Zoom my family pls..

I have started forgetting how it was before Corona. Was it just taking the keys and purse for a drive sufficient, was finding the pair of sock for the shoe the biggest headache of a morning walk, was running to the nearby bakery for a loaf of bread for breakfast that simple..i really didnt know these things were so easy until the virus hit.

Now with all the social distancing in place and extended families spreading all over the globe, all we can think of connecting is by zooming or thru such networking facilities..isnt it?

And today was such a day when we had a small get together arranged for a Family Zoom @ 6pm. By 5 i had hurried and finished my cooking, asked the kids and hubby to get decently dressed, swept and mopped the house, found a suitable place for the laptop so all could see all of us in one frame and were all set before the camera dot 6..

While sitting there and waiting for the rest of the family to join in, it struck me that for the zoom meeting i was doing exactly the same things as i would if we were expectg guests over, clean and tidy the house , deck up a bit, finish your chores so you get time and so on..

Today zoom brought guests home, we are sèeing faces through them, they are judging us, laughing with us, being a part of the evening banter.

How times have changed, how we have changed and more so how the faces thru the screens seem like sitting beside us on the sofa..

Netflix Originals – a personal favorite

If you are yet to take Netflix, do take the trial only if you are sure that you will pay for it their monthly fee. Just because it is so irresistible.

Each serial I see I feel its a notch higher than the previous, be it the plot, be it the character sketch and most important of all the acting. Many a times I have wondered where the Directors picks these faces. I mean they are so apt that the names i hear a second time elsewhere resonates their faces.

I have so become addicted to it that when one of the serial ends i feel i should go back and bid farewell to them. Such original piece of acting to say the least.I have swayed from entire romance piece to murder mysteries to Escobar era, they all seemed like happening outside my door.

It has been a real pleasure and a good friend for the last many months, maybe i can outlive staying without my laptop and WhatsApp but not without Netflix 😉

Rain Gods shower mercy

I was in Grade 5 when for the first time I saw and remember what a flood can look like. I had gone to school, just like any other day except that i was soaking in rain. On returning that evening i saw that the path near the bridge i had walked over that morning was covered with flowing water from the river. There was water all around my house, and i can vaguely remember some hands helping me move across the flood hit road to safety. That night we had to pack and leave for my native until the floods receded. Thats’ my first experience with rain, floods and panic. Little did i know then that my future was blotted with flood water at various intervals.

Nobody would believe me then when i used to say that i have some connection with the rain gods. They shower and flood the place wherever i am in. Well I could give you facts and figure in years and places to support the above.

College life was uneventful and i didn’t cause much rain pain at those times.

After the childhood episodes of flood, the real bang came in 2005, Mumbai floods. I was working in an IT major in Mumbai when the floods hit. I walked for several kms from office wading through water with rain pouring before i got a vehicle which carried me closer to my house. I can’t forget the carcasses of animals that were flowing in water during that walk.That was the worst flood in Mumbai recorded till date.

Next year our family consisting of my hubby, daughter and self moved to Kolkata as part of our job. And the next monsoon Kolkata was badly hit, with our apartment area being very badly hit. I remember sitting with my one year old in the balcony with more than 4 feet water around and not knowing how many days i would have to survive with the ration in the kitchen or if i should take the risk and wade across to my in-laws who stayed just across the street. The situation however lasted for about a week and things turned back to normal.

From then off and on I have seen various levels of high rain, wherever I was living like that in Bangkok, but not to the level flooding.

The next episode of a real flood encounter was the worst, Chennai floods. My husband was on an official trip. I was alone with my kids, dad and a cousin.Before I could actually grasp what was happening water had risen covering my car and waving more than the ground floor area. It was a tough call to take, whether to stay there with all with limited food and water and no power or to step out find a way to reach my hometown and escape. As there was no connection to the outside world I wasn’t even sure if any trains or flights were plying. Finally i made the call and decided to walk out. I still so thankfully remember a neighbor of mine who made a make shift floating channel with curtain rods and some sheets to take my kids and dad out of the apartment, out of water to slightly raised roads. From there catching trains and rickshaws and whatever we got, we reached my hometown the next day morning.

The above episodes had not been completely erased when i was hit once again by the Kerala floods, supposedly the worst of the century. I was there when waters were lashing through Cochin (my hometown) and when sup it was even thought to be an apocalypse.But this time there was a narrow luck because I had flown to Dubai in the last flight that took off from Cochin International airport. Guess the rain Gods got my ticket dates wrong.

