smittenbyu: (Sketch)
We are back in the US. All numb, exhausted and sick. Yes, still sick. The last leg of the virus is still roaming around us. I haven't wished anyone happy new year except the doctor we took D to in Bangalore on Jan. 1! 

The journey was super long and the worst ever. We boarded the plane fine. D was ultra excited! She got tired of waiting to leave for the airport, at 9pm. We dropped off sis and she happily said bye and wondered where the airport was. We reached the airport at 11pm and she showered N with kisses for finally bringing her there! She so patiently went through the lines for everything without a little fuss even! At check-in, we were asked to check-in the stroller. I argued that I needed it in Paris and every flight I have been on has allowed me to gate check it. Well, they let us go saying we need to check with ground crew, the flight was a full flight. 

D and I board the plane as there's one lady dealing with parents and their strollers. She tells us they are going to be delivered at the final destination. Angry parents respond. She clearly didn't know how to handle the situation. She was also asking people to check in their big (although the right carry-on size) carry-ons. "It's a full flight tonight!" Parents with kids past their bedtime don't want to be messed with. D & I boarded while N took care of the situation. 

We settled in and D couldn't wait to take off. The whole flight boarded and N was nowhere to be seen. Every spot on the overhead compartment was getting filled up and he had the luggage. I almost asked our flight attendant to check on him. He had our passports too. And there he appeared with a sling bag with items and no luggage. He was sharing how one other dad was very mad about this whole fiasco that the supervisors came in to handle the situation, only the general manager was able to explain that this particular airbus didn't allow the space needed for strollers and other light cargo that other newer planes do. He tried to talk to the Air France staff too and got that confirmation. That's all we were looking for. Some explanation instead of just a brush off and treating us as if it's some policy that we made up! 

Of course, no Air France experience is complete without them blaming Delta airlines for something. I think they are very upset to be working with them or something. 

Read more... )
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  • It seems my LJ friends are dropping off LJ one by one....  :( I myself have been losing the interest to post. Plus lack of easy access to computer doesn't help! How do you "meet" new LJ folks these days?
  • I have been hearing so many birth announcements around me. I myself look 6-7 months pregnant. But that's because I am eating all of D's leftovers, not doing any work/exercise and my body puts on weight around the tummy first! bleah... I'd rather be pregnant...or maybe not!
  • Bangalore stay has been a lot of fun! More family, more attention to D and so happy girl and happy mom!
  • Plus it means closer the day to N's arrival! Everyone's waiting in eager anticipation! D gets overjoyed seeing my sis come home (she lives elsewhere that's closer to her workplace and was coming home for the weekend)! So, we are anticipating her response to N's arrival! 
  • So many people to see, so little time!! You'd think 4 months would be enough to catch up!
  • I am glad the elections (in the US) are over!
  • I have bought a whole new wardrobe and this is no time to be putting on weight! yeeks...
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D was very upset today. Since yesterday evening. She wouldn't eat. She threw a fit so much more often. The last three days she has been surrounded with people, especially her aunt (my sis) - her best pal! She went home yesterday as this is a working week. D woke up to an empty house and she was just soooo upset!

This evening we went out for a walk. Just before we did she threw a big tantrum. She bawled and she cried inconsolably. She professed she was having tooth pain, which she has been saying whenever she throws a tantrum and wants to "save face"! This time I ignored the peace offering and let her cry while I held her.

And then she changed to crying for her dad. She wanted to go home to see dad (N). That broke me and went to comforting her. We made it out of the house and she asked me in Telugu, "we go see new friends?" with such hope and desire!

She is such a people person. She is shy around them but she needs people around her all the time. She is so very happy to be with people. She is always ready to meet new "friends"! I feel for her as only in the evenings do we get to meet the neighbourhood's kids.

Yesterday, two of my uncles and aunts had come over. One cousin and her 6 year old daughter also joined. D spent the whole morning with her and happily fought her nap time (1.5 hours) to be with her. When I went to just watch them play she physically pushed me out of the area and screamed at me to go away. She didn't need my supervision apparently.

