So it had to happen soon or later that I’d trip up on ,y self-imposed discipline of writing a post a day this year: I find myself at twenty past eleven on a Tuesday night, having raced around all day, not having written a blog post and with very little of interest to write. So, you might justifiably quip, nothing new there, then.
I’ve been thinking today that’s it’s exactly a year since I arrived with my mother in India after a traumatic and eventful journey. Having finally conked out and slept on the plane from Dubai to Mumbai , in which an Aussie air steward thoughtfully called her Auntie – the Emirates crew were so incredibly supportive – she decided that she was hungry when in the wheelchair queue for immigration at Mumbai airport. Gesturing to everyone like a Dickensian orphan, she begged pitifully for food while we inched forward in the queue, to be mocked by the Immigration Jobsworth because we had, according to him, written on the form we have to complete as we arrive that Neral was in Raigad District, and everyone knows it’s not there. Haha. (Neral IS, in fact, in Raigad District but this is a good illustration of the sort of thing I dread every time I go to India.)
Past Immigration, I wheeled my mum through the brand spanking new duty free shop and settled on a chocolate bar but I couldn’t pay in the Rupees or Sterling I was carrying, and I had not yet cashed any travellers’ cheques. Dollars, they wanted. Or a credit card.
Then my mother decided loudly that she wanted something savoury so I had to try and find something for her in the newly-opened airport terminal.
The driver who met us adjusted well to my mother’s toddler-like petulance and demented repetition and we found our way to Neral where we at once threw ourselves on the mercy of the in house doctor who, in principle, agreed to taking my mother and gave her a bed there on the spot. Goodness, when I look back it was all so tenuous. I was trying to avoid thinking about how on earth I’d be able to return to the UK with my mum and what we’d do with there here if she was refused admittance in India.
The following day I journeyed to Mumbai for an interview with the head of the Dignity charity, and begged her to waive the normal payment rules (the requisite Indian Bank account can be held only by a citizen of India or someone with an Overseas Citizenship, which I could not obtain until June) for my mother, and she agreed. And then ensued several days of waiting to find someone who would receive the money that we had been trying to transfer for weeks. This didn’t happen because if people in India receive even a fraction of this sum in their bank accounts, even for a day, suddenly they become liable for Income Tax and we couldn’t have that. Even people in my family who must handle millions every day would not help.
Those of you who have been following me for all this time will remember how anxious the situation was, sustained only by the loan by my friend @GreavsieE17 of whole series of Borgen. Such kind gestures are the things that keep you sane, I think. As we know it all turned out OK in the end, but not without months and months of terrible hassle.
I can’t believe that was a year ago. How time flies as we get older and we accustom ourselves to grand vicissitudes that make up our daily lives. It was all so momentous then. So, in contrast, it’s quite nice to enjoy this period of very little happening now, while it lasts. A t least, it is for me.
Night, night. x