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desideewar des se WITH SONAL KULSHRESTHA

(Part 5 of article on page 1, page 2page 3 and page 4)

My journal of my amazement with India and its people ...


Our number one reason to visit India is to meet family. And by family I don't mean just the siblings and parents. We simply have to meet up and catch up with Mausi, Bua, Mama, Mami, Tauji, Taiji and everyone else that were part of our childhood or even new additions to the family in the form of brother-in-law or sister-in-law or nieces and nephews.

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We are willing to travel a few hours if that means we can see one other much loved family during our visit. As are they, to see us.

"With family,  the default feeling they have for us is love and care, unless we proof ourselves to be undeserving of that", I often tell my kids. At 17 and 13 now, they are old enough to feel that love flow and experience that care come naturally from every mama, mami, mausi, chacha, tau and tai that meet during their trip to India. They certainly do feel it and experience it in thousand different ways- in the many variety of food that is cooked for us, in the enthusiasm of planning an outing, in the generosity of letting us have the one AC room in the house, in the childhood stories of their parents that are told to them, in the ebullient hellos and the long- stretched byes,  but mostly, by just the loving look in the eyes of loved ones. "Mom, it does feel amazing to see the unconditional love given by our family", says my daughter towards the end of the India trip. And when she tells me that she's feeling sad about returning back to America, I know that my kids know exactly what family is about, that family means the world! What more can I say? The pictures tell all ...
Family fun is about visiting family is different cities and other family members from close by cities collecting there (picture above- family gathering in Gurgaon)
Family fun is about going to Bikaner or Haldiram in large groups (picture above). It is about making memories, making inside jokes with cousins (below). It is about taking camel rides with cousins (right -->)

 Family fun is about cousins collecting together in hotel lounges (below, center), taking road trips in a large mini van (below, center) or simply taking pictures with grand-pa (below, left)

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Family fun is about visiting Bihariji's temple in Vrindavan with a large group of family and then eating street food (above center) followed by cheering with a khulhar (clay cup) full of lassi (yogurt drink) (can't believe we actually drank the whole cup (picture above, right)
Family fun is about travelling to Noida and Gaziabad to meet dadaji's side of family ..

Family fun is about spending quality time with nana-nani ... taking them to Shimla (below, right), having long leisure lunches with them at home (below, left) 
Family fun is about everyone looking out to "help nani walk" .....(as kids put it)
Family fun is about organizing " Coat Piece" Cards Tournment with nani- nani ...

..... or "chai-biscuit time" with dada- dadi ...
Family fun is about travelling to Mumbai to meet more family ..

Family fun is about going through hundreds of old family pictures that dadi has collected over decades ...
Family fun is about lingering see -offs ..... it is always touching to see family come right up to your car and chat right by it for several minutes before you finally drive off ..... each time feeling overwhelmed with their hospitality ....saddened by that fact that at least an year would pass by before we'll get to see them again ...

 ....... knowing that we already miss them even as we drive off ....

A sanskrit shloka comes to mind- 
कुटुंबकं जीवनं मम
Family is my life

(This was part 5. Previous articles are on page 1, page 2page 3 and page 4)

#6 ..check back and follow me right here as I journal my amazement with India and its people this summer...

By Sonal Kulshrestha

(Sonal is a computer programmer by profession and a writer by passion. She is an avid movie goer. She lives in Texas, USA) 

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