My favourite part about having good friends is getting pampered!
My friends have spoilt me terribly not just in India but also on all my visits to them outside India.
Our long awaited family trip, which was postponed several times because of Covid, finally came through
and we reached Saratoga, California. We received a warm welcome by Jeevan and Revathi into their
fabulous home. It was a fun filled weekend with the two of them and Pranav and Lakshmi, who we got to
spend time with and got to know better. Their Goldendoodle, Sid, was the cherry on top, but made us
miss Pluto even more!
It was Tanvi and Ramaa’s first visit to the west coast of the US and Revathi, the avid planner, had a variety of things planned to maximise their experience and a different cuisine for every meal to tease our
palates. A walk through the Japanese Garden to ease us into our vacation, a visit to Stanford to give
Ramaa a peek into what college campuses looked like and intriguing conversations so that we didn’t fall
prey to jet lag! Jeevan, her partner in crime, had booked us on a wine and beer walk through the beautiful
town of Los Gatos, hesitating for just a moment when he believed that Ramaa would be underage (years
between the time when he and I played badminton on the street, and now having flown by!). It was a
quaint experience walking through the different clothing and home decoration stores, art galleries,
sampling wine and browsing through the merchandise. They had tagged us with little green bands and given us glass goblets when we registered. Imagine what a waste it would have been with disposable
cups at every store! And that goblet made a nice souvenir for the girls! The energy of all participating in
the walk was contagious and the sunny yet cool weather made it pleasant to walk around the town,
following the balloons indicating the stores that were participating in the event.
The most wonderful surprise came on our visit to San Francisco. Revathi had told us she had organised a
picnic, which we were looking forward to, considering the beautiful weather. But we hadn’t expected
what awaited us. There in Chrissy Fields, an area with the most perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge,
was an enchanting picnic layout. There was a little chalk board saying “Welcome Kale Family”. A low
table covered with a white table cloth, set with pretty plates and cutlery, glasses, serviettes, candles, and
flower vases were arranged on a white blanket with cushions and small cane seats around it. A couple of
dainty white umbrellas, a small white sheer teepee and a couple of cane chairs completed the ensemble. It was a sight to behold! We settled down after the first wave of photographic enthusiasm to capture this
perfect setting for immortality subsided. The weather could not have been better even if we could have
ordered it. It was clear and sunny and just cool enough..a miracle for San Francisco, I am told! The
laughter and joviality began to attract attention as we indulged in the picnic food that Revathi had
thoughtfully put together and took out of her basket like a magician doing a neat trick! As we told the
youngsters stories of our own childhood and youth, incessantly pulled each other’s legs and heard the children discuss how they see their future, the time passed most magically.
Memories are made of moments like these. And it was a perfect addition to the happy and carefree
memories I was greedily trying to hoard on this family trip before Tanvi got married…the memories of an
unplanned perfect Kale-van!