Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tamil Nadu, India - The Journey & Day 1

Home sweet home... Alhamdulillah everything went off smoothly. Yasmin was a bit feverish on the last day but we were prepared with medicine.

We reached Madras International Airport at 2230 local time. The immigration did not give us any trouble at all & in fact they were pretty friendly. Well, perhaps we were lucky. The one attended to us was an elderly man & seeing my young girls he kind of softened.

It was an old airport. A new one should be ready in 2 years time. The walk to the exit was way too long for us. Perhaps the lack of sleep in the flight contributed to the situation. Once outside I was surprised to see the many people waiting. Softly in my heart I was wondering what if we could not find our dear Uncle Guthoose.

As I was minding the younger girls, I saw my father in law (FIL) who was leading the troop put a halt & gave someone a hug. Yes indeed, we found Uncle Guthoose & his wife, Aunty Parveen. It was such a warm welcome & deep inside I knew it was a beginning to something beautiful.

They ushered us to the side of the road. Uncle instructed us to wait by the roadside as he went to get the Tempo Van he had rented for our comfortable stay in India. Whilst waiting Aunty took out something from her handbag & presented a Kit Kat & a Cadbury bar to each of her grandchildren. What a lovely sight to see her distributing the goodies ... Sleepy eyes suddenly were widely awake :-)

The Tempo Van was not bad at all. At a glace it reminded me to the Britz we rented when we were in NZ. Remember? The motor home? It was white & huge enough for our party of 11. As I climbed in I knew it would be a comfortable ride. It was equipped with 14 seats.

From Chennai we had to travel to Uncle's place in Thanjavur which is 342km away but due to the road condition it took us a 7 hrs ride. This was the most challenging part of this trip. However, come to think of it was really not bad compared to my other previous experiences traveling. We were most of the time sleeping in the mini bus or trying our best to sleep. The younger ones had no issues at all. They slept for almost the entire journey. Nadeen especially. HB & I took turn carrying her.

We arrived in Thanjavur safely the next morning. Nadeen woke up the moment I stepped inside Uncle's beautiful house. It was not a good sign because my tired body longed for a bed but Nadeen was wide awake & active!

We freshened up. The room was air-conditioned & the hot water in the bathroom completed our coziness. As we climbed down the staircase such scrumptious aroma welcomed us. Breakfast was served. Aunty, though how tired she must have been went to the trouble instructing her 3 helps with our first meal in India.

Brothers - my FIL & Uncle Guthoose

I think breakfast was meant for a king! We had varieties of Indian foods. From Vade, Puree, Thosai, Idly to the sauces like chutney, dhall curry & potato marsala. All in one meal!! We had started to fall in love with this country... After breakfast we had a chat in the living area. But slowly one by one retired & surrendered ourselves in dreamland.

I was dreaming of Vade when an earsplitting noise woke me up. Nadeen was next to me playing with an alarm clock! I remembered telling Wardah to monitor Nadeen while I napped. Perhaps she got bored & sneaked out. The condition of the room was not actually a pretty sight. Nadeen was still new to the house so she wouldn't go further away from me. But I found our luggage ransacked & baby powder sprinkled on the floor & bed!

Wardah rushed in upon hearing the alarm clock. Gave some excuses that Nadeen was out of control. Didn't blame her because Yasmin was trusted with a more interesting task that was to take care of Balqis. They were on the flat rooftop playing.

The alarm clock incident caused me a mild headache. Searched for the PCM I brought along from home & headed to the kitchen to get a glass of water. One help was busy cooking. Another was asking whether I had dirty clothes to wash. Uncle & Aunty were no where to be seen. They were napping as well I assumed. Found Sajitha, Uncle's only daughter with her baby Ameera. We chatted & she was really bubbly telling me about my newly discovered relatives.

Sajitha Maryam & baby Ameera

After Friday prayers we had lunch together. You wouldn't believe what lunch was... Mutton Briyani with freshly squeezed orange juice! Not forgetting fried chicken. I was too scared to think of dinner!

Our Lunch

Balqis helping herself to her favourite -fried chicken

In the evening we visited Aunty's relatives who stay in the neighbourhood. Even though we are merely related by marriage, their hospitality was marvelous. We had the chance of meeting Aunty Parveen's mother. I think she is close to 90 years old. She didn't understand English & we knew nothing of Tamil but her ways & gestures hugging & kissing us were tremendously affectionate. It touched me deeply!

We had a tour of the town Thanjavur afterward. It was a quick one. Didn't even step down from the mini bus. (Sorry no photos. My point & shoot is missing... It's either somewhere in this house or it still in vacation right across the Bay of Bengal)

What awaited us at Uncle's was dinner... Aunty promised to keep it simple but her fish curry was nothing ordinary. Homemade spices, that was the trick ;-)

I was the first to retire that night. Nadeen had no choice but to join me. The next day would be the reunion of my FIL with his 3 sisters. A big day...

*to be continued


sathiya said...

wow jaa .. seems like nothing was missed .. u had a blast.. :) welcome back.

jabishah said...

Thx sathiya dear. Will update more soon;-) You take care!