At four in the morning a small taxi with a betel-chewing driver honked his horn for continuously spurring me into action. I sloughed on my shoes and headed out the door for what was going to be the longest Christmas ever. 36 hours of Christmas to be exact.

Over the course of my trip, I have managed two ten hour flights, a seven hour layover in the London airport where Santa-clad barmen where happy to dispense my first Guinness in almost a year and a long rambling conversation on African politics with someone who turned out to be the Princess of Zambia, and arrived just in time to surprised my mother on Christmas evening. I’m writing these few lines while still on the plane, so I’m not entirely sure if there is a heaping plate of christmas leftovers waiting on the dining room table or if we might be able to manage a midnight dash to Arby’s on the way home.

For the last month since I bought my ticked I have been hiding from my mother online so that I don’t spoil the surprise when I show up on her doorstep unannounced. The I have been telling her is that I have been called down to write an article in Pondicherry about state of the art solar panels designed by spiritually empowered Aurovillians. When she has asked me when I might be able to make it to the states next my answers have been vague–“perhaps this, or next summer,”

So suffice it to say, when I walk through the door in about two hours from now, I expect her to be quite surprised. Last night Padma scolded me “You are going to make your mother cry.”

next up, watch my mom’s reaction as I walk through the door…