Bubbles of joy


We are heading over to a friend’s home for dinner. My friend is moving out to another part of town, and this is an impromptu plan just before they leave.

Dinner happens around packed cartons and pizza boxes. Laughter flows and echoes off empty walls, as we reminisce about the passage of time and about all the wonderful memories we’ve shared.

Soon it’s time to say bye. Just as we are about to leave, my daughter spots a roll of bubble wrap! And she glides towards it as if in a trance, and starts popping the bubbles. My friend laughs and asks her if she wants a small piece to take away. My daughter nods vigorously. My friend bends down and cuts out a small piece of bubble wrap. When she hands it over to my daughter and lifts her head, she finds that I have joined the queue for a bubble wrap takeaway too!

Image courtesy – http://www.dreamstime.com

My daughter and I grin at each other, as we say our byes and get into the lift. We start popping the bubbles, completely absorbed in this most satisfying of all tasks. We get back home. My son, who had stayed back at home, gets excited when he sees the bubble wrap, and begs for a chance to pop them.

But no, we are selfish girls when it comes to bubble wrap. We don’t want to share something so precious.

We settle down and pop, sometimes row by row, sometimes random patterns. We sigh in contentment. There is something so therapeutic about this. Soon, our bubble wraps look exhausted! We then move on to other things, completely rejuvenated.

Late in the night, when I go around checking the doors and turning off the lights, I see the two pieces of bubble wrap on the sofa. There is a small frisson of hope as I run my hands over them.

Aha, I find an unpopped one. Pop!!! The day finishes on a high note.

Not a gram more, not a gram less


My annual trip to India is coming to a close, and we are heading home tonight.  I am seated on the floor cross-legged, with many suitcases for company. I have shopped without remorse, like there’s no tomorrow.  This gluttony repeats itself every year, as I justify to anyone who cares to listen that I visit only once a year, and hence need to shop this much!!

The shopping has piled up like a bonfire mound.  I am trying to sort it out and pack intelligently.  My husband walks in and I can sense an argument brewing.

He asks me to remove the tags from all the clothes, as they may unnecessarily add to the weight.  I nod, and go snip snip.  Each dress has many tags, one with the price, one with extra buttons, one with the brand, one which assures you of quality.  Soon, another pile builds up.

My daughter walks in and looks at the tags, and announces that she will start a tag collection.

I start packing, my husband watches, hawk-like.  He keeps reminding me that we are only allowed 20 kg per person as check-in baggage.  What’s in the shopping pile looks like 100 kg at least!

We are four, so 80 kg should go through.  I have my books, I cannot leave those, I cannot leave anything that I have bought.

I pack and unpack, clothes and footwear, pickles and powders, books and more books, clothes for the children, books for the children….I am slowly losing it.

Somehow I fit it all in.  Now the real fun starts.  My husband brings the weighing scale and starts weighing.  I play assistant and note down the weights:

Big blue bag – 23 kg

Big Brown suitcase – 25 kg

Small brown suitcase – 21 kg

Black bag – 26 kg

My husband starts removing stuff that he thinks I will not require.  I am frantic, I am unable to choose, I absolutely need those things.  I hop about as he asks me if I plan to open a clothes franchise, when I get home.

All the surplus luggage gets into the hand baggage.  He mercilessly removes my precious books. When he is not looking, I stuff 3 books into my tote.  My daughter walks in with her neatly arranged tag collection.  She asks if we can pack this precious collection.

My husband wants some leeway with the weight of each bag, just in case our weighing machine and the airport weighing machine do not show the same weight.  One more round of pruning happens.  I cannot add any more.

Not a gram more, not a gram less!

The bags are packed and locked and rolled away.  I look at the things I have had to leave behind.  I whine.  Nobody hears me.