Jan 7, 2009

The month that was

Sometimes recession has its benefits. One of the benefits I got was that I managed to get almost the whole of December off to spend with my brother and sister in law who were visiting from New Zealand. The month was spent in Chandigarh in the “new house” with its huge floor to ceiling windows and airy rooms. But the only problem was that Chandigarh can be really cold in winter and airy rooms and floor to ceiling windows that are so delightful in summer aren't that great in winter.
Any how before Bhaiya and Bhabhi landed in India, there were frenzied discussions on the phone on how this holiday was supposd to be quality family time and mom shouldn't be spending it all in the kitchen cooking for us. We didn’t want mom in the kitchen but we still wanted to eat all the delicious holiday food; so we promptly went ahead and hired a cook in honor of Bhaiya’s visit. Harbans the cook came armed with his own tools - One huge kitchen knife and his own kitchen towels. And once he was firmly installed in the kitchen out poured dish after dish of sumptuous food.
The day started with cups of ginger tea which the cook brought to our rooms. After that we hogged on paranthas .. aloo, methi, gobhi, mooli; you name it we had it. And when Paranthas got too monotonous we shifted to bread rolls and Gajar halwa.
And when all this got too boring we spiced it up in the evenings with chaat and tikkis or pakoras.
Does it seem as if we spent all our time eating? Well ya actually we did! Rest of the time was spent in talking and catching up and generally arguing and giving in to incessant demands from a very adorable niece and nephew to either play ball or go to the park or the Lake.
And since I am so fond of bullet points…The highlights of the visit were:

  • The good food whiffed up by the cook.
  • Sitting on the big comfy sofa, legs curled up beneath us, conversations – sometimes desultory and lazy, sometimes animated arguments, sometimes just reminsces
  • Shaivalini (my niece) excited about the treasure hunt I organized for her. I bought 10 gifts for her (as she turned 10 this year) and hid them around the house. Even I couldn’t have imagined her excitement as she found each gift.
  • Bhabhis Birthday on 19th December. Two adorable kids with hand made birthday cards. Yellow roses and orchids. Early morning scramble to get the flowers and birthday cards in order before bhabhi emerges from her room. Mission failed due to Dad missing at the last minute and Vibhu (My nephew) howling because we didn’t let him hold the flowers. The howls eventually brought Bhabhi out before we could surprise her with the flowers.
  • Visit to numerous parks and Sukhna Lake and McDonald with the two kiddos. The kiddos had a lot of fun because I never said no to anything they wanted to so they had a great time playing in the mud, having fries and ice creams at all times and generally having a blast.
  • Watching Innumerable Dvds of Thomas and Friends. Vibhu loves it and his day doesn’t end till he has watched Thomas the Tank engine at least a trillion times. Every one in the family now knows each and every train engine in the Thomas and friends series intimately.
  • Sunbaths and Saunas, lazing around in the balcony eating oranges and drinking juice.
  • My birthday on 6th January. We decide to celebrate it on 6th even though it’s a week day. Later move it to 3rd as I had to absolutely get back to Delhi on 4th.Venue decided- Ramgarh fort. Venue changed to a restaurant as both kids down with tonsils and too sick to be out in the open. Later venue changed to home as both kids still not well enough to go even to a restaurant. On 3rd Venue changed from our house to Bhabhi’s mom’s house as the kids not well enough to brave the cold and come to Dadi’s house from Nani’s. So we put the food into huge containers and went to “Naani’s” house. Kids too irritable and cranky for a Birthday celebration.

So thats how it went. its rather strange isn`t it... we spend most of the yr waiting to get together;then when we do get together its such a whirlwind of a holiday...catching up, talking, arguing, eating, visiting,shopping, sleeping..before you realize it its over and you are left with your nostalgia and a kaleidoscope of memories .. and you tuck away each and every memory in your mind, to be taken out later and savoured ... as you eagerly wait for the next family vacation.

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