Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This last day of 2013

If anything I'd say this has been a mixed year. I've had a lot more on the mind than is healthy I think and the continued silence on this blog from commenters has meant that I haven't used it as much of an outlet. As much as this full year in Singapore has been lovely what with the hot weather and all it's been a difficult year for me. V and Kid have had an easier time of it I think - or they are better at hiding or processing how they feel - and maybe that is a gender thing. Either way I'm the only one that is feeling this angst so very loudly. 

I have spent a lot of the year feeling misplaced (and no not from London but from Life) and caught up in self pity and what-if cycles. I suspect a lot of it comes from finding my feet in a new place, inching my way steadily towards 40 and a completely different way of life that I wasn't quite expecting. I find myself often having a mini pity party - I guess the luxury of not having to work or think about basics means that I have the mind space to wallow and think about a variety of non essential things like feelings/ responsibilities etc. and that is a problem. 2014 promises to be busier and take care of some of this Time. 

I find it hard to talk about what's on my mind. This inspite of a plethora of close and wonderful family and friends. What can I say, it's not them, it's me. I can't see that that will change in 2014 but it's lovely knowing that there is a world of people who have my back. 

I wish I could say I've resolved a lot of this but the truth is that I have dealt with some and the rest is with me probably simmering in my mind just waiting to jump out one evening. In truth I have more to be thankful for than I ever give credit for. And beside my eternal resolution of de-cluttering I want to note here that my resolution for 2014 is to be more thankful and count my blessings instead of merely counting my grouses. 

I hope you have a wonderful New Year whatever you choose to do. More than anything I hope that the celebration of this night carries on into your lives and mine. 

P.S: The birds are from the end of the buffet bar at the Taj Samudra Colombo coffee shop from the holiday we are just back from. Simple and so elegant. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A 2.18am Christmas wish

May my wish to beat (creeping up in old age) insomnia come true. And of course spreading good cheer and joy to the world. 

The NORAD tracker is keeping me company as I lie here in darkness waiting for sleep to return and Santa to drop off our presents. 

Merry Christmas one and all.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Journey unending

Ok, some disclaimers before my one reader pounces with their refuting statements. This is our experience. Lots of people do far longer journeys (across continents, to the Poles etc), even more walk barefoot across lands in search for clean water and food, people choose to not take small children anywhere because it's more pain than gain, it can be argued that there is nothing cultural to be imbibed with small wailing children who refuse to eat any of the unknown things on the menu on offer. Phew. Still, this is our journey, one where we travel when we can with our small child in tow. From his first trip to be 'shown off' in India at age 3.5 months till as recently as this week we have taken the view that even if we see or do nothing cultural travel is important to us and that we want to try and make our child see / experience what is within our possibilities. It has also meant that at the end of particularly arduous journeys where he has wailed while his suitcase went into the black hole that is the hold of an airplane I have said 'never again' only to eat my words as I've seen him interact with family and friends and amazing places he would not see if we just stayed home. 

From a few awful journeys (Rome to Venice by train, Kolkata airport at midnight and Bangkok to London flight stand out) to a seasoned traveler my nearly four and a half year old has processed the sequence of affairs that travel involve and now it's nearly a doddle. He is adventurous in his food tastes and willing to try new things even if his default setting in pizza and WHITE rice. And more than anything he loves hanging with various family members. This trip to India was a bit complex with so many changes and modes of transport but here we are enjoying Bentota in Sri Lanka with V's parents, his brother and wife and their son (whom he sees in Singapore all the time and is his absolute hero).

The journey was long but the only person complaining was me. Here it is in all it's gory detail.
1. Thursday 3am: wake up and get ready while checking if flight will take off in Delhis fog. The last three days have seen this very flight be delayed such that we wouldn't have made our connection.
2. 3.50am: wake up Kid who has been so eagerly awaiting this day of seeing his cousin (whom he saw just a week ago mind you) that he leaps out of bed and is ready in a record 15 minutes.
3. 4.15am: Meru Cab is efficiently waiting although giant suitcase has to be tied to the top as the boot has the cyclinder that powers the engine. 
4. 6.50am: Smooth check in, security and wander around shops later our flight leaves 5 minutes early. V says he turned the dial down on the fog hahaha! Only mishap was Pepsi machine where our crisps got stuck after paying Rs.50 and after which we spent another Rs.20 on a bottle on water hoping it would knock the crisps sideways. It didn't happen so some lucky attendant got both! 
5. 9.35am: Arrive Chennai where we are seeing my Aunt and uncle. By the time they arrive and we are on our way to Breakfast it is 10.35am. Chatting all the way and at Brekka we go into Saravana Bhavan in T-nagar and stuff our faces with hot crisp dosas, uttapams, idlis, ke sari and filter coffee. Then we head back to the airport.
6. 12pm: We bid them Goodbye and race into the airport where my son and his cousin (brother, twin and best friend) hug and whoop like they have been separate since birth and are from a Hindi movie.
7. 2.40pm: We check-in and our flight is half an hour late to take off. The gate information is haphazard and they keep calling us to stand in line to board and then sending is back to sit down. I entertained the boys with a jumping game. Then we boarded and V entertained the boys while I dozed and caught up with my sis-in-law. 
8. 4pm: Arrived at Colombo airport but the long immigration lines and faintly chaotic airport means that we pile into our van for 6 adults and 2 kids only by 5.25pm. 
9. Varying reports of distance and roads to take to Bentota from Colombo lead to great discussion. Our driver tells us at least 3 hours while we had all been expecting a 2 hour run. He just laughs at our questions as he meanders through the heavy traffic with great skill.
10. Thursday 9pm: Arrive at our hotel, we've managed to avoid the major car sickness by convincing the kids to sleep. We are too tired to contemplate going straight to our rooms. We settle in at the coffee shop, chatting and eating a hot meal before heading to shower and lovely hotel beds. The anticipation of a lovely holiday will give us sweet dreams.

