me in a week , that M had a girlfriend already, back in his hometown and hence no further questions were asked. It would take quite a few days for me to come out of coma and I felt terribly guilty. Guilty of god knows what….! For the rest of the semesters, I chose not to tell any of my friends about anything personal and of course the equations with M changed for the rest of the years in the university. I avoided to look at M or talk to him anytime during the classes and non-class times that we classmates would get together.

About 12 years later I met almost all my school mates and college-mates on FB except M. It would take another 9 years for M to get into FB.

Just a couple of months back, one day I was looking through the probable friends FB suggests and when I found M’s profile in it, I found myself smiling. Since there were no pictures in the profile, I sent a message asking if he was the same guy that was in my college. In the reply , M just said yes and that he was roll number 54. Well, after a few weeks , he uploaded some pictures of him and his family on his account for all to see.

I was horrified to see what had become of a handsome lad in a span of 20 years. Here was a middle aged stout man with a beer belly ,his hair was all orange because of henna and I assumed it must have all gone grey and I was staring at a face which looked about 20 years more older than our age. I could not sleep that night…wondering about what must have gone through his life that he grew old so fast. Then I wondered , if I have also grown that old….then I also wondered why was I wondering about him. I had always maintained that age was just a number and its our attitude which actually matters but a look at M told me , may be it was not the case. I remember seeing him as a 20 year old guy and I saw him now 20 years later, I was ready to see some changes but not such drastic ones. I realized, if we abuse ourselves by smoking or drinking or by taking too much stress , it does take away years out of our lives. One has to keep fit and make sure we rally against nature by staying fit and happy.

M looked old to me that day and I felt as if I was looking at some ancient temple in Bali. In a flash, I was in the morning classes when I used to look at him during the first class of the day and felt cheerful for the rest of the week!! As I smiled and remembered the old times,I  took my jacket out for my evening 5 km walk.

Bali- Google images

Bali- Google images

 

S for Saturday

 

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Growing up in 80’s and 90’s we had 6 days in a week. That is working days and Sunday used to be reserved for all the amusement we could have. Life was fun then and we never complained about that only day off in a week. We would do all that we could do in that one day and in the evening catch a movie on DD too! I could not imagine that after a decade or so we were going to have 5 days a week. But how we have people whining about being overworked and tired the whole week through. Having said that , I make sure that I plan for my weekends ahead and treasure them thoroughly.

I reserve my Saturdays for mostly outdoor activities ranging from hiking, trekking, shopping, watching a movie etc and then catch up with all the sleep and some family activities on Sunday!

So typically my weekend has a schedule which  make during the week (which is critical) else I end up mindlessly watching television or browsing the internet. Planning lets you savor the joy of anticipating something fun; psychology says we’re often happier anticipating an event, like a vacation, than we are during or after it. My weekends need to feel different than the weekdays which means I do a different kind of labor/activities which  allows my mind and body to recover from the typical stresses I undergo during the week. Like, spending time with my plants, doing crochet for an hour, paint the glass bottles or simply clean a corner which has been pending for long. I make sure to have-

Max Mornings- Getting up earlier than the rest of the family is great for personal pursuits like an early morning walk, reading a favorite author with the cup of tea or getting together things for a later in the day activity like a hobby.

Family Rituals- There is a designated Pizza night on the weekend. Happy families often have special activities on most weekends that does not require special planning like Friday night pizza or Sunday morning pancakes. Because these habits are what become memories later.

Sun Siesta-It’s not just for toddlers. Having a nap time in the mid-afternoon ensures that your body rests and recuperates.

Plan Chores- I designate a chore time, on Saturday. so that they get done quickly and I can move on to the fun things of the weekend.

Tech Sabbath- A stretch of time apart from the computer, phone, and work stresses creates space for other things in life,I put up a specific window of an hour or so to sort through my inbox, rather than periodically checking and writing back to emails all day long.

Well, a weekend well spent is eventually a life well spent. Cheers for the rest of the counted weekends of our lives!

 

Movietime

Movietime

Talent and A Hobby

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Well…. undoubtedly it has to be playing with colors….that is, on a sheet of paper. The pleasure of watching the colors mix and match and create something new is eternally blissful to me.

Its been sometime now that I have held my brush and colors because the newest member of the house needs my undivided attention! But I did take up another hobby. Something that I just tried one fine day and since then it has kind of become a passion.

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Crocheting. It is fulfilling and rewarding when I finish a project and it fits in correctly. Its fascinating to see my crochet basket full of various colored yarns and needles. Its amazing to know that I have the choice of picking up any beautiful color and start making something. Be it a cap, booties, sweater, baby blanket or a pair of cup cozies…. I have tried them all. I love the Adrenalin rush when I start a project and I cannot believe myself when the passion remains unruffled until the last day, when I finish it!

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So from painting with oils and water I have moved on to crocheting….I cannot believe just a few years back I was manager, Customer Service for a leading Telecom group. The decision to quit work and travel with Ani was a quick yet conscious one. This gave me more time with my guy and of course I indulged in my hobbies more than ever. Playing with colors initially and now with colored yarns has a lot to do with my childhood. Painting was something I picked up when I was about 10 years and I saw mom knitting whenever she could get time from her job. Hence the transformation was not a difficult one.

