Thursday, December 25, 2008

Rohit's American Adventure: Chapter 21. Trip to India: the best ever

I was excited to return home.My joy knew no bounds when I saw my parents waiting outside the Airport arrivals gate. I was happy to see my younger brother as always , being energetic and positive. The drive back home was smooth. Driving in the streets in the wee hours of the morning is always fun. The empty streets, the occasional honking, the stinky odor that characterized some streets and off course the humidity made me feel back home. This might sound funny to all my American reader friends but my parents had rented a vehicle and hired a driver to drive us home from the airport. It is a common think to do in India but would be weird in America. I was greeted by open arms by my grandmother as I entered my home and I experienced the most wonderful feeling in my heart. I could feel it beating harder and giving me an emotion, which I cannot describe. I spent the first one hour unpacking my bag and giving the gifts to my family. I had bought shoes for my dad, some cool american beauty care products for my mom thanks to Stephanie Crist, coffee and skin cream for my grandmom and an mp3 player for my brother; not to forget the large bag of chocolates, which Jimmy had helped me get from Walmart. I had shower in my old bathroom and enjoyed it. I decided to take a nap but could not sleep. I decided to surprise my friends from college with a visit. I stopped over at Swapnil's place but he was not there. However, his mom was happy to see me and I enjoyed talking with her. The rest of the day passed by quickly and I slept like a baby that night next to my grandmother.

The next few days were spend visiting family and friends which is always fun. People in India are always excited when they meet someone from a different country especially America. I enjoyed telling them about my experiences, my new found friends in America and my life. It was good to meet up with buddies from college. All of them had jobs in companies and were earning well now. We made a trip to the town side and it was a good feeling. The walk along Marine drive right next to the ocean was awesome, where we sat and talked about our love lifes, and professional experiences. I was happy for Omkar. He had a girlfriend and told me about his outings with her to the movies and the good times they shared together. Adrain seemed to be doing well in his job. He was an outstanding software programmer in college and I was not surprised to hear that. Swapnil had his usual stories of his encounters with the opposite sex and was as always a treat to have a conversation with. Roshan was doing well in his job too. He had just got back from England and was keen on doing further studies. We had dinner at a posh restaurant, something we dreamed of when we were at school and had no money. It was amazing to see the transformation of us as kids with money, jobs and a future.

My days used to be spent eating, walking in the neighborhood, helping grandmother with the daily chores and applying for jobs. I enjoyed the prospect of not worrying to cook as delicious food was served at regular times. I did pay a visit to my old college and it was good to meet up with friends and faculty. I also enjoyed giving Amit Chheda,one of my good college friends a visit. My evenings were spent chilling with Amar Khanda, listening to his musical compositions and meeting up with other friends. I was enjoying every bit of my time in India and did not feel like leaving. I enjoyed giving Biren, one of my old friends visit to his home and having a talk with his parents. I did give one of my friends, Rafi from America a call as promised and he was happy to hear from me. I called Stephanie Crist on Christmas and conveyed my wishes to her and she was excited.

I did pay a visit to my grandfather in Hyderabad and was happy to see him. He was renting the place he was living in and was keeping himself busy. I gave him the radioset and gum paste he had asked me to get for him. We then visited Krishna doda's ( my mom's elder sister) house. We did some sightseeing and then were on our way back home to Mumbai. It was an hour long flight but very pleasant. I celebrated my favorite festival Sankrati in the next few days and was enjoying every bit of it. Sankranti is an awesome festival of kites, where you fly kites the entire day. My description sounds silly but it is fun. Days had passed by quickly and there was about a week left for me to return to United States. I was not at all keen of coming back, considering how much warmth, comfort, I was experiencing at home. We spent the days shopping, packing my bags which was emotional. I always enjoyed shopping with dad as he loved to spend money on quality, whereas my mom was extreme opposite. I had bought a lot of gifts for my american friends who were girls and my mom was having a ball pulling my leg. I enjoyed visiting Amee( my dad's elder sister). My cousin sister had given birth to a daughter who was now about a year old and it was fun interacting with her. I lost track of the number of times she kissed me.

I did pay a surprise visit to one of my college professor's, Ms. Anuradha. She was happy to see me and it was a fun visit. She has two wonderful daughters and is a wonderful person. We did visit Kalpana Muttamma, my dad's brothers wife. She loved having me over and cooking those delicious meals for me. As a kid, I used to spend my summer vacations at Kalpana Muttama's place and they were fun. Kalpana Muttamma had a feast in store for me when she knew I was coming. I enjoyed the meal and it was good catching up with my cousins, Abhijeet and Abhisheck. I took Kalpana Muttamma and Ravi Muttappa's blessings and bid adieu to them.

In days to follow, we did visit a lot of temples and it was a great experience. The shopping continued till the last day; I remember my parents packing my bags on that night. I took a short walk around my neighborhood that night reliving all the good times, I had experienced over the duration of the past month. America is a great country, it was actually great because of the friends I had , who had changed my life but home was still home. I was torn between two worlds: my home for the past 22 years of my life and my new found home for the past one and a half year. I was crying when I was leaving home at 2 in the morning. I hugged my grandmother, who is the most important person in my life for all the warmth, love and comfort. I touched my parents feet and sought their blessings. I prayed to the God Dieties in my apartment and headed out. I did hug my younger brother at the airport and wished him luck and success. It was an emotional ride to the airport as no one wanted me to leave, but I was returning to America to pursue the American dream, to make a life for myself and my family. As I passed by departure gates, I waived to my parents not knowing when I would see them again. I had to pay extra money as one of my bags was over weight. I made one final call to my parents from the local phone in the airport, once I was done with the baggage check and told them I was all set to go. I was so emotional that I forgot my wallet at the local phone. I was lucky when just few minutes prior to the take off, security officials called my name , which kind of freaked me out but was relieved when one of them gave me my wallet and I hugged him. As the plane was gaining momentum, I closed my eyes and walked out through all the fun moments I had experienced in the past one month. I had never been so happy and was sad the good times had to come to an end. I cried the entire flight ( which was an annoying 24 hours long). I was tired after a long flight and my friends( family away from home) were patiently waiting to pick me up from the airport. I was back in America ready to start my last semester and had no idea what was in store for me. It definitely had a great start, with a stopover at Stephanie Crist's place to get some ice cream and the next day at bars with my Jewish friends