The surprise

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Philip and I planned to visit Philip’s eldest brother Sekhar annan in Kuwait in November this year, but he had already planned to visit his daughters Kavitha and Sangeeta in the US. We tried to work out a holiday plan to the Middle East in December, but the air fares were exorbitant. My sister-in-law Preeti akka (Sekhar annan’s wife) suggested that we could visit them in the United States instead.

When our niece Kavitha heard that we were coming to the US, she decided to somehow get the remaining brother Surendar annan in India and his wife Vino to visit the US at the same time. Kavitha and her husband made all the necessary preparations for the visas.

Sekhar annan and Preeti akka did not know that Surendar annan and Vino were coming and neither did Philip. For many weeks, the secret was kept from them. All the other nieces and nephews and their families, as well as some friends, knew about the plan. A week before Sekhar annan was to travel, Kavitha let the information slip out. So Sekhar annan and Preeti akka knew; only Philip did not.

Keeping this information secret from Philip for three months required all kinds of acrobatics on my part. I planned for Surendar annan and Vino to accompany us when we visit Houston, Grand Canyon, and LA, and I booked multi-city flight tickets with SP’s help for them to come with us. Similarly, our accommodation in Flagstaff and LA was booked for four.

I prepared an itinerary for Philip separately, mentioning all the details except for the fact that Surendar annan and Vino were going to be with us. Philip wasn’t impressed that I had done the booking without consulting him. To communicate with Kavitha or SP, I could not use my gmail account or my Facebook account, which Philip also accessed. I could not use our joint credit card to do any of the bookings, so I requested SP to buy the tickets, which he kindly did. But Philip wanted to reimburse SP, and I had to use various methods to distract him.

Surendar annan and Vino arrived Kavitha’s place in Potomac last week around the time Philip and I reached Seattle. Two days later Sekhar annan and Preeti akka also reached. Philip and I reached last, after visiting SP and CJ in Seattle.

When we entered the house from the airport, the aroma of biriyani welcomed us. Kavitha and Preeti akka gradually drew us into the kitchen. Suddenly Surendar annan walked in followed by Vino. Philip’s incredulous expression was recorded on video.

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