One further snake anecdote from my last blog:This trip has me thinking about family. I can't believe I forgot this story when taking about Sankari. It was, in fact, the firs place I ever saw a live cobra in the wild, but it was also the place where I saw a live cobra in a house. This was when my grandmother was still alive (my father's mother). My grandmother and her sister-in-law (my grand aunt?) were cooking in the kitchen. We were in the living room reading or something. In India - especially at that time but even now - doors were kept wide open to allow for air circulation in the heat. Suddenly we saw this black streak go across the floor and head to the kitchen. Evidently it was a cobra that went into the kitchen and did a figure 8 around my grand aunt's legs and disappeared into the pots and pans. My grandmother walked out of the kitchen as if she were announcing it was dinner time. She looks at us and says (completely dead-panned), "there is a snake in the kitchen." I would have been screaming and running around as if I were a character in Airplane!.
The past 2 days in Madras were relatively uneventful. I got to spend some time with my grandparents (the big reason for my trip to India), one of my aunts, and some of my cousins. There was a rather funny incident on the way to the airport, however. I had arranged a taxi to the airport and was waiting at my grandparents' place with my cousin and her husband. We suddenly get a phone call 10 minutes before I was to be picked up. The taxi driver was calling to ask how to find our neighborhood! It doesn't give you much confidence when the taxi driver doesn't know how to find the place to even pick you up! He swore he knew the way to the airport, and luckily he did know his way to the airport, but while on the way there, he ended up getting in an argument with a driver of a truck that was passing us. They literally were yelling at each other through open windows and threatened to pull over, so they could start fighting. Ummmm… really? He then pulled into a gas station - I swear I thought I'd never make my flight.
I flew into Singapore and jumped into a taxi to meet Darrell Ang for dinner. I've known Darrell for years, and he is an incredibly talented conductor. It is funny that 2 years ago, I basically did the same trip and had Christmas dinner with the Angs. I think they are beginning to think I only drop in for dinner at the holidays. It was then a 24 hour flight via Moscow back to Houston. It was great to be home and to see the cats. They haven't left my side since I got home!