Khabar aayee, beta aa raha hai videsh se
And you thought the news cheered my heart!
Rudely woken up at midnight,
By the telephone, which rarely rang now!
Had even forgotten the ring tone,
Hence the double shock!!
Strange sound, at a strange time.

Still shocked and sleepy,
Angry more, at being disturbed
From my peaceful slumber.
There was great cheer at the other end
Coming from another world,
So near and yet so far….
The visit to India was for sure.

The announcement of the arrival
Of my beta and his family,
From across the seven seas,
After eons, sounded mythical and unreal.
The eerie timing of the ‘news’
Made us doubt the announcement
Perhaps, a hallucination, a dream?

At dawn, a second call followed,
Which reconfirmed the news.
Yes, the kids were visiting
And this time it was for real.
Was I excited? Do not know.
There was trepidation for sure.
We had to be on our guard though.

We, the empty nesters had forgotten
Several old habits since long.
Now, the place had to be made safe-
From bugs, beetles and the creepy, crawly ones.
No dust please, no indoor plants as well!
We began to receive notes on allergies, and Do’s and Don’ts.

The instructions grew by the day.
Water and air purifiers were added as well.
Were we vaccinated? Came next.
What about the domestic helpers?
Was the food organic? No pesticides please.
No pungent food. No sugar or oil either.
Good health is very important you see.

The Red Letter Day drew near.
Our palpitations and anxiety rose higher.
Were the instructions executed to the ‘t’?
What if there was a lapse?
We ran through the list again.
Got the house fumigated, for extra care.
Were we excited through all this? Not sure!

Fortunately, the stay was brief.
It was only a stop- over, you see!
The wonders of India had to be explored!
Pictures to be taken, for posterity.
The arrangements had been satisfactorily executed.
They departed with cheer, uneventful.
We returned to our empty nest, happy and relaxed.

Mrs Gowri Ramachandran, NRO Covai Chinmayam RC

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