My father was a voracious reader ,mostly books and periodicals in English .He read day in and day out and he smoked away as he read during most of his wakeful hours .Most often he would read deep into the night including the last night of his life and he met up with his death in the following morning .He called off his reading that crucial night because of a power outage that occurred much deep into the night . He was a diarist who would close every single day of his life only after recording the day’s happenings in his diary . He wrote it in exquisite English and his diary incorporated into its record keeping enterprise even the most trivial workaday happening like passing stool . He never left out the main news items of the day nor some not so newsy enough news but those that held some special fascination for him and none else . ‘No light no power’ was the last entry in his diary on that fateful night which referred to the said late night black out .His impeccable and sparse English prose rendered his diary eminently readable despite it held in itself no matter ‘worth writing home about’.
Sometimes his colleagues in the railways would drop by our house and among them they confabulated in stylish English which I would eavesdrop on with wide eyed fascination and with sharp attention .So at a very young age I got a notion that achieving excellence in English signalled good education ,classy sophistication and an intellectual and communicative showmanship .Some older kin from my maternal grandfather’s side too cloned the colonial English in their gear,gait & tongue since they had staffed the imperial government in various capacities .
All these legacy traits went into the making of a die-hard anglophile at a very impressionable age and it became the core of my selfhood .As a natural corollary to the evolvement of this persona it grew in me a strong desire to visit the ‘holy lands’ of English of England and America . So a windfall trip to America was a real dream come true to me even at this belated juncture of the 60th year of my earthly existence .
We took off from Sarasota airport to New York when the noon stood superannuated .I looked below through the window of the Aircraft and saw the blue waters of the Mexican bay and on the bay front stood the largely whitish Sarasota skyline .But when the plane scaled to the cruise altitude the window sported white cumulus clouds serenading the skies in their bleak & eventless sally .
The lay over at JKF was to the tune of 8 hours .The high point of the stop over was our securing two seats in the front row and one immediately behind it but the high point proper was allotment of a bassinet for little Madhav (kookuji) to cradle in .Sree had left no stone unturned to have it allotted the previous day but to little use .The Emirates had advised us to make a bid for it on reaching JFK which made us somewhat jittery as we weren’t sure of getting it .But as soon as the airline staffer at the airport saw us she obliged straightaway and we found ourself at cloud nine before the Emirates Airbus 380 took us there
.The sky was overcast and wintery in New York . We took several rounds in the Airport terminal building .Happiness and some pride were what I felt then .I and Suju took several photos together and we enjoyed the sight of several aircrafts taking off and landing .The foyer area had some fine looking bars where men and women were enjoying their drink in the style of the western world .I felt raring to join them but Suju dug her heel in and her mindless fatwa stonewalled a stealth essaying .
Though islamophobia could be a strong reality in the US the presence of a Muslim woman in black hijab vending snacks and cool beverages form yet another version of reality in America as manifested in the JFK international airport .Reality could never be linear it could rather be a zig zag puzzle with the most intricate pattern always defying effortless navigation .At the gate beside us they announced the departure of a flight to Heathrow in London . I knew it took 5 hours or so to complete the journey to London from New York.London is my next most cherished port of call .But as of now I kept looking at JFK airport with a sense of satisfaction and hope lurked in my heart to come again another day in America with a further ambitious itinerary that would extend from the northern most Canada down to the extreme southern most tip of Chile. Breadthwise it should be from ocean to ocean .I could be able to make it for sure for nothing succeeded like success .The wee hours of 16th October 2017saw us landing back home in cochin from our maiden trip abroad .