I realize it has been way too long since I wrote my monthly summary of how the month went by – It has honestly been a chaotic couple of months in India to put it very mildly. Chaos is always something I resist and struggle with and then reflect on it as being very beneficial to my growth as an individual. April 2014 was no different in this aspect.
Where I went
As you may have gathered from my new category of posts entitled “Away we go” I went to two very different destinations, the gorgeous island nation of Maldives and PK’s ancestral home town of Karkala in India. We also had a short pitstop in the city of Mangalore where PK’s maternal uncle threw us a party attended by close family (I was assured this was going to be a small dinner – around 40 people attended!). To be very honest, I am hardly the person to find fun in family events but this was a bonafide fun event and I found myself to be finally very comfortable around PK’s family. PK arrived in India early April only to find himself packing up and traveling every few days in his trip – I admire his enthusiasm for travel and his ability to just “fit in” and be flexible wherever he goes. It is a quality I’d like to imbibe over time.
What I Read
The only book I managed to read in April was a charming book I found in one of the boxes when I was attempting to declutter my parent’s home. I first read “Daddy Long Legs” by Jean Webster when I was in 7th Grade. It is an adorable book about an orphan, Jerusha who suddenly finds her world turned upside when a trustee offers to pay for her to attend college. The book is written as a series of letters from Jerusha to her unknown benefactor. Unfortunately, I did not have the attention span to be able to read more in April. 🙂 Daddy Long Legs is available for free as part of the Gutenberg Project.
We got back from Maldives to attend my cousin G’s engagement ceremony. Having spent a lot of my childhood years around G, I couldn’t miss this event and I am glad we went because we got to see a whole section of my extended family in one go. In that short 2 hour span, I was asked a wide spectrum of typical intrusive questions that family seems to get a free pass to ask, chided for not keeping in touch by a bunch of other relatives and then finally invited to stay over at a number of others’ homes. Still, it was an entertaining time and I was particularly happy about the fact that PK who is still somewhat an outsider to the family (he belongs to a different community and our’s was an inter-community wedding, not a typical ‘arranged’ marriage) was received very warmly by all the aunts and uncles. Indian weddings and all related events are more about the family than the bride or groom so in true Indian fashion I got about two words with my cousin and his fiancee!
I hesitate to even recollect what happened next because I am yet to truly process and get over the experience. The night after we got back from my cousin’s engagement ceremony, PK and I woke up around midnight to my mom in a panicky state knocking on our bedroom door. My father was having a medical emergency (I would prefer not to go into details here – too painful) and had to be rushed to the ER. He was eventually hospitalized and had to undergo a critical procedure before he was discharged.
My father was discharged from the hospital just in time to celebrate the Hindu festival of Vishu, something that seemed to reinvigorate him and make him feel very blessed and grateful as though he had received a new lease on life. Vishu is a festival celebrated in the south indian state of Kerala and is considered the first day of the year according to the Hindu solar calendar. We typically celebrate this festival by starting the day with the sight of a gorgeous arrangement (called Vishu Kani and considered to be a symbol of prosperity) of fruits, vegetables, grains, jewelry and coins propped up against a mirror that is arranged the previous night. This year I had the opportunity to set up the Vishu Kani because my mom was at the hospital and I felt fortunate that my father was well and able to enjoy this day with us at home.
A vacation in a vacation
We ended April 2014 with a mini-vacation within a vacation. We spent a weekend at the ITC Gardenia Hotel in Bangalore city so we could explore new restaurants, bars and shop in the city without a long journey back home (both our parent’s homes are in the suburbs). We were upgraded to the Parakeet suite at the hotel and treated to beautiful views of Bangalore – It was fun to be a tourist in my own city. 🙂 We had some ultra decadent meals during these three days and ended the weekend with a spa visit. Just what the doctor ordered!
With this it was time for PK to come back to Chicago and for me to spend the next few weeks in Bangalore navigating what I can best describe as a bureaucratic nightmare – But that story is for the next monthly update!