Friday, November 10, 2023

India Visit

 Going back to India this summer was a tumultuous ride, much like the one you'd experience when riding the autorickshaw. First there is the thrill of riding in the auto. Then there's the discomfort of the hard, narrow seat. Then there's the hot wind that circulates.

You don't quite know what to make of it, on the one hand, you appreciate it, because of how hot it was, standing on the side of the road, flagging scores of auto drivers, who treat you like you're transparent, until the one, who agrees to the fare, albeit reluctantly. He was hoping that the customer would be the one going long distance, and all I was to go was a couple of miles.

On the other hand, you are constantly reminded of how it feels when you open a hot oven, cranked to 500 deg.F with a cast iron pizza stone sitting in it and how squeamish you feel with sweat trickling down the small of your back and making you writhe, but that is uncomfortable too.

In a mere 10-12 minutes, after a minor signal violation, which you encouraged, you reach the destination. Hand over the money, not caring if you've given a little over the meter, only because you want to enter the cool shadowy interior of the building, which is just a few degrees cooler than outside.

In all these adventures, you also encourage your teenager to 'adapt'. Which basically means, "look kiddo, I want to go home, even if it means sharing a ride. That means, if there are 2 passengers in the auto, I still want to get in, be the third passenger. And because you are the skinny person in this equation, you ride shotgun."

The child braved it and happily. He willingly squeezed himself in beside the auto driver and rode all the way home. We bounced in our seats like potatoes when the auto went over some major potholes or even skirted over the minor ones. I groaned and cursed. The child merely said, "why can't they fix the roads?" That is one question every Mumbaikar has asked over and over and for decades. I'll let my teen know when there is an answer.

Just like the answer I seek for his, "why do they honk incessantly?" This, I felt was rich, coming from the child, who at signals, encourages me to honk (in the USA) at the car in front, if the driver isn't alert, "honk! honk India style Mom" are his exact words. This time he was exposed to a wide range of honking, which coupled with jetlag in the first few days, left him bewildered. It left me cranky to the point where I severely admonished a driver for honking. His expression, now that I think of it, was priceless. No one, and I mean no one says anything about honking. Everyone just, honks. and loudly. And to have someone chastise you for doing what comes naturally, is perplexing.

I have woken up at 3:00 am, roused out of deep sleep to the musical toot of a truck. One even had the infamous Nagin dance tune (to those unaware of the Nagin dance tune, Bollywood has this fixation with snakes. There are movies where the venomous snakes magically transform into humans who sing, dance and writhe sensuously to music. The picture below is not my own, it is a random Google search). And while it was fine in a movie, to be reminded of it in the small hours of the night is rather unpleasant.

Sridevi in Nagina Pic Courtesy: Google search

With all these (many undocumented) ups and downs, the best part was getting to spend time with my father. It hurt, a lot, that my mother wasn't at the door to welcome me with a happy smile and a warm welcoming hug. But I have my Father, I am grateful.

I'd brave anything to be able to spend time with him, even the really unpleasant flight with the unpleasant food. But! that (mis) adventure deserves a post of its own.

Pin It

No comments:



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape