We also discussed that in every star ship, the captain has to make the big decisions but the admirals would be the bosses of captains. I told him his mother is his admiral and we have to listen to her. He asserted that he is the captain so he still gets to be the boss of me. More discussions followed on who is the boss of everyone. That his dad could be the boss of his mum and that Santosh, because he is so tall, could be the boss of everyone.
We reached my friend’s house three hours later and were welcomed by her and her husband. Their friends were just stepping out for a break. We sat down to a warm, nutritious, elaborate and mildly exotic meal and pleasant conversation. In no time, their friends were back and a lively discussion on world history and European prejudices began. Then we began to play a game similar to Taboo, called Million Dollar Password
Prof Sen walked from the elevators towards his office and asked if we were there to meet him. (There was a student sitting on the same bench too) I got up and said yes, thinking he might ask one of us to come in with him. He said “Sorry I’m late. I have to take a call, could you come in 2-3 minutes after I go in?” So I waited 4 minutes to be polite and went to the door.
The dry yellow grass of Californian hills gave way to more and more trees as we entered the area of Yosemite mountains. We reached Olmstead point just after sunset and made our way towards our lodge. We stopped to eat a late lunch/early dinner (linner as we have started to call it) under the stars near Tioga Lake. We had been watching the weather and Santosh was worried about the cloud cover predicted. We saw half the sky full on stars on that night itself.
After a filling lunch, we went to the boating place. Though the initial plan was to use canoes and kayaks, given the size of the group, we decided to go with two rafts to increase the bonding. Santosh and I were with two fourteen year old boys and a ten year old girl. The energy and competitiveness of the kids got us to stay ahead of the adult group throughout the ~1.5 mile route. We went down some rapids. Later we got stuck on some rocks because the water levels were lower. I sat at the back muttering ‘left back, right forward’ to remember how to paddle to keep the boat straight despite the occasional imbalance in rowing from the two sides. B, the coxswain of her rowing team, the niece who’s grad party it was the next day, was at the back of the other raft. Apparently she became exasperated with her rowers’ lack of coordination.
Apart from these outdoor activities, we have been enjoying movies indoors and doing some elaborate cooking at home together including Adai, Hirekai chutney, Rajma based subji which I invented in Germany with thepla, gothuma ravai upma, and more recently, divine tasting Akki Roti.
I’ve never seen my dad cry before! My grandmas, my aunts, grandad, and my mum too. I didn’t realise how much I and my getting married meant to them. It’s not a casual, nice celebration, it’s of big grand proportions of big grand and deep meaning. This overwhelmed me and I started crying too but the aachaar (pandit who does the ceremony) as well as some elders told me not to cry so I tried hard to hold it in.
I present my studies for half an hour and then face questions from the committee and audience for the next half an hour or so. I have been practicing in front of my group and incorporating feedback so it looks pretty good now. My colleagues have been so helpful and sweet. I need to work on the smoothness of the presentation and do some reading for possible questions in the time remaining.
I get a little uncomfortable around too much flatland but when I got off, greeted my friends and walked close to the water, I really felt the beauty of the land. The birds were flying in swarms so large they looked like black clouds. The air was so clear that you could see the buildings in Bremerhaven on the other side of the water. We saw lighthouses flashing light periodically back from the south where the backwaters lead to Bremen. The water we were walking along had very gentle waves lapping the sandy shore and there were plenty of parks in the form of boats for children to play on. The vegetation was specialised for sand and mildly saline waters.
Edinburgh still felt so familiar, like I had never left. I was happy to hear English all around me but have to admit I missed the German too. Edinburgh is such a great city with so many people from so many places, beautiful old buildings, not half as modern as my area in Oldenburg. Old in a cosy way. Catching sight of Arthur’s Seat and walking around campus and familiar areas, I felt reassured. Pleasant nostalgia.