A Month of Travel

It has been a strange month to say the least. The month of May brought home to us all the facets of life. Hardly had we got back from a long trip abroad than we got word about a sad event which necessitated an urgent visit to Chennai once again.

The death of R’s sister was a reminder of where all of us are headed. She was a year younger than me but though there was sadness all round, even her daughters were able to accept her death as an end of her decades long physical suffering. After the initial tears it felt a little odd to hear peals of laughter and see smiles on faces after the body had been taken away. Even more surprisingly, her little grandchildren were not kept away. But no disrespect was intended. It seemed to me that the people present there were accepting of the fact that death is a part of life, except that it comes at the end of it, and the main character has no more part to play.

Our next visit – once again to Chennai – was to to attend one and a half wedding (the half was a reception). The ceremonies themselves were less interesting to us as older people but our real interest lay in meeting cousins once and more times removed and catching up on their news. Frankly, the weddings bored me no end and the ostentation was too much for me to stomach. Nor were the young couples of much interest to us or we to them. Frankly also, with the aunts and uncles having passed on, the rest of us were genuinely glad to meet without the backbiting and slander so prevalent among our elders. We took group pictures and happily passed around pictures of our children and so did everyone.

A similar wedding drew us to Chennai once again at the end of the month, or rather the first of June. This time we met my cousins and older relatives, the last time I had seen them having been at our own wedding. All these years I had been meeting only R’s side of the family and I loved the difference.

The last journey of May was much closer to my heart and an act of devotion – which was going to Kumbakonam and a number of villages and towns around it to surrender myself to Iswara in different forms. I cannot do justice to that journey here and will come back to it.

Tomorrow we are going on our next train journey, this time to deal with the bureaucracy of a foreign country viz. a visa appointment. This might call for some finger crossing and wishes of good luck .

I shall come back.