Gayathri ‘US Yaaatra’.

19 may,2008

I am with Aparna, wondering what is going on! Probably you can call it some sort of Social Anthropology. Anyway best wishes to you from all of us here. I am sure you will be a very good teacher and a focused one! God bless!
Thanks also for mentioning Bisibele bath, I will be disowned by Iyengars here but I prefer Bisebele to Puliogre.
I think you should see this one on Indian food '' .
I loved it.
I see that in all this ramblings some serious discussions are also happening re Gayathri's yathra, some questions asked and hopefully answered. Invitations being sent for parties. Those who invite should note that it is mandatory that there is a Bollywood dance in the agenda and Ambode with the drinks.

It is clear that Rail travel is postponed to a future date while more destinations are added. I am disappointed as I was thinking big term here. I thought of proposing that we book a bogie to ourselves as there seems to enough numbers to justify this. Raji and her family, Sethu and family included here, also Mohini and Vivek. We should probably hire a Madhwa cook, Gayathri I am considerate here and don't expecct you to cook all the time. If Mukund could be persuaded to join and Aparna can take a few days off from the school, we really can have a great time. We can stop in between to play golf, those who are not keen on golf can take bollywood dance lessons or play scrables. As there is enough talent for music in the group we can arrange concerts at stops on the way and make some money. May be Venki would be required to join to play mridangam for carnatic music, Pt. Ram can accompany Tara on the tabla. If men can be convinced we can even include a Bollydance show with gayathri's choreography. It would be a dream trip! I hope we can do it next year!...Think about it. Cheers


And that is a GOOD QUESTION!!
Since Laxmi darts around the globe having breakfast in Berlin, lunch in London, dinner in Delhi and beverages in Bangkok so coming to Seattle for snacks would be a no brainer!!
So it is a done deal. We expect Raji to break away from "kalamkari" for a great week in Seattle while Laxmi continues to dart about the globe while touching base in Seattle as and when his schedule allows. That would simply be great.

Hi!!! Ok, my question is Why can't you? Look, we all belong to the fraternity that believes in the philosophy that calling 2 people to dinner is the same as calling 35 - mohini will vouch for that as that was the sincere advice that tara and i gave her when she arrived in bangkok as a new bride. so i don't think you should get into "feeling like" and "seems so exciting" and such. all you have to do is ask and you shall receive.
ok. now i have to introduce some more lovely lovely people. Raji and laxminarayan are this wonderful couple that were introduced to us by tara and nidhi who were their neighbours zillions of years ago in pune. Raji is this totally committed, highly energetic person that heads the store called dwarka in bangalore. This store has been set up as a suoort for the kalamkari artists whose work is on sale at dwarka. Laxmi heads MICO and is a dynamic as his hyper wife! Their daughter is Meghna and son is Nakul and their son-in-law is Arunabha and all i can say is WOW! They are all wonderful, warm individuals, high achievers - oxford, harvard and such. Mohini & Vivek are in London now but earlier spent 3 years in Bangkok. Vivek is with P&G. Mohini is a physiotherapist by profession and was actively involved with the Red Cross in Bangkok, then continued her studies in London and is currently working with ????. A sweet, sweet couple full of energy and intellect and enthudiasm.
which brings me back to the original question - why can't you join us?
and i have a few more questions:
* we reach seattle on sunday, july 6 and leave for vancouver on tuesday, july 8th? Right? and get back to seattle with all on thursday, july 10th?? Right?
* and is there any need to bring warm clothes? not that i own too many of those, but if i dig deep into the cupboards, i may be able to fish out a jacket or two!
* i know i brought up bollywood in my last email - has that shocked people into toal silence - there have been no replies to that AT ALL! oh my goodness. don't you dare tell me that the thought of a bunch of farangs AND gayathri doing bollywood numbers is that horrifying - actually, it is, but you are not allowed to say so!
ok - have to go now. planning a spot of shopping. y'all be good and keep those mails coming.
and raji laxmi - see you in seattle?? and yes, that is an excellent name for a bollywood movie except that it would be something like "See you in Seattle - doston ki kahani" or such since it is the trend to have these little blurbs under the main title of the movie these days!!!

i can't believe it is our daughters who are bringing all sorts of food into the mail - now bisibele. though I have to agree with apu there and say that what uthra made was pretty awesome.
more coming up!

Hi U.S. Travellers!!!
The Lakshminarayans really feel like bookings their tickets to the U.S!!! This trip seems so exciting. I wish we could be there in all this fun. Love

Dear All,
Priya, I can totally understand your predicament! I haven't checked mail for 2 days (am on a very very relaxing holiday in Nainital at the moment) and now suddenly I have no idea what's going on. All I got from the mails is tomato rasam and bisi bele bath. Actually I'm not sure if bise bele bath was mentioned or not, and if it wasn't then I think it should so totally be! Ramu uncle, i remember vising your house the last time in the States and stuffing myself on it. Hence, please do add it on the "to eat" list.
I really wish I could have come on this awesome trip. Unfortunately, I will be getting myself qualified to teach. Yes, for those who do not know, I have quit Mercer and am getting my teaching credentials. Figured this would be following in the family's footsteps. But I am sure that just my judging from this mail trail, you are all going to have an incredible time together.
I hope you are all doing well and hope to catch you some other time in the near future.


Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Nidhi, Happy Birthday to you!!!!
Many Many Happy Returns of the Day with Wishes of Health, Wealth, Happiness and Lots of Fun with Relatives & Friends!!!