I didn't think this form of rejection came so early! I thought I had till teenage years for that to happen. sigh.

Planning to go see some friends over the week in the evenings and that should keep her engaged enough! Weekends are filling up with family and friends!

And countdown has begun to N's arrival!
smittenbyu: (relaxed)
The thought of being in India for 4 months seemed like a long trip. Yet, as I sit here writing about it, it felt like it was too short and was sometime in the distant past. Over the course of time, we traveled (occasionally all three of us and other times two of us) over 6,000KM (4,000MI).

So, to this story of our journey, there are 4 parts to the story:

Part I: FIL surgery & recovery
Part II: Time with in-laws
Part III: Home in Bangalore
Part IV: Reunion with N and the last leg

Our travel route:

route map

The rest of the story is cut for friends. If you are interested ask and you will be added.  
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We have another week or so here in Mumbai. The trip to Hyderabad was great!! Will share once we are back home and I get time!!

We are back with in-laws in Mumbai and are enjoying the last week here! Yesterday evening we all went to a nice cultural program that was celebrating National Anthem's 100 years, etc. D was running down the aisles happily most of the time. And being in India noone minded. after some time she sat on the seat next to us, quietly. One of the speakers was an Army Colonel. His was projected loudly through the auditorium and then D decided she wanted to talk, just like the Colonel. She babbled and copied his tone of voice and volume!! It was hilarious until those sitting next to us started turning around. Some laughed, some looked. So, out she went!

This week we will be busy making lots of social visits since we didn't get the chance during the last visit! Our last week of the year should be fun-filled and then it's back to freezing America. brrrrr.... 

Hope everyone is doing well! I really hope to catch up with all soon! 

at home...

Oct. 31st, 2011 02:45 pm
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I am now in Bangalore with my parents and sis. There is so much to share but so little time to put it all down! But before coming here, D and I celebrated Diwali with my in-laws in Mumbai! It was a lot of fun!
Happy Diwali!


I flew to Bangalore with D alone, and with a walking toddler it sure was a big challenge! I decided to bring the stroller over and boy was all that a handful! I had two small bags, stroller, ergo carrier to handle alongside a toddler who can spot kids a mile away. Surprisingly not one single passenger or staff helped at the Mumbai airport. I thought Diwali would bring out joy in people. No such thing. Since I was flying budget airline, we had to take a bus and climb up steps to get on the plane. And I had to lug all the items onto the bus and to the aircraft (A crew member did help me put the stroller on the bus). I had to get all of it down. A bit cumbersome. But I carry what I can handle. So, it was not really a big deal. Just a bit surprised!

Bangalore airport, on the other hand, gets an A++ for their assistance. I didn't have to lift a finger or a piece of luggage and neither did I have to haggle nor give any money for the help!

We have had a series of visitors since our arrival here and D is having a blast! Today is our first day quiet at home! So, Diwali went wonderful! Spent the first day there and second half and third day here!  
smittenbyu: (distraught)
oh hubby and I are exhausted. Moreso I than him, when it comes to D. She has turned into a terror as evening comes! She shouts, gets mad, kicks and bites if she doesn't get her way. I keep thinking it's teething, sleep disturbance, etc. But really... is it really that? I hope so, because it means it will pass.

i have to say though this past week I haven't spent this much one-on-one time with her since she was a few months old!! She wakes up at 3am and I have to keep her company so she won't go waking up other people in the room next door! As FIL is in the hospital, MIL & N running about, MIL's mom tries to help but she is nearing 90 years old. So, the day time is also spent with D and her.

