Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Home away from home

  • A sweltering 42 degrees outside
  • The first rain after the 42 degrees
  • The smell of that rain falling on the soil
  • Not having to wake up at 5:30 am
  • An avalanche of adoring relatives descending upon me (half of whom I don't know; I did not grow up there)
  • Being told that I've become too thin (Erm, my weight has stayed the same since the year 2001, except for when I was preggers)
  • Being told that Xena is too thin (you don't say!)
  • Being asked if I give her food
  • Xena being asked if I give her food
  • Getting lunch/dinner invitations from relatives on a daily basis
  • Getting lunch invitations from relatives of relatives (ok that's very sweet, but why?)
  • Mom constantly asking me what I want to eat
  • Cousins and cousins-in-law constantly getting me all the things I like to eat
  • Chicken biryani from the restaurant whose name no one knows but which is known as "the place where the owner makes the biryani himself and refuses to remove the dum until IT IS TIME, no matter how long the queue of starved patrons is
  • Mutton biryani from the above-mentioned place
  • Remembering the trauma experienced during my last visit and swearing off street food (blame it on two decades of living in super sanitised Singapore) 
  • Thinking "Ok I will only have a little bit and early enough during my trip so I don't fall sick just before the flight"
  • Roadside chicken samosas on day 2
  • Eating said chicken samosas in a parked car next to the stall, with tears streaming down my face, thanks to the freshly chopped onions that accompany the samosas
  • The driver opening his window because tears are about to roll down his eyes too
  • Roadside chicken pakodas on day 3
  • Roadside chaat on day 3
  • Telling myself that's the last of the street food, but then spotting the pani puri man
  • Trying not to think of the 'behind the scenes' as I eat the street food
  • Roadside pani puri 2 days before my flight (to my credit, I stopped myself at 6)
  • Guiltily offering roadside food to Xena and feeling relieved at her polite rejection
  • Mango season
  • Masala Thums Up
  • Egg rolls
  • Intercity drives to see more relatives who feed me and then feed me some more
  • A flabbergasted Xena looking at Virat Kohli's face on every other giant billboard, selling everything from steel to sherwanis, asking me, "Mama, when does Virat Uncle play cricket?"
  • A flabbergasted Xena counting the cows and bulls (134) spotted on the road during a single (but long) car ride 
  • Shopping, and shopping some more
  • Weighing my suitcase on a daily basis to make sure my shopping didn't exceed my baggage allowance
  • Wondering how the driver passes the time when we go on long shopping trips
  • Getting excited to see the giant bottles of Thums Up at Big Bazar
  • Kaam wali bai touching my feet! (omg she's probably the same age as me)
  • Xena refusing to touch anyone's feet, but doing a shy namaste to save her unsanskari mommy from total humiliation
  • Saas-bahu serials still going strong, which ladies now watch on their phones as they cook
  • More people to send me random WhatsApp forwards
  • More random relatives adding me on Facebook 
  • Hearing fireworks and wondering if someone is getting married or watching the World Cup
  • Kids as young as 1.5 years old swiping away on mobile phones for literally hours
  • Xena discovering in utter amazement that there is such a thing as cable TV that has channels only for children omg
  • Relatives finding out that Xena doesn't get "TV time" and "mobile phone time" and "tablet time" and asking me why I'm torturing my child
  • Trying to cross the road with vehicles coming at me from every direction
  • Trying to cross the above-mentioned road with Xena
  • The sheer affection from people 
  • The utter chaos in everything, everywhere
  • Feeling strangely old and young at the same time when I'm there (perhaps because I have spent my entire adult life in Singapore)
  • Thinking to myself, "What was I thinking? NEVER doing this in summer again!"
  • Thinking to myself, "Oh, come on."
  • Do I hate it? Do I love it? I hate it. I love it. 

Yup, that about sums up my recent India trip.


Arun said...

Absolutely nothing like the extended extended family :)

Kunju's world said...

Still waiting for your kerala trip details..:)

Chengiz said...

Brilliant writeup. The way I like to think of it is, if they stop saying you've become thin, they've stopped caring. :-)

Charan Deep Singh said...

Please tell me which city is this where you get roadside chicken pakodas... Please.

Arun said...

Long time no "see". Trust all is well and busy.

Ranjani said...

You haven't written for a long time. Hope you, Viv and Xena are doing OK. Cheers!

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