Thursday, January 3, 2019

Looking forwards and back


A bit of history lesson first. I recently read an article which said that when Julius Ceaser implemented the Julian calendar, there was some debate around which month should be the first month. They chose January after the god Janus who has 2 heads, looking forward and behind. So it seemed an apt choice where January would be the first month which would be one for introspecting about the past and looking ahead into the future. So as I stand on the 3rd of January, let me look back and forward.

I have given the year’s recap so I will not go on that topic again ( I tend to speak about the same thing again and again! L ). I will look back with a narrower vision – at the holiday season in particular J

December hails the advent of Christmas, which drives people into a frenzy. There is something in the air with the shopping, the crowds, the lights. Kids are super excited and the excitement is contagious. The office Christmas parties are a major point of discussion around breakout areas. Traffic starts dwindling as people start taking time off. Some days there are huge jams because everyone is out of the house shopping! One can never predict. But the unpredictability has a certain charm to it. Its all easy and light. From around the middle of December, the Christmas spirit is definitely on. It all feels awesomely festive, vibrant and joyful. It also heralds the office Christmas party.

I had the office Christmas party on the 20th of December. It was my first at the new place. Office Christmas parties can go any way – they can be very boring or they can be fun or they can be something in the middle. The parties at the first place I worked were proper sit down affairs, where people sat around a table, had food, wished each other happy Christmas and went home. In fact one year, the management (which was very snooty) did not even bother keeping a party. They handed some cash to the team leads in January to take the team where ever the hell they wanted! It was quite flippant, but we had a heyday mocking management. The second place was a mix. People started prim and proper, had food. The chats slowly got louder and the booze flowed. By the time the meal was over, decibel levels raised, talk got wonton and I never stayed much longer than that to see the worse ;). I always had the good ol excuse of ‘got to pick the kids’. Not that I ever thought I missed anything. But from the office gossip I gathered that some conversations did go out of hand.

I wasn’t sure what to anticipate here. During the last catch up with my line manager, she let me know that, the next 10 days, she did not expect anyone to work! Ahem, sounded good to me. The day of the Christmas party, there was an hour long round up meeting, general chit chat, followed by secret Santa. No one was in any mood to work. The lunch was slated for 1300, but people started moving at 12! Surely there was no need to get any work done. The food was amazing, the conversation was easy. I followed the gang to the pub post lunch and stuck to the alcohol free drinks ( I don’t drink alcohol. Never got a hang of it, and never had the need for it). around 4, it was ‘got to pick the kids’ time and I made a move. The next day was a Friday and we ha 6 people at work! Well that’s 20% attendance. There was an extended breakfast with people sitting around for 1.5 hours and chatting. But the penultimate day at work for the year and there was an issue in production. The senior guy (good that he was around) and I put in a fix ( I gave in my best, with the mere 2 months work of knowledge that I had ;) ) . Well that made coming in to work worth it.

Christmas eve, the office shut down at mid day. It was a lovely morning with the sun shining and people running helter skelter to get the last minute shopping done.  I finished work and went home with some delicious cakes.  I reached home and saw the kids in the bath screaming the roof off. The holidays had truly begun!!

We do not get many gifts for the kids for Christmas. We are against the culture of big expensive gifts. Chiyaa far from believes in Santa Claus anyways :D which is good and bad. Good cos I like the fact she is being so realistic – I don’t know how , genes? upbringing? I dunno. Bad cos I cannot bargain with her that she behave well else there would be no gifts for her :D   But, they live in a country where gifts are a big thing, so mummy and I had got something for them before hand. We don’t even put a Christmas tree J have not yet, since the kids have not demanded yet. So… Christmas morning madame Chiyaa was a bit upset that there were no gifts under the absent tree. I told her, "you never know, Santa might have hid it!" I asked her to search ( I had not bothered to wrap the gifts or to keep them in a nice place, they were still in the hideout :D ) She rummaged through the house. And she found it! And she was mighty pleased with her gifts. There was a board game for her, a puzzle book for Pumpki and a doll for both. We spent the entire day separating the two kids, because they kept wanting to take what the other was playing it. We had some delicious mummy made puri and chole which gave us the energy to keep acting referee.

The next day was boxing day where people go crazy shopping. I do not see the point of it. Allegedly stuff are half price. But I wouldn’t wake up at 230 am even if stuff was free. I don’t want such stuff. Anyways, the craziness continues through the day and mummy wanted to have a look. The last time she was around this time, I had been expecting Pumpki and was due to be induced the next day, so we never managed to venture out. But this year we did! The places were jam packed, my God people like a good sale indeed!! We too participated in the sale by being onlookers and spending some money on eating. Yeah we got our priorities right.

The next day K went to work while the four girls spent time pottering around the house, going to play area, and generally moving without any routine. I remember waking up late, sipping the morning coffee without the rush, getting the girls ready for moving out and having a good time. Who needs alcohol when the morning start with coffee. On Friday, Pumpki turned 3! We had a nice lunch at a Kerala restaurant. The food was delicious and enjoyed by all. The stroll in the city centre cheered us all up. We would have loved to go on longer, but the gravitational force on the bodies heavied by food was getting too tough to resist. Home was the way to go.

The weekend, the girls spent reading a lot of books and colouring and drawing. We had some called friends over for dinner on 31st and the weekend was the chance to get the shopping done for that. K and I ventured out – and it was our ‘us’ time , yeah grocery shopping :P Mummy jazzed up the weekend by some mind blowing cooking! 31st night Chiyaa was all enthused because her friend was coming. She was very compliant and well behaved during the day. Once our friends and their children came, there was easy conversation while the young ones got busy playing. The food mummy had made went down really well! It was nice to have company till 2300, after which they thought it would be conducive to make a move. We stayed up to watch the fireworks at London Eye on TV and then wished each other a happy new year and drifted off.

1st was a holiday, but it was not a time to waste. We had to get the future planned. Well , not all of it, just the holidays. You see I am a freak when it comes to holidays. I book and plan mine and other's impacted by mine or impacting mine like a maniac. We had been having conversations about the coming year, how to cover for school holidays and who takes what leaves, which grandparent comes in when, etc etc. We had to get the deal finalised. We had to ration and allocate the leaves to cover for school holidays between us. It took 5 iterations. :D The real deal looks much cleaner than this first draft.



Amma has her travel slated from May – September, to be with the kids, beat the heat and provide the much wanted presence of elders at home. If all goes to plan, mummy and papa might travel around the middle of December to be around for the birthdays. We have gone as far as December 2020 to probably pencil in a trip to India! Man proposes, God disposes is a true and famous adage. But as we look ahead, we can hope that God looks at all us kindly and helps us.


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