Note the superlative of the superlative. I am officially high on life. It is one am in the morning and I’m still tingling with happiness and unable to sleep without putting some of my thoughts down. They’re all pushing each other around in there 🙂 Dumbeldore had it easy with his pensieve and all.
Haven’t you thought to yourself, on some random day, “Everything was just so beautiful today, just so RIGHT!”? I’m experiencing one of those moments right now. And I’m hoping someone, somewhere, having one of those days where you just want to tear up the hours into a million pieces and shove it down the chute, will read this, look back, and realise that, in the face of all the beautiful days that they’ve had, the bad day is, after all, a small price to pay.
Mr. Pratt, whom all of you should be very familiar with by now, was very kind as to take us to the felicitation of the UVA soccer team players on their emerging champions the last season. We got there early so that we could be the first of the three hundred who got the UVA soccer goodies, autographed by the players. Agreed, I didn’t know one player from the other. But it was just so awesome seeing people turn up to encourage and congragulate these guys on their victory. The city just started pouring in and it was amazing to see the little kids watch the players with so much admiriation reflected in their eyes. Mr. Pratt was giving us a heads up on who’s who and it wasn’t just him, but a lot of people I overhead, who actually live the lives of these players. I was struck by the fact that the young ones are encouraged to excel in sports too and not just academics. Coming from a country and society where academics is everything, scoring marks is the sole criterion for evaluation (been there, done that), this attitude was refreshing. In India:
if (career!=Medicine && career!=Engineer)
career=Maadu Meyking (herding cows);
🙂 Yep, that’s why we have such a rich resource of brains, agreed. But that’s also why we lose out on so many brilliant artists, musicians, journalists, film makers, players, hidden in the children of our country. Anyway, back to the subject, we were one among the first three hundred to get there and we got really orange t-shirts and posters of the team signed by the players!
Once we were done oggling the players, Mr. Pratt took us to the Martins’ place. They were grilling ham burgers (mushroom for me, since I’m a grass eater) for dinner and had invited us over. Dex, Kari, Ken and Adam (colleagues from work) were already there at the house when we arrived. Dinner was amazing. I never realised home made burger could taste so good! Most of all, I realised that I couldn’t think of one person sitting around that table whom I didn’t love. It felt so good to know that we had, each one of us in our own little way, contributed to the creation of a network laid on the foundations of love and acceptance and broad mindedness. I take the liberty of calling that network a family. I am so happy that my parents raised me to recognize and adopt love and sincerity wherever I go. I am what I am and I have what I have, because they raised me to be this way.
After dinner, somebody had one of those things that just sneaks up on you without any context or warning. An idea. And so we dressed Colleen up in a saree she’d brought back from her trip to Ahmedabad, a pink one which looked absolutely gorgeous on her. She was walking around in it like as if she’d been wearing it all her life! Now, Mr. Martin, the sport that he is, couldn’t sit still while his wife was being Indian, so he went into his room and five minutes later, emerged a rajput prince, chudidar bottoms and all. And I’m just sitting there looking at them, the true filmy Indian that I am, “Sundari neeyum Sundaran nyaanum” (Beautiful[f] you and Beautiful[m] me) playing in my head.
A little later, when everyone was American again and we were sitting by the fireplace, David Martin, Colleen and we, were discussing travel plans and all the places we could see during our stay here. When things like Niagra, New York, Broadway started featuring on the list, that’s the exact same moment Sneha, Akash and I started looking retarted. We were smiling that wide. Sometime after that, David Martin brought out his hymnal book, on my request, and sang one of the hymns from the book. The moment he was done, I was bursting to sing (usually the case when I hear a beautiful song – my heart starts to feel swollen and it could only be set right by singing), when Colleen asked me to do so, and I launched full on. “Sweet Child of mine” was possessed by me at that time, who ever heard of GNR or Sheryl Crowe? The energy around me was so awesome, with everyone clapping and smiling and oh having so much fun! I derive so much from being loved and being together with people whom I love. It just gives me so much joy that I drink it all up. I thrive in such an environment. I was having an emotional high and the only damper was that I was wishing so hard for my family to be there too :-).
Another one of those sneaky little things in someone’s head sent us all to a place of no return. The world of Dutch Blitz. If you have never played this game, you have to put it on your bucket list! It had us all around the table, playing like our lives depended on it, eyeballs darting, hands flying, hair disheveled, screaming, laughing , apologizing, “Blitz”-ing! The funniest expressions come out on people’s faces when they’re playing so intensely. They just lose all consciousness of self and it’s hilarious to watch the twists of the faces, the bending of the eyebrows, the sticking out of the tongue, the only thought in their head being “Damn, I have to Blitz! Now!”. It’s worse than wanting to pee! We played on for hours until Colleen and Ken won the game (or at least they said they did ;-P) and all of us were wiped out. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
Mr. Pratt took us back home to our apartment sometime after the game. You should’ve seen the looks on our faces! Sneha and I couldn’t stop smiling for a good one hour. We hadn’t done anything extraordinary, we hadn’t accomplished anything great. But we’d had one of those exceptionally good days when everything went just right. We had no expectations and time kept surprising us, and lucky us, they were all good surprises! I’m just so glad I’m here and I hope you’re glad I’m here too, because now you get to experience all this, through me. I’m going to bed now and I hope we all dream of rainbows and leprechauns 🙂