Tag Archives: holidays

Extreme love

My children have just started their summer vacation. We are on day two of the holidays; still finding it difficult to make the transition from packed days to days where there are no deadlines to meet or targets to pursue. Time flows, like a lazy river, stopping here and there to rejuvenate, picking up speed at times but largely content with flowing along without any purpose.

In a week, we will pack up and travel to visit my mom and my husband’s parents. The children will spend many more lazy days talking, reading, eating, playing and sleeping.

Something transforms in the children and their grandparents when they meet. There is a syndrome both sides exhibit, which I choose to call ‘Extreme Love’. 

Picture courtesy – ClipartAll

Where the grandparents can’t love enough and the children can’t have enough of this love. Where the grandmoms cook all the kids’ favourite dishes, ever-smiling. Where every question asked by the children is patiently answered. Where the children are allowed to experiment with flour and batter and make a mess and leave the mess without cleaning up. Where they are not nagged, where they receive hugs that sustain for many minutes, where they can be sure that whatever they say will be heard with unwavering attention. 

Where each achievement of theirs is dwelt upon and appreciated. Where holding the grandfather’s hand to walk down the road for an evening walk is a great treat, as they come back loaded with goodies.  Where they are tucked in to bed with many stories, repeated stories. Where they spend time teaching their grandparents to use new technology and smartphones. Where they are loved ‘extremely’, an all empowering love that can boost a child’s self-esteem, that can teach a child about unconditional love and acceptance. 

This love between our children and their grandparents is to be cherished. There is no other love like this.

I was lucky to have received such love from my grandma and am happy that my kids are receiving the same from their grandparents.

Bliss between two lists

Once or twice a year, there comes a day, when I realize that all my work projects are done, that my ‘things to do’ list is ticked off, and that there is just ONE DAY before school holidays start, after which the children will rule my life for three weeks. 

Today was that day. I woke up lazily, plodded through my chores, ran a few errands (there is no escaping these), and then felt a frisson of excitement. I had nothing in my ‘to do’ list. All this means is that I am done with my old list, but mercifully  have not added the hundred other things that need to be done.

I think I was quite sensible by cutting off the list at such a point, where ‘today’ could become a reality.

Courtesy – Clipart Kid

I giggle at this absurdity of suddenly having four hours to spend. I decide to do a little bit of each of the things I love. I read, I watch some of my favourite shows on youtube, I stare into space and ponder about life, allowing myself to drift away with my memories, and sit down to enjoy a great cup of filter coffee, on my easy chair, watching the heavy rain outside.

In what seems like four minutes, the children are back, in a high state of excitement that their holidays are within touching distance.

I smile, as I ready myself to become a referee to their squabbles over pencils and space and air, in the room they share. I prepare to get started on packing for our trip. I prepare to hoard the refrigerator and stock up on food supplies to feed two children, whose constant refrain over the next three weeks will be, “Is there anything to eat?”

The holidays will fly, and the New Year will glide in, and we will all get back to the grind.

But such days, the one between two ‘things to do lists’ are pure bliss.

Grandparents

The kids have their summer vacation, and are spending a couple of weeks with their paternal grandparents, in their ancestral home.

We do this every summer. They love all the nooks and crannies in this house. The car garage, which is now used for storage,  is their play space as they play hopscotch or practice ‘rangoli’ (artistic designs that are drawn outside the home every morning).

My daughter has been given the entire garage to draw these rangolis. Dropping rice flour gradually on the floor, with uniformity, is an art, and with each passing day, she gets better.

My son finds great pleasure in playing with clothes pegs (the plastic ones which come in vibrant colours), and the measuring tape, which has spring action. He measures all kinds of things in the house.

Living in an apartment as we do, they are thrilled with the concept of an independent house with a yard and a garden, and a nice big terrace.

They run up to the terrace to dry clothes or red chillies and other things that need to be aired or sun-dried.

They read old-yellowed books that formed my husband’s childhood reading.

