Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bookie Me -1

A few months ago, a friend of mine on facebook posted a list of 100 books that are must reads and asked “how many have you read?”. I looked at the list and scrolled down and down and down….. very few books that I had read. Many I hadn’t heard about. And I call myself a bookie!

Here are the books from that list that I have already read:
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte 
Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
Emma-Jane Austen
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnet
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

And that’s it!! Out of the 100 must read books, I had read 13 titles!!! What a disappointment! And even worse is the realization that I read most of these when I was 16. I barely remember the stories.

So I decided that I would start reading the books on the list and cross out the once I have already read and the ones I now get my hands on.
I started out but then landed a job so now I have almost no guilt free time to spend on lavish reading. So I hope to read a book each month starting with Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I will update the list by January.

Meanwhile, try and get your hands on The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie. I read this book sometime in April and loved it. So many mysteries, a nice mix of facts and fiction… after watching Jodha Akbar, my imagination was running wild!


Halloween came and went uneventfully. I was looking forward to Thanksgiving. The harvest festival of this country is in many ways like the one in India. Harvest, gifts, vacation, travel, parades, television, feasts! It’s the same for Thanksgiving and Onam.

On Thanksgiving morning, we dressed up and went to our parent’s place. At home, we all sat together and ate this huge meal! Mushroom soup, Turkey, ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sea food salad, corn bread, casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato pie, and of course wine!

Family and friends – grownups, children and our dog! 2 hour long meal! Even after the plates were clean, we sat around the table making small talk. And even after all that food, we still found space for a bowl of ice cream!
It was unlike any other afternoon. All that food, and all that conversation, all that sluggishness that followed!! It felt oddly satisfying. By 3 in the afternoon, we were stretched out on our couch at home, barely able to move.
It wasn’t over for us. We had the left over carcass of the poor bird. It went straight into the croc-pot – with mushrooms, carrots, celery and stock. A soup was in the making. We had guests to entertain next evening.
We let the soup work itself as we slept on it and by next afternoon, we had a delicious pot full of turkey soup all ready to be served.

By 8 in the evening, our guests were ready and so was the table. Turkey breast, ham, mashed potatoes, chicken and pies. Arvind truly outdid himself. It was an amazing meal.

We sat till 3 in the morning, laughing, singing, playing till we could stay awake no more. When Vishal dozed off on the couch, we called it a day and crashed.
The weekend was fun filled. All that food, all those people and all that fun!
Scaling Mission Peak

I am not an athlete; not even close to it. My heart beats at 150 after just 2 minutes on an elliptical machine at 5 miles an hour. When I moved to Fremont, I was told that I should climb mission peak. I was sure that it would be a lot more than a causal trip and I was right. My husband and I tried 3 times before we succeeded.
Our first attempt was on a beautiful summer afternoon. During those days, staying at home had inspired me to hit the gym quite often and I was starting to build my strength. In spite of all the morning hours at the gym, we dragged ourselves to 3 turns and gave up because of failing light and hurting lungs. On the way back, I was pretty sure that I would never climb to the top- not with my stamina.
Our second try was out of pure guilt. Both of us had been very careless of our diet and exercise. So one late evening, we set out again with our dog. We climbed till our vision was compromised and the fear of mountain lions and hyenas got us to turn around. But even then we did not cross the height we climbed on our first attempt.
Summer rushed by and fall started. I put mission peak out of my head thinking I won’t have to think about it for the rest of the year. Temperatures dropped, leaves changed color and the days got shorter. And one beautiful afternoon, Arvind came home in a wonderful mood. He’s just had a beautiful drive around Fremont on the way back. “Let’s go for a drive and walk” he said. We drove around the neighborhood and end up underneath mission peak.

[Picture : Almost there!]

It’s 3 in the afternoon and we have plenty of light. So the 3 of us began our climb. We paced ourselves and in 2 hours, we are at the top – freezing! It didn’t matter! We made it to the top and both of us were proud. It was beautiful I bet looks even more beautiful during the day!!

[Picture - View from the top - The bay]

Now came the dangerous part. Sun had begun to set and we had a long way down the hill. It took us an hour to get all the way down. Slipping, falling, stumbling, we managed to get down the hill unhurt.
We simply had to reward ourselves. A long dinner at Outback! The food was delicious but neither of us had any energy left in us to care. We gobbled up our food, packed up the leftovers and hurried home to fall asleep- satisfied.