Peace out

I am a staunch believer in revenge. As in, I think it absolutely makes sense to return the malice or hatred someone doles out to you intentionally. I also believe in Karma, but for an impatient soul like me, waiting for her to strike back at morons who do bad to me, doesn’t cut it. Also, the poor thing has so many people to get back at, I believe in lending her a helping hand and doing the dirty work myself.

I am also very particular about giving back the exact same portions of ‘love’ to the one you’ve received it from. For me, ‘an eye for an eye’ is the concept that rules my actions. And to the additional piece of wisdom doled out by Mahatma Gandhi (or as Sonam Kapoor said – Robert De Niro), I would just say that I would obviously prefer a blind world to one where I am sitting moping in a dark room, while the evil guy who poked my eye is watching a movie and thinking – Thank God for Gandhi. Erm, thanks, but I don’t think so?

Fortunately, for the recipients, life hasn’t given me enough opportunities of physical reciprocation and most of my getting back has been bitter (albeit classy, ok, sometimes not so classy) remarks in response to personal comments that I do not appreciate. Words I wouldn’t utter otherwise, things I wouldn’t say. Things I believe are true but too nasty to mention. Things I do not believe at all but saying them seems right because the person who hurt me deserves them. Sometimes immediately, mostly as an afterthought, because God hasn’t granted me a quick retort system.

But there have been a few cases where I have actually gotten back in action.

One such situation I remember very clearly, more so because my mother does, and quotes it every time she thinks I have rage issues, which I don’t, is from when I was back in the B-school. So our hostel being in Kerala had those sloping, tiled roofs, and on the highest level of each hostel building was the washing area. By which I mean 3 fully automatic front load washing machines were placed in this area (very posh and smart investment I think) and also several clothes lines to dry the almost dry clothes that came out. These 3 machines were to be used by the 40+ students residing in said building.

Anyway, the process we followed was, take your clothes and detergents to the top, load the available washing machine, start it, and then place the empty bucket next to it before leaving. Reason being, the cycle would go on for about 90 minutes, and most of us would put the clothes in before leaving for class. In the meantime, if someone else comes up and the run has completed, by default, they would put the clothes out in the bucket and load theirs. You could dry your set when you were back. All fair.

Back to said day, I had put my clothes for a run first thing in the morning, when all the machines were empty and there were only day old dry clothes on the clothes line and left for class. I returned probably around 4 hours later. Now on a regular day this would mean that assuming someone else walked in to wash their clothes after mine were done, my damp clothes would be in the bucket. But no.

My clothes were on the floor. And they were not damp, they were soaking wet. Which was weird, because as far as I knew you could not unlock the door, until the cycle was complete, till the drying bit. But someone had managed to open the door midway through my wash. Not only that, they had unceremoniously dumped my clothes on the ground instead of in the bucket.

I swear I saw red. I say this because the next few minutes passed quite fast. So I did a quick survey to see that at the moment, the other two machines were occupied and running. Also, the machine I had used was empty. Which meant that the person who emptied the machine had used it (most probably) and had also removed their clothes. Probably.

Which meant said clothes would actually be on the clothes line now. I did not wait to analyse any further, but blindly pulled down all the clothes in a semi dry state off the clothes line and dumped them on the floor which was quite wet. I then took additional pains to crumple them, stomp on them, and only when I felt a bit relieved did I stop to put my clothes back in the machine for a second wash. This time of course I kept time.

I really didn’t bother to find out who did it, or whose clothes I screwed up, or if I was right in my half-baked theories to assume the attacked clothes were actually the right ones. It was more for satisfaction for the moment and it worked amazingly well.

Moral of the story is there is no moral of the story. The thing is, I still think what I did was right. The thing is that if the same thing happened again today, I would do exactly the same thing, perhaps a little better because now I know the situation. The thing is when Zo comes back and tells me someone hit her at school, my first reaction is to ask her if she hit the kid back because God forbid she gets bullied, but I bite it back and ask her if she told the teacher. And when she says she did but the teacher did not say anything (which could be true, or not), I ask her if she hit the kid back anyway.

