Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Half Dome Decoded (Father's day) June 21, 2009

Half Dome Decoded :

Hiked Half Dome on father’s day (June 21, 2009). Though the first time (June 6, 2009) was special, as it was my parent’s anniversary, and it was dedicated to them, this time was extra special, on father’s day, for Prem. This hike turned out to be more exciting than I thought. I knew that weather is going to be fantastic, and it was sunny, with cool breeze in 70s.

I asked Som, who was not regular in our hiking group, to hit the gym and do 60 minutes for last 10 days. He did. We started on Saturday morning around 10 AM, big thanks to Som, since he drove, I could enjoy all the scenery. This time we stayed in time share condos of Manoj E at Bass lake. Just for the record, they were fantastic for the price we paid. Three families with small kids could have easily stayed, it has fire place, full kitchen and 2.5 baths; heated swimming pool and hot tub.

June 20: We reached Bass Lake around 1:40, and just went into town, walked around and then went to beach (yes, lake had couple of artificial beaches). Maria’s and Mimi’s families joined us later. We ate dinner already, thanks to Swapna for very tasty fried lemon rice. She packed up so much that it lasted us three days, even after we all ate them twice a day. Som was complaining, that there was no way he could lose weight. Chris and Anand were cooking dinner, and boy they know their cooking; everything was sinful. I liked Shrimps, and on asking about the recipe, I was told, just grilled with a slab of butter and basil garlic powder. Now that explains why I weighed 3 pounds more after the hike; I felt corrupted. Just got my cholesterol checked today, it was 24 points up. Thanks Chris, Anand and Swapna, next time I will be careful !

June 21: Thanks to Promila, both Som and I had a woolen cap, she knitted whole night, while chatting with Mimie and Maria. When we woke up at 3 AM, she finished knitting and made us breakfast. We started from Bass lake at 4 AM, after reaching at Trail Head parking lot, Som was not feeling well. The coffee and sandwich, along with windy road for one hour and 30 minutes, did not sit well with him. He had to go the rest room. When I told him that restroom is 10 minutes from here, he was incredulous. I could see he has some doubts about the hike. Just at that time, another car stopped near us, and there is young Brazilian woman came out and asked us if we are going to hike the Half Dome, and if she could accompany us. And in no time, all of the Som’s doubts disappeared. By the time we reached the restrooms, which were on the way to hike, he was comfortable; and was saying walking helped him. But we all know what really motivated him.

We took the Mist Trail, and were on top of Nevada falls in 1 hour and 40 minutes, took a break of 30 minutes there. We met the Brazilian woman there. After another two mile hike, we met Tom, from San Mateo, who chatted with us. He wrote a book on hiking in Santa Cruz mountains, which was apparently in 8th edition. He showed us his pictures, when he hiked Half Dome, first time in 1969; he was 19 year old. It was astounding to see that The Cables looked exactly the same. With all the technology advances in last 40 years, one would think that they would put an escalator up there ! He was backpacking and carrying just 15 pounds, which was 4 pounds less then what I was carrying.

Finally, we were at steps, took a break of 20 minutes, and this time I felt like the mouse in the maze who gets to his food faster second time. As per recommendation of my office colleague, James, I bought the latex coated gloves from Home Depot. They had a really good grip, and we were up in 20 minutes, and total time it took this time to go up was 5 hours and 20 minutes. This time it was much easier, no pains or stiffness or cramps at all. It is just amazing how much part mind plays over matter, if one is relaxed, know what is expected, the task get easier and easier. I felt like I could hike another couple of miles from there easily.

We spent over an hour up there and met Veru, the lone shy hiker, from southern part of India. It was his first time too. He wanted to do Mt Whitney and was preparing very methodically for that. We exchanged some information, like his favorite heroine, when he was 15, was Urmila; and he sometimes thinks about her, mostly in shower; he is 27 now but as we all know that childhood memories last forever.

