What I Miss Most About Home

My husband and I spent all of December 2014 in India. On vacation! Travelling home is always special, for three reasons that I can think of: time with family & loved ones, delectable home food and the sunshine! Of course, the sound of the night watchman’s stick banging on the road every night in the same rhythm comes a close fourth!

I don’t know where the time flew! We spent a cumulative of 37 days among 7 cities, and meeting with a lot of family and friends. Planning such visits while trying to include as many as possible into our list is always a challenge. And this December visit was no less, but what’s fun if it’s not hard to do!

Now back in London, I often catch myself reminiscing the month that went by, so fast!

As I pack my lunch for work, I think of all the food doled out of grandma’s kitchen. You will not believe how many unique dishes I got to eat in the 15 days I stayed at grandma’s – 58! Doing the math, that’s 2 new dishes for every meal of the day! Grandpa had prepared a comprehensive menu, handwritten I must add, with all the days listed and everyone’s favourites, preferences and travel schedules incorporated into that one A4 sized sheet! It was adorable. Being the new block on the kid (oh! I don’t think I mentioned it before, I was the new kid around them as they are my husband’s grandparents and I was visiting them only the 3rd time since I got married!), I would sit with them in the evening, sipping on tea or tomato soup even and discuss to ‘fine-tune’ the menu in order to confirm next day’s plan for the kitchen. It was one of the most hilarious conversations, and exceedingly cute too!

There were, at one point, 18-19 people in the house, visiting! Including us, of course. And that inevitably meant post-dinner card-games! Given how cold it gets inside the homes at night during (Indian) winters, all of us would gather around the big divan in the lounge room, a big razai in the middle into which we tuck in our legs and sit covered in shawls. And, we played round after round of some gazillion types of card games! I didn’t even know there existed as many! Have you heard of games like 29, Bonus, Sh!thead, 3-2-5? And of course, there were ‘accusations’ of someone cheating, or tiffs on how the cards weren’t dealt correctly whenever someone lost – and that would lead to another ‘fair trial’ and suddenly it is past midnight and the house-play is only getting started!

Late nights, early mornings, heavy lunches and long dinners! Of course, I wouldn’t know where the time went. And it was not always about food. Soaking in the warm sun in the garden, a siesta by the window post lunch, an evening stroll in the by lanes just before tea – all such moments spent with love and in complete bliss!

If you are with me until here, then I haven’t bored you out. That said, the above is gist of just half my time in India. I keep the other half for another time, both the stories and the take-away from them.

Meanwhile, standing in my kitchen in London as I pack my lunch to work, these are the scenes that flash by, filling me up with not only gratitude, but also a resolve to keep my ties stronger to withstand any distance (any time zone)! There is also one other thing I realized, about what I missed the most about being at home – the Indian kitchens! The gas stoves, the utensils, the spice masala boxes and all the mess that comes with having so much happening all at once in one place!

Which is why, I am sharing some of the photographs of the lovely grandma’s lovely kitchen:



From Buzz to Ping

Call it a new trend or simply another outlet for emotions – one cannot ignore the Gtalk status messages these days! Every time I sign in, I cannot help noticing all the status messages put up there; almost glaring at me to place my cursor there and read it. Most of them help me understand the state of affairs at that end and almost convince me whether I want to initiate a chat! Some of them are funny to the point of arousing curiosity and so I end up ‘pinging’ to find out! I must admit though, that there are a couple of people on my list whose status messages I look forward to. Not only are they interesting, but also display something that’s new; latest; and probably helpful/useful.

I find the inbuilt status options in Gtalk confusing. Don’t you? A green button with “Available” should ideally tell you the person is free to chat now, but more often than not, people with green buttons are busier than most others on the list. And then, you have the red button with “Busy” as the message… and if you have noticed, these are the people who usually have all the time in the world to chat, voice chat, video chat and what not! Finally, comes the most confusing of them all. Orange button with “Idle”! People with this message hardly ever reply, and you thought they were sitting idle at the other end… What an irony! Only Google can throw such a googly and yet face no brickbats 😉
Oh and the recent one of them all… the Invisible with a grey offline-r button. I actually like this one, brings out the mischievous self you see. Well, it also reminds me of our old companion – the Yahoo messenger! Wonder how many use it now. I miss the numerous smileys and the Audibles of Yahoo. Gtalk, obviously, looks more polished that way and is good for using messengers in office premises – less noise and mischief I guess. I remember reading in a research article that the most important reason behind Yahoo messenger losing its popularity to Google talk was its colour/appearance. According to the findings, apparently, the colour blue is more soothing to the eyes of the user than the cream-ish yellow… and so, the bluish Gtalk (and Gmail) chat windows got in more hours of usage, better acceptability and thus more popularity!

Strangely, in our world Colours have always made a lot of difference everywhere… don’t you agree?