Saturday, July 9, 2011


One lazy afternoon, I got a call from my Appa ,who sounded very exuberant & thrilled - "Hey Suni,you know what,Amma & myself have cleared the interview!" Interview,what interview for this silver haired couple hitting the 60s,I wondered.Before I let my imagination run loose,to my amusement,Appa went on to elaborate that they had managed to get visa from the American Embassy for their long awaited trip across seven seas.The stern looking American officer at the Embassy appeared to be satisfied that they had no idea of settling in Bush's ranch since both their children were not domiciled in that part of the globe.
    So the first hurdle crossed,the house "SYAM" was  abuzz with activity.Appa with one hand on the mobile,another on the world map,precariously hanging on the newly whitewashed walls of his humble domain,probably he could do with another hand to type in instructions on his PC for online reservations of Airline tickets, accomodation,planning his itinerary etc. I set the clock back & vividly remembered the scene when we were kids standing in front of the very same big world map & Appa like a Geography teacher telling us the various hotspots across the world."Here is the great barrier reef, the next moment it would be the Niagra falls & on yet another trip it would be our very own chilka lake".These Geography lessons were embedded in our brains & stood us in good stead in our future mapping of the continents.This map has withstood the test of time & Appa still enjoying globe trotting & drooling over it!
      In another part of the house,Achoo! Achoo! my Amma cursing her nasty cold & hoarsely crying out " this lousy cold had to come only now".I paused to think at the ruckus she was creating over this,as normally she doesn't care for any of the diseases dogging her,least of all an influenza.The reason I soon found out was the fear of a strict scanning by the Americans literally down to the innerwears.If they find her with some antibiotics,they may refuse entry for fear of spreading an epidemic! Not to mention the umpteen number of fatal diseases they bring to our India!
     The dust & the storm finally settled & the decks were cleared for a smooth takeoff from " nammalude Nedumbassery" , Appa&Amma equipped with digicam to instantly capture the golden moments.The delay in takeoff removed all obstacles in the onward journey,like how we say "Pillayar chuzhi" .This also meant a chance meeting with the parents of my old chum Minu,who passed on the good news of Minu giving birth to a baby boy after many years of marriage.
     The whirlwind tour of the Americas,the world's largest democracy, finally began with a real bang & Appa's esteemed toy manufacturing company taking over the reins completely,arranging for the stay,good Indian vegetarian fare in friends' places (they were wary of food which contained crawling & creeping creatures tickling their palette!),sightseeing tours on the "city's  airconditioned spic & span buses" to put it in Amma's words & finally not to speak of glow on Amma's cheeks drinking apple juice,orange juice all the way.
     However,the moment of reckoning came when Appa stood in awe at the stupendous Empire State building.For few breathless moments,I think he reminiscenced the days,when as a young of 10 carried his little sister on his tiny shoulders & enjoyed the magnificent Chidambaram Temple of Lord Nataraja! It is hard to compare the stature of the Gopuram  of the Chola temple built with love & toil of 100s of labourers with that of the technologically advanced tower of America - both unique & distinct in its own rights.
     Then came the torrents,the gush of the Niagra & the omnipresent rainbow in all its wonderous hues & one could findout from the snaps,the child like enthusiasm bubbling on the couple's faces! They could manage to squeeze in couple of other important destinations & also the long lost meeting with old colleague's daughter Papu.
     The second honeymoon over,it was back to ground reality,they even managed to beat the deluge at Mumbai as they landed a few hours before the sky opened up.In a flash they were home & dry,Amma back to her routine Narayaneeyam classes & daily visit to Trikkakara Temple.
     When I asked my Appa about one incident that stood out in the whole trip - he told me, it was,when he received his old trousers misplaced by the launderers in the hotel,safely returned to him via courier.I presumed that the reason for this honest service would be that nobody could fit into his diminutive trouser size,not to mention the age of the same!
     This piece is dedicated to Shri.M.Gopakumar Nair,Director (Indian operations) of K&M International,who in all magnanimity created an environment & ambience for this "second honeymoon" in the twilight of their life!          


  1. Awesome Post! Loved every line of it...

  2. I guess the love of travelling from early days lead into those geography lessons. And, the honesty is unparalleled in these countries not to mention that size factor playing an important part for the written post!



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