October 13, 2012

Bowl Baby Bowl!

Stories heard in one’s childhood can leave a strong impression. I can never forget one my grandfather used to tell me: about a prince who rode up to a stream on a hot summer day, and as soon as he bent to scoop some water to drink, a village girl dunked mud into the water. She did this twice or thrice, and he finally asked her why. She told him cold water drunk when one is hot and sweaty makes one ill, so she was preventing his mistake. Impressed by her good sense, he made her his queen.

I have more than a few problems with that story of course, but I always know better than to drink ice-cold things when I’m just out of the blazing heat, thanks to the village girl. However, this post is not about that story. It’s about a story that perplexes me no end as an adult: the story of the wooden bowl, originally, I believe, by Tolstoy. It’s a simple tale: Grandpa’s hands tremble and he spills food frequently -> son and daughter-in-law get angry -> son makes him a wooden bowl ->grandpa humiliated at having to eat from it -> kid sees this and starts hacking on piece of wood -> his parents ask what he’s doing ->kid says he’s making bowls for his parents’ old age -> parents are extremely apologetic, and grandpa gets back crockery privileges.

Either I had magical powers to understand the emotional aspects of this problem, or I never gave it enough thought, but I was sure it was wrong to shift a person with a challenging condition to a tool that was more conducive to his/her situation. The parents were just solving a very real problem. Did they stop feeding grandpa? Did they make him clean the mess? No and no. The son made “by hand “a dish that grandpa could use without trouble. Did grandpa like spilling? Unlikely. So maybe the problem was that he felt singled out. Why did the parents then solve the problem by taking grandpa back to difficult crockery? Why not shift the whole family to wooden bowls?

It’s not a trifling matter, one’s reaction to this story. It reflects your attitude to family, to old age, and to problems vs. emotions. It could determine how you choose to live a large part of your adult life, and many decisions that you make!

Personally, I just found a beautiful  news story online, which got me thinking about this childhood tale again, and if you’re feeling too lazy to click today, a 10-year-old girl, whose father is a product designer, created a special spill-free mug for her Parkinson-affected grandpa and her klutzy dad.  She’s now looking for funding. I cannot think of a better resolution to this story.

Do share your reaction to the tale if you’d like. I’ll be grateful. If you think I'm dead inside, do not hesitate to point out.

September 03, 2012

Swiss Diary

Growing up in India, it was impossible to escape visions of misty green mountains and flowing chiffon sarees that are the cultural ambassadors of Switzerland thanks to Yash Chopra & co. Would it not then be sacrilege to live so close by and not pay Switzerland a visit? As I explained this fact to my husband, he did what any long-suffering married man would do. He handed me his credit card, blocked 5 vacation days on his calendar, and went back to work. It takes ages to get your man to this level of give-uppyness, but ladies, you must persevere.

Off to Switzerland we went then, on a train so sleek and fast that it has often swept the eyelashes off my anatomy when it has whooshed pass my platform at small stations in Amsterdam. Never able to sit peacefully in one place, I managed to find unreserved seats right behind the driver, and get a cockpit view of the journey through Germany.  As I type this paragraph, I realize that writing about the next eight days will take me reams and reams of virtual paper, so I’m just going to write a helpful article for any of you planning to undertake a Swiss odyssey.

Where to stay: Look at the map of Switzerland. It’s a fairly big country. Now zoom out and look at the map of Germany. THAT is a really big country. When in Switzerland, just stay wherever you find affordable (good luck!) and comfortable accommodation. We had booked ourselves into a number of different cities, but in hindsight, seven nights in Basel or Bern would have been more or less the same. If you’re staying at hotels that are a notch below your usual standards, make sure to include a night at an Etap hotel, which makes everything else feel miles better. A big thumbs up to the YMCA hostel in Basel, which has clean and comfortable en suite rooms, an affordable breakfast, and access to a sparkling communal kitchen, which brings us to the next point:

What to eat: Euro notes or, if you want a colourful meal, Swiss Francs. About 6 hours into your Swiss visit, you will realize that you cannot win the battle against food bills. When McDonalds is twice as expensive as back home, and back home is a fairly expensive Western European country, then you know you’re in trouble. Fortunately, two gigantic supermarket chains: Coop and Migros have stores almost everywhere, and if you go in the summers, you’ll find that spending under 20 francs on yogurt, salads, fresh fruit and some cheese and bread for two makes for a very satisfactory compromise, at least once a day. Sit down for a hot meal, and you either lose no less than twice that sum, or you ingest good old McDonalds, (I bet the 100% recyclable burger boxes come back as coffins for the patrons). Of course our vegetarianism means that we go prepared to just eat our own socks if needed when we travel through Europe, and things might be different for you.

