The ID stands for India Diary, as well as "Identity", cos for once the two days after landing here in Malluland, I have started wondering about identities !! n no, not an identity crisis, but just a thought....
With that prelude...
So how was the journey.. ?
It was smooth.. Air India so far has been damn good... great food, (5 full meals within 18+3 hrs ), pretty good service.. and not more than 15 mins late at any point ...even though I was a bit dissappointed by the way some people were noit mantaining the flight, especially the bathrooms.. as soon as they get inside air India, looks like they think they can mess it up like they do the rest of India !! I have always told those who crib "governments are nt doing anything blah blah... that the first thing to change is people's civic resposnibility ! anyways, the airline crew were very good and extremely helpful and they tried to maintain everything good inspite of all this
ps: The small domestic airline leg from IAD to Newark in United Airlines was quite pathetic... the flight got delayed by 1.15 hrs, first due to lack of flight attendant, and then due to air traffic conrol room jam )
What did I do in the flight ? !!
Ha ha, I was baby sitting 3 yr old Ammu (Gargi/Ammini) .. her Mom was travelling with her and a 6 mnth old baby . A family whom I met at the French embassy just 10 days before I left.. (Knowing that I was in the same flight same day upto Kochi was a great relief for Ammu's father..) . She was quie active (and so kept me busy always), but was very very lovely....
Mumbai airport... ummm there was some little confusion as there were all the crowd for 3 connecting flights with only hours of gap .. but then , it worked out fine within 30 mins ... Kochi airport - aleast the area were I saw, was damn good... glazing floor, very neatly kept, nice wall decorations (there were Onam Maveli's everywhere) enough immigration checking points...
And I finally hugged my parents a 4.15 am India time :-)
So, is there lot of change ? (Errata : Who changed ?!!!!)
Well, for one, I would say there is not much change in Kerala ! Same old guttery roads, all "busy" people, no time to stop and take a breath even if they are busy just walking up and down, if one day a new stylle of pants became famous, you won't even get a single piece f the "old style" in the shops.. well well, some little changes may be.. STD booths are less, and mobile ads are everywhere... but I did not see people using it that much often (while walking on a road, lets say) as I did last time (3 yrs ago) , I thinbk the reason is that now its no more a fashion, but a part of life .. so no showoff, just the matter of fact-ness . nd mind you - I did not mention the bad roads in a "ndia is all bad" mode.. I have always have had an issue with Keralites - there is lots of show off - shallow development - like buildng after building has come up even in my Fathers interior village - shopping complexes with hardly any shops in them - but then infrastructure development is minimum.. I believe that its worse compared to many other parts of India.
But then, I get the feeling that I have changed.. in many ways.. As I watced the driver of the taxi (a Scorpion from airport to home) drive very close to other vehices, overtaking with less than an inch left between vehicles, I felt that eventhough I am used t this lifestyle, I perhaps cannot drive like that anymore ( I used to, 6 yrs before) .. But then may be, I need not.. and Oh by the way, we saw almost 3 or 4 accidents in that 4 hrs driving time !!!
Lot of other positives... of course in addition t being home... but then one thing was a it dissappointing.. I thought I could come home and relax... but day one , with after only about 3-4 hrs of sleep in the 30-35 hr long journey, I had a hectic day .. - looks like I will have to plan my entire stay here.. For some reason my parents are just not getting it when say that I have to many things and that many things have to be planned-.. be it my Chennai-Tirups-Bangalore trip or trying to get a cell phone for one month, or even trying to find which would be a good shop to buys something - I am having to do everything on my own !! On top, a bit of carelessness from my mom, broke my glasses within a few hrs of me getting home... forcing me to get an eye check much much before what I had planned ! (I landed at 4am, and by 9 pm that day, after a hectic day and about 50 hrs ,I hit the bed, and slept like a log of wood, without even taking dinner)
Is it that they have grown old (I had told them all these things 3 weeks in advance, but they haven't even enquired about any of these things .. I thought they would...) , or is it that my life has become so fast paced, that I can't wait for their procrastinations and indecisiveness, anymore ? Or is it that I have fundamentally changed, and they and the rest of Kerala has not changed ?!
What else ?
Had a small quick trip to my grandma and paternal relatives village (within about 12 hrs of my landing) .. that was the happiest 3 hrs I had so far here ... My 84 yr old grandma, who can't walk on her own, was surprisingly not emotional... she did not cry.. she did recognise me, she can see and hear quite well ... and she herself admitted of mental slowness, but then she has so maturely come to terms with all that.. she is not at all the whining type.. I took her in my arms and made her sit up... we talked for sometime.. but then I realised that she is not asking me as many questions as she used to... just "when did you reach home?" and "are ur parents with u ? " (they weren't.. it was just me..) ... and upto the age of 80 when a slp and fracture took away the abilty to wallk from here, she was hyperactive soul , could cook in the kitceh AND make a few_month_old_baby lying_in_the_next_room_alone laugh, AT THE SAME TIME . My humble pranaams granma .. proud that I am one out of the may be 100 babies grown op on your lap ... will never forget that you taught me to read time froma dial clock when I was 3 or so ... and would make me run from kitcehn, all the way to the tiny dark room where a big pendulum clock was kept (I wud peep in with a li'l of the dor opened, for the rest of the room was dark, except for the radium dials) every hour to "check time" (actually to keep me occuppied, for she would be busy cooking.. and we two wud be at times alone at home when my parents wud have both gone to work)
anyways, had a nice time meeting many of my cousins.. could not go to the li'l temple and the river.. but then looking fwd to going there again on Monday, and may be again some other day
Anyways, me gotta close... will try to write this as frequent as I can.. and may be stud it with some pics too... but a word of caution.. internet in this part of the world is quite slow.. and so some of you may not get replies to ur emails for a while to come... (I know,some are so glad to be off the arun deluge of emails) ... AND
HAPPY ONAM TO YOU ALLL
ps: there is a much much less Onam atmosphere over here than what I expected ... :-(