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Sundar Narayanan's Travelog

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A vacation of a lifetime

Last October my wife and kids declared that they want to see Europe. They were going to go with or without me. All I had to do was join them. 

Then there was the scheduling issue with me going to Asia on a regular basis. So it was decided for a lot of reasons to book a two week trip in early July. As usual work always made it more difficult. I had to fly back from Asia and fly to Europe the next morning with family. This was like a recipe for disaster with Jet lag lag..

San planned everything with help from the kids. They had selected 640 places to visit in Europe in 12 days and out of respect for the laws of physics and some constraints with the time space continuum, they zeroed it down to one city per day. 

Had agreed to join them as a traveler as long as there was no driving involved and I would do the same things they did. So the deal was on. There was also one other stipulation. It was summarized in a simple Tamizh phrase "poththindu varanum".. which crudely translates to "shut all your holes and come".. or in English "Not one complaint from you on the planning"..

So I did not complain.. during the trip. There is always the post trip blog for that..

Step 1: Fly to Rome via Zurich. The flight was great. Then we ended up in the Zurich airport for a good 9 hours because... 

So we spent some quality family time together at the airport. Took some pictures.. 

Then I got to work on a yoga photo for a good 3 hours while the wife and kids did their thing. 

Here is the end result. I had posted a smaller version of this before leaving because there was no single minded focus and attention to detail then.. 

The family was just blown away by my Photoshopping dedication. Hadn't left the seat for 3 hours.. it was me and the laptop.

Oh yes.. some pictures from the airport.

We then ended up watching the world cup game where Argentina got eliminated at the gate and eventually made it to Rome. 

When we got out of the Rome airport a guy said he was the official Taxi stand guy and said 60 Euro for 4 people. We told him the hotel already told us 48 Euro. He agreed and asked us to wait at a door. We kept waiting and the first thing that hit us was the Cigarette smoke. Looks like there are more lit cigarettes at any time in Rome than there are mouths.. after some time we realized he was a quack and we found the actual taxi stand. It had a nice label. Fixed rate, 12 Euros per person per trip anywhere in city! so we stood in line, got a taxi, showed the address and reached! The driver gave us a mini tour of sorts describing places as we went from airport to hotel. 

It was actually not bad. When we finally made it to the room in Rome at almost 11PM, there was a sense of satisfaction. We had made it as a family to Europe after three earlier aborted attempts!

It could only get better from there.. 

To be continued.


Combining two interests

Yoga and Photoshop..

call it what you want, but these two pictures were a good time pass.

Jr. volunteered to take the individual shots. She said it was more fun to keep clicking and watch me do yoga than have to do the Yoga herself.. also she got to yell "body down, stretch forward" a few times. (had taught her to repeat the right keywords at the right times to motivate me). 

One of my teachers Matt always tells me "Sundar, you have to take it one millimeter at a time. Trust the process. It is a process. Go for progress instead of perfection". Every word is etched in my head. 

Being a process engineer by background, this Process is asymptotic and can be imperceptible on a day to day basis.. but, a millimeter a day adds up to 36.5 centimeters a year.. that is more than a foot! That assumes you come every day. Sometimes a weeks break can reset you more than 7 millimeters.. but that is another story. 

If you keep going and practice routinely, you can see the millimeters add up.

Will leave you with these two pictures of the half moon pose backbend 

and standing bow pose

both of which were incredibly difficult for me to do as a beginner and as a regular student in every class.. Was probably going back or forward only to the first step you see in the pictures. Today can do slightly better than the lowest bends in these pictures given all the poses we do prior to doing this (in heat) compared to directly jumping into it without any warm up at home. 

Matt was right.. those millimeters all add up over the years. 

All that said summer is always a tough time to keep up the regularity of the practice. So the process takes an erratic path and some semblence of regularity is regained in fall.

Was originally going to spot the 10+ things wrong in every pose, but today has been a good day. So instead I took a different approach, admired my handiwork on photoshop and decided all those things can wait. 

They are going to take a lifetime to fix.. and I am surprisingly okay with it!

Hope all of you got to do or try some Yoga on International Yoga day on Thursday. If you tried it for the first time, hope you had a lifechanging experience and you keep coming. If you got your regular yoga done, go you! 

It takes an inner will to be absolutely selfish to go do Yoga on a regular basis. The only way you can take care of others if you take care of yourself first. 


