It's been a crazy crazy few days. We landed safe and sound in good old Dilli in the wee hours of Thursday. Squiggles' first time here...yay!!! Of course, we almost didn't get here thanks to the world's worst airline - Jet Airways - but that's another story which deserves it's own post and I just don't feel like going on a negative tangent right now. I feel positive. Sigh... it's so good to be back. Full of black yucky mucus within a few hours of landing :) but good.
As I have hinted at, the flight was aweful but we will gloss over that for the moment. I have to say one thing about us middle class desis, we're not helpful at all. I think Delihites have fallen pray to the big city syndrome. As a mom travelling alone with an infant I was suprised at the lack of helpfulness or courtesy displayed during the flight and after by my co-passengers. People hurriedly trying to overtake me to save 30 sec in the security queue and in the immigration line, not letting me through while alighting from the plane. When we landed we were taken to the airport terminal in a bus from the plane. A sweet security chap helped open my pram and put it on the bus for me. But when it came to alighting all those fat men just got off the bus without the slightest consideration. In fact, it was a woman with a big suitcase of her own who offered to help me get the pram off the bus. Thank you, whoever you are.
Squiggles' tatha (grandpa) was waiting for us just beyond the immigration counter. It was quite obvious that he had eyes only for Squiggles' *wry grin* and was pleased as a punch that she was awake. Suprisingly, immigration, bags and customs was really quick. It couldn't have taken us more than 15 min to clear everything.
As soon as we got out of the terminal the chill hit us. Even though the pilot had announced it was 14 degrees, it felt much cooler. We quickly got into the car and headed home. There is so much construction going around in Delhi, and roads have changed so much over the last few years, that even though I have driven on Delhi roads extensively, it all seemed a bit confusing. We got home at about 4 in the morning where Squiggles' grandma was waiting. I promptly offloaded her into those waiting arms. As can be expected, she didn't stay put. But after a really crappy flight I can't blame her. In fact considering the circumstance she did really well.
I'm really glad Squiggles was awake though. She cooed and smiled a bit. Enough to soothe eyes that had been waiting for her for the last few months. Obviously they would have loved it if she had jumped all over them but this wasn't too bad either.
The next morning the madness began. Phones were ringing all morning. All wanting to know whether we had reached safely and of course when they would get to see Squiggles. I missed most of the calls since Squiggles was a bit overwhelmed and super tired so she wouldn't leave me for a moment.
A very dear friend of mine from WIMWI (Well Known Institute of Management in Western India) was in town and due to head back home the same night. We got in touch and she came over to see us after the customary grumbling about why I couldn't have married someone who had the decency to be live more centrally :). Stuff that only a good friend can get away with. I hadn't met her for 5 years. The last time we met was at my wedding in Chennai. In the meantime, both of us have become mommies. It was so good to see her. I realised I miss her. I know she's very busy with her life at the moment but I wish she would make more of an effort to be regular with her email and I said as much. It was so weird to see each other and the kids. Weird but nice. Kind of surreal too. As she left I was hit by a strong wave of nostalgia. The thought of god knows how many years it would be before I would see her again left me holding back tears. She's expecting her second child now... :). I wish we lived closer.
In the evening friends of my in-laws came to see Squiggles. They stayed for a couple of hours and I got so hungry that I had to discreetly gobble the leftover Gajrela (Carrot Halwa) in the kitchen. I haven't done that in ages... hiding in the kitchen from guests and eating. Squiggles finaly condescended to sleep at 10 that night. I then got down to the phone and spoke to a few of my aunts and cousins who had been chasing me since morning but was just heard mumbling incoherently.
The next day we tried to get ready early but inevitably it was noon before we could leave home. We went to Squiggles' aunt's place. My SIL is expecting anytime now so there's a lot of excitement and nervousness around. We spent the afternoon there. The plan was to then head to my mom's place to join in the celebrations for my aunt and uncle's silver wedding anniversary. That's when Squiggles would get to meet my side of the family for the first time. I could visualise the scene. It would be worse than a zoo, all these faces staring at and crowding Squiggles, talking loudly and commenting on every feature of her face, passing her around and snatching her from each other and worse. And it all happened just as I feared and worse! But more of that tomorrow.