One does not need a reason to go to India. But this time, I had repeatedly spoken to Agam about the purpose of our India trip. It was to serve as a blast of energy for our families back home. There had been some ups and downs. It almost felt like a series of unhappy happenings had plagued the environment. For starters, some of us lost our father, some lost their husband, some had to go around doctors for eye checkups and surgery, and someone was managing so many things all by himself – making sure he is there to support all others around him.
We wanted to distract everyone from their usual routine, and stir up the environment. Get the Brahmas excited about the upcoming wedding, the Khullars stirred up with activity in Hari Nagar and the Gandhis excited about future vacations, their adorable photogenic daughters and life ahead in general. We wanted to make them all happy. We had a very tight itinerary, but we managed it cover a lot of ground in these few days. I loved the complete orchestration of activities. It was nice to sit back and see the plans form and merge and collapse and form and finally get implemented.
We landed in the wee hours of Saturday morning and spent the next day eating and then eating more, and then getting ready for the party in the evening. I think the party was a great idea to jumpstart the vacation. Especially in summers, it would have been impossible for us to go and meet everyone in person, so this was just perfect. We met some of our favorite people and shared the happenings since the last few months and also the plans for the upcoming ones.
And then we started the drill – Kamakshi temple, dinner/lunch at some favorite restaurants, monsoons, shopping, super fast darshan at Bangle Sahib, more shopping, family dinners, day spend with Valya Bua, family visits, giving gifts/receiving gifts, meeting friends from way back in time, more family visits, bailey shots, Delhi Belly, Chole Bhature from Haldirams, Chaat at Bikanerwala, birthday parties, birthday cakes and the last and final day spent with my favorite people all together in Hari Nagar. And then we boarded the flight back to SF. Oh what a fun time spent in Delhi with our loved ones, a whirlwind trip, one that helped me replace my memories from the last trip to Delhi. I indeed needed this trip.
So this how I think our brain works. We visit places and make memories and those memories are what we remember about those places. In my mind, Delhi was associated with Papa’s death. Delhi was where I rushed to when Stuti told me that he is no more. The home in Hari Nagar was printed in my memory, as from the 13th day ceremony, full of people with sullen faces. My memory of my mother’s dazed face had to be replaced by something more cheerful, or else every time I thought of her, her sad face came in front of my eyes. My last memory of my Dad is him waiving at me from the security line at the SFO airport, right before their flight back to Delhi in 2009. That’s how I will always remember him. Luck favored me and I didn’t have to replace his cheerful face with that of him, after his soul had departed .
So I wanted to replace my memories from the last trip with new memories, of the world after he had left. And that’s what this Delhi trip was all about.
Now when I think of Delhi, I remember the fun time we spent at the party with my nieces and my family, seeing my Mom and sister at home on Saturday evening before the party, the trip to Kamakshi temple and the short discussion that followed it, the gift opening session at Naraina, the yummy Rajma Chawal at Stuti’s, shopping trip to gold suk with Bua and Momma, my super active Mom, running around making sure her son in law is fed , mango kulfi at Bikanerwala, followed by Mishti Doi, watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Paris pictures with Jeeju, Mumma, Stuti, Aunty and the niecos, cutting our bday cake at Hari Nagar and waving the final good bye to Momma and Papa at the airport. That’s what I remember of Delhi – and that’s what I want to remember until our next trip in January.
Delhi rocks.. it is still the city I will happily swap with any destination in the world.