The aircraft thuds as it touches the runway and I look out the window. I’m once again back in Thiruvananthapuram. The cold snap has left me with a sore throat and blocked nose. Now the lack of sleep has given me a headache as well. The pilot announces the outside temperature. It is only 830 in the morning but the sun is already quite fierce. The weather has gone from one extreme to the other. They are experiencing a mini heatwave here. I realise that I have forgotten the suntan lotions and hand held fans in my worry about getting to the airport in time and catching the flights.
It doesn’t take long to clear immigration as the airport looks quite empty. I join the shortest queue and then saw my cousin sitting at the desk. I wave to him as he looks up for his next client. He calls to me to go to his desk. I say it is okay as I am in the wrong queue and someone has already joined him. As he finishes with the guy, I am still waiting and he calls me once again and I join him. We do some small talk as he checks my passport and stamps it. It doesn’t take long for my bag to arrive and I am out. Syam is waiting for me and he goes to pick up his car while I wait in the shade.
My first stop is Prasantha’s house. Syam knows the houses of all my friends. When we get there, I realise that I hadn’t packed my bags properly and little Janaki’s dress is tucked inside somewhere. As I rummage through the contents to find it, Prasantha’s daughter, Abha and little Janaki joins me. I find it with it’s price tag still attached. I take it off before handing it to Abha but she jokingly says she’s seen it. She is a pretty little happy girl and so is Jani, as Prasantha calls her. I’m seeing them for the first time. Prasantha is laid up in bed as she waits for her ankle to mend. I’ve already had breakfast on the flight and I am not hungry. We sit and chat as Jani shows me her toys.
Another friend, Dinesh’s dad died while he was visiting him two days ago. We ring Dinesh and find out his address. After bidding goodbye to Prasantha and co, I make my way to Dinesh’s house. It is quiet when I get there. The visitors for the day haven’t started arriving. We catch up on the news since I last saw him in Dubai when my dad died and he gave us a lift to Sharjah airport almost two years ago.
It is past midday when I reach home. The plans for the week change as I get some unexpected news. I need to travel to Kottayam in the morning. I try to shift my headache and get some sleep. But first I tuck into a dish of rice and favourite curries Amma has prepared for me washed down with a cool glass of watermelon juice.