As I packed my bags for the annual glutton fest that is the Thanksgiving holidays, i thought about any impending family strife: around 16 family members were coming under my uncle and aunt's roof in North Andover, which is 30 mins. outside of Boston, and the possibilities of a clash happening between any 2 headstrong Banerjis was very likely. But first we indulged in the East-West fusion of turkey and stuffing/malai chicken and kofta, cranberry sauce/achaar, corn and mashed potatoes/biryani and dahi vada. We were stuffed. Then we split up into 3 groups of movie watchers who went to see Dhoom 2 (3 aunties, one Abhishek-crazy sister), The Departed (2 uncles, 4 brothers and 1 Jack Nicholson-crazy aunt) and Casino Royale (3 James Bond-crazy sisters). Watching Danny Craig in speedos was definitely one of the highlights of the holidays.
The weather was such a tease but it really lifted spirits by Sunday when i headed into Cambridge to see some old friends. I was seeing one of them after at least 3 years and she is now a brand new mommy of little munchkin of 4 months. It was so admirable to see how she's put her dissertation on hold for the kid and really putting in so much time to actually be with him.
Before i met her, i was trying to find a decent present for the baby and ventured into a "Curious George" toy shop. So it's not the first time I've bought a present for my friends' offsprings, but they have lazily been bought through online registries or the Baby Gap or Baby H&M collection... all fabulous, btw... but I was really having a tough time figuring out what to get a new-born (esp. since her in-law visits just got over and she must've got a ton of stuff from them) in this toy store. I was filled with amazement about what a kid actually sees for the first time... everything from colors to letters to animals is new for him... i eventually ended up getting a Curious George monkey and the book "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (i love singing that song).
The other hard thing was finding a decent coffee shop in Harvard Square (no Starbucks, please) so we eventually ended up at Dado Tea, a specialty tea house on Church St. which has a nice variety of Asian teas, and was apparently started by a couple of Harvard Ph.d. students who complained about the lack of chai in the vicinity. Needless to say, they have chucked their academic careers and are doing booming business.
Later, I met up with some high school friends in Davis Square at a Tibetan place and of course, I had momos :) Chhavi put me up for the night and i had to make friends with her new housemates - two cats with two different temperaments - and even though i was told they would be all nice and friendly, Mini jumped me like a dog in the morning. i think she just wanted my chai. or so i tell myself...