Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all!

This…

New Hampshire - White Mountains

New Hampshire - White Mountains

…is why I couldn’t do a Ganesh Chaturthi post this year. And no modaks for the husband either!

We hiked around the White Mountains area of New Hampshire through the Labor Day weekend. Back home tired and sleepy late on Monday night, I was in no mood to make elaborate festival preparations. So I took the easiest way out and attended Ganpati celebrations at my friends’ place instead, all doubts and principles put aside for the moment. And I am glad we went, we had a great time, admiring the Ganpati decorations, singing aartis and enjoying the sumptuous traditional festive food. Only the husband is not satisfied yet and is pestering me to make modaks this weekend. Oh well, let me see about that! And a very happy Ganesh festival to all of you too!

Coming back to New Hampshire (how I wish I really could go back!), let me do my usual photo feature again. The pictures are beautiful plus I know you guys enjoy them so much more than my ramblings!

The view from the summit of Mount Willard, our first hike for the weekend!

The view from the summit of Mount Willard, our first hike for the weekend!

Halfway up Mt. Willard and tired already!

Halfway up Mt. Willard and tired already!

Light at last - We are there!

Light at last - We are there!

Ripley Falls - A short and sweet climb away!

Ripley Falls - A short and sweet climb away!

The view from Mount Washington - the tallest peak in the NorthEast.

The view from Mount Washington - the tallest peak in the NorthEast.

One of New Hampshire’s famed Covered Bridges…

One of New Hampshire’s famed Covered Bridges…

Relaxing by a stream…

Relaxing by a stream…

What better setting for an impromptu picnic lunch?

What better setting for an impromptu picnic lunch?

Tranquility!

Tranquility!

Advertisements

The Important Event Post!

So – for those of you who read Friday’s post and have been waiting with bated breath to clear up the Important Event mystery ever since (go on, say yes and humor me please), here comes the grand announcement to the tune of drum rolls and bandbaaja – the husband and I celebrated three years of married squabbles and bliss (yes, in that order!) this weekend. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it is a pretty big deal for us, so please to excuse the excessive buildup and suspense friends!

I wore a beautiful new peacock blue kurta on the occasion and looked very pretty, or so I was repeatedly told by you know who. (And of course that IS the most important part and HAD to be told first!) We took the afternoon train to New York City to celebrate our big day, in time for a romantic walk along the entire length of Brooklyn Bridge and back at sunset. (I kept expecting the husband to break into song and serenade me Shah Rukh Khan style on the bridge, but it was pretty crowded plus the husband is a notorious spoilsport in these matters, so…!)

A brief stop at Lexington Avenue for a lipsmackingly delicious desi meal later, we sat bang in the middle of Times Square for a while, soaking up the excitement and atmosphere of the City before heading back home to our sleepy little rural town at midnight.

So that was the highlight of my weekend folks. I really wish I could post some pictures of our day to make up for the disappointing end to the Important Event mystery, but editorial policy (read parents and the husband) strictly forbids them, I am told! 🙂

The Best Laid Plans…!

I was very excited about last weekend for some reason. Most weekends just come and go, it seems to me, but this one would be different, I decided. I wanted to Make The Most of our time this weekend and for that I needed A Plan, I realized!

So I took a few minutes off after lunch on Thursday afternoon for a Brainstorming Session with myself. This process calls for a free flow of thoughts, I had heard, so I proceeded to jot down whatever harebrained idea came into my mind. The next step was Evaluation And Analysis, where I had to basically sift through my ideas. Now this was easier said than done. I had no clue my mind was capable of such wild thoughts when given a free rein – we obviously could not go snow-mobiling on an August weekend, unless we made a weekend trip to Alaska of course.

Sadly, half my list was pared down at this stage. Never mind, that just made the next step, Setting My Priorities, so much easier, I consoled myself. So was vacuuming the house more important than finally catching the new movie the whole world and its granny had seen except for the husband and me? Surely not! (This decision was quite easy to make when I remembered the movie was three weeks old – the vacuuming had only been pending for two weeks now, you see.)

