Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas 2004 @ Silicon Valley

I had made plans to visit Vikas, my USC roomate who lives in San Jose for this Christmas. After days of endless uncertainity I left for Long Beach where Bipin Sadhwani, one of my close friends at USC and fellow GC on Thursday evening. The traffic was so bad and my car kept getting overheated I felt relieved to get there. We went to pick up the car we had reserved for rental but they shocked us by cancelling our reservation for being under-25!!! we frantically went around all the car-rentals at Irvine airport but were either met with a sold-out sign or the under-25 year olds prohibited sign!!! we had almost given up on making this trip but Bipin hooked up with a friend of his who was going to SFO to meet his guruji and we finally planned to leave on Friday morning. I had a discussion on religion, godmen with this "bhayya" and so many other stuff. The drive to SF was uneventful save for getting lost a couple of times but thankfully traffic was lite.

Finally we got to Vikas's place by around 3pm and by then Ganesh and Rohit (Bipin's old roomies) and Niranjan ( Ganesh's dosth) joined us and we just went back in time to the old days where we just kept pulling each others legs. None of the guys drink or are as jolly jolly like my mallu friends but nevertheless I had a good time. Evening we went to eat at a paki-indian restaurant called kebab & curry and the food was pretty good. we had tikka, karahi, tandoori and butter chicken besides naan.i really envied vikas and co for the first time in life. frm there we went for a movie, Meet the Fockers, and there I saw how much Indians dominate the bay area. The whole damn theater was filled with us and I just realized how easy it wud have been to pick up new friends here....I also made a mental note to include SJ in list of cities I am open to relocate for jobs. we got back, popped open a rather expensive wine vikas's bhayya got as a gift from his company and then chatted away till 3 am.Next day morning bipin and ganesh rented a mini-van for our trip to napa valley.the b@#tards looted us by charging 180 dollars for a day but with 6 of us for the trip it came to be pretty cheap. While bipin was renting the car vikas dropped me at a nearby church for the christmas mass. It felt really good to see the inside of a church after a month and I was able to spend some quality time with the Maker. Am gonna try hard never to miss sunday service again.

we had lunch at saravana bhavan(yeah the same one in madras!...) before taking off for napa. I expected the same taste but unfortunately the masala dosa disappointed. on the way we picked up vikas's friend and fellow trojan, harsh mahasey from palo alto(stanford univ) . neways vikas, the butt of all our homo jokes bcoz of being on the wrong side of his 20's and his hatred for gals blundered...on staring from home and abt to reach the freeway he calls harsh and says "yaar, mein entry maar raha hoon" and on getting close to his house he again calls and tells him "mein abhi exit loonga, jaane ke liye thayyaar kar" and on reaching his house he calls him again and says"aah harsh, i have come!!"...we twisted that out of proportion and we gave the poor guy a miserable time. taking mahasay along was a big mistake....he was a chatterbox, kept cracking jokes and laughed by himself. I cudnt understand the jokes(I thought it wuz bcoz mujhe hindi maloom illa!!) but then the hindiwalas said they cudnt figure out his cracks either. Anyways I bore the brunt of his "jokes" as he sat next to me...and the only way I realized I cud save myself was to pretend to sleep. neways the way to napa was beatiful. we were driving thru a valley between mountains(green motta kunnukal) on either side. bipin cudnt understand why the grass on the hills wudnt grow and he believed the govt was getting them trimmed!!! the houses looked so elegant and classy...i am sure all the seven fobs in our car dreamed of owning one of those. at napa we were met with disappointment as all the wineries were closed bcoz of xmas and our wine-tasting tour was nipped in the bud. we headed back cursing each other and on the way bips wanted to pee and we stopped at a town on the way.It was like a ghost-town...all the shops were closed , nobody was around and angane we answered nature's call right in its backyard...a deserted woods little off the road.

from there we drove non-stop to san francisco and there from atop a lighthouse we saw the golden gate bridge and the alcatraz(aka the rock and aka hotel california). next stop was castro street (the gay capital of the world) and it was a sight for sore eyes...gays walking hand in hand, some even making out...that vikas remarked a woman wud feel safe here even at midnight.next we went up sfo's up and down road's with the city's impressive skyline looming at eye-level. dinner was had at a punjabi bar cum grill and again it was the same...tikka, karahi, tandoori, biriyani and naan. the food wasnt good but the consolation was the really excellent tea they served. It was complimentary and vikas, used to a 6 cups a day tea routine made up for the defecit there.back at home we spent another 3-4 hrs talking b4 hitting the sack. next morning(sunday) bipin left for his pooja and the guruji's place and vikas and i shopped for some groceries, spent a couple of hours at a starbucks b4 rohit came to pick me up and we all left to have lunch at bipin's. we unashamedly walked in, everyone staring at us for coming in after the poojas got over but the embarassment was soon forgotten in the best food I have eaten in more than a year. there was gobi, paneer, noodles, rajma andsome other vegi stuff but the quality and taste of the food was superb. vikas and rohit left and soon bipin, raju bhaiyya and i started the long drive back to LA amidst thousands of other cars carrying vacationers like us returning back to SoCal.

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