Monday, April 30, 2012
I've been on a Roller Coaster ride for all of last week---beginning Saturday the 21st. April.That day was a long awaited and way overdue visit to Oxford--a place where my father spent 3 years of his life--pursuing his degree in Architecture.Sayali and I took the Train from Paddington and with each passing minute my excitement grew----as I gazed at the Country side passing by outside the window many forgotten Memories came alive----and with them images of Daddy as a young man--healthy,robust and very Alive!!!Buying our tickets and catching the Hop-on-Hop-off Bus brought us to Daddy's College--Christ Church----one of the oldest Colleges of Oxford.As we entered and walked around it's huge Campus and Corridors Daddy materialised next to me---walking in step with me.It was a very bitter sweet time--for here I was standing in the very College he wanted me to attend for Architecture--till my anathema for both Maths. and Physics put paid to that dream--both those Subjects and I mutually agreed to disagree completely on 75% of the counts!!!However wandering about Oxford brought him into sharp focus once more---and many tales of Oxford that he'd told us ran through my mind!!One of these was the one about the Annual Dinner of The Queen's College having a Boar's Head presented on a Silver Platter as well as all of these students going to answer their Examinations dressed in Suits and Gowns at the Examination Building down the Street.I also visited other Colleges that some of his very good friends had gone to--namely Trinity College,All Souls College and Magdalene College--pronounced "Maudlin" thanks to the medieval pronounciation which adheres till today!!!A visit to Alice's Sheep Shop rounded off the day for me----for Lewis Caroll had taught Maths. at Christ Church College when he wrote his book--while Alice was the Dean's daughter there!!!
The next day was a visit to Southall in London and the Monday after that ---April 23rd. saw us at Marylebone Street---with me slipping,flipping and tripping over it's pronounciation!!!Spelt the way it is I called Mary-le-bone with poor Sayali putting me straight umpteen times--"Ma it's Maarleebone Street--say Maarleebone" but I just couldn't get it--Marylebone has a "Y" in there--so it should be pronounced the way it's spelt---right???Pronouncing names can be so very confoundingly confusing!!!Anyway Tuesday morning saw me at Heathrow Airport--as expected stuck at the Security Counter for 40 minutes while that poor Security Lady ran from pillar to post to find out if the Gel Packets that kept my Insulin Cartridges cold were not Security hazards!!Finally it was cleared and I was through---to find my way on my own after the Security check.Passing Duty Free I noticed Canisters of Edradour Whiskey Fudge on sale in the Shops there---while I'd carried mine all the way from Edinburgh for Lotta!!!Could actually have just picked it up at the Airport enroute!!!
My Flight was announced and boarded on time and as we taxied out towards the Runway it transpired that there was some Technical Snag--so we taxied back to the Hangar to have it fixed!!!The Flight crew kept circulating plates of Hors-d'Ouvres and Champagne for the next 2 hours--but since I don't drink I had two glasses of Orange Juice and some of the Tit Bits but it was a bit tiresome!!!However this gave me an opportunity to make friends with my fellow Passengers---all belonging to the same Firm and travelling to Las Vega via L.A.-----it was their long anticipated Annual Promotional Trip!!!They were each chosen for making a mark in their own field of expertise and as a reward their Firm it seems hands out a week's all expenses paid trip to various destinations around the Globe.Though there were afew of them on my Flight there would be about 400 of them assembling at Las Vegas from various parts of Britain--before taking off on a Coach Tour to the Grand Canyon,San Francisco and Disney Land---ending with an official Formal Dinner where they'd be handed over their Awards!!!My immediate neighbour was this cute young fellow named Simon--and we chatted off and on in between watching the In-Flight Films--"The Iron Lady" and "War horse" in my case and "Puss in Boots" and "J.Edgar" in his.I learnt about his family--his mother in particular was born in India in 1944 at Calcutta where his Grandfather a Doctor had served during the War!!!This helped to break the Ice and create common ground for conversation as well!!!It was an amusing and informative Flight--and I enjoyed it despite the delay .The conversation helped immensely to divert me from that hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach---for I was going back to the home where Sudhir had died for the first time after a gap of some time--and was extremely unsure of my own reaction!!
My biggest fear was overcome when I entered the room where it had happened.Meha--our grand daughter--has placed a Picture of his on the Dresser facing the bed--and it calmed and reassured me the moment I saw it!!!There was a rightness in being there and I felt as if he had reached out to me and enveloped me in his familiar warmth!!!That night I slept like the dead---and woke up refreshed just to sleep again two hours later!!!Apart from a well acted School Play called "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" that Meha insisted I attend along with her friends I've been sleeping most of the Week thanks to Jet Lag---but hopefully should now be surfacing and adjusting to L.A. time----and coming back to SP again.Here too my SIL Mehul had a Cell phone as well as a PC ready for me--so I'm well equipped to follow my favourite pastime once more!!!