This trip to India has a very strange ring to it
Over thirteen years of going to India every quarter always centered around only one objective – it was my parents. Peripherally, it created opportunities to see my siblings, Sharmila’s side family, my old school mates, my old teachers and so many strangers. But the purpose was singularly focused on my parents.
Then Covid stopped travel for a year. In that year, both of them passed away in quick succession. After that I made a few quarterly trips and they were all focused on settling up all their stuff in India. After disposing off the final item – their house – last September, my trips to India came to a grinding halt.
I still am very close to my siblings (I talk to both of them every single day) and love the late night (for them) chats on WhatsApp with the nephews and niece. But, I never felt the urge to go to India. My brother and sister would encourage me constantly to come and visit them. Admittedly, my ever concerned sister would wrap herself in knots alternately pleading me to come and visit them and then immediately urging not to come since it has gotten indescribably hot in India!!
From my point of view, as much as I want to see them, I don’t understand why it has to be in India. And if India, why in Kolkata/Kalyani (where they are and my parents were). I would rather go visit some beautiful spots in India and meet them there. For the last six months, I could not get them to agree to meet me in the Andamans.
All that said and done, I did decide to go to India for a few days. There is an exigency in US that sort of forced my hand but that is a story for another day.
So, here are my goals this time – outside of meeting immediate family from my and Sharmila’s side –
(*) In my effort to focus on my parents in the past, I did not get a chance to meet a lot of my slightly distant cousins and nephews and nieces. Many, I last met in my old village and many I have not met at all. Some are 10 years older to me and some were born in post-Covid era!! I will make amends this time.
(*) And here is the most exciting part… I am actually not flying into my normal destination. I am landing somewhere else in India. There is this elderly couple – parents of a friend of mine from college days – that I have been wanting to see for a very long time. I will write about them in a different post but I am determined this time to meet them and say Thank you to them – for the generosity they had extended to me the summer of 1986 when I got a chance to stay with them – before I take yet another flight to go to my home town.
So there… that be my tour this time!