The Siblings

It was on the treadmill a few days ago that I found the quiet time to ponder the Christmas vacation that had just passed.  It was a song by Paul McCartney that was playing in the background that seemed to help build up my mood.  My siblings and I seem to have a good thing going, and it was was a silly love song that brought emphasis to the way I was feeling.

The three of us arrived in the US in the 1980s as graduate students.198687Over time, we began to develop our roots in the country. We started having families.  We have been meeting each other during Christmas time ever since we got here, starting to do this more regularly in the 1990s.   At first, it was not something that was considered particularly important, but it did become a part of our lives, and by the turn of the century, it was already a ongoing tradition.   It takes something very significant, some event with higher priority, for us to miss such a gathering these days.  And even if one of us cannot be there, the others make it a point to get together.  And along the way, over the years, the group that started out as the basic unit of three has grown in its size, with families, extensions of the family, and children – many, many children!  And the bond between us has grown stronger as we keep the tradition going.

Those of us who were young at one time have now progressed into middle age, and a smaller subset of us are already well into the process of passing the ownership of the charge into the future on to others – those who have grown into their own.  Youngsters have grown up and developed their own personalities, and their sense of being, all the time feeling the love from the extended family.   And then there are the younger ones who are still in the process of coming into their own, showing the promise, and that sense of caring.  They are following in the track of their older cousins.  The future is in their hands.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe, the siblings, for some reason or the other, remain an essential element in this slowly expanding group.  It is a place we occupy joyfully.  And I celebrate every moment of it because I am not sure how long this will continue.

We are not very good at coming to a decision about where we will meet any particular year.  Very often, things happen hurriedly at the last minute, but it does happen.   People are able to come to a consensus quickly once the process gets going, and further plans for these trips are in the works pretty soon after that.   There is really no agenda that any particular person wishes to push hard.  So things have been going smoothly thus far.  And love is in the air as people once again reconnect, spend time with each other, and renew their bonds.  Other than a couple of birthdays, and the Christmas celebration, there is nothing significant planned during these trips these days.   But even those few events we celebrate together take on additional significance every year.

Very often, we tend to gather on the seashore.  We can go to the beach, or chill out by the pool, or read a book, or play cards, or listen to music, or go for a walk or a run, or take pictures of the sunrise or sunset.  We can have time to ourselves, or organically congregate into little groups that wander off for walks and catch-up time.  Any time of day is good for some of these activities.  It is all mellow!  Someone or the other seems to step up to take care of the needs.  Cooking dinners is what seems to require the most planning these days, but there may already be a new tradition underway in this regard.

At this time in my life, I am content to push back and watch the action, and the love and fellowship that is shared when we gather in our little corner of the world at the end of the year, where ever that may be.  I do not have to worry, and I just am.

It would take a lot for me to miss this one of these events these days.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the Cold

We were supposed to do the Feaster Five run on Thanksgiving day, but the temperature turned out to be in the teens (in degrees Fahrenheit), and with the wind it felt like -3 degrees F.  We ended up staying indoors, not even daring to try out the shortened course that the organizers had set up because of the weather.

But one can stay indoors for only so long.  We also had to burn off the calories that were consumed during the Thanksgiving meal.  So, we were out the next day.  The temperature had risen to a balmy 20 degrees, still well below the freezing temperature.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe went to the Weir Hill Reservation.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of us ran, while the others walked.  We did two loops, each slightly less than two and half miles, around the park.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe survived!

The Wedding Reception

We were very thankful for all the people who came even if the weather did not cooperate.  They survived a very warm and muggy evening.

The food was fresh and tasty, and those who participated in the dancing had a great time.  There were conversations going on all over the room.  The trivia session grabbed the attention of at least a small number of people in the crowd.  The bride and the groom made sure to meet as many of the guests as they could.  It was wonderful to see everybody even if one did not get to spend time with folks, lost as I was in the chaos of my mind.

 

Jesus was Here

It was the morning after the wedding.  Some of us were still on east coast time.  I woke up very early (but not early enough to see one of my siblings off to the airport, it seems).  Daylight was breaking and I could hear the sounds of the birds outside the window of our cabin at the Fern River Resort.  The rest of the folks seemed to be safely asleep in their cabins.  They were probably recovering from the festivities of the previous night.  It was a quiet time.

The resort lay among tall redwood trees,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAon a hillside overlooking a point where a little stream met the San Lorenzo river down below us.  (The name of the resort seems to be a misnomer.  Perhaps the little stream used to be called the Fern River, but I could not find any confirmation of this anywhere.) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sun had not risen high enough to break through the hills, the tall redwoods, and the early morning clouds.  P5120158.jpgI decided to enjoy my moment of quiet down by the river side.

I crossed over the rocks and little sand dunes beside the river (probably a part of of the river bed itself when the waters were high) and arrived at a little open stretch of land beside the water itself.  It was quite narrow at this point, and the river was possibly crossable on foot if the water had not been flowing swiftly. P5120165.jpgUpstream, just behind an overhang of leaves, I noticed a family of mergansers. They had been floating downstream and had abruptly stopped in the water, having sighted me in the open space on the river bank.  They seemed to be considering their options to proceed downstream.  I had my camera in hand.

All of a sudden, they were moving downstream, effortlessly.  They had simply moved into a position to be caught by the swift current, to let it take them forward.  I pulled up my camera to take pictures, but I was unsuccessful because of the speed and the light.   They floated by, with mamma and papa duck leading the way, and the little one trailing behind, trying to keep pace.  The moment passed by quickly and I stayed by the riverside for a few more minutes to simply absorb the soothing sounds of its flow.   What a peaceful and glorious morning.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am so happy to have met some of young people who were present at the wedding.  We will certainly not forget the ones who went out of their way to quietly serve the people and help make the event happen. Remarkable human beings, and good examples for all of us to follow!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was this other time when we were talking about how we were planning to get to church in the nearby town of Felton for Sunday services, and they offered up their car keys without hesitation, and without even being asked.  Their minds had jumped one step ahead to how they could help us in any way. It is not as if we even knew them well.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More Impressions of Chennai

Including the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, where I grew up.

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Letting sleeping dogs lie
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A banyan Tree in IIT
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Chital deer in IIT
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Monkeys at the IIT stadium
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The Besant Nagar beach scene
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At a roadside shrine in the evening
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On St. Thomas Mount
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Passing Central Station
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Front of Kapaleswara Temple
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Vendor of flowers in front of the temple
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Early morning at the entrance to the Phoenix Market Center