How to go about: As soon as you land in Switzerland, throw your bags in the hotel, eat the Toblerone on your pillow, grab something cold to drink before you get a heat stroke (Yash Chopra, I want my money back! I got sunburn and rashes in "misty" Switzerland) and head to the ticket counter at the station, and get your Swiss Pass. One magical ticket to all the trains, buses, trams and boats for the rest of your trip. It’s not cheap by any standard, and you’d probably not spend that much money if you just did what you came to Switzerland thinking you’ll do, but when you’re on a train with your Swiss map spread in your lap, and you see a darling little station that you just MUST hop out at and explore, and you can guess with a little common sense how you will find an alternate route back, then the Swiss Pass lets you do just that! The map that comes along with the pass is your best friend. We took a total of 21 train rides within Switzerland, about 5 boat rides and a cable car ride as well. Would we have done as much without the pass? Never!

What places to visit: That’s something we can all safely agree to disagree about. Of all the places we managed to visit, Bern was my favorite walk-through city, Zurich my favorite overnight halt, and the hike down from Lake Trübsee to Engelberg my favorite scenic bit. The best thing about Switzerland is that if you find yourself travelling to a tourist trap that’s a big letdown, you can go visit something cute or surreal or sublime that is always just half an hour away! We ran from Interlaaken within an hour, and took refuge in a small lakeside town till our train back showed up, with our grocery store yogurt to keep us company.

Trains: The Swiss Pass says on the back that we’re in a country where transport runs on time. They are not exaggerating. It’s only because the Swiss are a peaceful and non-violent nation that half-severed bodies who did not board their posteriors at 9:00 sharp are not seen regularly on trains. Also, every train has unique character and charm, and the ones with pull-down windows can con you into thinking trains are something you stick your head out of. I was pulled back into the coach by the husband’s aghast look and an approaching electric pole that almost gave me a new hairstyle. The Glacier Express was beautiful despite the dismal lack of glaciers in the summer, and though civilized folk will tell you otherwise, it is quite ok to carry your own sandwiches on board and refuse the criminally expensive three-course meal everyone else chooses to have on board.

What to carry/buy: Carry a camera with a decent memory card and a reliable battery, and everything you need to charge it up and take hundreds more pictures the next day. There are some kooky safety plugs in many hotels that do not let you use even European plugs, but you can get convertors from the hotel. And whatever else you might need, because Switzerland is not a great place to be buying clothes and essential supplies from. In fact, unless you have cow-bell dementia from too much Shahrukh Khanning, you needn’t buy anything except some chocolates for folks back home. Buy coffee at Starbucks once or twice a day, and four francs will get you a visit to the loo, a drink of water, a laxative (can’t call that sludge coffee, I’m afraid), and 20 minutes of Internet time to download the map of whatever city you’re in.  

And finally: The famous sights are so full of tourists that you’d think the roads of India and China would be empty all summer. To avoid rib-cage fracture and the frustration that comes from the vague sense of unreachable aloo parathas or sambhar cooking somewhere nearby, study the itineraries of tour companies online. Note down the 10-odd places in Switzerland on their  “must-see” list. Don’t see any of them.

June 28, 2012

Your Mail Has Been Archived

News of Nora Ephron’s death prompted me to revisit an old favorite: You’ve Got Mail. It was probably one of the first few films my sister and I saw alone in the theatre, and then we often revisited it thanks to a VCD we bought. In 1998 when I saw it first, it was the cutest, romantic-est, absolutely the best thing ever-est to have ever released, and it was to re-live that romantic euphoria that I kicked my husband off the sofa last night, put my feet up, clicked on the play button, and invited Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks to sweep me off my feet. 

14 years, you are an awful lot of time. Not only was the courtship quite cheesy and the plot borderline silly at times, grey-haired old me was also unable to focus on the mush! All I could think of was the chain bookstore vs. mom-and-pop bookstore showdown, and how the very Internet that gave the smug and idle book mogul the opportunity to meet and date an idealistic-yet-hapless “shopgirl” has fantastically pulled the rug from under the mammoth bookshop chains around the world. 

