Me and impulsive generally don’t go together but then, I’ve realised that if you desperately want to do something, you don’t wait for the universe to conspire… you go ahead and do it yourself. So I took a four-day trip to India recently (weekend included) and am glad I did it. Forget inner voice and all that crap, the things that worked in my favour were the availability of tickets and my determination to go. Yeah, sometimes I am like that too… I reach over and pat myself on the back when no one does 😀
# Within an hour of reaching Cochin, we had to get ready to attend the reception of a kid whom I used to carry around as a kid. That makes me really very old. But the best part was I met others who used to carry me around as a kid. So the embarrassment kind of cancelled it out. I met friends and neighbours from my childhood and it was one grin and laughter fest. It spilled over to the wedding that was the next day. Now don’t ask me about this new Tambrahm custom of having the reception before the wedding. I don’t have an explanation.
# Soon after the wedding, we scrambled home and packed to travel to the in-law’s house two-and-a-half hours by road. Amma’s ‘archavitta sambhar’, some good-natured neighbour-mingling and a good night’s sleep later and we were ready to hit the road to Coimbatore early next day.
# Let me mention, that I decided to take Amrit along with only a month left for his Board exams. That was bravado, according to some. But he wanted to break too and also witness something for the first time in his life… (more on that coming up). So, absolutely no regrets!
# The trip to Coimbatore happened only because of Google Maps. The driver was clueless about the route and I was super slow in reading the signs in Tamizh but thanks to Amrit’s back-seat driving, we managed to reach our destination with three minutes to spare for the appointment. The driver was a good sport and Amrit is now emboldened enough to suggest he would grow up and drive all over Europe. (that we shall see!)
# We returned to Cochin the same day at 6.30pm, again packed our bags with different sets of clothes and in half an hour set off for Mattancherry where I grew up. It was athazhaootu – the evening meal before Sasthapreethi – where we gorged on idichakka thoran and stew – peppered with exciting conversations that almost always began with, “Rekha-ava? Eppo Vandhai?” (Rekha (exclamation.exclamation.exclamation), when did you come?). Of course, the stew was a big draw with Amrit and it helped that my cousin Kannan was serving it.
# The day of the Sasthapreethi dawned bright and clear and we were on our toes throughout the day – right from the abhishekam and kaavu poojai in the morning to the vanji paatu, bhajan and mangalasnaanam at night. We enjoyed the melam and the kummi – sang the varavu paatu and it was amazing to see Amrit soak in the atmosphere and break into song at the precise moment when others would – blessed with a strong sense of divinity and spirituality that continues to emanate from a corner of Cochin that will always remain close to my heart. With heavy hearts, we had to leave Thekkethalam at 2.30am since we had to catch a flight back to Muscat the same day.
After a quick dash to Santhilal Mithaiwala for banana chips and ghatiya, we went back home to Ernakulam and in a few hours left for Muscat.
Four days. Loads of love. Friendships renewed. Laughter uninterrupted. And memories that will last a lifetime. I would gladly do it all over again!