April 26, 2005

Places, with a pinch of color, a touch of sound, a dab of feelings!

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I doubt this will be much of a travelogue, hardly a meticululously maintained chronicle, call it a potpourri of places, colors, sights, sounds and me in its midst! Some memories fade as time passes, some become clearer as if we find details to associate with it, imagined or otherwise. I do not know which category this reminiscence falls my impulse to capture the pleasantness associated with my trip, I tend to overlook exactness but I try not to sidestep it completely!

Bitsians...we are like honey bees swarming around a hive, while we may wander to fulfil our daily duties, we always return to the hive, Bits will always be our home away from home. A few such Bitsians decided we would get together, spend greater than a grand ( I say it lightly now, was shocked to see my bills) to visit a few places around the United States and give ourselves a well-deserved break from the monotony of our lives and our strained relationships! What follows is an anecdotal description of our visit to the places below.

Tucson, Arizona - B's apartment.
C & I arrived really tired and in a grumpy mood after 3 stops in a red-eye flight. The only highlight of the flight was a bouquet of flowers that I carried with me, a small token of affection from a thoughtful someone, who is happily married now :)

"Hey enna, bouquet ellam kondu vandu kalakkara?", B ventured.
C, my trusty Brutus, piped up "Machan, you wouldn't believe what a KMH I was da!".
KMH, Bitsian slang for Kabab Me Haddi - I think you can take it from here :)
I wearily looked around for a flower vase, found a pretty sad looking one half-filled with questionable brown liquid...
"Umm, thats our water jug but if you really want...", B continued.
Graduate students all over are just the same...I smiled, promptly set my flowers in the jug and settled down to some more banter.

A few days later, after we had exhausted stories that we had to exchange, stories originating from a year's stay in US, (spiced up, Indian style), we set out to Grand Canyon..

Let me share something with you. Grand Canyon may be the most romantic, awe-inspiring, kissed-by-nature-herself place in the world, but its not a place you want to visit in December. I remember staring speechless at the vast expanse of rock formations that greeted me, waiting for it to transport me to another place and time, it did, but I was brought back pretty nastily by a strong ripple of pain shooting through my feet. They were frozen. No amount of wobbling about like a clumsy hen and jogging about in the snow (much to the amusement of the few tourists there, whoever said running would keep you warm?) would make my feet happy. My friends were in no better shape. As a result, we had to take frequent thawing breaks in the car to warm ourselves before stopping at every tourist spot in the canyon. We also managed to skid and hit the car in front of us...on the positive side, I took some pretty good snaps.

DisneyLand, LA equals plethora of children, colors, madisar sarees, shrieks and laughter! Having woken up, exactly as not planned at 11 AM, we were lost when handed a huge map of the place, with about a million must-see theme parks! We managed to cover quite a few and I even let myself be convinced to ride one of those monstrous rides that fell straight down into a pool of water. Not anymore!

Long Beach, near LA - turned out to be really long, in terms of our drive to reach what we finally assumed was Long Beach. We drove on for ages and since C had just learnt to drive the car, every time he would start driving in the left most lane and would somehow switch lanes automatically because he felt safer driving in the right most lane! The problem here was that, as he drove courageously in the right most, slowest lane, he would with equal smugness, take the exit touching the right most lane, every time! We ended up driving along a most circuitous route, taking every exit that was ever there. Once we took an exit like that, our next stop was always the nearest gas station, to decide the shortest way to get on course! We managed to reach a stretch of sand that we called Long Beach.
That was not all there was to it, the better half of the day had been spent by the girls (I stand guilty too) shopping! We decided that we would look "out of place" in jeans and sweater on a beach and firmly concluded that we needed matching pairs of shorts so that we could fit in with the "beach" crowd. Four hours and three pairs of shorts in hefty shopping bags later, we set out to the hotel and another couple of hours and we were all set to drive to Long Beach. We eventually did end up looking "out of place" because Long Beach was very very cold in the night and the people on the beach (who were leaving as we arrived) were in full pants, sweaters and scarves! We sheepishly grinned at the camera, teeth chattering in cold unison and said goodbye to "our" Long Beach.

We proceed to San Diego from LA and I remember being terrified of driving for the first time on a seven lane road in the night! I lasted forty five minutes before settling down comfortably in the role of a navigator. All I remember from San Diego is water and whales! Shamu and his son, playful and friendly killer-whales (its hard to believe they are whales and not dolphins)...I still feel fresh water drenching us (we sat in the first few rows at Sea World as soon as we saw the warning that said we will be splashed by the friendly whales if we sat there).

...the rest of the trip is a blur, talking through the night about Bits, past crushes, movie night outs, oasis (our cultural festival), our lives then and now...happy memories, just below the surface, ready to brim up when I beckon...for me, each memory is a feather holding our attention as it floats lazily in swirling circles downwards before settling down gracefully; come a light breeze and its ready to fly again, taking us with it...


fieryblaster said...

Happy to find one more serious blogger. That was a well written one.

SatheeshR said...

for me, each memory is a feather holding our attention as it floats lazily in swirling circles downwards before settling down gracefully; come a light breeze and its ready to fly again, taking us with it...

(Kamal(Raja) to Kamal(Madan) in MMKR)

shOkkaa sonna baa !
Ithelaam appidiyE varathu thaana !

RS, Superb writing.

Prabhu said...

road trips are one thing that i love when u meet with friends once in a while!
u know u will probably me driving more than the amount of time that u spend in each city. bcos seeing the city is just another thing, its the fun in the cars thats more exciting :)

RS said...

To fieryblaster: thanks.

To Satheesh: You put a smile on my face :)

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