After our thrilling first experience of camping and the encounters in the wild we were all set to camp more last year. But sadly couldn’t camp anymore last year. Partly because we were busy after that and also due to lack of availability of any better campground. All good campsites are booked 2-3 months in advance and we learnt it the hard way last year. This year we were determined to make most of the sunny weather by camping as much as possible. Come spring and Hubby made 2-3 different reservations over the month of April, May and June in different campsites.

Unfortunately we had to cancel the one in April. I thought that it was jinxed because i spoke about it to my colleagues at work. My colleagues are nice people but i have noticed that whenever I get too excited about any vacation or trip that I am taking in the future and talk about it to anyone, it gets jinxed. Out of nowhere circumstances develop which jeopardizes the trip. Like Hubby will have some urgent work that week or the weather will not be conducive. And a lot of times i have ended up canceling it.

So for the one in May i kept mum. I didn’t speak about it until after i was done camping. In fact, I wanted it to be a romantic experience for me and Hubby and so we didn’t invite any friends to join us. I called it the “Jungle Mein Mangal” experience… he he 😉

We had all our camping equipment from last year packed in the store room as is. That included the tent and its accessories, the propane stove and extra cylinders, torch and lanterns, tissue rolls sleeping bags etc.A couple of trips back and forth from the store room and we were all set. We stopped at our favorite restaurant for a quick brunch and picked up milk, bread and ice from a nearby safeway. The other food items like teabags, sugar, salt, onion, tomato etc I picked straight from my own kitchen.

The campsite was in a Redwood National Park about 50 mins drive from where we live. That was the first weekend the camp was opened for camping and we thought we were really lucky to have booked such a beautiful and sought after campsite. We reached there early by 1 PM. The regular checkin time is 2 PM. But the lady at the counter allowed us to checkin. We picked wood for campfire from the registration counter and went ahead to check our campsite. Ours was next to a cliff and there was a stream flowing down below. As we started clearing the ground to setup our tent we realized some of the cons of camping on the first day of park opening. The campsite was completely covered with fallen twigs and leaves that had accumulated over the entire fall and winter season. After about 15 mins of sweeping the ground was finally cleared. It didn’t take us long to setup the tent and by 2 PM we were done.

We had plenty of time and a lot to explore in the park. We set out on hike to the waterfall which was full of water this time of the year. The water was so cold that i lost sensation in my feet after just 2 mins of standing in the water. Still that didnt stop me from posing in the water for some pictures. There were kids and other groups who were also playing in water else I was all set to shoot my own Liril ad. The trail we took back to our camp was marked in a lot of sections but in some parts it was missing. We actually lost it after a while and unfortunately had to head back on the same path we came. Heading back on the same trail instead of completing the loop is a bit annoying but we enjoyed our time by clicking more pictures on the way.

Back at the camp we had cup noodles for dinner and made some corn. We still had plenty of time left before the sun went down and so we also caught up on some reading. That evening, was the most peaceful and relaxing evening I spent in past few months.We slept early, as soon as it was dark and after we ran out of fire wood to keep our camp fire burning.It was a bit cold, but I insisted we leave all the windows of the tent open. I love to wake in the morning with sun light falling on my face and to the sounds of the birds. And indeed what a beautiful morning it was. We went to bed with the sounds of insects and the soothing stream flowing below the cliff and woke up with the sounds of birds. We didn’t need any alarm to wake us up. We quickly made some coffee and headed on another hike/ morning walk.

This time we took a different trail. There were more trees fallen on the way and at some places we had to really struggle to cross over them. But I loved the wilderness this way… undisturbed.. in its most pristine natural form. We hiked for almost 2 hours before we reached the camp again. We made some breakfast which included omelets with bread and chai. And then started the most painful process. Dismantling the tent and packing everything up. On our way back we stopped at some turnouts on the road to click more pictures of the beautiful valley. It was so difficult to leave everything behind and head back. We just wanted to soak in more and more of what the nature was offering to us.