I wonder if that makes me a bad parent, but honestly, I don’t care if it does. I know, one might think that is wrong, this is what is wrong with the world. But no, as long as we are venting out at the person who caused us pain in the first place, it is justified in my case. Because how much ever Zen you are, what goes in, will somehow come out. Better hit the person it is intended for, than a random by passer. And yes, while I understand that stooping to low levels just because someone else did doesn’t make sense to many, if it hurts me personally, I would rather get it out of my system than bottle it up hoping and wishing that in some manner the universe will fix things for me. It’s just so much faster, and more convenient.

And it’s also the only way I can sleep peacefully at night.

Of summer vacations and mangoes

A couple of months ago, Femina announced the launch of their Book Club (on Facebook) , where they called out to bloggers who were interested in reading and reviewing recently released titles. Since I am quite fond of the magazine, and participating meant getting new books to read, if your blog was selected, I reached out to them, and voila! In some time, I got a mail saying I was now a part of the Femina Book Club panel and I was one happy cookie! The very next day the book arrived – Ruskin Bond’s Love Among The Bookshelves. 

love-among-the-bookshelves-400x400-imaduka6yatttu6u
Love Among The Bookshelves is Ruskin Bond’s memoir and my first book by the author. It traces his journey into the world of books through his childhood, teens, until his early 20s. Narrated in a simple, free-flowing language, these memories are interspersed with excerpts from the writings of the authors he talks about, beautifully blending with his perception of them. So you get to revisit the likes of PG Wodehouse, HE Bates, Somerset Maugham and Charles Dickens.

However, what sets this book apart is that fact that it forces you into the recesses of your own memories—of summer vacations and air coolers, of Roohafza and mangoes. And the books, which made up your childhood and went on to establish you as a reader.

I am not much of a non-fiction reader, but I could glide through this book effortlessly. My biggest takeaway from it was a reinforcement of the fact that one can never read ‘enough’ because there are numerous titles, authors and genres out there, waiting to be explored. The book very helpfully ends with a list of authors and their works, which Ruskin Bond deems his favourites. And it makes you want to make a list of your own, from the past, and especially for the future.

My list is ready, and Mr Bond is right at the top of it.

Book Club

June baraabar June

You have to believe me when I say that I have started a post multiple times in this last month and none of them ever got published because, well, because I can get moronic about what goes out on here. Before you even mentally make a any remark bordering on ‘this is what comes out after screening?’, I will quickly divert your attention to the nicer things that have happened!

Like this lovely award from the equally lovely Shweta! And might I add in a moment of immodesty, the second time it has been passed on to me, making it all the more precious!

So of course accepting the award had it’s set of rules to be followed, of which I only adhered to the questions bit last time. I thought of doing the same thing this time around as well, and when I started answering the questions, Around question no. 3 I realized that my post had started sounding very much like an inspirational speech by Mata Divyamayi and this point, combined with how my frequency here has dwindled to less than once a month, could be hazardous to my very existence. So I quit.

And instead thought of recording some stuff I am not allowed to forget.

In the facts category, June was an extremely happening month with the whole family stepping into a new routine because Zo, wait for it, started school. Yes yes, take your time to get over the initial shock. But yeah my itty bitty Zo wears a uniform and sits in class for 3 hours every day and ‘learns’ stuff. However, the school is one of those ‘we want the children to absorb at their own pace’ and ‘we believe each child is measured only against himself’ and ‘blah-di-blah’ kinds, so it works well for my Zo-who-gets-bored-easily. Anyway, the new routine took a while to kick in and still has hiccups but we are happy to report, it’s functional.

In the observation category, what is with the constant whining about childhoods being ruined by technology and internet and smartphones and blah? Really? Are we saying that our kids aren’t ‘enjoying’ their childhood the way we did because all this extra stuff is available? Reeeeallly? I mean so TV is available 24X7, so where does it say they have to see it all the time? I think we should thank our stars the content is good (Baby TV and Disney Junior have taught Zo better English than I can expect, plus all those counting and guessing games are fun), because when I was a kid I watched Ramayana and Mahabharata and then waited for that ONE hour of Ducktales and Talespin. In Hindi.

