We are in India!

The last 2 weeks went by in a blur. I still can’t believe that the date I was counting down towards has actually come and gone. Madhu and I are just physically, mentally and emotionally drained with all the work we had to put in for the move. We had to get all our paperwork in order, sell our cars and household stuff, and wrap up pretty-much every aspect of our lives there. When Madhu finished his contract on Sep 25th, we figured that 2 & ½ weeks is plenty of time to get everything done. But we were SO wrong. There was just way too much to do. We did not rest right until the time we sat in the cab that took us to the airport on Oct 13th. The previous night we had slept for barely 2 hours we had never known such exhaustion.

Of course, the best moments of these last few days were the farewell get-togethers with friends. We realized that we had made some truly good friends at the places we worked at and lived in, over 10 years in the US. We did our best to meet them all and say our good-byes in person – whether it was over a cup of coffee or elaborate lunch/dinners. They were all extremely supportive of our plans and offered help at every step. In fact, Madhu and I have been overwhelmed by their support and good wishes – they almost made it hard to say good-bye¦

On the day of our flight, a storm hit the bay area causing strong winds and a huge, steady downpour. We knew it wouldn’t be an easy day – and it truly wasn’t. Since we had 5 large bags to check-in (yeah, I was a little too optimistic about managing all our personal belongings in 4 bags should have known better) and 4 carry-on pieces, plus Shayna and her huge crate, we figured that we would need 2 cars or vans to fit everything. So we called for a cab (asked for a bigger car), and also sought a friend’s help who immediately offered to bring his car and drive us to the airport. When the cab arrived, it was a huge van and to our surprise it took in all of our bags quite comfortably. So our friend didn’t have to drive as well.

We got to the airport with about 3 & ½ hours to spare before the flight. Shayna’s check-in was far smoother than we expected it to be. Lufthansa’s staff was extremely helpful and Shayna managed to charm everybody there. After getting our boarding passes, we were allowed to walk with Shayna within the airport and hang-out until her boarding, which was an hour later. This was really nice as we were able to spend some time with her and that relieved her anxiety a little bit. An hour later, when they placed her in the crate and took her away, I fought back tears and said a silent prayer for her safe passage.

Unfortunately, the flight out of San Francisco got delayed by 3 hours because of the storm. I was quite sure that we would miss the connecting flight from Frankfurt. But miraculously, we not only made it to the connecting flight on time, but also managed to get Shayna and almost all of our bags with us. 1 of the checked-in bags missed the connecting flight but that didn’t bother me too much; I was just way too relieved to see Shayna being brought out safely at the Mumbai airport – that was all I cared about. The missing bag would be delivered to us in a couple of days.

And here we are now in Mumbai  or Thane, to be exact. Thane is north-east of Mumbai; about 40km away. Although a large city in its own right, Thane has a small-town feel and is popular for its burgeoning, residential, real-estate market as it’s relatively cheaper than Mumbai. We are here to spend time with my family who moved from Andheri (a suburb town in Mumbai) 2 years ago. Tomorrow is Diwali and for the first time in 10 years, my entire family, including my siblings’ spouses, will be together to celebrate.

We’ve been here for about 2 days now and it feels great to finally relax after the last few crazy months. The fact that this is not just a regular vacation but a long break from work and everything routine, will probably sink in only after a few days … wonder what it’ll feel like then. For now, I’m just taking it easy and waiting for the adventure to begin…

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