Chill and Heal

This year I am “Indi-spired “ to increase my vocabulary as much as possible, so I looked up the  dictionary for the meaning of vacation. We’ll look at it along the way.

Once upon a time Vacation began on April 11th and would be over on May fixed, and Bhima-ajja my grandfather’s brother would come home riding on the Java motorcycle he owned and we would zoom down the dread perampalli forest, ambagilu, over the Kalyanpur river, and turn right into Kolagiri to Belmaar, where all of us would collect, and vacation meant sugarcane fields (mouth ulcers due to over eating of sugarcane), mangoes off the tree (a challenged intestine due to over-eating again) cashew apples, and sore throat due to binging. Vacation meant stories from Kittadoddamma and Padmavati-amma. Jaggery coffee with Melmatta ajja, We would walk distances of 7 -10 kilometers, without bothering about the heat, while today I cannot think of stepping out without my two-wheeler.

We would move from one cousins house to the other, entire battalion  of cousins,  it was a peak into the adult world that was shut to us during  school.  The politics of  Jayanthi who came to milk the cows, the romance of kitta and lakki who tended to the sheep and worked as farm hands. The proposed alliance between Mala aunty and the third son of Neelavara Udupa so things went on.  there were weddings to attend, and Jatre to go to, night long Yakshagana it was a respite.

The rest of the cousins had absolute freedom, while my mother would insist on holiday homework of one page each of English, Kannada and Hindi copy writing and revision of maths exercise of the year gone and tables one each written five times. Of course we did learn how to bend these rules, yet we did finish the homework.

October holidays were shorter 3rd October to 28th October we visited some out of state relative or went for a conference with dad, that meant we got to see new places and meet a different set of people. That was fun in its own way.

By the time we reached college vacation took a different meaning, though it still meant travelling like true Indians we went to places where we could avail home hospitality and catch up with cousins our peer group. These were the days before summer camps and holiday “personality building” and “talent grooming”. We really relaxed, recuperated, and were rejuvenated.  When we returned to school we were thoroughly bored out by the fag end of the vacation and were rearing to meet our friends and plan new horrendous activities to harass the teachers.

With motherhood vacation came to mean  intermission and respite or time of respite from something, like the morning rush of packing two lunch boxes before 7.15 am, rushing to pick thick the kids from school, dropping them to classes, handing the cooking, laundry, tidying, dusting, de-cluttering, and my clinic  I would just drop the kids at my mother’s place. While I interacted with other kids, as resource person for various workshops. that was my vacation time.

Since I seem to reporting instead of storytelling or narrating, its time I vacate this slot, that is leave this space until the storyteller returns… the last meaning of vacation in Merriam-Webster the act of vacating.


No Kidding—Travelling with kids.

No Kidding—Travelling with kids.

I am just back from Hyderabad, and my co-passengers were a young couple travelling with a seven year old daughter and a 11 year old son.

The kids were rather restless being cooped up within the train. I gave them my laptop and let them play a game each, while one played I drew the other’s attention to the various stuff outside the train.  That kept them totally occupied after about half an hour they could keep themselves occupied and discover new vista’s in their life.

I did wonder how we managed this phase of the kids, considering my kids are now young adults. To tell you the truth I didn’t quite a few holidays they were packed off to my mother’s house. she is their biggest toy, friend, entertainment, and ultimate authority on discipline. Yes I am jealous, of that bond and my daughters promise that I will that bond with their daughters. There is always hope.

Back to travelling with kids.

Travelling with kids is quite a bit of fun if we do not micromanage them, nor peddle our version of fun on them.

Luckily for me both daughters were loved trying out new things and were quite friendly.  So ensuring a stress free holiday meant I had take a few precautions. For long journey I would pack a story book and toy for both of them. My husband let them experiment with the camera at a very young age. I suggested that they kept a journal of the trip so that they could share it with “ammamma” that put them on the observation mode.

If we leave the children alone, they tend to bond with other kids in the vicinity creating their own equation and enjoying it.

There are some moments that i can never forget when it comes to travelling with my kids, actually there are moments from each trip.

Another thing I realized that what interests a child is very individualistic. Fortnight ago my nephew was here he is all of seven years, he quietly came upto me and told me “nange, bere Goa nodbeku” I really did not follow what this “other ”Goa that he wanted to see was, it turned out that wanted to see the Goa that his friends would not see, so I took him on the barge, he was so thrilled, he kept asking the passengers so many questions as to did they travel every day, how did they get into a bust afterwards. The next destination that I took him was the ancestral Goa better known as Bigfoot, again the lifestyle of Goa a century ago totally fascinated him.

My own older daughter is again very curious about life and living, when we travelled to Kurukshetra she wanted to cook in the tandoor, and she was about seven  or eight the dabbewallah did allow her to roast a tandoor, he even allowed her to pat one she was so thrilled. That was the high light of her trip.

While for my younger daughter who is more into adventure tried parasailing.

This was when my older daughter was all of eight months old. Those days we had to take the bus from Manipal, get down at Honnavar and a smaller bus would take us over the bridge and we would get into the next bus. travelling with a baby meant carrying lot of stuff, I would be struggling she would sleep all the way till we reached the bus, and suddenly wake up when we arrived at the transit point full of pep, gurgling at everyone flashing the most enchanting smile, she would have the driver and the conductor of the bus floored, they would actually cart my stuff for me, while i could peacefully handle the child.

Then was another trip from Goa to Dharwad, my brother-in-law and husband had our year old daughter with them, while my sister-in-law and I were in another compartment. The railway cops interrogated both the men, until they came over to our compartment and confirmed that we were very much there.

When we went touring Delhi, at point my three old, just sat on the floor and declared, “I no go, indida house, she no come my house” or she looked Indira

Actually if someone asked how to ensure that the kids enjoy themselves I would say, let them choose their activity that activity should be something new, with a very small risk element in a new location.  Do not hover or oversee.