Anyway, enough about the technical vagaries of the situation (school bus drop and pick up, breakfast, packed lunch, afternoon entertainment and an evening routine) and on to this amazing trip.
My cousin 40in2006 (henceforth to be known as Tall) was coming to India to vacation for a few weeks and attend her college reunion. Once we knew this, and after some discussion, I booked a flight to travel with her on this leg of her journey. So she came to Singapore where we had a day and a half of chatter and food, before we flew to Madras on Monday night.
An aside: To our delight everyone from the boarding call to the pilot and stewards were calling it 'Madras' and not 'Chennai'.
My younger aunt R lives in Madras - the elder one does too but she is in SanJose looking after Tall's family. R's daughter is Slim. She lived next door to us (she in Italy and we in London for many years and we never met) and moved back to Madras a few years ago. When we were growing up I came to Madras every summer (a story you are no doubt familiar with and bored of) and so I have a million memories of my cousins. As we have grown older opportunities to meet and hang out have been hijacked by weddings, marriages, jobs, babies and sheer geographical distance. This is it. Our sliver of opportunity to catch-up and continue our bond of sisterhood and talk about our parents, spouses, children, work, friends, life. This flying visit is a chance for me to revisit bits of this amazing city, hangout with everyone and to learn to relinquish control of everything my son does. Also to eat my own weight in Idli's.
Yesterday Slim, Tall and I (Fat), the girl half of the Cujins, spent the day shopping and chatting and eating. I have not had a better day or more fun in an age. It was easy, we have so much shared history between us, and lovely beyond any words I can write. I'm pretty sure one of those Malls is now shut for business as in a 5 hour period we bought everything, a carload of stuff between us. We ate chole bature and Paneer Tikka and drank cold coffee (which only Indians know how to make!).
Slim is a patient guide and adept shopper and with a great eye for design we made wise choices and got almost everything on our lists and more. But tomorrow is another day and no doubt some other part of the city is waiting for us to come buy all their stuff.
I wonder if I will have to buy a new suitcase once I am done?