As we parked our car in our apartment’s parking lot and started unloading our stuff, a thought crossed my mind. Long time ago we used to live in caves and in forest and then we worked our way through it and built better houses for ourselves. And we thought that would make us happy and contented but instead we have to head back to our natural habitat to relax and unwind… hmmm…humans sure are the weirdest creatures on earth…

PS: This post was long due… since May actually. We went camping twice after that so more camping posts to follow in the coming weeks. Till then some pictures of this trip….

Our Campsite

The Waterfall

The Creek

Fallen Trees

The Trail


What did you do?

Saw everyone in the blogworld doing this tag. Looked interesting, so taking it up. And also because I am bored at work rt now. not that I dont have stuff to work on, but its time for my afternoon dose of chocolates and I need to do something different and more interesting than work to stay away from them.

So the rule is – Strike out all that you have done from the following list.

1. Graduated high school – Yes Off course!!

2. Kissed someone – 🙂

3. Smoked a cigarette – I kinda tried. not a real one though. When I was a about 5-6 yrs old, me and my friend wanted to know how it feels to smoke a cigarette. So we rolled a paper, lighted it at one end, blew it out immediately and tried to swallow the smoke from the other end of the roll. No points guessing what happened next… we were coughing for a long time. Never ever attempted it again.

4. Got so drunk you passed out – Yes. One weekend we finished 2 litres of alcohol ( 1 litre baileys + 1 litre vodka) between 5 of us. The next day, I woke up with a very bad hang over. The house was stinking of orange juice,vodka, chocolate and coffee. I vowed never to drink again so much after that.

5. Rode every ride at an amusement park – Both and Hubby and me are crazy about thrill rides and try to cover all at any park.

6. Collected something stupid – I used to collect a lot of useless stuff.

7. Gone to a rock concert – Nope 😦

8. Helped someone – All the time!!

9. Gone fishing – No.

10. Watched four movies in one night – Definitely done more than that. I am crazy for movies.

11. Lied to someone – A lot of times. Karna padta hai!!! Life…

12. Snorted cocaine – Never!!

13. Smoked Weed – Never!!!

14. Failed a subject – Thank God…Never!!!

15. Been in a car accident – Yeah!! Once on a freeway. There was already a 3 car accident in front of me and traffic had stopped. I had to break really hard to stop without hitting the car in front. The car behind me also barely managed to stop. But the one behind it couldn’t. That car hit the car behind me which hit my car eventually. The impact was not big and my car just had minor scratches. but I was behaving like a paranoid on the road for some days after that.. post crash trauma…

16. Been in a tornado – Not exactly. But there was a level 5 warning in the area that I was living. Thankfully it didn’t touch down.

17. Watched someone die – NO

18. Been to a funeral – Yes 😦

19. Burned yourself – Yeah!! When i was a kid i lighted a matchstick, held it upside down and started crying when it started burning my fingers. I didnt let go even after repeatedly told by the elders. What a funny sight it must have been…

20. Run a marathon – No

21. Cried yourself to sleep – Maybe once or twice

22. Spent over 10,000 bucks in one day – Yes! 🙂

23. Flown on an aeroplane – Yes!

24. Cheated on someone – Never

25. Been cheated on – Never

26. Written a 10 page letter – Never written but I did receive a 7 page letter from Hubby once. I am curious to know when he wrote back then… need to go find it today.

27. Gone skiing -Yes! Didn’t enjoy it though. The shoes were very heavy and they were hurting and I kept falling again and again…

