Anacortes Mornings

Mornings are my favorite time of the day. As the sun comes up and the night gently fades away, all life is awoken by the warm rays of sunshine and sounds of the dawn fill the air. Two of my best mornings this year were during my trip to the Pacific Northwest. Specifically I'm talking about my two mornings waking to the sights and sounds of Anacortes.

Anacortes is a beach town situated about 80 miles to the Northwest of Seattle close to the Vancouver Archipelago. There we stayed at the Heron Hill Inn and Suites, a Bed and Breakfast. We reached there after nightfall and couldn't really see anything much. The narrow roads and winding roads did look scary! The gentle lapping of the waves along the coast as we checked in was a welcoming sound.

The next morning up early by habit,we decided to step out to take in the view. And what a view it was! Walking around the wrap around porch to the back of the B&B, one could see many islands that dot the bay and water was so still and motionless. You could see shades of pink as the sky was just lighting up. There was nobody to disturb the stillness in the air and I just took in the scene of the still bay and the distant lights of the town still sleeping. We watched with awe as the colors slowly changed with more sunlight coming in as the minutes ticked by and the sounds of birds started to fill the air. The morning was a wonderful way to kick start the day

Early morning colors on the bay

The city still sleeps

Islands in the bay

A whole different view of the bay awaited us the next morning! The famed Seattle drizzle during the night just changed everything. The bay was covered with a blanket of fog, and one couldn't see those islands visible the previous day! A lot more birds could be heard and seen this morning. Herons, gulls and loons were up and out looking for food. We sat there amazed how one day could change the view of the same place so much.

Heron in the fog

A loon flapping her wings

A pair of gulls, looking for an early bite

Quirkiness Tag

I have been tagged by Lavs to write about my quirkiness.. I have seen it make rounds and now here are some of the weirdest things about V and R


* His middle name is Methodical. Anything and everything is done perfectly planned. It includes exactly 3 squirts of the perfume on either side of his shirt.

* He is an aspiring Dr.Do-Little. He talks to birds or should I say orders around birds? This happens when he is photographing them.

* At times R ventures into another world and for every word uttered he finds the closest matching 80's rock song and goes on. Like something about lamb on Broadway was today's flavor when discussing about lamb for dinner ;)


* Her dance practice area is the bath tub/ shower stall. All Bharatanatyam poses and moves are perfected there!

* She has a love/hate relationship with cooking. One week she just goes crazy in the kitchen experimenting and churning all of our favorites and there are weeks when she hates stepping inside the kitchen. R heats up ready to eat meals and survives

* If she really likes a song, she can hear it non-stop millions of times. It does not happen often but it happens occasionally. The current sound track filling our lives is Unnikrishnan's Adi Kondar from Geetham

There are lots more about V and R that are weird and strange and am sure they'll come out sometime or the other. And to pass along the tag, I tag Sumi, Vishnu, Siva, Arjun and Kavi!

World Tourism Day

Today is World Tourism day and V and R have painstakingly complied a list of 400 places worth traveling to. You can check it out here

Kathak and Kuchipudi in Houston

An Enchanting Evening of Dance

Kuchipudi and Kathak Recital


Vyjayanti Kashi and Uma Dogra

(Artists from India)

Venue: Sri Meenakshi Temple, Pearland, TX

Date: Saturday, 29th September @ 6.30pm

More details here

Time to update

It has been a while since we spent time at Poohsden. Life is been quite hectic and weekends seem to have turned into work days and time just flies. And it is bound to be the same way for the next few weeks! I am not if either V or R are happy with the way things are but the eternal optimist R is hoping that it is just a few more weeks before normalcy. Here are a few updates from the past few weeks

* Aggie football is going through a rough patch and R and cousins NS and KS are quite disappointed about the turn of events. They seem to have blocked the losses and started their search for the new coach!

* Texans, the Houston football team is surprisingly good. Touch wood!

* Amazing summer like weather in Houston is making V really happy.

* Another road trip, this time to New England is being planned. And the details and pictures from the previous road trip are here.

* Baby bro KA has finally updated the blog and has tons of pity for dear sis V. And has admitted it is dear sis who keeps baby bro's world moving!

* V has second thoughts about the dream house purchased 6 months ago. The thoughts arise every weekend when it is time to clean and mop the oh-so-amazing hardwood floors and the 2.5 baths.

* Old friends from college days in India have made the transition to being a students again. And V has a big list of people to call!