We were in the US recently, and the husband (whom I trapped online, perhaps encouraged by this same movie, I now realize) took me around Seattle, his favorite city in that large and scary (to my now-rural senses) country. Most of his time on his earlier visits there was spent in bookshops, and over the years I was wooed with beautiful books, bags and umbrellas (don’t ask) from Borders, Barnes and Noble, and others. I was lucky to browse through Borders in my London schooldays, but they had vanished by the time I finally made it to the US. We visited Barnes and Noble four times in our three days there, and I am sorry to say that not only did we not find a single book on our reading list on their shelves, but we shamelessly used their free wifi to compare price labels with Kindle prices and found the difference quite drastic. A second-hand bookstore fulfilled all our wildest bibliographic fantasies, much to the amusement of our friends, and we lugged home a bargain (by European standards). We went to the chain bookstore only for the novelty of the experience, the very thing that Meg Ryan’s shop was providing in 1998 New York. 

Meanwhile, big chain stores continue to swallow small businesses whole, and You’ve Got Mail2.0 could well be an online (preferably over iPhones) romance between a local baker and a grocery chain owner, a tailor and a department store heir, or a carpenter and whoever (God bless them!) runs Ikea.

May 20, 2012

A Random Sunday In the Life Of, etc.

The rain this morning gave us a great excuse to veg out at home and watch Satyamev Jayate (after the CSA and the dowry episodes, gender determination will double, I’m sure) and read in ghastly postures all over the house. After a very basic lunch, my toes found their way into the side of the sofa and that strange bone sticking out of my skull (since forever) was merrily burrowing its way through the husband’s leg, and I was ready to nap for two hours and repent for four, when the sun showed up, Bangalore kicked their own butt out of the IPL, and we decided to head out for a coffee and a walk.
The girl at the neighborhood coffee parlor calls us “chocolate cake” (Racist? Maybe. We’re brown and bitter for sure), and served a nice thick slab of our favorite coffee accompaniment as we read some more on her sofa.  After that, we decided (as we do every other day) that we’d go shopping for shoes. Both of us have this perpetual vague need for new shoes (although we own only two pairs each at any given time in history) and today we randomly chose the husband as the shoe-shopping candidate. After trying on some fancy ones and lusting after some obscenely expensive ones, he settled on a simple pair and for the first time in about 6 months, our shoe-shopping expedition actually ended up in a purchase.
As our pupils adjusted to the sunlight outside the shoe shop, we spotted a secondhand books fiesta! No doubt the rain had ruined half their day, and probably half their books as well, but there they were, in all their glory!  Our first forage yielded three books and after a long search for the absconding stall owner, we were cheerfully greeted by a gentlemen who said life was very simple, and three books were two euro fifty, and he did not want the books anymore... they were ours. The next stop had us fall in love with a quaint little Dutch comic book on which no price was mentioned, and the surly gentleman at the stall said it was five euro after careful study of the comic and of the books jutting out of our bag. When I smiled and put the book back, he scowled and said “don’t want it for five? It’s twenty then!” I smiled some more and walked on. The husband, spotting a good book that was threatening to shed its cover, asked if I’d like to read it. The pencil mark said it was fifty cents, and the stall owner shrugged hopelessly and said he’d have to give it for that price then, wouldn’t he. As we counted five and ten cent coins to make up the fifty, he was sure we were about to ask for a discount, and we assured him that we were not those people. Everyone at the book bazaar is bitter in his or her own way, and why wouldn’t they be? Many of them were probably around when books being available to and affordable for every one was still a fascinating idea, and in their lifetimes, they’ll probably have to throw away half their stock because nobody wants it anymore! For a change, we were not really bitter today, as we found our first real bargains books-wise in this lovely but expensive city of ours.
We lugged the books around town on a beautiful walk, and are now back on the sofa and it’s time to read some more. Shoes and books and sofas and coffee…what more does one need in life? 

May 09, 2012

Of Human Bondage

Just finished reading Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage. The ghastly-looking paperback edition was one of the husband’s wise purchases on our recent trip to Bangalore, and once I started, I did not know much peace or quiet till I finished it.

