Big Fat Indian Wedding in Mumbai

When I say I was overwhelmed by the wedding in December, it is an understatement. After we settled in, there was constant activity at my cousins house for the wedding preparations. Every day there was activity, more family visiting, more ceremonies, more rehearsals for the the festivities (Pre-wedding and wedding).

For 5 days we didn’t even leave the general vicinity of the house we were staying in. Shopping, eating, shopping, eating, dance rehearsals, wedding preparations and daily evening festivities were the order of the week. For these days passed so quickly, that I felt like I was living in a different world. So this was what it meant to have a real Indian wedding!

We were fortunate that we had purchased a cell phone with totally “free” service so we could communicate with the outside world. Keep in mind as a foreigner this kind of purchase has to be done by a native. For approximately $80 I got a phone which had dual Sims and unlimited data, voice and text messaging. Outstanding!

We were able to get currency exchange at the local market (thankfully), so we were able to spend cash freely. Keep in mind, the de-monitization issues were still visible everywhere. No money at ATMs and getting change when you do spend money was not easy.

With every day wedding activities and shopping, by end of day, we were exhausted and just wanted to sleep. Keep in mind of the first day or so we were both having jet lag issues, so sleep was a commodity!

Anyway.. we survived and back to the wedding preparations:

The love within the family for each other and their togetherness was absolutely genuine. What I realized is that family is family no matter if you are in India or outside the country. First and second generation cousins who had never met each other were spending hours upon hours and days together and enjoying each others company! Every day was a blast! When you have a large family like mine (I have like 17 first cousins), and of course these cousins have their kids!

Generation 1 (me and my cousins) and Generation 2 (the kids of my cousins) were so amazing and so in tune with what needed to get done for the wedding. There were three major event preparations happening simultaneously.

  1. My aunt’s 80th birthday celebration and the wedding preparations. Two nights before the wedding was my Aunt’s 80th birthday celebration. This was  a dual event as in addition the the birthday celebration, there were simultaneous Henna being applied to all the women and girls that were part of the wedding celebration!
  2. Dance Rehearsals for the Dance party (Sangeet) the day before the wedding ‘
  3. Wedding preparations (including all Hindu religious pooja’s  and food preparations on a daily basis

All of the above was going on in the same house we were staying!

My Aunt’s birthday celebration was a huge success. She had no idea about the party and she was absolutely overjoyed. For me it back fond memories of my mother and how great it would have been to see her here enjoying her younger sister’s 80th birthday party!

The night before the wedding was the Sangeet (singing and dances) celebration at a hotel near to where we stayed. OMG, the preparations, the dance rehearsals (your’s truly did perform a dance – which we will not discuss further), and the performances at this event were a sight to be seen. Let’s just say the alcohol was flowing and and everyone was having a great time!

The next day was the wedding! This wedding was an all day affair that included wedding and reception. There must have easily been a combined of about 500 to 750 people at both events. Of course my cousins and our huge family out staged everyone at the wedding and reception. We are absolutely a loud bunch of people! Someone called me their ring leader,  yet I do resemble that remark!

To see a wedding like this is kind of overwhelming! To see cousins and family you have not seen in years is such a joy and you get a sense of belonging. This is something I absolutely feel at times here. I really don’t have any close relatives that are in NJ and my cousin in California is quite a distance away.

Pre-wedding  shopping that my daughter and I did was endless. My daughter and I had to buy our wedding outfits and even though it was pretty straight forward, the choices were amazing. As I had said in my other posting, everything was just a taxi ride away at the local market area in Vile Parle East. Even after converting into dollars the purchases were a tremendous bargain!

By the time we got home from the wedding reception, we were exhausted!

The day after the wedding, my daughter and I took a taxi tour of Mumbai.. This was amazing! The crowds, traffic and the sights and sound of Mumbai was visual and audio overload! Let me leave details on this for another post!

The wedding celebration my daughter and I experienced, is something that neither one of us will forget for a long long time. It was exhilarating to spend time with family and to see the love that my family showed towards each other was something I have NEVER experienced.

To say that this wedding was “A big fat Indian Wedding” is an understatement, but from what I understand, most weddings in India are like this!

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m thankful for

As another holiday season approaches, I’m on annual staycation during Thanksgiving week and have had a chance to reflect on things. I know I ramble and I don’t necessarily stay on point on my postings, but today, as a I sit here listening to some great music on my Echo device, I am truly thankful for many things in my life

What am I thankful for today and every day of my life?

