Monday, July 03, 2006


I am home. But it only registered in that moment when I stepped from the plane into the immigration/customs' area at Delhi's airport.

In that moment, I felt home on my skin. In that moist weight pressing down on each pore, that warm density - a little shock against my neck and slipping into my fingertips. And the smell. The smell of damp earth. That smell of the promise of rain. That smell of mitti!

It wasn't raining, but it was going to. And I knew. Even before I stepped into the open air, I knew. That damp weight on my skin was telling me; that elusive almost-here smell was telling me. And in knowing this, I knew I was home.

It took two hours in the immigration queue. That too spells home. Queues. At airports. At railway counters. Everywhere. Queues. Filmi dialogues about queues (Hum jahaan khade hote hain, line wahin se shuru hoti hai). The eternal snaking lines in a warm, dense place. Home. The chitter-chatter of four-year old girls in long plaits. Mothers scolding 'tujhe phir kahin bahar leke nahin aaongi'. The one public telephone in the area lying disconnected; the wire torn off. Reliance being its unreliable self. (I'd paid three months' bills in advance, in order to stay connected; they disconnected me, anyway). Lines, crawling, sweating, murmuring, phone-calling lines.

But all I had to do was to switch off the discomfort and impatience and start thinking of the smell, the air waiting outside.

That smell of mitti that drives women to Dariba Kalan. The smell they try so hard to bottle up and sell in tiny vials of oily essence. The smell of hot June flirting with rich July. That smell of home.


uma said...

This is so beautiful.

Thank you.

jaygee said...

The smell came way ahead of the rains... :)

FiNK said...

hey.. i really liked this post.. i just came bk home too.. n despite the heat and dust and taxi drivers shout maydam car maydam... i stepped outta the airport.. and i knew .. i'm HOME!!! =)

Charu said...

:)) ah, the season for "stilling rains" is here finally... and yes, the smell we all wish we could bottle and cary with us...

Rushes' Anomaly said...

When I got back home, the first stop for the flight change over was Delhi and the first rush of smell with which the air welcomed me was the strong Urine Stench! And a few big rats scuttling around, esp in the international lounge.

Maybe the "rain smell" overpowered everything else ...

Vijayeta said...

Welcome back! Grrrreat to see these warm, nostalgia inducing thoughts from you again!

(Big hug!)

Anonymous said...

Such utter crap

Sreekumar said...

Yes..India hits you when you get out of the plane!

s said...

What, no chai yet?

Rabin said...

ma' can have your home and keep it too....delhi is too blardy hot for the likes of me..I didn't think i'd ever say that, considering i'm from chennai but truth be told the delhi heat got me good this time..

annie said...

uma: thanks
jaygee: only a day before. and that's the beauty of it, isn't it?
fink: :)
charu: you can get it in a bottle. come to delhi.
rushes'anomaly: it did, actually.
vej: tis good to be back. you come back too
anonymous: .......?
sreekumar: that, it does. that's what i like about it.
s: coming up, piping hot.
rabin: now somebody just needs to write a song about dilli ki garmi.

Pawan said...

aah, really nice. Welcome back:):):)

MediaYug said...

हमारी पहल रंग लाई....कल रात (बुधवार) एक सुधी दर्शक ने हमें ये बताया कि किस तरह जानामाना चैनल एनडीटीवी एम्स में डाक्टरों की हड़डताल से एक व्यक्ति की मौत के बाद खबर चलाए जा रह था। वहां मौजूद संवाददाता ने ये जताया कि लोग असंवेदनशील हो चले है और कोई भी मदद को कोई आगे नहीं आ रहा है। मीडियायुग ने पहल करते हुए चैनल हेड से ये बात बताई। फिर आज सुबह ही उस व्यक्ति के परिवार वालो के लिए आर्थिक मदद एनडीटीवी ने जुटाई। कही न कही ये हमारा विश्वास मजबूत करता है, कि टीवी मीडिया में संवेदनशीलता बची है। हमें एक कदम खुद उठाने में केवल सोचने की जरूरत होती है...आपकी एक लिखित पहल हमें मजबूत बना सकती है। गंभीर विषयों पर अपने लेख हमें भेंजे।


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