We had a great time on Tara's bday at this place called Face which has an Indian section and a Thai one. the Indian section is called Hazara and is lovely - good food too.
Ram, Shakku, thanks a ton for the early invite! can I bring my bollywood music collection so that we can have a bollywood theme for the evening - I think i can teach this group a few moves!!!
Let me tell you the history before y'll start hyper-ventitlating there - our school has an annual fundraiser for charitable causes once every 2 years and the middle School teachers put on a show called the MS Follies where we do generally ridiculous stuff and have students pay to make us participate in it. We further send around a collection box during and after the show and collect some more. Well, this year someone had the bright idea of doing a bollywood number - since a number of the apartments in Bangkok have cable that brings in indian tv channels, practically everyone knows bollywood. so, we got this this teacher who is all of 24, a little tiny chap from bangladesh and had him teach us the steps to some medley! 9 male teachers and 9 female teaches doing bollywood - gayathri , the only indian in the group! all i can say is that we did raise a decent amount of money! so after the show, these teachers decided that it was just too much fun and had the guy come in every thursday for a session. i must say it is good fun and pretty good exercise. plus helps to make an ass of yourself in a very energetic and fun way.
what do you think???
st. petersburg to vladivostok - we are so on - just tell me where to meet you guys.
nandini, mukund is just to too sad that he cannot make it to seattle. he will talk to you pretty soon and tell you all about how golf-deprived he is even here!
come on guys - where is all the energy of the initial mails - we need to keep this going!! hurry up!! rajesh, manju: can we do malibu?? Love to all. be good. gayathri

Dear Aditi and Gayathri:
Your schedule in Seattle will be so full that we (Shaku and I) have to think ahead to capture you and everyone on this email in Bellevue for at least one evening during your brief visit here. So I am hoping everyone will unanimously agree and set aside 12 July evening as reserved for a party at Ram Uncle and Shaku aunties house. Aditi dear, you absolutely must come and I am sure Priya will figure out how to get here during that weekend as well.

Aditi and Priya: you must have done some jadoo re: the weather here. Today we are 75 degrees and they are predicting record highs for tomorrow and day after. So I hesitatingly declare the arrival of summer in Seattle since you never know about this part of the world.
As regards the train trip Gayathri auntie, Sethu uncle and I are planning a separate trip from St Petersburg to Vladivostok since no one else wants to!! haHaha.
Cheers and keep cool ...summer is here

With so much discussion and activity already via email I have decided to look at the calendar and see if i can make it, although it will be difficult for me to come during the week since I have so many weddings to be at this year my vacation time is limited. I have two weekends I think within your time frame in Seattle so maybe I can work some magic ;-) I will bring everyone some DIBS....hahaha

i told you, Ram, sethu and I are doing that train trip. at some point of time. For sure.Alright aditi. papa is coming to NY on July 16th. Then he flies in to LA on Monday July 21st. Priya, Aditi, Manu, Eshwari, it would be great if you guys can coordinate in such a way that you are in Seattle over the same weekend.
And yes, those of you that did not send me addresses and phone numbers, send them on guys. I will put them in the master plan and send them on again. it might be easier for the out-station folk to call each other and coordinate dates?
Nidhi, I am sending more pics of the music evening. these took forever to go through and I did photoshop them as the lighting was not very good on those.
This is a short one as I have tow write up my exam. More later. Cheers. gayathri

BTW (cell phone text-talk for - by the way) I am now craving Tomato Rasam.

15 may 2008
This promises to become my longest blog! I feel like 'sanjaya' and here I am not narrating but quoting:
Aditi uvaacha:
I’m on Ram Uncle’s side—it’s the middle of May and it’s still chilly-nippy-ish. NOT happy, i want the hotness/heatwave deal!
I really want to try to make it to Seattle that July 12-13 weekend, but it depends on my apartment-moving situation as well as Papa’s plans to be in New York for the IIT conference. Let’s figure that out.
Mummy you can come any date to Nyc, not a problem.
Looking forward to those Dibs,

Priya uvaacha
Ram Uncle (Dad),
There is currently a heat wave over here with not a drop of rain...isn’t it supposed to be April Showers?May Flowers? morel like April Hotness brings May Heatstroke!
daughter’s two cents....
....Sounds to me like you want to take the Train trip more than anyone else!
Ramarao uvaacha:
Hi Gayi,
More on the environment............naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah No more of that :-)))))))) Our environment should smell of Ingu (asafoetida) and Pacchu Karpoora.. Now does that kindle the digestive juices or what????
Gayi, I fondly remember your Dad & my favorite Uncle mention
that it’s such a waste of money to buy car perfume,
all you have to do is buy some fresh coffee powder and place it in a corner in the car. Every time we used to go with Dr. on his rounds and stop by at Chamrajpet to buy coffee powder the whole car would be filled with the aroma of freshly ground pea berry coffee which prompted him to to say that.

Speaking of Tomato Rasam as India’s National Drink, Uthra’s first order of business, if and when she acquires any semblance of power, continues to be to open a Mutt with Baale Yele Ooota next to every McDonald. Now that’s a good goal to have.
I see that the Train journey is slowly being resurrected. Just remember your age when you get on the train. That’s all I have to say on that :-((((
I am delighted that you are able to postpone your journey from our place. Fantastic.
Warm regards.

Gayathri uvaacha
You know Ram & Sethu, you are my soul-mates - though after Sethu’s little dig about the 180.5 work days - excusez moi, it is 182 - 188 days - i have to do a rethink. Let me know when, and we can do the train journey on our own. and ram, i have a feeling that you all plan to make me walk home from the airport - hand off and all - oh my goodness.
oops, i have a class wandering in - you all behave now, especially, you, mr. mere mortal. Let me tell you all, those 2 little smart-alecks, apoorva and anjali, they are so going to be as cheeky as our man here. of course, much cuter as well! so there!