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Currently , I’m crocheting a granny square blanket and a dungaree for my baby. I’m wondering if I should crochet a sun-hat or an infinity scarf for myself one day. I consider my hobbies to be a talent because I can spend the whole day doing them and the project turns into a useful product!

My husband proposes that I should turn my hobbies into a business. Initially the idea was not appealing but now I think, why not create a business out of your hobby.

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And work would never be boring then…!

The Roseman Bridge

 

                                                                      Caught N’ Shot- A&R

It was after lunch and Francesca sat on the porch sipping iced tea.With Richard gone for more than a decade, thoughts about Robert came to her mind more frequently.As a usual chore,she got dressed up for her walk to the middle river across the Roseman bridge. After the walk she would pick vegetables from her garden and cook while listening to radio. Then she would read all the letters she wrote to Robert.
She stopped her car about a mile away from the bridge and started to walk. As the gravel road turned, the bridge started to appear.The memories of that sultry August afternoon started to flash in front of her eyes. It seemed just like yesterday, when she had come here with Robert .It was a good 15 miles from her home nevertheless she was glad she took the decision.
Today she saw a truck parked by the side of the road. Her eyes danced like butterflies all around.It would be stupid to look for Robert after so long, she thought. But she had kept his memories alive in her heart.She almost ran towards the bridge, when she saw a figure leaning over the railings, looking down at the River.She felt like this person had been standing there since eternity.Francesca called out his name and he looked back. He was an older, frailer version of her tall and husky Robert.
He smiled and looked for her hand. As she moved a step closer to hold him, he murmured,”I knew you would come” .Closing her eyes she hugged him tight and said.”Let’s go home Robert…”

Lunch on an August Noon

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“Why don’t you come over for a cup of Coffee?” he asked.
“May be sometime later…” she had said. She had been avoiding this rendezvous for more than a month now.He was new and alone in the city and had been looking for a friend to talk and spend sometimes. She too, was lonely in her life.They hadbeen talking on phone  all this while and he seemed to be a kind person to her.They would generally talk about their work, hobbies and life in general.
It was a Friday morning and she had been in a rather traumatic state of mind,thanks to an early morning fight with her husband.As he called her on work, he had quietly listened to her sobs and imagined the nasty weekend she was going to have.
He asked again, ” Come over for a cup of coffee, you will feel better”. This time, she had said yes to him. Around noon, she took a bus to meet him at his place. He kept calling her to ensure she does not lose her way. She got out of the station and called him on his cell phone. They could not find each other for about 10 minutes. She wondered if it was too good to be true. But then she saw him waiting under a tree just outside the station with an umbrella. It was a hot August afternoon and as they walked down ,he kept the umbrella up over her through the entire way.

She looked up at him and wondered what took him so long. He looked at her smiling and asked,”What will you have for lunch?”

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A Name

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I was born to  soldier and his working wife. My dad met my mom when she had just joined Airforce in a civilian capacity. He was a Parachute Jumping Instructor and was posted at my mom’s city unit. He fell in love with this independent girl, working with the soldiers and proposed to marry her. All of 18, my mom directed him to her dads’. Marriage fixed in about 6 months time and they live happily ever after.

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Oh wait…I was born the following year after the marriage. Since mom returned to work after 3 months of maternity leave, I was taken care by many people while she worked. My granny, my aunt (mom’s sister), her cousin and one lady who was a neighbor. This lady had 3 teenaged sons and she happily proposed to look after me while my mom worked from 7 in the morning until 2 pm. She would feed me,change and tuck me in as and when needed. Her sons were grown up and she missed having a baby around, she said. Also she loved having a girl for herself ! My mom sometimes would leave me at my granny’s and my aunt would take care of me before she picked me up on Saturdays. In between some of these days mom decided to have me named but she wanted the lady who looked after me, to name me. She wanted to thank her in her own way. The lady called me “Rinku” and that was put in the records. Rinku is a common name from the state she belonged to- Bengal.

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I’m one of those people who didn’t like their name initially. But as I grew up and Mom told me this story of naming my name, I was filled with gratitude towards that lady and for my mom too. That lady for her unconditional love and Mom for being grateful to her and showing it in a unique way. As I grew up, started to like my name, short, sweet and crisp. It means ‘Sweet’ or ‘Sweet Thing”.

They say, a rose is a rose is a rose. Does not matter if it was not named as rose. But I’m glad that my name is a tribute to a good lady for her kindness and love. I have never met her or tried to find her ever but now it looks like I must.

Yes after writing this post , I’m going to call Mom.

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Grandpa’s House

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The other day I dreamed of my grandpa’s house. As kids we used to visit them every summer. Vacations meant grandpa’s house in the village in Assam , an eastern state in India.

The train journey back then used to be long, 3 days to be precise! But it was worth it…the bridges over the rivers, the towns, the villages and the fields on the way were beautiful. Me and my little brother would sing songs sitting by the train window and look forward for our annual vacation at Grandpa’s.

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It was a house made of bamboo, straws and some other organic material nonetheless it was big. We had like about 10 rooms in the house and a nice porch to sit out if it rained. There was a nice courtyard in front of the house and on the left the straw room for the cattle. On the right side of the house , my uncle had planted lots of fruits trees and we had plums and peaches in between some grape vines! There were wooden bird houses made for pigeons who would not fly away once they found this place with water and food all around!