Finally, I had to plan for Stakeholder Involvement – it looked like it was time to involve the husband in my grand plan for our weekend. This was the most crucial part of my project, I knew, so some Risk Management was called for here. Perhaps I had been a tad hasty in my planning, ignoring the husband’s interests a bit too conspicuously? A short hike on Sunday evening should be a sufficiently attractive incentive to Engage My Stakeholder, I decided, and added the hike to my list.

So finally, the list I emailed to the husband looked something like this.

Chores List 😦

  • Friday evening – Drop the rent cheque
  • Friday evening – Groceries (Milk, cereal, potatoes blah blah blah)
  • Saturday afternoon – Return the library books
  • Saturday afternoon – Indian groceries (Idli/Dosa batter, mirchi blah blah blah)

Fun List 🙂

  • Friday evening – Romantic walk at a local Lake Park
  • Friday night – Watch Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
  • Saturday evening – Swim
  • Sunday afternoon – Stuff oneself to the point of bursting at the buffet lunch in the local Indian restaurant
  • Sunday afternoon – Mountain hike to burn up all the calories accumulated during the buffet lunch and hopefully some more

Monday morning, I came into the office, wondering, as usual, Where Did The Weekend Go? Somehow, and please don’t ask me how, we’d ended up doing all our chores except one, and ignoring all items in the fun list except for the buffet lunch and the mountain hike and the latter was a risk management afterthought in the first place, remember?

Sure, we did do a lot of other fun things instead – I lazed around in bed on Saturday and discovered the televised adaptation of my favorite book series on youtube, then I tried my hand at gardening on Sunday, planting some new plants and pampering and admiring the old ones, and we saw my first Hollywood action movie on Saturday night. (Only one person enjoyed this last activity, I’m sure you can guess who!)

But that’s entirely besides the point. My Grand Plan for our weekend had proved completely useless! Next weekend, I plan to stick to my good old chores list. Some things in life just cannot be planned, I’ve realized!

Latest addition to my list of fun American pastimes

Drive-ins are supposedly a dying business in the United States, so I guess the husband and I were lucky to uncover one in the nearby town of Hyde Park (incidentally, the home of former President FDR). We were driving past the town on Friday evening when a huge open air screen in a pretty little park intrigued us and we just had to stop over and investigate.

“The show’s just started, you can still make it, seven dollars each!”, the attendant at the entrance welcomed us. On a whim, we decided to go in. It was twilight, and the twinkling headlights from cars scattered around the park looked like tiny fireflies beckoning us.

The atmosphere inside was young, vibrant and fun. Both families and groups of youngsters alike were in a mood to party outdoors. Most people were seated in their cars with their FM stereos on full volume (the audio for the movie was available on a particular FM channel), while some lounged about on lawn chairs outside and a lively group of teenagers danced to the title music, huge FM stereos in hand.

The movie we had so unsuspectingly walked into, ‘Get Smart‘, turned out to be a complete Bollywood masala potboiler masquerading as a sophisticated Hollywood spy movie. The plot was absurd and the buffoonery in the action sequences has to be seen to be (dis)believed. Some of Govinda’s or Rajnikant’s movies might be saner, I think. It wasn’t too bad for an action comedy though, we got a few good laughs out of it.

I was about to start moaning over our decision to pay fourteen bucks for such a movie, when I discovered, to the delight of my kanjoos desi heart, that the drive-in charged a one-time admission fee and let you stay and watch as many movies as you wished to! Make that doubly delighted, since we were about to (very reluctantly) drive away when we made this discovery. The next movie was one I had been dying to watch and no prizes for guessing we stayed back to watch it.

Sex and the City‘ turned out to be a fun girly movie. Fans of the television series are sure to love it. I thoroughly enjoyed myself but the husband claimed to be somewhat bored. I heard him chuckling more than a few times at some of the bawdier jokes though, so I am not sure how much I’ll believe him on that. But I’ll concede the movie seems a tad stretched, it might have worked better perhaps with about half an hour chopped off. And do make sure you watch it alone or with a close friend/partner if you are a prude like me. Some of the steamy scenes in it are simply unbelievable!

The husband and I had a great time overall, we enjoyed the cool breeze and complete privacy. (I’m sure the frazzled young couples in crowded Indian cities like Mumbai would love this concept!) Families seemed to be having a great time too. The kids were happy to run around and ignore the movie and the parents were equally happy to ignore the kids and enjoy a movie without worrying about irritated glances from fellow patrons for a change.

