After eight years and six failed trips, here we were finally in San Francisco airport making our way to India. This trip was special for many reasons. I was going back home after eight years and a marriage. I was stoked to take my African-American husband to India and nervous how he was going to handle it all.  We were miles apart- he was as American as I could find and I had lived most of my life in India. So here I was taking him to see me.

Here was our agenda: Bangalore, Coimbatore, Madras, and the state where my family was from- Kerala. While I could go on and on about the first two places, Kerala was a place I had visited twice before.  I was excited to explore the place called God’s own country…. and in every sense of the world it was as heavenly as it could get.  We toured the backwaters of Kerala where you truly know why it is called God’s own country. Calm, serene and just peaceful- that one night on a houseboat in the middle of the backwaters was exactly what I needed. I was rejuvenated to say the least.Image

We explored Kerala by ourselves for the most part, except for a few days with family. That was when the fun began. My African American football-playing husband was a freak of nature in my country. Sure, there were men who were taller than him, and bigger than him- what my people never understood was why would a football player have big shoulders!! Soccer was football in India, and American football was an alien sport. In Cochin, a state in Kerala we decided that we were going to get my husband a kurta (a tunic in America). While people wondered why he was built so weirdly- they thought maybe just maybe he was related to Mohammed Ali, and he boxed for a living. While Mohammed Ali became his family, he represented President Obama to them. There were countless times when people told him they loved President Obama, and he stood there stumped.  While African Americans often complained about their hair, India loved it. My family and friends loved touching his hair, and combing it with a pick. It was a new toy and they loved everything about it- texture, fluffiness –all of it.

ImageKerala, what do I say about the state that is my identity. There is no place like her. She is calm, untouched by technology and going there takes you into a trance as you wonder how on earth could a place be so untouched by modernity.  I had been away from India for eight years, so much had changed and yet nothing had changed. The warmth and love that I think is the core of India was untouched.Image

India is more than just food, or yoga as the world sees it. She is an embodiment of love and immense sacrifice. The moment I got out of the Chennai airport, a sense of belonging filled my soul. I knew I was home. After years in the US, an American husband, a home, a career- India still remains my only home.  India might have changed with her booming economy, but the heart of India remains untarnished.  No matter where I might travel, going back to India is rejuvenating- It’s homecoming for my soul!

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