I can't wait for FIL to come home on Monday! And I can't wait for hubby to get some teething medicine - homeopathic. We found that Caimilia (spelling?) is mostly to calm a crying baby when you don't know what's wrong (this is what's recommended in the US). There's another combination that's more teething specific. Apparently there's also a medicine that's supposed to help make the teeth come up faster. But I am not going there. I just want something for her to cope with the pain as her hand is permanently sitting in her mouth and the canines are yet to make an appearance!!

I wish the rains stop long enough so we can go out a bit. But then again Mumbai is not really a baby friendly place and I will have to carry her everywhere and keep shouting "no" when she will want to crawl everywhere and touch everything! sigh... maybe this is why Indians are in such a rush to see their babies walking! That's the first question we get here! :S

And this is just the beginning. phew...,.

(but she is so darned cute!!!)
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On the second day we were there, we rented a car and driver, and the uncle we stayed with gave us a list of places we should see during the day. We were thinking to head out to Ellora Caves first, but somehow last minute the list reversed and we ended up at the caves last. In hindsight, it might have been good thing because we would have spent the whole day there and not see anything else, but yet wish we had gotten to the caves earlier.

Anyhow our first stop was Panchakki. From under the banyan tree:
PICT0173

Read more... )

to be continued...
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31st January - 3rd February 2009

Mumbai Aurangabad Mumbai

I reached Mumbai mid afternoon with FIL waiting at the airport to pick me up. That evening we headed out after dinner to catch the train to Aurangabad. I left like 10pm (I think) and reached at 4am! The train ride was normal. Or so I thought. Oh one thing I forgot to mention in the trains post. I was petrified of sleeping on the upper (middle & topmost births). The first time we went I held on to the side railing the whole night!! The second ride, it was a bit better and by the third trip I could sleep through the whole night. So it was on this trip; I took the topmost birth to sleep on. At maybe 2:30 or 3:00am I heard some passengers get on the train and get settled in. It didn't really wake me up but yeah. Just overheard. When the alarm went off at 3:45am, I was up. I just peeped down to see if my in-laws who were in the bottom and middle birth were up and then I got a shock of my life. Every square inch of the train floor was covered by people sleeping! This was completely new experience for me and also a rare occurrence that my in-laws have seen only a few times. We were after all in a reserved compartment (meaning a compartment that required reservations to be in). And then we noticed that every square inch even down the corridor was covered! So we quickly packed up, MIL woke the people up. and we struggled to get down to the exit of the compartment. We were so politely informed by young men crowding the exit that the train was behind schedule by nearly 45 minutes and so we needn't wake them up!

And as the station came up, it seemed like the whole train got off! Strange...

The uncle who we were staying with came by to pick us up and we saw the city before the town was up and about. We took a quick nap and then got going on our trip to Ajanta caves. oh yeah, FIL was quite sick with severe sore throat and lot of phlegm. We nearly canceled but he insisted we go. He got his medicines and so we carried on.

For Ajanta Caves we took the Tourism Board organised tour. The tour was a whopping Rs. 300 per person and came with a guide! Of course, the entrance fee was extra. But this was a far better deal than renting a car, etc. And so we were off...

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Read more... )

Trains...

Mar. 2nd, 2009 12:55 pm
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in Mumbai...

DSC_0664
I somehow managed to get off that train!


I thought NY subway can get packed and crazy..until I stepped afoot the local Mumbai train. Mumbai local train (subway equivalent, just above ground) tracks are not as extensive as NYC's, but carry about the same number of passengers in a day...inside, above, and on the side.

N got me to take the local trains several times during our stay. The first time was on a Sunday and it was relatively quiet and empty. That was it. The next few times were not during the rush hours but they did get filled at times. Ladies get their own compartments and I tell you it's worse; they push, shove and trample over each other without a care if you are with a child or old or young. It was quite scary and maddening really. And what's weirder is that this madness occurs only at the moment of getting on and getting off the train. As we would prepare to get off, it seems like we were preparing for some battle! Once people are on the train, they are the best of friends and the most helpful. just wow. and then you can do your shopping for many knickknacks while you are riding the train, be it hair clips, snacks, earrings. Locals play on this so much and make it all so charming but I just couldn't get over the whole madness that ensues boarding and disembarking the trains. My apologies if I just don't understand.