Coming down, again this time, couple of women, got scared, and could not look downwards. It took much longer. After coming down the cable, Som’s backpack was bitten into by squirrels, they cut the zipper, so it was no longer working; and got two of his power bars and a sandwich. He was mildly upset and looking for a shoulder to cry on. Now he was chatting with everybody, showing up his backpack, men were laughing, and women were naturally sympathetic.

We climbed down at a fast pace. And met Nandu, my office colleague, coming down. He reminds me of a humming bird, thin and tiny and always full of energy. He was doing the hike after 10 years. Just before we reached Nevada falls, we were shushed by a couple of hikers, who showed us a rattle snake. In another 5 minutes of walking, Som stopped me, pointed a bear, less than 50 yards away. My perception of bear was from the zoo, that they are big and lazy, and move slowly. This bear was really big, probably over 10 feet but very quick and nimble on feet. We saw two cubs around. She saw us and charged towards us. At that time there was nobody else on the trail. There was no way we could have outrun her. We moved a few steps back. I think the bear did not want to move much away from the cubs, so she stopped. By now, other hikers had joined us, nobody knew any alternative path, and the bear and the cubs were just playing on the trail. Nobody wanted to come in direct sight of the bear.

Finally, we remembered, as Prem told me in his Jr Ranger training, if you are confronted by a bear, raise your hands and make loud noises. It did work, and bear, along with cubs, finally relented. Som tried to whistle, but could not. I thought his hands were shaking; first mauled by squirrel, then seeing a rattle snake and finally being chased by bear; it was only natural. But as per him, it was due to salt from the sweat.

After reaching Nevada falls, another woman started chatting with him, as if she knew him. “Good to see you again”. He kept playing along. “Did you complete the hike, I just went up 300 yards on cable and then came back; however, photos shot by me are better than my boy friend’s. He did go all the way up.” After few minutes of listening, he did not know what else to say, Som blurted, “Happy Father’s day”. And she said, “Thank You”.

When we were at bottom of Vernal Falls, a South Indian woman asked Som, “How far is it?” Som replied, “How far is what?”. She was confused, and asked incredulously, “Did you go all the way to Nevada falls ?” And when Som replied, politely, “No not Nevada falls, Half Dome.” She exclaimed, “Ayyoooorammma !”

We took a bath at Curry Village, and had a beer. Promila and Prem joined us and told me about their exciting day. Unlike last time, I did not have any pains. I think having good hiking boots, extra pair of socks, hiking poles with rubber grip at bottom, stretching your muscles periodically, good company and support from your family are key to a successful Half Dome hike. While I was hiking, the super mom was able to get Prem into a street play. This was an impromptu play and it was pleasant to listen to what Prem did in it.

June 22, 2009 - Morning we started for Mariposa Grove, to see the giant redwoods. These are the biggest living creatures in the world. Some of them over 3000 year old. This is the first thing that came under Government protection. Back when, there was no concept of National Park, Abraham Lincoln, signed up a law, that Mariposa grove is not to be touched or used for any commercial purposes. I think, everybody could sense, that this grove is sacred and needs to be protected some way. Gaylan Clark, in 1850s, was diagnosed with Tuberculoses, and was given 6 months to live. He came to Mariposa grove, and lived here for another 40 years. When ranger was telling us this story, an old man asked, I heard that later he married to a 27 year old woman, was that correct? Ranger did not know if it was true, but some said, yes that was true, and that the ageless nature of redwoods rubbed on the people who lived around it. Well, for all the good reasons to remember and visit Mariposa grove, this is the one that stuck in people imaginations.

Well, the day was not over yet. We reached back Milpitas at 5 PM. And were ready to go to Father’s day recognition dinner organized by Milpitas Post and Kiwanis club, at Omega restaurant. We walked to the restaurant, and I have to read what Prem wrote for me (as dictated by Prem to his mommy Promila). It was published in Milpitas Post.

