sharing the memories
Disclaimer: These are just my personal views and observations. It obviously is slanted, biased and subject to all DNA defects. So, please bear with me. It is not intended to hurt anyone or criticize anyone. Liberty for friendly teasing and editorial freedom is taken. Well, you know the rest.
I awoke hearing noises downstairs and I knew Meena must be up and so I can have an early cup of coffee. I was, however, surprised that Leena was awake too. I believe Annie was also there and they were having a lively discussion of something. Slowly, one by one, everyone got up. Ike jogged from Samson's house to Mathukutty's house where we were all staying. He didn't want to stay for breakfast, but wanted to run back. It looked like it was going to rain and he was afraid that he may get caught up in the rain on the way. He asked Mathukutty to keep an eye for rain and if it comes within 15-20 minutes to go and give him a ride. It was overcast; but didn't rain at that time. Later it did rain.
We had some lively discussion around the breakfast table. Later Jane, Dolly, Ike
and Jaya came from Samson's house. We all had breakfast together. Ike was
looking for a violin for the evening and Leena said there is one in the
basement; but she cannot guarantee if it has all the strings or any string for
that matter. I guess, a violin without string can be used as a percussion
instrument. Leena did find the violin and it fortunately had all the strings.
One of the highlights of the morning was the house tour. It was amusing that since all the bedrooms were occupied by the guests, everyone ran to their rooms to tidy the bed before the "tour" arrived.
We had a practice quiz show. Since the points didn't count, it was less stressful and everyone had fun. Later we had lunch catered by the local Indian Restaurant, delivered by the owner in his Mercedes Benz Car. I guess in Utica, they do things in style!
After lunch we all travelled to Old Forge, NY for the boat ride. It was about a
1.5 hour ride to get there. Mathukutty, Ike and Jaya left in the leading car.
Their task was to purchase the tickets ahead of time so as to assure that we
will get seating together. The rest of the gang went in 2 cars, one driven by
Jolly and the other driven by Samson. On the way, it started raining heavily. It
turned out, the lead car had to stop due to the rain and fog; so we all ended up
being there nearly at the same time.
It was raining continuously; so we all ended up crowding into a small ticket booth as there was about 20 minutes before the boat arrived. We struck up a conversation with the ticket seller. I told her that these are all very prominent doctors travelling from all over the country. She took a look at Savio, Shila and Jane who were there at that time and thought I was joking. So, she started talking about a Dr. Desai in the local hospital and that everyone is scared in going to see him. When we finally managed to convince her that these are real doctors and looks are deceiving ( I am not sure if Jane momentarily decided to look her sternly without her trademark smile that convinced the ticketing agent. Leena also may have had a role because she could recant the names of several doctors there in addition to Dr. Desai. Jolly then walked in with a cup of coffee and I introduced him to her as a nephrologist. She had absolutely no clue what a nephrologist do and she didn't want to know! Jolly was ready to explain her the wavelength of sodium.) Anyway, she had been very helpful after that. She told all of us that we can all crowd into that small booth and told us that we can get into the boat as soon as it docks.
The boat finally came. Mathukutty was at the front of the line and gave the ticket collector the tickets. She took a look at Mathukutty and his dignified look and said we can all get in without even counting. Since it was raining, we had to be constrained to the lower floor and we took the seats at the front of the boat. Shila, Annie, Leena, Dolly, and Meena took two rows of seats at the left and spent all the time talking. I seriously doubt whether they saw anything. The conversation must have been quite interesting. Jolly discovered that there was a snack shop in the boat and bought some chips. Ike and Savio were perfecting their technique of taking photos while the boat was moving. Jaya sat there strategically not looking out (we will explain why later.)
The great conversation. What boat ride?
Some of the panoramic views seen during the boat ride.
The boat trip consisted of going into 4 big lakes (known as Fulton Chain of
Lakes) connected by a narrow passageway. The boat will go at about 20-25 mph
while in the lake, but will slow down to 5 mph while going through the narrow
neck. The boat traveled about 20 miles in 2 hours. It was a narrated
tour, but frankly we either could not hear or didn't pay any attention to the
scenery was breathtaking. The shores of the lakes were lined with million dollar
houses with docks for 2 boats. We saw one guy driving a big boat into one of the
covered docks with only 2-3 inches to spare on both sides. (That takes some
maneuverability!) On the south side, the majestic Adirondack mountains rise
steeply into the horizon providing us with panoramic spectacular views with a
few houses nestled in them. On the way we saw a lighthouse, and several parks.
It was a great experience. Everyone went to the front of the boat to take a
picture with the lakes as a backdrop. (We will be putting several of them in our
Ironically when the boat ride ended, so did the rain! So, we all decided to take a few group photos. Our Nibin, the official photographer, at one time was carrying more than half a dozen cameras as each person wanted to capture the memory in their own camera. He did a great job carrying all of them on his neck and still knew which button to push!
After the boat ride we all returned back to Mathukutty and Leena's house, the headquarters for the reunion on Saturday and Sunday. There were lot of goodies to munch on, including cutlets and even bananas, although Leena didn't encourage anyone to eat bananas.
Samson and Nibin were busy setting up their state of the art Karaoke system for the evening music program. Ike, Jaya, and Money went to practice the songs together. Leena wanted to make sure that we had dinner before Samson falls asleep. (He must be also getting up early like Meena.) We were all anxious to get the music going before Samson falls asleep. Meena was running up and down the stairs so that she won't fall asleep! We finally agreed that we will have the music and then the dinner and then the quiz if anyone wants it.
Money singing on Saturday
Becky Singing. Ike with Leena's violin
We were treated to several malayalam oldies like "ayiram padasarangal", "kayamboo",
etc. by a very talented Money. Becky treated us with an English song. The song was very good.
Later we all sung some religious songs together.
Next was Leena's chance to display her talents (I mean culinary talents). And it was phenomenal. Kappa and fish curry took the center stage although there were more than a dozen other items along with multiple dessert items.
After dinner, we decided to do the awards ceremony (before Samson and Meena falls asleep.) This year, the joint hosts were recognized with a wooden plaque. Everyone took turns in presenting the goodies. Mathukutty and Leena treated all of us with some unique Utica gifts.
Next we had the much awaited quiz or jeopardy show. This time everyone were
divided into teams captained by Jolly and Savio. Captains were allowed to pick
their own respective teammates. They promptly picked their wives in the first round.
At halfway point, Jolly's team was in the negative territory and Savio's team was slightly in the positive. After the half, Jolly's team appeared to have gained some life thanks to makri (more about that later) and after Annie spotted that and shut it down, it was downhill from that point. Savio's team won by a landslide (more about that later.)
So, this year we had a full slate of activities on Saturday. Everyone participated in them which made it very memorable and enjoyable. Some highlights follows.
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