Also, about they getting their hands on smartphones and ipads this early, ok fine, then don’t let them have the stuff! The only time I am guilty of doing this is when I really need time off for something else like work or a quick nap. And honestly, she prefers play-doh to all this. Even when does watch stuff on the ipad, she is back in sometime wanting to play ‘Bat-ball’. In any case, I still see hundreds of children (literally) in the play area every evening playing exactly how we did. So please don’t share that picture of a Lama kid with a sparrow and that of a city kid with an iphone because YOU gave him the iPhone. Also, bullshit we played with sparrows (actually, I did, a lot, but that was before I kinda started disliking birds and the mess they create).

Anyway, I do have some rules like I haven’t taken Zo to the movies yet, because it’s too loud, plus she gets bored soon, also I hate being an nuisance to the rest of the people (totally judge people who get little kids along, sorry), so it isn’t that I am chilled out about everything. Just clarifying.

Fact point 2 was that the Dude and I finished 7 years of marriage! *Drumrolls* My company gifts us a dinner at a lavish place which is how we brought in the day. On the actual day, I had a holiday (which I thought was unfair because I had planned to take the day off anyway and the whole company got the day off. Hmph.) and so did Zo, but The Dude didn’t but he chose to work from home, so I spent my day trying to keep Zo away from the Smartcard through which The Dude had connected to work. T’was fun. I also cooked my first non-vegetarian dish, a baked cheese chicken thing I picked off the internet and The Dude conceded it was good. Like he had a choice.

Finally, The Dude closed June by gallivanting off to Goa with his college friends leaving me in charge of Zo. Fortunately, I developed a sudden interest in shopping online (the online part being the new thing) and wasted quite some time doing virtual window shopping with the Lil Sis trying to use up the 40% weekend discounts. I also tried real shopping at some sales that started, but I forgot that Zo and Sales do not go together, and it doesn’t really help if there is this little thing pulling you towards kids clothes aisles saying , ‘mera clothes dekho‘ all the time. It certainly helped her, because we only bought her stuff.

By that equation, June was a busy month. But it is over now. So is half the year. And as always, it’s scary how time passes. Eep. Sometimes I don’t like it. Some times I just want it to go by even faster. Sometimes, I really don’t give a damn.

And those days are my favorite kind. I just hope that every day in the rest of this year falls under this bucket.

Fridaying

So it’s Friday and I kinda remembered the Fun Friday series that I used to do in the past but discontinued because distractions happened and thought, well, let’s come back and give it a shot again now, shall we?

Things did improve after Monday obviously because it is already Friday, and I am here and not setting fire to the world, and plus close week is over you all. I am also very hungry but we all know that’s not news it’s just, a thing, a state of happening. So as I had mentioned the last time on the blog, I was giving up on Twitter because everyone hates me there (not true, I am kind of non-existent, which is worse) and I kept to my promise and hardly logged in all week. Even switched to music while walking down to my driving class pick up point instead of staring at and scrolling down my timeline hoping I will find something funny enough to retort to without upsetting the person. It has worked, my time off. In fact I gained 4 followers in the last week, so I think I have a vague idea of what I was doing wrong all this while. Tweeting. People like my silence there.

On Tuesday, it was not all happy-rosy to begin with. I first squashed my thumb by getting it caught in the Wagon R’s door and it hurt like maddeningly bad, it was purple. It was deep pink actually, but that doesn’t tell you how bad it was, so it was purple. Then, after all my root canal drama (I spoke about it right? The root canal? Because I might have missed it. Twitter got my social media balance screwed), which was more drama less pain because frankly once the ‘work’ started I did not even need any painkillers, I returned on Tuesday to ‘give size for the crown’. Ok what comes to your mind when you say that? I know my tooth is dead, and it needs a crown, and I am supposed to give the size. So I went waving my arms like all was well with the world after all what could get worse after yesterday, and my doc takes out a drill.

I have bad teeth. I am sorry, I am like totally going off on a tangent, but I have bad teeth, not bad looking really, but bad ‘kolty‘. Multiple fillings, extractions, and a root canal on the front tooth (which is an achievement I have decided to put on my resume), I have seen everything. And then the case of the protagonist tooth of the moment is like ultimate. I knew there was a cavity, I could feel it, but I waited till it hurt like hell (phase 1) to get it filled, by which time the cavity was deep, like deep deep. Still I got it filled. But had to stop eating on the side cos it was uncomfortable.

