It was 9 pm by the time the airport authorities figured out what to do with us - passengers. We were to stay at the airport's 5 star hotel for the night. We would be put on the flight to India the next day.
We managed to collect our baggage and went to our room. It was quite a struggle. Especially with no special care for the "Unaccompanied". But, we really dint bother as we were finally treated as adults and left to do 'our own stuff'.
The room was comfy. The white beds, cosy and inviting. I remember watching TV till late before sleeping off on the bed I shared with Chechi. We slept well... rather too well.
The next day, the 29th of July, by around 11.30 am, we were awaken, by knocks on the door. You could call them bangs rather.
We found a neatly dressed man and a smart lady at our door. They wished us,
"Good morning Mam! Good morning Sir!"
We turned around to see if they actually meant us.
"Your breakfast has been arranged for. May we take you to the hall?"
We were sure they were mistaken. We tried to figure out. But they insisted we follow them. We had to do a rush job with our brushing and pulled on something to wear.
The dining hall was empty. There was a table, neatly arranged and set for three. We figured that our fellow passengers must have already had their breakfast.(People dont generally eat breakfast at 12.00 noon)
We were treated with special care and attention wherever we went. (Little did we know then that dad had called the airport that morning to check on us, only to get a casual reply that our room was locked and we must be sleeping. He gave them a 'royal hearing'. The sudden red carpet treatment was an after math of that lecture session, I presume).
We were told we would be sent to India, as separate batches in different flights. We had no reason to complain. To us it meant, one more day at Kuwait and that too at a 5 star hotel, great food, plenty of TV watching and gaming without scoldings.
There was a large hall for indoor games at the hotel, with plenty of games too. That was where I first saw a Football Table. We spend most of our time playing there or nibbling on something at the restaurant.
Our flight to Muscat, was in the evening at 8 pm or so (I think it was the East-West Airlines). We boarded the flight quite sure that it would too bring us back to Kuwait. But it dint. No announcements, no crash landings.
From Muscat, the next flight to Trivandrum was scheduled close to 2 am. That too seemed to fly alright. I remember it was early morning and was raining, when I first caught a glimpse of Kerala from inside the flight. It was the 30th of July. 2 days since we first boarded our flight from Kuwait.
That was an awesome sight. The rivers over flowing with muddy waters, the rain that drizzled by, the coconut trees, the red tiles of houses... everything seemed the same... the way we remembered seeing it a year ago.
We knew there was no going back now. But we still hoped we will be back in Kuwait soon.
Little did we know then that we would live in Kerala for 13 years (before shifting to Chennai), graduate there, have our first crushes, get our first jobs, count our first salaries, see our sister get married and have a kid, lose our dad and much much more... in Kerala.
We would know what "Life" meant.
Life, different from what we had seen and been familiar with, while in Kuwait.
We never realized then, that we were finally home.
In God's own country.