Friday, June 26, 2015

Tranquility amidst adventure in the Kumaon Valley.

It all began on Whatsapp. But then, doesn't everything nowadays?

Six of us, siblings and cousins, communicate with each other via a group on whatsapp. Two weeks ago we were all extremely bored and frustrated with the oppressive heat in the city. As it always happens, one of us suggested a meet-up over the weekend. A movie, maybe? We went through the names and synopses of all the movies that were playing. Nothing worked out for all of us at the same time. And just then, out of the blue in his characteristic style, the youngest cousin (even he is almost 23 years old - gosh, we're old!) chimed in, "Let's go on a trip!"

Saturday, June 13, 2015

An Unforgettable Date with Uncle Sam: Part II

13th May 2015. It was nine thirty in the night, but the day seemed to have just dawned at the Uppal residence. Everybody was out and about. A makeshift throne was being prepared for the modern-day queen of 18, Cherrygate Lane. Turmeric and scented oils were being concocted in an urn to make the sacred haldi paste. Aunts and uncles, cousins and friends had descended from far and wide, and could be caught sitting around sipping on their teas and martinis. The air was festive, the mood exuberant.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

An Unforgettable Date with Uncle Sam: Part I

In the dead of the night on the 13th of May, we - Mom and I - set out for the Delhi airport, passports in hand, luggage in tow. The roads were not nearly as deserted as you'd expect at that time of the night, a fact that bears witness to Delhi's reputation of being a city that never sleeps. It took about a half hour to complete the various check-in formalities. Another hour went by without my realizing, and just like that, all of a sudden I was on my way to board the plane slated to take me on my life's first foreign trip. I was remotely conscious of the impossibly long journey that awaited us. Wondering where we were headed? Well, first to Abu Dhabi and from there on to New York. Yes, finally a date with the mighty Uncle Sam!

The 18 hours it took to transport us halfway across the globe felt like an eternity. I watched 2 movies and a couple of TV show episodes, ate 3 meals, had a couple of drinks and slept in several bursts of an hour or two. And yet I was wide awake when the plane began its descent at the John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens, New York. As I stepped out of the arrivals area and glanced back, the airport seemed small - tiny really - when compared to the airport I had just left behind in India. I felt proud.