And I was still living with all this till one day I had the mother of all pains emanating from said tooth (which I was not sure of) and going till my ear. For two days I sat back and contemplated what it could be, tooth, or jaw, or sinus, or ear? Or imagination? Eventually I decided it was the tooth and went to the dentist.

Long story short, root canal was sentenced and it was painless! It was lovely. I had some random temp filling and I was living a happy life (no painkillers!) waiting for the ‘permanent crown size fitting’ for which I finally went on Tuesday. And then, the dentist takes out a drill.

I hate drills. It’s my most unfavorite tool of the lot. I am even ok with the tiny hammer they hit you on the tooth with and ask ‘ does it hurt’ though it makes me think ‘Er, I am not here for fun really, ofcourse it hurts!’ With the drill it is that Eeeeee sound that I hate, the smell of tooth being ground, the powdered tooth flying around, gross. And the worst thing, that possibility of sudden sensitivity, UGH.

So the drill was out, and I was like, “Why the drill?” Now some background, the dentist is sort of our family friend so she knows me well, so she was like “I have to grind your tooth right? How else will I take size? You’ve had a root canal before you should know!”. By this time, I knew things were not going to be good. “Don’t worry”, she said “the tooth is already dead, you won’t feel a thing.”

And she started. Now actually, it didn’t hurt. Except that I was sitting with my mouth wide open squinting at the light above, hearing that dreaded drill go eeeeee and trying to not swallow anything, it was alright. But, then, it , hurt. I squirmed a bit, to which my dentist, the true doctor said, “Don’t worry, there will be a slight discomfort in the gums”, and continued. I could see she was being nice and encouraging and stuff, but I was really not enjoying all the poking into the gums.

And the last straw when I spit and there was blood. People, do not gross out here because I was in a lot of pain and it is not nice to go ‘Eww!’ on people in pain. Anyway, it got done, and after multiple rounds of poking, I left for work with pretty painful gums which hadn’t happened even after the Root canal “surgery” where I went prepared for a swollen face. So while technically, the pain wasn’t so much, the wide gap between expectations (no pain, party!) and reality (Pain, pain, pain, Blood!)  in this case did not work well for me, Especially since said wide gap was completely in my favor the last time.

So I am unfortunate like that. Anyway, I am all better now so don’t feel very bad for me. Also I get it that I started this post on a fun mode (self-proclaimed) and it turned out to be a TMI post on how not to manage your teeth. But it counts, as a post for humanity. So you can show me a little gratitude. No, not for ending the post meanies.

Ok, for the post ending. And for Friday?

Mundane Monday much

Today has not been a good day. What’s more, today is not even over, not even close. And what perhaps takes the cake over and above all this is the fact, that this is exactly how every day the rest of this week looks like. Pathetic. And that’s an understatement.

It all started last night when instead of reading a book, I decided to watch the IPL Final. Now for most of you who know me, I am not an IPL fan, especially after my favorite team (which is a dynamic entity and subject to change upto 4 times each season) is ousted. But then yesterday when I realised that the Grand Finale was between KKR and KXIP, I finally found a team to not-support. The first innings finished with me jubilant with the non-performance of the team I was not-supporting and then bam, they recovered and won. And I went to sleep thinking of smug-faced SRK. I should have known right then that tomorrow would be no better.

Ofcourse it wasn’t. So it was already late (which means post midnight for creaky-boned 31 year old me) and just as I was about to fall asleep, I suddenly started thinking of the week that was coming up. One, this is close week, which generally sucks for reasons known to Finance folks. Two, Zo joins school this week, and I am supposed to, and allowed to have parenting jitters. Three, Zo has to move out of her very awesome day-care because ‘policies’ et al, the child’s comfort and parents’ choice be damned. And amidst all this there are just too many joining, withdrawal, transfer, random-shit-you-wouldn’t-believe-existed forms to filled. And, there are the driving classes which need you to wake up early, not that Zo-the-morning-person would let it be any different. So I started thinking of all this and did not fall asleep until around 1. And then, Zo woke up at 3 because she wanted to go to her Aaji/Thatha-Paati. And when that request was turned down, she wanted ‘Dudhu’. Finally after she was handed over her milk, she fell asleep again, only to wake up at 5, and tear my eyelids open because ‘Wake up! Morning ho gaya hai!’

