Thursday, February 14, 2013

Trip to India

(NOTE: This post has been in drafts for so long. I got back about a month and a half ago. So today, it has to be posted !!)

And the India trip is officially over.

The last of the suitcases has been unpacked.
All the mithais and namkeens and laddoos and gajjaks stacked in the kitchen.
All new clothes, sarees, woollens for kids arranged in their closets
The gift jewellary, silver coins and the like sent back to safety deposit box
and we, the people back to our work/school/day care.

And what a trip it was.
I once told a colleague of mine that every time I go back to my country, I instantly start having a feeling as I never left this place; I have always lived here.
The same happened the moment I stepped out of the airport door: There is something in the aabo-hawa there; It engulfs me as if I always belonged there; never left the place.

Yet so much has changed...
Delhi and its roads have changed beyond recognition
I used to consider myself good at remembering all the roads and directions; Not any more !!

Where ever I could see, a new flyover or metro station has popped up

But lets start from the beginning
The day before our departure date, I took a day off from work since we had to drive to Chicago for the flight. And the entire packing was done in that one day itself

But then got a call from the day care saying daughter was running a little fever
I already started getting goosebumps about the journey
Got her back home, lay her down for a nap and tried to wrap up my packing, just in time before the husband and my son got back from their work and school.

And then the mad race began
   Did you pack the medicines?
   Mom, Did you pack the charger for my DS?
   Listen, did you pack my new jeans and my favorite t-shirt?

And my response to each one of them was: "I did, just don't ask me where !!"
Being a list-obsessed person, I was sure everything they asked was somewhere in one of the suitcases

The planned start time to drive shifted from 4PM to 5pm to 5:30PM and then somehow at 5:45PM, we were off on the road. The total drive time was 5 hours, which, thanks to numerous bathroom/snack/dinner/aise-hi breaks was completed in 7.5 hours.

Just in time, to get some sleep at the hotel and catch the flight next morning
So, a quick highlights of some of the updates from the trip:

a) Our inbound flight to India was pretty eventful as my daughter started running fever. However, god bless that nicest Air india's air hostess on the flight who assigned us the empty seats on the flight, checked with us after every few hours to see if we needed anything, brought us some wet towels to sponge my daughter when her fever got really high and finally also made an announcement for any doctors on the flight. At least 10 different people ranging from cancer specialist, heart surgeon to a general practioner showed up at our seat to check my daughter. All this at least helped to keep mine and my husband's BP in check while we dealt with a high-fever daughter and another flight-cranky 6 yr old

b) Once we were in India, the day started with a visit to the doctor. And the doctor that "saamne wali bhabhi" referred (It happens only in India!!)

That doctor, now he is some strange case. The first feedback that we already received from "saamne
wali bhabhi" was that he scolds the parents a lot, for just pampering the kids and not handling them properly. I got an early trailer of his ways when I started mentioning him symptoms of my daughter and I mentioned that she hasn't been drinking any milk and his immediate reply was "Doodh ka business karte ho kya? Agar
doodh nahin peeti to mat peene do!!" I was just speechless !!

c) Some of the things were pretty challenging yet interesting -- Like teaching my "amrika" born boy how to take a bath (and not shower), and that too in limited supply of hot water (and not stand under shower for endless time, re-solving Newton's equations). Seriously, when he takes long to take a shower here, that's
what I ask him if he was doing in the shower.

Or like teaching him how to clean up ain the toilet without toilet paper,

or surviving a month without pancakes for breakfast (this one he didn't even realize with all the paranthas and yummy breakfasts he had everyday)

d) Another exciting thing that happened on this trip - my little daighter of 16 months got really fascinated and interested in all things girly. Everytime, I held her, she would take off my bindi and put on her own forehead, liked to play and even try on my bangles. To top it off, when she visited her nani, she put little silver bangle on both her hands. And she has been really proud to show those off. Then her dadi got her little payals with little tinkling bells.

Which reminds me to take those payals out at least on the weekends and enjoy those cute "cham-cham" sounds.

e) Another biggest change that came out of this trip is in my son's accent. He generally speaks hindi but has a mixed accent and vocabulary of English. The whole time he was in India, he intermingled with all his cousins, made new friends at the apartment complex where my in-laws live and as a result when we came back, we
noticed that he has a typical "street' type accent and steep increase in his hindi vocabulary which is funny and sweet at the same time :-)

f) And the biggest highlight - aahhh... what more can a girl want other than some time off to go to her "mayeka" (mom's place). There were no shopping trips, mall trips or parlour trips. Just lots of one to one time with mom, dad, sisters and brother. Sure I had a sick baby clinging to me all the time and I was running to the doctors every now and then, but still this trip had such calming effect on me.

My sisters pampered day and night by doing even the smallest of things for me whether in the house or outside the house, just so that I could relax a while.My brother asked every night before coming back from work what I wanted to eat from outside. Thanks to him, I was able to enjoy my 2 most favorite things: Jalebis and Dominos pizza in India. Yes, Pizza in India is different and I liked it way much better.

And my favorite moments from my trip:

a) Watching my brother come back from his work and just lay down in my mom's lap after his dinner and all of us just chit-chatting.

b) One day, my JP mamaji(I have 4 mamaji's and their story is a topic for another blog;My JP mamaji is the youngest one) visited us at my mom's place. I was still having lunch and my daughter was clinging to me. He took her from me and said "you can have lunch while I'll entertain her in the park (we have a park just next to our house)

I was skepticle that she would just cry and wail since she was not so familiar with my Mamaji. But when I went outside after a few minutes, I saw she was carefully listening to my Mamaji and he was pointing to a street cow and explaining god-knows-what to her. I just stood in the distance for a few minutes watching them both, obviously until she saw me and then she would not stay.

c) Seeing my dad melt away at my nephew's(my brother's li'l kiddoo) tantrums and demands and mischeifs. My dad has always been a kids person, but this kid has some special magic, in his smile and a mischievious glean in his eyes.

d) Enjoying dhoop in the park with a bedsheet on the grass in the park with my sisters and mom, eating oranges and watching kids play around.

e) Anoher interesting observation from this trip - my brother loves reading, like really reading books. The way I have him imaged in my mind (still a kid), I was surprised when I saw a book shelf in his room neatly stacked with some good books. I hope he keeps up with this habit and now I know what to gift him when I am clueless.

f) Most memorable quote of the trip:

I was talking to my JP mamaji on the phone one day and we started talking somehow about how mothers show all their love and affection by giving even the smallest things to their daughters and how my mom is giving me my whole year's worth of gift quota in this trip:
And he said:

"Maa to apni beti ko aise de deti hai ki ek haath ko bhi pata na lage ki doosre ne kya diya" (A mom can give gifts to her daughter in such a way that even one hand will not know what the other hand gave)

And we were both silent for a minute after he made this comment. Reason being, my nani used to be exactly the same way. My mom was the only daughter and not a single trip to my nani's place (in the same city) used to be when she would not give something for my mom. And My Nani is no more. And this was my first trip after her death. And we both knew he was actually referring to her when he said this.

My trip to India always leave me like this.. lingering with memories and "what-ifs" and a long list to start planning for the next one..

1 comment:

Shilpa Garg said...

What a wonderful trip you had... Memories of which will light up your face...