Togetherness in the Face of Adversity – Break due to the Brake

We made the mandatory annual summer trip to Yosemite.

Togetherness in the Face of Adversity - Break due to the Brake - 2 - Ambal Balakrishnan

 

It was extra special because the boys’ aunt Rema  (Kumar’s cousin) joined us. It was also the very first Yosemite trip for Rainbow and the very first time Ari hiked up to Vernal. The day was gorgeous. We had loads of fun.

Togetherness in the Face of Adversity - Break due to the Brake - 1 - Ambal Balakrishnan

On the way back from Yosemite, we drove back through a two lane highway that brings us down rapidly from 5000 feet to 0 feet. A car had fallen off one of the cliffs and the highway patrol started redirecting traffic to a lesser used and much  steeper detour path. We started taking the detour path and came down to a T-intersection.

Many people started waving at us. I yelled to Kumar to stop the van. We got out of the van and realized that our break pads were burning and letting out smoke (smelled yuck!). Same thing had happened to many other cars. We stopped and waited for the break pads to cool down.

Meanwhile, I went around and chatted with folks from El Salvador, Chicago, New York, Sacramento, Korea, China and of course the Bay Area.

And, guess what?! Everybody even humored me with some fun group pictures. Can you hear us yelling “brakes” in the pictures?

After 45 minutes or so, we tested our brakes and it worked. Unfortunately, some of my new found buddies brakes failed and they had to call a towing company. The family and I waved good bye, said a few of our favorite prayers and started driving again.

Can you spot the guy in the glasses and the orange color t-shirt? I thanked him and his family. He is the reason that I am alive to tell this story.

Please use low gear when driving on steep roads.

Summer Trip to Texas

1 Heart to take to Texas.
2 Eyes & Ears to soak up Texas.
3 Boys to give me company during the Texas trip.
4 Chatted each night with my cousin until 4am.
5 Days in Texas – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.
6 Families that we meet in Texas – The Chinni’s (my cousin), The Tony’s (my Cisco buddy), The Palaniswamy’s (Kumar’s college buddy), The Ebby’s (Kumar’s school and college buddy), The Venky’s (Kumar’s school buddy),The Rema’s (Kumar’s cousin).
7 Cities/Towns visited during Texas trip – Dallas, Irving, Plano, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin.

I had a great reunion with friends and family. I was overwhelmed with the hospitality and the love shared on us during this trip. I laughed till my guts hurt and cried till my eyes hurt. I fell in love with Texas…despite the 100+ temperature.

Thank you to my buddies for being such gracious hosts.

Thank you to my friends Lalitha, Ganesh and Abi for providing a loving, caring house for our dog Rainbow while we were away. Thank you to my friend Vandana and her lovely girls for watching over Adi’s betta fish named Little Guy Jr while we were away.

National Bridges at Santa Cruz in California

Did you know that our beloved Earth appears like a blue (because of the water, which covers most parts of the Earth) marble with white swirls (clouds) from space?

Did you know there are more than 20 state beaches only at Santa Cruz in California

Every summer, I make it a point to take (at least once) the boys to the beach. I want them to experience and share my love for the ocean (and the mountains, peaks, plateaus…everything). During this lifetime, I won’t be able to visit all the gorgeous beaches on our planet. But, that is OK. I will try my best to dip my feet in every ocean, every river and every lake that I can take the family to.

The taste of the salt water.
The sound of the rushing waves.
The sight of the endless horizon.
The feel of the warm sand.
The smell of being at the beach!

Today, I was very fortunate to stand beside the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I had a blast at National Bridges (there’s only one natural bridge at Natural Bridges, a naturally formed sea arch) in Santa Cruz with family and friends.

We laughed. We chatted. We gossiped. We ate. We drank chai. All small moments. The small moments that are our beautiful life is composed of. Trust me. Life is about the small moments.

Please take some time out this summer. Go dip your feet in the ocean.

Put your hand in mine. No, I am not kidding. Seriously. Put your hand in mine. Now. Make a pact with me.

Say this with me : “Ambal, I live near the <fill in this blank> beach. I promise. I will take a weekend off this summer. I will gather my family and friends. I will go visit the beach. I will.I promise. Because, our life is about the small moments. Is it not?!”

Del Valle Camping Trip

There is something to be said about being outdoors on a camping trip.

It makes you realize how little you actually need to live and thrive. A tent, a sleeping bag and some basic food.

I just got back from a terrific camping trip to Del Valle with family and friends.

I clicked hundreds of pictures. This one is my favorite. Because, it marks the beautiful (and fleeting) nature of a child’s childhood moment.

Del Valle Camping Trip - 1 - Ambal Balakrishnan