I decided to skip driving class, and sleep. This worked, except there is this enormous guilt I feel whenever I bunk. I also decided to make Zo skip day-care because I did not know if they had arranged for food yet. So guilt pang 2 happened when Zo started crying saying ‘Waaaaa! Aap mereko school kyun nahi le ja rahi ho!’ She has weird priorities I know.

Then I reach work and my calendar is FULL of stuff which is not right on a close week when you have stuff to do anyway without having a full calendar to add to your miseries. And additionally there were mails to do things that have no business having a single day deadline, let alone on a close day. But I sucked it up and carried out chore after chore, ticking off one thing after the other, only with short breaks to check my Twitter timeline.

Which brings me to yet another source of pain for me, Twitter. Technically, I should have given up on Twitter way before because it doesn’t work out for people like me. In fact, I don’t get how it works out for anyone at all and constantly marvel at people with Followers in 4 digits. But very recently, actually the last week, I made some lame-ass joke on Tiger Shroff heavily inspired by (and credited to) some random FB post, and things got viral. One night and I gained some 30 followers. Which unnecessarily fueled this hope that I could also make it on Twitter. Only that never happened and now I am left trying to hold on to the meager list I have at the moment. Also, in the name of ‘conversing’ with some of the Twitterati, I managed to irrevocably piss them off, and the last wish I heard from one of them before they ‘unfollowed’ me was that I get hit by a bus. So. frigging. mean.

Anyhoo, it is not all bad, and one tiny glimmer of happiness in my otherwise whiny life, is this new book I am reading. It is Ruskin Bond’s ‘Love among the Bookshelves’ and while it is miles away from my usual genre, which is by default fiction, it is making for a very interesting read. Add to it an extremely talkative Zo who is in this super-curious phase where she has her own answers and logic for things we ignore to answer. Plus, a small part of me which has actually started ‘liking’ driving the car, of course not considering the folks on the road who I am sure pretty much say their prayers before setting out because they might just meet me. And lastly, the parents who are visiting which means I do absolutely no work at home, carry a dabba to work, and get a lot of guilt-free time to spend with The Dude.

That’s not bad you say? You feel I am way too pessimistic and I am complaining about irrelevant stuff? You think all that happy cancels out all that pathetic? You think I am being too whiny and should shut up and look at the brighter side of things?

Aw man. I do too. So happy week ahead everybody. Ok?

Tales of the road

My dad bought me my first two-wheeler when I was in Class 9. Motorized. While this might classify me as a spoilt brat in most opinions, truth is I needed it mainly to propel my geek-dom further, because the whole point behind the bike was this way I could attend after-school maths classes in 10th and get amazing marks. Which was difficult if I missed my school bus back home, the only alternate mode of transport being a ‘tempo’ also known as shared auto, and a 2 km walk each way. This would also eat into, yes, you’re right, study time and I couldn’t have that, so I got my two-wheeler. And also, amazing marks in Maths.

Anyway, when my Dad offered to buy me the vehicle, I by default chose a Luna Super. Yes, the trusty old moped which would not cross 40 kmph if you set fire to it. My Dad offered to buy me a ‘Kinetic Pride’ at that time, relatively more expensive, and definitely better looking but I turned it down because another friend in school had a Luna (Class 8 onwards, I know I am not helping my bratty case here). I however did not accept this reasoning in my head until yet another friend, who bought a Kinetic Pride very pointedly (and rather rudely) said that I just followed whatever friend number one did. I was pretty pissed at the allegation and did not retort because I knew she was right.

So Class 10 came and I started taking the moped to school which was a good 8 kms away. I even started taking my little sister, then in Class 7 along. It was well and good until one eventful morning in April, just about 15 odd days into all this awesomeness, I rode full on into this stationary ‘tempo’ while humming ‘ Gaate the pehle akele’ from the film Khamoshi. I do not hum that song while on a bike since then.

