November 6, 2009

Halloween preparation!

This year my colleagues at work were excited about dressing up as X-men characters for Halloween! This was in the talks since quite a few weeks and I was amazed when we actually had a spreadsheet to keep track of who was gonna be which character. That's when it struck me.. I got to PREPARE!

I need to explain why this was gonna be a whole lot of preparation for me! I was till then one of the few souls who had not seen the X-men movies or read those comics! I wonder how I lived through this harsh fact for so long! Each time I brought up the X-men topic with my friends in last couple of months I felt like its time to rewrite those facts! So when one of my friends offered to lend me his X-men DVDs I grabbed the offer with both hands. This is when my preparation began.

Jean Gray - XMen
I took one whole week to watch the 3 movies. There was no doubt that I was gonna like those movies. Now it was time to decide which character I would be.. my teammates had already picked Storm and Rogue. So for me it was gonna be a choice between Jean Grey and Kitty Pride. I checked for their costumes online and loved the black shiny jumper suit for Kitty and hoped to find one for me in the local stores. I still had 2 whole weeks to go.. But weekdays just passed by in anticipation of weekends, then weekends passed by doing the other important things.. so on Thursday I decided to go costume hunting! At the eleventh hour! Not surprisingly the costume shop had no X-men costumes left and the jumpsuits were oversized for me! So I looked for some wigs and found a perfect red long hair wig for the Jean Grey look! The next day I walked into my office with long red hair! I saw a few eyebrows rise as I walked around, and heard a few chuckles! That was the whole idea, mission was successful! I was glad to see my teammates dressed up too!

November 1, 2009

Detroit Top 10

1. Visit to M&B's new house with a great view at a great location

2. Downtown Detroit after dusk

3. Wii games with M&B

4. His birthday celebration relishing cookie cake with M&B

5. Italian dinner with Sangria wine at Macaroni Grill

6. Rainbow on our way back from Ford factory

7. Visit to Ford Rouge

8. Dinner at R's palatial house

9. His photography craze .. captured even the parking lots of Detroit .. Here's my favorite snap :)

10. All the awesome time spent with M&B! You totally rock!

October 29, 2009

Diwali weekend

Diwali used to be the biggest and brightest festival back home for me! My favorite part was making rangoli at the door of our house! And of course enjoying a whole variety of sweets and bursting crackers and visiting friends and family and shopping and .. and .. I could just keep writing!

Now that I am away from all the actual festivities back home, we have our own variation and scaled down version of celebrations! Keeping our tradition (2 year old) going, we all (seattle-folks) met for dinner this weekend at our friends place who have traditionally been our Diwali party hosts! Though the gang meets often for dinners and birthdays and get-togethers this one is quite unlike others. This is only time in the year when our traditional clothes come out of hiding from the bottom-most racks of the closet! And everyone dressed up in their brightest and colorful sarees and kurtas, we could almost pose to be at a wedding in Bombay or so! :) Being in Seattle did not stop us from posing for snaps, we came up with different group definitions for the sake of group snaps! From all non-Mumbaikars to Windows engineers to Gatech rejects we had a snap for every group! :) After the snap session the night was long and intense with everyone engrossed in our all time favorite gang game - Mafia :) My stars changed position this time and its really worth putting this down here that I was Mafia for more than 1 round!

Needless to mention food and festivities are inseparable! Our hosts had made delicious dishes that we all relished! Now that I am reminded of that dinner, I have to mention the dishes .. sabudana wada, methi matar, paneer, biryani ... I wanna go back in time! If you have reached this line, I am sure you are feeling hungry too! Time to end this here...

September 28, 2009

Meeting deadlines for a party project is not easy!

This weekend we invited our local gang ("seattle-folks") over for dinner and games. Its worth mentioning how we both came up with this idea! Our random talks in the last week about cooking (we both love to cook!) made us realize that we hadn't cooked for a large group in a long time. We couldnt have asked for a more appropriate weekend than this one to DO IT since its his birthday on Monday. The project began with sending an email, and then deciding the menu. We came up with a very ambitious list and this is not one of those projects where deadlines can be pushed! So soon after the decisions were made the preparation began! As with every project, the race closer to the deadline (2 hours before our party began) was very intense.

The clock struck 8 so fast, and the table was all set! Vegetarian puff pastries, pav-bhaji, chicken curry (xacutti), peas pulav, dal fry, salad and boondi raita - was our ambitious goal that we managed to meet. As our friends poured in, the drinks were being poured too. And we hardly realized when the crowd grew from 2 to 15, and we were all singing the birthday song for him! Cake, chips and salsa were the usual party favorites and dinner followed.

