Sunday, March 11, 2007

PORTLAND TO PALLAVARAM AND BACK

PORTLAND TO PALLAVARAM AND BACK

15 Boxes of Ferrero Roches, 2 Coby DVD players, 1 sony handycam and a digital camera, 3 ipod shuffles for 100 bucks on ebay, a foot massager, a blood pressure meter, Bose speakers and some Fossil watches……. Yes Pattabi was getting ready for a trip to Pallavaram.

Pattabi makes it a point to visit Chennai once a year, with his accumulated vacation balance, for three weeks. This time was special, as his brother Kittu was getting married. So it was 4 instead of the regular 3 weeks. It was also special, as he was carrying a 6 pack, this time on his abs. He started working out real hard this year, as there was a serious chance for him to get engaged during his brother’s wedding.

After a grueling flight from Portland to Pallavaram, Pattabi was greeted by his family and friends at the airport. There was definitely some signs of shock on his ‘Small’ size t-shirt, though he was very much a ‘medium’. He just had to show his arms and tight body, and that was the idea. It kinda went the other way, as it looked more like a blouse than a t-shirt. The Cab travel from Meenambakam to Pallavaram was always a thing to worry for Pattabi, obviously the traffic scared him to death.

Ah, finally home, he was a relaxed man. Happy to see his family and stuff. The next day was the suitcase opening day. This was always the hard day for Pattabi’s father, Rangabashyam, as he would hate his son spend money on stuff that he considers unnecessary. In the mean time Kittu was all exited to see what his brother had got for him for his marriage. Rangabashyam found it hard to accept new technology and products. The traditional ones seem to satisfy him more. When Pattabi gave him the Ipod, he said the old cassette walk man was better. When his son gave him the wrist pressure meter, he said the old one with mercury rising, gave him a more precise reading. He also liked his BSNL phone as compared to the cordless phone. Pattabi spent hours finding that stuff, but what he gets, ‘you could have got me something better’ comment. He was pissed and amazed at the same time. The next day went on distributing the candies to his relatives. Perripas gets two ferrero roceshes with one pack of Hershey’s and mamas gets M&Ms and Kit Kats….it was all decided by his parents.

Vaitheswaran kovil, Thirumanjeri, Yettu kuddi, Rameshwaram constituted his next 3 days. Pokkiri, Aalwar, Veerasami(!!), Guru took his next 2 days. He and his brother pretty much made friends in every shop in T nagar, given the number of times they visited each one of them for the wedding shopping. Most of the shop owners gave them the VIP passes, seeing the considerable amount of Pattabi’s Dollar earnings being spent on Indian cotton.

Even though Pattabi was very conscious about his health in India, he made sure that he did not make it public. He did not say Chennai was hot, he did not prefer mineral water over metro water, he did not demand cab over the metro buses, he did not prefer Life Style over Saravana Stores, his choice was Thiruvanmiyur Jayanthi and not the multiplexes, and definitely wanted to watch Veerasaami over V for Vendetta. Every one was pretty surprised on this behavior of Pattabi, who has spent more than 5 years in the states. The explanation from Pattabi’s side was simple. He really hated people who really had to do the exactly opposite stuff said above, when he was younger. And a strong advice from Rangabashyam, right from the age of 15 on being humble and more Society friendly helped him to make a choice. All his friends and relatives liked him over the other NRI s that they know. They would really appreciate his behavior when they got a chance. There were these other groups of people, who wanted him to act more NRI ish, and even went to the level of doubting if he really was one! Well nothing bothered Pattabi, he was who he was, and nothing could change him.

It was the week of marriage, and Pattabi took up a chunk of responsibilities and was happy working for his brothers wedding. It was big family re-union, after all, that is what marriages were all about. There were definitely some mama’s and mami’s, enquiring about the marital status of Pattabi, and started the initiatives. Even though Pattabi was a little proud inside, he kind of acted reluctant about these talks and stayed away from it.

Things went on well, and his brother is back in Pune for his project management activities in TCS. He even dragged his wife into the company. Rangabashyam and his wife Lalitha, now stay alone in their Tambaram house, chatting with their two sons over the internet. They constantly pressure Pattabi to come back to India, so that they can stay with him, as Pune was not their kind of place. For Rangabashyam, the change from Pallavaram to Pune was as hard as the change from Cassette walkman to Ipod, he just cannot do that.

For Pattabi, after the fist 2 weeks of home sickness, it was back to the normal life here in Portland. He is now seriously considering a job switchover which would make his transition from Portland to Pallavaram, easier!!!
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