Oct 14 2009 (Farewell)

I’m typing these thoughts while nursing my last pint of authentic Kingfisher for a while at the appropriately named “Kingfisher Sports Bar” in the departure lounge at the very posh Bangalore International Airport. I cant get through to the internet owing to the vagaries of the local wireless network system. Apparently, the only way to get through is by sending and receiving an SMS message on one’s cellphone and my timeworn razor isn’t quite up to the task outside of the US. So I may have to post this final entry from Frankfurt where I can use T-mobile’s network, their price-gouging aside, but as usual I digress …

This is my eighth trip back home to India ever since I left for the US in 1988. I have always had a great time, visiting old friends, relatives, familiar places and reliving old experiences. But the fact that I was able to document and share them on this occasion, was special. Moreover, I discovered and cherished details that in the past I had overlooked or treated with indifference at best, or disdain at worst. I would hope that this reflects a degree of personal growth on my part, but if not, then I can only conclude that the experiences themselves were so compelling that even I was able to eventually grasp them. If the truth lies somewhere in between, I will be happy.

Bangalore and Mysore are phenomenal places to visit as I hope that my blog was able to convey. Even though I’ve only lived in India for less than a third of my life, those were formative years and I have a sense of connection to the places that is timeless in spite of all that has transpired in between and the fact that both cities have evolved in profound if not always commodious ways for all their denizens. For every frustration encountered, there are at least two moments of transcendent joy. For every rude person, there are at least a dozen whose courtesy and helpfulness are nothing short of humbling. It is a collection of experiences that is difficult to convey in words or pictures, but I hope I was in the ballpark with my blog.

No trip anywhere in the midst of civilisation is a narrowly personal endeavour. A trip wherein one goes home is even less so. I am therefore profoundly thankful to all the people who met me and made my time here an immensely enjoyable one.

I must first start by thanking my mother. She puts up with all my quirks and idiosyncrasies with a degree of patience and resignation that should eminently qualify her for sainthood. She has held the fort down entirely on her own ever since my dad died in 1996 and that is no mean feat. During my visit, she went out of her way to ensure that I was well fed, well supplied with access to all the accouterments of the modern communications era and well entertained, notwithstanding the fact that she has lost two siblings in the past couple of months.

To my cousins Indira, Poornima and Pratibha who lost their mother a few weeks ago, you are like my sisters, so my mum is yours. To Babu for his help and support and for showing me around my alma mater – you are a gentleman of the finest pedigree. To Shruti, for putting up with my endless needling, you are a model of sweetness. To Aalaap who I forgive for his taunting over Liverpool’s loss to Chelsea, keep that bright smile always! To Suresh and Shashank, it was a pleasure seeing you without bandages over half my face this time around :) To my Aunt Lalitha who has endured a couple of tragedies in the past couple of years, I am glad that you live closer to my mum now. To Anirudh, be strong and take good care of your mum. To Jaya, thank you so much for visiting us and for bringing your grandon Varun who was a delight! Who else would go Go-Karting with me?! :) To Rashmi it was a pleasure talking to you over the phone and I hope that I can meet the whole family sometime. To Girija, it was great talking to you and to know that you are planning to visit the US sometime soon. Do tell Kartik that his uncle has fond memories of Wellington. To Namitha, I look forward to getting together with you all for longer than 15 minutes someday! Do give my best to Prabhakar (who I am yet to meet!) and to Annapoorna. To Nagu, thanks so much for putting us up the night I landed in Bangalore and I wish you nothing but the best in these trying times. To Harsha, my most sincere apologies for not planning our rendezvous better. I promise to be more pro-active on my next visit. To Ananth and Bharath, many thanks for that excellent dinner at your awesome club and for introducing me to your wacky goofball of a lab! To Nandini, thanks for staying up so late and my apologies to little Sasmith for his having to wake up from his sleep just to say Hi to me. To Bharathi and Krishnamurthy, it was a pleasure seeing you after so many years. To Geetha, I’m really glad that we can stay in touch through facebook. To Ramasesh, seeing you just before we left for Bangalore was a treat. I have always enjoyed our bull-sessions and hope we can have one again when you visit the US next year. I have very fond memories of Delhi which I regard as one of the great cities of the world. To my Uncle Shankaran, it was a pleasure meeting you again and I hope your foot gets better soon. To Aunt Sheela, thank you so much for the delicious Idlis! To Poornima and Ravi, I enjoyed meeting you immensely and I think it is past time that you paid me a visit in Dallas!

To my friends Gopal and Shiv – thank you so much for that splendid evening at Gopi’s. I promise to keep in touch this time around and I urge you to hold me to that promise. I thank Shyam and Venkatesh who tend bar at the Pelican for their kind indulgence. I thank Raghu not just for driving me all around Mysore, but for being an excellent guide as well. To Gouramma, whose excellent cooking is reason enough to return, thank you for taking good care of my mum. Prof. Ramamurthy, thank you for entertaining my many math questions and for you help with advanced topics when I was a punk of an undergrad. I can honestly say that you are the reason I did well in graduate school. I am glad that I got to shake your hand again and hope you’re enjoying your retirement. To Mr. Venkatesh Murthy, thank you for your help to my family when we’ve lost loved ones. It was nice to meet you at the concert.

To anyone else that I’ve met but forgotten to acknowledge, I offer my most sincere apologies for the oversight and hope that I remember to correct it in time, before being reminded, as I urge those reading this blog and familiar with the nature of the omission to do so. I look forward to seeing you all again … soon.

I am also very grateful to everyone that read my blog and especially to those that commented on my entries. Your indulgence of my rambling observations is what kept me going. This blog will stay alive for the foreseeable future! I hope to oversee its evolution into a discussion forum for all topics that form the rich tapestry of life.

Finally to my mother, thank you again so much for putting up with me for the past two weeks. In the meantime, I promise to learn how to spend less time on the computer the next time I come home. I doubt that there are words with which I can adequately thank you, but I hope that I can eventually evolve into something resembling the good son. I am glad that We got Raghu to take this picture of us outside the terminal at the airport. I love you mum – unconditionally just like Rruff loves me.


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