We are here. The morning of swimming, tender coconut sipping, big meals and the evening of skipping along the lovely soft sandy beaches outside our rooms has made this all worth it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Many many hours

Bhopal was brilliant. I love how green it is - social forestry is at work I am assured. I will let the pictures tell you about our day out on Monday. 

Then on Tuesday we spent the morning with my grandmother, ate hot mattar kachoris (delicious!) and drove through Van (pronounced 'vun' not vaaan) Vihar on our way to the airport. Van Vihar is a semi open zoo by the giant 300sq km lake - a forested area with a smith driving road through it. Neat, clean and polythene bag free, policed by a large contingent and with a range of big and small animals, it's one of the loveliest Indian zoos I have seen. Saw a giant beautiful tiger - the best fed beast I have ever seen - and bison, deer, crocodiles, leopard, monkeys, lion. 

Home that night. The next day (Wednesday) was one of lazing, an Indian Chinese lunch (yum) followed by the obligatory trip to the rail museum in the cold afternoon to ride the toy train and wander around in despair at its disrepair. 

An evening with my college room mate and family sitting around my parents living room and reminiscing about the many nights we slept in a pull out sofa bed when we were trainees for a summer and a winter. 

And the next morning (Thursday) we woke at 3am to leave for this leg of the holiday. My son has been a real trooper, taking in his stride the many many flights, car trips and embracing the love on offer from relatives and friends he does not know intimately. 

We have just finished fabulous Day 1 of this next leg of the holiday. Fabulous especially after the epic journey yesterday. Tomorrow I will tell you all about it - when I've had enough Margarita's to help recover fully from it. Meanwhile, Good Night. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Rukavat ke liye khed hai

Or translated: sorry for the interruption/ stoppage. I have a lot of Sunday lunches I owe this blog. In a while, crocodile! 

We are in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh for 2 days to visit my Nani (mum's mum), Mama ( mum's brother), Maiji (mum's sis-in-law) and cousin on this epic holiday. I say epic because we (V, Kid and I) are packed for two different vacations in two different countries and seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time in airports. 

We had a lovely Saturday with my folks in Delhi, eating a massive and long drawn out lunch while ALL talking and laughing at the same time. Post lunch I hung out with my brother and his lively wife (who is the queen of knowing where what is!) and did a spot of shopping at our local big brand mall. I've already begun to fill up the empty spots in my suitcase. That evening I had dinner with my besties - girls who knew me as an awkward teen and love me as an awkward adult. These are girls whom I love dearly, whom I talk to often and who get where I'm coming from. Who don't judge me in any way and who love me just as I am (a rare thing as mostly I can see people's judgement in the smooth words they use). It was super super super. 

Now Bhopal. And my once travel hating child is handling this all like a pro. Multiple flights, immigration lines, security checks, seatbelts, bagging disappearing and reappearing on conveyor belts, people he has no memory of - all of whom want to hug and hold him, new houses and hotel rooms. I'm guessing it's not our constant discussion but probably just him growing up but my lord, the airports and flights we have endured in the past! Moving on.....we had a brilliant evening with my aunt and uncle and of course seeing my beautiful grandmother was lovely. We ate mounds of home cooked delicious food all made lovingly by my aunt. My mum is here with us and so we've taken some pictures of the 4 generations together. 

It was a long day and evening and now we are all waking up comfortably at the Courtyard Marriott, which is surprisingly lovely considering it is built over a mall. This morning after breakfast we head to Sanchi to see the famed Buddhist Stupa (and no doubt run into the groups of Japanese tourists who were on our flight). My cousin will have arrived home for the holidays overnight and I can't wait to see him! We have around 36 hours before we head back to Delhi for a day and then on to the next bit of the holiday. 

I know, it doesn't sound like much of a vacation with all this rushing around, but surprisingly I am loving it, these days packed with love and talk and food and the simple moments of our existence. I feel like I am surrounded at the moment by people who love me and whom I love and that is a feeling I would like to fold up in my warm shawl and keep for a lonely day when we are once again just isolated beads on this very large planet.