Saturday, September 26, 2015

Date night

Date night - in the Western sense of the phrase - is actually quite rare at our house!! Ever since we've had Manasi - Ajey and I almost never go off for an evening together - when we do go out, it's quite often all 3 of us. Even before, when it was just us - didn't really see the point of leaving the house to spend time together - wasn't every night, date night!! And although in recent years, we have left Manasi with a baby-sitter to attend a social event or two - date night, yes, really rare for us!!

Then, of course, Manasi leaves for 1 whole week for her school's China week trip - same as last year. A lot of our friends make plans to make the best of these kid-free days - at the Kulkarni household, evenings without Manasi are ear-marked to really, really miss Manasi!! And while in a weird kind of way, it is quite enjoyable to mope - maybe something different for a change??!! So I was nagging Ajey half-heartedly - to plan a date night, something fun - when unexpectedly, mid-week he calls me from work to say he has planned something, and to be ready to leave home at 6-ish. Well, I have been married to him for almost 16 years - so didn't take me long to sniff out the catch!! What? Of course, there was a catch...

The story goes back a week....well, actually, it goes back quite a ways - but I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyway, a week ago, the previous weekend to be precise - we were at dinner at Amigos with our Indian friends - yes, dinner with kids!! Someone mentioned that they were looking to buy an used dishwasher - what's that? Used dishwasher? For sale? Well, of course, we have one!! This is where the story skips back further - right to when we moved to France - umm, 10 years ago?? We bought and used our dishwasher in Grenoble - and when we moved to India, we took it with us.

And things never work out the way we want, right? - the dishwasher sized space in my gorgeous, modular kitchen in Chennai was just a tinny bit too small for our French dishwasher! Nothing else to do but stash it in our storage!! Tried to sell it when we left Chennai - turns out there's not much for a market for dishwashers in India!! So rather than throw away a perfectly good dishwasher, I just carted it back to US. Then when the China opportunity came up, I thought it would use it here - except our kitchen already had one - so my French dishwasher has been languishing in our garage for the last 3 years too!!

So, a 10 year old dishwasher - 7 of which, it had lain unused!! Our friends still wanted it though - so the plan was to hook it up and test to see if it was still in working condition. To be honest, it was with great trepidation that we opened the door - I was quite sure that the inside would be covered with mold and other unmentionables!! So was a pleasant surprise to see the pristine, stainless interior - hey, this is shinier than the one in my kitchen!! Took quite some effort to move it to the kitchen from the garage - but we managed to get it into place, and start a wash cycle!! A couple of buttons were a little sticky - and we were unable to find the user manual from the mountain of manuals we have - but still, in good working condition, and a bargain at 600rmb!!

The plan was that Ajey would bring the dishwasher to our friend M's house after work - and help him install it too. Except that Ajey always prefers that I accompany him on these kind of expeditions (I know, so sweet!), and obviously, he knew I wouldn't be interested - and knowing me as well as he does, the lure of date night to get me to leave the house!! Have to admit - quite an ingenious plan - if only I hadn't seen straight through it!! In any case, catch or no catch, he had planned the evening - and there was the promise of dinner in an Indian restaurant at the end of night - so date night it was!!

The dishwasher delivery went off without a hitch - and our driver was quite perplexed when we asked him to drive back without us - we were almost exactly opposite the lake from our house, a good 7-8kms away. But nothing says 'romantic evening' like a brisk, invigorating walk around the lake, right?!! So that's why Ajey asked me to wear comfortable clothes and sneakers - we were, quite literally, going to work up an appetite for dinner! He's lucky that I really enjoy the walk here - Suzhou is quite spectacular in the evenings, all those pretty lights - makes me really happy to be living here!! A couple of pictures we took along the way...

So from Bayside Gardens, past Moon Harbour, through Times Square - all the way to Xinghu Jie, where we finally caught a cab to take us to the New Ganesh. A nice dinner - we were sitting outside - and although I tried a couple of times, it was just too dark to take a decent picture. All worked out perfectly in the end - although, I wouldn't be surprised if this is our last date night for quite some time to come!! Oh, well!!

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