Old habits die hard especially traits that are hammered into our kiddy frames by our persistent parents. Even after we are done with growing up, working our arse off, paying instalments for home loans, changing diapers of our wailing progeny - we can never say NO to them. We are hardwired to obey our parents. So one fine evening, when you are flopped on the bed after a hard day’s work, your Mom calls you only to announce that we are all going to Jim Corbett next weekend, you instinctively say YES to her. Of course you have the rest of the week to repent, worry about unfinished chores, incomplete reports. Ahh...I’ll manage, somehow!
My Mom has a special fascination for animals, the wilder the better. In fact just a few months back, she and Baba went all the way to Kenya to see lions, zebras, hippos and their sundry cousins frolic in the Masai Mara forest reserves. In the 90’s she had yet to acquire an international taste and was content with desi forest reserves, especially Jim Corbett. So every time she was feeling low, high, bored, restless we would all rush off en masse to the resorts in the vicinity of the wildlife reserve.
When my parents say they are taking a break, they do exactly the opposite. As kids whenever we took a vacation, we would see them mutate into hyperactive kids ready to scale any peak or crawl under cobweb infested caves all in the name of sightseeing. Since we had no choice but tag along with them, we (me and my brother) would feel like hapless prey caught in a Venus Flytrap. Once when I refused to accompany them on a trip to Kolkata, my brother came back with a look of betrayal in his eyes. Listening to his endless stories of torture – of being dragged around in hot and humid Calcutta (as it was then), forced to gorge on the much hated maachh and mishtee – I giggled in relief.
Even after I had been married, the memories were still fresh in my mind; so I had enough history to support my unusually low enthusiasm about the much abused word break!
Clark Kent needed a phone booth to transform into Superman and all my Mom had to do was sit in a car packed with suitcases and voila she would be ready to fly with her brood in tow. Since she has always a great believer of conservation, five of us (my daughter was still a thought) would stuff ourselves in one car. And just as we were getting in the mood to snooze, our limbs resting not so gently on each other, she would take out a thermos full of coffee like a rabbit from the magician’s hat. Puhleez Maa not now! But does she give up? Nah. So whenever we stopped for a loo break – I am so hungry break – Wait, aren’t those guavas, they look so fresh break – Maa would triumphantly take out the thermos and threaten to pour out coffee for us.