My reflections in the long flight home of what I cherish most every time I am in India :
(*) The early morning quiet time with dad sitting outside in nature sipping tea. There is no better way of reassuring each other that we are always there for each other. (In real life, when we open our mouths, we are very different persons and often land up arguing).
(*) The run with my brother. No amount of running in Atlanta can give me that happiness that running with my brother does. He is far more athletic than me. But after those ten years of playing together – chasing each other in our backyard, it is an amazing feeling to run side by side of each other. Perhaps, because it is a metaphor of our lives.
(*) Practicing music with my sister and mother in the afternoon. Nothing makes me “live in the Now” than those sessions. I am truly transcended to a different world. And when I fail to keep up with some of their really tough songs, I so regret that I did not listen to my parents in early childhood and take my tabla practice seriously.
(*) Trip to “big bazar” in the evening with my brother, sister-in-law, sister and brother-in-law. “Big Bazar” is a mall in big cities and Sharmila and I used “going to Big Bazar” as an euphemism to slink out of home to go drink some terrible wine in Durgapur in the evenings. Ever since my parents (who are dead against drinking any form of alcohol) have moved to Kalyani, I have kept up with the euphemism. Of course, I dread one of these days when they will figure out that there is no Big Bazar in Kalyani 🙂 In any case, that hour and half with my siblings and their other halves are to die for. It is like we are back to our high school days. We completely forget the age gap (spans 13 years between the five of us) and just simply have a great time picking on each other. (Okay, I admit, I get picked on most for my shaved head and wearing shorts only 🙂 )
(*) The long drives with my brother to places that has a lot of our family memories – be it where I was born or houses where we were brought up or taking our mom to her birthplace or taking my dad to his childhood best friend (also his cousin). If you have a brother, you will probably appreciate what sharing an unknown adventure with a brother truly means. We have been each others’ best friends all of our lives and nothing has changed over forty years. Separated by half a world and nearly ten hours, we still talk to each other every single day. (my mom is the only other person I talk to every day). That half a world and ten hours are usually smashed to a pulp when we sit next to each other in his car – his hands on the wheel and mine on Google maps on my iPhone going to another place we have not visited in thirty years.
That said, what I cherish most though is that, I am starting to deeply appreciate the essence of mortality and therefore the value of actively deciding how I want to spend that one resource that I have finite amount of – time. And I suspect even that amount is not as large as I think it is. I certainly hope that my daughters will grow up to realize this far earlier than I have.
Till my next trip….
The new Kolkata airport is impressive!! When it is done, it certainly would be at the same level as most international airports. I wish though they had gotten rid of those tractors pulling luggage containers. There is something jarring about the sight of a few tractors weaving thru stationary airplanes. They look very lost.
And I would certainly recommend removing that dog aimlessly roaming around in the tarmac 🙂 Believe it or not, there is one. For sure, it is lost. Not sure what it is looking for. I would have posted a picture but Indian airports have way too many restrictions around taking photos in an airport and such… — at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.
One for the road:
What you get from a car ride with my brother at the wheel is something that thrill park operators can only dream of! He was hitting 140 kmph on Durgapur Expressway – that is a speed illegal in any highway in most states in America. And in most states in America, on any highway, you don’t have to deal with occasional animals, a vehicle driving on the wrong side or drivers making sudden turns without any notice.
My brother was weaving so much thru that traffic that I am convinced on our (essentially) east west highway, he spent most of the time driving north south 🙂 In all fairness, he kept his horn on permanent honk mode to give fair warning to all about his impending presence. There were times he was nearly approaching escape velocity! From the other side !! 🙂 I think all he needed was a road with a gentle slope upwards 🙂
Eventually we took a tea break so we could all relax our muscles from the collective grabbing of our seats 🙂 During the tea break, I sarcastically asked him how many lanes did he reckon were there on the highway that we just left. Not to be outdone, he smiled as asked “How many do you want?” 🙂
That, above all, explained lane discipline in India. So, I went back to sipping my tongue-scalding hot tea from the traditional earthen cups!!
The houses that built a home: this morning before leaving Durgapur, my brother and I put in a run down memory lane. We ran to all the three houses that we grew up in during our childhood and took pictures. Of course, the houses look a little different now – but they evoked a lot of powerful memories.