Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Belated 2007 Happy Holidays

With another year having blustered by, here is a few thoughts to close out the year. Of note, we are healthy and doing well. The boys are no longer little cuddly tots, (Paul age 5 ½ and Sidd age 4 yrs.) but the discoveries they make, and those of Molly and I thru them, are always something that makes us shake our heads and smile.

The boys, the baby Jesus, and his mommy and daddy...
- -Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2008 (click for larger image)

Noteworthy Events/Turning Points:

  • Paul entered Kindergarten at our Catholic church’s school this past September, while Sidd is still in pre-K at a local Montessori School. Not only has Paul adjusted well to his new school’s routines & classmates, he has taken up new interests such as soccer, chess, and drawing.
  • We visited Miami in mid October to attend a Pachikara wedding (Abe’s cousin Sunil). For Paul and Sidd, it was a realization of the grand scale of the Pachikara extended family.
  • First floor renovations of our house have come to fruition, and we are elated with the outcome. Credit Molly for diligently marshalling thru this big effort and the result is a welcoming, Northwest feeling abode.

Here are a few (potentially obvious) observations / lessons of the last year.
  • Interest forces learning - - until this Holiday season, Paul and Sidd had earnest but farcical arguments when time was involved. “Paul, we are flying Delta Airlines to Atlanta on July 43!” “No Sidd, we fly to Atlanta yesterday!” Along comes this year’s Holidays and a clarification of Santa, presents, and the decreasing time gap. Now, it goes like this, “Dad, there are 4 days left, right?” and this time he has it right.
  • Toddler Soccer is a Blast!! You Should Try It... Clearly the most unexpected discovery is watching young kids play soccer for the 1st time, particularly tots that have not observed an older sibling play the game. The thrill of victory does not carry an equal worry of defeat. A fast break is best observed not from the sideline, but by running the length of the field right next to your competitor so you can watch the goal in exhilarating, triumphant detail. Day dreams and cart wheels are the real competition, whose playful demons take control within 5 seconds of inaction, be it a side out, goal or penalty. But it all makes for complete fun - - no down side. Everyone is a winner, goals are a triviality, and all the players are genuinely happy. Reinforcing this outcome were the insightful coaches who focused upon ensuring all the players had fun.
  • It takes little to create great entertainment. We can miss simple obvious things, and rather go off on expensive, complicated, gadgeted, sophisticatedly attired escapades. Two examples of simplicity in 2007: when it snowed in Jan, we went sledding in a nearby park, vertical drop perhaps 10 feet, for a couple of exquisite hours on low tech plastic sleds; paper airplanes rival pretty much any toy for conjuring up stories and games that traverse the entire house and backyard, again for hours on end
  • Once discovered, the concept of independence rapidly takes control of one daily routine after another. Who cares if one can “do it right,” what matters is that no one else meddles in the actions one takes. (Now I know where such lunacy begins.)
  • The age of questions has arrived for Sidd. “Why does Appa [my dad] have too many brothers and sisters” “How long is your Delta Airlines airplane” “Why did all the triceratops die? Who died them? Why did they do that?” “Why is [insert name] sick? What is cancer? Why did [she/he] they get it?”
  • Exploring, discovering, developing and industriously applying the precious talents, treasures and time sent our way is a point of focus.

With this, Molly, the “2 chuttumbees” and I wish you a tremendous New Year. On the one hand, may it be filled with a combination of reassuring and familiar routines and traditions that you bask in, and on the other hand, new (sometimes unnerving and uncomfortable) adventures that keep things very “alive.”

To ensure you get something of true substance from this note, let’s end with the closing from John Gardner’s terrific speech on Personal Renewal. "Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account."

Take care and God Bless You!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Moveable Priest

Unfortunately in some respects, "church," in my head, is something that occurs in a big, fixed, specialized, largely single-use structure that sits out on its own. This notion has been turned upside down (only) twice at this point, and by the same priest. Stephen Uncle, here all the way from Nairobi, ended the wedding weekend by presiding over a quiet reflective function at Asha's house. 3 years ago, I attended a similar function that he presided over at a family reunion at Sunil's house. In both instances, I wondered how many (or few) people realized how easy it is, in some respects, to conduct mass outside a church. I for one, was quite surprised, in both instances.

Mass at home - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Mass at home - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Asha and Sunil's Wedding - Antham Chartham (sp?)

So the day before the wedding, "the boy's" and "the girl's" families conducted separate ceremonies. I am a cousin of "the boy" so here's a few images from that function. Back when people were married in their early teens, it was very possible that the ceremonial shave was in fact, the very first shave ever. Not so anymore but it was fun just the same...

Serena helps set things up - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Sunil and the boys wait patiently - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

A fitting emcee - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Mom and son look on, with the same expression - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

1st shave - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

In good hands - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dance Fusion

Mercy, who is the daughter of a friend of our is a talented dancer. Here she mixed traditional Indian music and jazz elements, along with the fusion styles of the Indian dancer Shobhana. Here are a few shots.

Formation, 1
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Formation, 2
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

In Flight...
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Wistful Ways of The Washington Coast

We had the treasured opportunity to go to the lush western Washington forests and nearby coasts with my mom and dad. How remarkable. These were forests that felt right out of Lord of the Rings. Trees that had presided over hundreds of migration cycles. Sea spires that had meditated for millenniums and were the wiser. It was humbling to see the excessive beauty of the land. Here's a few shots from a lazy day at one of the beaches near Forks.

Grandfather Tree Watches On - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Trail down to the ocean - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Onward down the trail - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Trekking with appa - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Sea spires watch over us - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Lunch with mom - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Tossing driftwood back into the sea - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Paul @ 5 - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Sidd @ 4 - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Playing by the shoreline - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Parting shot - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2007 (click for larger image)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

3 Layered Cake

Being on the West coast when all our immediate family is in the Midwest or East coast, and even extended family is 400+ miles away means visits are not casual drop-ins. One needs to overtly arrange air travel, time off, friends to watch over pets, etc. But the get-togethers are more than worth all the logistical trouble. They are collections of fleeting, whimsical moments and the occasional tiff as one might expect at any family gathering. And then they end before you know it, with the parties parting ways wistfully and wishing they had arranged a later return flight.

3 Chuttumbees Winding Down After Another Session of Play - -
Abe Pachikara, Copyright 2008 (click for larger image)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Rethinking Minimum Requirements for Fun

Little ones make it clear that fun requires way less than we presume. 

Each year in the Redmond, WA area we get about 5 days of snow.  And at the end of our cull de sac, there is a small downhill – literally a ~15 foot vertical drop.  Too small to be of any use, I say with derision.  I have seen the stupendous grandeur of Tahoe, Breckenridge and Whistler.

How completely wrong I was.  Our two lads would scream as they went down the hill, then trundle up despite being packaged like Charlie Brown, and do it again. Until they were ready to drop.

No lift tickets.  No fancy parabolic skiis.  Just two $9 plastic sleds.  And a pretty lame incline.  The result – sheer magic.

_MG_0438  _MG_0440-1

Another Run;  The Speed is Intoxicating
© 2007, Abe Pachikara (Click for larger images)

_MG_0442  _MG_0443

Screams of Exhilaration;  Thundering By
© 2007, Abe Pachikara (Click for larger images)


Two Veterans of the Local Slopes
© 2007, Abe Pachikara (Click for larger images)