28. Been sailing – Yes 🙂

29. Cut yourself – Not on purpose but Yes

30. Had a best friend – Still have..

31. Lost someone you loved – Thankfully NO

32. Got into trouble for something you didn’t do – Yes… My brother and I would set each other up many times.

33. Stolen a book from the library – Never!

34. Gone to a different country – Yes!

35. Watched the Harry Potter movies – Yes!

36. Had an online diary – Yes, if this blog counts.

37. Fired a gun – Yes.. plastic ones 😦

38. Gambled in a casino – Yes! Vegas and Atlantic City!!

39. Been in a school play – Yes!

40. Been fired from a job – Thankfully NO

41. Taken a lie detector test – Never

42. Swam with dolphins – No. Dont intend to either. I am scared.

43. Voted for someone on a reality TV show – Yes.

44. Written poetry – Yes. A lot.. Was very kiddish though.

45. Read more than 20 books a year – Ha! I wish i could read that fast.

46. Gone to Europe – If stop overs count, Yes 🙂

47. Loved someone you shouldn’t have – Nah!

48. Used a coloring book over age 12 – Yes recently. My boss’ 6 yr old daughter came to office once and she had her coloring book. i was so tempted to color one myself I borrowed it from her. 🙂

49. Had a surgery – No

50. Had stitches – No

51. Taken a Taxi – Yes!

52. Had more than 5 IM conversations going on at once – Yes!

53. Been in a fist fight – Yes.. a lot of times, with my brother and once I also picked up a fight with a boy in our apartment because he was calling names to some other friend of ours. I was 11 yrs old at that time.

54. Suffered any form of abuse Verbal – Yes 😦

55. Had a pet – No.

56. Petted a wild animal – Yes…Deers and Rhinos !!!

57. Had your own credit card & bought something with it – Yes!

58. Dyed your hair – No.. but i want to try it once.

59. Got a tattoo – No… but i am seriously think of getting one.

60. Had something pierced – Yes.. Ears!

61. Got straight As – Yes 🙂

62. Known someone personally with HIV or AIDS – No

63. Taken pictures with a webcam – Yes 😦

64. Lost something expensive – Yes.

65. Gone to sleep with music on – Yes

I was browsing through Hindi movies section on Netflix, to watch instantly last saturday, when I saw a Marathi movie in the list. I had heard about the movie “Harishchandrachi Factory” but had not watched it till then. As me and Hubby started watching the movie that night, our jaws literally kept dropping to the floor at every daring moment in Dadasaheb’s struggle to make the first Indian motion picture.

Although the movie is made in Marathi, it has subtitles and can be easily understood by non Marathi speaking viewers. This was India’s entry for the Oscars but sadly didnt make it through to the nominations.

The movie depicts the struggles and efforts of Dadasaheb Phalke in making the first cinema in India. It depicts the support he received from his wife and children and friends in achieving his goals. At the time when people were scared to pose in front of a camera for the fear that it will suck energy/life out of them, Dadasaheb had the courage and determination to learn the technicalities of making a motion picture. He didn’t falter even when his eyes gave up after repeatedly watching the then playing english movie. Just because he believed it could prove to be a very good business. He declined offers to setup his movie making business in London but instead worked to promote it in his own country.

He is very aptly called the father of Indian Cinema.However beyond a few awards in his name I don’t think we have done enough to honour this great legend. In fact this is the first good commercial movie made, based on his life that has caught everyone’s attention.

Every movie lover should watch this as a tribute to the great man.

about the history of Indian Cinema.

Some Random Stuff

1. I have stopped watching TV completely. I come home, place my laptop on the kitchen counter and start watching episodes of some old serials while i cook. This way i dont feel i am wasting my time cooking 🙂 So when Hubby comes home late (which is almost everyday) i am not mad at him.

2. We dont watch TV while having dinner either. Because of which I dont laze around on the couch after dinner and instead complete all post dinner kitchen work promptly. That leaves me ample time to read a book or just simply surf the net before I hit the bed. I have noticed that my life is much more organised when I dont watch TV.

3. We have actually started using our dinning table for dinning. Something we never ever did in the past 3 years. Earlier the dinning table was just used to hold random clutter in the house. Now that we are putting it to use, it looks much neater and cleaner.

4. I went for camping twice this year but didnt write a post about it. I should be writing about it soon.

5. I bought a father’s day card 2 weeks back but forgot to send it. I barely managed to post it today just before the mailing and shipping dept closes. It probably wont reach in time. But i think it is the thought that counts.

