Yes, so after two consecutive years in Europe, I went back to my hometown to spend some time with my parents. I did not meet my sister this time though. Maybe next time we’ll time our visits and be home together.
I also wanted to get involved with the community there, maybe talk to people in my university and get kids motivated, teach them to use LaTeX, etc — The small things in general.
But nothing like this happened. I was there but my parents had to work — so I almost spent the entire day taking Caesar out for a walk, washing the car, and watching House of Cards. First week was interesting — relatives came home to see me and commented on how my face looked a shade darker than before. On Sundays I took Appa to his church, and ate from restaurants quite often. On Saturdays Amma would ask me to go to people living nearby and to visit relatives from her side, but being an introvert that I am, I kind of never did that.
I got bored of this after some point and went to the “city” to meet school and college people every other day. This began and I started coming home very late. One such night, when It was too late for me to return home and we decided to stay in Fort Kochi, my car froze at this big junction and we all got down to push the car out of the way for the traffic to continue. We managed to reach our destination and returned the next day to my university, where the car broke down again — at this point we decided to take it to a workshop and get it repaired. This took +4hrs and so we got drunk, and reached home even more late. But it was a “memorable” day for all of us.
Then there was this time when one of friends got married, and he was throwing a party at his place (200 kms from mine) just two days before my return flight to Paris. But I went anyway. So we took a wiser decision to rent a car this time! Everything went fine and we got drunk and returned home the next day as usual.
I had one day to pack my stuff, and I felt like I had lots of things to do (I did). But my girlfriend was in town and then packing got delayed further. There was another plan to have a family function on the same day of my travel (and they wanted me to be there before I go) — It was stressful altogether, but the function got postponed. The guy who was supposed to take me to the airport never showed up to confirm that he’s taking me, and then my uncle said he could take me to the airport. My residence permit was getting over in one month, and had not applied for a French visa yet. This was going to be tricky I thought. But saying goodbye, and seeing Amma cry was kind of sad — this was the tricky part — I waved good bye and turned back, said to myself “let’s do this” and kept walking towards my gate. This is exactly what I did two years ago when I got in the train to catch my flight from Delhi. This sudden realization that I won’t be able to see them in person for two years kicked in, and I felt cold and numb. But this time I knew I’m returning in one years time ( I hope to).
This guy at Thomas Cook gave me an INR-EUR exchange quote of 88 INR per EUR, setting me off by a 100 EUR margin! Then once I arrived in Muscat, I got a +20hr layover, which I spent very cosily inside the Plaza Premium Lounge ($$$). Reached Paris on time, and collected my baggage to see all that awesome Achar colour and smell over my bag. Found my TGV to Strasbourg was running late by +40mins, and sat in that waiting area with this Achar smell diffusing into the entire hall. I reached Strasbourg at around 12.30am on 26th of September, and I stayed over at a friends place in Esplanade. Next day I moved to my new apartment in Broglie, and the landlord surprised me with a 1200EUR starting deposit!
Life has been so complicated financially since then. Hope it gets better with my first salary 😀