I made it!!! After 2 horrible months of contemplation on whether I would travel to India or not, I said "enough is enough" and booked the ticket. I almost thought I was going to be stranded in Frankfurt, Germany and prayed to Ganesha,Allah,Jesus and even Guru nanak when I had less than 10 minutes to get my security check for the connecting flight to Chennai and I hadn't located the terminal in the airport. Thanks to the vastness of Frankfurt airport and the old lady whom I had to accompany and therefore suffer. It was such a relief to place my seat on the seat of the flight finally (I know, have been watching too much of 'Nagaichuvai Virunthu' lately). It was truly a 'Swades' moment when they announced it was just minutes before landing in Chennai.
Just as I exited the flight, I got the stupid Chennai treatment. For the first time in my life, I wasn't annoyed. Lord, I had missed it! A lady in saree, supposedly an airport staff spoke to me in what I call 'Thenaral Englipeesu' (a constipated form of english in which the speaker isn't sure of the words to use but has the utmost urge to speak). She says sans smile, "You cannot stand heeyer madam, please go to ....pleaase leave..please...". "Illa..nan oruthanglukaga wait panren...2 mins la poiduven" (I'd be leaving in 2 mins, i'm waiting for someone), I say. What ya mega watts bulb.
There it was.The distinct A/C smell in India. One cannot feel it anywhere else in the world. Could be that the A/C duct hasn't been cleaned in years, Hmm...lets say decades. Or there are too many idiots smoking right under the NO SMOKING sign. Or yes! The phenoyl smell from the washrooms. So after whiffing a gallon of scented Indian air, I walk towards the Customs a.k.a Kashtam Area or Kasmalam Area, may be? Was relieved to know that my bags came to me in single piece and the contents hadn't been tampered with! By this time, I had developed the proud USA grin on my face.
With my head held high and an uncontrollable glee on my face, I adjusted my Abercrombie & Fitch fleece (that I purchased for $ 70 you see) and prayed to God that I should have a big crowd waiting and they should all start waving at me, exchanging jubilant smiles at each other. Think of those 'US return scenes' in tamil movies, people.Cooling glass, jeans,an escalator, the person waving a big HI. Cha, I wasn't lucky enough to have that escalator experience though :-( So there they were. All too happy and pleased. The first sight of Amma was exhilarating. These are truly the 'My smile is the longest' moments. None stopped smiling.Smile,smile orreey smiles followed by warm hugs. After the usual inquiries about the journey and my explanation of the 'Old lady and Ordeal', it was a perfect time to debate over the dilapidated roads of Chennai, the wonderfully mismanaged traffic and stunning driving techniques exhibited by autokaarans.
Home. The place that has seen the different phases of my life. Besotted by the feeling that I had lived here for so many years and how I managed to survive without the emotional comfort it provided, I took a quiet tour of my home. Amma was amused and followed me quietly, with a soft "Ennadi paakra..?" (What are you looking at?). My intestines weren't willing to tackle anything beyond the miniature dinner(or lunch , who knew) provided in the flight. But I was all game to comfort the soul with warm badam milk made by Mommy, The Greatest! It was 3 AM and I was in a metastable state. Now, amma had to witness the ramp walk of all the gifts I had purchased and also had to receive a sermon on how shops are in the US, how customers are treated and how exemplary the collection of products is and all the associated blah blah.
Its been more than a month in Chennai now. Its been a whirlwind trip so far with umpteen lunches & dinners, family visits,a colourful Jaipur wedding, jalebis and pakoras, bhabis & maajis, a 2 day train trip, packed thayir sadham & sambar sadham (packed curd rice & sambar rice), guests and their chatter,litres of coffee and tea, our base shift from good old Tiruvanmiyur to Neelankarai, a lone Chennai photo walk, usual fights with autokaarans, bus conductors & now (newly introducing!) verkadalai kaaran (peanuts seller),a feeling of "Oh Rain..wow" to "Ohh Rain..Hmm" to "Oh Shit..rain!!", packing, unpacking & send offs - here I am, back to my stable state of blogging.
Just that I sound like a frog that wants to sing. My voice is temporarily not classified under that of homo sapiens.