6. I have been going to gym everyday this week. My weight reduced around 3 pounds compared to last week.I wanted to start a series like Fitness Fridays or something on this blog where I would post weekly updates of my weightloss. But i think i will wait one more week to see if this streak continues.

7. The Sai Baba temple in my area, where I go every thursday, is moving to a new location this weekend. It is a bigger and better location and it will be closer to my workplace now. But I dont know why i feel sad that it will no longer be at the place where it used to be.

8. I ate Alphonso mangoes from India this season. Hubby ordered them from a website. They were really costly but for someone who hasnt had any for 5 years, they were priceless.

9. There was a flying insect in my cube today, somthing like a moth. I noticed it while I was about to leave for a coffee break. Actually it chased me out. When i returned my collegues told me that it went somewhere else. Now my collegues know how much i freak out at any insect sightings 😦

10. I recently realised my favourite pastime is cleaning and organising the house. One friday when Hubby was stuck with some work in office, I thought I should use my time cleaning the cabinets in the kitchen instead of wasting time waiting for Hubby. I spent nearly 4 hours on a friday evening cleaning and organizing stuff in my kitchen and still wasnt tired. I was happy and greeted Hubby with a smiling face when he came home. Something he is not used to expect when he has ruined my evening with his work. We went out for dinner and then watched a movie on netflix. Ever since that day whenever Hubby is glued to his laptop, I divert my attention to the clutter in my house that needs some organizing or even rearrange already organised stuff.

Guess Who???

The most despicable scum of the earth…
The most disgusting person I ever had to deal with in my entire life…
The most worthless, wretched, loathsome individual I have met so far…
The one person I can give anything to get rid of…
The one person I hate so much that I feel like shooting myself for my inability to walk away when he walks into the room…
The one person who is getting intolerable day by day…
The one person for whom my patience is running out like a bushfire in a dry forest…
The one person for whom I don’t wish any physical harm but pray to God every day that he goes away…

I have never hated anybody so much in my life. But this one person is getting difficult to handle day by day. He is the reason for so many stressful sleepless night I have spent. He is the reason I hate to go to work even though I really enjoy what I am doing.

Yes he is my BOSS… Bad Obnoxious Sordid Sucker

And this is how I have felt for every single day of the past 2.5 years that I have worked with him and yet there is very little that I can do to get myself out of the circumstances which compel me to deal with him. Only thing I can do is vent my frustration with family and friends.

I am sure there might be many worse managers out there, and mine might not top that list but he is too much for me to handle right now.

Some of his top annoying habits:
– He barges in on any meeting and gives his inputs like he knows everything and goes on and on even when other are giving him the i-don’t-know-what-you-are-talking-about look
– He patronizes us in front of employees from other groups
– He reprimands us for doing something which he himself had been doing till now
– He schedules meeting at 5 PM, on the day before the long weekend for something that can wait till later.
– He makes issue out of a non issue and wastes everyone’s time getting updates on the same.
– He manipulates us and makes it very obvious. And literally laughs when he knows we cannot do anything about it.
– He walks in when we are having good time with our colleagues and intrudes in the discussion by make jokes at our expense.
– He has the worst communication skills
– Doesn’t display even an iota of leadership skills
– And cannot hold up when dealing with managers from groups… result.. we suffer..

There is no arguing with him coz that just makes matters worst. I know he holds a grudge and never forgets. He gets back at the slightest opportunity, which he being my managers, he finds plenty. Sometimes i try to reason with him. If I dont agree on some points i make sure i try to understand his real rationale behind the disagreement. But with him it is always my way or highway.
Sometimes when i dont have the patience to put up with him, I just give up and agree to whatever he says.

It’s not just me, every person in my team has the same view of him and yet there is nothing any of us can do to fix him. You may ask how did he got promoted to be a manager when he has no leadership skills at all.

Well he was the senior most employee in the team when his boss quit and whatever little managerial skill he has gained are through on job training. Which also means he has a long way to go before he can be better manager and find a better job elsewhere.

