Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts

Thursday, October 30, 2014

That holiday feeling!

A holiday has always been a sure shot way to get me to instant bliss. So when its two back to back holidays, its a double scoop of super loaded, twice as much, packed to the brim blissfulness! Clearly I also ate too much ice cream on vacay (double fudge, chocolate chip loaded, with twirls of dark chocolate, nutty Oreo bits and oozing with decadence....sighhhhh)

Anyway, getting back to the point, we're just back from first, a short-ish holiday in Panchgani followed by a long-ish holiday in Dubai, with a gap of about a week between the two which felt like a quasi holiday in itself since all we seemed to be doing was unpacking, packing and planning for the upcoming trip! We've been back home for a couple of days now and both my children seem to be suffering from a severe holiday hangover. Bedtimes, nap times, waking up times are topsy turvy and meal times have been replaced by grazing whenever the fancy strikes (or not!). But none of that is bothering me right now because I'm still basking in the post vacay glow and not even lunch at 3pm or both kids bright eyed and bushy tailed at 5am can get me down right now (that and the fact that we have a few more days to recover before its back to the school routine and I'm forced to snap out of that holiday feeling)!

The Dubai holiday also ended up being a completely disconnected-from-the-virtual-world one for me because my phone died on me just a few days before we left and I found myself Facebook-less, Watsapp-less and also contact-less for a while so was pretty much cut off from everyone apart from P and the kids. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise (after I'd survived the initial panic attack) because it was just so refreshing to switch off from all of the virtual messaging and info overload; a lot of which can be mostly unnecessary. Anyway, so I also managed to fall off my hundred happy days of blogging wagon in the meanwhile so I'm just going to pick up from where I left off, with a couple of happy holiday posts thrown in in-between (and photo posts too, no less!). In the meantime here's to holidays, new and old, the ones that've left lasting memories and the ones yet to come. Like I read somewhere in a shop window in Dubai, your vacation starts the minute you begin planning it and in true holiday spirit we started planning our next one on the flight back from Dubai. Coz nothing can quite beat that good ol' holiday feeling!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summer Holiday

School's out! Well actually it was out almost a month ago, but the point is I'm writing about it now and not after the next school year has begun. Which, if you consider my track record, was not entirely an impossibility. The thing is, what with all the recent bai woes and the daily school run, life had become pretty darn hectic. Nikki's mother toddler group which we started when she was about fifteen months old had progressed from an hour, thrice a week, to one and a half hours, all five days a week and the timing had also shifted from a leisurely 11.30am to 10.00am, which is a whole lot more demanding when you live a good half hour away and have a toddler who likes to ponder on the various intricacies life throws up while chomping away at the morning meal for a couple of hours each day.

Most mornings thus saw me scrabbling though the two hours I had at hand after Nikki woke up to get self and child ready for school at breakneck speed, get aforementioned breakfast down Nikki's gullet at a pace that would put the most steadfast snail to shame, and cram some toast down my own throat before whizzing off to school. Needless to mention, Nikki would choose exactly half past nine, designated we-need-to-leave-NOW time, to bless her diaper, necessitating operation clean up and ensuring that we reached school just in the nick of time. Since the program we'd signed up for was a mother-toddler one, the one and a half hours we spent there everyday demanded equal participation from both me and Nikki and much vigorous moving-to-the-music and building sandcastles later we'd go back home to bath, lunch and nap time for Nikki and about two hours of downtime for Mommy. Except that the two hours downtime tended to bear an uncanny similarity to weekends; Sunday evening strikes before you've properly begun to savour the beginning of Friday night, and before I could park myself on the couch to vegetate or open that latest book, Nikki would be up, bright and chirpy and raring to go to the park. Some days there would be play dates or birthday parties to go to, and all in all, my post baby life was beginning to get almost as demanding as my pre-baby corporate one. Except, of course, that this time round I have a boss who is wayyyy more demanding!

I was quite looking forward to the onset of the summer holidays therefore; glorious, lazy days filled with endless hours of doing nothing and I was quite unprepared for the summer camp frenzy that routinely strikes most mums this time of the year. I got my first taste of it on the last day at school where a bunch of mums were earnestly exchanging notes about different summer camps and poring over brochures of the same. They were aghast when I told them I wasn't planning to enroll Nikki in one, with reactions ranging from 'you're compromising on developing a strong educational base for your daughter' to the more pragmatic 'you'll go nuts with her in the house all day', but I resisted the impulse to go check out the summer camps in the neighborhood. Not that I have anything against summer camps, I don't know enough about what goes on in them to really have a strong opinion for or against them, but I'm home this summer with Nikki and I don't see her losing out on anything by just enjoying the holidays at home, the way I used to when I was a kid. Besides she's just two years old and there's enough time for summer camps later, even though the average age for summer camp where I lives seems be to thirteen months, so going by that her educational base seems to be compromised quite a bit already!

