My dad met us in Chennai and we started on the most worrisome part of the trip -- a seven-hour, bone-wracking drive from Chennai to the town where my parents live.
I had expected my dad to hire a taxi and come to Chennai, but he had hired a taxi from Chennai. Taxis in India are not like the taxis in the US -- one can not just call a 1-800 number and schedule a pick up at a time in the future. So how had my dad gotten a taxi in Chennai willing to drive 400 km one-way? Thanks to one of my cousins -- he had arranged it with a taxi in Chennai that his firm often hired.
What about food on the way? I expected that we would stop at a roadside dhaba. But an aunt who lives in Chennai, on hearing that we planned to leave straight from the airport, got up at 5 am to make us a picnic meal. So, we got hot idlis and sambar. The normally finicky kids just wolfed it down.
I'd forgotten the extensive social network that one has in India, the thing that immigrants leave behind when they decide to go settle down in Oklahoma.