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My granny used to cook wonderful meals for everyone and in those times food was cooked over wood and it tasted heavenly. When I saw this dream, I called up my dad and told him that I remember each and every room in that house and what fun times we had back then. As my uncle and aunts got married and moved out of the house, the house started to become empty. After Grandpa , my granny moved to my dad’s in town. There are times when I go back home, dad and me drive to the village just to look at the place that had this beautiful house and held together so many people of our family. Of course , the house is not there anymore but the memories of it is distinct. So much so that ,even now, I sometimes get a whiff of the house with everyone in it. If I had the time machine, I would go back and enjoy those childhood days in that house more than ever.

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I loved to move from one room to another looking at stuff placed in each room. Each member of the family had a room for themselves and there was a room at the back which housed the ducks and the pigeons in the night! There were two ponds , one in the front yard and other in the back yard and invariably we had ducks and swans swimming in it all through the day! The walk by the side of the house would take us to the rice fields and it was fun to run around barefoot, splashing into mud and water!! Playing with ducks, calves and eating raw mangoes, gooseberry and olives was so much fun!

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While taking showers in the bathroom that was made up of bamboo , one could have a look at the blue Naga hills at the border. The cranes at the rice fields would come to eat worms and tiny fishes. The cattle would come back home on their own at the dusk and get settled in their shed on their own. Life used to be so easy and fun back then. If I had a choice , I would surely go back to my grandpa’s house never to come back again. I’m happy that I can visit that house still , even though it is in my dreams now. The lesson is to enjoy the present for it never can be same again!

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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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A Book You learned From-Taj (T.N Murari)

“Taj” was given to me by Naomi one summer while we were living in Allahabad. Though I’m not a voracious reader but as I read the book, I fell in love with it. The characters, the storytelling , the beautiful amalgamation of factual and fictional happenings captivated my heart. Even now several years down the line I still hold the memories of those feelings that I went through while reading that book.

To my surprise, I fell so in love with this book that I got the book copied at a local shop and carried with me. Something in it struck a chord in me and it would take months for me to know what was it. I was born and raised in the city of Taj. I had seen all these forts and monuments a hundred times during my childhood. I could visualise almost every single detail mentioned by the author about the forts and all the delicate artisan work done during 1700s. The book had told the ever-lasting love story of  Mumtaz and Shahjehan in a very subtle manner. Right from their childhood, how they met, fell in love and promised to love each other through thick and thin. It also adds a piece of fiction in it by adding a character who is close to Mumtaz and from whose point of view we see the world.

Pure Love

Pure Love

We come to know what Mumtaz feels for Shahjehan and how every time he is out on a battle, she accompanies him on a chariot taking all her young children with her, so many times even while she was pregnant. Shahjehan too loved her like no one else could even when he had a huge task of taking care of his empire. The author makes that delicate balance of facts and fictions so well that you could feel the intensity of the lovers in that era. It almost comes to life for me because I have seen all those small little nooks and corners of Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri where this love happened in real times. While I soak myself up in history and in the love of the Emperor and the Empress, I also know how vibrant and important my city was at that point in time.

The political scenarios, the culture, the economics, the trade and the intense love is depicted exquisite and precise. I love this book for its depiction of sheer love, sacrifice and honor of two human beings towards each other at the times when emperors were busy filling up their harems and expanding their empires. I’m basically an ardent lover of historical facts and books written on them.

This book has been a thorough pleasure to read while you let your imagination go back a few hundred years back into time. Shahjehan and Mumtaz’s eternal love stood the test of time through centuries, even though the Empress died at a young age of 36, Shahjehan never remarried and spent rest of his life making this monument. Legend says, after Taj was made, he died looking at it , remembering the love of his life.

Gist of the story is to love with all your might for you never know how soon this life would get over and one would be left with only memories.

Love in the times of an Empire

Love in the times of an Empire

Simple Things in Life

Simple-Things

Honestly, a few good friends and some good place to spend the lazy afternoons…thats what life’ s pleasures are all about.

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Life’s treasures lie in simples things indeed. Mom’s food, a simple cup of her tea,sitting in the porch sipping it watching rains, giving grains to sparrows and hens at home…

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Watching a random flick on TV in the afternoon when alone, making that special cup of tea on weekends for both of us when Riaan is taking a nap, going for an evening walk and looking at the clouds and talking about future.

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Finding the phone number of an old friend and calling her and catching up with old times, wishing good day to a fellow jogger, smelling the rose on my morning walk, watching the clouds fly by in the evening sky, stopping by and talking to the old lady in the neighbourhood.

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Truly, life’s treasures lie in simple things. The very fact that life is short but sweet makes it even more important to love its each moment.

Cheers!

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Father’s Day

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day

It was the first father’s day for Ani. This time it was special for me too, for I was glad that Ani was the father of my lucky baby.

Honest, fiercely loving, caring for both of us like none ever, makes him a very special person.

It  was celebrated twice, one a Pre-Father’s day and then again on THE day. Who could be the best father in this world than Ani as he brought me a lovely pair of crystal earrings even though it was his day!

