Second Trip to Westmead and Sydney Murugan Temple
The past week has been a rather interesting one. I am working on something really interesting at work (that somehow always manage to cheer me up). Plus, we had the Secret Santa party this Friday, where in each member of the team was to bring a AUD 10 gift for someone whose name we know (so you are the Santa for that person).
However, the receipient is not supposed to know who gave him (or her) the gift. I gave one of my colleagues an Arnott’s TimTam biscuit and porcelain mug set that was available for a reduced price of AUD 10 (owing to xmas season). Of course, since I had no idea what was Secret Santa, I wrote “Dear Clive, merry xmas and happy new year — Suresh Santa”. We had pizza and soft drinks for lunch (my second ever pizza in life but it was pretty soft veggie pizza :), followed by chocolates and a bar of Wall’s Magnum icecream.
Over the course of the week, Mini was kind enough to extend an invitation to drop in at her place on Friday evening so that I can go to the Sydney Murugan temple again and also eat some good food either at her place or at the temple (one of the prasadam item is something called dosa and looks like you can eat as much as you want :). As always, it was a pretty mouth watering prospect, and I jumped at the offer, though I confirmed that I am going only by Friday noon.
I decided to go with Mini and we met at the Town Hall station (which is below her office) and about a 4 min work (on the way to my favorite food court). We caught the first available train and reached Westmead around 6pm. Raj, Mini’s husband, came to pick us up from the station. So the tragedy continues for poor Raj, 9000 miles away from the place where the process of waiting and picking up Mini from work started — Bangalore. Once we reached the apartment entrance, Raj took me on a small detour to show the sprawling apartment complex. I also got to see Mini driving away the car to the basement carpark during this time.
Mini immediately got busy preparing dinner for us (since she thought the temple canteen might be crowded or that the temple might close early). Raj helped her out by cutting the fruits for the fruit salad. It was 8 pm by the time we left for the temple. It was another crowded day at the temple, and inside the temple there was a group of kids doing bhajan. I had a very good darshan once again. I decided to circumambulate the outside (there is no praharam, it is just the compound) and saw the rather big canteen teeming with devotees savouring this or that prasadam.
We reached back by 2100 hrs and it was time for dinner. Mini had prepared white rice (for me, they normally eat the Kerala Chamba rice), savala rich sambar, cabbage thoran with scrapped coconut and tasty maanga pachadi. Needless to say, I ate as much as I can and almost finished my favorite cabbage (that I was eating after a gap of 80+ days; that showed I guess :). This was followed by a bowlful of fruit salad (less fruits and more ice-cream for me). Since it was well past 2130 hrs, I decided to bid adiue to them. I offered my heartfelt thanks for another round of tasty homely food and the warmth extended to me, and started my journey back home.
I invited Mini to visit us at Chennai, but I guess that is a no-starter. Mini has at least one thing in common with me — both of us love Bangalore, though both are not in Bangalore for the last four years. Bangalore, I am sure, has changed quite a bit since the days of 2004, but still the memories that remain are among the best of my life.
I reached the Central station by 2220 hrs, but had to run around and wait for an hour to get a taxi to reach back the hotel room. Friday nights and Saturday nights are time when the whole (or it looks like that) of Sydney decides to go on a boozing spree (partying) and so every cab is occupied, either carrying the passenger to the next party/pub/club or taking them back home.
I guess this might be happening in India as well, though the percentage of people who can afford this lifestyle is not very high to leave all the autos/taxis occupied through the night. Sydney has a very vibrant night life, especially on weekends. I contrasted that with the night life in my hometown Trivandrum, that used to go to sleep at about 2000 hrs :).
As is the wont these days, here is the link to the pix from Week12 in Sydney.