A cool night in the Bay Area.
Two bloggers planned to meet for dinner. One, a so-called "veteran" of blogger lunches. :-) ....The other was someone who was simply enchanted with the idea of blogging, and of course , meeting another fellow blogger.
The former, at the end of her sixth decade of life, visiting the Bay area from Mumbai to attend some family function. Several blog comments, and a little bit of sitemeter and feedjit research over a decent period of time had identified the younger one as someone who lived in this area. Initial tentative emails had resulted in plans to meet.
Chuckles over the phone, slipping into Marathi(the mother tongue for both of them) as folks from Mumbai often do, she promises to come by and pick the older one up. And myriad thoughts bubble over in both minds. Neither knows how the other looks. But both have a mental image of the other....
She drives up in an SUV, and slows down at the house. The older one waits at the curb. They meet. Go in to meet the older one's family, who are all totally entertained by this concept of these two meeting.
Introductions. Smiles. Excitement. And the two leave. Both are vegetarians, and they go to a place that reminds the younger one of home, an the older one of her younger days .
An Idli Dosa place. South Indian Cuisine. In the middle of the Bay Area. Totally packed on a weekday evening.
The two order and start chatting. The menu brings up so many familiar items. Rawa Masala Dosa, Medu Vadas, Sada Dosas, Sambar, 3 types of chutney. You could be in any Udupi place in Mumbai.
All it needed is a fellow with a towel flung over a shoulder, lungi hitched up, scribbling something on a writing pad, and shouting something over his shoulder towards the kitchen window informing them about the order, while simultaneously gesturing to the "water " chap to land up forthwith and replenish the water glasses.
But this is Silicon valley, and most of the patrons actually "live" most of the time at Yahoo, Google, Oracle, TCS, Infy and the like, so the idli -dosa fellows have " IT-fied " and advanced in the world. The waiter scribbles on some kind of electronic pad, and the order is directly gulped into the innards of the system, probably informing the kitchen as well as the cashier.....
The food arrives with a speed that would warm the hearts of diehard Udupi food lovers. And the two get talking. About their families. The younger one's work. How her husband couldnt join them, he was held up in a meeting. They talk about common bloggers they "know". Folks whose sites they have lurked on. It amazing how they have the same take on some bloggers who they both enjoy. They talk about the younger one's school, and the older one is fairly familiar with that area of Mumbai. The younger one is also familiar with the place the older one comes from. Twelve thousand miles away from home, two women of disparate generations, meeting each other with only a previously imagined persona of the other in mind, suddenly find common names to talk about.
The delicious repast over, they leave. Interestingly, the bill is carried by them, to the counter near the sweets display and paid at the cashiers counter; something we have always done in the high turn-around Udipi places in Mumbai.
A nice touch, that.
There is a lurking feeling of home as they both leave. The older one is delighted at how well the younger one has settled into her life here; she is just a few years older than her own daughter. The younger one is possibly amused at the attitudes and stories she hears from someone old enough to be her mother. They walk out into the darkened cool evening, towards her car, which seems to wink through the headlights as they approach, as she unlocks it remotely. They both want a keepsake, and they ask a lady , in English, if she could click a photograph on the older one's camera. Appearances are deceptive and they think she speaks Hindi, another Indian language. She smiles, and gladly obliges. Then she shows us the picture, and asks in Marathi, "Is that OK ?" ..... and there are amused delighted smiles all around.
It is a short drive back and they are at the older one's place. It has been a lovely evening. The older one has brought something for the younger one. Mango Panha concentrate. A little gift of some Indian stuff, made at home, with American ingredients (applesauce), for the busy young woman; something a mother would possibly make and keep for a daughter to enjoy later on at leisure, something which would not require too much work to prepare.
She comes out of the car to bid the older one goodbye. There are hugs and promises to meet up in Mumbai when the younger one comes again on a visit. Somewhere the eyes well up a bit. Gulp. They wave goodbye. And she is gone.
There is a mild breeze , The branches of the tree above, move in symphony with breeze. The older one looks up and peering through the trees, it feels like the moon is shaking its head from side to side, indulgently exasperated at the way these bloggers from Mumbai keep having these meets..... and so it keeps going on its path, to its assigned duty over Mumbai , twelve hours later.
Back at home, everyone is excited about the visit. No one else blogs. And the older one sems to be making so many wonderful friends,
Like the younger one.
An Enchanted evening, that.