We've had fun so far too, Nikki and I. Apart from a few weekend trips we haven't really gone anywhere so most days are spent in and around home. We spend the mornings either in the 'big' swimming pool or in Nikki's smaller baby pool at home, with her toy ducks, fishes and her paddling dog Pogo for company. If Nikki's not in the mood to be a water baby, we bring out the paints and shaving foam and play dough and muck around in the balcony creating various works of art. The only person who doesn't seem too happy about us honing our artistic skills is the maid who gets to clean the balcony when she comes around every afternoon. No surprise then, that she's recently announced a ten day trip for some 'sudden' wedding in the family. No problem, coz cleaning-up is Nikki's new found passion! Give her a sponge and a bucket and she can keep herself occupied for hours. We'd gone out for lunch recently to a bistro which had a little fountain in the seating area and it took all my persuasive efforts to keep Nikki from ripping off her tee and mopping the tables with the fountain water!
Evenings usually see us headed out to a nearby park or the zoo or a play date with some of Nikki's school friends and before you know it another glorious summer day is over and another one has begun.

All too soon summer will end and it'll be time for Nikki to go to school on her own, as she 'graduates' from the mother toddler program to playgroup. Time for me to let go a little. And so, this summer I just want to enjoy every little bit with my baby while she's still a baby. Enjoy the feeling of waking up in the morning with nowhere to go and nothing to do, soak in the early morning sun in the balcony while Nikki makes me a cup of tea in her kitchen set, go for an impromptu picnic to the neighborhood park when the mood strikes with banana chips and nutella sandwiches, luxuriate in long afternoon naps and spend hours in the mellow evening sun studying the interesting shapes clouds make. Here's to summer holidays then! How're you spending yours?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Of saying goodbye and savoring life's special stuff

We've spent the last two days hanging out with my sister, Nikki's C Paachi, who flies out to the US today for higher studies. While I restricted my goodbyes to a semi hug and a rather eloquent grunt in my characteristic expressive style, I'm sure C knows that we're all going to miss her lots. What makes this whole going away business a little better is that she's going to be back in under six months to get married (hurray!), an event everyone in the family is quite looking forward to. Nikki had a fun two days spending time with C Paachi and her grandparents which got me around to thinking about how important it is for kids to spend time with family growing up, to know that there are other loving, dependable adults they can confide in and look up to, apart from their parents. I'm hoping Nikki gets to spend a lot of time with close family as she grows up and have been making an effort to get together with family I have in and around town whenever I get the chance. It is specially fun and also a little touching to see Nikki bond and thoroughly enjoy herself with my little nephew R, who's a couple of years older than her. I have a photograph of C Paachi with R and Nikki in which C is holding Nikki and R is standing next to her. The snap beautifully captures R grinning mischievously at Nikki while she grins right back with an equally saucy, exhilarated expression on her little face, a testimony to the fun times they've shared. We're lucky that P also has a large extended family, with lots of kids close to Nikki's age and even though she was too small to really interact with them the last few times we met, I'm sure she'll enjoy her time with them as she grows older.

I shared these thoughts with P last evening as we drove back home after saying goodbye to C and we got around to talking about what we'd like Nikki to grow up with, the important stuff, the stuff that really matters. We were both agreed on the importance of family and close friends; I hope Nikki has a wonderful, loving set of friends she knows she can rely on and turn to anytime as she grows older. Growing up, we were always moving cities and I would often be the new girl in town or in school or in the park, the girl who was left out of birthday parties and sleepovers and movie nights because nobody knew her well enough yet. Sure I would settle in eventually, get to know people and make friends but it was always difficult those first few days when everybody was comfortable in their own little groups and you were the only outsider who didn't fit in any where. In retrospect though, I feel this has always made me appreciate my friends more and I am truly thankful today for the wonderful group of friends I have.

