I made a recent trip to Chennai India to visit my mom who has moved to a retirement facility in YWCA. I stayed at the YWCA international guest house in the heart of Chennai close to Central station. Surprisingly a small pond and a large collection of trees and vegetation was preserved in this part of town for a restful experience. It almost quieted down the noise of the motorcycles and trucks (lorries) on the Poonamallee high road.
Visiting family was a special time – especially long walks with my mom and opportunities to chat with my sister. All of my cousins and aunts were ready to put feasts together every night making it an incessant festival with family. One of the dinners we had more than twenty relatives for a fun dinner and laughter. I somehow still had opportunity to chat with many of my cousins one-on-one, catch up a bit on family and work adventures.
This visit to India also brought a touch into nature which I usually miss out in the busy city like Chennai. Every morning I was waking up to the beautiful sound from the Koel bird – one of the cuckoo order of birds of India. During my morning walks along the pond at YWCA I caught glimpse of some birds like egrets, cormorants and an eagle. Evening strolls brought a different sight with colorful kingfisher, night herons and a large group of the flying fox (large fruit bats).
I also got to visit a small church that meets at the YWCA with a touch of Tamil Christian worship that I haven’t experienced in a long time. The songs, the words in Tamil somehow awaken a different side of worship for me. My mom also regularly takes part in a daily devotional time with her community of retired women. I also sat in one such devotion listening to their devotion and their personal life stories.
Overall this short over a week visit to India was enjoyable and memorable one. In some ways I miss the simplicity of life in my birthplace, however I am also happy to be back in the US – where life is a bit more predictable and easier. I felt in someways like Bilbo Baggins telling the store of my visit to India to my family and friends here in the “The Shire” with a title like “There and back again” theme of adventures followed by the return to a normal life.