I have returned to South India for a holiday with my family. We are staying in the costal town of Mahabalipurum just south of Chennai on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state in India. We arrived last night; the sounds smells and people were still the same as when I left and it felt instantly familiar.
I have realised that in the six years since I left not much has changed apart from the price of things has gone up and you can get WiFi in hotels. The biggest change is me. I now have two daughters, one who was born while I was still out here and one newer arrival. This means that we have to eat in restaurants where plain omelette and cheese toast are available. They are not usually fussy but if the they say the food is too spicy or the dhal is 'not like mammy's,' then I'm not going to force the issue.
They have settled in quite well. It is amazing how flexible and adaptable children are to changes in surroundings; we have not yet heard the cry of "I want to go home". In contrast they are notoriously inflexible when it come to routine. They still need a bedtime story and their favourite cuddly toys. It is the familiar routine rather than the surroundings that make them feel at home.
We haven't done much yet apart form a visit to a crocodile sancturay and snake venom extraction centre. This evening we ate in the hotel, and I went out and bought a pair of sandals. There is one thing about this trip that is strange: I have never before been on a holiday where arriving at the destination feels so much like coming home.