A love for books and reading is another thing I hope to pass on to Nikki, followed closely by a love for music. There is no greater joy than losing yourself in the wonderful world of a beloved book, retracing the adventures in an old favorite, the thrill you feel when you connect instantly with a new book or the quiet anticipation of an evening tucked up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book left half way. Except perhaps, the joy of waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the strains of a ballad by Richard Clayderman on a Sunday morning. Or some smooth jazz or perky funk beats on a Friday evening as you wait for dinner guests to arrive. Or the instant mood lift as you listen to an old favorite on a rainy afternoon or on a long drive back home. So Nikki gets a generous dose of  Floyd and U2 along with Wiggles Dorothy the Dinosaur and she seems to enjoy both equally well! Of course The Papa Man ensures that there's a generous dollop of 'Tere Liye' and 'Singh is King' thrown is as well and both those numbers have little Miss Nikki doing a vigorous shake-that-booty each time!

I am hoping to celebrate all of the major festivals in a big way now that Nikki is here. Before we had Nikki, festivals were equated with days off, a chance to get away from the stress and pressure of daily life but now I look forward to spending these special days in a leisurely manner with Nikki. Enjoying the beauty of colors on Holi, basking in the warmth of family and togetherness on Diwali, always a gala family event, discovering the magic of Santa Claus at Christmas, making modaks together for Ganesh Chaturthi and beautiful jhankis for Janmashtami. Festivals, also mean holidays and holidays are another important part of growing up happy! Long and lazy summer holidays, short winter breaks, even weekend getaways, I want to ensure we take some time out every now and then to get away from our regular routines and travel the world and spend time together, sometimes to meet new people and do different things, sometimes to just enjoy a slice of solitude.

Which brings to me to the importance of enjoying  your own company and being comfortable with yourself. That wonderful place where you know you can step out and have a great time over coffee with friends knowing equally well that you can go right back and have just as wonderful a time all by yourself. I hope I can teach Nikki that. Along with the power of dreaming big, beautiful dreams, believing in them without being afraid of failure and taking risks. Living the most exhilarating life and being the best person she possibly can be. And always knowing that two people, mom and dad, will always be there for her no matter what.

This list could go on and on so I thought maybe I'd leave it at this. Or maybe I'll keep coming back and adding to this if I feel I've missed out on something that really should be here. What about you though? What are those special things you know you want your children to grow up with?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Of beaches and bliss

Our much anticipated Goa trip finally happened in mid December and even though I'd been waiting to blog about it as much as making the trip itself, I'm only getting down it to after nearly a month thanks to the villainous net connection and my remarkable efficiency at procrastination. This was our first proper vacation with Nikki, not counting the one trip to the in laws when she was just ten weeks old and a few one off road trips now and then.

I'd somehow always harbored the notion that relaxed vacations would be a thing of the past after P & I had kids, and used this with great success as a handy weapon to pack many more vacations in five years of pre-baby married life that P would have normally liked to go for (just vegetating on the living room couch makes the man happy, who needs vacations?). So I was a little stressed at the thought of the upcoming Goa trip. Was it going to be one of those horror vacations with kids I'd seen in movies and sometimes witnessed first hand, at the end of which I'd need another vacation just to recover?

"No way mater" Nikki would have said if speech and vocabulary had been on her side a little more, "bring on the holidays, I say!". Right from the flight to Goa where she brushed off my concerns with air pressure, chucking the cotton balls I'd stuffed in her ears at the hapless passenger next to us and choosing to look around instead with supreme alertness, to being superbly cooperative with the meals and the naps, the child has proved beyond a doubt that she's a born traveler. *Short pause to thank the Dear Lord for his Mercies. Thank You!*
Probably the only person who was hassled on the flight was the unfortunate chap next to us, to whom Nikki decided to take a great fancy. This guy was one of those cool looking studs complete with his own neck rest pillow, eye pads and mini laptop on which he intended to watch a movie as he gorged on a box of Ferrero Rochers. That was before Nikki, fascinated by the laptop, pillow, eye pads and his egg shaped bald head tried to be friendly and babbled eagerly at him. The guy just ignored her so she swatted at him to catch his attention, but he continued with the cold shoulder treatment and not wanting to be classified as one of those irritating mothers who don't even want to try and control their unruly kids, I held her next to the window to show her the clouds which she remained fascinated with for a large part of the flight.

