The tickets have been bought. And I am heading to Delhi once again on my annual pilgrimage to India.
To meet the loved ones, the not so loved but must-meet-its-rude-not-to ones, the adored ones, the not-so-little-anymore ones, dearest friends, relatives, in-laws, relatives of inlaws, those who came for the wedding but I did not get a chance to talk to (on account of attempts being made to be the coy, shy bride)..the list goes on.
India also means the annual emotional battery recharging that I need. The need to connect to base, or as my mother calls it, head office! I need to go back to head office, let my hair (or whats left of it) down, sleep, eat, talk, make friends with the new cocker spaniel pup in the house and of course do the inevitable shopping.
Now, this is the thing. When I first moved to UK in 2000, there were a 1000 things I did not get here which I dearly wanted..pickle, hajmola, aam papar, bombay mix chewra, masalas, cotton clothes, flat shoes. If it was not in style, it was not readily available. This is of course before I had access to Ikea and Primark! So I used to make a long list of things I wanted from India. And needless to say used to come back with overloaded suitcases! Now I live about 10 mins from an area where not only is there Indian food stuff of every kind, there are onions flown in from Bombay, thepla from Ahmedabad, Revari and Gajjak from Lucknow. Everything is available, easily and it does not cost an arm and a leg!
So when my mother asked me this morning what I want..I actually had nothing to say. Craft made bed covers and cushions, check. Rugs and Carpets, check. Bedcovers and duvet covers, check. Pressure cookers and karahi, check. Masala box with those miniscule round katoris for 6 masalas in one steel box, check. Yup..I can go on..and on..and on..and on and they are all available here. So what do I want from India?
And it works the other way round. When I used to leave from here at the start of this decade, there were requests for Body Shop body butter, Marks and Spencer clothes, comfortable high heels, Dior lipstick, chocolates and scotch whiskey. Now, all these are available more readily in India now and I dont need to lug them there anymore. Which means I am all out of gifts to buy. Ok some chocolates like Milka, Maltesers etc I have not seen in India yet. I have also not seen chocolates and biscuits for people with diabetes. I do not know about Laphroaig whisky or Glenmorangie..both of which are made in Scotland...so yes I shall carry my pack of chocolates and whiskey.
I always get caught up in last minute gift thinking. And then I also load myself at the airport. And once I am home, I unpack and hand out gifts, eat what I had ordered 48 hours ago and promptly go to sleep. That is just the way it has been for the past 7-8 years.
And so it begins..yet another trip to India. I have lost count of how many times I have been home in the past 8 years..3-4 times a year sometimes, sometimes less..enough to collect air miles and fly free to India..yes. I know I should get over the excitement which is borne not only out of travel..but the chance to be home. The last time I was home it was exactly a year ago..to get married..and that was good..but not what I would call fun. Had it been someone else's wedding I would have deployed that word. However I did not get the chance to relax and catch up with everyone. Now I shall make up for that.
Long distance travel + Heathrow Airport = Mental tiredness at the very thought.
Home + Mom + Dad + Siblings + Mad dog = Happy hand rubbing in glee thought, I am more than willing to fly 8hr 45min to Delhi..:) in a week then..I shall be there.