Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The "I'm @ Home" Chapter

To make sense of this list, you might have to read the previous posts

  • Taking a red-eye flight HOME to mom and dad.
  • Getting off the flight and straight to breakfast at a relative's house, followed by visits to multiple relatives
  • Watching dad get lost while driving in Abu Dhabi and forcing Mom to ask for directions of every Tom-Dick and Harry, even those who my Mum said didn't LOOK like they would know the directions.
  • Eating fried chicken and chips on the highway to Dubai.
  • Coaxing my Mom and Dad that I do not need to buy more stuff at the moment
  • Eating chicken biriyani at home
  • Lying in my bed relaxing, dozing and reading my St Clare's collection all over again for the gazillionth time
  • Joining my Dad on his Googling exploits.
  • Eating lunch and then grabbing another bite from Mom's lunch when she gets home from work.
  • Speaking in code with Mom to avoid conversations being overheard and understood by strangers
  • Making a quick dekko to Fujairah and eating heaps of yum stuff at Monchayan's. Catching a quick conversation with Daisymamma, sitting on the patient's bed in her clinic and happily accepting Threptin biscuits (I love them).
  • Roaming around Pakistaani bazaar with Dad looking for scarves
  • Enjoying Beena's auntie's yummy kappa and fish curry and Becky's awesome chicken that they so kindly brought over
  • Mom ensuring that I ate everything I loved on my last day, which meant shawarma for an evening snack and kebabs and ribs for dinner
  • Popping in to my neighbours' late at night to say hello and goodbye.
  • Taking a nap before packing
  • Telling my mom not to make anything but knowing fully well that despite my protests, she was going to make chocolate fudge and cutlets.
  • Eating some chocolate fudge pudding before going to bed at 2am and doing the crossword with Mom for a few minutes before we both nodded off.
  • Eating cutlets for breakfast and setting out for the airport, with my Dad and Mom praying for me and entrusting me to the Lord's hands.
I got on to that flight
asking myself why I was going back to London...
knowing that life has moved on and yet wanting to reclaim parts of it

After writing all of this, I suddenly realized that I am not content with word pictures alone. If you have any pictures of my trip, send them please.

The Mumbai layover and Bangalore chapter

The Layover chapter
  • Having a 7-hour layover in Mumbai airport, vacillating between doing office work and Googling on my phone to see if there were any spas in the vicinity, all the while knowing that I was never going to actually go. 
  • Suddenly realizing that I hadn't had my customary Iced-Eskimo coffee in India and realizing that CCD at the airport was probably my last shot of getting it before I left the country
  • Connecting to the wireless at the airport and doing a little work while waiting for my Iced Eskimo and wait for it... Butter Chicken and Rice. Turns out CCD now does Indian tasted like the Brit version of Butter Chicken.
  • Lounging on one of the lazy chairs at Mumbai airport for a good two hours and thinking that was the only time I was alone on my journey and that life was actually good.
  • Sending a long sentimental email to a friend leaving London
  • Buying a book for every journey that I took. Judy, I got yours at Bombay airport.

The Bangalore Chapter
  • Laughing at Pappachayan telling me that he was looking for a "bulky" girl at the airport and surprising Valsamamma at the airport.
  • Seeing Kocha and family and Tanya's kids for the first time
  • Visiting ALL the neighbours possible with Valsamamma
  • Spending the entire afternoon with Eleena, watching my lanky, only Cola guzzling-chocolate and energy bar-consuming cousin in action as a wonderful, ever capable mother of two
  • Chatting with Jaden and little Julianne till they fell asleep...little darlings that they are.
  • Meeting my dad's cousins, who came all the way to see me
  • Chatting till there was only an hour left for me to go to the airport and suddenly deciding to take a power nap on the couch

The Bhopal Chapter

You'll know what this is, if you've read the previous post
  • Taking the train to Bhopal at 6am, burying my head in a book and avoiding any conversation with the people around me till an overtly friendly auntie decided to enlighten me about her bride-searching mission aka attending a family wedding in Bhopal.
  • My little cousins wanting to stay up till 12 and bring in Ben and my birthday with cake and chocolate
  • Being with Ben on our birthday after many years
  • Being out with my grandmom alone for the first time that I can remember. Standing in a line for 4 hours for our biometrics to be taken, only to be instructed to put Boroplus on my grandmom's hands and bring her back in a week's time for better prints.
  • Visiting the little plot where my granddad planted coconuts, guavas and banana plants and remembering his excitement many years ago when a friend brought him a plant all the way from Kerala.
  • Chatting with Ben for ages, getting to know my little brother- the adult, a little bit better. Watching him with admiration at moments, nagging him at others.
  • Checking out my aunts' new house at midnight.
  • Going through the contents of old boxes, deciding which memories and clothes I wanted to hold on to and which were worth giving up.
  • Spending the last evening in Bhopal at my aunt's house and getting a picture taken with all my cousins. Eating out at the mall in Bhopal and then coming back home and eating soup at midnight.
  • Taking countless pictures on other people's cameras and making a mental note of asking them to send the pictures to me
  • Watching Ben lug heavy suitcases down the stairs for me
  • Being annoyed at the amount that I paid as excess baggage.

The India holiday- in word pictures

This time I did remember to carry the camera but it ran out of battery as soon as I switched it on at the wedding! And stayed that way till the end of my journey.

I tried to convince myself that I was going to absorb every little detail so that I could quickly call up those images in my mind and conjure up what I felt. And then I decided I was going to draw word pictures instead because they are somehow better. Here they are-Some memories, some feelings.

The Delhi Chapter

  • Being greeted excitedly by my uncle at the airport and every member of the family as they came back home from work/school etc
  • Spending a sunny Wednesday afternoon with my Delhi people, sitting at the dining table, eating roti, baingain ka bharta, dal and soya chicken that nobody but Leema can get right
  • Frantically trying to find the perfect Indian outfit to wear to Tanu's mehendi ceremony, the day before the event
  • Dragging the cousin who had spared the time out of her wedding preps to come and see me on the aforementioned shopping trip
  • Sitting with my friend as her hands and feet were being covered in mehendi and shoving a croissant and warm coffee down her throat and feeling so happy that I could be of some use.
  • Greeting her friends and sister, saying their names out loud and hugging them. Scary for them because they had never seen me before. I recognize them all from a picture wall.
  • Watching my friend get dressed for the wedding, seeing her sitting in the mandap and thinking that that moment marked the culmination of a series of conversations and hopes that had started almost two years ago in a hostel room in New Cross.
  • Being asked countless times, how I had lost so much weight by family, church members and friends
  • Ticking off one more item off my to-do list for 2012.
  • Knowing that my cousin took so many hours out of her schedule to accompany me on expeditions to the malls (mind you there were many trips), to Green Park to eat the Chaat platter at Evergreen, on the metro to Gurgaon and pointing out where the ladies compartment was, discussing potential causes of property conflict over Szechwan mushroom and American chopsuey filled dosas, getting stuck in Gurgaon traffic in rush hour.
  • Feeling thrilled that I felt much safer in Delhi this time that in the past (Ironical, I know)
  • Meeting Sve at the Metro platform, walking to City Walk while trading the innocuous details of our lives and those of our friends circle during our alarm-timed catch-up (though she said, the alarm was only indicative)
  • Remembering the good old ET days with Ishani in Khan Market over a wonderful Rendang curry and cake and being so happy that we could catch up.
  • The purchase of a book by a blogger that I follow regularly. Yashodhara, I finally found your book!
  • Regretting the fact that I didn't have enough time to speak or to catch up with even those that I really wanted to meet. Sorry peeps.