Engines whir, and I watch as the plane passes the runway, the adjoining highway, then another, and another…then they blur together amongst the millions of blinking lights that make up the streets and homes of Bombay. I desperately try to retain a final picture in my mind as the coast approaches. The plane banks into the darkness as it leaves Bombay, and eventually, India.
I sit back in my seat trying to retain every lasting moment, every vestige of my trip.. to squirrel it all away amongst a host of memories that I don’t want to lose. A long family train journey and a celebration of my Dad’s life thus far – events that happen too few and far between for my liking today. Rituals, prayers, togetherness, joy and above all the type of fun I can only associate with India.
The second event happened was my own hooking the missus and ensuring I have to return in a few months to complete the “formalities”, so to speak. The kind of celebration and having a ball of a time thing that you can only do once in a while – especially when it comes to yourself. I have already spoken about the bummer that it is to miss a family wedding.. I should be able to make it for my own 😛
And hopefully somehow make up for the bummer that was.
Describing the feelings, astonishment and enjoyment of the last 21 days is hard. Really hard. Everyone I know has grown up/old – and I still cannot come to terms with it. Cousins I have babysat now have talents and a precocity beyond their years. “Grown-ups” I cannot think of as anything but people bigger, stronger and more organized than me have.. started to show an age. I can see batons passing from one generation to the next. I miss not being able to see them grow. To see them live. To see them enjoy. To be with them. Share time and moments of joy that are eventually all that remain of a lifetime spent together.
Seeing everyone together after so long and enjoying (not just in photographs), watching a previous generation bask in the joy of a new one, realizing how your own family has changed and matured; even finding, meeting and accepting another family into your own – these are things one really misses sitting in a foreign land. Yes, I am now convinced that the US cannot really arrest my life forever. The so-called comforts and conveniences are mere rationalizations of a need to believe that one’s own country cannot measure up. I need to take hold of this degree and accordingly plan the eventual departure. There is too much I am missing, too much I am sacrificing sitting here. India has grown and adapted to a country that can more than challenge you – it has the potential to make a real difference.
It was the kind of trip that has proved to be life-changing in more than one sense. Hopefully life will stay changed too.