Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tamil Nadu, India - Day 3

It was our last morning in Thanjavur. Due to our late night chat & playing Kajol (parading in Sarees which I felt like being Kajol, my old time fav Hindi character ;-)), we (my SIL, Sajitha & I) didn't get enough sleep at all! Hahaha.... Served us right! But once awoke & switched to Mommy Mode... Sleepy Mode was forgotten.

Our luggage was half way done. We needed to get all the girls ready first then only we could pack up everything. I was the last to leave Sajitha's room & its condition looked satisfactory to me :-) Right Sajitha? ;-)

Everyone was ready by the time I reached downstairs. Found dear Sajitha in the dining room but the look she was wearing that morning was unlike last night. We were to part at Uncle's house. She had baby Ameera to tend to & the long journey back to Chennai would not be suitable for both mother & daughter.

I hated to see her like that. It was definitely not a farewell yet my dear! We had to pose for the camera first... :-) And that was what we did. At least that cheered her up a bit..

All of us with Uncle's family

My girls & HB with uncle's family

So Sajitha dear... you now have an instant brother & sister ;-)

With her sis, sis in law & nieces

We promised to have breakfast at Auntie Aysha's but did you think Auntie Parveen would allow us leave her house with empty stomachs? Never! Had a very light breakfast instead. Our favourite... Vadey!

A pose of our henna project the night before

At last it was finally time to go. My heart felt heavy but I managed to hold the tears & so did she... We were granted the chance to bid farewell which was an evidence that we had the opportunity to meet & get really acquainted.

Goodbye my dear. Remember that we are just a click away ;-)

Nadeen Kutty (as addressed by Sajitha) sure was perplexed that morning seeing us like that...

A pose in front of Uncle's

The journey to Papanasam was rather quiet. Perhaps it was still too early or everyone was thinking of how difficult it would be to bid farewell to the others at Aunt Aysha's.

Once we reached her house what awaited was as promised... breakfast. We had idly, tosai, kurma, vadey & desserts.

Our breakfast spread (Oh yes... Sprite for breakfast! That sure made my girls' day! ;-))

One thing unique about Auntie Aysha's house was the staircase. In fact once home,whenever mentioned of the big houses in India, the question followed would be " Ada tangga macam cerita Hindustan tak?";-) Of course we didn't miss the chance to pose at the staircase. Though they did not descend from the middle, hers was dramatic enough for us :-)

The children

The ladies

The men

Though how much we tried to drag the time, we had no choice but to go. The journey to Chennai was way too long to postpone any longer.

My calm self-control was moved upon seeing my FIL hugging her elder sister, Auntie Aysha. Of all his sisters I noticed that Auntie Aysha was so fond of her new found brother. Parting was very difficult.

Well at least my SIL was happy posing chin to chin with Shameem who looked pretty much like her.

Off to the mini bus

Till we meet again...Thank you for such incredible hospitality. It was completely amazing!

In the ride, everyone continued talking about this cousin, this auntie, this uncle. Even the younger ones started to understand the importance of a family unit. Not long after that everyone was quiet. I took the chance to enjoy the scenery but with Nadeen on my lap & HB was busy reading some manuals he brought from home, a camera was out of the story :-)

Not long after that, made our first stop. Neither the petrol kiosk nor the public toilet but to a wedding reception! Can you believe that? After the food, the warm welcome, the comfortable lodging, we got to experience a local wedding ;-)

It was a double wedding of Aunt Parveen's nephews

The reception was held in a big hall. Yes, we were informed of the wedding in the agenda but only after we reached India. Hence, all my clothing was not really proper for weddings. I chose the most suitable one in the luggage & ended up with a long red blouse but I had to give in to a pair of jeans. Confidently, I thought the colour I chose would suit the occasion perfectly. Hey! It was after all a wedding...

At the entrance we were given roses each & rock sugar. I guessed it was a symbol to welcome guests. I think.. Of all the many questions I inquired, I missed on that one... Oh well!

This was the point when I asked for 2 roses instead of one... Hehehe! (One for Balqis & the other for Nadeen). The elder girls managed themselves.

The big hall was upstairs & as we were ascending the staircase, we saw in amazement how the crowd was. My concern was the girls. Hence, babysitting was delegated. I didn't have enough hands to handle all 4!

