This story is about the plight of an Indian in the USA, and, like many others of his kind, he is torn between staying back and going home.
Have a pleasant stay in the cultural capital of India Sir”
“Virgin mobiles welcomes you to Chennai. For details on international roaming tariffs, text “BILL” to customer help”
“Neenga kettukittu irukkirathu 98.3 FM Radio Mirchi…Ithu semma hot machi”
“Ayya…ethavathu dharmam pannunga ayya”
“Moonu pathu rooba sir.Moonu pathu rooba”
“Meter-ku mela ethavathu pottu kudunga sir”
“Kausalya supraja Ramapoorva sandhya…”
The air hostess, my cell phone’s operator service message, a hyperactive RJ, a beggar at a traffic signal en route to my destination, a kid selling god knows what , the taxi driver, a sharp reminder that it was morning and I was to suffer the symptoms of jet lag. My journey from the airport every year hasn’t been any different. It’s like those deranged VJs say “Same place, same time, we’ll meet, next week.” Not this time…
I reach the doorstep of my ancestral home. My grandmother no longer stands at the doorstep, clad in saree of 9 yards, awaiting my arrival. A temporary hire received me at the airport with a placard, my name plastered on it impersonally. No longer a feeling of belonging. Just the previous year, her (my grandmother’s) long life ended, and she was finally reunited with her husband after a gap of seventeen years.