Last Sunday, we hiked the 10-mile (15-16 km) Lake Chabot Loop with friends. It was amazing fun because of some new people we met, a beautiful lake and trail and it had been a long time since I had walked so much! (My legs informed me about that the next day ;-)
Last Saturday, we were hanging out with A R Karthick who was gracious to take us exploring the Monterey Bay – the three highlights for the day were:
Mystery Spot was interesting and the strange phenomenon there could only be explained by some kind of magnetic force, we would literally stand at an angle in the centre of the mystery spot, and the host was very comic and entertaining, so the visit felt worth it.
Ocean View Boulevard is one of the most beautiful places to drive around and we actually saw a couple of weddings in the open lawns on that road which gives an idea of how scenic that place was.
17-Mile Drive was a nice drive along the coastline. The fun part for me was when Karthick decided to teach me how to drive in the USA and I was so nervous of all the rules (solid line vs. dotted line, whoa!), but he taught well and I got the hang of it, although, maintaining an average of 60 miles per hour on the highway is daunting as I’m not used to those speeds.
My wife and I are visiting San Francisco (I am here for the launch of Automatic) and in this past month, I have been experiencing San Francisco and the culture here. Obviously, this is all anecdotal but, hey, that’s what experiences are about.
The first thing that I’ve noticed is that people generally smile here and are cordial which is quite striking and I would probably attribute that to something about parenting here, because I’ve never seen American kids cry, and I mean never. In India, if you smile at a stranger, it’s because you know them, not because you’re walking by.
The second thing is that even if they are cordial, they have some kind of “force field” around them, it’s a “Don’t enter my personal space” thing. No wonder Americans thought of force fields in cartoons and movies. And I’m not the first person to talk about this, a good friend of mine Anu who has moved from USA to India to run a for-profit social enterprise (which I had earlier freelanced for) talks about What being Indian means to her:
It’s about love. In all senses of the word. It’s about having this big love for your family, your friends, the world, everything. It’s exemplified in Bollywood- the enormity of emotion. In the West, we have a very limited view on love, mainly referring to the romantic kind. Maybe that’s because we are a much younger civilization and haven’t quite figured out how to express the nuances of this amazing force. But in India, that sort of love is directed towards everything and everyone. I was hanging out with some new friends I made in Mumbai yesterday, and it was amazing- they treated me as if they’ve known me forever and brought me into their friend circle, making me feel so welcome. And it was genuine- absolutely and completely genuine. This isn’t new, as the same thing happened when I first came to India in college, where new friends took me in and treated me as their own, again, no questions asked, no strings attached, just..because. I haven’t been able to be in touch as much as I want, but it’s one of those feelings that you know they’re not judging you, and that bond you have is still strong. Family in India is the same way. They take you in with open arms (friends of yours included) and treat you like their own son or daughter. It’s incredible… So I think to me, being Indian means being capable of exuding that love, and reflecting it back on the world unconditionally.
Interestingly, we met some friends of friends (including a typical white American male) who intend to eventually move from America to Asia because of the individualistic culture in America.
On the other hand, the city of San Francisco is a wonderful place to visit:
Seeing a city by cycle was a great incentive by itself and was fun. But I ended up with a case of the Paris Shock Syndrome because of the state of filth of the city, even the grand Red Fort is nestled in a pile of garbage and we saw the city’s poo and pee being dumped into the “holy Yamuna river.”
The fun part for me was cycling through parantheywali gully which is impossible to imagine in the evenings.
No matter how many times I have heard about Taj Mahal, it’s startling how big it really is. It’s amazing that it is built on top of water wells and special wood because the wet wood makes it resistant to vibrations and hence earthquake-resistant. Of course, Shah Jahan didn’t anticipate that subsequent generations will destroy […]
After our previous flying fox / zipline experience, we were looking forward to the 6-zipline Flying Fox experience in the Mehrangarh Fort at Jodhpur and we were not disappointed, it was a picturesque location and the exciting ziplines went over water, fort walls and across the blue city scenery, ranging from 80m to 310m in […]
We had an interesting camel ride and fantastic night in the Thar Desert, thanks to Trotters, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.