Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Looking over my shoulder...2015.

Okay, okay, I know I am late. It's gone 13th January and my round up of 2015 has been somewhat overdue. Actually, to be honest, I was toying with the idea of skipping it altogether this year. Who wants to read yet another (boring) take on someone else's year? But then a few emails attacked me. Apparently, there are people out there who are wondering where my annual round-up has gone!!! I'm really grateful that you ask and touched that you remember. So here goes.... do try not to be snoring at the end of it!

Picture Credit: Joe Musgrave
Picture Credit: Amitesh Banerjee
2015 was a year of new experiences. Yes, there was nothing boring about it, really. In March we visited Tadoba and had our very first sighting of a tiger in the wild! And we also saw a sloth bear that bound across the road ahead of us and a leopard in a tree... It was thrilling, to say the least. We have visited jungles before but never actually seen any wild animals except the likes of deer and rhinos. That holiday was really something. The girls refused to accompany us, so it was just Pinkie, Joe and the two of us... Frankly, I was glad we didn't have the girls tagging along. The resort we stayed at had no swimming pool at the time, (I have been told there is one now!), no TV and a very limited wi-fi connection. And you had to wake up early to go for those safaris. They would have driven me batty with their complaints and bored faces!

Wadi Rum, Jordan
The other fascinating experience was in Jordan. Yes, I fulfilled one long standing wish, one right there in my bucket list: a holiday in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Oh, in one word, it was brilliant! Right from the fascinating corals in the Red Sea to sleeping under the stars in Wadi Rum to climbing a sand dune to the controversial horse ride into Petra to the ruins of the Street of Facades to the mansaf to floating on the Dead Sea to the nightlife and argilla on Rainbow Street, it was brilliant. As Amitesh keeps repeating to anyone who will listen, we have been to the West (read USA, EU, UK) and to the far East (read Thailand, Malaysia) but nothing quite prepared us for the hospitality and charm of Jordan! And I also have to mention Hani Abadi here, the guy who arranged for our transportation in Jordan and helped with the ground details. He responded to my first uncertain queries about our holiday and ended up answering well near a hundred of my 'urgent' emails and still had a smiling face when we finally met! Only one thing that my family declared and I (reluctantly?) agree to: my mansaf tastes much better that the one we had there!!! This holiday was taken with friends, Samrat, Pupai and their two children. It was a big group of eight of us and we all had a blast. Even the girls had fun although there was a lot of travelling and driving and walking..."phoren" holiday, you see!!! 

In summer too, another wonderful holiday in Sikkim took us to Nathu-la Pass which is 4310 m above sea level, part of the ancient Silk Road and on the China border. It was covered in snow and the trek, shivering in our hired boots and jackets was well worth it.... We also stayed a few days at Biksthang Heritage Bungalow. You can see it here, a charming little retreat in the middle of the hills where the mist came rolling in through the trees in the morning and you were forgiven for imagining that you were the only person on the planet. My Mesho was with us on holiday and we all enjoyed the peace and tranquility, let it seep into our pores.  It also had a swimming pool, which was a facility I readily used. The girls, who do their own packing, obviously did not carry swim wear and sulked about, yes net connectivity was also an issue but what else would you expect in the middle of the mountains?

What else can I say about the year? After the above three 
holidays, everything else fades in comparison. The days were routine, normal, I guess. The usual, with it's ups and downs.  Isha is sitting for her board exams this year so there was a lot of pushing (on my part) to go and study. And because you cannot have the other girl lolling about while her sister is studying, Amisha has been bearing the grunt of my temper as well! No, before you feel sorry for them, they do not quietly suffer. They are very vocal and end up doing exactly what they want to so most of my shouting is a vain attempt to make me feel like I have some concrete contribution in their lives!

The pujas, as per schedule carry on along with all the duties that follow when one lives in a XXL family. The household too runs on it's well-oiled machines no matter what. Everything ultimately falls into place and you realise that no one is indispensable. The year also saw the greenest of my children: the twins were born in January and continue to draw us into their web of sweet smiles and outstretched arms.. At their annaprasan later in the year, when I had all my eight children around me, life felt so complete...

On this side, Amisha went for her first ever camping trip to some place in North India called Maldeota and returned not having bathed for days and a pile of wet sticky clothes stashed in her rucksack! Well, what else could you expect? Isha has been busy with her debates and choir and million extra-curricular activities which I know she will miss next year as she goes into High School, hopefully. Amitesh is just over-worked and busy. There are no other words for those holidays when we can just switch off from the world become all that more important. As for me I take one day at a time. I feel like I am sailing along on my own little dinghy, taking the calm waters with the rough, back-paddling when I need too, racing mindlessly at other times and sometimes swimming away when the eddy is too strong.

Before the year ended we were able to do something that we had been planning ever since Baba passed away (cannot believe it's already been three years!), we had a short ceremony with the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court and had his portrait put up in the Bar Library. So now I have Baba looking down on me right where I sit and yes, it gives some degree of comfort. 

I guess what I'm saying is, that despite all the holidays, micro-managing the routines of life with two opinionated teenagers and the hyper-active, busy spouse, at the end of the day, if I sit down quietly, much of it is about the people I miss, the people who are not with us anymore, except in my thoughts. I think of them often, (many of you may be tired of all the sad poems I post at ) and thank them for making my life more meaningful... for the memories that I can draw on specially late into the night when I lie awake and wonder where this life is headed, where the girls are going!

So. I'll leave you here this time; hoping that you too have memories you can draw on, memories that give you strength, memories to fall back on when the wind howls or even when it doesn't. Because in the end, that's all we have: memories. And that's all we are doing here in our time on this earth: making memories.
So let's make good ones, shall we? And may the memories you make live in the hearts of those who love you..long after you are gone!
Happy 2016, everyone!

Picture Credit: Amitesh Banerjee

1 comment:

  1. Touched quite a few raw nerves there,Ipsy. Its cathartic to read your stuff.