Indian Ameri

Saturday

India – The Return.

A blog which I always wanted to write about. Finally the moment has come. This one’s gonna be long and so shall be having sub sections in the blog.

Before the trip:

If you are a F1 or J1 or any student whose been in US for quite sometime, then definitely you would be excited atleast a couple of days before your first trip to India. You would be excited about meeting old pals, your family, your school, etc whichever comes into the nostalgic category. Some guys had even a countdown as long as 45 days. But in my case it was different. My port of departure was from Chicago. Unfortunately I was gifted with this sense of practicality in my life. I had been trying to feel some kind of excitement before my trip. But you see, this horrible practical brain of ours doesn’t allow our hearts to take over life. Any way lets go to the main part.

Maharaja & Granny of Air India:

Any typical Indian who has been to USA (be it even in the worst part of the states living on table cleaning, serving steaks to students, why not cleaning toilets) would say that Air India has got the worst service in an airline industry. They would complain about everything they see in the flight. They would point that there is no proper smile or a ‘your welcome sir’ reply from the air hostess. PS most would say, ‘how come they recruit such ugly looking people as hostess’. But I loved the flight to my delight. Leave the service and courtesy. There was this sense of going to India as soon as I stepped inside the flight. The traditional dress and the Namaskar all proved great. It was a boeing 747 which had a capacity of 435 passengers (95% Indians whose mind is as cunning as you can ever get in the world) and you expect people to be courteous to you. They were doing the right thing to the right people. I liked their way things happened in the flight. The hard landing in Frankfurt, the orissa accent filled English from the captain, the ‘take the damn water’ from the air hostess, everything proved great. The maharaja bow was filled with guts.

I had this 89 year old granny as my besider. Initially she dint care about me. I spoke in telugu with Mr. Banu from ONGC (first time overseas business flyer) who was concerned about immigrations stuff. Later I was chatting in tamil and English with these students behind me. Then the fun started. I called Abhay a good friend and spoke to him, ‘Kaise ho Bhai?’ the result of this line: The granny was shocked. She had this puzzled smirk on her face. Then we spoke for a while. Initially it was hard for me to understand her Hindi (I accept that I am crappy with my Hindi) but later I realized that she understood English well and so used English as my line of defense.

The fun part was she started reading a book on Sree Krishna Charithra when the flight took off. Later when I switched the TV and was watching Krish, she was interested in the movie and once I made her wear the headphones, she started humming the song ‘Dhoop Nikalthi Hai Jahan Se’. She was one pretty cool Granny. I liked especially when she was served food. Her table manners were excellent and perfect. Later I found out from her grandson that she has a royal bloodline and that she did her academics from Cambridge. I was honored in meeting her.

Rainbow Aura:

This is an interesting thing I noticed in Frankfurt. When the sun is on the other side of your seat (so that you can expect the flights shadow out your window), the plane flying near the clouds and when the clouds are filled with enough water vapor that it might rain anytime you would notice something miraculous. When everyone else were watching movies in the Television, and reading books I was fortunate enough to notice the phenomenon. You would see the shadow of your flight over the clouds which would be surrounded by a circular rainbow. It was a beautiful sight. No words can explain the beauty. All I would recommend is keep an eye for this phenomenon. You would love it. If not, I would say that you guys lack a taste for beauty.

Mumbai – Synthetic but Patriotic India: (Kiss of a mother)

When I say synthetic I mean synthetic. No offense to mumbaites, but I do say that the way of living in Mumbai is not what India is meant to have. For me though being a metropolitan guy (Chennaite) I would consider Mumbai to be too westernized. But who cares as long as it can provide greatness to India. Coming to the point, you would have never expected what happened. I don’t remember when was the last time I sat in a seat which wasn’t a window seat. I was fortunate enough to notice the traffic in Mumbai streets at 1 in the morning that too on a weekday. That’s when I really felt the feeling of excitement of being in India. Once I landed I was made to experience a long wait coz the granny had to stand up a lil late. Finally when I walked out of the flight door I breathed in real hard to feel the Indian smell and guess what, the air was stinking with sulphur from the engines. Then I said to myself, ‘Good morning India’. I walked down the stairs for the bus and it wasn’t my leg which touched the ground first, but my hand. I got my blessings from my first mother. Then I kissed my hands (guys am patriotic but not chauvinistic enough to kiss the earth which was filled with rubber marks from the flights) That is when I really felt that I am in India a land of masti, a land which gave me my life, a land of purity and faith, a land of unlimited words of appraisal. People looked at me strangely. They dint understand my emotions. I was happy being an Indian. I accept my ways of being patriotic is way eccentric but I follow my heart. The next 1 hour was the best of my life.

I had to stand in queue for boarding my next flight to Chennai and one person in front of me asked me to look after the queue coz he wants to go out and return to the same spot. I was smiling with my heart when I heard those words. He returned back with a cup of coffee. This cup was unusual for me. It was small, white, paper type, open top and was steaming. For a guy whose been drinking coffee from starbucks, this was strange. But for a guy who had spent his life in India most of his life this was excellent. The flow of emotions was great at that instance. Then I viewed the airport in a different way and felt great after seeing the stuff which one sees usually in Indian life. That doesn’t mean that I am Americanized now. Just that I needed some refreshing notification to keep myself excited. I loved every bit of my stay in the Mumbai Airport. I took a punctured bus for my Chennai flight. It was wonderful. Dint use my hands inside to catch the railing and did all the balancing with the bus wobbling coz of being punctured.

A ‘weighty’ judgment:

Now comes the big part of meeting my parents. Landed in Chennai, collected my luggage and was walking out into the receiving crowd. Hands waving, people smiling, parents hugging their loved ones, grandmas lifting their grandchildren and there was this odd face with grey hair covered all over the face. There was this pain in the eyes of the person, a puzzled forehead, a shocked body language hands stopped waving in the air but there was this curve in the face diverted directly from the heart. There he was my Dad, shocked by the way I looked. I went to him, hugged him and to prove to him that I am fine lifted him and held him for a while. He was happy then. Now I had this big fear of confronting my mom. She was waiting for me at home. As expected dad asked me questions regarding my health and about my food. I did put some sense in my answers. Now he was feeling not happy but confident in what I had.

Reached house and there I saw mom running from the hall towards the door. Footsteps slowed, laughter turned to smile and smile turned to shock. This time it was more serious. Eyes concentrated on me, hands stopped moving and her body stiffened when she reached the door. She didn’t open the door. She just stood inside watching me through the grilled door. It took at least 10 mins for her to start speaking. Hugged her too, lifted her and then kissed her on her forehead. Now she became real angry and stared at me. I just smiled at her and then came the hard stuff from her. Tears started overflowing. More laughter from me and then another hug. Finally she understood what has happened. (It wasn’t intentional of me to lose weight. Change in diet did everything). The saga of explaining my weight loss continued the whole day with relatives, neighbors and friends.

Stuffed potato:

The rest of the day was all normal except for one thing. Mom stuffed me every half an hour with some kinda food. I was made to hog on all kinds of food. I had to keep her happy and so had to eat whatever she gave me. The end result: I was sick. I was so sick of the food I had that I couldn’t sleep. I fear the next 25 days. Mom is gonna stuff me like anything. Lets see what happens.

posted by Hariharasudhan Cd at Saturday, January 06, 2007

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