I can’t believe the emotion that the mention of food can incite, the passion, the single-minded devotion. Lovely. It is such a wonderful means of breaking down barriers and transcends all caste, religion, ethnicity. Hilary would be doing much better if only she hosted a proper saapad and had everyone come vote. Without having them pay for it,of course - free food is always a great motivator. Shame on you Nidhi, feeling happy at Priya’s definition of dibs. and aditi & sethu for taking the focus away from the universe - aditi could never ever win a beauty pagaent as she would go up there and say “If I become Miss Universe, I will make sure that phad thai noodles are available in every grocery store in the world, and tomato rasam is made iNdia;s national drink” Anita, you are the only one with a legit excuse for thinking food. And shame on you Priya for evoking one more emotion - chocolate craving - which made me have some tiramisu at our weekly coffee chat. I had been off sweets for exactly 20 hours and you ruined it all. And how can you not be there is Seattle when we are there? I don’t remember seeing any mention of such in your dad’s mail. Yes, he did say you would have just been to seattle before we got there but there was nothing that said you would not be back for us. You just have to be a part of this “relatives & friends” do and participate in whatever, quoting anita, rambunctious activities we indulge in. i mean that anita used the r word when she was on chat. and if the word does not quite fit in my sentence, well too bad - i just liked the sound of it. so priya, you just have to make plans to spend some time with us in seattle. aditi is planning to come to seattle after we get back from vancouver so she can spend an extra day or two with all.
question: how do we get to vancouver from seattle? we reach seattle on July 6th. and we had planned vancouver for 7th & 8th. and for all to get to seattle on 9th. Tara said that rohini’s friend,anjali will be there on 7th? so should we plan to come to vancouver on 8,9? and all of us get back to seattle on 10th?
and ramu, oh my goodness! Fake glacier visuals - i am speechless! and i think it should be possible for me to leave for New York on 20th instead of 18th. What says, aditi?
so be good, all of you. and keep the mails coming.
take care!
Gayathri Mukund Rao

Sethu uvaacha:
Couldnt resist chipping in with all this fun stuff going around......
The train journey sounds awesome..... And since, unlike the rest of us mere mortals, teachers have all the time in the world (what was it again - 180.5 work days/year?), Gayathri should not let such an opportunity go by!

Ram uvvacha:
I agree with Nidhi!! FOOD is central. Where is all this global warming global shmarming!! Here it is past Mid-May and we are freezing our buns in the Northwest. In the 40 odd years I have lived here in Seattle, May has never been cold. This is supposed to be summer........enough said
Ok back to the track...and I mean railway tracks. Hahhahaha...So all of you thought my suggestions were finally squelched for good and in no uncertain manner, what with Gayathri auntie caving in, much to my grief...My view is that rushing around at 500 mph from BKK to WA DC and then back across the North American continent to SEA, wouldn’t it would be nice for Gayathri auntie to cool her heels on a train watching the sand dunes of Oregon, and the soothing Pacific Ocean lapping the cliffs of the Northwest, passing through the verdant valleys and red-wood forests, occasionally reading a book and contemplating the infinite as the sun sets over the Pacific listening to the clickety-clack of the Amtrak train taking her to her destination without worrying about rushing hither and thither with bag and baggage in tow.... just picture that dear Gayathri before you make up your mind!! And what is wrong in getting to know all the folks in your cabin....hmmmmm.I know all the youngsters will revolt with this line of thinking.... but I wanted to throw in my two cents for all it is worth.
As far as picking up Gayathri and Kamala at the airport I suggest a hand off at specified designated park-n-ride locations along the route similar to a relay....hahahaha just kidding.

13 May 2008.
The yaatra is keeping to its potential and promises to be a lot of fun.
Thanks Aditi, Anita and now Priya for getting it back on track. The fundamentals of Indian travel is all about food! I don’t think madhwa’s need any reminding, but others better stock up with madhwa and Indian ingredients in plenty. With Aditi around motivating, Gayathri will be busy cooking. As to sight-see, she can always get a few authentic pictures from Raxit and I am sure Rohini will be too happy to use her photoshop skills to make it appear that Gayathri was indeed there! Thanks Priya for an other definition of ‘Dibs’. The one I prefer, being a sapatram.

(FYI Gayathri aunty Dibs are also tiny Chocolate cover icecream snacks ;-))
(for the ones that are going “Huh? what dibs”, thats american for “I reserve the right to .....”)
The other subject is too distant for me, in spite of the heat it has generated. Gore (gorey is how he would be known in Maharastra) did not impress me while I watched him give in so easily to Bush. The only foot print I know of is one of ‘Lord Rama’ near a temple in Karnataka (Devrayanadurga?) shown to me as a kid. Probably they were just kidding me.

(Some more e-mails copied!)
Hello all,
SO I have not checked my email in 4 days and am only now catching up on the 7,459 emails entitled RE: US TRIP.
I did see that my dad mentioned that I would miss the visit as I am leaving Seattle before you all land. Is this true? I don’t remember reading the date of when all this “galata” will start ;-)
I am sooo soo sad if I am missing out on it! maybe I can sneak in a second trip home just to be included in all this exciting activity....
lots of love

p.s. someone needs to take a picture of the airport pick up convoy...hilarious.

All I can think about is Madhwa adige and some good old bengaluru talk too!
Looking forward to seeing all of you in Seattle.