We reached the resort around dinner time and I fed Nikki her dinner and sat her down in the baby cot provided for us as P & I debated whether we should check out one of the many restaurants for dinner or just play it safe and stick to room service. We were just about settling on room service given the fact that Nikki had been on the go all day and would probably be getting cranky when we noticed her fast asleep in the cot! She had fallen asleep ON HER OWN. Just like that! For the first time in her life. Those of you who follow this blog would be familiar with my sleep, or rather lack of sleep related travails. Suffice to say, Nikki falling asleep on her own, without any nursing, rocking, walking up and down, crooning or permutations and combinations thereof was a milestone event, significant enough to be classified as history in the making.
"I want to relocate to Goa." I told P. "Let's not celebrate too soon" he warned, "this may just be a one off thing."
It wasn't. Our week long holiday settled into a blissful pattern as Nikki fell into an easy routine of fuss free feeding and blissfully falling asleep on her own, all beautifully coordinated with our own meals.

We would typically get up early and head to the beach for a stroll, return to our own room to feed Nikki and then go to the restaurant for our own breakfast, where she would happily play in her pram and observe the other kids milling around.The rest of the day would be spent either lolling by the pool (I did the lolling, P actually fit some swimming in) where we even managed to play our very own version of water polo or at the resort's well equipped indoor activity center. Evenings were dedicated to the beach where the resort had a superbly equipped water sports activity center; banana boat rides, para sailing, jet skiing they had it all! I even overcame my hydrophobia to do some beach para sailing and floated around for the rest of the day feeling like a total Bond.
P & I rented a bike and took turns at cycling around on the beach; windswept hair, the salty sea breeze blowing in your face, it was total bliss! I thought Nikki would be awestruck by the beach since it was her first time there and went a little berserk hopping around pointing out the waves and the sand and the seaaa, look look! and generally making a complete ass of myself, but the girl remained quite unimpressed. She looked around nonchalantly for a bit, noted said sea, sand, waves and setting sun being pointed out by hysterical mother, patted me gently on the shoulder and nodded off. Again! "I want to relocate to Goa" I said to P, firmly this time. He said he was seriously considering it himself.

Nikki stuck to her wonderful routine of turning in regularly by 8 or 9pm everyday leaving us free to conquer new territories in the gastronomic domain and we obliged by stuffing our faces at the various unlimited buffets till we could have rolled quite effortlessly like footballs from one end of the resort to another. Evenings in Goa were pleasantly balmy and we spent many of them wandering around the manicured lawns, with Nikki completely enthralled by the night sky and the large fountains gushing out water in merry tinkles in the center of the resort.

On a couple of days we took turns to baby sit while the other sneaked out to fit in a bit of pampering at the spa or working off some of the excesses consumed in the gym. We even managed a spot of shopping which I quite enjoyed, until the shop lady latched on to me and began telling me how she hated her job and had been trying for a baby for three years and how all kids loved her. I was being sympathetic till she insisted on holding Nikki who promptly began bawling her head off causing me to beat a hasty retreat.

Vacations for me normally end with a heavy heart, but this time round we had fitted in a weekend stop at our friends' B & N on the way back making it the perfect end to the perfect holiday. We braved the chaos at the Goa airport, including a run in with an obtuse airport official who didn't want us to take Nikki's stroller all the way to the aircraft like we had done on our way to Goa, and sat back in the flight feeling rather chuffed at how well we'd pulled it all off. The flight back was pretty relaxed which significantly increased the chuffed-ness and we spent a lot of time telling B & N how we'd had all our meals in the restaurant and how all our evenings were relaxed and how Nikki went to sleep on her own all the time and remained that way even when we- hold your breath!- transferred her from cot to car seat, until they got a little bored and told us to shove it. Shove it we did and and spent a pleasant evening going thru the holiday pictures and chatting about life with kids (B & N have a daughter a little older than Nikki).
The perfect end wasn't so perfect after all because that night I came down with a high fever and the next day Nikki and P fell ill too. The next week back home was pretty lousy what with battling a combination of the post holiday blues and the bug we'd got but we're all okay now.

I want to end this post on a happy note, so I've reserved the best for last :) The most fabulous thing about this holiday aside from the fact that the three of us got to spend so much bliss loaded time together was Nikki's fully loaded happiness quotient; she was just so full of joy all through that it was a delight to watch her. Whether it was the giggling on the flight, the unadulterated delight as she watched other kids splash around in the kiddy pool,the glee reserved for the towel swans on our bed every day made by the resort staff or the well fed ducks in the hotel lawns, I've never seen her so blissfully relaxed and happy before. She even broke into song one afternoon as we went for a stroll around the resort, in perfect tune with P who was humming too!

So even though the relocation to Goa remains a distant dream (I'm still working on it) I've moved to the next best thing; planning our next holiday, that'll happen hopefully sometime soon! Here's to more fun, family times ahead :)

Edited to add: *Kala Tikka* as suggested by Preeti.