Friday, September 2, 2011

Punjab and Beyond

It seems that I did manage to rest a bit at the airport in Delhi during my layover, but eventually I became quite chilly due to the combined lack of circulation and excess of air conditioning. So I went to get a coffee to try to warm up a bit. It actually did help, although I think it was more just the walking around that did it because I think I really did need to just get some circulation going.

My flight left a few minutes late but still arrived on time, and it was only a few minutes before my bags came out, and I was out of the airport. Lone females must get accosted more than lone males do, but this guy from the airline kept insisting to try to push my luggage trolley for me, and he even put his hands on handle and tried to push, hoping I would eventually let go. I would not. I just wanted to be left alone, and besides, it's not hard to push a trolley a short distance to where my uncle would be meeting me, and he would help me the rest of the way anyway.

We had a pleasant drive back to Jalandhar, though it was somewhat frightening at times once the sun went down and the toll road ended because the roads changed from brighter roads of 2 lanes per direction to a 2-way, narrow road with little light but whatever the moon could provide. And this is not like Canada where pedestrians and cyclists will have reflectors and headlights, so you don't see them often until right as you're about to hit them, and then you suddenly swerve out of the way to prevent the collision. I told my uncle I would never drive here, and he told me he wouldn't let me drive here either! I'm definitely ok with that.

My uncle and aunt have actually "shifted" (the term they use in India for moving to a new place) to another house that's a little easier for them to get around in and that's a little newer and more modern than where they lived before. The old house was my grandfather's house, which my dad inherited when his father passed away and which he later sold to my uncle. We drove past the house because my uncle wanted me to be able to see the brick with my grandfather's name on it for the last time, Narinjan Singh Shergill, for the last time because the house has been sold and will be demolished in the near future. That is the only house I had known in Jalandhar, and though my memories are somewhat vague, as most of the time I spent there was when I was a child or teenager, it just seems like it isn't the same anymore, and I wish I would have had my camera ready to get a good photo of it in time before we drove off. In any case, I have the name now written in my blog here for the sake of posterity, and it will remain in cyberspace longer than I will remain on earth, I imagine. The house was indeed old and quite cold in the winter while too hot in the summer. Still, much of what few memories I have of my grandparents are there in that house, especially my grandfather, who would take me out in the mornings in my pyjamas to walk with him and get fresh buffalo milk.

Readers, you may also be wondering why my grandfather's last name is Shergill and mine isn't; for whatever reason, my dad shortened it when he immigrated to Canada. Sometimes I wish I was a Shergill just because it's so much less common, but it would be such a pain to go through that now that it's not worth the bother.

I spent a good time in Punjab and in Delhi visiting with my family. I didn't do any sightseeing as I had just been to India last year, and I just wanted to focus on visiting since I had just a week to see everyone and didn't want to waste time doing stuff that wouldn't allow me to spend time with them. The sum of my life has taught me that there is too much unpredictability to guarantee where I will be next year or what I will be doing, so I have to take advantage of every moment while I can, and who knows when I will next return to India.

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