Monday, February 06, 2006

India Travel Thought

India Travel Thoughts

Top 5 reasons one should drag family in its entirety for vacation destinations instead of lounge around at home when on India trip:

  1. Vacation in India is never really that. You could be home all the time and still come back thankful to be back, and, well, exhausted. Add to that sitting around while the world goes on as usual for rest of the junta, brother off to work, mom visiting ill friend [who you don’t know] and back, dad’s attempts to hold on to government banks while planning his trip around which days they ARE open. Better to make everyone have a vacation no?

  2. Most parents don’t take trips unless someone is a) marrying or b) delivered a kid or c) has bought a home. And hey, most parents would love to see the sights they hear of only from their friends or broad-minded neighbors. Granted there will be withdrawal symptoms from mailman fights, but mentions of renewed energy and promises of curd rice availability everywhere should do the trick

  3. Lets admit it, there is NOTHING one can take from here that they wont get a better form of, in India. Sponsor parents’ trip instead—they will probably even learn to make the trip sound cooler than a “oh this? My daughter got it from the U.S”

  4. You will never come back from India plumper this way—granted there will be atleast one bout of stomach issues if you plan to travel 60% of the time in India, within India. But hey, stomach issues=cant eat. Cant eat=cant even see food. Cant even see food=lassi and lemon juice diet for two days. Which equates to slender you and well-rested tummy. It adds up ya know!

  5. Moms can never make all that they want to. It’s a fact of life. But this way, they get the break they so deserve from kitchen duties. And hey, nobody says “so does your daughter cook well?” and expect a demo. Wheee!!

Speaking of India trips, my next one will be aimed at Corbett National Park. I would personally prefer to go to good ole Mudumalai [spent a number of childhood summers there] but am intrigued by the tourism developments within India. They, frankly, blew my mind away. Recent Rajasthan trip was solid proof—Fantastic highways and reliance sponsored restrooms on the highways made for one helluva comfortable trip. Kerala, no less [yeah yeah, I hear your ‘commercialization!!” screams. But face it, if done well, tourism industry DOES have a lot to offer to the state in general]

Airports excepted—Man, for all the fantastic journeys I had on this trip [I did flights, auto and trains during the trip] the airport at Mumbai on the way out was fantastically, unbelievably horrible. As it is, I HATE the Mumbai international airport. One  just needs to see how the Jet terminal in the domestic terminal is, to realize how much worse the international airport is [The Jet terminal is very much like the SFO airport actually]. After toiling hours to stand in line and get baggage checked in, my visit to the restroom was the last straw. Sleeping on the floors, near the restroom entrance AND near the washbasin, were the cleaning ladies. Self literally had to ask them to wake up/move to inch my way to the washbasin. To that end, am hoping the airport revamp does some good, inspite of all the controversies.

Belated India travelogue,

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Stories Hallmark Will Never Know

Nope. Archies and Hallmark didnt pay me for this [heh heh]. Well, I figured, its February,season to mourn St.Valentine’s death [as well as P.G.Wodehouse’s death on the same day]..might as well do that by writing [in PGW’s memory] about luv [no no, not ram’s son..LOVE as in the stuff St.Valentine apparently pushed to the world]

So here is the first of a few stories for the season—Call it what you will..

Theirs wasnt even a real love story to begin with. Hell, they didnt even have anything much in common. His parents tragically died when he was four. Her dad remarried and produced a home full of kids [14 at last count]. He was adopted by a kind relative who raised him as his own. Her dad probably doesnt even remember her name. He was handsome as hell, they said. She was ordinary-looking, they whispered [“Tough to find a groom for her” the father boomed the few times he was in same room as her].They met each other the traditional way, they married the traditional way. And they promptly had children, i guess, the traditional way [heh].

In such relationships, i suppose, love is too strong a word. It implies, rightly or not, fanciful delights, escapades and romantic adventures that didnt exist in their lives. Fondness? yep. Absolutely. Laughter? you bet. He made her laugh, his silly forgetful ways..his balding head [the time a crow pecked his head thinking it was shiny plate]. She was a regular little trooper–climbing trees to make that mango pickle. She was a slight, tiny person–“so thin” he said “that she floated down from the terrace when she tripped” [it actually happened]. He was well-read, articulate, a man of impressive words [he was a journo after all]. She was creative and neighbors said she sang like a nightingale. They grew old together, fighting, bickering, laughing and worrying together. She constantly chided him for not taking enough care of self, he did the same to her.

One perhaps doesnt really know when old-age creeps up [some say its when you have grandkids, but when you gotta run behind errant grandsons, one would doubt that]..but creep up it did. She fell ill often,troubled by heart conditions and what-nots..shrinking like a dried-up leaf…He was always there, never complaining. He didnt believe in God much, prefering simple ideologies and morals to be his only guide. So he didnt pray when she was in hospitals, he read little stories in newspapers and regaled her with gossip. “They are so much in love!” sighed the nurses. The body gave in one day, and she died peacefully in her sleep one night. He dabbed his eyes, expecting this eventuality. She wanted the ceremonies of the religion, he obliged her last wish. “14 days” said the priest–“a ceremony for each day, for 14 days”. He agreed. His children made plans to move him out of his home, to theirs. He didnt complain. “What do i do without her?” he said sadly, as he moved his things into the truck. The night of the 14th day, he passed away. He wasnt ill, overly old or ailed of anything. He simply didnt wish to live without her anymore. But 14 days of rites she wanted, and he gave her that. Asking only that he join her on the 15th. And he did. Love you say? I dont know. Now it seems too tame a word for them. Smiling

But their is probably the sweetest story I’ve ever heard–or seen. Grandpa and grandma were no Romeo and Juliet,and they probably never said the word ‘love’ all through their lives. But their story probably is the best proof that it doesnt always have to be LOVE that fulfills one.

With Fond thoughts,