The moment I stepped out of the sliding glass doors of the airport, I inhaled the heavy air deeply through my nostrils. There were hordes of people standing back to back packed behind the rail gates, kids on their tippy toes, middle aged men with newly lit cigarettes in their mouths. It had been over a year long since I had visited my motherland and the reunion once again provided a soothing melody to my soul. It was a place where I belonged and where my parents and forefathers grew up in, Kerala. This southern state of India, a region also known as “the land of the coconuts” is the site where my family I revisit almost every summer. My roots have well dwelled upon this land. It is the culture, the food, the communication that makes this place so unique and what also makes me homesick when I depart. And most of all, it is the memories.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
We tightly grip onto the handles of our suitcases as the search for our designated driver begins. Sunrise had just begun, dark blue lights from the sky gleamed down throughout the atmosphere. The commotion emitted from the crowd began to settle down as rain droplets began to rhythmically descend onto the steel tents. I began to shiver and my mother set her arm across my shoulders. A mud stained jeep that appeared to have survived miles through the terrain had parked a few feet from the gate. “Grab the suitcases and pack them into the car!” my father ordered us. The calming rain began to sound more violent as seconds approached by. My clothes were now buried wet under the naked sky. We all ran with our sandals into the muddy road and were once again sheltered from the heavy winds and unforgiving rain. A sigh of relief came as I rested my head back into my seat. “Go to sleep.” my mother said calmly. “We have many more miles to go.” I snuck one more glance out the window which had been tightly secured. There were hundreds of palm trees that stood align, their leaves swaying by the force of the wind. They stood there around the perimeter of the location, almost as if they were a barrier of protection for the residents. I shut my eyes for a while and reached a deep, peaceful slumber.
After what seemed to be a couple of hours of rest, I awoke in great confusion of my surroundings and was greeted by the mouth watering aroma that consumed the air. Our vehicle was parked right next to a street vendor. My eyes grew wide in excitement as I witnessed scrambled eggs being tossed in with chili powder and all other flavorful spices. “One for me!” I shouted. My parents began to chuckle.
After waiting anxiously for a few more minutes, the driver began to slow down the road to a sudden halt. The time had come. I looked towards the entrance immediately saw her standing by the wooden door. She stood there with a white handkerchief clenched in the palm of her hands. Without wasting another second I grabbed open the car door and ran through the muddy pebbles that began to slide through my sandals. Her eyes, swelled with tears were now pouring down gracefully upon her soft cheeks. I grabbed hold tightly of her and her warm lips touched my face. This is what I traveled miles across the ocean for. My grandmother was here and that was all I needed.
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