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Archive for May, 2007

Random thoughts

Ask me any question on the Titanic and I can probably answer. This has been the subject of A’s obsession for the last month or so. He initially started asking about it after hearing about it from a friend at school. Then we briefly told him what we knew (which wasn’t much and that too all from the movie) and then got a kid’s book for him on the topic. We read it to him a couple of times and now sometimes in the afternoon, we see him sitting on his bed and reading it. We also showed him most of the movie at home. I’ve now refused to answer any more questions for him on this, since we have discussed it all to death.

Its been raining a lot here this last week. On Saturday, there was a “family day” at work. Since it was raining so much, this was a good indoor event to go to, mainly for the kids. There was face painting, stickers, lego tables, live animals and birds, balloons etc. They had snacks in the cafeteria and a band (all employees) was playing. S took front stage – dancing, clapping and generally enjoying herself.

We leave for Banff on Wednesday and as usual, we haven’t packed. The weather forecast for there has been depressing – rains everyday :(. I hope it doesn’t turn out to be a total washout.

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The usual calls to our families this weekend was very frustrating, at least for me. My own family (parents, brothers) is reasonably well tuned to my nature and the source this time were my s-i-l. They are both very nice and we all get along fine, so this is not the usual in-laws bickering. It started off innocently, on two occasions, when they separately each asked when we were visiting next, genuinely wishing to see us all. I’ll get down to why this irritates me so much in a minute. Then, we called my in-laws and my f-i-l asked the same thing, adding that we should stop by at Dombivli too. And PK takes it calmly as if it is a perfectly natural question. I suggested to him that may be this is his conspiracy, to have everyone start hounding us now itself so that we end up making a trip towards the end of the year. You see, it is him who starts getting a major craving for an yearly trip, sometime around 8-10 months from the previous trip (which would be just about now). If I get annoyed, he insists that it is just “thinking” about the next one whenever it happens and we are not going right away.

The main reason I get annoyed with this conversation is that it puts pressure on me to plan or at least think about the next visit. Not sure, it may be people’s way of expressing their care/affection, but to me, there are many other ways to do it without making the other person feel pressured or guilty. The other reasons, not in any particular order:

  1. Our last trip was in Aug-Sep, which was barely 8 months ago. I don’t know of any family of 4 who goes down every 10-12 months (Most of the people we know -friends, colleagues, neighbors etc  only make it every 2.5 yrs or more)
  2. We use up all our vacation days for the year to make that trip, which means we don’t get to take any vacations here.
  3. It is such a short trip that no one has the satisfaction that we visited and they got to spend time with us and the kids. Out of 3 weeks – 3 days goes for the journey. We split the remaining 2.5 weeks with both sides of the family. I didn’t visit any relatives last time for fear of being accused of favoritism and there’s no way I could’ve visited all of them. We visited just 1 friend (you know who you are) and 3 others came to visit me. That was it. I couldn’t even talk to many of them on the phone.
  4. The kids also have trouble coping with such a short trip. It takes them a few days to get over jet lag and get used to the place and the people and then it is time to leave. Last time, after we got back, S was sick for more than a month – coughing a lot and I couldn’t take many days off to keep her home.
  5. It doesn’t come cheap. And later this year when S turns 2, we’ll have to pay full fare for her, instead of the 25% we paid last year.
  6. Everyone goes about their daily routine, so most of the times, its not like we get to do anything special or fun. I understand they all have a job to do and not everyone can rearrange their lives just because we are there, but even the few who can take a day or two off, hasn’t. Except my younger brother and his wife, who accompanied us to Hassan when I was there on my sabbatical and PK’s s-i-l sometimes.
  7. This fall, A will start first grade, so we cannot  should not pull him off from school to make the trip. Another BIG irritant with this line item is PK’s retort, “hey, he won’t be learning calculus”. I know there may be special circumstances which may warrant an absence but not for a casual visit.

I can probably go on and on, but I will stop at that.  I know that none of the intended audience will read this. I just wish that when someone brings it up next time, I’ll have the courage to say “I‘ll let you know when we plan our next trip. Until then, please don’t ask.”

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