  • My Family – My kids and my brother. They are the ultimate barometer of me as a parent and as how I’ve influenced their lives. As they have grown up, they continue to showcase everyday their independence and their ability to persevere.
    • The last few years have been difficult for them, but yet both my girls have thrived and become the young ladies I always wanted them to be. Resourceful and successful each in their own rights.
    • Over the past few years, I’ve started to see life through their eyes not only as my children, but as young ladies growing up in today’s society. My girls are truly my pride and joy.
    • My brother has been my rock for the past few years. For many years, we didn’t get along, but over the past few years, we have healed our relationship and become not just true brothers, but really good friends. Over the past few years, he has gone out of his way to support me emotionally as I rode my roller coaster of emotions. Spending time with my brother and his family in Texas (yes it is hot in Texas!), I’ve managed to maintain my sanity, and at the same time realize that blood is always thicker than water.
  • My Life – My life over the past few years has been chaotic to say the least. Many don’t know that I’ve been working on version 2.0 of me. Why? Well when you don’t truly appreciate what you have and fight to keep it, you tend to lose it. Well that’s what happened to me.
    • Many don’t know that I become a divorced dad over 2 years ago. After almost 24 years of marriage, my married life ended. The cause for the disintegration of my marriage was multi-dimensional. I won’t go into it here. Yet let’s say, that relationships will either fail or succeed with communications and compromise. If you and your partner are not are not able  work together on both, you will end up a part of the divorce rate which now exceeds 50%!
  • Rebirth – Divorce is like death and rebirth of the individual. Even as you are going through the various stages of grief for the loss of a relationship, you are always walking forwards and looking for that light at the end of the tunnel where the sun will shine through once again.   Oh yes,  I  have spent the past two years plus in various stages of grief (anger is the one stage that is pervasive and a consistent formula in my daily life). I’ve learned to cope with my situation with various mechanisms for introspection and several parts humor (mostly sarcasm which is my forte).
  • My friends – I have very few friends, but the friends I do have have shown me over and over again what the meaning of true friendship is. These friends have now seen the best of times in my life and been and the worst of times.  There are only a handful of friends that can be honest with me and stand by me in my times of need. My friends helped me to keep my sanity when I felt totally isolated and didn’t know when it would stop raining and the sun would come out again for my life.
  • Tennis – Playing tennis has enabled me to re-direct my negative energy into a positive force on the courts. I found that the more negative emotions I had, I focused more on the game to be a better player and focus on the game as a “safe place” for me to be in my darkest hours. At times, I entered into a Zen state when went on the court and all the grief, anger and the overwhelming angst was left on the court. I actually became a better player over the past few years!

As 2016 draws to a close, I’ve turned the corner into a new sense of individuality and purpose. Perhaps its just that I’m getting older, but perhaps being retrospective allows me some gain some perspective on where I’ve been and where I’m going.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.. Be sure to tell your loved ones, how grateful you are that they are in your life and be thankful for everything you have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day 2016

Yesterday, was one of the best Father’s day I ever had in many years.. I got to spend a whole day with my kids! Spending a day together with my girls is the best gift I can ever get from my girls.

The day got off to a rough start when I missed the train from Hazlet, NJ to NYC… but that’s what happens when you don’t anticipate traffic from point A to B. The day almost got cancelled before we got started, but of course it was my fault as my lack of planning can always cause unnecessary chaos.

Taking New Jersey Transit and Path to World Trade Center is pretty exhausting.. I still don’t understand why they have escalators that don’t work on weekends in Newark, NJ Penn station.  By the time we changed trains from NJ Transit to PATH.. I was huffing and puffing and sweating profusely.

If you are traveling from NJ to NYC.. you always know you are going to be on the move and be prepared to spend money every step of the way.. I was shocked that PATH was now $2.50 for a ride.. I can remember when it was $1! Yet when you think of the NYC subway’s costing $2.50, this PATH fare just seem to be over priced!

Tip of the Day: If you are in NYC, make sure your Metro Card is loaded! This same card can be used on NYC Subways and Path!

When we finally got to WTC, I was in absolute awe at the changes and the rebuilding that has happened and is ongoing. WTC continues to evolve but for me it brought back memories and sorrow. I used to commute to work through the original WTC in the late 1980’s. Yes I’m that old..

When you are in NYC, your attitude just automatically changes.. Once a New Yorker always a New Yorker.. I grew up in NYC, went to school in NYC and worked in NYC for many many years. Yet if you are not used to the hustle and bustle of NYC, you will get overwhelmed by the speed of NYC (from walking to running to subways).  I felt that I was walking in slow motion and everyone else was walking in high gear!

My girls took me to a great “bottomless” mimosa restaurant on 14th street. I forget the name of the restaurant.. but needless to say.. I left very happy (if you know what I’m trying to say here!).. When you have enough Mimosa’s your happiness level goes up exponentially!

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I think the highlight of my Father’s day was walking from 14th street to 30th street on the High line.. This is an elevated walking platform where trains used to run and now is an elevated park that runs for about 5 miles!

The art, culture and the ability to enjoy the various art and neighborhoods that surround the High Line is truly amazing.

I bet you are asking yourself.. what was the best gift that I got? Well it was given to be my younger daughter.. She got me a Dad’s Taxi tag for my car.. This made my entire day.. So if you see a car with Dad’s taxi in the back window.. you will know that it’s me!

Dad's Taxi Yes simple things like this can really make me happy!

By the time we returned to NJ, I was exhausted and I needed a few hours of nap time to recover.. This is when I truly felt old! I used to commute to NY for work in the 80’s and 90’s! Now just one day trip wore me out..

Well I’d like to hear from my follower’s on how was your father’s day.. For me, yesterday was one of the best father’s day I ever had!

 

 

 

 

 

Chance Encounter: Psychic

Sometimes a chance encounter shakes you to your foundation.. this is one of those times

Today I was at Trader Joe’s with my friend Deeb and I met this woman who was psychic.. Initially I didn’t know she was psychic, but my friend who was with me knew the psychic for many year told me she was a true psychic with real powers.

I’ll call the psychic Linda. Linda looks at me and without me telling her anything she says to me that I’m troubled.. and she stepped back.. I was perplexed..

For anyone that know’s Dad, knows how cynical I really am, and am not a believe in things that I don’t really know much about. Yet.. something about Linda captured my attention. Imagine me.. being captivated by a woman who was doing a watermelon demonstration at Trader Joe’s and her being a psychic.

My friend Deeb told Linda that I was in despair because I had a house that I could not sell and was in a situation where I would have to move back into the house and give up my current place. Linda closed her eyes and said to me: “If you give off positive energy every day, you will get that positive energy back in your direction by tenfold. Also every day I need to say at least 5 to 10 times “I’m Relieved the house is sold“. Even if the house was not sold, this mantra would give me back some positivity and reduce the stress and anxiety that I was feeling.

Linda also told me not to move back into the house for 3 months.. She didn’t know why the 3 months number was important, but she felt that number was important to my true self relief and the resolution to my issues. This chance encounter moved me to my foundation. Here was a woman I just met me telling me that my anxiety and stress would be over in 3 months. 

Before I had gone to Trader Joe’s I had told my friend Deeb that I was moving back into my house at the end of June.. Now this chance encounter had thrown my emotions and my decision into a state of upheaval. Now what? Would I listen to this stranger and take it a face value of what she was telling me to do? Or do I just ignore her advice and go with my decision. What would you do? I’m open for input from vast legions of followers (LOL)..

When Linda stepped back and closed her eyes,  I felt something.. I felt an electrical energy passing from her to me.. I was almost frozen in my spot.. If you know me, you know that I’m not that easy to get frozen or be moved by external influences..

Now, I have to decide do I take her advice and do the mantra and wait out the 3 months?

What do you think I should make of this chance encounter???.. because I’m teetering on the verge of going with the encounter and just letting it go..

Chance Encounter

 

 

Dad’s Taxi: No longer Needed

This week, the day that I dreaded finally came true. The days of Dad’s taxi came to an end.. No.. I’m not shutting down this blog!

My 17 year old daughter got her provisional driver’s license and now she is totally mobile with her own car.. A hand me down.. from my father. .. to her sister.. to her.. A 2003 Honda Civic with very very low miles..

Of course.. in my last attempt at maintaining some control I had to take some final steps to ensure her safety has she hit the perilous travails on the roads of Central New Jersey.