Hi all,
WOW I had no idea that one email about a summer holiday would result in an emotionally charged debate on the environment and politics!! I am trying to make plans to come to Seattle as well, but now I’m getting worried that I’ll have to start researching all the different perspectives on the environment and politics before I get there!! I thought this would be a relaxing vacation, but now I feel like I need to do homework before getting there!! And although I do realize the environment is important and all that good stuff, I feel the more important words on this email chain are “pucca madhwa food and masala dosas”, and we need to pay more attention to those interests as well. :)
Hope you all are doing well, and I hope I’m able to meet you all soon!
Take care,

Hi again! will be with us first in Washington D.C. and since you started that Saroja Devi comparison stuff, I also remember how your dad would say, if your nose was a bit sharp and eyes bigger and mouth smaller, you would look like Saroja Devi’s grandma!!! and I would sulk for the rest of the day. And I remember his joke about Shabari restaurant in Madras...when he said they will “yenjal it” and give it to us...haha.I can never forget his jokes and your mom’s as well. What is remember very well is that you would dip kodbales in coffee as a kid and play chowka baara with me forever. Then we would hop in autos and go to the movies so frequently.Once I counted that I had seen 55 movies!!!!
More later.

Gayi Gayi Gayi,
Forgive them my Lord for they know not what they doeth.
My sermon for the day.
1. The next time you watch the Inconvenient Truth - look for the melting glaciers. Looks so heartrending isn’t it??? Your unpolluted tear initiator Al Gore is being sued for lifting this scene from another movie frame for frame where in the original director had used a miniaturized Styrofoam model of a glacier. Al ‘Lifter’ Gore ‘Conveniently’ inserted this to make a point since he couldn’t find the real thing!!!!!!!
2. Carbon Foot Prints/Carbon Credits - the most widely thrown words these days. Carbon Credits is nothing more than ‘Prayashchitha’ (re-paying for bad deeds). There are companies selling Carbon Credits and making a ton of money and the most visible company in this arena is owned by Al Gore.
The purpose is - let’s say you take a Trans Atlantic flight and polluting the planet is inevitable, then you just write a check to this company who will supposedly offset it by using various methods. When you book a ticket on Priceline, just before check out it asks a question whether you would like to contribute towards Carbon Credit. Absurd!! And ofcourse Al Gore always uses the most inefficient private jet when newer and better ones are available. Do as I say don’t do as I do !!!! More can of worms being opened !!!!!!!
Just FYI, I am all for conservation,
clean environment etc. but just don’t make
it political particularly when Science
does not support the contentions
and rationales.

And, of course you are welcome on your own recognizance and the doors are always open but remember we will be taking a walk to Niagara Falls (just 430 miles) but then we will be exhaling more carbon dioxide. Can’t win either way :-(

W A R M unpolluted regards.

i am loving it even more now - did you all see my two cousins taking two different standpoints and battling it out in the most articulate way possible??? and trying to sound polite at that - “I sincerely did not mean to elicit such a heated response (no pun intended) and my apologies for that” and “ Don’t mean to take a swipe at Manju but when it comes to Environmentalists or Environmentalism ...”. and guys, please don’t retire from the “email platform” - I love the term - keep it going - the group of people on this email listing are all more than willing to enter any kind of discussion, and that is the whole intent of these ramblers - to key people up so that they take a few moments to say hi through the waves and then keep it going. This is one wonderful way to stay in touch and hear about what people are doing and what they have to say. i have to add a couple more people to this - sethu and madhu who have been left out. sethu & madhu, there have been a series of mails zipping around - it all started with our US trip mails. you can read the rest on nidhis blog! sethu works with rohmenhaas - mukund, sethu - if you guys even dare MENTION that the company is spelled wrong or such - you have not seen the wrath of a woman ever!!! madhu is sethu’s wife and has worked for a very long time with an NGO in Bangalore. Right now, their claim to fame are their twin daughters, Anjali and Apoorva, all of 9 months old and absolutely delightful. They are our immediate neighbors in peters mansion.and you should do that as well - with intros please and may be later we can send pics to put a face to a name!!
ok now with that , at the risk of being banned from his house forever and relying on the presence of my mother to gain entry, Ramu, may I say that i am an Al Gore supporter. i show his movie to my students all the time and shed tears of unpolluted joy when he received the nobel prize. And Manju, I loved it “Nothing in my e-mail was meant to allude, or to be construed as a moralistic message on the social, ethical or environmental obligations to any of the recepients on the e-mail (and now, thanks to you, I am beginnign to sound like our legal counsel)”! As far as I am concerned, I think we all have social, ethical, and moral obligations towards our world and however much we fool ourselves with fatalistic approaches of “what is destined to happen will happen” or dishing out blame “it’s the developed countries that use the most energy etc etc”, we cannot ignore the impact of our actions. Actually, many of us are at a stage in our lives when we may not have to face the more serious effects in the future, but for younger people? I find it most encouraging that most of the younger generation are aware and willing to get involved in global and environmental issues. May be it is the science teacher in me and may be the fact that I teach 12 - 13 year olds, but it is difficult to ignore hard-core data and facts that these kids will have to deal with in their lifetime. So - long live environmentalists and all teachers!
And now if the others on this email list don’t sit themselves down and start getting more involved and respond to all this profound discussion, well, I’m going to, well, have a little tantrum???
Anita, Hari, where are you???
And just in case people forgot, we will be in the US in less than a month from now! So Nalini, you are our first stop, right? You are not to start throwing everything out of gear, like your mom does. For all, Nalini and Ramu’s mother is Madhuri Aunty and she is one of the most energetic, fun-loving, and talented people ever. She has this amazing sense of humor that shows up in every situation. We were at Udupi and eating lunch at one of the matts and it was taking them forever to seat everyone and get the food served. And my aunt starts this comparative analysis of the “aachars/poojaris” of the Udupi Mutt and those from Mantralaya! oh my goodness! we were in splits. She is this amazing cook who is the ultimate expert in pucca madhwa cuisine and a most warm and hospitable person. And a Karnatic vocalist who has released music cassettes and has sung for well-known Bharata Natyam artists as well.
Nidhi, it is hilarious that you put this correspondence on the blog - people will be so so confused. i am sure you are going to receive responses that go “Huh????” and thanks for saying I have lost weight - now I will have to get back to the treadmill - I had decided that since I am headed to the country of XXXXXLLLL sizes, I can relax. And I promise I will get the music program entry to you as soon as i get home tonight. The comp has been freezing up on me, but I think Mukund has fixed it last night.
OK. Now need to get some work done. You all be good and keep the mails coming. Have fun all. Love to all.
Myself, Gayathri Rao