“Why is my dad is the best dad in Milpitas? Because he talks nicely and plays ‘Goal-Block-Goal’ with me and he does his work nicely. He watches cricket and he plays Cribbage on computer (I just played once on computer to teach him the rules). My dad also plays Cribbage with me too. I was teaching dad soccer. He is playing soccer well (not true). He hikes with me. He hikes on big huge mountains. He does rock climbing down the mountain (not true). We go to Snoopy town (Santa Rosa) and Snoopy Museum (Charles M Schultz Museum) with my dad. He cooks with my mom and eat fish sandwiches a lot for breakfast. And my dad picks me up from school and he puts me in the school (sometimes). I love my dad. ”

Somebody once said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” This was one such weekend, where there were plenty of such moments, literally, while pulling up the cables on Half Dome, being chased by the bear, looking at the Giant Sequoia trees or reading what Prem wrote for his father !
For all pictures and videos related to this trip, please click on

Friday, June 12, 2009

2008 Update

The year 2008 has been memorable for me in many ways. It has been proved to be a breakthrough year in controlling Prem’s asthma. I would like to hope and think that he is cured of it too. For last 3 years, Prem has been having asthma episodes almost once a month. Whenever he has runny nose, we were told to give him steroid (Pulmicort) for three days. We have nebulizer at home. Last time he had an episode was in June this year, when we were unable to control it at home. ER visits did not help much either, as Doctor said that keep doing what you have been doing, and it has been taking longer for him to come out of the episodes.

We have been looking for alternatives to western medicines for some time by now. Finally, it clicked. He had no more episodes, and mainly it is because we just did some simple diet changes and adopted some breathing techniques & natural cures to take care of his triggers. Yes, he has been drug free and I am not that anxious around him anymore. It is showing up in his overall growth.

I always want to be a role model for Prem, and after his birth, whenever I am in a fix or feel lazy, I would think what I would want my son to do in this situation. And I thought I had been keeping up very well in this regard, but alas, I soon realized why it was said that ‘Child is a father of the man.’

At the start of this year, Prem hardly could do the monkey bar. I wanted to encourage him, not by just empty words. So I tried doing it, and failed miserably. I rationalized that there are other areas I could still be role model. Well, one day in November we went to the Murphy Park, and he showed me that he could do all the three bars, continuously, forever. I tried it, and failed again, in spite of his courageous words, ‘Practice papa practice, you will get better. Do your best’. The kid is growing up too fast. After two weeks, I was able to do the monkey bar. And now he is encouraging Promila.

We have been reading to Prem since forever. Now this year, back in February, he could hardly read alphabets or write anything. When we put him in preschool, we were apprehensive and were thinking to keep him at home for another year. However, with Promila’s constant presence in school and help at home, he has been able to catch with rest of the class, and doing really well in Kindergarten. He is doing very well on reading chapter books, writing, dictation and Mathematics. However, given the choice between school and home, Prem is still a mama’s boy.

Promila has been more regular in teaching at Milpitas Adult Ed this year, however, her primary focus is still Prem. She even joined Karate class with Prem, and I can not forget the first time they came back from the class, looking all cute in white dress, he showed me the punch, his hands could only reach below my belly, and I was doubling over on the carpet next moment, not even able to scream. Both found it funny. They were again together in swimming class, but not in Lego, music and dance classes. Promila’s cooking has been great as ever. Apart from adding healthy contents like Flax, she has involved Prem in cooking. I do not think I could ever do that. Prem has been a regular helper in making dough, rolling puris and cooking ginger bread men. He looks forward to cooking. For Christmas they made Ginger Bread tree.

I was able to meet two of my classmates, Jit and Pankaj, during these trips and had a great fun with Deepak, Rajesh, Maria and Baskar’s families. With lot of activities for kids, and camp fire at night, these were memorable trips. Promila’s parents visited again this year and Prem was able to spend some time with them. We had a marathon of theme parks this year in Southern California, and enjoyed Disneyland, California adventure, Universal Studio, Sea World and Animal Safari.

