Some seasons have been kinder than others. But in all, I have reached home after spending 500 days in the US. Kind of an interesting piece of information that my grandpa greeted me with as I yanked my suitcase, with the nighttime heat welcoming me as I stepped into Chennai.
Actually, crying babies and rude people cutting the line greeted me at Chennai immigration. Ayyo, of course this would happen. But hush, let’s focus on the bright side. The very bright side of the fact that there is sun and warmth!
So, let’s begin with Philly.
500 days with new people and places.
500 days of some amazing experiences.
And then, I head home. A brief visit, buoyed by the prospects of meeting lovely people back home.
It’s like this – if I want something in the morning, I just yell ‘Amma’. Caution, side effects of this being that the whole apartment knows you’re home.
Of course, this means, the neighbouring maami will drop by with some snack and inquire about you, and ‘youyes’, and how is the cold winter there? Because, in Chennai, it’s time to bring out the scarves and monkeys caps when it hits 24C. The other neighbouring maami comes up with her baby granddaughter who is fascinated by chocolates. And the other mean neighbour – all he gets is no acknowledgement of his presence and my deliberate attempts to rile him up.
Before I left, I had written this post out. And I guess, much of Chennai is the same. I mean the metro is still being built, and the crowds are just the same. The movie ticket prices are so amazing; and the movie theatres are so much more amazing than here. Reserved seats and cream donuts, hell yeah! But, one of the interesting experiences was how I got so used to everyone butchering my name or my [pseudolastname] that it felt good to not have repeat my name way too many times.
I had started writing this when I reached home, but I put it off, because I wanted to be able to wrap it all up in one comprehensive tale. And now, I feel that there are too many stories and memories that span a short 30 days that I can’t fathom which ones to write about. Would it be the self discovery moments of getting lost; or the anticipation after driving into a neighbour’s car (sidenote: I also did drive into a cow , which seems oddly like such an Indian thing as portrayed by outside media, but this did happen in my grandparents’ town. The freaking cows did not move, in my defense!) I could put up a ton of pictures. Or talk about gastronomical explorations about the streets of Chennai. Or how I forget how dependent I’ve become on using a card and not cash.
Perhaps what unites it all, is the joy of getting up early to head to the beach catching the sun’s rays highlight the ‘monument‘ while crows fly out in flock in search of food. It’s that moment after waking from a dream and before the honking cars get to you. I can head toward the cool, choppy waters of the Bay of Bengal with the brother outrunning me and to play in the water and coming home for dosas and Wii sessions.
Until next time, home.