  • I signed a contract with my 17 year old.. on what hours she can drive using her provisional license (6AM – 11PM).. Nothing outside those hours
  • Only she can drive the car.. The car is NOT to be used by her BFF’s.
  • She needs to tell mom/dad whenever she goes out as to her destination and must text/call us that she has arrived at her destination.
  • She is responsible for ensuring car is in working order.. If any major maintenance is to be done, Mom/Dad will take care of it.
  • She’s fully insured (Courtesy of Dear Dad).
  • Drive defensively.. There is a reason why NJ has one of the highest insurance rates. If you live in NJ, you know what I mean by this.
  • No Texting and driving! Phone is to be turned off whenever she gets in the car if she is the driver.

She even started taking the care to High School!

So Dad’s Taxi is now officially out of business.. Unless of course my girls want me to drive them around when they are home!

 

 

Spring is almost here!

Hope springs eternal in the spring, and for Dad’s Taxi, this spring is the start of new path of life

After a very cold winter, I think winter is just around the corner for us in Central NJ. This has been one of the coldest winter’s I’ve seen in a long time.. Not much snow, but the cold has been brutal. I personally look forward to the Spring as a time of rebirth and a time of new beginnings.

I’ll be ready to share with the world the story of my rebirth over the next few months.. as I’ve been keeping quite a few things I’ve been going through over the past year to myself. I’m finally at a point in my life where Dad’s Taxi is ready to say,  my taxi of life is finally on the right path and making positive progress .

Spring time is a time for new beginnings, why not start here??

Tonight (March 8th) is the start of Daylight Savings Time and as we all say “Spring forward, Fall Back”, I’m finally ready to spring forward not just by one hour, but to truly begin the next part of my life this Spring.

2014 Au Revoir and Good Riddance

2014 ends and on a positive note and looking forward to the future in 2015.

As 2014 comes to closure, Dad’s Taxi is in a reflective mode.

For Dad, 2014 was a time for change. For the people that know me,  the chaos in my life in 2014 that  I overcame has made me a stronger person. I guess “what doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger”.   Much of the chaos is so personal/private that I cannot write about them here.. Perhaps in a few more months, I can let the world know what has been going on for the past 24 months of Dad’s Taxi.

2015 has an air of glimmer of light that I hope turns into reality

How was your 2014????

Summer of 2014 – Where have you gone?

Where did the Summer of 2014 go and what changes lie ahead?

I know, Dad’s Taxi has been on hiatus.. No updates in quite a while.. It doesn’t mean that I’m not here.

Honestly the past almost two years have been the most chaotic and dysfuncational time of my life. It’s been a long and winding road to where I am today.. Working to be at peace with myself… I never thought that would be a possibility, but as a friend of my said to me a few days ago on the tennis court.. “it’s a process which needs to be understood”. No idea how this applied during our tennis, but it sure applied to me in my life!

Sometimes in life, it’s best to step back and reflect internally and not publicize things that are happening in your life. At least until you are ready to publicize..  Let’s just leave it at that for now.

It’s hard to believe how fast this summer has gone by.. I blinked my eyes and it’s Mid-August. Only a few more weeks to Labor day and the “unofficial” end of the summer of 2014.

My Summer accomplishments (in no particular order) 

  • Recovering from multiple injuries (self-inflicted via Tennis and some stupidity when it comes to stairs!)
  • Going to the Movies (by myself) whenever possible
  • Spending time with my kids (when they had time for me).
  • Spending time with my best friends doing things like hiking, tennis and just hanging out
  • Taking my first vacation (a mini-vacation actually) to Wildwood and Capy May County NJ!. This was the highlight of this summer. Dad’s taxi was truly a taxi for my girls on this vacation!
  • Going to Binghamton, NY to see a tennis tournament
  • Getting in touch with my soul by meditation and connecting with god. This was something I really needed to do! With the chaos going on in my life, this was the only thing that kept me from going over the edge..
  • I actually went off-line Facebook for almost a month.. Of course I posted some pictures, but I was not logging in to see what others were doing. This self imposed Facebook boycott was the most difficult thing for me to do. I realized that I had become such a facebook h
    • First few weeks, I found myself gravitating to my smartphone to see how many “pokes” I had, whose “Birthday” was today, and just basically looking into the lives of my friends.. At first I thought I was being selfish, but I realized, that not being active in social media, allowed me to “go off the grid” and focus on myself!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be going to Dallas for my annual visit.. for both fun and business!

Stay tuned as Dad’s Taxi “evolves”..