We contemplated going to his manager but the fact that he has stayed on for so long could mean that he might have a good setting done with his manager. Off course if all of us unite and go together to the management, they would be forced to take some action.But I don’t think my team is united enough to take this step. Although everyone of us feel the same about him there is nothing we can do. I would have quit long back if not for this recession and my status in this country and the fact that I really love my work.

Each one of us in the team get along very well with each other. We all love our work and really enjoy working with each other. It is just this one sucker we need to learn to ignore. I wouldnt mind a manager who is very demanding. One who makes you work like crazy as long as you think he is worthy of being your manager. But a sucker like him who doles shit at at you is really undesirable.

Sometimes I feel, it was good I had the opportunity to deal with such a person. Atleast every next manager will seem better compared to him. He does actually teaches me a lot of self control. Maybe I can learn to see this as a learning opportunity some day and not get frustrated for having to deal with him. But till that day, I will just be stuck with a worthless jerk trying to annoy the hell out of me.

Few days back I watched an episode of the TV show ” Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader”. The contestant was an elementary school teacher. And what a disappointment she was. She could not answer one single question without taking help from her classmates who were 5th grade students. She used all her helps in the first 3 questions and didnt do well in the rest of the show.
And she is an elementary school teacher. How did she plan on facing her own class after disgracing herself like this on national TV.

I am not saying that the questions are simple for everyone. Who really remembers everything from 5th grade and I would be lying myself if I say I can do without any help on that show. But this lady is an elementary/primary school teacher. She is expected to know, if not all, atleast most of the answers. Atleast she should have prepared before coming on the show. I hope none of her students were watching the show.

What was she thinking?

When it comes to thoughtful and unique gifts I have to admit Hubby Dear has an exceptional talent and I cannot thank my stars enough for landing this genius. He has wowed me again and again, year after year by selecting the most perfect gift.

My birthday falls in the last week of January and then comes the valentines day and immediately in the same week is our anniversary. I don’t get wowed and surprised 3 separate times however. If you are feeling sad for me now, don’t be. Coz Hubby manages to pack the excitement of all 3 separate occasions in one single installment. Yes!! I get one great gift, made special by the extra thoughtfulness he puts into selecting it and which just blows me away.

Two years back he gifted me a beautiful pearl pendant and earring set because he had heard me mumbling to myself about not having a matching pearl necklace to go with my pearl earrings. Before that he gifted me a set of diamond earrings and a solitaire ring because i had told him sometime that I don’t have any real diamond jewelery. Last year it was another beautiful silver pendant and earrings set. Not once had I told him what I want and yet he managed to get me the most perfect possible gift. And he also keeps tossing in small random gifts throughout the year just to lift my mood if things are not going too well with me. So far his gifts have included a music CD of my favorite music album, a book by an author I love to read, soft toys, perfumes, a jacket, flowers and many more. Sometimes he also comes home early and cooks the dinner and tidies up the home before i reach home.

But this year he has exceeded all the limits he had set in the past. He just raised the bar to a whole new level.This cozy swing is what he gave me this year.
Since childhood I have always loved swings. At my uncles house there is a big wooden swing in the veranda, the kind of which fits 3-4 people. I spent most of my holidays at my uncles house and of those days I have spent the maximum hours on that swing. It wouldn’t matter if it was day or night, raining or sunny, or if I just had my meal or am waiting for one. If i had nothing else to do, I would just clear the space around it and ride the swing experiencing the thrill of soaring higher and higher in the air. Sometimes others feared I might hit the wall behind me and fall but nothing stopped me from going higher and higher.

I have always told Hubby that when we move to back to India, I want to hang a cane swing chair in the house. Where I can just relax after the days work or spend time reading a book on weekends. I never thought the dream would come true so soon. I have spent the past few days enjoying the bliss in my patio. My patio never looked so inviting, not even when the plants were blooming.
All because someone cares for me and understands me so well and knows the small things that even I don’t realize can make me happy. Maybe that is what real love is and the hubby has always defined it so perfectly.