My mother started feeding me “good” literature from her dad’s collection in early teens when it was, among other things, a practical way to keep noise levels down in the house. Quite cocky and self-assured at 17, I embarked on a 5-year study of English literature and read most of the defining works of fiction of the last 500 years or so, and perhaps these shaped the kind of person I grew up to be. At the same time, I’m not sure I did (or indeed could have done) justice to the brilliant writing and thinking I consumed, and there was a considerable element of pearls-before-swine in my history of burying my nose into books.

In recent times, while I’m surrounded by a very diverse selection of books courtesy the husband’s myriad interests, my own purchases are of dubious literary standards, and seem to be evading the truths of life, much like me.

(If you’re married to me, do not read beyond this line. Hugs.)

It was wonderful, therefore, to come across this semi-autobiographical work by Maugham, and as the bildungsroman progressed and a philosophy of life unfurled, the air was knocked out of me more than a dozen times. The academic or casual study of a writer’s perspective is a faint spark compared to the blazing fire of near-complete identification with a world-view espoused by someone decades before you were born, and who came to it by a path completely different from yours. As the book came closer to its end, the sense of identification started to wear off a bit, and the final resolution offered by Maugham disappointed me immensely, but as he and I believe, there are other ends to stories.

April 02, 2012

Looking Before and After

We’ve all been the age when present actions and long and short-term consequences do not seem to have a direct correlation. Try convincing a six-year old that because she’s going to bed without brushing her teeth tonight, in a few years her tooth will break off and she’ll pay a fortune to have it fixed in an emergency. Life doesn’t work that way when you’re a kid.

We’ll all, well many of us, will be the age when our mental playlist is an endless loop of things that should have been, decisions we ought to have made differently, and choices we would have made had we known better… If I had a penny for every time I hear people say “I didn’t know better then,” I’d have paid off that dentist’s bill without feeling a pinch!

And then there’s the difficult bit. The being 30 (ok 30+) and making decisions… the really big ones… knowing that there will be consequences, and knowing that when you’re blaming you past self for your bungled up life tomorrow, you’re very likely to remember that you knew full well what you’re getting into. You could not have seen into the future, but you could have made some very good guesses.

Dear past self: I’m glad you had some fun, and it wouldn’t have hurt to have had a little less of it. But it’s ok, you didn’t know better.

Dear future self: YOU knew better all along. Stop that whining.

March 30, 2012

Ciao Venezia!

About 50 tourists crowded around the bus door, trying to get a seat on the bus for the ride from the airport into town. The driver told them the ticket-punching machine on the bus was broken, so they needed to use the one at the bus stop. After punching two tickets, the other machine also sputtered and died. Like lost pigeons, they turned their heads back to the driver with blank expressions. He shrugged, walked up to the machine on the bus stop, gave it five tight slaps and a good shaking, dislodged about a gazillion bits of paper from it, and then took one passenger’s ticket and punched it successfully.

Italy. India. Same difference.

February 29, 2012

2012: A Love Story

They sat side by the side on the couch near the window, reading their books under the warm, fake sunlight of the powerful halogen bulb they had bought along with a lamp Ikea decided to call “Not” (usage: The Sun is shining…Not!)
Her toes tucked under his leg, his foot resting on the ugliest coffee table in the universe, and only the intermittent sound of flipping pages breaking the silence of their comfortable companionship…
Suddenly, his heart racing, he put down his book, turned to her, put her book down as well, and removed her spectacles. Unaccustomed to romantic outbursts, she waited with bated breath for his next move.
“Multiply 17 by 24” he said, a manic excitement in his voice. “Do it in your head!”
Now THIS was the kind of romance she had come to expect after five years of marriage. She started crunching the numbers in her head. He gazed into her eyes with the passion of either a psychopath or a scientist, or perhaps both.
“It’s TRUE! Your pupils! They’re dilating when you’re straining your brain!” he shrieked, pointing at the book.
She had to see it for herself, of course. So off came his spectacles, 15 was multiplied by 27 in his head, and his pupils dilated to her satisfaction.
With their spectacles back on, they resumed their reading, and lived in considerable happiness for a fair number of days in the future.

