December 1, 2015 9:30 pm
Its a longest night for every bride, the night before her wedding night. Emotions run amuck and thoughts grow legs of their own and wander away. I sat up, listening to the endless rain hoping to drown myself in their pitter-patter rather than my own storming thoughts. Sound of rain needs no translation. You strike a chord with every drop!
Yes, I tied the knot in the pouring rain, in the heart of Madras, the city that wakes up to the rays of the scorching sun, where sweating and sweltering is a way of life, monsoon always plays peek- a- boo and is in everyone’s prayers.
Today, indeed the prayers were answered, all at once. Heavens poured like there was no tomorrow!! Ancient mythology would narrate Agni Pariksha , a litmus test to prove one’s love and unwavering resolve. Little did I know, we would stand a “Pani Pariksha” to prove our amour.
Chennai was giving a clarion call with rising water levels and submerging homes with no route to escape. Power was turned off and dining hall seen floating with chairs, no sign of the priest and lack of phone signal left us all stranded. We saw unknown guests entering the wedding hall to take shelter…
Despite the catastrophic floods our wedding was one of a kind! Unlike most weddings I attend these days, with plethora of destination photoshoots, umpteen rehearsals for makeup, dressing up, bride-groom role play.. followed by pouting of dramatic expressions and mouthing empty quotes on togetherness and love. We had a ceremony not a performance!
We tied the sacred knot amidst flooding doorways and sinking hopes yet among our loved ones. Don’t they said wet knots are stronger than the dry one’s? So was ours!
Seattle ?? He asked me. I said, yes why not…. Lets face it! Although Charleston (my husband used to live in South Carolina ) is a quaint and scenic town loaded with rich culture and history we don’t fit in. Being the Desi type we are… we need our constant dose of Tamil/ Hindi banter and folks both kind – to talk with and talk about kind…
Besides, I had just watched Sleepless in Seattle the previous night and it stuck with me. I wanted to be at arms length from the Space Needle for no reason… Boom! he moved to Seattle in September! It was our love at first sight…
I have travelled to many destinations and stumbled upon raw natural beauty in India but only to find it to be devoured by clamorous people oblivious to nature’s bounty (most times). In search of pristine beauty I landed in Singapore and found a made up city always manicured to look pretty and presentable. The ‘Red Dragon’ houses disparity with picturesque destination for the outsiders and assigned ghettos for the insiders bereft of basic amenities and sans a mask, you risk your life to the worst Chernobyl . Land of Oz is a goldmine of nature’s unparalleled beauty …but the warmth of the 12 Apostles cannot outshine the coldness of the natives.
See-Ahlash, native for Seattle is a raving epitome of ‘Be your own kind of Beautiful’. As we ambled along the mountainous path, few miles from home we could hear the gushing waterfalls at Snoqualmie swishing over the rocks playfully. The drizzle from the falls filled the air like magical fairy dust. I knew, I would never yearn home as I was already in nature’s lap.
Come December, it was snowy and cold and time for snowtime adventure. Mt. Baker Ski Area was a no-brainer. With the highest annual snowfall of any resort in the world I found myself dragging through bunny slopes, struggling and straddling my uncooperative feet and watching with envy as toddlers were bombing swiftly past me while I tried aping my instructor’s poodle turns with utmost difficulty. Well, well I had company to feel better not in my husband (Sssh don’t tell him, but he skies like a pro!) but his amateur friends. We fell and cursed together and pretended to enjoy our ski and I was all set to sprinkle my ski-speak with my buddies come Monday. You know how that goes.. “Oh I had the perfect weekend.. back country skiing in Baker…I was in intermediate slopes.. Duh! bunny slopes are for beginners….Blah Blah..”
Mt. Baker Skiing Adventure-Fun, frolic and fear :><:
Life Under one Roof !
Few months down in Seattle and into our relationship we found our common joy of hiking. Yes, falling in love, being romantic on phone for hours, going on fancy dates are a cake walk the real deal is sharing a roof. Yes, you heard me sharing space amicably is the biggest hurdle to a successful courtship. Putting up with uninterrupted sound of sports on TV (soccer/ football being played in any corner of the world) or avoiding glares and stares from hubby during your detailed and pointless discussion with your girlfriends about the latest Scandal episode, the age old bickering over should the toilet seat stay up or down and the classic, “You forgot to throw the trash again, but remembered to keep alarm and watch soccer at 5:30 am!”………..Hiking became our purging ground. The sheer beauty of towering trees, vast expanses of unadulterated greenery made us forget our woes. Conquering the mountains and in turn conquering our differences was a freeing experience. Washington- a true haven for outdoor enthusiasts, we found our inner calling.
Our first ever hike to Wallace falls in the Cascade mountains, an 8 mile round trip was both exhausting and exhilarating. Upper, middle and lower falls ensconced in the old growth-coniferous forests and fast moving streams was riveting. Home made potato sandwiches and coco water at the mountain top tasted unearthly. After a few mandatory selfies we started our descent while chatting and playing word games without feeling the usual urge to keep peeping into our cellphones. Thanks to the dense foliage AT&T and Verizon couldn’t invade our privacy !
Wallace Falls – 8 miles of PaRaDiSe
Few weeks later we made a quick trip to the world famous Pike place market.
With the oldest Starbucks since 1960s brewing aromatic coffee and the raging option of sweet meats to choose from we wandered away and found ourselves in a sticky situation literally and metaphorically. We walked into the Gum Wall – a long masonry brick, red wall covered completely in chewed gum! A horripilating experience. If you are a stickler for cleanliness and care a tad bit for hygiene this place is a big NO NO. But, if you enjoy color and beauty in any form and want to add bit of your own DNA-coated Juicy fruit this is your abode!
Time flew by, and our interest kept soaring and we did many more hikes, Lake 22, Poo Poo point in the rain, Rattle snake Ledge in bright sunshine, Mount Si with an amazing gang of avid hikers and many more. The adventure and spirit of the Seattlelites is infectious. We got bitten by the camping bug on one such trip to REI.
Bazinga! We caught a ferry one fine morning from Anacortes and found ourselves in the enchanting island of San Juan, the home of orcas. Orcas are the most enigmatic and humane creatures one can find. We went on a 4 hr ferry ride, along the Canadian border, spotting porpoises, dolphins and hoping for orcas. After 3.5 hours we were still hoping for orcas, they chose not to show up. But, we were not disheartened we set base in Friday Harbor at Three Lakdale resort. Camping- an experience one of its kind. Living outside your comfort zone even for a day is quite a task. We had our campers help us set our tents and start our Neanderthal night. After several failed attempts to light a fire with body spray, bags of marshmallows, twigs that were fire resistant we luckily ran into someone and sought help. Some of our inquisitive friends questioned his Camping knowledge, only to find out he was the Camp Director with a mere 28 years of experience. We were nothing but a pile of shame watching him arrange our wooden logs deftly and lighting the bonfire in no time. After several attempts of rolling , twisting and feeling the unforgiving chill rise our spines, we star gazed through our tents.
Stars gazing on a clear night is a blissful experience. I was lost in thoughts and went down memory lane. As someone wise once said, you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. Life is too short and there is no time to leave important words unsaid. I learnt a lot about myself and my spouse in such adventures than during our endless talks in fancy coffee shops. As I sat thinking I realized one cannot sit back and hope for a happy marriage, you have to create one! Zzzzzzz..
Hold on. Did I miss some place picturesque and scenic in WA? Does it look anything like this? If it does, then stay tuned for my travel dairies.. as the best is always yet to come! Cheers!
The mountains are calling and I must go!
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