It was to be the perfect culmination of my whirlwind tour of the west coast. The week that had followed this hectic fortnight was relatively sedate with me spending time at my son’s home in San Jose, cooking, cleaning and doing other ‘mummy things’. But I had kept the spirit of adventure alive, ventured into the unknown. Booked an Uber and after two failed attempts managed to locate it simultaneously on the screen and the street ( it requires a certain degree of divergent squint!). Revealed my credit card details on the World Wide Web to book movie tickets. Wandered around Mountain View and found my way back using Google maps. Spent a day exploring San Francisco on my own, using public transport, mingling with the locals. Ordinary activities for others but quite a feat for someone like me who is technically challenged and has little sense of direction.
I had planned to end my American holiday with a final act of daredevilry. A free fall from the sky, hurtling towards the earth at 200-250 kmph, feeling weightless and free. I was scared but determined. Skydiving has always been on my to do list, much before it made it to my bucket list, things I wanted to do before I die. And now with me edging towards sixty I thought it was time.
I woke up to a sunny, bright morning but by the time we took the hour long drive to the airport clouds had started to gather. As we went through the formalities of the jump it began to drizzle. We were instructed to wait till the weather cleared. An hour later we were the only ones on the tarmac as other skydivers gradually left. Finally the manager informed us that the activity had been canceled for the day. I was hugely disappointed, but truth be told, secretly relieved too. Seeing the grey skies and my blue mood my son took me to a movie in ‘ one of it’s kind’ dome theatre instead. Excellence falls short to describe the surreal experience of being surrounded by the ocean and its inhabitants.
The next day was earmarked to celebrate the grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge by walking across it. A plan that was dashed by the continuous rain. As I was moping over two days of bad weather and ruined plans my son walked out of his room. On an impulse I asked him if he wanted to eat Bread Pakoras for breakfast, his favourite since childhood. He couldn’t help drooling, as he quickly called over friends. It was cute that a generation that starts its Sunday after mid day was ready for breakfast at ten. So the day started with listening to their banter amid satisfactory grunts and ended with us cozily watching an Oscar nominated movie on my son’s newly acquired television. A perfect day indeed.
In the run up to my fifty sixth round of the Sun I realised that there is nothing like bad weather or a bad day. Each day is perfect. It might not be perfect for what you planned, but it is still apt for some thing else. A day which was to be spent looking down at the earth bolting from the sky was spent gazing up at the ocean in a superbly crafted movie. And a day I had planned to brave the cold and wind of frigid San Francisco, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge was spent gorging on pakodas and sipping hot masala tea, feeling blessed that my son had a home away from home.
( carried in my column in the Tribune on 19/1/2019)