While in the West flying the coop by the time one is in their early twenties if not earlier is the norm, Indians similar to Southern Europeans tend to continue to live at home, lapping up home cooked meals and enjoying being cleaned after and cared for.
Eventually however, everyone moves out, at least one hopes and aspires to (I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be the 40 year old virgin). And it is from this day that you embark on being an independent individual that you have automatically earned yourself a shiny, wonderful golden ticket.
I tend to use these golden tickets sparingly and save them for just the right time. For years now it has consistently been between November and December when Christmas is in the air and the festivities are eagerly being ushered in. There is already a jovial, happiness ringing through the air that is almost contagious, giving and caring is only quadrupled when you whip out a golden ticket.
If by now you haven’t figured out what the hell a golden ticket is – it is simply the pampering, oohing and aaahing that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles shower down on you when you make your way back “home”. The grandeur of the visit of course is exacerbated by the distance from which you live from your family, as well as the frequency of your trips back home.
A boarder at the age of thirteen, the golden ticket is a thing I am very familiar with. Every visit back home since then, be it after my one year gap year in Denmark and my annual visits every year of Masters programme in Australia has meant coming home to a dinner of Fried Fish, Kerala Fry, White Rice, Kachimoore, Avial, Papad and White Curds, followed by my favourite Indian sweet – Gulab Jamun from Bhagatrams. A snooze in my childhood bed, that is periodically updated and it’s a matter of hours before I wake to my favourite breakfast of Appams and Chicken Stew.
This time however, it seems as if my golden ticket lost its sheen. I was offered leftover hot dogs instead of my usual welcome that I was looking forward to with baited breath. No special meal and moreover HOT DOGS! In the end we settled on going out for dinner to a new Kerala restaurant that offered the dishes of my childhood – I have nothing against the restaurant but could not fully enjoy it since its simply something best enjoyed at home the way I like it lovingly prepared.