Last night after being sick for a little over a week my mom suggested I drink Haldi Dhood (a mixture of warm milk, turmeric and honey). As I drank the milk I remembered my Nanima (maternal grandmother) and how she had lovingly made me Haldi Dhood the last time I was in India and fell ill. My Nanima is a huge advocate for natural cures and Ayurvedic remedies. Growing up, my Mom would call her up whenever we got sick to see which home remedy to use. While we never appreciated it much when we were younger, the moment I became pregnant I often found myself asking my Mom for “Nanima’s remedies”. In the past year and a half whenever my daughter has gotten ill or gotten hurt I’ve depended on my Nanima’s home remedies. These remedies not only provide relief and comfort, they make me feel as if my Nanima is close by. Her cures and love are a part of my daughter’s childhood.
Recently British Airways launched their ‘Welcome of Home’ campaign with the video below and asked me to share it. I happily accepted as British Airways played a huge part in my childhood since we flew with them annually to visit my grandparents.
I can completely relate to Chitra’s emotions towards her grandmother in the video. My visits to India mean getting to spend time with my Nanima, hearing stories about my Mom’s childhood and learning more about our religion and culture. I cherish every moment spent with her. When I met my husband a few years ago and he told me his family was from Mumbai, the same city where my Nanima lives – I was relieved and thrilled. When you visit India your time is always limited, having both families in the same city meant I could visit them as much as I wanted without having to worry about internal flights or trains.
The days leading up to the visit I’m anxious yet excited. I make lists of the things I need and a list of things that would be nice to have. I realized a few years ago if I don’t make a running list before I touch down in India, I get so excited about what’s in the marketplaces that I completely lose track of what items I need at home. As I make these lists, my husband pipes in about the foods he wants to eat followed by a childhood memory paired with each dish. For him it’s all about the food. Spices and saris are always at the top of my list. I love going to the spice markets in Mumbai and buying freshly ground masalas. The aroma and depth of the flavor profiles are completely different to what you find here in the states. After spice sourcing comes shopping! The variety of clothes and customization options you will find in Mumbai are endless. There’s a tailor on every road corner and a boutique on every street ready to make your “dream outfit”. It’s a colorful experience that’s simply magical. Selecting your own fabrics, laces, materials and watching your outfit come together has a charm all of its own. It’s something that can truly be done well and enjoyed in India.
As the days approach we map out our time there and decide where we will stay and when. This is usually followed up by a giddy me messaging my cousins telling them the dates I’ll be staying with my Nanima. Arriving in Mumbai at my Nanima’s means there is an abundance of two things: lots of love and lots of food. After the exchange of hellos and hugs we’re greeted with a tall glass of ice cold Roohafza, a bright pink floral & fruity drink that was my favorite growing up. Dinner is served promptly and gajar ki saabzi, a carrot stir fry is usually included as my family knows how much I love the sweetness of Indian carrots. Dinner is followed by my Mama (maternal uncle) bringing out my favorite dessert Shrikhand, a sweet hung yogurt flavored with saffron and cardamom. He always spoils me by getting the original and a new flavor so I can have my pick. I always go for the original. This same welcome routine has been happening for years, each time we visit. Each time the love feels stronger, food seems tastier and dessert tastes sweeter. I wouldn’t change anything about our welcome to home.
Once I became a mother and saw my own Mom squeal with delight and dote on my daughter every time she visited, I realized why my Nanima use to make a big deal about our visits to India. I understood how she must have felt when we visited her in India, every trip growing taller and older. I wanted her to experience the same happiness and excitement with her great grandchild, my daughter. This past year my husband and I took our (then one year old) daughter to London and Mumbai. It was one of the most wonderful experiences we’ve had with her. Our first stop was London as my entire Dad’s side of the family lives there. My Dadima (paternal grandmother) was counting the days for our visit and it would be the first time she would see me after I became a mother. We were greeted with hugs, tears and plates full of Aloo Paranthas. After a week full of delicious food, my cousins wedding and family time we flew to Mumbai where our daughter got to spend time with my husband’s parents and meet her Bua (paternal aunt) for the first time. My husband wanted to take us to places he grew up and show us where he ate and played as a child. We fed her our favorite foods, gave her an entire coconut to drink out of and play with and even braved it enough to go out shopping in the local markets with her. Soon the time came for us to visit my side of the family. It was the first time they would be meeting her and I felt so lucky that my Nanima would be giving her blessings to my daughter. Our usual welcome routine commenced upon arrival and the days following were filled with my cousins surprising me with a sleepover, family dinners and lots of masti (fun). I left India feeling satisfied and blessed. Having your child experience a part of your childhood and roots is an indescribable feeling. I hope that over the years she grows to love and cherish visiting India as much as I do.
British Airways knows how important these moments are and would like to see photos of your welcome of home. Tweet your photos to @British_Airways using #WelcomeOfHome and you could win a trip home. Direct link to the giveaway can be found here.
The contest will run from November 11 through November 25, 2014. British Airways will randomly select and reward a participant with a trip home; the winner will be notified by December 1, 2014 and must claim the prize by December 7, 2014.
For more information on booking flights to India via British Airways, please visit their Welcome of Home page.
This post was sponsored by British Airways. All opinions and experiences are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that have relationships with Love Laugh Mirch.