A botched flight schedule combined with a first class upgrade, some lost luggage and a seemingly missing blackberry set me off in the wrong direction, but, DAMN was it good to be back.
First glimpses of the rainy streets leaving the airport, the stench of the slums: of poverty and hopelessness and yet, the ability to find laughter in the childrens faces as they played in the street at 2 am, aware yet unaccepting of it all. Their situation just the tip of that iceberg called life, where things for 99% of them was all downhill..ending up as a beggar on the streets, a brown sugar addict or basically someone connected to crime and the underworld. The other 1%, well, still waiting for that slumdog millionaire story in an unforgiving city filled with desis looking to take advantage of you or push you out of the way at every corner in life and on the street.
Was great to see the family, especially my mother, with whom I've had a love-hate-love relationship with. I feel her vulnerability as she hits her 67th year. She's lost some of her edge, that nastiness that permeated our relationship where she was unable to connect with her children. We still see shadows of that through the unorganized way in which she has so far (and yes successfully) led her life. My sister, whom I worry about all the time, overweight yet has the energy of a 19 yr old kid, made me real proud that she finally joined the gym and stuck to the schedule. One can only pray that she continues to do so as i'd like to have her around for a very long time to come. Finally my niece, a sweetheart of a kid but I'm starting to suspect that she sees me as Mr. Money while asking for her super expensive gifts that her parents cannot afford. I've already drawn the boundaries on the IPhone 4, getting her a motorola droid instead...she needs to understand that stuff in life is "earned" not just "gotten".
Ah yes, the city...out for a run monday morning. a straight sprint down to lands end to see a guy pooping on the beach, dropping a huge load of shit as io stretched and tried to take in the morning rays of the sun (of course, we're facing west so no real sunrise there). Sprinted back as fast as I could to get away from the sight I tried desperately to get out of my mind. On the way back, realized that this street at bandstand had so many memories, of days and friends gone by. Friends who I thought were friends but were not really !
Sue, Nasser, Mellu and of course dr. ritesh: was great seeing you all. Nasser, kudos on your success, you still stay the same person i've known since 1981 and i continue to be in awe of the way you have accomplished what you have. Sue: to a great friendship and a fake new york accent (as you would accuse me of!), its been awesome seeing you again. Mellu: I love you man (its been 25 years as friends), but please stop saying "my wife" every two sentences. Even my mom was laughing at dinner, snickering that you must be 'just married'. Finally, the good doctor: We picked up where we left off almost 15 years ago my friend. Between your succcess, family and our ability to stay friends 20+ years, two continents apart and share that trust we once had, those 10 beers were awesome. My head and body didn't think so the next day, but, what the heck...just like it was in Satara and Karad yes? The good ole boys, their motorcycles and no money. I distinctly remember no money because we alternated between Super Doctor rums, cheap cigarettes and 1 litre fill-ups on petrol in our bikes. Ah bach! And coming closer to 40, we're both blessed with lovely wives, great families and the quest for running ... you a Nike guy, me , a mix of Asics and Reebok gear.
My wife gets in today, 9PM. more bad news on the family front...he's fathers brother is not doing well with a malignant cancer of the colon and failing kidneys. My trip to goa might be cancelled as Calcutta takes precedence in this case. The outlook is not good, but I think i can rationalize by saying that he has lived a full life to the ripe old age of 90. More later....