The earlier post on our trip to India was turning out to be longer than I had intended, so breaking the tale into two parts.
– No matter how much we change as people, some things never change. Like the comfort of eating home cooked food made by amma, that too your childhood favorites. With all the dishes spread out in the kitchen, eating from plates that we used as kids, and yapping away to glory. Priceless, wouldn’t you agree? Likewise counting on appa to tell you the directions. The one time that I went on my own, I called him a gazillion times to guide me. He will always be my hero when it comes to directions!
– Anywhere we went, we went in taxi. The traffic and the heat really made it overwhelming for us. I know I speak like a typical NRI. But honestly, the Chennai traffic or the heat for that matter, is simply hard to ignore. Also, I kept hearing horror stories about power failures. I am told that Trichy and Coimbatore had scheduled power failures at night this summer. It’s another thing that every house has an inverter that keeps the essentials running, even then scheduled power failures at night says something about the mismatch between demand and supply. I guess that’s the price we pay for stretching our resources thin.
– Given that the trip was only for a couple of weeks with two out of town trips and a wedding thrown in between, I had kept my expectations around meeting friends to bare minimum. Nevertheless, it was fulfilling reconnecting with some friends that I had not spoken in ages, and with friends that I was speaking to for the first time. It was like we have always been in touch.
– Given the heat, short duration of the trip, and a super clingy child, one would think that shopping would take low priority. But no sir, not for me. On the contrary I shopped with gusto. I was going to India after three years, how could I not play catch up in the shopping arena.
– The purpose of the trip was to attend my cousin’s wedding. I still remember the first time I saw her as a one year old sitting in the hall devouring her quota of milk for the morning. And lo behold, here she was a grown woman turning a new leaf in her life . Really, where did all the years go? and how could I not be part of this occasion? Lucky for me, all the stars aligned and the trip materialized. Being one of the eldest grandchildren in the family, I always thought of my cousins as little kids. This trip gave me an opportunity to know and bond with them as adults. Today as I write this post I think of them as mature adults doing remarkable things in their own ways.
– The wedding was held in Coimbatore, also one of my favorite cities in India. I lived in Coimbatore for three years, during my undergrad years. So this trip brought back fun memories. Riding pillion with my chithappa, the ADU days, the bakery and shops at R.S.Puram, my dance class in Puthur, Siruvani thanni, and the Panchamuga Aanjineyar kovil. And yes, managed some shopping in Coimbatore as well. In fact my best shopping for the entire trip was in a small fair that gave me more bang for the buck while supporting a small scale business.
– The wedding itself was fun packed catching up with second cousins, and extended family. I particularly enjoyed how Hari bonded with everyone, from his cousins to mine to my dad’s uncles and aunts, and the groom’s side. He took care of himself at the wedding hall. Conversing in broken tamizh with paricharargal (cooks) and making friends with them. Engaging in cricket conversations with anyone that cared to listen.
As he grows up, Hari might forget most of what happened in the trip. But what matters is this time he experienced the stay to its fullest, and he was so much at home in India, in the places where I grew up, with the people that I grew up with. Likewise for Ram, given his age at the time of the trip, he may not remember his great grandparents, but seeing him in person has made him so real to them and has brought much contentment. Just by these two measures, this trip was a grand success.