Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Avani and the Pea Plant on SoundCloud

Sometimes it pays to indulge your ego and google the names of your books. Look what I found!

The story has been read out (so well!) by RJ Siri of Radio Mirchi (Mirchi RJ Siri), and the information on the site says that this is a part of Lend Your Voice campaign, supported by Paani Foundation.

Don't know anything else about it. If anybody has an idea about this campaign, how and why they chose these stories, etc., please let me know!

The story of my glasses

In Hawaii, I wore my glasses when I went into the sea. (I'd forgotten to take them off.) We were in waist-high water. A particularly large wave took me by surprise, and I went under. I could feel my glasses being pulled away from my face. I flailed around for my glasses, but no luck. By the time the water receded a little - in just two seconds - a thousand thoughts had flitted through my head.

"My glasses are gone. How stupid of me. Have to manage with lenses for the rest ...of the vacation. Can I get temp glasses anywhere close by? Too small a place. Will take time. How stupid of me. How'll I manage? What'll I do? How stupid of me. First order of things the moment I get back is to rush to an optometrist. Which one? The one I went to last time didn't have a good selection. How stupid of me." And so on.

As I turned to S to tell him what happened, I felt something stick-like under my foot. "Watch out, another big wave!" said S, but I just pressed the object into the sand with my foot, held onto S, and plunged in. I picked up the object and came up just as the second wave washed over us. When the wave receded, I looked at the object - and yes, my glasses. Intact!

I couldn't believe that the ocean gave my glasses back to me.

Three weeks later, I was playing basketball with Puttachi. And the glasses fell, and broke. The irony, I tell you.

I've got new glasses now.

Friday, May 26, 2017


Puttachi turned 10 on 23rd. Yes, TEN. Double digits.

This growing up. It is delightful and terrifying, joyous and heartbreaking -- all at the same time.

To all the readers who've been with me since the beginning of the journey with Puttachi, and those who joined along the way - thank you. I would have noted and documented whatever I did anyway, whether anybody was reading it or not. But the fact that people were enjoying it, appreciating it, and drawing strength from it -- it made my attempts even more meaningful.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Hawaii - Day 5, 6 and 7

Day 5 - We went to Pearl Harbor (Puttachi was very interested in it because she'd read an article on it) We did go inside and see the place, but unfortunately, we couldn't get a seat on the ferry to the USS Arizona Memorial (just call it bad planning). Puttachi was deeply disappointed, but she and I decided to be content that we did get to go to the site. There were other museums too, which we couldn't see. Ah well, anyway. As I said, some bad planning, and some bad decisions. What is a holiday without that, eh?

Then we went snorkelling in Hanauma Bay.

All the snorkelling experiences I had heard of involved going in a boat to the middle of the ocean, and a kind of guided snorkelling experience. But this was different. The friends we'd been with had done it before, and so, based on their experience, we rented gear, and just got into the bay by ourselves. Getting used to the snorkel, and more than that, getting used to breathing through your mouth is not at all as easy as I thought. After a few mouth breaths, the body screams for a nose breath, and to tell your brain to shut up and not panic is not that easy (needs time and patience, which we didn't really have.)

So not only did it take a while to get used to it, but the breathing in and out failed me when I was in 6-foot deep water and I panicked and clung to S at the same time that Puttachi had a mini-fright and she clung to S too, and he was amazingly collected and cool in the crisis (and earned my renewed undying admiration) as he led us calmly to shallow water. That was it -- I had had enough of it (besides I can't see very clearly without glasses, and I wasn't wearing lenses and so I couldn't really appreciate whatever fish I saw.) I went out onto the beach, and then Puttachi went back in again with S and had another little fright, but came back fine. I can see how snorkelling might be a good experience, but I think I'm done with it (until next time of course, haha).

Day 6 - I had hoped to do the hike to the Albatross sanctuary (this was what I'd been hoping for, really, the most) - but heavy rain washed out the whole day. We did give it a try -- the rain stopped for a bit, and we went to the starting point of the hike, but it was a dirt track, and extremely slippery. So we just came back. And good that we did, because it rained again heavily.

The good thing was that we got to experience a real tropical thunderstorm after such a long time, after the "fake rain" (as Puttachi calls it) of California. And it was nice to curl up in a hammock and read, as Puttachi demonstrates here.

We walked a little, to the nearby Makaha beach, and the kids played in the sand. And I successfully got a picture of the gorgeous blue-green that I wanted to capture:

In the evening, we went to the beach again to play in the water -- a little beach three houses away from our house. It was like a private beach, and the waves were the best I've seen. Strong and exciting, and at the same time, it was safe.

The greatest plus point was that this remote, obscure beach that nobody knows about (except for the people who live on that little lane) is the chosen hangout for endangered Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. There are boards on the beach asking us not to touch or go near these beautiful creatures. One turtle seemed to be basking on the beach all the time, and a couple of them swam with us, even brushing past us oh-so-casually. Truly a wild and unique encounter.

Day 7 - An early start, a last cup of tea on the fabulous patio overlooking the ocean, and then off to the airport.

Hawaii - Day 3 and Day 4

Day 3 - Waimea Valley. Primarily a botanical garden, this was a beautiful, soothing haven of green. It was drizzling throughout, and was a true tropical paradise. Saw many familiar trees, and many strange ones that I'd never seen before.
Was a sight for my eyes - they might not look so spectacular to those of you who live in tropical areas, but for me, starved of this thick, dense, wild kind of greenery, it was like going home.

After that, we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Touristy place, but they've done it up well. And you can really spend days here if you are so inclined. You can experience a sample of the culture of different Polynesian islands (Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji and so on) in each little village. There are popular shows by talented young people (many of who study in the university on the island). There are cuisines you can taste, dances you can learn, traditional games you can play, canoes you can ride, traditional crafts you can learn, things you can buy - and many more touristy things to do.
Only one picture from here for you - since most of the pictures have us in them. :) Do click on the link above for a good idea of the place.

Day 4 - I really, really wanted to go to this Albatross sanctuary very near where we lived, but we'd booked a Dolphin encounter at Sea Life in the afternoon, and we knew we wouldn't have enough time to finish the hike to the sanctuary and reach Sea Life in time, and so we just went to Sea Life directly.

There was an aviary where we could feed birds, and at one point, there were 5 birds sitting on me, eating out of my hand (literally) and trying to peck at my hat, looking for, perhaps some soft straw to line their non-existent nests with?

And then we went and saw the dolphin show (which made me bawl very publicly -- full of tears and snot -- to see those wonderful animals forced to jump and show off for us stupid humans.) Yet, I was hypocritical enough to go to the Dolphin Encounter to see the dolphin from up close and pose for photographs. Can't begin to tell you how wonderful it was to get close to a dolphin and touch it -- those lovely eyes, and that smiling-like mouth --  how can you not fall in love with those creatures?

Right after the show, we went to a beach right across (Sherwood I think it was called) and wallowed in the water for hours, before going back home.

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