Saturday, May 12, 2012

There and back again...

I returned to India in April nearly 7 months after my first trip. What a difference 7 months makes. Things have changed in that span of time and I have had to make peace with all of it. I cannot say any of the changes have been easy to accept, but when it's out of your control, there isn't much you can do.

Had a great trip this time in Business...sure beats where all the commoners are, I mean coach. Wheels on the 'Bus (Airbus that is) went round and round then touched down and the water works started. I have no idea why. Maybe the 25 hour trip (door to door) finally got to me. Maybe it was traveling alone; which in a way, was a great thing. Maybe it was the odd Indian man with his Celine Dion fetish for "Because You Loved Me" who was snapping, clapping, and chair dancing. Maybe it was the odd sense of returning to a place that felt almost as good as home.

Breezed through Immigration and Customs towards the moment of truth, stepping outside the airport. Hit with an immediate blast of humidity and heat. A glance around at the people lining the barriers. Drivers holding sign with hotel or personal names. I find the Renaissance sign and deja vu. Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome is asking my name while the driver is taking my bags. A quick jog, and I do mean jog, and I'm at the car. He cranks the A/C, settles the bags in the trunk, and hands me a bottle of cold water. Thank you!

And we are off.

The sights, the sounds, the different but so familiar. Horns, crazy drivers, throngs of people, wandering dogs, and my cell phone which has picked up service but won't let me dial home, and then we are turning up a familiar road. It's still lined with rickshaws and dogs. Nearly there. We're at the gate and this time there is a beautiful brindle boxer "bomb" dog. "Good evening, ma'am" as my door opens and shuts. The gates open and we drive through. Yes, I know this place well. A left turn and we're making our way up the drive to my "home" for the next two weeks.

I am greated by a lovely lady who tells me that they have been waiting my arrival. I am skipping check-in at the front desk and going directly to my room. Before that happens, I am given a traditional welcome and get smudged with red powder on my forehead. A welcome letter from the general manager, a voucher for a free beverage. My suitcase brought up. A call to room service. A call to let my family know I was there safely

Oh Bombay, I fell in love with you last year and I am back. Back to soak it all in, back to see my friends, back to work my fingers to the bone, back to try and make a difference for my teams. Back to meet and love the people you put in my path. Back with open arms to embrace all you send my way.

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