Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rain, Nice & Driving

View of I-30 after a slow start has eased up
The drive felt never ending. Of course, it would be so, I was after all doing 10mph on a 70mph road. The maximum speed I reached today the entire route was close to 55mph. It was slow and boring. Mind kept wandering in and out of past, present and future, I was emoting to the songs on the radio or better still sang along with a few to stay away and focused. The darkness of the morning and the pounding rain took me back to the drive from Nice to somewhere just past Monaco.

It was still dark but the alarms were blaring. We had woken up to beating rain. The sky was lit brightly by the intermittent lightning and thunder roared all around us. For a few minutes I wondered if my decision to leave early towards Roma was a very good one. We climbed down three flights of stairs as the elevator had been turned off in the apartment (saving energy, the French way) and got soaking wet while loading into the car. 6 wet adults and 3 barely awake kids started out driving in the winding roads of Nice heading towards Roma. Brother-in-Law was driving and I was navigating. Within ten minutes the car was silent and it was just the two of us awake. The rain seemed relentless and the darkness did not leave us until it was close to 10 in the morning.

When the clouds parted, we were already in Italy getting out of one of the many tunnels. Mountains on one side and blue ocean on the other. Villages crowding up as if they wanted to all be in that one little valley. Tunnel after tunnel and valley after valley we drove through many villages until there were no more mountains but flat Tuscan land. The drive is etched in my memory as one of the most beautiful routes I have ever taken.

The drive was divided in to parts. Parts where we enjoyed the beauty and the parts where we wanted to get out of the misery of driving on boring flat empty land. The part where we had amazing coffee and the part where we were trying really hard to find a place to eat. In the end, it is always worth it. Apparently, everything is.

Like today, when I made it into work after an hour and forty-five minutes of driving, it was worth it. The darkness still has not left us and neither has the rain but the snow has started to drift by gently now 60 miles away at my home. Winter in Dallas, I love every bit of you. You are temperamental, you are 70 degrees on one day and 17 the next, you can snow and also do the rain but you do ice the best. You constantly keep us on our toes wondering what your next step is making every winter fresh and leaving lots of new memories to hold on to.

Cold, Tired and Wet from Rain 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gems Vs M&M's

I laid them in a neat row. Sometimes they were organized by color and sometimes in a pattern. I would eat them by color or by pattern depending on my mood. And when they were all done, I would wait for the break to go pick some more up from the vending machine. That is how my relationship with M&M started.

I had to sit through 3-4 hour long classes late in the evening during my masters. Tummy would start growling around 7 pm just as I entered the class. My lunch would have been hours before consisting of fries or chicken nuggets. Never enough. I would save a side seat in the class just to organize my M&M’s. The class was essentially talking and understanding architecture through interaction and debate. At the half time break I would head out to pick up one more packet and a coke and finish up the class before heading back home in the cold.

I can only remember classes at Kansas State in the cold, I never took classes through summer. Before winter really ended our Spring session would come to an end and I never walked to a class in warmth. This was my life for two years, go to school in the morning for doing TA work, spend the noon finishing up reading and assignments and end the day in class discussing and arguing over different topics that always started in architecture but ended everywhere else.

Today, as I sat working late through deadline I stole a pack of M&M’s from a colleague and intuitively organized them on a clean piece of paper. Suddenly, the memories came pouring back from thirteen plus years ago. The funniest train of thought started with me feeling sad that the packet I was ripping was not gems. It was a weird thought, surely, I have not eaten Gems since I was a little girl and yet tonight, I would have been happier eating Gems than M&M’s.  And that is how, my brain train took me to my class room in Kansas State. As the evening turned into night outside, I melted out of my office and was sitting at my chair in Seaton Hall, and snapped out of it as an email came screaming by announcing more work.

An M&M’d ART.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pongal Poi Pongal Vandhadhu

Time flies...I cannot believe that I am standing in 2015 and பொங்கல் (Pongal) is already here. I wish I was eating sugarcane and enjoying சக்கிரை பொங்கல் (sweet Pongal) in my house in Chennai. I wish I had burnt old stuff the day before and beat the drum before throwing it into the fire. I wish I had worn new clothes to celebrate the birth of new and good times and the month of தை (Thai). Oh! Well! Cannot have everything.

If there was nothing for me to wish for or miss then I would not have led a good life, so for that fun I have had and the fun to be had...I would like to wish everyone a very happy பொங்கல் (PONGAL).

And I realize that I have written three posts about Pongal in the past...think I love this festival a lot.

The one I wrote in 2007 was 5 days before I found out I was pregnant. The memories are so vivid and from then on there was a Babs element in all of them :)

Pongal Eating ART