Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pune, New York, and Pants

Back in Delhi, and missing Pune a bit. The vacation was amazing, exactly what we both needed. Arati's folks were incredibly nice, warm, caring, and really made me appreciate how good it is to be a son-in-law. No seriously, I went beer-great food-sleep-whiskey-great food-sleep almost every day. One of the best nights was going out to a restaurant called Flags, which has very high quality international cuisine. We had mushroom bruschetta and fried calamari for appetizers; Arati and her dad had fish as a main course, and mom-in-law and I split chicken fajitas and bangers and mash. At this point, I was really full, since I'd had a beer with the meal, and a couple at home before we went out. Unfortunately, the waiter brought the dessert menu, and I saw the brownie and ice cream option. I really shouldn't have but I did... it came out on a sizzler platter with chocolate sauce on the side. It was amazing... and I couldn't finish it. I really couldn't. Its the first time I've been defeated by food in a long time... but its a defeat I thoroughly enjoyed. Came home and crashed out, didn't eat breakfast or lunch the next day.

Spent a lot of time with Arati's nani and dog Bagheera, which was one of the main objectives we had for this trip. Baggy is 15, which is pretty old, and since we're off to the UK for at least a year, we may not see him again. However, he's had a pretty sweet life, and is relatively healthy for his age; c'est la vie I guess.

In Pune we also had the chance to attend a pre-departure briefing organized by the British Council for students going to the UK. While a lot of the stuff we knew, we also got a few very useful tips which we hadn't thought about, such as keeping lists of everything that is in your suitcases, checking with airlines directly about extra baggage, etc. We also met a few alumni from various UK universities, and had a chance to pick their brains about various issues about studying and living in England. Best piece of advice: never wear a football jersey.

Pune also means Mahjong; we played on two nights and I got schooled what good each time. The first night I blame on lack of knowledge, and the second on lack of luck. I won three hands over a period of almost 6 hours, but was calling on about 15 hands. Just no love. Arati and her mom won most of the hands, but her dad won all the big pots. I think I need to stick to poker, at least I have some luck in that.

One evening, Arati and I went out with her mom and nani to see the film New York. Personally, I thought it was pretty nice. A lot of it was over dramatized in Bollywood style, and Katrina Kaif was pretty annoying, but some of the concepts it dealt with were well thought out. The three male actors did jobs well, and I continued to be impressed with John Abraham's evolution as an actor. I think the movie also struck a bit of a personal note with me, since I was there on 9/11. New York echoed some of the fears I - and I suspect a lot of students like me - had at the time of randomly being picked up. I'd have preferred to have seen the complexities of the situation dealt with in more detail, and a more balanced presentation of the American perspective, but still enjoyed the movie.

We also did some shopping, but I have to ask, what the f... is up with men's pants and jeans? I mean seriously, when did men's jeans become about sparkly patterns, rainbow labels, and high waistbands? Or cargo pants that look like office slacks? Or formal pants so shiny that you can use them as a substitute for disco balls? The shop assistants these days are also such a frustrating lot. "Hi, do you have plain, simple, casual jeans?" **Baffled Expression** "Like the one's I'm currently wearing?" **Quick Glance Down, Pivot, pull out closest pair of jeans with nice big shiny star in sequins on the left leg, Display** "Sigh." Eventually managed to find a couple of nice Wranglers, but it was a pain.

Pune Pictures

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