So there goes my history of flood encounters. I have been in Dubai for nearly 2 years and when i see the impact of cloud seeding getting better i only cross my fingers.My friends laugh at me saying that if you want it to rain somewhere, keep me for a few years and they will not have to ask for more. Though spoken off in a light note i truly feel today that my horoscope is entwined with rains and in some ways i hope its a blessing!!!

Finding Finland

Catching the flight off to Helsinki in Finland and from there on to Ivalo in Lapland I never knew that my physiology and psychology was about to get so very hit with the change of environment.

The climb down the clouds and the first view of the city and i saw it brown, a strange site having been warned that the snow on either side of the road would be thicker than a standing human being.

On landing and keeping my feet outside i realized that the color was that of the forest trees which were so covered with snow.

The very first whiff of air and I knew whatever hell i was wearing was just not enough and thinking that all my additional stuff was packed inside neatly i was angry at myself.

All of us took a run to the terminal from the aircraft, legs hardly moving in the chill bite of the wind.

The airport of Ivalo is tiny and slightly larger than an average bus station.When finally we got hold of our luggage we took out a few warm clothes to wrap around and on the way caught a taxi to Holiday Club Saariselka. The view that caught us on the way was breathtaking. I cannot describe the white blanket we saw outside.

The hotel was an exquisitively vintage style with 2 ladies behind the desk greeting us.

She directed us to our cottage B4 which was almost less than half a mile away. Walked through the road where fresh snow was fallling and heaps of it cleared from the last night, on either side.

20 mts seemed like 2 hours and for some crazy minutes in between i thought i might even die due to the freezing wind.

Cottage was heaven in every way, the view from the windows were like blissful…Big trees and layers of snow till eyes could see.

First day we spent seeing the local market, rather finding a supermarket, finding what all activities is worth the money and Joiku Kotsamo was of immense help. The first lot was for the Huskies, the Husky Safari.

While we were waiting for a ride to the camp where the Huskies, one of the breed came walking into the office, they look almost like wolves but are so friendly.

The camp was a few miles into an interior forest, you could say. Barking is the predominant sound. We were given an attire, a single piece pullover kinda thing you can just zip it thru along with tough boot  and gloves. This was to be our clothing for all the rides to come.

We were given a small training by Jacob (Husky & Co) on how to control the huskies and what to do if we loose control etc. All animal lovers (me for one) , would be skeptical if the dogs are harmed or unnecessarily tortured but all my doubts were put to rest. They are well taken care of, and are ensured that even amatuer drivers like self does not hurt them in any way.The ride was through forest and chill wind blowing, I was the driver in mine and my daughter the passenger. It was amazing, the huskies knew their job well and so we got to enjoy the bit of nature in the plate.We also got some time to play around with the puppies which were on the way to become Husky Safari drivers.

Well since Aurora Borealis was our strong reason to cross the Artic Circle, we decided to go Aurora hunting, as they call it, on the second day night. It was hunting on snowmobile bikes. Ahh!!! I remember how i thought how easy it would be to ride them since i already knew how to ride a bike. I was so wrong, the physics was totally different, you need force energy work all in one to move that thing in the direction you want. And after all that it was so cloudy that we reached mountain top had some hot juice the guide had and returned. But the view from the mountain was a million dollar one.

The next day we were scheduled for the Reindeer drive, which was pretty relaxing except for the biting cold. Samy was our guide and he walked in front showing the way for the deers. In between we took a stop for a hot coffee and to feed the deers. i was starting to feel the bite through my legs when Samy passed a comment we wouldnt forget ” Its kinda warm day today” and when i reached the camp and checked the scale it showed -25 degree Celscius!!!!!

The drives and the shows were over and done, now we had some time for Skiing exploring the country side, Toboggan ride and a swim in a hot pool and some basic shopping to gift our nears n dears.

The magic happenend on the last night at Saariselka. It was late into the night and i had one look at the app (Northern Lights Finder) and it said 80% chance for visibility. On looking outside the window it was clear sky and temperatures had dropped i finally knew there was a chance so i kept looking out every half an hour,. And finally at 1 o clock at night when i glanced i could see a pink and blue color forming in the sky and moving, i ran out with whatever i could grab, had my mobile and tried to click a few snaps, but were unsuccesful. Finally i decided to see it with my eyes and enjoy it rather than spending time and effort on setting up the pic.

It was worth the wait and worth the travel and worth the cold and everything. If you have read Fairy tales and when the fairies comes down from the clouds, now i know where the inspiration for the pink clouds came from..

It was the most befitting farewell and we boarded back our flight the next day, Adieu to Saariselka and Keetos (Thanks in Finnish) for all sweet memories!!!