July 13th - 2006 :
My sister got a phone call around 10.30 AM. We called her from Meenambakkam airport - and this is what we asked her : "Have you kept rice in the pressure cooker?" - she did not understand - why will we call from US to know if she has kept rice in the pressure cooker for the afternoon.
We were not supposed to come to India till October and it was not yet confirmed - and why was he asking this dumb question. Anyway I did not let her wonder too much - and broke the news that will be in landing in Coimbatore airport in another hour. So please add some more rice for both of us!
Good my mother did not take the call - she would have got a heartattack.
My sister's and my mother's BP shot up. After we had spoken, my sister suspected I was playing a prank. But she knew I will not play with sentiments like this - so it has to be true. And for the first time ( her claim ) she scolded me as "Naai" (dog ).
July 11th, 2006 :
We had to board Air India flight in Chicago's O Hare Airport. We packed a little too many things - thought will pay ( no not bribe ) for the excess and get through. We had a little too many sentimental things and of course chocolates. The iron lady behind the counter was unforgiving. She hated Sangeeta for some reason and will not allow any slack to us. So we had to take off all the chocolates and bring it to precisely within the range. Ideally we should have got embarrased with so many people watching us take things out and giving it away to a lady who had come to see someone off ( her lucky day ) - but we were so excited about getting back to India - and the very thought that we were going to shock everyone..kept us in high spirits.
July 2, 2006 :
Witnessed Formula 1 at Indianapolis - one of my lifetime dreams to watch Formula 1 Live. Schumi won - but what a bore. Watching it on TV was much better. Some dreams should always remain dreams - should never meet them.
It was hot sweaty, everything was expensive, nothing good to eat. Bought 2 Ferrari caps and Ferrari 2005 replica adding to the weight of our suitcases ! This was our last long drive in US. Will surely miss those gas stations, slurpies, starbucks, cruise control...
June 2006 :
Shipped off 10 boxes of stuff we had accumulated. Then put ads in craiglist etc to sell off our cars, router, futon, table..
A cousin's family was planning to visit Chicago in end July - and we had to discourage them without letting out the big secret. Having a secret was too much of stress - especially when the D day was just a couple of weeks away- we had to watch what we speak to home and friends.
May 2006 :
Applied for transfer to India - and finally got it approved after a few twists and turns. Got off work early that day and went to Devon avenue to book tickets to India. Picked Air India as they let people carry a little excess weight - someone knowledgable had once advised me. 2 one way tickets - and they were quite expensive.
Sangeeta was in Cleveland that time - got into the car, kept the tickets on the passenger seat and called Sangeeta to tell that I have got the tickets. It was an amazing feeling.
So that was what happened 5 years back. The story had some more events - none of our suitcases arrived with us, flight got delayed, missed the connecting flight, they put us on a flight to Hyderabad (??) and finally landed in Chennai. There Sangeeta & I lost each other in Meenambakkam airport - and we had no cell phones to find each other.
And since we had to give away all the chocolates while checking in, I bought some in a shop inside OHare, and had kept it under the foot, but forgot while changing planes. So we landed without a single chocolate on our hand. Till date my sister, my nephew and Sangeeta's brother have not forgiven us for this oversight on our part.