“What will be the next seven days like? Ramaaa.....Krishnaa …help me pull it off well’’ prayed Devi as she waited at the arrivals lounge of the Bengaluru International airport to receive her mausi ke nanand ki devraani ke behan ke devar ki Saali - Sona and her family who were flying from the United States of America. Devi and Sona have been in conversation with each other for the last 7 years and they have developed a very close telephonic relationship. They made plans to visit each other on two prior occasions but it did not materialise until now.
Devi had not slept well the previous night, partly due to the excitement of seeing Sona and partly because of the nervousness of entertaining her NRI guests. In fact, Devi had been having sleepless nights for weeks worrying how Sona would view her small middle class 2BHK apartment in BTM Layout. Devi had made plans for each day of Sona’s visit - be it visiting relatives or shopping at Bangalore Central or a dinner at Leela Palace. She was going to show the best of Bangalore to Sona and her family so that they felt at home and did not miss the comforts of the USA. She had also made plans for the food that she was going to cook for the guests which should include breakfast lunch and dinner (with her latest Italian and Chinese recipes that she downloaded from Vah Chef and Show me the Curry on Youtube ). Devi had in particular requested Shantamma, the maid servant to come twice a day and had promised her Rupees 1000/ extra in addition to the American chocolates that Devi was sure that Sona would bring.
Devi got ready very early in the morning to get to airport to receive Sona and her family. Devi was at the airport an hour before Sona’s flight had landed up. She saw the arrivals timetable and learned that Sona’s flight was arriving an hour later.Yet she stood at the arrivals lounge and jumped with excitement every time the door opened and a passenger walked out. For Devi this was the longest wait ever.
Finally, the wait was over and Sona and her family arrived. Devi greeted them with a warm smile and a big bear hug. After loading the luggage, Devi’s husband drove all of them home in their Maruti Swift (It had taken Devi all of 3 years to change her husband’s mind to buy a new car and it had arrived just a month before Sona’s arrival).
Next morning Devi was surprised to see Sona come into the kitchen just as she had woken up to help her with the cooking. Sona seemed to like the Indian cuisines more than anything else and hence dosas were prepared and Sona herself made a wonderful sambar to go along side it. Sona preferred to eat without knife and fork the simple south Indian food like rasam and rice with a pallya/upperi and a crispy karum kurum kerala papad. As a treat Sona would rather prefer the Mirch Masala on 7th Main Road or Woodies than the posh Leela Palace that Devi had planned to take Sona.
Sona helped Devi in her household chores. She spent more time chatting with Devi than going to movies or shopping around in Lifestyle and Bangalore Central. Sona had no airs about living in the USA and most importantly she did not criticise Bangalore’s traffic or pollution. The week long trip was one of the best that Devi had had when guests visited her. In fact, Sona was no longer a guest but she had become family to Devi.
Sona is now back on the Lufthansa 924 to Boston and all she can think of is Devi’s kind hospitality and the good time that Devi’s family showed her and her family during their stay in India. As for Devi, she is now back to doing her household chores and cooking Rasam and Pallya before her husband gets home for lunch but she cannot stop thinking about the last few days she spent with Sona and she is wondering ….PHIR KAB AAOGE??