April 17th, 2009


Departure time is nearing...

People are calling and coming over and spending a lot of time with us as we prepare to leave. And...this is also a problem. Both of us love having the visitors, and we chat a lot, and the time spent with friends is very, every enjoyable...but when are we supposed to get our packing done?

I am still making lists of things to be packed rather than packing.

I have never gone away from home for as long a period as I am planning for now....so what I pack is rather crucial. There is some small stuff that is very essential to one's comfort and that one just cannot get in the destination...so it had better not get left behind. (Eg I want to pack a lot of Hall's mints because they are SO soothing for a sore throat, and I know of no equally good substitue in the US, which,anyway, would be pretty expensive! And medications MUST be bought here and taken...)

Packing just 15 kg in total is a kind of zen exercise; it shows me just how much I can actually live without. But still, I cannot jettison the rest. Just because I am packing only 2 silk sarees, doesn't mean I can throw out the others!

But what to include in that 15 kg (how I long for the days when we used to travel Business Class...just three or four years ago, we had a 70 kg allowance on Business class, can you *imagine* that?) is another tortorous exercise. I like having a lot of things around me, alas...I like having the option of four pairs of footwear to choose from, for example...and I am forced not to have that luxury. If I leave something out, I cannot get it, and that fact looms large in my packing-planning.

I don't want to either under- or over-pack, and it's a tightrope to walk!

And while I pack, I look at my accumulate possessions.

Possessions...I think they tie one down, even as they give pleasure. But I am a pack rat and cannot throw anything away, and I am also not a cupboard-cleaner and organizer. So...both useful stuff, AND junk, accumulates....I have, for some time, been oppressed by the clutter that has piled up, but lack the will to jettison it all. (And I am worried that having got rid of it, I will want it again!)

It's easier to do regular housekeeping from the outset; when stuff has piled up, the pile is so daunting that one puts off the pruning.

I want to get all my packing done, and do one last stint of birding, and soak in the beauty of Valley School, on Saturday morning...let's see if that works out.

I really do NOT like going away for more than four weeks at a time, I realize! I think this is the first time in my life (after I went to my parents' place to have my baby) that I have left home for such a long period.

All prospective burglars who are reading this, do come and clean out my home for me; it will save me the trouble and agonized decision making of "what to keep? what to throw out?"...

The evening light....

Much has been spoken about the morning light for photography, but sometimes, the evening light is also just wonderful. The sky itself takes on a luminous glow and slowly the brightness fades from the air....hues of pink and mauve slowly shade down to purples and indigos....the coolness of the air after the heat of the day, and the sense of the day's work done, add to the sense of peace and serenity.

Here are some spot-billed ducks, calmly floating in the evening waters at Kukkerhalli Lake...

spot billed ducks evening light 110409 mysore

I love the description of the evening in Thomas Gray's poem, The Elegy .....

Chandu's wish for our journey....

Chandu wrote:

"Have a happy n nappy time @ uncle "ballack oblamach plach " starting with a
safe and smooth, "no-missing-flights", "no-boring-co-passengers",
"no-horrible-food" flight journey initiated by a"polite-n-punctual" cab
driver who drops you off at the International Airport at the end of a day
that would start with a great birding trip @ valley school... uff one sec ,
need a breath.. ok ... relish the last summer birding trip of 2009 in India,
do look for any raptors from the flight, there are records of vultures
spotted by pilots!!
Wishing you nothing but the best!"

You DID make me Laugh Out Loud, Chandu! Thank you.

Looking for vultures in the sky while strapped into the economy class seats (or perhaps looking out of the toilet window).... and hoping that they are not going into the engine...surely the "height" of birding!! :)

Actually, as soon as we reach St Louis, we ARE going to be bird-watching....it's the stork we will be looking out for!

I somehow have been thinkin that it will be summer in St Louis, and just now, weather dot com told me that the day temperature is....12 deg Celsius! Out are going the cottons, and the heavier tops are going in.....!

Things that I will miss...

Easy access to excellent, non-fattening food and filter coffee in the shot-size serving that lets me have a piping hot mouthful without worrying about either calories or caffeine intake

Arangisai in the mornings

thEin kiNNam....today's songs were from balE pAndiyA and pArtthAl pasi theerum! (No, I am not prepared to shell out $120 or so to get that single program in the US.)

Easy access to the forested areas, with a multitude of birds

The wonderful friends who surround me and KM and make life soooo fantastic to live in Bangalore..totally non-judgemental, totally non-ageist...they make us feel at least 20 years younger and sprightlier than we are!

The ability to walk (a very pleasant walk, with great company) to lots and lots of plays in a great theatre space

All the Bangalore stuff (garbage clearance, anti-plastic drive, anti tree-felling, WBC ....Walking, Cycling, Busing... and writing about all these and more!) that I am so interested and involved in...I plan no voluntary work in the near future

But...I have been looking through my St Louis posts, and realize that when one is interested in one's surroundings, there's always something to notice, appreciate, comment about, and enjoy!

The fact that it's 12 deg C in St Louis is a BIG plus! :)

Looking forward very much to TGD's (The Grand Daughter)'s arrival now...

My3,N, J, R....thank you very much for such sensible, affectionate advice. I am feeling quite confident now and I can feel the grandmotherly expertise just oozing in :)) NOW I don't think I'll let the baby's head drop!