I fell, and so did my sister, and our bags and stuff and a group of people gathered around us and for a few minutes I was too dazed and then I saw this huge gash on my knee and panicked. Before I  proceed I need to tell you that panic is my favorite form of reaction and my first choice for any situation. And most often for reasons other than what technically would be priority for others.

This case was no different and while my primary reason for stressing should have been ‘Oh My God, is my sister ok? Have I broken any bones, followed by ‘Oh My God look at that gash, it’s going to need stitches!’, it actually was ‘Oh My God my dad is not going to let me ride this to school anymore!’ So when one of the people in crowd asked me my phone number, I gave it pretty reluctantly, adding vehemently that he was NOT supposed to call my parents. No, I did not pause to think what else he would use my number for. And no, I did not think if the by-standers were worried if I had hurt my head.

So I tied a handkerchief (or the cleaning cloth for the tempo, I swear I couldn’t care), and wait for this, rode to school. I had fallen mid-way between school and home. And I chose to ride to school where from I thought, I would call home and calmly inform them of a slight fall that had happened and I don’t know, wish for them to never notice that 2 inch deep wound on my knee where I swear I could see my bone.

I reached school and called them back, only to have my grandmom pick the call and tell me that they were on their way to school. I cursed the well-wisher dude and sat back and waited. They came over, calmly inspected the situation (not the wound thankfully), and took me to a doctor The doctor had a look at it and pronounced that I needed stitches. And thanks to anesthesia (whose concept I seem to have been alien to apparently, cos I kept asking him if it would hurt, to which he kept saying ofcourse it would, moron) I never knew when it got done.

Long story short, (ok, not so short I guess) I live to tell the tale with the scar still apparent on knee. Three stitches which could have changed the course of my life. Ok, that’s way too much exaggeration, but it could definitely have changed my mode of transportation, which sucked cos hello, I wasn’t taking a tempo everyday! But somewhere during the summer vacations (which started soon), I re-convinced my Dad to let me go to school on the moped and he agreed much to the annoyance of my mom.

Between then and now I have changed 3 two-wheelers. The Luna, followed by a Scooty in college to an Aviator I ride to work today. I have fallen multiple times, maintaining an average of a fall per year, minor scratches that hurt for an hour, to scars that still show. Lived through skids that happened just because they hadn’t in a while, to falls that happened because a stupid dog ran behind the vehicle barking his guts out, only to give a look and walk away when I finally fell while taking a turn without reducing speed (no, I don’t wish he had fulfilled his karma and bitten me, but I hate purposeless noise). Ridden on narrow lanes in Meerut and big roads in Hyderabad and broken ones in Pune. So the road is no alien to me thanks to my mighty scooter.

But looks it was the mighty scooter doing all the work all this while because last week I finally joined car driving classes and it is not the same. Not even close. Firstly, there aren’t 400 things to manage like in this case. Just because we have two hands and two feet and two eyes doesn’t mean you have a job defined for all of them simultaneously. Also, 7:30 AM for some people really means 7:30 AM for some people, and 20 minutes does not mean 5 minutes and these seem to be difficult to digest concepts for my driving instructors. In any case I am trying, and it has just been 6 days so I am hoping things improve soon. So if you see an out-of-control red i10 around Magarpatta City in Pune anytime, and a frowning (albeit very cool if you ignore her disheveled look) 31 year old at the wheel who seems to be trying hard to not whack the guy sitting next to her, come say hi.

Or don’t. I might just knock you over.

 

London Paris New York

First things first, after all the Hullabaloo I created about this Blog turning 10 years old before it  did, when it actually did, I did not even bother to wish it. Here I mean. Ofcourse I wished it multiple times in my head while we were worming our way through extremely incomprehensible amounts of traffic on the Mumbai-Pune expressway near Khandala around midnight (I mean who would’ve thunk?). But anyway, better late than never is our motto so here we are! To the blog which has survived almost a third of my life!