Happy Father’s day….to all you wonderful dads!

Things I like about Spring

Cherry Blossoms  Caught & Shot- A&R

Cherry Blossoms
Caught & Shot- A&R

The pleasant weather, the sunny skies, the flowers, the butterflies, lush green trees, the breeze…

There are so many more things about spring! Well I think, it all begins with the festival of colors Holi. Somehow, in my mind I associate Holi with the onset of spring because after winters, that is the day when you can play with water and color.

Spring, back home in Assam, is sunny and breezy at the same time.  As pre- monsoon showers bid goodbye to winters and welcome rainy summers, spring brings the biggest festival of Assam, Bihu. People make merry, dance and shop and visit friends and relatives. Get-togethers are organised and in villages, the sounds of Dhol and flute mark the onset of spring.

This is my second spring in California.  Now the spring blooms can be seen everywhere and the temperature rises to even pleasant degrees. An occasional cloudy and breezy day alternates every second week or so. Its time for Barbeques, picnics, hikes and long drives on the weekends and people could be seen enjoying the season after a not-so-cold winter.

Spring is seen as a time of growth, renewal, of new life for both plants and animals being born. The term “Spring” is also used more generally as a metaphor for the start of better times.

Indeed, it is the spring of my life as we welcomed our newborn into this amazing world. Hope everyone receives their peace and joy in the spring of this year.

Cheers!

Bihu dance from Assam

Bihu dance from Assam

***I start this gratitude challenge following an inspiration by a fellow blogger Day-9 / week 1 – 52 Weeks of Gratitude | Me and My Random Thoughts by Bikram.

A Friend- Week 7

Aditya Clicking pics April 2013 , San Francisco

Aditya Clicking pics
April 2013 , San Francisco

My first memories of Aditya is of middle school back in Agra, in the 90’s. An irritating, lanky, weird, bi-spectacle d teen who had poker straight hair. He was in a different class but always was trying to meddle into my group of friends. I didn’t like him much because of his bitter straightforward attitude and his silly talks. He would not allow anyone else to talk when in a group and surprisingly even engaged teachers with his nonsensical philosophies! Nonetheless, he was well into my friends circle in a couple of months! He lived away from where we were staying but he would bicycle his way to play with us almost every evening.

Fast forward, 20 years, I come to live in Delhi and just when Facebook was invented. I got to be in touch with so many friends including Aditya. And because of the sheer coincidence of living just a few miles away in the same area of the city, soon we decided to meet over lunch followed by a movie. Aditya was not a crazy teen anymore and we both sat and chatted for several hours sharing each other’s live’s happenings over last 2 decades. He had become a Human Right’s Lawyer and was an active LGBT leader in India. He travels around the world to speak in seminars and meetings for the same.

Since then he has been there as a dear friend, helping , supporting and guiding me through the most difficult times of my life. It was he who made me finalize my decision when I walked out on my marriage. I remember very clearly when he said, ” Rinks if you never leave this rotten marriage of yours, you will never come to know what you could have gotten on the other side of this.” I’m so glad, I understood what he meant by his one sentence. I’m so glad that I have my soulmate by my side now and my life could not have been better. For me, life has taken a complete 180 degree turn and words like love, trust, faith, care, pamper, appreciation, affection , adulation, respect and fair has become meaningful.

From time to time I turn on to Aditya for advice, suggestions and to tell him how my new life is shaping up. He is happy for me and we catch up every once in a while whenever I’m in Delhi. He too is glad that I have found my peace and that his advice and efforts to reinstate my dignity has paid off. We may have grown up and lead our own individual lives making mature decisions and being good human beings but in our hearts we still remain the teens the way we were, in school !

I’m so glad that I met Aditya again after so many years and that life has completed a full circle since we were in middle school. Aditya helps me in soul-searching and like always has answers to all the things that I throw at him. Though sometimes the answers are silly , nonetheless it teaches me to take life less seriously at times.

He has been a thorough gentleman, a dear friend and wonderful human being.

Here’s to fun, friendship, school-times and gratitude!

 Aditya at Barbeque @ Parag's April 2013 ( Palo Alto)

Barbeque @ Parag’s
April 2013 ( Palo Alto)

***I start this gratitude challenge following an inspiration by a fellow blogger Day-9 / week 1 – 52 Weeks of Gratitude | Me and My Random Thoughts by Bikram.

The City I Live In – Week 6

Sunnyvale (Silicon Valley, California)

Though its been only a month that I have arrived here nonetheless I can still do a decent job of writing about my city. This area is known across the world as Silicon Valley. The hub of high technology companies : Silicon Valley is a name given to the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay area of (Northern California’s) Santa Clara Valley. The cities that come under Silicon Valley are Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Hose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale etc and dozens of other cities sprawled across in this valley. The Fortune 1000 companies which have their Headquarters are the likes of Google, eBay, Cisco,Apple Inc, Intel, Netflix, Oracle Inc, Symantec etc.

Source:Internet

Source:Internet

Silicon Valley is the hub for high-tech innovation and development, accounting for one-third of all of the Venture Capital investment in the United States. Stanford University and its  graduates have played a major role in the development of this area.

