African Safari Adventure: The Big 5

You wake up to the shrill insistent ring of the telephone.  Tring, tring, tring.  It demands an answer.  You squint at the clock on your bedside table.  It's only 5:30 a.m.  Your voice is slurred with speech when you answer. 

“Good morning, wakey, wakey ,” is the cheerful accented voice on the other end.

You groan, put on some clothes, grab coffee and bagel from the breakfast buffet at the dining room and run outside where an open jeep with a driver and ranger awaits you.  As you drive with six other people into the jungle, you begin to revel in the clean crisp morning air, the cold and the dust, the stark beauty of a panoramic sunrise, the silence of the morning and the sense of wilderness all around you . . .then, you round the corner and there in the middle of a half-paved road stands a leggy giraffe, it’s long neck rising majestically into the sky.

“Aaaaaah, morning sunshine,” we croon as the giraffe arches his neck towards a tree and begins to nibble on the leaves.

This is the quintessential African safari.  An adventure.  

HAMILTON: What is the Fuss All About?

Caveat: This article contains spoilers, so beware if you've not watched the show:-)

I finally got to see Hamilton, which re-tells the life of the American founding father, Alexander Hamilton through popular music and hip-hop.  I'm an immigrant, so I didn't grow up learning American history in middle school, like my kids did; I thought I could skip the history lesson and skip Hamilton.  But, there were so many rave reviews of the musical, that I finally succumbed, bought the pricey tickets and went to watch it at San Francisco's Orpheum theater.  And boy, am I glad I did!

So what's the story behind a show that's become a Broadway must-see with no marquee names and no special effects?  Here are five reasons why Hamilton is a big deal.

1.    IT'S A SMASH

The best cure for a short temper is to keep the mouth shut. . .

I’m practicing what in Sanskrit is called ‘Mauna Vrata’ meaning, the vow of silence.  The belief is that, if practiced from time to time, it will help master one’s tongue, which can kill as well as heal.  In the ancient Vedas, it is said, when the tongue evolved, God ordered it to be kept locked in a cave-like fortress, and even so He was not satisfied so He provided 32 guards to watch it. Even then when it speaks it spits out poison.

 

I’ve concluded that I specially need to practice the art of ‘voicelessness’ around my 16 year-old daughter, the high priestess oflow tolerance.  Just yesterday, I told her to get her applications for summer programs done and this was only because the pricey high-school counselor we’ve hired had sent me 3 e-mails, each marked “Urgent,” with the subject annoyingly labeled as “Needs immediate attention!!!”

An Inspiring Story: Tell Me Something I Can't Forget. . .

What I should have known about that incident is that it would indelibly be engraved in my subconscious.  I should have known that my mother's words would define every future action, every decision I took.

My memory of it is blurry as childhood memories often are.  

My brother who's two younger than I were squabbling. I may have been 11 or 12 years old. We were fighting as we were inclined to do, and soon it developed into a full-blown scuffle where he hit me on the side of my head.  

"Pow." My brother was two years younger than me but bigger and more aggressive.  

"Waaaaah." The force of his blow knocked me down. I remember getting up from the floor, nursing my hurting head in my right palm and running to my mom to complain.  

My Adventures in Corfu, Greece. . .

The sleepy and rural island of Corfu is different things to different people.  It is home to 4 million olive trees, thanks to intermittent but torrential rains from September to June.  It's also a designated Unesco heritage site because the Old Town of Corfu, dominated by its fortresses of Venetian origin constitutes an architectural example of fortification.  In addition, it's home to endless sandy beaches with stunning sandstone formations, as if the Ionian Sea moulded the sand like a potter.  How many shades of blue can you count?  Just sit back in your lounge chair and watch the waves breaking. . .

Eat Your Heart Out . . . Intermittent Fasting Works!

Let me begin by saying that I'm a girl who loves to eat.  Being East Indian, food has always been a driving force in my life.  

Cookies with morning tea?  Yes, Please.

Rice with beans for lunch.  Yes, please.

Cookies with evening tea?  Yes, please.

Chicken curry and Naan for dinner.  Yes, please.

Hot halwa for desert?  Yes, please.

But I'm also a girl who loves to look good in my clothes.  So, any time, the scale tips by even one extra pound, I either hop on a new diet or I'm pounding away at the gym.

Monsoon Wedding, A Musical. . .

Looking for a way to feel upbeat and happy again?  Seeking some humor in your life?  Searching for fun and romance in a modern setting?  Go catch the Monsoon Wedding musical currently running to packed shows at the Berkeley Repertory Theater.

It's been almost 15 years since the indie film Monsoon Wedding about a Delhi family preparing for a Punjabi Hindu arranged marriage broke records at the box office.

A Colorful Character. . .

It was always the rings I noticed on Lovely Aunty's hand.  There was the huge diamond ring on her engagement finger.  It could have been five or even ten carats.  Had she told me that I would have believed it because it looked gigantic on her right hand.  

Or maybe, it looked humungous because her fingers were short and stubby?  That was my older sister, Gurpreet's unkind observation.

Then there was the emerald ring on her left hand.  It winked and twinkled in the light from the overhead chandelier as Lovely Auntie looked at the deck of cards splayed in her hand.  She curled her lip in annoyance.  

"I'll pass on this set," she'd say with assumed delicacy like a mother would turn away from a child who'd been too naughty. 

MARRY ME, MARRY ME, MARRY ME. . .

Our deepest instinct tells us that joys are increased and pains diminished when we meet them two by two. . .like geese, like penguins we seem to be pair-bonding creatures.  it takes four wings for us to fly."  - Erica Jong

My friend who has two daughters in successful marriages gives me dating advice for my niece who at age 24, is considered of 'marriageable age".  My friend is Gujarati but an emancipated one because one of her daughters is married to a Punjabi boy.  Nearly two years into the marriage, the couple couldn't be happier, she says.

"I tell all my Gujju friends, 'let your daughters dare men of all ethnicities.  How else will they decide who they want to settle down with?' "