Tag Archives: vacation

The Bulbul’s message

We are at my mom’s, enjoying our summer vacation. We have just had a sumptuous lunch. The children and their cousins are playing a board game in one of the bedrooms.

All the adults are seated or stretched out in the living room, as the day curtains billow in the cool breeze. Each time the curtains billow, one can see the green leaves of the trees outside, glistening in the bright, afternoon sun.

Most of us are trying not to sleep after that heavy lunch. We chat on and off, the pauses and silences are comfortable ones – those that belong to family, to love and to familiarity.

A sudden sweet bird song cuts through this family web.  There is a pause, and the bird song plays again.

My sister says, ” Someone’s got a message.”

Hands and bodies reach out to their phones, like the arms of an octopus.

Most people in the room say that the ring tone is not theirs. The bird sound continues.

We quickly discover that there is a ‘real’ Bulbul bird sitting on our balcony, singing away merrily. We gently move the curtains to watch this beautiful bird.
             

                   Picture courtesy – Wikipedia

How musical it sounds! How could we even mistake it for a ringtone?

We laugh uneasily. The Bulbul gave us an important message today. 

Maybe we should take more time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, those that are not in any way connected to technology or smartphones.

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.

The Rebellious Camel

This whole weekend was spent in putting away my Golu dolls, till I take them down again, for next year’s festival.  As I wrapped each one of them carefully, my eye fell on a camel doll that I had picked up a few years ago from the Middle East, while on a trip there.

I remembered a very funny incident that happened then.  Being tourists, we did all the typical ‘touristy’ things that were recommended by our guide.  We went on a Desert Safari, which included a visit to a Bedouin Settlement, Dune Bashing and of course, Camel Riding.

We enjoyed visiting with the Bedouins.  The dune bashing was very exciting.  Finally, it was time for the camel ride.  Each of us had to take turns to get on the camel, finish a short ride and get back to base.  It was quite scary when the camel stood up, after one had sat on it.  The camel’s wobbling caused us to let out little squeals.  Thus, it went on; one after the other.  My son was the bravest of the lot.  He was hoisted up, and off he went, waving to us with one hand.  As a typical mom-tourist, I video-graphed all those wonderful moments.

It was then my husband’s turn.  By then, my son had shown so much affinity towards the camels, that he had become very friendly with the camel trainer.  So, when my husband started his ride, the camel trainer gave the leash to my son and asked him to lead the camel.  Funnily, this camel was a rebel.  He stopped to gossip with other camels that he met on the way, and refused to budge.  The trainer spoke to the camel, and finally the camel decided to move on.

When the camel was about half-way on the ride, the camel turned around and bared his teeth at my husband. We were all in splits to see my husband’s startled face. And then, it happened.  The rebellious camel took off into the desert at a very fast pace, leaving the trainer running behind him.  My poor husband held on to the reins for dear life. It was both scary and comical.  Finally the camel stopped; about a good 300 m away from where we stood.  The trainer caught up with him, and brought them back to base.

After the initial tension, we literally rolled on the sand with uncontrollable laughter, as we relived the funny incident.  The entire family had gone together; so both my brothers-in-law came up with theories of how my husband’s plan to escape from me had been foiled!

There’s no place like home

So, after a month-long holiday we are back home – with huge suitcases and many, many bags of crazy shopping,  great memories and thousands of photographs.

We lug all the bags up the lift. When we finally turn the key in the lock, that wonderful smell of ‘home’ makes us close our eyes in bliss. Yay, we are home!

We are a little weary from all the travelling, eating, shopping and over eating. We are jet-lagged, and like electric bulbs going off, the children drop-off into nodland.

I open the windows and let fresh air breeze through the house. I take a few more deep breaths of ‘home’.

I smell my favourite cypress freshner, a little bit of the prayer incense and the fragrance of our home, that is so unique to it – made up of all the things that are in it and that make it what it is.

There’a a bit of ‘weary’ in me as I mull over all the things I will have to do, starting from cleaning the house and stocking-up on supplies, and changing the sheets and getting ready for school and holiday homework and the  hundreds of small things that will need doing.

This is the flip-side of the ‘being away the whole month’ coin.

And the unpacking! How could I forget that!

But, believe me, it feels great to be back, and to sit on the couch and dream about the holiday.

My eyes droop but I cannot indulge myself – here, at home, the buck stops with me.  I need a super-size caffeine shot to get me going. I make myself some extra-strong filter coffee. I amble back to the couch.

I relish every drop as long as I can, for I know that the moment the coffee mug gets empty, I’m on duty………till the next holiday.

But seriously, there’s no place like home.

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’!