There were moments that were fun and some moments that I absolutely abhorred the city. It also reminded me of how romanticized the city back in 2007; I wanted to get back online and take it all back! I think I was just glazed over then cause I was meeting N for the first time then! Riding the trains made me such an ugly side of people in the city. ughh....But the trains are a lifeline of the city and get so many people around.
Read more... )
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24 December - 25 December 2008

Bangalore Madanapalle Puttaparthi

My in-laws joined us in Bangalore on Christmas day traveling by train from Mumbai. MIL's aunt who lives in Puttaparthi found out about it and insisted that they drop by at her place before heading down to Bangalore. The train stops at Puttaparthi on the way. N and I decided that we also join them there to spend some time with grand-aunt, whom I had met at my wedding and was so in love with! So the plan was for the two of us to head there on the 24th and spend the night with her. Parents-in-law would get off the train at 5am and spend time with grand-aunt till about 8ish when we would get a rental car to take us back to Bangalore.

So, N thought since we will have the day on the road, if we could take the chance to see something on the way. We thought of Nandi Hill, etc. and finally dad gave the idea of seeing an uncle and family in dad's hometown of Madanapalle. Uncle has always made the effort to come and see us wherever we or any family member is. No one takes the effort to go see him and his family (most of his siblings are now in once city. so mentality is that it's easier for them to come!). So, we decided to go see them in Madanapalle and then reach Puttaparthi in the late afternoon/evening.

We rented a car. The driver, Appaji, came nearly an hour late in the morning claiming a flat tire!! Oh how recklessly he drove!! We had so many near misses! We even saw at least three serious accidents in a span of three hour journey and he would comment how sad it was, etc. But didn't seem to learn much from that whole experience. sigh.

On the way we stopped at a truck stop with a tire shop to get the flat tire fixed.

DSC_0025

That hole in front is the "oven" to set the rubber. Very creative!

Read more... )
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13 - 24 December 2008

Mumbai Bangalore

We took an overnight train 1,003km (668mi) south to Bangalore to be with my parents!! The day couldn't come sooner! I was so excited to be home. I was home at last.

Aunt P & I took N to Chikkapete, the heart of Bangalore. This area is where you can buy anything you can imagine in wholesale. I discovered this area when I went shopping for sarees, and got wedding invitations done. There is one whole street that is dedicated to the art of wedding cards and printing!! Narrow streets run around in a big maze. I liked the area a lot! And we had good fun. All following photos were taken by my hubby.

Because the streets can get very narrow, we had dad's driver drop us off at Majestic bustand and took an auto into the area.

DSC_0093 DSC_0131

picture heavy )

Nasik

Feb. 18th, 2009 06:51 pm
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7 December 2008

Mumbai Pune Nasik Mumbai

After our trip to Pune, MIL headed back to Mumbai and the two of us headed north to another town called Nasik by train. Nasik is another town in Maharashtra. It's the town where Indian money is printed, where they say Lord Rama his wife Sita and brother Laxman spent their 14 years of exile in the epic Ramayana. It's also where N's good friend from college resides. Another college friend also joined us for the night from Mumbai with family and all. We really had a fabulous time. We went to a park close to their home which was really awesome! It had a huge playground with slides, swings, monkey bars, for at least a hundred kids to play at one time! A huge open-air theater with synchronized water fountains and what not and a huge garden. After that we headed to taste Maharashtra's favorite food - vada pav, pani puri, bhel puri, sev puri, etc. yum.

DSC_0578

The following morning we headed out to Trimbukeshwar. We went on a Monday, which is the big day to worship the Lord Shiva. So, the lines were long, and people's behavior would only drive away any God that resides in the temple. No, I didn't like it one bit. All the pushing and the shoving didn't do anything for the spiritual experience one hopes for when going to a temple. But on the way we had some fresh cut pineapple, which helped bear with the heat!

