Two weeks ago on a Friday just like today, I tucked Tara in bed and left for a whirlwind trip to India, for work. It was furthest I’d ever been from Tara ever since she was born. And it was also the longest I was away from her. I tried not to think about it. The more you think about something the more it consumes you. Sometimes you just go through the motions for the feelings to settle. The fridge was stocked with food that could last a week. I packed all the five days of lunch boxes with food that I know Tara can eat on repeat, without much complaining. Yes, Rajma Chawal was on the list. I did what I could – prepare. And then I left. She and I chatted about her taking care of Daddy. And that if she was going to be a good girl, there were two science experiments kits were on the way.

It was good to meet Mom for a day, go shopping with her, and enjoy chai with her. Enjoyed her home cooked delicacies and before I knew it time was up. Met my in-laws, and Agam’s Nana and Nani who had not been keeping well. And attended a few hours of Durga Puja on Saptami evening. In fact I enjoyed my first Anjali. Even BUa squeezed a few hours to come meet me before my flight. And caught up with my little nieces and sister for a couple of hours.

To be in India the same week that we lost Papa was little odd. I thought it would weigh down on me. But truth is my days were so packed, that I could barely remember the dates.

The five working days in between are a blur. I felt like was experiencing some 24 hour time zone where there was no clear segregation between day and night. Just those few hours when I crashed before the sunlight woke me up the next morning. I did not get more than 15 hours of sleep over those 5 days. I was experiencing an adrenaline rush that was driving me forward. I cannot believe I even found 30min to shop for a pearl string for my Mom’s bday. I was on a call all through those 30min. So weird.

Anyways, it was a fabulous experience. I have traveled a lot for work, but never to India. It was a special experience. I don’t mind doing it again. It’s like being a part of the show you love watching. I had some very insightful conversations with a lot of people on this trip. From the cab drivers and security guards, to Googlers who were traveling with me on this trip.

I fell in love with the minarets of Hyderabad. Each one is so unique and so dainty. The city is special. So much history, and so much literature comes from it. I did not step out of the office much, so there was no Char Minar to be enjoyed. But I will definitely make a trip next time.

I have a lot of cherished memories from this trip. Mostly with my team, while we were driving this rather ambiguous initiative forward, in Gurgaon. I truly experienced a #onegoogle effort on the ground. I’d like to believe I had some part to play in creating it. But the company was splendid. And the goal was worth it 🙂 Adrenaline helped!

But my favorite memory was when I received a surprise gift from the local team in HYD. The day before my departure from HYD, I met the teams and shared a few insights with them, heard their stories and encouraged them to keep the channels of communications open even when I am back in US. We took a selfie to freeze that moment in our memories. The next day the team got the selfie on a coffee mug and gave it to me as a gift. I had urged them to think of magical experiences we can deliver to our clients, and in return they gave me magical delight. The mug appears to be an ordinary black coffee mug. But when you add hot liquid to it, the selfie appears. It was truly magical. And more so because they made it happen in less than 12 hours. I don’t know what magic they did. But it was so special 🙂

I flew Air India on this trip, and it was a wise choice. Or a lucky one. I slept 14 hours on my flight back. And was super refreshed to meet Tara on Sunday morning! She had been a good girl and her science experiments were waiting for a review with Mama!

It was a whirlwind trip unlike something I have done before. An adrenaline rush, I could not quite explain, forget recreate. And a bucket full of memories of the people, the food and the places I visited.

When I arrived in Delhi, there was a Google cab and security guard who picked me up from the airpot. He said to me, “You have come on the first day of Navratri. It’s the day Durga comes home. It’s an auspicious day. You will have a successful trip.” He was right. I did have a successful trip. And Durga’s strength is probably what I can attribute that adrenaline to.

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