The population residing in Sunnyvale is of mixed origin, mostly Asian (Indian, Chinese, Japanese etc) It also had Hispanic, Mexican and white people but the percentage as compared to Asians is much lesser. Sunnyvale is in a bit inland of bay area hence its less windy and chilly and as the name suggests ,it has lots of sunshine even in the winter months, which anyways the entire California can boast of always! But a trip to San Francisco , Monterrey, Santa Cruz or any beach side city would put you all wrapped up in layers and Jackets even in the afternoons!

Source:Internet

Source:Internet

There are lots of good restaurants catering to the diverse population of Sunnyvale and that’s a boon for its residents!

Sunnyvale has consistently ranked as one of the safest ten cities in the United States according to the FBI’s crime reports. From 1966 to at least 2004, Sunnyvale never placed below fifth in safety rankings among U.S. cities in its population class.In 2009, Sunnyvale was ranked 7th in U.S. by Forbes Magazine in an analysis of America’s safest cities.(Wikipedia).

Source:Internet

Source:Internet

During my last one month stay, I saw only one Police Officer on his bike. I have not seen any Police cars, Highway Patrol or random police in the downtown of Sunnyvale and this undoubtedly is the best feature of the city.

As of now, I’m enjoying the beauty , weather, food and safety of this wonderful city. Seems to be one of the best that California has and feels like next one year its going to be all the more fun and exploration as our baby joins us soon in Sunnyvale!

Also Sunnyvale will be always special to me for our baby will be born here in a couple of weeks 🙂

Source:Internet

Source:Internet

***I start this gratitude challenge following an inspiration by a fellow blogger Day-9 / week 1 – 52 Weeks of Gratitude | Me and My Random Thoughts by Bikram.

Ringing in 2015

Sunset by the lake Shot- A & R

Sunset by the lake
Shot- A & R

Its already late to write on this topic nonetheless…better late than never!

The new year eve which coincides with my birthday is usually spent dancing,shopping and ends with a dinner of my choice. Of course then a cake cutting session in the middle of the night! This was happening since last 3 years, thanks  to my sweetheart and this year I wanted it to be a quiet evening. Because I was expecting , I wanted less noise, less people around and a quiet dinner. So we decided , we shall go camp in our favorite hotel a previous day, spend the evening there and ring in my birthday and the new year from the quiet room overlooking the lake of the city.

With 2 bags , we drove into the hotel and took a room at 10th floor. Down from the window, the preparations for the New Year Eve’s party on the dance floor was on full swing. I just wanted to relax on the sofa and listen to some soothing music and watch the sun go down the lake. The year had been pretty hectic with lots of good things coming in. There were a few incidents which caused a bit of heartaches too. Nonetheless, I wanted to decompress and unwind and create a still better beginning for the coming year. Dinner was sumptuous -Palak Paneer, tandoori chicken and Rotis with a green salad and Ani disappeared from the room to hunt for a birthday cake! We went down and had a look at the hotel bakery. It was sensible to buy the cake from the hotel then driving down to another bakery through maddening traffic of people getting out to celebrate new year’s eve. The traffic was bumper-to-bumper , the parks were crowded, the hotels were brimming with people….my goodness, India is exploding with people!

I convinced Ani to get just a chocolate pastry as cake would have become too much for two of us.

The ceremonial cake was cut at the stroke of 12 midnight, as the people down the dance floor started hugging each other and the hotel sky was lit up with a string of firecrackers!  Three years of togetherness and much of bliss and peace. Next day was spent quietly lazying and taking stroll along the pool.2nd of January saw me doing some shopping for husband, baby and some essential items for the trip to US. And by evening we were at our home sweet home.

Im glad this new year was quiet with lot of time for introspection and retrospection. There should be days in our life when one can sit back , relax , do nothing, feel the life go by, moment by moment and just live in the moment. Life is short and we have lot of aspirations.If we do not sit back once in a while,we will not realize and life will zoom past us.

This one is for everyone to take a break from routine, if its on the birthday, its all the more great!

Chocolicious... Shot-  A & R

Chocolicious…
Shot- A & R

Quality Or Quantity

Last Autumn leaves - California, Jan 2015  Shot by A & R

Last Autumn leaves – California, Jan 2015 Shot by A & R

What’s the point in mindless chatter if you cannot prove your point? It’s akin to mindless blogs we write just to be able to prove ourselves ( and others too) that we have been writing everyday!

People who are intelligent , serious minded and are thoughtful, prefer to remain silent in more occasions than not. I wasn’t a chatterbox ever and considered myself to be more towards the silent types of species. I realized later in my life that there were people even more serious and quieter than me! Of course I aint saying I’m intelligent…I’m probably an average mind with an average IQ.

So why would people choose to remain silent even when there’s scandalizing things being said or stupidest matters are being discussed? Simply because they do not want to waste their energy on mindless chatter and would rather conserve their energies for more meaningful purposes. I understand it so much better now….guess it comes with age and experience!

Coming back to the actual topic that I want to write about. I remain a novice as far as blogging is concerned but I know for sure that I should be be penning down my thoughts only when I have something very concrete,useful and substantial to say. I should also use precise words , complete sentences and that by the end of the blog, the reader should clearly get I wanted to say and take back something from my post or my experience. Okay, sometimes I do write a personal experience and vent out my emotions but I make sure there is still a take away for the reader. After all, I’m writing more for someone to read than for anything else.