Read more... )
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I am back home in the US! Arrived yesterday evening after a long but pleasant enough journey! The weather is absolutely beautiful! Wonder what all the fuss about the cold weather was. It's a balmy 60F (18C)! This week the weather seems to be wavering around that and I couldn't be happier!! :) 

Hubby is cooking up lunch and am unpacking the many goodies. Body is feeling all out of whack. Starting to feel a bit sleepy and it's only 12:30pm. hmmm...
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The President of India has been following me around India... really. She came to Mumbai after the attacks. She came to Pune as well, the weekend we were there. She followed us to Hyderabad just the day after we left. She followed us to Chennai when we were there and she will be here in Bangalore this weekend just down the road from us. In fact, I even have invitation to go see her inaugurate a hospital. But alas, I will be a tourist at the Ajantha/Ellora Caves. too bad... Guess it wasn't meant for our paths to actually run into each other; just following each other! 

My stay in Bangalore of this trip has come to an end. I bid farewell to sis yesterday and couldn't stop crying. I have begun counting down time till I am back with my husband. But it also is so bittersweet that I need to say bye to family! sigh.

This morning I spent it going through the albums. I wanted to scan a few but there were so many that I got overwhelmed! I did scan a few to take. But am sure once I am back in DC, I will wish I scanned that other photo!
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  • We went to watch Changeling at Garuda Mall the other night. We caught the 10pm show. My sister whispered to me just as the movie was about to begin that even if it's a Hollywood production, there will be an intermission in the middle of the movie. I just stared at her blankly and then lost myself in the movie. In the begining I felt that Jolie's acting was a bit forced but as it went along I "enjoyed" the movie. It's not a fun movie that you laugh over but it was a great movie! As we exited the mall well past midnight, there was a line of autodrivers greeting us at the exit! What a service! 10 drivers to 2 young ladies - a blessing for them (as perception is women don't haggle as much). We just announced our destination. One driver came forward and said ok.
We of course asked a stupid question, "will you go by the meter?". Instant reply in kannada, "no madam. Will take Rs. 200." (Our meter reading from home to the theater was Rs.60). Sis, said she will give double whatever the meter reads (although, technically they are supposed to take only 1.5 times.

His response was classic and we couldn't stop laughing for his honesty, "I could take you round and round in circles and bring up the reading to the amount I am asking, madam."

In the midst of our laughter, sis gave the price of Rs.120.  He asked for Rs. 150. We refused. Then he asked exactly where in the area we are going to. We shared. He looked exasperated and thought that was further away than the place he thought we were going. Again we really couldn't stop laughing. Why? The auto fellow felt 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) was far enough for him to charge Rs.80 extra (I think it's supposed to be Rs. 7 per additional kilometer or something - during regular hours). Anyway, he said only if we give Rs. 130. We said, fine and headed our way. At least he entertained us!
  •  Since for N and I this is our first trip back after marriage, we met a lot of people we met briefly at the wedding and also many who couldn't make it to the wedding. So, again we were showered with gifts. I really didn't need to go shopping for clothes! Luckily they gifted items that I liked very much! Just being after the tailor was a challenge enough!
  • Restaurant service is painfully slow here! The staff are usually friendly and wonderful. It's their speed that baffles me beyond my comprehension. Often I feel as if they have gone down to some hillside to collect the purest water to bring it for me. 
Even if the menu has only 5 choices, they give you enough time to decide that you have forgotten if you are there for breakfast or lunch!

Their generosity is boundless and is so commendable. They never want to bring you the bill. Silly us, too honest folks keep reminding them for the bill. I mean they give us at least half hour grace time to make our exit without paying, but we are stubborn honest customers who just won't leave without paying. Oh and when the bill comes we still need to beg them to take the money!!

And then there are times you feel that you should get the tip for services rendered.