may 10, 2008
As I read the correspondence initiated by Gayathri (Mummy, Aunty, Love-of-your-life, etc etc), the original rambler, I have this feeling that her sojourn in US will get extended. I think the way she has rallied people around her would tempt Hillary Clinton to hijack ‘etc etc’ to help in resurrecting the dwindling chances of getting nominated!
In addition there are many issues to be resolved. For instance, how will we solve the subject of picking her up at the Seatac Airport. Actually those who take it literally and have not seen her recently, will be pleased to see a slimmer Gayathri! While there is no problem about Kamala aunty, she has been spoken for, I suppose Gayathri will have to switch cars periodically so as to make all those eager for this privilege happy! I am sure it will be quite a sight to see a convoy of desi-driven cars as they follow the lead car with Kamala aunty in it.
I thought of calling this blog ‘Gayathri Mantra’, but I suppose it is Mukund’s copyright and privilege. I have a strong suspicion that he has started uttering her mantra as he drives or putts while playing golf, as I see he has improved a lot since about a year. I know he started using his new clubs around that time, but the effect of GM is unquestionable!
I suppose that is enough rambling for now.

(I have posted below the correspondence between us for records! Gayathri thanks for as they say ‘plugging’ my blog! The first letter is from Gayathri, when she announced her intention of a US Yaatra and the rest of them as they were received.)

hi all! first all the intros of people this mail is going to - you definitely need to know and meet each other as all of you are so much fun and such great people.
starting from our point of entry into the US:
Ramu is my cousin - dad’s sister’s son - and uttara is his lovely wife. They are super hosts and in the true Indian tradition of inviting family and friends, may i invite, on their behalf, all of the others to visit them any time you want. you want more incentive? well, both of them are amazing cooks and the masala dosas and bisibele are truly authentic pieces of art.
nalini is ramu’s sister which makes her my cousin. umesh is her husband and they have two wonderful daughters, jaishri and tanushri. Nalini and the two angels sing divinely and Umesh provides complete support and is the appreciative audience.
To get to the next bit, I have to introduce Tara and Nidhi at this point. Tara and Nidhi are our family in Bangkok. Some of you on this mailing list know them as they are your parents/relatives! or you have visited us in Bangkok and there is no way you could have slipped through our house without meeting them.
Shakku is tara’s sister and Ram is her husband. Priya is their daughter. they all are super energetic and so much fun to be with.
nandini is tara nidhi’s daughter and raxit is her husband and they have 2 genius boys, neel and Nikhil. neel is a budding golf player and has won all sorts of tournaments and such. (are golf competitions called tournaments or matches????)
my childhood friend and soulmate is shubha who now lives in bangalore. she and i went to school together in Ahmedabad from 6th standard onwards, did our undergrad together and then did our masters as well. more importantly, our parents were very very close friends which is why, Suhas, shubha’s younger brother, was very much a part of our family as well. his wife is deepika and they have 2 daughters. They live in seattle
this is turning out to be a 2 daughters frat party!
Sandhya is shubhas sister and her husband is ram and they have - yes, 2 daughters!!!! and they are in ___???????
eshwari and manu are two wonderful kids, brother-sister, both in portland. They are my niece and nephew. manu is working and eshwari is studying. they have to fill in details of what, where and such!!!
rajesh is my cousin and his wife is sini and their son is roshan, roshan is this absolutely dynamic kid with vocabulary that is amazing and full of fun.
manju is also my cousin and he has 2 kids ellora and rohan, manju visited us on his way to and back from india a couple of months ago and met tara & nidhi too.
if i have left anyone out, well, fill us in please!!!!
(Rohini, Sundeep, Leela and Rhea are the reason for the Vancouver trip. Rohini is Tara Nidhi’s second daughter.)
so now you all know each other. and remember that the reason i did this was to make sure that since my mum and i will be spending time with you all, there is some networking required by which you know where we are and what we are doing!!!
• I have not done any of the internal bookings, which would basically be the NY-Seattle flight OR Newark-Seattle and the journey from Seattle-LA
• NY - Seattle: Any particular timings that are more convenient for you guys in terms of pick up from the airport? Do let us know so we can try for the best fit.
• Seattle - LA OR Portland-LA: Since Manu and Eshwari live in Portland, one option is for Mum and me to go to portland from seattle, spend a couple of days there and then make our way to LA. The other option is for the 2 of them to come to seattle and meet us and everyone too! Hmmm???? What???? Logistically???? How strenuous would it be for Mum???? Let me know.
• The next bit is a tricky one: We thought it would be a neat idea to take the train from Seattle - LA or Portland - LA. The website says it is a lovely journey, very pretty,along the coast, It does take 35 hours but i thought it would be worth the time since everyone says it is a really nice journey. What says????
• Anita, make note of all the dates - just in case the seattle folk don’t know, the plan is for anita and hari and ananya to come to seattle while we are there.
• and we are trying to convince viji to join us there as well. (viji is a bkk connection ) - talk of family and friends!
• all of you have just got to fill in some the address, tel number etc and send our program back to me.
• you are allowed to comment on any/all of the above commentary. and hurry up - I still have to do some bookings, don’t I?
• Alrighty! I am all set.

