Sunday, 25 March 2012

The highs/ups and the lows/downs

Its been a strange few days..last Thursday morning (today is Sunday) we woke up with 3 Centigrade and deep winter. Friday morning saw the thermometer showing 20 degrees and people were on the beach in force and some were even swimming.
Saturday and Sunday continued to be scorchers and its time to start believing that summer has arrived early even though we have just begun Spring (22 March). But this happens every year when a few days of good weather gets us chucking winter clothes into storage and begin to don sleeveless shirts and shorts. Then a few days down the line suddenly normality reigns and we end up with colds and coughs.
To change the subject a bit, spare a thought for our favourite Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar who last week reached the impossible landmark of scoring a hundred centuries in International cricket, something that no one has come even close to doing in a career, but (yes sometimes there is a niggling but) the Indiam team lost the match and that too to lowly Bangladesh! After the win at home agains England and debacle of the matches series in Australia I am beginning to think that something is going on that does not make sense. The Indian team has been having a lot of ups and downs.
And now for something completely different (Monty Python) .. today Manjeet (#1 son) pointed out something about the Ferrari Formula 1 cars  and the standings of the drivers after today's hectic race in Malaysia. What he stated is (and I quote)
'Alonso:35 points (top of the driver standings), Massa: 0 points (tied last).. and it's the SAME CAR!'
Figure that one out!  Come on Massa - start racing!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Destination Spain

Spain's state television RTVE had been calling me during the last nine months to see if I would be interested in participating in a program which is quite popular here in Spain. The program called 'Destino EspaƱa' goes out every Tuesday night and shows several foreigners who live in Spain. A seven minute video of each participant creates a  brief sketch of their lives and tells their story.
For one reason or another, usually because I was not available on the dates that the TV network were recording in our area, I had not been able to participate until now, but finally this week everything came together and Marisol and I prepared ourselves for the recording session which would last virtually all day. The two network men, Alberto and Pep, showed up punctually at half past nine and the action began.
Alberto was the one who would talk to me and ask the questions, and I was told to always look at him and not at the camera when talking, while Pep would run the camera which looked like it weighed a ton. How he managed to keep it on his shoulders through the whole day is beyond me. We hit it off right away, which was fortunate as it made for a very enjoyable day.
We had discussed a rough outline of the items we would include in the program, so we started more or less straight away. First on the list was me tying my turban, which Marisol and I had some misgivings about. However a chat with Dad in Delhi convinced me that it should not be a problem. The turban tying was followed by a little religious ceremony which included reading a few verses of our holy book ´Guru Granth Sahib´. There were quite a lot of questions and answer sessions about my childhood, the student years and how I met Marisol and the rest of our lives. They wanted to know all about our choice of coming to live in Spain and how we were getting on.
After a few shots of the family photos and Marisol´s art objects at home, we took to the streets around Laredo. First on our schedule was the tunnel which links Laredo to an old attempt to build a port on the far side of a big hill. And soon it was time to head for the beach and a rendezvous with someone who was going to show me how to ride a cart with a sail known formally as kart land sailing. The TV folks had asked me if I wanted to do something during the day that I had never done before and I had scratched my brains for something interesting. Finally decided on the cart sailing which I had seen on the beach and thought would be kind of fun.

Unfortunately there was very little wind, something unusual for Laredo where it is usually quite windy specially on the beach. However not to be thwarted we resorted to a few helping pushes which gave me enough of a momentum for a few video sequences. I was also strapped with cameras front and back so that they could record my view of the ride.
By this time we were ready to keep an appointment with a few friends at a local bar. Many of our friends, amongst them several who actually came to India on my 60th birthday, had agreed to meet at a given time to participate in the video shoot. Still I was pleasantly surprised to find about twenty five of them gathered to greet me and to say nice things! A few drinks, some snacks at Manu's bar La Dolce Vita, complete with Montse's famous toast (arriba, abajo...) and we were ready for lunch.
After lunch we walked the streets of the old town, recording the main tourist points such as the old gates in the medieval wall, the main church, the port and the houses where the Queen Isabel and her daughter the famous Juana la Loca are supposed to have stayed. Astoundingly the year in which this happened was during the life of our first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji! I gather that this is not a very commonly known fact around this town..
To finish the program we headed to the top of Laredo's own hill known as Atalaya, which has panoramic views of the town, its beach and the surrounding areas. As we shot the closing scenes it occurred to me that our families had gone far and wide and that we were connected from Australia to the United States, and that it is quite far fetched from my childhood to where I have ended up. I recalled the often quoted tale invented by someone with a gift for comedy, about the US Moon mission, that when they arrived on the moon and after the famous '..a giant step for mankind' , they found a clothesline with a Sikh's clothes hung out to dry!!
We are everywhere..

Now everyone around the town knows that I am going to be on this program sometime soon..