I am just about a week away from home. Or 8 days to be more precise from the time I get to see again the happy, loving faces of my father, mother, my sisters and their families.
I know that when I walk out of the Chatrapati Shivaji airport at Mumbai, my father will be standing somewhere in the crowds eagerly waiting for me.
My eyes search for him and spot him waving to me. I wave back happily and rush to hug him and touch his feet. The shortest of looks that I give him tells me that he has grown older just a little bit more in the past year. The realization that mortality is very much a tangible thing is very humbling. I know I am blessed to have him standing there for me year after year.
My mother is also waiting for her child but she will be at home where I know she stands by the door with a “puja thali” in her hands to welcome her daughter home yet another year. I know as long as she is alive I will meet her there every time. I am afraid of the time when there will be no one at the door.
The trip from the airport will seem short while the air will smell muddy and the traffic absolutely terrifying. During the drive back I will look more closely at my father while keeping a tight lid on my emotions. I will talk about the new high rise buildings, the changing landscape of the city, the state of infrastructure or even the latest government or their scandals. We will then exchange notes on property prices and maybe pat ourselves on our backs for some of the good and timely investments we made and ….. laugh. My laugh will be the loudest. I will steal some more glances at the much missed and loved face and try to reassure myself that he looked fine and fit.
Once home and welcomed by the lady to whom I owe my very life, I will take a quick tour of the house touching familiar things, some old photographs, paintings and inhale the atmosphere with reverence. By then a little feast would be laid out for me with my mother cajoling me to eat. “Beta you must be so tired and hungry.” I am not actually but I know she must have been preparing for this day a long time.
While I sip her delicious tea and eat the unmatched Indian snacks, she watches over me. No one else ever watched over me, in this way at least. And I can tell that she sees through me effortlessly as always. Mothers!
I am already half in tears as I type these words but in my heart I am calm and happy because by the time you would get to read this little piece, I would already be in India, sipping my cuppa chai and sitting with my folks at HOME."
Anjna Rawat Pratap is a Singapore based technical writer