The post Yoga Rose.. and a recreated photo

Ever since I started picking up a rose after doing Yoga on Fathers day (Bikram Yoga San Jose gives out roses to dads on Fathers day when they come out of class.. I love this!), we started taking a picture in our yard with the kids and me.

Did this in 2015 and 2016. Last year Jr. was in India with my parents and I was travelling and we missed this.

This year we were all under one roof. Happy that I did not fly out this Sunday and my trip was pushed out. 

Given busy schedules my MIL rushed out and we took the picture on my iPhone. Last two attempts she took the picture on my Canon 5D. (you can tell the difference)

you can see how fast the little one is growing.. those old clothes are all gone. 

It was fun to do this.. 

Jr. barely fits into that jeans and net shirt. My hair still ebbs and flows.. the good thing is that we are all doing well and are having fun.

A big thanks to BYSJ for the nice thought. Keep them coming!


The big weekend

Mid June brings us two events within a few days or sometimes on the same day.. Our Wedding Anniversary and Father's day.

This year we had a anniversary lunch instead of dinner as the little one had a party to go to. Their calendars are sometimes busier than ours. We skipped the trip to Ghirardeli's for ice cream this year. 

Apparently there is a plan for a suprise 25th anniversary party from the kids.. IF we last that long together (overheard that in a conversation between the kids)

I get to go do Yoga for Father's day. They let me have what I need. So far so good..

It is amazing that this girl managed to live with me for 19 years. I am not easy to live with..even I have a tough time living with myself. So definitely deserves all the credit for what we have going..

Message to my kids. Don't bet against your mother, ever! If she says we will make it to our 25th anniversary, we WILL! 

This year, there was some gardening work on Father's day. Many a tree, shrub has been planted in this house "in the name of the father" and few survived.. the pomogranate tree that gave our front yard its beauty died after we did the room extension that came too close to it. Cleared it out and planted something else in its place in hopes that this will be the new star of the front yard. Counting on Yamagami nursery plants being better than Home Depot ones! 

Happy father's day to all the dads and kids who celebrate father's day! We are now past the age where the kids bring trinkets as gifts. They don't even try to be nice to me on father's day.  Maybe this new trend will change again after a few years.

Apparently there is a facebook forward that shows a kid's message to his mom saying "Happy mothers day. Your mothers day would not be possible without me. I am in the front room waiting for a gift" or some such thing. My kids tried to point that out to me.. My response "I will celebrate fathers day to thank my dad and I am not even expecting anything from him!".

They do still love my "sambar flavor" Maggi and for that I am eternally grateful..


Yet another attempt at sitting still

The weekend was spent in painting the little one's room. When she got her own room, she opted for a pink accent wall with light pink walls. I told her that the whole room will reflect pink off of everything but she was like "this is my room. can we please go with what I want?!". Having been through this exercise with all the women in the house, I just didn't bother to argue.

The room did turn out to be pink everywhere and she kept silent for almost a year and a half. Then she slowly started "termiting" me (she keeps asking till I have to give in even if I act like her request is not reaching my ears). Her room is "too pink" and there is not enough light to study (that was hitting me below the belt). So we need to keep the accent wall but take the three other walls and make them white. 

The project was a success, with a lot of sincere and hard work from the girl herself, moving ladders, handing me the brush dipped in paint etc.. etc. We were both proud of the effort this morning when everything was done and we peeled off all the masking tape. The best part of painting rooms is when you peel off the masking tape and you get sharp edges on the walls!

My shoulders were sore. Also I didn't stop to drink water while painting which was a mistake. After the whole thing was finished, decided to drink water and sit down for some time. Then I thought instead of sitting down, why not try to meditate in lotus pose again and see if my focus has improved over last three months..

Turns out, it has!

Managed to sit still was close to 75 minutes. Will see in a few months if I can do this for 90 minutes. Sitting still for 90 minutes is equally difficult for me as doing a 90 minute yoga class where we alternate between asanas and shavasana. I always stuggle with Shavasana. Even in this attempt it was probably 15-20 minutes before I was in white space (or gold space) and around 50 minutes (the usual place where I give up because my legs desperately want to come out) there is some blues and greens. Don't know what the color trasitions mean but maybe someday I will understand. 

When I came out my kids said "so you successfully wasted an hour?!". They should try this someday to know how hard this is. 

The practice continues...