Back in D Town


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Hello.

I am back home, in Delaware. Outside, the snow is forming a thin blanket. On any other day, I would have jumped out the window and waddled on to the ice cold grass. But today, I am drenched in thoughts. 

…of the time I lay on a wicker recliner with the cool breeze ruffling my feathers. 

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…of that bright evening, when I stood so close to a lamp, that I could see the wick slowly drinking up the oil. 

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…the sound of the ocean, the green of the coconut tree, and the smell of ginger tea and filter coffee that made mornings official. 

These days, the dreams I have are of steaming hot idlis, rolled-up sweet paans, and pots of payasam (sweet porridge). In the deep quiet here, I imagine walking along the street-side stalls of Chennai, soaking in the smell of camphor and incense sticks, the sound of temple bells, and the feel of salty air from the sea.

Is there a cure for a holiday hangover? Maybe a plate of paneer tikka would help.

D

 

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A day at the beach: Part II


Of fries, hats and ice creams.


Continuing from the previous post, our Dewey Beach trip was cut short because of the rains. Though we retired to the car, we were not ready to call it a day. So we headed to Rehoboth Beach, sensing, and praying, that the rain had lost its momentum already.

We parked our car, and walked along the street, dropping in and out of the side shops in search of the perfect hat. We finally found one in an inconsequential shop, and paired it with two adorable summer dresses.  With shopping covers in hands, we walked, amid a crowd of people, and a squabble of low-flying seagulls.

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A sudden pang for sour patches, we stopped at Candy Kitchen and got one pack of sugar coated colorful chewy bursts of sourness. On a sugar high, there was a spring in our steps, and a shrillness in our voices. We marched with purpose towards the stall from which emanated a mouth-watering smell of freshly made fries. Somewhere between munching the crispy fries from Thrashers and chewing the sour candies, we tried to feed the seagulls that hovered fearlessly above our heads.

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And to mark a perfect end to the day, we headed to an ice cream shop. Here, we spun the rotating wheel, and waited with baited breath watching the needle closely, as it decided our fate. The wheel got us ice creams with hideous names such as ‘Booger’ (ewww!) and ‘This ish is off the hook’. Surprisingly, in stark contrast to the name, they felt like small scoops of heaven in our mouth.

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Next, to spice up the day, we gathered up all the courage we had, readied our tongues, signed a waiver and ordered a sample of ‘Devil’s breath’ which, as it turns out, is made from one of the hottest edible ingredients: carolina reaper pepper. True to the hype, it was tongue-numbing-ly hot. Hot enough to have us miss the comfort of our home, and the normalcy of our tongues.

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The end.

 

A day at the beach: Part I


Where the sky and ocean merge.


Our previous attempt to go to the beach, and share a romantic picnic watching the waves rise and fall, was unfortunately, a flop show. Now, braving our chances for a second time, we packed our bags, complete with a beach mat, some drinks, lots of chips, sunscreen, and fruit bites. We stepped outside in shorts and shades. It was a warm 22 degree Celsius.

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“The weather is perfect, isn’t the weather just perfect?” I quipped, with an excitement that warrants the spotting of a UFO. We drove for less than a mile, when the color of the sky changed into a darker shade, like somebody had accidentally poured grey instead of blue on the large canvas of sky that’s in works. Clouds, ominous-sinister-dememtor-ish clouds, I said under my breath, and a field of goosebumps rose on my exposed legs.

But we kept our fingers crossed, a cross that would hopefully send the demon of the cloud packing. We picked up our friends from their house, and drove on. The first halt was for a slice of Pizza and a glass of Peroni Vito, and the second was at the vast blue of Dewey Beach, after two hours.

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Here, we spread out the mat, and emptied our bags. Felt the sand on our toes, and the wind in our hair. I starred hard at the pale blue of the sky, the ocean, and the flimsy thread of a horizon that separated the two, with a focus that drew water from my eyes. So I let my gaze wander around carelessly, soaking in a typical beach scene.

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To my right was a grown man helping a three-year-old jump on a puddle of water, a little away was a family huddled under the shade of a nice grey tent (jealous!), and to my left sat two women in light folding chairs, immersed in deep conversation.

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And just when I decided to give in to the rhythmic sound of waves, and feel one with the earth, I was distracted by the white flowy dress of a bride who was getting a photo shoot done with the ocean in the backdrop, and a lifeguard who was was stepping down from his tall chair for some rest.

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It was time to hit the waters. “It is very very cold,” said my friend, squinting her eyes, like after tasting a sour slice of lemon. But by principle, when at a beach, I HAD to walk by the shoreline. So I went knee deep into the waters, and let the cold Atlantic steal every ounce of warmth from my legs leaving them lifeless, like two hickory logs. I pinched them often to ensure circulation, even as I watched three dolphins bob up and down the waves, and sea gulls soar above with nonchalance.

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All of us gathered back to the mat, took few sips of lemonade and coke, and prattled on about nothing in particular, until a fat cool drop of rain landed on my hand. And then on others’. But instead of wrapping up, we took out the Frisbee, and sweat it out with an intense game of catch and throw. By then, the drops had grown more frequent, and had left the camera bags a little damp. If that was not a clear indication to scoot, nothing was. So we, sore losers to the ways of Nature again, packed our bags, and left the beach much before we had planned to.

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But our day was not done yet… (to be continued)