I do not believe in writing mindless blabber leading to nothing, just to put a check on a daily blogging schedule. It’s better to write a short poem or just put some creative self-taken shots rather than writing such stuff. So there are days that I might write two- three posts and sometimes weeks may pass and I may not feel anything strong to write about. Sometimes it happens that I’m busy enjoying my present that I instinctively realize that at that point in time, absolutely nothing is more important than experiencing and soaking up those moments of life. Everything else takes a back seat then.

I’m sure its perfectly alright to miss a few days catching up with life and to take a break from writing every once in a while without feeling guilty about it !

Cheers for meaningful posts and poetry. And for even more meaningful pictures!

Can you !

Can you !

Something Someone Gave You- Week 5

Time is a Gift - by Ani

Gift of Time – by Ani

Giving is always a bliss. Receiving is a pleasure too. Long time back my brother told me to never go by the price of your gift. Gifts are bought for you with some thought, money and energy and that is what should be appreciated. I have always valued the gifts I have received and have treasured them all.

Friends , parents, colleagues always give you gifts with or without occasions. My sweet hubby has been showering me with gifts since we met and some of them are totally invaluable. The most precious would have to be the gift of my life that my parents gave to me. I would certainly thank them for having decided to get married and have me as their first born ! For its’ because of them that I’m able to see this beautiful world , live and love it in all senses.

One that I would never forget is a hand made birthday card my kids gave me when they were very young. It was for “The World’s Best Mom” with lots of scribbles and colors inside! I treasure that and keep it close to my heart always!

Gift of Love

Gift of Love

***I start this gratitude challenge following an inspiration by a fellow blogger Day-9 / week 1 – 52 Weeks of Gratitude | Me and My Random Thoughts by Bikram.

Something So strong

Lost...

Lost… Shot- A & R

Circa 2002 :I was teaching in a school and life had not been treating me good at personal front. The only thing good was that I had a job and my work place was 5 minutes drive away.I was managing 2 kids at home, a job and a broken sou,l after 10 years of marriage.

Amid st all the chaos that was happening in my life, one fine day a girl joined the school as my colleague. A beautiful, pretty young thing in her mid 20’s had a dimpled smile and a cheerful attitude. I liked the style she carried herself with. During initial conversations she told that she is a Hotel Management Grad and had married a doctor. And because he didn’t want her to be in hotel business anymore , she had joined this school. Ouch…that was pretty harsh. Leaving a prosperous career in Taj midway and doing something else just because your man does not fancy it. Well , it was a love marriage and I assumed that’s how they do it when in love. They respect each other’s wishes and life becomes easy.

It took several months before Payal and I would become friends.Once the ice was broken,we would go for evening walks in the nearby DDA park. I would ride my scooter to her place,pick her up and then enjoy the walk in the evenings. Sometimes we would go t the nearby cafe and treat ourselves with some lovely pastries! The friendship grew and there would be days when she would spend a night or two with me when her husband was working night shifts. Then there would be times when I would drop in at her place with my kids and she would make some lovely tea and snacks for us. Payal became a solace in my otherwise wrecked up life. No, I didn’t share any of my agonies with her during that time. She would not be able to comprehend and I would be too embarrassed to tell her my woes more so because her life was perfect and I didn’t want to cast any shadow on it.

After 2 years, Payal moved to London, it seems her husband had passed the examination to do his MD at London. She went away and gave me lots of her stuff which she could not take to London.She did visit me once in the school about 2 years later and told she had a 2 year old daughter and had conceived again. She got me some gifts  and went back to London…that’s about it. There was no contact with her thereafter.

Payal was gone and I was all by myself again. The pain and agony taking over my life again. Even though I didn’t share any of it with her, her mere presence in my life was soothing and I would forget about my problems. A couple of years later we were transferred to farthest corner of India. Life was pretty laid back there and I again managed to fulfill one of my dreams here- working for an MNC. As I immersed myself in my new found identity, I lost contact with Payal. There were no chances that I could have her number or she could have mine. Much later when we met again, she would tell me, her initial years in London were struggling.

Two years later we had shifted places again and this time it was in central India. I do not remember how much I missed her as I touched another crucial milestone of my life- working for a Telecom Giant where I would eventually work for next 7 years. Her thoughts kept coming to my mind every once in a while and I would talk about her to my current colleagues.I had kept her memories alive in my mind and heart as I knew it would be almost impossible to get in touch with her again.

Life was a struggle. I had been making up my mind these years. To be strong, without real friends and with 2 kids to take care of at home. Again, work brought in some respite.

One fine evening , on the way back from work, as I got down from my scooter and walk towards a shop to buy something, a man came in front of me and looked at me, I stopped and he said ,”Rinku ??” Oh my god, it was Payal’s husband and what on earth he was doing in this city? He was supposed to be in London! I asked him,”where is Payal….?” He pointed to the car and there she was! We hugged and were surprised at the way we had met in a new city. She told me her Parent-in-laws stayed there and she came there to visit them. That week went off like crazy. She visited me with her kids and husband and then I visited her in-laws place. It was so wonderful to have got in touch with her all over again.  We had missed so many years in between since she left for London but this chance meeting made up for it. We exchanged numbers and emails and promised not to lose contact again. We also had each other’s dad’s contact number in case we lose contact again.

