I’m such a lucky girl. It was my mums 70th birthday last week and I got to go to Delhi and spend a few days with her and my dad. The other key birthday guy was my brother who plays the role of perpetual birthday present by sharing her birthday. My dads sister and my mums brother & sil all flew in to spend those few days with us. My sister in law, her mum and my absolutely adorable nephew made up the pack. It was a fluid few days with lazy meals and impromptu plans and a lot of laughter and reminiscing. Caught a Hindi movie, went to a book store and drank a lot of cold coffees along the way. I didn’t manage to pierce my nose (something I have been talking about for over 2 decades) or get my act together for a meal with friends. I did manage a morning of chatty catch ups with one of my favourite cousins and a dear friend though so felt I’d redeemed myself.
The 4 days flew by. My mum loved her birthday presents of hand drawn Ganesha’s from Kid and I. We had a wonderful birthday lunch for them both. My brother had to settle for a cheesy Kung Fu T-shirt and a hug. My mother with her youthful outlook on life seemed to enjoy her day, the company, the food and the pretty perfect early March temperature.
Then I had 5 friends arrive from HK and we began a whirlwind, packed 5 day trip around Jaipur, Agra and Delhi. Long road trips and questions about monuments, startling historical facts and early starts to see the Taj Mahal at sunrise and without many people, shopping and stitching and interesting meals in wonderful locations. It all went like a dream, so very fast after the many slow months of planning.
For me it was absolutely fascinating to see India through their eyes and lens. I hadn’t thought about it how to explain that everyday Indian life before - the many things I take for granted and do not really even see anymore. We had of course in the run up to this talked about practical things like transport and sightseeing and guides and food but I had forgotten to explain the minutiae of that everyday life. It was interesting to realise the sheer amount of things I know about Indian daily life and various systems, clothing, ties and bonds but haven’t ever had to explain to someone for whom this is a new experience. The sheer sensory overload of color, smells, people, animals and textures for a new person was interesting to watch. They were excellent visitors - respectful and curious without trying to judge. We had some amazing experiences and I was most delighted to share the always smiling and positive faces of people - from workers on a farm to small children selling trinkets by the road. It went swimmingly well and all too soon the trip was nearly over.
We had a big meal with my folks and my bestie and a dear ex-HK friend. The next day we had a chance to look at Delhi in full spring bloom - and what a shownit is in dappled winter sunlight, Lutyens Delhi is always a delight that makes me nostalgic for my childhood. A last minute dash to buy up as much as we could fit in our groaning suitcases and then a last stop at my home and that’s where I saw it: how much my mum and dad are my home. The way she delegates looking after the house, her pride in it and it’s contents and how welcoming she is to all who cross its threshold. And how even nearly 20 years later she makes me feel like that is my home. A place I can totally let go and be the kid. My mum, with her youthful heart of a 25 year old, she is my home. I’m so incredibly lucky.
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