February 12, 2012

Please collect your belongings from Belt Number 13

The big black bag
has my husband’s name
on a blue tag

The small blue case
has his parents’ address
on its face

The brown one unlocks
with the address
where I grew up in frocks

Every now then we do this little dance
Going home to home, and back home
For the benefit of KLM and Air France

The carousel goes round and round
Till my luggage, and I, are found

December 30, 2011

Alvida 2011

2011, you’ve been very mean to a whole lot of people, but you’ve been a darling to me, and I’m sending you off with a smile! You took me to Paris and Rome, London and Prague, and dozens of other new and wonderful places, you swept me into an amazing new life in the cutest little house by the river, you put a bicycle under my bum and wore out my shoes with all the walking you let me do!

More than anything, you sat me down and taught me all the things I am not, and forced me to confront the facts and deal with them. You gave me hours and hours to come to terms with myself, and though I used many of them to watch TV series and movies and read books, I think we made some major progress!

Oy yaar 2011! You made the husband start eating eggs, and have got me living off the poor guy’s salary while he feels a wee bit sad about the discomfort I feel in doing so! Tu pehle kyun nahin aaya 2011? Anyway, now please do proper knowledge transfer to 2012 about how to treat me. Thanks. Have fun wherever past years go to rest, and don't believe anything 2004 says about me.

December 17, 2011

Take Two

Here’s a thought experiment:
If you could be ANY TWO of three things: healthy, wealthy and wise, which would you choose and why? The one you choose not to have will not become available to you via the presence of the other two: for instance, as a wise, healthy person you will not find a smart way to make money. Also, the one you don’t choose cannot take away the ones you HAVE. If you choose to be a rich but unhealthy person, your medical bills won’t ruin you financially.
So think about it and choose two and tell me why you chose them.
My choices would be to be healthy and wealthy. My simple reason: If I ignore health, as a wise and wealthy person, I’ll wish I had the ability to do something with my assets, and I’d always have a nagging sadness at the back of my mind. As a healthy and wise person, the sorrow would be a little less, but whenever I’d see a financial roadblock on my path to further wisdom and health, I’d be irritated. As a rich and healthy fool, I wouldn’t have the wisdom to miss wisdom, and if I saw a wise person who was either sick or poor, I’d toss my fabulous hair, pull my Burberry coat a little closer and say: “Poor geek!”
P.S: You’d think there would be a great deal of stigma attached to NOT choosing wisdom. You’d be right. However, I won’t judge you, I promise. I already traded my sound judgment for hotness and an apartment in London.

December 03, 2011

Out Of The Blue(s)

I’ve been missing from the blog for a very long time, and with good reason too. Since this is a navel-gazing forum for the most part, I shall now explain why. You are free to escape at any time. Just look for the fluorescent strips along the floor and they will guide you to the nearest exit (which may be behind you.)

So the reason I’ve been away is that I’ve had a considerably tough time adapting to my new life. It’s not homesickness, it’s mostly the horrifying Dutch job market, and the realization that there is very likely no place for a person of my ethnicity and professional background here in the current economic scenario. It has been very difficult to accept that I shall not be conventionally employed for the foreseeable future, that I will have to choose between travelling on a whim and taking expensive Dutch lessons, and that even if I learn Dutch, it will be time to leave before I can reach a level of proficiency that enables me to put it to use gainfully. All this left me quite sad, my self-confidence shattered to bits (and not only because my neighbors used to ask me in the lift if I was a cleaning lady when we first moved in,) and it did not help that my only friend was a cat who liked to rub her face on my leather shoes.

I did not know I was such a people person. My mother thinks I permanently have a cold, because I clear my throat each time I start speaking to her on chat. That’s because my voice kind of goes away because of not having been used for the last six hours, and I have to cough it back into existence! Those who know me will vouch for my constant jabbering and I kind of miss my nightly jaw pain from spewing nonstop nonsense. This silence is a huge change, and has taken some getting used to.

