Every time I travel , I’m reminded of the conversation my husband had with his friend M when we were visiting M and his wife in Switzerland. It was late summer and we were in their kitchen. Both M and Hubby Dear had spent several years studying in the Nilgiris, albeit in different schools , but spent hours reminiscing about the inter school meets in which they would participate, the Bulls Eyes they used to buy at the sweet shop at Charing Cross, the sweet Rose Milk that they used to have while changing trains at Mettupalyam and the Fox Hunt at the Downs. It was our last day and as we sipped on our freshly brewed coffee, both men looked out of the window at the undulating hillside, the splatter of raindrops on the window and sighed nostalgically and asked one another almost simultaneously ” Doesn’t this remind you of Ooty? ”
I was amazed at how they could compare Switzerland with Ootacamund even if it was the Queen of the Nilgiris .
That was during my early years as an Indian travelling overseas, when everything seemed so different and far removed from India. But strangely enough, now after several journeys , I find myself seeing similarities between the different parts of the world and different parts of India – it may be the landscape, it may be the food, it may be the handicrafts or it may be the social customs . Sometimes it is an intangible vibe that reminds you of home.
In the last few weeks that I’ve been in Singapore, I’ve often got up thinking I’m back home in Mumbai. Last week for instance , I was disoriented when I heard the thunder and lightening. The pitter patter of the fat raindrops and the smell of wet earth really made me feel for a moment that I was experiencing a Mumbai rain shower.
I was woken up at day break with the sounds of voices carrying up – distinctively Indian in their intonation and I thought I was home. Similarly, the peculiar cry of the Koel which I thought was uniquely Indian reminded me of my Indian morning.
A colonial heritage
I spent a few years in the newly independent Nigeria where my father was posted as an Indian Naval Officer and I remember quite distinctly that the house was furnished with exactly the same MES furniture that was supplied to all the officers’ accommodation in India.
Similarly , while walking through certain parts of Singapore, I am reminded of the Cantonment towns of my childhood with leafy lanes and sprawling bungalows that were functional but over the years have acquired heritage value.
So perhaps Hubby Dear and M were right. There are times when things abroad are different yet similar and familiar to the sights and sounds of home.
Have you ever felt that things abroad though different are similar to the sights you are familiar with?
I’m linking this to Write Tribe #Monday Musings