That seems to be the mantra of the last week. Shailesh, one of my good friend was leaving town for better prospects and they have invited couple of friends at his home. It was Shivani's - his wife's b'day as well. Such a joyous occasion. Cake cutting, Pizza, good conversations and good company added much flavor to the evening. Friends play a very special part in my life. They were there when I needed them most - when I was trying to find my place in the world. Isn't that what we try to do most of the time. Try to see where do we fit, how do we fit. And who else than our friends can help in that process. Life throws lots of challenges at you. You have to just stand strong and face it. My friends gave me that strength. They listened, they talked, they lended a shoulder to cry on, they did everything but never judged me for who I am. Good friendships are rare these days and so I feel extremely rich to have good sets of friends. My aai always says that I have been very lucky to find good friends which is very true . I treasure my friendships, all the moments and memories associated with it. Here is to Shailesh and Shivani and their bright future.
While we celebrated Shailesh's success one evening, we had some wonderful company next day at our home. Usha and Raja - our neighbors as well as good friends were at our house for dinner. Usha's sister Vani ji was visiting from Boston, so it was our excuse for a get together. Amma and Appa - Usha's parents are always special. Extremely talented, gifted and very down to earth folks. I like them - a lot !! I had prepared simple maharashtrian food - kobichi bhaaji (cabbage with mustard seeds, hing and turmeric), gajarachi koshimbir (carrot salad), poli (bread), rice and daal (lentil soup). I like simple traditional maharashtrian food. It reminds me of home cooking - aai's touch. I was happy to see that Amma and Appa loved my poli and kobichi bhaaji. I think scoring high with them wasn't as daunting task as I had thought. After dinner we immersed ourselves in some Indian classical music and songs - by our own talented crew. Vani ji, Usha and Amma sang beautiful karanataki music style bhajans and song. Such a heavenly bliss. The rhythms, the aalaaps, the devotion - it was all there transcending the boundaries of language. I closed my eyes and tried to soak the beauty of these wonderful renditions. Amma was so melodious even at this age. I really have huge respect for this generation - they have seen so much life but still so grounded with their values, their simplicity and their disciplined way of life. My generation has so much to learn from them. They reminded me of my own grandparents. Amit sang beautiful Marathi song 'tya foolanchya gandhkoshi' while Sheetal gave us a sneak peek at her singing talent by singing a Japanese song. Parag topped the evening off with 'Pasaydaan'. Dhruv, Raja, Appa and I prefer to listen with great devotion :) Very simple yet very mesmerizing and touching evening. Happiness is simple. I am convinced.
Past weekend has been a real treat for an actor in me. Betsy, a PhD student from IU and now a good friend is making a film on successful immigrants in America. She wanted to shot and interview me and my family for this film. So, Amit and me and Sheetal and company were all dressed up for the shoot. Nice weather helped us to shoot some outdoor shots (like in a park, backyard etc.) Dhruv was not sure what's going on so he preferred to ignore the cameras and just be himself - which helped to capture him in his natural shots. The best shot was when we were 'acting' to drink tea from our cups (when there was no real tea in the cups) I was told that's how most of the shoots are done. It was so much fun just to act as if we were having tea and enjoying it. Our house was turned into a studio for the weekend. I think all of us enjoyed the 'lights, camera, action' world for a change.