Quarters III & IV, 2013
Aestivation (noun) : prolonged torpor or dormancy of an animal during a hot or dry period.
That describes the condition of this blog. The excuses are not unfamiliar – busy semester, lethargy, the likes. The summer was largely uneventful. Weekdays were spent in the department; weekends, when it didn’t rain, were spent playing cricket, and when it did, procrastination was a good companion. Later in the semester, I took to playing squash, before a fall from the bicycle provided an excuse to stop.
Towards the end of summer, the VNIT group had another reunion of sorts at Vignesh’s house warming ceremony where we were treated to a sumptuous South Indian meal. The most interesting part, though, was the gift we gave him – a wall mounted chessboard.
We moved into a new house at the start of fall. The major advantage is its proximity to the university – a twenty-minute walk, and less than ten minutes by bike – but is a little farther away from shopping centers. Other features, for want of a better word, of the house include a backyard and a lawn in front and a relatively peaceful locality. That said, it is our responsibility to mow the lawn at regular intervals!
Apart from churning out delicacies at home (now, commonplace), we have also developed a certain fondness for Ethiopian food. The cuisine is spicy and has reasonable variety in vegetarian options. A typical dish consists of injera (a flour based flatbread) served with several kinds of stew, lentils and vegetables. The D.C. area having a large number of restaurants serving the cuisine was a major factor in it becoming the now default failsafe, in the absence of options.
The last two months saw all of us at home becoming the Page 3, artsy types. We went for a basketball game (also attended by Mr. Obama and family), two music concerts, hosted a Diwali party and a potluck dinner at home, moved on from beer to wine and cheese and now even grind coffee beans to make ‘fresher tasting’ coffee! All that was missing was a newspaper to cover our activities!
A visit to the brother in Tempe, AZ, rounded off the year. We drove down to the Grand Canyon and along the Desert View Drive, a road with several viewpoints of the canyon. It is without doubt, the most impressive act of nature that I have seen. Ideally, one would have liked to have spent a day or two, but the lack of time did us in. Deepak and I spent New Year’s loafing around Phoenix. My only condition while planning an itinerary for the trip was that I would not pay an entrance fee to any museum/ zoo (they are all free in D.C.). We ended up visiting the Desert Botanical Garden (only because there wasn’t a chance of seeing such a place this side of the country). The place had an impressive collection of cacti and other desert plants. There was also some ‘modern art’ exhibition and people seemed to be more interested in the artwork amongst the plants than the plants themselves, which we thought was ridiculous.
A snowstorm greeted me on my return to College Park. It’s back to the grind starting Monday. In the meanwhile, a good New Year resolution would be to keep the blog updated more frequently. Let’s see how long it takes to break this one!