The house is silent, except for the whirring of the fan, as everyone is in deep slumber – it’s after lunch on Sunday and it is time to sleep – no matter if it is well-earned or not. The restlessness that is a curse of my current lifestyle does not allow me to sleep, even though I am back in my boyhood city and the pace of life here is gentle and unhurried.
We got here early yesterday morning – an absurdly early morning start typical of our lives today. Once we landed and got to my parents’ home, the slow pace of life here slowly took hold of us. Since then, we have been soaking it in, eating good food, sleeping during the day, talking late into the night, meeting friends, catching up with family, slowing down our very consciousnesses. We’ve been here for little more than 24 hours, and it feels like a much longer time already.
After a leisurely breakfast, a couple of hours of napping caught us up and we were ready to go to Vidya’s school reunion. We went to her school, where a few of her classmates had managed to get together an amazingly large number of teachers and students from their batch for a reunion. We spent all evening together – the camaraderie and warmth was quite brilliant, and even though I personally knew only a handful of them, it was good catching up. Needless to say, I made a few new friends as well.
This morning, we headed out again to meet a few friends from last night for one more, less organized, more let-your-hair-down session over breakfast. Once again, the warmth was overwhelming. It was great to be part of the group, even though I had met many of them for the first time only the previous evening. The group was diverse, with many folks at the top of their professions, wielding significant wealth and influence. Within the room, however, they were a group of school kids all grown up – all their current trappings left at the door and interacting just as people with their friends and schoolmates. I had a surprisingly good time, and met several people we are sure to keep in touch with over the coming days.
No visit to my hometown is complete without amazing food. This time, I had the added comfort of eating some of it at my parents’ home. My mother’s magic touch was back with a family-style beef fry fr lunch yesterday, the recipe for which was taught her by my father’s mother. Obviously, the written-down version is merely an aide memoir – the proportions, quantities, cooking times – all carried in her mind. The dish itself was strongly flavored and very evocative of many childhood meals. It was paired with rice and rasam, one of my favorite childhood combinations.
Dinner at the reunion was a spread of a variety of South and North Indian food. My favorite was crisp dosas from a live dosa counter which combined beautifully with the North Indian dal from the buffet counter. Of course, I just stationed myself with a comfortable proximity to the dosa chef and ensured I had as uninterrupted a supply of dosas as possible!
Breakfast was at the iconic Annapoorna Gowrishankar at RS Puram, where I had a rather extensive meal, including rava kesari, idli, vada with and without sambar, onion, masala and plain dosas and pooris followed up with a double helping of the famous Annapoorna coffee – which is supposed to have attracted hordes of Bullet-driving zamindars from within a 60-kilometer radius for their pre-breakfast dose of the fragrant potation.
Lunch was again at home, this time a mutton biryani, Tamil style. This last was what induced the current siesta for the entire household, and gave me the time to quickly put down this account.
We head home about 15 hours from now. Back to the maddening hectic lives we have built for ourselves. I’ll now go back to enjoying this brief respite from the treadmill.