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MCG - SCG Yatra, Day 33

Rest Day 1 - Canberra

Shekhar and I had a good sleep at Madhu bhayia's place. We had a shave and shower and we were ready for breakfast. Sujatha had prepared a yummy South Indian Breakfast and Madhu bhayia had also stayed home to give us company at the breakfast. After that we took leave and drove to a nearby shopping centre as we needed some essentials.

Tuggeranong Shopping Mall is one of the largest in South Canberra. We had to get some cream for my toes and feet to prevent sweating and chaffing. We got new sunglasses because the old ones had some scratches and could no longer be used. We were looking for "toe socks" which means socks with separate toes. This type of socks are recommended to prevent sweating between the toes. However, despite our extensive search at different company outlets and private shops, we couldn't find toe socks at this shopping complex.

We drove to Manik's house in Downer that is in the northern part of Canberra. Manik's family as well as her parents were well known to our family for more than 30 years. Just a few weeks ago, she had lost her husband Mike Smith who had had health issues for 20 years. Mike was Australia’s leading archaeologist and his contribution was well known in academia. Manik had prepared lunch and we all sat together and enjoyed the food and the chat. Thanks very much Manik for the delicious lunch that I enjoyed even more with fresh green hot chillies.

Subsequently, we had a cuppa and then Manik, Shekhar and I got ready to drive to the John Knight Memorial Park where we were to meet with two of the Breast Care Nurses from the McGrath Foundation as well as a cameraman from Channel 7 for an update on the walk. We got there a bit early and went for a walk around the lake. At 2:00PM, we met with Bethel and Marissa the star nurses and Steve from Channel 7 for a quick chat. Meeting with the breast care nurses is always an honour for me because they are the ones delivering high quality services to the patients on the ground. It was such a pleasure to meet with Bethel and Marissa. Channel 7 coverage was shown in the newsbreak a few hours later.

On the same day, a live radio interview was to take place at 4:20PM with Radio 2CC, a station that was established way back in 1975. To provide a quiet environment, Manik took her dog for a walk and Shekhar went along with her. At 4:18PM, the producer rang and asked me to stay online until the commercial break was finished. The most famous afternoon showman in Canberra Radio Leon Delaney gave a brief introduction about the walk and began the live interview which went very well. I requested Katie from the McGrath Foundation to send me a link to the Channel7 and the 2CC interview. She sent me both links the next morning.

Shekhar and I got ready and drove to Rishi Khanna’s place, which was only 15 minute drive from Manik’s house. This is one good thing about Canberra, you could get to any place within 15-20 minutes by car. We had a cuppa with a variety of snacks while chatting with the Khanna family that I have known for more than 20 years. After the tea, we requested everyone to the van and took some photos with the banners and decorations. Rishi’s mum, Mrs Anju Khanna is a great cook and I have been very fortunate to taste her cooking on several occasions. She always prepares a number of yummy dishes along with chapatis and rice. Today was a very special day because the next day was Mrs Khanna’s birthday. And she also shares her birthday with her daughter Sapna, who lives in Mumbai. Anju Ji was equally supported by Rishi’s wife Meenakshi. This was a grand dinner in Mumbai style. Shekhar and I absolutely enjoyed their generous hospitality. Thanks very much Anju ji, Rishi ji and Meenakshi ji for the delicious food, you guys are amazing host. You also have so beautiful children. May God bless you all!

Before we left, Manik had given us a key to the front door in case we come back late. It was past 10:00PM when we got back to Manik’s place and I thought, she would have gone to bed. No, she proved us wrong. Manik’s was wide awake and waiting for us at the front. Thank you so much Manik. You are a gem. We had a cuppa before we all went to sleep.

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