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Homecoming rituals

By Nickunj Malik - Jan 30,2013 - Last updated at Jan 30,2013

Amman is a wonderful place to return to. Ask any inhabitant of the city and he will tell you more or less the same thing.

While living here, one might take it for granted, but if one goes away for a few days and then comes, the relief one experiences is almost palpable.

If you want to know the importance of this wonderful town set on seven hills, travel out for a bit, and soon you will find yourself yearning to revisit. Believe me, it is true.

While I was on a break, the erstwhile water problem sorted itself out. With some divine intervention providing non-stop rain, the dams almost filled out and it was not an issue anymore. Or so I was told.

But during the vacationing period, my house electricity tripped, and when I opened the front door on my return, I was greeted by hazy dust clouds rising up to the ceiling. Every bit of furniture, floor, carpets and wall hangings was coated in an even layer of dirt. Amazed, I looked around at my worldly possessions through an uncontrollable fit of sneezing that hit me the moment I stepped inside.

Damage control was set in motion immediately, as room after room was rescued.

Also, as my regulars started trooping back, I realised that though the price of milk might be the same as several weeks ago, Ali, my greengrocer, informed me that the cost of vegetables and fruits had skyrocketed. Carrots, tomatoes, cauliflowers and onions were now more expensive than before.

In my home country, India, fog remained the main spoilsport throughout the winter season. Flights got delayed, cancelled, rescheduled and rerouted at the whims of airline authorities. One did not know which way the aircraft was headed till one put on the seat belt. Only then, the voice of the steward filtering in through the crackling sound system would inform you of the proposed itinerary.

Non-stop flights became hopping ones, and I was made to gallivant all over the non-foggy areas of the country before touchdown. But there was great fun awaiting me at arrivals where multiple television channels jostled around with bustling microphones trying to get my comments on the travails of air travel.

On a personal note, earlier this month, I turned a year older. As phone calls and good wishes came pouring in from all over the world, what pleased me the most was that it was a national holiday on that particular day in Jordan, my country of residence, because of unexpected snowfall.

It made me feel very important that nature had designed it thus though it could all just have been a coincidence.

I was celebrating, of course, with my school friends on a boat in the midst of a river, which was not a chance occurrence but a wonderfully planned reunion. But the most persistent query on the occasion had to do with my age. Everyone wanted to know how old I was.

So, how old am I?

According to Lucille Ball, the iconic American actress, comedienne and star of the landmark sitcom, “I Love Lucy,” “the secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age!”.

And therefore, I still remain yours truly, and a dear liar.

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