Archive | August, 2010

Some Serious Moves!!

24 Aug

I have been wanting to capture this for so long now and could not help sharing. Jiya is grooving to ‘Uff Teri Ada’. In her words – ‘Uff Telli abba’.

Thought Provoking

18 Aug

A friend and I attended a lecture last week. Its been so long since I used the word ‘lecture’ and actually attended one. It was called – “Marriage After Children – In Pursuit of Marital Sanity”. The person giving the lecture was a 72 year old lady and I was totally amazed by her enthusiasm and more by her perfectly manicured hands.

She talked about the importance of “Active Listening” in a marriage and how it can effect our day to day life. She told us an incident where one time she lost her cat and was worrying and recanting in front of her family and friends. And most of the people in the room came to her and consoled, “Dont worry. Things will be all right”. A few days passed without any news of the cat. Finally it was clear that the cat was gone. That day she felt like going to each and every one of those people who had assured her that things would be all right and demand an answer from every single one of them. Moral of the story – Dont give assurances if you dont know whether they’ll come true or not.

It was a simple story but very thought provoking, at least for me. How many times do we utter the words, “Dont worry” to someone? Do we even realize how the other person is feeling about our assurance? We just get carried away in showing our sympathy failing sometimes to really “listen” to what the other person is trying to say and what he or she wants to hear.

A few weeks back, IHM(who writes an awesome blog) wrote about her teenage daughter being very sick and in the hospital and needing a miracle to survive. Hundreds of readers assured her that things would be all right and there was nothing to worry. I know that all of them meant the best but how can one give an assurance when one doesnt know the complete situation. A few days later her daughter passed away and I could not help reflect that maybe we should stop and think for a second before uttering the words, “Everything will be okay” so unknowingly. Its not the same as dropping a “Sorry” or a “Thank You”.

“Milk”y Ways

9 Aug

Finishing that one cup of milk each morning becomes an hour long ordeal on some days. Jiya manages to come up with all kinds of expressions and explanations as excuses.

Mamma, I am sleepy
I want strawberry
I want to sit on the sofa
I want to go potty
Mamma, I love you

Initially, this would frustrate me no end but hey, I am learning too. I have now mastered the art of not giving in to any kind of look that may come my way! Beti Numbari Toh Maa Das Numbari!!!

Along the way, I’ve also realized that until the d@#$ milk is done, there is a subtle hint of guilt in all those expressions and it vanishes the moment the last drop has been consumed. Like a heavy weight has been lifted off her chest and she is free. This according to her is a medal worthy moment and I totally agree. The finish line has been crossed and the marathon is over. And not just that, it is time to broadcast this mean achievement to all present. Even make a few phone calls while you are at it.

One such call with nani(my mom, Jiya calls her aai) went like this
aai: How are you jiya?
jiya: I am fine, aai
Aai: did you finish your milk?
jiya: (no answer and a guilty silence) (This was one occasion when it wasnt finished yet)
aai: I’ll call you back, once you’ve finished it
jiya: BAD GIRL, AAI. TIMEOUT!!!

One Hell of a Canyon and One Hell of a Hike!!

2 Aug

This is actually a post from my old blog. In fact, this is my first post, ever. I am posting it again here along with pictures from that trip that were missing earlier.

Grand Canyon – Sept 4th 2005

3:30 am
I woke up with a jolt as the alarm rang and realized that today was the day I was going down the Grand Canyon. For a second, I thought that I must have been completely insane to have undertaken the challenge! Even now, I dont have to do this, I thought, as I remembered those crazy web-sites that completely psyched me out by overdoses of warnings about how people have gotten lost and even died in an attempt to hike down to the Colorado river and back up in one day. But then, I just wanted to prove them wrong!
4:15 am
Raghu and I left the hotel at 4:15 a.m. after eating our dinner left-overs for breakfast. We then drove to the Bright Angel lodge, parked our car and waited at the shuttle bus stop. The hiker express picks up hikers from the Bright Angel Lodge at 5:00 am. and deposits them to the South Kaibab trailhead. This was ideal for us, as we were hiking down the South Kaibab trail and up the Bright Angel trail. There were a lot of hikers on the bus, some of them first-timers like us and some veterans.

At the start – just after sunrise

5:30 am
Finally the hour had arrived that we had been waiting for and we started the descent. It was still a good 15 min before sunrise and the canyon did not look inviting. But our spirits were high and down and down and down we went. The trail was pretty well-defined but only wide enough for one person to walk at a time. Then I saw the first warning – ‘Do not attempt to hike to the river and back in one day…..blah. blah….You can even die’. And our determination to prove them wrong peaked every time we saw those signs. We stopped to watch the sunrise and it was indeed beautiful. The trail took us round and round and down and down and surrounded by canyon on all sides. It was hiker’s nightmare and a photographer’s dream come true.

Check the winding and unending South Kaibab trail

8:00 am
It was funny that at this hour, we would normally be in bed and today we were half way down the canyon. We were eager to get our first view of the river and there it was – seemed so near yet so far! There was no water on the trail but we found an emergency phone tucked away in the canyon walls. It was amazing how technology had reached deepest wilderness!

Check the emergency phone!!

When you are walking the canyon, you are a pedestrian and there are pedestrian traffic rules to be followed, especially mule-rules. When you cross a pack of mules, you wait on the inside and let the mule walk by you on the outside. We had to display our new found knowledge, a couple of times. I found it intriguing, how well-mannered and disciplined the mules were, inspite of walking so many miles with heavy loads on their backs.

Pack of mules

We finally crossed the black bridge and reached the river-bed at 9:30 am. The Phantom Ranch is nestled in the heart of the canyon and appeared to be in a world of its own. The only technology contact it had with the human world was an emergency phone a few miles back. We had our modest lunch (1 banana, 1 apple, 1 snack bar) with our feet in the river and started on our way back at about 11 am.

Phantom Ranch frontyard

11:30 am
We took the Bright Angel trail on our way up as it was less steeper than the South Kaibab trail. A signboard near the river had suggested that one should soak their clothes in water to stay cool in the hot sun. It was almost noon and we started feeling the hot sun on us and soaking our clothes helped us stay cool and preserve body fluids. The sun felt hotter and hotter as we climbed up and to add to the misery, the backpacks also started putting on weight. We were now taking more rest stops to soak our clothes and replenish body fluids. We reached the mid-way spot, Indian Garden, after about 3 hours. After a nice rest, we started again and to our surprise the trail became very very flat and we felt that something was wrong. Luckily, we had trail maps and soon realized that we had taken a detour to a lookout point and had to walk back 2 miles to return all the way to Indian Garden to get back on track.

Intimidating canyon on the way up

3:20 am – 4.5 miles to go
The next milestone was the 3-mile rest house, which took awfully long to appear. The last 3 miles were never ending and we felt like stopping at every corner. Luckily for us, the sun had disappeared behind clouds so we did not need much fluids. We had to tackle only the physical exhaustion and the glucose tablets we swallowed gave us some extra boost to reach the next milestone, the 1.5 mile rest house. The adventure was slowly becoming an ordeal and the last mile seemed impossible but as soon as we caught sight of the building at the top, our spirits soared and we knew that we had done it!! We were at the top in 15 min and took a moment to look back at the feat we had accomplished.

Looking back at the canyon

We had hiked to the Colorado river and back in one day – 12 hours. The feeling was exhilarating and without a word we walked to our car………