On return, I got busy with driving classes and work. My instructor Dennis always had interesting stories to tell during the drive. He would talk of his pets – A cat, a lizard, a dog and a spider. The choice of pet surprised me a little as the idea would take a while to be digested in my part of the world. During a conversation on cuisine he shared stories of two of his ex-girlfriends. One was a Vegan and another who liked Sushi, which he apparently did not. The vegan girlfriend of his disliked him eating meat and that was always a subject of conflict between them.
Then, he was also contemplating on going to Iraq to train the police there. His concerns were on what risks this package came with and of being away from his daughter. Dennis mentioned about this place in Manitou springs where they brew beer and he considers it to be the best.
My last class with Dennis is the most memorable of all. He talked about his divorce and how painful it is – the emotions, settlement and money deals etc. His daughter on the other hand is trying to set him up someone and during her weekend visits to him, she would ask every other woman she meets – “My father needs a wife, will you go out with him?” She requests the neighbors to stay with them. He also shared that he is going out on date and meets a new girl at least in 3 months. “I want to get married again but not divorced again.” He adds suggesting that he wants to take his time to meet the right person. I found that very thoughtful and interesting. Unlike from where I come from, here people lived a life for themselves. Compromise was not accepted beyond a limit. On the other hand, in India, I see many couples live together for a life time despite their differences as if their regular fights would not affect the child’s psychology.
On our last day of class, Dennis and I went to Dunkin Donuts on the 8th street at Colorado Springs Downtown. I love the glazed donuts there. He got me addicted to donuts and Dennis being an ex-cop did not differ with the teasing that people made about cops and donuts. People talk – Bad cop…no donuts; where is the cop? ….maybe in a donut shops…. He says that many a times when they have to work late in the nights, donut shops are the only place that is open to grab some coffee and food. I am glad that I got to hear both sides of a story.
He also made me drive the route for the test a day before my exam and shared some tips for the exam, which I thought was a kind gesture from his side.
I am sure that years to come I shall always remember Dennis and the conversations we have had.
At home, my novel began taking shape and characters began to develop. They began to suck me into their world.
Post a driving test, I got my first drivers license. Not in India, but in the US on 9th of December. I could not help noticing how organized and quick the process was. In India I would have spent hours in RTO and would end up paying bribe to few people to get my DL.
On December 10th, we celebrated Jonah’s birthday at 3-Marrgaritas, a Mexican restaurant. He invited Peggy and Mike as well for dinner. I was very hungry that night and hence did something very crazy while waiting for the food which took a lot of time to arrive. I took the lemon slice on the glass of water that had been served and squeezed it in to blend with the water. I began adding sugar but it would not dissolve. I kept adding sugar until all the packets were empty. “And here comes the food.” I said to divert everyone’s attention away from me!
Another interesting pastime I had was to drive to Chapel hills mall and walk in to Borders book store and checkout all the collection. I was happy to find several books by Virginial Woolf.
During her graduation day, Aditi visited us. She treated us (we, Ernest, Deb, Aditi, Brett, Peggy and Mike) at Mirch Masala. We then went to Peggy’s house and watched the film Dhoom. All felt it was much different from the very culture centric Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam that we had watched few months earlier. Ernest liked the movie.
Jonah had left to Chicago to his cousin’s place. Seb and I meanwhile explored the city as I had just got my driver’s license. We drove to downtown Colorado Springs and some malls around. During one of those drives the tires got stuck in snow but after a few attempts, I was able to get going.
The tires got stuck at this turn
I bought my new camera- Cannon S 60. I was now planning to capture all the beautiful moments.
On Christmas Eve, Seb and I joined Peggy and Mike at the church. The prayer was nice and I enjoyed the customs of a different religion. I do respect all customs but I have to say that drinking wine from the same glass seemed a little inappropriate to me. We gifted short story collections- by Jhumpa Lahiri to Peggy and Mike. And to Brett I gifted an Alfred Hitchcock movie collection.
After a lot of dissatisfaction with my mustache, I finally got rid of it and my new look pleased me a lot. With the mustache an old part of me had been discarded.
Colorado was covering itself completely in white. It snowed heavily one weekend and this new look of COS was very exciting. I enjoyed how the entire place looked totally different from a few months before. In Bangalore/Mangalore, not really a drastic change such as this could be witnessed through out the year. So it was quite interesting.
One day, Seb and I decided to go to Denver. Half way gone I recalled that I had not brought my license. I had not received a card but this was a temporary paper which allowed me to drive till I got my card. We had no clue how to react. Scared we returned from Exit 187 on I-25, interstate, only to come home and see that I had washed the paper with my pant. :-)
Every time that we passed that exit, I recalled this first incomplete trip to Denver. So we returned home and watched Hindi movies that we had rented from Indian stores.