“Hi R, shall we catch up for lunch today? I’m in Pondicherry.” I juggled my phone as my colleague spoke, while examining my visage in the looking glass at the store. As I pondered the way the large tote bag dangling from my right arm made me look, I answered, “Sorry darling, my sister-in-law is cooking lunch for us.”
“Aren’t you on vacation?” came the not-so-subtle response, hinting that a vacation meant staying away from the trappings of family.
I offered my young friend a little pearl of wisdom. “At our age, darling, the definition of vacation is that someone else does your work.”
I’m one of the fortunate few who have relatives living in a tourist spot. Ergo, I can plan a short break anytime I want, without worrying about stay arrangements. I must admit those are my best short breaks, because I don’t have to orchestrate the packing of several sets of clothes and sundry articles without which we never travel, for we don’t know the art of travelling light.
All this and home food, too!
What could be better than having relatives in a tourist spot? Having relatives who are good cooks. Therefore, I get delicious, home-cooked food on demand; for I’m at that stage of life when I believe that home-cooked meals are the best for the children, the spouse and self.
My biggest grouse with hotel vacations is that we need to wake up early enough every morning so we don’t miss the most important part of the hotel stay. The complimentary breakfast. My mornings are spent shooing the children and the husband to the buffet early enough to partake of the lavish spread at leisure. After all, we paid for it and it’s not often we get to eat a languid breakfast when at home.
What he likes and what I want
The spouse’s idea of a vacation is doing nothing or watching endless movies on his laptop. The children feel a vacation is being with their friends instead of the boring parents, one who buries her nose in a book and the other who glues his eyes to a movie. I believe that vacations are a way of creating new experiences and memories, but with the unenthusiastic response I get from the men in my life, I lose heart and take the least difficult path – of not planning anything at all.
Sometimes when you can’t get everyone to agree, maybe a woman should just go on a vacation by herself.
Moreover, we are the human version of homing pigeons. We love our home. I often argue, why we must pay a bomb to stay in a hotel, in a single room sharing space with clingy children, having the use of one bathroom for the four of us and to top it all, live out of a suitcase, which is a jumble of clean and unwashed clothes?
The complimentary breakfast and food and service on demand is no longer a novelty, given the years of experiencing the sameness of the spread.
Moreover, I could stay at home and get food on demand as well, considering I have the luxury of the service of a person who certainly has more competence in rustling up a meal than I have.
Just do nothing!
After every holiday we take, we come back exhausted, wishing we could stay at home for a few days before re-joining work. Like a holiday to recover from a tiring holiday. Sometimes I wish I could stay at home and do nothing. Perhaps meet the homemakers in the apartments for coffee and conversation at the delicious mid-morning hour. Perhaps spend an afternoon at lunch with girlfriends or perhaps stay in bed and read. Maybe do a spot of shopping or bake a cake. I could tend to the garden and redecorate the home.
When a couple is in a different stage of life, it might be time to go on a completely new adventure!
My chain of thought led me to tasks which I needed to complete, and I considered the option of taking a week off from work and getting my life back in order. Perhaps I could never master the art of doing nothing I thought, as I sighed to myself. The spouse pondered my idea of a staycation and promised to join me for this holiday, toying with the idea of ordering food even, for a realistic vacation experience.
The husband meanwhile, has a complimentary stay at a star hotel in the city. We would like to give it away, because for us, our home is our luxurious resort. We spend just a few hours at home each day just as one does in a resort or a hotel, we have a cook and help to run our home, and most importantly, we have our own space. Any takers for the voucher?Published in