A fun-filled USA trip

 

Ok so here I am, back home again. Jetlagged, and (eeeew) four and a half kilos heavier than when I left. But happy, happy, happy…mitra

 

An invitation to a wedding in Oklahoma started it. And before I knew it, all of you, my friends, some on FB, some not, were showering me with invites. Stay with us, ours is a nice city. June July is lovely in my city. You must see the jazz/blues/country music festivals in my city. You must visit the home of this famous writer, that renowned artiste…they worked here…in my city. 

 

And so it snowballed. The wedding became just  one of the items on the list of things to do, on this US visit. Many of you asked me, “Hey, how come you are not visiting us”. Some of you tactfully messaged…”Come over, we’ll pay your airfare…” 

 

Wow, that’s generous, but this time, I stuck to my first itinerary. And oh am I glad I did. Six weeks of bliss, of laughter, of pure, unadulterated friendship, of memorable experiences. Across several cities of the US, but not the usual megapolises. Except Chicago, the others were less frequented, but equally beautiful places. Madison, Fargo, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, St Louis, Omaha…these were not places I had visited on previous US trips. And am I glad that I went to them, for they have so much to offer. 

 

It was Hazlitt who said that to travel was great, but to have a travelling companion to whom one can point out the wonderful things on the way, made the whole journey worthwhile. These days, one can have many travelling companions, through uploaded FB pictures. And yes, my friends, you were there with me throughout my six weeks away from this home and city that I love. 

 

Thank you, my friends, for following and liking my pics. Yes, I am a compulsive uploader, especially pictures of food friends and flowers (Hm. Not necessarily in that order) Quite a few of you have messaged me about the pics too…thanku thanku! As they say, joy shared is joy doubled.

 

And to all my wonderful friends who hosted me, what can I say? (I count the relatives I stayed with on this trip as my friends too…a better relationship, I think ) You went out of your way to make me feel welcome. You took me to museums, music shows, an Oscar Wilde play, boat rides (a calm one and one that was EXTREME), a glass ledge hundreds of metres above street level, shops,fancy restaurants, fast food joints, beautifully laid out parks and walks, locks, vineyards, fantastic zoos, sources of rivers. There was the joyous experience of a wedding, and getting to dress up American bridesmaids in mekhela sadors. You showed me around your lovely cities, catered to my every whim and fancy.

 

Literally, too…there’s a reason all these kilos have piled up. Different cuisines, fruits, veggies, desserts, exotic meats, all kinds of wines and spirits …all were placed in abundance before me. All of you, tea drinkers, made sure that there was an endless supply of the finest coffee available for me in your homes. My smallest wish was your command. How can I ever forget that?

 

And those friends of friends who welcomed me with veritable feasts …oh, a big, big thank you. You are pals with my pals…and so, we bonded so well…

 

Travel, for me, means garnering new experiences and getting to know and meet people. This time, I had it all, in gorgeous abundance. Thank you so much, my friends…will remember your kindness and generosity for ever.

Mitra Phukan

Mitra Phukan

Mitra Phukan is a writer, translator, columnist and classical vocalist who lives and works in Guwahati, Assam. Her published literary works include four children's books, a biography, and a novel, "The Collector's Wife". Her most recent work is another novel, "A Monsoon of Music" published by Penguin-Zubaan in September 2011. Besides, her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. Her works have been translated into several languages. She is the Northeast correspondent of the Chennai-based journal of the performing arts, "Shruti" and a member of the North East Writers' Forum.