Saturday, November 16, 2013

Reporting from Delhi

So I flew down yesterday from Dubai to Delhi. I had to shop for a few things at Duty free but I couldn't be at an airport and not have a coffee so I sat in an easy chair and had myself a cup of mocha, some kind of cheese croissant and a banana bread. When I travel alone I tend to wonder who I will end up next to on the plane and I always hope that it's going to be someone who will leave me alone with my book. Normally I would always request a window seat. I like the city getting smaller as the plane takes off. The cars and the people becoming miniatures. This time I forgot to ask for a window seat so off I went in to the plane and reached seat 7 C to find a young man sitting at the window. I had an aisle seat and no one in between. I took out my hand cream and used it liberally. I always use hand cream when I don't know how else to keep myself busy. I took out my book and began reading. As the pilot announced take off the boy crossed himself so I figured he must be Christian but I noticed a kada on his wrist which I thought must be some kind of fashion statement. He looked really young and somewhat sad. As the plane took off he seemed to get further upset and covered his eyes. He seemed to be crying. I thought to myself," Oh well I'm gonna have to talk to this one." I put away my book, took out my trusty Philips camera and tapped him on the shoulder. He looked around at me with his eyes all red. I asked him to take a picture of the Dubai skyline. He asked me how to zoom in and I explained. He took the picture above, handed me the camera and sat wiping his eyes again. Suddenly he asked me if I lived in Dubai. I told him I did and then the whole story came out in a rush.

He was an eighteen year old living in Delhi and visiting his sister in Dubai. He was born and brought up in Dubai but his parents had moved back to Delhi two years ago. He said Dubai was his home. It was where he was most comfortable and even though he had not cried when he left it two years ago somehow this trip had stirred his longing to be 'home' again. We talked for a long time and he told me all about his family. His father was Sikh and his mother was Catholic. When he turned fourteen he was given the freedom to choose if he wanted to follow Sikhism of Christianity. He had chosen to be a Catholic. He told me all about school, his subjects, that he sang on stage but only because he was expected to do something creative in the curriculum. He loved boxing and wanted to be a commercial pilot right after school. I was given a detailed account of a flight simulator and how his girlfriend had moved to Jalandhar and he missed her.

The conversation always came back to Dubai and how one cannot get the citizenship so unless one has a business in the country retirement in Dubai is not an option and even then you'll never be a UAE citizen. Every time he spoke of Dubai his eyes would well up again and I would try to tell him that he had his whole life ahead of him and once he became a pilot he could get a job with any airline and be in  Dubai or anywhere else in the world he chose. He was worried about his upcoming mid terms as most children are. During the entire conversation I spoke very little while he told me everything that was going on in his life. He was so overwhelmed with what was happening to him that he completely seemed to forget that I had my own story but I didn't mind at all. I prefer asking questions much better than answering them.

After filling out the immigration form I went back to my Miss Marple mystery and he stuck his nose to the window. At the end of the journey I asked him if he was looking forward to seeing his parents, he replied in a really low and sad voice,"Yes..." I burst out laughing and couldn't help but saying," You haven't left Dubai, you've just temporarily moved. Think of it like that!" He smiled and looked a bit better.

I got out of the plane bearing a big shopping bag and got through immigration really quick (separate counter for Indian passport holders- very nice), even my bag came through nice and quick. That's a picture of the Delhi International Airport interior, quite interesting. I wondered what the various mudras meant. I was out of the airport and in the arms of my mom and sister in about fifteen minutes and my father drove us home. I was warm and happy. I forgot to get woollen clothes from Dubai to which my sister said that I always ended up wearing my mother's cardigans anyway. Which is very true, I always end up wearing my mother's cardigans and shoes. I used my mother's make up till I got married and bought make up for the first time at the age of twenty seven I think. My favourite coat is my mother's too and I've had it for fifteen years and it's still going strong. I feel her love and warmth whenever I wear it.

I got home and had two dinners. I'm going to gain weight in a big way. I can already see it. The maid looked at me and told my mother,"Dimple is looking weak." C'mon I weigh 68 kgs only!! Now every half an hour or so my mother asks me what I want to eat? And you know what I'm in a perpetual state of feeling like eating something. Don't you just love being home?

I had to explain a lot of things to Anshuman before I left him to fend for himself for the next two weeks. The best way to get his complete attention was to take him out on a nice dinner and then lay out the instructions. So I asked him to take me out on a date before I left. He said he'd made a booking at a nice place. When he came home I asked him where we were going? I was all dressed up in my nice black dress and he refused to tell me. I asked him again and again and he finally said," I booked a table at Sarvanna Bhawan but then you said you wanted to dress fancy so I changed it to Aappa Kadhai." I gave up.

 Finally we had dinner at this lovely place on the 52nd floor called The Observatory. I had the sea bass and a virgin Pinacolada which was so yummy that my eyes voluntarily closed when I took a sip, actually more like a gulp. I don't sip I gulp. I had my husband's complete attention and I was able to tell him all that I wanted to before I left plus I got to wear my brand new necklace from Arte. Win win! My husband sang a song from 'Purab aur pashchim' movie very sincerely- I mean he literally sang the whole song at dinner,"Hai preet jahan ki reet sada main geet wahan ke gaata hoon. Bharat ka rehne wala hoon Bharat ki baat sunata hoon." I laughed so loudly throughout the whole song that people stared but we didn't care. I wiped happy tears and I knew how much I was going to miss my husband.


Bee said... nice that youre back home at last. And if that kid knows his whole life story is on a blog, he's sure to never open up again to a stranger ;) Hope you have a good trip! Ping when you're back dudette.

parul gahlot said...

Hey yes I'm sooo glad to be home. :) will get in touch when I get back to Dubai. Haven't seen you for so long.