Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Homestead

After a long hiatus, primarily on account of my indolence, I have returned to blogging. And especially when my faithful readers, er correction, I mean one solitary reader viz. my sister in Bombay, pleads with me to write, how can I possibly refrain?

So here goes.

The past few months have been a blur with relocation to what Firdaus’s would have referred to as the anti-paradise , Lansing, MI “Agar Firdaus bar me Zaminast na Haminasto na haminnasto na haminasto." (loosely translated “If there’s paradise on earth, its not here, its not here, its not here”. Or something like that.) . If the Michigan Militia or Klansman, happen to read this world phamous blogger, they might get set to lynch or at least pinch me for this sacrilege, but what the hell, I’ll take the chance. As the world phamous Amitabh might have said “Yeh jeena bhi koi jeena hai laloo”.

This past holiday Memorial day weekend we traveled to Northern Michigan to the Homestead Resorts, a resort about 45 miles west of Traverse City, Michigan, and nestled on the bank of Lake Michigan. We planned this trip, as most “desis” would plan it, traveled in group of about 20 and shacked up in a 4-bedroom rental house. Half the cost, double the fun. Well actually I'm being facetious, but trip to resorts and such, are best taken, in my opinion, in large groups. How else does one monopolize the swimming pools, gymnasiums or the tennis courts like it was your own personal estate? Right?

So after a grueling 5 hours drive from Lansing we made it to Glen Arbor, where the resort is located. Some of the gang had already reached the resort, and refreshed themselves with samosas and “chai” tea, while some others from our gang were still en route. The heated pool of the resort seemed welcoming since it was a hot day and driving forever had taken the “mojo” out of most of us. The pool turned out to be the proverbial manna, since the kids had a blast and subsequenly they built up an appetite, while the adults just chilled out in the hot tub.

After the swim, sitting on the deck outside with our drinks and munching on desi snacks while discussing inane topic made Suresh’s quip about “living the good life”, feel oh so true. The gambling session after dinner went on till the wee hours of the morning with good natured ribbing amongst each other and bawdy jokes taking center stage.

The next morning, Aarti had us in various contortions with her introductory yoga session, while her husband Bobby made yummy pancakes for breakfast. From scratch( and no, he didn't scratch).
The yoga session was so good that no one seemed to mind the occasional flatulent mishaps by several of the participants. The others just held their breath, longer. But the yoga left us well stretched, relaxed and reinvigorated to do justice to Bobby's pancakes and Sadhana's scrambled eggs. After devouring the breakfast some of us took off for golf, while some others for tennis and the kids and the moms headed for the pool. Though the golf course was a small par-3, 9 hole course, the picturesque view of lake Michigan from the tees was a sight to behold. Rahul’s dad who is visiting from
India, played some good strokes and we had some good laughs during the game. Neel, Rahul’s son, was a life saver, since he was helping us looking for our lost golf balls, which BTW, must have numbered in the dozens.

After a sumptuous lunch and some rest we headed out to Traverse City and spent time along the Marina.

On Sunday morning, chaos reigned supreme, with the Yannamani family heading back to Detroit, the Macedos shacking up with the rest of us and their friends headed back to Cleveland. The pool and some cold beer seemed inviting under the circumstances, and that’s where the rest of us ended up. It turned out to be a glorious day, with plenty of sunshine, people lazing by the pool, cold beer and the tepid water of the pool. Better yet, the Yannamains decided to stay back, the Macedos shacked up with us and their friends decided to drive back to Cleveland. And all was well with the world. Later that evening we took a pontoon boat ride on the lake which had the kids and the women squealing with delight as the catamaran floated over the waters of Lake Michigan. The shoreline and the clear blue water that reflected like turquoise on a clear sunny day, was a spectacle to behold. After the boat ride, at Supriya’s recommendation, we drove to Old Mission Point lighthouse , on the northern peninsula of Michigan, the drive interspersed with Michigan wineries and the gorgeous sight of Lake Michigan visible on either side of the road. After returning from an arduous driving schedule, Supriya regaled us with old Hindi melodies, with yours truly and Rahul chiming in for some off-key chorus. The last I remembered was dozing off when the conversation veered off into the realm of gas and sound effects related to gas. Hmmm….

Monday morning after a quick jog with Rahul, around the cruel elevations of the Homestead, and our stomachs filled with the delectable breakfast spread, we made our way back to drearydom, our jobs and routine lives. All in all it was quite a weekend, where Rahul’s wife Seema, his mom and the rest of the women kept us well fed, with quality R&R and excellent company and fine spirits.

