When people hear tales of India, the images that come to mind are of densely populated cities and spicy foods. I’ve got lots of stories along those lines but think that I’d rather write my first Indian blog entry where my trip to India began. I the far south state of Kerala in a small village called Atipotha.
To get there, I flew Memphis-NewYork-Mumbai-Coimbatore where a car & driver with my friend Geeta and her uncle. Yeah, it was a bit of a trip to say the least! In the car, my head was spinning looking at the landscape, the people we passed and everything that came up on the horizon. On the two hour drive, there were VERY few places one could stop even if they really needed to. We did make a quick stop though and Geeta suggested I remain in the car (which I did). Uncle was going to buy some coconuts and he needed to negotiate price (something I learned on other trips can be impacted by the presence of someone so obviously from overseas as I am).
The drive continued windy through tiny towns, rice paddys, some hills, etc and we went through a larger city in Kerala. It was then I was told we were getting close to the town Geeta is from! And I started getting excited to meet Geeta’s parents. It seems like I’ve known Geeta forever. Not really sure when we met but I know it was because her husband was interviewing for a job opening and I was showing them around the Delta. Guess I did a reasonably good job selling it as they moved there long ago and I saw them just last night. But I hadn’t had the chance to meet her family and I was thrilled to get there…. first, you should see the town!
Now, I’m sure I need to write several accounts about my trip to Atipotha because there were so many experiences. But you have to meet the family! Geeta’s parents, her grandmom, they were all so fantastic! Whether it was checking to see who would fix some food that may not be too spicy for me, learning English words to be hospitable, or encouraging me to see how everyday life was, they all opened their homes and hearts to me.
Mom cooked and we laughed together. Dad made me chappatis (spelling?). Grandmom made me smile incessantly with her wisps of mischief. Aunts, uncles, cousins…. all rolled out the welcome mats. It was unbelievable how quickly this small village became home. Even if the entire village seemed to turn out when Geeta and I went for a walk “across town” to visit some family. Really, there were several folks there when we went through the first time, but I think they called in folks from nearby towns to see the American by time we were headed home.
We had an incredible visit and with a family that turns out like this to say goodbye…. it’s no wonder that I am thinking another trip to Atipotha would be fun!
Oh and I have to post a photo of Geeta’s grandmom…. She was quite the character! We laughed a lot together thanks to other providing translation.