Winter of our Discontent – Enough Already

The ongoing boredom of the winter of 2014 in Central NJ

Panoramo of the Quiet of the Snow

I have not experienced this kind of winter in NJ for years.. With El Nino where each winter was mild for the past few years, this year is wetter and colder than I’ve ever seen. The winter of 2014 in Central NJ has been one storm after another dumping snow and ice and when its not snowing, it’s frigid.

I noticed that this year the weather channel named each storm. Today we are in the middle of Storm Pax. Not sure what that means, but I guess we are on the letter “P” with storms.

I don’t really mind the snow, as long as I have my monster snow thrower to clear the snow, but gosh enough is enough. The kids in NJ are really having fun, as they have now had 4 or 5 snow days.. Of course I look forward to the 4:30 AM call from the Middletown, NJ Board of education to tell me that there is no school today due to ANOTHER Snow Storm!

I have to admit that this town is so wonderful with communications by telephone blasts, email’s and text messages. This township is also amazing with snow plowing.. Even before the snow finishes, the main roads are cleared!

I was just talking to my daughter and she tells me that dad’s taxi is slacking off and not posting enough. Well, things are going on in Dad’s life that really cannot be shared here (for now)….

Whenever it snows, I sit in my semi “man cave” in the back of my house and work.. Yep that’s me, sitting and watching my neighbor’s horses frolicking in the back. This is how boring my life has become.

Horses lounging Horses out for a walk in the Snow

What dad really needs is a vacation.. A vacation where he can just let loose and chill. Now the question arises, is where do I go?

Since my daughter told me I need to write about more interesting things, I’m going to have to reflect and write about interesting things.

For now, I’m going to watch as much Curling as possible at the Olympics in Sochi. I’ve gotten obsessed at watching the men and women slide the rock down and sweep to get points. I still don’t get the scoring system, but the intensity is worth the wait.. BTW, I found out that Curling has become the latest “must see” sport in the schools. One Child even had her phone confiscated because she was watching Curling in math class! I got a chuckle out of that.

At least it’ll be an interesting spring (when it arrives in the next 35 days!).

Hey, pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training next week, so as a NY Mets fan, the annual rite of hope for my metsies starts anew.

Dad’s life is changing and he’s headed for a hard reset of his life. More on this later in postings when the time is right.  For now, Dad has to just get over this endless winter!

 

Thanksgiving 2013 – End Times

This Thanksgiving, Dad’s Taxi takes a left turn and talks about of being thankful and the end of the past and the beginning of the future…

For Dad’s Taxi, Thanksgiving is always the start of new beginnings and the end of times. I know many will say that makes no sense at all. Well the answer to that is Yes and No.

I was looking at the empty screen of my posting board and thinking that perhaps I’ll write about what I’m thankful for this year. Yet I knew that would just be a rehash of things that I’m thankful for every day. So I’m taking a left turn and writing more about that things that I found closure in this year, or as I call in my own way.. “The end of the Beginning”.

End of Times:

  • Debt: Many of my readers know that the pervasive thing that I write about on this blog is Debt. Well in 2013, I finally become debt free. Yes! I did it. Yet to be perfectly honest, this did not come free of cost. I lost my dad this year because of him I am now debt free. Everything he said about debt rings true in my ears and a part of him (unfortunately) still lives inside me.
  • Forgiveness and letting go: With my dad’s passing in January of this year,  I learned many important lessons and if not the most important was forgiveness and letting go. I struggled for so many years with not being able to forgive him for the perceived and some real injustices he had done to our family as we were growing up. In the last 3 months of his life, I saw him every day becoming more and more frail and losing touch with reality. He was dependent on my visits as he lay in his hospital bed’s unable to control his life, with flashes of memory of his past. May god rest his soul.
  • Self actualization and understanding: This year I became more aware of how much ingrained personality traits I had as a result of my childhood and adulthood growing up in the dysfunction that I call Dad’s taxi of life.
  • Moving forwards and not looking back: Understand your past and you will be able to move forward. If you continue to regret “what if’s”, you will never be able to treasure what you had and move on with the next part of your life.. I guess this is an ongoing
    Fake Turkish Taxi for Chaos filming - 032120114085

    epiphany that have on a daily basis.

I’m grateful to my wife and kids for giving me all the materials that I get to write about. Without Dad’s Taxi and the postings I make here, I’m not sure whether, I’d be as thankful as I am today for what I have, regardless of where tomorrow takes me.

To all my family, friends, readers, supporters, and I’m thankful to each of you for making my life so interesting..

What are you thankful for?