Take care all and be good. Keep the mail coming.
lots of love to all.
Gayathri Aunty, Mummy, Gayi, etc etc

(We are now into the correspondance! You will need to navigate back and forth to understand fully!)
Hi Manju,
Hope all is well.
I knew, I would be opening up a can of worms the moment I hit the ‘Send Button’. I was merely addressing a part of Gayi’s e-mail referenced below and as you can see she just wanted to hear of some of the current happenings and I felt compelled to expose some of the myths. There’s really nothing more to it.
• i am loving it - there’s a “global climate change” phrase worked into these
• mails - we are such an aware and conscious group! but truly, i think i
• for all when i say we would like to hear of what’s happening on that
front -
• it’s not just for the environmentalist in you or the science teacher in me.
• so don’t can anything - do write up a mail when you find some time.

Best regards.

Ramu: C’mon now, big man, chill out a little will ya? I do agree with you that the range of topics on these e-mails are all over the Richter scale. However, my reference to the global climate issues was only a sheepish attempt on my part to let Gayi know that that I was terribly busy at work and hence my late entree into providing input on her itinerary, thats all. Plus, Gayi’s plans for a train journey from Seattle to LA merely coincided with an environmental ‘hotspot’ we are dealing with in the same environs. Nothing in my e-mail was meant to allude, or to be construed as a moralistic message on the social, ethical or environmental obligations to any of the recepients on the e-mail (and now, thanks to you, I am beginnign to sound like our legal counsel). No one, least of all environmentalists, can afford to put on the “I am better than thy” facade as you allude to. History has taught us that that approach won’t work. Any obligation to do your best to cut down on your carbon ‘footprint’ is your own. The future will tell us if you as an inidvidual or as part of the human race survive this crises or go the “way of the Dodo”. Again, I sincerely did not mean to elicit such a heated response (no pun intended) and my apologies for that. Sheesh—I am exiting out of this e-mail platform lest I be drawn into future haranges—which would be counterproductive to the interest of this e-mail anyway.
Gayi - once again, my children and I are looking forward to seeing you here in Southern Cal.
Cheers to all,

i am loving it - there’s a “global climate change” phrase worked into these
mails - we are such an aware and conscious group! but truly, i think i speak
for all when i say we would like to hear of what’s happening on that front -
it’s not just for the environmentalist in you or the science teacher in me.
so don’t can anything - do write up a mail when you find some time. Now that
we have this “rambler mail” chain in place, I think we should maintain it
and keep it going. Nidhi has a wonderful blog that he maintains and i think
when there are subjects like you mention, manju, it is worth it to send it
on to nidhi to put on his blog. and yes, just in case you folk want to check
out the blog (there are numerous very interesting topics), it is
Ok. So we will work in visiting your house, manju. Rajesh, you are in charge
of that. Alright, I have done my job, so there!
More coming up - I have a great story of Nalini’s fascination, when she was
much younger, for the actress Saroja Devi. And one on the antics of her
OLDER brothers, Ramu & Venki! More on that! P:S: I anyone has other
embarrassing stories to contribute, that’ll be fun - helps break the ice,
you know!!!

Hi Gayi
I am quite nonplussed by the mosaic of topics being discussed in these e-mails. It almost looks like a big bash between Bush et al and Putin et al. Environment, Julliana Margolis, Pam Anderson literally in the same sentence.
This got me thinking. The aforementioned are things that can only be seen from afar and we ‘mere mortals’ can’t do anything about it or with it. Now don’t get ideas. I am referencing this in particular to the Environment :-))))
Don’t mean to take a swipe at Manju but when it comes to Environmentalists or Environmentalism, I am reminded of an old cartoon by R.K.Laxman - the scene is a busy factory with all kinds of activities, welding, lathes etc. you name it with busy bodies running around all over the place and the caption is “This factory does not actually produce anything - it’s a means to employ labor”.
In my humble opinion this pretty much sums up the the ‘feel right’, ‘I’m better than you because I care for the earth’ feeling of the Environmentalists. Keep in mind that one eruption of even a medium sized volcano can send the ashes to the stratosphere and cause more pollution in a short time than several developing countries combined and the Earth still survives it.
More importantly the Environmental regulations seem to tie the hands of the Industrialized Nations behind their back and provide an unfair advantage to countries like China and hmm hmm.... India whose regulations are at best loose. America has 22 different types of Gasoline concoctions to fulfill the idiosyncrasies of the different states and then to complain that the price of gas is trough the roof is unjust. If US has one kind and even the mention of its willingness to drill for its own oil in Alaska or Florida will send the price of gas spiraling down. But the environmentalists have to have their say with even a Nobel Prize doled out to its greatest but misplaced proponent viz. Al Gore. In the scheme of things we need to remember that we are mere mortals who
can neither increase or decrease the temperature of earth so let’s take a deep breath and calm down.
Now, what was the actual purpose of this e-mail??? Oh, welcome to Gayi and Aunty. Got carried away and ofcourse you asked for it!!!!!
Warm or may be Cold ‘Regards’ depending on where you live!!!!

