July 19, 2007

Velluppa - My Grand Father

While walking towards my office today morning I got a call from my brother back in India, I was a bit worried when I took the call at an unusual time. He was calm when he told me that Vellupa, our dear grand father has expired. At first I was a little shocked, I thought I will cry but I did not and I am surprised at the numbness I felt and is still feeling about it.

Velluppa, my mother's father was the one who looked after me till the age of five when I stayed at my mom's house. My mother got employed in government service as soon as my younger brother was born, she found it difficult to leave both of us at home while she went to work. I was a very troublesome kid then, so she had left me with my grandmother and grandfather. I lived with them for quite sometime (I do not remember how long), till I was five when I started going to school.

My grandfather was one of the most humble and soft spoken personalities whom was acquainted with in my childhood, and I am sure he has gifted me some of this behavioural traits to me as well. But for the naughty kid I was, I still remember the many occasions when he has beaten me for creating problems. And I still have good memories of those days when he took me for the daily walk and the trips we have made to Kara Vakkadapuram and Kodungallur Bharani, specifically I remember the incident when I lost one of my chappels in a crowded bus while returning from Kodungallur.

I know no other person who loved walking as much as he did. He used to get up at five in the morning everyday and would go to a teashop in town to drink tea, and then for his morning walk. While he was still working as a teacher in the near by primary school, he used to walk long distances after his job hours. After he was retired, and got affected by old age illnesses, he was forced to discontinue his morning walk by doctors and his children. But still he continued his evening walk, as he did not have many friends of his age he started making a trip to nearby houses of his son and daughter after his usual visit to the village market.

He always wore white shirts and white mundus, he was an orphan from childhood and had only one elder brother who is no more. His wife, my grandmother also expired ten years ago while I was studying in 10th class. I am sure he became alone after that, though he stayed with his elder son and grand children. Even being that old, he still had a good health and vision, only disability was with hearing and we had to talk loud to him. My mother used to tell that his good health was due to the walking that he did all his life and she used to encourage us to do the same.

It was one of these evening walks during last week that he got hit by a cycle and got admitted to hospital. He had to undergo a head operation two days back, and was improving in strength. But he left us last night when it was raining heavily as told by my brother. The news was not a surprise to me as I new that he was in hospital, but I am still surprised at the numbness I feel towards it. Am I slowly changing to the American way of living where you have no time to worry about anything else but only you?!

July 17, 2007

LA Experiences - Epidose 2

Its been four months since I have landed in Los Angeles and I have roamed around for quite some time, but I have only one entry on this blog about LA. So with a broken wish that will never again be fulfilled, here is a second list of itinerary before I forget what I did.

Of all the things that I have enjoyed here, the visit to Sixflags will unarguably be the best and unforgettable experience in my life. The roller coasters there rotated me in all the directions which my mom would have done while I was a baby. The rides Tatsu, Xtreme, Dejavu Superman, Riddler's Revenge etc gave an experince that was thrilling and unexpected. After the visit to Sixflags, the Universal Studios trip was not so exciting though there were some good shows like Waterworld and some rides like Mummy returns. And there was a trip to Sandiego for Seaworld and then again for Sandiego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. While the first was good, the latter was a waste of time and money. The list of parks was completed yesterday with a visit to Disneyland, it was a wonderful experience and for a kid its always "where dreams come true". The fireworks they have at the closing ceremony makes an experience of a lifetime. I did also visit the Peterson Auto Museum and Natural History Museum during this time.

Other than the the theme parks, my usual hang outs in LA have been restaurants. I have tasted quite a variety of food by now, thanks to my colleague who was generous enough to take all of us to these places. If I put the hierarchy of tastes I liked, it will be in the order - Thai, Italian, Chinese, Mexican and then American! Yeah, I also found that none of these tastes are as good, nor does have the variety that Indian food provides. I did taste Srilankan and Pakistani food also, but these are actually Indian food in different name!

The climate in LA now almost same as a typical Hyderabad climate during start of summer. But unlike in India where people wait for Summer to get over, everyone enjoy the climate here. They have special barbeques in offices on first day in summer - yeah summer has an official start date here!

It is less than two months for my date of departure, and I am eagerly waiting for it. But during this time I may go for a trip to Las Vegas though I feel its not a must see tour. So let me conclude this post with a punch line in Hollywood style, "Las Vegas, here I come!".