The weekend that went by was the stuff that you always fantasize about. The kinds you wish would happen, but you know the chances are as great as dinosaurs roaming the world again. No I did not bump into a celebrity or win a lottery. (And those are not the stuff I day-dream about either).
Long long ago – more precisely 10 years ago, my bestie and I were lying on our hostel bed and making glorious plans for the future. One of them included having a family vacation together once in a while. I know there are people for whom such dreams materialise. There are people who are neighbours with their best friends! Such things don’t happen to me. Of the few friends that I have, none were in the same city as me for a long time after graduation. Now none are even in the same continent.
But then life has a knack of throwing that odd bouncer, which struck just right goes for a six! After a decade of work and life, Ashma had the opportunity to visit a neighbouring island. It felt like an arm’s reach from UK. Of course she would come and visit us if she was coming to Ireland. There was the initial dilemma of whether she would accept the offer or not in the first place, given that she had a young child. My suggestion was to accept the offer with open arms and bring family along since it would be a very good opportunity. At least her fares would be paid for and they would have a mini vacation abroad. Everything progressed smoothly from then on. They were travel ready, but then she had a personal emergency due to which she had to cancel all plans. We were kind of prepared for some dreams being too good to come true.
As months moved on, the opportunity presented itself again. Yayyyy !!!! This time she was finally and definitely coming! It was all happening very fast and we thought we would go about planning everything once she landed. She landed and we did some sketchy planning. Her trip was super compressed into 3 weeks giving her 2.5 weekends. She had to make a trip to UK in the middle week. Coming all the way to UK, she definitely wanted to give London a look. So the Friday, Saturday and Sunday she decided to come to UK with Saturday reserved for London.
Friday morning Ashu, M and her lil boy S reached home. It was wonderful to have her make tea while I flipped dosas. K was trying to work from home :D. The home was filled with warmth as the adults chatted and kids after their initial shyness played along. I will admit, that thanks to technology its not we are totally out of each other’s worlds. We keep messaging each other, swapping pictures and I make it a point to call twice a month. We have our long chats about everything under the sun then. So though I was seeing her after 6 years, it was not 6 years of white noise. It was 6 years where we were ‘virtually’ in touch with one another. Evening the men decided to hit the bar while being typical women folk, we busied ourselves with kids and cooking. It was very interesting to note the little bickering, competition for attention, the clamouring for same toy and the final reconciliation that the kids had amidst themselves. Evening it was gorgeous Indian takeaway and an early night in since Ashu and co had a rise and shine at dawn for London.
We spent most of Saturday by ourselves. Sunday Chiyaa had her swimming class. Since Ashu was the only one awake (miracle!) she came along with us. As Chiyaa and K took to the pool, we got another half an hour to just randomly chat. It was S’s birthday! Once back home, after breakfast, it was time for cake! Woo hoo! The gift we gave to S was a bone of contention as both the kids wanted exclusive rights over them. It was so funny, entertaining and educating to watch how the kids dealt with the situation. Just because S began to cry at a certain point, Chiyaa started crying as well. Finally peace reigned and they played together. We were too lazy to venture outside. But finally at 5 in the evening K took control and asked everyone to get started. We went to the nearby docks which was a pleasant walk together. The kids were going berserk literally using anything and everything as an item to play with. We have been in this city for 5 years but we had never used the water taxi that ferries on the canal. With friends around, it was the best excuse and we all took a ride in it and thoroughly enjoyed it. Some really amazing Indian food was the perfect end to the evening.
Back home, the kids played as we packed and got ready for the upcoming Monday. There was just so much to generally talk, the refugee crisis, disease control in India, fate and destiny and what not. I literally had to pull myself away when the clock approached 2200 since they had to depart to the airport at 0430 in the morning. I had a weird dream where I saw K and me walking with Ashu to drop her while M was coming along in a car behind us. At the end of the journey, Ashu just turned back and hugged me. I felt very vacant after that dream and it was a bit tough for me to get back to sleep. Finally the hands of the clock indicated, it was time to say goodbye.
The house seems vacant today. But somehow Chiyaa and the routine around her is making everything bearable. It is oh so rare that we get to have real friends over – friends with whom the times apart does not matter, because there are no actual times apart. Friends with whom one is perfectly comfortable making calls home or playing games on the computer without thinking what they might think. Friends with whom one is ok to venture out for a couple of drinks even if you have met them for the very first time. Friends with whom one is crazy enough to think of a family vacation together again in the near future.