On Sun, May 11, 2008 at 1:59 PM, Manjunath Venkat wrote:
Dear Gayi:
I am sorry to be making this rather delayed entry into this rather interesting criss-crossing of e-mails dedicated to your trip. You know, it is rather typical and convenient to blame tardiness of any natureon the weather—in my case I would dare say it is not an excuse but a fact! Seriously, the global climate change issues has created an unprecedented amount of work and we are all burning the ‘midnight oil” these days. Coincidentally, the western sea board of the US, the Pacific Coast; which has been dissected pretty well in the e-mails in terms of your now defunct train journey, is at the center of the subject of a proposed study. Well, interesting tidbits, but nonetheless a subject that can be canned for a later on to the important discussions regarding your wanderings in the US....
Rajesh informed me of your plans to go to Las Vegas (that contemptible but
most fascinating of Cities), the weekend of June 21, 22 and 23? At first I
got all excited about making the trip up to Rajesh’s place and Jamboreeing
with you all at Vegas. Regrettably- and we are somewhat in knots over this
this is coinciding with Rohan graduating from his Cub Scout “pack” that very weekend and it is a pretty big deal for him ....and, it means so much for Ellora and me to witness that. What a pity! But, as a reparation, I promise to bring the kids over and stay with with you all during your sojourn here in LA. Please let me know what your schedule as far as your stay here is in the Southland.
I have to remind you—a trip here to Southern Cal minus the surf and sands of Malibu is akin to making a visit to Agra and not seeing the Taj Mahal !! Plus, may I just drop in an ounce of temptation by stating that a certain star of tinseland, by the name of Juliana Margolis was sighted on my recent visit to the Marmalade Cafe in Malibu??? OK, all right, perhaps it is not worth the effort to be gaga eyed about a few celebrities.....but hey, the soothing surf and sounds of Malibu beach is definitely what the doctor ordered....the perfect respite for the weary traveler. Picture yourself laying back on the glorious beach, watching the sandpipers flitting across the surf, listening to the sea gulls and their cacophonous cries of joy, creating a sand castle with the kids ...and watching Ms. Pamela Anderson (of the infamous “Bay Watch”) strut her stuff.....sheesh..ok..ok...I will behave!!
Seriously, Gayi, you ought to consider heading out west on Highway 210 with Rajesh and family while you are here. Please come and stay with us. While I am on this propaganda on southern Cal, I may as well venture out intrepidly to suggest that Manu and Esh should head out south on I-5 to the southland. Now how about that? Gives us a chance to see Esh as well.
Hey now, you cannot argue with the warm surf and sands of the southern Pacific, can you?? From what I know, the ice bergs a re melting and the waters off Oregon are closer to the frigid waters!!
On a serious note - whatever the plans, my kids join me in welcoming all of you. BTW, Ellora has already started her crayon poster to welcome you—do note: she spelled Gayathri with the numerical “3”(what do you expect? She is a Millennium girl). It would be a pleasure to receive you all and we will certainly cherish whatever time we can get with you.
Suhas - it is great to hear from you and to know you are all doing well. Let’s keep in touch.
On the eve of Mother’s day here, I take this opportunity to wish all you wonderful Moms a “Happy Mother’s Day.”

Hi Gayathri aunty,

While the Seattle gang fight over you I’m glad we have you all to ourselves in Vancouver :-). Since it will be such a short time Nandini suggested we come back to Seattle and join in the general galata! me thinks no one going to be sleeping those few days...which is good... more people to stay up and rock rhea to sleep.
Aditi hope you can make it.
Rohini, Sundeep, Leela & Rhea

Hi All!
Ram, Nandini, Suhas - you are all very generous people and i am thoroughly
flattered that you all want to come to the airport and pick us up from the airport!! i am loving it.
Deepika, what Suhas forgot to mention was that we also owned a 6 INCH big wire bicycle, one of those things that they make with 1 piece of wire with no attachments etc. So Suhas and Srinivas and Lalita’s son, Mukund, would fight over who gets the bicycle. The two of them were all of a meter tall!
The deal was that whoever married me would get the bicycle as their dowry! Suhas also threw in another offer - to stay home with Kamala Aunty and enjoy her coking and have me work for them forever! Isn’t it funny that I did marry a Mukund!
I love the responses I am getting about my planned train trip! Ramu even
wrote “ What were you thinking???? You can literally see yourself grow old during that journey “, which comment had the girls in absolute splits over the phone since both of them were absolutely amazed that somebody would want to admire scenery from a train window for that long - thanks Ramu, you pretty much made their day!!!
Jaishri drives??? and Tanushri is in grade 8? oh my goodness. For the rest of the mailing list, on our last visit to the US in 1999, these 2 girls and us went to some shoe place as our two wanted to do some shoe shopping. So there was tanushree with her hair in about a million little braids that aditi had made for her - and they were not braid braids but little pieces of hair jutting out in all directions - with about a couple of dozen hairclips on her head, and a huge handbag, and refusing to change or look a half bit more presentable. at some point, Nalini just loaded everyone into the car and off we went. once we reached the shop, both jaishri and tanushri had a little fit and hue & cry as they wanted to buy adult size shoes with 8” heels! we
had to restrain nalini - that’s all i can say now! jaishri and tanushri, I am so so excited that we get time with you. Since I am relating funny stories, might as well relate one more about my cousin Rajesh. Ha, you thought you were going to get away unscathed??
Whenever anyone passed by with an umbrella, Rajesh would sneak up and snatch it away - from perfect strangers and people just walking on the street! As R.K. Laxman showed so well in his caricatures, the average mysorian has to have an umbrella swinging alongside even in perfectly decent weather (though it is getting to be an extinct practice in recent times), so rajesh had a field day standing just outside the gate and targetting the unaware! it was hilarious. he was the ultimate umbrella snatcher!
manu and eshwari, so how does all of this fit in with your schedules? It would be fun for you to come up to Seattle and meet all.
Anita, Hari, Manju, how about you guys? what are your plans? i think i like this idea of relating stories - i have a few about nalini which i shall save for the next mail! and not to worry, i will tell a few with me involved just for fairness sake!
nidhi , i have the pics from viji and will send the blog soon. have to stop now - have to go play with madhu’s twins.
cheers and love to all