April was an amazing month otherwise. Other than crazy heat (which technically Pune is not supposed to have because hello, mountains and ghats and what not), it was a very anticipated month because it brought along our much anticipated vacation. To – wait for it – Europe! Yes! So we did three days each in 3 cities which we carefully picked based on location, interests, and costs. Brussels. Paris. Amsterdam.

Travel of any kind makes me ecstatic and like already mentioned is the only thing I would be ok indulging in. Not so much luxury, here I firmly believe quantity over quality, because if you say I can see 10 countries in the same budget economically, as I would do 3 luxuriously, guess what I would choose? Yes, yes, always greedy for more!

If you think I would atleast sort of a travelogue here, no, no, not happening. But I will definitely tell you which my favorite of the three places. I had a serious surprise winner in – Brussels! Loved loved loved the place. We even did a day trip to Brughes, an hour away and Oh my God was it the prettiest place ever! You know, like story book Europe with it’s small lanes, and pretty houses with flowers on the window sills, and beautiful old Churches, and streams, and flowers and ducks swimming around. The last bit made Zo one happy cookie.

Paris was lovely too, in the much hyped way I expected, and of of course I sat and stared at the Eiffel for a good two hours, no not because it was mesmerizing, but because it is Europe and it takes until bloody 9 30 PM for it to get dark and for them to light up the tower and I wouldn’t miss the sparkly lights for anything. Actually unlit, it was quite a let down (more like a massive TV tower rusting with time), but it came to life when the lights went on and this time, I was one happy cookie.

Amsterdam should be synonymous with party, because everyone seemed to having one. We were no exception and it was just awesome walk around the city center (which we did every single day) or lie around at the Museum square and soak up the sun. I actually returned much more tanned than I did from Goa and that is something. We also ensured and kept up our scandalous parents resolve and visited every must-see, and did every must-do in Amsterdam, however scandalous, yes, with Zo in tow.

Food, if not a review deserves a mention, because vacations are the one time we tend to forget all my healthy resolves (and rightly so) and gorge on anything that pleases the eye, and the taste buds. So there were multiple serves of Belgian Waffles, beer, French wine, cheese, and bits of Dutch cuisine which kind of believes in deep frying everything, especially street food. There was also the buttered breakfasts, the chocolate croissants and pastries, the cream and nutella intake, which is going to need a month long diet and extensive workout to lose.

There was a lot of walking around. I had been very skeptical of doing a trip like this, with all arrangements done by ourselves, and no known people around, and ofcourse, in the company of a two and a half year old. But it was a breeze. And I have to say Zo was a rock star throughout. She was sufficiently excited by the water, boats, and ducks (yes, deserves a two time mention) to get annoyed. When she did, she would curl up and go to sleep while we would continue taking in the sights, the smells and the sounds.

A close second in the rock star category was the baby stroller we decided to take along, though we were unsure till the last day if it would be allowed for it’s size on the flights. But guess what! Not only was it allowed, but the Swiss Air chaps were extra nice and made it a special delivery, by which we mean we got to push it till we entered the aircraft and got it as soon as we stepped out. In the cities, the extent of support you get if you have a baby (and a stroller) was amazing. In the Dude’s words, we pretty much recovered the entire price we paid for the stroller 3 years ago, just in this trip.

All in all, it was every bit as amazing as I had hoped it would be, if not more. Except for a few glitches – like me forgetting my very light jacket and there being weather requiring a jacket for a couple of days, and a horrid old man asking us to move even if it meant Zo would have to stand in the rain (which she did anyway, useless kid) – I think it was perfect. The best thing the trip gave us was this confidence that we can plan, and do trips by ourselves, from scratch, along with Zo, at our own pace, and have a wonderful time.

So yes, that’s where I have been. No, not in London and New York as the title suggests, but then no one made a movie called Brussels Paris Amsterdam no? The rest of the time I am on Twitter where I am spewing the same incoherent stuff that I do here, only in smaller doses. So if you are game for that (rather, if you can handle that), see me there too (Shameless plug I know, but I need followers dammit, handle on the blog page on the right!)? I will try and settle back into what we call routine, however tough it might seem.

And for whenever it gets too tough, there is always the next vacation to plan!