Friday, October 18, 2013

Exit Notes!


Our last few days in Kolkata now seem like a dream: farewell  meals and meetings with friends, a Satsang at home on the last Sunday before we left, (which was so beautiful and so moving that I found it hard to control my tears); a delightful, though all-too-brief visit from our daughter-in-law.......
Gandhi Jayanti was when we packed our personal luggage and isolated it in the corner of one room. The packers invaded our house on the morning of the 3rd , and a whirlwind reigned all over, as they were a large team and we were outnumbered. They were experts at dismantling/packing /wrapping/numbering. By the evening of the 4th October we had some 163 packages ready for despatch. We were still staying in the house as we had the landlord's beds and air conditioner in my parent' room, and decided to use old sheets, cushions and towels that we could give to our maid before we left.
Too sleepy to get up and check, I wondered whether the packers had even opened the cutlery drawer in the glass-fronted sideboard.
While reading a restaurant review in the morning paper, a mention of saffron triggered off a memory of my cutlery drawer, in which I'd kept a beautiful saffron box from Iran. The packers had not opened the drawer, and were most abashed about it, and promised to pack it once the rest of the loading was done.

I was saddened to see that some of the loaders looked far too old for such heavy work,but they were an enthusiastic crew. This old gentleman had a fabulous moustache, and was quite happy to pose for a photograph!


Kolkata has had a heavy, long monsoon this year, and I was worried about the cardboard cartons getting wet in the rain. God was very kind, and the day was mostly bright and sunny. But, after the truck had been loaded, we had the deluge to beat all deluges- I've seen very heavy rain in my seven years in Kolkata, but never anything like this. We had the house cleaned up thoroughly, quite astounded by the amount of trash that emerged from various corners. We said our farewells to Meena, my trusted helper of over seven years, who had even helped me unpack when I moved to Kolkata, and Anil, the boy who kept my bathrooms and fans scrubbed and shining. Then a young man from the SRE's office came to take charge of the house, and that marked the end of a rich and eventful chapter in our lives. Arun drove us through flooded roads to the company guest house, where we bathed and changed, and then went for a lovely, intimate dinner at a cousin's home.

We had decided to settle our Tolly Club dues before we left. I had to capture the SRE's pensive look as he overlooked the green......
We went to meet some old friends who couldn't come and see us because their dog was very ill. (He passed away a couple of days later). Back to the guest house for lunch and a nap.  Some dear friends were coming over for a farewell cup of tea with us. After a pleasant hour or so together we went out to see them off, only to discover that our driver, Arun, had had a dizzy spell in the bathroom and had a big wound at the back of his head. Fortunately, our friends hadn't left, so they took him to the doctor and called his family. (The poor man had to have nine stitches in his scalp). We called for a taxi, and reached the airport well in time. All sentimental thoughts about leaving Kolkata were completely overshadowed by our concern for Arun, who has served us so well for over seven years. Each time he'd drop us at the airport, he would say, "God bless you", in English, so this departure seemed strangely incomplete. (We still don't know why he had the fall. But he's sounding cheerful, and having the sutures removed today).

Our younger son and older daughter were at the airport to receive us.
A new chapter of our lives begins!



19 comments:

Sue said...

Love to you both.

dipali said...

@Sue: Thank you! Lots of love to you, too!

Ugich Konitari said...

Dipali, what a lovely post ! We will be doing this a couple of years from now, having spent almost 40 years in this place. Wonder how much luggage we will have. Physical as well s Mental ..... :-)

Subhashree said...

I feel sad reading this post. You write beautifully Dipali, yes, any place home is difficult to be left. Love to you and hope you have such lovely friends and memories in the new city.

eveslungs said...

Such a lovely post. Love to you two.

dipali said...

@Ugich Konitari: Depends on what kind of people there are in your family! Though I do keep trying to de-clutter, I think I've got my Dad's hoarding genes! And when you live in a place for long enough, stuff finds its way into every available nook and corner. I have seen an uncle and aunt keep their stuff to a minimum and live life with the minimum physical baggage, and don't seem unduly burdened with mental baggage either! We'll exchange notes when you actually do shift!!!!

OrangeJammies said...

I loved reading about your beautiful relationships with the help. It says so much about you. Lots of love and happy beginnings!

mim said...

hey dips...
I am sorry you have to leave...

you seem to have found this place to be so special...

Aneela should write a primer on how to cope with moving, methinks

dipali said...

@Subhashree: Don't be sad. For me, leaving Kolkata was a wrench, but Noida/Delhi is where most of my family live, and many old friends. Growing roots anew is not easy, but it must be done!
Mallika: Thank you, to you and your family too.
@Orange Jammies: They have all been part of my life for over seven years!Growing up with my father and his value for each and every human being he encountered must have rubbed off somewhere! Thank you for your lovely wishes.
@mim: Kolkata was the city in which I discovered some wonderful blogs and started blogging myself. I met many wonderful people from the virtual world while I lived in Kolkata, and the city has an appeal all of its very own! Yes, Aneela certainly should! We should be meeting her soon:)

Sujatha Bagal said...

What a flurry of activity right toward the end! Your posts have been so loving of a great old city. Here's to new adventures in new places!

dipali said...

@Sujatha: Thanks! This morning we had a surprise visit from my older daughter, her spouse and their two dogs:fun!
Being in the same area as the kids is wonderful.

dipti said...

Beautiful exit post! Here's to new beginnings! Good luck to you and the SRE. he does look rather pensive signing off at the club.

dipali said...

@Dipti: Thank you! Good wishes are always welcome:)

sukanyabora said...

Can tell from this post how much you loved Cal. Good luck with settling down. House moves are tough, cannot imagine how much harder moving cities will be.

Hugs,
Sukanya

dipali said...

@Sukanya: It isn't easy, and today was just a sadly frustrating day which is looking much happier now! Thank you, and big hugs to you too!

Neera said...

So beautifully vivid! I felt being a part of your life somehow by reading this post! Well I am delighted I'll be able to meet you next time I am there :) Hope you have a wonderful stay in the NCR.

dipali said...

@Neera: Thank you. Yes, there are many positive aspects to this move- meeting you will be one of them!

Banno said...

Lovely post about leaving, sad, yes, but also so life-affirming. Loved the photos.

dipali said...

@Banno: Thank you! Hope to see you here some day.