They say life’s best unplanned. I learnt that during the short trip I made to India during the Eid break last week. Holidays were announced on a Monday, I booked my ticket on Tuesday and flew out of Muscat Wednesday night. Went alone as we discovered at the last moment that Amrit’s visa was expiring and had to be submitted for renewal. Maybe it was better that way because hopping across cities at odd hours of the day was not a good idea with Amrit in tow. I had a three city itinerary Mumbai-Shirdi-Nagpur and four flights in one week. Here’s how it went…
# Visiting Shirdi was a childhood dream, an ardent desire since the age of 10. It came to fruition 27 years later… Ditto for my sister-in-law… despite being born and brought up in Mumbai, she made her first ever trip to Shirdi with me.
# Mumbai was fun… the sea face, shopping, mall-hopping, pizza parties, chaat and gola sessions. And late-night conversations. That my nephew and niece had holidays added to the fun factor.
# Mumbai never fails to amaze me… However cliched it may sound, the ‘spirit of Mumbai’ is what endears you to this city. Its warmth, resilience, survival-against-all-odds; there’s no other place that has so much of life in it than Mumbai.
# After 15 long years, I made a trip to Nagpur, the city of my birth. And I was overwhelmed with so much love. Met both sides of the family… basked in their warmth. Met my athai, part inspiration for my Madisaar Maami series… Was sad to see an older and mellowed version.
# Went to the university campus where I did my Mass Communications course. Met up with old friend Sanjay and bonded once again over cutting chai at the campus canteen. Went to the advertising agency where I began my foray into the real world… with a real job. Went to the hospital where I was born, the home where my mother was born and grew up… and surprised loads of people. The expressions on their faces? Priceless.
# There have been so many signs on this trip that have proved time and again that He is with me. In an earlier post, I to Me to We to Sai… I wrote about a new awakening. Life’s indeed come full circle. On the flights, in conversations, in different people, I find Him communicating simple messages. My brother from Muscat also took me by surprise… by making me part of a wonderful experience in Mumbai. Indeed, ‘Why fear when I’m here!’ They have left me absolutely speechless.
# My trip did have a sad ending though. As I was leaving for Mumbai airport to board the flight back to Muscat, I was informed of the death of a dear family member whom I had met in Nagpur just a couple of days back. R.I.P. my dear brother, your love and advance Pongal wishes will be cherished forever