However, as fog envelops my new home, the internal fog has lifted. I have made peace with my new life, and now I have a routine that fills my day with purpose and fun. And on this difficult journey, I have had loads of help from people who I must thank for being there. So here goes:

1. The husband: Poor guy, for months he has come home battered from the pressures of a new job to a high-strung, agitated woman who is all set to unleash her frustration and verbal diarrhea on him. His patience has ensured that we shall be celebrating another wedding anniversary soon.
2. My office: I was surprised that the boyfriend/fiancé/husband had been at the same job for six-seven years when we met, and since then have been constantly messing with his head to make him keep changing jobs and evolving. At the same time, this September I complete 5 years of association with MY workplace, which continues to indulge me and my insanity. A big thanks to my boss and colleagues who fill my days with work and fun and gossip, and bank account with pocket money even though I am thousands of kilometres away.
3. My family: They all have lifestyles that make me exhausted at their very thought, but they still take time out to sit before my stupid face for an hour on Google video chat to make me feel that they are right there (and also glad that they are not actually right there. Evil smirk.)
4. The Internet: I have a noisy office environment all day in my soundproof house. Marathon sitcom streaming allows me to work among some of the wittiest fake people in the world. It feels like “I Am Legend” when I reach the end of a series, but then I just get reassigned to another team.
5. Ramkali: My tiny foldable second-hand cycle with one handbrake has gone from being a pain the arse (literally) to my almost-daily companion on long and pretty rides around the suburbs. She makes me feel I have wings, she gives me the exercise that really does improve one’s mood as the experts claim, and she does not care where I’m from and what language I speak. For all that, I love her, and thank her.

P.S.: I am not alone in my misery. Wise Ishani has more info here.

September 29, 2011

Home is where the dhaniya patta is

Train of thought green-flagged by this:

Can’t blame Fate, really. It’s almost always been my bright idea to hop off the straight path and move bag and baggage to new places and new experiences. I remember how, on my first stint away from home (which was already the fifth bricks-and-mortar-thing I called home), I used to lie in bed, close my eyes, and try to recall each and every minor detail of the house. Once it took me a minute to remember our car’s registration number, and that shocked me! This oh-so-long adventure was just for three months, but created in my mind a (very possibly misguided) Home-Life dichotomy, and when the time came to make decisions, I regularly started choosing Life over Home. Many comic attempts were made to move to other cities, and a few of them actually succeeded. This meant a new home every few months, with not much motivation (and frankly never too many resources) to convert bare flats and rooms into tastefully decorated residences. With marriage came further confusion, and the hometown itself has now split into two, and perhaps it is my eternal pessimism that my spirit grates and perishes on the long road between my two homes instead of finding solace and belonging in the two sets of loving arms at each end…
I would be homesick if I knew which home to be sick about. I wistfully remember the entire floor I had to myself for a while in my childhood home, the (scandalous!) unisex hostel in Ahmedabad, the balcony in Pune that opened onto an endless stretch of treetops, the riverside hostel in London, and the sunsets through the palm fronds in my Bangalore home, but leaving each one of them has enriched my life, so I don’t really wish myself back there. (People-sickness is another matter altogether! I can’t do without my gang but I don’t really feel I have to do without them thanks to my superfast Internet connection!)
If I really look deep into my obviously-not-red-enough heart, I now carry my home with me. Right now, home is a little flat by the fake river in the tiny town that loves dope, and as long as the Turkish dry fruit seller brings me coriander leaves every Wednesday, and the darling husband flashes his million dollar smile over the sorry can-of-beans rajma chawal I garnish with the coriander, I am home, and not sick at all.

September 18, 2011


After dragging my lard across 9 kilometres on a tiny bicycle, I had reached breaking point by the time we got home this evening. As I parked the cycle, I realized the tyres were low on air: no wonder the ride had felt twice as long. With heads swimming, knees threatening to give way and shirts sticking to our backs, we decided to fetch groceries before we went home, because there was no way we’d ever make it back out of the house tonight. The road swayed a bit in front of my eyes as I walked, and when the husband decided to stop and take a picture of the sunset, I told him I’d continue “dragging my corpse” further down the road slowly, and he could catch up easily when he was done.

“Excuse me?” a voice rang out cheerfully behind me about a minute later. I turned to see a boy of about 20 in a manual wheelchair. “Can you please help me over the bridge?” he asked. The bridge is our a tiny but steep connection to mainland Amsterdam, and I often play the “cross the bridge in under 50 steps” game, making big leaps to meet my target. “Sure,” I said, and began pushing his chair. We discussed India, Morocco and our lovely neighborhood, and within moments this cheerful boy had dragged my corpse halfway across the bridge, and all my tiredness and self-pity out of my system. He thanked me and carried on alone, and I caught the rest of the sunset from the top of the bridge, waiting for my sweetheart photographer to catch up…