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Halloween Special

 

Happy Halloween, Loves ❤

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Fall Madness

Back home, we have only 3 seasons – Summer, Monsoon(lovingly known as Rainy) and Winter. Fall/Autumn is something I have never seen. I am naturally excited about my first fall. Since we live in one of the northeast states, we will experience the wonderful colours of fall. Delaware, however, is the one of the lowest of the northeast states and Fall is taking her time coming here. Northern Vermont is past peak and the colours are just beginning to peek in Delaware.

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Birdeye view of Big Pocono State Park

Afraid that by the time fall peaks in Delaware, we would have moved northwards, where it would be past peak, I badgered the Husband into a ‘fall colours trip’. Since Vermont is just too far to drive down to, we settled on Litchfield Hills in New England, and going as far as The Berkshires, Mass. if we have the time. We  ended up doing a scenic drive to the Big Pocono State Park in Central PA.

At the Poconos we saw Fall in all her glory. The colours were so striking. Red,yellow, orange, green and even purple…I have never anything like this!! On weekends, a cable car runs through the park, letting you experience the foliage in a whole new way. We went on a Friday. How sad!

We drove down to Lake Pocono to take in the  autumn splendor reflected on water. Lake Pocono turned out to be private property and trespassing is prohibited. There was a board which said so at the entry. There was also another one  which said ‘Turn Here’. Not willing to give up we drove across to Lake Naomi. The foliage on our side of the lake was still green, but on the opposite side, and on the island in between, was Fall putting on a little show.

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Tandoor Palace Indian Restaurant

If you are visiting the Poconos, I suggest you plan for lunch at the Tandoor Palace Indian Restaurant. Every dish on the buffet, from the starters to the desserts was highly satisfactory. (I won’t use meeting or exceeding expectations because that would depend on how high your expectations are, and frankly MY expectations from *desi restaurants outside of des is very low. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure someone else’s expectations of say Mexican food outside Mexico may be just as poor.)

By the time we got home, we knew the day had been well spent. Our bellies were full and our eyes were saturated with the splendor of fall.

* desi – Indian; des- India

** Scroll over photos

Integration

I was strangely happy to see a tiny Diwali corner at Macy’s today. A small step for Macy’s. A huge leap for Indian immigrants. 

Somebody even set off firecrackers inside the store today. When I heard them go off, I assumed a rack or display got knocked over. Only when I smelt the gunpowder did I realize what had happened. 

 

Sachin!!

There are two people everyone who lives in or comes to Bombay hopes to meet or atleast get a glimpse of – Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar. My father once seriously considered becoming a member of a certain club in Bandra East, airily telling us how nice it would be to occasionally go there for Sunday Brunch. When I pointed out that we would have to go all the way to Bandra East, besides we don’t even go out for Sunday brunches that often. He sheepishly admitted, ” Sachin is a member. We might see him there.”Sachin has announced his retirement. Now we might really have to take that  club membership to see him.

I did get a chance to meet him once. In 2011, the Cricket World Cup was being hosted by India. The final match, India v/s Sri Lanka was to be held in Mumbai. Both the teams were put up at the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers. Those days I was working for the Taj at their corporate office in Colaba. The whole place was buzzing with how Sachin would be there. Silloo and I were determined to see him, so we asked a friend at the hotel to let us know as soon as he is spotted. The day passed in wicked anticipation. We kept calling to remind and we assured each time that the teams were not yet here. When the teams finally got there, much to our disappointment, all the entries were blocked, including the employees backdoor. When we finally managed to get in we met a few of the players, including the Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara, but Sachin was no where in sight.

Later, a couple of friends from office were going to the hotel for a meeting. We requested them to let us know if Sachin was seen anywhere. Just as we were getting ready to leave office, I get a message, Sachin is in the lobby. The two of us raced to the lobby, only to find it empty. A well played rank, but we’ll see who gets the last laugh. We hung around the lobby. Checked out the poolside. Waled around the reception and elevator bank. We would keep seeing one player or the other, but no Sachin. We split to cover more ground,all the while hoping not to draw any attention to ourselves. Had the Manager gotten even a whiff of our behavior, not only would we have been thrown out, we would also have been severely reprimanded for stalking guests. Suddenly Silloo comes up behind me and pulls me urgently,” Come, they are all at the elevator banks.” We made it in time to see a the doors close on a few of the team. The doorkeeper smiles kindly and asks,*” Sachin ko dekha?”  ” Nahi! gaya kya?” ” Abhi aayega” Sure enough, in a few minutes, Sachin walks up  and enters the elevator. We saw SACHIN TENDULKAR.

We waited till we saw everyone from the team, and then Silloo pointed out that we were very rude. We should have wished them luck for the match. Since Dhoni took the stairs, we took them too, hoping to find the team. We found them just as they were going in for a team meet. We shook each players hand and wished them luck. I think Nehra had injured his hand, and Silloo asked him if he would be playing the next day. He were sweetly replied, ” I can’t tell you that today.”. We even posed for a picture with Sachin. The picture got fudged, but the memories remain. I saw Sachin. I stood next to him. I spoke to him. I shook his hand.

Mami got hold of some tickets at the very last minute and I got to go for the match the next day. The first time I went for a cricket match in a stadium, hoping to see the Master Blaster in action, he had injured his thumb and was not playing. In the world cup too, he got out pretty early. I was sorely disappointed, but Dhoni more than made up for it. We won the World Cup, and I was there to witness it!!! That, however is another story.

Silloo and I, along with a couple of other staff waited outside the meeting room, peering in, till we were politely asked to move so that they could shut the door and proceed.

* “Did you see Sachin?” ” No! Has he gone?” ” He will come now.”

For Freedom and Liberty, Ring!Ring!!Ring!!!

ImagePhiladelphia’s most photographed tourist attraction is probable the Liberty Bell. The bell has long been a symbol for liberties gained and liberties denied.

The first time we were supposed to view it was as a part of our East Coast tour with the in-laws. Sadly, due to some gaps in communication with the tour group, we missed it. The next time the Husband and I went, the viewing hours were over. We did get a peek though the glass though. Third time we were lucky. We made it into the Liberty Bell Center. The line to see the Liberty bell snakes all the way around the center. As with most US attractions that have long queues, there are pictures, facts, trivia and memorabilia along the way. Please note, touching the bell is prohibited. I wasn’t aware, and leaned in and touched it. The guard there promptly and politely shook his head.

ImageA  2.1 scale replica of the bell was cast as Bicentennial gift from the American Legion. This bell is placed opposite the Union Station in Washington.

Board-games and Cakes

If you love art, Philly is the place for you. The city has plenty of open to public art installations. Starting at the airport, it’s there’s a visual surprise at every turn. The crochet cakes by Melissa Maddonni Haims are the funnest bit of art I’ve come across. Whether you are dashing across the airport to make it to your flight, or simply waiting at the terminal for your flight to be announced, these cakes are bound to turn heads.ImageNext door to the popular Love Fountain, is ‘Your Move’.  This installation  scatters super-sized board game pieces all across the Municipal Services Building plaza. Although you cannot move the pieces around, it is still fun to pose with them. Image