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Love ,Light and the Colours of Fall

Love ,Light and the Colours of Fall

This Diwali we moved into our new apartment. After almost a week, or perhaps longer, of house hunting we finalized a house. Each apartment we saw had it’s own draw. Take the ‘masala’ apartments for instance – As son as we entered the building we were hit by a strong smell of Indian spices, leading to the Husband christening it the ‘masala building’. I’m sure, if we put in a little effort we stand a chance of being invited for chole-puri lunches on Sunday. At another apartment complex, the leasing office recommended that we take a walk along the back. We went around, and there it was, straight out of the movies, the riverfront, complete with private boats docked along a boardwalk. There was even a small beach a little further down. If we had had our cheque books with us at that moment, we would have gone straight back in and closed the deal. Luckily, we didn’t. It turned out the locality had a poor reputation.The final call was a tough one between an apartment located closer to the Husband’s workplace, in a high rise with a contemporary look and feel, overlooking a busy street and one in a bylane, with a balcony, with a tree right outside the balcony, in all it’s fall beauty.
No prizes for guessing which one we celebrated Diwali in.

Longwood Gardens

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hmmmnnnhmmnnnhmnnnhmnn

If you are around Philadelphia, the Longwood gardens is great place to spend the day. We went in summer. It was way past tulip season, but the roses and other flowers were still in bloom. Well marked, naturally shaded paths made walking around easy. The hot sun added to the charm of the fountains and water gardens. I am also impressed with the sustainability initiatives.

ImageFor the holiday season, they have 2 special attractions – A Longwood Christmas and the Garden Railway.

Prague

I just finished Milan Kundera’s ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’. My heart ache’s for Prague.

Prague, the beautiful Prague. Sabina’s Prague where the cemeteries are like gardens.The graves covered with grass and colourful flowers. When the sun goes down the cemetery sparkles with tiny candles. The graves are not weighed down with heavy stone to prevent the dead from getting out. Roots and flowers offered the corpses a path out of the grave and the living a chance to communicate with them. I am filled with a strong desire to walk through the cemeteries of Prague.

I want to climb Petrin Hill, pausing to see as Tereza saw: below her she saw the towers and bridges; the saints were shaking their fists and lifting their stone eyes to the clouds. It was the most beautiful city in the world.

I want to visit Tomas’ Prague. If only for a day.

I want to go to Prague.

Columbia – First Look

ImageNew York is so much like Bombay. On a wet cold afternoon, people were milling about, taking trains and going about their business as usual. No one seemed perturbed about the weather.

I was at Columbia University. The place was nothing like I had imagined. Firstly, it was located very conveniently, 10 steps from a subway entrance. Even inside the subway station, there was a mosaic saying COLUMBIA. I was expecting a sprawling campus, where one could easily get lost and was surprised at how small the place really was. It is my fault really, for expecting  something like that  in the middle(ok!! maybe not middle!!) of NYC. The students seemed to have none of the brash intellectual arrogance I thought they would. Their faces were not aglow with, what  we call in India,’tejas’; that inner fire that burns in the eyes, and radiates its aura in all directions. Their walk was not brisk purposeful strides. Isn’t this supposed to be one of the best schools in the country? Aren’t these supposed to be some of the brightest minds?  They looked so, ordinary.

Then it struck me, maybe that is what the University does. It grinds and polishes the students so that they sparkle like diamonds. It puts them through the fires, and when they come out the shine like gold.

edited – I have now realized, they have quite a huge campus and about the students, I think that was just the Holidays. 

Graveyard Walk

All dressed up as Kiki and Jiji we took the train from Stamford to Grand Central. The Husband’s initial mortification of having to travel by public transport dressed like a cat was soon assuaged by the sight of other people taking the train dressed like dragons, devils and what-nots! Clearly misery is not the only one who loves company.

 Grand Central had transformed into a land of magical beings and mythical beasts. On stepping out we found, it was not just the terminal, there were fantastic looking creatures wandering everywhere. Following some, and getting directions from helpful policemen we reached our destination-The Parade entry!

Hordes  fantastic, waiting to enter the Parade

Twenty mins later we were in. From cute to macabre; slinky, sexy, funny, creepy, kinky, crazy and simply outrageous. They were all there.

Sinister, grotesque,glamorous,sexy,outrageous cute, fun..

At the beginning, I was quite shy of asking people to pose for me. But seeing how  willingly strangers obliged photo requests, I got bolder.

Neo-Exotica

Neo-Exotica

Nothing screams couple like co-ordinated costumes.

There's more  to LOVE than flying cherubs and candy hearts

There’s more to LOVE than flying cherubs and candy hearts

Gruesome floats dotted the parade. Buildings along the way were decorated keeping with the theme.

HELLLPP!!

The crowd was marvelous too. Three or more people deep, some in costume, they cheered and enjoyed.

Mobs

Walking along, I hear a couple of excited voices call out ” Kiki! Kiki!!, You are Kiki, right?” Oh, the thrill of being recognized! We even met another Kiki.

Sharing a Kiki moment

I could see that a lot of thought had gone into each costume. Some were done at home, some were store bought and beautifully personalized. Age, clearly had nothing to do with enthusiasm.

Creativity and Enthusiasm take a bow

Not just age, species was no bar either.

Puss-in-Boots

That night we had dinner surrounded by Batman, Robin, witches and princesses.

DSC_0192At last the night came to an end.DSC_0189