 
  • You say Queue, I say Line. But the idea is the same. The idea usually is that one person is served at one given time, most preferably on first-come-first-served basis at a single counter. Really, it's that simple. Crowding right behind the person being served is not going to speed up the process anyone bit.
Jumping queue because you feel my problem is silly is not your right to determine. Our constitution claims we are all equal.

And don't make faces when an elbow jabs you, oh was it mine?, unintentionally of course. It just means you are too close for my comfort and I need the space to access my purse - which really would help to finish what I am there for and for you to get your turn next. India is a big country - we have space. I am not asking for 5 feet of space but even a foot of space will be much appreciated.
 
  • Sis and I went out for dinner Saturday night. We went to a nice lounge. We were there late night. Sis warned me that at 11.30pm prompt a policeman will come to close down the place. Usually the owner will give him some money and send him on his way so no trouble is caused. I really had to see this. I had read about this when it was first implemented two years ago (? I am not sure). It's a Bangalore thing - to curb drinking and driving, and other immoral activities, or something to that effect. Luckily for us, we were right by the door. But sure enough I missed that whole scene. Sis tried to point it out to me without making it too obvious but I didn't get it. So, yes, most established places close down. We even noticed that they had turned off the front area lights (the restaurant was upstairs).
And as we went down the stairs, there was a police jeep and the policemen were making their rounds. Whatever started off as a scheme to curb whatever they wanted to curb turned into a great income boon to the policemen, who come on time for a change!

Dancing is not allowed really. Some places put them up. The bouncer usually keeps an eye out for the cop car and when it comes, everyone inside takes a seat. It sounds so much like a parent-state, with police parenting!

I found it amusing and laughed until I watched on the news what happened in Mangalore pub. It's really disgusting to do what they are doing under the name of God. In this case it was not the police. The police would usually make their arrests, make some money and go on with their lives. Here, it's just disgusting. Really these people have nothing better to do! We were molested in the name of God  
 
But I would live in Bangalore, compared to Mumbai and Hyderabad. I just wish that it get some good public transport. I like the city. You have people from all over the globe, you have cultural shows, it's a buzzing city that rushes when it needs to and relaxes as well. I just like the "speed" of the city. I can feel/hear the Mumbaikers snickering at the mention of speed and Bangalore! ;) 
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6 December 2008

Every night the performance went on till late night. First night we left at 10.30pm. The second and third night we just couldn't get up off our seats. We were fully taken in and were there till 11pm at least!

Pune Day3

The first row is the bharatnatyam performance with Karnatic music. The second row is Nritya Ganga performed with Hindustani music. Spot the difference (in the band)! :)

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4-7 December 2008

While Mumbai was in chaos and fear, we headed out to Pune, as our tickets were already booked. MIL had tickets for the three of us to celebrate a well-known Bharatnatyam performer's 60th birthday - Dr. Sucheta Chapekar. It was a mesmerising 3 days. The first day had performances by her disciples; second day by other well-known performers in other Indian classical dances (Kathak, Mohini Attam, Manipuri, bharatnatyam) and third day was by the birthday girl herself!

Four of us: in-laws, N and I headed to Pune by train. It was 4 hours by train (small black squiggly line on the map) around 220km southeast of Mumbai. During the day we visited a few friends and family we both have there in Pune. FIL returned to Mumbai that first day evening itself and the three of us started our attendance at the festival. During the day of the second and third day, we spent it with family/friends in the city and evenings we were at the festival.



I will leave the critique to the more experienced and share a bunch of pics. All pics were taken by my hubby and so no individual pics are shown - just a collage of pics.

I really enjoyed the Mohini Attam by Deepthi Bhalla (in white saree). It moved me so much! And then to see CV Chandrashekhar perform was just wow. I don't think words could describe the art that was seen. It's an experience to live by! Pictures of Sucheta Chapekar will come next.

60th Birthday Dr. Sucheta Chapekar

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