Another new thing I learnt this year, apart from monkey bars, was juggling balls, and I was very proud of it. I also tried finger whistling, I can do it 50 % of time. Besides playing tennis and some times working out at gym, this year, with the help of Paul, I was able to start hiking every week, sometimes more. I never knew, hiking in Bay Area, with lot of trails like, Mission peak, Alum Rock, Almaden Quicksilver Park and Henry W Coe State Park, could be so enjoyable.

For a small video highlighting the year, visit

Happy holidays and we wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2009, filled with laughter and joy.

with love (Prem)
Promila - Maneesh
"People do not grow old, they become old when they stop growing."

2007 Update

This year most of my concerns regarding Prem’s health and speech delay have melted away. He moved from Mandala to Mission College in March. There were times, when we had to explain that he was not in college yet, but just in preschool at Child Development Center at Mission College. Mission college program has worked very well for Prem, he has grown in to quite independent and much more confident kid now.

At Mandala, Prem’s preschool, parents generally sits with kids during first 15 minutes of story time, to allow for smoother transition. During one of these story times, in February, after finishing the story, teacher asked, what each kid loved, and got answers like chocolate, ice cream, Dora, pizza and so on. When teacher asked Prem, he turned around and said ‘Mommy’, looking straight into Promila’s eyes. This was extra special, mainly because Prem was delayed in speech, and we did not have much spontaneous conversation with him at the time. Most of the conversations were need based, and to understand and speak about something abstract was touching.

The year was filled with a lot of fun filled activities. We visited, multiple times, Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, Tech Museum, Children Discovery Museum, Bay Area Discovery Museum, Great America Parkway, Gilroy Gardens, Limo’s Farm and local parks. We went to Morro Bay and New Port Beach and explored couple of Southern CA beaches this year. We camped at Mount Lassen and Camp Costanovan. Mount Lassen, in July, was amazing. We had temperatures around 90 at campsite and enjoyed outdoor pool, and did snow boarding, in the same day, at top in shorts and slippers. Besides Sulfur geysers, the area was blessed with couple of big volcanic lakes and water falls.

Promila continued with her dance class with Naach group, and did one stage performance. Besides being her usual energetic self and filling up our calendar with entertaining activities, she volunteered at Prem’s preschool, designed and taught courses at Adult Education and even had a stint at teaching 2nd graders in Rose elementary school. She could hardly speak clearly after 10 days of teaching. Now she really appreciates and understands how hard a teacher job is. It, probably, is as hard as parenting and also as rewarding.

I traveled for office work to Puerto Rico twice, Scotland, Pennsylvania and Ft Wayne Indiana. I met my high school friend in London, after a long time during my visit to Scotland, and it was great fun to do sight seeing with him. Promila’s parents came to US for 6 months this year, and Prem thoroughly enjoyed their company.

Happy holidays and we wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2008, filled with laughter and joy.
(From - Prem, Promila and Maneesh Agarwal)

2006 Update

This year reminds me of greeting write up I did in year 2004. I did not do it last year, and Promila sent beautiful handmade cards to more than 80 families. The card had sand and seashells pasted from our Florida trip, with a line at bottom saying ‘See you in 2006’. As my normal lazy self, when Promila showed me the design on the first card, I gave a quick OK to speed up the all consuming process, which usually takes around 3-5 days every year. Later, after 15 days in January 2006, Promila got couple of calls and emails from India, asking if we were really coming this year to India. At that time, I really looked at the card, and realized how it was interpreted. We sent the same design to all our friends in US as well. Promila kept looking at me quizzically to find out how she should respond to these queries from India. After all, last we visited India was in February 2000.

