KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We arrived in Delhi after a four-hour flight from Bangkok on Indian Airlines. The plane was really old and the noise level was unreal. The food was pretty good, it was great to have Indian food once more, but now that we are in India for the next several months, we will be able to have all the Indian food we can eat.
Anil's brother Ajay and his wife Neeta were there to meet us. We were really looking forward to seeing them again - the last time we were together was in Thailand two years ago. They flew in from India and we arrived from Canada with Raj just in time to learn of the tsunami that had wreaked havoc on the coasts of Indonesia, Thailand India and Sri Lanka. We had a great week with them in spite of the sombre mood in the country. It is times like these when one realizes the value of family and cherishes the times that we are able to be together.
We stocked up at the Duty Free - found an 18-year-old Glenfiddich and also some Tabac Aftershave - it is no longer available in Canada. The men in India really loved getting liquor for gifts as it is so very expensive here. Anil's brother even asked us to get him a bottle of Sambuca - he remembered having it in Thailand when we were together.
It was great to come to Ajay and Neeta's apartment once again. Ajay is a colonel in the Indian Army - Communications Division - and even though he is posted in different places, the army housing is pretty standard so when I walk into their home, no matter where it is located, it feels familiar to me. Ajay is presently posted in Srinagar, Kashmir but Neeta has a great teaching job in Delhi so she is staying here until he retires early next year. At that time, they will no longer have military housing and will have to strike out on their own. Maybe they can join us on the "homeless" trail.
The next day we drove across Delhi to visit Ajay and Neeta's daughter, Dhriti, who is just wrapping up her MBA studies at the Army Institute of Management and Technology. It is located on a new campus quite far outside Delhi in an area called Greater Noida. It was great to see her again after so many years - I last met her in 1999. She is no longer a teenager, but has grown into a lovely, confident young woman. I don't imagine it will be too very long before we are making plans to attend her wedding. She lives in the dorm at the college because it is so very far from her parents’ home. The dorm is new and she has a private room and her best friend from childhood has the room next door.
Other than this trip out, we pretty much rested and caught up on family news. We were looking forward to the arrival of Anil's older brother, Arun and his wife Neena. They are the parents of the young man about to be married. Together, with some other members of the extended family, we will form the "baraat" that will travel to the home of the bride for the wedding festivities.