So would you like to visit a drive-in theatre? Just move back your seats, put up your feet, turn up the stereo and have a blast! And don’t forget the popcorn now!

Weekend snippets

An early morning start on Saturday, catching a glorious sunrise for the first time in many months and a short drive to the Delaware river for white water rafting with friends…

Getting drenched in the exciting river rapids with screams all around and water splashing fights and antakshari and lots of strenuous rowing during the calmer stretches of the river…

Basically, loads of fun during the day and aching limbs and iodex massages at night followed by a completely relaxed and lazy sojourn at home on Sunday…

All this and more made for a different but enjoyable weekend and an appropriate birthday celebration for the adventurous and slightly crazy husband of mine!

Biking the Delaware & Raritan Canal in NJ

I seem to be doing only travelogues these days! Kya karen, the husband and I are busy making the most of these glorious May weekends and it would be such a pity not to share my excitement with you guys, wouldn’t it?

So as you might have noticed from this post’s title, we (the husband, his friend and I) biked along the Delaware and Raritan Canal in New Jersey yesterday. I won’t bore you with a long winding write-up as usual. Instead, here’s the story in pictures!

Starting out...

Starting out!

Green all the way!

Green all the way!

Reflections

Lovely reflections…

Husband and Friend

The husband and his friend have forgotten I’m there of course!

Better company

That’s okay though – I had better company to keep myself amused!

A lakeside weekend break

We treated ourselves to a short but wonderful break last weekend, in the Lake Erie region of upstate New York. It was one of our nicest short and impromptu vacations ever! I wish I could do a nice long post on it, but life is pretty hectic right now and I would perhaps end up repeating a lot of what I’ve written here, so I’ll keep it short and do a quick recap instead.

A common note throughout our vacation was gorgeous scenery and lots of peace and calm and relaxation sprinkled with occasional bouts of activity and fun. Calm azure lake waters, blue skies, swans and ducks and geese and doves and many other little birds that I couldn’t possibly name chirping about, verdant green fields and farms with sheep and cows and horses and quaint little farmhouses dotting the country-side, brooks and streams waiting to surprise us across the bend in the road… I could go on and on about the beauty and charm of this place, but you get the picture, don’t you?

Friday night, we were at Lake Findley, a smallish but very pretty lake in the heart of Findley village and one of the numerous ‘inner lakes’ in the Great Lakes region of New York. We spent a relaxed evening strolling along its banks and exploring the countryside.

Dinner was at a pizzeria in a tiny neighboring village called Sherman, estimated population 700! With a dozen shops on Main Street, a couple of side streets lined with neat rows of houses, and huge working farms scattered all around the village, everyone knew everyone else in the restaurant we dined in – this was a fascinating side to America that I’d never seen before – an American ‘khede-gav’ (hamlet) so to speak.

We spent most of Saturday at the Preque Isle State Park on the banks of Lake Erie. A long walk and picnic lunch at a beautiful deserted beach, a ramble through some lovely nature trails with lots of colorful birds for company and some tandem bicycling fun towards the end made for a tiring but enjoyable day. We stopped by the nearby Lake Chautauqua, another beautiful ‘inner lake’, to take in more breathtaking vistas in the evening.

And to top it off, we ended our glorious vacation with a mostly enjoyable but occasionally scary horseback ride at a local farm on Sunday. The drive back home east was beautiful (a major chunk of which was along the picturesque Delaware river) if somewhat lonely, but I took advantage of the deserted interstate highway to try driving on a freeway for once.

All in all, I totally fell in love with the area as you might have gathered, and I would highly recommend it for a short weekend vacation during the off-peak season if

a) you live within a reasonable distance,
b) you are a nature lover,
c) you do not enjoy jostling with a hundred other people on your vacations and
d) you are looking for a nice place to relax and are NOT looking to cover ‘n’ points of attraction as part of your vacation!

Now if you are still reading and are still interested, here are some useful links to get you started. Enjoy!

Lake Findley
Preque Isle State Park
Lake Chautauqua
Double D.A.B. Riding Stables