India Calling: The Welcome of Home

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On the Bombay water front with my father and brother at the age of three

On the Bombay waterfront with my father and brother at the age of three

 

 

India Calling: Can you ever  go Home Again?

British Airways says you can – and offers two air tickets to India!

As a child growing up in New Delhi, India, my favorite pastime was watching the planes take off at the airport. Since my siblings and I had never traveled by plane there was a sense of wonder, even mystery. Where did these shining silver birds go and how would it be to ride off on their backs?

Years later, having migrated to foreign shores – Hong Kong, Africa and then America –  I’m quite blasé about air travel but I still love planes. They are my way of getting back home, journeying to family, friends and picking up the threads of past worlds.

I remember returning back home to India from Hong Kong as a young married woman with two little kids in tow – it was the first time I was returning, and since this was before the time of email and smart phones, the sight of those familiar loved faces, that look of total unconditional love on my mother’s face was enough to bring me to tears.

Since then I’ve been back many times, and each day is about nonstop chatting with sisters, nieces and aunts, revisiting old haunts and checking out favorite eateries.  And of course, relishing delicious homemade kokies and sail mani, special Sindhi delicacies not found in any restaurant.

 

Street foods at Haldirams

Street foods at Haldirams

The Welcome of Home – A Wedding in the Family

Some years ago I returned to Delhi for a loved niece’s wedding and it was like I had never left.  I was welcomed to a house bedecked with marigolds and we sat in the garden in the mellow October sun, eating juicy Nagpuri oranges, all of us dressed in colorful outfits for the mehndi or henna celebration. Oh, the music, the dancing, the laughter, the giddiness and love! To be there for that family wedding was to be truly home.

 

At a family wedding several years back

At a very special family wedding several years back

 

Homewards Bound – Taj Mahal, Tigers and so much more...

Just two years back I went back to Delhi again and went all over Rajasthan and Agra with my own grown family and it was quite wonderful, bonding with the cousins, aunts and uncles, of checking out the Taj Mahal and the palaces of Jaipur and Udaipur – and not to forget the tigers of Ranthambore! I also visited Children’s Hope Prayas, a project a group of us New York women have funded in India through our organization Children’s Hope India. Seeing these slum children face to face is a joy for you get to see firsthand the changes made in their lives.

Going home to India means discovering all this because they encompass the larger home of every Indian – from the beaming children at their computers to the mischievous monkeys dangling from the traffic lights in Agra.

 

Welcome of home - with grandsons

Welcome of home – with grandsons

 

Who says you can’t go home again? Home is there waiting for you!

Part of the trip home is the travel experience in getting there. British Airways new program, The Welcome of Home, emphasizes the excitement and feeling you have when heading home to India. Check out this wonderful Welcome of Home Video, a true story of a woman’s journey to see her family in India. I think it will resonate with all of us who may live in America but have a piece of our hearts in India.

The Welcome of Home

 The Welcome of Home – Win Two British Airways Tickets to India!

In fact, now British Airways makes it easy to travel back in time – they are giving away two tickets back home to India!  All you have to do is tweet a photo that reminds you of home and where your home is, for a chance to win two round trip flights back to see your loved ones. Tweet @british_airways – https://twitter.com/British_Airways with a photo of your welcome of home. Be sure to include hashtag #WelcomeOfHome.

Visit http://www.britishairways.com/en-us/offers/flights/the-welcome-of-home for all the details.

Remember – The contest runs from November 11 through November 25, 2014

So open up those family albums and find your favorite photos from home and share @british_airways, using the hashtag #WelcomeofHome. You may just find yourself with a loved one flying off on a free British Airways flight to Indiaaa!

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 We appreciate your comments and  fun anecdotes about traveling back home! Do share!

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About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. Twitter@lavinamelwani & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

16 Comments

  1. Lavina Melwani on

    Nimmi, our pictures freeze and hold all the wonderful moments we’ve experienced. I guess family is the draw of home and India. Time to fly back to India! Why don’t you or Sangeeta tweet some pictures to british_airways and get into the draw for two air tickets for Delhi, using the hashtag #WelcomeofHome.

  2. Great piece by Lavina, nice writing as usual. And nice gesture on the giveeaway and campaign from British Airways. I’d love to see the results on how this campaign goes, and hear about some of the winners or who the top influencers were

  3. A very sentimental video this was! I wish CHITRA n GIRISH every happiness in the future! Chitra is right when she says that everyone should have their grandparents close to them!
    I remember each time I traveled back with my FOUR kids! First from Africa, then from Hong Kong and finally from New Jersey. There was so much excitement for me n my children going back HOME each year!

    NOW that India is my home again, I visit the US with the same anticipation of meeting my children and grand children there! Thank you to all the airlines for lending us their wings to fly above the clouds and see our families and dear ones. Their wings also help us to fly to the Land of Dreams. Thank You!