I laughingly evaded her queries, and told her to clarify on misunderstanding. Being my hyper anxious fearful self and looking back Prem’s frequent ear infections and breathing issues in 2005, I was not looking forward for any travel, much less international. Promila left her job in the end of 2005 to be with Prem. It made the huge difference, Prem was less sick, still hyperactive and I felt much relaxed in a long time. Though house is still a mess most of the time, and I am half the nag I used to be (Promila may beg to differ), I can’t think of a better care for Prem. Side benefit, of Promila being home and be her usual energetic and enthusiastic self, is a great tasting warm fresh food everyday, almost. She enjoys cooking and takes her time. I generally have to watch myself so I do not overeat. Soon I have to replace my morning breakfast from Paranthas (stuffed fresh pan breads) to delicious whey protein fresh fruit smoothies. Promila was able to join Bollywood dance class and gave couple of stage performances with group ‘Naach’, and I was able to play tennis. We were able to go to gym more frequently, and able to bring more balance in our life.

With Promila at home, she had been finding very creative and cost effective ways to enjoy through out the week. Whether it is $1 Tuesday at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, free 3rd Saturday of the month at tech museum, winning passes for Bonfonte Gardens, Rossecrucian Egyptian museum and other gardens, tour at local bakery, chicken & horse farms, cold stone creamery, there is never a dull moment in the city. She has been editing Milpitas Moms and Tots newsletter for over a year now. Courtesy her, we did find time to attend a few of free fun parenting workshops where even childcare is provided for. Apart from good food, and some relaxing time at these workshops, I remember very little.

In one of these workshops, the instructor asked the audience to use descriptive words to describe a perfect parent. Parents came up with words like - loving, patient, caring, enthusiastic, creative, energetic, fun, forgiving, calm, consistent, disciplined, planned etc. Now, if you look at these descriptive words, you will find almost opposite adjectives, with creative/enthusiastic/energetic/fun at one end of spectrum and patient/calm/planned/disciplined at other. This made me realize about ludicrous expectations I have.

We went to camping twice this year and both were memorable. This was the first time we camped at New Brighton Capitola beach, along with other families in Las Madres 2003 mothers group. Some body once told me that more you spend on vacation less you enjoy. Though I do not believe in cliché but it seems true for both of our camping trips.

In October, after celebrating Prem’s 3rd birthday, Promila asked me to at least apply for Prem’s visa to India, just in case we want to go to India in future. November and December, being the busiest time of for travel, we never thought that we would get tickets to India. I started planning for vacations in US. However, few of her casual inquiries, resulted in getting tickets to India. It is still considered a minor miracle to get those tickets at last minute. Looking back at last year greetings now, I realized that it was not a coincidence. The strong desire to go visit families in India surfaced from underneath, and as Paulo Coelho would say, that the whole Universe conspired to fulfill that wish. Fortunately for us, India trip was very gratifying. Prem was able to get blessings from mine and Promila’s grandmothers. Besides, visiting my birthplace where a lot of my fond childhood memories were associated, I was able to meet 11 of mine and 3 of Promila’s uncle/aunts and their kids. Through out the trip we all kept good health. It was heartening to see Prem’s close companionship with his first cousin Parth, and love he received from Smiti, Urvi and grandparents.

It was great to meet my old school and college friends, and playing badminton after so many years. It was great to talk to Papa, mummy and Tarun exclusively. At the end of the vacation, it reminded me of a Hindi poem, which means something like this –

I have 1000 of such desires, that even to fulfill one, I am prepared to give my life away. In the end, though a lot of my wishes got fulfilled, but it still feels less.

Happy holidays and we wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2007, filled with laughter and joy.

2004 Update

I will not be honest if I do not admit that I felt a lot of warmth and love, in increasing intensity, through out this year.

You guessed it right, it is mostly due to Prem*. He turned one in October. It was pure joy watching him grow. At a personal level, as a parent, I felt acutely under scrutiny. Let me explain. There are some physiological and behavioral similarities which I can identify in Prem. Like his nose, which has dry mucous falling from it all the time, totally gross and completely on me. His tongue, hanging out most of the time whether there is food in sight or not, is on Promila and her mother. If this is not enough, he hits his head with his hand with some force to show his frustrations when we feign not to understand what he is trying to say. I remember that I used to do that some time back and so did my father. One good thing is that he smiles like Promila, easily. Thank god, smile is not on me.