* To-do lists run pages and V and R have started accepting it as a way of life

* Cooking is lesa-eppadi, lesa-appadi. R has successfully killed his taste buds to eat whatever V dishes out! It is quite a tough job especially after the amazing food enjoyed when V's family was here.

* Dance, photography and blogs have taken a back seat as V and R rush to answer career calls!

* Yeah the banner/header in all our blogs are down and it has been that way for I guess months. R needs to look into it.. and he will pretty soon!

* And above all prayers are still needed for Baby S. Please pray for the family and the lil one!

A dream on its way

Dance with V and have a peek into how dance changes V's life at

Shopping we go!

Hillcroft is the desi hangout in Houston, for anything from Idayam nal ennai to idayam clogging ghee filled sweets we head there. It is the place you go to get your monthly fix of Indian payaru and parupu items and stop for a hot cup of chaya (no not the Starbucks variety!) It is where you can see and buy Thumbs-up and Frootis, Amrutanjan pain balms and Hajmola candies.

Most Indians in Houston make the almost religious trek to Hillcroft at least once a month. But me, I try to run-away from Hillcroft! As far as I can get… don’t get me wrong, I love shopping. I am the kind of person who loves looking at what each store has to offer. Be it groceries, cosmetics or clothes, there is something so relieving about shopping. It is de-stressing and therapeutical. Be it in Chennai or Houston or anywhere else in the world, give me some stores I’ll be happy. But a trip to Hillcroft is a scary prospect. I put it off, I cook up hundred and one reasons and find desi groceries at other places and go on!

You ask me why and I try and think. I Why should I be scared of Hillcroft and that is the answer I have been trying to find myself. I did make a quick run to Hillcroft a few days ago and just jotted down a quick letter to some of the Unclejis and Auntyjis there; here they are:

I come to the checkout counter all tired and ready to keep moving homeward. I just want you to bill my items and all I can spare at that instance is a smile and a quick thank you. I am not, I repeat, I am NOT, ready to hear you scream at your Mexican workers. They might be slacking off their job but please refrain from screaming at them into my ears. I have a sensitive ear and I cannot take in the language and the tirade that follows.

If you see me at your fancy store in Houston, it just means one thing: that I am really desperate. I am the sort of person who knows exactly what I want and if I am at your over-crowded, dusty room called store, it is because I need something to wear for the party coming up and I am desperate. And when I am at your store, it is great that you offer to help me. But I’ll politely decline your help but please don’t start giving me a big lecture on how to select jewelery and how I am supposed to bring my dress to match up. Please, I like to browse and when I see the right piece, the bells will ring. And if I am desperate for help, believe me, I’ll ask. Don’t expect me to be the daughter you never had to advise what I should wear and how I should deck up. And hover over me unnecessarily. I do not plan to run away with the Rs 50 fancy jewellery you sell for $ 50. And no please don’t peep out to see who my escort is. It could be anyone and no, I don’t like your asking personal questions. Yes! I don’t lie. I still have respect for elders and will reply Why can’t you stop at that? . Please stop making judgments about me without knowing me. How can you draw such conclusions about me in the five minutes I have been in your store?

I know the highly respectable person behind me in the line is somehow related to you and you are meeting him after a long time. But that doesn’t mean you should carry on a conversation with him while I wait to get my purchases checked out. Please I can put a smile and wait for a couple of seconds but it is really irritating to wait, patiently shifting the heavy basket as you inquire about all your long-lost friends and relatives and how old the dog is and if it is house-broken and stuff. It is really a patience-tester and yes this isn’t they way you treat a customer.

And after reading all these letters to the store-owners do you still wonder why I rarely go to Hillcroft?

Happy Birthday Mom!

Wishing V's mom a very happy birthday and lots of love and happiness today and forever!
You are the best mom!

Pray for baby S please

Our dear friend's precious 2.5 years old baby gal S has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Wilms tumor (kidney cancer). She is undergoing chemo and has one of her kidneys surgically removed. Please keep the family in your prayers.

My favorite teacher

V writes,

People who know me describe me as ultra-sensitive and it is true and writing what you are about to read took be nearly 3 months because every time I string a few words together I would break into tears. Memories are painful and I wish I could turn back time. I just wish I had taken a few more minutes to create memories and as they say hindsight is 20/20. Very true.