Two years later, I was back in Delhi, the place where we first met 7 years before. We kept in touch via mails and if we could not then we would call each other’s dads and get back in touch.

Year 2012, I had made up my mind and had recently filed for divorce and had moved out.One evening , I got a call from Payal saying that her husband had divorced her a couple of months back and she needed my help. I pulled myself out of my struggles and told her to stay strong and that I too was going through the same. From that day , we kept in regular touch and supported each other emotionally. A year later, I had sorted out my divorce and was in US vacationing. During these 6 months in US, I could call her everyday and the bond between us got even more stronger. We both were recuperating from  divorces. We had different issues in our marriages but something seemed to be similar- the pain. Sharing each other’s pain and then trying to lift each other’s spirit in this hardest times of our lives brought us even more closer.

If I think of how we met a decade before and how we tried to stay connected to each other in different continents and how we have maintained and loved each other …..it seems amazing. When we met the first time in school staff-room , none of us thought we would become best friends forever-BFF’s….that’s what they call it right!

Ironically Payal and I share a similar life but to be each other’s rock has been a beautiful thing to happen to us!

So here’s looking forward to some more amazing times including growing old together.

Cheers to friendship!

Way back Home

Way back Home

No Time to Waste

25

Life is too short to regret and hold grudges against people who have not been fair to you.Or blame the circumstances you have been in ever since.You are invariably the choices that you make. The key is to learn the lesson, pick yourself up and get going!

The story of my life is not an enchanting one nonetheless it makes me realize that I’m solely responsible for my happiness.

At the age of 20, fresh out of college I was married off to a guy who was 10 years older than me. For a long time, I struggled hard to know him. Sometime during those initial years I knew, this is not my place.

For every moment of those long years, I had a nagging, burning, agonizing feeling that he would never be the right one for me. Despite his honesty, he seemed to play games with my heart, handled his finances very poorly and, amidst all, was very insecure despite having lots of confidence for himself. I could never understand him. But I understood that his family had never prepared him for LIFE and MARRIAGE, and the poor decisions he had made as a younger man had him caught in a muddy hole, one he just couldn’t seem to dig himself out of.

As the years went by, he could give me less and less of what I needed. Two kids  arrived during these years,things became better for me but nasty between us. I was a terrible nag, and I can feel that now. There were too many things about him that I would nag him about. And I began to realize that I could never change him and shouldn’t have to. What ate away at me day and night, was getting away from my kids because I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without them. And being alone horrified me.

The time when I was comprehending walking out on him, I started making more friends and spending time with them so that it would be easier to handle the stress of a broken marriage later on and beat the loneliness.During this enduring time I read the book “The Secret” which is about the law of attraction. It inspired me and made me pick myself up from the trash that I was in. I realized that, I had not arranged my life in a way that allowed for all the things I desired. I also realized that I had to decide what I wanted in my future and start taking active steps towards attracting that future. I knew that life would be only be about constriction and battle if I do not break away from this marriage which was doomed from the first day.

The silver lining was ,I had already met my soul-mate during these struggling years. Just that we had not realized the purpose (in the larger context) of our chance meeting.I moved out and rented one small bedroom apartment for myself. The initial few weeks were heart wrenching without kids. I would not cook, eat ,sleep or do anything. I walked around like a zombie ,even to my office! Nothing would make up for the kids’ smile and their presence around me all these years. Ani , helped me as much as he could by keeping in contact and was by my side all the while. During these hard times, I realized, Ani was in my life for something much more than that.

My fate was destined to be with Ani long before we actually met.

Most love stories begin in very unpredictable ways. Every single moment leading up to the one in which you meet your soul-mate prepares you for that person you were fated for. Previous heartbreaks or sleepless nights can be essential in the grand plan of things—sometimes we need to know what something feels like when it’s wrong before we can ever really know it when another thing is RIGHT.

I remember , when I first saw Ani, I was charmed by his bright smile and vibrant eyes. Three years down the line, I’m in love with his smile and eyes even more! For him, it took a longer time,but we are at the same frequency now!

If I would not have had the courage to walk out , I would have never known this happiness. the happiness of being with the soul-mate, the support of the spouse, the freedom of spirit and the honest, pure and unconditional love!

Life is too short to be unhappy and to blame others for the choices we make. Get up and make decisions. Pull someone out of the rut. Foresee and attract your future. Its all in your hands.

Lets know the importance of each day and each moment that we are blessed with and make the most of it!

Cheers!

Togetherness Shot: A & R

Togetherness
Shot: A & R

Treasure

Nature Shot- A&R

Nature Shot- A & R

What’s my treasure….all of it is not material that’s for sure! In fact apart from some of my most prized stockings and lingerie, nothing material holds my treasure!

Yes, once upon a time, when I was lonely, emotionally bankrupt and had an insecure heart, I used to put emphasis on clothes, crockery, jeweler y and other such non-precious things.Living in a cold house with a selfish person made me hoard things. It used to be anything…I just used to blow my whole salary on good nothings and get pleasure out of it. Pleasure that would just disappear in following couple of days to abuse.