We had a video of the gang taken in Feb while we were setting up the plot for a surprise birthday party for one of us. The 20 min long video was played for the first time after it was shot and the couple whose house was decorated could not believe the chaos, curiosity and confusion while setting up their house. After lauging our hearts out while watching the video we played a game that was never played by the gang before. It was simple but involved a lot of team effort, creativity and skills. A couple of these first time actvities interleaved with ice cream and dessert wine gave the party project a perfect sign off.

September 27, 2009

Indian Ocean's new fan!

A few weeks back we attended the Indian Ocean concert at Seattle. I have not been a big fan of their music so far but that could be attributed to the fact that I had not heard most of their songs.. till I heard them live.. and I am now a fan of their songs!

My recommendations for all those who haven't heard their songs yet:
Bandey from Black Friday
Ma Rewa from kandisa
Bhor from Jhini

Long weekend at Yellowstone!

3 days (Labor day weekend)  at Yellowstone National park with old friends! Priceless..
This time I will let the pictures do the talking!

Upper geyser basin:


Hot Spring:

Vista point:

Sulphur caldron:

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone:

Indeed, a picture is worth a thousand words.

August 31, 2009

Mini golf at Willows Run

My first experience at golf was with a bunch of my colleagues at Willows Run Golf Course. We played mini golf at the Rainbow Run Putting course at Willows which is a themed 18 hole putting course. I liked the design of the course that was adorned with pretty lake, bridge, cave, and waterfalls.

It took me quite some time to settle into the game and it was no surprise that I used all 6 chances during the initial round of the 18 holes. But the best came at the very end, when I scored 2 and 3 in the 17th and 18th holes!

Overall I enjoyed the experience and I am glad I am no longer gonna be a first timer at golf!

August 27, 2009

In Lake Washington!

In spite of having enjoyed the beauty of Lake Washington for more than a year now, we had not found any chance of being IN the lake. Till August 2009 of course when the seattle-folks decided to dive in :) literally!

We rented a boat at Yarrow Bay Marina park. The best part about getting a boat license is that you have to give no test! So anyone who has registered to be a boat driver can zoom on water! Since we were more than a dozen, we has 2 boats for us (each could fit 7). We could now officially race amongst ourselves! After some initial instructions from the rental company guy we were all set for the aquatic race.

Speed on water is really not the same as on road! In this case you can take a sharp turn almost dropping your friends on the edge of the boat or simulate speed bumps with the waves. Its like creating your own path for an amusement park ride and you can choose when you want the bump or the turn unlike an actual roller coaster. The only uncontrollable aspect here is the height! Our friend got her elbow stamped(bruised) during one of these bumps that she later displayed with pride to prove the speed factor!

The 2 hours in the lake were the most eventful with a surprise birthday celebration of one of our friend, cop catching us for speeding in a speed limited zone of the lake(yes they have cops on the lake too.. we didnt know how to pull over in a boat so we only stopped where we were :)), most of us diving into the water to drive the point of being IN the lake.

One more thing added to the todo list for Kirkland visitors :)

August 23, 2009

BBQ weekend

"Seattle-folks" (that's how we like to call ourselves) met for an evening of Barbecued food and fun this weekend. The hosts found an excellent opportunity to gather all of us on their huge deck and almost a dozen of us jumped in having done our pre-preparations of sorts, shopping for almost all things that could go on the grill. Our hosts welcomed us with the best home made guacamole and chips and salsas that we relished for so long that some of us had to be reminded that the long long grilling session was the real theme for the evening!

The "grilling event" couldn't have had a better start than our very own Mumbai-style "makai bhuttas" (grilled corn cobs) smeared with lime and salt and spicy paprika! (Secret ingredients like pav bhaji masalas can do wonders ..sshhh). Next came on fire the yummy semi-boiled sweet potatoes again smeared with the spicy powders and then coated with maple syrup based rub. Garlic bread couldn't be left far behind either in this burning race. The irresistibly delicious looking paneer tikka on skewers for the vegetarian junta and the shrimp equivalents for the rest was the star of evening! Of course no bbq party can ever be complete without the sausages and burger patties topped with molten cheese and hidden between the bun and its green accompaniments (read lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes). With every new dish that was prepared on the grill, each one of us took the opportunity to display our barbecuing skills and do our bit of cooking and serving for the evening .. Of course the sprite, coke, vodka, whiskey, orange cream (the best new addition to the list) glasses were filled at regular intervals!

After a perfect barbecued multi course meal that we relished to our heart's content, little did we know that an innovative surprise dessert was awaiting us! No prizes for guessing that it had the grill effect too.. Grilled pineapple slices drowned in caramelized sugar and cinnamon accompanied with pure vanilla ice cream was the show stealer that redefined the dessert bliss!

One of us rightly portrayed the motto for the perfect evening - 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happy hour'.