Prem is a charmer and very social. Besides gymboree, we attended Music Together sessions together. Prem enjoyed them a lot. Prem was on NBC news, when they showed a 3 minute clip on one of the Music Together session. The clip opened with Prem and Promila.

We hosted baby sign language classes at our home, which I enjoyed immensely. Now when I make a sign for ‘No’ to Prem, at times, I get a single finger sign from him, which I am sure is not a proper ASL sign.

We went to couple of one day hiking trip at Little Basin this summer which Prem enjoyed very much. I hope to do more in next season. Thanks to Promila and 2003 –moms groups, we attended two Halloween parties and four Holiday parties. I never imagined that these parties could be so much fun. Besides, we visited Bonfante gardens.

On professional front, I moved out of independent consulting and joined Johnson & Johnson this year in September. I loved independent consulting. In order to be closer to family, slow down and enjoy these early years of Prem, the decision came easily.

Promila, on other hand, has been able to work from home. It is a lot of work for her to manage baby feedings, baby sitter and work at the same time. Being an engineer through out, now in this new light, she understands and appreciates her managers’ efforts (read pains). She generally ends up working for long hours. I hope to share some of baby feedings and nanny management more actively soon.

Happy holidays and we wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2005, filled with laughter.

*Prem à means love in Hindi.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Half Dome Hike

Hiking Half Dome – Started on June 5, Friday in morning. Weather news was not good, there were chances of thunderstorm, rain and snow. It started raining Friday morning and everybody had some doubts.

One of the lines from my all time favorite book, ‘Alchemist’ by Paul Coelho
“when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

We saw snow on the way to Curry Village. Weather got wet and there was constant drizzle, but no heavy showers. Prem's shoes got wet very soon, and we bought him waterproof hiking boots. It worked really well for him, as he jumped into every puddle and was hyper without any sugar. Yosemite brought some real wildness in him. He was calm and excited at the same time. Of course, he slept very well both the nights. Sleeping bags helped as temperature went down to less than 30 degrees on Friday night.

June 6: I was too excited and woke up at 1:30, did some breathing exercise to calm myself, and then finally woke up at 5. Did my warm up exercises in the tent cabin, and was ready to hike with the group by 6. My backpack was ready a night before, however, I had to put food outside in bear-proof locker for the night. Weather was clear in the morning. We started the hike at 6:30. Nobody seemed worried about the weather any more.

First stop was top of Vernal falls, Manoj Nair was leading. He was in extremely good shape as he was hiking without much previous hiking history, no sticks and no hiking shoes. We waited for the group for few minutes, and then thought we can wait for them at top of Nevada falls. Reached Nevada falls in 1 hour and 40 minutes. I thought we kept up a good pace and almost covered half of the elevation. We waited for 40 minutes on Nevada falls, and then decided to go further. Long wait totally refreshed us and we felt that we just started the hike. We met with the rest of the group which went ahead of us as they spent most of their time on Vernal fall.
I thought we will be at base of the cables in another 2 hours. However, we were getting slower and slower with elevation gain and finally we came to the granite rock. I was under the impression that cables would come immediately, they did not. We have to climb endless uneven stairs carved into rock, somewhat narrow and dangerous, for a long time. I saw couple of women dragging on their bottoms coming down as there was no hand rail or any kind of support. This was an uncertain element, rock was somewhat wet and if one panicked, it makes it more difficult. I was not sure whether to use sticks or not, as there was no dirt, just hard rock. Waited for a sign, and let other climbers pass by to assess how are they doing. Some people did put the sticks back in their backpack and were using their hands for support to climb up. However, some people were using sticks. I calmed myself down, did some breathing exercise and decided to just follow the next person with sticks. It worked.