Today is September 5th, a day Indians celebrate to honor their teachers. Over the years I have had amazing teachers who have played their role molding me. Many thanks to them. But today I want to share with you a special teacher, someone who was always there for me, someone I took too much liberty with, someone who taught me so much about life, someone whose ideologies and principles I admire the most , someone who touched so many lives, someone who spent his life saying no to awards and honors but worked for education. And that someone is my grandfather, Prof.S.Nagarathnam, retired principal REC, Trichy.

In the early 1930’s, hailing from a family of businessmen who lost everything my grandfather was quick to learn that education was the only thing that will change his life and that of his 8 siblings. Losing his dad was the first blow but he was not going to give up on education. Every June when I used to get ready for school, he used to share stories of his childhood in Tuticorin, on what it meant to go to school for him. His biggest recollection is going to Nadar welfare associations to get money to pay for schooling and supplies for himself and his brothers. And such memories from childhood played a major role in his life. He always gifted me books and till his very end, it was my grandpa who brought me all textbooks and he always wanted me to have a civil engineering library. He owned a big collection of books, in excellent condition and was free giving them away to the needy.

My grandmother tells me stories of how many lives he touched, how many people he passed along the wealth of education. I recall as a young gal that many young college-going relatives visiting the house in regular frequency. It was much later in life that I realized that my grandfather insisted on paying their fees and keeping them in college. He followed the progress of each of his wards with pride and yes people have disappointed him. No one really has told me how many people’s lives he has changed it is tough to keep count and tougher to imagine how much he was ready to give up for the sake of education. All his siblings tell amazing stories of how he used to send them money for their education from his days in graduate school in Iowa. Any graduate student will tell you how hard it is to save money within their stipend.

I never had seen him teach a class but I remember him calling my hostel at 5.30am on the day before my fluid mechanics exam and conducting a viva. I also remember sitting with him with doubts and he was one patient teacher. He put up with all the drama I made just because I was his granddaughter. How I wish I could turn back time. His dedication for education never ceased, after retirement he volunteered his time at many engineering colleges around Tamil Nadu. His health and eyesight were failing but he still kept moving forward.

He was disciplined beyond words. It was discovered that he had diabetes in his mid 30’s, heart disease soon followed but he followed a strict diet and exercise regime. Yoga was his biggest passion. And the minute I expressed an interest in it, I remember him buying me 2 books on yoga. I never did even follow it through; I wonder where they are now.

Honors and awards did not matter to him. I vividly remember a year before his death, I was opening his mail and going through it with him. One was from an organization informing him of his nomination for some achievement award and requesting more details, he just threw it into the dustbin. I was shocked and when asked why he said he did not care for them. It was a lesson to me. I have not met someone so self-sacrificing in my life and my grandpa was simply the best in whatever he did.

Probably the best thing I admire him for is accepting life and death. He never complained about anything in life. Like everyone he had his moments in life and compared to his life my life is a path of roses and I still complain. Never have I heard my grandfather complain about anything in life. Well probably the only thing that he really felt bad about was his failing eyesight. He regretted having to depend on someone to read out to him the newspapers, he regretted not being able to use the computer and the Internet. And I was the bad granddaughter, always finding excuses to escape from reading him the newspaper. How I wish I were more patient then.

And then it was his brush with death a couple of years before his death that showed me the other side of my grandpa that I admire the most - his cool acceptance of death. In fact he prepared each one of his family members separately. I don't know what he told others but I remember the conversation with me. He told me, “jitu you should be prepared to say goodbye to me. I will not be around for long but I’ll always love you and be there in your thoughts”. I was the immature 20-year old; I screamed and told him to shut up. I was not ready to say good-bye then. I wasn’t when he finally left this world.

I cried but what kept moving me was he never would have liked me to cry. He felt he was there for a purpose on earth and he felt his time was up. He gave everyone he met something, hopefully something good. But for me he gave me something that cannot he counted, not money but something more valuable – lessons, lessons on the values of education, lessons of patience, love and acceptance of life and death.

He was awarded the best teacher award on this day years ago, but today I want the world to know he was the best grandfather, the best teacher, the best mentor any girl can want for. The lessons you taught are fresh in my mind and I hope someday I’ll be someone you can proud of.

To all teachers by profession and otherwise, changing lives of millions, my salutations.

Happy Birthday R!

Here's wishing you music, fun, laughter and memories for today, morrow and forever!
The past year has been a wonderful one with lots of laughter and as you move on with life and its ups and downs remember to smile and savor the moment.
And on your special day here is to discovering the world and love!
Happy Birthday!
We love you!