August 19- a trip to Kochi and a sister’s birthday

We drove to our apartment in Kochi hoping it wasn’t in a containment zone and we might not be turned back. Good news, everything seemed normal in Kochi, though it is a hotspot for corona as they say here and things are not so good with the corona statistics- 2333 cases diagnosed yesterday.

My sister turned 49 years old yesterday- of course, we couldn’t visit with her as she is in another state and we could only talk to her. Growing up, since she was only 2 years younger than me, I can remember the squabbles we had all the time. If I had one thing, she wanted it and if she had one thing, I wanted it. She was the one who helped my homemaker mom with the household chores ( though with hiccups and grunts of displeasure), while I got out of them with excuses. I feel sorry for all those times I got out of the chores. She is a senior officer of the Indian Administrative Services but seems that she enjoys doing domestic chores in her slow and steady way even now. She is a mother of three children of ages 21 to 15. She is managing her home now from home and with the help of her family. She is always there for any in the family who need help or a shoulder to cry on. She has grown to be a woman of remarkable faith and a staunch believer. We were born into Christian families but our faith has been renewed because of the toils of life. We realise now that our time on earth is so short and it is a time we need to spend on looking out for those who are not so fortunate as us. My sister calls her domestic help each month and pays her her salary- she does not allow her to come home to do the chores now, because of the corona but her salary goes to her nevertheless- one of the many charitable things she does in her own way to make the world better. I remember the times I pulled her hair growing up but my mom, who I met yesterday says that hair is all grey now. My sister is not a woman for makeup or the fancies of life- she is as simple as they make them. Happy Birthday, my dear sibling.

So we spent the day in our apartment at Kochi yesterday. Nursing a migraine, we managed to clean and dust the house and run all the machines to make sure, none had rusted or forgotten to run. Good news- all of them worked well. Then we went to my parents home and visited with them. One of my father’s sisters passed away on August 18th in Mumbai, so that was a sad time for my father. Sometimes death comes as a welcome relief. I would never have believed it but in this case, we are all happy my aunt has gone to her heavenly home to be with our Lord and her beloved husband, who went before – in February. They had a long and happily married life- maybe 60 years of marriage- unto the end they were together. And in death, they were just six months apart. Rest in peace, auntie.

We reached Kottayam, our home for now, by around 8 pm- the cat and our daughter welcomed us back – we had food packed for her, from a wayside restaurant where we ate. One of the few restaurants that allowed us to dine at the tables inside. The cat sulked for a while, while we made our apologies for leaving him for a day alone but all is well now.