Monday, June 29, 2009


The birthday girl with Ulka

My grandmother Nalini’s expectation that she would live to be a hundred was not quite met. In July 2005, just four years short of her centenary, she decided to pack up and move on to some other part of the universe. But on Saturday 27th June we got to see Manik Lad hit a century at a fabulous lunch organised by her children Girish and Gauri and the rest of the family including Girish’s wife Rekha and their kids, Ahalya and Dnyanesh and their partners.

Arun and Dad with Tipkya

Talk about food. This was one lunch at which I almost passed out with the sheer joy of eating. From the time we arrived to the time we left drinks were flowing and snacks being passed around, whose memory still has me drooling. We finally ended with a whopping lunch rounded off by three desserts one of which was blueberry cheesecake. It was good to catch up with old friends like Jinx and Usha, as well as one of the two surviving feline members of the Lad family - Tipkya - who settled down comfortably for a couple of hours, next to my dad. "It was a fun" as Indians like to put it.


Girish and Arun (Ahalya's husband) put up an excellent slide show on Mrs. Lad's life and how she had got to witness the progress of transport from the bullock cart to the airplane and how these days she can't live without modern amenities. My grandmother also appeared in one of the slides and Girish very accurately described her staple diet - chocolate, ice cream and potato chips which contributed to her health and happiness till her last day.

It left me wishing that more people would turn hundred and decide to celebrate the big day.

Me and Usha

Mum at her party best

Monday, June 08, 2009

Up In The Hills

View from Wonder Point

We had been told that Panchgani in summer, even though it's at an elevation can be hot. That it may not quite be worthwhile making that long trip up into the hills, that it's generally noisy and crowded and so on. But we decided to take a chance a couple of weeks back and Sudha, Jyotsna and I took off anyway.

Uma and Sudha at Wonder Point

After a three hour drive from Bombay to the outskirts of Pune, we got hopelessly lost finding our way to Jyotsna's place where we had decided to meet for brunch before setting off for Panchgani. So J. had to actually pick us up and lead us home. We set off again around a quarter to two and reached the guest house in P'gani by 4 in the evening. It's a sprawling place and though the architect has done a miserable job and with a lot of effort turned what could have been a brilliant place into quite an ugly structure, with a car park in the front where there ought to have been a patio - facing the hills - even he hasn't quite managed to destroy the effects. Each room has a pretty large balcony where one can hang out in the evenings, which we did, before dinner, watching the sun set behind the misty hills.
Lunch at the "Grapevine" in Mahableshwar

The weather was delightfully cool in the evenings and even the days were fine except if you went wandering in the sun of course. We'd drive into Mahableshwar which is 8 or 10 kilometers away after a leisurely breakfast, poke around the market there and have lunch before getting back for a nap.

Jo's liberation
Evenings we drove down to Wonder Point which is a brilliant walk facing a range of hils. A really breathtaking view and ideal for a sunset meditation. On our way back we stopped once more in Pune to drop Jyotsna off and to have lunch. J has a really brilliant place in Pune, which seems like it's been set up for workshops and which she also instantly offered us for our sessions. So one outcome of this trip is that we're going to be holding a workshop in mid July for two days, based on the usual music and meditation.