This piece cannot be completed without a word or two about the resort The Homestead. It may lighten your wallet a fair bit, but the experience is truly worth all the travel to get to this Michigan’s well kept secret. The kids had a blast and so did most of the adults. I know at least Seemz and yours truly did.


Blogger Supriya said...

Sourin, full marks for this well written composition. Now that you've given everyone the pretty picture (flatulence et al), let me narrate the "behind the scenes" saga. Relax boy, I'm not going to elaborate on our personal "war with vocab" (I mean that's what blogs are for!), neither am I going to try and unravel the mystery of the 4 lbs that I gained after the trip... but for what it's worth, here are my two bits.

Sure it was an awesome trip, a rather memorable one from several other angles besides the pristine views of Lake Michigan I might add.

From a personal perspective, what sticks is the fact that I learned to play Bridge one afternoon under the patient guidance of Sourin and the expert moves of my Bridge partner Suresh. Perhaps the next time around I can put my money where my penmanship is and actually prove that I can play and win.

But that was not the only knowledge I gained on that trip. I learnt a lot about the "psyche", got some practical exposure to a certain disorder called "anti-social interaction" that made me count my blessings that my friends were who they were. In fact, Uncle ji in all his wisdom, even took me on a field trip to see the "Psycho-Path". No wonder Psychiatry is such a prominent and well paying field!

Aarti's invigorating Yoga class spurted the need deep within me to finally invest in a Yoga Mat. Hopefully, I'll take it out of the box one of these days and put it to test. LOL! I won't deny that I was a bit sore the following day... and looking at myself in the photographs of that class, I'm almost surprised that I was sore! You'd think that with all that natural padding, a short yoga class would barely reach below the surface, but it SHORE DID!

Sadhana, Seema R, Aunty and above all, Seema "Ji" need a huge pat on the back for that awesome planning on the cuisine. Wait... I think it might throw light on the mystery of the 4 lbs mentioned earlier. Could it have been that too-good-to-be-true badam halwa? Naaahhh... It must have been the skim milk Chaas with a slice of lemon that did it... Yes, I'm sure that's what caused me to go shopping for a size larger pair of capris the following week.

Deepak, poor soul, had several physical reminders of this trip. He's still peeling off the sunburnt skin on his shoulders and his shiny pate. That 3 hour stint on the pool deck with no sunscreen is his sour... oops sole memory of the trip. His sore muscles from a 22 mile biking trail were a cruel reminder that 40 is more than just an excuse to party.

For the kids, it's already a distant memory... their only reminder of "that place up north" are the tan marks from their swimsuits. But all in all, I must admit that if we were to do something like this again, I'd be more than happy to say "Count us in!"


10:19 PM  
Blogger Anshul said...

Welcome back Sourin to the blogging world...once again! Where have you been absconding?

I did hear from Rahul & Seema G about all the details on Yoga, Boating, cards, booze and the "Psycho Boy" - I'm sure you guys must have had a blast!

Keep writing,

2:57 PM  
Blogger Karthik said...


My engileesh cannot match your English. Nicely written blog. Welcome back to blogging. Maha has been checking your blogs everyday and says I should stop blogging (:->


10:09 AM  
Anonymous Jitesh Jhatakia said...

Sourin, Your blog reminds me of an art ('s an art indeed)I was enlightened with in the toastmaster's club. It goes as "If you are asked to speak about the cow and if you do not have a first damn clue, then speak about a tree next to the cow and tie the cow to the tree at the end of the talk." You started talking about homestead, but looks like your penchant for food overtook the moment I blinked for the first time. The idea to write about "The Homestead" was on the back burner. I would suggest that you change the title to "My tryst with Homestead" instead.

BTW, Its not just your sister who read this blogs of yours. Overall, it was nice to see you back to the batan.

3:18 PM  
Blogger chappan said...

Supriya: Thanks for invoking all those memories. "Psycho Boy:, how much we laughed.

Anshul: Thanks for the comments.

Karthik: You are very kind. I enjoy reading your blogs, especially the jokes. Makes my day.

Jhatu: Finally, I know someone else reads my blogs as well. And thanks for the kind words. Yes my penchant for food still remains, unabated. Only surpassed by my penchant for sex, of course. Hahahahahaha...I can still try to be funny.


9:16 PM  

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