Copenhagen Bakery ( Burlingame) Shot: A& R

Copenhagen Bakery (Burlingame) Shot: A & R

Treasure in my terms is a genuine person, some lovely places that I have visited and in sometimes an item! Treasure is a day/night out with kids, Ani, family or a dear friend! Treasure is that chocolate shake in Mocha after a hearty meal. That meal which didn’t need to be planned as it was just a stone’s throw away from Maiden’s where we stayed for almost a year at Civil Lines. Treasure is, Ani making sure that all my wishes are met….the same day that I ask for them! It is the hugs and butterfly kisses I receive when I keep quiet instead of arguing with him! Treasure is the dimpled smile he unknowingly gives when he reads messages from his friends and also when he opens his beer can!

20130724_151900

Brownie Shot: A & R

Treasure is dad giving away some cash to me while I leave his house. Treasure is his pets all over the house who give him love and affection unconditionally. It is that talk I  have with my kids everyday and the points they prove, now that they have one always! Treasure is my help at home , who does not utter a word while working and does her job to a perfect T.

DSC07949

Hiking @ San Bruno Shot : A& R

Treasure is the look of the valley when you reach the top after that long and tiring trek. It is playing with a child, making him happy by doing what he likes. It is opening the Facebook page and knowing that all my childhood and current friends are in touch with me sharing their joys and sorrows each day. Treasure is that evening walk by the park or the lakeside with Ani discussing mundane things!

Evening  walks with Ani Shot : A&R

Evening walks with Ani
Shot : A&R

Treasure is the everyday moments which keeps me happy and peaceful and those moments which have gone by, which remind me that I have done my bit for others. Treasure is the dreams and hopes of tomorrow. Treasure is the positive energy Ani supplies me on an everyday basis.

My treasure is my independence to do anything that I wish to. What is yours!

Photography Shot: A&R

Photography
Shot: A&R

Pillow Talks

Pillow Talk - By A & R

Pillow Talk
By-A& R

Pillow Talk according to Wikipedia-

“Is the relaxed, intimate conversation that often occurs between partners after making love usually accompanied by cuddling, caresses, and other physical intimacy. It is associated with honesty, bonding and is basically non-sexual in nature.The content of pillow talk typically includes the stories and confessions, expressions of affection and appreciation and playful humor.”

Pillow talk, more broadly may also refer to conversations between parties that have an other than sexual relationship like a mother daughter duo meeting after a long gap, childhood friends meeting after years, cousins having a sleep-over weekend or just between friends after a long day before they roll off to a deep slumber!

“Pillow talk is conventionally seen as an opportunity for spies to obtain secret information from the enemy agent. Christine Keeler is said to have used this approach in the Cold War-era.”

Its a pleasant talk we have before the slumber.It eases your mind , shows you how close are you to the other person and also how much you have to catch up on memories or current happenings in each other’s lives.Pillow talk with hubby is something very special. Its that cozy moment of the day that brings you closer without even realizing it. It may not necessarily occur after a love making session! Sometimes , its just the relaxed minds of the two individuals, when they have accomplished something that they were eagerly waiting for during that day or from several days. Nonetheless, its that pleasant time of the night when you have the abundant time to chat and there is no hurry to catch sleep. The two people open up because they are happy and relaxed in each other’s company. Its the best time to ask awkward questions and also the questions which need elaborate explanation.Over years now, lovers have been doing this conversation without the pillows over the cell phones! They make each other comfortable, spend time and talk everything under the sun- during their routine night phone calls! Undoubtedly this is Pillow Talk before they actually get to do it in literal sense!

Here’s to pleasant times with friends, cousins, mothers, siblings and partners!

Cheers!

Love Cushion By - A& R

Love Cushion
By – A & R

Movie Review- Interstellar

 

Interstellar

Interstellar

First things first…When you see this 3 hour long movie you realize what trash is being made in India and that Hollywood is light years ahead of us ! Though personally not fond of Sci-Fi movies, I went to see the usual Mathew McConaughey bringing a character to life and of course his lovable demeanor! It turned out to be an exhilarating experience.

The story is based in future where Mathew is a qualified NASA pilot but has taken up farming because the earth needs to produce more crops to feed people rather than engineers. He is chosen to travel to another galaxy in search of a sustainable planet through a wormhole near Saturn. The mission, till the end is not a very successful one, barring the crew’s experiences with extra-dimensional times of the other galaxies and other related lesser known facts about gravity. Mathew is forced to be left alone in the open universe only to be rescued by his daughter’s/ NASA successive mission, which she did by receiving data from her father through multidimensional times that he was experiencing in the other galaxy. The father-daughter duo meet after more than a 100 years have gone by on earth.While Mathew remains as young he was, when he left due to the relativity theory, his daughter is near the end of her life. Humans finally find a sustainable multidimensional-space near Saturn and are able to transfer and save people on earth.

My kids Naomi and Ocean quite appropriately briefed me to brush up my physics (Theory of Relativity and Dimensions) before hitting the theater and am glad that I sincerely followed their advice!

A Must-experience ride, about a thought-provoking and visually resplendent story with its perfect concepts of space and time.

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