Heard Rajesh from behind, he was hobbling and broke away from the group behind. Now it is Rajesh, Manoj and I. Another 20 minutes, we were at the base of the cables, exhausted. It was getting extremely foggy, clouded and there was a drizzle. We could not wait for long, decided to dump our backpacks and just took a water bottle. The weight lifting gloves/grip did not appear to help much on cable. Cables were wet and cold. Climb at some places were extremely steep, couple of times I thought it was insane (why could not they carve the steps here like they did at the rock below !!!). Cable was crowded, and ascent was slow as people were coming down. Slow ascent proved to be a blessing, as we did not take proper rest before the ascent.

After reaching at top, legs were stiff and required a lot of stretching. However, we could not stop more than 15 minutes on top as it started snowing a little. Rajesh was cramping and his hands were numbed. We then saw Ajith, Jose, Manoj TN and Thomas. Took some pictures. Ajith was speechless, Jose was cramping, but Thomas was the only one dancing. We looked the watch, it was 12:30. It took us 6 hours climbing up. It was longer then my expectations of 4 hours.

I thought climbing down the cables and then uneven steps in rock would be more difficult, it was not. Checked my socks at bottom of steps, both the pair (inner and outer ones) were wet, changed both of them. Waited another 20 minutes for the rest of the group, but then decided to go down with Manoj and Rajesh. Came back the same way, Mist Trail, now all the rocks were wet and slippery, drizzle was steady. It made the descent slow. Finally it took 11 hours, one apple, one kashi bar, two liters of water/Gatorade, 300 ml of chocolate, milk, couple of sore muscles but no blisters and lot of support from the hiking group to complete the hike. I think for any other day, it could have been done in less than 10 hours. In hind sight, without the insanity factor of cables and uncertainty of steps, this hike may not have been so memorable.

Came down to find out that Promila saw a bear outside our tent cabin in the morning, just after I left. Our neighbor took pictures and showed it to me. As expected from a super Mom, it did not slow Promila down. She had her day planned with Prem, full of activities. Prem made it to Jr. Park Ranger and then Yosemite Little Cub; he had to earn those badges, one cannot simply buy them. I learned from the Jr. ranger that one has to raise their hands and shout if they encounter a bear to scare them away and that human food is bad for bears as it decays their teeth faster (with all that soda and chips), it is better to eat berries and grass.

Ate at Curry Pavilion buffet, excellent food; gained back all the weight and much more. Met the group outside, figured as there was no alcohol in the Pavilion they would not be coming in. Prem was not interested in adult chatting, so had to leave. Promila asked me later as who brought their wife with them and why I did not introduce her to this woman, and I replied nobody brought wife except me. She again persisted, did anybody bring their girl friend, and then it dawned on me, she might be confused by Ajith long locks in dark. We had a good laugh for quite some time.

I stretched a bit but my legs were getting little stiff in night. Put some Bengay, and it helped immediately. This is the first time in my life, I slept with pain reliever on one side and constant pain on other!

June 7: Had a great sleep, and ready to do couple of other hikes and explore the valley with Prem. Did Lower Yosemite Falls hike and Meadow loop with him which has breath taking view of Half Dome and North Dome. These were easy hikes, but spectacular sceneries, Yosemite was at its best, as it was sunny on Sunday and with two days of rains and snow, all the falls were on their full majestic flow. Ate lunch at Village grill, another really good place to eat. Watched Indian museum and saw Sprite of Yosemite film; excellent sound track.
Headed back home at 3:30, ate cherries and apricots at Oak Dale, reached home at 6:30.

Big thanks to Manoj E for his planning and organization skills in making this trip happen. Some hikers mentioned that this was the hardest thing they had done in their life. I still think parenting is the hardest thing. However, there were some parallels, just like parenting, there was some
uncertainty and you had to go with flow at times, you needed patience, it was a serious endeavor; however it was fun, felt quite fulfilling and exciting; and a memory to cherish forever.

Pictures at