It’s always a sinking feeling at the end of vacations and I’m lucky in a way I got myself to write this two nights before I am heading back to Dubai. God has been kind (duh – as always) and this one’s like the most I have been in Cochin ever since I started working 6 years ago – One month in all.
Cochin – swoop – here comes the George household – two gulfites Sheryl and Myself along with our little Person of Indian Origin – Pio onto the Tuskerland Airport. Two big red suitcases and a loaned grey one from Jomy Chettan, Sheryl’s feeding pillow and the all too familiar pink baby bag. The heat – that’s what Cochin has been infamous for these days. Its different from the Gulf heat – stingy and sticky. We just realized we are slowly becoming the elite AC crowd. Slowly but surely becoming inhabitants of conditioned air.
What am I turning into? Most of my life I have lived in an Asbestos Shed with partially plastered walls – right beside a Speed Breaker on a Bus Route. Asbestos makes heat hotter, plastered walls are sure to become extremely damp during monsoon and the notorious Red Private buses on Speed breakers send tremors through the asbestos, cracked red oxidized floor, wall and all. And now we need the freaky nano-technology powered Split ACs to survive on – WHAT am I turning into ?
And here were are – Mummy, Daddy and Kuttan (mine little sister) have soon got into the groove of Baby- rearing. The house as they say, have become alive with squeals, baby laughter, chatter, tiny feet and hands, and the occasional banging head resultant cries. Mummy’s menu involves the soul of Kerala – Puttu, Kadala, Beef ularthiyathu, Idiyappam, Mutta Curry, Appam, Stew and the likes. Mummy gets this bliss in fattening us up and we are by nature submissive to parents alright. Daddy busies himself in cycling to the Market to buy Prawns, Fish and essentially everything available to join in Mummy’s bliss. There’s even two Red eyed white Rabbits (alive of course) and Six Chickens (alive at the moment) to add it all up. They’re running around the house adding to the cacophony we all make. Everything is a buzz and a whirl, and It feels good to be home.
A Bangalore Trip got cancelled because Pio caught a Cold and would’nt become better, Sheryl lost her chance to meet her friends and God Parents – and thus we bore the sacrifice of being parents – Disappointed, but knowing God wants us to be family first. I had my Exams of course, every alternate working day – the reason why the vacation was planned. I talk about it now because it fell last in my agenda, much to the despise of my Mother. The trip however contained a lot of commuting here and there. Like Minu (my cousin), who would be getting Engaged and subsequently married during this time and for which we were to go to Mundakkayam.
Mundakkayam is at the border of Kottayam and start of Idukki districts. Childhood summer vacations are best known for staying over at Idukki – Mundakkayam and around Vandiperiyar. Between tea and rubber estates. Though present situations reflect little of the former glory, the land itself is rich and aromatic. Rolling hills and winding streams and little brooks. In Idukki, speaking to a native can give you the jitters of a cold morning from the accent itself. Like Jake the Na’avi in Avatar, I can dig my toes into the soil, take in the dewy air and feel good –and satisfied.
And we travelled – lightning fast on this little Indica – over the rubberized but precarious roads. The Roads were fortunately repaired by the local MLA because of the upcoming Elections. Chitta’s new home was beautiful – especially the maid’s room down below into the Earth where Sheryl and I tried to pacify a cranky Pio. He was the Arab Air Conditioned Baby remember – Mundakkayam by now had its fair share of heat as well, moreso because of the Rubber Plantations cut away for Pineapple as the Rotational Crop. Plush and green were the hills beside and we managed to sneak out to breath in the clouds. When the Engagement was over, it was almost evening and we had to strategically decide to not return for the wedding because of the long haul and the heat. It could be just too much for Pio.
The solo Bangalore trip – Dony was getting married to Rupal – they made a cute couple no doubt and I had to be there, moreso because Dony is the God father to Pio. An overnight Train journey brought me to Cantonement. Lodged at Jimmy’s and Kim’s place (Sheryl’s GodParents) and tried in vain to write down the Chords of the Syrian rite Mass hymns. Jomichan and Anila thought I was really good at music since I have this unusual ability look smart and all-knowing when in musical conversation. Cathy, after so many years of knowing her while in Bangalore invited me home and I almost cried with gratitude. A late night of updates to the interrogating Jimmy and Kim of how I was treating their God Child and then set out for the wedding. I played Guitar and witnessed Dony and Rupal exchange their vows and I reminisced ours. No high, no euphoria, just the feeling of contentment that God made everything beautiful in His time. I love Sheryl like no other and It’s an added bonus that I get more of Jesus with more of Sheryl. It’s a weird theory and lets slide past that. Talking about bonuses, God fulfilled a little desire aged 18 years – I got to play keys for Shelton and Beena – the frontmen of RexBand and it just seemed like we were in it since a long time. Ah the joy of making music with men of God.
The 3.5 years I have spent in Bangalore kick started with an Architect Employer who would’nt pay salary, accidents, miracles, deep friendships and of course meeting Sheryl. Anything in Bangalore is the trend for me, and it is quite the fashion ramp of India, in style, attitude and even vocabulary. Times that I have satiated my hunger with Watermelon slices off roadside peddlers, Bun and Soda, times I have learnt not to trust Credit Cards, times of enlightening poverty and abandonment. Times of total trust in JESUS.
Back to Cochin and then the final leg. To SriLanka, Sheryl and Pio were supposed to travel back from there to Dubai and I was to come back to Kerala for a week more thanks to the exams postponed due to Endosulfan and Petrol Hartals. Well – lets just say, we did’nt really pray about it – whether we were to go to Sri Lanka at all. Most of the times, I am set out to Evangelize – yeah God – we’re in. Use us
SriLanka was more humid than Kerala, pretty land and prettier people, but Pio was not again taking it well. And God did say once more – Family first and I had to go back to basics. Here I had a Child and Wife dependent upon me and my missionary calling on the other. We turned back, and my Father in heaven just underlined what he has been highlighting since the past few months – To seek directions from Him. And so we turned back – after one day down under.
And here I am. Sinner and Saint, Jekyll and Hide.
The Chickens went missing last week and a Rabbit’s ear got bitten off by a stray cat. Tickets booked, bags are being packed, just when everything seems set in, we’re ready to pack and leave. To back where we call OUR home. And I realize, we’re all just drifting, just like how Bebo Norman sings
Some say home is where the heart is
And my heart is in your hands
You are all I need
(Strangely, I feel at peace again. Jesus really does make EVERTHING beautiful in HIS time)
PS: Tuskerland Chronicles on my Facebook Albums page are worth these thousand words.