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A New Role

Different person in different context …

We just returned from a month-long stay in India. We began to settle back at home in San Jose, sleeping throughout random intervals of the day, as jet lag crept over us. Each person is different, but it usually takes me about 4 to 5 days to adjust to the time difference. The journey back always feels longer, as you head back to routine. I couldn’t help but miss the adventures in India!

The trip started off with my brother-in-law’s wedding in Bhopal. We landed in Bhopal after a journey of almost 30 hours! On arrival at Bhopal, we were greeted warmly by the bride’s maternal Uncle. He brought us flowers to welcome us, made us hot chai and breakfast. As I mentioned before, in India, the concept of Atithi Devo Bhava (or “Guest is God”) is extremely important, and nowhere is this more apparent than at Indian weddings. The bride or groom’s family will do everything they can to make sure that your stay at the wedding is comfortable. This also means that they will arrange hotel rooms for guests, pick-up and drop-offs. If there is sight-seeing to be done during the day, they may even hire guides and cars for their guests. This is quite unlike Western weddings, where guests make their arrangements themselves.

The two days of festivities went by in an instant. Being the elder daughter-in-law of the family (apparently, I had now been promoted) meant there were plenty of functions where I had a role. Apart from the functions, I spent a significant amount of time catching up with my spouse’s extended family – which is very large – he has a total of 15 aunts & uncles! Once the wedding ended, everyone dispersed to their respective homes. As the groom’s family, we had over 40 items of luggage to take back home. You might wonder how it was that we ended up with so many items. It is very common in India to present guests and relatives with gift boxes and sweets. Many times, there are extra boxes of sweets/gifts, and they have to be taken back. Luckily for us, we had booked a train journey from Bhopal to Lucknow, and there are no luggage restrictions in trains. We somehow managed to pack all the items and send them on 3 different vehicles.

Once we reached my in-laws’ home, my mother-in-law did the traditional “tilak” for each of us, to welcome us home. We spent the next few days unwinding from the hustle & bustle of the wedding. As my in-laws live in a small town near Lucknow, there really isn’t a whole lot to do during the day. A far cry from the crowded cities of Delhi & Mumbai! This meant that we had quality time as a family – exchanging recipes, going on walks together, exploring new restaurants, showing each other photographs. Overall, this was the quietest part of my trip!

Look forward to my next post, where I will take you on a journey to India’s fabled North East Region…

Veerangna

I’m Veerangna, and I currently live in sunny California with my husband.  My parents are Indians living in Singapore, and that’s where my brother and I grew up.  After studying Law at King’s College London, I spent a few years working in law firms in Singapore before moving to San Jose.  For fun,I am learning to play the Piano, and have recently developed an interest in hiking.  My new appreciation for nature has helped me become a calmer person – I do believe in the healing power of Trees!

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