On 5/10/08, Suhas Uliyar wrote:
Hi Gayathri,
Sorry for the delayed response. In addition to your visit to Seattle we are equally excited that we get to meet more folks in Seattle. We have been in the Seattle area now for 4 years and did not know or come across Ram Prasad and family. Excited to meet you all via Gayatrhi’s email and hopeful to see some or all of you in Seattle or our travels. I do know Rajesh and Manju but have not seen them in a very long time. In fact I had no idea that Rajesh was in LA until I spoke to Kamala aunty last week. I have to let everyone know here that I reserve the right to pick up aunty (and of course Gayathri) from Seattle airport in “MY” car. This is a result of a promise made to Kamala aunty when I was very young where I told her that when I grow up, I would drive her around in a car – a foreign one. I think I told her impala at the time as that was my little dinky car that Prahalad uncle got me from one of his visits. While I did not live up to my dream career at that time – which was to be a driver, I am really thrilled that I can actually keep the promise I made to aunty. So Ram Prasad, you are welcome to join us at the airport to collect them but aunty gets to sit in my car J. We can then pick straws for Gayathri !! I love you too Gayathri but you did not give me the dinky car !!
My beautiful family is made up of my wife Deepika and two daughters Ananya (7 yrs) and Mahima (4). We live in Woodinville which is not very far from Ram Prasad’s house, so shunting between our house and Ram Prasads’ is not going to be an issue.
Relative to the Seattle to LA by train, I agree with Nadini’s argument wholeheartedly. I would suggest that you fly to San Francisco (SFO) or San Jose (SJC) and do a day trip to Big Sur or drive along the coast (towards Carmel from San Jose). This is my opinion – but honestly after about 30 mins driving at very high speed around the sharp bends with water on one side and mountains on the other, I kind of get bored. However the first 30 mins are awesome. So if you want to enjoy the coastal drive, this is something I would suggest you do – of course driving slowly and carefully. Question is who drives you there. Sandhya and family are likely to be in India during your visit. It appears that Mukund is going to be busy playing black jack, so if you would drive, Gayathri, this is certainly something worth doing.
The other alternative would be to fly into SFO or SJC and then driving to LA on Highway 1. Again driver may be the issue. Relative to flying from NY or EWR either are fine with us. We would like you to come for the 4th of July weekend but we are looking forward to whenever you can make it to Seattle. We are at your service. Deepika, kids and I fly to London for a 2 week vacation on the 16th of July. So the timing of your visit works perfectly for us.
Relative to Portland. Manu and Eshwari are welcome to visit Seattle and stay with us. If for whatever reason this option is not good, you could take the train or Greyhound to Portland and back. If it is a weekend trip and I am not traveling we could all go visit Portland as well. There are some awesome places to visit around the Gorge.
we are disappointed that Mukund, Aparna and Aditi are not coming to Seattle. I do hope they are able to change their minds or schedule and visit us.
Deepika & Suhas Uliyar
Please let us know if you need anything else.
Kind Rgds
Suhas Uliyar
Chief Technology Officer
Dexterra Inc
Manu, Eshwari & Mena.
Hi Gayathri,
It is good to hear that your plans are getting finalized, and we are looking forward to meeting you. We can certainly take a drive up to Seattle one weekend and get together.Let us know when works best for you. Also, if you have time, you’re still welcome to come to Portland and stay with us. It is an easy three hour bus or train ride away from Seattle.
To answer your question, Eshwari is currently studying economics at the University of Oregon in nearby Eugene. I’m working at Intel corp as a process engineer here in Portland.
BTW, mom is going to be here from late May until July 5th. If it works out, it will be nice if she also could meet you.

With Regards,

Ok, now what has happened is that some of you voted for the train
journey and some against!
I found Nadini’s argument against the ride rather convincing - here I
quote her “ Seattle to LA by train: it’s beautiful and all but do you
really want to spend 3 days on a train. You’ll be bored out of your mind or you’ll make friends with everyone on the train. No, seriously, the beauty can be taken in on a drive on the Pacific coast in CA. I’d rather you spend that time hanging out it Seattle. From your email, it sounds like you already don’t have enough time. So, take in some nice breakfasts, enjoy some walks with long lost relatives, instead of the train.”!!!
I am loving it! and i am loving the idea of more time with all you
lovely people as against a train-load of unknown ones. and aditi and aparna
were totally shocked that I would want to ride a train in the US. so sandhya
and ramshakku, any time you plan to do that train journey, let me know and
i’ll join you guys! so as of now, I think i have voted out the train. But, i
may change my mind again, so there! Manu and Esh, do you think you guys can
come to Seattle and meet us there? What says?
Keep the mail coming.
Gayathri, Mummy, Aunty, Love-of-your-life, etc etc

Ram & Shakku:
Dear Gayathri:
Both of us are really excited you are finally going to come for a visit and but sad that it will be so short. I note that a whole army of people are waiting for you to arrive so we will all have to fight for your time and attention!! Hahahaha. Also we are delighted to meet via this lovely and most informative email of yours, all the folks that are involved in your fantastic tour. As far as picking up at the Seattle airport is concerned, you don’t need to worry about what time you arrive.....I am personally at your disposal whenever and whatever time you wish to arrive.
I took the liberty of adding Priya to the list of your email recipients however she will have just come and gone before you are in Seattle. Priya will be here for a few days in May then heads back to Oakland so she will miss seeing you here.
It would be great if Viji also decides to come here at the same time. We can hold a mini music session with all three of you famous BKK celebrities!!
Taking the train from SEA to LA is indeed a great idea. The scenery is superb as you go along the coast line for a major part of the journey. You will definitely enjoy it. It would also be worthwhile to stop for a day or two in San Francisco.
Make sure you have Canadian Visa because obtaining it here will cause you a loss of the better part of a day.
Let us know if we can assist you more in your planning and have a wonderful trip over. I notice that Shriman Mukund Rao has deliberately avoided coming to Seattle but will spend most of his time in Las Vegas....... hummmmm!! . I wonder why??
I have added our address and phone numbers to your itinerary.


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