I just came back from a month in Europe. And yes, someone died.
Honestly, I was ready to stay behind. Driving again, understanding food in the grocery stores, being able to comprehend every word said around me at any time was soothing. So was showering in water that didn’t smell of rust. Getting on the plane was painful. Leaving family and friends behind is not fun. I walked to Gate B-23 in Frankfurt, and India sucked me right back in, from a distance. I dress Indian style when I travel to, from or within India. Aunties smiled at me and gave me the quintessential Indian headshake. The lady at the business lounge who originally refused me access to the much appreciated third floor with free goodies greeted me warmly when I walked back downstairs. “You are living in India, hah?” she said while looking at my earrings and dupatta. Though she speaks what sounds to me like perfect German, she’s from Kerala and I brought her memories of home. My blonde hair wrongfully defines me as German, but my clothes confuse Lufthansa personnel. I like that. I enjoy the looks of complicity I get from some Indian passengers. I feel accepted, recognized as one of “them”, though for a second. I watched a French movie, a Hindi movie, and an American movie. That sums up my immigration status.
Sathya was waiting for me with his signature smile. He talked to me about being in charge of the cats for a while, about what happened in Indian politics last month and we chatted and laughed all the way. A little over an hour of rediscovering my current home. Less than a month, and there is a brand new glass building in Marathahalli across the place that roasts chickens, a new commercial gallery has opened its doors, and another building sprung out of nowhere on Varthur Road. The streets are decorated for Diwali, though not many lights were on at 3 am. The pack of dogs that lives on our road has increased from 8 to 12, and they are not puppies.
First things first. Yesterday: a dosa. We have an unspoken friendship with one of the busboys at our local dosa restaurant. We have never uttered a word to each other. We have been gone for a while and he smiled when he saw us. His buddies were not so discreetly staring at us, checking us out. Once we finished our meal, he rushed to grab our plates with a huge smile. Those smiles are why I love India, why I am glad to be home. Why I started waving at people again today from the back of the car.
It’s raining cats and dogs, though the weather report states it’s drizzling. Kids, young and young at heart are lighting up firecrackers. It will last a few days. The kittens are not pleased with the situation and are grateful whenever rain starts again, so they get a respite.
Tomorrow I will go and buy Diwali decorations. We will use them for Christmas. I will try my skills at drawing a rangoli on our front step since I brought colored chalk sticks, and our maid will be enjoying her holiday with family. I will buy a new flower bowl to place outside since ours was found broken one morning. We suspect a wild cat knocked it off while drinking from it. I will get marigolds and set them in the bowl, and pretend I know what I am doing.
It’s been a year exactly, and I am finally starting to know what I am doing.