Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yesterday in Ipswich

Maybe it was a long lost friend who met me on Facebook just as I was about to leave for home.
Maybe my kids had whined a little too much that morning over a dumb piece of paper with the usual “No I took it first, no I took it first” squabble.
Maybe I wanted to rebel against the nagging neck pain that reminded me it was mid-life.
Maybe I loved my Ipswich days a little too much - carefree days, single, phoren country, very little responsibility and pounds in the pocket.

That day when I sat in my car on BMCC road, the road back home was different. I was not in my car. I was sitting in a time machine that was taking me back to 1999. I was sitting alone on the front seat of the bus on Superroute 66. The English countryside was still the same – lush green and peaceful. I got down at my stop and walked alone through the town centre lane, making a quick check to see if there was anything new at Primark.

I turned on Law college road. I saw a group of friends having fun outside Mocha. I saw Ashish, Ajita, Pournima, Vicky, Ajit and me lazying around in the living room of our house, chatting, playing cards. It was past 12 on a Sunday morning. Should we take a shower or just loaf a little while more each one thought. “It’s ok , it’s Sunday” was the collective decision and the day passed doing nothing. Absolutely nothing! Absolutely priceless!

Someone honked loud and irked me a bit but I was back in my happy place. From my office building to the BT canteen in the afternoon cold, wearing an oversized purple suede coat I had loaned from my aunt, I walked with Gautam and Ashish – debating vegetarianism. Me defending it, the other two – best debaters in the world - counter arguing – “Even plants have feelings, so plucking plants is as heinous as killing animals for food”. Gosh, we could talk on anything for any long.

I reached Nal stop; the RJs were babbling a little too much. I switched off the radio. I sang Santosh’s song “Zindagi jab bhi teri bazm mein laati hain hamein”, out loud. What agony he sang “Har mulakat ka anjam judai kyu hain?” with. I remembered him singing it more than 20 times in one day. And we (Joy, Salil, Smita and me) always wanted more.

I crossed Chitale on the right. If anyone could compete with their bakarwadis it was Vinita. On a Saturday afternoon Vinita and I decided to make bakarwadis at home. An inspiration, this woman has been in my life! On the bus ride to the tulip gardens near Amsterdam Vinita sang “Pyar ke mod pe chodoge jo bahein meri.” I had heard it for the first time then – I’ll never forget it now. And darling Savani – my 2 and a half year old friend, who taught me how much fun kids could be. Ms. Tup-tup Sawant, Ms. Dahi-dahi Athalye misses you. Or was it dahi-dahi sawant and tup-tup athalye? Either ways it was sheer amusement.

I turned right towards Dahanukar colony. There were no street lights that day. It was dark – around midnight. I slept in my little room wondering whether my friends remembered my birthday. But I am me, so I had made sure they knew. And then they all came - with gifts, cake and a musical card that is still safely kept in a bag on the loft.

I parked my car. I took the stairs instead of the elevator. I wasn’t done yet. Sue Roberts, Andrew Jr., Marc Kirshna, the old English guy who said I reminded him of his granddaughter (how could I forget his name?), the hot girl from Mumbai who was loved by all boys and envied by all girls, some faces without names, some names without faces - one after the other like a bunch of flash cards.

I rang the bell. My kids ran to me and hugged me tight. “Why are you so late?” said the little one. I felt a little guilty. I should have taken the elevator. “Come, we want to show you our new dance”, they said literally dragging me by the purse. What followed was hilarious entertainment for the next half hour. “There’s no point running back to yesterday”, I thought, “’cause tomorrow I know I will be running back to today.”

Friday, August 19, 2011

Air India - Newark to Mumbai - quick review..

The last post was when I travelled from mumbai to newark - then the kids had taken so much of my attention I had barely looked around. This times thanks to their cooperation I had a chance to experience 'Air India'. Here'a a quick review if you are planning to use it for your next travel.

The good:
1. The staff is extremely helpful and kid friendly. By the time we landed at Mumbai the air hostess knew kapil and tanisha by name and was chatting with them - a personal touch very different from my Continental experience last time.
2. They have a sky buffet in the centre of the aircraft - not a big spread but sandwiches, juices and tea, coffee laid out as a small buffet. This helps when you have kids that sleep and eat at odd hours (rather when they bring food at odd hours).
3. In flight entertainment was pretty good with the latest bollywood and hollywood movies and the usual F.R.I.E.N.D.s, How I met your mother etc.

The bad:
1. The dinner from newark to mumbai was below average. maybe other way round would be better.
2. Legroom was average but the seats were pretty hard with minimal cushioning so the 15 hr journey was a little uncomfortable.
3. The in flight entertainment for kids was very poor. Just 2 or 3 TV episodes and that too Indian tv shows. Wish they had some Nick Jr. shows too - especially considering we were flying out of the USA. I would recommend carrying your own entertainment.

The ugly:
1. The people in the flight! Made me feel I was in India the moment I boarded. There was no sense of consideration for the other - the 'sab chalta hain" attitude. Driving me especially crazy was an old uncle who at 11:30 pm (lights had been dimmed and it was supposed to be sleep time), minutes after my kids had finally slept, started playing "Aadha hain chandrama, raat aadhi.." on his laptop. I had to finally walk up to him and request him to put on his headphones, which he then hurridly did. So bothers me why he could not do so from the beginning.

Bon voyage..