Surprising my mom in India was fun. She had no clue, in fact, she looked at the boys and walked past them until they called out to her. It was so fun for the boys.
India… I was overwhelmed with so many emotions while there, yet and really had no words to begin to express all the emotions that seemed to bombard me constantly. The first few days in New Delhi, we were just tourists, the boys and I. It was a shock to all our senses, the sounds, the smells, the colors, all just overstimulated us as we acclimatized ourselves to this new environment.
As we flew into Kolkata (it will always be Calcutta to me), we entered another world. This was a place where my past and my present collided. Here we were spending time with my Dad’s family. We were waiting for my dad’s youngest brother to pick us up. Immediately I saw a man in front of me that looked like my memory of him, except that my kaku (uncle) would have had grey hair. As my brother phoned, this man picked up the phone and began looking around. It was him! (The grey hair magically had vanished…lol).
I was overwhelmed at the connection I felt immediately towards my Uncle and Auntie, as if 35 years had not past, as if I just saw them for dinner last week. I was crushed into a hug that washed away all the times we weren’t together and took us back to being family and together.
This feeling was there again, as I walked down the a path to where my dad’s oldest sister lived. Suddenly I was in a little village or town, a place that I would have longed to be as a National Geographic photographer (a dream of mine in another life where I am not a mother)… I was in the heart of a village, where children stopped playing to stop and stare at us, obvious strangers to their home, where life was happening as only they knew and as I never had seen. I was struck that here, a place that I had yearned to stop and snap photos along the way was suddenly the place that my family lived.
My dad’s oldest dede (sister) lay under a mosquito tent, napping, as we entered her world, taking her back to her brother, that lived on the other side of the world. I found myself flooded with emotions I didn’t understand. Family. Here I was meeting my Big Pisima, for the first time in my adult memory and at the same time, as I watched her, 80 years plus of age, I realized that more than likely my last time. Her siblings teasing her into eating and chatting with her. She was so aware of us and who we were. She understood we were my dad’s children.
I was mesmerized by genetics, as we met my dad’s other brothers, my oldest cousins, at the obvious family traits that were so strong. My uncle was making the same expressions that my dad does, or just the resemblance of family that was so strong! It blew me away. Family… it really is a tie that binds… even across the world… I have family that lives … sharing the same DNA.
I loved just staring at my uncle, the youngest of my dad’s family, enthralled that he was so similar to my auntie in Florida. There is no denying they are siblings. We surprised my dad’s oldest brother at his work in a laboratory, at 80+, he looked fantastic. The boys were fighting over who would get his genes.
I loved every minute we spent with my family here, mesmerized by so much of what makes my dad who he was so much a part of whom his brothers were. I found a understanding of my father… of who he is was so much of where he came from.
I found myself laughing as my brother would pinch me, as my uncle would say the exact thing my father has said many a time. I found it fascinating… and overwhelming all in one.
I found that I was eager to hear bits of my dad’s life as a child, as a teen and even as an adult. Were my questions answered? Not really rather it seemed to explode into more questions. Yet I found a kind of peace being here, that surprised me. I found a kind of acceptance for all the things that will go unanswered. Maybe because I saw much of my father in all his siblings and found comfort in that.
I found myself missing the chance of connecting with this family of mine. I left longing for heaven, again, for being reunited without sickness or sin… and wonder at the amazingness of that reunion in heaven. I left with a longing… for something that can’t be described with words… yet a longing that taps at me, reminding me that it’s there.
There is so much of my trip to India to share and yet this 48 hours that I shared with family was a trip all unto its own. I felt some healing happening… I felt some of the confusion be filled with acceptance of things unexplained. Family… Heritage… History… can be a healing balm … can help sooth the aching of a soul.