From far I saw a group of men on a stage in the hall. My assumption was a pelamin (a nicely decorated platform for the brides & their grooms to sit on).

By then we were separated from HB & the other men but we decided to get a closer look. We sure made quite an entrance... We looked foreign to them with our looks & attire especially.

Most of them were in white!

Red was so out of the season! ;-)

As approaching the stage, I knew my assumption was wrong. What they had on stage was the akad nikah ijab & kabul ceremony & it was witnessed by the whole members of the hall. After all this was the most significant of a Muslim wedding...

The 2 grooms

The certified document

We were invited on stage. With all the men I at first found it awkward but... why not? And so we did but of course were watching merely from a corner. I found a glimpse of someone so familiar amongst the photographers & true enough HB was one of them aiming on his Canon.

Auntie Parveen ushered us to a room. Once the door was opened & saw the crowd inside, I wanted to decline. But knowing that a bride was waiting inside I guided myself in. I didn't hv the point & shoot in my handbag. Both cams were with HB! Grrr.. But with her demure composition seated on a bed, head docilely bowed, I wondered would I be permitted to snap her on cam? We checked on the other bride & she was no different than the other one. Shy, pretty but nervous.

I hate to admit this but the best part I experienced at the wedding was during meal time... ;-) But really! It was quite an experience. After seeing the brides we were ushered downstairs & were reunited with the men at a table served with mutton briyani & fried chicken. No plates needed. The table was covered with a long piece of paper & on top was a banana leaf. Once we were done eating, the paper together with the leaf was folded & dumped into a bin. A new set of paper & leaf was replaced. How convenient!

Us with our delicious meal :-)

Uncle with Auntie

Uncle with his SIL & niece

After thanking the host, we continued our long journey to Chennai. I must thank the hearty lunch we had because it put almost all of us in dreamland. The mini bus was totally quiet except for the engine sound & the non-stoppable honking :-)

On the way up to Chennai

I can't remember where or when but on our way we had a stop at a rest area along the highway. It felt good to stand up & walk after the long hours ride.

They were not difficult to travel with. Thumb's up girls... & you too Hadi :-)

There was even a neat playground

The adults enjoyed their tea alright. Chai to be exact... Tea with milk. Still could't compete my mom's teh tarik ;-)

The proper way to have your chai...
Continued the journey. By then it was not only the children asking their Tata "Are we there yet?". Even us kept pestering Uncle ;-)

After the playground episode the kids were energized. I was seated next to HB behind the driver. HB was either napping or reading or napping ;-) So it was not much of fun activities in front but it was totally different at the back. It was like a zoo! Hahaha... My SIL & her hubby had a great time entertaining the kids & vise versa.

Even Nadeen preferred her uncle & auntie to her parents ;-)

Finally we reached Chennai but Chennai itself was a big city & for us to get to our exact destination sounded almost impossible with the heavy traffics. My FIL in law suggested us to have dinner first & Uncle brought us to this vegetarian restaurant.

Uncle Ibrahim & Aunt Mumtaz who were traveling with us from Papanasam had to leave. They were meeting their son & declined to join us for dinner.

Us, clowning whilst waiting for food

Notice the jug on the table? We didn't take that even though it was in the house. As directed by Uncle of course. It surprised me. I was aware of the water condition in India & vaccinated my girls with typhoid vaccine. But the fact that Uncle as a local refused to consume the water surprised me. He, together with us opted for mineral water the whole time we were in Chennai.

Nadeen helped herself for 2 purees, the same amount I consumed!

After our light dinner we braved the traffic jam to the hotel that Uncle made reservation. Once in our respective shells, we freshened up & hit the sack...

*to be continued


AuntieYan said...


Seronoknya baca cerita pengembaraan you & famili untuk berjumpa famili yang dah lama terputus hubungan. Mesra sungguh sambutan dia orang...alhamdulillah!

jabishah said...

Salam. Good to know auntie enjoyed the posts. Mmg seronok. Tu yg nak share dgn semua tu :-)

a&a'smom said...

We cant wait for our 1 month Kerala trip to visit all of my aunts, uncles, relatives this 23rd. It will the boys' 1st visit to see their roots!

jabishah said...

I bet they are all excited Sheela!! Their mom esp ;-)