  4. Thank you Neel! It was a pleasure to write this, since home and family are topics close to everyone’s heart. Will definitely keep you posted on the results but would love you all to get involved in tweeting your pictures of home – because you never know! A trip to India is always welcome!

  5. Lavina: That black and white photograph is such a treasure!!! My dad used to take us to Jumbo Point too, when we were kids, and we loved watching the planes fly so low before touchdown… some of my best memories of Delhi as well.

  6. Love this piece which makes me want to get on a BA flight to Mumbai!
    The India/British connection is so strong that the one city most Indians want to travel to outside of India is London. It was my first overseas destination 38 years ago. Hey would love to fly to Mumbai via London on BA!

  7. Lavina Melwani on

    Shago – I agree! Things done with dads were such fun – even watching planes or listening to the Sunday comics being read out!

  8. Lavina Melwani on

    Neena, thanks for your comments on the WelcomeofHome video – it is very emotional but then for all of us going home is emotional so it captures the true spirit. I think you put it very well – the wings of airlines help us to visit the ones we dream about!

  9. Lavina Melwani on

    Dina, thanks for your comment – I think we all have family members in London too so it is such a draw. Come spring many of us will head to India, and London and visiting family there is always an added attraction.

  10. Lavina, great article! Got me very nostalgic about the place that we left so many years ago. The moment you set foot on that soil you feel like you never left. The sights, sounds the familiar haunts of yester years! I visit India once a year – and BA is the carrier I use.
    The emotional video was a tear jerker. Glad my kids had one set of Grandparents here when they were growing up. So glad we have our Grandkids close to us!!
    As always, I look forward to Lassi with Lavina!!

  11. Thanks for your comments Kavita – what draws everyone back is the parents and grandparents and the loving extended families.

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    love sanjay +1’d

  13. 16 comments Via Facebook

    Kinkini Deysarkar, Priya Tyagi, Lavina S Bhojwani and 58 others like this.

    Manaswi Jhala So beautifully put!

    Tula Goenka Adorable!

    Narender G Reddy Beautiful pic…

    Lavina Melwani Thank you for the great comments and likes, please do visit http://www.lassiwithlavina.com
    and share your own anecdotes about home and travel – sharing is all about connecting!

    Robin Lockhart Kripalani Renu aunty, that is such a sweet photo! XO

    Neena Vaswani Renu is that u? I can c ur features in that girl! How old were u then? N where is this picture taken!Who is the boy?

    Lavina Melwani Neena, photo of me with my father and brother on the Bombay waterfront when I was three years old.Please read the story at http://bit.ly/1xV3Jju

    Lassi With Lavina » 24/7 Talk is Cheap – The Blog » India Calling: The Welcome of Home

    Who doesn’t love going home to India? Now British Airways…

    Sharath Bhat What a lovely picture

    Neena Vaswani RENU thanks for that beautiful , sentimental video clip!by the way your grand children r adorable! Whose kids r they? Do they live with u or do they visit u! What a homecoming it must be for u when u return home each time!

    Lavina Melwani That ‘Welcome of Home’ video evokes emotions for all of us. – the link to it is http://bit.ly/1xV3Jju

    Shago Perkins Lavina: that photograph is such a treasure!!! My dad used to take us to Jumbo point too when we were kids and we loved watching the planes fly so low before touchdown… some of my best memories of Delhi too.

    Lavina Melwani
    Shago – I agree! Things done with dads were such fun – even watching planes or listening to the Sunday comics being read out!

    Karan Kriplani Hi Aunty! Its so amazing & wonderful to see this photo. Thanks a ton for sharing your old cherished memories. You & Dad look so adorable!

    Nimmi Sabnani
    Wonderful pictures! The one of you and Gulu with nana is so adorable. i felt so nostalgic..missing everyone! thanks for putting them up! xx

    Sheena Bedi Walia Beautifully surreal…both the emotion and memory.

    Robin Lockhart Kripalani Nicholas Naren Kripalani ….Your great grandfather.
    November 20 at 8:19am · Unlike · 2
    Indra Melwani · Friends with Manju Melwani and 2 others
    Lovely picture I like it

    Lavina Melwan
    i Wow, it’s so great to see so many family members and friends from all parts of India and the US and even the UK and Barbados on this thread – thanks British Airways for helping me unite with family through this post!!

    Madhvi Kripalani
    Wow, what a beautiful pic, you both look adorable…do you have more of your childhood pics? Please share vth us…..

    Chandni Kripalani Thank you for sharing this aunty! this is the first pic we’ve ever seen of dad when he was so young.. You two look so so so adorable! its a very beautiful memory. Thankyou

    Lavina Melwani Madhvi and Chandni – I do have some treasured pictures – will email them to you You will love them!

    Chandni Kripalani
    Can’t wait to see them!

  14. Via Facebook

    Ramesh Sinha This is actual ‘down the memory lane’ so cute and so memorable. How long you must have walked to reach the present lovely status.

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