Four Scientists, A Storyteller, & Us

I hope you all (in the US) had a lovely, relaxing long weekend. We sure did. We hosted our first guests after more than a year and it was a welcome change. From seeing only each others faces, and occasionally our friends’, the five new faces were super refreshing. The festivities began on Saturday evening, with two cousins from Hawaii and one from San Diego.

I’ve lived here for 16 years, and still all I can think of is Will Smith’s movie ‘Independence day’ and this dialogue by the POTUS!

Before I get into the details of the weekend, let me start with the reason for the late post this week. We had a long weekend owing to the American Independence Day on the the 4th and as I was busy prepping for our guests, I couldn’t sit down and write. I am glad I didn’t… because I now have interesting tidbits to share.

Since we had not hosted anyone for a long time, it was exciting to have people stay over. Among other things, it motivated us to check things off our long-pending (read as very very long) to do list, clean the house, set up the guest rooms, and even clean our grill, which had been unused since the end of 2019! So, thank you, cousins, for getting us off our haunches and do some work :-D.

This was the first holiday weekend after the relaxation of many Covid restrictions, so we weren’t too sure of what all we could safely, without running into big crowds. Finally, we narrowed down activities that interested all of us the most: eating biriyani, watching the July 4th fireworks, making Aappam (special for Mr. A, the Hawaiian cousin who is notorious for his dosa-eating marathons), and the most important of all…simply hanging out and chilling!

After a late start to our Sunday, we reached the restaurant only by around 2 or so. That worked in our advantage, as the usually over crowded place had empty tables. After an elaborate meal, with droopy, heavy eyes, we dragged ourselves to an Indian grocery store so that the islanders could load up on desi essentials. After walking off some of the calories, we headed home and straight to bed for a much-needed siesta. Evening saw a round of very aromatic masala chai (no, I am not a convert..I made myself some coffee) and light snacks and we packed up to go view the fireworks. Our initial plan was to go a spot called Top of the World that gives a bird’s eye view of displays from various cities but the thought of driving through a crowded one-lane street and struggling to find parking made us pick a different spot. It was closer and turned out to be the perfect choice in terms of parking, crowds, viewing the show and overall time taken to get back home.

A late dinner accompanied by super interesting conversations about Hawaii, telescopes, science, the universe, and even aliens had us sitting up till almost 2 AM… and Mr. A suddenly realized that he needed to get some sleep in order to properly focus on his kadala curry (black garbanzo beans). I have to emphasize that I had no hand in making him cook… he took on the task himself ;-). Monday morning was nothing short of an adventure. He chose to cook the beans in the Instant Pot (IP) and I immediately washed my hands off any responsibility… why? because I myself am not too familiar with its workings and have faced many unsuccessful attempts. The confident boy started off with full gusto but soon realized that after 30 minutes of being on, the beans had not even warmed up. It took three scientists, one manual, and some help from Google to finally get the beans cooking and we sat down to breakfast at 10.30! I must say though that it was totally worth the delay, IP fiasco or not, the kadala curry was yumm!

The islanders left just before noon, the San Diegan went to catch a few winks and soon came the next couple we were expecting. Their visit can be defined in one word: whirlwind! Ms.T (the storyteller) & Mr. A are talkative, animated, funny, loud, entertaining and overall adorable. They were supposed to leave after lunch, but plans changed; my humble lunch of samabar sadham and thayir sadham (& kulfi) supposedly made them drowsy and they took a 1.5 hours nap, which eventually lasted 2.5 hours. Anyway, after a round of hot hot coffee, dinner, and a very in depth conversation about real estate, they also bid adieu at 10.45 PM. And then, it was back to just Mr. P & I and silence!

The two and a half days whizzed past — good food, refreshingly intellectual conversations (which lay people like me could also follow), lots of laughter, and an overall enjoyable ambience that we are missing terribly. Now, when I sit surrounded by silence, the only question running in my head is, how many PhDs does it take to make kadala curry in an IP?

Until I write again, stay safe and stay healthy 🙂

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