They sniff appreciatively when they smell their grandma’s cooking. Their grandparents spoil them, and some. They eat almonds and pistachios. They are treated to honey cakes and butter biscuits. They binge on yummy golden yellow mangoes and jackfruit.

They are very excited each time they hear street hawkers shouting out what they are selling.  In a few days, they know which vendor comes when. They watch as their grandmother picks and chooses vegetables and greens, fruits and flowers. They watch how the hawker pushes his mobile cart down the street and how he weighs the vegetables using a simple balance.

They go around the yard and see the old washing stone, used to wash clothes. They watch clothes fluttering on the clothesline and play hide and seek there.

They see the yard filled with dried leaves and fallen flowers every morning and participate enthusiastically in sweeping the yard.

They watch as the ‘Isthriwallah’ (the iron man), brings back neatly arranged piles of fresh, ironed clothes. They bury their noses to feel the warmth.

They seem to have expandable stomachs and are able to eat through the day. They accompany their grandparents on small walks to the local shops to buy odds and ends, and come back with treats.

It is nice to see them unwind and enjoy the simple joys and pure love that they can only get at their grandparents’!

Relax, Nothing’s Under Control

Our group of eight is flying from Nairobi to Oman, with a changeover at Abu Dhabi.

We have a two-hour gap for the changeover. Our flight from Nairobi takes off after a one-hour-fifteen-minute delay. We are not overly worried, we can still make it, we reassure ourselves.  Pilots do make up for lost time, at least some part of it, we discuss.

The post-holiday weariness is evident in all our eyes. The energy we traveled with, the endless photographs we took, the curios we picked up, the local flavours that we experienced and wondered at, all these seem so far away now, though we’ve just wrapped up a wonderful holiday.

We board, and sleep on the long flight, a dreamless sleep of fatigue, punctuated by in-flight meals that our tired bodies require.

We land, and anxiety hits us as we have only about 40 minutes left to disembark, and board the next flight . But, we are going to take on this challenge, yes, we are.

There are a few passengers sharing our plight as we make a beeline for the exit. We charge out and run, our sleepy legs jolted awake with cruelty. Our razor sharp eyes blindly follow the transit boards.

Eight people racing, up escalators, down others, running on travellators, with duty free shops and boarding gates whizzing past. We are close, ten more minutes left. There is a long corridor stretching ahead and we run, run, run.

We are sure that when the ground staff see us, they will hold the flight.

Just as we turn a bend, a member of the ground staff from the airline waits for us, waving.

Relief pours out in rivulets of sweat as we run with a sense of purpose now.

When we reach him, he says, “Are you taking Flight so and so to Oman?”

Eight heads nod vigorously.

“Relax! The boarding gate is closed, and the flight is taxiing on the runway readying for take off. We are putting you on the earliest available flight, which is at 2.45 a.m tomorrow. Just another five hours”, he says.

We just broke some Olympic records in sprinting there!  Eight indignant faces stare back at him, gasping for air.

We resign ourselves and settle down for the long wait.  The laughter comes much later, as we recollect our sprint through the airport.

Little Ms.Rules

I am cleaning my medicine cabinet today, checking expiry dates, and writing out a list of medicines that we need to buy.

As I snip out the metallic strips that are not required, I remember something that happened many years ago.

My parents had come to spend the summer holidays with us.  My daughter was four then.

My dad was required to take his medicines after lunch. On one such day, when he opened the strip to take his tablet out, it rolled away under the cot. He could see it, and tried to take it out from under, but it was just out of reach of his hand.

He then called out to my daughter, asking her to help him. He pointed it out to her.

My daughter went down on all fours and took out the tablet. My dad put out his arm to receive the tablet, but my daughter walked away with it. My father ran after her, worried that she would pop it into her mouth. He called out to her, asking her to give the tablet back to him. But she walked on and threw it into the dustbin!

She then turned around and shook her head disapprovingly at him, and said, “Grandpa, don’t you know that there is a rule in this house that things which are on the ground should not be put into the mouth?”