What is Your Welcome of Home?

Home – such a simple word filled with so much emotion. Home is where we feel safe and comforted; it’s where we feel like we belong.  For me, that ‘home’ has always been Punjab, India. Although I was born in Western Canada and this is where I got my wings of independence, my roots will always be in that little village in Punjab.

British Airways recently launched it’s Welcome of Home program, which focuses on offering you the comforts of home before you even arrive at your destination. Seeing this video of Chitra making the journey home got me thinking of some of my visits to India. 

{This is a true story!}

I still remember the first time I touched down in India (I was 9 years old), anxious and excited about meeting all the relatives I’d only heard about in stories from my parents. I’ll never forget the sweet sticky Delhi air, the long bumpy ride towards Dad’s ancestral home, the early morning hustle & bustle as the streets of Moga woke up, and finally; those large steel gates that opened up into the vehra (courtyard) of my grandparent’s home.

My favourite past time when we visited India as kids was wandering the fields and washing my feet in the running water at the motor. I am after all just a farmer’s daughter, so the connection to the soil makes sense. In fact, I was always happy to volunteer to walk through the fields with my aunt and cousins to collect the fixings for saag, and carry them back in a makeshift sack we created by folding the corners of our dupatta. Once the saron, bathu, and methi (various greens used for making saag) were collected, they were washed and chopped with a daati – a special knife that is used while sitting down and stabilized with your foot, and was equally dangerous & intriguing as a child. Next up after the chopping, was the simmering and stirring. Making a pot of saag big enough to feed the family and the workers on the fields was no easy feat, but my aunt handled it with ease. Finally in the evening it would be time to serve up the green gold with some fresh maki di roti (cornflower flatbread), and a generous slab of makhan (whipped butter); the ultimate Punjabi welcome of home.

map{My love for India & Canada is even represented in my new logo!}

Now that we are planning our first visit to India with the kids (and Mr. T’s first trip in 35 years), I’m starting to feel that same anxiety and excitement I felt as a 9 year old boarding the plane to this ‘foreign at the time’ land called India. We can’t seem to decide between a Holi or Diwali visit, however, our list of must see places is getting longer by the day! So far we have; the Golden Temple, the Taj Mahal, Jallianwala Bagh, Jaipur, and my grandparent’s village. My internet search history is now comprised mainly of India weather reports, sturdy suitcase research, and ideas for gifts to take back for my cousins, and all the nieces and nephews that were born since my last visit! The one thing we’ve settled on though is that we are going to fly British Airways. I’ve flown with BA to England a few times and have always been  impressed with their service, so it makes sense to fly with them all the way home.

If you are anything like me (a sentimental sucker) this post probably has you itching for a visit home, so you need to head over to the British Airways Twitter feed and enter their Welcome of Home contest right now! All you have to do is share a picture that reminds you of home and you are entered to win a trip.

*PS: This post was brought to you buy British Airways, but as always all the opinions are mine & I only share products and brands I love. Seriously, you’d be hard pressed to find a Canadian girl that loves visiting Punjabi or maki di roti as much as I do!

 

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9 Comments

  1. November 17, 2014 / 3:26 pm

    Loved this post, Raj. You are such a great storyteller. I’m thrilled you’re going to be able to share your love of India with your children this coming year. ??

    Actually as far British Airways goes, they are my airline of choice when I fly to Europe as well. I have always gotten great service from them and have always enjoyed my flights!

  2. salmadinani
    November 17, 2014 / 9:04 pm

    I can totally feel you as a 9 year old girl Raj! You make me want to visit India too! You all must be so happy to be planning a trip together now. I’m sure it’ll be a whole lot of wonderful new memories.

  3. November 18, 2014 / 12:45 pm

    Wow, I could totally imagine your experience through your words. What beautiful memories. My favourite was harvesting the produce for your dinner – I can’t even imagine the joy of that, especially doing it in a place you feel so connected to. I’m sure we’ll see some fabulous pics from your future trip!

  4. November 18, 2014 / 3:20 pm

    So excited to hear all about your trip. Your post brought back such wonderful memories I have of visiting Ludhiana, eating maki di roti, and drinking chai over beautiful conversations with my Nani and Nanaji about their childhood and love for our family.

  5. November 19, 2014 / 7:16 am

    Great read Raj !! I too feel highly emotional about India since I was born/raised and till past 8 years was part of it. I feel stranger sometimes in Canada, that doesn’t mean it didn’t treated me well but I would love to be surrounded by people whom I know and feel belonging to. Well, it’s life and we need to flew out of our comfort zone to explore the other possibilities but yes I prefer traveling to India at least once a year. I already choose British Airways just few months back for the added comfort they give 🙂

    Love
    Shilpi

  6. November 20, 2014 / 4:45 am

    I can relate to this in so many ways. There’s nothing like the thrill of going to Indian and being immersed in that culture! I hope your family has a wonderful experience!

    • November 20, 2014 / 10:29 pm

      Thanks Parita! I can hardly wait, and we’ll share lots about our trip.

  7. November 25, 2014 / 10:25 pm

    I have many fond memories of visiting India, but haven’t yet been to Punjab. Your post is making me want to make a visit, though!

    • November 29, 2014 / 6:43 am

      I hope you make it to Punjab one day – I’m probably biased, but I feel like it’s a must see state when travelling to India!

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