We left Bangalore almost year ago and to the very day of our departure, our dear Friend Ajay made the trip to the frozen tundra of Minnesota.
Words can not express our relationship... suffice it to say we wasted three months several years ago trying to meet and when we finally did, a life long friendship and bond was formed. In the days prior to Ajay's visit we were e-mailing constantly about the weather and what would a tropical man do in such a climate? We responded with go ice fishing, skating, drive on a lake and the regular everyday Minnesota things. He was still apprehensive, but came anyway. We love his spirit of adventure.
We spent one evening catching up and reliving old stories, the kids were thrilled Ajay was here and we had a grand old time. We went to outdoor sporting goods stores, looked at ski hills and had great conversation. We were unable to capture Ajay on skates however it must be told he made it around the entire rink once with help once with less help! We stuffed him full of Chalupa's (secret family recipe) and sent him to bed exhausted.
On Saturday it was off to the Hindu Temple, in Maple Grove and Ajay commented that "suddenly I am back in India". It certainly felt that way since we got 3 different (and wrong) sets of directions and once we got there, there was a MAJOR celebration in progress. Sari's, gold, food, incense, shouting, singing, instruments, 1/2 naked priests, .. you know, major chaos. India. Of course the signs all said "no photography" and EVERY Indian there was taking pictures. Well, we were quiet the site - a white woman, 3 korean kids and an Indian man all dressed in jogging suits. We stuck out like a sore thumb. In case you wonder how we got these photos, I gave the camera to Ajay and told him to "go for it" since the rules seemed to only apply to non-Indians. After that, we went to our favorite Indian store, chinese buffet and then it was off to lake Minnetonka to ice fish.
Kay and Tom bundled up as did Ajay and were off to meet Kay's Godfather, Uncle Mike. He had a place on the lake where we were guaranteed walleye and perch, so that was the dinner plan. We were waiting for the "guide" standing on the frozen shore of the lake, snow swirling, the wind blowing, Mike in a shirt, me as well, Ajay in a sweater, hat, gloves and scarf to which he stated "Now I know I am from India" On the way home, we stopped at Lunds to get dinner as the marketing campaign for the ice fishing was mis-leading (typical MN, dont plan your dinner around what you have to catch yourself).
We had a nice quiet dinner, the kids gave huge hugs as did the parents we made plans to remain in touch and attempt to meet again "soonest".
Ajay, it was our honor to have your spirit in our home and our loves follows you where you go!